What Profit Are Today’s Prophets?

1 07 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – June 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 6 – What Profit Are Today’s Prophets? – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

What Profit Are Today’s Prophets?

Rev. Bob Liichow

Some people might say “what’s the big deal brother Bob? There have always been crooks in the Church so just ignore them.” Sadly, this attitude is mirrored throughout the Church today which helps to explain some of the reasons why the Body of Christ is in such sad shape today. It is the same attitude that slams the door shut in the face of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons usually ending in a “God bless you” from the believer. Christians who respond like this are effectively saying “go to hell” because that is surely where those folks are headed unless someone shares the Gospel with them, thus giving the Holy Spirit an avenue to convict and draw them to faith if He so chooses.

Every genuinely redeemed person is an ambassador for the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 5:19) Growing up in a Diplomatic family (1) I have a pretty good concept of what the Apostle Paul meant by calling us ambassadors of the Kingdom. God vocalizes His appeal to the entire world via His people (The Holy Spirit speaks through His text to us). The Father uses the totally unique love that only we are empowered (Romans 5:5)  to share with one another (John 13:35) to demonstrate our true discipleship. He uses the foolishness of preaching (1Cor.1:21) and as His ambassadors/ministers/servants/disciples we open our mouths to evangelize. It is the Father who speaks (Matt. 10:20) through us by His Spirit.

As ambassadors for our Lord, we bring the Law, what God commands and demands of His people — the law that terrifies the conscious and brings despair to the soul driving individuals to flee to the solace of the Gospel! We then proclaim the glorious good news that our brother (Heb. 2:11) Jesus Christ, God the Son has come in the flesh and fulfilled all of the Father’s law on our behalf. Jesus died bearing all the sin of humanity on the cross; He was buried and rose physically from the dead three days later and ascended into heaven and He has promised to return for us again. Until that time, we serve as His representatives and we are the only “Jesus” the world will see, and trust me when I say — the world is watching your life.

The above brings us back to the point — it matters tremendously what people do and say in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I must admit I live in a pretty black-and-white world when it comes to doctrine and to me either someone is gathering or scattering, there is no middle ground (Luke 11:23), one is genuinely for Christ or he is against Him, it is just that simple.

To Christians the Bible is accepted as the only valid written revelation from God to man. This being the case when someone teaches something from the Bible that teaching has behind it the backing authority of the Creator of all existence. False teaching that is spawned from twisting biblical texts and is exceedingly dangerous because a percentage of gullible, biblically ignorant sheep will automatically follow the latest novel teaching (2 Tim 4:3) because they lack the tools to rightly discern truth from error, i.e. a solid doctrinal foundation. Also these novel teachings all appeal directly to the fallen flesh of man. The fallback argument of the false teacher is “it’s in the Bible.”

False prophets are equally as dangerous as false teachers; please never forget that there is no such thing as innocuous false teaching. The false prophet takes upon themselves authority that exceeds that of the false teacher. The false prophet (hereafter referred to at times as “profit”) calls upon the name of the Author of the Holy Scriptures as the direct source of their information and insight. When a person stands up in an assembly and gives a stirring word and ends it in “I, Jesus have spoken by my servant,” or “thus saith the Lord,” you have the attention of the listeners. If you can add some form of sign or wonder to accompany the revelation given one is almost guaranteed great financial wealth and a following of God’s gullibles.

Last month DMI presented a brief overview of how a few deluded souls became a movement in the late 1940’s that has developed over forty years into a distinct sect (2) within the professing Church and even within the rather diverse unbrella we call the charismatic movement. (3) The Church went from a handful of men claiming to be restored prophets in the forties to today where now throughout the globe are “schools of the prophets.” The majority of which these schools can be traced back to the disciples of the post WWII profits. Today the Church and the millions of sign-gift believers are being besieged by a myriad of men and women, all of whom claim to be hearing from God on our behalf both personally and for the entire Church and at times the entire world itself!

Ladies First

The prophetic movement has proven to be an estrogen-rich breeding ground for women seeking the spotlight as prophets. In the past, within some branches of the charismatic renewal, women were not allowed to serve as pastors, but when it came to prophetesses these sign-seekers had to admit that there were several in the Bible so they had to begrudgingly admit women prophets into the public assemblies.

This is not strange, after all Church history is filled with examples of pseudo-prophets in feminine guise. Montanus (4) whom we have designated as the Father (5) of charismatic extremism had the first two recorded restored prophetesses to the Church, namely Prisca and Maximilla. The following is recorded about these ladies:

His prophesying were soon outdone by two female disciples, Prisca or Priscilla and Maximilla, who fell into strange ecstasies, delivering in them what Montanus and his followers regarded as divine prophecies. They had been married, left their husbands, were given by Montanus the rank of virgins in the church, and were widely reverenced as prophetesses. But very different was the sober judgment formed of them by some of the neighboring bishops. Phrygia was a country in which heathen devotion exhibited itself in the most fanatical form and it seemed to calm observers that the frenzied utterances of the Montanistic prophetesses were far less like any previous manifestation of the prophetic gift among Christians than they were to those heathen orgiasms which the church had been wont to ascribe to the operation of demons. The church party looked on the Montanists as willfully despising our Lord’s warning to beware of false prophets, and as being in consequence deluded by Satan, in whose power they placed themselves by accepting as divine teachers women possessed by evil spirits. (6)

Widely popular for a while, Montanus was a revivalist of a sorts, taught a strict form of legalism which the flesh always loves and he gained two women disciples who left their husbands became “virgins” again and on top of that became pipelines from heaven. The rest of the orthodox Church decried Montanus and his prophetesses. Eventually the movement died out with the death of his prophetesses, according to Eusebius of Caesarea quoting Apollinarius of Hierapolis both of these frenzied liars hung themselves after the manner of Judas Iscariot. (7)   Another writer who wrote of these women said:

Montanus was dead, as was Theodotus, an early leader in the movement, who had probably managed its finances, for he is said to have been towards it a kind of ettipottos. The Anonymous states that at the time he wrote 13 full years had elapsed and a 14th had begun since the death of Maximilla. Priscilla must have died previously for Maximilla believed herself to be the last prophetess in the church and that after her the end would come. (8)

The end did not come with her demise, (nor did it arrive when Mr. Camping announced again that it would). The centuries roll on and we come along another self-proclaimed female prophetess, Mrs. Ann Lee of England comes along. She was an early “Pentecostal” revivalist and visionary. I have written extensively about Ann Lee and her impact on today’s Signs and Wonders Movement.

A Moment of Shameless Self-Promotion   For a copy of the book (It really is a fascinating history of today’s enthusiasta and also very disturbing) Just send a check to DMI for $20.00 and receive a signed copy of “Blessing or Judgment?” (Revised from: Two Roots of Today’s Revival)  Please memo your check “book”

Ann Lee is certainly the first restored neo-Montanist prophetess in America and she opened the floodgates for much of the extremism which is so rampant today. Her organization, “The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing.” aka The Shakers were the first in America to (1) speak in other tongues; (2) experience so-called holy laughter; (3) spiritual drunkenness; (4) making animal sounds and expressions; (5) barking; (6) being slain in the spirit; (7) impart gifts by the laying on of hands; (8) led revival meetings and (9) giving verbal prophetic words from “God,” along with other expressions of spiritual excess commonly seen and experienced by hundreds of thousands of professing believers today.

The vast majority have no idea that what they are experiencing and inviting into their spiritual lives during their meetings comes directly from a demonic cult established here before our revolutionary war.

Ann Lee was only the first of many women to impact the spiritual lives of the multitudes. Since her advent the Church has suffered through Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Church of Christ Science (Christian Science) and first published her book Science and Heath With Keys to the Scriptures in 1875. (9) Although Eddy did not refer to herself as a “prophet” she did see her role as one restoring true religion. Ellen G. White along with her husband founded the Seventh Day Adventist cult and first reported having visions early in 1844. She is regarded as a prophetess by SDA members and her organization has led many astray into severe legalistic bondage.

Whatever stance one wishes to take regarding the role of women in ministry, history is replete with examples of how women can be used to spiritually influence large numbers of people and impact culture and the Church.

Without getting too off track let me condense Church history regarding the role of women into a few sentences and move on: Women have held no official role in the holy ministry, i.e. pastoral oversight of congregations for close to 1,600+ years across the denominational board. There have been minor exceptions, obviously, but nothing really sanctioned until round the time of the Wesley brothers, Charles and John (started Methodist movement around the mid 1700’s about the same time as Ann Lee was working in the USA).

It was with the coming of Methodism to America, women began to take on more active roles in these new frontier congregations. As Methodism took root in the US it developed offshoots the main one being the Holiness movement and from them eventually came Pentecostalism. During the Great Depression Aimee Semple McPherson rose from obscurity within Pentecostalism and became America’s first mega-church pastor and broadcast genius raking in millions of dollars. Sadly, she died with a tarnished reputation being caught as an adulterous and dying of a barbiturate overdose. Nonetheless, sister Aimee opened many formerly shut doors to other women to walk through including the charismatic mega-star Kathryn Kuhlman who almost single-handedly popularized the phenomena of being slain in the spirit by televising her healing crusades. The fraud, liar, SINister, and false prophet Mr. Benny Hinn sites Kuhlman as one of his main influences and he visits both her grave and McPherson’s to gain spiritual power (I kid you not.)   (10)

By the time Kathryn was on television (Believe In Miracles) in the late 60’s and early 70’s the floodgates for women’s equality in ministry with men was a fait accompli within the charismatic movement and many of its sub-camps. (11) Many of the movers-and-shakers (no pun intended) within charismania are women who are internationally recognized as prophetesses and they are having a huge impact on the lives of many of God’s gullible. (12) For the remainder of this article I will be exposing some of the members in their high powered skulk. (13)

Bonnie Chavda

I have not personally encountered Mrs. Chavda in action. I have sat under her husband’s ministry, even got slain in the spirit. (14) by Mahesh back in the early 1990’s. As often is the case in public charismatic ministry you will find the wives either ministering equally with their husbands or leading them, such as Joyce Meyer who leads and her husband takes care of the off-stage work. Gloria Copeland preaches and teaches along her husband Kenneth’s side (actually she is a better teacher than Kenny). Another famous example would be Marilyn Hickey, whose husband Wally is (was) an Assemblies of God pastor. No charismatic can ever forget Charles and Francis Hunter, the “Happy Hunters” who tag-teamed preached and healed across the globe for forty plus years. Even so we have the Chavdas, and who exactly are they?

With over three miracle-packed decades of experience, Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda lead Chavda Ministries international, a worldwide apostolic ministry. The vision of CMI is to proclaim Christ’s kingdom with power, equip believers for ministry and usher in revival preparing for the return of the Lord. (15)

I underlined the code words which I will attempt to unpack for you. Miracles are God’s calling cards has been the clarion call of the prophetic movement for many years now. Folks, please get this if nothing else from this issuemiracles do not create faith. Israel experienced DAILY miracles for forty years in the desert and DIED IN UNBELIEF. The premise that miracles are the method by which God draws and converts the lost is not shown in the Bible. It is a false premise. Thirty years of miracles? Ok, Bonnie where is the proof? This web site is not filled with x-rays, doctor’s affidavits, independent witness testimony of miracles. At best we have anecdotal stories from either the Chavdas (let another man praise you Prov. 27:2) themselves or unidentifiable individual reports. Next we read Mahesh and Bonnie are an “apostolic” team. When were there any female apostles? Sorry dear sisters, there were not any. Also who called them to be apostles? Where is the fruit of their apostleship?

There job is to equip, i.e. impart spiritual gifts & power to believers so these empowered believers can go forth and become tools of God to usher in a global revival which MUST COME first. After this preparatory work of Christianizing the world is done then Jesus Christ can return. This according to sign-gift theology is the role of today’s restored apostle and prophet/prophetess. Jesus cannot return until the Church again embraces their ministries (apostolic/prophetic). They base this belief on the following text (there are others too):

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that you sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:19-21

Since their role is pivotal in the return of Jesus it is only natural that they do all that is in their power to get the Church in agreement with them to hasten the return of Jesus. This is where the prophetic movement gets very bizarre and possibly dangerous. Let’s allow God through Bonnie to warn the Church in a vision she received in 1995:

In the vision, I was standing on a land map of the USA. The states stretched out from me in front and behind. I was facing west and above me, from horizon to horizon, was a ceiling of very thick, black, angry, clouds. Their appearance was that of an approaching terrible storm. In one place, there was an opening in the clouds. There, rays of very bright sunlight shown through. Seeing this, I understood that a spiritual storm was imminent, and that in the wake of this storm, hope, peace, and joy, would shine from heaven. I heard a voice say, “This is the refreshing: IT WILL BE VERY VIOLENT” (16)

In 1995 Bonnie warned the Church and the world what the next great time of refreshing would be like. She profalied (17) this during the height of the Holy Laughter Revival that a spiritual storm was imminent (uh, Bonnie, we’re still waiting) and of all the oxymoronic language we are told that “this is the refreshing—it will be very violent.” How refreshing is violence?

As I watched, a series of scenes from the movie adaptation of the American classic by L. Frank Baum, the “Wizard of Oz” passed before me. With each picture a voice described things that will take place as this coming “wind” moved over the land. I understood that it will not be sinners, false religions, or even political institutions, including the media, that will most vehemently question and oppose the coming “wind”. It will be institutions of Christian tradition and influence, including those who claim the “fullness of the Spirit.” (19)

Surprise of surprises it will not be the world that “hates” you (Jesus or the translators must have erred in John 15:8). False religions and polities will not be the forces questioning and opposing this latest move of God. Who will it be? It will be institutional Christianity (i.e. orthodox), Christian traditions and influence, and yup even some who claim to be filled with the Spirit (i.e. some Pentecostal types). Please note the separation between Church institution/tradition and the Spirit-filled folk. Never forget in the eyes of sign-gift enthusiasts you are a low-wattage, barely saved, spiritually weak and out of step with God. The entire movement, and sadly, much of the Church is driven with elitism, and it is always a stench.

…the Lord said, “There will be those who will call this wind “demonic” because of what it will make manifest. Demons will be stirred up, the flesh will he made obvious, things formerly hidden will be exposed and seen as they are in relation to My Spirit: BUT THIS WIND IS FROM ME?” (20)

Over the years Tracy and I have sat and heard myriads of flakes come into meetings and spout stirring messages, many of which contained provisos to cover any question of the message or the messenger. We see this tactic in Bonnie’s drivel—”there will be those who…” those folks include anyone who does not swallow-and-follow the restored apostle and/or prophet.

Please understand that these are not nice sweet folk theologically speaking. (21) If they perceive you as a genuine threat they will decry you publicly, pray for your ruin, prophesy your downfall, pray the Lord to kill you. I have heard men and women do all of the above in the name of Jesus. What is more I and this prtion of Christ’s ministry has been a recipient of hate-filled ugly prophetic words because (1) we left charismania and (2) because we cared enough to reveal the truth about what goes on behind closed “ministry” SINistry doors. Kenneth Hagin is well known for sharing about how God killed some folks who spoke against him. (22) Remember the false pathetic word delivered by Pastor Kilpatrick against Hank Hanegraaff in 1997 because Hank declared Pensacola to be a delusion (Hank was right on that one).

Rick Joyner, one of the pathetic movements premier prophetic voices allegedly received a vision about the end times (naturally) and guess who was shown to be taken captive by demonic spirits, chained, and covered in feces—you guessed it, people like you and me; normal conservative, confessional Christians. Who was leading and winning the spiritual battle? Why the super-empowered apostles and prophets and those who embraced their restoration message of present day truths! (23)

Bonnie in her absurd vision, which has not taken place, so much for imminent; she takes the usual approach of denouncing those in the Church who cling to the Bible as their guide for faith and practice. All you have to do is go online and read some of her prophetic utterances and those of any so-called restored prophetic voice and you will read an eerie similarity when it comes to the historic Church and its role (which is over by the way).

The witch was intent on killing Toto, destroying Dorothy, and enslaving the inhabitants of the land of Oz. The Holy Spirit said, “Do you know who I am in this picture?” Though this would certainly offend the religious and surprised me, the Lord said, “I am ‘Toto’- just like Toto is Dorothy’s constant comforter, friend, protector, and guide, I am with you!” Witchcraft wants to control the Holy Spirit and put God in a box! Miss Gulch is a picture of the spirit of witchcraft working through the arm of the flesh and legalism to “manage” define, and ultimately resist God through religious tradition and control. This spirit hates the anointing and God’s anointed ones because they are like the “wind.” You don’t know where it comes from or where it goes; you cannot trap the wind! The Holy Spirit, who is God Almighty and resident Lord of the church, but who, in utter humility will never exalt or impose Himself, will come only where He is recognized welcomed, and loved. He will be resisted and spurned by those who have not known Him intimately but have only known of Him by theological definition…The Lord said, The spirit of religion will refuse My army and resist their entrance to and possession of the resources of their kingdom. ( 24)

Those of us who believe, confess and preach the sole sufficiency of Scripture are really the ones who hate the Holy Spirit and His moves among His people and the earth. We who dare to measure what is taught and practiced by the light of contextual holy verse are somehow the ones who are against God! These folks have forgotten the example seen in the Book of Acts, their favorite:

These were more noble then those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11

The Berean Christians were acknowledged by Paul as more “noble” than the swallow-and-follow believers in Thessalonica. Why? The Bereans received the Word from Paul, but then checked the Scriptures daily to make sure what Paul was teaching was biblically correct. This implies that the Bereans had the skills necessary to rightly divide the Word of God as Paul delivered it to them, i.e. they had a solid hermeneutical template to work from. How many of us can say this today?

Another facet of many of these prophetic words is the admonition to go within the historic congregation and evangelistically pull people out from the local church via small home Bible studies (I am not against them with proper pastoral oversight), taking people to seminars, meetings, crusades. Historic churches are specifically targeted for mailing campaigns for massive youth meetings with Christian rock groups and spiritually super-charged speakers who can’t wait to IMPART something to your kids.

These kids often come back from these highly emotional super spiritual environment no longer satisfied with church as usual.  Blaring speakers, banner waving, hand clapping, dancing in the aisles makes a traditional church service seem boring and out of touch. There are many testimonies from pastors about how the “new wave” or “Pensacola fire” destroyed or divided their formerly peaceful congregation.

Next month DMI will continue this short series on the prophetic/pathetic movement and the devastation it is causing in the spiritual lives of many people.

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

END NOTES

1. My father served for a period of time as Assistant Army Attaché and we lived in the American Embassy in Moscow during the height of the cold war with the USSR, (exciting times for a kid to be sure). My family held and attended various diplomatic functions which included foreign ambassadors, military leaders, etc…I was taught manners by my parents at a young age so as not to commit some social blunder.

2. As late as the 1970’s there were distinct lines doctrinally that denoted The Discipleship Movement from the Word of Faith Movement from the mainline Pentecostals and then came the Prophetic Movement which gave birth to the Apostolic Movement both of which cohabited and birthed the Signs and Wonders Movement. Today there is a great syncretism taking place where all of these movements are flowing together losing much of their former doctrinal distinctive.

3. I really do hate referring to sign-gift advocates as “charismatic” because ALL Christians are charismatic, we ALL have been gifted by the Holy Spirit, not just a few anointed folks.

4. Montanus, the Father of Charismatic Extremism is one of DMI’s privately published works, this is one of the few books written about the father of today’s extremism. Rev. Liichow has coined the term “neo-Montanism” to refer to today’s sign-and-wonders movement. If you would like to purchase as edition of the booklet please contact DMI.

5. Even though I worship among godly men whom accept the title “father” I REFUSE to use it or accept it when applied to me, i.e. I always correct the one calling me father. Why? Because to do so VIOLATES the CLEAR TEACHING of Jesus—Matthew 23:9 says “And call no (man) your father upon the earth for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” I do not care what Church tradition is, Jesus said CALL NO MAN your father upon earth. There is no other way to parse that verse. Either God’s Word is final authority or it is not (remember, gather or scatter?). Those who do violate the scriptures and are in error and should stop the practice.

6. Obtained from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wace/biodict.toc.html?term=montanus underlining and highlights added for emphasis by the author.

7. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montanism,  obtained on 06-06-11

8. Obtained from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wace/biodict.toc.html?term=montanus Underlining added for emphasis.

9. Obtained from http://en-wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Baker_Eddy . DMI has a large selection of her cults books in our archive.

10. Visit my fellow truth-tellers at Personal Freedom Outreach they have an excellent article on Hinn’s necromancy at http://www.pfo.org/bhnecro.htm

11. By the late 60’s early 70’s within “charismania” we had pretty well established sub groups including: (1) The Discipleship movement with Derrick Prince, Ern Baxter and others (2) The Word of Faith movement led by Kenneth Hagin initially soon to be cloned by sycophants like Buddy Harrison, Copeland, Price, and others. (3) The Jesus People movement more or less dribbled into forms of discipleship. Against these stood classic Pentecostalism, the Assemblies of God, The Church of God in Christ, Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, etc.

12. I know there was no word “gullibles” until I scribed it. God’s gullibles are Christian people who are doctrinally ignorant and thus pray to those pandering the raccid balm of false doctrine which infects and sickens the sheep.

13. A skulk is a group of foxes, and these women are sly to say the least.

14. DMI has one of the few books in publication on the phenomena of being slain in the spirit. “ Every thing You Always Wanted to Know About Being Slain In the Spirit” * (But were afraid to ask) can be purchased with a donation of $12.00 to DMI {please make sure we know it is for this book}.

15. Obtained from: http://www.chavdaministries.org/Groups/1000047797/Chavda_Ministries_International/Home/About_Us/About_Us.aspx

16. Every group has its own lingo, I have had to re-learn the various religious dialect on my spiritual journey and now I am proficient in Sign-gift speak (all 5 movement), Presby-prattle, Baptist bellowing, Lutheran liturgical speak and others!

17. From a PDF file on DMI’s Research CD Rom “The Latter Rain Movement” available for a modest $15.00

18. Her entire failed vision is widely available on the worldwide web.  Profalie: the act of speaking a false verbal prophetic (pathetic) word, it is a unique combination of the two words “prophesy” and “lie” Latter Rain CD ROM, DMI 2010

19. Please understand I am not saying that there are not nice people who think they are prophets, I am referring specifically to those I address by name in this article and in other writings.

20. Read Hagin’s book “I believe In Visions” he writes of it there and other places.

21-23 available on the Latter Rain CD Rom.

***

 

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Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!…Luke 6:36

8 06 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2010 – Vol. 15 Issue 5 – “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!…” Luke 6:36 – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!…”

Luke 6:26

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

One of the attributes that is needed by every heresiologist (1) (aka heresy-hunter) is a thick skin and yet a sensitive heart which is a somewhat difficult emotional tightrope to have to traverse. Nonetheless, God does bestow His grace upon all of us as we endeavor to be faithful to our various vocations in Christ. DMI has little to fear of the above passage from Saint Luke coming to pass while DMI is still on this mortal coil.

Allow me to share with you a sample of just some (2) of the many negative emails we receive. I share them not to gain your pity, hey this is part-n-parcel of what we do, but because these comments are common and it is profitable for you to know how to give a simple answer; an apology for what you believe regarding these charges against all of us who contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3).

If you truly had discernment you might even come to realize that you are not too different from the Pharisees, not even recognizing JESUS and blaming HIS miracles on the devil! You pretended to be filled with the HOLY SPIRIT only to find that it was just your flesh playing a game. So then you came to another fleshly decision, the infilling of the HOLY SPIRIT is not for now, GPD changed HIS mind. How sad it is to see the devil win even with so called educated preachers. If you ever mature in the word, you might be able to be lifted out of darkness and find the light of the LORD JESUS. I shall pray for you. More than likely any reply will only show more of your flesh!; and lack of a spiritual relationship with GOD, but if you must, go for it, ye of little knowledge of the HOLY SPIRIT or of faith. (3)

The above diatribe is from a brother Warrick Jerrall who I not only responded to, but also thanked for giving me additional material for this newsletter. Now let’s begin to unpack his charges, which are ones commonly lodged unfairly against us.

You Are Not Too Different From the Pharisees

I almost want to say “these guys need new writers” because their material is getting stale! Over ten years ago I wrote a booklet entitled “Will the Real Pharisee Please Stand Up? “ but it appears Warrick has yet to get a copy.

Warrick rightly states that the Pharisees did not recognize Jesus as the Holy One of Israel and they did accuse Jesus of working miracles by the power of the devil (see Matt. 9:33,34). However, he is wrong when he compares DMI (and myself) to them because we have the audacity to point out the FACT that Mr. Hinn and others are liars and frauds especially in the area of miracles and divine healing. Mr. Hinn cannot prove one genuine miraculous healing in his entire SINistry. Any power at work in his meetings is that of people’s heightened sense of gullibility, mind control, hope, desperation, fear and yes some demonic influences too. (4) The obvious fear context cannot be missed either. Warrick is basically saying that because we denounce the frauds, that we are in danger of committing the unpardonable sin by blaspheming the work of the Spirit. Did I hear someone say “Testify?”

DMI recognizes and gladly has bowed its collective knee to the supreme authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and declare Him to be God the Son, all of whose works glorify His Father in Heaven. Warrick is wrong to declare us Pharisees and anyone is equally wrong in calling you one too. These folks do so out of anger simply because you and I stand on the authority of the Bible and demand that every experience that is claimed to be wrought in and by God must be subject to His written Word. They lash out because when they are pressed to defend their experiences or doctrines by the context of Scripture because they cannot and we irritate them by our unwavering stance on the Bible.

You pretended to be filled with the HOLY SPIRIT

This charge is a bit of a baffler but I believe he is referring to the fact that I once used to speak in other tongues and no longer believe that Biblical gift of supernaturally speaking another language as empowered by the Holy Spirit is a gift given to the church today. (5) Yes I can certainly attest that when I was studying First Corinthians in seminary under Dr. H. Wayne House that I came to realize that I did not have the same gift as the Bible clearly describes, nor have I ever encountered anyone who did (nor have linguists who have been studying glossolalia for over 50 years). My former activity, while meaning to be spiritual was in fact a fleshly mental act. I can own that. What is more I thank God for bringing me back to a much closer fellowship with Him in prayer by using the “God-given” normal capacities I have.

Since DMI upholds the cessation point of view regarding the sign-gifts  Warrick equates this to mean that we deny the infilling of/with the Holy Spirit.  Nothing could be further from the truth. In his mind, and that of millions of sign-gift devotees, being “filled” with the Spirit equals speaking in other tongues. All people who speak with other tongues are Spirit-filled those who do not are not. So goes their belief on this matter.

We answer this charge by simple going back to the Bible and examining the relevant passages concerning the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:9)

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body —whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (1 Cor. 12:13)

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (Eph. 5:18-21)

When people confuse being filled with the Spirit and speaking in other tongues simply show them the above texts. Every person who is a genuine Christian at the moment of their conversion is filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 is the only verse Paul ever uses regarding being filled with the Spirit. Speaking in other tongues is not mentioned.  A lifestyle of thanksgiving is. A life focused on the goodness of God resulting in our heart flowing forth with praise in the name of Jesus our Lord is mentioned. Being filled with the Holy Spirit also results in a lifestyle of mutual submission to one another for the sake of Christ in the fear of God. All Christians are in fact sealed (sphragisamenos) unto the day of our redemption is fully realized (see 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; Eph. 4:30). There is simply no such entity as a non-Spirit filled Christian.

Naturally I tried to direct Warrick to the pertinent passages and I challenged him to provide evidence of any miracles or healings in Hinn’s machine. I asked him to please show me where the following doctrines and practices could be found in the bible: 1) being slain in the spirit, 2) holy laughter, 3) spiritual drunkenness, 4) Jesus dying spiritually and being tormented by Satan in hell, etc….Here is his well reasoned apology for his beliefs:

I thought you were an idiot, you’ve proven my case little boy, as I said I will pray for you to get saved that you might not burn for an eternity. Precious LORD JESUS I pray this lost individual will be touched by the ONE he at present so easily blasphemes! You have never been able to walk with GOD, so it is pointless to answer ridiculous nonsense such as you espouse. You are doing nothing more than helping Satan with the idiotic nonsense on your pathetic website.

I must have struck a nerve in brother Warrick. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matt. 12:34). Now he has gone from simply seeing me as an errant brother to being an idiot, and one who is not saved and thus facing eternal damnation. I guess he figures Jesus’ injunction against calling ones brother a fool does not apply to me since I am not really a brother now. Instead of answering my questions in a mature manner, instead of trying to defend what he obviously believes is true he simply ridicules me and since I am an idiot it would be “pointless to answer ridiculous nonsense…”  How is that for an apology?

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but false doctrines can kill me.” (6) He had no answers to give me. He had no true biblical defense so instead he goes on the offense by hurling ad hominem attacks against his questioner. I meant nothing personal in asking my questions, all I sincerely hoped for was that he’d think about them, check them out in the Bible and come to the correct conclusion that he has been wrong. I urged him to consider God’s gracious offer of deliverance by bringing to our web site and not to dismiss it.

Unfortunately, we can see his response, which is typical of many enmeshed in this movement, that thus far his mind is as closed as a steel trap. That is the danger of deception, it is so deceiving and it has in its power the ability to blind men’s eyes to the truth and only God alone can lift that veil.

Jesus said we would do what He did, right? The works I do he will do John 14 this tells me we will cast out demons; have Transfiguration experiences (GO, CATHOLICS!! They do this, right?); go to the wilderness and not get into ministry until we are finished like Jesus did and let Him shake the world off us because we don’t go to doctors, medicines, lawyers, public, schools, SSI, Unemployment, TV, radio, newspapers, among other things; change water into wine (or change one thing into another); walk through crowds; heal the sick; raise the dead; and much more. Do you these things? I would like to know Thanks.  Connie

Connie begins by citing a familiar text and somehow quickly meanders off into what I will assume she means “Roman” Catholic when she refers to transfiguration experiences. (Uh Connie, I know of no Roman Catholic transfiguration experiences per se, do you maybe mean transubstantiation experiences?)  From there it seems ministers are to go into the wilderness and not come back out until we are to go into the wilderness and not come back out until we are “finished” like Jesus. If that were the case Connie the wilderness today would be filled with the bones of Oral Roberts, Benny Hinn, Kenny Hagin, Kathy Kuhlman and other SINistries who never would have gotten out. Somehow the “finished” ones will have allowed Jesus to shake off the world from them —how do we know this has happened in their lives? Because, Connie and the other super-saints have transcended the need to go to: (1) doctors, (2) use medicines, (3) use lawyers {highly commendable}, (4) public schools {yeah they can be a cesspool}, (5) SSI {don’t sweat it, it will be bankrupt before we can get to it anyway,} (6) unemployment, (7) television {not much on these days}, (8) water into wine, (9) walk through crowds {been doing that all my life}, (10) heal the sick {I have never healed anyone, laid hands on some that GOD did gracious deliver}, (11) raise the dead {I have tried on 2 occasions, failed miserably}.

Hey Connie, let me ask you some questions. Apart from our Lord Jesus Christ do you know any human being past or present who has done the works of Jesus in the manner that Jesus Himself did them? I do not know of anyone and my research goes back to the earliest accepted Christian writings. Radio and television are out, but obviously the internet is in why is this? Jesus washed the feet of His disciples (see John 13:12) do you do so too {I have, but humility precludes me from mentioning it further, blush/blush}? Are you really among those who reject doctors and medicine? If so, then you also forego the dentist, the usual inoculations, and have OPPTED OUT of all health insurance plans as well as OPTING OUT of SSI (oh yes folks, one can do this and receive the monies otherwise deducted, but BEWARE if you do so)—having done all of the aforementioned (sorry a little legal-lingo that the lawyers that you do not believe in use) what is your success ratio for (1) healings, (2) miracles, (3) resurrections, (4) transfigurations/transubstantiations thus far?

Connie’s response? Allow me to gently wrest a text for humors sake–”And there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour” (Rev. 8:1)  meaning, she had no response.

What does John 14:12 mean for us today?

I think the greater works Jesus had in mind are not greater miracles in terms of signs and wonders. Instead, the greater works done by those who believe in Jesus refer to the work of the spirit in people’s hearts, a work of the Spirit that has greater dimensions now that Jesus has ascended to the Father. (7)

This view is the commonly accepted view with the accompanying four arguments in support:

1. The “greater works” cannot refer to signs and wonders that are greater in quality than those done by Jesus because no believer ever has or ever will do greater miracles than Jesus. He raised the dead, opened the eyes of the blind, restored hearing to the deaf, cast out demons, healed the lame, calmed a story sea, etc. No miracle-worker has ever come close since the days of the apostles, and even the apostles did not do any signs and wonders that were greater.

2. But perhaps John means that believers will do greater works in the sense that we will do more signs and wonders than Jesus? But the Greek word for “greater” used here does not refer to a greater number of works. If John wanted to refer to a greater number of works, he probably would have used the Greek word “polla” meaning “more.” A careful study of the world “greater” in John’s gospel shows that the word consistently refers to something that is greater in quality rather than something that is greater in number. For example, in John 19:11 Jesus says to Pilate “he who delivered me up to you has the greater sin.” In other words, Judas’ sin is a more serious sin (not greater in number!) Than Pilate because he actually betrayed Jesus. Some other examples: John 4:12 “Are you greater than Jacob?” this obviously means greater in quality, and the idea of greater in number doesn’t make any sense. 5:36 “I have a testimony greater than John.” the testimony is not greater in number, but greater in quality, for the superior testimony comes from the Father. John 8:53 “Are you greater than Abraham?” John 10:29 “the Father is greater than all.” John 13:16 “The servant is not greater than his master.” John 14:28 “the Father is greater than I.” the most significant example is from John 5:20 where Jesus says, “And greater works than these he (the Father) shall show to him (Jesus) that you may marvel.” This verse is very close to John 14:12 because in both verses Jesus speaks of “greater works.” Jesus is contrasting here his healing of the lame man on the Sabbath (John 5:1-16) with the greater works that he would do in the future. The greater works in the context appear to the communication of spiritual life (John 5:21,24,25), the judgment of all (5:22), and the future resurrection from the dead (John 5:29). The point here is not that these works are greater in number, but they are qualitatively superior to the healing of a man who was lame. These works are superior because they will last forever, while the lame man got sick again and died. To conclude this second point: the greater works do not mean believers will do more works than Jesus, but that they will do works qualitatively better than those Jesus did in his ministry. These better works are due to the outpouring of the Spirit after Jesus’ ascension. [Note: Incidentally, there is no evidence from church history that any believer did more miracles than Jesus anyway, and this verse is not limited to those who have the gift of healing; it refers to all believers.]

3. The word “works” in John’s gospel in some contexts clearly includes Jesus’ miracles (John 7:3, 21; 9:4, 10:25, 32,33,37,38). But even though the word often includes the idea of miracles, the word “works” cannot be limited to signs and wonders in John’s gospel. For example, John 6:28,29 identifies the “work of God” as “believing in the one whom the father sent.” and in John 8:39 Jesus exhorts the Jews to “do the works of Abraham,” and there is no record of Abraham doing miracles, and so Jesus must mean, “do the good deeds of Abraham.” John 14:10 is especially interesting, for their Jesus says, “the words which I speak to you I do not speak from myself, but the Father abiding in me does his works.” Here the “words” of Jesus in the first part of the verse are defined as his “works” in the latter part of the verse. Thus, we have clear Evidence in the near context (compare also verse 11) that the word “works” should not be restricted to signs and wonders.  Indeed, when John wants to speak of miracles, he consistently uses the word “sign.” “Sign” is the unambiguous word John uses to describe Miracles, and the word “works” is a more general term, which may include miracles, but does not necessarily focus on signs and wonders. All of this suggests that the first part of verse 12 where Jesus says, “the one who believes in me the works I do he shall do also” does not mean that believers will do miracles and signs and Wonders to the same extent as Jesus.  The word “works” is a general term, and thus Jesus is simply saying that you will do works of the same quality as I did and more. It should also be Noted that Jesus’ miraculous works were unique in the sense that such “signs” manifested his unique glory from the Father (John 2:11), and John tells us that the signs Jesus did were performed so that “you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and in order that by believing you might have life in his name” (John 20:30-31). Thus, Jesus’ miracles were in one sense a unique manifestation of his glory and divinity. This is not to deny that miracles can be done today. The point is that Jesus’ miracles were unique, and no one in church history or in the Bible has ever matched Jesus in miraculous activity.

4. The greater works, then, refer to the extended work of the Spirit, which will occur when Jesus ascends to the Father. This is not to deny that the Spirit was active previously in significant ways. But the work of the Spirit on earth was intensified with Jesus’ ascension. Note that Jesus specifically says that “the greater works” will occur “because I go to the Father.” Going to the Father, then, provides the reason or ground for the greater works. But why does Jesus’ going to the Father make possible greater works? The rest of John’s gospel answers that question. In John 16:7 Jesus says, “It is better for you that I go, for if I do not go, the paraclete will not come to you, but if I go I will send him to you.” This fits beautifully with John 14:12. Jesus says that it will be better if he goes because only when he goes will the Spirit be sent. And John 16:8-11 makes it clear that the Spirit when he comes will convict unbelievers of sin, righteousness and judgment. Such conviction of sinners is clearly another way of describing the “greater works” which will occur after Jesus goes. Greater than any healing is the inclusion of one’s name in the book of life. Jesus reminds his disciples of this when they are so excited about casting out demons in Luke 10:20. “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”   (8)

These four points can be condensed into a shorter more easily shared version, but learn the argument first and adapt it to your own needs. Connie probably was somewhat well meaning, ok, a little back-handed slap with the “do you do these things” implying some deficiency if one was/is not doing them. She is a victim of bad hermeneutics (9) and is clueless regarding how to properly interpret the Scriptures.

Regrettably Connie’s spiritual aliment is one that is commonly suffered by the majority of her fellow sign-gift compatriots. They have a zeal for Christ, but a zeal without knowledge, what we at DMI call “excited ignorance.” Due to their inability to correctly interpret the Scriptures the leaders and their followers rely upon experiences to validate their understanding of the (sometimes Satan is glad to oblige). When anyone lacks the tools to properly interpret the bible (rest assured it is not some arcane science) they are left to rely on their own experiences, beliefs, culture and fallen reasons. The entire sign-gift movement is built upon key individuals experiences and these experiences went on to become doctrinal positions and/or practices.  (10)

Whenever one attempts to build a theological contextual argument for modern Pentecostalism the arguments fall down upon close examination.

The answer for the Warrick’s, Connie’s and others is simply to strive in a winsome manner to direct them back to the Bible. If we are all Christians (which includes our sign-gift brethren) then we can agree {hopefully} that the bible is God’s Word and thus is authoritative when understood in its proper context and setting. When this foundation is established then we can begin to examine and consider the various doctrines and practices that separate us. The goal in this endeavor is not to win the argument, but most importantly to win our brother over from doctrinal darkness into the light and liberty of God’s Word rightly understood. (11)

DMI does not fear the “woe” of all men speaking well of us, we have other issues to try not to worry about, but that is not one of them. These few e-mails I have shared are only the tip of the iceberg regarding the biblical ignorance of those misled by convincing con artists on television, radio and the internet. I can assure you that 99.9% of sign-gift folks cannot defend what they believe. How can I say this? Because probably 90% of the rest of the Church cannot defend what they believe either! Obviously, our readers are within the 10% that can or is interested in defending the bible and Christ Jesus against an ungodly world.

In closing let me simply say this—God always has a remnant of people who will refuse to bow the knee to the Baal of their day. Today it is a people who refuse to compromise their stance upon the written Word of God. A people who will swim upstream against the current of go-along-to-get-alone that has lulled the Church asleep. In short, folks like you whom God has awakened to sound the alarm to those at ease and complacent in Zion.

Copyright © 2010 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Heresiology is the formal study of heresy; ergo one who studies heresy and heretics is a heresiologist.

2. DMI receives and responds to 100’s of emails per week, but the added counseling and prayer requests that now come to us via Facebook.

3. This is first of a few e-mails by brother Warrick, his email address is Warwick Jerall jerrallwl@yahoo.com in case anyone would like to send him an encouraging word or helpful link J The underlining and bold type was added by me for emphasis and is not in the original e-mail.

4. I have participated in several of Mr. Hinn’s meetings, even singing in several of his mass choirs. I have seen firsthand the manipulation of desperate, and gullible people—all for the sake of money, adulation and personal worship.

5. An interesting book on the topic is Glossolalia by Stagg, Hinson, Oates, Abingdon Press.

6. Part of a child’s nursery rhyme taught to all young heresy-hunters.

7. Obtained from http://www.sbts.edu/documents/tschreiner/John14_12pdf  on  04-26-2010

8. Ibid

9. How to Read The Bible for All It is Worth by Dr. Gordon Fee is an excellent book to begin to learn how to interpret the Bible. Look for a used copy at www.http://www.abebooks.com

10. Without having to write an entire book consider the following and then do the necessary follow-up research if desired: 1) William Seymour leading Azusa allowed spiritualist mediums experiences to meld in with the Christian seekers. 2) Oneness Pentecostalism started in a brush arbor meeting around 1914 when a man had a “vision” of Jesus Only on the Mt. of Transfiguration, 3) William Branham was led by angels, and the list goes on and on.

11. I say “rightly understood” to mean that correct doctrine liberates, false doctrine brings people into bondage. “Rightly” is a loaded term, I admit that, but for the sake of this argument I am referring to the commonly held orthodox.





He Didn’t “See” It Coming

18 05 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – March 2010 – Vol. 15 Issue 3 -He didn’t “See” It Coming -The Divorce of Benny Hinn – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

He Didn’t “See” It Coming

The Divorce of Benny Hinn

By Rev. Robert Liichow

Let me begin by stating that DMI does not support or endorse divorce apart from the more extreme circumstances. Nor do we rejoice when someone falls (see Prov. 24:17) Having given that caveat, please allow me to make some comments on beginning with the statement of Mr. Hinn’s own people

I come to you with a broken heart. You may have heard by now that my wife, Suzanne, whom I love very much and always will, filed for divorce on February 1.  Even though Suzanne has been under great stress, the children and I never expected this to happen. Divorce was the last thing on my mind and theirs. It was a total shock when her lawyer called me the morning of February 17 to inform me that she had filed 16 days before. Suzanne never gave the family even a hint that this was on her mind. Even to this moment, the children and I don’t know why she did it. Neither did her parents know, until I told them myself on the 17th….My wife had no biblical grounds for what she has done. We both have kept our covenant with God and stayed pure before him, and I am praying with all my heart that our precious Lord Jesus will heal my family and protect His work for His glory.   (1)

Benny and Suzanne have been married for thirty years. Then suddenly, out of the blue, completely unknown to Benny, their children, his or her parents or siblings, BOOM she drops the big “D” word on unsuspecting, innocent, humble Benny.

In reaction to the news, Benny Hinn Ministries said in a statement: “Pastor Benny Hinn and his immediate family were shocked and saddened to learn of this news without any previous notice. Although Pastor Hinn has faithfully endeavored to bring healing to that relationship, those efforts failed and were met with the petition for divorce that was filed without notice. (2)

Even the newspapers in Uganda are commenting on the fact that Benny Hinn was obviously sandbagged by his wife in this whole episode. Poor bloke blithely going through daily life without a clue, a hint, a mere whiff of a problem seems like a rather “normal” unsuspecting Christian man.

Ah, but there is the rub. Mr. Hinn does not claim to be just any regular normal Christian. Quite the contrary, Mr. Hinn has built a religious machine which brings in an estimated $100 million per year tax free. (3) This machine has been built over the years through carefully grooming an image, an image of a man especially visited and anointed by God Almighty Himself. An image of a humble immigrant, who stuttered severely (just like Moses) (4) and was personally taught by the Holy Spirit the meaning of the bible and other mysteries, simply read Good Morning Holy Spirit (an international best-seller).

One quickly gathers from the above mentioned book and Welcome Holy Spirit another tome proving that Benny Hinn has a deeply personal and abiding fellowship I.e. a sentient ongoing personal unique one-on-one communication with the Indwelling Spirit of God. This union is so complete and unhindered that Mr. Hinn regularly calls out specific ailments as revealed to him via his Divine Friend, the Holy Spirit. On virtually all of his television programs one can see Hinn standing before the multitudes saying things like “The Lord is showing me a woman, a lady with back pain, pain in the lower back…you are feeling heat right now on your body, the Lord is healing you.” At times Hinn yields to the “Spirit” to prophesy throught him. Sadly, all of Hinn’s prophetic pronouncements have failed to come to pass. [A RATHER LONG LEARNING MOMENT {AKA: RABBIT TRAIL} ].

 

Although well documented Mr. Hinn has never accounted for his many false prophetic utterances. Frankly, unfulfilled prophecies are sort of the elephant in the room that sign-gift people prefer to ignore. In Mr. Hinn’s case all of his divinely directed prophetic words failing to come to pass has not yet tarnished his reputation of “God’s man of faith and power for the hour” {ok, that is my little saying regarding Benny}.

Forgive the slight foray into the vagaries of false prophecy, when what I want you to focus on is Hinn’s alleged ability to supernaturally see what is currently transpiring in peoples’ lives, especially regarding their physical condition. Among the ranks of the Pentecostal and sign-gift folks such an ability is relegated to being one of the nine “sign-gifts” of the Holy Spirit.

For the uninitiated these gifts are found in the following text:

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed; and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gift of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 1 Cor. 12:1-11 (KJV)

These nine sign-gifts are then broken down by sign-gift folks into the following three categories and honestly, they seem to make some sense:

 

As I stated I have no problem with this demarcation however we must admit our limited understanding of these gifts and how they were (1) bestowed, (2) defined and (3) used in the Church. It is generally greed that the Holy Spirit descended upon the Eleven (11) while they tarried in the Upper Room. We know they came out and spoke in other languages supernaturally as the Holy Spirit gave them the utterance (reread Acts chapters 1-3 carefully). We read that the Apostles laid their hands upon others and imparted spiritual gifts to them—as the Spirit wills (1 Cor. 12:11) not according to the disciples desires. We read of the occasional miracles in the Book of Acts (miracles were not commonplace) and healing here and there. However, when it comes to the sign gifts of the word of knowledge and word of wisdom we are given no definition of what these two gifts are, other than their names and no clues are given as to how these gifts operated. This being the case, and I assure you it is, then how can anyone claim to possess these two gifts today, as does Mr. Hinn!

Anyone who has been involved in the sign-gift movement for any period of time can recite (more or less) the following are simply three representative definitions of the word of knowledge:

The definition of The Word of Knowledge is: A Supernatural revelation of certain facts in the mind of God that deal with the past or present….The gift of the Word of Knowledge in Demonstration: ‘Normally, A Born Again believer who has asked for & received The Baptism in The Holy Spirit & this Gift will suddenly know, hear, see, smell, taste, or become aware of a single bit or piece of information that is suddenly revealed to him/her that deals specifically with the past or present. The information can come through inward revelation, outward revelation, dreams, visions etc. The individual receives a piece of supernaturally revealed information that is coming directly from God.   (5)

The spiritual gift of the WORD OF KNOWLEDGE is the bestowal of certain facts from the mind of God which He sees fit to reveal to one of His servants supernaturally by His Spirit. It is only a word, or a portion of God’s endless storehouse of knowledge. (6)

The Word of Knowledge therefore, is knowledge received from the Holy Spirit to enable us to more effectively minister to the needs of people, to know and understand situations, circumstances, stategies of the enemy (kingdom of darkness) etc. It enables us to know how to speak in the above situations with a knowledge that can surprise, baffle, dis-arm, open-up, bring answers, healing and understanding. (7)

Where did Pentecostal leaders come up with its now widely accepted definition? After all, a room full of intellectually honest Christians reading the same KJV verses could never piece such a definition together.

Since this is not a biblical definition, where did it come from?

The working definition used by Benny Hinn and millions of others came from the somewhat tortured mind of a Mr. Howard Carter, a British missionary. While in prison for an anti-war position in 1916 he engaged in a study of the Holy Spirit and His gifts. In the end the book was published titled: Questions and Answers on Spiritual Gifts which is in reprint today. (DMI has a copy in our library). Carter declares that while incarcerated the Lord divinely revealed to him the nature and operation of all nine spiritual sign-gifts and what is more, Carter is supposed to have been used by the Spirit in all nine of them throughout his ministry. Now you know —the definitions we read about are simple regurgitations of Carter’s original explanation.

Next time you are trolling through the channels and happen to see Pat Robertson with eyes closed pointing to the camera and saying “someone has a bad left knee and God is healing it right now,” you will know you are witnessing the word of knowledge along with the gifts of healing in operation (at least in theory). Or when you gaze upon Benny as he intones “right now in the balcony someone’s ears are being touched” you’ll know you are in the presence of the supernatural revelatory power of God flowing through His vessel. Right! If you believe that, I have some land you might be interested in.

Now back to the illustrious Mr. Hinn. What ought to amaze everyone is not only the abysmal track record of non-healing but also the complete lack of touch with those closest to him. Case in point:

Then in December, revelations of the heroin-overdose deaths of two of Hinn’s employees hounded his ministry. The deaths which occurred in late 1997, finally came to light in a report in the Dec 2, 1998 edition of The Orlando Sentinel newspaper. Up until the newspaper’s report, details of the fatalities were know only by law-enforcement and church officials. The newspaper disclosed, ‘A longtime aide to Orlando minister Benny Hinn died of chronic heroin abuse last December, a month after coming under suspicion of supplying a fatal heroin overdose to another church worker.” David Delgado, who served the televangelist for a decade, was found dead in New York City after returning from Hinn’s crusade in Jordan. According to the newspaper Delgado, 45, began as a ‘catcher” (one who keeps those being “slain in the Spirit” from hitting the stage floor) at Hinn’s healing campaigns and escalated to become a friend and personal assistant to the faith healer. He would help organize details such as Hinn’s “schedule, meals and grooming.” Delgado’s widow, Mary, revealed that her husband knew he was dying from cirrhosis of the liver, which can be a side effect of heroin abuse. According to Orange County Sheriff’s records, at the time of his death, Delgado was under suspicion for the heroin-related death of Joshua, and later drove a truck for the ministry, died Nov. 15, 1997 at his Florida home after injecting himself with a massive dose of heroin. Delgado was being investigated in the death because Williams appeared to have been drugged following a visit to Delgado’s home. (8)

How can two of Hinn’s closest aides die from heroin overdoses without Benny even knowing they were stone cold hypes? From what can be learned it seems that these men were fairly long-time users and even more shocking is that we read that Williams was taking care of Hinn’s small child while a heroin addict! How can these things be? How can a man whose written international bestselling books on developing an intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit not receive divine insight into some problems being faced daily by those around him? Where was the word of knowledge for Benny when his close friends needed it the most? Why didn’t Benny know what danger he was placing his small child in by leaving him attended by a junkie? The bottom line of this sad episode in the Hinn saga is that Hinn sold his church in Orlando and moved operations to Texas. Hinn at least got the “get out of Dodge” revelations clearly enough.

Now we come to this most recent segment, Suzanne Hinn pulling the marriage plug after thirty 30 years. Again we find the man of faith and power dumbfounded and shocked completely blindsided by a woman he now describes as “under great stress.” Is Hinn totally clueless when it comes to people? Ok, maybe he did not divine how to spot a couple of hypes, but his wife? Thirty years? No one had any idea of what she was contemplating? “I still have a few choice parcels left for just the right family, sir…”

Benny declares that there has been no infidelity. Ok, love believes the best (1 Cor. 13) and until proven wrong I will accept his statement. However, could it have something to do with Mr. Hinn’s practice of having his wife and family stay on another floor when they travel with him during his “miracle crusades.”? That gets pretty old fast after years of monthly crusades. Could it be that she is simply fed up with the hypocrisy and trying to live the lie KNOWING full well her hubby has never healed a soul and has made a living off of selling false hope to the desperate and dying on every continent! It was brought to our (DMI’s) attention at an apologetic conference when several teachers were discussing Mrs. Hinn’s face dive & belly flop at OCC shortly before the Hinn’s blew town. The clip (on Youtube.com with over 100,000+viewings) shows Mrs. Hinn berating the congregation and I quote “you all need a Holy Ghost enema, right up your rear end” she does a flop on the state and is cartel off by staff/henchman/body guards. The discussion was whether or not Suzanne was bi-polar and unstable. No definitive information is available on her mental state as of today, however, she comprehends it is time to jump ship.

One would imagine that this is now perhaps the icing on the cake for Mr. Hinn and his SINistry. With the years of false and unfulfilled prophetic (pathetic) words; the millions of people crowding stadiums around the world to listen to his every word and receive his healing touch who’ve got away unhealed, financially poor and disheartened must be asking themselves how could they have been so deceived. The lack of insight into the addiction of his close friends, the “unexpected” divorce of his wife—all should make anyone wonder about the stability of this man. All I can say is that we must pray for the Hinn’s. Benny Hinn while alive is a candidate for repentance and so I pray God grant him repentance and that He open the eyes of those still following this blind guide. ♦

Copyright © 2010 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. http://www.bennyhinn.org/emailleters/pbhletter.cfm?referrer+na_eb022510  obtained on 02-26-2010 Underlining added for emphasis.

2. http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/865076/-/wikt0b/-/index.html 02-26-2010

3. It is unknown exactly how much money Mr. Hinn takes in due to our current tax laws. However from interviews, book sales, crusade attendance it is easily estimated that Hinn brings in at least 100 million a year, if not more. Much of it collected overseas in foreign nations. We have no way of knowing how much money Mr. Hinn may have salted away overseas. Please keep in mind that all of these SINistries receive tremendous amounts of currency (cash) from their meetings locally & abroad and it is very difficult to track that currency especially when it is collected and counted overseas in some hotel room.

4. Hinn, Benny. Good Morning Holy Spirit, Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville, 1980, p. 10

5. http://seatedprophetic.org/the-holy-spirit-his-gifts/gift-of-the-word-of-knowledge-the-word-of-wisdom-the-discerning-of-spirit/ obtained on 02-25-2010.

6. http://www.joywell.org/Gifts/wordknlg.html, obtained on 02-25-2010

7.http://www.gospel.org.nz/FreeArticiles/Rodney’sArticles/THE%20WORD%20OF%20KNOWLEDGE.htm

8. http://www.pfo.org/nuscandals.htm, obtained on 02-27-2010. Underlining

YouTube VideoBenny Hinn – “It’s Time for me to tell it all.”





The Need For Discernment

17 02 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – January 2009 – Vol. 14  Issue 1  – The Need For Discernment – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Need For Discernment

By Rev. Bob Liichow

In these last days many within the Church are being swept away by unbiblical enthusiasm. False doctrines are taught with unfailing regularity on television to a global audience. Many deny the Trinity; others declare that Jesus ministered only as a man and never as God. Millions believe that salvation is possible only when one has been baptized by immersion in Jesus name only. Numerous popular errors abound concerning physical healing, financial prosperity and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. If the myriad of false doctrines were not enough there are a plethora of false practices impacting the spiritual lives of many professing Christians. These include things such as being slain in the spirit, speaking in other tongues, holy laughter, spiritual drunkenness, and making animal noises. Some boldly proclaim that God is filling believer’s teeth with gold and platinum; others declare that God is manifesting gold dust and gem stones in their services. Several congregations are now reporting angel “feathers” miraculously appearing during worship!

You may wonder how it is possible for Christians to be misled by such false doctrine and practices. To begin with it is nothing new. Satan has always twisted God’s Word to misled people (ask Eve). Both the Old and New Testament are filled with warnings about the danger of counterfeit spiritual teachings and practices. Let me cite a few scriptural examples:

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Matthew 7:15-16

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many peopleMatthew 24:10-11

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. Matthew 24:24-25

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach–and that for the sake of dishonest gain. Titus 1:10-11

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 2 Peter 2:1-2

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

These are just a few of the texts that warn us to be aware of the reality of being misled by false prophets, teachers, and apostles. The question is how do we keep from being led astray? The answer lies in hiding the Word of God in our hearts. David said “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psl. 119:11). From the beginning God told the Israelites how to discern the truth from error in their daily lives by keeping the Word of God ever in the forefront of their mind.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Virtually every waking moment of their lives was to be saturated with God’s holy law. It as not just something they did for a couple of hours on the Sabbath. Their discussions were filtered through the lens of God’s law. When they rested and sat around the hearth they spoke of His ways, when they walked to work, again they talked in light of what He had commanded. Their last words at night were His words and the thoughts in their minds as they drifted off to sleep were His precepts. Thus if someone came and presented something off kilter to them they would immediately recognize it as false and reject it. Why? Because, the way to keep from being deceived is to be grounded in the truth of God’s Word.

Today as God’s people nothing has changed. We too are to live lives saturated by the Word of God. Out of the abundance of our hearts our mouths speak. Listen to yourself and others, what do you and they speak about the most? Whatever it is I can assure you that it is what fills your hearts. I’m not talking about becoming some phony-baloney super-saint. Yet I am saying that our words are to be seasoned with salt (Col. 4:6) and full of grace.

This does not happen automatically as part-n-parcel of your baptism. No it comes from a lifelong pursuit of renewing our minds according to God’s Word (Rom. 12:2). It takes diligence and desire on our part. This is why we are encouraged to “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby.” (1 Peter 2:2)

So as this New Year begins make the most of every opportunity to dig into the Word of God by becoming involved with your congregation’s Sunday school, mid-week Bible study and any other venues they have for digging deeper into the Word of our Lord. Make it a point to read good solid spiritual books. A good way to impress the Word on your heart is to listen to the Bible in your car or at home (in fact DMI will give anyone Bible CD’s to anyone who requests them).

As you faithfully make use of all the ways God has given us to grow in His Word you will find yourself among those who ”…are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. “ (Hebrews 5:14).

Copyright © 2009 Robert S. Liichow

 





The Lunacy In Lakeland – déjà Vu All Over Again

2 02 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – June 2008 – Vol. 13   Issue 6 – The Lunacy In Lakeland – déjà vu All Over Again

Discernment Ministries International

The Lunacy In Lakeland

déjà Vu All Over Again

By Robert S. Liichow

Over the last month or so DMI has been inundated with reports (many of them “glowing”) with the latest revival to be sent, theoretically, by the Holy Spirit. Now many of the former sign-seekers who partook of the revival at Toronto and Pensacola are now flocking to Lakeland, FL to experience the latest outpouring of God’s power and presence.

What is amazing to me is that everything I have read about this latest manifestation of excited ignorance is that it is nothing new! The same “manifestations” of uncontrollable laughter, being slain in the spirit, reports of teeth being filled with gold, angel feathers being found along with gem stones after the praise services, etc. In short it is the same-old / same-old. The usual fanatical claims of miracles are being reported (and as usual unsubstantiated). Let me just cite one such “miracle” report before delving into the background of these meetings:

This is the 13 resurrection as a result of this outpouring. I’m saying to the media “the dead are being raised.” I received this testimony: “My dear brother died. We requested an all night wake. At the funeral we played the revival. We declared my brother alive. At 2:19 a.m. my brother began to stir in his coffin. My brother sat up in the coffin praising God. My brother went to heaven and he thought he would not return. He said Todd was Bring his spirit back from heaven. All of us the funeral home were praising God. (Obtained from http://www.revivallakeland.org/ May 25, 2008

Thirteen people have been raised from the dead as a result of this outpouring so the enthusiasts say.  I simply ask this — can you please supply DMI with the names, addresses, phone numbers and Death Certificates of these, any individuals? After all if thirteen people have been raised from the dead by the power of God then, obviously, their experience will stand any form of scrutiny. I doubt seriously that Fresh Fire Ministries (the vortex of this most recent Saint Vitas’ dance of delusion) will respond at all to our request.

Who Is Behind The Lunacy at Lakeland?

Revivalist Todd Bentley, an obese, massively tattooed and pierced individual who started a ministry called “Fresh Fire Ministries” several years ago in Abbotsford, Canada. The following information comes from his own ministries webpage regarding his ministry background: “In his late teens, Todd had a dramatic encounter with the saving and delivering power of God. This experience brought Todd out of a lifestyle of drug and alcohol addiction without cravings or withdrawal symptoms. He was also delivered from a lifestyle involving criminal activity, youth prisons, drugs, sex satanic music and bondage. Todd’s miraculous conversion to Jesus was much like the Apostle Paul’s on the Damascus road. Todd was instantly transformed into a radical disciple and soul winning evangelist for Jesus. (Obtained from http://www.freshfire.ca/index.php?Id=101&pid=8 on 05-28-08 bolding added for emphasis).

I rejoice that God delivered Todd from such a sinful past (mirrors my own in many ways). But to compare ones conversion to that of the greatest Apostle in the Bible is a little grandiose. “God has drawn Todd into deep and intimate places of prayer. These extended times in God’s presence has released a fresh prophetic and miracle-healing anointing…He ministers prophetically, corporately and personally as well as brings forth the word of God with the power and demonstration of the Spirit — God confirming His word with signs and wonders following. God has released an increase of the healing anointing into Todd’s life to the point where the blind see, the deaf hear & growths dissolve as Jesus still heals every sickness and disease. (ibid. bolding added)

This is the typical template of any of the revivalist of our past. AA Allen, Jack Coe, T.L. Osborn, William Branham all wrote about spending hours “shut in {“ with God in deep prayer with the end result of being given supernatural powers to work miracles and heal the sick. Not only did God allegedly give Todd a fresh (is there a stale anointing?) prophetic and miracle-healing anointing it seems that God has released an INCREASE of the healing anointing into Todd’s life! This increased healing anointing is so powerful that the blind see, the deaf hear, growths dissolve, as Jesus (through Todd Bentley) still heals every sickness and disease. The following are a couple of testimonies from the Lakeland lunacy proving Todd’s magnificent healing anointing:

George: We have a man that can see out of a glass eye!  Never have I heard of a glass eye seeing. I need a minute to process this. You can’t see out of a glass eye? Never have before. I can see light and shadow. When the optic nerve registers, I’ll be able to see. This is more of a miracle than if the Lord gave him a real eye. (Obtained from http://www.revivallakeland.org/ on 05-28-08 bold type added).

(I must admit that is pretty good when a guy can see through his glass eye. Let’s just set aside the FACT that no further verifiable information is given and let’s forget that the biblical Jesus healed by restoration, I.e. withered hand made whole, deafness cured vs. giving the person a gold hearing aid, etc.) This testimony and other’s we will look at just prove the susceptibility of people who check their minds at the door !

One thing that is patently missing from Mr. Bentley’s testimony is the lack of any biblical education (I know some of you are saying, “here he goes again”) yet facts are facts. Here is a man going around the world teaching the Bible, yet without having been taught himself ! The only credentials that sign-seekers want to know about is whether or not the preacher has some divine personal encounter with God. It is the alleged encounter that counts and is given a higher precedence over formal seminary training. To the sign-seeker the divine encounter is a spiritual revelation directly from the Holy Spirit to your human spirit. Formal biblical training is merely head knowledge; one mans understanding being transmitted from a mere man to another, man (or woman). Spirit ALWAYS trumps the mind in the extremists’ life. Since Todd (or Hinn, Copeland, Meyer, Dollar, etc) have no formal training then obviously their teaching is coming from a “higher” source, that source being touted as none other then the Holy Spirit Himself. In Bentley’s case we have a man who the testimony of the Apostle Paul & the Lord Jesus Christ, talk about your double portion! Here is a glowing review written by the Publishers at Destiny Image Publications:

Todd Bentley is causing quite a stir worldwide. Some say he is being used by the Lord to bring healing and miracles to thousands of people — others are deeply skeptical of him and his ministry, Fresh Fire founded in 1979. What started for the 32-year-old Canadian as an invitation to speak at a church in Lakeland, Florida, in April 2008, has turned into a massively growing revival that now accommodates 10,000 people on land at the local airport. According to Fresh Fire Ministries 1.2 million people have watched the streaming broadcasts on the internet, and more then 140,000 people from at least 40 countries have attended the meetings. Todd’s book, The Journey into the Miraculous, tells of his dramatic deliverance as a teenager from a life of alcohol, drugs, prison, and the occult, launching him by the Holy Spirit into a worldwide ministry… According to Todd, “I was told by a modern-day prophet that I am part of the ‘first fruits’ wave of a billion people whom God would light on fire. I am a forerunner and one of many who will carry the healing anointing to the nations. God has lead me to put this book together not just to tell about my personal journey into the miraculous, but also to help people understand what God is doing in our time, and encourage readers to take steps of faith in areas where they may have been holding back.” As an evangelist and revivalist operating in a fresh prophetic and miracle-healing anointing. Todd has witnessed God heal hundreds of people who were: diseased with cancer, blind, addicted to drugs, alcohol and tobacco, and in bondage to Satan’s evil. Todd Bentley’s recently released book, The Reality of the Supernatural World: Exploring Heavenly Realms and Prophetic Experiences, teaches how Spirit-filled believers can take back what Satan has perverted, allowing them to explore the supernatural realms that God wants them to experience. Todd shares revelation about the supernatural world including: how to access it; types of experiences; locations in the supernatural; functions of angels; how to live under an open Heaven; and the price of accessing spiritual depth. (obtained from Destiny Image Communique” >dnj@destinyimage.com 06-06-08, (bold type added for emphasis).

I am troubled by everything about Mr. Bentley as I have already mentioned he declares to have had a conversion experience like Saul of Tarsus, is empowered with the miracle anointing of our Lord Jesus Christ and now we read that he is like John the Baptist in that he is a forerunner but his mission is to carry the healing anointing to the nations! Obviously, we are not dealing with a mere mortal but one of the super-charged end time remnant Ubermensch long prophesied to come by former heretics. A so called restored prophet Todd Bentley that he was one of a billion people God was going to set on “fire” Statistically that is pretty hard to swallow. There are around 2.1 billion professing Christians (obtained from http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html), so that means one out of 2 Christians will become “Todd-like.” Me thinks not.

What is more troubling than these grandiose claims of Bentley’s are his statements about teaching God’s people which are unbiblical and occultic in nature. He claims to teach God’s people how to take back from Satan the ability to “explore the supernatural realms that God wants them to experience.” Where in the entire Bible are we told that God wants us to explore supernatural realms? Where are we told that Satan has somehow hindered us from doing so? According to my knowledge of world cultures, and religions, Satan is constantly moving shamans, witchdoctors, crones, and others to delve into the supernatural to have mystical “experiences” via mind-altering drugs and practices. The Lord Never encourages His people to attempt to explore the supernatural or seek after supernatural experiences as Todd is teaching. Not only is this a false teaching it is a dangerous one. Bentley goes on to say that he will teach people how to access the supernatural, what types of experiences they can expect (I am sure it is nothing more than the usual holy laughter, spiritual drunkenness, being slain in the spirit, flapping, flopping and jumping about). Todd will reveal locations in the supernatural ! Again, where does the Bible speak of any of this?  This is all “new” revelation which does not proceed from the Holy Spirit. Here is an example of Mr. Bentley “ministering”. The following is a direct transcript from a You Tube Video:

The woman was standing in the back of the room when the faith of God hit the meeting, and her tumor exploded out of her right leg, slid down her leg onto the floor! (Audience applause) I said, “God I prayed for like a hundred crippled people, Not one? He said, “That’s because I want you to grab that lady’s crippled legs and bang them up-and-down on the platform like a baseball bat.” (Audience laughter) I walked up and grabbed her legs, and I started going, BAM! BAM! I started banging them up-and-down on the plat[form]! She got healed! And I’m thinking, God why is not the power of God moving? He said, “Because you haven’t kicked that woman in the face.” (Audience laughter) And there is this old lady worshipping right in front of the platform. (Audience laughter) And the Holy Spirit spoke to me — the gift of faith came on me — He said, “Kick her in the face with your biker-boot.” I inched closer and I went like this [Todd Bentley performs a kick with his right leg and yells] BAM! (Audience laughter) And just as my boot made contact with her nose, she fell under the power of God. (audience laughter ) Obtained from: http://www.christianresearchservice.com on 06-09-08).

Does this sound like the manner in which Jesus ministered healing? Is “God’s” power moving dependent upon anything we do, especially kicking an elderly woman in the face? To Bentley the gift of faith equals doing something bizarre and then attributing it to the Holy Spirit.

Is the Revival Biblical ?

Is revivalism biblical? That depends upon how we define our terms. To the charismatic extremist revival is when the Holy Spirit re-descends upon people in a certain locale and they are moved to repentance, or their spiritual joy restored or they are empowered to serve God in some dramatic manner. Please understand that the concept of “revivals” themselves comes out of either some portion of so-called restored Pentecostalism or pietism, both experiences based groups.

In the united States revivalism was directly tied to Pentecostalism and the belief that the Lord Jesus was soon to return. They believed He sent the Holy Spirit again to give people the gift of tongues to go into the entire world and proclaim the Gospel. This was the foundation of the Azusa Street revival of 1906. Well, Jesus did not return as quickly as hoped so Pentecostalism formed into distinct denominations. Forty years later after World War ll another “revival” broke out this time it was not a “soul-saving and healing revival” as opposed to seeking the salvation of the world, this revival was more concerned with healings and miracles. It was run by men such as William M. Branham, Jack Coe, AA Allen, Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn and a few others. It died out due to the exposure of fraud, immorality, lack of verifiable proof and the people simply wanting something more.

Almost forty years later the next really true “revival” has to be considered that initiated by Rodney Howard Browne, dubbed “the Holy Ghost Bartender,” In short his unbiblical manifestations became the hallmark of the latest move of the Spirit and they initially became centered at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TAF) , from whence it spread to Holy Trinity, Bromptom England, from there via Steve Hill to Brownsville Assembly of God (BAG) in Pensacola, Florida. What differentiated this New Wine being poured out from the other two previous moves of the Spirit, was that it was a revival of “Joy” one in which the Heavenly Father came down to play with His children. I kid you not, I heard this in person, saw it played out in person at TACF, filmed it and dissected it and found nothing but filth. The end result of TACF and the BAG was that both churches underwent splits. The senior pastor’s left when the crowds died down and the sign-seekers were left unfulfilled and still hungry for “more” of God, since they had received little to no true spiritual nutrition. NEVER FORGET THE FOLLOWING QUOTE:

Son, let me tell you something. Do you know when you can tell a revival meeting is over? Do you know when God’s saying to move on to the next town? When you can turn people on their head and shake them and no money falls out, then you know God’s saying ‘Move on, son’, — A.A. Allen message to brother Marjoe Gortner. Obtained from the Preachers, James Morris St. Martin’s Press.

This is exactly what happened at TACF and BAG, the crowds thinned out, the other leaders in the church felt abused and used. The revivalists had all become extremely wealthy and left town! Now out of the blue we have another revival! Suddenly signs and wonders are being performed (this time down the way in Lakeland vs. Pensacola) Now the hungry can run and be filled with empty promises of power and glory. They can have a safe place to go enthusiastically mad and engage in the St. Vitas dance of delusion once more. Oh, make no mistake my friends, these experiences are powerful, fun, and very addictive (I speak from personal experience) and when they are grabbed in the clothing of the so called “anointing” of the Spirit they become holy to the practitioners. Let’s close with some simple Bible thoughts. Does the Bible prophecy a great world-wide end-time soul-saving revival? No it does not. As opposed to a great “ingathering” of souls the Bible speaks of a great falling away (2 Thess. 2:3) an apostasy. Our Lord Himself speaks rhetorically by asking if when He returns will He find faith on the earth (See Luke 18:8), no! Jesus is also caustic regarding those who run hither and thither seeking signs:

A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.  Matthew 16:4

He considers such people (1) wicked and (2) adulterous, why? Primarily because these people are not seeking Jesus per se, they are seeking loaves and fishes, they’re looking to gain spiritual power and not the face of God. Jesus excoriates those who dare to claim to be the ones working the signs and wonders:

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you, Away from me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:22,23

I fear for Todd and all like him and their alleged “fresh prophetic anointing” and the false unfulfilled words they proclaim in the name of our Lord. The deliverances and miracles they say they have done in the name of Jesus… yet our Master says “I never knew you” Let me say that in the Greek this is very plain it does not imply “I used to know you, but I don’t know you now,” No Jesus NEVER knew these folks. What is more what on the surface seemed to be a good work, I.e. prophetic words, demonic deliverances, miracles Jesus calls those doing such things evildoers not doers of good!

The Bible is filled with warnings about false prophets, false apostles, false teachers, when will our sign-seeking friends awake to these warnings?

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruit ye shall know them. Matt. 7:15-20

Our Lord warns us to beware of the false prophets — they are coming in droves.

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.   Matthew 24:11-13.

What is the “fruit” of these false prophetic Sinisters? Many (a huge number in the Greek) shall be deceived, not blessed. The love of many (same word in the Greek) shall grow cold towards Jesus due to all the fraud being perpetrated in His holy name. The false words, the fake healings, the fraudulent claims will cause many unstable believers to become shipwrecked. Again and again our Lord warns His Church to beware (be-ware) false prophets, i.e. people who come in His name, show signs and wonders and YET do not belong to Jesus at all.

This is why the Apostle John warns: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

Even from the beginning of the Church MANY false prophets went out to deceive God’s children, how many more so today? Many today even claim to be apostles (I have met and spoken with no less than six of these deceivers):

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.   2 Cor. 11:13-15

As a former charismatic extremist I taught much about the “five-fold” ministry of Christ (Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher, and Evangelist) it was not until my deliverance from doctrinal darkness that I saw another false five-fold ministry in the Bible as well consisting of: false shepherds, false prophets, false apostles, false teachers, and false brethren… and to add a sixth, false Christs.

Charismatic extremists say that they have more faith in God to keep them doctrinally pure than in the devil to mislead them. I admit that sounds pious and faithful, yet if this were the case then why do we have ALL the warnings about being deceived in the Old and New Covenants? If what our extremists’ brethren proclaim is true then the Bible must be wrong. Scripture consistently warns us to “beware.” Beware of what and of whom? Without a doubt God is Almighty and Sovereign, yet the almighty and sovereign God has seen fit to warn His children to be alert to their foe. Here are a few examples:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing. But inwardly they are ravening wolves, Matthew 7:15

But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues   Matthew 7:17

Beware of the dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.   Phip 3:2

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Col. 2:8

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also being led away with the error of the wicked fall from your own steadfastness 2 Peter 3:17

Truth Matters my brothers and sisters and in these last days God has spoken to us through His Son and all we need is to look to Jesus through God’s Word and find the satisfaction our souls yearn for. What is transpiring in Lakeland, FL, is not a move of the Holy Spirit anymore than what recently occurred in TACF and Brownsville, both revivals left behind them thousands of disillusioned people. Some of these no doubt have run to Lakeland hoping against hope that maybe this will be the “real deal”. Sadly, they will find out the hard way this Lakeland is nothing more then excited ignorance in which our Lord is neither glorified nor present. Pray for those being mislead by the plethora of false prophets and apostles today! ♦

Copyright © 2008  Robert S. Liichow

 





THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE

28 12 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – October  2007   Vol. 12 Issue 10 – THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE – Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

As we studied last month all of the aberrant practices and false doctrine stem from an incorrect interpretation of the Scriptures. In fact, all errors in “Bible” based cults can be traced back to using a faulty hermeneutical system. Every Christian should understand and apply some basic hermeneutical principles when they study their Bible. Unfortunately most pastors do not equip their people with the skills necessary to become good Bereans. Sadly, many pastors across America have little or no theological training and thus they lack any real understanding of how to correctly teach the Bible of to their congregations (Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar are just two examples) and we end up with a case of the blind leading the blind.

Apart from incorrect biblical interpretations with all its attending problems there is another difficulty plaguing God’s people and that is the widespread practice of accepting personal spiritual experiences as authoritative. Millions of professing Christians readily accept the subjective “revelations” of various leaders, or their own private experiences as being as valid as the written Word of God.

The Word of God is seen as not being the only guide for many Christians. It is not viewed as complete and totally sufficient when it comes to faith and practice. Many people are augmenting the Bible with extra-biblical data that is proclaimed as “new” revelations from the Holy Spirit through a host of roving self-proclaimed Apostles, Prophets and revivalists. Admittedly this is not a new problem; in fact the Apostle Paul spoke of people who were misplacing their faith in alleged mystical experience:

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not see, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind. And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Col. 2:18,19

It seems that people have a propensity to be drawn away from the objective truth of God’s Word into their own fallen subjective experiences.

 Today we see this enthusiasm for experience over God’s Word vividly in the Charismatic movement. For example the recently departed Kenneth E. Hagin built a great portion of his SINistry on his alleged face-to-face encounters with our risen Lord. Many of these he wrote about in great detail in his book I believe In Visions.

 

Another widely followed heretic, Jesse Duplantis expanded his influence tremendously after publishing his farcical tale about going to heaven in his book Heaven Close Encounters of the God Kind. Jesse regales his readers with not only a very detailed account of “heaven” but also shares about his visible experiences with angels, he and his car being teleported across the state of Louisiana and other bizarre experiences.

Mary K. Baxter wrote a book which plunged her into charismatic fame & fortune about her being taken to hell on forty (40!) consecutive evenings allegedly by Jesus Christ. The Divine Revelation of Hell has been reprinted several times and in over ten languages. The book is filled with graphic details of what awaits the damned soul and Baxter claims thousands of people have come to faith in Christ due to her book! If that was not enough she went on to write another spurious tome entitled The Divine Revelation of Heaven and then another book called The Divine Revelation of Glory.

Discernment Ministries International was among the first Apologetic ministry to expose the nonsense in Cho Thomas’ book Heaven Is So Real about her rapturous transport to heaven. Thomas reveals to us that there is death in heaven when Jesus takes her fishing and kills the fish and cooks it for her.

Every one of these books (and there are many more I could mention) has sold well over 100,000 copies each, and all of them are printed in foreign languages for wider consumption by the sign-seeking crowd (don’t forget there are videos, DVD’s, and cassettes of these accounts by authors for sale too). The authors go all over the world sharing their experiences with untold numbers of people.

These examples demonstrate my concern that people are leaving the sufficiency of the Scriptures to listen to someone’s latest experience. I can tell you that DMI receives a great deal of vitriolic email from devotees of these deluded heretics. Some of the gentler complainers say things like “don’t you believe God can take someone to heaven? Look at the Apostle Paul for example!”  Yes, let’s consider Paul for a moment:

I knew a man in Christ about fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 2 Cor. 12:3-4

Virtually all commentators agree that Paul is writing about an experience he had being caught up to heaven. What is interesting about his account is that he does not share any of what he saw or heard.  Why not?  Today when someone says they were taken to heaven they create an entire “ministry” out of their experience. Paul did not relate any of his experience precisely because it was just that…his own “experience” and as such would not benefit others.

Here is what the NIV Commentary says about this part of Paul’s life:

What Paul head (and saw?), human words were inadequate to relate (v.4b). Furthermore, he was not permitted to try to share the content of the revelation, perhaps because it had been designed for him alone, to fortify him for future service and sufferings (Ac 9:16; Ro 8:18). Glimpses the NT does give of the coming glory are intended to strengthen faith and promote holiness (cf. 2 Pe 3:10-14;p 1Jn 3:2-3) not satisfy curiosity.

Nothing that Hagin, Duplantis, Cho or Baxter wrote about strengthens faith nor does it promote true holiness. What all those books do is to point to the human authors and imply that they are special vessels chosen for these last days to prepare the Church for the return of Christ. Nothing in their mythological writings do anything to encourage their readers to get into the Holy Bible and let God speak to them via its inerrant pages.

As I stated earlier this phenomenon of people promoting doctrines and practices that are based on their personal experiences is nothing new. During the Evangelical Reformation led by Martin Luther he constantly had arguments with various sects of what he termed “enthusiasts.”

Enthusiasm clings to Adam and his children from the beginning to the end of the world –fed and spread among them as poison by the old dragon. It is the source, power, and might of all the heresies, even that of the papacy and of Mohammed. Therefore, we should and must insist that God does not want to deal with us human beings, except by means of his external word and sacrament. Everything that boasts of being from the Spirit apart from such a word and sacrament is of the devil. (1)

The enthusiasts then as today looked within to feel something or to attempt to hear God speak to them directly and personally apart form the Holy Bible. This is exactly what is taking place on a massive scale within the charismatic movement. I’ve been involved in many meetings where the “Spirit” began to move in a mighty way so much so that the Word of God was never preached. These meetings were declared to be of the highest order! Various people “prophesied” the so-called word of the Lord, others were slain in the spirit, some danced in the aisles, others just sat and watched the show. 

One well accepted restored-prophet, Bill Hamon carries with him a 5 inch 3 ring binder filled with 100’s of “personal” prophecies that have been uttered over his life for the last 40 years. Obviously he takes these extemporaneous words to be true or why collect & carry them?

What does the Bible say?

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:1-3

Yes God did speak through the prophets in the past. Yes God spoke in various ways, by dreams, visions and at times angels or through Theophanous. However, in these last days God has spoken to us through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Peter knew of his impending death (2 Peter 1:13-15) so what he said was vitally important to him as a pastor. He reminds his readers that he was with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration and he actually heard the voice of God speak. Yet what does he then tell the Church?

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:19-21

Even though Peter was there in person to hear God’s voice he goes on to tell the Church that they have a more sure word of prophecy (the written Word) and they would do well to take heed to It a a light that shines in a dark place. Peter does not preach his experience but points to the Word of God and warns them to take heed of the Word.

Why this emphasis Peter, what is the big deal?

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. 2 Peter 2:1-3

The problem today is that the “more sure word” is now deemed passé and there is a desire to seek what is termed “present day truth” (see 2 Peter 1:12) by the charismatic extremists. This is alleged truth that is arrived at through mystical or metaphysical means, i.e. subjective belief as opposed to the objective inerrant truth set out in the Bible.

One very popular charismatic heretic, Tommy Tenney, wrote a hugely popular book entitled The God Chasers. Tenney denigrates the written Word of God and expounds that people need to seek a direct encounter with God. Here are some of his comments regarding the Bible:

We just keep going through the motions, lighting the lamps and shuffling from dusty room to dusty room as God was still speaking to us. (2)

There’s no need for me to preach [the Word] if God shows up in His glory. (3)

They [the early disciples] walked and talked with Him in such a rich level of intimacy that it wasn’t necessary for them to pour over dusty love letters that were written long ago. (4)

Folks Tenney’s comments are the voice of millions enmeshed in charismatic extremism. Note the very low view of holy scripture—the books of the Bible are “dusty rooms” that we shuffle through with the mistaken belief that God is still speaking to us through these biblical letters! Tenney echo’s the statements of many of today’s revivalists by saying there is not even a need to preach the Word of God if “God” shows up, i.e. some paranormal manifestations or unchecked emotionalism breaks forth. Lastly, Tenney says that the early church members communed with God on an intimate one-on-one basis APART from pouring over the “dusty old love letters” that were written long ago. What does my book of dusty old love letters say in response to Mr. Tenney and the other heretics?

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore, many of them believed; also of honorable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. Acts 17:11-12

The people in Berea heard Paul preach and then they went immediately to those dusty old love letters to validate by objective truth what Paul was proclaiming. What was the end result? MANY of them believed the gospel that Paul preached!  ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

Endnotes:

1. Oswald Bayer, Theology The Lutheran Way (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007, p. 53

2. Tommy Tenney, The God Chasers, (Shippensburg: Destiny Image, 1998) p. 31.

3. Bid. p. 44 Underlining and bolding added for emphasis

4. Bid. p. 74 Underlining and bolding added for emphasis.





The Coming Great Awakening

23 12 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2007 -Vol. 12 Issue 8 – The Coming Great Awakening – By Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Coming Great Awakening

By Robert S. Liichow

“IT IS TRUE THAT AMERICA IS IN A DESPERATE SPIRITUAL CRISIS. BUT, I HAVE ASSURANCE THAT WE ARE ON A COLLISION COURSE WITH GOD’S REVIVAL POWER.”

RODNEY H. BROWNE

In May 2007 I wrote about Steve Hill’s claim that the greatest outpouring of all times was about to occur…this revelation was based on nothing more than his own opinion. Now Charisma magazine is touting Rodney Howard Browne’s (RHB) assertion that America is on the verge of a third “Great Awakening.” Unlike Hill’s proclamation, Browne bases his belief on a “higher” authority, i.e. some comments President George Bush made at a luncheon back in September o 2006. President Bush said that he felt that America was on the brink of a third great awakening.

In my days as a former charismatic extremist we would often be told that spiritual experiences, be they prophetic words, dreams, visions or new revelations must be authenticated/established by at least two witnesses, preferably three. We got this concept from the following text:

One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. Deut. 19:15

With Steve Hill’s declaration of the coming “greatest” revival and now Rodney Howard-Browne’s assertion of a third “great awakening” many charismatic sign-gift folks are beginning to salivate over the coming next great move of the Spirit. Using the charismatic paradigm I guess it is going to happen. Or is it? What if your witnesses are proven liars? What would two liars establish other than more lies? Why should anyone believe these two SINisters in particular especially in light of their forays into deception and well documented money-grubbing in the 1990’s?

Consider the Source

Rodney Howard-Browne aka “the Holy Ghost Bartender” is the individual who popularized the anti-biblical manifestation commonly known as holy laughter. RHB came to America from South Africa in 1989. He began as an itinerate preacher and as he was preaching about hell in Albany, New York in April, 1989 people began to spontaneously break out into uncontrollable laughter (some people cried as well). The harder RHB preached about eternal damnation the more people began to laugh. Without going any further one would think that if people responded with uproarious laughter at the topic of hell and damnation that surely Satan was at work and not the Holy Spirit.

Yet RHB was not as surprised as he would like us to believe. DMI has in its film archive a clip of Benny Hinn ministering in South Africa in the mid 1980’s People are laughing and Benny is seen & heard declaring “this is holy laughter, holy laughter.” RHB is not seen in the clip, but it is extremely likely that he was there because not long after his meetings in New York RHB took his show on the road down south to Florida, starting off with a meeting at Hinn’s former Orlando Christian Center in 1992. (1) From there RHB moved to Carl Straders “Carpenter’s House Church” in Lakeland, FL. And there RHB held “revival” meetings from 1993-94.

By RHB had incorporated his fledgling SINistry (after all the donations were on the rise) and a good thing too because at Lakeland RHB and his new “move” of the Spirit caught the eye and ear of Oral and Richard Roberts. They came to the meetings, received the “new wine” and prevailed upon RHB to come back to Tulsa with them. It was during the Tulsa meetings that Vineyard Pastor Randy Clarke who admitted he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Clarke got the “blessing” and took the highly portable and contagious delusion with him up to another Vineyard pastor friend’s church in Toronto. Once holy laughter broke out at the Toronto Vineyard church it morphed into what became known as the “Toronto Blessing” and the rest is charismatic extremist history.

RHB had initially claimed that he was a former associate pastor of a Rhema Church (aka Kenneth E. Hagin/Word of Faith cult congregation) in South Africa; this lie can be seen in his earlier book publications.

It is to be noted that Howard-Browne’s standard biography claims he once served as an associate pastor at Rhema. But according to Rhema church officials contacted, Howard-Browne was never an associate pastor-nor did he ever hold any pastoral credentials or responsibilities. Said Kelmeyer “Rodney was never an associate pastor here. He was an ordained minister by the state and a lecturer at our Bible school, but was not involved in any form of pastoral work.” (2)

When the truth came to light RHB became to change his rhetoric regarding his past “ministry” in South Africa. Today his statement is as follows:

In 1983 they pioneered a church in the Northeastern Cape and pastured there for two years. After that, Rodney taught classes in a leading Bible School for another two years. (3)

Like most leaders in the charismatic movement when challenged with an uncomfortable truth, he simply ignores all inquires and moves on.

At some point in the mid 1990’s Rodney began to refer to himself as “Dr.” Rodney Howard-Browne. This was also a complete fabrication. To begin with there is no evidence that Mr. Browne ever graduated from an undergraduate college, nor is there any proof that he earned a Master’s degree and then went on to speed two or three years earning his doctorate. The fact is that he obtained his degree from a diploma mill:

Howard-Browne also claimed a “doctorate of ministry degree” from an obscure San Jacinto, California correspondence institution called “The School of Bible Theology.” A state Department of Education employee contacted likened the tiny school, which bills itself as “The Seminary to the World” and has no faculty, to a “diploma mill. (4)

Why does this matter? It points to his willingness to deceive people by attempting to give himself a veneer of theological education and training which he simply does not have. Personally, I have always been amazed at how often people like the deceased Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, and RHB have always discounted seminary educations (since they had/have none), yet, they all accept the title “Dr.” in front of their names and are always referred to as “Dr.” in conferences, books and televised programs. RHB wrote about knowing a man who was formerly “anointed” until he attended seminary, then, according to RHB, he graduated totally bereft of any “anointing” (SEE “The Apostles Are Coming”).

As a personal eyewitness I saw that Mr. Browne is in ministry to transfer as many dollars fro those in front of him as possible. In Toronto my wife and I personally witnessed RHB berate people who dared to get up and leave during his impassioned plea for money. He publicly ridiculed those who left the auditorium, it was a sad and pathetic scene. I bring this up because of the comments he made in the article on the “Coming Great Awakening.” I guess if I was in a court of law I would declare to the Judge that my remarks go to “character” (or lack there of).

Revival, Oh Really?

It goes beyond the scope of this small article to detail the history of revivalism in America but suffice it to say that Pentecostalism (and all its sign-gift offshoots) owes its very inception to the concept of spiritual revival beginning with the Azusa Street “revival” of 1906. From there Pentecostalism split apart and formed into several denominations. Approximately forty years later we encounter the Post WWII revival called “The New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR). The next eruption came in the form of Charismatic Renewal movement/revival where tongues, prophecy and other “signs and wonders” bled over into established mainstream denominations. The date given for this “revival” varies depending upon who you ask. Some say 1950, others 1960 in Van Nuys, CA and others look to 1967 an the formal start of the Roman Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement at the University of Notre Dame then moving over to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where I encountered it via the Word of God Community.

Nothing “revival-like” occurred between 1967 and 1994 until Mr. Browne popularized the alleged “new wine” of the Holy Spirit in the form of so-called holy laughter. This lasted for approximately eight years in full force and now it has pretty much petered out, leaving the masses of sign-seekers anxious and hungry for the next spiritual “high”.

What is important to understand is that Pentecostal/charismatic believers are hardwired into the belief that God sends revivals to the Church. The overall purpose of these revivals is to impart spiritual power to hungry people in order to help hasten the return of Jesus Christ. They base their belief on the following text:

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. Acts 3: 19-21

RHB is a product of charismania and knows which hot buttons to push and one of the major ones is “revival.” Obviously the “Gospel-giggles” was not the be-all and end-all consummation of the ages, ergo God must have something else in store for the Church. Since He (in some peoples deluded minds) used RHB before, He will no doubt use him again (RHB is banking on his past revival record to draw the crowds). So now we have RHB touting the “coming great awakening.” What does he base this on? Apart from President’s Bush’s non-binding statement in his own words he says:

It’s also very much needed. Although we have hundreds of thousands of churches in America and thousands of Christian radio and TV stations, America’s moral fabric is being torn apart–not just in the streets but also in the pulpits. People no longer have the fear of God, prayer and the Bible have been removed from our schools; the Ten Commandments have been removed from our courthouses and abortion, divorce, sexual perversion, sexual abuse and same-sex marriages are rampant. (5)

RHB cites the standard litany of woes our culture is facing as proof that America needs “revival.” As bad as the lack of morality is in America it is far worse in other nations, especially in Europe, yet for some reason RHB does not say anything about the need for revival in those nations. For example in the Netherlands prostitution is legal, homosexuality is totally accepted, and people come from all over the world to legally get “high” in Amsterdam because soft drug use is accepted. (6) Not to mention euthanasia and abortion as being perfectly visible “choices.” One might add the state of the Christian Church throughout Europe is atrocious. Rodney also seems to have forgotten that as bad and as rampant as sin is the grace of God does even more abound (see Romans 5:20).

As Christians we are to combat the decay around us by simply being who we are in Christ, i.e. salt (see Matt. 5:13) and light of the world (see Matt 5:14). This does not come about by a supernatural outpouring of power in a 3 day meeting. Christianity that impacts society comes about through the faithful preaching of Law & Gospel from pulpits. Societal change comes when God’s people after being equipped in Church go into the world and LIVE the Word the have received by the grace of God. The Church does not need “revival” we need faithful pastors and obedient congregations – it is just that simple.

It is important to ask the question of whether or not the very concept of revival is a biblical one. The word is not used in the New Testament at all and only four times in the Old in the form of “revive.” Some people mistakenly point to Peter’s preaching and the three thousand men that were brought to faith in Jesus Christ (see Acts 2:14) as “revival.” That was not revival at all! That was evangelism, those coming to Christ were not “revived” they were brought from spiritual death to newness of life in Christ Jesus. There is not one example of the Church being “revived” in the New Testament. In fact, the concept of “revival” does not even come into play in Church parlance until the mid 1700’s. For 1700 years the Church never considered such an event, it is very simply – an invention of man.

In the First Great Awakening what we saw were ministers, initially Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield (an associate of John Wesley) primarily preaching to Christians who had grown lax in the Christian walk. Upon hearing “law” being preached to them they became afraid and felt condemned, which is exactly what the preaching of “law” does, it shows us our failure in light of a perfectly holy and righteous God. However, preaching the “law” does not bring about repentance or salvation that comes through the proclaiming of God’s grace in Christ as evidence by the cross and His resurrection. The first great awakening devolved fairly rapidly into rampant emotionalism, pietistic experientialism (mainly due to Wesley, Whitfield, Samuel Davies and others) and ungodly enthusiasm. There were good things that also transpired during this time period as well. In the minds of many people who looked back at the Great Awakening, it seemed to them to be the pattern in which God “moved” to further His kingdom. So if there was a “first” awakening, then naturally there had to be a “second” awakening!

The Second Great Awakening which started around 1800 through the 1830’s was even more overrun by emotionalism, false doctrine and aberrant practices. The most recognizable name involved with the second awakening was Charles G. Finney, who was a total heretic and not a Christian. This second move of excess also helped give rise to Mormonism, Millerism (and later its offshoot the Jehovah’s Witnesses) and Seventh Day Adventism. The first awakening was primarily Calvinistic in theological tone, the second awakening was decidedly Arminian at best. The teachings of Finney have held sway on much of what is considered “evangelicalism” in America, I.e. decision theology, faith proceeded salvation, alter calls, etc…

The next “revival” was that of Azusa Street in 1906, which as I have written extensively about, was almost total chaos, occultism, excited ignorance and doctrinal error. Every other subsequent revival has spiraled down even farther into doctrinal darkness and bizarre practices (much of which can be laid at the feet of RHB for popularizing it and calling it the work of the Holy Spirit).

This meander through Church history brings us back to the present and Browne’s declaration of the next “great awakening.” He goes on to say in his article:

We don’t need more life coaches and success motivators, running the same circuits, with messages that all sound exactly the same. We don’t need more people who treat ministry as a moneymaking business, publishing books that have a form of godliness but no power in them, and producing albums with wishy-washy lyrics void of the anointing. (7)

Well I have to agree with Browne there, he is right we do not need any of the above. However, he is more than a little disingenuous when he makes his statement considering he is friends with Paula White (a life coach), Joyce Meyer (a success motivator) and of course Joel Osteen. He is guilty of treating ministry as a moneymaking venture. RHB has incorporated yet another non-profit corporation, this one is called “Revival Ministries International,” he has another organization called “River Bible Institute” his own non-accredited “Bible school, and he also has “The River Church,” where he is the senior pastor (how he can be a pastor and travel weekly is beyond me). He is currently going around America on what he is calling his “2007 Great Awakening Tour,” (8) and it is evident to me that RHB is not missing any chances to wrest a dollar from the unwary sign-seeker!

RHB tells us what to expect during this next great move of the Spirit:

The move of the Spirit in and through every believer, will result in signs and wonders taking place outside of the four walls of the church…God’s power will be demonstrated in all these places, resulting in mass conversions and whole regions begin shaken by the power of God!…The economy will be impacted; the educational system and the media will be transformed. (9)

Does he base any of his statements on the Bible? No, he does not cite any text to buttress his argument for this alleged “great awakening.” The reason why he does not is simple, he CANNOT. There is absolutely not a shred of scripture to back up any of his assertions.

The Biblical Witness of the “End Times”

I have returned to a very simple worldview, if someone is proclaiming anything that is not founded within the context of the Holy Scriptures, then I personally do not care what is said by that individual, period. Here is the biblical picture of what the “last days” (keep in mind these last days have been going on for 2,000 years):

“Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered: Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come…For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive , but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.   Matthew 24:4-25

Just consider how Jesus responds to His disciples asking Him about the consummation of the ages. Our Master begins by saying (1) watch out that NO ONE deceive you. Deceive us how? (2) By coming in the name of Jesus, claiming to be Christ (or in charismatic extremist terms “I am Anointed” ) and WILL deceive many. Jesus goes on to say that in these very last of days that (3) MANY will turn away from the faith and hate each other. (4) MANY false prophets will appear and deceive MANY people. Due to all these things (5) the love of MOST will grow cold. He goes on to warn us that both false Christs and false prophets will appear and work GREAT SIGNS and MIRACLES to deceive even the elect if possible! He ends by saying “see, I have told you ahead of time.”

What is missing from Jesus’ comments? He is warning His followers to be on the alert and to watch out for the very real possibility of being deceived. He says just because people come using His name does not mean that He sent them and the undiscerning (many people) will be deceived by these frauds. Jesus does not say “oh there will be great revivals and nations will be swept into My kingdom.” On the contrary, He says that MANY will become apostate and defect from biblical Christianity. Bill Hamon wrote in the 1980’s that “God” showed him that God was releasing 10,000 prophets into the earth. (10) Bookstores are filled with books by self-proclaimed prophets and alleged “anointed” ones. Sounds like a fulfillment of “Many false prophets” deceiving MANY. He closes by warning that some of these false Christs and false prophets will work lying signs and wonders of such a compelling nature that if it were possible they could mislead even the elect of God! Compare the words of Jesus with those of RHB. RHB contradicts everything Jesus plainly said about the end times, now who will you believe?

What about the Holy Spirit’s warning through Paul to the Thessalonians?

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10

Paul does not seem to be proclaiming revival or great awakening either in the last of days. He warns Timothy of the following:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Timothy 3:1-5

But mark this — in the last days there will be great times of mass conversions, all of God’s people working signs and wonders so much so that the government and media will be transformed! No, we read exactly the opposite. I really have to wonder what translation of the Bible RHB and his followers are reading.

Near the end of his ministry the Apostle Peter warns his reads (and us) about what to be on guard against:

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. 2 Peter 2:1-3

This has ever been true, but how much truer it seems in our day! False teachers proclaiming every brand of heresy are on television, holding conferences, traveling the globe (in their private jets). Literally millions of people gladly follow these liars. How many people have been exploited by the likes of Mary K. Baxter, Jesse Duplantis, Cho Thomas and others regarding their alleged trips to heaven and hell? Countless others build their SINistries on personal encounters with Jesus (Kenneth E. Hagin) or meeting with angels (Roland Buck, Cindy Jacobs, etc.). Why doesn’t Peter tell us of the coming great wave of power and glory? Why is he so negative? I don’t see any of these statements as either positive or negative, they are simply statements of truth that we would do well to listen to. There are many other verses I could cite that deal with the dangers from false apostles and false brethren, but I think I have cited enough to demonstrate that what Mr. Browne is proclaiming is a lie.

Please understand I am not some doom-and-gloom person, I have read the end of the Book and Jesus Christ returns and every knee bows to Him and He established everlasting righteousness on the earth and we His people are with Him! I am in total agreement with all legitimate forms of evangelism where God’s Word is accurately presented and the Holy Spirit is allowed to draw whom He will to faith. But do not be deceived by anyone who proclaims some tremendous “move” of the Spirit ( always just on the horizon) and cities and countries being swept into the kingdom of God by last day/end time super anointed spiritual warriors. Anyone who teaches such things is at best biblically ignorant and at worst is a person saying what he or she knows will “sell” even through they don’t believe it themselves.

Make no mistake Rodney Howard-Browne is that type of calculating individual who is simply pandering something he knows will not come to pass, but he is willing to make money from God’s gullible saints who are looking for something beyond Word and sacrament.  ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes:

1. Date obtained from an Ives Brault article for PFO. This article is located at : http://www.pfo.org/intoxic.htm

2. Ibid

3. Obtained from RHB’s officla website http://www.revival.com/www/r.aspx?p=54.

4. Obtained from http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/lewd.html.

5. Charisma, July 2007, The Coming Great Awakening p. 53

6. “Soft-drugs” are not considered to be a problem by the Dutch this includes marijuana hashish, and basically anything other than heroin and cocaine.

7. Charisma, July 2007, The Coming Great Awakening p. 53 Underlining added for emphasis.

8. All of these organization are cited on his official website found at http://www.revival.com Charisma, July 2007, The Coming Great Awakening p. 55.

9. Charisma, July 2007, the Coming Great Awakening, 0p. 55.

10. Hamon, Bill

The very corpulent king of “gospel giggles” is smiling all the way to the bank.

As he preached about hell and eternal damnation the people laughed and RHB called it “revival.”

Admittedly, Browne is not the “great apostasy” but he is indicative of it.