Another great sermon. The church is asleep! You will never again be the same after hearing this. Listen if you dare!
September 19, 2008
September 19, 2008
MUST HEAR SERMON! Must listen to all 6 parts. You will never be the same!
“Dear friends, there is only one reason for a sinner to repent. And that’s because Jesus Christ deserves the worship and the adoration and the love and the obediance of his heart. Not because he’ll go to heaven. If the only reason you repented dear friend was to keep out of hell, all you are is just a levite serving for ten sheckles and a shirt. That’s all. You’re trying to serve God because He’ll do you good. But a repentant heart is someone who has seen the enormity of the crime of playing God and denying the just and righteous God of the worship and obediance He deserves.”
September 19, 2008
Uncategorized 3 Comments
By Marsha West
August 30, 2008
The Holy Spirit is on the move. He’s working in the minds and mouths of the false prophets. BAM! They’ve fallen and they can’t get up.
On June 23rd God moved a mountain — figuratively speaking — and the Charismatic church has been in chaos ever since. That day several of the New Apostolic Reformation leaders met in Lakeland, Florida for Todd Bentley’s “apostolic alignment commissioning service.” What happened was mind-blowing. I’m not talking about miraculous signs and wonders. There was no gold dust, no oil soaked hands, no angels with shimmering clothes and bright blue eyes hovering on stage. There was none of that — but there was a whole lot of shakin’ goin’ on!
Such notables as C. Peter Wagner, leader of the International Coalition of Apostles, his wife, Doris, Ché Ahn, John Arnott, Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner and several others came to the 10,000-seat tent to support what Todd Bentley and Fresh Fire were doing and to commission him as an evangelist. There was only one problem. The leaders failed to put Bentley through a proper vetting process to find out if he was deserving of their high honor. Turns out he wasn’t. Now they have egg on their collective faces and everyone knows it.
As a result, many in the Charismatic church are furious with them — but it’s too late. The damage is already done and cannot be undone. What’s worse, thousands of people believed there was a “revival” going on and traveled from all over the globe to be a part of it. Some went hoping to be healed. They weren’t. Now they realize they were duped and have fallen into despair. People are wondering if they are even saved! (For those who doubt their salvation, remember that anyone who comes to faith in the real Jesus Christ is saved.)
This article is not about false prophet Todd Bentley; it’s about the esteemed leaders and role models who helped create the Lakeland disaster.
Before I proceed, let’s unpack the “latter rain” movement. Without getting too far afield, New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement holds that God is restoring the lost offices of church governance, namely the offices of Prophet and Apostle. The founder of the movement is C. Peter Wagner. (More on Wagner in a moment.) The Prophets and Apostles are said to be given:
“…power and authority by God to lead by serving, as described in the biblical letter of the apostle Paul to the Ephesians. As such, they believe in the 5-fold offices of the Church first popularized in Charismatic groups; of which the prophet and apostle has been absent from the Church for the last 2000 years, and are now being restored.” 
People in this movement believe that the Apostles and Prophets have authority over the Church. Even though they hold a high office, the “apostles” and “prophets” don’t see eye to eye on everything. It has now come to light that some of the “apostles” were concerned about the possible dangers of commissioning Todd Bentley and warned other “apostles” but they were rebuffed – and they’re not taking it lying down. They wrote letters to apologize for the bad judgment of those who disagreed with them, thus bringing outsiders into the squabble. The letters are posted on their websites for the entire world to read.
Returning to the Lakeland disaster, according to The Voice Magazine:
“Discerning Christians recognized the tell tale signs of a disaster in the making at the Lakeland Revival. We’ve seen these sorts of tragedies occur time and time again in the Body of Christ over the decades. We all hoped to see a different outcome here, but the fruit of Bentley’s personal life reveals he was not ready for the level of public ministry he received and that he should never have been commissioned in an internationally televised ‘apostolic alignment commissioning service.’ Stepping down is an appropriate move in the right direction. Our concern is not only for the Bentleys, but the thousands of people around the world who are questioning everything they saw on God TV from the meetings at the Lakeland Revival. A lot of healing is going to be needed in the days ahead and many questions answered.” 
We are already receiving answers to our questions. Charismatic pastor Dutch Sheets said the following in his official statement on Lakeland, which he deems an apology: (All Dutch Sheets’ quotes are from his apology )
“But looking past some of the immediate and positive results, I, like many, also looked ahead to the possible fruit from questionable doctrine and experiences, exaggeration and hype, youthful pride, character issues and the frightening potential of a 32 year ‘young’ man leading a movement that could shape the future of the Church.
“These things were frightening, very frightening, to others and me. When something has the potential of setting precedent, birthing a movement and being reproduced as a prototype, we are no longer simply endorsing good brothers, good intentions and miracles.
“Doctrine and foundations will be built on these events. Teachings and paradigms for future ministries will be formed – in short, the next generation of the church and the move of God in the earth could be greatly impacted. This is why I stopped short of endorsing everything at Lakeland.”
Dutch also stopped short of expressing his concerns to the Body of Christ, even though he claims he had a “check” in his spirit. He decided to ignore “…the uneasiness, the sickening feeling deep in my spirit telling me something else was wrong – terribly wrong – in this situation.”
Many Charismatic leaders felt something was terribly wrong at Lakeland as well, but they were not candid about their concerns. Sheets now comes forward and says he knew something was terribly wrong, yet he tried to push Bentley’s “showmanship” out of his mind:
“…the ‘bams,’ the head butts and kneeing, along with certain experiences and doctrines, all in order to embrace the good. Like many of my friends I tried to be – and believe I was – gracious, accepting, ready to think ‘out of the box’, etc. But try as I may, the uneasiness in my spirit just wouldn’t leave.”
It seems it was more important for Rev. Sheets to “think out of the Box” than to warn gullible sheep who were flocking to the “revival.” Now that the cat is out of the bag, he owns up to the fact that “mistakes were made” (which is the understatement of the year) and says there is plenty of blame to go around in the Charismatic church. Boy, I’ll say.
“Some of my closest friends endorsed and participated in the Lakeland meetings. … Should they have been more discerning and have listened to the warnings they received? Obviously. Should those who ‘aligned’ Todd with spiritual fathers (which was a good thing and positioned him to receive help if he chooses to accept it) have realized to do so publicly was a mistake and could be interpreted by those watching in no other way than as a complete endorsement? Yes, they should have, especially when the event became a commissioning ceremony, complete with decrees and prophecies of going to higher levels, predictions of Todd’s increasing world-wide influence and leading a world-wide revival, emphatic and prolific endorsements of his character, etc. How could those watching believe the evening was anything but an aligning, endorsing and commissioning ceremony? It was. It really doesn’t matter who laid their hands on Todd – all share responsibility. This was unwise at best, naïve at least and at its worst, foolish.”
Please. The commissioning ceremony was anything but “naïve.” To me it looks as if their motives were self-serving, that the “apostles” wanted to be in the limelight and what better way than to appear on God TV and YouTube. Don’t tell me they weren’t thrilled that millions of people were watching them anoint Todd Bentley as he lay quivering like a bowl of Jell-O at their feet.
“The shot heard round the world” is a well-known phrase that represents the start of the American Revolution. The voices of the false prophets who pretended to speak for God have been heard round the world, thanks to the ubiquitous video camera. It may not start a revolution. But a battle is brewing among Charismatics and Pentecostals.
I’ve gotten off point.
Going back to Dutch, he complains that the leaders involved realized there was a problem:
“Those of us connected to them relationally, ministerially, and as movements – some even in alignment with them apostolically and as sons and daughters – would feel minimalized, if not betrayed, by the fact that they were in essence taking us onto the stage with them? Yes. These feelings were inevitable, especially when we had such uneasiness and asked them not to.”
Harsh words. But he was their equal – and they ignored his warning.
“Should there be an acknowledgment of these mistakes to the body of Christ for the sake of accountability and in order to rebuild trust? I believe so, and remain hopeful this will happen.”
If these men and women are truly God’s people, it will happen. (They should also acknowledge that the Apostolic movement disregards the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith. In other words, it is outside the parameters of orthodoxy.)
As I mentioned earlier, Bill Johnson is one of the “apostles” who participated in the commissioning ceremony, hence he contributed to the Lakeland disaster. Bill pastors Bethel Church and is the founder of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California. Both his statement and sermon on Todd Bentley have been posted on his website. Here’s his reason for going to Lakeland: (All Bill Johnson’s quotes are from his statement )
“I went to Lakeland because of his enemies. The relentless criticism and opposition, coupled with the grueling and sometimes unwise schedule, were bound to take their toll on this young man—emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. It happened two years ago, and it could happen again. It was my intention to bring a deflection into the mix so that he wouldn’t take all the heat by himself. Little did I realize it was too late. He was at the place of burnout again, abandoning his marriage and pulling out of all public ministry.”
Poor Todd. His grueling schedule took a toll on him. He became so spiritually and emotionally drained that he found solace in the arms of another woman. It was not the first time this has happened, by the way, which is what Bill meant by “it happened two years ago.” Nonetheless, he stood by Todd, even counseled the Bentleys through all the turmoil. Which begs the question: Why didn’t he pass what he knew about Todd’s private life on the other “apostles” and “prophets”? In John Arnott’s statement he says he wishes he had known Todd was struggling in his marriage but he wasn’t told. Peter Wagner wasn’t told either. Yet Bill indicates they all knew about Todd’s issues: (My remarks in brackets.)
“And it was thought to all of us involved that the healing had taken place when in fact there were areas [of sin] that just weren’t dealt with. He just drug it into this great outpouring [that turned out to be not so great because they ignored his sin].”
I asked this question of Fresh Fire Ministries in my recent article, Todd Bentley Separates From Wife and Lakeland: “What did they know and when did they know it?” Now I’ll ask the same question of the “apostles” who commissioned Bentley: What did they know and when did they know it?
Johnson calls those who exposed Todd Bentley as a false prophet “sharks.” He also says:
“I’ll never blame the opponents [sharks] of this outpouring for Todd’s choices [sin]. However, it had a greater effect on the outcome than any of his critics will likely own up to in this lifetime. History proves this.”
So Bentley’s opponents drove him into an “unhealthy relationship” with a woman on his staff? But how can that be when so-called sharks weren’t swimming around Todd Bentley two years ago? He wasn’t that popular until April 2008 when he showed up in Lakeland. (Watch Johnson’s sermon video here  Note: His “shark” remark is 7 minutes into his speech.)
“Apostle” Bill Johnson was one of the leaders who “prophesied” over Todd Bentley during the commissioning. Here’s what he said:
“When David wanted Uriah killed, he sent him into battle and then withdrew from him. As a company of people, we refuse to do that. Many revivals through history have been cut short of their intention, God’s destiny and intention over individuals, because of jealousies and fears that get stirred-up in the people of God, and we refuse to do that. We shape the coarse of history by partnering with you, giving honor where it’s due. You welcome the glory as well as anybody I’ve ever seen in my life. I long to learn from you=2 0in that. And I bless you and I pray with the rest of these, that the measure of glory would increase; that Moses would no longer be considered the high-water mark, with the glory shown from his face, but instead the revelation of the goodness of God would change the face of the church, and He would use your voice; He would use your grace, your anointing to alter the face of the church before this world; that the goodness of the Lord will be seen once again. I pray this over you in Jesus’ name.”
Jealousies and fears, huh? I find this disturbing on so many levels. Where to begin… First of all, Bill knew better than anyone that Todd Bentley had deep character flaws. Secondly, he was aware of concerns over: doctrinal error… unverifiable stories… the angel “Emma-O,” the money angel “Winds of Change” and other alleged angelic visitations (nowhere in Scripture does it say that we should elevate angels, nor did the apostles point us to angels, our focus is to be on Jesus Christ alone)… exaggerated healings… unsubstantiated claims that people were raised from the dead…bizarre and dangerous “healing” practices (assaulting the sick with leg drops, high kicks, head punches, etc.)… excessive drinking. Thirdly, Todd had been unfaithful to his wife and there was a rumor going around that he was at it again! This is the man the “apostles” and “prophets” hoped to “partner with…to shape the course of history?” It’s the sort of insanity that goes on in politics — but not in the Church of Jesus Christ!
May the Lord restore Todd Bentley and heal him.
Returning to Dutch Sheets’ apology:
“With such strong statements of disagreement, what is the affirmation toward my friends who led, participated in or endorsed this ceremony (and the meetings in general)? Simply stated, I know their hearts. It is not a contradiction of my criticisms toward some of their actions to, at the same time, defend and endorse their hearts and character. It is completely appropriate – when true – to defend a person’s heart and integrity while disagreeing with their actions.”
Furthermore, Sheets’ states that:
“I think the blunder of that night was huge and very damaging to the body of Christ, but I also realize that in their hearts, those involved honestly felt they were doing the right things. Again, while not defending the action taken, I would defend the character and integrity of Peter and Doris Wagner as vigorously as anyone I know, and do so with absolute confidence. There are no two people, and I mean that literally, who embody the qualities of humility, integrity, holiness (no compromise!), sacrifice, unselfish kingdom-thinking, the tireless giving of themselves to Christ’s cause and the body of Christ -and do I need to add risk-taking? – as much as Peter and Doris Wagner. It remains my great honor to be associated with them and call them a spiritual father and mother. And again, while not minimizing or ‘sweeping under the rug’ any wrong decisions, I remain steadfast in my belief that similar affirmations could be made of others involved – either directly or indirectly – in the ceremony. And some of them still see their endorsing of Lakeland as an endorsement of revival generally, not of Todd personally.”
Spiritual Father Peter Wagner brought the commissioning ceremony to the wide screen and used his “apostolic authority” to endorse Todd Bentley, a man he claims he never met. Now Wagner is back peddling:
“I could easily see that Todd needs deep inner healing and professional-level deliverance he has not yet had the opportunity to receive. One of our critics said that we got it backwards and should have taken him into a back room and ministered to him before the ceremony. We had the luxury of a few minutes with Todd before the evening meeting. We had never met the man before. Was I to say ‘Hey, Todd, you’re a mess and need help in the next five minutes?’”
So instead of taking the “mess” into a back room, he commissioned him as an evangelist?
Here is what Peter Wagner said to Todd Bentley when he stepped onto the stage: (All “prophecies” are from the VodPod video of Todd Bentley’s commissioning )
“This commissioning represents a powerful spiritual transaction taking place in the invisible world. With this in mind, I take the apostolic authority that God has given me and I decree to Todd Bentley:
Your power will increase.
Your authority will increase.
Your favor will increase.
Your influence will increase.
Your revelation will increase.
I also decree that:
A new supernatural strength will flow through this ministry.
A new life force will penetrate this move of God.
Government will be established to set things in their proper order.
God will pour out a higher level of discernment to distinguish truth from error.
New relationships will surface to open the gates to the future.”
Wagner admits that he said these words to a man who needs deep inner healing. And by the way, those in the commissioning group hold that “professional-level deliverance” means deliverance from demons!
Here are other “prophecies” uttered by those involved in the commissioning:
“We bless you today, Todd Bentley. You’re a friend. You’re a man of God. You’re a man of prayer. You’re a man of the spirit. You love the anointing. And I would say that it’s not just the Lakeland revival, but the whole world that goes into revival. And you’re leading an amazing charge. And, multitudes are getting in behind you and saying, ‘Come on. I’m gonna go with you.’ And so we bless all of that. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for raising up this young man, to lead such a mighty charge around the world, and to partner with God TV in all that has happened here in the last, uh, several months now, three months almost. We bless it in the name of Jesus, and we stand with you, and we encourage you, and we honor you.”
We honor you? Does John Arnott now regret his prophecy over Bentley? Not at all. (Read his statement here 8)
“Recognizing that God has chosen you and appointed you to bear much and lasting fruit in this Lakeland revival, and revival around the world. Recognizing that He has called you as an Ephesians 4 evangelist and a revivalist moving in signs and wonders. Knowing that you have walked in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing Jesus in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing in the intimacy and knowledge of God, we as your brothers and your friends, who have a deep love for you, Shonnah, your whole family, we just esteem you. We are here to stand with you, support you. And we are here to commission you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–in the power of His name–with special oil from Chuck Pierce. It’s called ‘Revival Oil.’ Chuck could not make it, so he sent this Fed-Ex. Special oil for you. He’s in Africa. And so we anoint you and commission you in Jesus’ name.”
Special “Revival oil”? Oh brother. What Todd needs is truth serum! I watched the “commissioning” on YouTube and got a “check” in my spirit…. because I knew from all the research I’ve done on Todd Bentley that these men and women were out of touch with reality. I tested the spirits by the Word of God, and low and behold, what these so-called apostles and prophets prophesied over Bentley was not from God! And if what they prophesied does not come to pass, God himself labels them false prophets, and he will judge them!
Dr. Clarice Fluitt:
“Hallelujah! For the word of the Lord would say, Behold the vanguard. Behold the tugboat that is cutting through the ice of religious traditions–the cruel, hard things. The understanding of the mind of men will now bow to the reality of the revelation of the finished work of Calvary. Behold, sayeth God, you have been equipped with cutting power. You have been equipped to go through those traditions of the mind of man. Yea, sayeth God, and you are pulling the church into the realm of glory. Behind you is a great ship that is laden with healing and deliverance and prosperity. This is the word to you, oh man of God- arise, kill, and eat. No longer; no longer; no longer will men call unclean what I have called clean.”
Apparently, when they “prophesy” in King James English they’re hoping to convince those listening to them that they are actually speaking for Almighty God. (Try using this tactic on your kids and you’ll see amazing results.)
What really threw me off in Fluitt’s “prophetic utterance” was her use of the modern term “tugboat” instead of “ship” or “sailing vessel.” That aside, did Todd Bentley pull the church into the realm of glory as the pretend prophetess said he would? Well, not exactly. In fact, he tried to pull the church into the realm of the occult – and he would have succeeded if the “demon of lust” hadn’t gotten him off track.
“Todd, the Lord has made you to be a detonator. I see cables going around the world to different nations. I see Great Britain being set ablaze by the power of God. I see even as you go into places that God says you’ll go even with the glory even like William Branham, and the Lord says you’ll carry a portal anointing. And whatever city you go over, there will be a portal! ‘There’ll be a portal that will be opened up,’ sayeth the Lord! The Lord says you’ll detonate, and BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! There’ll be a release of glory through the nations, says the Spirit of the Lord!”
Another “prophet” who believes he speaks for God. Yet he cites William Branham, a “Latter Rain” false prophet who denied the doctrine of Trinity. He held to a variation of a second century heresy taught by Sabellius know as Modalistic Monarchianism or Patripassianism. And yet Fowler–and Bentley—idolize the man. (Bentley acknowledged Branham as the greatest healing evangelist who ever lived! Read about Branham here ) The false prophet proclaimed himself an angel of Revelation 3:14 and 10:7. He prophesied:
“…by1977 all denominations would be consumed by the World Council of Churches under the control of the Roman Catholics, that the Rapture would take place, and that the world would be destroyed. He died in 1965, but many of his followers expected him to be resurrected, some believing him to be God, others believing him to be virgin-born.
Branham’s influence has continued in many churches where his prophecies are considered to be divinely inspired. His teaching on the power of the spoken word has been a characteristic of later revivalists.”
Instead of Fowler’s promised “release of glory,” God released (BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!) many of the people who were under the spell of the false teachers.
Isaiah 44:24, 25: “Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish.”
Listen to what Gregory Koukl gleaned from 2 Timothy:
“In Paul’s final warning to the church, he does not counsel them to face the challenges of the future by embracing new movements of the Spirit. Instead, he tells them to look backwards, to continue in and guard what has already been revealed.
“This is Paul’s message throughout his entire letter. ‘Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me’ (1:13). ‘Guard…the treasure which has been entrusted to you’ (1:14). ‘And the things which you have heard from me…these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also’ (2:2).
“Paul warns of a time of moral chaos falling on the world and theological chaos falling on the church. The antidote for both is the same: Steady at the helm. Guard what has already been entrusted to you. Continue in the things which you have already learned.
“Everything we need to be fruitful and productive, to be trained in righteousness, to be adequately equipped for every good work, has already been revealed. For Paul, all the old stuff was all the right stuff.
“New movement of the Spirit? Maybe. And maybe not. I don’t have to decide. Instead, I’m taking the safe route by heeding Paul’s advice and focusing on the old movement of the Spirit. And so should you.”
Some good has come out of the “Lakeland Outpouring.” It brought to light the highly unorthodox beliefs of the NAR. Those who are a part of this movement should commit 2 Timothy to memory. Another good thing that came out of it is that the Charismatic church leaders who participated in Todd Bentley’s coronation ceremony have been exposed as false prophets and fools.
The chickens have come home to roost.
Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. — Jer 14:14
September 19, 2008
August 31 2008
I awoke with heavy heart and “saw” Joel Osteen. His face was pasty white. His eyes were blinking and his head bobbing left to right with that smile. His movements were like that of a puppet. But I could not see the strings. It jarred me. (As I write this I believe God is speaking to me, “There is life in the blood.”) Joels’ face being pasty white, with no blood. The church has become anemic with the bloodless messages being preached. She is weak when she refuses the Blood of the Lamb.
As I “saw” this I felt sad for Joel. Unusual for me to feel anything but contempt for a false teacher. This too jarred me.
I SAW the false movement and how it does not offend anyone with the truth of the Cross. How the masses of deceived people have heaped up teachers among themselves as the Word says will happen in the latter days. How the times are being prepared that NO ONE will be allowed to teach or preach anything that does not “feel good.” The Cross will not be allowed to be preached.
Joel Osteen is a puppet and a front runner to this cause. Does he know? I don’t know. I don’t believe he does. But yet, I do not get a go ahead on that because God also showed me times are perilous and to be cautious on trusting anyone. That is for all the Bereans.
The Word came to me, “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed…” This jarred me.
I took this to mean the falling away will produce the “man of sin.” He will come out of the “falling away.” It will be someone who calls himself a chrisitan. It will look better than Joel Osteen. And there will be no blood, no cross.
America is the front runner of NOT preaching the true gospel. The preachers have compromised greatly for their own wealth and gain. God will judge.
I believe the man of sin is on the earth. I may or may not live to see him revealed. But the generation after me, will, I believe.
A greater delusion than Tod Bentley comes. God is speaking this to me very much the past few weeks. A greater delusion comes.
My heart is heavy. There are no more words for what I sense inside myself.
September 19, 2008
Some may not even be able to sit through this. The same young warlock; an abominable young man shows us all what true fasting is. He snorts the Bible. Takes a “toke” of a little plastic lamb. Just like the plastic lamb they use for their stage prop, their message is as plastic as the little plastic lamb they use to “smoke.” The dark sun glasses he wears can not hide the deceit.
He holds the little lamb between his hands and says, “This little guy is causing revival all over the world. I’m smoking his ear.”
Truly truly will not God judge such blasphemy and mockery!
September 17, 2008
I would be the last to ever endorse magic or any of its’ practices. Yet, when even a ritual magician can see the hypocrisy within the church today, it warrants to be told. Kudos for this mans’ honesty. That is so much more than we are getting from the so-called “leaders” in the church. This man writes:
“I’m a ritual magician and not a Christian, so hopefully my comments won’t be unwelcome here.
I came across this article and wanted to add that from my perspective it is absolutely correct. “Spiritual warfare” has much more in common with my magical practices than it does with anything Biblical. The same is true of prayer that is intended to produce a specific material outcome, like the “green gospel” preachers who tell their followers to pray for lots of money so they can be rich. Last I checked, Jesus taught nothing of the sort.
In the context of Christian endtimes prophecy, it seems to me that this famous passage from Matthew could very well be referring to these same individuals.
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’” (Matthew 7: 22-23)
I’ve been amazed for a number of years at Christians who on the one hand condemn my practices but then turn around and do the same things themselves. It strikes me as pretty hypocritical, or at the very least ignorant.”
Comment by Ananael Qaa | September 16, 2008
He was only wrong about one thing: His comments will be very welcomed.
September 14, 2008
By Marsha West
January 12, 2007
Angels fascinate people. For years we’ve been inundated with books, calendars, stationery, folklore, jewelry, knickknacks, lunch boxes, tattoos, even cherubic trash containers. People can’t get enough of angels. Stories of angelic encounters abound on the Internet. You ask, “Do you have a problem with angels?” Well, yes. And herein lies the problem. The messengers are not necessarily “angels of light” as people have been led to believe. Many angel enthusiasts have actually met heavenly visitors from the dark side. Even self-professed Christians are deceived. How can this be? Shouldn’t Christians be able to discern what’s real and what’s counterfeit? Not necessarily. Biblically illiterate Christians are easy to fool.
Angels of light, angels of darkness
Two elect holy angels are mentioned by name in the Bible: Michael and Gabriel. Also mentioned is the Angel of the Lord, the archangel (Michael), the Captain of the Host, messengers (Gabriel appeared to Mary), guardians. The fallen angels mentioned are the angel of the Abyss (Destroyer), and of course the most notorious angel of all: Lucifer. Scripture tells us very little about angels, except that they are sent to do God’s bidding. Most people know the story of the angel of the Lord who appeared to Mary and announced that she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Savior. “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
What does the Bible say about angels?
Angels are personal spiritual beings, having aspects of intelligence, emotions, and will. This is true of both the good and evil angels. Angels possess intelligence (Matthew 8:29; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Peter 1:12), show emotions (Luke 2:13; James 2:19; Revelation 12:17), and demonstrate that they have wills (Luke 8:28-31: 2 Timothy 2:26; Jude 6). Angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14), with no true physical body. The fact that they do not have bodies does not affect their being personalities (any more than it does with God).
Because angels are personal spiritual beings they cannot be in two places at once. That includes Satan. He’s powerful, but his powers are limited. It’s impossible for him to be in Washington D.C. and Iran at the same moment in time. Give this some serious thought the next time you take it upon yourself to command “Satan” to leave.
Scripture tells us that angels are created beings, thus they have not existed for all eternity. “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col 1:16-17).
According to Hebrews 13:2 angels can take on the appearance of humans. “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” They always appear as men. Daniel sees an angel with very strange features. “I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude” (Dan. 10:5-6). Surprising, Daniel did not keel over from heart failure.
God sends His angels to care for believers upon death. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side” (Luke 16:22).
Does God need angels? In his best-selling book, Angels Among Us, Ron Rhodes gives this response, “God does not need angels! In saying this, my intention is not to minimize the importance of what the Bible teaches about angels. I, personally, am very thankful that God created angels. My point is simply that God is fully capable of accomplishing His ends without their assistance.”
This will not go over well with radical feminists, however angels are always of the male gender.
And, yes, angels have wings. The order of angel called Seraphs has as many as 6 wings. “Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:1). However, most angels are not described with wings on their backs. Would angels really need wings to move through the cosmos? I mean, c’mon!
There is nothing in Scripture that tells us to pray to angels. Just the opposite is true. In Luke 11:1 Jesus tells us to pray directly to the Father. In Matthew 6:6 He said, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Jesus Christ bridged the gap between God and humans. Hence there’s no need to approach God through angels or through any other means. We can come to God directly because of Christ.
Are there angels among us today? You bet there are!
It’s very cool that God sends His angels to minister to our every need, right? Wrong! Most of today’s angels are not from God. The way you can determine whether an angel is holy (from God) or unholy (from the pit of hell) is to look at what they support. First of all you must ask yourself; does my angel point me to Jesus Christ, or away from Him?
Secondly, does your angel support in any way the world of the occult? If the answer is yes, it’s from the dark side.
Well-known New Age angel guru Terry Lynn Taylor encourages the use of occult tools such as Angelic Messenger Cards that are said to guide people to accept contacting the dead (necromancy). In her book, “Creating With the Angels: An Angel-Guided Journey into Creativity,” we’re told about “dream work.” Taylor invites readers to play with the angels. “Dream time is spirit time and offers a great opportunity to play with the angels. . . .Allow the angels to help you interpret your dreams.” Now then, because necromancy falls into the category of sorcery, the angels she promotes are from the dark side.
Today’s angels also push other occult practices on naive individuals. (See below.) God’s holy angels would not, could not, promote something that He expressly forbids! Holy angels are incapable of going against God. Fallen angels continually go against God.
How do you contact an angel? John Randolph Price’s book “The Angels Within Us” takes readers into altered states of consciousness to establish contact with them. In the Bible there’s a name for an angel that possesses the unbeliever: demon. Angels, either holy or unholy, do not indwell believers. The Holy Spirit resides in Christians from the moment they give their lives to Christ. The Spirit never leaves. In John 14:16-17, Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you…” Pretty powerful words.
Tools of the occult on eBay
Search ebay and you’ll find Angel Oracle Cards that, “provide messages and reminders of your ‘Guardian Angels’ steady and loving presence. Each day your Angels will give you the answers to your questions, set positive intentions, help you heal, and manifest what you desire.”
eBay also offers Earth Stones. “Have the names of the ARCH ANGELS on each one, in gold. There is much to learn about our Watchers of the Heavens & Earth. … Place the ARCH ANGEL stones on your Altar, Meditation area or bedside.”
Gullible people actually do this.
Purchase “The Little Book of Angel Wisdom” and you will be “filled with wonderful verse and insightful (sic) messages from our Angels.”
Books on angels
The books of spiritist Geoffrey Hodson are popular with the angel set. Hodson claims an angel calling itself Bethelda gave him material for several books, including the popular “The Brotherhood of Angels and Men and The Kingdom of the Gods.” In his book “Clairvoyant Investigations” Hodson writes, “I have myself confirmed that these super-physical domains contain innumerable nonphysical beings, such as angels and nature spirits. . .” What kind of angels are they? Examine what they teach and you’ll discover that they encourage occult practices such as automatic writing, dictation, or speaking, in order to get their messages published and in the hands of the public.
Meredith L. Young-Sowers admits, “For well over a decade, I’ve been taught by an angelic presence that describes himself/herself simply as Mentor, meaning “teacher.” According to Sowers, Mentor’s verbatim teachings are given in her books.
Rosemary Ellen Guiley, “has written more than 20 books on spirituality, visionary experience, personal growth and also the paranormal, including Dreamwork for the Soul, The Encyclopedia of Dreams and Breakthrough Intuition.” Here’s how Guiley describes encounter dreams with spirit beings:
“For many years, I have felt the presence of guiding beings in my life. . . .My initial intuitive sense was that these helping beings were “angels,” and that is what I have always called them.”
Guiley believes that angels facilitate her work in numerous ways:
“I am assisted and influenced by angels. I am grateful for their help, and I acknowledge them daily in my meditation. I sense a small group of angels who are around me all the time, connected to my personal and professional lives. They are joined by other angels who come and go depending on circumstances. . . .When I began work on Angels of Mercy the angels came out in force. It seemed I had a small army looking over my shoulder to weigh in with their various influences. . . .In addition to my writing, I lecture a great deal, and I feel the guiding presence of a “speaking angel”. . . .I sense his presence. He is a facilitator who helps me organize and deliver talks.”
The name of Guiley’s speaking angel is Plato. By her own admission the spirit being uses her voice to give his message while she’s in a semi-conscious state.
“As I began my talk, I felt a distinct shift in my consciousness, as though part of me were displaced to one side. In addition, I could feel the weight of an invisible presence on my shoulders, as though a being was perched there. . . .I talked for two hours without looking at a single note, and got rave comments from the audience. As time has gone on, I have been increasingly aware of this shift in consciousness when I deliver a talk. Occasionally, someone who is clairvoyant will come up to me afterward and ask me if I know I have an angel or a being standing off to one side of me. “Yes,” I say, “that’s my speaking angel!”
Most of the popular angel literature is from the angels themselves. Fallen angels literally overrun every occult practice known to man. Angelic forces are invoked in magic rituals and various magical systems and witchcraft. Those involved in angelology hold that angels are benevolent beings and are different from demons.
Benevolent angels do not entice people into sorcery.
Speaking of demons. Read the Bible and you’ll discover the principle goal of demonic spirits that imitate angels is to confuse people as to their modus operandi. If people can be convinced that the realm of the occult is “safe” they’ll be much more willing to experiment. But they’re not safe! A person who channels an angel (or a spirit guide) is possessed by a control spirit every bit as much as if they were a medium or a trans-channeller. The messages and phenomena found in angel channeling and in mediumism are essentially the same.
The Bible speaks very clearly of this deception in Second Thessalonians 2:9-12: “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. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”
Satan’s a fighter. His goal is to take you down with him. There’s still time to abandon ship! The price you’ll pay for trusting an angel is your soul.
Judgment Day’s approaching. God’s angels will announce His impending judgments as well as execute them. “New Age angel enthusiasts who say that the typical message from an angels is, ‘Don’t be afraid, everything is fine. There is nothing but love’ are in gross error. Though angels are loving and do bring comfort to the people of God, they also bring messages of death, destruction, and judgment to those who reject Christ.” Satan will go down in flames.
A final word of warning: Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.
1, What Does the Bible say about angels? Got Questions?
2, Angels Among Us, page 181, by Ron Rhodes
“Occult means “hidden.” It covers practices that are not approved of by God e.g., astrology (Isaiah 47:13), casting spells (Deut. 18:11), consulting with spirits (Deut. 18:11), magic (Gen. 41:8), sorcery (Exodus. 22:8), witchcraft (Deut. 18:10), and spiritism (Deut. 18:11). Occult practices such as Ouija boards, tarot cards, astrology charts, contacting the dead, s©ances, etc. are to be avoided by the Christian and Jews alike.” http://carm.org
Article taken from here: http://www.newswithviews.com/West/marsha32.htm
September 13, 2008
The Azusa Street Revival, at the turn of the century, has been proclaimed the mother of revival here in America. Below is an article on the Azusa Street Revival at the turn of the century. I’m giving you some new things to think about. My aim is for us to test things together. I suggest that you too begin doing searches on your own. Together may we find the leaven that has ruined the whole loaf. For myself, I have come to the place where no past teachings or beliefs are sacred ground anymore. I want to rid myself of any and all false beliefs I have ever believed in.
In short… I WANT THE TRUTH!
By: K. B. Napier
In the past I have said that not all charismatics are the same, but that they all share the same guilt for their errors. Charismatics are the spawn of Pentecostalism. It is therefore prudent to see whether or not the child of Pentecostalism is just a wild and unprecedented mistake – or if it is a genealogical reproduction of its parent. If it is a mistake, then Pentecostalism might be exonerated. But, what if charismaticism is a true child, an image of its parent? If this is so, then we have no option but to cast Pentecostalism into the same pit that charismaticism belongs to. These are very hard words if we personally know Pentecostalists – especially if they are of the ‘old school’. I know some, and they are nice folk. But this is where we must shed the emotional ties that can cause us to accept and promote error. Our aim must be to exalt and promote God’s word and holiness, not our own version of what is acceptable. Emotion and friendships have no part in the process*. There is only one way to do this and, that is, to measure everything by scripture. We will now look briefly at the beginnings of Pentecostalism as a movement, as it manifested itself at Azusa Street church. (* Of course, friendships and emotion are important. What I am saying is that they cannot be allowed to alter the course of Truth, nor should they be allowed to cause us to accommodate lies. If necessary, we must be prepared to put aside friendships and our own emotional responses, if Truth demands it. That is a test of faithfulness). Pentecostalist-type manifestations (Note: not ‘Pentecostal’ as in Acts 2) and beliefs existed long before the ‘latter rain’ events at Azusa Street, but it was at Azusa Street that Pentecostalism took proper shape and form. The inception of any movement is important. Was it a holy and Godly event, or not? This paper will show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the birth of Pentecostalism was defective. A monster was born. As a child it displayed an immaturity of outlook. As a youth it desired adventure and started to flex its muscles (early 1960′s when charismaticism began). Then, in the 1990′s, the true nature of the monster was revealed as it rampaged the world and destroyed countless churches and Christian lives. It called itself the ‘Toronto Blessing’ and personified the Biblical description of Satan as an ‘angel of light’ and his activities as ‘works of darkness’. Old-style Pentecostalists might throw up their arms in horror at this lineage, claiming that they have nothing to do with the evil ‘Toronto’ movement. But they are wrong and deluded. They are the parents of the charismatic movement that produced the Toronto Blessing, even if they attempt to distance themselves. They may not have taken part in the same terrible defilements, but the fact that they call themselves ‘Pentecostalists’ is sufficient indictment. They are the same family and are bred from the same stock! The only difference is in degree. We will, then, look at the Azusa Street phenomenon because it created the evil life-form that insidiously grew and erupted into the Toronto Blessing. The conclusion is very simple – every man and woman who calls him or herself ‘Pentecostalist’ MUST, as a matter of urgency, repent and deny their Pentecostalist theology and affiliations. They must cast aside their erroneous beliefs and activities (which are evil in His sight), that they might receive the true favour of Almighty God. These are strong words for evil days, my friends. There is no time for a soft approach…an approach that tolerated and advanced the cause of charismatic heresy in the latter part of the twentieth century. If you are a Pentecostalist, take heed. You are being held accountable, by the evidence of scripture. That is, by the Lord. In this Article my own feelings of friendship for Pentecostalists known to me are irrelevant. What matters is that we all adhere to the only measure of Truth we have – God’s word. In His book ‘The Toronto Blessing and Slaying in the Spirit’, Nader Mikhaiel points out that Pentecostalists never write about counterfeit miracles. (Although Bill Randles, of the USA, tackles the topic amongst others in his own work, but that is very recent). The reason is very simple – if they once acknowledge that some of their activities are evil, then they risk having them all branded with the same epithet. The danger to the structure and existence of Pentecostalism would be very real. It would collapse, because it is built on a foundation of sand. This is probably why Pentecostalists will not acknowledge the occult beginnings of their own movement…..if, that is, they know their own history anyway. Some Pentecostalists distance themselves from charismatic ‘excess’ as found in the Toronto Blessing. Some even distance themselves from various leaders such as John Arnott (Toronto) and/or John Wimber (Vineyard). Do not be fooled by this! All they are doing is shifting the furniture around on the deck of the Titanic! They are still Pentecostalists and still believe the same things as they always did, and still practice the same errors. They are like the kettle calling the pot ‘black’….but, sadly, most of them are unaware of this failure and would not dream of being unfaithful. In general they do not do or say what their more adventurous charismatic cousins do or say. But they do or say other things, which, though less dramatic, are of the same stock of heresy. By saying what many reformed folk want to hear (a denunciation of Toronto-style manifestations etc), they appear to be different from charismatics. This, friends, is a big mistake. As we have already said – they are only different by degree, not by type. That is, their virus is exactly the same; it just manifests itself in a modulated form. In this way, even if Satan is detected in charismaticism, he can still maintain his presence through old-style Pentecostalism without fear of being recognized by most Christians. He has succeeded admirably and we must admit to his cleverness. Even so, he has been recognized in Pentecostalism! Not just by me, but by a number of other watchmen, who also warn the Church of the charismatic heresy. Those who wish to be truly faithful should now take heed, for their souls’ sake. There is a very good reason for old-style Pentecostalists to abandon their beliefs and to repent. Some ministries supported by non-charismatics are headed by Pentecostalists. Yes, they denounced the Toronto Blessing. This led many to believe they must be ‘sound’. But this cannot be so. I say this without animosity toward these men or their ministries. A man who remains – and likes to call himself – ‘Pentecostalist’, but who has publicly castigated the Toronto Blessing is still, nevertheless, of the same root. That root is described in these pages. You will see that a man who denounces the Toronto movement must also denounce his own past, which is of the same kind. Such a man’s ministry MUST, by definition, be tainted by his Pentecostalist beliefs and background. At some stage he must revert to those beliefs. Those who follow such men and who give moral or monetary support, must be aware of this probability, to avoid disappointment. A man who does not leave behind his Pentecostalism is a ‘Toronto-ist in waiting’. (Explanatory illustration: If a man in the Nazi Party denounced Hitler, would you be able to trust him if he remained in the Party?). THE REAL THING – NOT COUNTERFEITSOne other mistake needs to be acknowledged. That is, the fashion of calling recent charismatic activities ‘excesses’ and the gifts and manifestations ‘counterfeits’. Neither of these terms apply. An ‘excess’ suggests that the core of something is acceptable, but that there is simply an abundance of it. That is, the substance is basically good, but what spills over is somehow just a bit ‘over the top’. Toronto-style activities and its allied beliefs are not ‘excesses’ at all, but are a totally different breed. They have no basis in scripture, so they are not just slightly twisted forms of something good – they are without scriptural roots and are evil. As for their gifts and manifestations (and fruit) being counterfeits…well, this word is used by well-meaning reformed Christians who have only a superficial understanding of what they have observed, usually third-hand. The axiom is, that where there is something real, there will be a counterfeit by Satan. The axiom is wrong in this case! In charismaticism, Satan is not trying to mimic what is real at all – he has produced his own brand of religious experience, without reference to what God does. Thus, the Toronto Blessing and charismaticism itself are not ‘counterfeits’ – they are the real article. What are counterfeits are the explanations and theology given by charismatics in defense of what they say and do. The Alpha course follows in this ‘new’ tradition, by basing its theology on scripture and then by twisting it to accommodate charismatic heresy. The manifestations themselves, which are the major cornerstone of charismaticism, are Satanic and not counterfeit, for they do not even attempt to copy what God does. There is nothing like them in scripture, so they have no link with previous or present godly realities. That makes them unique and not copies. It is important that we describe the charismatic phenomenon carefully and properly, because the outcome has far-reaching effects. Once we attribute ‘excesses’ or ‘counterfeits’ to Pentecostalism we legitimize it and bring it into the Christian fold. Let me give just one example of charismatic activity that is not counterfeit – though it is often referred to as such…tongues. Commonly today, Pentecostalists claim their own ‘tongues’ to be of God whilst they call charismatic tongues ‘counterfeit’. Reformed Christians follow this anecdotal image. The problem is, both charismatic and Pentecostalist ‘tongues’ are false! In scripture a ‘tongue’ is a normal foreign language, not a heavenly language that no-one can possibly understand. So, that makes all the ‘tongues’ used by both camps unique manifestations of Satan (or, sometimes, of one’s own sinful psychological output – though this also comes from an evil source). They are not ‘counterfeits’ because they do not mimic the real thing. One is a foreign language and the other is a badly cobbled-together form of gobbledegook. This is a central truth to understand, because Pentecostalism mainly hinges on tongues. Judge the facts for yourselves as we now look at the Azusa Street antics… Interestingly, the Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements itself states that slaying in the spirit is not Biblical. It says that it can be caused by peer pressure, autosuggestion, or self-desire to have ‘it’. But it does not include the possibility of ‘it’ being all of Satan, or even partly of Satan. Yet, this phenomenon is unbiblical! Both tongues and slaying in the spirit are unbiblical. They were the basis of the Azusa Street activities which gave birth to Pentecostalism. David du Plessis, a much revered figure in Pentecostalism, admitted that slaying in the spirit should be avoided because it brought ‘nothing but trouble’ (quoted by Cardinal Suenens). God’s phenomenon do not bring this kind of trouble. Satan’s activities do.A blanket of silence is thrown over slaying and tongues, because both phenomena were linked together at Azusa Street. Doubt one and you must doubt both. So, the best strategy is to keep quiet. The fact is very stark – if slaying and charismatic tongues (the very foundation of Pentecostalism) are both unbiblical, then they are of Satan. So, if both these phenomena are admitted to be demonic, the whole denomination/movement is a demonic device. No Pentecostalist or charismatic will ever admit to such a fact. However, Cardinal Suenens, a charismatic, says that slaying is the work of an ‘alien force’! What ‘alien force’ can there be for Christians, except a Satanic one? Today Pentecostalists and charismatics (kissing cousins) have fudged the issue with bamboozling words and arguments. WIMBER – A SON OF AZUSA STREETNote that the start of John Wimber’s (not God’s) movement – the TB, Vineyard, etc. – contains exactly the same ingredients as those found at Azusa Street. Lies have been told about Wimber’s charismatic start, and lies are weaved into every charismatic wave and activity. The lies are spoken by charismatics themselves in order to boost their own movement, by twisting or lying about what really happened. So beware when listening to the glowing reports of charismatics! AZUSA STREETAzusa Street is in Los Angeles, California, USA. The church there experienced its phenomena in the first decade of this century (20th). However, the same phenomena had occurred many times before, in the previous century, though not in such an organized way. The man who first organized Pentecostalist ideas into a theology was Charles Parham. He has the distinction of being the ‘father’ of modern Pentecostalism/charismaticism. His contemporary, W. J. Seymour, helped to spread the new theology and manifestations. (Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, Zondervan Publishing House, 1988, and ‘The Holiness Pentecostal Movement in the United States’ by William Eerds, Grand Rapids, 1971). The Azusa Street church held its historic meetings three times a day, seven days a week, and sometimes all night as well, for three years. (Note how the time scale and number of meetings coincides with that of the ‘official’ period of the Toronto Blessing?). Just as with the Toronto Blessing people flocked from around the world to experience ‘Pentecostalism’. And what was experienced? (the first woman mentioned) this time singing a far-away tune that sounded very unnatural and repulsive…When the altar call was made, a woman walked up to the front and kissed a man…kissing between the sexes is a common occurrence in the tongue meetings.” (An eyewitness account in ‘Demons and Tongues’ by Alma White; Pillar of Fire Publishers, 1949). Classic early Pentecostalism – and classic 1990’s charismaticism. Both the same! “…a woman…stood shaking from head to foot…a man in front of her slid down out of his chair and became unconscious…the man…was…under high nerve pressure…He arose, staggered to them and began to shake his hand in front of their faces and wave his arms over their heads and moan…Then he put his hands on the heads of the women and began to shake their hair. Some of them lost control of themselves and went under an hypnotic spell. He rubbed a man’s jaw until the victim tumbled over on the floor and lay for half an hour, then suddenly began to jabber. Those who had received their ‘Pentecost’ cried out, ‘He has the baptism, he has the baptism!’. A young coloured woman, doing her best to get the gibberish, went through all kinds of contortions in her effort to get her tongue to work. …a coloured woman had her arms around a white man’s neck, praying for him. A man of maturer years leaped up out of his chair and began to stutter. He did not utter a distinct syllable…’tut-tut-tut-tut-tut-tut’. This was evidence that he had his ‘baptism’. Here is another eye-witness account: “(Shumway – an author)…attended a ‘Pentecostal’ meeting where pandemonium was loose (Ed. Look up the meaning of ‘pandemonium’. This is what Shumway was referring to). Men and women…were talking excitedly ‘in tongues’. A man (holding on to a post) seemed to be in possession of an old-fashioned Peter Cartwright camp-meeting (charismatic-style antics in the previous century – see BTM article) case of the jerks. He was muttering and mumbling most of the time, but would (also) shriek. About sixty or seventy of the three hundred present were ‘possessed of the spirit’ (Ed. I refuse to prefix the word ‘spirit’ with a capital ‘S’. It is not the Holy Spirit) and each was (trying to be louder than the others). (The same man then added) ‘God’s got a crowd ‘o folks here that’s willin’ to let him make fools of ‘em if he wants to.’ ” One of the three men…leading the meeting…was praying…kneeling upon an open Bible…He was almost beside himself with excitement, His arms waved and his body swayed. I thought…that he might be heard two blocks away. In this meeting there was barking like dogs, hooting like owls, and the like…After adjourning, one of the leaders remarked in my hearing ‘God had a wonderful hold on this meeting for a little while, didn’t He?’. Do you not find all this frightening? This could be a description of a modern Toronto-style meeting! Note the leader kneeling on God’s word? The ‘pandemonium’? The sexual activity? The same manifestations? The suggestion that God had control of only a small part of the meeting (thus Satan had the rest!)? The making fools of people? It is also worth noting that early Pentecostalist congregations were commonly ordered out of town by the police because of the racket they made, and because of their general misconduct. (‘A Critical History of Glossalalia’ by C W Shumway. PhD Dissertation, Boston University, 1919). This is what today’s Pentecostalists revere and this is their true birthright. Yet another eyewitness said: “…I found men and women lying on the floor in all shapes…(they were) jabbering all at one time in what they called unknown tongues. While I was praying, one of the workers took hold of me and said, ‘Holy Ghost, we command Thee to go into this soul’. The workers were jabbering and shaking their hands over me, and a demonic power (as I now know) took possession of me, and I fell among the people on the floor and knew nothing for ten hours. When I came to my senses I was weak and my jaws were so tired they ached. I believed then that this power was of God. They said I was wonderfully blessed, and the leader sent me from one place to another so that I could jabber in tongues.” (‘Demons and Tongues’. See above reference). Note – they commanded the Holy Spirit! Just like today. He knew nothing of what he had done for ten hours! The same evil as we see today in charismatic meetings. If you are a Pentecostalist, can you not see it is evil? That your roots are in Satan and not in God? That those you revere were themselves controlled by demons? If not, read on… SLAYING PLUS TONGUES EQUALS REVIVAL?When W. J. Seymour preached at Azusa Street, the meetings were called a ‘revival’. Why? Because so-called slaying in the spirit and tongues were combined! To these early Pentecostalists they were the ‘proof’ that God was with them in a powerful way. The hard fact is, all the manifestations were those found in demonic hypnosis (see BTM Article on the subject). One who took part in these early years, Bartleman, said: “At Eighth and Maple Streets such a divine ‘weight of glory’ was upon us we could only lie on our faces. For a long time we could hardly remain seated even…” (‘Another Wave Rolls In’, by Bartleman. Voice Publications. 1962). And: “It was also reported that the ‘jerks’ and ‘treeing the devil’ (that is, crawling on all fours and barking up a tree like a dog) were in evidence in the (Azusa) mission.” Bartleman, in favour of the movement and not wanting to write anything negative, refers to a Baptist pastor who ran around hugging everyone he could get hold of. This was called ‘divine love’. Remember, all this – and the kissing – all took place at a time in history when such behavior would have been shocking. Yet it was accepted as of God, without question. One missionary leader spoke with horror about what happened at Azusa Street, declaring that “it would be impossible to publish the things that have occurred there. The familiarity between sexes in the public meetings has been shocking, to say the least. Hell has reaped an awful harvest and infidelity has become more strongly rooted…than ever before.” (‘Demons and Tongues’). All along in these descriptions we are reading carbon-copies of Toronto and other charismatic antics. Sexual impropriety is rife, as is marital breakdown and other problems. Significantly, Seymour, a leader of the movement, “ultimately repudiated the initial evidence teaching (speaking in tongues) as providing an open door for witches and spiritualists and free lovism.” (‘Dictionary of P & C Movements’). Parham, the ‘father’ of Pentecostalism, had this to say about Azusa: “Men and women, whites and blacks, knelt together or fell across one another; frequently, a white woman, perhaps of wealth and culture, could be seen thrown back in the arms of a big ‘buck nigger’, and held tightly thus as she shivered and shook in freak imitation of Pentecost. Horrible awful shame!” Yes, that was the leader of the movement talking! (‘Fields White Unto Harvest’, by James Goff Jnr. University of Arkansas Press, 1988). In those days these were scenes of degradation and immorality. Before he left Azusa Street, Parham said “God is sick at His stomach” because of the ‘animalism’ going on there. (Shumway). All of these things and more go on at Wimber and other charismatic meetings. Now we come to worse facts… WITCHES AND MEDIUMSThe occurrences at Azusa Street soon attracted the attention of occultists far and wide. They did so not because God was in the movement, but because He was NOT! (‘The Holiness Pentecostal Movement in the United States’ by Vinson Synan. Grand Rapids. 1971). I would ask Pentecostalists to read that statement again. Does it not tell you something about the true nature of your denomination? “…spiritualists and mediums from the numerous occult societies of Los Angeles began to attend and to contribute their séances and trances to the services.” Seymour was terrified by these activities, which took place in the middle of his church’s services. He wrote frantically to Parham, begging him to come to Los Angeles to sort things out. “W. J. Seymour was still writing urgent letters appealing for help, as spiritualistic manifestations, hypnotic forces and fleshly contortions as known in the coloured Camp meetings in the south, had broken loose in the meetings.” He wanted to know which parts were real and which were false. It did not enter his mind that it was ALL false! The manifestations he refers to are exactly those that were shown in Rodney Howard Browne, Copeland, Benny Hinn and other charismatic meetings, during and since the Toronto Blessing. They currently are alive in Pensacola. As Nader Mikhaiel correctly observes: “How could an outpouring of the Spirit of God attract the witches, the mediums and the spiritualists? Fragrance does not attract flies – a decomposing carcass does. Mediums and spiritualists are attracted to the spirit that is at work in them, that is, the Devil.” How else could these evil people participate in what was supposed to be a ‘revival’ meeting? The only answer is that the events at Azusa Street were not of God at all, but were of Satan. That has a serious ramification – that Pentecostalism is based not on the work of God, but on the work of Satan. As we have said many times before, this has nothing to do with how ‘nice’ a person is, or how ‘holy’ he claims to be, or how much he says he ‘loves Jesus’, etc. What matters is how he obeys the Lord’s commands as found in scripture. Azusa Street did not obey the Lord, but propagated perversions of truth. What followed, therefore, was also a perversion – which continues to this very day. Again to quote Mikhaiel: “Did the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost attract mediums and spiritualists, to participate with the disciples?” No, of course they did not! Something I have discovered in my own work is that mediums and spiritualists are powerless in the presence of God. I have noted how spiritualists have been dumb when I have been near, and I have watched a man overtaken by a demon crawl into a corner, crying out that I leave ‘him’ alone because I ‘knew God’. He was forced to crawl and snivel, just as demons cried out to Jesus not to harm them. This happened not because of my own strength or holiness, but because of the Master I represented! I had no power of my own, yet even the derived, delegated authority of a mortal, sinful Christian was enough to send demons scurrying away. Why did they not scatter at Azusa Street? I think you can already guess the answer. The power of Satan was so strong that the “supernatural atmosphere of Azusa Street was felt within several blocks…”! If it had been the power of God, mediums and spiritualists would not have been able to enter that hallowed area. Instead, they flocked there and joined in the revelry, because they recognized that the same spirit as they had was present in Azusa Street. Bartleman tells us that the folk at the church were petrified by the occultists: “…spiritualists, hypnotists…all the religious soreheads and crooks and cranks came…We had the most to fear from these…This condition cast a fear over many which was hard to overcome. It hindered the spirit so much. Many were afraid to seek God for fear the devil might get them.” A revival? Never! This is the kind of fear generated by the might of Satan, not by God. God cannot be hindered by Satan. As Mikhaiel points out – Seymour was a false apostle. But no more so than all others who follow in his footsteps. If God works through a Pentecostalist it can only be by special divine intervention, over and above what He normally does. Such an intervention must be in spite of a man being Pentecostalist. Any such grace is certainly not a reason to remain a Pentecostalist. PARHAM – UNABLE TO ACTParham could not shift this awful pestilence. He was ‘repelled’ by what he witnessed and when he attempted to rectify the situation, Seymour and his followers split from him. They did not like it. This is exactly how Toronto Blessing leaders reacted to rebuke and help from faithful Christians. Parham saw hypnotists (occultists) practicing hypnotism at the altar. Later, he confessed that it was all of Satan, for he saw “hypnotic influences, familiar spirit influences, spiritualistic influences, mesmeric influences and all kinds of spells and spasms, falling in trances etc….” He refuted them as being of God, as his own wife testified. (‘The Life of Charles F Parham’ by Sarah Parham. Garland Publishing. 1985). It transpired that Parham was “not wanted” at Azusa Street. Why not? Because one of the elders was himself a hypnotist, who passed on the power to speak in tongues to others! Or as Parham put it: “chattering, jabbering, speaking in no language at all”. (Parham).Parham tried to counter the evil at Azusa Street by holding parallel meetings elsewhere, to deliver people from possession by demons. He said: “between two and three hundred who had been possessed of awful fits and spasms and controls in the Azusa Street work were delivered, and received the real Pentecost teachings and many spake with other tongues.” Superficially this all sounds great – Parham successfully stole away Satan’s prizes! But we must look far deeper than that. Satan is no fool. He was as much at work in Parham’s meetings as he was in Azusa Street. But in a different way. He merely shifted his locus of attention, from one church to another. With much panache, he grandly allowed Parham to ‘exorcise’ his demons, and then placed them back again, making Parham’s converts speak in tongues that were just as false as the ones they previously had! Satan has a grim sense of humor, friends. If he can gain something by pretending to be cast out by false prophets, then he will gladly join in the fun. So, what appears to be an exorcism is actually a worsening of the situation. As scripture tells us, if a man is not cleansed of sin after being exorcised of demons, then even more demons will enter him, causing even greater havoc in his life…a havoc far worse than he had experienced previously. Remember this when you next contemplate the supposed exorcisms in charismatic and Pentecostalist meetings. Satan is not being cast out – he is just reinforcing his position by assuming another guise. SPREAD OF INFECTIONJust as happened with the Toronto Blessing, so the Azusa Street phenomenon spread, and the same manifestations occurred. The founder of the Foursquare Gospel church, Aimee Semple McPherson, wrote of exactly the same manifestations as are found in Pensacola and in charismatic churches worldwide today. That is because the same Satanic influence and falsity has been passed on, decade by decade. This woman received the ‘spirit’ and the ‘gifts’ in the same way as charismatics do today. Such is obviously not of God. For example, “it was as though He would tear my body to pieces…He verily split my throat…(someone said to her) ‘the Lord is able to repair any damage He does to the old temple. After being tossed about violently for quite awhile until I was panting for breath and wet with perspiration, I…poured forth praise to God in tongues…” (‘This Is That’, by Aimee McPherson. Echo Park Evangelistic Association. 1923). Of God? Never! She, too, called the ‘revival’ the ‘latter rain’ of God. When this ‘rain’ spread to Britain, rooms were ‘rocked’ at prayer meetings. That is the work of demons, not of God. This is just a smattering of information concerning Azusa Street and the formation of Pentecostalism. If a reader cannot see the demonic behind it all, then there is very little that further study would bring. Pentecostalists should consider this – if what they have is truly of God, why is it the same as is being experienced by charismatics, and which has been experienced continuously since Azusa Street, where mediums and spiritualists recognized the ‘spirit’ to be their own Satanic spirit? The experiences are not just similar – they are exactly the same. May God help us all to ‘read between the lines’ of what is happening today. Discernment is essential if we are to remain faithful to the Lord and stand against error.This Article has given the historical facts concerning the beginning of Pentecostalism. Now that you know the truth, what are you going to do about it? If you have Pentecostal friends, will you show them their error? Or will you stand by and allow them to think they are okay? Will you let them continue thinking that their various Pentecostal ideas are of God? Will you urge them to repent and leave what is a heinous deception of the Devil dressed in acceptable guise? The days are short. There is no time for nice chit-chat. Pentecostalism (charismaticism) is growing rapidly. Will we now stand against it and raise the banner of Jesus Christ? Or will we all stand by and allow charismatics to raise their own false standard, proclaiming themselves to be God’s people on this earth? You have the choice – to stand firm or to mix with error. Telling friends they are in gross error is a very hard thing to do. This is acknowledged. But what is being tested is not friendship – it is loyalty and faithfulness to the Lord, His word and Truth. It is always sad when those we thought were friends shun us because of a firm stand for the Lord. That is the way it has always been.
Redeemedhippie: The author has made it clear he has no use for charismaticism. That is understandable. I do not competely endorse his views. He is very right in saying, “The days are short. There is no time for nice chit-chat. Pentecostalism (charismaticism) is growing rapidly.” Very right. Not that Pentecostalism in and of itself is wrong, but the hereies that have crept in and corrupted the church have grown rapidly the past few decades. The heresy of creating a Jesus in their image.
He continues, “Will we now stand against it and raise the banner of Jesus Christ? Or will we all stand by and allow charismatics to raise their own false standard, proclaiming themselves to be God’s people on this earth?” He is right about the false standard that has been raised. It is time we stood up and challenged those who have misrepresented the truth with their abominations. Too bad we did not do it years ago.
“You have the choice – to stand firm or to mix with error. Telling friends they are in gross error is a very hard thing to do. This is acknowledged. But what is being tested is not friendship – it is loyalty and faithfulness to the Lord, His word and Truth. It is always sad when those we thought were friends shun us because of a firm stand for the Lord. That is the way it has always been.”
How many times, have we charasmatic shunned those who did not agree with us? I know I have been guilty of it over the years. I did what I was taught. Accused those “less spiritual” than I of not being “as spiritual” because they did not speak in tongues or hoop and holler. Shame on me! The time has come for loyalty to Jesus above that of men.
(Acknowledgements for quotes are made to: ‘The Toronto Blessing and Slaying in the Spirit – the telling wonder’ by Nader Mikhaiel….an exceptional book written by a man of discernment)
Article gotten from here: http://www.scionofzion.com/azusa_street.htm
September 9, 2008
Just for your information, no, I did not read the book. I have no desire to. I know arsenic is poisoness, therefore I would never buy it or use it. The last time I went into a “Christian” bookstore, I came out of it depressed. All the self-help manuals and the apostate gurus being thrown at us are enough to make me want to picket these places carrying a sign calling out, “REPENT!” Which I still may do at some point.
Whats Wrong With The Shack Book?
The Shack is full of false doctrine looked past by people who are emotionally swept out into the sea of deception. They look past the truth of God’s Word because they want a god of their own making, one who fails to punish for sin unrepented of.
The primary source of this bad doctrine is because the trinity of The Shack Book is not the Trinity of the Bible. Rather it is the goddess Kali.
This is the book for you if you believe in a Universal salvation without seeking forgiveness, if you want a god who loves without logic, and if you don’t know or don’t care about biblical truth and sound doctrine.
Taken from this site:
September 8, 2008
“Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any creature of the field which God had made” (Gen 3:1) (Amplified version).”But also (in those days) there arose false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among your-selves, who will subtly and stealthily introduce heretical doctrines..” ( 2 Pe 2:1).
“For certain men have crept in stealthily – gaining entrance secretly by a side door” (Jude 4).
How often do we hear the refrain – if it looks so “good” (“brings forth such “good fruit”), how can it be deception? Are we expecting deception to be obvious? Why then would the Bible describe it as “more subtle and crafty, stealthily” gaining entrance as by a side door? Barnes Commentary states in the analysis of 2 Pe 2:1 that
“…(false teachers) would not at first make an open avowal of their doctrines, but would, in fact, while their teachings seemed to be in accordance with truth, secretly maintain opinions which would sap the very foundations of religion. The Greek words used in the preceding verses means properly to lead in along with others. Nothing could better express the usual way in which error is introduced. It is by the side, or along with, other doctrines which are true; that is, while the mind is turned mainly to other subjects, and is off its guard, gently and silently to lay down some principle, which, being admitted, would lead to error. Those who preach error rarely do it openly.”
THEREFORE, WE SHOULD EXPECT DECEPTION TO LOOK “GOOD”!! According to the Bible, the easiest method of deception is for error to ride on the back of truth. We hear what is, indeed, truth being preached. We assume that everything, therefore, being preached is truth, that everything being done is Biblical, so we let down our guard…and error and deception can then enter “secretly by the side door.” Do we forget that it is a little bit of leaven that leavens the whole loaf?
Let’s carefully examine what the Bible says about things that look “good.” A few simple – yet startling – examples:
Gen 13:10 – What did God describe as looking “like the Garden of the Lord”? SODOM (where exceedingly great sinners lived, v.13)Ezek 28:12- Who did God say was “the full measure and pattern of exactness – full of wisdom and PERFECT IN BEAUTY”? SATAN
Mt 7: 15 – Who will come “dressed as sheep” on the outside, “but inside are devouring wolves”? False prophets…looking “good.”
Acts 20:29-30 also speaks of “ferocious wolves” that come from “inside”, from those thought to be in the flock of Christ.
Mt 23:12 – Who “looked beautiful on the outside”? The Pharisees who “inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything impure.”
2 Cor 11: 14,15 – Who will come as an “angel of light” and as “ministers of righteousness”? Satan and his servants.
Conclusion: deception looks “good” on the outside, but inside it is deadly.
It requires diligence to discern when Satan comes as an “angel of light”, bringing what looks like the “light” of new revelation on a holy subject: when he comes, not as a devil, but as “another Jesus”; not with out-and- out heresy, but with “another Gospel”; and when he does all this in a religious setting, as “another spirit” (2 Cor 11:4). Have we forgotten that Satan is a “religious” creature? Have we not realized that false gospels are not completely new gospels, rather they are true gospels with a few “minor” changes? Didn’t the Galatians believe the basic truths of Christianity? Yet, Paul said, not once but twice, that they were to be “accursed”(Gal 1:8-9) for receiving a “different gospel,” for making a few changes to the true gospel.
Perhaps, we need to look at some passages of Scripture in greater detail so that we may grow in discernment and avoid the deadly dangers of deception. Let’s start at the beginning…
Genesis 3 contains the foundational truths of discerning deception. The Garden of Eden was a perfect religious setting; and into this perfect religious setting came deception. The relationship between God and the man and woman was so close that He “walked in the garden in the cool of the day” with them. This was spiritual intimacy of the highest order. And therein was part of Satan’s subtle deception – he tempted the woman in the realm of that spiritual intimacy to become closer to God, to be more like Him (v.5). Let’s remember that deception came before the Fall, before sin corrupted her mind with the twisted knowledge of what good and evil were. Exactly because of the purity of her being, this deception had to come in a very “good” disguise – so it came disguised in a holy desire for her to be closer to the God she loved. Such a holy desire – but, in order for it to be fulfilled she had to disobey His one “small” warning: just take one bite of what looked “good” to her. Here was the first appearance of the “angel of light”, bringing new “light” in a “holy” way. And she did eat…and Adam did likewise. And they lost everything. The temptation looked “good”; it sounded “holy”; and it would allow them to grow “wise” – how could this be bad when it looked so good?
In their deception and sin, the man and woman did not even first realize there was any change in them: “After Eve had eaten and apparently suffered no ill effect, this constituted an additional argument why Adam need not hesitate to adopt the same course” (Barnes Commentary). After all, she hadn’t died as God said she would if she ate of the fruit, so it must be safe. But, “they eat, they expect marvelous results, they wait and there grows on them a sense of shame” (ibid). When we are first deceived, we may still seem to be holy – perhaps we may even think we are more holy – but in time a sense of shame will grow on us. We have partaken of that which God has forbidden in His Word: we have fallen for that which we think looks “good.”
In the Garden of Eden, wasn’t one of the things the Lord was saying was that He had already given the man and woman ALL they need? They did not need more than all the trees and fruits He had already provided for them. Today, isn’t He trying to tell us the same thing? He has given us salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit – there is no “more” described in the Bible. Then why is the cry across the land for “more, Lord, more”? Biblically, what “more” is there? Do we not already have all we need?
Then there is the parable of the wheat and the tares in Mt 13:24-30. Unger’s Bible Dictionary defines tares as:
a poisonous grass almost indistinguishable from wheat while the two are growing into blade, at the beginning. When they come into ear, they can be separated without difficulty.
At the beginning all the crop “looks good”, according to what the eye can see. But as time goes on the tares become visible. The wheat is sown first by the Lord. Then the enemy sows his tares as men sleep. Isn’t this another way of saying that first, the true gospel may be preached, but “alongside” of that tares are sown? (remember 2 Pe 2) The Matthew Henry Commentary states:
…when reason and conscience sleep, and people are off their guard then the enemy comes in…Note, when Satan is doing the greatest mischief, he studies most to conceal himself; for his design is in danger of being spoiled if he be seen in it; and therefore when he comes to sow tares, he transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Cor 11:13,14)…The tares appeared not until the blade sprung up and brought forth fruit,v.26. As the good seed, so the tares lie a great while under the soil, and at first springing up, it is hard to distinguish them…”
All revivals may look good: great enthusiasm and devotion may be displayed. But, religious enthusiasm in itself is not evidence of the truth. The Pharisees had great religious enthusiasm, so do Catholic mystics and Mormon missionaries. Yet, remember Mt 7: 21-23:
Not every one who says to Me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in YOUR NAME, and driven out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty miracles in YOUR NAME? And then I will say to them openly, Depart from Me, I never knew you.
Who were in danger: just a few? No, many. Were evil acts being performed? No, they were doing miracles, great signs and wonders, prophesying. Were they done in a demon’s name? No, in JESUS’ NAME! In His Holy Name. Yet, He said – depart from Me. How “good” it all looks and sounds – in our eyes. Not in His.
Moses was a true man of God, working true miracles. Yet, in the beginning, his miracles were duplicated by Pharaoh’s magicians (Ex 7:11-12, 22; 8:7). So that we do not forget how prone we always are to “signs-and- wonders” deceptions, 2 Ti 2: 5-9 makes references to these magicians, Jannes and Jambres by name. It warns against “silly” (v.6) people who are “forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a knowledge of the Truth”(v.7). Verse 9 promises that these counterfeits will eventually be exposed. But, in the meantime, they will continue performing signs and wonders, counterfeit signs and wonders.
Counterfeits, in the real world, are only successful in so far as they, as closely as possible, imitate the real. Only very close scrutiny will show that that $100 bill is not legal tender. In the real world, if a warning went forth that there were counterfeiters at large, wouldn’t we scrutinize our money with great diligence? Yet, there are “spiritual counterfeits” at large and so many are gullibly accepting what they teach at face value. There is so much more at stake – our spiritual lives hang in the balance.
The whole chapter of Deut 13 is a warning about deception, but perhaps the most alarming verses are 1-3:
If a prophet arises among you and gives you a sign or wonder and the sign or wonder he foretells to you COMES TO PASS, and if he says, Let us go after other gods, which you have not known, and let us serve them. You shall not listen to the words of that prophet; for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your mind and heart and with your entire being.
Note: the man called himself a prophet of God. He came from among them, like the tares are among the wheat, like error comes alongside truth. And, incredibly, what he said CAME TO PASS! IT LOOKED GOOD!! Yet, God says not to listen to him; on the contrary, v.8 says that that prophet is to be put to death for talking rebellion.
The Lord says all this deception is sent as a test to know whether we love Him totally. Interestingly, the remedy for deception is for us to do our own “testing.” In 1 Th 5: 21 we are commanded by God to “prove all things until you can recognize what is good; to that hold fast.” The word prove in scripture is a metallurgist’s term. It is referred to in Jer 6: 27-30. An assayer or prover is to test ore closely because fool’s gold looks so much like real gold ( it “looks good.”) Once the assayer tests the ore and discovers it is gold, he then tests it further to see how pure that gold is – 10k, 12k, 24k, Interesting isn’t it: God tests us to see if we are gold and how pure gold we are, and we are to test all things to see if they are gold and how pure they are. In Acts 17: 11 the Bereans were commended as being “more noble” because they took the Scriptures so seriously that they even tested the teachings of Paul. Notice that they did not use the fluctuating criteria of emotions or experiences in their testing; they used the only one reliable, trustworthy, infallible standard – the Word of God. Isa 8:20 commands “Direct people to the teaching and the testimony; if their teachings are not in accord with this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Where is the purest gold found? in the City of God (Rev 21:21). We are only fit for this Golden City as we, too, are purified and immerse ourselves in pure teaching. In Jn 17:17 Jesus Himself said: “Sanctify them by the Truth. THY WORD is truth.” Not our emotions, not our experiences, not by how “good” it looks or sounds or feels…by THY WORD.
I will close this by two simple examples of testing popular teachings by the holy standard of the Bible:
- How many times have we heard that the end-times will be marked by revival? Yet, revival is NOT the sign of the end-times. DECEPTION is the sign of the end times. So says Jesus in Mt 24 in v. 4, 5, 11, 23, 24. So says Paul in 2 Th 2:3.
- How often have we been hearing lately about “miraculous signs and wonders”? The problem is that whenever signs and wonders are mentioned in the Bible in relation to the end times, they are called LYINGsigns and wonders! So says Jesus in Mt 24:24 and Paul in 2 Th 2: 9 ( see also 2 Pe 2). Jesus in fact warns strongly against signs and wonders in Mt 12:39 and 16:4 –”An evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Then why are so many today being applauded for the “signs and wonders” in their midst?
Modern Day Application
There is a movement occurring today that, sadly, illustrates the principle herein described: error comes in alongside truth. I am speaking of the “Pensacola Revival” at Brownsville Assembly of God Church. I have personally viewed video tapes of numerous Brownsville services and read countless articles from Biblical authorities on their observations regarding the “Pensacola Revival.” The Word that is preached may be holy. The burden for the lost and the heart’s desire for the flock may be real. Individuals’ lives may have changed for the better because of a sincere desire for God. BUT are the “impartations”, the “birthings”, the physical manifestations and emotional excesses truly of God? Are they not, instead, errors that have come alongside truth and are not those “little bits of leaven” in terrible danger of leavening the whole loaf?
We cannot test what we see and hear by our emotions or by experience: the only remedy for deception is the truth, the objective truth of God’s Word. We must discern what is light and what is darkness. We must test the origins of this revival, its teachings and its total conformity to Scripture. Only by testing can we know what is true and to be embraced and what is deception and to be avoided.
Our criteria for truth, therefore, is not if it looks, sounds or feels “good.” Partaking of the tree of the knowledge of GOOD and evil was our first sin – thinking we knew what was “good”. The remedy for that sin in the Garden of Eden was “Yes, God HATH said!” Today, the remedy is still the same – has God said in His Word that it is good. Let our prayer be that in Isa 11: 2-3:
“(That) the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon ( us), the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the reverential and obedient fear of he Lord. And make us of quick understanding, and (let our) delight be in the reverential and obedient fear of the Lord. And (let us) NOT judge by the sight of (our eyes) neither decide by the hearing of (our) ears”…Nor by how “good” it looks or sounds or feels. Amen.” (Amplified Version).
Author: Barara Wilhelm – 11/97
Article taken from here: http://www.velocity.net/~edju/deception.htm
September 8, 2008
Apostacy, The Great Falling Away, Demon Possession, False "Gospels", False Churches, False Prophets, False Revival, False Signs and Wonders, False Teachers, Heresies, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Learning to Discern Apostacy/The Great Falling Away, Discernment, False Revivals, False Signs and Wonders, False Teachers, Heresies 6 Comments
Please see below video before writing me off.
I realize I may touch someones’ little idol when I expose this mockery. After all, so many of us have been taught it is ok to act the fool while uttering gibberish, falling out of your chair and slithering and jerking on the floor. My aim is not to discredit all tongues. I simply do not know. I do know this much; I know that the church has taught that one must have the gift of tongues to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I do not believe this. If you received the gift of tongues and are now able to actually speak russian, chinese etc. then you need to be in those nations preaching the gospel. But I have yet to see this. Instead I see the following in the church. Complete blasphemy nad mockery of the gift of tongues.
This is the very same spirit at work when the disciples were accused of being drunk. Whereas the disciples said no to the lie, here, the church actually has embraced the lie. The disciples were accused of being drunk to discredit their witness. Did you hear that? They were accused by Satan through the mouths of the ones who wanted to discredit them. They were not drunk. The enemy was trying to make the people think they were drunk so the people would not listen to them. Do you see that?
The video starts out with Kenneth Hagin appearing like an old drunken slob. If that offends anyone, you need to ask yourself why? I know why it offends me. A drunken old man standing over me, suppossedly of God or not, is one that I find disgusting. The Jesus I serve would NEVER stand over me is such a manner.
We are called to be sober.
Hagin says, “They heard them speak in tongues but what did they see for them to think they were drunk? They must have thought they were drunk. They were acting like drunks.” Then Hagin begins a drunken mocking laughter.
I say again, they were not drunk. The enemy was trying to make the people think they were drunk so the people would not listen to them. Do you understand that?
At one minute into the video a very well-to-do looking couple begin to slither out of their chairs. The complete look of stupidity upon their faces is demonic. You tell me how a God who has given us a sound mind could look so utterly stupid. You can’t tell me.
At 1:20 “Dad” Hagin has to be escorted by a few men as he is just too drunk to stand on his own. I find this so repulsive. And if you believe in a Holy God, you should too. The expression on his face is not that of the Holy Spirit but that of another.
At 2:00 into it, we are introduced to Kenneth Copeland. He too is laughing while Hagin can barely stand up being held up by three men. Now church, I once was a drunkard when in the world. And I have had my share of being around a few drunks in my lifetime. I found it distasteful then, I find this even more distasteful. So you tell me, you who want to cling to this idol of yours, why a Holy God would expect me to embrace this? I abhor it. The Spirit in me tells me it is wrong.
“This is the first time we’ve had a full minifestation of that annointing.”
This is NOT the annointing of God.
“You got that! You got that!” He throws the annointing and the crowd roars backward. Complete bedlam breaks out.
At 3:16, a few men appeared to be locked together. Sorry, church, this is not the love of Christ at work here. In the meantime there is a constant cooing sound. It is coming from the woman to the right of Hagin.
Kenneth Copeland, (who I believe has more than one demon in him) is on the floor feeding this frenzy with his antics.
At about 4:40, the woman on Hagins’ right begins to make even dumber and louder noises.
At 5:28 the camera pans over to Copeland. Notice the expression of his face. Did he get sober all at once? It is like he is all of a sudden tired of the theatrics himself. Bored, no longer amused or having fun. Maybe he just wants to go home now, now that the fun is over.
September 7, 2008
The purpose of kundalini stated on this video is “To create a new man, a man who is happily mindless.”My gosh! Do you want to be mindless?! Do you dare to let any teacher, any man, any so-called prophet of God make you mindless with their beliefs and teachings and acceptance of this spirit?! Do you dare test God by NOT taking your brain and TESTING ALL THINGS?! There is no excuse to not search out these things. no excuse at all.
Are not these things being manifested on these videos the VERY things that Jesus cast out of people?! Yet, the church wants to call it the manifestation of the Holy Spirit! Such mockery! Will you stand up for the truth in reguard to no man, now? You see the truth before your very eyes. There is no excuse now.
The man at 4:35 has definitely been touched by something and it creeps me out greater than anything on the clip. I dare say it was NOT the Holy Ghost. His movements are demonic and could only be of a demons manifesting through him but the church wants to call these things the Holy Ghost. Call me just “religious.” I don’t care! Get it! I don’t care! These things are NOT of God! Warning, these things are NOT of God. I don’t care how many experiences you and I may have had in the past where it well, just felt like God, and my experience was so good. I don’t care! Don’t you see we were deceived in following a different Jesus? A different spirit? Only pride would stop a person from admitting it. Oh that we all would wake up because a greater delusion comes. A greater delusion comes!
If this is what heaven is going to be like, then I don’t want to go there. For who in their right mind wants to spend eternity in this among people like this?!
Precious Bride of Christ, flee from these things! Come out from the Whore!
September 7, 2008
Video of all the different signs and wonders (delusions and illusions) coming into the church. The oil, the angel feathers, the gemstones, the gold teeth. As far as gold teeth, I have always wondered why not a brand new tooth instead of gold?
The man at the end kind of makes me sad. He is either one heck of an actor, or being purposely set up to be made to look like a fool, or either perhaps schizophrenic and someone is taking advantage of his sickness. He talks about angels. Right at 7:30 into it, it appears he sees something. Someone asks him, “What did you just see?” He says, “She dropped it, she dropped another stone right here. It’s laying right there. Can’t you see it?!” He walks out into the yard, “It’s as big as a mountain.” Slight over statement on his part.
He digs around in the grass and starts CRYING. He says through tears, “Look at that, isn’t that beautiful?”
I would have to ask this man, “Is it not more beautiful that Jesus died upon the cross for us and saved our worthless vile souls from hell?”
Surely those who are decieving others will be brought down one way or another. Even so, come quickly, Lord.
September 7, 2008
Apostacy, The Great Falling Away, False Prophets, False Revival, False Teachers, Tod Bentley Apostacy/The Great Falling Away, False Prophets, False Revivals, False Signs and Wonders, False Teachers Leave a comment
The spirit of anti-Christ was at work in Tod Bentley’s commissioning over the past year. I found it very interesting that they gave him a ring. WHAT is that about? A marriage? Some kind of “divine” joining? And to what, I would ask? It is obvious it is as much symbolism as it is substance. Do not think these people do anything without it meaning something to them in their own little elitest group.
Che Ahn tells us all that it is “representing the network of apostles coming together, the body of Christ is coming together in love and unity.”
To which I would say, yeah, think so? You people have done nothing but try and discredit anyone who has spoken out against this apostate movement from the very beginning. You do it by calling us “religious, unteachable, unsubmissive, Jezebelle, devisive,” etc. You make war with the true Saints of God through your lies and with your delusions, and you answer to no one but one another. And that is done with such hypocrisy and elitism. You dare not question one another. Tell me WHY whould I bow down to your teachings!? You need to repent, you who hate truth!
Thank God Tod Bently fell from within the ranks of heresy! I wonder if they called off the marriage and asked for their ring back?
September 7, 2008
I have a few things against you, because you suffered that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. Revelation 2:20-22 (Video below)
Somebody should make this woman sit down. This is a real example of Jezebel at work within the church. All those men on that stage with her and not one had the guts to make her sit down. Or better yet, call her out as a false prophetess. But they do not because it is people like I who are being called the Jezebel. What hypocrisy in this movement! What lying abominable apostates they all are!
I would ask when you read her words below, that if you look upon her words as not coming from God, then from who? It can either be of herself or the enemy. I say the devil makes himself known very well through this woman. Listen carefully to what she says.
A transcript of her words: “And the spirit came on me and said, “Tod because you have asked like very few men on the face of the earth have asked, to see my glory I will begin a revival through you.”
I would have to ask, “Ok Tod, what exactly did you ask? Was it about you and having power? Or was it truly about lives being changed through the Spirit and the Word of God? We already know that was not the case because of the many abominations you brought all through this “revival.”
“That will pass beyond gifts into the very heart that moves god. To release gifts to his children.”
What about repentance? What about changed lives? What about holiness?
“And Jesus filled with compassion healed the sick and Jesus filled with forgiveness said he who is without sin cast the first stone. And Jesus filled with justice and truth threw over tables and took out whips and cleansed the temple of God.”
Yes, Jesus did those things and Satan was there to see it happen. This is a subtle mockery.
It is also a very subtle warning from the enemy not to judge their deeds.
“And Tod I have chosen you because of your background. Because of your background, because of your background. To release my nature when you release my gifts.”
“To become a living epistle like the Word that became flesh.”
Is she saying like Jesus? What an abomination! What a mockery of the One True Jesus!
This is Satan speaking!
“I will use you to father a movement that operates in such revival power that is coming out of the very nature and the heart of God.”
LIAR! What? One that kicks sick people in the stomach? One that tells lies and mocks and blasphemes the true Jesus?!
“And you will teach people how to behold god until they are transformed from glory to glory from compassion to mercy to loving kindness to truth to justice to forgiveness.”
LIAR! Satan wants people to behold HIS glory and power. This transformation thing is occultic and new age, preparing the way for a greater delusion and perhaps anti-christ.
Then she bends down over him and lays her hand on his stomach. Which is kind of perverse in my opinion. Too much closeness here and more releasing of the kundalini spirit at work.
“And a whole generation will move in such signs and wonders and power…”
I can almost see Satan salivating here.
“… but everyone will give glory to god.”
LIAR! No, people will be worshipping an image of Jesus you apostates have created!
“I feel like Tod that when you were 12 years old and I just graduated from Baptist seminary The holy spirit fell on me and he started to speak to me over and over and over again about a generation that would come upon the earth.”
This generation is not of God. If you do not believe me, just do a search on The New Mystics with John Crowder. The generation being brought up has no respect for the pure unadulterated Word of God. They are being equipped for battle against the true saints of God.
“That would do signs and wonders and change society and society would not change them.”
I would have to ask, signs and wonders for what purpose? To get people to believe in God? They have the Word. But rather, is it not, to get the simple to unknowingly follow Satan?
“And you are the first fruits of that generation of nation changers that will release the glory of god and all it’s fullness.”
Tod, the first fruits? Now that is scary. Imagine a whole generations of liars, heretics and apostates. Am I the only one looking forward to the second coming of Christ?
“We give you the keys to eastern Europe. Especially the poor and the rejected, the gypsies. and the Lord says because you have loved his personal presence, there are two annointings that are released on his presence and I just want to release those two annointings on you from the lord. By the way, the lord says you’re a well pleasing son. The father, abba said that to you personally. The first annointing is the pleasure of the Lord.”
He lays his hand on Tod’s stomache and begins to quote scripture that is in regard to Jesus: “Surely he has born our grief. sickness, weakness and carried our sorrow unto pain… you were considered stricken and afflicted by God. but He was bruised for our ininquities…and god is releasing his pleasure of what he did upon to jesus unto you, Tod…2nd annointing he wants to give you is, because you have loved righteousness and delighted in integrity and virtue and uprightness in heart in thought and action and you have hated unjustice and iniquity…the lord has annointed you.”
Nope, can not say God was in this at all!
It bears repeating: Tod, the first fruits? Now that is scary. Imagine a whole generations of liars, heretics and apostates. Am I the only one looking forward to the second coming of Christ?
September 3, 2008
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I’m weary of weird Christians
By Michael Spencer
So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?” John 6:30 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:18-19
And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Mark 8:12
I’m tired of weird Christians.
I am tired of hearing people I work with say that God is talking to them like He talked to Moses at the burning bush or like He talked to Abraham. I’m weary of people saying God speaks directly to them about mundane matters of reasonable human choice, so that their choices of toothpaste and wallpaper are actually God’s choices, and therefore I need to just shut up and keep all my opinions to myself until I can appreciate spiritual things. I’m tired of people acting as if the normal Christian life is hearing a voice in your head telling you things other people can’t possible know, thus allowing you a decided advantage.
I mean, if all this were really happening, wouldn’t these people be picking better stocks.
I’m weary of immature college students and high school kids going on and on about what God is saying to them as if they were up there with the authors of scripture. I’ve had it with Christian musicians acting as if every lyric they write is a message directly from God and free from the possibility of mediocrity or poor taste. I now hear preachers who preface their sermons with an appropriate selection from CCM, rather than with scripture. I mean, is there really that much of a difference?
I’m burned out on Christians telling me about the next big thing God is going to do, as if they really know. I’m tired of Christians predicting the future and being consistently, continually wrong, but acting like they weren’t wrong. If you said that on New Year’s Eve the east coast was going to fall into the ocean because of divine judgment and it didn’t happen, you were wrong. Really, badly, embarrassingly wrong. So why can’t you act like you are wrong? Why am I so sure you will have more absurd predictions next Sunday.
I’m worn out on people doing weird things that aren’t in the Bible and saying it’s the “leading of the Spirit.” Falling over. Acting drunk. Jumping around like a wasp went down your dress. I’m tired of turning on the TV or the radio and hearing Christians making more noise than a riot at a mental hospital. I’m out of patience with Christian spirituality equaling some form of clown college graduation.
I’m seriously fatigued from constantly hearing reality explained as spiritual warfare between angels, Christians, demons, and various conspiracies. The drama of blaming everything from illness to bad credit to all your bad choices on the devil is getting old. I’m tired of people being delivered from demons when their problem is their own rebellion, stupidity, meanness, and determination to get their own way.
I’m tired of God being the bag man for everything ever done by some guy who didn’t want to answer questions about right and wrong. I’m tired of God directing people to do things that, uh…actually are not all that ethical or are just plain evil. I’m tired of having to tell my kids that “Yes, so and so said God told them to do it, but that’s not what Jesus should do or you should do.” I’m annoyed at the attention weirdo Christians get, and the obligation I supposedly have to love them anyway.
Let me use some bad language: “Normal.” Dare I bring up that word? Isn’t the Christian life a constantly supernatural life? A frequently miracle-filled life? A life of divine direction, healing, and signs? A life where you (the Christian) know all kinds of things that ORDINARY people don’t know? A life where you (the Christian) are in on the future, in on the prophecies, under the ministry of anointed prophets who are plugged into the big plan? A life that is a battleground of constant demonic assault? Aren’t Christians supposed to have supernatural knowledge of Kung Fu, and be able to hang in the air and…….well, maybe not.
Isn’t the Christian life the “Victorious” life? The “Purpose Driven” life? The “Spirit Filled” life? The life with Christ living in you and through you? It’s not a normal life, and it’s not ordinary. Right? Do I get an “amen?”
Or maybe you are like me. You are an ordinary Christian living an ordinary life. You don’t hear voices, see visions, or believe you are under constant attack by demonic forces. You may have some experiences that you call supernatural or miraculous, but they are the exception, not the rule. When you pray for people, things usually don’t change; you change. You have no authoritative insight into what is going to happen in the future. You suspect that if you were filled with the Spirit, you would love God and people more, and do the right thing more often. You’d be more like Jesus. You wouldn’t be running around in circles pointing out angels on the roof. The fruit of the Spirit would make you a person others would want to be around, not someone who would frighten animals and small children.
A Disclaimer, A Principle, and An Observation Before the tomatoes start hitting the screen, I should open a window and let some air in.
I believe there are some really strange things that happened in the Bible. I don’t doubt any of them. I believe in Satan, demons, and angels. I believe God speaks to people in any way He chooses. I have experienced God’s direction in my life in a way that can only be explained as “God spoke to me.” I don’t hesitate to say it. But this happened once in my life. Miracles are real, and prayer in scripture is an invitation to ask God to do what only God can do in any way He chooses.
I accept without question that some very Spirit-filled people come off as weird in the Bible, in history, and today. I have no argument with anyone over the reality of spiritual gifts or spiritual experience. The Christian does have victory, power, purpose and revelation, all as gifts from God. I do not automatically write off any claim of spiritual experience that is different from my own. My point is not to trash anyone who believes in any of these things. Not at all. My point is that “normal” Christian experience is increasingly seen as “bad” or “abnormal,” while weirdness is increasingly seen as “normal” and proof that a person is really “spiritual.” This shift has enormous implications for Christianity in its essence, its witness, and its experience in the lives of believers.
The principle that I would like to put forward is this: The supernatural character of Christian truth and experience does not remove the basic, normal, human experience of Christians. If “normal” humanity is eclipsed, Christianity ceases to be Biblical, truthful or helpful. In some ways, I think we are being presented with a spiritual dichotomy similar to the Roman Catholic division between those in “holy orders” and your regular Christian in the pew. Protestantism refuted this view, and strongly reasserted the Biblical doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. But now Pentecostal/Charismatic spirituality has brought evangelicalism to a similar situation–a division between the spiritual elite with their “supernaturalism” and the ordinary Christian who doesn’t hear voices and see visions.
Now, that we are all calmed down, let me be very matter-of-fact. In my experience, Christians who go very far down this road of a “hyper-spiritual” experience rapidly become less useful in the service of Christ. Some become quite useless, even a hindrance and a detriment. Let me entertain you with three stories to illustrate–not prove–my point. All three are about individuals who were highly involved in hearing God’s voice, experiencing personal spiritual warfare, seeking miraculous experiences in daily life, and getting words of prophetic insight about personal and world events. I won’t overdo that description of each person. We’ll assume it for the moment.
John, Matt and the Band. “John” came to work for us as a teacher and coach. He was a remarkably gifted guy, particularly in anything that involved people. He was a natural conversationalist, and had real skill in motivation and relationship-building. Before long, we had placed John in an administrative position where he could tell possible donors about our ministry. I had high hopes for John.
John was, however, one of the people I am discussing. Before long, it became apparent that John was pretty uncomfortable with the fact that our ministry wasn’t casting out demons from students. His frustration grew. One day, over lunch, he told me that he was going to leave and find a ministry that would really “pray for” the students. John’s comment struck me as stupid and arrogant, because our ministry depends on and practices prayer. It’s just not the sort of prayer that John was advocating, prayer that really amounted to diagnosing problems as demon possession and ordering the appropriate demon around. I’ve never had much appreciation for people who identified straightforward problems as being evil spirits. It’s not a matter of doubt on my part. It’s a matter of being helpful to the person. John could have been helpful, but he wanted something else.
He left, which was his pattern. He’s been from church to church, ministry to ministry, always pushing for more and more supernaturalism. And if you don’t want to go his way, you’re not going with God. In the meantime, a really talented guy is not putting his gifts to work.
“Matt” and I worked closely together during a good period of spiritual renewal in our ministry. We worked well together because Matt had a maturity and an appreciation for other Christians that I admire to this day. During the time we worked together, our ministry saw a lot of “harvest time:” good numbers, lots of professions of faith, many public testimonies of Christian experience. It was a good time. It could have been better, but I was pleased with what God was doing with our students. Matt was as well, but he wanted more.
In fact, it turned out that Matt and several other Charismatics wanted to see a LOT more than we were seeing. They wanted tongues. They wanted people falling on the floor. They wanted exorcisms. They wanted–according to Matt–”vomiting” of evil spirits. They wanted things to get “out of control”–in the Spirit, of course. Matt and company got more excited the more “Pentecostal” any meeting became. Of course, there is a considerable difference between enjoying the evidence of the Spirit’s work and determining what kind of supernatural demonstrations we have to see next. Matt rejoiced in the present with hopes it would lead to a real “breakthrough.” I thought we already had one.
Before long, Matt moved on, unhappy that our ministry was not as “open to the Spirit” as we should be. I couldn’t help but wonder: Were we not open, or was Matt simply unable to accept the freedom of the Lord to stop short of the whole menu of spiritual gymnastics that he determined we had to see? Today Matt isn’t in ministry at all, but hanging out with other people on the same supernatural fast track. Is this really what Christian service is all about? It seemed more like some kind of Pentecostal peer pressure.
One more story. A few months ago I brought in a very talented Christian band for a concert. They played great music with good lyrics. Then the leader of the group decided he needed to preach. For 45 minutes he went on and on about how anyone here could do miracles if he had enough faith. He talked about God telling him what to do in every decision. (All he had to do was go to church and lay on the floor till God spoke.) He said he’d seen lots of instant healings at their concerts. Then the big one. His goal was to raise the dead. Everyone could raise the dead if they just had enough faith. (Of course we had some kind of an invitation to verify these good intentions.)
Here was a guy who seemed normal, and in half an hour convinced most everyone in the room that he was nuts. And non-Christians in the room were justified in deciding this fellow was a loon. Giving glory and credit to God didn’t matter nearly as much as impressing all of us with how “out there” he could be, and with the fact that we all ought to be “out there” as well.
I could tell these stories all day. The co-worker who had a real gift for evangelizing students, but eventually began making personal prophecies over all of them, including saying the world would end before they all turned twenty. The African student who told the whole school that because I didn’t speak in tongues or get slain in the Spirit, I wasn’t a true minister of God. The woman who wandered my neighborhood praying “against” the various demons that God had revealed to her were influencing our neighborhood. The intelligent young man paralyzed with fear of making any decision without a sign from God.
What is going on here?
In a previous article about religious fanaticism, I told about the theory that Islamist fanatics were overcompensating for what they saw as the “absence” of Allah on the stage of history. I said that religious fanatics may tend to think this way. Thinking about this later, I remember a story I’ve heard many times about John Wimber. Seems that when the founder of the Vineyard movement became a Christian, he expected to see the miracles of the Gospels happening today. He asked a pastor, “When do you do the stuff?” “The stuff? What do you mean?” “The miracles. The healings. You know, the stuff Jesus did.” It’s a good story, and I think it gets at something vital in this discussion.
If you read the Bible you are, of course, struck by the presence of supernatural events. Many of these events, like the Exodus and the Resurrection, are central events in the drama of redemption. The Gospels record many miracles by Jesus, and tell us there were many more. Yet what place do miracles really play in the Bible? There are large portions of the Bible without much more than an occasional message from God to a prophet. Miracles are, actually, the exception and not the rule. I frequently point this out to skeptics who ask why the miracles in the Bible aren’t happening today. If the Bible is read honestly, there were actually very few miracles over the course of history, and most of those were completely unknown to anyone except a handful of people.
When you look at the characters of the Bible there are many supernatural experiences, but have we properly put these in context? For instance, how often did God speak to Abraham? My friends tend to think it was common. In fact, it was rare. Very rare. Abraham’s encounters with God were often years apart. While Moses is described as a person to whom God spoke face to face, we ought to remember THAT WAS MOSES. His burning bush experience isn’t there to say that every person is going to have a similar experience.
Jesus performed many miracles, but he clearly taught that these miracles were “signs of the Kingdom” and were authenticating signs pointing to who he was. When skeptics demanded of him “signs” that would prove who he was, he bluntly said they’d had all the signs they were going to get, and to look at the resurrection if they wanted a real sign. Yet Jesus actually lived a remarkably normal life. He didn’t heal everyone he met. He wasn’t weird. He didn’t run a three ring circus of miracles. His miracles and exorcisms stood out as unusual, and therefore as authentic.
The disciples also did some authenticating miracles, but even a beginning Bible student can see that the number and size of supernatural goings-on decreases enormously after the ministry of Jesus. By the time of the epistles, the kind of miracles and supernaturalism we find in Exodus or Luke is long gone. Certainly there are gifts, answered prayers, and a sense of God’s power in the church. But Christians lead normal lives. There doesn’t seem to be any idea in the New Testament that every day is a burning bush, a face-to-face conversation with God, or a series of demonic assaults repelled by special prophecies and prayers.
If I am right, then the tide of weirdness that has rolled over me amounts to insisting that God provide a “sign” to true believers. It’s exactly as John Wimber said–it’s the “stuff” they did in the New Testament, pushed through the grid of Christian history and theology, and finally interpreted by modern believers determined to show that the God of the Bible is still in business. It’s a way of saying, “This is true, and we are going to prove it by living out all those miracles again today.”
We’ve been Fleeced! I think my first encounter with this weirdness was the whole business of “putting out a fleece.” For those of you who didn’t grow up so immersed in fundamentalism that you know what I am talking about, it basically amounts to getting God to give you a sign of your own choosing. A common version of the “Fleece” method might involve, let’s say, whether to marry a particular guy who has proposed. The fleece might be, “If God wants me to marry Bill, he (Bill) will call me on Saturday morning and ask if I would like to go on a picnic.” This sort of little test was considered harmless when I was a young Christian, but take a moment to look at what’s really going on.
It’s demanding a sign. It’s being able to say “God told me!” At its root, is the desire to know that the God of the Bible is still speaking and acting now, and doing in my life what he did for Moses and Abraham.
So what is Benny Hinn doing when he tells the crowd that the people on the floor are being healed? What are some of my co-workers saying when they repeatedly say God is directing their lives with audible messages? What is happening when a Christian claims that a dream, vision, or prophecy has told him the future? In all these cases, God has proven Himself. He’s given a sign that he is around and is still doing business.
I won’t hesitate to say that I believe the vast majority of this exaggerated emphasis on supernatural experience is self-delusion. I don’t believe God is talking to these people. I don’t believe the prophecies are real. I don’t believe the miracle stories are true. While I am willing to accept that God can do as He chooses without my permission, I think we don’t accomplish anything by taking the route of accepting everything without critical judgment. We have to say what is really going on.
I think the appeal of this kind of experience is far more intense than we might imagine. It is promising a personal experience that proves God is real. My late friend Pat had two heart transplants. During the first, he had a vision of the cross that was immensely real. The experience banished all his doubts and made him a bold–and sometimes annoyingly intense–Christian. I didn’t have the experience. Pat did, and it made him run on a higher level than I did. The supernaturalists want that experience on a daily basis. While I don’t believe Pat was self-deluded, I can’t say the same about most of these people.
“Normal” Christians are living without these “signs.” They are living by faith in what the Bible says, and not looking to their experience to be a daily demonstration of God’s still being around and in the miracle business. In comparison to those who live with daily miracles and prophecies, these normal Christians may have experiences that seem dull or even absent. It is no wonder that many “normal” Christians struggle with feelings of resentment, envy, or anger toward those Christians who claim constant miracles and manifestations of God’s power. Part of my own weariness is from years of feeling second-class and left out of “real” Christian experience. Then I was angry at myself for faking it in an attempt to fit in. Now I’m tired of playing this game, and disturbed by what I see as the misrepresentation of the Gospel, and an insensitivity to the effects of weirdness on those in and out of the church.
How Long Will This Go On? So before we all grow wearier of the topic than I am of the weirdness itself, what can we say?
I’ll start by saying that the Bible’s emphasis on walking by faith rather than by a constant diet of supernatural experiences needs to be understood clearly. I am constantly reminded that the weirdness has registered with many people as Biblical Christianity. We have to say that the Bible is a supernatural book, and God works in our world as He chooses, but faith is nurtured on the Word of God, and on what God has already done in Jesus. The weirdness looks at the events in the Bible as the first inning, and we are now playing out the game. In actuality, the Bible records the entire game and Christ wins! We are living out that victory now. The point is not the next big thing, but what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. Always, being centered on the Gospel and on Christ himself is what we must strive to offer in response to the chaos currently gripping the church family. Further, I think we have to reclaim the fact that God wants us to use our minds to think and make reasonable choices. The Christian life is not a throwing out of the mind, but this is a primary tenet of weirdness. I don’t just mean anti-intellectualism. I mean a rejection of a reasonable, human use of the mind. This glorifies God. Our prayer for guidance and truth from God should be fervent, but we should fervently say that God’s Word of Truth usually comes to our minds through the normal methods. Nothing distresses me more about this entire business than the message to young people that their minds should be ignored and some esoteric, gnostic method of “hearing from God” should lead us in making life’s important decisions.
How should we view our weird Christian friends? That is a complicated question. Given that I have said they are seeking signs contrary to scripture and are deluding themselves and others, you might be surprised when I say I think we should be generous in forgiving and tolerating much of this behavior. Many of our hyper-spiritual friends are sincerely hungry for God. They are following what they believe is a path that will remove their doubts and bring the power of the Spirit into their lives. All of us ought to desire genuine Holy Spirit power, and a true experience of God. I don’t criticize my weird friends for wanting to have a life full of God!
I have to stop, however, when we reach the point of asking what is the source of true experience, what is the nature of that experience, and what are the results of a genuine experience? Jonathan Edwards, who I criticized in a previous piece for leaving the door open for fanaticism, wrote a book that can’t be improved on: The Religious Affections. Charismatics often quote it. Few have read it. We need to hand out a lot of copies. With a generous–perhaps overly generous at times–heart, Edwards puts his head into the scriptures and shows what makes up true religious experience. His words are plain and true:
It is by the mixture of counterfeit religion with true, not discerned and distinguished, that the devil has had his greatest advantage against the cause and kingdom of Christ all along hitherto. It is by this means, principally, that he has prevailed against all revivings of religion that ever have been since the first founding of the Christian church.
Discernment is what we most owe to our weirder brothers and sisters. Not condemnation or rejection, but discernment and simple truth. We need to know our Bibles, and be able to point out the truth of the Gospel. Our lives need to be shaped by Christ, and display evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification and renewing our minds and characters. Even those who have given themselves over fully to every kind of weirdness are usually well aware of their own need of what is real. Many solid Reformed Christians spent a sojourn in this camp, and starved to death while everyone pretended there was a feast.
Feelings in religion are worse than worthless, unless they are accompanied by practice.” Many of our sincerely deluded brothers and sisters know this, and are afraid of what this must mean. It will do them good to see in us genuine experience and a true, substantial working out of what Christ has done for and in us.