By Marsha West
May 29, 2010
A large number of Christians are unaware that literally truck loads of counterfeit Christians have gained access to pulpits, wormed their way into Church leadership, Christian organizations and are deeply entrenched in the so-called Christian entertainment industry. Call them what you will–false teachers/prophets, liberals/progressives, cultists, misinformed, misled, even looney tunes–the one thing they all have in common is that they have strayed from the truth.
Unbiblical teaching has been going on since the early church took root. Peter cautioned that “there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1).
Today there is a damnable heresy in the Church that many Christians haven’t yet heard of: The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) a.k.a. Dominionism/ Kingdom Now/Replacement Theology. Those who disagree with their false gospel must be removed through intense “spiritual warfare” and by raising up a “new breed “of Christian they call an “Army of God.”
The NAR is not new at all. Only the name has been changed—many times—to fool people into thinking there is a “New Wave” or a “Paradigm Shift” taking place in Christendom. Over the years they have dubbed themselves Joel’s Army, Latter Rain, Manifest Sons of God, and the list goes on. They’re ushering in “a reformation greater in scale than the reformation of the 1500′s.”
A liberal pundit lamented that NAR is on a mission to “take control of communities and nations through large networks of ‘prayer warriors’ whose spiritual warfare is used to expel and destroy the demons that cause societal ills. Once the territorial demons, witches, and generational curses are removed, the ‘born-again’ Christians…take control of society.”
The concept of spiritual warfare comes from the Bible. It warns of invisible beings who want to harm us and advises us to put on armor (spiritual armor) in order to ward off their vicious attacks. Problem is, the way in which NAR practices spiritual warfare is both unorthodox and extra-biblical. First of all, they teach three levels of spiritual warfare:
“Ground-level” involves casting demons out of individuals; “occult-level warfare” involves more organized “powers of darkness” [They target here New Age thought, Tibetan Buddhism, Freemasonry, etc.]; and “strategic-level warfare” directly “confronts ‘territorial spirits’ assigned by Satan to coordinate activities over a geographical area.”
In addition, they carry out other extra-biblical practices such as “binding Satan,” “rebuking demonic spirits,” “tearing down strongholds,” and “taking control of cities and situations.”
Why go to all the trouble of demolishing demonic strongholds, even if such things do exist, when the Bible teaches that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is sufficient for demolishing strongholds! (2 Cor 10:3-5).
Liberals/progressives actually fear born again Christians who hold a place of power, have political influence, and are well-connected. One reason the Left hated George W. Bush is because he purported to be a born again Christian. For daring to openly profess his faith in Jesus Christ, liberal elitists labeled him a religious zealot. The liberal press relish portraying individuals who professes a belief in Christ as not the sharpest knife in the tool shed. Never mind that a number of our Founding Fathers, who most will concede were brilliant men, were born again Christians.
Now it seems liberals have a bit of anxiety over “movement operative’s” plans to take dominion:
“The movement’s notion of ‘spiritual warfare’ has spread from the California suburbs to an East-Coast inner city, and has impacted policy decisions in the developing world. Movement operatives are well-connected enough to have testified before Congress and to have received millions of dollars in government abstinence-only sex-education grants, and bizarre enough to maintain that in its prototype communities, the movement has healed AIDS, purified polluted streams and even grown huge vegetables.” (Note: Michelle Obama has also grown huge veggies in her garden at the White House.)
With all due respect, most progressives/liberals haven’t the foggiest idea what spiritual warfare even means. What they don’t quite “get” is that spiritual warfare is a metaphor for what is taking place in the invisible realm. The Bible tells us that Satan is the ruler of this world until Christ returns to judge the world. Moreover, the demonic forces control the minds of individuals. Jesus said to the Pharisees: Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). What does this mean? John Wesley explains:
He was a murderer – In inclination, from the beginning – Of his becoming a devil; and abode not in the truth – Commencing murderer and liar at the same time. And certainly he was a killer of men (as the Greek word properly signifies) from the beginning of the world: for from the very creation he designed and contrived the ruin of men. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own – For he is the proper parent, and, as it were, creator of it. See the origin not only of lies, but of evil in general!
Suffice it to say that Satan and his demons influence people’s thinking–and not in a good way. Since Bible-believing Christians hold that the devil exists, we prepare ourselves for battle by putting on the “armor of God.” (Eph 6:10-19) (Learn how to get dressed for battle by clicking here.) We are commanded to be discerning: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [test] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
Let us apply this principle to dominionists.
The movement is made up of Charismatics and Pentecostals. There is a movement of charismatic Catholics as well. NAR is growing at a rate of 9 million per year. Charismatics hold that the manifestations of the Holy Spirit seen in the first century Christian Church are still available today and can be experienced and practiced and that the Holy Ghost has endued them with supernatural gifts such as prophetic utterance, speaking in tongues, casting out demons, breaking down strongholds, healing, and other “signs and wonders” to include bringing dead people back to life, although no documentation exists to prove this claim.
The “High Priest” of NAR is C. Peter Wagner, former professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission. Wagner, born in 1930, is the founder of Global Harvest Ministries and the presiding apostle of the International Coalition of Apostles, which he also founded, and co-founder of World Prayer Center.
There is a hierarchy in NAR that resembles the Roman Catholic Church. Once world dominion is accomplished, those at the top level will have apostolic authority over other ministries. Are you seeing the danger yet? This could mean literally thousands of ministries with so-called apostles and prophets at the helm! Every person will have an apostle or prophet to whom they are accountable.
According to one source the coalition includes “several hundred apostles across the U.S. and about 40 nations, international training centers and prayer warrior communication networks in all 50 states and worldwide.”
Some readers are sitting there with their mouths agape, thinking “This smacks of imperialism!” Bingo!
Sarah Leslie of Discernment Ministries has written on this very subject. In her article “Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism” She reveals what the Dominionism teaches. Here is an excerpt:
“The Gospel of Salvation is achieved by setting up the ‘Kingdom of God’ as a literal and physical kingdom to be ‘advanced’ on Earth in the present age. Some dominionists liken the New Testament Kingdom to the Old Testament Israel in ways that justify taking up the sword, or other methods of punitive judgment, to war against enemies of their kingdom. Dominionists teach that men can be coerced or compelled to enter the kingdom. They assign to the Church duties and rights that belong Scripturally only to Jesus Christ. This includes the esoteric belief that believers can ‘incarnate’ Christ and function as His body on Earth to establish His kingdom rule. An inordinate emphasis is placed on man’s efforts; the doctrine of the sovereignty of God is diminished.”
Any student of the Bible will understand that the type of thinking described above is highly unbiblical. Where in Scripture does it teach that the sheep, as Jesus refers to His followers, will be given the power to incarnate Christ?
Also mentioned in Sarah Leslie’s article is Pastor Rick Warren. She says Warren “intends to amass the world’s largest volunteer ‘army’ of ‘one billion foot soldiers’ to implement his global P.E.A.C.E. Plan.”
On Sunday, April 17, 2005 Speaking before 30,000 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Rick Warren announced his plan:
“The bottom line is that we intend to reinvent mission strategy in the 21st century. As I stated, this will be a new Reformation. The First Reformation returned us to the message of the original church. It was a reformation of doctrine – what the church BELIEVES. This Second Reformation will return us to the mission of the original church. It will be a reformation of PURPOSE – what the church DOES in the world.”
“Our goal will be to enlist one billion foot soldiers for the Kingdom of God, who will permanently change the face of international missions to take on these five ‘global giants’ for which the church can become the ultimate distribution and change agent to overcome Spiritual emptiness, Self-serving Leadership, Poverty, disease and ignorance (or illiteracy).”
Pastor Warren also made these comments:
“Who’s the man of peace in any village – or it might be a woman of peace – who has the most respect, they’re open and they’re influential? They don’t have to be a Christian. In fact, they could be a Muslim, but they’re open and they’re influential and you work with them to attack the five giants. And that’s going to bring the second Reformation.”
“‘I see absolutely zero reason in separating my fellowship from anybody,” he said. Noting he has theological differences with many of the diverse denominations that invite him to speak, Warren added, “That doesn’t stop me from fellowshipping with them.” When he heard of the SBC’s withdrawal, he added, “I thought, ‘This is silly! Why would we separate ourselves from brothers and sisters in the world?’”
What Warren is purporting is ecumenicism. Actually, we are moving beyond ecumenicism into interspirituality (interfaith spirituality) or interdenominational cooperation. “In the name of peace and unity,” says Ray Yungen, “the world’s religions are more and more joining together. And with that joining together will come a consensus that it is narrow minded and even hateful to say there is only one way to salvation.”
There’s not enough space here to cover interspirituality, so I’ll more on.
Peace and unity has a nice ring to it. But traditional, historic, evangelical Christianity holds that there is only one path to God, one door to enter through. Peter left no doubt when he said, “Salvation is found in no one else” (Acts 4:10). (Also see John 3:16, John 6:66-68, John 14:6, Acts 16:30-31, 1 Tim 2:3-6, 1 John 2:1) The Bible clearly teaches that all paths do not lead to God. Those who take a different path will spend eternity in hell. So the loving thing for a committed Christian to do is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost. In fact, Jesus commanded His followers to go out into the world and spread the good news. Those who keep the good news to themselves fail to understand that God gives no second chances. Jesus said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mat. 7:22).
I’ve drifted from my point. Most Christians have no clue that false teachers abound in the Church. And if they’re aware, they’re ignoring it–or they just don’t care! Some may think the Bible teaches that believers must set up a kingdom here on earth to usher in the Second Coming of Christ. But let me assure you, this is extra-biblical teaching.
Christians have got to put up their discernment antenna. We must start probing to see what other Christians believe and then ask ourselves, “Is it scriptural?” There is nothing wrong with examining teaching coming from the pulpit! Paul praised the Bereans for checking his teaching against the Word of God. (Acts 17:11) We must scrutinize Bible teachers, evangelists, missionaries, speakers, writers, politicians, entertainers, health practitioners, bloggers, and look into “Christian” businesses to see what they’re really selling. Anyone can use a Christian symbol or quote Bible verses to make themselves or what they’re selling sound Christian because they know that gullible folks buy into it! Is it any wonder God warns us to be on the lookout for the spirit of error that comes from Satan and his demons? Satan was a liar from the beginning which is why believers have to be armed with the sword of the spirit–the Word of God!
It is imperative that Christians guard (tend to carefully) God’s Word. Deuteronomy 11:17-20:
“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates…”
When his words are written on our hearts we are not so easily taken in by charlatans, false teachers or enticed into a cult.
Paul admonished Timothy to “keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called” (1 Tim 6:20). In other words, “continue in the simplicity of sincere doctrine.”
Knowing the truth is essential to the faith. Yet neo-evangelicals are inept at protecting biblical truth. Biblical truth is not found in so-called Christians who abandon Church doctrine and rely on what God or so-called angels say to them in visions and dreams. Never, never, never abandon the Bible to follow the teachings of these men and women! Run from those who deny the Deity of Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ is not God, Christianity is a sham.
One last thing. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that we are to treat false teachers with charity and Christian love. In fact we’re taught just the opposite:
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 1:9-11).
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