The Apostasy: Falling Away from Truth
New Age Movement
| Final Destination
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
Now we beseech
you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our
gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind,
or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from
us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive
you by any means: for that day shall not come, except
- there come a falling away
- that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God,
or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple
of God, shewing himself that he is God.
I begin with the scripture above because Paul tells us there are two
signs that precede the day of the Lord and Christ’s coming to gather
us to Himself. This is the blessed hope that we are to watch for. According
to the Bible, God’s Word is Truth. The Greek word used for “falling
away” is apostasia and it means: defection from truth
(properly, the state) (“apostasy”): falling away, forsake.
Therefore any teaching that strays from what the Bible, God’s Word,
says is a defection from the Truth and an apostasy.
This is not limited to the secular, but is a great part of many who consider
themselves Christians who have beliefs and practices in direct contradiction
to God’s Word. I believe in God’s Word being the foundation
for all belief and whatever deviates from that is no longer in line with
Biblical Christianity. This would include “new revelation” that deviates
focus away from what the foundation of scritpure teaches. There’s a
composite theme throughout the old and new testaments that cannot be
I’m not trying to exclude anyone, just uphold
the value of taking God at His Word and living it as best as I can. I’m
not perfect either, but there is a time prophesied in which people will
fall away from the Truth to fables.
1 Timothy 4:1-9
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly,
that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed
to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy;
having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry,
and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received
with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For
every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received
with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt
be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith
and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane
and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto
all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which
is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
There are many beliefs out there that depart from the Truth. Some are
more subtle than others. This page will be a work-in-progress watching the
various forms of deception, blatant and subtle, so that you are not in darkness
regarding what God’s Word says about much of the deception that is
part of the end-times. In fact, that is the first thing Christ warned about
when asked about the time of the end. The ultimate end of this apostasy
will lead people away from God and into a one world religion that will eventually
worship the antichrist.
And as he sat upon
the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying,
Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign
of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And
Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed
that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am
Christ; and shall deceive many.
Beware of false
prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly
they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men
gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree
bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree
bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit
is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall
know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter
into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven. 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.
Until you learn what you don’t know, you have no idea how blind
you are. Blindness comes from a lack of understanding of Truth, the inability
to see it. The Bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the
Word of God. That is our Truth, not material things or man’s rule,
God’s Word is Truth and is eternal. The Word of the Lord endures forever. 1 Peter 1:25
And unto the
angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the
Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of
God; I know thy works, that thou art neither
cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou
art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because
thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;
and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and
blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried
in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou
mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;
and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As
many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold,
I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the
door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To
him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as
I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He
that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Is this speaking to the “prosperity gospel” being preached
around the world? It seems many Christians today are too wrapped up in the
world and conforming to it. The ways of the world hold more importance than
the ways of God and spending time with Him. The desire to “get ahead”
in the world takes our time away from God. Less time reading God’s
Word means less foundation upon which to build belief leading to a lukewarm
attitude not based on Truth of God’s Word, but feelings and impressions
built from ideas here and there, both Christian and secular. I’ve
had to un-learn many things because I did not keep God’s Word central
in my education of reality. Rather I conformed somewhat to the world while
holding onto the basics I had learned growing up. Looking back now, I don’t
believe that was enough and it is a constant journey and relationship
with God and His Word that builds me up. It’s also something I struggle
with doing faithfully.
This mixing and mingling of belief is what Babylon was all about. It
is what God warned Israel not to do because they were set apart as God’s
people to follow His ways. How much more as followers of Christ are we to
walk in His ways written in the Bible? These are the ways of selfless love
toward God and others with the recognition of Yeshua as the Messiah that
died for the sins of the world, rose again and is going to come again. This
is obedience to God and a requirement to build a personal relationship with
Him. God and sin cannot coexist and we as Christians are temples that God
dwells in with us by His Holy Spirit. So let us return to the Book
and His ways and get out of the world and its indifference to righteousness. Let’s fit into God’s kingdom
now, even if it brings hatred against us for speaking the Truth in love.
Trust the Word of God, for it is Truth.
The Lighthouse Trails Research Project
website and associated
newsletter covers in greater detail the pulling away from Biblical Christianity
that is happening more and more today as experience drives belief over the
Book for more and more believers. We must be cautious and guarded about
this because God is not the only being we can have supernatural
encounters with. I believe it is possible to be so caught up in
searching for signs and wonders that they cause us to miss the subtle and
every-day miracles that God works in the lives of them that love Him.
There are many ministries that the world sees through and then
associate with all Christianity even though these ministries are not following God’s Word, but
men’s fables and tickling words.
2 Timothy 3-4:18
This know also,
that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers
of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient
to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers,
false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures
more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying
the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which
creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led
away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the
knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so
do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning
the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for
their folly shall be manifest unto all men,
as their’s also was.
But thou hast fully known my
doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium,
at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord
delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus
shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers
shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue
thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of,
knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child
thou hast known the holy scriptures,
which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which
is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration
of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction,
for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be
perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
I charge thee
therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the
quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word;
be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all
long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will
not endure sound doctrine; but
after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having
itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and
shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure
afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at
hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have
kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and
not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. Do thy
diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having
loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens
to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and
bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. And
Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. The cloke that I left at Troas with
Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially
the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord
reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he
hath greatly withstood our words. At my first answer no man stood with
me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their
charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me;
that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles
might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the
Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto
his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
In all things
shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness,
gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he
that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to
say of you. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and
to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining,
but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God
our Saviour in all things. For the grace of God that bringeth
salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness
and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in
this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious
appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who
gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and
purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no
man despise thee.
This website is an examination of Biblical doctrine in light of end-time
events currently unfolding. One of those prophesied events is an apostasy
from Truth, the Bible. That alone is the foundation to determine sound doctrine.
However, it is just not the bits and pieces we choose to accept but the
whole collection of 66 books written by the Holy Spirit through 40 authors
over thousands of years. We are to teach the Gospel while looking for the
the coming of Christ. In determining what the Bible has to say about
how that will come about, here are some things that I’ve learned about
different types of spirituality out there being used to chip away at the
foundation of Truth through the teachings of men and doctrines of demons
showing signs and lying wonders to deceive. I encourage you to learn what
the Bible has to say about what is going to unfold in the near future.
In the following passages, take note that some of those shut out of the
marriage and even those that cast out demons and do miracles in Christ’s
name and who call Him Lord are not of Him.
Then shall the
kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps,
and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were
wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their
lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels
with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and
slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom
cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed
their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil;
for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest
there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell,
and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came;
and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door
was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins,
saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said,
Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore,
for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but
inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their
fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so
every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth
forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither
can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth
not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore
by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith
unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he
that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
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
My concern is that some of these ministries focus
less on Christ (while still using His name) and more on signs and wonders
and drawing those looking for personal experiences rather than the Truth
of God’s Word. I don’t claim infallibility in determining error,
but I ask you to just look honestly at these things and search the Bible
for yourself as well. Rely on God’s Word over man’s word, including
my own things I share. Acts 17:11
Stupid Shepherds: FRUIT FROM THE AGE OF DELUSION
GodThoughts Wired! email series
So then, you
will know them by their fruits.
The results are in! And sadly, they are not surprising. In
a church age where the average professing Christian is both “in”
the world AND “of” the world...In a church age where the
average pulpit is filled with compromise and half-truths...In a church
age where uninspired commentaries pass for the inspired word of God...Here’s
the latest statistics:*
- 70% of those claiming religious affiliations believe
multiple religions can lead a person to salvation.
- 57% of evangelical Christians say that multiple religions
can lead to salvation.
57% of evangelical Christians say that multiple religions can lead
to salvation, though nary an evangelical theologian or minister would
be likely to say that.”*
Ya’ know, it’s one thing to be silent about something
that is false, but it’s quite another thing to CLEARLY PRESENT
THE TRUTH IN LOVE! Where is the pastor who will boldly proclaim
from the pulpit that “THE BIBLE ALONE IS THE INSPIRED WORD OF
GOD!” Where is the preacher that will unapologetically declare
that “JESUS ALONE IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN!” The Bible
There is salvation
in no one else; for there is no other name (Jesus) under heaven
that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
And Jesus says,
I am the way, and
the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through
Self-help tips from the pulpit this Sunday won’t be
of much value come Judgment Day.
For the shepherds
have become stupid and have not sought the Lord.
-57% of evangelical Christians say that multiple religions
can lead to salvation.*
We live in a day much like the one that Jeremiah lived in. He declared,
“Those who handle the law do not
know Me (God)” (Jeremiah 2:8). Can
you imagine? A pastor of a church? A minister who proclaims the Word
of God each Sunday? Not even having a relationship with the One he/she
and horrible thing has happened in the land; the prophets prophesy
falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My people
love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?
Can you imagine? A pastor running his church based
on the principles of a best selling book rather than the Word of God?
A minister or Bible school professor replacing the innerant/infallible
Scripture with his own ideas and calling them “The Bible?”
Well, it happened in Jeremiah’s day... And it’s happening
* Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life Survey (36,000 people), San
Francisco Chronicle, “Americans Reshape Religion,” p.1.
Excerpt from the book by Ray Yungen (Pg.128-130)
A Global Religion
What is happening to mainstream Christianity is the same thing that
is happening to business, health, education, counseling, and other areas
of society. Christendom is being cultivated for a role in the New Age.
The entity, Raphael, explains this very clearly in the Starseed
We work with all who are vibrationally sympathetic; simple and sincere
people who feel our spirit moving, but for the most part, only
within the context of their current belief system. (emphasis
mine) | Ken Carey, The Starseed Transmissions,
op. cit., p. 33.
He is saying that they “work,” or interact, with people
who open their minds to them in a way that fits in with the person’s
current beliefs. In the context of Christianity this means that those
meditating will think that they have contacted God, when in reality
they have connected up with Raphael’s kind (who are more than
willing to impersonate whomever the person wishes to reach so long as
they can link up with them.)
This ultimately points to a global religion based on meditation and
mystical experience. New Age writer David Spangler explains it the following
There will be several religious and spiritual disciplines as there
are today, each serving different sensibilities and affinities,
each enriched by and enriching the particular cultural soil in which
it is rooted. However, there will also be a planetary spirituality
that will celebrate the sacredness of the whole humanity in appropriate
festivals, rituals, and sacraments. There will be a more widespread
understanding and experience of the holistic nature of reality,
resulting in a shared outlook that today would be called mystical.
Mysticism has always overflowed the bounds of particular religious
traditions, and in the new world this would be even more true.
| David Spangler, Emergence: The Rebirth
of the Sacred, op. cit., p.112
The rise of centering prayer is causing many churches to become
agents of transformation. Those who practice it tend to embrace
this one-world-religion idea. One of the main proponents of centering
prayer had this revelation:
It is my sense, from having meditated with persons from many different
traditions, that in the silence we experience a deep unity.
When we go beyond the portals of the rational mind into the experience,
there is only one God to be experienced.... I think it has been
the common experience of all persons of good will that when we sit
together Centering we experience a solidarity that seems
to cut through all our philosophical and theological differences.
(emphasis mine) | M. Basil Pennington
O.C.S.D., Centered Living the Way of Centering Prayer (Liguori,
MO: Liguori Publications, Revised edition, 1999), pp. 198,200
In this context, we may compare all the world’s religions to
a dairy herd. Each cow may look different on the outside, but the milk
would all be the same. The different religious groups would maintain
their own separate identities, but a universal spiritual practice would
bind them all together - not so much a one-world church as a one-world
spirituality. Episcopal priest and New Age leader Matthew Fox explains
what he calls “deep ecumenism:”
Without mysticism there will be no “deep ecumenism,”
no unleashing of the power of wisdom from all the world’s
religious traditions. Without this I am convince there will never
be global peace or justice since the human race needs spiritual
depths and disciplines, celebrations and rituals, to awaken its
better selves. The promise of ecumenism, the coming together of
religions, has been thwarted because world religions have not been
relating at the level of mysticism. |
Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ (New York,
NY: HarperCollins, 1988), p. 65.
Fox believes that all world religions will eventually be bound together
by the “Cosmic Christ” principle, which is another term
for the higher self.
As incredible as this may sound, it appears to be happening now.
The New Age is embedding in American religious culture far deeper and
broader than many people imagine. If your concept of the New Age is
simply astrology, tarot cards, or reincarnation, then you could easily
miss the real New Age as it pulses through the religious current. If
mystical prayer continues its advance, then we could one day see, perhaps
sooner than we expect, many Christian churches becoming conduits of
New Age thought to their membership.
Is God Graffiti?
Sue Monk Kidd is a best selling novel writer. Her book, The Secret
Life of Bees has sold over four million copies, mainly to women.
At one time a Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher, she became attracted
to centering prayer as a way to know God more deeply. Today, she is
the Writer in Residence of the Sophia Institute, which is devoted to “foster[ing]
the emergence of the sacred feminine” (i.e., the
Divine feminine). Monk Kidd now adheres to what New Agers teach,
that this mystical force (called God or Divinity) is in all
things, nothing excluded:
Deity means that divinity will no longer be only heavenly... It
will also be right here, right now, in me, in the earth, in this
river, in excrement and roses alike. (emphasis mine)
| Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the
Dissident Daughter (New York, NY: HarperCollins, First HarperCollins
Paperback edition, 2002), p. 160.
She reiterates this in her 2006 book, First Light, in which she writes:
If I am intent on centering my life in the presence of God, then
I must understand what I believe about where this presence can be
found... God became the steam of my soup, the uprooted tree, the
graffiti on the building, the rust on the fence.
| Sue Monk Kidd, First Light
(Carmel, NY: Guideposts Books, 2006) pp. 96,98
But what if the graffiti is gang graffiti about killing members of
a rival gang or even worse, what if the graffiti is cursing God with
vile language? Well, Monk Kidd would still say that the graffiti
is God. Why?
It is because New Agers believe God is not a being but Being itself.
In other words, there is nothing that is not God. This is the
decision that the world is now facing -- is God a personal being or
is God the Universe and all that it entails? It is
this vital question that we will explore in the following chapters of
The “Wiles” of Satan
Ephesians 6:11 warns: “Put on the
whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles
of the devil” (emphasis mine).
The word wiles in this verse translates ingenious trap
or snare. In order for a trap to be effective, proper bait
is needed 00 something that is alluring, that looks and feels valid.
For example, let’s take the case of the Reiki. The average Reiki
practitioner would think it outrageous and ridiculous that someone would
even suggest that Reiki is linked to Satan. One Reiki practitioner
offered this comment on the positive nature of Reiki:
During a Reiki treatment, you can expect to feel any number of sensations;
warmth, coolness, tingling, deep relaxation, or at times you may
not feel anything discernible. Sessions usually last one hour, and
afterward you will feel calm and relaxed. you will sleep better
and have a general sense of well-being.
| Jennifer Thebodeau,
Does this sound like something that is Satanic? Most people would
not only say no but would feel that something of this nature probably
would have to come from God. In The Reiki Factor, Reiki master
Barbara Ray says:
Reiki has reemerged as a trasformative tool for energy balancing,
for natural healing, for wholing and for creating peace, joy, love,
and, ultimately, for achieving higher consciousness and enlightenment.
| Barbara Ray, Ph.D., The Reiki
Factor (Smithtown, NY: Exposition Press, Inc., 1983), p. 12.
Enlightenment is the same as self-realization, especially in the
context of a metaphysical practice. When a Christian hears someone claim
to be God, he immediately should recognize the pronouncements of Satan, “Ye
shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5) and “I
will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). Hear this closely,
He said, I will be like the most High (God) ...
I will be like God.
In view of this, the only logical conclusion is that the power behind
Reiki is satanic. The key is not to think in terms of how the
popular culture sees Satan, but rather how the inspired writers of the
Bible portrayed Satan -- a master deceiver and counterfeiter of the
Truth. He is one who comes as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians
11:14) to offer mankind godhood (you are divine and the master
of your own destiny).
The sad thing about all this is that these experiences are so real
and convincing. People experiencing the superconscious testify that
deep meditative states are incomparably beautiful and harpazoous. They
experience intense light flooding them, andhave a sens of omnipotent
power and infinite wisdom. In this timeless state, they experience an
ecstasy compared to nothing they have ever known before. They feel a
sense of unity with all of life and are convinced of their own immortality.
Such experiences keep them returning for more. One is not going to
believe he or she is God if one doesn’t feel
The late New Age leader Peter Caddy related an incident in which
a group of Christians confronted him and tried, as he put it, to
save my soul. He told them to come back and talk to him when they’ve
had the same wonderful mystical experiences he has had. the point he
was trying to make was that these naive Christians had no idea
what the metaphysical life is all about and if they did, they would
want what he had rather than trying to convert him to their
way of thinking.
Feelings such as this are common in New Age circles and have hooked
many over the past twenty years. They feel something this great
has to be of God. A similar account is related in Acts 8:9-11:
But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the
same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving
out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed,
from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great
power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long
time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
In the Greek, the word bewitched means to amaze
or astound. Sorcery means using the power of familiar spirits.
What this man was doing had to have appeared good, otherwise the people
would not have felt that “this man is the great power of God.”
The truth of the matter is, he wasn’t of God, it just appeared
In light of all this, it is easy to see why the coming of the Christian
Gospel to Ephesus, that bastion of the Ancient Wisdom, had such a dramatic
And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.9Many
of them also which used curious arts brought their books together,
and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them,
and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
The word curious is translated from a Greek word meaning
magical. The magical or metaphysical arts went out the door
when the Gospel of Christ came in. The two were not only incompatible,
but totally opposite as the following account reveals:
And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in
the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.
And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found
a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name
was Barjesus: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius
Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired
to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his
name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away
the deputy from the faith. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,)
filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him. And said, O full
of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child
of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt
thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
The Berean Call (August 27, 2008)
am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God
unto salvation to every one that believeth.
For various reasons, Christians of different sorts have tinkered
with “the gospel of Christ” as though it needed adjustments.
Not major alterations, most will tell you, but just some minor tweaking
here and there. The changes often begin by one’s declaring that
there is no real change involved, simply a shift in emphasis. Yet, no
matter what the rationale may be, the end result is being “ashamed
of the gospel of Christ.”
To be “ashamed of the gospel” covers a number of attitudes
from being totally embarrassed by it to thinking one can improve upon
it a bit to make it more acceptable. One example of the former is the
recent claim by an Emerging Church author that the teaching regarding
Christ’s paying the full penalty for the sins of mankind through
His substitutionary death on the Cross is irrelevant and viewed as “a
form of cosmic child abuse.” More subtle examples include trying
to make the gospel seem less exclusive, and the “softening”
of the consequences from which the gospel saves mankind, such as the
wrath of God and the Lake of Fire.
Prevalent among many religious leaders who profess to be evangelical
Christians (i.e., Bible-believing Christians) is the promotion of a
gospel that is acceptable to, and even admired by, people throughout
the world. Today, the most popular form of this is the social gospel.
Although the social gospel is common to many new movements among
evangelicals, it is not new to Christendom. It had its modern beginning
in the late 1800s, when it developed as a way to address the various
conditions in society that caused suffering among the populace. The
belief was, and is, that Christianity will attract followers when it
demonstrates its love for mankind. This could be best accomplished by
helping to alleviate the suffering of humanity caused by poverty, disease,
oppressive work conditions, society’s injustices, civil rights
abuses, etc. Those who fostered this movement also believed that relief
from their conditions of misery would improve the moral nature of those
Another driving force behind the introduction of the social gospel
was the eschatological, or end times, views of those involved. Nearly
all were amillennialists or post-millennialists. The former believed
that they were living in a (symbolic thousand-year) time period in which
Christ was ruling from heaven, Satan was bound, and they were God’s
workers appointed to bring about a kingdom on earth worthy of Christ.
Post-millennialists also believed they were in the Millennium, and their
goal was to restore the earth to its Eden-like state in order for Christ
to return from Heaven to rule over His earthly kingdom.
The social gospel, in all of its assorted applications, helped to
produce some achievements (child labor laws and women’s suffrage)
that have contributed to the welfare of society. It became the primary
gospel of liberal theologians and mainline denominations throughout
the 20th century. Although its popularity alternately rose and fell
as it ran its course, it was often energized by the combination of religion
and liberal politics, e.g., Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights
movement. Midway through the last century and later, the social gospel
influenced developments such as the liberation theology of Roman Catholicism
and the socialism of left-leaning evangelical Christians. It is in this
present century, however, that the social gospel has gotten its most
extensive promotion. Two men, both professing to be evangelicals, have
led the way.
George W. Bush began his presidency by instituting the White House
Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. His objective was to
provide government funding for local churches, synagogues, mosques,
and other religious ministries that were providing a social service
to their community. Bush believed that programs run by “people
of faith” could be at least as effective as secular organizations
in helping the needy, and perhaps more so because of their moral commitment
to “love and serve their neighbor.” As he prepares to leave
office, he has declared that he considers his Faith-Based program to
be one of the foremost achievements in his tenure as president. Presidential
candidate Barack Obama stated that, should he win the election, he will
continue the Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
Rick Warren, the mega-selling author of The Purpose-Driven
Church and The Purpose-Driven Life, has taken
the social gospel to where it’s never been before: not only worldwide
but into the thinking and planning of world leaders. Warren credits
business management genius Peter Drucker with the basic concept that
he is executing. Drucker believed that the social problems of poverty,
disease, hunger, and ignorance were beyond the capability of governments
or multinational corporations to solve. To Drucker, the most hopeful
solution would be found in the nonprofit sector of society, especially
churches, with their hosts of volunteers dedicated to alleviating the
social ills of those in their community.
Warren, acknowledging the late Drucker as his mentor for 20 years,
certainly learned his lessons. His two Purpose-Driven
books, translated into 57 languages and selling a combined 30 million
copies, reveal the game plan for what Drucker had envisioned. Warren
had local churches implement this vision from his books through his
enormously popular 40 Days of Purpose and 40 Days of Community programs.
To date, 500,000 churches in 162 nations have become part of his network.
They form the basis for his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan.
What is his P.E.A.C.E. plan? Warren’s presentation of the plan
to the church is found at www.thepeaceplan.com. On video, he identifies
the “giants” of humanity’s ills as spiritual emptiness,
self-centered leadership, poverty, disease, and illiteracy, which he
hopes to eradicate by (P)lanting churches, (E)quipping leaders, (A)ssisting
the poor, (C)aring for the sick, and (E)ducating the next generation.
Warren uses the analogy of a three-legged stool to illustrate the
best way to slay these giants. Two of the legs are governments and business,
which have thus far been ineffective, and, just like a two-legged stool,
cannot stand. The third very necessary leg is the church. “There
are thousands of villages in the world that have no school, no clinic,
no business, no government--but they have a church. What would happen
if we could mobilize churches to address those five global giants?”
Warren reasons that since there are 2.3 billion Christians worldwide,
they could potentially form what President Bush has termed a vast “army
of compassion” of “people of faith” such as the world
has not yet experienced.
In addition to the Christian version, Warren has
an expanded inclusive version of the P.E.A.C.E. plan
that has drawn support and praise from political and religious leaders
and celebrities worldwide. At the 2008 World Economic Forum, he declared, “The
future of the world is not secularism, but religious pluralism....”
Referring to the ills besetting the world, he declared, “We cannot
solve these problems without involving people of faith and their religious
institutions. It isn’t going to happen any other way. On this
planet there are about 20 million Jews, there are about 600 million
Buddhists, there are about 800 million Hindus, there are over 1 billion
Muslims, and there are 2.3 billion Christians. If you take people of
faith out of the equation, you have ruled out five-sixths of the world.
And if we only leave it up to secular people to solve these major problems,
it isn’t going to happen” (YouTube
To accommodate working with people of all faiths Warren has revised
the “P” in his P.E.A.C.E. from “planting evangelical
churches” to “(P)romoting reconciliation” and the “E”
from “equipping [church] leaders” to “(E)quipping
ethical leaders.” Warren has elsewhere acknowledged his practical
shift to pluralism: “Who’s the man of peace in any village--or
it might be a woman of peace--who has the most respect?...They don’t
have to be Christian. In fact, they could be Muslim, but they’re
open and they’re influential, and you work with them to attack
the five giants [to which he has added global warming].” He quotes
a secular leader who affirms what he’s doing: “I get it,
Rick. Houses of worship are the distribution centers for all we need
Warren has joined the advisory board of Faith Foundation, established
by former British prime minister and recent Roman Catholic convert Tony
Blair. The Foundation’s goal is to further understanding and cooperation
among the six leading faiths: Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh,
and Jewish. How does the Cross fit into this ecumenical gathering? It
doesn’t. Critical to achieving that ecumenical goal is the elimination
of the problem of exclusive religions, a concern articulated
by one of the World Economic Forum panelists: “There are some
religious leaders in different religious faiths who, in seeking to affirm
their own faith and its authenticity and legitimacy...deny other people
their faith with its legitimacy and authenticity. I don’t think
we can keep going like this without...spawning the kind of hatred we
are all here to try and solve. I think it’s up to us to hold the
clergy’s feet to the fire of whatever faith. That we insist that
we affirm what is beautiful in our own traditions while at the same
time refusing to denigrate other faith traditions by suggesting that
they are illegitimate, or consigned to some kind of evil end.”
The Bible declares all the religions of the world to be “illegitimate”
and “consigned” not to “some kind of evil end”
but to their just end. Only belief in the biblical gospel saves
humanity: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there
is none other name [Jesus Christ] under heaven given among men, whereby
we must be saved;...He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life:
and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath
of God abideth on him” (Acts 4:12; John 3:36).
The history of the social gospel is, in nearly every case, a sincere
attempt by Christians to do those things that they believe will honor
God and benefit humanity. In every case, however, the practical working
out of “benefiting humanity” has compromised biblical faith
and dishonored God. Why is that? God’s Word gives no commission
to the church to fix the problems of the world. Those who attempt to
do so are starting out under a false premise, “...a way which
seemeth right unto a man,” not God’s way.
So where can it go from there? “The end thereof are the ways of
death,” i.e., destruction (Proverbs 14:12). Furthermore, the problems
of the world are all symptoms. The root cause is sin.
Herescope Blog written by Warren Smith (June 21, 2008)
A little leaven
leaventh the whole lump.
The Shack is being described as a “Christian”
novel and is currently ranked number one on the New York Times
bestseller list for paperback fiction. Many believers are buying multiple
copies and giving them to friends and family. The Shack reads
as a true story, but is obviously allegorical fiction. The book conveys
postmodern spiritual ideas and teachings that challenge biblical Christianity
– all in the name of “God” and “Jesus” and the “Holy
Spirit.” Author William P. Young’s alternative presentation
of traditional Christianity has both inspired and outraged his many
readers. All the while his book continues to fly off the shelves of
Much like New Age author James Redfield’s
The Celestine Prophecy, The Shack is a fictional
vehicle for upending certain religious concepts and presenting contrary
spiritual scenarios. Allegorical novels can be a clever way to present
truth. They can also be used to present things that seem to be true
but really are not. Some books like The Shack do both.
I was drawn into the New Age Movement years ago by books and lectures
containing parabolic stories that were not unlike
The Shack. They felt spiritually uplifting as they tackled
tough issues and talked about God’s love and forgiveness. They
seemed to provide me with what I spiritually needed as they gave me
much needed hope and promise. Building on the credibility they achieved
through their inspirational and emotive writings, my New Age authors
and teachers would then go on to tell me that
was “in” everyone and everything.
that author William P. Young
does exactly the same thing in
The Shack. He moves through his very engaging and emotional
story to eventually present this same New Age teaching that God is “in”
But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me first provide
some background material concerning this key New Age doctrine that “God
is in everything.” A good place to start is with
Eugene Peterson, the author of the controversial Bible paraphrase
The Message. After all, Peterson’s enthusiastic
endorsement of The Shack is featured right under the author’s
name on the front cover.
Ironically, it was Peterson’s
endorsement that caused me to be immediately suspicious of this high-profile,
bestselling “Christian” book. Through his questionable paraphrasing
of the Bible, Peterson had already aligned himself in a number of areas
with New Age/New Spirituality teachings. One obvious example was where
he translated a key verse in the Lord’s Prayer to read
“as above, so below” rather than
“in earth, as it is in heaven.” “As
above, so below” was a term that I was very familiar with from
my previous involvement in the New Age Movement. This esoteric saying
has been an occult centerpiece for nearly five thousand years. It is
alleged by New Age metaphysicians to be the key to all magic and all
mysteries. It means that God is not only transcendent
— “out there”— but He is also immanent
— “in” everyone and everything.
But, as I found out
just before abandoning the deceptive teachings of the New Age for the
Truth of biblical Christianity, God is not “in” everyone
and everything. The Bible makes it clear that man is not
divine and that man is not God (Ezekiel 28:2, Hosea
11:9, John 2:24-25, etc.) In
Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven
Church, I quoted the editors of the New Age Journal
as they defined “as above, so below” in their book,
As Above, So Below:
“‘As above, so below, as below, so above.’
This maxim implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical
universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one.” (p.
My concern about Peterson’s undiscerning use of “as above,
so below” in the Lord’s Prayer was underscored when the
2006 bestseller, The Secret, showcased this same occult/New
Age phrase. In fact, it was the introductory quote at the very beginning
of the book. By immediately featuring “as above, so below”
Rhonda Byrne was telling her readers in definite New Age language
that “God is in everyone and everything.”
Towards the end of the book,
The Secret puts into more practical words what the author
initially meant by introducing the immanent concept of “as above,
so below.” On page 164 The Secret tells its readers—“You
are God in a physical body.”
Most significantly, in his
book The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom,
New Age leader
Benjamin Crème reveals that a
Religion will be based on this foundational “as above, so
below” teaching of immanence — this idea that God is “in”
everyone and everything:
“But eventually a new world religion will be inaugurated
which will be a fusion and synthesis of the approach of the East
and the approach of the West. The Christ will bring together, not
simply Christianity and Buddhism, but the concept of God transcendent
— outside of His creation — and also the concept of God immanent
in all creation — in man and all creation.” (p. 88)
New Age matriarch Alice Bailey, in her book The Reappearance
of the Christ, wrote:
“…a fresh orientation to divinity and to the acceptance
of the fact of God Transcendent and God Immanent within every form
of life. “These are foundational truths upon which the
world religion of the future will rest.” (p. 88)
In a November 9, 2003 Hour of Power sermon – just two months
before he was a featured speaker at the annual meeting of the National
Association of Evangelicals – Crystal Cathedral minister
Robert Schuller unabashedly aligned himself with this same New Age/New
World Religion teaching. The man who claims to have mentored thousands
of pastors, including Bill Hybels and Rick Warren, stated:
“You know in theology — pardon me for using a couple of
big words — but in theology the God we believe in, this God of Abraham,
is a transcendent God. But He is also an immanent God. Transcendent
means up there, out there, above us all. But God is also an immanent
God — immanence of God and the transcendence of God — but then you
have a balanced perspective of God. The immanence of God means here,
in me, around me, in society, in the world, this God here, in the
humanities, in the science, in the arts, sociology, in politics
— the immanence of God…. Yes, God is alive and He is in every single
But God is not in every single human being. God
is not in everything. One of the many reasons I wrote
Deceived on Purpose was because Rick Warren presented his readers
with this same “God in everything” teaching.
Quoting an obviously flawed New Century Bible translation of
Ephesians 4:6, Rick Warren — whether he meant to or not — was teaching
his millions of readers the foundational doctrine of the New World Religion.
Describing God in his book, The Purpose-Driven Life, he wrote:
“He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.”
Compounding the matter further, “immanence” has been
taught as part of the Foundations class at Rick Warren’s
Saddleback Church. An ill-defined reference to immanence on page 46
of the Saddleback Foundations Participants Guide plays right
into the hands of the New Spirituality/New World Religion by stating:
“The fact that God stands above and beyond his creation
does not mean he stands outside his creation. He is both transcendent
(above and beyond his creation) and immanent (within and throughout
All of this discussion about “God in everything” immanence
is to explain why The Shack is such a deceptive book. It teaches
this same heresy. This book ostensibly attempts to deal with the deeply
sensitive issues surrounding the murder of a young child. Because of
the author’s intensely personal story line, most readers become
engaged with the book on a deep emotional level. However, the author’s
use of poetic license to convey his highly subjective, and often unbiblical,
spiritual views becomes increasingly problematic as the story line develops.
This is most apparent when he uses the person of “Jesus”
to suddenly introduce the foundational teaching of the New Spirituality/New
World Religion — God is “in” everything. Using the New Age
term “ground of being” to describe “God,” the “Jesus”
of The Shack states:
“God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around,
and through all things….” (p. 112)
This false teaching about a “God” who “dwells in,
around, and through all things” is the kind of New Age leaven
that left unchallenged could leaven the church into the New Age/New
Spirituality of the proposed New World Religion. And while many people
have expressed a great deal of emotional attachment to The Shack
and its characters — this leaven alone contaminates the whole book.
Clearly, the “Jesus” of The Shack is not Jesus
Christ of the Bible. The apostle Paul chided the Corinthians and warned
them that they were vulnerable and extremely susceptible to “another
Jesus” and “another gospel” and “another
spirit” that were not from God (2 Corinthians 2:11). In the
Bible, the real Jesus Christ warned that spiritual deception would be
a sign before His return. He further warned that there would be those
who would even come in His name, pretending to be Him (Matthew 24:3-5;24).
Lighthouse Trails Research Project Note: In 2007, Lighthouse
Trails published the apologetic biography,
The Other Side of the River by Kevin Reeves. For twelve years,
Reeves was part of a River church, one in which visions, signs and wonders,
and other mystical manifestations occurred. His story tells what happened
during those years in a church that was so influenced by the Toronto Blessing,
holy laughter, the Kansas City Prophets, the Word-Faith movement,
and the spiritual hysteria and manipulation that these hyper-charismatic
movements encourage. Because of the recent stories coming out of Florida
with Todd Bentley’s revival, we hope you will read Reeves
account. Below is an excerpt from his chapter on visions.
“I Just Had a Vision!”
by Kevin Reeves
There is perhaps nothing so powerful as a vision.
When the heavens open and our eyes look upon fantastic things once hidden,
it can alter the course of our lives:
In the year that
king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high
and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the
seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face,
and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And
one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD
of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of
the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was
filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because
I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people
of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
A glimpse into heaven itself to behold the God of all flesh made
Isaiah panic with self-loathing. His innermost heart was revealed in
the light of the Lord’s glory, and there was no place to hide.
Who wouldn’t want to have a vision of this magnitude? And why
shouldn’t we? On the day of Pentecost, the Christians present
experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit: “[A]nd your young
men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts
Never in the history of our planet have so many who call themselves
Christian claimed visions from God. Encounters with Christ, angels,
demons, even saints long departed have begun to appear in book form,
crowding the charismatic section of our local Christian bookstores.
The popularity of visions never seems to wane, and the more a person
has and the greater the scope, the quicker he is skyrocketed to Christian
stardom. People with virtually no genuine theological training are suddenly
propelled into the teaching arena, regaling vast audiences with tremendous
accounts of their own spiritual derring-do. And while the stories continue
to scale the heights of plausibility, an amazed public looks on, vicariously
a part of the panoramic excitement and often with hands folded atop
a closed Bible in their laps.
Sadly and without exaggeration, the above account is an apt description
of the spiritual maelstrom that always characterized [my former church].
Sunday services were routinely stopped to give opportunity to report
a vision that occurred during worship. Many in the congregation would
listen with rapt attention as one person after another would share what
had transpired “in the spirit.” Sometimes demons would make
an appearance; sometimes it was the Lord Jesus Himself.
Angels were a particular favorite. I can’t tell you how many
times angels made an impromptu appearance at our services.... No one
halted the festivities to suggest examining the claim in the light of
God’s Word. It was merely taken at face value and used to bolster
our self-image as the church on the cutting-edge of God’s worldwide
The cries of “I saw!” reverberated throughout my church
my whole tenure there. Sometimes the visions were two-dimensional, sometimes
3-D, and sometimes the person was actually caught up into them, in the
same way the apostle John was translated into the heavenly realms in
the book of Revelation. They moved as participants in the vision itself,
walking, feeling, etc. As our pastor consistently reminded the congregation
of its prophetic calling, dreams and visions grew to paramount importance.
They were used to chart our congregation’s very course, and any
resistance or verbal doubt was severely frowned upon or openly dismissed....
Many people cannot appreciate the gravity with which visions are
accepted in many charismatic circles, and consequently cannot understand
the bondage that results. If someone has a vision of “the Lord
Jesus” and is given a message to convey to you, for you to treat
it lightly is to despise the very words of God. You are bound to carry
out the instructions of this visionary or face the consequences. The
ensuing fear can be devastating, especially if the message contradicts
your own conscience or understanding of the Scriptures.
The new believer is especially vulnerable because he is led to believe
that all these visions are from God. Furthermore, any hindrance to,
or lack of visions on his own part is due, he is told, to lack of maturity
and failure to fully trust the leadership....
At my best count, there are less than thirty visions or dreams recorded
in the entire New Testament, and of these only about fifteen took place
in the book of Acts. And this in a period, from the birth of Christ
to the last chapter of Acts, encompassing about sixty years.
I have come to the conclusion that visions are not the norm for a
believer, but a rare occurrence. Of those saints in the Bible described
as having bona fide visions from God, a mere handful had more than one
recorded vision in their entire lifetime. Furthermore, none of these
occurrences were initiated by the individual, but were the result of
a divine act of God. In explaining mystical experiences, which is the
category visions fall into, I like this explanation by research analyst
While certain instances in the Bible describe mystical experiences,
I see no evidence anywhere of God sanctioning man-initiated mysticism.
Legitimate mystical experiences were always initiated by God to
certain individuals for certain revelations and were never based
on a method for the altering of consciousness. In Acts 11:5, Peter
fell into a trance while in prayer. But it was God, not Peter, who
initiated the trance and facilitated it.
Compared with the frequency of modern visions by many charismatic
churchgoers, these past biblical heroes seem almost deficient in their
relationship to the Lord....
I believe that most of what are reported as visions are not such
at all, but could be more appropriately termed mental pictures. The
two are certainly not synonymous. Mental pictures occur constantly during
our waking hours but don’t necessarily have anything to do with
the spiritual, whereas visions always have their origin in the supernatural
realm. As we speak in conversation, we see mental images, memories,
etc., to correspond with the dialogue; reading gives us the same experience.
Even television viewing offers the same scenario, as the images dancing
across the screen click on our own past experiences or connections with
our present situations. This can transpose into our times of prayer,
giving us mental pictures that may or may not be of God....
The practice itself can be dangerous, actually maneuvering an innocent
Christian in the wrong direction. In many cults, and, unfortunately
in much of the Pentecostal arm of the church, it has already done just
According to the Bible, there are three sources of visions--God,
the devil, and the flesh. Of these, only one can be trusted as to motive
and authenticity. As for the other spiritual experiences originating
with the kingdom of darkness or human sensuality, they must be discarded,
and immediately. They are not impotent fantasies, but are corrupt from
the word go and will quickly lead astray anyone whose attraction they
capture. (see Ezekiel 13:3-8)...
I cannot stress this enough--contrary to popular fallacy, there is
no such thing as a harmless false vision. Its fraudulent nature alone
is enough to condemn it in the eyes of God; those who give ear to it
will eventually have their faith in Christ contaminated, perhaps shipwrecked.
Attendees of the Peoples Temple were regaled with stories of angelic
visitations and “revelation knowledge.” The reverend Jim
Jones capitalized on his self-proclaimed intimacy with heaven to lead
a group of followers into mass suicide in the Guyana bush.1
Don’t think that the average believer in Christ is immune to this
kind of deception. In the wake of gold teeth and gold dust miracles
showing up in various River congregations worldwide, stories of angel
feather sightings have set a portion of the charismatic church wild
with jubilee. One West Coast church said that “tiny white feathers
and gold flakes” appeared during the service.2
Such occurrences were the next logical step in an already deception-heavy
system of super-spirituality, rationalization, and the frenzied pursuit
Any spirit, vision, dream, prophet, experience, whatever, that does
not agree with the revelation of Jesus Christ as set down in the Scriptures
is not of God. Water may look pure, but unless we know the source from
which it is drawn we may drink to our own ill health. A close examination
with a magnifying glass may betray bits and pieces of debris, or worse
yet, organisms roaming its depths that, taken internally, would cause
Am I suggesting we carry around a magnifier to inspect anything coming
our way? Perhaps that is just what is needed. For too long, we’ve
covered our eyes with blinders instead and accepted a testimony to our
detriment, simply because the person giving it named Christ and seemed
sincere. Paul said even deceivers within the church would attempt to
pass themselves off as the real article (II Corinthians 11:3-4, 13).
We can judge without being judgmental. Peripheral issues we can overlook,
knowing full well the sole reservoir of truth does not rest with us.
But in the presentation of Christ, there can be no leeway. A false
image of the Savior--His character, words, or deeds--will lead us away
from the truth, and consequently, away from God. And eventually, that
is what every fraudulent vision will do--take away from the person of
Christ and demand our attention and adherence to its personalized message.
I have seen it happen, as one vision after another proclaimed in my
former congregation boosted our elitism and remolded Jesus just a bit
more into the user-friendly image we preferred. With virtually no accountability,
fear of redefining Christ’s biblically revealed character faded
bit by bit into obscurity....
This current state of things within the church is just the outgrowth
of an inner movement attempting to differentiate between truth and revelation.
It is being stated by popular authors that truth is where God has been,
but revelation is where He is at the moment. This dichotomy is a contrived
one. The Word of God is truth and revelation both, and the timeless
truth of God’s Word applies to all saints throughout all ages.
Again, the implication of this kind of compartmentalized thinking is
that the Scriptures fall embarrassingly short when it comes to equipping
the saints for life in today’s world.
In a mad dash to embrace the new thing, many Christians have run
right past the only place of refuge, God’s Promise, that can keep
us from hurtling down the face of an impossibly steep cliff. I can testify
to the broken lives and empty spirituality that remains when the initial
high wears off. We had congregation members regularly spending their
cash to jet to this or that prophetic conference. They just had to keep
up with the latest move of God, and bring it back with them to our church.
Running after other gods, ancient Israel attained to this spiritual
bankruptcy on a regular basis. But we can take heart, for their failures
can be our lessons:
things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that
we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
For those former seers willing to swallow a large helping of humble
pie, there is most certainly hope. For those willing to repent, the
grace of our Lord will lead past every soulish and narcissistic revelation,
helping us to walk in humility and the simple freedom of Christ Jesus.
For the rest, the road can only lead further into deception and confusion,
compounding itself with every new revelation that adds to, subtracts
from, or contradicts Scripture.
I have heard
what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I
have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart
of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the
deceit of their own heart; Which think to cause my people to forget
This has been an excerpt from
The Other Side of the River.
1. In 1978, cult leader Jim Jones
lead over 900 followers in a mass suicide in northern Guyana.
2. Mary Owen “Oregon Church Says Gold Dust, Feathers Fell
During Meetings” (Charisma magazine, September 2000).
Discernment-Ministries Inc. By Warren Smith
the video again. It was entitled Signs and Wonders Camp
meeting 1994. Pastors of huge charismatic churches were stumbling
around the church stage “drunk” with “holy”
laughter. Wanting to testify to the fact that “holy” laughter
had transformed their ministries and their lives, many of them were
unable to speak when called on to do so. But their “drunken”
condition became their testimony. Their halting speech was
seen as “proof” of the “power of the spirit”
that had come over them. The congregation roared in approval as pastor
after pastor laughed uncontrollably and then fell to the floor. Standing
alongside the “drunken” pastors was evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne,
the self described “Holy Ghost bartender” who was serving
up this “new wine” of “holy” laughter. Many
Christians today believe that Howard-Browne is God’s appointed
channel for imparting joy and revival to the end-times church. Other
Christians see Howard-Browne as a false prophet who is inflicting great
damage to the body of Christ.
Early last spring the Spiritual Counterfeits Project received
a fax from someone expressing concern about a new phenomenon called “holy”
laughter. He said that a San Francisco Bay Area Vineyard Church was
experiencing what was being described as “revival” and that
the manifestation of “holy” laughter was being cited as
one of the signs of this “revival.” Church members and visitors
were reportedly breaking into fits of spontaneous and uncontrollable
laughter during their nightly services.
Later when I talked with several members of the San Francisco Vineyard
congregation I was told how hundreds of people were getting “hit”
with “revival”--how some people were getting so “soaked
in the spirit” they would lose consciousness for up to several
hours after falling to the ground with “holy” laughter.
The Vineyard members described “holy” laughter unqualifiedly
as “awesome” and definitely “the work of
But what does the Bible say about laughter? Last
summer, after watching Rodney Howard-Browne on TBN, I consulted my concordance
to see if there was any biblical precedent for “holy” laughter.
Surprisingly, I found only 40 references to laughter in the Bible; 34
of them were in the Old Testament, while only 6 were in the New Testament.
Of those 40 references 22 of them referred to scornful laughter, as
in Nehemiah 2:19 when Nehemiah said, “they
laughed us to scorn.” Of the 18 remaining references to
laughter, seven of them referred exclusively to Abraham and Sarah’s
initial disbelief and ultimate astonishment that God would give them
a child in their old age. Barely into my study on laughter I was already
down to my last 11 references.
In Job 8:21 Bildad, one of Job’s false comforters,
wrongly advised Job that if he were in right standing with God he would
be prosperous and full of laughter. The Psalmist in Psalm 126:2 recorded
that when the captivity of Zion was over, “then
was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with singing.”
Proverbs 29:9 says, “if a wise man
contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no
With only 8 remaining references I had seen nothing in the Bible
up to this point that suggested anything even resembling “holy”
laughter. In Ecclesiastes 2:2 Solomon says, “I
said of laughter, it is mad.” Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, there
is “a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 7:3-4
says, “sorrow is better than laughter:
for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The
heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools
is in the house of mirth.” Ecclesiastes 7:6 says, “for
as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of a fool:
this also is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 10:19 says that “a
feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry.”
Interestingly the Bible’s last three references to laughter--the
only three references to authentic laughter in the New Testament--warn
against laughter. These three references actually seemed to
underline Solomon’s contention in Ecclesiastes that “sorrow
is better that laughter” and that now is a time to weep
and not to laugh. In Luke 6:21 Jesus says, “blessed are
ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.” In Luke 6:25 Jesus says, “woe
unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.”
James 4:9 tells us not to laugh but to “be
afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning,
and your joy to heaviness.”
I had searched the scriptures to find any biblical precedent for “holy”
laughter and there was none. To my amazement, I had discovered that
there were surprisingly few references in the Bible to any
kind of laughter. Did this mean that God doesn’t have a sense
of humor or that people in the Bible never laughed? No. It just meant
that laughter apparently was not something that God chose to emphasize
very much. And certainly Jesus’ last words on laughter--“woe
unto you who laugh now!”--were not ones that would seem
to give any encouragement to a “laughing revival.”
The Lord says, “Come now, and let
us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18. Here are some of my concerns
about “holy” laughter and “the laughing revival.”
(1) There is no biblical precedent for “holy” laughter.
Laughter is rarely mentioned in the Bible. Yet, when
it is, the Bible seems to make more of a case for holy sorrow
than for “holy” laughter. Scripture supports Solomon’s
contention that “sorrow is better than laughter.” It does
not support the present “laughing revival.”
(2) Substituting the word joy for laughter is a non sequitur. It
is inaccurate and misleading.
There is no scriptural authority for equating biblical
references to joy with the involuntary manifestations of “holy”
laughter. Just because there are insufficient Bible texts to make the
case for “holy” laughter, it does not follow that you can
simply redefine the word laughter by substituting the word joy.
(3) “Holy” laughter advocates rarely, if ever, discuss
the need to “test the spirits.”
The Bible warns us that not every supernatural manifestation
is necessarily from God. 1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved,
believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God;
because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
Charles and Francis Hunter write in their book Holy Laughter, “Once
you begin to walk in the supernatural you really have to be ready for
anything and everything and never question the way God does it!”
(4) “Holy” laughter advocates rarely, if ever, talk
about the Spirit’s express warning that in the latter times some
people will be supernaturally seduced by deceptive evil spirits into
following them and not the one true God.
1 Timothy 4:1 warns, “Now
the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart
from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”
(5) “Holy” laughter advocates rarely, if ever, talk
about the Bible’s warnings of false prophets who come in the name
of Jesus but bring with them “another spirit.”
2 Corinthians 11:4 says, “For
if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached,
or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another
gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
(6) Many laughter advocates condescendingly discourage and even
openly intimidate sincere Christians who question the “laughing
According to the August Charisma article,
Rodney Howard-Browne “disparages” people who “try
to apply theological tests” to what he does. The Hunters’
book Holy Laughter refers to skeptics as God’s “frozen
chosen.” Mona Johnian writes, “skeptics, hesitaters and
procrastinators do not get anointed.” She warns “that any
person or church that wavered could be eliminated.”
(7) Rodney Howard-Browne’s prayer to God just prior to his “anointing”
(“either you come down here and touch me or I’ll come up
there and touch you”) was unscriptural.
Howard-Browne’s prayer was the essence “my
will be done.” It was not “thy will be done,”
as taught by Jesus in scripture. Why should we automatically assume
that it was God who answered his prayer?
(8) “Holy” laughter advocates, in talking about “signs
and wonders,” rarely, if ever, mention the Bible’s many
warnings about deceptive signs and wonders.
In Matthew 16:4 Jesus warns, “a
wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.”
In Matthew 24:24 JESUS says, “For there
shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great
signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive
the very elect.” In 2 Thessalonians 2:9 the apostle Paul
warns of the coming Antichrist, “even
him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs
and lying wonders.”
(9) “Holy” laughter advocates seem to lay hands on almost
everybody. The Bible specifically warns against this.
The eighth chapter of Acts describes how the disciples
would not lay hands on Simon, a baptized believer, even though he desperately
wanted the gift of the Holy Ghost, because his heart was “not
right in the sight of God.” 1 Timothy 5:22 warns us to “lay
hands suddenly on no man.” Yet “holy” laughter
is passed on from person to person without so much as a second thought.
(10) “Holy laughter advocates blatantly disregard the biblical
admonition that things be done decently and in order.
1 Corinthians 14:40 says, “Let
all things be done decently and in order.” Mona Johnian
in her book Fresh Anointing says, “decently and in order!
We must do things decently and in order. The Bible itself commands it,
cry those who are frightened by that which is beyond traditional order”
(p. 35). She advises her readers to “break with tradition”
(11) The chaos and confusion that usually characterizes the “laughing
revival: contradicts the Bible’s description of the Person of
1 Corinthians 14:33 states, “For
God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches
of the saints.”
(12) Laughter advocates rarely if ever, discuss the well documented
demonic deceptions that have manifested in past revivals.
To combat the deception that arose during the Welsh
revival at the turn of this century authors Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan
Roberts wrote “War on the Saints: a disclosure of the deceptive
strategies used by evil spirits against God’s people.”
Both were very involved with the revival and were extremely concerned
about the demonic manifestations that began to dominate their meetings.
The forward to War on the Saints warns of “the grave
dangers that beset the path of uninformed enthusiasm.”
(13) A number of Christians have experienced the equivalent of “holy”
laughter when they were in the New Age.
Indian Guru Bhagvhan Shree Rajneesh was affectionately
known by his followers as the “divine drunkard” because
he was reputed to have drunk so deeply from the well of the “Divine.”
As a former follower of Rajneesh I met hundreds of Sannyasins who had
flown to India “to drink” from “Bhagwan’s wine.”
When followers were physically touched by Rajneesh, or even if they
were merely in his presence, they would often experience feelings of
great exhilaration and joy. Disciples of Swami Baba Muktananda would
often manifest uncontrollable laughter after receiving Shaktipat (physical
contact) from the guru.
(14) The “laughing revival” could one day merge with
what the New Age calls the coming day of “planetary Pentecost.”
Barbara Marx Hubbard, (revered New Age leader and
a 1984 Democratic nominee for the Vice Presidency of the United States),
writes in her book, Teachings from the Inner Christ, how the
human race will soon experience a day of “Planetary Pentecost.”
Hubbard, claiming to be in contact with “Christ,” writes: “the
Planetary Smile is another name for the Planetary Pentecost. When enough
of us share a common thought of our oneness with God, Spirit will be
poured out on all flesh paying attention” (p.79). In her book
The Revelation, Hubbard says “Christ,” in describing
the planetary smile, said: “an uncontrollable joy will ripple
through the thinking layer of the earth. The co-creative systems, which
are lying psychologically dormant in humanity will be activated. From
within, all sensitive persons will feel the joy of the force, flooding
their systems with love and attraction...as this joy flashes through
the nervous systems of the most sensitive peoples on earth, it will
create a psycho magnetic field of empathy, which will align the next
wave of people in synchrony, everywhere on Earth. This massive, sudden
empathic alignment will cause a shift in the consciousness of Earth”
(p. 234-235). Writing in Happy Birth Day Planet Earth, Hubbard
repeats what she heard from “Christ.” He said, “as
the planetary smile ripples through the nervous systems of earth, and
the instant of co-operation begins, and empathy floods the feelings
of the whole body of Earth, separation is overcome, and I appear to
all of you at once (p. 10-11).
The controversy over “holy” laughter is already splitting
congregations and causing deep divisions in the body of Christ. And
while many people have already taken sides, there are many more who
are still trying to figure out just what is going on. Is this really
a move of God, or is this the kind of deception the Bible warns about
in Matthew 24, 1 Timothy 4:1, and in the second chapter of Thessalonians?
Unity is indeed the heartfelt desire of every sincere Christian (Psalm
133:1). But the Bible warns of massive deception that will come at the
end and in Christ’s name. Before the Church--in the name of unity--free
falls into a worldwide “laughing revival,” we had better
be sure what it is we are uniting with.
In reflecting on “holy” laughter during these very troubled
times, I recalled a music special I had seen on television a number
of years ago. In the midst of an otherwise polite Hollywood type crowd,
a male vocalist sang straight faced and sober into the teeth of their
celebration. His words were electric and piercing, and they seemed to
hang in the air. He sang, “you’re laughing now, but you
should be praying. You’re in the midnight hour of your life.”
by Bob DeWaay
There are no extraordinary Christians; but being
an ordinary Christian is an extraordinary thing. How I wish I would
have understood that when I was a new Christian. But I didn’t.
Soon after my conversion I began a quest to become the best possible
Christian. In so doing I fell prey to teachings that promised me a Christian
life superior to that of ordinary Christians. What I did not know was
that I had embraced pietism. I didn’t become an extraordinary
Christian and I did walk straight into error.
My journey into the “deeper life” oftentimes involved
embracing contradictory teachings. For example, two of my favorite teachers
in the early 1970’s were Watchman Nee and Kenneth Hagin. One taught
a deeper Christian life through suffering) and the other taught a higher
order Christianity that could cause one to be free from bodily ailments
and poverty. The hook was that both claimed to have the secret to becoming
an extraordinary Christian. I found out that they didn’t.
My dissatisfaction with the Christianity taught in Bible College
led me to join a Christian commune some months after graduation. That
group’s founder taught that all ordinary churches and Bible Colleges
were caught up in “religious Babylon.” He taught that the
kingdom of God was to be found by quitting one’s job, selling
one’s possessions, giving the money to the commune, and moving
in together to be devoted to the “kingdom” twenty four hours
a day. So in my search to become an extraordinary Christian I did what
he said and joined. By the time I had fully explored many versions of
pietism seeking to escape the tainted Christianity found in ordinary
churches, I had squandered the first ten years of my Christian life.
I was converted in 1971 and by 1981 I had given up on becoming a
superior Christian. I bought a house for my family and began a car repair
business to pay the bills while I tried to figure out what to do with
my calling to preach now that most everything I had been taught, practiced,
and taught others had failed. By God’s grace I went back to the
Bible and determined to merely teach verse by verse from that point
on. It took another five or six years to rid myself of the various errors
I had embraced and then I taught Romans in 1986. Through that study
I came to appreciate the doctrines of grace. That understanding opened
my thinking and was the turning point for my ministry.
I also came to realize that the wrong-thinking that attracted me
to pietism was that I held to a theology based on human ability rather
than grace alone. Once I grasped that, I never looked back. If the “secret”
to a higher order Christianity is based on something we discover and
implement (the secret to the deeper life), then it makes sense that
some Christians could achieve a higher status than others. But if salvation
AND sanctification are God’s work through His grace, then we are
all in the same boat, and there’s no higher order.
Pietism is difficult to define because it can be taught and practiced
in an unlimited number of ways. Some versions appear to be innocuous
while others are so radical that most people would see that something
is wrong. I now know that no version of pietism is actually innocuous.
If a teaching is called pietism but teaches no more than what God has
always used to sanctify Christians, then it is not really pietism. Real
pietism always harms those who embrace it.
The essence of pietism is this: It is a practice designed to lead
to an experience that purports to give one an elite or special status
compared to ordinary Christians. The Bible addresses this error in the
book of Colossians. The false teachers in Colossae claimed to have the
secret to a superior Christian experience that would cause people to
rise above the bad “fate” they feared. Paul went on to explain
that they already had everything they needed through Christ and His
work on the cross. Another way of stating this is: If after having fully
trusted Christ’s finished work on the cross, you are told that
you are still lacking something, you are being taught pietism. Church
history is littered with misguided pietistic movements. Many of them
are linked with mysticism. I will give examples later in this article.
Pietism can be practiced many ways including enforced solitude, asceticism
of various forms, man made religious practices, legalism, submission
to human authorities who claim special status, and many other practices
and teachings. The fact that pietism has many forms can be seen by the
litany Paul gives in Colossians:
no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in
respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day -- things which
are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs
to Christ. Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting
in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand
on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,
and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being
supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with
a growth which is from God. If you have died with Christ to the
elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in
the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do
not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer
to things destined to perish with use) in accordance with the commandments
and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure,
the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement
and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly
Paul calls this approach “self-made religion” which is
exactly what all forms of pietism are. They all suggest that having
been converted by the Lord through the cross and practicing His ordained
means of grace by faith are inadequate. They have discovered a better
way that leads to a higher order experience. Paul says they have “the
appearance of wisdom.” Pietism is an attack on the scriptural
truth that Christ has already done it all and that this is true for
all Christians. I believe in progressive sanctification, but God is
sanctifying all Christians by the same means.
Protection From Deception: Navigating Through The Minefield Of Signs And
by Derek Prince (Text
based on a series of talks given by Derek Prince to his coworkers in Derek
Prince Ministries in March 1996)
End Times Prophetic, Prophecy, Visions, Dreams, Revelation,
Christian Blog (March 16, 2008)
“I went to a “Texas
Ablaze” conference in Austin, TX. It was put on by Stand Firm
World Ministries, Fresh Fire Ministries, and Streams Ministries. Some
of the speakers were Keith Miller (SFWM), Todd Bentley (FFM), and Barbie
Breathitt (Streams Ministries). It was hosted at one of the local Austin
churches (I forget the name of the church). It was three days long beginning
on a Friday, in February. One of my friends had recently become engaged,
and his girlfriend was visiting San Antonio to go to this Todd Bentley
conference. They had been to one before somewhere else in the USA. I
had never heard of Todd Bentley or Fresh Fire Ministries before.
She compared going to a Todd Bentley conference
to having “An ice cream sundae treat in the Spirit.”
Well, my friends and I were up for that, so we registered and paid
the fee and booked a hotel for the weekend. I believe the registration
fee was 35 dollars, but more if you paid at the door. It felt weird
to have to pay to go to church like you would a concert or sports game.
I attended the conference with several people from the single’s
group at the church I was going to (Vineyard Church of San Antonio.).
Many other families from the Vineyard also attended, but us singles
carpooled and shared hotel rooms because we were cheap, and some of
us did not have much money to pay for our own hotel rooms, so it helped
defer the cost. We were all excited about this conference and prayed
that God would do great things while we were there. I went expecting
a move of God. “I hope he does the ‘ring of fire’!!”
one of my friends commented. Ring of fire? Apparently a thing where
he makes a ring of fire in the air and you walk through it, and supposedly
this is some anointing or blessing or something. You walk through the ‘ring
of fire’, and he prays for you and you fall down. It’s awesome,
they said. That it was a rush to get the Spirit like that. They way
they talked about it made me feel a little apprehensive about it. I
hadn’t read anything about a ‘ring of fire’ in the
bible. (He didn’t do this signature ‘ring of fire’
at the conference I went to after all.)
The first night it was jam-packed with everyone trying to get in.
Because we had paid our fee in advance, we went to the pre-registered
table. They required us to get these purple wrist-bands that we had
to wear for three days (we could not take them off, not even to shower,
or we could not get back in.). I am lucky my wrist is very small and
I could slip mine on and off because they did not put it tight enough.
It would have been obnoxious to have to sleep/shower with that thing
on. They did not want anyone who had not paid to get in. They had ushers
(guards?) at the doors to the sanctuary to make sure you had your wristband.
They would check your wrist after you went to use the bathroom too,
before they let you back in. I guess they were afraid of people getting
the Holy Spirit or getting healed without paying for it first?
Around the registration tables were tables piled full of things you
can buy from the ministries, or outrageous prices, too. 25 dollars for
a CD, or 30 bucks for a book. They had sets to teach you how to have
experiences like Todd Bentley has (going up to the third heaven, meeting
angels, etc, etc.) From Todd Bentley’s ministry you could also
buy hankies and get Todd to pray over them, and transfer the anointing
to them, so your sick relative or friend might be healed, or if they
were healthy, just get an “explosion” of an anointing of
the Holy Spirit. (based on people getting healed from Pauls’ hankies
in Acts. I don’t think Paul made people pay for hankies though).
Streams Ministries had cards that excited everyone, because our church
was involved with Streams Ministries, and was doing Dream Interpretation.
They had laminated cards that you could buy for $10-25 that were ‘cheat
sheets’ on things like 1) What causes what illnesses, or 2) What
numbers, colors, letters, and various animals mean in dreams. My friends
bought the illnesses card and the dream card, and I looked at them on
the way home. The Illnesses card had things like “Obesity is caused
by low-self esteem.” “Low back pain is caused by familiar
spirits.” Etc. It was a chart with the illnesses on the left and
the demons/spiritual conditions on the top , with X’s to show
you what caused what. Some things were caused by multiple things. They
also had other material for sale that of course, showed you how to cast
out whatever demons you had so you could get well, or how to get better
self esteem so you wouldn’t be obese. The dreams card was your
basic run of the mill dream interpretation stuff, like the color red
means danger, purple means royalty, etc.
One thing I noticed is they interrupted the service a lot to advertise
products at the pulpit. They would talk for a minute about a book or
CD, and then remind us that we could buy it in the foyer for a “low,
low” price. I did not see how this is doing anything but turning
a house of prayer into a house of merchandise. They did this between
speakers. They encouraged people during the breaks to go out and shop
at the tables. In the sanctuary, they had special areas roped off for ‘VIP’
people. Churches that were partners with the ministries, or groups that
had paid extra money, got to sit in these special areas up front. Everyone
else that had just paid the regular price had to sit in the back. Sometimes
we could not all sit together because there wasn’t enough room
in one area, and we had not reserved an area for our group. Apparently
paying extra money for your group got your group mentioned up front,
because the first day they were like “And we’ve got guests
from such-and-such church over here” and then that church would
clap to show everyone where they were. They did not mention any groups
that were not seated in the VIP sections.
At the beginning of the conference Keith Miller talked about how
he felt there were going to be “open heavens” during this
conference and people were going to get new anointings and stuff like
that. I don’t remember much about Keith Miller, except that when
he was ‘invoking’ the Holy Spirit, he kept saying “psssshhh,
pssssh” into the microphone. Like, “Come down Holy Spirit,
psssh ,psssh, psssh. The Holy Spirit’s coming tonight, psssh,
pssh. Psssh. Psssh.” It was very weird, and I did not know that
making hissing noises into the microphone like that got the Holy Spirit
to come down. It actually made me a little uncomfortable, the way he
was doing it. But I had not experienced something like that before,
so I did not pay much attention to it, but it did not seem much like
praying to me. He talked a lot about angels appearing to him and such,
and how there were angels in the room. He talked a lot about ‘mantles’.
How God was going to rip off a tiny piece of His robe and float it on
down to you to cover you, and you would get a new mantle that would
give you some kind of power. That prophetic mantles, and healing mantles,
etc, would be given out today, straight from God. (They tie this in
with Elisha taking Elijah’s mantle).
So Barbie from Streams Ministries also spoke. She spoke about “heavenly
orbs” that people would be seeing at conferences, and how they
would capture them on camera. How these ‘heavenly orbs’
were God’s glory and angels and things like that. How they had
pictures of one that when you looked close, you would see a figure with
her hands held out. That these orbs (Angels) were here to minister to
us. They showed pictures on the projector of orbs at other conferences,
some of the pictures had more orbs than others. How many orbs were there
was supposed to be in proportion to how much glory of God had come down.
I was extremely skeptical about the whole orbs thing, because it just
did not sound right to me. One of my friends caught ‘orbs’
on her digital camera ,but when we showed them to our photographer friend
back in San Antonio who could not come to the conference, she told us
that those orbs were nothing but ‘lens flare’. Also while
Barbie was talking, she interpreted some dreams from pastors. She would
only do it for pastors and not anyone else. The reason she gave for
this was that they work hard and we need to give something back, etc.
Strangely, all the pastor’s dreams, while each one very different,
all seemed to mean that God would be blessing expanding their ministry
and bringing them rich people to their church to help. (One guy had
some dream about diving into a well with a big fish ,and she took this
to mean a ‘big fish’ businessman who would be able to finance
When Todd Bentley finally spoke (I believe it was the 2nd day), the
atmosphere in the room was like “Finally! The guy we have been
waiting for!” And you could feel the room get excited in anticipation.
He started out really energetic. There wasn’t any prayer beforehand.
He was sweating within like 3 minutes. Not that there is anything wrong
with sweat, but you could see the perspiration on his brow from the
back of the room. What was weird, was that he said he was going to preach
on a psalm. So we all got out our bibles. But every time he
went to try to read the verse, he would begin to laugh, and stagger,
and make weird noises. This made me EXTREMELY uncomfortable.
It seemed as though he was mocking the scripture, by laughing at it
when he began to read it. Everyone admired him for this, though, saying
he was so “drunk in the Spirit” that he could not read his
bible! He would calm down, but as soon as he went over to the
pulpit where his bible was, he would immediately become so “drunk”
that he could not read nor preach, but just would stagger around laughing
and snorting for a few minutes. Still
acting rather drunk, he began to preach about all the great things he’s
done (with God’s help, of course.) About how he went from
having no money to having a multi-million dollar ministry, and healings,
etc, and how great it all was. Everyone thought this was a fantastic
testimony on his part, but I wondered why God would have him
set aside whatever he was going to preach on to brag about his accomplishments.
He laughed, snorted, and chortled through his entire speech.
Whenever he would begin to mention something a scripture said, he would
become incoherent. Why could he not read nor recite the scriptures
without breaking into a fit? But was able to maintain enough composure
to brag about all the great stuff God’s done with him. And people
ate it up! It was seriously disturbing to me. He talked a lot about
how he would go to the third heaven, and how many times he’s met
angels, etc. And how you, too, can get into a Holy-Spirit induced trance
whenever you want and go to heaven, and how he’s got teachings
on how to do it. (apparently we can force the Holy Spirit to take us
to heaven and have out-of-body experiences whenever we want.) He related
one tale, of a witch doctor. Who had come to a conference of his. That
night God took him out-of-body, supposedly, and into the witch doctor’s
dreams, and witnessed to him while he was dreaming. The witch doctor
came back the next day saved because of being witnessed to while he
was dreaming. He also talked about one time, he got taken up into the
third heaven, and angels were running around saying “The books
of destiny, the books of destiny!” and stuffed a page from one
of those books which had a map of this one African country into his
mouth, and then 3 days later the ruler of that country called his ministry...
So at the end of the conference, we were supposed to move our chairs
out of the way and stand in line to get the anointing from Todd Bentley
and Keith Miller. The “prophets” went in the back room to
pray while everyone stacked their chairs along the walls. Then we all
lined up in semi-circles with space in-between, and waited for them
to come back out. They came back out and you were supposed to hold out
your hands, and wait for them to touch you. They had men to walk behind
the lines to ‘catch’ you so you would not hurt yourself
as you fell. So they were touching people’s hands, and people
would fall over. So lots of people were falling. They got to one guy,
and he would go into a seizure-like state, as he was falling, sortof
crazy dancing and squealing. They thought this was great, and it made
them laugh, so they had the catchers lift him back up so they could
touch him again and laugh as he did this weird dancing/seizure thing
as he fell backwards. They did that a few times. They did not spend
a lot of time with most of the people, just touched them and moved on.
I was praying during all of this, that God would show me if it was
of Him or not. I was a little frightened at the prospect of it NOT being
of Him, and possibly opening myself up to the influence of evil spirits.
So I was a little scared too, I did not want a bad spirit to make me
fall over. I had considered opting out of being touched, but then I
thought what if it IS of God and I miss my chance to get a word from
God? So when they finally got to me, Todd Bentley said “FIRE OF
GOD!” as he touched my hands. But I felt nothing. Certainly not
any fire. The other guy touched my hands as they passed by. I just had
a very heavy feeling, and I began to cry. One of the prayer ladies that
were following them to pray stopped by me because she had seen that
I had not fallen, and she put her hand on my forehead to pray for me.
She did not seem to understand that I wasn’t falling, because
she kept praying for the Spirit to come over me, and pushed her hand
harder on my forehead. Her pushing made me plant my feet even more firmly
on the ground. She was not going to knock me over. She gave up when
she realized I was not going to going to fall over, and was just going
to keep crying, so she moved on. I was not the only one who did not
I noticed that a few others did not either. I went and sat by the
wall to pray, and was crying a lot because I just felt horrible at this
whole experience, and was wondering where God was in all of this. The
prayer pastor from my vineyard came over to talk to me, but I did not
have much to say. I could not express what I was feeling about this
whole event, and everyone just assumed that the holy spirit had touched
me through the prophets and that was why I was crying, they did not
know I was crying because God did NOT touch me through those prophets,
and I did not know how to tell them that I didn’t think that God
was here. I felt uncomfortable about the whole conference, and it just
reached a climax at that point, as I saw people shaking with seizure-like
things, and laughing uncontrollably, and rolling around on the floor.
I cried a lot, also, because nobody seemed to really be praying to God.
In fact not a whole lot of prayer seemed to go on during this conference,
for as long as it lasted, there were only a few times that any of the
speakers prayed. The only ‘prayer’ was to call down the
Holy Spirit, or ask for angels to heal or give anointings. They talked
about the Holy Spirit a lot, and not so much about Jesus or the Gospel.
There wasn’t hardly any talk about sin, or repentance either.
Just anointings and mantles and prophecy.
The Great Florida Healing Revival
ApostasyAlert.org (November 12, 2007)
heard the saying, “If you play with fire you’re going to
get burnt.” Today’s “Christian” Gnostics seem
to have an obsession with the elements of earth, wind, water, and fire.
When we watch “Christian” television, be it Sky Angel, TBN,
or the God Channel, we hear the televangelists and “prophetic”
folks scream “Fire!” over people who react with wild jerkings
and flailing of limbs as they go down in a heap on the floor. What is
this “fire” being thrown around on these platforms in such
a showy fashion? First of all from Scripture we can see where fire has
symbolized God’s presence such as in the burning bush and in the
pillar of fire by night that led the Israelites across the desert plain.
Old Testament offerings were burned and the aroma of the smoke ascended
to God in an acceptable sacrifice. Also, in the book of Hebrews it says “our
God is a consuming fire.” In its context, it is speaking of His
attribute of wrath towards evil works.
word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that
are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which
cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which
cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably
with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.
This “fire” is that of God’s judgment – a judgment
that is not sleeping but is ready to be poured out upon a world that
rejects God’s provision of a Messiah. This is the fire that is
being kindled – the sort of fire that believers hope to escape by virtue
of abiding in the Lamb – the Messiah. And then the Bible speaks of hell’s
fire – eternal fire that is also called “the lake burning with
fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and
whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall
have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone:
which is the second death.
The modern day “prophets” who throw fire around like
it is theirs to command attribute this fire to the Holy Spirit. Yet,
if they are correct, what is their biblical justification for doing
so? Do we really want to “catch the fire” that these men
and women are trafficking in? Would you want anything to do with the
sort of “fire” that Elijah’s List’s founder,
Stephen Shultz is describing in this excerpt from his website?
From the desk of Steve Shultz:
“I would like to recommend a couple of our newer instrumental
music CDs, Abide by Paul Ahn and El Olam: Ancient Echoes by John
Belt and Barbara Grimshaw. These CDs are designed for times of reflection,
meditation, and worship. Open the door and ENTER into an experience
in the eternal King’s Realm where the fire NEVER dies. Come
to the streams of promise and wait until you encounter Him. Fire
by Night delivers a powerful and intimate live, prophetic, worship
experience that will thrill your spirit and invigorate your senses.
This CD is one of our best-selling AND one of my personal favorites!”
Where have we read that before? -- “where the fire NEVER dies”
– What is that describing? When we look that up in our concordance,
And if thine
eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into
the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast
into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire
is not quenched.
Or from the Living Bible, the paraphrase many of these televangelists
so love to quote: Mark 9:48 – “where the worm never dies and the
fire never goes out.” I don’t think I want to serve a “king”
whose abode is there! Other charismatic ministries use -- even over-use
the “fire” symbol to describe their emphasis. We hear terms
and slogans such as “Touch of Fire Ministries,” John Arnott
hosts the TV program Catch the Fire, “Fire Evangelism” a
book by prophetic leader Che’ Ahn , Sacred Fire, a music CD by
John Belt, “Wild Fire Ministries,” “Blaze of Glory
ministry,” etc. And then there are conferences called “Let
the Fire Fall” But what fire are these people toying with? It
is not a coincidence that the occult throws around the same “fire”
term in much the same manner as the charismatics. In the classic occult
book, “The Secret Destiny of America,” written by occult
Manly P. Hall, he writes of the special initiates of the flame who
pass on secret knowledge from Babylon all the way to modern day, on
“We are exploring into the mysteries of the atoms and the electrons, and have
brought the heavenly fire, electricity, to be the
servant of our purposes.”
This fire of the occultists can also be shared with others. Cindy
Jacobs, at the 1999 Charisma Women’s conference in Daytona Beach
spent quite a while throwing around the fire to the participants, sometimes
speaking in a deep voice with a look of evil on her countenance. Over
and over again, she waved her hand over the crowd of women shouting,
Fire! “Yes for the Lord says there’s a new wave of the spirit
coming and the Lord is showing me that Daytona Beach is the gateway
for the fire of God… Church of Daytona, put your hands up. Yes, burn
up those religious spirits. Here comes more fire!! Take it! More! Fire!
Fire! Take it!!”
She seemed to be emulating Benny Hinn, who has been using the “Fire!”
shout for over a decade. When this “fire-anointing” comes
over him, he says even his children are afraid of him. On October 19,
1999 during a guest visit on the Praise the Lord program on TBN, he
told a frightening story to host Paul Crouch. Speaking of a perceived
attack on his ministry by the secular media, Hinn says:
“Right before that happened, my dear sweet Suzanne (his wife) gets attacked…
2 o-clock in the morning, I wake up and my wife is choking in bed.
The devil trying to kill her. My wife wasn’t acting like my
wife. I saw my own wife attacked. It was like the last thing I could
handle, I think.”
False prophet Kim Clement on the Praise the Lord program on July
5, 2007 described the spirit that he mistakes for the Holy Spirit in
terms that can only describe an unholy spirit such as the ones taking
control of these men and women. He said to hosts Matt and Laurie Crouch, “The
prophetic word opens up a whole new world out there for you to be enticed.
God entices you with a future. That’s the glory of the future,
he entices you. Remember something, he wants you there, he says he’s
gonna get you there and he’s going to lure you there.” Who
is this “he” that is going to “entice” and “lure”
people to enter this “new world?” I believe this is the
same “he” that entices the fire throwers to spread his false
anointings. It is said in Scripture that in the last days (and I believe
we are in those days) God will remove this evil spirit that masquerades
as the Holy Spirit. Zechariah wrote:
shall be in that day,” says the Lord of hosts, “that
I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall
no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the
unclean spirit to depart from the land.
That same unclean spirit gets mentioned in the New Testament as well:
When an unclean
spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest,
and finds none.
Benny Hinn used the same terms to describe the spirit that directs
him – the one he passes around with the exclamation “Fire on you”
to those who attend his crusades.
And as he sat upon
the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying,
Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign
of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered
and said unto them, Take heed that no
man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying,
I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
The Final Destination of Apostasy
Ultimately apostasy will lead to the dilusion of Truth so that the lie
will be more acceptable. So whether it’s atheism, the New Age Movement,
Christian apostasy or a combination of them all, I believe that by diluting
the Truth, the lies become easier to accept. It’s a lot harder to spot a
counterfeit dollar bill if you don’t really know what a real one looks like
or what all the security features are.
There is a strong delusion coming and many people will fall into the
lie brought about by the master of deception. He will have power to perform
signs and wonders.
2 Thessalonians 2:7-12
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will
let, until he be taken out of the way. And
then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with
the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even
him, whose coming is after the working of Satan
with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness
of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not
the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause
God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a
lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth,
but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
This paints a much different picture of the time leading to Christ’s
coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 speaks of an apostasy, a falling away from Truth
that comes before the end. If the Bible (Word) is Truth, then it is
a falling away from the Bible. The Bible is not read by much of the world
now-a-days. If it were, and followed, there wouldn’t be such a coldness
in the world as the Bible said the end would be. Love is selfless and we
live in a self-centered world.
Those who fall for this delusion are doomed to eternal separation from
God. I believe that for many of them, because of the lies, will be willingly
rejecting God and fighting against Him because they don’t understand the
I am personally more cautious because I believe there are lying signs
and wonders that will deceive many people. The distrust of men has led to
sole trust in the Bible, which I believe has opened my eyes, but I am not
infallible and am still learning from God’s Word.
What I see is continued persecution of Christians around the world and
increased rejection and persecution of Christians in Western nations. In
addition, increased deception leading many to a one-world religion that
will eventually point to the antichrist. He is the one that will bring about
the great tribulation. He will also come with lying signs and wonders. 2
Thessalonians 2:9 Some feel this irrelevant because the harpazo will come
first. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 speaks of a
however as described by Paul.
I could be wrong not trusting some individuals, but I’ll never
go wrong trusting the Bible and all things should be compared to it. I don’t
need signs and wonders, those will come soon enough when we’re in
heaven and the Bible lays out our coming persecution because we preach obedience
to God’s Word and salvation through Yeshua alone. I ask only that
you search your heart for the motivations, listen to the Spirit and step
forward in faith when guided by the Spirit - just check first (pray). Signs
should not be the source of our faith because faith comes by hearing and
hearing the Word of God. I believe that whether logos (written word) or
rhema (spoken word), it is
(Bible) that brings faith when heard. From personal experience, that’s
when my faith began to increase, when I read His Word. Until then faith
was a struggle, now it is not.
is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence
of things not seen.