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Category Archives: Cult-Occult

This article is part 3 of 3 in the series Exposing Dangers of Martial Arts
Welcome to Spirit Life Magazine! We hope you'll return often!

PART THREE

Black-belt karateka in "gi" (karategi) meditating in yoga "lotus" position

Black-belt karate devotee (karateka) wearing “gi” (karategi) meditating in yoga “lotus” “power” position.

[Editor’s Note: This article series is an adaptation from the book, Exposing the Dangers of Martial Arts, by Vito Rallo, a former five-time USA National Karate Champion. See the end of this article for more about the book.]

READ PART TWO of this article.

There are many influences in our western society. Some are good – some are not so good. Some appear on the surface to be beneficial, but in fact, are the proverbial “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” In other words, the acclaimed benefits of a thing or practice of something may, in fact, turn out to be harmful, if not downright dangerous. The irony is, it may not be obvious at the onset.

What matters most is what lies behind the secret mask of all martial arts and yoga—what is at the root! The two are undoubtedly intertwined and are often advertised together. The practice of these ancient practices, driven by a huge popularity factor, has made major inroads, especially of late, into western society. This infiltration has had an enormous impact on both the world we live as well as in an ever-expanding segment of the church realm, and consequently has become a force to be reckoned with due to its widespread acceptance as a supposedly innocuous sport or physical activity. Continue reading “Exposing the Dangers of Martial Arts (Part 3)” »

This article is part 2 of 3 in the series Exposing Dangers of Martial Arts

PART TWO

[Editor’s Note: This article series is an adaptation from the book, Exposing the Dangers of Martial Arts, by Vito Rallo, a former five-time USA National Karate Champion. See the end of this article for more about the book.]

READ PART ONE of this article.

The Spiritual Principle of Self-Decreasing

The complete incongruity of martial arts along with these other similar so-called “self-improvement” or “self-help” kinds of involvements I’ve enumerated, and the Christian Life described and defined in the Word of God can also be summarized by relating it to the contrast John-the-Baptist described in his statement to his disciples before his execution by beheading: “He must increase; but I must decrease” (Jn. 3:30; italics added). “He must increase; but I must decrease.” While the essence of John’s statement was referring to the fact that now that the time for Jesus to be manifest as the Messiah had come and John had completed his God-assigned mission of identifying Him as same, the time had now come for him and his ministry to decrease or fade into oblivion so as to allow the Christ to take center-stage, so to speak, completely void of all distraction and deflection of attention. Continue reading “Exposing the Dangers of Martial Arts (Part 2)” »

T4G16 Leaders

T4G16 Annual Conference Speakers

[Editor’s Note: For five years or so, a maelstrom of controversy has been building in reformed protestant circles regarding the protodenomination formerly known as Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), headquartered for more than 30 years in Gaithersburg, Maryland, near Washington DC. The organization that once claimed more than 100 affiliate churches and hundreds of affiliated ministers in numerous nations, originally named People of Destiny International (PDI), was founded by C.J. Mahaney and Larry Tomczak and two other lesser-knowns in the 1970s, spinning off the so-called Jesus Movement spawned in California in the late 1960s. Conflicts and strife within the PDI leadership has been recurrent for many years, finally peaking around the mid-1990s with the ouster and disfellowship of Larry Tomczak amid internal accusations of misconduct, mishandling of related matters, and irreconcilable doctrinal/philosophical differences. A continuous current of criticism and allegations of flagrant relational and leadership wrongdoing against Mahaney coursed on for decades before and after the Tomczak debacle, erupting like a volcano in 2011 with formal charges of misconduct and corruption by him being widely disseminated by one of those aforementioned lesser-known, also disfellowshipped, Mahaney associates turned blogger. Some aspects of those revelations received substantial accreditation by a civil lawsuit against SGM, Mahaney, and other named SGM leaders, alleging multiple incidences of sexual misconduct by SGM employees and associates, an organization-wide cover-up conspiracy, hush-money payments and perks, decades-long employment of confessed sex-offenders, and failure to report to authorities multiple known criminal acts of child molestation, as well as aiding and abetting of same, filed in October 2012. The original suit with its several amendments, was eventually dismissed due to expiration of statutes of limitations and jurisdictional technicalities, but it spawned a criminal investigation, subsequent arrest, trial, conviction, and incarceration of a longtime SGM employee in the organization-owned schools who was also a close associate and personal friend of a number of top SGM leaders, including Mahaney. The tentacles of the continuing controversy and conflicts have already reached deep into the Southern Baptist Convention and Reformed Theology realms and has been reported by numerous national media outlets. Knowledgeable, credible sources, however, presage that the expansive imbroglio is far from over and the complete story is yet to be revealed. What we do know with certainty at this time is that ongoing investigations are being conducted, facts are being compiled, books and articles are being written, and more revelations and fallout are forthcoming. SLM will report further developments in this disheartening and troubling matter as they develop and warrant. The following news-release by the Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) urging the leadership of the Together for the Gospel (T4G16) conference conveners to disinvite C.J. Mahaney—one of the original founders of the amalgamation—as a conference speaker, provides a good overview of the ongoing controversy. It is for that reason, and the strong view that all believers should be aware and informed about such matters that we publish it.] Continue reading “SNAP Urges T4G16 Leaders to Dis-Invite C.J. Mahaney” »

The Seventh-Day Adventists — Christian or Cultic in Nature?
By David R. Reagan

The Seventh-Day Adventists are an anomaly. Evangelical Christians have never been comfortable with them, but they have been unable to decide whether the SDA is a legitimate expression of Christianity or whether it is a cult, like the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The majority view among contemporary cult-watchers is that it is a cult. But the most authoritative cult expert in modern Christian history, Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989), decided in 1965 that “it is perfectly possible to be a Seventh-Day Adventist and be a true follower of Jesus Christ, despite heterodox concepts.”1 This conclusion caused a storm of controversy because Dr. Martin had earlier labeled the SDA a cult in his book published in 1955 called The Rise of the Cults.2

Yet, shortly before he died, Dr. Martin expressed conflicted second thoughts in a television interview:

“I fear that if they continue to progress at this rate, then the classification of a cult can’t possibly miss being reapplied to Seventh-Day Adventists because once you have an interpreter of Scripture, a final court of appeal that tells you what Scripture means — as soon as you judge Scripture by that, as soon as you have someone who has made doctrinal errors in the past, even on the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the atonement and on other things, and that person is raised to that position of authority, you have polarization around that person.”3

If Christendom’s foremost cult expert could not make up his mind about the status of the SDA, you can certainly understand why others have experienced equal difficulty. So, what about it? Does the SDA deserve the designation of a cult?

A Brief History
Let’s begin our consideration of this question by taking a brief look at the origin of the Seventh-Day Adventists.

The SDA Church is rooted in the Millerite Movement that swept the United States in the 1840’s. William Miller (1782-1849) was a New England Baptist preacher who developed a unique interpretation of Daniel 8:14.4

In the King James Version that passage reads: “And he [a saint] said unto me, ‘Unto 2,300 days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’” This is a prophecy about the desecration of the Temple by Antiochus Epiphanes. But Miller applied it to the end times by converting the days into years. Assuming the prophecy was given in 457 BC, he calculated that Jesus would return 2,300 years later, sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. Incredibly, he interpreted the “cleansing of the sanctuary” to refer to the purging of the earth by fire at the Second Coming of Jesus!

When March 21, 1844 came and passed, Miller recalculated the date for October 22, 1844. When nothing happened on that day, Miller’s followers became totally disillusioned. The whole experience was dubbed “The Great Disappointment.” Miller died in disgrace four years later.

But a small hard-core group of Millerites called “the little flock” continued to insist that the date had been correct. One of the group’s members, a man named Hiram Edson, claimed to have seen a vision of Jesus standing at the altar in Heaven, and he concluded that Miller had been right about the time, but wrong about the place. In other words, Jesus’ return was not to earth but to the Heavenly sanctuary as described in Hebrews 8:1-2. This strange idea was promoted by a retired sea captain and Millerite convert named Joseph Bates.5 One of his pamphlets greatly impressed a teenage Millerite girl named Ellen G. Harmon (1827-1915).

The Life of Ellen G. White
Ellen G. White -- SDA "Prophet"Ellen Harmon was the daughter of a family in Portland, Maine. In 1840, at age 12, she accepted Jesus as her Savior. She was baptized and received into the membership of the Methodist Church. Shortly thereafter, her parents began to attend Millerite meetings and became avid followers, confidently expecting the Lord to return in 1844.

In December of 1844, one month after “The Great Disappointment,” this 17 year old girl experienced a vision in which she saw Adventist believers being ushered into Heaven. Her vision was accepted by the Adventist group in Portland as “light from God.”16

In 1846, at age 19, Ellen married a young Adventist preacher named James White. Shortly after their marriage, they were introduced to a tract by Joseph Bates, a Seventh-Day Baptist. It convinced them of the sacredness of the Sabbath, and they began to observe Saturday as the Sabbath. Six months later, in April 1847, Ellen had a vision in which she was shown the Heavenly sanctuary with a halo light around the fourth commandment, establishing it in her mind as the most important of the Ten Commandments.7

In 1850 James and Ellen began publishing a magazine called The Review & Herald. Its purpose was to disseminate Adventist and Sabbatarian doctrines. Their publication was instrumental in helping the handful of remaining Millerites to coalesce into a distinctive group. In 1860 they adopted the name, Seventh-Day Adventist Church. They formally incorporated in 1863 with approximately 3,500 members located in 125 churches.8

Ellen White never held any official title as head of the church, but she was always acknowledged as its spiritual leader. She claimed to have the spirit of prophecy, and she claimed that her messages were directly from God.9 Here’s how she put it in her own words:

“I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision — the precious rays of light shining from the throne.”11

James White died in 1881, and in 1888 Ellen published her most famous book, The Great Controversy. Ellen White died in July 1915 at the age of 87. She and her husband are buried in Battle Creek, Michigan.

The Church Today
Today, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church claims to baptize 2,000 people a day. Church membership reached one million between 1955 and 1961, and it hit 5 million in 1986. At the turn of this century, the church claimed 10.7 million members worldwide. Approximately one million of those reside in the United States.12

Much of the phenomenal growth of the church in recent years has been due to the fact that the SDA has been on the cutting edge of media evangelism ever since 1929 when they launched a radio program called “Voice of Prophecy.” In 1956 they began broadcasting the first religious television program to air in color, called “It is Written.” The most effective media thrust began in 1965 as a radio program called “Amazing Facts.” In 1987 this program was converted into a television ministry, and in 1993 it was taken over by Doug Batchelor who has since become the most recognizable face among Adventists.13

Leading SDA SpeakerDoug Batchelor is a very gifted communicator who heads up a team of 12 evangelists who conduct media-spectacular prophecy conferences all across America. Doug’s television program, “Amazing Facts,” is broadcast on several national cable and satellite networks, including the Fox Family Channel, the Black Entertainment Network, the Inspirational Network, the National Network, super station KSBN (SafeTV), and the Three Angels Broadcasting Network. The estimated number of homes the program can now reach within the U.S. exceeds 100 million.14

The Three Angels Network, known as 3ABN, was founded in 1984. It provides a 24-hour satellite service that broadcasts the programs of all major Adventist ministries around the world. There is also a Three Angels Radio Network. Both of these networks are privately run as non-profits, and neither is an official arm of the SDA Church.15

Despite its phenomenal growth in recent years, the SDA has suffered some major internal disputes. One occurred in the 1970’s when Adventist pastors began to question some of the Church’s most cherished doctrines.16 The SDA hierarchy responded by becoming more entrenched in its unorthodox positions. This caused a number of pastors, and even entire congregations, to leave the SDA. Others were asked to leave.

An even greater shaking occurred in the 1980’s when one of the SDA’s leading theologians, Dr. Desmond Ford, prepared a 900 page doctrinal analysis in which he questioned the biblical validity of some of the Church’s most sacred dogmas. The SDA responded by removing Dr. Ford’s ministerial credentials.17 Two years later a book by Walter Rea was published which revealed that a great number of the writings of Ellen G. White were flagrantly plagiarized.18 This revelation undermined the faith of many who had accepted Ellen White as a prophet of God.

The reverberations continue to this day. In August 2005 Doug Batchelor sent out an email message in which he made an amazing admission:

“Literally thousands of Seventh-Day Adventists have fallen away from the church in recent years. According to the General Conference Office of Archives and Statistics, in the past ten years alone, over 1.6 million people have requested that their SDA membership be dropped. The annual growth rate within the church has gone from approximately 6%, ten years ago, to a record low of 3.98%.”19

Distinctive Doctrines
There are two distinctive doctrines of the SDA.20 First and foremost is “The Investigative Judgment.”

This is the unbiblical concept that in 1844 Jesus entered “the second and last phase” of His atoning ministry — the work of investigative judgment. Instead of returning to earth on October 22, 1844, as William Miller predicted, Jesus entered the Holy of Holies in Heaven and began a review of the works of all believers who have ever lived to determine how faithful they were to the commandments of God. “Sins that have not been repented of and forsaken will not be pardoned and blotted out of the books of record, but will stand to witness against the sinner.”21

According to Ellen White, a person must believe this doctrine to be saved:

“All need a knowledge of the position [in the Holy of Holies] and work [investigative judgment] of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs for them to fill.”22

Twisting Bible Prophecy
There is absolutely no valid biblical basis for this bizarre doctrine. As pointed out earlier, it is based upon a misinterpretation and misapplication of Daniel 8:14. The prophecy concerns the actions of Antiochus Epiphanes (215-164 BC). It refers to a restoration of “the holy place” after it has been “trampled.” This occurred when Antiochus took Jerusalem in 167 BC and stopped the sacrifices in the Temple. This led to the Maccabean revolt which succeeded in reconquering Jerusalem. In 164 BC the Jews cleansed and rededicated the Temple. Hanukkah is the eight day festival celebrating this event.

Applying this prophecy to the Heavenly sanctuary is ridiculous. Since when has the Holy of Holies in Heaven ever been defiled or trampled down? Since when has it needed to be restored?

The prophecy also refers to a time period during which the “holy place” will remain desecrated. That time period is “2,300 evenings and mornings.” The King James version translates this to read “2,300 days.” William Miller converted these days into years. SDA teachers defend this conversion on the basis of Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6 where prophets were specifically told to interpret days in their prophecies as years. But those verses have no application to Daniel 8:14.

Perverting the Atonement
More significant is the fact that the whole concept of “investigative judgment” is unbiblical and contrary to the true Gospel as revealed in the New Testament. Jesus entered the Holy of Holies in Heaven immediately after His Ascension, and not in 1844 (Hebrews 1:3, 6:19-20, 8:1, 9:6-12, 24 and 12:2). His atoning work is not continuing in Heaven. It was finished on the Cross (John 19:30 and Romans 3:24-26). Jesus is currently serving as our High Priest before the Father’s throne (Hebrews 8:1-2).

Further, the Bible teaches that a believer’s sins are both forgiven and forgotten (Hebrews 8:12). Believers will never be subjected to a judgment of their works to determine their salvation (John 5:24 and Hebrews 9:28). There is no condemnation for the person who has placed his or her faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior (Romans 8:1). The believer can be assured of salvation (1 John 5:13). As believers walk in faith, they experience a continual cleansing of sin by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7).

The concept of an “investigative judgment” is a blasphemy of the blood of Jesus because it asserts that His death on the Cross was insufficient to guarantee a believer’s salvation. Instead, Jesus must continue His atoning work by evaluating the works of each believer.

This whole concept is nothing but a thinly veiled form of works salvation. Think of it — the SDA member is taught that he can never be sure of his salvation until the judgment work of Jesus is completed and he is certified as one whose works validate his salvation. Here’s how Ellen White put it:

“Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above, are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their character must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort, they must be conquerors in the battle with evil.”23

How could a true prophet of God speak such unbiblical words? The Bible says we are saved by grace through faith and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Ellen White says salvation is by grace plus our own “diligent effort.” The Bible says Jesus will never cease being a believer’s mediator (Hebrews 7:25). Ellen White says that when believers stand before God to be judged, they will be “without a mediator.”

The bottom line regarding the pernicious doctrine of the “investigative judgment” is that it represents a desperate attempt to salvage an incorrect prophecy. William Miller was a sincere Baptist preacher who misinterpreted a biblical passage and inappropriately used it to set a date for the Lord’s return. When his prophecy failed, he took responsibility for his mistake and repented for all the grief and embarrassment he had caused. But his error led to the rise of a true false prophet who spiritualized Miller’s prophecy and then used that spiritualization to manufacture a doctrine that is alien to the Word of God.

Sabbatarianism
The other distinctive SDA doctrine is the one contained in the very name of the group — observance of the seventh day of the week (Saturday) as the Sabbath. Ellen White stated in her writings that observance of the Sabbath is the “greatest” of all the Ten Commandments:

“The pope has changed the day of rest from the seventh to the first day. He has thought to change the very commandment that was given to cause man to remember his Creator. He has thought to change the greatest commandment in the decalogue and thus make himself equal with God…”24

Did you notice that in this statement Ellen White directly contradicts Jesus? What did Jesus say when He was asked to identify the greatest commandment? He said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38).

Ellen White believed so strongly in the necessity of Sabbath-keeping that she asserted that only Sabbath-keepers would be able to resist taking the Mark of the Beast in the end times.25 She truly believed and taught that Sabbath-keeping is a condition of salvation: “I saw that the holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers.”25

The fact of the matter is that Sabbath-keeping was prescribed by God to the Jewish people. This law was never given to the Gentiles, nor was it given to the Church. The Law of Moses was nailed to the Cross (Colossians 2:14). The death of Jesus inaugurated a New Covenant — a covenant written on the heart (Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 9:15). In His teaching, Jesus emphasized nine of the Ten Commandments and expanded them in scope to apply to our thoughts as well as our actions (Matthew 5-7). He never commanded the Church to observe the Sabbath.

When the Church began to convert Gentiles, the issue arose as to how many of the laws of Judaism the Gentiles would be required to observe. For example, should Gentiles be required to submit to circumcision? The issue was so important that it prompted the convening of the first church council (Acts 15). At that council it was decided that Gentile converts should not be “troubled” with Jewish customs. They were simply told to “abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood” (Acts 15:20). If Sabbath-keeping was the most important of all commandments, why was it not mentioned?

There is ample evidence that the early Christians met on Sunday from the beginning in order to remember the Lord’s resurrection on that day. References to these meetings can be found in Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.

Furthermore, Romans 14 makes it very clear that Sabbath-keeping is no longer a law. In that chapter, Paul states that we have the freedom in Christ to give spiritual significance to any day — or not to do so. What we do not have the freedom to do is to condemn those who give spiritual emphasis to other days (than the ones we choose). Also, Colossians 2:16-17 teaches that the Sabbath was a shadow of things to come. The reality it pointed to was Jesus. Jesus is our Sabbath. We find our rest through faith in Him.27

The Seventh-Day Adventists have every right to worship on Saturday if they so please. What they have no right to do (but what they have always done and continue to do) is condemn those who choose to worship on Sunday.

Characteristics of a Cult
With this survey of the SDA as a basis, let’s return to our original question — Is the Church a legitimate expression of Christianity, or is it a cult?

Let’s begin by defining a cult. You will find dictionary definitions to be so broad and bland as to include “a particular system of religious worship.”28 I prefer to give the term a more technical meaning. To me, a cult is a religious group that masquerades as being Christian. It employs Christian terms, quotes the Bible, and uses Christian symbols. But it is not a true expression of the Christian faith because it teaches a false Jesus or a false Gospel or both.29

1. The Identity of Jesus
First and foremost is the group’s concept of Jesus. Our salvation depends upon our relationship with Jesus — the true Jesus of Nazareth who revealed Himself to the world as God in the flesh (John 14:9-11). There is salvation in no other person (Acts 4:10-12). There is salvation in no other way except through Jesus (John 14:6).

Cults are notorious for presenting a false Jesus. Reverend Sun Myung Moon claims to be the Messiah himself. The Jehovah’s Witnesses claim Jesus is the Archangel Michael. The Mormons view Jesus as one of many gods created by the super-god whom they believe is an exalted man.

We can be wrong about many things, but if we are right about Jesus, we can be saved. Likewise, we can be right about many things, but if we are wrong about Jesus, we can be lost. To be saved, we must put our faith in Jesus — the Jesus revealed in the Word of God (John 17:3).

The official creedal statement of the SDA concerning Jesus is very orthodox. He is affirmed as being part of the Trinity, and He is declared to be God in the flesh. His death, resurrection, ascension and second coming are all confirmed. His atoning sacrifice is endorsed. The only unbiblical information about Jesus in the SDA creed is a statement about His ministry in the Heavenly sanctuary — the so-called “investigative judgment.” But this does not affect the personal identity of Jesus.

So, on the surface, the SDA appears to pass the first and most important test. The disturbing problem is that the many Internet websites run by former SDA members all assert that behind the scenes the SDA teaches that Jesus is the Archangel Michael.30 This is the teaching of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but unlike the JWs, the SDA also teaches that Jesus was God in the flesh. Further, the SDA teaches that the title, Archangel, does not mean that Jesus was an angel. Rather, it means He was the “chief over the angels.”

This is all very confusing. The more I have studied it, the more convinced I have become that the SDA quietly talks about Jesus being the Archangel Michael because that was the teaching of Ellen G. White,31 but officially and publicly the Church has endorsed the orthodox view of Jesus. It would be refreshing if the SDA would simply drop all the double talk and unequivocally state that Jesus was God in the flesh.

There has been a similar doctrinal shift with regard to the Trinity. Many early Adventists were not Trinitarian. The official SDA hymnal published from 1941 until 1985 reflected ambivalence about the Trinity. For example, the hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” which says, “God in three Persons, blessed Trinity,” was changed to read, “God overall who rules eternally.”32 Today, the creedal statement of the SDA affirms the orthodox view of the Trinity.

2. The Nature of the Gospel
The second characteristic of a cult is the proclamation of a false Gospel. Cults always end up teaching some form of works salvation. This usually leads to the production of a list of “dos and don’ts” which are then rigidly and legalistically enforced by the cult leaders. This is the area where the SDA begins to definitely fail the test.

As I have demonstrated, the SDA teaches a form of works salvation. Instead of asserting that we are saved by grace through faith, they claim we are saved by faith plus works that satisfy the “investigative judgment” plus Sabbath observance. That is not the Gospel of the New Testament, and Paul says that “even if we, or an angel from Heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).

3. The Type of Leadership
A third characteristic of a cult is that it is based upon a charismatic founder who considers himself to be either the true Messiah or the last prophet of God. Classic examples are Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons, and Sun Myung Moon, the leader of the Moonies.

The SDA certainly bears this characteristic since it was founded by a person who claimed to be a messenger of God. The SDA affirms this in its official creedal statement, section 17, entitled “The Gift of Prophecy:”

“One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.”33

This is a serious matter since the writings of Ellen G. White are full of biblical errors, inaccurate prophecies, and downright silly commandments. Also, much of her writing is plagiarized.

Her biblical contradictions are extensive in nature. She asserted that the plan of salvation was an afterthought of God following the sin of Adam, whereas the Bible says it was preordained before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-20). She claimed that pre-flood humans mated with animals and produced a sub-human species that was destroyed by the flood. There is no mention of this in the Bible. In fact, the Bible asserts that animals can reproduce only according to their kind (Genesis 1:24-25). Ellen White also wrote that the tower of Babel was built before the flood; that angels (rather than ravens) fed Elijah; that Paul learned the Gospel from men rather than Jesus; that the seal of God is the Sabbath instead of the Holy Spirit; and that we can know the date of the Lord’s return.34

Ellen White’s inaccurate prophecies are also well documented. She endorsed William Miller’s prophecy that Jesus would return in 1844. She proclaimed that salvation for all sinners ended in 1844 when Jesus supposedly entered the Heavenly sanctuary. This was called “the shut door” doctrine. It was conveniently abandoned in 1850. She prophesied that some who were alive in 1856 would live to see the Lord’s return. She predicted that England would enter the Civil War. She claimed she would be one of the 144,000 saints who would be living when Jesus returned. In 1850 she rebuked Bible scholars who were predicting an end time return of the Jews to Israel. She proclaimed that “Old Jerusalem will never be built up.”35

Ellen G. White pontificated about every aspect of life in her writings, and most of her non-biblical comments are an embarrassment today. She wrote that “drug medication… is a curse.” She stated that using medical doctors was a dishonor to God. She denounced the eating of eggs, milk, cream, and butter. In fact, she stated that eating eggs would make your prayer life useless! She spent most of her life advocating a vegetarian diet even though she ate meat herself. She forbid the drinking of tea and coffee and the eating of mustard, pepper, pickles and cinnamon. She put a ban on card playing, chess, and checkers, saying that such games “open the door for great evil.” Picnics and parties were condemned. Tennis, cricket, baseball, and bike riding were labeled “species of idolatry.”36

And these are only a few of her many commandments. Keep in mind this is a woman who claimed to speak for God and who had the audacity to proclaim, “There is one straight chain of truth without one heretical sentence in that which I have written.”37

4. The Source of Authority
The fourth characteristic of a cult is that there are always some extra-biblical writings that are considered to be equal to or superior to the Bible. The Mormons have their Book of Mormon and the Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own eccentric and highly inaccurate “translation” of the Bible. The Children of God look to the letters of their founder, Moses David (David Berg). The proclamations of Herbert W. Armstrong and Reverend Moon have been considered holy and infallible by their followers.

What is the status of Ellen G. White’s writings among members of the SDA? This is a difficult question to answer. The official creedal statement affirms the Bible as “the infallible revelation of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history.” The statement also says “the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.”38

But all these orthodox declarations about the Bible are qualified by the creedal statement that the writings of Ellen G. White “are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.”39

It is confusing, to say the least. What makes it even more so are the many statements by SDA leaders and pastors that leave the clear impression that Ellen White’s writings are considered to be on a level with Scripture:40

“I believe… Mrs. White’s writings are the world’s only inspired Bible commentary.”
— E. E. Cleveland, one time Secretary of the General Conference.

“She did one of the greatest works that I have ever known since John the Revelator. She’s to me one of the greatest prophets that have ever lived. Why? Because she had the same gift that Daniel had…”
— Stanley Harris, SDA pastor.

“Ellen White reinterprets Daniel for our time. And because I fully believe and am convinced that God spoke to and through Ellen White, I accept her writings 100%… I accept her as an inspired writer.”
— Raymond F. Cottrell in a talk to the Association of Adventist Forums. Dr. Cottrell was the former editor of the Adventist Review and served as a collaborator on the Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary series.

In 1928 the SDA issued an official position paper on the writings of Ellen G. White. It said, “As Samuel was a prophet of Israel for his day, as Jeremiah was a prophet of Israel in the days of captivity, as John the Baptist came as a special messenger of the Lord to prepare the way for Christ’s coming, so we believe that Mrs. White was a prophet to the Church of Christ today.”41

In the October 1981 issue of the SDA Ministry Magazine, the following statement was made about the writings of Ellen White: “We believe the revelation and inspiration of both the Bible and Ellen White’s writings to be of equal quality. The superintendence of the Holy Spirit was just as careful and thorough in one case as in the other.”41

In recent years, the status of Ellen White’s writings has been a source of constant internal debate and strife. This conflict motivated the current president of the SDA, Jan Paulsen, to make the following statement at the May 2002 General Conference:

“A further word needs to be said about our being ‘loyal to our heritage and to our identity.’ Some would have us believe that there have been significant shifts in recent times in regard to doctrines that historically have been at the heart of Seventh-Day Adventism.

The historic sanctuary message [‘investigative judgment’], based on Scripture and supported by the writings of Ellen White, continues to be held unequivocally. And the inspired authority on which these and other doctrines are based, namely the Bible, supported by the writings of Ellen White, continue to be the hermeneutical foundation on which we as a church place all matters of faith and conduct. Let no one think there has been a change of position in regard to this.”42

Notice carefully the wording, “the Bible, supported by the writings of Ellen White.” Does the Bible really need the affirmation of an external, human writer? I think this statement makes it clear that to this day the leadership of the SDA considers the writings of Ellen G. White to be on a par with the Scriptures, and that is clearly a cultic characteristic.

5. Attitude Toward Others
A fifth characteristic of cults is their exclusivistic and sectarian attitude. They always view themselves as God’s only true church and refuse to have anything to do with other Christian groups. They also tend to be secretive in nature — as evidenced by the secret temple rites of the Mormons.

Once again, the SDA fits the bill. In her early writings, Ellen G. White condemned Christendom as “Babylon” and asserted that the SDA was the “Remnant Church.” As recently as their 2000 worldwide General Conference meeting they passed a resolution affirming this belief. They continue to refer to other Christians as “apostate Protestants,” “Babylon,” “Sunday-keepers,” or “sheep that have not yet come into the fold.”43 A former Adventist has expressed it this way:

“Adventists are taught from childhood that they are God’s only true church on earth and that they are God’s remnant people. They are taught that they have the “truth” and all other Christians are wrong and are apostate.”44

SDA leaders have toned down their public statement of these sentiments in recent years because of their desire to gain acceptance as a legitimate expression of Christianity. Another motive has been the desire to gain access to Christian television and radio networks. Their strategy has worked, but the change in attitude is only cosmetic in nature.

Although the SDA operates much more openly than do the Mormons and JWs, they are still characterized by a commitment to secrecy when it comes to interacting with the public. This is manifested in the way they try to hide their identity when attempting to communicate with non-members.

None of their media ministries identify themselves as being affiliated with the SDA. When one of their prophecy seminars comes to town, the area’s mailboxes will be flooded with beautiful, eye-catching, full color brochures that never reveal any SDA connection. The seminars are always held at a neutral site like a hotel ballroom, and they literally sneak up on the audience with their SDA doctrines. Here is how a participant has described the experience:

“Their prophecy seminars take you through a very well developed prophetic scenario, amazingly illustrated and convincing. They give you lots of free stuff to keep you coming night after night. Then, on the last night, the real agenda appears — they reveal the secret, coded, ‘scriptural’ information: all those who reject Sabbath worship will receive the ‘Mark of the Beast.’”45

Their publications do not reveal their SDA origin or affiliation. Either the publisher is not identified or the publisher is a non-descript entity like “Pacific Press” or “Pilgrims’ Press.” Ellen White’s most famous book, The Great Controversy, is often distributed under the title, America in Prophecy. And her name on the title page is often printed as “E. G. White.” This is obviously done to hide her gender and to keep her from being easily recognized.

Since beginning my in-depth research on the SDA, I have gotten on several of their mailing lists. I recently received a mailing from their number one media outlet, Amazing Facts. The mailing encouraged me to distribute a video called “The Final Events of Bible Prophecy.” It gave detailed instructions about how to go door-to-door in an effort to convince all my neighbors to watch this propaganda piece.

Part E of the instructions was entitled, “Addressing Denominational Questions.” I was told that if I were asked, “What church are you with?” I was to reply: “I am representing Amazing Facts, a Christian ministry that provides Bible study resources for people of all different faiths. My goal is to encourage others to read the Bible and learn how to find God.”46 In short, do not reveal that you are in any way related to the SDA! This is deception, pure and simple.

6. The Type of Governance
The sixth and final characteristic of a cult relates to governance. The cults tend to be authoritarian, dictatorial, and sometimes even totalitarian. Someone at the top — either an individual or a collective group — calls all the shots. The classic example of this trait can be found among the Mormons and JWs.

The SDA does not appear to be as controlling as these groups, but there is little tolerance for divergent views or independent thought. The fate of Dr. Desmond Ford, mentioned earlier, is a good example of how rigid the SDA is with regard to doctrine.47

Christian or Cultic?
So, where does this leave us? Is the SDA a cult or not? I have proposed six tests. The SDA failed all but one of them — the one concerning the identity of Jesus. And there are serious questions about that one.

I am convinced that Walter Martin declassified the SDA as a cult in 1965 because he became convinced that they had an orthodox view of Jesus. To him, that was the acid test. I would agree that it is the most important one, but the group’s perverted concept of the Gospel must be ranked as almost equal in importance because of Paul’s warning in Galatians 1:8-9.

I therefore must conclude that the SDA should be considered a cult until they are willing to repudiate the “Investigative Judgment” doctrine and are willing to clearly state that the Bible, and not the writings of Ellen G. White, is their final authority in all matters.

After I concluded this essay, I decided to contact Dr. Ron Carlson, the man who is considered to be Christendom’s foremost expert on the cults today. I asked him for a statement about the SDA, and this is what he wrote in response:

“As you may know, Walter Martin was my mentor and dear friend for 20 years and spoke at my ordination. I was to have lunch with him the day he died in 1989.

Walter had a real influence on many of the SDA leaders in the 70’s and early 80’s seeking to move them to a Biblical position. Many were, and there was hope for the SDA Church.

What has happened in the last 20 years is that nearly 50% of the SDA pastors and leaders who were seeking to move it to an evangelical position have all been ‘kicked’ out or left the SDA. The people who are now in control have moved the organization back to following the teachings of Ellen G. White and denying some basic doctrines of Biblical Christianity. In fact, their official position is that if you do not worship on Saturday you are not a Christian and will not go to Heaven. Sunday worship is the mark of the beast. They are clearly today a false Cult.”48

Notes

  1. Walter Martin, Kingdom of the Cults (Bethany House, 1965), p. 517.
  2. Walter Martin, The Rise of the Cults (Zondervan, 1955).
  3. Walter Martin, Appearance on the John Ankerberg TV show in January 1985,
    www.macgregorministries.org/seventh_day_adventists/sda_facts.html, p. 10 (01/02/2006).
  4. For a detailed article about William Miller see William Miller: The Sincerely Deceived Prophet by David R. Reagan, (05/16/2006).
  5. Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM), “The History of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church,” www.carm.org/sda/history.htm, p. 1 (02/04/ 2006).
  6. Arthur L. White, “Ellen G. White: A Brief Biography,”
    www.white estate.org/about/egwbio.asp, p. 2 (02/23/2006).
  7. Ibid.
  8. Melton, J. Gordon , Encyclopedia of American Religion, Volume 2, (McGrath Publishing Co., 1978) p. 681.
  9. Dr. Michael E. Todd, “Truth or Fable? Ellen G. White and the Seventh-Day Adventist Movement,” www.biblebelievers.com/SDA/ SDA1.html, p. 13 (02/ 23/2006).
  10. Maurice Barnett, “Ellen G. White and Inspiration” (Gospel Anchor Publishing Co., 1983) pp. 5-17.
  11. Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, (Review & Herald, 1980) p. 27.
  12. Wikipedia, “Seventh-Day Adventist Church,”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventh-Day_Adventist, p. 7 (12/30/2005).
  13. Answers.com, “Seventh-Day Adventists,”
    www.answers.com/topic/seventh-day-adventist-church, pp. 3-4 (01/02/2006).
  14. Doug Batchelor, “The Story of Amazing Facts,” flyer produced by Amazing Facts, Inc., P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, CA 95678. Further information can be found at www.amazingfacts.org.
  15. Answers.com, p. 4.
  16. Geoffrey J. Paxton, The Shaking of Adventism (Baker Books, 1984).
  17. Good News Unlimited, “Des Ford,” www.goodnewsunlimited.org/bioford.cfm.
  18. Walter T. Rea, The White Lie (M & R Publishers, 1982). For a good summary of the evidence of plagiarism presented by this book, see the article by Walter Rea entitled “Ellen G. White: Prophet or Plagiarist?” www.bible.ca/7-WL-exhibits-Great-Contro.htm (02/26/2006).
  19. Email message dated August 17, 2005 from Amazing Facts Ministry.
  20. A detailed analysis of SDA doctrines can be found in the book, The Cultic Doctrine of the Seventh-Day Adventists (Life Assurance Ministries, 1996). This book was written by a former SDA pastor, Dale Ratzlaff.
  21. Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Pacific Press, 1950), pp. 480-488.
  22. Ibid., pp. 488-489.
  23. Ibid., p. 425.
  24. Ellen G. White, Early Writings (Review & Herald, 1963), p. 65.
  25. Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 605.
  26. Ellen G. White, Early Writings, pp. 32-33.
  27. For an excellent discussion of the Sabbath issue, see: CARM. “Does the Bible allow Christians to worship on Sunday?” www.carm.org/sda/sunday.htm (02/04/2006).
  28. The American College Dictionary (Random House, 1967).
  29. For more detailed information about cults, see The Deception of the Cults by Dr. David R. Reagan, (05/16/2006).
  30. See, for example, SDA Outreach, “Jesus is not Michael the Archangel,”
    www.sdaoutreach.org/Home/Articles/JesusisNotMichael/tabid/482/Default.aspx (05/13/2006).
  31. Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Review & Herald, 1958), p. 761: “Jesus was revealed to them as the Angel of Jehovah, the Captain of the Lord’s Host, Michael the Archangel.”
  32. SDA Outreach, “Jesus is not Michael the Archangel.”
  33. Seventh-Day Adventist Church, “Fundamental Beliefs,”
    www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/index.html (05/14/2006).
  34. Dr. Michael E. Todd, “Truth or Fable? Ellen G. White Contradicts the Bible,” www.biblebelievers.com/SDA/SDA1.html (02/23/2006).
  35. “Ellen G. White’s Failed Prophecy,” www.bible.ca/7-prophecy-blunders.htm, pp. 1-6 (02/23/2006).
  36. The Ellen White Research Project, “Thus Saith Ellen White: The Rules and Regulations of Ellen White,” www.ellenwhite.org/egw30.htm, pp. 1-15 (05/13/ 2006).
  37. Dr. Michael E. Todd, “Truth or Fable?” www.biblebelievers.com/SDA/SDA1.html, p. 2 (02/23/2006).
  38. Seventh-Day Adventist Church, “Fundamental Beliefs.” See #32 above.
  39. Ibid.
  40. The Interactive Bible, “Seventh-Day Adventists: They alone view Ellen G. White as an inspired prophet!” www.bible.ca/7-WhiteInspire.htm, pp. 5-9 (02/ 23/2006).
  41. Ibid.
  42. MacGregor Ministries, “Facts Seventh-Day Adventists Won’t Tell You,”
    www.macgregorministries.org/seventh-day-adventists/sda-facts.html, p. 2 (01/02/2006).
  43. Jan Paulsen, “Perspectives on Issues Facing the World Seventh-Day Adventist Church,” Adventist Review, May 2002.
  44. SDA Outreach, “Frequently Asked Questions about Seventh-Day Adventism,”
    www.sdaoutreach.org/Home/FAQ/tabid/61/Default.aspx, p. 3 (01/ 02/ 2006).
  45. Email message to the author from Tim Osterholm dated 01/16/2006.
  46. Amazing Facts, “Inside Report,” Jan/Feb 2006, p. 18.
  47. Good News Unlimited, “Des Ford,” see #17 above.
  48. Email message to the author from Ron Carlson in May 2006.###

Original Article: http://christinprophecy.org/articles/the-seventh-day-adventists/

Dr. David R. Reagan is the founder of Lamb & Lion Ministries and serves as its Senior Evangelist. He holds several graduate and postgraduate degrees, has authored numerous books and widely published essays and papers, and is the host of the weekly television program, Christ in Prophecy, broadcast nationally and internationally on seven Christian networks, reaching hundreds of millions of viewers around the world.

[Editor’s Note: SDA’s also espouse unscriptural strict dietary beliefs to include vegetarianism, as well as strange doctrines regarding blood and the preservation of the body postmortem based on their unorthodox doctrines concerning judgment, all of which have been problematic in the operations and management of the fairly extensive network of denomination-owned hospitals. These issues are particularly important now relative to longtime SDA member 2016 Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, whose primary base of operations during his lengthy career as neurosurgeon prior to his retirement was in the SDA’s hospital system.]

[Update—12-03-15: In a Washington Post interview, 2016 Presidential candidate Ben Carson states he does not believe in Hell and that it is a literal place. He also stated he does not believe in the concept of the “Rapture,” considered by most Christian theologians to be an orthodox Biblical doctrine, though several differing views regarding its timing exist. Read Charisma article.]

caution-controlling-leadership

For nearly forty years now, I have been doing all I possibly can to teach, preach, and warn believers about the prevalent problem of authoritarian abuse in the church-realm at large and in Pentecostal and Neo-Pentecostal streams in particular. I’ve preached sermons, published audios of sermons, written scores and scores of articles, authored and published books, conducted teaching seminars, counseled hundreds of victims, and basically talked to everyone about this dastardly device of the devil who would listen (or pretend to) for five minutes about it over the span of four decades. I wish I could report (if for no one else’s edification than my own) that there is evidence that my efforts have had a powerful impact or made strong inroads into combating this insidious and spiritually decimating activity of the kingdom of darkness in the collective church as well as in individual believer’s lives. I really do. But, sadly, I cannot.

Oh, hundreds of the thousands who have obtained (can’t say “read,” because the publishing industry’s own research indicates that less than 20% of all books purchased are read by their purchasers and less than half of that number read entirely) the two books I authored on the subject so far in their various published formats (print, ebook [PDF], epub, Kindle, Nook) — Charismatic Captivation and Charismatic Control — have corresponded via some medium to tell me how the books helped to them, and some that it most literally “saved” them from the destructive effects of victimization of authoritarian abuse upon their life. How could that not be extremely encouraging and edifying? After all, that was the primary motivation for spending three and half years writing the book (I guess I’m a slow writer).

Certainly, I’m grateful and exceedingly humbled that God would chose to use me and my paltry efforts to actually help someone with regard to their spiritual life, psychological being, and relationship with the Lord. Though the negative “cost” upon my own life and ministry for my has been extreme, in some aspects excruciating, and at times, from an earthly perspective, seemingly excessive, yet such temporal and transient afflictions are superseded by the real assurance that beyond the fleeting vapor of this mortal segment of life rewards — substantial and significant rewards — await. It is for those “joys of the master” that we toil, enduring the hardships inuring from our labors of evangelism and fulfilling our ministry callings (2 Tim. 4:5). Continue reading “Identifying Hyper-authoritarian Doctrines and Practices” »

IS “GRAVE SUCKING” ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF “CHARISMANIA”?
By Joseph Mattera

grave-sucking

There is something gaining more attention in some circles of the charismatic world called “grave sucking”.

Evidently, this refers to the practice of a believer going to the grave of a departed saint they revere (for example, Charles Finney or Kathryn Kuhlman) and lay on top of it and/or kneel in front of it so they can receive an impartation of the anointing (or mantle) of the departed saint.

This is nothing new. I heard several decades ago that Benny Hinn supposedly visited the gravesite of evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman to get her healing anointing. I also heard recently that a respected prophetic teacher I know visited the grave of Charles Finney (19th century revivalist) and had a tremendous experience with God as He renewed his vision and call to revive America. (Not sure this one exactly fits in the same category or that this leader would consider his experience “grave sucking”.) [We’re pretty sure by that leader’s explanation that it does NOT fit in the same category and that he does not consider his experience “grave sucking.” —Editor]

Also, regarding the possible connection between a manifestation of God at the grave of a departed saint, there is a story in 2 Kings 13:20-22 in which a person came back to life after he was inadvertently thrown into the grave of Elisha the prophet and happened to touch his bones!

While I am sure there are many well-intentioned and even some effective ministers who practice “grave sucking,” I have serious concerns regarding it. [We do not share this view that any ministers who practice it are well-intentioned or that they are “effective ministers,” except for the kingdom of darkness. One of the “effective ministers” the author is no doubt referring to is the New Age Neo-Charismatic leader of Bethel Church, Redding, CA, Bill Johnson, whose endorsement and encouragement of the practice was recently addressed in SLM. —Editor]

Before I list these concerns I want to say up front that I appreciate the fact that there is now more and more respect for church history. Furthermore, Hebrews 12:1-2 teaches us that the present day church is surrounded by a cloud of witnesses; this refers to the saints who have passed on to glory before us. This means that the church of the past is connected to the present and future church and that the First Testament saints are part of the New Testament church!

To be fair, I think any time we come face to face with a significant historical artifact, it can have a profound effect on us because the reality of the biblical or historical story becomes more real. This is why we visit museums; this is why many people are greatly affected when they visit one of the death camps of the Nazi Jewish Holocaust and why many Christians go to Israel and are blessed. It is an amazing experience to see firsthand the land of the Bible and to physically see the places where the saints of old walked with God.

I am sure that if I visited the grave of one of my heroes like Finney, Calvin or Luther, I would be greatly blessed. Not because their anointing is still in the grave but because the physical marker (their graves) may aid me in believing and remembering their lives and legacies, which could open me up by faith to go to another level with God. If that is all these so called “grave suckers” are doing then I am fine with it.

However, this is not the impression I am getting from what I have heard.

The following are seven concerns I have about grave sucking:

1. It distracts from the true power source of our anointing.

The Word of God is clear that the true source of our anointing is from God (Acts 1:8). James 4:4 teaches that if we draw near to God He will draw near to us. Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1 and 119, and 2 Timothy 3:15-16 teach that meditation on the word day and night is the key to our biblical success. Many charismatics want shortcuts to the anointing and desire results from an instant microwave experience or a one-time event. Instead of wasting their time traveling to “grave suck”, they should discipline themselves to seek God, pour over His word and dig down deep in His presence.

2. We get equipped for the work of the ministry by the present-day fivefold ministry gifts.

Ephesians 4:7-12 teach us that the grace we need to minister comes from the ministry gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor/teachers. Reading the context of the Bible clearly shows that the equipping and grace/impartation we need comes from those we are sitting under and trained by, not those who have already died. Hence, the spirit that was on Moses came upon 70 elders (Numbers 12) and then upon Joshua (Numbers 27) to help equip them to lead, but that experience was handed down personally to those who walked with Moses. We do not read about others in later generations getting Moses’ spirit; the same when Elijah passed his mantle onto Elisha.

Regarding John the Baptist coming in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17-19): that was referring to God divinely placing an assignment upon John from birth, it did not come from John finding Elijah’s grave and sucking out the anointing! Furthermore, John was carrying on the next phase of a ministry Elijah started and was perhaps the last in a line of prophets from the school of the prophets Elijah led at one time (which was started by the prophet Samuel).

Hence, the anointing, spiritual DNA and legacy of a person can be extended generationally via a divine assignment and/or training and impartation, but not through “grave sucking”.

3. The only spirit of a departed person that is promised is the Holy Spirit sent by Jesus.

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to His followers after He left the earth (John 14-16) which He said would empower us to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). Consequently, the spirits of the departed saints are not sent down from heaven nor are they dispensed from the place where their bodies were buried.

4. It can make an experiential doctrine out of a mysterious unique biblical story.

As mentioned, 2 Kings 13 gives us a story of a person who came back to life after touching the bones of Elisha. Some have no doubt that the power of God was still in his grave and/or that the miracle-working anointing of Elisha was still residually present on his bones. We have to remember that this is a strange, unique, mysterious story and that it is dangerous to formulate a doctrine and/or practice based on one obscure passage. This is how cults have started. We need to compare scripture with scripture and if there is an isolated obscure passage we encounter, then we should refrain from conjecture and not make a doctrine out of it until we can establish a clear biblical pattern. Also, it must be noted that the person in this passage was raised from the dead. The Bible does not indicate that he received Elisha’s anointing, mantle or became a prophet.

Furthermore, that may have been just one sovereign act of God to remind the Jews of their heritage and the unique prophetic calling Elijah handed down to Elisha.

5. The spirit, power and anointing of these saints is no longer in the ground.

The Bible teaches that when believers are absent from the body they are present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). This implies that our spirit leaves our body when we physically die. Hence, it is no longer on the earth and thus no longer in the grave.

6. It can lead to saint worship and necromancy.

One thing I greatly respect in the Christian Eastern Orthodox tradition is their love of the (spiritual) fathers and patriarchs. Unfortunately, some have taken their reverence too far and worship and pray to images of departed saints. There is a fine line between venerating the saints of old and worshipping them, especially to those who may be biblically ignorant among them. Also, many in this tradition have put the writings of the apostolic fathers (those leaders of the church who came after the first-century apostles) on the same level of scripture, something I disagree with for many reasons too numerous to cite here.

In the Roman Catholic tradition we actually see the official practice of Mary worship and saint worship. Furthermore, it is common for a Roman Catholic to pray to one of the canonized departed saints. Whenever we go to a departed saint for something instead of directly to Jesus we violate scriptures like 2 Timothy 2:5 and John 14:6, since we only have one designated mediator between God and man: Jesus Christ. Grave sucking comes perilously close to saint worship and, if not corrected, could also lead to communing (speaking) with departed saints. After all, if we can receive an anointing from the grave of a departed saint, who is to say we cannot receive advice and/or life altering visions from that same saint?

Finally, this could eventually lead to necromancy, which is witchcraft and has to do with conjuring up the spirits of the dead. Scripture teaches this is wrong even if you are trying to contact a departed saint (1 Samuel 28).

7. This could further divide the body of Christ.

Grave sucking seems like lunacy, not just to nonbelievers but probably to most Bible-believing Christians. Why? Because there is no specific biblical pattern that demonstrates it and/or commands or encourages it. Consequently, it further perpetuates the belief many hold in the evangelical camp that charismatics emphasize subjective experience more than the authority of scripture. Possibly the worst thing about grave sucking is that it could further divide the body of Christ at a time when we need true believers to unite more than ever before.###

[We agree that “grave sucking” is lunacy and another item on the long and growing list of demonically-inspired practices of Charismania and Charismaniacs. We also, however, believe that the time has come to name and call out the so-called leaders who espouse and promote such clearly demonic, New Age practices, such as the apparent chief leaders of same at this time, Bill and Beni Johnson, who we believe to be very, very spiritually dangerous people, in that they are leading multiplied thousands around the world into Biblically-condemned New Age religious practices and anti-Christ “doctrines of demons.” —Editor]

SECOND WARNING – BILL JOHNSON AND BETHEL CHURCH
By Andrew Strom

Bill & Beni JohnsonA couple of years ago we sent out a Warning itemizing a number of facts about Bill Johnson‘s ministry and Bethel Church in Redding. Numerous witnesses and videos from Bethel show that this church is spreading an “anointing” very similar to Todd Bentley – i.e. spiritual “drunkenness,” jerking, hysterical laughter, “angel orbs,” “fire tunnels,” spirit travel, mystical “portals,” etc. Plus constant talk in their ministry school of bizarre angel encounters and trips to the “third heaven.” All of it has an extremely “New Age” feel. And it is still going on today. (But even worse, as we shall see).

Bill Johnson strongly defended Todd Bentley – even after his divorce and remarriage. No wonder, for the “anointing” that both men carry seems almost identical (though their “style” is very different). These facts are beyond dispute and have been confirmed by many witnesses.

But whenever I say such things about Bill Johnson, people rush to defend him, saying what a “great guy” he is, and what a great ministry he has. And yes, he is a very charming man who does say good things. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be so dangerous. Deception always wraps itself in the best “sheep’s wool” it can find. Otherwise it would have no chance of deceiving the sheep! Why do you think the Bible warns of “SEDUCING” spirits in the Last Days – and “LYING” signs and wonders? If the deception was not so “seductive” then nobody would fall for it. And this stuff is very seductive indeed.

Things Get Worse

Several years ago the Bethel crowd put out a book which we only found out about recently. It was co-authored by Bill Johnson’s administrative assistant Judy Franklin with a foreword by Bethel pastor Kris Vallotton. Bill Johnson wrote two of the chapters and his wife Beni wrote another. In other words, it has Bethel’s stamp all over it. (It is still sold on the Bethel website).

So what is this book about? Here is what the blurb says: “Exploring the mysteries of God in sound, light, vibrations, frequencies, energy, and quantum physics.” Does that sound “New Age” to you? Yes! and it gets even worse. Please remember that this book has Bill Johnson’s name on it, and Bethel’s strong endorsement and participation.

When you open the book you find chapter headings like this: “Vibrating in Harmony with God,” “Good Vibrations,” “Quantum Mysticism,” and “The God Vibration.” And some of the sub-headings are even more astounding: “Dolphins and Healing Energy,” “The Power of Color,” “Human Body Frequencies,” etc. You might ask, What kind of “Christian” book is this? And the answer is that it is Bethel and Bill Johnson’s kind of Christian book. It literally has Bill’s name on it.

This is a peek into the real Bethel behind the scenes. When you look at this publication, suddenly you understand why we see all these weird videos and testimonies from Bethel of strange “New Age” terminology and bizarre spiritual practices. Now we know why. We have the evidence in black and white.

We have shown the contents of this book to leaders and people that have been fans and supporters of Bill Johnson. They have verified the source of it. And just reading this content has turned most of them from being a supporter of Bethel into an opponent in a matter of a few hours. It really is that bad. So openly “New Age” you could hardly believe it.  With all this talk of “vibrations” in the book, perhaps we can now better understand why Bill Johnson’s wife Beni wrote in her blog: “I was talking with Ray Hughes the other day and was telling him about using a 528 HZ tuning fork as a prophetic act. Someone told me that this tuning fork is called the tuning fork of LOVE… the sound of this fork brings healing.” (Please note that crystals and tuning forks are used in NEW AGE therapy, not Christianity. And by the way, Beni Johnson for years has been co-pastor of Bethel alongside her husband Bill).

This might also help explain why Beni Johnson recently released a photo of herself “soaking” (lying down) on the grave of a dead Christian leader, and why Bethel students also put out photos of themselves “grave sucking” (as it is called), trying to “soak up” the anointing from the graves of dead preachers. I am not exaggerating. They actually do this.

I hope you can see how dangerous and unbiblical it all is. Somebody needs to confront Bill Johnson about it (yeah, uh, don’t hold your breath waiting on that to happen –editor). That is why I am including a whole new section of these disturbing facts in the 2015 edition of my book, “Kundalini Warning.” And it is also why I am writing this article. When Nadab and Abihu offered “strange fire” before the Lord in the Old Testament, they were consumed by God and died. (Lev. 10:1-2). “Strange fire” is still deadly today. The body of Christ needs to be warned.

As one of the graduates of the Bethel ministry school (BSSM) wrote to me:

“There would be all kinds of distracting behavior (random shouting, laughing, etc.) during school sessions and church services. When any guest speaker came to school, students would flock to the front to get as close to the speaker as possible. We were taught that any anointing we wanted could be received by simply “claiming it” for ourselves…. The drunken behavior and questionable teachings from some, if not all, of these speakers was shocking at times…. I would always hear people talking about their encounters with angels and how they visited heaven. One young woman I knew said she could see angels everywhere, she talked to them all the time, and she would help her friends to do the same.”

In summary, this is a very dangerous movement and the warning needs to be sounded as far and wide as possible.###

Read Strom’s articles on SLM: Kundalini Warning, the first Warning regarding Bill Johnson and Bethel Church, and Warning to the Super Apostles.
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Andrew Strom is a prophetic minister who has written several books and hundreds of articles exposing the error of Neo-Charismatics, in particular. He resides in New Zealand. His popular website is at: http://www.revivalschool.com.

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BUY THE BOOK, KUNDALINI WARNING! [Available in print and Kindle versions]

This article is part 1 of 1 in the series Freemasonry

Masonic-Drawing-Sun-and-Moon

Freemasonry and the Masonic Lodge
by Ed Decker

I lay on the floor of the bathroom, retching. I was sure I was going to die.

I had a TV show to do in just a few hours and I was certain that I wouldn’t live to see it. I pulled myself up, leaning against the wall next to the toilet, trying to pull away from the pain I was in and sort out what was happening.I supposed that I had contracted food poisoning during the Pastors’ lunch earlier, but then, my table companions, sharing the same pizza, were not in here fighting for space at this receptacle. I remembered the two out-of-town visitors, whose attendance our host expressed concern over. “This is a dangerous business, and I don’t know these fellows,” he warned.

“Don’t give it another thought,” I answered. “God is our protector.”

Then I recalled that one of them had offered to refresh my drink and I had consented. A half-hour later, I was convulsing in pain.

Reflecting back, years later now, I guess I ought to have questioned the wisdom of going to Inverness, Scotland to do a TV program on “The Occult Origins of Scottish Rite Masonry.” My host was correct in his concern, yet God truly was my protector.I rose up that evening by His strength and did that program,
standing up. Yet, by the morning I was too ill to continue my tour and the next day began a terrible journey back to Seattle, to my own doctors and my own family. I arrived home barely able to walk.

The poison had effected my involuntary muscle system and it was difficult to use my hands and feet and hold my head steady. I arrived in Seattle more than 25 pounds lighter than when I left. Tests showed that I had sustained a high, lethal dose of arsenic, enough to kill me a few times over. It took months to
recover from the incident. Not only had the poison done serious damage to my digestive system, but also I would lie in bed, sleeping fitfully while my body twitched continually.

Later, the heavy metal began to work its way out through vicious sores in the tops of my hands and my head, making a terrible odor that smelled like dog urine. Even just recently, years later, while I was undergoing lung surgery caused by a bus accident, several blood vessels in my lower back broke
spontaneously for apparently no reason. The doctors puzzled over the phenomenon for the better part of the day until a nurse asked my wife if I had been exposed to metallic poison in a work environment. When Carol told them about the Scotland incident, they had their answer. Tests showed that pockets of arsenic still in my system [lower back area] had been the cause and the vessels broke while I was in severe trauma.

I suppose we could have pointed out the man who poisoned me. He would have gone to prison, but as one Scottish friend warned, our host would have paid the price at the hands of the Masons in response. It wasn’t worth it. I am still alive and I am still speaking out the awful truth of the lodge. I am sure there are more than a few Masons in Scotland that can’t understand why I am still alive. I do. It was because God intended me to live.

When I began to study the Lodge with a critical eye, it meant that I had to look back at my own father, grandfather and their fathers before them for almost two hundred years. They were honest men, churchmen who took our faith, our family and our country seriously, fighting in its many wars. Generation after
generation, each son followed after his father and entered into membership in the Lodge.

That line ended when I stepped out of the DeMoLay to join the Mormon Church. Well, in this article I will be revealing some things about Freemasonry, the lodges, et al…that you will never hear from those involved and we need to rejoice that this data is available if for no other reason than to know how to pray with wisdom for those you love who are involved…and for those here who are involved, to test my words against the Bible and your lodge and make a decision based on knowledge.

I know that this is a subject that comes close to home for many of you. Many of you have loved ones who are in the Masonic Lodge.

A lot of men get involved with Freemasonry, not fully understanding what they are getting entangled with.

I spent 20 years in the Mormon Church where the temple rituals had been directly “lifted” from the Blue Lodge degrees. Other portions of the Scottish rites, such as the ordination of the “Holy Melchizedek” priesthood were also common. The more I have studied Masonry, the more I realized the depth of its satanic hold over those within its “strong Grip”. Within the pages of the hundreds of Masonic books and secret ritual manuals I have gathered and read in our research is a tragic story of Godly men who have succumbed to the snare of the enemy and have been snatched from the very arms of Christ. They have brought the darkest side of Baal worship into their homes and congregations, opening the door to every demon in that Masonic corner of Hell.

Most Masons get involved with the Lodge out of peer pressure, their friends are in it, their grandfather was in it, and some go into it for business reasons. They see it as a way to progress in their business and social lives. Others are attracted by the secret, mystic rituals and symbolism of Freemasonry. Others
see people like the Shriner’s parading around in the red fezzes riding their funny cars in parades when the Shrine circus comes to town.

People wonder, “Well, what about the Shriners? We hear about the Shriners Hospital, about Masonic homes for Masons, about all the good works they do. Everyone knows about the Shrine Circus and the many people who are helped by them. Why are you criticizing them? Are you saying that they have something to hide from the world”

Yes, I am saying just that. This is clearly the case with the Shriners. Their public image is that of a fun time group pouring out millions of dollars into charity, all the while dressed up in a party spirit, wearing their Red Fezzes with great aplomb.

The Fez itself, is an example of this double meaning behind most of Freemasonry’s facade. Worn by ever Shriner and even carried to the grave with pompous dignity, the history of the Fez is barbaric and anti-Christian. In the early 8th century, Muslim hordes overran the Moroccan city of Fez, shouting, “There is
no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.” There, they butchered many Christians.

These men, women and children were slain because of their faith in Christ, all in the name of Allah, the same demon god to whom every Shriner must bow, with hands tied behind his back, in worship, proclaiming him the god of his fathers in the Shrine initiation, at the Altar of Obligation.

We are going to discover that all those good works are simply an outer shell of an inner darkness. I am going to peel away all the outer wrapping. I will expose, very clearly, what Freemasonry is, and why no Christian has any business being any part of the Masonic Lodge.

The Blue Lodge

The journey into Freemasonry begins at what is known as “The Blue Lodge.” The Blue Lodge is the foundation of all Freemasonry. These are the many local lodge groups, scattered across the country in almost every little town and city. When a man goes into it, he is initiated into The Blue Lodge through three degrees. The first, or “Entered Apprentice” degree, the second, or “Fellowcraft Degree”, and the third, or “Master Mason” degree.

After going through the three degrees of The Blue Lodge, the Mason has the choice to stay in the Blue Lodge or to seek the advanced degrees through either the Scottish Rite or the York Rite. Many Masons will go through both.

Within the Scottish Rite, there are the 4th through the 32nd degrees, and the 33rd being an honorary degree. The York Rite has thirteen degrees. Once the Mason has attained the 32nd degree, through either higher arm of the craft, he has the option to petition to leading to join the Shriners.

Many people think that Masons and Shriners are one-and-the same, but actually, the Shrine is a separate body of the craft. Shriners are Masons who have achieved the highest degrees of the Blue Lodge, and Scottish or York Rites Masonry, who enter into what is known as “The Ancient and Arabic Order of the
Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.”

Every step of Masonry has its ritual initiation, the mildest, of course being at the Blue Lodge level. Even this is bizarre, to say the least. In order to join the Lodge, each Mason must first be initiated through an initiation ceremony, similar throughout the world.

The Cable Tow

The typical ceremony begins with the initiate being first divested of his jacket and his tie and any money or metal articles he has. His left trouser leg is then rolled up over the knee, his shirt is opened to expose his left breast and his right shoe is removed and replaced by a slipper. Then the person who is
to be initiated will have a blindfold put on him and then a noose will be put around his neck. This is called a “Cable Tow”. The blindfolded initiate (they call this being “hoodwinked.”) is brought, with the noose around his neck, to the outer door of the Lodge.

The candidate, thus attired, is said to be in darkness, an allegory of Masonry that signifies that everyone outside of Masonry is in darkness and only Masons have the true light of the world. Only they have the true knowledge that will bring light to the world.

And so, the new Mason is brought to the outer door, seeking the light of the lodge, and there the Doorkeeper, or Tiler, will put a sword or a sharp point to his breast and lead him into the lodge room where an altar sits in its center. The lodge members await the candidate in the darkness that surrounds the altar, which is lit from a single light above. Behind the altar stands a man called “The Worshipful Master.” He is the master of the lodge and presides over the initiation.

When the initiate is brought before him, he bows before “The Worshipful Master” and he says something like this, “I am lost in darkness, and I need the light of Freemasonry, I am seeking the light of Freemasonry.” He is then told he is entering into a secret organization and that he must keep the secrets he is going to be taught.

At this time, he is required to take a blood initiation oath; every Mason who joins the Lodge takes his thumb or his hand to his throat and he then repeats an oath that has been repeated by every Mason who has joined the Lodge.

The Entered Apprentice (First level of the Blue Lodge)

The rites of initiation into this level include the following words:

“Binding myself under no less a penalty than having my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by its roots, and buried in the rough sands of the sea…”

The Fellowcraft Degree of Masonry (Second level of the Blue Lodge)

The oath for this level includes the following words:

“Binding myself under no less a penalty than that of having my left breast torn open, my heart plucked out and given as prey to the wild beasts of the fields and the fowls of the air…”

The Master Mason’s Degree (Third level of the Blue Lodge)

Every Mason must swear an oath including the following:

“Binding myself under no less a penalty than that of having my body severed in twain, my bowels taken from thence, and burned in ashes…”

Can a Freemason Be a Genuine Christian?

Masons will tell you that there is nothing wrong in being a Christian as well as being a Mason. And, when they are confronted with some of the anti-Christian secrets of Masonry, they say, “Well, those are in the high degrees. We don’t know about those things. I’m just in The Blue Lodge.” I’m sorry, but that is just not true.

The Blue Lodge Mason, who also claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ, has to ask himself some basic questions. First of all, “How can I put a blindfold on, come before a man I call, ‘The Worshipful Master,’ say I am lost in darkness and need the light of Freemasonry?”

The Bible brings us a very different message about light and darkness; one that brings with it the hope of joy:

“We write this to make our joy complete. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:4-7)

How can a purported “Christian Mason” say he is lost in darkness and seek to join the Lodge, because he needs the light of Freemasonry?

The Bible says if you are a Christian and say you are in darkness, you are living a lie, and the truth is not in you. Because, if Christ lives in your life, you have “The Light.”

The second thing the Christian Mason must ask himself is this: “If you are going to join the Lodge, how can you come before a man called, ‘The Worshipful Master,’ and bow before him in a religious ceremony (remember the altar in the center, with the single light from above shining down on it), and say you are
lost in darkness?”

Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon.” (Mat. 6:24) Jesus said that we cannot serve two masters. You can’t claim to be a follower of Christ and then bow before a man you accept as your Worshipful Master any more than you can bow before a Buddha.

The mammon that Christ warned us about fits right into the lodge. What is it if it isn’t the prestige, wealth, power, and position among men promised by lodge membership?

The third thing we must ask is how can a Christian take a pagan blood oath? How can a man, who says he is a follower of Jesus Christ, swear to have his throat cut from ear to ear, his bowels ripped open, given to the beasts in the field as a penalty for breaking such an ungodly oath?

Most Masons respond by saying that these oaths are just some kind of fraternity type stuff that means little or nothing. What foolishness! The Mason would do well to take strong heed.

This isn’t something silly that accidentally found its way in with real scripture. In the fifth chapter of the book of James, we are warned: “Above all, my brothers, do not swear — not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned” (Jas. 5:12). The NKJV says you will fall into judgment.

God’s Word says that the penalty for taking Masonic oaths is condemnation. God isn’t amused by this. He absolutely forbids taking these pagan blood oaths of Masonry.###

[Editor’s note: This is the first installment in this series of articles regarding Freemasonry. Be sure to look for the next article that examines the secret oaths taken by Freemason initiates.]

[Original source: http://saintsalive.com/resourcelibrary/freemasonry/freemasonry-and-the-masonic-lodhe; accessed 5-14-15]

Ed Decker is a former Freemason, as well as a Mormon for 20 years of his adult life. He was a member of the Melchizedek priesthood, a Temple Mormon, and active in many church positions. Through a crisis in his life, Ed met the real Jesus and his life was changed forever. His decades of research on the subject of Freemasonry has made him one of the leading recognized experts on the topic. His books, booklets, audios and other materials on the subject are widely distributed. The website for the ministry he founded, Saints Alive Ministries, has become a repository of some of the most extensive information on anti-Christian religions and secret societies available on the worldwide web: http://saintsalive.com.

You may want to help Ed with converting all of his books and reports he wrote over more than four decades, an entire library of invaluable and priceless publications, into ebooks. It costs money.
http://www.gofundme.com/mkcllw

KUNDALINI WARNING – Shocking Update
by Andrew Strom

Five years ago we put out a book and a video series called “Kundalini Warning.” It shocked a lot of people at the time.

For a long while I felt there was no particular need to update it in any way. But recently we came across some new information that completely stunned everybody we showed it to.

It comes from some of the very biggest Charismatic ministries — in their own words — bringing utterly blatant New Age practices into the church. Not in a “hidden” way. But totally open and unashamed about it. Most people who have seen it are just as gob-smacked as I was.

You will hardly believe it. It is that bad.

I have added a whole new section to my book and we will start releasing all this information very soon. But in the meantime, all three episodes of the video series, “Kundalini Warning,” are available on YouTube. The links to them are below. Each video is a little less than 10-minutes long.

Please watch them again and pass them around, my friends, in preparation for this new information. It will help a lot.

[Note: We have embedded the 3-Part continuous-play series from YouTube just below;  The Facebook links are below the YouTube embed.]

Here are the links to the individual videos.

‘SHOCKING DOCUMENTARY’ – Part ONE-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBpw2oQrvMM

‘SHOCKING DOCUMENTARY’ – Part TWO-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCcGaTRwG_4

‘SHOCKING DOCUMENTARY’ – Part THREE-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWeUNoR30_0

Special blessings to all,
Andrew Strom

Strom’s website: http://www.revivalschool.com/

_______________________

BUY THE BOOK, KUNDALINI WARNING! [Available in print and Kindle versions]

Former Mars Hill Pastor, Mark Driscoll
In a statement on the website of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, the Board of Overseers, as they referred to themselves, stated: “On Tuesday, October 14, Pastor Mark Driscoll submitted his resignation as an elder and lead pastor of Mars Hill Church. The Board of Overseers has accepted that resignation and is moving forward with planning for pastoral transition….” The statement also stated that “for nearly two months…a group of elders investigated a series of formal charges brought against him (Driscoll)” and that the “investigation” conducted by “a group of seven elders plus one member of the Board of Overseers” consisted of “some 1,000 hours of research, interviewing more than 50 people and preparing 200 pages of information.” Their conclusion was:

“…that Pastor Mark has, at times, been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner. While we believe Mark needs to continue to address these areas in his life, we do not believe him to be disqualified from pastoral ministry.”

“Pastor Mark has never been charged with any immorality, illegality or heresy. Most of the charges involved attitudes and behaviors reflected by a domineering style of leadership.

Now let me see if I got this right. Driscoll, who they continue to honor by calling him “Pastor Mark,” “has at times been guilty of arrogance….” First of all, being “guilty of arrogance” is not an “at times” kind of thing. A person is either arrogant – which is a condition deriving from an attitude, not an act or action that one only does “at times” or from time to time – or they are not arrogant. Arrogance does not come and go; it’s a condition of the mind and heart that when present is constant and consistent. In speaking of the supreme humility of the Son of God, Jesus, which he manifested in humbling Himself, first to come to earth as a Human, and then to the point of death on a cross, Paul said, “Let this MIND (KJV) [‘attitude,’ NASB] be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Php. 2:5-8). Humility – the diametrical opposite of arrogance – is a state of mind, as well as heart. It’s an attitude. Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, directed believers with unambiguous and clear language: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Php. 2:3-4). Continue reading “The Outrageous Claims of Mars Hill Church “Investigators”” »

[Editor’s Note: For us, the terms “Christian” and “tattoos” are a non sequitur. Or, stating it another way, the issue of Christians having tattoos is a no-brainer because Scripture is unequivocal, unambivalent, and crystal clear regarding the matter. In other words, there is absolutely no gray area regarding this matter in the Word of God, but rather is entirely black and white: God condemns it and states categorically that it’s a practice of pagans, not bona fide Christians! Period! Case closed! But some people, including purporting Christians, vociferously and adamantly claim and contend otherwise, albeit without a scintilla of Scriptural support. Again, for us, there is no argument; none at all. Continue reading “Christians and Tattoos?” »

zen-buddhism_symbolI was personally involved in Martial Arts, Karate in particular, for a number of years between the period of 1971 to 1991. My enthusiasm for martial arts even led me to successfully recruit other Christians to join me. Through the prayer ministry of the group Wholeness Through Christ, I chose to renounce my previous involvement in the martial arts. Previously, I was opposed to some of my friends dabbling in community centre yoga, but had rationalized my involvement in the martial arts as something innocuous. Continue reading “A Trojan Horse of Demonization: Taekwondo & the Martial Arts” »

“Covenant Relationships” is a very familiar term bespeaking a commonly accepted concept in Pentecostal/Neo-Pentecostal circles, despite the irrefutable fact that neither the term nor the concepts it represents are found in Scripture and in fact are decidedly unscriptural. Moreover, the concept of human spiritual covenants was resoundingly debunked and denounced by one of the most highly regarded theologians and teachers the Pentecostal and Neo-Pentecostal streams ever had, who emphatically warned that besides the sacred covenant between the Lord and His disciples “the ONLY other valid covenant is that of marriage between a husband and wife,” and that the effect of entering into any other kind of spiritual covenant with humans “will be a CURSE!”

For more than three and a half decades, I’ve been doing all the Lord has allowed, anointed, and enabled me to do to set captives of spiritual authoritarian abuse free from the bonds of witchcraft, or the “yoke of slavery,” in which they are ensnared. I’ve spoken and written extensively in books and articles about the many profound spiritual and psychological effects hyper-authoritarianism inflicts upon its multitudinous victims. Continue reading “The Curse of Unauthorized Covenants” »

By John Piper

I would like to begin this morning with a definition of the term occult. I designate anything as belonging to the occult that involves dealings with the world of spirits or of supra-normal forces which (dealings) are not oriented on Jesus as he is revealed in the Bible. With this definition I am assuming the reality of a spirit world and of mysterious supra-normal forces. I am assuming that the church makes a grave mistake when it says that supra-natural phenomena are restricted to another age or that only godly people can work miracles. Such a mistake lays the church open to the power of evil precisely because it refuses to recognize the presence of that power. The definition is also intentionally very broad. I mean to include everything from the most blatant Satan worship to the most commonly accepted use of horoscopes. As examples I would mention séances, necromancy, and all forms of communicating with the dead, PSI, ESP, and all forms of supra-natural psychic phenomena, real magic (as opposed to simple sleight-of-hand tricks), fortune telling, the casting of spells, wearing of charms, the use of ouija boards, astrology, etc., etc. What I would like to show this morning is first, that the Scripture forbids God’s people to be involved in these practices, second, why this is so, and third, what our positive alternative should be. Continue reading “Jesus vs. The Occult” »

February 20, 1990 | by John Piper

[Editor’s Note: Though this article was originally published in 1990, it addresses a topic we wholeheartedly espouse, and contains some poignant and Scripturally valid points regarding a little understood, oft disputed or entirely rejected subject. Of further significance is the fact that the highly-regarded and widely-acclaimed author is not known to identify with Pentecostal or Neo-Pentecostal theology, demonology in particular as well as ecclesiology. The matter of “spiritual warfare” is a truth that the End-Time Remnant Church Jesus is building needs to recover, embrace, assimilate, become knowledgeable and trained in, and engage in on a broader scale in order to offensively resist the strategic battle plans (“schemes,” “wiles”) of the real, unseen Adversary, the devil (Eph. 6:10-18; Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8,9; et al.). Unfortunately, we recognize and lament, this is one of a number truths the Holy Spirit has been restoring and re-emphasizing to those in the End-Time Church who have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying, but which has been significantly discredited and consequently disregarded as a result of indefensible extremism and imprudence in some streams who have been its proponents. Our fervent hope is that those who do have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying will push through the daunting and discouraging effects of the criticisms of men to embrace and engage in the sort and levels of spiritual warfare that are needed to defeat the Adversary’s wiles and schemes in order for the Church Jesus is building to advance and conquer in every place and way the Helper as well as the Head of the Church ordains.]

On February 12 of this year (1990; ed.) about 30 prayer leaders met in Pasadena at the invitation of Peter Wagner for a Post-Lausanne II Consultation on Cosmic-Level Spiritual Warfare. At least five workshops at Lausanne II in Manila last year had dealt with “territorial spirits” and their relationship to world evangelization. The Pasadena meeting was strictly ad-hoc and aimed simply to pray and brainstorm about wrestling with principalities and powers in world evangelization.

What shall we make of this new warfare strategy in evangelism? Is it the sort of thing you only read about in Frank Peretti’s novels? Or is it terribly real and strategic for finishing the great commission among “hard” and “closed” peoples of the world? Continue reading “Cosmic-Level Spiritual Warfare” »

Editor’s Note: We publish this concise article as part of a mosaic of articles we’ve posted in the interest of demonstrating clear and irrefutable evidence that, contrary to the nascent ecumenically motivated push by many claiming to be legitimate Evangelicals, neither Islam nor Mormonism are consistent with orthodox/Biblical Christianity. We find it tellingly interesting that this push coincides with a time in history when this nation has in office a President of undeniable and undenied Muslim heritage, who claims to be Christian, but whose policies and actions, both foreign and domestic, clearly reflect Muslim biases and patronage, and when a multi-generational Mormon, who inexplicably and antithetically claims Jesus Christ is his personal Savior, is a leading candidate of the opposing party seeking to unseat the incumbent President in this year’s election. Our belief and stance is that to in any way buy in to these totally unscriptural and unspiritual attempts to somehow narrow the great chasm separating legitimate Christianity with Islam or Mormonism is essentially a giant leap off the cliff to a precipitous free-fall into outright apostasy. This matter, we believe, intrinsically is neither a social nor a political issue, but a spiritual and a Kingdom issue. The profession of Christ, which is the ageless stumbling block that every human being who has ever lived and who will ever live are confronted with, is that He Himself is THE exclusive Way to God and Eternal communion with God, THE only Truth, and THE Eternal Life and Source of Life. Moreover, the profession of the Word of God, which Jesus Christ is, is that He is THE King of Kings and Lord of Lords, whose Kingdom shall have no end, and there are no coequals or contenders. Jesus Christ is both the Alpha (Beginning) and the Omega (End) in His inimitable Kingdom, and that excludes and eliminates all others. Either Muhammad, Joseph Smith, Buddha, and all the other self-proclaimed messiahs and their “sacred books” were right, or Jesus Christ and The Bible are right, but it can’t be both. Thus, for authentic believers in Christ there are no spiritual alterations, no social compromises, no political plumbing to find the middle. Period. Any and all of that is only the work and philosophies of “CINOs” — Christians-in-Name-Only.[end Editor’s Note] Continue reading “The Similarities of Muhammad and Joseph Smith” »

By Charles Carrin

“For unclean spirits crying with a loud voice came out of many who were possessed and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished (bewitched) the people of Samaria…” (Acts 8:7-9).

Years ago, I received an urgent call from a young Church of Christ pastor in Tennessee who wanted time with me. He was in great distress. We met at the Nashville airport and went to his home where he shared his crisis: “The only power in my ministry was argument and debate,” he explained, “There was no manifestation of God’s presence like the early church experienced. I became so despaired with my spiritual deadness that I turned to other sources. And I made wrong choices — I went into Eastern Mysticism.” I listened as he continued. “I found real power — but power that soon became dark and frightening. The problem was that having invited it into my life, I could not make it leave. It began to dominate, control, and in a merciless way, forced its will upon me.” His story was familiar. The “spirit-guide” that had invaded his life, harassed his sleep, affected his family relationships, and succeeded in separating him from those he loved. In time, it destroyed his ministry. As we talked, depression clung to him in a merciless way.

When he finished, I explained that he had “touched the unclean thing” (Isaiah 52:11), which God forbad. The good news was that his repentance and the power of Christ could free him. I reminded him that there is no power of darkness that can successfully stand against the authority of Jesus (Philippians 2:9). Continue reading “So You Think Psychic Power Is Fun and Games?” »

By John Stallings

Dear Oprah,
It would be redundant to say I know everything about you, as I do everyone else who has ever lived on planet earth. I know that you were born in 1954 to Vernon Winfrey and Vernita Lee in Kosciusko, Mississippi to humble and inauspicious beginnings. You were named after Orpah who is named in the Old Testament Book of Ruth as being the wife of one of Naomi’s two sons, but the midwife misspelled your name when she was filling out the record of birth form. [Oh, and by the way, I’ve never been surprised that your first name spelled backwards is Harpo, a name you’ve used for your umbrella organization.]

You’ve done pretty well in the money department, amassing a reported $1.5-Billion net worth. Money isn’t the only measure of success, it’s not even a good measure, but it is one measure on Earth, I suppose. My servants Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon were all very wealthy as a result of serving Me, so in and of itself, wealth in any magnitude is of no concern to Me. As you know, I’ve always been more concerned with what people do with their money than how much they amass. Continue reading “A Message to Oprah Winfrey from Jesus of Nazareth” »

Several weeks ago I began formulating “An Open Letter Concerning Glenn Beck” that appeared in my last email update.

Like many of you, I have appreciated Glenn Beck’s research and his stand concerning public policy and politics. Knowing that he was a Mormon, I was genuinely hoping that he was an uninformed, peripheral Mormon who really didn’t understand the teachings and doctrines of the LDS Church. We now know that this is not the case.

There are so many facets to explore here, it’s hard to know just which ones to address first. Here are just a few of the moving parts to this story. Continue reading “Issues with Popular Mormon Evangelist Glenn Beck” »

The Mormon Church is the largest Christian [see Editor’s Note below] cult in the world today, claiming a membership in excess of 10 million.

It is a cult for many reasons, the most important being the fact that it proclaims a false Messiah. The Jesus of the Mormons is the brother of Lucifer, one of thousands of gods created by the super-god, Adam, an exalted man. The Mormon’s perverted concept of Jesus is just one of many demonic doctrines which the church inherited from its founder, Joseph Smith.

 

Smith’s Origins
Joseph Smith (1805-1844) was born in Vermont and raised in upstate New York near a town called Palmyra. This was the heart of what came to be called “the burned-over district” because of its frequent and fervent Protestant revivals.

Smith claimed that his first revelation from God came at the age of 14 on the Smith family farm. In subsequent encounters, Smith said that God revealed to him that all Christian groups since the death of the apostles had strayed from the true Church of Christ. He claimed that he was given the responsibility to restore the one and only true church.

In later visions Smith claimed that he was led to tablets of gold stored in a nearby hillside. These tablets supposedly contained a history of the ancient inhabitants of North America. His “translations,” written in perfect King James English, were published in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. This book was to become the sacred scripture of Mormonism. Continue reading “The Ego-maniacal Prophet — Joseph Smith” »