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Biblical Proof Christians CAN Fall Away (Part 1)
By Steven Lambert
Jesus specifically said that in the case of this second category of hearers He identified and characterized in the Parable of the Sower: “…when affliction and persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away” (Mk. 4:17). According to Jesus, the result when they met with adversity after having believed is that ─ “immediately they fall away.” According to the doctrine of a number of Christian denominations today, this just cannot be so. Nevertheless, according to Jesus and God’s Word, it is immutably so. Continue reading “Biblical Proof Christians CAN Fall Away” »
The following video provides a clear and understandable explanation of the order of eschatalogical (end-time) events that will take place in the near future beginning with the Rapture (Catching Up) of the Church. This outstanding teaching of what to many is a confusing subject matter, that is often made worse by convoluted expositions by some “eschatology gurus,” is by our friend, Leslie Hale, “The Irish Preacher,” who is a tremendously knowledgeable teacher and skillful communicator of the Word of God. We highly recommend that you visit the actual-size Tabernacle in the Wilderness replica and the Antique Bible Museum on the grounds of the Leslie Hale Ministries campus located in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
[Editor’s Note:Janet Mefferd is a popular syndicated radio talk show host with nearly three decades of journalism and broadcasting experience. She wrote and published this article the day of the US Supreme Court’s ruling, June 26, 2015, essentially legalizing gay marriage.]
THERE’S ONLY ONE JUDGE WHO MATTERS (AND IT’S NOT KENNEDY)
By Janet Mefferd
Today, five Supreme Court justices forced upon the United States a fictitious “right” to state-sanctioned homosexuality in a form to be referred to as “marriage.” From this day on, we can add Obergefell v. Hodgesnext to Roe v. Wadeon the list of the most outrageously unconstitutional SCOTUS decisions ever rendered.
It doesn’t matter that 20 years ago, creating such a “right” was both morally and legally unthinkable, across the globe, on all sides of the political aisle.
It doesn’t matter that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t even address the issue of marriage. It doesn’t matter that millions and millions of Americans legally went to the polls to uphold real marriage. It doesn’t matter that the polls or research on the subject of so-called “homosexual marriage” are deliberately skewed or even based on faked data, as in the recent case of a study retracted from the academic journal Science.
It also doesn’t matter that the Founders would have been aghast at today’s decision. And it doesn’t matter that two of the five justices who upended marriage today unapologetically officiated at so-called “homosexual weddings” and refused to show ethical responsibility by recusing themselves from this case altogether.
That’s because today isn’t about the rule of law, the Constitution, what is morally right or ethical or even what is ultimately real. When it comes down to it, it’s about the revolution — the sexual revolution that has reached its zenith at the hands of five unelected justices.
Years ago, I heard former U.S. Rep. Bob Dornan speak at a pro-life rally, and I’ve never forgotten what he said (and I paraphrase from memory):
“For years, those of us on the side of life have been treating this abortion issue as if it were a debate. ‘Hey, we’re the ones with all the facts on our side!’ we say. ‘Babies are human beings. They’re alive. It’s murder to kill a human being. How can America not see this? Why aren’t we winning?’ And yet we’ve forgotten the most important thing. If this were a debate, we’d have won it years ago, because we do have all the truth, all the facts and all the science on our side. What we need to understand is that while we were trying to debate the pro-abortion activists, they were at war.”
You’ve seen it, haven’t you? When the Big Gay Bulldozer mows down Brendan Eich, Barronelle Stutzman, the Benham brothers, the Kleins or Craig James, there are no tears shed for these people who have lost their livelihoods and/or reputations. No one worries about the harassment or even death threats that are hurled at these people behind the scenes. It doesn’t matter how they were treated or what their First Amendment rights are. It’s all about the Revolution, man.
When the Human Rights Campaign puts enormous pressure on businesses to support “full LGBT equality” and ranks them through its “Corporate Equality Index,” with companies actually losing points for having any “anti-LGBT blemishes” on recent records, there’s no debate. You’re either with HRC, or you’re targeted homophobes. Nor did the far-Left Southern Poverty Law Center feel the need to retract its “Hate Map,” which identifies and smears Christian organizations, merely because it inspired a homosexual domestic terrorist to storm the Family Research Council with the intent to commit mass murder. It’s all about the Revolution, man.
There is no “gay gene.” It doesn’t matter. The CDC states that men who have sex with men account for 59 percent of those who have HIV and comprise 66 percent of those who contract HIV each year. It doesn’t matter. The Bible is clear that homosexuality is sinful. It doesn’t matter, homophobe. The Revolution is the thing!
Saul Alinsky’s eighth Rule for Radicals was: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” As he put it, “Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.” This is what Big Gay has done and done effectively. Its activists have applied intense, constant pressure on every side, through every medium, to achieve their goals, and nobody has been immune to that pressure – especially not judges or politicians. And we must note that among secularists, enormous and constant social pressure — aided and abetted by means of high-pressure propaganda and duplicitous Newspeak – can be very hard to resist if you have no true north in the inerrant Word of God. In fact, I believe in the coming days, it very well may be that only those who are grounded in the Word of God will maintain the true north on marriage and sexuality.
Big Gay knows this. Christians and their Bibles are a problem. This is why one of the next big pushes will be to try to get Christians to accept a twisted and false view of Scripture that upends texts like Matthew 19, Romans 1, Genesis 19 and 1 Corinthians 6.
Expect homosexual activists like Matthew Vines and other self-identified “gay Christians” like him to try to come in and influence your church or denomination, people who will twist the Scriptures to try to deceive you. There will be pressure on you to “show the love of Jesus” and “stop hate-filled discrimination,” but it’s just Alinsky Rule 8. Do not let them deceive you. God speaks clearly in His Word on the homosexuality and marriage issues, and we must stay the course. Christian, you can read your Bible for yourself. You already know what it says. And if you don’t, you’d better get on that. Because if you are a Christian, you are required to be on the alert against the one who would whisper in your ear, “Did God really say …?”
Yes, this is war. But then, we sometimes forget that the Christian is always at war. Yet our war is not against Big Gay or the Supreme Court or the media. Our true enemy, as we know, isn’t even human. Our weapons are not physical or carnal. Ultimately, this war we’re in is spiritual. As 2 Corinthians 10:4 puts it: “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” And what are these weapons? The breastplate of righteousness. The shield of faith, with which we can “extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” The helmet of salvation. And the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
In the evil day, we are to put on this whole armor of God and be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Why? So we can take our “stand against the devil’s schemes.” It’s true that today’s Supreme Court decision is a travesty, a total violation of moral and natural law, the highest peak thus far in the current revolution. And so it’s imperative that we continue to make the case, on the civil and political and moral levels, for true marriage and for our First Amendment freedoms. Like we’ve been doing for four decades against Roe v. Wade, we must do whatever we can, on the human level, to reverse this ruling. But the bigger picture is the spiritual war and the duty we now have to stand. “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Eph. 6:13)
There are all kinds of repercussions coming down the pike after today’s decision. Expect polygamy to become legal at some point; there’s no keeping it at bay anymore. But it’s also very likely that life will become much more difficult for Christians, too. Our tax exemptions may be going away. Our schools, universities, Bible colleges and seminaries will feel the pressure. Our churches will come under fire. Some of us could lose our businesses. There will be hatred and insults, and we will feel temptations all around us to give in, to compromise, to give up and to downplay the Word of God. But we must not do that. We cannot do that, any more than the apostles could give in and compromise the gospel to get along with Rome.
We know we must stand because there is another Judge, a higher Judge who is also the Lawgiver and the one who kept the Law perfectly on our behalf as Savior. The Lord Jesus Christ is no fallen ideologue who should have recused Himself before rendering a lawless judgment. No, His moral law is holy, perfect, right and eternal, and His judgments are always perfect. And on that final day, He will judge the world in righteousness: You, me, your neighbor and yes, those Supreme Court justices, too.
In light of the judgment to come, we must not only stand our ground, but we must proclaim to those around us that that day is coming! They need to hear that God is commanding everyone to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ while there is still time. “For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31) This is what the apostles preached. This is what Christians throughout history have preached. And this is what we must preach, too.
The Revolution will not last forever, but the Kingdom of God will. No matter how disheartened we may be today, that is always good news.###
Janet Mefferd is the host of Janet Mefferd Today, a Christian radio show premiering Sept. 14, 2015. She previously hosted the Janet Mefferd Show, a three-hour nationally syndicated Christian radio show that was heard on over 180 radio stations, from 2010-2015. A former news and religion reporter and editor for newspapers including The Dallas Morning News and the Daily Herald, Janet also has more than 20 years of Christian broadcasting experience.
Open Letter to Tony Campolo
By Michael L. Brown, PhD
Dear Tony, In the spirit of your public statement released yesterday, urging churches to welcome same-sex couples, I’m writing this open letter to you, appealing to you to reconsider your decision before you bring further reproach to the gospel and hurt those you want to help.
Like you, I’m a professor as well as a gospel preacher, and I have always appreciated your willingness to tackle controversial issues, not caring who you will offend, willing to rock the boat and unsettle Christians from their cozy and safe belief systems if you felt it was in the interest of truth and justice.
This time, however, you have offended the Lord, rejecting the clear testimony of His Word and – as could be expected, given your stance – not citing a single scripture in support of your new position.
I know that your wife Peggy has long been an out and proud advocate of same-sex “marriage” and that, for a number of years, you have believed that it is impossible for a person to change his or her sexual orientation. You have even explored the possibility of non-sexual, church-blessed, romantic same-sex relationships. Now, you have taken the inevitable next step in giving your full backing to practicing homosexual couples, calling on the church to support and embrace them.
May I ask, Tony, what it was that stopped you from embracing this position years ago? Was it not the clear and unambiguous testimony of the Bible?
Surely your emotions wanted you to embrace same-sex couples.
Surely your compassion wanted you to put your arms around a gay college student and tell him that following Jesus did not preclude him from having an intimate relationship with another man.
Yet you were held back by the teaching of Scripture, knowing that God’s Word emphatically states that God created men for women and women for men, that marriage, in its divinely intended form, was the lifelong union of a man and a woman, and that homosexual practice was strictly forbidden in all circumstances.
When did any of that change? When did the Bible suddenly become unclear on the subject? As a gay atheist wrote last month in the aftermath of Ireland’s vote to redefine marriage, “the conservative Catholic’s only proper response to news such as that from Dublin . . . is that 62 per cent in a referendum does not cause a sin in the eyes of God to cease to be a sin.”
What a terrible shame it is that a gay atheist has clearer moral boundaries and better biblical instincts than you, dear sir.
I believe you when you say you’ve heard all the biblical arguments on the subject and I don’t doubt that, “It has taken countless hours of prayer, study, conversation and emotional turmoil to bring me to the place where I am finally ready to call for the full acceptance of Christian gay couples into the Church.”
And I recognize that it may be too late for any of us to reach you at this juncture in your life (are you really 80 already?). Still, I join my voice with others, in the spirit of James 5:19-20, and urge you to recognize that you are committing a grave sin against the Lord, against His church, and against your LGBT friends by espousing this new position. In fact, you are now complicit in the potential deception and destruction of both believers and unbelievers alike.
You say it was your reflection on the meaning of marriage that ultimately brought about your change of heart, but can you really pick up your Bible and tell the world that there is a single verse that supports the “marriage” of two men or two women? Are you really willing to preside at a wedding ceremony and say, “I now pronounce you husband and husband” (or, wife and wife)? And in your heart of hearts, do you honestly believe that God designed a man to be with a man (or vice versa) and that when a gay couple comes together in the act of sodomy, that their intimacy now sanctifies that forbidden practice?
Tony, when same-sex couples read the Word, what do they do with verses like, “Wives, submit to your husbands” and “Husbands, love your wives” (Ephesians 5:24-25)? Which one is the husband and which the wife? What do you (and they) do with the fact that there is not one single positive reference to homosexuality in the Bible and, no matter how “inclusive” churches might be, gay couples must live with that reality (not to mention the reality that every reference to homosexual practice is condemned in the strongest of terms)?
You wrote, “When we sing the old invitation hymn, ‘Just As I Am’, I want us to mean it, and I want my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to know it is true for them too.”
But it is true for them, just like the rest of us: We come to Jesus in our brokenness and sin, and He transforms us by His grace, just like He transformed (rather than affirmed) the tax collectors and prostitutes of His day.
As for the possibility of change, I personally know former homosexuals who experienced true change in their sexual orientation (either by the power of the gospel, counseling, or both), while I know others who experienced no change in their orientation but who are committed, nonetheless, to follow the Lord, living blessed and joyful celibate lives, declaring to the world that Jesus is enough.
I absolutely join you in calling on the church to have a heart of compassion for those who identify as LGBT, and I join you in urging us to reach out to the marginalized and disenfranchised. May we all emulate our Savior in this regard.
But under no circumstances can I join you in your apostasy from God’s Word in terms of the meaning of marriage and the standards of sexual morality, and I pray that our Lord would have mercy on you (and Peggy) and grant you repentance.
With your typical candor, you stated that, “I am painfully aware that there are ways I could be wrong about” the position you are now espousing.
You are wrong, dear sir, and unless you were absolutely 100% sure of the scriptural truth of your position, you would have done far more good to keep silent than to speak. That would have been the least we could have asked for a leader of your stature.
As it is, however, you have a taught an important (and cautionary) lesson to many others: If you play too close to the edge, eventually you will fall in.
Should you wish to dialogue with me in private or in a public setting, my door remains wide open.###
[Editor’s note:Our beliefs and response to this clear case of apostasy by a prominent Evangelical/Baptist professor and author is and would be (if we were to write such an open letter) much stronger than Dr. Brown’s, and his response falls far short of our sentiments. Our assumption, though we wouldn’t purport to speak for him, is that Dr. Brown’s assumption in the writing of this letter of appeal that Dr. Campolo’s apostasy is not yet so “seared in (his) conscience” that he is incapable of reconsidering his position and recent statements. Perhaps this somewhat muted approach is the result of Dr. Brown seasoning the matter with Godly grace and mercy, which would be laudable, but our sense is that even if Dr. Campolo chooses to walk back his comments, it will only be due to the hue and cry his statement engendered, and not due to a genuine change of heart. In other words, we think, Campolo’s views are indeed seared in his conscience already and have been for quite some time. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.]
IS “GRAVE SUCKING” ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF “CHARISMANIA”?
By Joseph Mattera
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
A 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.###
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.
BUY THE BOOK, KUNDALINI WARNING! [Available in print and Kindle versions]
David Wilkerson, during most of his ministry, and in particular since one day in 1958 when he was thrust into news headlines, was a controversial figure in ecclesiastical circles. But, he was not controversial in the same way or for the same reasons many people who have basically earned that appellation. David Wilkerson was controversial because he was a genuine modern-day prophet both to the world of the unbelieving and to the church of the purported believing.
David Wilkerson simply saw and heard things in the Spirit that others did not, or would not, and boldly and courageously, spoke out about what he saw and heard, not because he chose or even desired to, but because he was called, chosen, and impelled by God to. All of that is the very simplest but all-encompassing definition of who and what a genuine prophet is.
As he witnessed the rapidly and exponentially proliferating of unrestrained hedonism and debauchery in the 1960s and its entrenchment in American culture, Wilkerson began speaking prophetic words of admonition about impending judgment of America if Americans did not repent from their unabashed sinfulness. With strong words of exhortation that oftentimes were words of rebuke, he also chastised the churches and church leaders of the time for their complacency, inaction, spiritual blindness and dullness, and infatuation with and seduction by the world and its allures. The core of his message was essentially what every genuine prophet of all ages espouses and expounds: That as the world system, along with its human perpetrators, spirals deeper and deeper into the vortex of utter evil and wickedness, the true Church that Jesus is building, in its role of restraint (2 Thes. 2:7-8), preservation (Mat. 5:13), and salvage (Rom. 11:14; 1 Cor. 9:22) must gird up, rise up, stand up, and speak up against it, thereby “snatching some out of the fire” (Jude 1:23). Yet, as with all genuine prophets, whether those of Bible times or those of more recent times, Wilkerson’s prophetic warnings were always seasoned with grace and God’s offer of mercy for those willing to turn from their wicked ways, to repent, and turn to God. In fact, often publicly, but always privately, the messages he received from God for the people of the world and the church, who he loved so deeply and indefatigably, broke his heart, and caused him to weep uncontrollably, much like the prophet Jeremiah, who theologians dubbed “the weeping prophet.”
Before the prophetic words of remonstrance reached his lips, they were purified by having passed through a salty river of intercessory tears, sometimes for weeks, sometimes for months, and sometimes for years. Maybe no one in the 20th/21st century spent more protracted periods in agonizing prayer than David Wilkerson. Times without number, he sequestered himself away from all the hub-bub, distractions, and trifles of life and ministry, and secreted himself alone with God for two weeks, three weeks, 21 days, or 40 days of fasting and intense prayer. The frequency of his separation from others was a source of frustration and even anger and bitterness at times for family, friends, and fellows — a price that had to be paid. But, few who’ve ever lived had the fire and fervor of David Wilkerson, and the source was the austere secret place where, like Moses on the mountain-top and Elijah in his cave, he met face-to-face with God. There, in that austere secret place, alone with God, is where he came to know God — who He is, what He desires, what pleases Him, and what displeases Him — with rarefied intimacy. Above all else, like King David, David Wilkerson was a man after, meaning in desperate pursuit of, God’s heart. Like Enoch, he walked with God until he walked right into the company of God, for God took him.
On Friday, April 29, 2011, Gary Wilkerson, David’s son posted the following tribute:
“David served the purposes of God in his generation, then he died” (Acts 13:36).
On Wednesday afternoon my father, David Wilkerson, passed away in a car accident. We grieve the loss of a beloved father, a faithful husband and a holy man of God. My mother, Gwen, his wife of 57 years, was in the car also, but we are told she will recover fully. (Editor’s note: she did, but then succumbed to cancer in 2012.)
Dad’s 60-plus years of ministry have impacted the lives of those closest to him and extended to millions around the world. Today we feel a personal loss, but at the same time we rejoice knowing Dad lived life to the fullest, obeying God with devotion and loving Jesus radically.
He was known for his unlimited faith. He believed God could change the lives of gang members and transform the most desperate drug addicts. He believed that a dynamic church could be launched in the heart of Times Square, New York City.
He believed he could be a man who loved his wife and children well. And he did.
Dad was not one for fanfare, acclaim or ceremony. He turned down invitations to meet with world leaders yet would give everything he owned to support a poor orphan or a widow in distress.
Like King David of old, Dad served God’s purposes in his generation. He preached with uncompromising passion and relentless grace. He wrote with amazing insight, clarity and conviction. He ran his race well and when his work was done, he was called home.
I don’t think my father would have retired well. I don’t think he was one to sit in a rocking chair and reminisce about times past. I believe that Jesus, knowing this, graciously called him home.
Dad’s last mission on earth was to be an advocate for the poorest of the poor—to provide relief and support for hungry children and widows and orphans. After founding Teen Challenge, World Challenge and Times Square Church, he sought to feed starving children in the most impoverished countries in the world. Today, Please Pass the Bread is saving the lives of thousands of children, through 56 outreaches in 8 countries.
Like King David of old, after having served God’s purpose, he died. I know if my father were able to encourage you with his words today, he would invite you to give your all to Jesus, to love God deeply and to give yourself away to the needs of others.
The works he began outlive him. We can all attest to his impacting us—not only in his preaching, writing and founding of world-changing ministries, but in his love, devotion, compassion and ability to stir our faith for greater works.
Wilkerson published many of his warnings and admonitions in various publications, including his newsletters (prior to the Internet), books, audio sermons, and videos later in his ministry. By and large, the more he warned, the more controversial he and his ministry were regarded, especially, it seemed, by the Pentecostal church of which he was a part, being a third generation Pentecostal minister, having received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit at age eight, and having been ordained by the Assemblies of God in 1951, after attending the AG-affiliated Central Bible College. While the church he founded in 1987 in New York City, Times Square Church, quickly grew to several thousand congregants, and continues to minister to tens of thousands, nevertheless, Wilkerson was basically held at arms length by Pentecostal church leaders, and even more by Charismatic church leaders, as complacency, lack of fervency, deception, and outright apostasy increased in those streams.
In the early days of the PTL Club nationally televised program, its founder/host Jim Bakker would occasionally have prophetic types like David Wilkerson as guests on the program. But, as “sin in the camp” increased, that occurred less and less, until finally, “negative” voices speaking about sin and error were banned entirely from the program. Nothing new or surprising about that, it goes on yet today on Christian television networks like TBN who bans and ostracizes genuine prophets who are deemed to be “loose cannons” who network brass know can’t be muzzled or silenced, but who are genuine mouthpieces of God, who speak whatever God whispers in their ear and the Spirit leads them to speak without hesitation, filtering, qualm, bias, or concern for self-preservation, no matter who or what it is about.
Even an obscure and unknown nobody like me is subject to such discriminatory banning and blackballing in that I was banned from the local TBN station more than ten years ago now, after only one appearance on the local “Praise The Lord” program, which I only found out about when a local host invited me to be a guest on that program he was hosting because, he said, I was among the few in the area who had a true understanding of the topic he was going to be discussing on the program — the apostolic and prophetic restoration. He had known this because I had reached out to him after hearing his radio program several times and invited him to be a panelist at a round-table I had moderated about a year before that was one of the breakout sessions during the day of a conference hosted by another ministry in the area. About ten minutes after I had accepted his invitation, he called back to say that regrettably he would have to retract his invitation because when he called the station manager to inform him of the lineup of guests he had put together for the program, the station manager informed him that I could not be a guest on his program because I had been summarily and totally unbeknownst to me banned from appearances on the station. He was shocked by that revelation, but not nearly as shocked as me. When I asked him if the station manager had given him any reason(s), he said he had not and that it was clear that the decision was non-negotiable. To this day, more than ten years later, I’ve never been given a reason for that banning, but that station manager and his wife who also worked at the station were summarily dismissed themselves sometime later.
For ten years or so, I put the whole matter out of my mind, and didn’t give it another thought. But then, a short time before Paul Crouch Sr.’s death, who actually interviewed me in 1977 when I was the scheduling coordinator for a large touring choir I helped to start called, “Festival of Praise,” at the top of the “Praise The Lord” program that was entirely devoted to a FOP performance at Ralph Wilkerson’s (no relation to David) church that then met in a high-capacity auditorium laid out in the round that the church had purchased from a failed theater, located across the street from Disneyland in Anaheim, called, “Melodyland Church,” I felt led of the Lord to reach out to TBN via email concerning whether or not this ban had come from TBN headquarters and was network-wide or just that station manager and was limited to that station. Paul’s assistant, and later Matt Crouch’s assistant, responded telling me Paul and TBN brass knew nothing about it, knew nothing about any purported justification or reasoning, that that manager had been terminated, which I already knew, and that I should consider any such purported ban lifted. Which was decent of them, but, though I forwarded that email to the new station manager, mailed them some ministry materials, and subsequently called twice requesting to speak to the new manager, I’ve never heard from anyone at the station, the manager has never returned my phone calls, and I’ve never again been invited to be a guest on the local version of the program.
All this to say that nothing has changed with Christian television networks; they still don’t like genuine prophets on their programs because they know they can’t control them or what they will say. They’re not invited to be a part of the “good ole boy” club of preachers who, like our Congress, “go along to get along” and to maintain their political careers. Genuine God-called, -appointed, and -anointed prophets are GOD’S spokesmen, not any man’s or collection of men. Their “silence” cannot be purchased with inordinately large honorariums, like so many of the “yes-man” sycophants who comprise the relatively small club of hosts and frequent guests who have demonstrated their willingness to “look the other way” or “wink” at the obvious, broadly-publicized and well-known outright, blatant, and habitual sinfulness and debauchery of the network’s founders, family members, board members, bigwigs, and many of its frequent hosts. Such people are enjoying their “rewards” now in the form of appearances on internationally televised programming on the largest television network in the world in order to expand their personal notoriety and thereby fill up their ministry coffers, but in the final day of reckoning, as they stand before the Bema Seat of Christ, their going to have some major ‘splainin’ to do, as I see it…IF they even make it to that glorious and privileged place…which in my view is highly questionable!
Such people, ministers and leaders of ministers, whose conscience allows them to simply “look the other way” and pretend that these things are not happening, or that they don’t know anything about it, or to hide behind some disingenuous claim that these reports are only unconfirmed rumors that they have no direct confirmation of their validity, or who disclaim any culpability or association with known hypocrites and their irrefutable behavioral apostasy, strictly for self-aggrandizing purposes, in my opinion, are people of highly questionable character, morals, and spirituality, no matter how well they can sing a song, preach, prophesy, orate, interview, moderate, or speak with the sincerest of countenances into cameras. They might be “stars” on Christian television networks, but they’re only spiritual criminals, con-men, and apostates in the Kingdom of God.
David Wilkerson was of the polar opposite ilk. He was one of those men the Bible talks about who was of such high character, morality, and spiritual nature that the world was not worthy of his life and presence for the 79 years that he graced this planet. The thousands who knew or knew of him were to a person shocked and dumbfounded when in 2011 he was suddenly and mysteriously taken from us.
“April 27, 2011, Reverend Wilkerson posted on his devotional blog, “To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights, and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, ‘I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will make sense. You will see it was all part of my plan. It was no accident.’” That afternoon, Reverend Wilkerson was killed in a car accident.” [From David Wilkerson’s Bio on his ministry website]
To learn more about David Wilkerson and his international ministry and the tremendous impact of his life, visit his ministry website at: worldchallenge.org
Virtually (possibly literally, if they all could be known) all of David Wilkerson’s prophecies about America, in particular, have come true already, many, if not most, of them came true during his lifetime, which is not something that made him happy or caused him to swell up with pride, for he, like all genuine prophets, was a reluctant prophet, for the true prophet speaks not out of hubris and selfish ambition, but out of severe brokenness and humility, and as one who has begged God, sometimes for many years, for his divine and sovereign intervention so that the message need not be spoken and the impending judgment, if repentance is not forthcoming, need not be meted out. In a PTL program taped in November 1976, David Wilkerson shouts from the rooftops what he heard whispered in his ear from the Lord. It’s astonishing how accurate Wilkerson’s predictions he talked about in this brief TV appearance were.
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.]
TEN JUDGMENTS OF JESUS AGAINST THE RELIGIOUS SYSTEMS OF THE CHURCH
By Joseph Mattera
Every church and/or organization has a corporate culture with norms, rules and expectations that pressure participants to conform. Some cultures are good and some bad. That being said, there are particular attributes that characterize false religions or become the norm during religious decline in a true faith such as Christianity. For example, “Every religious system in the world is centered upon a temple (or a sacred place) and has rites and ceremonies, has hierarchies and titles distinguishing men from one another, and has holy days and holy celebrations” (quoted from a teaching I heard from Pastor Tommy Moya several weeks ago).
The Old Testament prophets such as Isaiah, Micah and Amos decried religious ritual that was without true righteousness, humility and love for neighbor (Isaiah 1:10-17; 58; Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:8). The line of prophets arose starting in the eighth century B.C. primarily because Israel had a tendency to focus more on adhering to the temple ritual worship of the Levitical system than the ethical lifestyle required by the Law of Moses as found in the Ten Commandments. For this, the prophets pronounced judgment upon the nation, and God dispersed the people and, on two occasions, destroyed their temple.
We have the same issue in today’s church, irrespective of the denomination or expression of the Body of Christ. (Many Pentecostal, charismatic and Evangelical churches have these same issues.) Not only that, but all leaders (including me) have to constantly grapple with some or all of the following issues internally to make sure we are never sucked into this false system. Continue reading “Ten Marks of False Religious Systems” »
The Appalling Apostasy of Rob Bell
By Bill Muehlenberg
“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” (The Apostle Paul in Acts 20:28-31.)
We were warned 2000 years ago to beware of false teachers, false prophets, and false shepherds. Jesus, Paul and others regularly made such warnings. And they did so for good reason: they knew that Satan is alive and well and ever actively working to subvert the work of God.
The dangers of apostasy and deception in the churches was a worrying reality back then, and it still is today. And we are seeing all this take place right before our very eyes. The trouble is, how many Christians have been deceived along the way? How many will end up in a lost eternity as a result?
Rob Bell, who has trashed the Bible and publicly renounced biblical Christianity on national television, arm-in-arm with “the biggest peddler of New Age paganism in the world,” Oprah Winfrey, while appearing on a recent broadcast on her OWN cable station carried on cable systems across the nation.
I refer to the very sad case of Rob Bell. The former Christian pastor and mover and shaker in the emerging church movement has been on a downward spiral for years now. Indeed, I have been warning for quite some time now about what an apostate Rob Bell is.
Well, the hell-denying Bell has finally removed all doubts as to where he is at with biblical Christianity. And it sure don’t look good. He is not a Christian in any sense of the term, but a false prophet, who is not only leading many to hell, but is going there himself unless he repents. And he stands fully condemned by his own words.
I remember when I first learned about Bell around a decade ago. A concerned Christian wrote to me, asking me what I thought of his latest book, Velvet Elvis. Her pastor had been giving it out far and wide, and she was quite worried about it. I had not really heard much about him or it, so to help her out, I started to look into all this.
As much as I hate to waste good money on bad books, I went out and bought the lousy thing and gave it a good once over. I too was quite taken aback by the book. My review of it can be found here: billmuehlenberg.com/2006/09/07/a-review-of-velvet-elvis-repainting-the-christian-faith-by-rob-bell/
As you can see there, because I did not know much about the guy back then, I tried to be as fair and even-handed as I could be with his book, even though it looked pretty dodgy to me. Well, everything he has done and said since then has only gotten worse. Much worse.
Thus I have often written about him since then. For example, in another one of his books he came out and assured us that God is so loving that hell probably does not exist, and likely everyone will be saved anyway. Yes, I went out and bought that lousy book as well, and did a review of it which you can read here: billmuehlenberg.com/2011/04/15/a-review-of-love-wins-by-rob-bell/
But he did not stop there. Soon he was telling us about how wonderful Oprah Winfrey is, and how he planned to work together with her. Oprah, of course, is the biggest peddler of New Age paganism in the world, and has deceived millions with her anti-Christian baloney. I wrote up their ungodly alliance here: billmuehlenberg.com/2014/04/07/bell-and-oprah-lovefest-no-surprises-here/
Well, he continues to seal his own fate with ongoing heresy, apostasy and willful defiance and rebellion against God and his Word. He is now fully out and proud, telling us that the church must get with the times and embrace all things homosexual, including homosexual marriage.
And he thinks we gotta leave behind this dusty old book called the Bible, and start getting relevant by just talking to people. Yes, he actually said that! Here is how he put it in his own reprobate words:
I think culture is already there [concerning homosexuality] and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense, when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other and just want to go through life with someone.
Um yeah, right – just ditch the eternal, infallible Word of God and instead just listen to what sinful human beings think about the latest trendy abomination. Sure, great Christian advice there. But it gets even worse. The former pastor and now “spiritual adviser” to Oprah Winfrey has actually said this about her:
She has taught me more about what Jesus has for all of us, and what kind of life Jesus wants us to live, more than almost anybody in my life. Is she a Christian? That word has so much baggage, I wouldn’t want to answer for someone. When Jesus talks about the full divine life, you think, this is what he’s talking about.
Wow. Double wow. This tells us everything we need to know about Bell. If Oprah is the epitome of Christian truth, then Bell’s mind has clearly turned to mush, and he is about as deceived as one can get. For more on the dangerous worldview of Oprah, see here: billmuehlenberg.com/2009/06/18/the-gospel-according-to-oprah/
I am not alone in being gobsmacked at his complete and utter apostasy. R. C. Sproul Jr has also just penned a piece on this, and is worth quoting from:
Now this may not be exactly the level and style of hostility towards the Word of God that we got from mainline liberals 50 and 60 years ago, but it is getting profoundly close. The trouble that concerns me is that Rob Bell still has the ear of some sheep in the evangelical camp. He still has impact on people who should know better. And this kind of language, this kind of raw, open, public disrespect for the Word of God should be a warning to all of us. This, friends, is the voice of a wolf.
This is not being misguided, misdirected, or mistaken. This is leading people astray and publicly denigrating, indeed, snickering at the Word of God. This is the pattern that we always find ourselves in. We begin by being embarrassed by portions of the Word of God. And we move to begin to massage the Word of God so that it starts to say the things that we want it to say. Soon we begin to move into ignoring the Word of God.
But because God speaks, because God will not be silenced, because when we push against the Word of God which is an immovable rock, sooner or later we will find ourselves cursing the Word of God, and spitting on it. And that is where Rob Bell has found himself. The irony, of course, is that though he is sitting next to one of the most influential women of our day, Oprah Winfrey, though he is on national television making this claim, the irony is that this is how Rob Bell has made himself so unbelievably irrelevant.
What Rob Bell thinks of gay marriage, I’m not concerned about. What the Bible says about it, that’s the truth. The immovable, unshakeable truth, that will still be here and still be true when Rob Bell’s body is rotting in his grave, and unless he repents, when his soul is just beginning to suffer the wrath of God for all eternity.
Yes, we most certainly can and should pass judgment in this regard. Jesus said we shall know people by their fruit, and Paul said we must assess them by their doctrine. Both are lousy in Bell. While only God knows the human heart and those who are truly his, every Christian is obligated to test all things, judge all things, and assess all things.
When clear heresy is being proclaimed, and when an obvious case of apostasy is occurring, we have not only the right but a biblical obligation to call this person out, to both warn him and others. Not to do so is a failure to love. From the words of his own mouth he now stands condemned.
He is a complete apostate, and is a false prophet who is under the judgment of God. He has only one hope: to repent and get right with God through Jesus Christ before it is too late. All we can do now is pray that this happens. Sadly what we see here is the truth that when we desire to please men we will always displease God.
Bell is a case study of this. He is a case study of appalling apostasy.
Homosexuality and the Great Falling Away
By Bill Muehlenberg
Is this the time of a great falling away as warned about so long ago? Christians will know what I am referring to here. The word apostasy has to do with falling away, and the New Testament often warns us about this. And it also speaks about some hard core rebellion and apostasy occurring before the Lord comes again.
A key passage here is 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4. This speaks about those who are falsely claiming that Christ has already returned. Paul says no, he has not, and goes on to say that a great falling away must first occur. Verse 3 says this: “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.”
The term ‘rebellion’ used by the NIV, the ESV, the RSV etc., can also be translated ‘apostasy’ (NASB, HCSB, eg) or ‘falling away’ (ASV, KJV, eg). Here Paul ties it in with the return of the Lord. Of course Paul elsewhere speaks of such times, as in 1 Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.” Continue reading “Homosexuality and the Great Apostasy” »
The Church is the quintessential Theocracy. Its government is not a political government wherein the governed themselves constitute, devise, and effect their own government, such as that of this nation, the United States, which is a form of democracy (a republic), supposedly “of the people, for the people, and by the people.” Rather, the Church is literally governed by a singular Supreme Potentate—the Lord Jesus Christ—who God has appointed as its Sole and Sovereign Head. Thus, the ultimate Theocracy. The absolute necessity of understanding this one concept is emphasized and re‑emphasized repeatedly in the volume from which this article is extracted, and indeed is the ultimate and salient point of that book, Charismatic Captivation.
But, once it is understood that Christ Jesus Himself is the ultimate Head and Cornerstone of the Church, it is just as vital to understand that the government Jesus presides over is an intermediated or proxy government in its physical application. In other words, He does not govern alone, nor directly, nor even in person. Rather, His government is a “representative” or “delegate” form of government, if you will. This is to say that as God set apart and specially consecrated the Levites under the Old Covenant to represent Himself unto the people, so also Jesus appoints, anoints, and sends special envoys, ambassadors, to represent Him and His government unto the Church. These envoys are His personal proxies, His delegates, His stand‑ins, whom He sends to convey and effect His purposes, plans, pleasures, and passions. Continue reading “How God’s Theocracy Manifests on Earth” »
How Long Will We Be Satisfied With Happy, Shallow Revivals?
By Bert Farias
Many of our so called modern revivals are happy but shallow. This is of deep concern to me for I am not seeing the old anointings any more. My heart grieves especially for the young people who have never witnessed the real power of God.
16 Dangers of the ‘Positive Christianity’ Movement
By John Burton
Are we are forming a culturally acceptable version of God?
And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. —Exodus 32:4-6
I’ll begin by affirming that God absolutely is LOVE! He is good, all the time. However, his goodness may not always register as good on our human grid.
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. —1 Corinthians 2:14
There is a rapidly growing aversion to any discussion about God that includes anything that feels negative. The problem? Cover to cover in Scripture we see endless accounts of God displaying His attributes—many of which would not be defined as positive.
Instead of proclaiming the full counsel of Scripture, people today are looking for a buffet Bible when they can load up on chocolate cake and milk shakes while quickly stepping by the peas, carrots and salad.
People want to form a god of their own design as the Israelites did when Moses was meeting with a fearful God. The plan is to sit down to eat and drink and rise up to play.
Today it’s nearly impossible (not an exaggeration) to find a church that preaches cutting, hard-core truths of Scripture that break us out of prison and into freedom. If you want to hear about how good God is and little else, then you can pick most any church in the nation.
“If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.” –Leonard Ravenhill
Sixteen Dangers of the “Positive Christianity” Movement
1. False conversions — I could spend a lot of time on this point, and I do address it extensively in my book The Coming Church. For the sake of brevity, we must finally come to the understanding that salvation requires an extreme step—not a casual one. It’s when we understand the great drama that includes God, Satan, eternity, heaven, hell, judgment and abundant life that authentic conversions can occur. Who wouldn’t sign up to follow a God that promises gold coins and butterflies? The question must not be, “How can I benefit from salvation.” It has to be, “Is God worthy of my surrendering all I value to Him?” When we truly know Him in His fullness, in His grace and wrath, in His mercy and judgment, as a Lion and a Lamb, we will be able to make the fearful decision, “You, Lord are worthy of my entire life.”
2. Misunderstanding of the fear of the Lord — It’s stunning to me that so many are renouncing any fear whatsoever, even the fear of the Lord! If we have a view of God that is only positive, we will reject anything that feels negative, and this includes the fear of the Lord. Let’s set the record straight—the fear of the Lord is not simply to be in awe of God or to respect Him. Fear of the Lord is translated over and over as terror, to be afraid, to dread. The love of God and the dread of God are not mutually exclusive. In fact, His love shines brighter we we realize how fearful He truly is.
That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. —Romans 11:20-22
3. God is limited — When we eliminate a major part of God’s personality and character, we greatly limit our revelation of Him and His ability to move in our lives. God is much more than the leader of some euphoric land of fantasy.
4. Rejection of judgment (that we need so badly) — I believe one of the most important prayers I can pray is, “God, judge me daily.” For those who reject God’s judgment because they perceive it to be negative, their lives will be marked by areas not given access to God’s loving calibration. Additionally, our nation is in desperate need of loving judgment from a righteous judge. Judgment is not hatred; it’s love. It is deep love. We see this in our own society. We are so touchy-feely that we react in anger when we presume someone to be judging us. However, it’s true love that will judge an issue and help someone break free into healing. We must embrace judgment in these dire end times.
And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. —Acts 10:42
5. Rejection of God — This is one of the most serious issues. God absolutely still judges in the New Covenant, and those who reject this will be at risk of attributing judgments of God to Satan. God’s wrath is still on the Earth, and we have to understand that much of the trouble we see today has actually been initiated by God—all while many of His followers are rebuking Him and calling Him Satan.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. —John 3:36
6. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit — Even more serious is the risk of blasphemy. I believe we have to be radically opposed to God to fall into this unforgivable sin (I know many wrestle with this, but unpacking it will require more time than we have here), but, the “positive Christianity” movement can nudge people closer to falling into this. When we attribute an act of God to Satan, that is blasphemy, and this occurs often within “positive Christianity.”
“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” —Mark 3:28-30
7. Ignoring calls to battle — If we think God is mostly interested in our safety and happiness, we will deem unnecessary and invasive any call to battle. It’s time we mature and understand we are already in the midst of a vicious battle, and it’s our calling to fight hard. God really is OK with His children being tortured and killed as martyrs for the sake of other people discovering Jesus, and we should be too. We are end-time soldiers, and this means we have signed up for a life of inconvenience, brokenness and struggle. That negative reality is glorious when we understand what it is unto.
8. Misinterpretations of negative situations — News flash: It’s not always the devil. How often do people rebuke demons when it’s actually God Who caused the situation? If we think that God only functions positively, then what are we to do with the fact that God actually demonized Paul and refused his deliverance? What about God striking people with sickness?
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. —2 Corinthians 12:7-10
God actually endorsed an assault of Satan on Paul to keep him humble! Paul embraced a “negative” God, because He was True. He was content with weaknesses, hardships, calamities. He didn’t rebuke them, and that didn’t cause him to attribute them to Satan. Of course, Satan wouldn’t want to keep Paul from becoming conceited, so this wasn’t his plan. Just as with Job, God will allow attacks of the enemy for our own benefit. In fact, it was Satan who was allowed by God to kill Jesus. He literally had thorns in His flesh as He hung on the cross, and they were not taken away.
9. Minimized need for intercession — If we think things are getting better and better, as many who support the “positive Christianity” movement do, than we have no need to intercede. However, if we truly understand that some very troubling times are ahead, and God has called us to stand in the gap, then our passion for intercession will skyrocket. We need Abrahams and Jonahs who will see the judgment of God ahead and pray with passion and warn those in its direct path. Our God who is the same yesterday, today and forever, totally destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. He destroyed the Earth in a flood. His wrath remains on those who reject Him today.
Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” —Genesis 18:32
10. Rejection of call to martyrdom — Martyrdom is the pinnacle of negative experiences for the Christian. Of course, the truth is that it’s not negative at all. It’s glorious!
Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. —Acts 7:54-58
How powerful is it that Jesus stood as Stephen died! Not only that, but did you notice what young man was mentioned in the story? A young man who would end up turning the world upside down. Saul. Paul. We need Stephens to arise and lay down their lives in such a way that a new company of Sauls are awakened into their destinies.
11. Universalism — You’d be surprised at how many professing Christians reject any thought of eternity in hell—for anybody! After all, how could a good God cast people into eternal torment? It doesn’t register on the grid of “positive Christianity.”
12. Rejection of tenets of the faith — I’m angered at how many of today’s Christians get sad and withdrawn when core tenets of the faith are preached. The cross, hell, fear of the Lord, surrender, brokenness and repentance are minimized as they prefer to focus on how giddy God is about them! We absolutely need a fresh wave of Blood-bought fire-and-brimstone preachers again!
13. Wrongly discern God’s presence and purpose — The presumption is that whenever God is manifesting that the feelings we experience are to be happy, warm and positive. Any manifestation that includes fear of the Lord, conviction, rebuke, challenge or mourning is soundly rejected. If the atmosphere isn’t electric, many today check out and disengage.
14. Using God — A spirit of religion is in this “positive Christianity” movement. The thought is that God is there for our enjoyment and must respond to our cries for satisfaction. We determine the experience instead of letting God use us as He sees fit.
15. Self-centeredness — Related to using God, instead of focusing on the devastation in the world and our responsibility to bring resolution to it, those in the “positive Christianity” movement are focused on self.
16. Forsaking our anointing by always being nice — Boy, we have to stop this. We think God always has perma-smile with a twinkle sparkling off of His grin. If we think of God in this light, we’ll attempt to do the same. It can manifest many different ways. For example, instead of boldly preaching repentance and the terror of hell, we might just smile and be sweet and sugary by encouraging people to take baby steps toward Jesus. We have become so tentative and passive when dealing with severe threats against the church, such as the homosexual agenda, the false-grace movement and others. We need prophets to rise up and preach judgment and repentance again!
Sometimes we need to look someone in the eye, under the unction of the Holy Spirit, and say with no hint of a smile that they are destined for hell. Repent!
Of course, there are limitless positives about God and our relationship with Him. However, we don’t want to stop there. We must trust Him enough to embrace Him in His fullness.
The judge is coming, and He will start with the church. How many will fall away when He arrives, disappoints and confuses people by looking nothing like the god of their own design?###
A Horrible Illness Is Going Around
By John Stallings
There’s an illness going around. You’ve definitely heard of it, even if not by the name used here. It’s not the bird flu. It’s not the regular flu for which many have already gotten flu shots. It’s not one of the more notable illnesses, like AIDS, or HIV. But I’m sure you’ve heard of it. In fact, everyone has seen its devastating effects.
Some have seen it up close and personally. Some have experienced it themselves, or seen a loved one devastated by it. Some are plagued with this illness, perhaps a mild case only affecting a part of their life, but infected nonetheless.
The scary thing is how contagious it is, and how susceptible all of us are to this illness. Any of us can get the illness, and all of us have to take ongoing precautions against getting it. If we let our guard down, and don’t take illness prevention steps, it’s likely we’ll be infected.
Though we’ve heard many warnings about how this illness can affect us, we tend to think: No, not me; I won’t get this illness; I won’t be affected.
JOSEPH STALIN’S POWER IN AMERICAN POLITICS
By Charles Carrin
Joseph Stalin (1878-1953), Soviet Union Fascist Dictator for more than two decades.
Let me say this boldly: I am a “conspiracy theorist.” By that I mean, as an 83 year-old American-patriot whose great-great-great-great-grandfather fought in the 1776 Revolution, I believe our national security is being deliberately undermined by an enemy entrenched in Congress and other branches of the Administration. I am not saying all politicians are bad. But I am saying that the Nation is being destroyed by well-financed “plants” who are hostile to democracy and our way of life. America’s libertarian-decline is not by accident; it is by deliberate, calculated intent. I am not alone in this belief. Also know, I am not an anarchist and do not own a gun. My only weapon is the Word–which Scripture and the Constitution encourages me to speak.Continue reading “From the Grave: Joseph Stalin’s Continuing Influence In American Government” »
Bill Gothard, founder of Institute of Basic Life Principles, resigns due to allegations of long-term sexual misconduct dating back to the 1960s. (Facebook photo)
The prominent principal behind the “Basic Life Principles” Seminars, Bill Gothard, amid sexual harassment and predatory charges by a bevy of whistle-blowing women, has been forced to resign from his multimillion dollar a year ministry organization. Some three dozen women, now in their thirties and early forties, allege the 79-year old, never-married, ordained minister of more than five decades, has engaged in a pattern of deviant sexual misconduct against them and other young, some underage, women, going all the way back to the earliest beginnings of Gothard’s ministry in 1961. Continue reading “GOTHARD-GATE: Bill Gothard’s Free-Fall From Grace” »
[Editor’s Note:Contrast this short monograph of Truth with the modern “hyper-grace” message being proliferated by numerous false teachers and the absolute absurdity of that message becomes obvious.]
David Wilkerson (d. April, 2011) preaching at Times Square Church
David wrote about brokenness often in his Psalms. He spoke of God’s nearness to those who are broken: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). “The Lord is near unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18). Continue reading “A Broken and Contrite Heart” »
[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?” »
God has always had His specialists whose chief concern has been the moral breakdown, the decline in the spiritual health of the nation or the Church. Such men were Elijah, Jeremiah, Malachi, and others of their kind who appeared at critical moments in history to reprove, rebuke, and exhort in the name of God and righteousness.
A thousand or ten thousand ordinary priests or pastors or teachers could labor quietly on, almost unnoticed, while the spiritual life of Israel or the Church was normal. But let the people of God go astray from the paths of truth, and immediately the specialist appeared almost out of nowhere. His instinct for trouble brought him to the help of the Lord and of Israel.
Such a man was likely to be drastic, radical, possibly at times violent, and the curious crowd that gathered to watch him work soon branded him as extreme, fanatical, negative. And in a sense they were right. He was single-minded, severe, fearless, as these were the qualities the circumstances demanded. He shocked some, frightened others, and alienated not a few, but he knew Who had called him and what he was sent to do. His ministry was geared to the emergency, and that fact marked him out as different, a man apart. —A.W. Tozer