[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.]
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)” »
[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.]
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)” »
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. Continue reading “WARNING #2: Bill Johnson and Bethel Church” »
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.]
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.
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.]
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.
The annual religious observance known in Christendom as “Easter Sunday” once again is upon us. This Sunday the vast majority of Christendom will celebrate what most of organized Christianity now considers the highest Holy Day on the religious calendar. It has been celebrated now for centuries since the Church Council at Nicaea in 325 A.D. set the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox as “Easter Sunday.” At first glance, that premise may seem innocuous…until it is understood that it was the early “Universal Church’s” adoption of the pagan day of veneration of the Babylonian goddess Ostara (alternately spelled “Eostre”, aka, Ishtar), the entire system of which is squarely centered in Babylonian pagan astrology, the anti-God religious system devised by Satan himself to redirect humanity’s worship of God to himself.
While Easter festivities are now observed by Christian groups around the world, the irrefutable fact is that the observance is entirely without Biblical precedence, and in truth owes its origins to pagan worship of the ancient goddess Astarte and her counterpart in Teutonic mythology, the Greek goddess of spring, Eostre, who pagans lavished with hedonistic worship in a festival named after her that was held each year on the vernal equinox, March 21st, in hopes of evincing her favor with the beneficences of a warm and bright springtime after enduring the bleaknesses of a long, cold and dreary winter. Many of the festivities associated with Easter today, such as “Easter Egg Hunts” and the “Easter Bunny,” have no connection whatever to the resurrection of Christ, and are carry-overs from the pagan festivals. Eggs and rabbits, for obvious reasons, have long been symbols of fertility and reproduction in paganism and mythology. Continue reading “Easter or Resurrection Sunday?” »
[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?” »
To Those Who Say There Is No War On Christmas
By Tim Wildmon
Christmas is the most notable day on the calendar where the general American public is reminded of the life of Jesus Christ. That is why some want to do away with it.
Someone sent me an article from USA Today, which has this headline: “Not all Christians believe there is a ‘War on Christmas.'” The article quotes Christian leaders and authors saying they disagree with those of us who believe there is a war on Christmas. Continue reading “Christian Leaders Deny Christmas Wars” »
You may find this a stretching article in body, mind and spirit. I have intentionally avoided writing this article for years, because I knew that it might be unavoidably controversial. To be honest, I have been waiting for someone else to write this article instead of me. Like most pastors, I want people to like me. With genuine reluctance, I eventually faced my conflict avoidance, obeyed the Lord and read hundreds of yoga books in our local public libraries. In preparing this article, I have not read one book which warns against yoga. All book citations in this article are from yoga advocates and practitioners.
To many people, yoga is just the hottest new exercise fad for younger women. Twenty million North Americans are now doing yoga, including around four million men. These twenty million people are currently being trained by over 70,000 yoga practitioners in at least 20,000 North American locations. Many people confuse yoga with simple stretching. Stretching and calisthenics are good things which I participate in weekly at the local gym. Yoga has not cornered the market on healthy stretching and calisthenics. Physical fitness does not begin and end on a yoga mat. I am convinced that we do well when we take care of our bodies as part of our Christian stewardship. God wants us to be healthier in body, mind, and spirit. Continue reading “The Yoga Deception” »
The Harbinger captured the attention of more than 1 million people this year with its prophetic warning to America. But the book’s ongoing implications should be the real concern behind this profound revelation.
Humanism is the religion of Narcissism (self-love), which in essence is self-worship and self-deification. It is the ultimate anti-God, self-centered religion originated by the master-religionist, Satan, when Lucifer (his original name) suddenly decided upon original sedition against God in Heaven, for which he was instantaneously banned from God’s presence and summarily evicted from His Domain, Heaven.
In a prophetic taunt against the “King of Babylon,” Isaiah delineated the specific ego-centric ruminations of the original apostate, wherein he five times invoked the two-word credo of narcissism — “I will” — and the inane, insane, and utterly impossible goal of supplanting and surpassing Almighty God:
“How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ (Isa. 14:12-14)
Satan is the archenemy of God and the master-religionist. The realm he operates in is the “domain of darkness” (Col. 1:13; Jude 1:6), and the religion he originated and propagates is the ultimate antithesis of bona fide spirituality—narcissism. In his final, end-time coup de gras against God, he himself will enter into the antichrist and possess him, resulting in this person being the human embodiment of the devil himself! Continue reading “The Age of Humanism” »
[Preface]Many of you may know John MacArthur as an expository preacher you have heard on the radio or maybe you have read his books. What you might not know is John has been very apolitical. He has been so apolitical and anti-activist that he has even said the American Revolution was a sin because it was rebellion against God since God established the government, per Romans 13. He has also preached messages around the Fourth of July and the time to vote downplaying civic involvement, activism, and voting. I have made public offers to debate him on these issues but he has never agreed.
But now, it looks like he has had a new revelation. I encourage you to listen to this short message from John MacArthur. It is very good and right on point. It is startling to hear this message from him. I remember seeing John on Larry King Live after Dr. Falwell died and he was saying he was glad that this era represented by Dr. Falwell has passed. He was referring to preachers addressing political (as Dr. Falwell would instead say, Biblical and moral issues). But now, John appears to have had an epiphany. He makes some very profound statements in the message below. I am beginning to see more and more pastors waking up realizing that Biblical and moral issues are under attack and they have no choice but to speak. This isn’t politics, it is Biblical and moral issues that have been politicized. —Mathew Staver founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel[end Preface] Continue reading “Abortion and the Campaign for Immorality” »
“PSYCHIC PREMONITIONS” IMITATE THE HOLY SPIRIT’S “WORDS OF KNOWLEDGE”
By Charles Carrin
Soon after my Baptism in the Spirit I began teaching congregations how to recognize differences between the Holy Spirit miraculous gifts and the occult world’s counterfeits. Almost immediately a young man came to my hotel room seeking advice about a troublesome “spiritual message” he had received. It was this: On a specific, named day of the week, he was told that his wife and baby would be killed in a car wreck. He was even told the city where it would occur. The message, which claimed to be from God, further warned him not to tell anyone—not even his wife. When he reluctantly shared this frightening information with me, I immediately explained that he had received a psychic-prophecy. Continue reading “Psychic Premonitions & Predictions” »
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” »
Editors Note: Today, on this Monday following the 2011 NFL season climaxing game, Super Bowl XLVI, I want to say just for the record, I’m thoroughly disappointed, yea, disgusted with Roger Goodell and the NFL for the vulgar smut he/they “approved” for the Super Bowl “experience” — meaning, commercials, half-time show (which I didn’t watch, and cannot believe any genuinely Born Again, Spirit-infused believer would watch), and everything associated with it. My 8-year-old grandson, unfortunately, was basically barred from watching NBC for 10 hours Sunday, and not just the game, though come to think of it there’s not much that would appeal to him on any Sunday on NBC anyway. Nevertheless, I don’t know how in the world Goodell/NFL could possibly tag those 10 hours of programming preceeding the Super Bowl as family-friendly. And, what is even more incomprehensible is that we know next year it will be worse! I’m truly grieved and disgusted.
Most of us north of forty can well recall a comparatively more innocent era when the NFL championship game, a.k.a., The Super Bowl now, was basically lumped right in there with Mom, baseball, and apple pie on the American wholesome scale. Back in the time of my earliest memories of Sunday football telecasts of the Cleveland Browns games, when the super-hero names were the likes of Brown, Mitchell, Graham, Renfro, Wren, Shofner, Lahr, Gillom, Michaels, Knoll, Costello, McCormack, Modzelewski, Groza, the (original) Carpenters (brothers, Lew and Preston), and the always dapperly-dressed iconic coach Paul Brown, the only thing that was ever caught on camera that could be remotely considered even the slightest bit sensual was the procession of drum-majorettes leading the marching band at halftime, which was such an extreme long-shot from a lone first-generation TV-camera perched somewhere atop a rickety stadium tin-roof through the low-lying clouds, fog, and snow-blizzard that you could barely make out the instruments the band members were playing much less anything of the baton-twirling female strutters whose bare legs were by now so frozen and frost-bitten they could hardly move at all, and the only violence and family-unfriendly activity is what took place on the field when the rules were so minimal that just about anything short of the use of firearms, sling-shots, swords, and bows and arrows was allowed.
“We’ve come a long way, baby,” since those “good ole days” with the mega entertainment extravaganza the Super Bowl now is. Apparently, when you set the price-tag for commercials at $3.5 Million, the trade off is, censorship rights are next to nil and the bar for what the NFL and commish consider within the “family-friendly” universe is set…oh let’s say…about three stadium rows short of Pluto. What was plastered on America’s TV big-screens yesterday was unabashed, filthy, lude and lascivious, mind-numbing, thoroughly disgusting SMUT of the highest order! It made me sick, and I muted every commercial as fast as I could make my fingers push the buttons on the remote, and literally closed my eyes or got up to do something else…anything else…than to allow that disgusting refuse to enter into my brain via my seeing and hearing sensory organs. Continue reading “Theater, Cards, Dance, and Super Bowl XLVI” »
On 31 October, spooky beings and superheroes, cartoon characters and rubberized celebrities will line the streets and mall hallways of America anticipating sugary rewards. Compelled by shouts of “TRICK OR TREAT,” children of all ages will tote receptacles of various size and weight harboring the result of the nights hunt. It’s called Halloween, and while for most it is a harmless annual activity, its roots run deep in ancient paganism.
ALL HALLOWS’ EVE, or Halloween, originated in the 7th century AD. It was celebrated on 13 May and was a night for remembering deceased saints and martyrs. The date was later changed to November 1 in order to Christianize the pagan holidays Beltane and Samhain—festivals of summer, winter and fire.
James Frazer, in The Golden Bough, said, “throughout Europe, Hallowe’en, the night which marks the transition from autumn to winter, seems to have been of old the time of year when the souls of the departed revisited their homes in order to warm themselves by the fire.” Such ghosts walked the countryside retrieving offerings of food and drink (the treat) supplied by living family members. Darker forces roamed the night as well. Demons, hobgoblins, witches on broomstick, all haunting the night with acts of mischief (the trick). Continue reading “Happy Halloween?” »
Sadly, there are a small number of fringe-element Charismatic ministries today who claim to be operating in the “extreme prophetic” that are the very sort of devil-inspired ministries that give the Charismatic Church a bad name. They are a blight on the image of the 21st Century Post-Pentecostal Church that it must disown and distance itself from in order to reclaim its rich heritage and integrity.
As it stands, it is these few “bad apple” ministries that are spoiling the Charismatic barrel in the eyes of the world as well as the ecclesia as a whole. The Neo-Pentecostal church must begin to rise up to the place of spiritual maturity in which it begins to discipline itself. Every significant institution of society–whether it be the medical field, with the likes of the A.M.A. or the legal profession with its A.B.A., and so forth–have had to come to the realization that it must regulate or govern itself if it is to maintain the integrity and even the longevity of the institution. Both Houses of the U.S. Congress governs itself, with measures built into the rules and procedures for sanctioning or disciplining of unruly members. The time has come for the institution of similar measures in the Neo-Pentecostal Ecclesia.
We must begin to “speak the truth in love.” We must summon the fortitude to tell it like it is, call a spade a spade, identifying doctrinal error and demonically-inspired supernatural phenomena and exposing the deeds of darkness wherever it is found, including if where it is found is in “big name” or high-profile ministries that have by whatever means ascended to the ranks of the elite and the high and mighty that we all have afforded them. We have tolerated the existence of “rock star” status and persona far too long in the Charismatic Church and it’s high time we began to tear down their altars and high places as the Old Testament prophets spoke on behalf of God concerning the pagan gods of their generations.
It’s high time that the true prophets arise out of their lethargy and laying back in the woods to seize the axe of Samuel and begin to hack some of these Agags to pieces! That will be the “extreme prophetic!” And, I believe the day when we see more and more of that happening has already dawned!
The following article by Joyce Perdue has some great things to say about the “extreme” men and women who are needed in the church that Jesus is building today.[— Editor] Continue reading “Extreme Prophetic?” »
For more than half a century the debate has continued in American churches regarding if it is right or wrong for believers to participate in Halloween. The tragedy of the enduring controversy, however, is that the issues of overriding importance regarding Halloween are overlooked in the heat of the debate and almost never discussed even among anti-Halloween believers. Those oft forgotten issues are my focus in this article.
At the outset, I want to make it clear that I’m really not addressing my comments to unbelievers or those claiming to be agnostics or atheists, but rather to believers. My goal here is not to debate this matter with unbelievers, but rather to appeal to believers to consider some matters rarely taken into account. Continue reading “Tricks Only; No Treats! The Real Truth About Halloween” »
The so-called “Lakeland Healing Revival” has produced a new cult of dogmatic religious zealots, who claim to be “Christians” birthing a “new form” of Christianity. They speak the words, the phrases, the idioms, the expressions associated with Christianity, but their doctrine, or teaching, their theology, their ways, the values and culture they advocate and promote are all far from comporting with orthodox or genuine Christianity.
Plain and simple, this whole phenomenon is nothing but just another of the long list of “Christian cults” that have sprung up in church history. To the discerning and experienced, the signs of cultism are all there—glowing and flashing like a neon sign. And, cultism is, in effect, synonymous with the occult. Thus, there is no such a thing as an innocuous cult, because all cults are ensconced in the occult, and usually in a plurality of ways. Continue reading “False Unity and the Lakeland Revival Cult (Part 1)” »
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