• DeliveranceNow.Com ~ www.deliverancenow.com ~ Deliverance Counseling Practice of Dr. Steven Lambert, ThD, DMin

Category Archives: Contributors

Welcome to Spirit Life Magazine! We hope you'll return often!

EIGHT SIGNS OF HYPER-GRACE CHURCHES
By Joseph Mattera

The past several decades we have seen a dramatic decline in doctrinal and Biblical preaching. We have gone from theology to therapy in the pulpits. In the past decade we went from therapy to motivational speaking instead of preaching.

In addition to this, whole churches and movements have oriented themselves to a distorted understanding of the gospel by espousing a “hyper-grace” approach that trickles down to not only what they preach but who they allow to minister and teach. (I was told there is even a new television station devoted to this view of “grace.”) Continue reading “Signs of Hyper-Grace Churches” »

This article is part of 1 in the series Apostasy

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” »

LET US PRAY!
By Steven Lambert

NOW PLAYING: Narration Audio for this article:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

If the above audio-player is not working on your device, use the follow player to play the narration file:

Early one morning many years ago now, I was driving toward a particular intersection on my way to the Post Office. On the right at that intersection was a particular church whose services I had attended a few times, and the pastor of which with whom I had enjoyed some fellowship. Until that moment, my only intention in my mind was going to the Post Office; nothing else. But, about a block from the intersection, the inner voice of the Spirit of the Lord said, “The light ahead will turn red, when it turns green, turn right, and then turn into the church!” It’s probably also a good thing that I had only a few seconds to either obey or keep driving.

I turned right and turned into the driveway of the church property. Then, I remember saying to the Lord, “Lord, what in the world is this all about; I was going to the Post Office?” He answered, “Get out!” To which I responded with the highly intelligent and spiritual reply that one is often inclined to speak at 7:20 in the morning, “Huh?” I thought, “Get out? Wow, that’s kinda harsh, Lord, what did I do wrong now?” He said, “Get out of the car, and go walk over there in the trees, on the corner.” There was a portion on the corner of the church property that had remained undeveloped because it actually was not the church property but, the pastor later told me, was a zoned “easement” of sorts that belonged to the owners of another piece of property—a long story.

Anyway, I got out of the car and began walking in amongst the stand of trees on the property. I remember when I was still driving thinking, “Wow, what a gorgeous day, so still and peaceful.” Then, all of a sudden as I stood in the trees, a strong gust of wind came out of nowhere and began whipping through the tops of the trees that was so strong that I thought I better get out from under all those trees, lest the wind break a branch and it fall on me. I crouched down a bit so I could looked across the street to see if the wind was blowing there, and it looked as calm and peaceful as a mid-day in July on a Florida beach. It made the hair stand up on the back of my neck and gave me Goosebumps from head to toe.

Then, I heard the inner voice of the Spirit say, “Listen carefully, I have some things to tell you that I want you to tell the pastor when he comes in a few minutes.” I said, “The pastor is coming in a few minutes? Are you sure, it’s awfully early; he doesn’t usually come in that early? Besides, I don’t have an appointment, he may not want to talk to me.” “He’s on his way and I’ve prepared him to hear what I want to tell him through you; now listen,” the Lord said.

When I shut up and began listening, the Spirit began giving me a vision concerning this church, the future plans God had for it, its pastor, and how parts of the vision also pertained to the Church at-large that Jesus is building. For the sake of time and space, I will omit from this article the details, meaning, and significance of the vision that God showed me, part instantly, and part over the course of several months.

I was so caught up in this vision, I have no idea how long I was there and have no recollection of the hundreds of cars whizzing all around me traversing through that intersection. But, then, the Spirit said, “The pastor is here now and he is looking for you; tell him the part of what I just showed you that I will tell you to tell him about the church and him.”

But, hurriedly, I inquired of the Lord, “Does he already know all this?”

“Some of it; I’ve been trying to speak and show it to him for over two years now, but I’ve brought you here to confirm what he’s been able to receive and has not yet obeyed and remind him of it, as well as to tell him some parts that he’s been resistant to hearing and receiving because of certain mindsets.”

Then, I said, “But, Lord, he’ll think I’m nuts or some kind of weirdo mystic, if I come marching out of the woods and tell him everything I just saw!” The Lord replied, “I will lead you in what you are to say to him.”

So, somehow, I “came out of it,” and walked out of the trees and toward the church building, and sure enough, there was the pastor walking toward me and saying something that I was not yet able to get myself to understand through my normal human faculties. Saying to myself repeatedly, “He’s going to think I’m nuts! He’s going to think I’m nuts!” I walked toward him and just plastered the biggest grin on my face I could muster up, waved the biggest one-hand round-house wave I’ve ever waved in my life, and hollered, “Morning, Pastor!”

“How ya doing?” he asked, “Didn’t know I’d be seeing you here this morning.” Sounding to myself like Hank Hill on the TV program, King of the Hill, I muttered, “Uhhh, well…uhhh…neither did I…(ha ha)…but…well…just thought I’d drop by…uhhh…you know, and…uhhh…just say hello.” “Oh, okay, well, whatcha got on your mind?” he queried graciously (but probably thinking to himself “what the heck does this guy want, he’s going to mess up my schedule right off the bat this morning”). All the while I’m sending up a major HELP! kind of prayer to God inside, and asking, “What am I supposed to say now???”

Then, feeling sorry for me, I’m sure, the Lord said, “Ask him if the church’s plans have ever included a pre-school, after-care, day-care, and elementary school.” With that, he seemed to freeze, his face flushed, and he just stared at me for what seemed to be an eternity, but in reality was only a second or two, then he responded with one of the most classic responses I’ve ever gotten in almost thirty years (at that time) of prophetic ministry, “Do you HAVE to be so PROPHETIC?!”

We both laughed nervously, and, thank God, he invited me in for a cup of coffee and we talked, and I shared with him some of what the Lord had shown me in the vision (mainly only the parts I thought he might be receptive to, honestly).

After I had taken up the man’s entire morning, probably just to get rid of me (I’m joking…I think), he asked, “Would you be willing to come tonight to the mid-week service and share some of what we’ve been talking about this morning with our congregation? They need to hear what you’ve been sharing with me. I’ve been trying to tell them some of these things, but I think it will help for them to hear it coming from someone other than me who knew nothing in the natural, as a confirmation.”

“Sure, I’d be happy to,” I said, before I could even think about what I was saying.

That night we had a powerful visitation from the Lord in that church that had no idea when they came to church what they were in for. The Presence of the Lord charged the atmosphere like electricity. People who had never been slain in the spirit in their life, and some who were staunchly opposed to such crazy fanaticism, “fell as dead men” when the Lord’s hand came upon them, from wary, wise adults to unassuming children and adolescence, some of whom had never seen or heard of anyone being slain in the spirit before. Words of knowledge, discerning of spirits, prophetic utterance, healing, and miracles flowed like Niagara Falls. Demons were cast out, captives were set free, healings and miracles were reported, and we had a glorious time in the Lord, as the Lord put His seal of authenticity and affirmation on the prophetic word I shared with the congregation concerning what the Lord had shown me in the vision.

All of that happened—from God sending me there to speak to the pastor to all that transpired in the service that night—as a result of a number of prayer seasons the Lord had called the church into prior to that day over a number of months, and which they had humbled themselves and obeyed! Prayer changes things! Prayer brings about change! Prayer prepares the hearts of God’s people for the manifestation and fulfillment of His purpose and plans!

No Substitute For Prayer

There is no substitute for prayer. One great preacher on the subject of prayer once wrote, “It is as if God can do nothing unless and until someone first asks Him.” Ask, seek, knock—this is the process the Lord has decreed that allows His intervention into the affairs of men (Mat. 7:7). He has established forever the principle of free will, and it governs everything upon the Earth. He will not violate it, no matter what; He simply cannot. But, when we ask, He will! “ALL things, WHATSOEVER things you ask IN PRAYER believing, you SHALL receive.” That’s as close to carte blanche as it gets, Folks! Our asking gives Him the “permission” or the “opportunity” to do it! But, He cannot do it until and unless we ask!

A very detrimental mindset that besets us all at times is the presumption that whatever God wants to do He CAN and therefore, we presume, WILL do! After all, He can do whatever He wants, He’s God!, right? Wrong! Bad theology! He can only do what WE want and ASK Him to do! “The HEAVENS are the heavens of the Lord; But the EARTH He has given to the SONS OF MEN!” (Psa. 115:16). Human governmental authority in the affairs of men on this planet is sacrosanct! Even His WORD believers must announce, apply, and assert, over the affairs of men, and everything that transpires on this planet that is not otherwise governed by a God-set and immutable law.

Most Powerful Weapon

Prayer is the most powerful weapon believers possess, yet the enemy makes it seem like the most difficult to wield, and even the most ineffectual. But, that is deception. God’s word says, “The effectual and fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much!” Interpretation? Prayer works! Is it difficult? About as difficult as thinking the next thought that wistfully and effortlessly flutters through your mind. The only thing difficult about prayer is overriding one’s flesh that resists us doing it with all it’s got!

Though thousands of books have been written on the topic, the matter of prayer boils down to this: Prayer is two-way communication between people and God. Prayer is conversation with God. But, beyond that, God’s highest intent is that prayer would be communion or fellowship with God. Like the old gospel song says, “Just a little talk with Jesus makes it right!”

Anyone can pray. And, anyone can pray effectively, if he/she prays in faith believing. It is impossible to have faith for and believe for what is wrong and ungodly. Neither will you have true faith (for faith is a gift from God) and believe for those things that are not from, of, or inspired by God. That’s why it was not as big a deal as some critics of the Gospel make it out to be that God said, “ALL things, WHATSOEVER things you ask for in faith believing, you shall receive.” He could not have possibly meant for that to be taken literally, they allege. But, He meant exactly what He said, and said exactly what He meant. He always does!

Eighteenth Century English poet and hymnodist, William Cowper, wrote: “Satan trembles when he sees the weakest Christian on his knees.” Jailed Paul and Silas praying and singing at midnight caused Hell and earth to shake to break open prison-cell door, setting the two abused prisoners free (Acts 16:25)!

Renowned revivalist and primary founder of Methodism, John Wesley said, “God does nothing except in response to believing prayer.” “Prayer is where the action is.”

A.J. Gordon, founder of Gordon College and Cornwell Theological Seminary, speaking of the utter requirement of prayer, stated: “You can do more than pray after you have prayed; but you can never do more than pray until you have prayed.”

Synchronization with God and His Will

Martin Luther profoundly quipped, “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness.” When you believe prayer is your fleshly (and futile) warring to try to overcome God’s reluctance in a matter, prayer becomes a laborious and loathsome thing you force yourself to do with reluctance, as opposed to understanding prayer is two-way communication in communion with God to determine what HIS will is in the matter, and then praying in accordance with His will. Those are the prayers that He always answers:

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. (1 Jn. 5:14-15)

So many people take out of context God’s promise to “give you the desires of your heart,” passing over the condition that precedes that portion of the verse—“Delight yourself in the Lord!” God will give you the desires of your heart, but He will also take you through some processes that will dramatically and forever change YOUR desires to make them coincide with HIS desires. When our desires are synced up with His desires, we can, indeed, ask what we want, and it shall be granted us. Effective prayer essentially is asking, petitioning, requesting, for God to perform what He has already promised! We essentially speak forth His Word! His Word IS His WILL, and His Will is His Word. When we speak His Will it comes into being or comes to pass. That’s why both Joshua and David declared that not one word of all God’s good promises have ever failed (1 Kgs. 8:56; Josh. 21:45)! God’s Word is fail-safe. When we have determined God’s Word on a matter, we have determined His Will on the matter as well, and when we speak forth that Word declaring or announcing His Word or even merely repeating His Word back to Him in prayer—two-way conversation with Him—we are inviting His intervention and the application of His promises! That kind of prayer is a sure thing!

Emptying Yourself

Today, too many professing believers petition God to fill them up with everything He’s got before they’ve agonized in prayer to empty themselves out of all they’ve got!

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Plp. 2:5-7)

Before the Son of God was manifest in the form of a human, wonder of all wonders, He EMPTIED HIMSELF (one of the great mysteries of God) of His deity for the duration of His existence in the form of a “Man.” But, after being baptized in water by John the Baptist in the Jordan River and then Baptized in the Holy Spirit, the Word of God says,

“And Jesus being FULL OF THE HOLY GHOST returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” (Lk. 4:1)

Everyone is full of something…usually themselves more than anything else! The burden of every believer must be to EMPTY him/herself and implore God to FILL him/her with the Holy Ghost so that he/she will be “FULL OF THE HOLY GHOST!”

Many people’s problem is they are too full of themselves to be full of the Holy Spirit! Regular sessions in the “prayer closet” until you “pray through” sincerely petitioning the Lord to show you some of the junk inside that you need to be emptied of will result in much purging over time.

Agonizers in Prayer

The genuinely anointed and appointed Man of God receives the fire-fraught messages that burn the ears of the nominally-believing and the hearts of the unrepentent out of hours spent agonizing prostrate at the altar long before he stands behind any form of pulpit. To paraphrase Leonard Ravenhill, the ecclesiastical realm today is filled with myriad of organizers but few agonizers!

Eventually and inevitably at some juncture in your personal Christian sojourney with God, you will experience and thenceforth experientially identify with the Son of God’s most intense period of agonizing in prayer, Gethsemane. The word literally means “oil-press,” referring to the final destiny and destination of olives judged worthy to make the grade for pressing out to produce what to this day is considered the finest and best oil known, Olive Oil.

Gethsemane was an olive-tree orchard populated also with various varieties of wild flowers that contemporary locals called a garden, located fittingly at the foot of the Mount of Olives, or Mt. Olivet, the very place where Jesus will return and literally stand at His physical return to Earth, to establish and commence His thousand-year Millennial Reign upon the Earth with the Saints! The Mount of Olives is the place from which the risen Lord ascended on a cloud of innumerable angels into Heaven in the actual eye-sight of the Apostles of the Lamb.

But, before the Messiah’s agonizing purchase of mankind’s salvation on Golgotha, before His triumphant resurrection from the dead, three days later, before His bedazzling and awesome Ascension into Heaven to sit down on His Throne of Rulership, preceeding all of that on the eve before His “Passion,” as some call it, there was Gethsemane, the place where our Lord and Savior literally agonized in prayer to such an extent that great drops of blood, a medical condition known clinically as, hematohidrosis, in which extreme anxiety causes the blood vessels to constrict to the point of rupture, passing blood into the sweat glands, resulting in sweat mixed with blood pressing through the skin.

Gethsemane is where the battle was won, where the choicest of all Olives met its glorious destiny, where the Son of God, knowing the trauma and ultimate tumult He was about to suffer as our Kinsmen Redeemer to purchase our redemption by paying the ransom for sin, thrice declared resolutely to His Father, “Nevertheless, not My Will, but thine be done.”

Gethsemane is the Place Where the Battle of Flesh vs. Spirit is Waged

Yet, during that indescribable all out war for the souls of men our Lord Jesus single-handedly waged in that garden, the three men He had hand-picked to accompany Him to this place of agony, slept through it all, unable to crucify their flesh long enough to intercede with the Lord, “even for one hour,” the Lord said, though He had come out of the garden a total of three times to each time find them fast asleep and too groggy to even respond to His sorrowful laments of utter bewilderment and disappointment. Sometimes it will be in the hours we are facing the most horrendous struggles of our lives, that we will find our own professed closest friends, loved ones, and colleagues fast asleep on the careless cushions of their own self-centeredness outside our Garden of Gethsemane, unable to defeat their flesh long enough to “bear (our) burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ [Love]

” (Gal. 6:2), as Scripture commands, in prayer with us. In our Gethsemane crisis in life, we will find it to be the most lonely and alone moments of solitude with the Lord.

Maybe this painful abandonment by others is by divine design, because being alone with the Lord, and with only the Lord at and on our side, is when we discover that the Lord at and on our side is enough, and more than enough, because He is El Shaddai, the God who is more than enough, who abundantly supplies our every need, even at the neediest, most agonizing precipices of our life! Gethsemane, the birthing room, the “valley of Baca”1, the place of sheer agony, is the place where we come to total reliance on the Lord, plus no one else, and we resign our present and future to His Will, and not our own. Gethsemane is the place where we truly come to know our God in the sweetest fellowship and communion of all!

If more of God’s people—”those who are called by (His) name”—fervently pursued a degree in “Knee-ology” fewer of any other kinds of degrees would be needed, and the Church would be more empowered and in every way more powerful on the Earth!

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)

The world is FILLED with needs, but God never responds to needs; He responds to the petitions of believing saints! God is not an interloper and never intervenes uninvited and unsolicited in the affairs of men; He only responds and acts when believers ask Him in audacious and believing prayer!

“Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers,” said Sidlow Baxter.

The great preacher and seminary professor, Charles Spurgeon, said it all when he said, “I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.”

Vocalization of God’s Will

So prayer is a vital key to implementing everything that God desires to do on this planet, whether in or out of the Church. Knowing God’s will is not enough to implement it. His will must also be vocalized! Effective prayer is the vocalization of God’s Word/Will. We ask; He moves! We ask; He moves! That’s the process! That is fervent and effectual prayer of righteous people! People who know their God!

Moreover, all that must be applied to the “new thing” that God is taking the Church into—the new paradigm, the new dimension of the Spirit. It is not enough for prophets to reveal the “secret counsel” of God. It is not enough for teachers to teach about it! It’s not enough for apostles to be sent with the apostolic dimension and measure of the Spirit to bring these things into existence. The people of God must also PRAY IT! PRAY IT INTO EXISTENCE! There is no substitute for prayer!

Pray What the Prophets Say

What the prophets are foretelling and forthtelling will not come about apart from the praying of the saints! What the Apostle Paul spoke from his heart as a spiritual father to Timothy, his protégée in the Lord, and is now canonized as part of Scripture, is God-breathed admonition to every believer, including every Pentecostal/Neo-Pentecostal believer:

“This COMMAND I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROPHECIES previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight….” (1 Tim. 1:18).

Prophesied events do not just happen on their own, automatically, just because it has been prophesied. Prophecy, above all else, is a revelation of the will, the desires, of God. We must take what has been prophesied and steep it in intense and continuous prayer, if we are to see it come into being in the natural! The prophesying is only the first, and really the easiest, step in a two-step process. The next step is the nurturing, the watering, the de-weeding, the cultivating of the word—that comes through warfare in prayer. When God uses one of His surrogate spokesmen to SAY it, then the saints of God must PRAY it, for it to come to pass!

Summary

As in the case of the church mentioned at the beginning of this article that had been prepared by weeks of prayer for the manifestation and fulfillment of God’s purposes and plans that occurred in an impromptu meeting, fervent and sincere prayer moves God to action and produces a manifestation of the supernatural power of God in miraculous signs and wonders. Desperately needed answers to the petitions of God’s people come when God’s people simply pray and ASK!

Prayer is one of the most vital keys to the Church moving into the dimension of the Spirit that God is calling Her into! Unless we PRAY, we’re going to STAY where we’ve been! So, Saints of God, for this cause, LET US PRAY!

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” (1 Pet. 3:12 )

The righteous have available to them more power—through genuine faith-based prayer—than all the evil-intentioned politicians and political demonstrators in the world combined! For this cause, LET US PRAY!
_____

1 The valley of Baca: “How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the highways to Zion! Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring; The early rain also covers it with blessings. They go from strength to strength, Every one of them appears before God in Zion.” (Ps. 84:5-7) “The Valley of Baca” is only mentioned this one time in the Bible. In Hebrew, Baca means bewailing, weeping, mourning, agonizing lamentation. Though it was an actual physical place located in Palestine, it is evoked by the Psalmist as a symbol for a once-in-a-lifetime “crisis-valley” that many people pass through sometime in their life relative to an agonizingly painful experience they have suffered, usually an unspeakably painful loss. But, thankfully, we can draw from the verse that we pass through this valley of weeping and mourning, and its sorrows may last for “the night,” however long that night of darkness might be, once we have passed through it, it will yield uncommon strengthening and blessing and renewal because we drew our strength from the Lord in whom was our strength, and not ourselves to make it through, and the conclusion of the matter is communion with the Lord Himself.###

Immediate download of Kindle Version of this article:

This article is part 1 of 3 in the series Exposing Dangers of Martial Arts
Dojo student bowing to pay homage to the "gods" behind martial arts

Dojo student bowing to the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) behind martial arts.
“Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.” (Ex. 23:24)

PART ONE

[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.]

Over the course of the last three to four decades, martial arts have pervaded both the world and the church realm at an alarming rate. During that span, the enemy has been hard at work instituting his insidious plan to spiritually weaken and wreak spiritual destruction in the lives of individuals, as well as even whole segments of the church at large, by means of injection of the expansive package of deceptions comprising the martial arts.

Let us be clear, all forms of martial arts (and yoga), without exception, are rooted in false religions and the occult, and can in no way be sanitized or Christianized. Many individual believers and entire church-groups have been deceived into believing they can be. Such theories and beliefs are total deception from a practical standpoint, and from a theological standpoint would be labeled heresy! Yet, such false beliefs about these ancient religious practices and false claims of their being harmonious and congruous with Biblical Christianity have seemingly inundated the modern church like a tsunami! And at present there appears no indication of this “wave” of false doctrine receding at any time in the foreseeable future (cf., Eph. 4:14).

The bottom line is this: The spirit behind martial arts is antichrist! By that I mean it is contrary to everything we know about who Christ and Christianity is! How can we think that an antichrist spirit is in any way compatible or harmonious with the Spirit of Christ? They are not friends or friendly with each other! We cannot make them be friends or friendly with each other! I have seen people fall away from their faith in God who were once strong in the Lord because of this antichrist activity. The people of God—Christians, Christian churches—have been deceived in regard to the martial arts and just how diabolical they in fact are! It is time to acknowledge that deception and do something about it.

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. “And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty. (2 Cor. 6:14-18; emphasis added)

Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; (Eph. 5:11; emphasis added)

Continue reading “Exposing the Dangers of Martial Arts” »

caution-controlling-leadership

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

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

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

Why on earth is there a problem with what Ben Carson said about the potential of a muslim POTUS?

We’ve had a muslim POTUS for seven years. This video (among many others) shows conclusively that Barack Hussein Obama IS A MUSLIM!

Moreover, he is intent on the Islamification of America!

Time to take the blinders off, America! It’s all true!

It’s time to get your head out of the clouds, American believers, and start praying in earnest and in truth to reverse this horrible situation while there’s still time!

It matters not HOW it happens, but it MUST HAPPEN!

And, then we need to pray earnestly that the American Church will not be so naive and, frankly, stupid in the 2016 presidential election.

The future of America is definitely and undeniably at stake!

Watch and weep! Then wipe the tears and begin to pray, for America and for wisdom by the American people!

Pat Boone, singer, author, activist, TV-host, and Born again Christian agrees. Click here to see what he has to say about Obama and his Muslim connections.

For three years or so the Lord has been speaking to me out of the prophetic prediction of Malachi 3:1-6 concerning imminent events that He will be orchestrating in the Church that He is building, i.e., the genuine Body of Christ. In the first quarter of this year, the Lord has been continually increasing the intensity and urgency of what he has been showing and telling me in this regard. I cannot possibly convey much at all of those prophetic insights He’s been communicating to me here in this forum and format or at this time because it is far too expansive and extensive and I have only recently begun to attempt to transfer it from my spirit to paper, so to speak, or in reality, to computer. I will, however, be progressively sharing it in some books and study courses I am currently and concurrently working on.

Anyone who has any substantial experience in “prophetic writing” knows how arduous, strenuous, and time-consuming such an endeavor can be, especially when words so often fail when attempting to convey spiritual impressions, concepts, precepts, and insights into human language as the medium of natural – i.e., intellectual – assimilation. I cannot account for the experiences of other prophets, but I know in my own case, what I “see” in my spirit, is so clear, precise, unambiguous, forthright, apparent, but when I attempt to communicate what I’ve seen in the spirit for consumption by others, words/language fail, and communication methodology conventions hinder rather than help. Or maybe in reality its just my own communication capacities that are lacking.

Many times I’ve wished that God would allow at least momentarily a peeling back of the clouds of human carnality overlaying our spiritual senses (hearing and sight) so that pristine spirit-to-spirit communication could transpire, but as idealistic and desirable as that might seem, it is not His plan or desire. Maybe some of those who are called upon by the Lord to communicate prophetically to God’s people understand what I am trying – probably ineptly and inartfully – to say.

Notwithstanding, I rise today through the auspices of this forum to make a sincere and earnest attempt to convey what I believe I received as a prophetic word from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, which He has instructed me to convey to the Church He is building, that is, His Body. A few days ago, I heard Him instructing me in my spirit to sit down at my computer, write what He speaks to me, and title it “A Prophetic Prognosis.” I did; He did; and what He spoke is what this article is about. It is too long and would take up too much space to place the whole message into this post format. So I have summarized what He spoke to me here and provided a link to the PDF document that contains the entire prophetic word. Continue reading “A Prophetic Prognosis” »

I feel led of the Lord to address a very vital matter that is a stumbling block for many people that prevents them from receiving the ministry they desperately need for their life.

From the beginning of human history, God has always used people as vessels through whom to do what He wants to do on Earth. It would take quoting half the Bible to provide Scripture for that, so obviously that’s impractical here. But, anyone who knows much about the Bible and “His-story” knows that’s true. One Scripture sort of sums it all up for me: “The heavens are the heavens of the LORD, But the EARTH He has given to the sons of men” (Psa. 115:16).

Beginning with Adam and Eve, God established Mankind as the surrogate caretakers of the Earth. So, God has always worked through human surrogates or stand-ins. What He does on Earth, He does primarily and preeminently through people — people acting as God’s human agents or operatives. The Bible is FULL of stories demonstrating that God works through people, and distributes what He distributes through people, and does whatever He does through people.

Ministry—of all things—is the same. Genuine, God-called, God-appointed ministers are God’s select surrogates through whom He distributes blessings and all manner of ministry. Not to say that one cannot receive directly from Him as a result of your intimacy with Him, particularly when you’ve drawn near to Him and He then has drawn near to you. Of course, direct, personal ministry from God is also a reality. But, the fact is that sometimes God chooses to do what He does — even regarding ministry — through someone else, a fellow human, rather than directly. In fact, if that were not true, there would be no need at all for ministers.

Jesus gave a word of instruction to the original apostles that is also a word to everyone in the ministry in all ages, though actually the most frequently quoted part of that word is only one part of the message He spoke: “FREELY you received, FREELY give!” (Mat. 10:8). While this word is one of the most important words He gave to His disciples, unfortunately it has also become one of the most misunderstood and misapplied words of Jesus. Many people whose hearts are not right even though they may claim to be Christians refer to this passage as proof text for their completely erroneous and ludicrous assertion that ministers should do all they do for free, i.e., without any compensation for their labors whatsoever. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth! Continue reading “Did Jesus Command Ministers to Minister Without Compensation or Support?” »

The matter of the Discipleship/Shepherding controversy and “movement” is virtually unknown to many believers who have come to the Lord since the controversy erupted in the mid-1970s. Additionally, apparently there are many who came to the Lord prior to the development of the Discipleship movement who, nonetheless, have no awareness or only a vague awareness of its existence. Personally, I do not know how such a highly publicized and public controversy could have possibly escaped any believer’s notice, nevertheless, that is the claim of many.

Despite that unawareness, however, those who are unaware are not by virtue of that unawareness unaffected by the matter. Quite to the contrary, many of those same people who claim to be totally uninformed concerning the controversy attend churches or are part of organizations or networks in which the basic tenets of Discipleship are being espoused and practiced, albeit, in most cases, now covertly. It is these uninformed and unsuspecting victims of deception I most hope to reach with the message of this book.

There are a large number of professing believers who are not of this category of the uninformed, who are quite aware of this controversial matter, who have nevertheless, evidently of their own free will, opted to align themselves with these heretical beliefs and practices by attending churches or being members of groups or organizations who espouse them. These people have apparently made this choice despite the fact that the Discipleship/Shepherding philosophies, doctrines, and practices have been unequivocally repudiated and proven to be utterly false, and their originators have long since been discredited and fallen into disrepute.

My hope is that those who continue to associate themselves with these doctrines and practices will read and seriously weigh the evidence presented in these pages, and that they will, as a result, renounce and repent from these destructive heretical teachings and practices. That is my hope and prayer, as well as my reason for writing Charismatic Captivation.

Sadly and unfortunately, however, it has been my experience that many of those who have been heavily indoctrinated by “doctrines of demons” such as this, which are inspired by “deceitful (seducing, KJV) spirits” and promulgated “by means of the hypocrisy of liars,” tend to become “seared over in their conscience as with a branding iron” (1 Tim. 4:1,2) by the error. In other words, the false doctrine becomes virtually indelibly imprinted upon the minds of those who have been fully indoctrinated by the devilish error. The deception permeates the entire belief system of those indoctrinated by it. Unless they are willing to yield to supernatural deliverance by the Spirit of God, as the brand seared into the hide of a cow by means of a red-hot branding iron is unremovable, it is virtually impossible to remove this deception from the minds of those who have been infected with it. Continue reading “The Discipleship/Shepherding Movement” »

This article is part 1 of 1 in the series God's Theocracy

Moses & Israelites Exodus

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” »

Opinion

Joshua Harris ~ senior pastor of  Covenant Life Church, Gaithersburg MD

Joshua Harris, currently senior pastor of Covenant Life Church, Gaithersburg MD, will leave his position to attend seminary June 2015 (published on church’s website)

Joshua Harris, the senior pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD, this past Sunday announced his plans for stepping down in order to attend seminary. Harris is the son-in-law of the controversy-ensconced founder of the church and the network of churches of which CLC was the mother church for 27 years, C.J. Mahaney. Ten years ago in 2004, Mahaney appointed the then 30-year-old Harris to the top leadership position, seven years into their relationship that began with Harris moving into Mahaney’s basement, being employed as a church intern, accompanying Mahaney as his assistant in his travels as a conference speaker, and culminating with him marrying Mahaney’s daughter. Continue reading “Joshua Harris Abandons CLC Sinking Ship” »

In the previous post, The Outrageous Claims of Mars Hill Church “Investigators”, I indicated my strong disagreement with the conclusions of the group of elders and an overseer who identified themselves as the “investigators” who conducted an investigation into the long train of abuses, misdeeds, and other allegations against the founding senior leader of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Mark Driscoll. Those men concluded that “While we believe Mark needs to continue to address these areas in his life, we do not believe him to be disqualified from pastoral ministry.”

I ended that post by saying that abuse of spiritual authority is one of the most, possibly the most, egregious affronts in existence to the One who is the Source of all legitimate authority, and that in a follow-up post I would offer 25 reasons why that is so that immediately come to my mind. This post consists of those 25 reasons. Continue reading “25 Reasons Hyper-Authoritarian Church Leadership IS Disqualifying” »

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

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

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

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

[Note: With the matter of authoritarian abuse by ministers surfacing in the news more than ever before, it is vital that the church and church leaders begin to look seriously (though such is not a popular or prevalent thing among the vast majority of ministers today) at the root causes underlying the above-the-surface produce of such sinful activities by those who assume the place of authority in churches today. It is also vital for the Body of Christ to know that God has been issuing prophetic warnings about this prevalent problem of hyper-authoritarianism, particularly in the Neo-Pentecostal movement, for decades, but mostly, as is typical of prophetic warnings, to little avail. Instead of heeding those warnings by the prophets God sends to each generation, the church by-and-large still ignores them, the message, and the Source of the message…until, that is, it affects them personally, and then they want to know why God didn’t warn them or keep the destructive consequences from happening to them. Unfortunately, the church still kills the prophets God sends to them, though today they “kill” them by ignoring, refusing to recognize and support, or in various ways marginalizing them and their ministries; this is particularly true of the ecclesio-politically-powerful elite, the de facto ecclesiastical aristocracies, and the Charismatic “La Cosa Nostra,” meaning those who by various means have seized the human thrones of power of the various streams of the earthly institutional church. The following is an excerpt from my book, Charismatic Captivation—Authoritarian Abuse & Psychological Enslavement in the Neo-Pentecostal Church, originally published in 1996. The sub-premise of the book is that the heretical hyper-authoritarian doctrines, dogmas, and practices proliferated during the Discipleship/Shepherding Movement were surreptitiously infused into the fabric, foundation and functions of the Neo-Pentecostal church, in particular, producing a plethora of problems that inhibits it from fully apprehending the purposes and plans that Jesus, the exclusive functional Head of the Church He is building, intended for it to apprehend.]

One of the common denominators of false cults, false religions, and the occult is that their doctrines and practices are predicated upon the “isms” of vain, humanly invented philosophies. The same is true of the heretical hyper-authoritarian Discipleship/Shepherding doctrines, dogmas, and practices that were infused into the fabric, foundation, and functions of the Neo-Pentecostal church, which fact is further corroboration that they are all of the aforementioned characterization: cultic, false, and occult. One of the most significant “isms” of the Discipleship heresy is one that is specifically mentioned and condemned in the Bible—Nicolaitanism. Continue reading “Nicolaitanism in the Church Today” »

[Note: The sole source of spiritual Truth is the Word of God (“sola scriptura”), i.e., the 66 Books of the Bible, rightly divided, which means entirely separate from human culture, and any other extrabiblical influence. The first requirement to understand the Bible and extract from it pure and unadulterated spiritual Truth from it is to know that every Word is “God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16), inspired by the Holy Spirit. While God chose to communicate His Word through human agents, nevertheless, the Source of the substance of the message conveyed is God Himself, not those human agents. The words Paul the apostle penned, for example, were not the words of Paul, but rather were the Words of the Holy Spirit, conveyed through Paul. The substance of the Word of God is founded solely on one, single, solitary “culture,” — the culture of the Kingdom of God, which is entirely separate and separated from any and all human culture. No part or portion of the Word of God is in any way associated with or affected by human culture of any kind or time. The Word of God is forever settled in Heaven , and is eternal and timeless (Psa. 119:89; Is. 40:8; 1 Pet. 1:25). The Word of God is a Person — the Son of God — and He changes not (Mal. 3:6) but is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8), and thus neither does the Word of God change, it is immutable for all times and is always the same in all times and all ages, and does not change with the cultures of men. To in any way apply human culture to the Word of God ostensibly to “interpret” it, is twisting, perverting, adulterating, and corrupting the Word of God! The Word of God cannot be interpreted by human culture; human culture is to be interpreted by the Word of God!]

14 SCRIPTURAL REASONS/PROOFS WOMEN ARE PRECLUDED FROM OFFICES AND POSITIONS OF GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITY IN THE CHURCH

1. God’s Word prohibits women from being in positions of authority or government over men, and even to teach men (1 Tim. 2:11-15). Therefore, any group, assemblage, assembly, organization, collection of people comprised of both genders that has a gynocratic leadership, i.e., ruled or governed by women or a woman, is spiritually illegitimate and does not bear or reflect the genuine authority of the Kingdom of God.

2. God has ordained that the Church be governed (1 Tim. 5:17) and managed (1 Tim. 3:1-7) by elders/overseers. The church is the family expanded and the family is the church in miniscule. Families are “cells” of the church. The order/government for the church is the same as government for family, i.e., Christ (who is male, genderally; the SON of God and God the Son, not the daughter of God and God the daughter) is the head of the husband/man and the husband/man, is the head of the woman/wife (1 Cor. 11:3). [See #5 below for more on this aspect.] Elders “rule” or govern the local church, and administrate or manage all its affairs. Governmental authority in the Church is a matter and outflow of Divine Order, not gifting or ability, and without respect to same. In other words, ecclesiastical authority, like the matter of governmental authority in the Kingdom of God, is not determined based on gifting or capability, but on the principles intrinsic to Divine Order. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all male; no member of the God-head is female. God is a He, not a she, and so identifies Himself thousands of times in His Word. Jesus is/was “the Word made flesh (Jn. 1:14),” and He was manifested in the incarnation as a Male Human. And, the Triune God is Himself ultimate authority (God Almighty) [Rom. 13:1], and thus the Source, or Fountain-head, of all authority. All genuine and legitimate authority emanates or flows from God Himself. “For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Rom. 13:1).

3. “Elders,” “Overseers,” “Shepherds,” are all synonymous terms in the Bible referring to the role of Fivefold ministers (Ac. 20:17,28; 1 Pet. 5:1-2), which women are prohibited from functioning in (1 Tim. 2:11-12; 1 Cor. 14:34-35). Continue reading “14 Scriptural Proofs Women are Precluded from Governmental Authority in the Church” »

Multitudes of sincere and trusting believers are caught in the virtually invisible web of religious captivation in the churches they attend, the ministries they are under, and the networks they are aligned with…and don’t know it!

These faithful followers of Christ are unaware victims of spiritual abuse, psychological enslavement, and exploitation perpetrated under the heavy-hand of hyper-authoritarianism. That is to say, the leadership of the church-group of which they are a part is dominating, controlling, manipulating, and exploiting their followers for their own personal gain and private kingdom-building.

Through systematic indoctrination, victims have been duped into accepting as biblical and beneficial the oppressive and abusive predominance imposed upon them by unscrupulous, tyrannical church-leaders.

Without realizing the spiritual effect of what they are doing, myriads of sincere and faithful followers of Christ, in submitting themselves and surrendering their God-given right to self-governance or personal autonomy unto their spiritual leaders, have become “slaves of men” in blatant violation of God’s explicit warning against that very thing: “DO NOT BECOME SLAVES OF MEN!” (1 Cor. 7:23). Continue reading “Recovering From Authoritarian Abuse” »

For years, during my itinerant ministry, when I spoke in churches on the topic of deliverance, I would commence my message by reading aloud Mark 16:15-19. Then, I would ask the congregation to raise their hand if they considered themselves a believer. Invariably, one hand per person in attendance would go up, regardless the size of the congregation. Then I would ask of those who raised their hand, those who had cast out any demons today to raise their hand. No hands would go up. Okay, then, this week, I would ask? No hands. Okay, how about this month. Still, no hands. This year? No hands. Ever? Once in a while, one or two hands went up, but most often, none. Then I would say, “I thought you all said you were believers?” And, pause for reaction. Uncomfortable snickers, would always ensue. Then I would inquire: “Jesus said that believers would cast out devils. Who lied, Jesus or you?” Continue reading “The Great Commission or Omission?” »

For Christians to claim Christians cannot have demons simply because they are Born Again is like saying their car cannot break down simply because they are Born Again, or even sillier, that they don’t have to fill their gas tank or change the oil or refill the oil if it is low because they are Born Again, or that they are free from the Law of Gravity because they are a Born Again Christian. (I wouldn’t recommend attempting to prove that one by jumping off the roof of a tall building any time soon, if you really believe that one!) That’s all mysticism, which is naturalizing the spiritual and/or spiritualizing the natural. In psychology parlance, such refusal to recognize and acknowledge reality is what is known as “being in denial.” Continue reading “Debunking the “Christians Can’t Have Demons” Theory” »