“Covenant Relationships” is a very familiar term bespeaking a commonly accepted concept in Pentecostal/Neo-Pentecostal circles, despite the irrefutable fact that neither the term nor the concepts it represents are found in Scripture and in fact are decidedly unscriptural. Moreover, the concept of human spiritual covenants was resoundingly debunked and denounced by one of the most highly regarded theologians and teachers the Pentecostal and Neo-Pentecostal streams ever had, who emphatically warned that besides the sacred covenant between the Lord and His disciples “the ONLY other valid covenant is that of marriage between a husband and wife,” and that the effect of entering into any other kind of spiritual covenant with humans “will be a CURSE!”
For more than three and a half decades (at the time of this writing), I’ve been doing all the Lord has allowed, anointed, and enabled me to do to set captives of spiritual authoritarian abuse free from the bonds of witchcraft, or the “yoke of slavery,” in which they are ensnared. I’ve spoken and written extensively in books and articles about the many profound spiritual and psychological effects hyper-authoritarianism inflicts upon its multitudinous victims.
In the last few years, the Lord has kindled a fire in my belly for the State of Florida in particular. Not only to do what I can to set the captives residing in this State free, but also to be used of the Lord to ignite prophesied fires of revival and refinement in the humanly nicknamed “Sunshine State,” but Heavenly named, “Sonshine State.”
Florida is an apostolic state, in that the apostolic anointing and function is a “first-in” anointing and function (1 Cor. 12:28) — a forerunner, pioneering, breakthrough anointing. Virtually all the original famed explorers’ forays into the New World were along Florida’s then surreal sand-covered beaches. Spanish explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon, is accredited with the original discovery, in 1513, of the pristine paradisal peninsula, which is encompassed on three sides by the immense waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. The lush flora and foliage pervading it partially influenced the awed adventurer’s naming of the newly found land.
Further demonstrating the State’s apostolic roots, though it has not been widely chronicled, a number of critical conflicts, conflagrations, and events precipitating the colonization and early establishment of America occurred here in Florida.
Florida is a proverbial “Fort Knox,” financially speaking, because much of the world’s wealthiest and most influential people reside in or hold properties or interests somewhere in the pearled peninsula. For multiple consecutive years, the sparse, exclusive enclaves of Jupiter/Hutchison Islands have been ascribed the wealthiest per household hamlets in America. The unimaginable dense concentration of mammon represented in the State of necessity then comprises a lion share of the “wealth of the wicked” God declares is stored up for the righteous of the End-times Church Jesus is building that is required to finance the final great global in-gathering of souls.
For these reasons and much more that cannot be addressed in this article, one of the most ferocious pitched battles between Heaven and Hell is over the 60,000 total square miles of land mass comprising the State of Florida, but more importantly, over the some 18 million souls who inhabit it. Numerous profound and portentous prophecies by prominent voices foretelling major moves of the Spirit of God have been trumpeted during the 20th and now early part of the 21st Centuries. What some have purported to be a “Prophetic Movement,” precursor of the nascent “Apostolic Movement,” was launched from a diminutive town in the the panhandle of Florida, where one of the most publicized protracted outbreaks of the Spirit in modern times, the “Brownsville Revival,” also occurred. The sleepy Central Florida town of Lakeland was the somewhat unlikely host of the so-called “river” or “laughing” revival in the early 1990s through the ministry of Rodney Howard-Browne and the aegis of Carpenter’s Home Church, itself a significant phenomenon at the time, burgeoning into a multi-thousand-member super-church over the span of the final three decades of the 20th Century. Similar growth bursts transpired during that same span in a number of other Florida locales as well, including my home church, Calvary Assembly of God, in Winter Park, which was one of the first of the so-called “mega-churches” in the nation. Still today, Florida is graced with a number of mega- and super- and large Neo-Pentecostal churches that are offshoots of the spectrum of spiritual streams flowing in the State.
Unfortunately, however, as an apostolic State, the master-deceiver, the “prince of the power of the air,” has also in times past hijacked the spiritual air-currents of the fair State, whose name is also partially derived from the Spanish word for Easter, for propagation of some of his most diabolical and damaging handiworks of deception — “winds of doctrine,” i.e., false movements founded on “doctrines of demons” — in modern church history. One of the most prominent of those false movements was the Discipleship or Shepherding Movement of the 1970s, spawned in the South Florida Eastern Coastal town of Fort Lauderdale. The deviant doctrines dispersed through that false movement eventually permeated the fabric, foundation, and functions of the Charismatic Movement, ultimately effecting its derailment and demise, as well as the defilement of its myriad of spiritual offspring (believers, churches, ministries) with the spiritually decimating disease of hyper-authoritarianism.
From the present vantage point, it is clear that the effect of the spiritual plague was of epidemic proportions. Veritable spiritual genocide has transpired. Not just in Pentecostal and Neo-Pentecostal but denominational and non-Charismatic consortiums as well. None of the present streams of the Spirit — i.e., spirit-oriented churches, groups, ministries, and networks — are unaffected by it. The constant stream of communications and counseling requests to my office by victims of authoritarian abuse demonstrate the validity of these assertions. The streams that are supposed to make glad the City of God (the church Jesus is building) [Ps. 46:4] have been polluted by it and instead made the Church sad. Vast portions of the Body of Christ reel in the downward spiritual spiral of witchcraft! It’s almost as if the events initiated by the sounding of the Third Angel’s trumpet of Revelation 8:10-11, wherein a great star named Wormwood — “fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters….and a third of the waters became wormwood; and many men died (spiritually) from the waters, because they were made bitter” — has some latent or metaphorical application to the Shepherding Movement and its destructive effects.
What is the answer? I believe the answer is inherent in a prophetic word the Lord gave me in July 2004. It tenders the key that unlocks the chains of bondage in which God’s people who are called to be “Sons of God” as opposed to “slaves of men.” The false teaching of illegitimate authoritarianism has brought curses upon the Body of Christ that must be reversed in order for the people of God to possess their inheritance. This past week prior to the writing of this article the Lord dropped this phrase into my spirit, “Poised to Possess!” I believe the Spirit is saying the Church is “poised to possess” the Promise Land, but like the Israelites, they must be delivered out of the tyranny of spiritual Pharaohs holding them in bondage in order to possess it. The Body of Christ at large, and to some degree the Pentecostal/Neo-Pentecostal Church of Florida, more so than any other, is in serious crisis! Yet, sadly the majority of believers are thoroughly brainwashed and thus hoodwinked and totally blind to the horrific state of affairs that pervades the Church.
As I write, my spirit is exceedingly sorrowful and grieved. But I have been at this prophetic thing long enough to know that it is not really me that is sorrowful and grieved, but rather God, for He is causing me to prophetically feel what He is feeling in this respect. Really, when you stop and think about it, what is it to me? Why would I, as just another human-being, be possessed with such passion about these matters? No, I’m seeing and sensing what God sees and senses, vis-a-vis my own human emotion. Prophets are “seers.” They see things; often things others do not or cannot see, at that time. Oftentimes others will not see the things a prophet sees until like Elisha with his servant, the prophet prays that God open the eyes of the blind so that they can see what he sees. But prophets are also “sensers” or “discerners,” they sense things that others do not sense — often the heart or feelings of God (yes, God has feelings). I know without any equivocation that what I am seeing and feeling in my spirit is what God sees and is feeling. This is not merely a Steven thing, this is a Spirit thing!
One of the objectives of the Spirit of the Lord and anointing that was upon Him, which is likewise the anointing under which every true minister on His behalf operates, Jesus stated was/is to “set the captives free” (Lk. 4:18,19). The Holy Spirit commanded through the Apostle Paul, “It was for FREEDOM that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject AGAIN to a YOKE OF SLAVERY” (Gal. 5:1)! Jesus declared, “He whom the Son sets free is FREE indeed” (Jn. 8:36)! He also said that true disciples of His, who abide in His Word, will be SET FREE by the Truth that they KNOW (Jn. 8:31,32)! It is clear from just a few snippets of Scripture such as these and the preponderance of Old Testament chronicles concerning the people of God as well that God is intensely desirous of His people being FREE of ALL kinds of bondage, no matter what it may be! GOD WANTS HIS PEOPLE FREE! Free to be HIS! He is a jealous God who, above all else, wants us to be free to belong to Him, and Him alone!
Satan himself, the original rebel and defector from God, is the master-taskmaster! He is the arch-megalomaniac who is absolutely possessed with the altogether foolish figment of conquering and controlling God’s entire Creation, and enslaving the crown jewel of that Creation — mankind. Yet, the most succinct expression by the Holy Spirit in the Word of God of the purpose of the Son of God’s manifestation and visitation is “that He might DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL” (1 Jn. 3:8). Essentially, “the works of the devil” are invisible chains of captivity to the rebellion against God that the devil himself originated. God wants you free from his bondage.
My spirit cries out to the Body of Christ today: BE FREE FROM THE CAPTIVITY OF SATAN AND SIN, INCLUDING THE SIN OF IDOLATRY AND SPIRITUAL ADULTERY! I implore you to hear the voice of the Lord crying out in the wilderness today! Pray and ask God if you have sinned and brought a curse upon your life by entering into unauthorized covenants.
Father, I pray now, in the name of Your Son, whom you sent to set the captives free, that you open the eyes of your people, to see the yoke of bondage that they have been under, and that you set them free from it today! I give you praise, honor, and glory, for hearing my prayer and doing it! Amen!
After reading the prophetic word below, if you have not already read my book, Charismatic Captivation, I strongly urge you to order your copy today and read it, in order to be set free from “the yoke of slavery” to illegitimate human mediators. You may read more about the book and order it from the website at: http://www.charismatic-captivation.com.
The Curse of Unauthorized Covenants
By Steven Lambert, ThD (Original Publication Date: 7-7-2004)
One of the last books Derek Prince authored prior to his recent death was Blessings and Curses (Revised version, 2003; Chosen Books, Grand Rapids Michigan). It has been well-documented how that in the 1970s Prince had been one of the originators of what became known as the Discipleship or Shepherding Movement, the history of which is chronicled in detail in my book, Charismatic Captivation. To his credit, however, when the doctrines associated with that movement were challenged and soundly repudiated by numerous prominent church leaders and trusted theologians, the highly respected Bible teacher was the first to publicly acknowledge that the teachings were erroneous, recant them, repent, and ask fellow believers for forgiveness for the spiritual harm he had been instrumental in wreaking upon the Body of Christ. A few years before his death, Prince gathered together his staff and some longtime personal friends, and over the course of three days, spoke on some topics that he felt the Lord wanted him to address in whatever time he had left on Earth. The transcripts of those dissertations were compiled into a book, Protection From Deception. In the third and final session, Dr. Prince spoke candidly and forthrightly about five particular movements that had transpired during his lifetime and course of his ministry with which he had some involvement. The last one he addressed was the Discipleship-Shepherding Movement. He pulled no punches in his remarks and stated outright that the movement began to go off track in the very first year of its genesis, and that the primary cause of its errancy was personal or selfish ambition and misapplication of Kingdom principles through carnal, unrenewed, “old wineskin” mindsets:
This is my personal impression. The problem was primarily personal ambition in different forms. One wanted to be the leader of a movement, another wanted to appear on the platform, and so on. And I was one of them. From my experience I would say there is no greater problem in the church today than personal ambition in the ministry.
Another problem was that we were not renewed in our minds. We still thought in the “old church” categories. Everybody who disliked us said, “Well, you’re really a denomination.” Our leader said, “Oh, no; we’re not a denomination! We never will be.” But the logic of spiritual principles is inexorable. He and his group have become a denomination.
Our root problem was that we were not renewed in our minds. We still thought in terms of the way the church traditionally does things, and I do not believe the church does things right. I believe there has to be a revolution in our thinking before we can line up with God’s purposes.
Returning, however, to the subject at hand, in Blessings and Curses (p. 46) [emphasis and bracketed comments added], Derek Prince writes:
In Exodus 23:32-33 God warned Israel about the idolatrous nations whose land they were about to enter: “Do not make a COVENANT with them or with their gods…The worship of their gods will CERTAINLY be a SNARE to YOU.” If you make a solemn agreement with people who are under the power of evil forces, you come under that same power…. As Christians, we are all in a covenant relationship with the Lord and the ONLY other valid covenant is that of marriage between a husband and wife. Covenants are very powerful, and to enter into a covenant relationship on any other basis but these can be extremely dangerous. If it is a scriptural covenant [which the author states are only those between a believer and the Lord, and between a husband and wife], its effect will be a blessing. But, if it is unscriptural, its effect will be a CURSE. Solomon offers an urgent word of counsel in Proverbs 6:4-5 to anyone who has made a pledge or vow binding them to an evil ASSOCIATION:
Allow no sleep to your eyes,
No slumber to your eyelids.
Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
Like a bird from the snare of the fowler.
What you have said with your own lips [unscriptural/unauthorized pledges, oaths, covenants] only YOU can unsay. At the same time, get rid of any articles associated with the ungodly covenant. It is best to do this in the presence of Christian witnesses who can support you with their faith.
It is clear in Scripture that human covenants, pledges, and oaths other than the only two that are authorized by Scripture (marriage and God’s with believers) subject the participating parties to curses that bear the potential for great harm and grave danger.
Contrary to the adage quoted even by occultists, Jesus did not teach that the truth itself will automatically set you free. Rather, He taught that it was the truth that we KNOW — the truth that lives (abides) in us and that we live in — that will set us free (cf, John 8:31,32). Indeed, the Word of God is literally filled with Kingdom Truths that bear unfettered power to liberate all who will accept and apply them to their lives, yet that glorious result cannot occur until we first KNOW those Truths, accept them by faith, and assimilate them into our spiritual walk.
It is incumbent upon every believer who comes into this knowledge and understanding regarding illegitimate covenants to immediately repent and renounce every such improper covenant, and replace it with a confession of the two appropriate covenants, in order to “free yourself” from the “hand of the hunter” and “the snare of the fowler” — for improper covenants make us captives to the hunter and make our lives ensnared by the fowler, (Satan) who has the authority to fowl everything in our lives that is unprotected as the result of our removing ourselves from the protective covering of God through improper spiritual covenants and associations made with humans, which produce enslavement (Rom. 6:16).
Ungodly human covenants of improper submission to men, as postulated by the erroneous Shepherding doctrines, have brought the State of Florida under a curse — from the Southeast coast to the Northeast extremities of the panhandle. Let every preacher and believer first “free” his or her self from these covenants of enslavement and the curses they bring upon the participants, then preach, proclaim, and declare the message of freedom and liberty to fellow believers, and thereby deliver ourselves and the church of Florida that Jesus is building from the scourge of the curse!
When the scourge of this self-imposed curse is finally removed, we will begin to see God’s hand of favor and approval released upon the church of Florida, and the fulfillment of the many prophesies predicting an unprecedented outpouring of the Spirit and God’s Glory upon the coastlines of the State![end]
The following is an excerpted section from Chapter Two, The Movement Goes Underground, from my book, Charismatic Captivation, first published in 1996, which proffered back then more warnings concerning the dangers of unauthorized and unscriptural “covenant relationships,” and traces the roots of the concept to the Discpleship/Sheperding controversy that emerged in the mid-1970s.
However, what has transpired over the course of time is that in order to avoid the adverse effects of controversy, the majority of Discipleship proponents and practitioners have gone “underground,” so to speak, employing less overt and less conspicuous methods and means of propagation, cloaking and camouflaging their operations behind more subtle and euphemistic, cryptic language.
For example, the extreme concepts initially referred to as concepts of “pastoring” are now termed “shepherding” principles. To give it a more sophisticated and sanctimonious ring, the obsequious relationship between the subjugated (the sheep) and their subjugator (the shepherd) now is called “covenant relationships.” These “relationships” (if you accept that appellation) in many groups espousing Discipleship/Shepherdship/Covenant doctrines and employing variations of the practices advocated under that teaching are actually codified in the form of a “Covenant Agreement” signed by the subjugated in which the subjugated pledges his eternal oath of allegiance and unquestioned obedience and obeisance, along with his financial support, of course, to his “shepherd.” Usually, this “covenant” requirement is a matter which is not addressed openly in the public meetings, but is introduced “in private” to attendees who have been around long enough to have become fully indoctrinated with the group’s ways and teachings, and to have become psychologically dependent on the group (more on this and other psychological mechanisms employed by Discipleship groups later).
Allow me to say in passing that to me, oaths such as these bear little dissimilarity to the secret oaths and pledges required of initiates into secret societies such as the Free Masons, Ku Klux Klan, and the La Cosa Nostra (Italian Mafia), which essentially bind the inductee to that group for life, or in other words, “Til death do us part.” In fact, it has been my experience in dealing with hundreds of people in deliverance from demonic powers that the pledge taken by inductees into these secret societies is precisely the same in terms of the spiritual impact it induces as those taken by members of Discipleship/Shepherding/Covenant cults (as we shall discuss later, this is precisely what these groups are cults). A plethora of spirits of bondage, witchcraft, and idolatry saunter right through the door willfully opened by the person who enters into such demonic “covenants” of allegiance to men. Additionally, terribly debilitating and subversive satanic soul-ties are formed with the individuals with whom they have “covenanted.” But, in actuality, the spiritual dynamic that is being instigated in the unseen spiritual realm when a person “covenants” with another human being in this manner, agreeing to subject himself to a mere human rather than unto the Lord Jesus Christ, is a pact of idolatry, because, spiritually speaking, wittingly or unwittingly, the subjugant has in essence pledged to submit his human will to his subjugator. In effect, the subjugant has just become the willing slave of his subjugator, for the Spirit says, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are SLAVES of the one whom you obey” (Rom. 6:16).
The ultimate result of such a “pax idolatrus” is that that person has in actuality made the pact, not with that leader, but with demons, for in reality there is no such a thing as an idol, but the idolatrous homage rendered unto “idols,” whether they be human or inanimate is “sacrifice to demons, and not to God” (1 Cor. 10:19-22). In other words, anyone who makes a spiritual covenant with anyone other than God, covenants with demons, whether they intend to or not, for “You cannot drink the cup of (fellowship with) the Lord and the cup of (fellowship with) demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons” (Ibid, v. 21, parenthesis added by author). If you do so covenant and so partake of fellowship with idols (other gods), or demons, you “provoke the Lord to jealousy” (Ibid, v. 22). Thus, in actuality this “covenanting” business and paying homage to human leaders is tantamount to pagan demon worship. The Bible explicitly constrains us against making such “covenants” with anyone other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It specifically commands, “Do not become slaves of men” (1 Cor. 7:23).
Dear Friend, if the Holy Spirit is convicting you of the idolatry of entering into ungodly human covenants of improper submission to men such as what are addressed in this word, I urge you to “Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids” until you “FREE YOURSELF, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler” by renouncing all such ungodly covenants and thereby break the self-imposed bondages and curses over your life. Repeat the following simple prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, my eyes have been opened to the error of these improper covenants I have made with men in ignorance, and sense the inner conviction of the Spirit regarding them. I ask you to forgive me of my sin and error. I want to FREE MYSELF from the witchcraft resulting from those false oaths, pledges, and covenants right now. So, in the Name of Jesus Christ, the Name above every name, I now renounce those covenants I made and demand by the Spirit of the Lord that the illegitimate yoke of slavery that has been upon me now lift off of me! I am now free of all false burdens and responsibilities, and free to serve YOU as my Lord. Thank you, Jesus!
[Original Post Date on Prophetic Perspective E-zine: 11/19/2005]
DELIVERANCE FROM DEMONIC POWERS, by Dr. Steven Lambert
[Click on image to learn more about this powerful book]
to be set free
from the fetters
of demon powers!
Dr. Steven Lambert was ordained in 1977 and holds several earned graduate/post-graduate degrees. Over more than four decades in ministry, he has served as a pastor, radio/TV host, adjunct-professor, Board Certified Doctoral Diplomate Christian Therapist/Counselor, and a speaker/commentator on a range of social, political, and theological issues, particularly as a recognized authority on the matter of ecclesiastical authoritarian abuse. He is the founder/Overseer of Ephesians Four Network (ephesiansfour.net) and its subsidiary, Ephesians Four Network of Deliverance Counselors (efndc.ephesiansfour.net). Dr. Lambert authored several books (catalog at realtruthpublications.com), many published articles, and is the founder/editor of Spirit Life Magazine (spiritlifemag.com). His bio, extensive blog, and scheduling information are available on his ministry website at: http://www.slm.org. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
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