Deliverance from Extreme Pentecostalism – A Personal Testimony of Bethel’s Influence

[Following is a personal testimony of an individual who, under the influence of Bethel Church in Redding, CA pastored by Bill Johnson, fell into error and later was freed.  The original article in four parts can be found at inerrantword.]

A Dangerous Journey – My Wife’s Deliverance from Extreme Pentecostalism (Part 1)

 

At the beginning of 2010 I decided I wanted to get involved in a more passionate “Christianity”. I have always thought of myself as a worshipper & I craved being around others who lived & breathed worshipping the Lord. 

Our church had been *pushing* & wanting revival to break out. So naturally I went home one day and decided to research about what “revival” actually was and how we could get it!  Through my discoveries I found out about The Welsh Revival, Charles Finney and others.

I wanted *revival* to break out in our church. The more I read about the “amazing” things that happened in Wales, the more I wanted that to happen to us.

A member of our church had been involved in the Brownsville Revival.  She told me many stories about the revival that happened there & the anointing that she received from there.  Whenever she went up for prayer her body would shake & eventually she would, fall to the floor.

I was curious and started looking into the information surrounding the Brownsville revival. Like the Toronto blessing, the Brownsville revival had similar manifestations of the holy spirit, and following that was the Lakeland revival.

At that time I was initially very cautious. It didn’t seem to line up with the God of the Bible I knew and I couldn’t find anything in the scriptures to back up what was happening in these places. BUT I so desperately wanted to feel God and being among passionate Christians, I thought that this was where those sorts of people were.  Some of the manifestations, including the prophetic seemed exciting and it drew me in.

Despite my initial caution & a nagging feeling of unease, I started listening to the answers that these extreme prophetic people would give to the sceptics.

Here are some of the things they said/say:

 – God was revealing new things to the church today.

 – God was moving in a way that was different & more relevant to the world now.

 – How could these things not be of God, when people were singing his praises all within the safety of a church?

 – No one can judge or dismiss the manifestations of the holy spirit, if you did then this then you were quenching the Spirit.

 – David danced in the streets and people then thought he was crazy, but he was a man after the Lord’s heart.  This meant that even though manifestations were similar to David’s dancing (disorderly behaviour) they were of God.

 – The church at Pentecost had exactly the same spirit manifestations (like drunken behaviour…because in the Bible the mockers thought they were acting drunk therefore the early church must have had drunken spirit manifestations.

 – Bill Johnson is such a kind, quietly spoken & gentle man therefore he must be a man of God.

 – People from all over are coming in droves to these churches, so its has to be good.

 – In the last days, God’s spirit will pour out on his people and this is that.

 – No-one can judge the holy spirit. If something is done in the name of the holy spirit then it must be the holy spirit.

 – Those who think that these manifestations are not of God are Pharisees (& are not open to things happening in the spirit outside of the Bible).

 – People who were outside of these movements were missing out on a special anointing from the Lord.

I became convinced by these sorts of answers. I was drawn to it, I wanted to be around enthusiastic worshippers of God and I did not want to act like a so called Pharisee. It also looked exciting.

So began my journey into the world of extreme Pentecostalism, the teachings of Bill Johnson, Bethel Church, & the music of Jesus Culture.

(Little did I know how dangerous this path was going to be)…

 

Hidden Dangers – My Wife’s Deliverance from Extreme Pentecostalism (Part 2)

 

I spent months immersing myself into the Bethel Church teachings and music of Jesus Culture.

 I started engaging in what is called ‘soaking’. Soaking is a practice of opening your mind and spirit to the “lord” whilst listening to loungey “Christian” music.  I gave up reading my Bible…because I wanted new revelations from God.  I had heard mentioned in so many sermons (including writings by Rick Joyner) that the Bible was being superseded by new revelations.  The people who only read the Bible were called “wordies” and these people (the “wordies”) were setting themselves up against the new spiritual move of “god”.  The new spiritual movement was more important than the information in the Bible.  So I gave my regular bible reading and embraced soaking.

I wanted to encounter God.  I wanted something dramatic to happen, something exciting. During my soaking I would sit quietly opening my mind and heart up to the ‘presence’. I would focus on this little warm fuzzy I had in me and eventually this feeling started to get bigger and bigger. I would have this almost ecstatic feeling on call anytime I wanted it. Eventually I would just begin to start a soaking “prayer” and this feeling would come over me immediately. It made me feel “in love” with jesus. He was no longer in a position of authority or a lord on a throne, but someone I was in love with.  Someone who made me feel really good and superior.  This feeling made me feel good and I wanted more of it.

My whole world started to change…in fact I was changing more than I really knew…and not for the better.

The more I engrossed myself into Bethel church’s teachings the more passionate I became about “us” being ‘right’ and those that only followed the Bible being wrong. This set me up against my husband. My husband is a fervent student of the Word of God – quiet and humble – and so he did not embrace what I was now into.    I resented this and felt he was not good enough anymore. I wanted him to be more passionate and open to the spirit like I was. My main goal in life now was to save our money to get to a Bethel Conference so I could receive these special anointings. I was increasingly unhappy with my life the way it was. It was too boring, it didn’t excite me or make me outwardly more passionate for God. I wanted this anointing. I wanted to see the gold glitter and jewels falling from heaven. I wanted to move in the prophetic.

As you may have noticed…it had now become all about ME.

I wanted the new anointings. I wanted to be blessed by God. I wanted to give up my entire life and get into one of these churches…I even wanted to get my husband to move our entire family to Redding (where Bethel is based) so that I could be apart of this new move of God.  All I wanted was to have these good feelings I had inside all the time. The ones that made me feel “in love” and passionate about jesus. I loved how those feelings made me feel, and I wanted more of it.  No one was going to stand in my way. I knew what was right for me! I had become a loud, aggressive woman, extremely impatient and completely caught up in my own selfish ambitions. 

I could not see that this was happening.  I no longer had any time for my family, I needed this and that what was all that was important.  I couldn’t understand that my husband wasn’t able to see the great *change* in me. I needed to be soaking and listening to my Jesus Culture music.  As time went on, I started to get exceedingly rude towards my husband. I grew to be resentful towards him and completely disrespected his walk with the Lord.  I wanted him to become “great” for God by receiving the new anointing.  I was in a superior place with the Lord and I thought his bible studies were a waste of time. 

One day however I did pick up my Bible and read it.  It was during that time that I noticed something very different from what I was experiencing.  I became aware of this quiet still voice. This had become very foreign to me. It was no at all like the excited, loud experiences I was having in my soaking time. It concerned me as I could not work out in my head why this gentle, quiet voice was so different from my other experiences.

Then something happened that completely opened my eyes.

At a church gathering I started chatting to the same member that I referred to in part one on my story.  We started talking about all the amazing anointings and manifestations that were happening overseas, like the gold dust, glitter and jewels and how we wanted these things to start happening in our church.  We longed to go and attend these conferences and receive “more”. 

Then it happened.  She started telling me about this amazing “anointed” man of god, who received the glory of god.  His name was Joshua Mills.  At his conferences were all the same manifestations…she started telling me that the glory of god was so strong on this man that he had oil that drips from his body as a show of his anointing. She was amazed by this. But for I suddenly started to realise that something wasn’t right. In fact there was something very wrong with this.

I felt very uncomfortable with this. I had been raised in the Catholic church, before I became a born again believer. When I became I believer God opened my eyes very clearly to the satanic influence in that church.   The Catholic church is full of visitations from “mary”, oil dripping from their own “anointed” people, the stigmatas etc.   So when my friend started telling me about Joshua Mills and his oil dripping from this body as a sign of the glory of god, alarm bells starting ringing inside my heart!

As soon as I got home I started looking up Joshua Mills to find out more about this.  Joshua Mills is part of the Elijah List, a list of special “prophets”.  On this list included Bill Johnson, Kim Clements, Rob De Luca, Randy Clark, Cindy Jacobs, Rick Joyner, Todd Bentley, Patricia King, Rodney Howard-Brown, Carol and John Arnott and so on.  Joshua Mills was a man who ran conferences and teaching classes (which you pay huge amounts of money to attend).  He ran these classes so the students could receive from him and take home his special anointing.  And sure enough, just as my church friend had said, Joshua Mills was producing oil from his skin, that was sign of the glory of god upon him.  And if it wasn’t bad enough – he was collecting his drips of oil on rags and selling it…so that people could buy and get his special anointing from the rag.

All of a sudden, like a lightning bolt, I realised what I had got myself involved.

 

Uncovering the Dark Deception – My Wife’s Deliverance from Extreme Pentecostalism (Part 3)

 

After reading about Joshua Mills on the internet I started to realise exactly what I have allowed into my spirit, my heart and my life. It hit me like nothing I have ever experienced before! I had allowed a deceiving spirit into my life. A false spirit, a false jesus.

All of a sudden everything that had been covered up was uncovered.  The truth of what was my reality, my darkness was exposed. The moment of this is like nothing I can explain or give a full account of. I became completely aware of this sick, filthy darkness that had been in my life. The heaviness of the reality on my spirit was awful.  To give you an idea of what this felt like I can only explain it like this: There have been times in my life when I felt a deep darkness. Times like when I had a life before Christ. Another time was when I was a born again believer but started living in the world for myself. I got involved in immorality and it was awful and caused a deep wound in my spirit then. When I realised I had allowed a deceiving spirit into my life, it was far, far greater than anything I have ever felt when I was not a believer and when I was engaging in full blown sin as a believer. The intensity and depravity of what I had done and allowed in was so great I simply just cannot explain in words. Perhaps for me I can only liken this to what is the actual reality of the dark evil spiritual realm. What it may feel like to be in alliance with satan. One thing is sure, when the Light of God and His Truth uncovers deception nothing can hide from His glory.

I came before my husband and confessed what I had allowed into mine and our lives. I explained to him exactly how I had been deceived and the burden and heaviness on my spirit that had come from allowing this false spirit in my life. I had spent so many months desperately trying to get him into this “world”. He told me that he had been praying to God intensely for Him to reveal to either one of which of us was wrong. God answers prayer and He came through for us!

When I realised what had crept into my life, all I wanted to do was get rid of this thing as fast as possible. I was absolutely desperate to get rid of this darkness, this filth! (One can only imagine what it will feel like in hell for people who will live an eternity with this constant desperation and never be able to get rid of it and get peace).

Praise the Almighty One. Earlier that year I had visited a blog about a woman who had gone through a similar experience (visit M’Kayla’s Korner), but I thought I knew better and had not heeded her warning. Thankfully I had bookmarked her blog page and that night Nick and I sat down searching through it to help us work out how to get rid of this darkness and filth that was in my spirit. God had given this woman the insight to put an extremely helpful link to getting rid of these false spirits if you had allowed them into your life (read this here).  We printed off the pages and followed each step.  I spent a few hours in our bedroom on my own paging through the advice and looking up bible verses. 

That night I spent those hours confessing my sin and disobedience to my Lord. I confessed my lack of discernment and my own sinful willingness to expose myself to this deception and false spirit.  I was able to see that after I confessed this from my heart and made a decision to never expose myself or my family to these false spirits again I was set free! The Lord Jesus took the darkness away from my life and in place the sweetness of His Spirit returned.

 

What is a False Jesus? – My Wife’s Deliverance from Extreme Pentecostalism (Part 4)

 

This false spirit, a false “jesus”, one that pleases the flesh, had been given permission by me into my life. If I knew the character of the Lord well or knew my Bible basics I would have recognized the false spirit simply by looking at what type of behaviour I was displaying when I was experiencing this “spirit”.  I would have know that the fruit of the real and true Holy Spirit  is peace, love, real joy, gentleness, self-control, humility, patience, kindness, faithfulness and goodness. If I had done this little test I would have clearly seen that I lacked gentleness, self-control, patience, peace and real love. This false spirit is very easily recognised when you do this little test. What I had allowed in my life brought out impatience, anger, rudeness, complete lack of Self-Control, chaos, flesh seeking madness, self ambition and selfish desires.

The next way to determine a false spirit is to do a quick comparison with what the God of the Bible is like in character versus the spirit you have opened yourself up to. Does it match up with what the Word of God says?

 – Who God is (a God of order and peace)

 – The order of a Church service (no chaos, no un-interpreted tongues, no more than 2 or 3 people talking in tongues and in turn (not over each other)

  – That these manifestations are similar if not the same to the strange fire offered by Aaron’s sons in Exodus

 – Leadership in the church (should be characterised by godly character: men of peace, self-control, peace, gentleness, quietness and of humility).

 – The focus of godly teaching (is leading one towards complete reliance on Jesus Christ and not on yourself or a person or a ministry)

 – People under the authority of the Lord (will display a peace, calmness, quietness and gentleness about them).

 – Dying to self and dying to flesh. The entire false spirit movement is characterised by satisfying your own flesh and carnal nature. Rather than bowing down before the Lord, it is about getting as much out as you can for yourself, getting the “anointing” for yourself, getting the “manifestations” for yourself, seeing the signs and wonders for yourself. This is completely the opposite to the life of Jesus Christ, one of complete self sacrifice and in turn the life Christians are to live. We are to beat our body/flesh to make it our slaves (1 Corinthians 9:27).  

 – The real gospel of the Lord is unpopular. I have realised that wherever there are huge crowds and no real genuine repentance (followed by no major changes in the person’s life) then one needs to proceed with extreme caution! The way of the Lord is a narrow way, not a popular one.

 – We need to be very careful of false teachers and false prophets in the end times. There are no arguments that we are in the end times, so why would we switch off our discernment buttons because we are too scared to be wrongly called Pharisees.

Will we be accountable to God for being easily deceived?

We have access to the Truth, the Word of God. The Word of God specifically warns us in detail about what deceptions there will be in the end times and yet we are still easily deceived.  I was warned by earnest believers, but still chose to be lead astray.  And in turn we have earnestly warned others but they choose to defile themselves with these false spirits too.

Why are we caught off guard by so called “men of god” that are bringing these false spirits into the church?

Most likely they are completely deceived themselves and are themselves, in turn, deceivers. The whole purpose of deception is that is going to come in and trick us! Why does it surprise us that this is happening in the church? Satan has had over 7,000 years to work out the best ways to deceive and cheat people, of course he is going to influence people in the church today. It is naive to think he wouldn’t. There will be no excuse for us on our day of judgement when we face our Lord and King and we realise we have been tricked into allowing false spirits into our hearts. We should know better and be prepared for this.

How do we know and recognise satan?

Satan will deceive us by enticing our flesh! It is not surprising them to find that these so called movement of the “holy spirit” are about ‘making us feel good’, ‘hyping up our emotions’ and ‘satisfying our carnal desires’ into chaos, uncontrolled disgusting behaviour and acting like mad people.

Is it any surprise why we are so desperate for the next “fix”?

This behaviour is not found anywhere in the Word of our God. The Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and then they went out with their purpose, to spread the gospel NOT to  run from conference to conference, meeting to meeting to get *more* of the “anointing”.

When I look back over my darkest days I can now very clearly recall some of the behaviours of these people and even friends who are in these “movements”. Their behaviour (including my own) was some of the most selfish, prideful displays I have ever seen. We were desperate to have our next “fix”, the next manifestation, the next drunken moment in the so called holy spirit, and the next “loved up” feeling. The longer I was involved the greater my drive and motivation was to fulfil my flesh and carnal desire. This selfish, flesh seeking drive is intensely stronger than the motivation to go out into the world and spread the gospel and to save lost sinners in the name of Jesus.  I only cared about myself and truthfully I had no real genuine care or love for other believers during that time. It was all about me.

I also have noticed and experienced the anger of these people when they are questioned about the truth behind these movements and any mention of false spirits. It is like they turn into monsters defending their prey. There is an awful ugliness that emerges and it is quite frightening (that is why I used the word monster). I displayed this ugly behaviour myself so I speak from first hand experience…these people have sold themselves out to a false spirit, a false jesus. The devil has a hold on their heart and their desires. This false spirit makes them feel good and they will hold onto it like nothing else! Their flesh fights to hold onto it and fights against the truth being revealed.

If you are concerned about this false spirit that is creeping into the church please go to my sister in Christ’s Mkayla Kelly’s blog.

Open Challenge to Bill Johnson/Bethel Supporters

[Here's Another Challenge to Bill Johnson/Bethel Supporters.]
[2/27/13: Here's another challenge: Open Challenge to Fans and Critics of Bill Johnson/Bethel Church.]

The following is based on an original idea of and primarily written by W B McCarty in conjunction with Craig who provided minor additions, changes and editing.

Many have charged that the teaching of Bill Johnson is unbiblical and wrong. Not a few have charged that his teachings violate orthodoxy – the ancient, common theological understanding of the Christian Church – and therefore entail or promote heresy. On the other hand, no small number of Bill Johnson supporters have denied these charges.

This brief article challenges Johnson supporters to reconcile just one of Bill Johnson’s statements in his book When Heaven Invades Earth (WHIE) with Christian orthodoxy. The article does not address all the suspect statements in that book or suspect statements in other books, sermons, or talks.

Here is the selected statement of Bill Johnson:

“Jesus lived His earthly life with human limitations. He laid his [sic] divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father: to live life as a man without sin, and then die in the place of mankind for sin. This would be essential in His plan to redeem mankind. The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless), and had to be spotless, (without sin)” [When Heaven Invades Earth, Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image, 2003, p. 79].

And, here are the questions that comprise the challenge:

1. To what “limitations” does Bill Johnson refer? Does he mean that the God-man Jesus, in His divine nature, lacked divine attributes such as omniscience (possessing all knowledge) and omnipotence (being all powerful)?

a.)    If so, how could God relinquish divine attributes and yet remain God?  In what sense might a limited, finite man be considered God, when the very term “God” denotes infinity?

b.)    If so, given that all things consist in Jesus (Col. 1:17) who upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3), why did the world not cease to exist during His Incarnation?

c.)    If so, how did Jesus regain His divine status? Can other non-divine beings gain divine status?

d.)    If so, how could the finite sacrifice of a non-divine man pay the infinite penalty of the sins of humankind?

2. What does Bill Johnson mean when he writes that Jesus “laid his [sic] divinity aside?”

a.)    What, exactly, was laid aside? That is, what does Bill Johnson mean by “divinity?”

b.)    Did Jesus cease to be God at the time of His Incarnation?

c.)    If Jesus was not God in His Incarnation, what is the significance of his name Emmanuel ["God is with us" (also Immanuel)]?

d.)    If Jesus was not God in His Incarnation, how was he able to forgive the sins of the paralytic man (Mk. 2:9)? Can anyone other than God actually forgive sins?

e.)    If Jesus was not God in His Incarnation, how could John’s account of His ministry have as its purpose the affirmation that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” [John 20:31, emphasis added]?

3. When Bill Johnson writes “He laid his [sic] divinity aside,” why does he write “his” rather than “His?”

a.)    Does “his” refer to a non-divine Jesus?

b.)    If “his” refers to a non-divine Jesus, how and at what point did Jesus regain divine status?

4. As a sacrifice, was Jesus “powerless?”

a.)    That is, was He or was He not in possession of the divine attribute of omnipotence even as He hung on the Cross?

b.)    If He was not in possession of omnipotence during His time on the Cross, and was therefore unable to free Himself, in what sense was His sacrifice willing?

For those who lack training in the Scriptures and Christian theology, here is a summary of the main points of orthodoxy at issue in Bill Johnson’s statement:

A. Jesus is the eternally pre-existent, second member of the divine Trinity.

B. At His Incarnation, Jesus took on a second, human nature in addition to His divine nature.

C. Since the beginning of His Incarnation, Jesus has been at all times fully God and fully man (known as the hypostatic union).

D. God possesses a number of divine attributes, such as omniscience and omnipotence.

E. By definition, divine attributes are a necessary and sufficient condition of divinity. That is, no one but God may possess divine attributes. And, if God were hypothetically to cease to possess any divine attribute, He would cease to be God.

Note: For further exposition of these points, including biblical references, see any good discussion of the Nicene and Chalcedonian creeds, which are common to the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Protestant Church. No one who rejects these creeds has any reasonable basis to claim to be Christian in the usual, historical sense of that term.

Finally, here are some ground rules for the discussion that the authors of this article hope will ensue:

1. It isn’t intended that the statement/answer/response be selectively cited. Those who wish to support Johnson by bringing in other explanatory material from the book WHIE are free to do so. However, those who challenge the orthodoxy of the statement should not bring in new material. Let’s keep the discussion as focused as possible.

2. Bringing in explanatory material from sources other than the book is prohibited, as doing so would unduly widen the discussion. If this challenge proves popular, the authors may find time to offer similar challenges based on other statements within WHIE and other of Bill Johnson’s books and sermons. The authors believe there is no shortage of suspect statements requiring explanation by Bill Johnson’s supporters or ideally by Bill Johnson himself. Those who are unfamiliar with the works of Bill Johnson should not suppose that the offered statement is the only of his statements that seems unorthodox or heretical.

3. To respond, copy both the corresponding number and its question followed by the corresponding letter and question.  For example, if responding to “2b)” then copy and paste from the article the following with your response following that:

2. What does Bill Johnson mean when he writes that Jesus “laid his [sic] divinity aside?”

b.)   Did Jesus cease to be God at the time of His Incarnation?

[your response]

Who will take the challenge?

_______________________________________________________________________________

Here’s a new challenge.

Walter Martin’s Last Stand on TBN

The following article is found on Jackie Alnor’s Apostasy Alert Blogspot from the March 11, 2011 Apostasy Alert Show titled Walter Martin’s Last Stand on TBN.  With Jackie’s permission, here is the complete article which provides the story behind the video links of Martin’s final TBN appearance (he was never invited back) which Alnor recently posted on YouTube.  Part 3 contains Martin’s quote from Dave Hunt’s book referenced below which quotes Kenneth E. Hagin’s and Kenneth Copeland’s heresy that Jesus died spiritually, took on the nature of Satan, went to hell, became sin and was subsequently ‘born again’ [starting at 6:58].

In light of another Calvary Chapel pastor making an appearance on TBN’s Praise-the-Lord program, I thought it apropos to share a tape in my collection of how a Bible believer should behave when invited onto TBN or any of the other errant “Christian” network. What sort of message is communicated when a solid Bible teacher shares the platform with heretics and does not bring reproof? Certainly it gives the impression that the guest endorses the teaching of the hosts and /or founder of the Christian network.

Some argue that if they can’t go on TBN due to its corruption, then they couldn’t show up on ABC, NBC or CBS either. They don’t understand the distinction between being salt and light to the unsaved world and practicing biblical separation from so-called Christians who are spreading false teaching against Jesus Christ. To the unsaved, we can use their media to spread the Gospel, but to the errant brother we are to bring correction and divide if they do not stop their false teaching. For a proof-text consider 1 Corinthians 5:11:

“But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.” [NKJV]

When Calvary Chapel Albuquerque’s pastor Skip Heitzig went on TBN last week acting like he and his host Phil Munsey were old friends, it was a shame to the spirit of that passage. Phil Munsey and his brother Steve Munsey are two of the most infamous extortioners in the field of Christian television. Munsey has used new age ideas of paradigm shifts and panentheism to spread his unbiblical dominionist views. 

In contrast to the compromisers, the late Walter Martin tried to bring correction the last time he made an appearance on TBN. This video tape has never circulated and has not been available anywhere until now that I have posted it to YouTube.

Back in 1985 my younger sister was Martin’s secretary. She and my older sister and I all regularly attended his weekly Bible study. I used to share my research with him and also with my friend author Dave Hunt. Walter and Dave disagreed on many things regarding their styles of apologetics and discernment. Whenever there was a difference of opinion between the two of them, I usually agreed with Dave. 

I had had some discussion with Dr. Martin over Dave’s book, The Seduction of Christianity. Walter had been critical about it on the radio having never read it but based his criticisms upon what his personal editor had told him. 

One day my older sister was watching Praise-the-Lord when Hal Lindsey was a guest. He was her pastor at that time. Back then Hal used to challenge the teaching of other TBN regulars and Paul Crouch put up with it. However, that got old with the Crouches and when Hal wouldn’t stop criticizing the Kingdom Now doctrine, he was put on the shelf until he learned to kow-tow to them. When my sister heard Hal bring up Walter’s name in the show, Paul and Jan agreed that he was a brilliant man and Hal said you should have him on some time. They both responded – oh sure we will.

So she informed our little sister who told Walter and Walter told her to call TBN and arrange it which she did. However, the Crouches wouldn’t host him so they got prophecy teacher Doug Clark to do so. My younger sister called me on the day of the taping saying that Walter wanted me to go through Dave Hunt’s book, The Seduction of Christianity and highlight things he would be in agreement with. I was happy to do so for him. He used that information to challenge TBN’s blackballing of Dave Hunt and other whistle-blowers. 

I stayed home to work the VCR I didn’t know how to program, while my two sisters attended, one in the green room and one in the audience we had stacked with many friends. Walter gave it to them with both barrels. Not only was the program not replayed at its regular slot, but the tapes were not available when people followed up to request one. Back in those days any Praise-the-Lord program could be bought on audio cassette for a small fee. And both Walter Martin and Doug Clark were never invited back. We had heard years later from Doug Clark that during the interview he kept receiving notes via the stage manager from Jan Crouch calling in telling Doug to “shut that guy up” and other nasty comments.

I found a way to post the interview in its entirety to YouTube – so look at it before it gets cut. I had to put it into several parts due to space restrictions, but I completed the task. I honestly think this is the very best tape of Walter Martin that is in existence. When he talks about the things he disagrees with Hunt on, keep in mind Hunt was right. 

Here are the links:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5 – a surprise addendum:

I actually went on a program on TBN back in 1986 called Joy in the Morning. I used to call the host whenever I saw any of his guests spreading error. He would thank me graciously and so I kept monitoring his show and called him when an infiltrator would slip in. We all had some hope for TBN back in that day, but at some time the Crouches went over the line, never to return to orthodoxy. I posted that interview on YouTube as well. Here’s the link:

Enjoy the memories and spread the links.

Jackie,

The Use of Loaded Language in Hyper-Charismaticism

[This is an excellent article with thought provoking observations.  It was initially posted on a blog which is now inaccessible for unknown (by me) reasons.  I have a suspicion that the author wishes to remain anonymous; however, I could not in good conscience reproduce this and put my name to it – even if I reworded it – as it is something I just would not have thought about or researched on my own.  With this in mind, I will attribute this to “anonymous.”  I’ve made some minor changes from the original, including the title, omitting one sentence which does not detract from the article (evidenced by an ellipse (…)) and updating the link contained therein.  I’ve also added the term “hyper-charismaticism” or “hyper-charismatic” in parentheses.] 

I want to begin this post by stating clearly that this is not going to be a theological discussion per se. It is primarily going to be the discussion of a sociological phenomenon that has been observed through the study of prisoners of war and those involved in cult movements. This post was prompted by the nearly universal lack of reasoning and independent thinking skills of those who continue to post on the blog in favor of the modern prophets (hyper-charismatics). This is one of the many parallels between the modern prophetic movement (hyper-charismaticism) and the world of the cults.

I am convinced that one of the primary reasons for this is the continual use of “loaded language” within the movement.

For those who may be unfamiliar with this term, please allow me to give a very brief and extremely oversimplified history. Robert Lifton did extensive study on the “reprogramming” techniques used by the Chinese on prisoners of war and other political prisoners. He identified several key elements that were nearly universal that were able to bring about “thought reform”. Later, Margaret Thaler Singer, Steven Hassan, and Ronald Enroth built on and modified Lifton’s model as they noticed many of the same techniques being used in cults and spiritually abusive groups to bring about a “group think” among their adherents.

One of these techniques is the use of “loaded language”. Loaded language involves a couple of practices. First, it involves the use of words and phrases that become a unique language to the members of the group itself. (See the International House of Prayer (IHOP) glossary of terms for an example.  This is only a partial list.)  These catch phrases or slogans are laced throughout the teaching ministry of the group.  This language is difficult for those outside the movement to comprehend. In fact, I would submit that many of the members themselves would have an extremely difficult time giving any precise definition to these catch phrases as well. But it goes further. 

Loaded language also has a thought-terminating effect on the individuals who use them…They are a type of mental boundary. They provide easy, simplistic answers to issues and questions. The main purpose they serve within the group is to stifle thoughtful inquiry. These clichés become so ingrained in the adherents’ mental processes that they are accepted without question or reservation and are advanced in knee-jerk fashion when any challenge to the group’s belief arises.

I have become convinced, primarily through the different members of the apostolic/prophetic (hyper-charismatic) movement who have posted on the internet that this movement abounds with this thought-terminating, loaded language. Let me give some examples.

Immediately when someone outside the movement asks where a particular practice is found in the Scripture the loaded language kicks in.

This is part of the new wineskins that God is bringing forth in this generation.”

Or simply,

“God is doing a new thing.”  (Or some variation of the same statement.)

Press further and begin to point out that a particular belief or practice is unknown in church or Biblical history or is contrary to the character of God and you get more loaded language.

“God can’t be put in a box.”

“God is tearing down the religious spirit.”

“You are stuck in your tradition.”

Dare to challenge a particular leader or call into question their doctrine and one runs into more loaded language.

“We are not to judge.”

“Why are you coming against him?”

“Love covers but judgment uncovers.”

“If it is not of God it will fail but if it is of God you can’t stop it.”

Look at the fruit.”

“Touch not my anointed.”

“Truth is a person, not a doctrine.”

“Jesus is more important than doctrine.”

Ask them to evaluate their seemingly out of control behavior and you get….

“God offends the mind to reveal the heart.”

“God doesn’t want us living from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

Push too hard and the ad hominem attacks begin.

“You have a jezebel spirit.”

“You have a religious spirit.”

“Satan is the accuser of the brethren.”

I could go on longer but you get the idea. There is a definite “group think” and “group speak” within the prophetic (hyper-charismatic) movement. The real issue to note however is that these phrases have VERY LITTLE REAL MEANING AND VIRTUALLY NO SUBSTANCE BEHIND THEM. Their sole function is to keep the person in the movement from taking a serious, thoughtful, reflective look at what they are involved in. It’s like mental insulation or blinders.

The real damage from loaded language, other than the fact that it keeps the user in the group, is that it stunts the adherents’ reasoning abilities. The person using the loaded language actually believes he/she has given an answer to the question raised!  However, they have really never dealt substantively with the issues.

As an interesting side note, while the group member staunchly proclaims his freedom, his thinking has actually become very rigid, i.e. “Everything our group does is automatically ok. Anyone who disagrees is a devil.”

These clichés must be challenged. It is important to try to force the members past the slogans to actually thinking for themselves again.  When this is done, the member may experience a “crisis of faith” in which he actually becomes open to looking at the Scriptures without the grid of the group.

Testimony of a Former IHOP-KC Attendee: Stephanie

[Part of this testimony first appeared here and is titled "I Was at IHOP and FSM for about 3+ Years..."  In a subsequent comment on that blog article, "Stephanie" added some more to her testimony.  She graciously revised her testimony to include both the original and her additional comments for publishing here at CrossWise.  Bill over at Beyond Grace has recently published two other testimonies.  Please take the time to read both The Mother of all IHOP Casualties and Red Flags over IHOP - Devotion or Deception?.  I had previously made a passing reference to another one of the second author's articles (Red Flags... author "Ariel") in a previous CrossWise post -- The Kingdom of God is at Hand, part II (at footnote 5).]

I grew up as the only Christian in my household. My parents came to know Jesus when I was about 10. My Father began to backslide after his grandmother died which took a pretty big toll on his relationship with my brothers, my mother, and I. Off and on since I was in about 7th grade, I had severe night terrors and nightmares. I attended a Bible High School as well as a Bible College after I graduated. I often tried to find a reason and a way to stop my night terrors, with little to no answers.

Meanwhile, my family was extremely rocky to say the least. My dad was an absentee, my youngest brother was abusive, and my mom was enabling them both. I always wanted to help them, but neglected myself in the process. Wanting to get closer to the Lord, I decided to go to an extension campus in Hawaii (without praying about it and for pretty selfish reasons). I knew I probably wasn’t supposed to go but went anyway to escape from everything else going on in my life.

The Pastor who ran the campus quit 3 days before our arrival and a local apprentice to the pastor was put in charge and (very) reluctantly took the position. It was a pretty messed up situation, to which I and everyone else on campus (about 20 people) ended up leaving as a result. At this point, my walk was very dry and I felt so out of place no matter where I was. I just needed a place I felt I could fit in and, at the same time, draw closer to the Lord and get some answers for weird things that would happen (like the night terrors).

Then a friend told me about the International House of Prayer (IHOP). I heard that my favorite band was going to play at their “One Thing Conference” in December. I decided to go, for three reasons:

1. To meet the friend who told me about IHOP

2. To see my favorite band

3. Hopefully get closer to the Lord and find some answers to my questions

At this time, I had absolutely no experience in anything the Charismatic church teaches and was clueless about manifestations, deliverance ministry, baptism of the Holy Spirit, etc. At the same time, I was very desperate to be loved and accepted by God and by people, and I was desperate to feel anything. I felt so dry and empty. I just needed someone to be there for me and understand… I needed Jesus.

SO I went to the conference and had some very different experiences. I heard people speak in tongues for the first time. People talked about Angels and Demons like it was a normal every day experience, and I heard doctrines that I’d never heard before. I was also told that all the other churches in America were dead, dry, and boring and were, therefore, without Jesus. Because my walk was dead, dry, and boring, it seemed right to me. And the experiences I had that weekend, although strange to me, felt good and exciting. Because of the conference, I decided that I wanted to go to FSM [ed: Forerunner School of Ministry], in hopes of finding Jesus and acceptance there.

I attended IHOP/FSM and was heavily involved for about 3+ years.

My first semester there, I had nothing but good things to say about IHOP because I was still learning all these new things that I found to be fascinating, and I felt I was accepted by everyone else who was “just like me.” I also thought I found answers to my night terrors, when they explained it was because I “had demons” that needed to be delivered. After going through several of their deliverance ministries, however, the terrors only got worse and more frequent.

It wasn’t until my second semester (after going home for Christmas break) that I realized I had completely disconnected from my family, friends, and reality. All of my closest friends and family members sat me down (individually) for an intervention, of sorts. They would tell me things like that I’ve changed and I seemed happy and “on-fire” for God, but that something was off and something was wrong. And when I would tell them some of the things I was learning or experiencing, they only became more worried and they confronted me with scriptures, which got me thinking. So going back into my second semester, I was a lot more confused and had a lot more questions.

Slowly but surely, the Lord chipped away at my heart and showed me very clear scriptures to cause me to question the things that would go on there. After realizing this, I started feeling really weird about some things that were being done and said there, so I took it to the Lord, as any “Berean” should. I started looking up the scriptures my teachers would give us in handouts to explain some of their doctrines, and I realized that not one of those scriptures had anything to do with those doctrines. They were either taken completely out of context or just had nothing at all to do with what the doctrine was (ie: deliverance, manifestations, etc). So, I became even more confused and concerned. I started asking very genuine questions about where certain things were in scripture (like deliverance ministry, false prophesies, manifestations, etc.) because I wanted to be sure that I was doing the right thing in God’s eyes. I just wanted it to be explained to me because I didn’t understand the doctrines and I didn’t understand why the scriptures weren’t lining up with my experiences. When everyone would “feel the presence of God” or everyone would “break out into manifestations of God,” I wouldn’t feel anything and I would almost never experience what everyone else did. So, most days, I felt like an outsider because everyone but me was “getting it.” I started feeling confused and rejected by God, which is why (again), I turned to scripture.

I noticed that, when I started asking questions, that I had been “red flagged.”  What I mean is that I had particular people in leadership following me around and keeping tabs on me.  I was moved out of my core “Omega” group and into one with Sabrina Walsh who was a former, practicing witch and was also a leader at FSM. She and her husband were in charge of the “Signs and Wonders” classes where they teach kids how to prophesy and perform miracles. I was put in the group because I was to be “monitored.” After changing groups, I began having strange dreams and getting attacked on almost a daily basis.

As I read more scripture, I also began to realize that much of what they were teaching and practicing was extremely unbiblical and even dangerous. We were constantly fasting and in the prayer room. After starting to eat more and going to the prayer room a little less, I felt my head start to clear up and I didn’t like what I was seeing and how I felt. I often went back and forth, in my mind, between wanting to feel what everyone else felt, and realizing that it wasn’t from God, trying to figure it out. Half-way through my third year of school, I was brought into a room with several staff members (including Walsh) who accused me of many things that I hadn’t even come close to doing and they said something to the effect of:

“We know that you have father issues that need to be resolved (I didn’t) and we can tell that you are heavily oppressed by many demons.  However, we are incapable of this level of deliverance on someone. We just don’t have the time or the resources. So we are going to send you to this wonderful place in Toronto, Canada.  This rehabilitation facility is capable of handling your type of situation. We’ve sent many students there who have come back completely delivered.  We are going to send you there.  You cannot come back to IHOP or FSM until we have a written letter from them stating that you have been delivered.  In the current state you are in, you’re a danger to the other student’s growth and spiritual being.”

…To which I told them I would certainly go, but had no intention of actually going. I said I would go because I was very much afraid of what would happen if I told them I wouldn’t go, and was afraid until I moved back home. After the meeting with them, I immediately called my Dad, who I’d been told not to talk to anymore because he said IHOP was a cult. At one point, they also told me that I needed to stay away from my mom (who is my best friend in the world) because she had demons and was pulling me away from God (which was anything but true). My Dad booked the first flight to Kansas City.  At that time, my mom and I owned a home in KC and we had been helping students that went to FSM by providing rooms with low rent. I had an excellent relationship with each person in the house. Within two weeks of being pulled into the office ALL of my roommates – my friends - moved out. When asked directly, they either had no response or told me that the school had told them it was an “unsafe environment” because I and my mother “had a demon”.

I was absolutely crushed.  All I ever wanted was to know God and at the time I felt completely rejected by Him. When I finally left IHOP, I was not all the way better. I was actually worse than when I started because I was more confused, felt rejected, and still needed help. My head felt like it was covered in a fog. I would constantly go back and forth between “I know what happened was wrong” and “God was the one taking me out of there to save me” all the way to “IHOP was right” and “there is something wrong with me.” Like I said, I was a complete mess and it took a whole lot of love and prayer to get me out of that state of mind. I even flew to Illinois to go to my friend’s church (the same one who told me about IHOP in the first place) to try to get “Delivered” of this demon that IHOP told me about because I was so messed up. After that trip, I walked away from the Lord completely for about 6 months and was absolutely miserable both in and out of the church.

It wasn’t until I came back to my Calvary Chapel church that life started to become normal again. Even then, it took a really long time. I was able to let go of needing to feel something that wasn’t there and just focus on the truth of the Word of God and loving and understanding who God is. He is never-changing, always loving, arms-wide open, ever wise, ever beautiful, ever strong, amazing, orderly, and truthful God. He is my best friend, my Father, my peace, and my joy. And it didn’t take barking like a dog, falling over, being “drunk,” or being “delivered” from a “demon,” to do it. It was straight-up surrendering to His will and letting go of mine. It was repentance and it was loving God, even if it seems “Boring.” It was just worshipping at his feet, reading His word, fellowship with believers, accountability, etc… going back to the basics. The gospel is truly simple and God is very straight-forward. He is not the author of confusion.

I thank God for my Calvary Chapel pastor back home (and the amazing women at my church) who spent every minute praying for me, speaking life over me, and bringing me back to the truth of the Word of God. I almost lost faith and hope many times. But God is so amazing…He spared my life and got me out of there.

I grieve for the people I love who are still stuck within the lies of IHOP and for the many who are recruited to IHOP daily. I pray for their souls and I pray for the truth to be made known to them. If ever there was an “antichrist spirit,” this is it.

I’ve kept all of my journals, notes, books, and materials from when I was there. When looking back on the things I wrote and the things I would say…it’s like I was a mindless drone who repeated everything I heard. It scares me to think that so many people are being deceived, so many families ripped apart…so many lives destroyed….and all in the name of “Jesus”.  God help us and God forgive those who tarnish and blaspheme Your name!

[see also Hyper-Charismatica versus True Christianity]

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