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.

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

  1. mkayla says:

    Isn’t this just amazing? I love to see people come out. It gives us hope and reminds us of who God is! Don’t give up and don’t stop praying for the lost and the deceived. :)

    Blessings -

  2. inerrantword says:

    Haha. I love it! The Lord was good to us and we are encouraged to keep praying for people. If if we do not know anyone personally, we need to keep praying anyway because the people who know others who are deceived, will need encouraging and strengthening to keep holding strong to win these people back by the grace of God.

  3. Craig says:

    Comment by John Ashton from 9:58am moved by admin:

    Hey Inerrantword-

    Thank you for your wife’s post. I share pretty much all of your concerns, especially regarding finances. There are excesses at both ends of the heart-mind spectrum. After over a year here, I think Bethel is more balanced than people realize. I’m constantly praying for wisdom and revelation…

  4. Craig says:

    Gotta love it! :-)

  5. mbaker says:

    John,

    While I join you in your prayer for wisdom and revelation, I also pray that it be always in context of the Lord’s truth. I have folks in the faith that I admire more than others, but I think we have to avoid the tendency to exclusivity that suggests they are above correction themselves simply because we admire them.

  6. Craig says:

    Once again the same false dichotomy: this time it’s phrased as heart vs. mind. We worship in Spirit and Truth — both. Bethel teaches error and leads to a different spirit. That’s what this testimony/article clearly states. If your claim is that Bethel in Redding doesn’t have these sorts of errors, I have private testimony that contradicts your view.

    Bethel seems to wear the “illogical [as "spiritual"] vs. logical” tag as if it’s a badge of honor. That’s borne out in the comments on Facebook. And, that’s sad.

  7. peacebringer says:

    Since heart and mind, Spirit and Truth have come up want to direct folks to an article I wrote: http://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/worship-in-spirit-and-truth-how-do-we/

    Also just reading over this, I want to challenge all who read, and all who come across to pray for Kim Walker and “Jesus Culture.” As I stated in another comment, the music, the words in and of themself can and do uplift God. She has a heart for worship, but God is impressing on me, that we need to pray for her, for her gifting, her ability to draw others to lifting up God, is being twisted and used. It is cementing others into untruth. She needs prayer, needs her eyes and ears to be opened to see the truth. To see how what she does is leading others away from the very God she uplifts and draws others to. Weep as well for Kim and all those caught up in the trap by their own desires.

    Also want to point folks to an early article that was meant to an examination that is yet not really started-
    http://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/the-foundations-of-strong-delusion-introduction/

  8. MaryM007 says:

    MaryM007 says:
    March 30, 2011 at 6:51 am
    I am on staff at my church – my last day is this Friday…I am leaving because our church has become ‘little bethel’ – I quit attending last summer when we started our own “school of supernatural ministry”… I love these people – some are my dearest friends – I took my concerns (which the Lord kept speaking to my heart – “Beware Beware Beware and Foundation Foundation Foundation) to a pastor (I’m his administrative assistant) and, because I started crying – he asked me to write down my concerns and then we would talk. I did – it is 11 pages and I could have written more – he read it and took it to the rest of the pastors. They do not agree with me – they are continuing down this road. I know getting away from it is what I have to do – but my struggle is watching people who dearly love the Lord and serve Him with all their heart being drawn deeper and deeper into this. They are into soaking, signs and wonders, etc. They accept the feathers, gold, jewels, oil, zapping each other with ‘power’, etc. – as blessings from God. For me – a HUGE sign was when God orchestrated all the “leaders” of this movement on the same stage in Lakeland FL commissioning Todd Bentley – all speaking “thus says the lord” over him and then the whole thing falls apart soon after that – which meant all those ‘words’ spoken over Todd were NOT ‘from God’ – He wouldn’t have blessed this with all that was going on behind the scenes…This movement is huge – It’s hard to find a church now that I can trust – but I know the Lord will lead me to where I need to be. Keep praying for all those caught up in this – that God will open their eyes, too. I have been to these meetings – you don’t realize the error until you step back away from it – it all sounds so right when you are in the midst of it…and it becomes ‘your bible’. Just as tolerance and political correctness is ruining the world – ‘judge not’ and ‘love one another’ is ruining the church – discernment is out the window and evil creeps in. Keep shouting it (warning) from the housetops!

  9. Craig says:

    Mary,

    Thanks for re-posting your comment!

  10. zeemanb says:

    Several things in this post really spoke to me, but the fact that there is now an actual nickname (wordies) for those who want to rely on reading the Bible just saddens me. I experienced something similar in the early 90’s when I was quitting my job as an associate pastor at an Assemblies of God Church in order to attend Bible College (the Berean correspondence courses offered by the AG just weren’t cutting it, lol). I was warned by many in the church to “be careful, don’t let it hurt your walk with God” before I left, and any time I would engage in any sort of Biblical discussion with folks back home when I’d visit, I was met with “you are just going to Hebrew and Greek that thing to death”. Even today, I get comments like “Bible College is the quickest way to destroy your walk with God” from many I know who are still AG affiliated. Well, when you grow up believing that completely subjective and emotional interpretations of scripture are infallible and questioning anything is “touching God’s anointed”, and then you go and actually learn things like the existence of hermeneutics and exegesis…..it DOES kick off quite a paradigm shift. But I wouldn’t trade the anger and hurt I went through for years before finally coming to terms with my faith and what it means to me….especially if it meant going back to that unquestioning faith in the random opinions of those “men of God”.

  11. Craig says:

    zeemanb,

    I have to admit I was a bit confused with your first comment and not sure where you stood with regard to your faith; so, I’m glad you made this comment.

    “Wordies,” eh? It’s a bit more accurate than “Pharisees” at least. But, yes it is sad as it posits a false dichotomy: if you read the Word you are one of “them” and if you immerse yourself in subjective experience you are part of the “in” crowd who really “get it.” Heaven forbid you could actually use the Bible as your guide in ALL THINGS. And, why learn about proper hermeneutics and exegesis when eisgesis is much for fun? Hyper-charismatics really put the “I” is eIsegesis.

    Unfortunately, Bible college/seminary is not such a safe place either with apparently a myriad of liberalist teaching there. I’m hearing of individuals who are quitting seminary for that reason. I think one is better off learning on their own by reading books from varying traditions/denominations rather than going to a place such as Fuller, for example, which brought forth individuals like Brian McLaren, C Peter Wagner and Rick Warren.

  12. zeemanb says:

    Yeah Craig, I imagine anyone who hears me say more than about four or five words or reads my writing would wonder where I stand with any semblance of Christian belief. It took a lot of years and hard knocks before I finally got back to a child-like simple faith where I could feel and act upon the love for a God who wasn’t constantly waiting to squash me. What I finally got out of Bible College was how much I DIDN’T know or couldn’t possibly understand…..and the miraculous gift of being able to say “I don’t know” to someone instead of cherry-picking pieces of scripture to form an answer or rebuttal. John 3:16 and the great commission….maybe once I truly comprehend, internalize and act upon those two things I’ll be ready to get back to the exegetical swordfights, lol. That belief is truly what is in my heart, I keep things very, very, very simple, BUT don’t get me wrong….the way I communicate and choose to craft much of my online persona is NC-17…I work through some things openly, loudly and sarcastically. Is that libertinism? Maybe. Ego or pride? Absolutely. I love coming in here and reading the thoughts of people who can think through these things without turning it into a profane circus like I do. It helps to center me, and in my own crazy way I’m able to engage in discussions about faith with people who would normally spit on even the kernel of a thought of all this gospel stuff. To be gut-level honest, the language that we speak to debunk the language of people like Bill Johnson sounds just as stupid as Bill Johnson to the majority of people out there. I just always try to be sure I’m making some kind of connection with those who view it ALL as foolishness. That generally keeps me in check as far as the super-libertinism goes :) .

  13. Craig says:

    I’m saddened that you had to go through “years of hard knocks before” you “finally got back to a child-like simple faith where I could feel and act upon the love for a God who wasn’t constantly waiting to squash me.” Thankfully, I didn’t really have a problem with that.

    I have quite a few friends who don’t really understand why I do what I do on here. This is totally foreign to them as they’ve no point of reference. After hearing about or reading some of these testimonies, however, it starts to make more sense.

  14. Allengirl says:

    In response to MaryM007, I so understand how easy it is to slip into this deceptive charismatic “church” and its followers. I even made a road trip to Bethel, but upon my return home, realized I had spent a lot of money to go there expecting a “great anointing.” I came to realize within a few more months that our church back home was idolizing Bill Johnson (and I had fallen for it, too). God gave me dreams that I journaled and I began to see a pattern of warning. Then I had a “knowing” that I needed to leave the church I was in (we were into all the manifestations and glorifying them). That church had also started a school of supernatural ministry just like the one at Bethel — in fact they used the Bethel videos of the actual classes there at Bethel. The Holy Spirit led me and showed me the errors of my thinking and I am so grateful to God that I was not completely and irrevocably deceived. All along I had ignored those “catches” in my spirit, but with the dreams and with discussions with other Christians, plus reading books by pastors warning about the current deception and false teachings, I left it all behind. Now I stay focused on the Bible and prayer. I am still seeking a church home and have visited several that are Biblical in their teachings. How calm and peaceful it is now to fellowship with God and His servants. I pray for friends who are still caught up in all the hoopla; I pray that the eyes of their understanding will be opened.

  15. Craig says:

    Thank the Lord you did not get in very deep! Thanks for your words here as I’m sure they will be of help to those who are both still caught up and those who are coming out of this.

    Keep praying for your friends.

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  17. Martin says:

    Allen girl can you explain what you believe the holy spirit told you was the error of your thinking?

  18. Martin says:

    Also surely we need to also balance all of this up with positive biblically sound experiences that people have had at Bethel.

  19. Craig says:

    Comments 3 and 7 had some positive and some negative.

  20. Craig says:

    Here’s a post illustrating the progression of a church infection by Bethel:

    http://mkayla.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/an-escape-from-bethel-and-the-false-prophetic/

  21. Craig says:

    I just posted this on the By Whose Power Does Bill Johnson Perform Healings? thread:

    I just came across the following which I found of interest and appropriate to the current discussion: When Bethel Invades Your Church.

    My adult daughter recently became involved in New Age and native spirituality. After we had a few discussions and arguments over Christian beliefs and the practices of the New Age movement, she agreed to attend a local non-denominational church with me…

    To my surprise the Sunday sermons were less about Scripture and more about
    the “revival” happening in the town of Redding, California, where the message of Bill Johnson, senior pastor of Bethel Church, was being preached. I heard about the students of Pastor Johnson’s School of the Supernatural and how they are being trained to bring God’s power and healing to us. I heard sermons laced with invitations to try “soaking prayer” and experience “fire tunnels.” I saw a speaker in church “downloading and processing messages from God.” There were invitations to receive God’s power and impartations of healing and prophetic words…

    …One night a woman give a talk about some kind of inner healing ministry she did with people. When she was finished speaking my daughter said, “Mom, this is what I am learning at the [New Age] Healing Arts School; she is talking about what is in my book“.

    …Where does that leave me? After researching and experiencing it from a parishioner’s point of view, I find it full of man-made events and mystical occurrences. It troubles me enough to write this article and hope people will educate themselves on this subject. Many of the practices are taken from Shamanism and directly from pagan ceremonies. The ancient rituals hold some power and impart mesmerizing delusions

  22. zeemanb says:

    Just noticed a recent update on Bethel’s Facebook that contains alleged video of gold dust forming in the air and raining down on parishioners. I’ve read about this (gold dust appearing, gems being found under pews, angel feathers falling from the rafters, etc.) in the past couple of years, mainly via media reports from Redding’s online newspaper, and thought Bethel had toned this type of testimony down a bit due to the scrutiny. At first I found it pretty humorous, but then it was more troubling as I read through some of the comments….total brainwashing. There is just no doubt in people’s minds that this spectacle is genuine. I have to wonder….does the dust always just happen to appear right at the front of the stage where the lighting and air currents happen to be the best? Why does God limit himself to something that could so easily be recreated with a fan and some gold sparkle powder from a hobby store? I joke around, but this is truly disturbing…….. (hopefully the link works, if not it’s near the top of Bethel’s main Facebook page)- https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=2310539496490

  23. Craig says:

    I don’t do facebook; so, I can’t verify. I can’t say that I’m surprised though:

    12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [NIV 1984]

    You wrote: I have to wonder….does the dust always just happen to appear right at the front of the stage where the lighting and air currents happen to be the best? Why does God limit himself to something that could so easily be recreated with a fan and some gold sparkle powder from a hobby store? I joke around, but this is truly disturbing… It is disturbing; and, you do make a good observation re: “right at the front of the stage.”

    I was reading about someone else’s church [with an assocation with IHOP] witnessing “gold dust” and the like also.

  24. Mary Matthews (MaryM007) says:

    Here are a couple YouTube videos of the gold dust cloud:

    and

    The church I left, has this going on along with gold teeth, oil, gems, etc. – it’s a big thing with Toronto, Bethel, IHOP, Joyner, Bentley, Patricia King, Bob Jones, – this ‘movement’ is huge!

  25. Craig says:

    Mary,

    Is the 2nd one your former church or just a video of this sort of thing from another church? I’m on an email list of another whose “church” has this sort of nonsense goin’ on. So, how much many has been given to the poor or to ministry from the proceeds of these “gems,” fool’s gold dust, etc?

  26. Mary Matthews (MaryM007) says:

    These YouTube videos are from the Open Heavens Conference held at Bethel – I believe this happened on Oct 16, 2011. One of the videos is short (little over a minute) – it is the one that was posted on Facebook and the other one is longer (little over 4 minutes) and taken from a different angle.

  27. Craig says:

    I understood the 2nd one was Bethel but I didn’t catch that on the first one.

  28. zeemanb says:

    Well, I guess when you have so many people paying a premium to travel to and attend a big conference, you have to deliver things like glory clouds to insure registration continues to grow.

    I do wish I had the ability to contain my anger and scorn enough to investigate the current goings on at IHOP….the church/complex is about twenty minutes from my house. Just too much “post traumatic stress” for it to be healthy in any way. Lou Engle does provide constant entertainment in the local media. When I was in ministry I knew Ernie Gruen pretty well and will see if I still have any old tapes or literature from the time period you have been writing about. Probably just some old sermons at most.

  29. Craig says:

    Well, I guess when you have so many people paying a premium to travel to and attend a big conference, you have to deliver things like glory clouds to insure registration continues to grow.

    Hey, everyone likes a light show, right?

    When I was in ministry I knew Ernie Gruen pretty well and will see if I still have any old tapes or literature from the time period you have been writing about. Probably just some old sermons at most.

    That’d be great! What do you think of the allegations that Gruen was involved in an immoral relationship near the timing of the Gruen/KCF controversy circa Jan to July ’90? Were you there at that time?

  30. zeemanb says:

    Yes, Full Faith Church of Love was booming at the same time I was in ministry (I attended the Masters Commission in Phoenix in 89-90 and then worked as an associate pastor in my hometown of Kansas City from 90-92), so my memory and perspective is somewhat limited, tainted, purely formed by personal opinion, etc. etc. I had family who attended Full Faith, my cousin went to their school, and Ernie was overall a pretty approachable person. His was the prototype of the “mega church” in KC, and the non-denominational evangelical church trend was just starting to ramp up.
    I have zero personal knowledge of any immorality on his part, but I will say this- the amount of time he spent on his radio show and behind the pulpit preaching against “the sin of masturbation” was strange to the point of being a running joke between many of the local pastors that I knew. He spent a LOT of time and energy addressing it…and while I have no knowledge of his personal life I am a believer in the doctrine of “he who smelt it dealt it” when it comes to that type of focus on a specific sin. Not scientific, but in my experience, it is very telling. His divorce happened after I had already moved from KC, but different public ministries like the radio spot began to be parceled off and a lot of people were leaving Full Faith prior to my departure.
    As far as his relationship with Bickle, your information is far, far beyond anything I was aware of at the time. My perspective on Bickle, Gruen and other local pastors like Dennis Slavens from Antioch Family Worship or Mike Purkey from Lenexa Christian, had one simple focus…..competition. Lots of pastors were getting very popular, congregants were church hopping like crazy…we had way more of a competitive business focus than anything else. Everyone was friendly with one another, but the fear of proselytizing outweighed specific doctrinal concerns. Bickle was a show-boater, Gruen was fading from the picture, Slavens was the new kid capitalizing on the non-denominational trend, Purkey was the tv star, and we were hardcore urban guys who refused to flee to the clean suburbs.
    So that was my little world. Lots of words that probably don’t tell you much at all, lol.

  31. Craig says:

    zeemanb,

    I think your perspective is valuable in view of overall fairness. Would you mind copying and pasting this comment on the newest thread? I can copy it; but, it would alleviate any potential confusion to readers if the comment had your name above it rather than mine.

  32. Mike says:

    I’ve read most of the posts and the story. It’s amazing how chtistians go from following one man to following another without ever doing the work (allowing the Holy Spirit guide you into all truth). The story would have never been told if the lady would have just stayed in love with Jesus. I really enjoy listening and reading behind Bill Johnson and many of the others mentioned but I don’t believe any one person or group has all of the answers. Quit following man and follow God and allow men who have heard from God to speak into your life and allow the Holy Spirit to cull out what is man and keep what is God. I can see why this lady was led astray. The scriptures say we are led astray because of our own lusts and desires. I believe that much of what was said about these brothers and sisters in Christ is not representative of the truth. There was much assumption as to the motives of their lives and reading into their intentions. I have been around Jesus for a long time and I found several things out. First, He is naturally supernatural and He operates from a Spiritual realm affecting the physical. Secondly, when He shows up amazing and weird things happen. Thirdly, wherever He is, devils and religous spirits cry out. If you don’t believe me, read your bible and don’t skip over the miraculous. We as believers must quit swinging on the pendulum and blaming everyone else for the decietfulness of our hearts that we wish to hold on to. We must quit looking to man as our source. The organization that man gives us will always hinder the relationship God wants with and for us. Man will dissappoint you sweetheart, but Jesus never will. I have attended many of these conferences and meetings and have been blessed, but I didn’t go there for just a feel good message, I went hungry for God and still am. I guess if your heart is right, Jesus will keep you on the right track. Spirit to spirit baby. Have a great day.

  33. Craig says:

    Mike,

    You contradict yourself. You state, “I really enjoy listening and reading behind Bill Johnson and many of the others mentioned but I don’t believe any one person or group has all of the answers.” Then in the next sentence you said, “Quit following man and follow God and allow men who have heard from God to speak into your life and allow the Holy Spirit to cull out what is man and keep what is God.” So, which is it? Do you not follow any “one person or group” or do you “allow men who have heard from God to speak into your life” and how do you know which is which?

    Then, you state, ” I believe that much of what was said about these brothers and sisters in Christ is not representative of the truth.” And, you go on to state, “He [Jesus] is naturally supernatural and He operates from a Spiritual realm affecting the physical.” So, then, when Bill Johnson says that Jesus “had NO supernatural capabilites whatsoever” you do not see a problem? And, when Johnson states Jesus “laid his divinity aside” and He “so emptied Himself that he was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help…” in opposition to Scripture including John 5:21: For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. you still see no problem? Do you think Bill Johnson heard from God in making these statements? Bill Johnson is a false teacher teaching a different Jesus, a different gospel from a different spirit [2 Cor 11:3-4] leading many astray and there are plenty of articles on here with proof to back up that claim. I challenge you to find one article with a quote of Bill Johnson’s either misplaced, misapplied or both.

    You also wrote, “wherever He is, devils and religous spirits cry out.” Oh, the ‘religious spirits’ again. You mean the Pharisees, right? You mean the ones who couldn’t see the true Messiah, (the real) Jesus, standing right in front of them? The ones who looked to their own extra-Biblical doctrine instead of and/or in addition to Scripture – just like the ‘new reveleations’ of the “apostolic/prophetic’ movement of which Bill Johnson is a part.

    You may want to read, or re-read 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, Matthew 7:15-23, and Matthew 24:4-5,10-12,23-24.

  34. Juliette says:

    I’m only a teen and new Christian so I feel really confused at the moment because I have seen videos on you tube warning against this type of thing and ones where people start laughing for no real reason and I thought yeah that stuff is weird stay away from that but yesterday at my church, this group of five including my pastor and another important one went up the front to pray and they started losing their balance and wobbling around, then they started laughing weirdly during prayer and It made me kind of uncomfortable. My pastor is into Benny hinn and something is wrong with Benny. After this happened my pastor said if your questioning this because it’s not what you grew up with and stuff and my pastor teaches a lot about some of these things and now I’m so confused about Jesus and the truth and it makes me wanna cry. I’m the only christian in my family and I wanna ask if you guys will pray for me please I’m so confused!!!

  35. Craig says:

    Juliette,

    I’m so sorry you are going though this. :( There’s no doubt something is wrong with Benny Hinn and also with your pastor. My strong recommendation is get away from this church – and now. There’s absolutely no reason to “laugh weirdly” during prayer. These are most likely mocking spirits within these individuals causing the laughing.

    Know that God loves you. He gave you the discernment to know something is wrong at your church. Rest in His comfort.

    I know firsthand that it can be lonely being the only Christian in your family. When other family members don’t share your faith you can feel alienated. But, know that you have a NEW family – all your brothers and sisters in Christ.

    The Bible states there are and will be false Christs, false Gospels and false spirits [2 Cor 11:3-4] for Satan masquerades as an angel of light [2 Cor 11:13-15]. The deception is worse than it was a few years ago and will continue to get worse.

    The Holy Spirit guided you away from these false manifestations and rest assured He will continue to show you the way. If you have any other questions or comments feel free to comment on here.

    Know that I will prayer for you (and have already); and, I’m sure that others on here who read this will do the same.

    You’re family on here!

  36. Chuck Bosio says:

    Comments are a great help. My 58 year old pastor in the UK near London is full into Bethel and Bill Johnson. The assoc. Pastor is doing lectio divina at home in his growth group. Hmmm. I was in former East Germany ten years ago and we had a spiritual battle on our hands. Witchcraft was very common. They knew if you were praying alone in your house, because they would lay weird curses outside your house. We had to drain the swamp through a dedicated prayer group which took on the witches head on. They left. Why oh why isn’t any one standing up against this counterfeit spirituality in prayer? Let every prayer not spoken in agreement with the Holy Spirit be bound. Let those who seek a false spirit be filled with the fear of the Lord, or even the dread of the Lord. Pray that the righteous of God be established in the House of God. Let the purveyors of false spirituality speak with split tongues, that they argue and expose each other for what they are. (See TBN’s Crouch and his granddaughter’s claim of mismanagement of funds! Progress.) We are all moaning, but who’s getting on the knee and saying, “Lord, the battle is yours. You promise that evil will flee before your servant.”

  37. Bill says:

    I find it very interesting to see the expression (or lack of) at the beginning of the video of the man walking across the stage. He apparently has either seen it before or finds a manifestation of Jesus Himself to be rather uninteresting.

  38. Craig says:

    Bill,

    I’m assuming you are speaking of the so-called “glory cloud”. If not, please clarify. Assuming so – you think Jesus manifests Himself as sparkly ‘gold’ dust? Interesting.

  39. Craig says:

    Or, were you being sarcastic, i.e. the guy finds it uninteresting as opposed to the crowd which was eating it up perhaps because he knew it was a sham?

  40. omots (Steve) says:

    Thanks Craig, for remaining such a faithful servant and keeping a discerning eye on Bethel and this “movement”. According to the “Global Outreach” page at Bethel, there are four affiliated congregations in my local area, but I know there are many more promoting the same “spirit” that are not officially listed.

    I’ve been taking a real closer look at some of the “Jesus Culture” music, and Kim Walker, who “performed” at Bethel when I visited there a couple years ago. Kim Walker’s own bizarre testimony is on Youtube, along with several vids of the “Fire Tunnel”, and the laughing attacks, etc. Any of which should be enough to warn people that there is a false christ “spirit” at work.

    But do not discount the “signs and wonders” aspects so readily. I’m not saying that “gold dust” and the “miraculous” appearance of “gems” etc. is not a deception, but I have personally seen such “dust” supposedly created out of thin air by other false deceivers, ie. the Indian guru Sai Baba comes to mind. One webpage puts it this way:

    Arati to Shri Sai Baba
    Oh Sai Baba, we wave lights before You, the bestower of happiness to the Jivas. Give us – Your servants and devotees rest under the dust of Your feet. Burning (destroying) desire, You remain absorbed in Your Self and show the Lord (God) to the aspirants. As one feels intently, You give him experiences or realizations accordingly.

    I think we are going to see some very real signs and wonders coming out of this movement, not just Houdini tricks with lights and smoke machines. A strong enough delusion to fool even the elect, if that were possible. Such delusions just may include “dust” that supposedly comes from the feet of the “gods”.

    I’m just sayin.

  41. Craig says:

    Steve,

    Thanks for coming back as I know you had taken a break from blogging for a while. Sorry to hear about the Bethel infestation near you.

    Did you see the current series on Bill Johnson?

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-christ-part-ii/

    It alludes to what you mentioned regarding signs and wonders.

    Have a great Easter.

  42. omots (Steve) says:

    Craig
    No, I had not seen that piece. I haven’t finished reading all of it yet, but I had to stop right where you wrote, ““Wisdom of the Ages” is analogous to the ‘Ancient Wisdom’, or occult teachings,44 or “the power of wisdom from all the world’s religious traditions” as Fox states above.””

    I stopped right there because I had just read much the same thing this morning on a piece about Sai Baba’s passing that stated, “‘He taught that you should be of good character in thought, word and deed – living in Truth. He encouraged Christians to be good Christians; Hindus, good Hindus; Muslims, good Muslims, and so on. The mandir was full of people from all around the world of all different religions and cultural backgrounds.’”

    http://www.lifeartsmedia.com/sai-baba

    What we are seeing develop, for lack of a newer word, is PANTHEISM. God all encompassing, exists in everything, including each individual. I’ve watched these concepts develop in some of the more popular VBS materials, ie. Group Publishing. Theosophy teaches that man is divine. In Bethel Church, the goal is to recognize one’s own connection to the divine, a tiny little step away from declaring the divinity of man. This so-called “enlightenment” can be helped along by such things as the “Fire Tunnel”, trance inducing music, or directed meditation, etc. You know you have arrived when you can actually hear “god” laughing.

    Sai Baba died on Easter Sunday, one year ago. He knows the truth now. Unfortunately, the spirit that indwelt that poor man has moved on and is looking for new digs.

    The laughter is not coming from God.

  43. Craig says:

    Interesting. I didn’t know Sai Baba died on Easter Sunday. I suppose some are still waiting for his resurrection – or think they may have seen him.

    Being a stickler on this, I wish to note that it’s panentheism (God is in all) rather than pantheism (God is all). It’s the ‘divine spark’ according to Kabbalah and some other occult literature. This “God” is both transcendent and ‘immanent’ – within all.

  44. omots (Steve) says:

    Oops, I forgot there is, if not newer, a more descriptive word for it.

    PANENTHEISM

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panentheism

  45. Craig says:

    It’s a helpful distinction since in the Theosophical teachings, like the Dualism of 1st/2nd century, matter is considered evil having been created by the inferior demiurge and will be destroyed once these ‘divine sparks’ are freed from it.

  46. omots (Steve) says:

    Distinction noted. Yes, words do mean specific things (or, at least they used to). However, the difference between PANTHEISM and PANENTHEISM is like the difference between Alice Bailey’s view of Theosophy, and Annie Besant’s view. Both postulations have their followers, yet both are false. Theosophist’s have long argued whose viewpoint is most true to the teachings of their guru, Mdme Blat. It never seems to occur to them that their idol was demon possessed and full of lies so confusion amongst the disciples is to be expected.

    The phrase “Do what thou will” sums up the chaos created by any of the “old growth” or “new growth” branches of the theosophical deception pretty good. If I may be so bold, it also seems to sum up what is occurring at Bethel Church. If Satan’s kingdom was actually united, (which it is not and cannot be), it might just stand. But anarchy, chaos, and rebellion do not make for a united front, it just creates victims. Lots of victims. That is “the Plan”, right?

    I’m very thankful to God for those who would faithfully do whatever it takes to pull others out of the fire. That is indeed what we are supposed to be doing and teaching others to do in these last days.

    Thanks again for your diligence and discernment. Stay strong in the Lord.

    Jesus Christ is risen, our God reigns.

  47. Craig says:

    He is indeed risen! The other religions cannot make that claim.

  48. Pingback: From Crosswise – A Deliverance from Extreme Pentecostalism « DiscernIt

  49. Carolyn says:

    I just read this post for the first time since I am a fairly newcomer to this site. Born into Pentecostalism and following its progression over many years, it’s very interesting to hear how God brings different people out of the movement. I can relate with the power of the Word and how when you do read it, it breaks through the fog and exposes the deception in your own heart. She said:
    “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.”
    If only more people would do that, they would find out that the silly, flipped out, maniacal god they have been experiencing through the impartation of the drunken prophets is not the God portrayed in his Word. He is completely opposite!!

    I challenge some of you who want to meet the real Jesus…to find out what he has revealed to his true prophets in 66 different books of the Bible. That will blow all the gaudy, gold dust from your celestial neurotransmitters and snap those gossamer, grandiose wings off your hypercharismatic back. You will experience real faith in a real God. Totally awesome God!

    Psalm 12:6
    And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like GOLD refined seven times.

    1 Peter 1:7
    These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than GOLD, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

    Revelation 3:18
    I counsel you to buy from me GOLD refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

  50. Alan says:

    I am constantly amazed that people don’t see all this for what it really is. The Bible tells us;
    “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [5] But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
    2 Timothy 4:2-5 (KJV)
    Also;
    “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. [2] And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. [3] And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
    2 Peter 2:1-3 (KJV)
    These speak of the false teachers, but what of those who follow them? I believe this passage speaks of them and gives us an answer as to what is happening and why;
    “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. [11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
    2 Thess 2:10-12 (KJV)

    Sadly, I believe we are seeing the beginnings of the strong delusion spoken of in verse 11. The only safeguard against being deceived is to have THE love of THE truth. This is not just an affection for truth, but the kind of love for the truth that over-rules every other consideration. It’s a love that will not settle for anything less than THE truth, at all costs.

    What is THE truth? Jesus said; “Thy Word is truth”(John 17:17) The first part of that verse says;”Sanctify them through thy truth:”, and the passage is where Jesus is praying in the garden. He is praying for the disciples and for those who will come after them; us. So what He says here is about us being sanctified through the truth, which is God’s written Word. The Bible. However, Jesus also said; “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) From John chapter one, we know that Jesus is the Word of God too, the living Word and so now we have Jesus, who is the Word made flesh, also saying that God’s Word is truth, which sanctifies us. This is THE truth, that we are to receive THE love for; the written and the living Word, and if we don’t, we will be sent a strong delusion.

    God is separating the wheat from the chaff.

  51. Craig says:

    Alan,

    I do agree that God is separating the wheat from the chaff. I see you’re from ‘down under’. So, the Johnson/Bethel influence is strong even in your ‘neck of the woods’?

    Speaking of ‘strong delusion’, you may find this particular aricle (and the series as a whole) of interest:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-christ-part-ii/

    Here’s the first part:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ/

  52. Alan says:

    Craig,

    “So the Johnson/ Bethel influence is strong even in your neck of the woods?”

    Um, yeah, in Oz, we have a choice of; Emerging, Purpose Driven, Hillsong, or NAR/Third Wave/Joel’s Army, or various mixtures of the above. The church I used to be in leadership in, has followers of all the above, to one degree or another. They seem to get along just fine.

    Truly biblical churches are very hard to find and many are teetering on the edge of one heresy or another.

    Maranatha!

  53. Alan says:

    Hi again Craig, I just noticed the links you put in your reply to my post and wanted to let you know that I’ve read the whole series and yes, I’ve bookmarked them.

  54. sharks408 says:

    It is truly sad what can be referred to as Christianity these days, my friends wife was deceived by a church in red bluff, just south of redding. The pastor there (I’ll call him Fred villasenior) told his wife to leave him for quitting the church. Of course she did as commanded because Fred speaks to Jesus personally and now they’re divorced.. He also runs a dinar scam out of the church, it truly sickens me..

  55. Maria Billingsley says:

    I am so happy that I have come across this blog. God is truly working in those who want to hear the truth. In 1984 I accepted Christ as my savior after being involved in Hinduism. My experience was through the AOG church. I spoke in tongues when hands were laid upon me. I became saved by the blood of Christ and he took me away from Hinduism.

    I stayed in the church for one year. Then I left never to return to any church. Why did I leave? The spirit of the church became uncomfortable.

    Now several years later, I feel a very strong calling to return to fellowship but am shocked at what is happening in the charismatic churches today. I never imagined such disorderly behavior could possibly be manifesting in our churches today. As I sift through the sea of false teachers, preachers and gods, I thank God that he removed me when he did.

    As a past Hindu, I can share with you that what I came out of in 1984 is actually present in many so called “spirit filled” churches today. I levetated,had uncontrollable and violent body movements,screamed unknown and known noises and languages from my mouth and had out of body experiences. All of this is Kundallini , the awakening through the Hindu religion.

    Now I ask myself, why is it present in the very church that I was saved in? Now I answer, because no one is testing the spirt. Darkness is upon many of our brothers and sisters in Christ. God has sent strong delusions to them. If you are one of those brothers or sisters in darkness you can find your way back to the light. God will be there.

    Reading the Word of God. It is the only way to the truth and the light.

  56. Craig says:

    Maria,

    Thanks so much for your comment! Given your background, I’d be very interested in your thoughts on the (very lengthy) Bill Johnson: New Age Christ? series (especially part IV). New Age teachings are based in part on Hindu doctrine.

    Yes, the key is in reading the Word of God!

  57. Maria Billingsley says:

    Craig,
    I think I can encapsulate this in a couple of sentences. The Hindus believe in a path to enlightenment which means to reach the point of brahma, god.
    The WOF movement calls its followers “little gods” , therefore also reaching for the brahma experience. This is why the manifestations are so similar,though I must say the Christians are getting a double dose… whew!

  58. Craig says:

    Maria,

    I tie the Hindu concept of maya to Bill Johnson in the following:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/learning-etymology-with-bill-johnson-a-new-age-repentance/

    ___________
    Is Johnson conveying with the above that we need to, in his words, repent, i.e. “go back” to “the penthouse, the top floor of a building” which means regaining “God’s perspective on reality” in order to “to live from His world toward the visible world” and that the renewed mind is literally the mind of God? That we can literally see the supernatural realm as if we were God himself and “view reality from God’s perspective”?

    Compare this to the following taken from one of McConnell’s footnotes:

    …It should be pointed out that ‘Reality’ as Kenyon uses it is a term used in New Thought and Christian Science to refer to the spiritual realm and truths that were hidden by the sensations of the physical realm, which were not reality at all, but was considered ‘error,’ the opposite of metaphysical reality….35

    This is describing the concept in Brahmanism, a subset of Hinduism, known as maya, or illusion. The physical realm is considered a dream, illusion. Kenyon above called it “the sense realm”. As Ankerberg and Weldon explain, “…Essentially, the idea that the world is an illusion ‘hiding’ Brahman [sic] is a key teaching of Hinduism in America. The teaching aims at supposedly revealing one’s inward divine nature by ‘contacting’ Brahman [sic] through occult practices such as yoga, meditation, and altered states of consciousness.”36 If Brahma/God is inside everything in “hiding”, then Brahma/God can be contacted by going inward via meditation/contemplative prayer and the individual can become “one” with “God” thereby possessing the very mind of “God”. That’s the essence of Transcendental Meditation.

    Occultist H. P. Blavatsky, one of the founders of Theosophy in the late 19th century and thereby contemporaneous with New Thought and Christian Science, utilized the term “reality” in the same manner, denoting the spiritual realm in opposition to the illusion of maya, the physical universe:

    …When the spiritual entity breaks loose for ever from every particle of matter, then only it enters upon the eternal and unchangeable Nirvana. He exists in spirit, in nothing; as a form, a shape, a semblance, he is completely annihilated, and thus will die no more, for spirit alone is no Maya, but the only REALITY in an illusionary universe of ever-passing forms.37 [all spelling, capitalization, and emphasis in original]

    Is this similar to what Johnson means? Taking the same basic information from another Johnson book, When Heaven Invades Earth, we see the same concepts as explained above, “Repentance is not complete until it envisions His Kingdom”.38

    The focus of repentance is to change our way of thinking until the presence of His Kingdom fills our consciousness. The enemy’s attempt to anchor our affections to the things that are visible is easily resisted when our hearts are aware of the presence of His world…

    If the Kingdom is here and now, then we must acknowledge it’s in the invisible realm. Yet being at hand reminds us that it’s also within reach…39

    Note how Johnson compares the ‘visible’ to the ‘invisible’. Is this like Kenyon’s ‘sense realm’ as opposed to ‘reality’? Johnson continues with the same reference to Nicodemus in John 3:3 claiming we should be able to “see” the Kingdom now on earth rather than Jesus’ intention that this will be in the future at the consummation, the Second Coming. Continuing with the quote:

    …That which is unseen can be realized only through repentance. It was as though He said, ‘If you don’t change the way you perceive things, you’ll live your whole life thinking what you see in the natural is the superior reality…40

    Does this not appear to be expressing the same basic New Age, Eastern and Unity doctrines described above?
    ______

    It’s a rather long article (as most of mine seem to be!).

  59. Maria Billingsley says:

    Johnson is a true manipulator of the Word. It is quite clear that he is taking the most important first step to be a Christian, repentance, and creating a convoluted and twisted new age diversion. God is not the author of confusion, all Bill does is confuse.

    Though I am tempted to do more research on his teachings, I find it too dark and disturbing and above all confusing. It is in the hands of God to unravel the serpent that is coiled in him.

  60. Craig says:

    I’ve termed the Johnson version progressive repentance since his teachings imply that increasing “repentance” allows one the ability to better and better “see” the “Kingdom”.

  61. Arwen4CJ says:

    Maria,

    Since you were once involved with Hinduism, and you experienced or witnessed many of the manifestations that are occurring in hyper-charismatic land in your former way of life, I’m wondering if you saw an equivalent to gold dust, oil, feathers, and that sort of thing?

    You mentioned the counterfeit tongues, the levitating (which is also something found in wicca — so say some people I knew from college who practiced wicca), noises (assuming these are animal noises — which also occur in pagan African religions), etc.

    So I was just wondering about some of the even stranger stuff — like the gold dust and whatnot.

    Thanks. :)

    This could be useful when talking about it occurring in non-Christian religions to show the people that these are definitely demonic manifestations. I know they are — but it would be good to see that it is something occurring in other religious systems.

  62. maria billingsley says:

    I will start with one manifestation at a time here is the background on GOLD.

    Gold is very important in Hinduism. It represents” hiranyagarbha” which means “born of gold”. The Hindu god brahma is referred to as hiranyagarbha.. Other names would be “gold womb” or the “golden egg” the universal gem.

    The Chandogya Upanishad 3:19:104 relates how the world was nonexistent, became existent, and then became an egg. After a year, the egg broke open and a silver part and a gold part emerged. The silver part became the Earth and the gold part became the sky. This is the beginning of creation per Hinduism.

    Christians that find themselves drenched in gold flakes are actually partaking in idolatry. They claim it is a miracle from God but in fact it is a delusion sent by God for their disobedience to his word. Hindus do not have flakes of gold rain down on them for Satan already owns their hearts. The more Christians yearn for signs and wonders the more they will get them until they return to their first love, Christ.

  63. Craig says:

    Maria,

    I had never heard of the Hindu view on creation before. Thanks for sharing. Given that Brahma himself was “born of gold”, I’m assuming the “gold” (sky) is then superior to the “silver” (earth)?

    You wrote: “Christians that find themselves drenched in gold flakes are actually partaking in idolatry. They claim it is a miracle from God but in fact it is a delusion sent by God for their disobedience to his word. Hindus do not have flakes of gold rain down on them for Satan already owns their hearts. The more Christians yearn for signs and wonders the more they will get them until they return to their first love, Christ.

    Amen! It’s idolatry. Yes, 2 Thess 2:9-12.

  64. maria billingsley says:

    Manifestation two (all of these are one in the same): slain in the spirit, uncontrollable bodily movements, rolling on the floor and bouncing up and down, animal noises, uncontrollable laughter, screams and yells and speaking gibberish. (note: tongues are not gibberish).

    Before I tackle this I would like you to watch this video so you have a better understanding of what Hindu kundalini awakening is.

    For the record I was a sidha for three years. During that time I levitated and had out of body experiences. When I awoke this kundalini serpent in my body I experienced all the manifestations mentioned above. It was explained to me by the teachers that what I was experiencing was “stress release”.

    This manifestation took place in an isolated environment with other women who were becoming sidhas as well. The interesting part about it is out of 400 women, I was the ONLY one who experienced this. Now that I look back I believe my body was going though a spiritual battle and Satan won, but only for a short while.

    What I see now in the church is satan winning over the Christians. Their bodies are going through a spiritual battle. All of these manifestations are more delusions sent by God to those who left their first love Christ and have not believed in the love of the truth.

    II Thessalonians

  65. Craig says:

    Maria,

    I wrote a bit about Kundalini here:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/misplaced-trust-part-ii/

    ______
    Keith Jarrett, a child prodigy and an incredibly gifted pianist/improviser/composer of international renown and one of the most important and enduring artists of the 20th century and into the 21st, named one of his music publishing companies “Kundalini.” Jarrett was influenced by the esoteric Christianity[59] of G.I. Gurdjieff[60]. Jarrett memorialized him in his 1980 work of his compositions in G.I. Gurdjieff: Sacred Hymns. A title of one of Jarrett’s albums is “Fort Yawuh” which is an anagram for ‘Fourth Way’ – a term used by Gurdjieff to describe his approach to self-development. Apparently, kundalini was one of the methods Gurdjieff employed[61].

    “Kundalini rising is sometimes a violent experience, radically changing one’s subtle energy field (making it much less subtle!) and consciousness and perception of energy. The experience can be (and often is in the West) mistaken for insanity (usually acute schizophrenia) or emotional or physical breakdown on a fairly large scale.” [62]

    The above quote comes from a kundalini practitioner who provides caution to the inexperienced. One of the recognized potential and common outcomes of kundalini arousal (among many) is fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)[63]. Did Keith Jarrett practice kundalini; and, if so, could this have contributed to or even caused his bout with CFS in the mid to late ‘90s[64]? Thankfully, Jarrett has apparently been asymptomatic as he’s been very active the past decade.
    _____

    This video seems to confirm a number of the statements/conclusions I’ve made on various articles here:

    1.) That Kundalini (like contemplative/meditative prayer, or “intimacy with God”) is a vehicle towards “union with the divine” which is, in essence, increasing levels of demonic control/possession.

    2.) I note the concept of “As above, so below” about 3 minutes into the video.

    3.) This is a vehicle for “expanding one’s consciousness”, i.e. demonic possession/control.

    Do you think these are correct?

  66. maria billingsley says:

    Yes to all three…

  67. Craig says:

    Maria,

    I also noted the reference to ‘activating our latent DNA’ in the video. I wrote about that here in the Getting Down to the DNA of Spiritual DNA section:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ-part-iiib/

    I know the article is very long (and some of the info requires a knowledge of previous info); but, would you skim this section and see if you agree with the basic gist of it?

    Thanks in advance.

    My contention is that hyper-charismatics are actually ushering in the false parousia (false {2nd} coming) as mentioned in 2 Thess 2:9 (The “coming”/parousia of the lawless one).

  68. maria billingsley says:

    Bill Johnson…
    It’s the Spirit of God that makes this thing [the Bible] come alive to where we actually have the privilege of the Word becoming flesh in us again, where we become the living illustration and manifestation of what God is saying.127

    False teaching and the sign of an anti-Christ

    7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
    2John1

    John 6:63
    It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    Johnson empowers man as the “living illustration” and not Christ. Very twisted. :(

  69. Staci says:

    Being a big fan of Jesus Culture (there music is awesome and extremely uplifiting), but not knowing much about Bethel Church I ran across this blog post on my phone last night. And I felt a need to tell my story. I was raised in a Methodist Church which I can tell you to this day to me was an absolutely horrific experience. Maybe it was just that specific church but I found it to be very cold and unwelcoming and not to mention how the Sunday School teachers treated us, let me not generalize, I’m thinking of one particular incident with a Sunday School teacher where I was verbally assaulted by her for doing nothing more than being a kid and the incident was handled the way she would have handled an adult and utterly humiliated me. Long story short, by the time I reach the age of 13 and the final year of my having to attend Sunday School I was counting the days until I could finally say goodbye to that place. After I left the church my experience there made me run from Christianity, my thoughts were if that was what it was I wanted nothing to do with it. When I was 16 I was placed in a Pentecostal school where I spent 2 years and this was where I was taught what true Christianity was all about as well as this being the place where I finally found Jesus (or He came to find me). I have returned to the church (which is part of the school), and I must say we can’t generalize as far as pentecostalism goes, as I have found this church to be extremely calm and subdued with nothing excessively strange going on during the services. Yes, in my years of involvement with this church I have seen times of toungues being interpreted, I have seen prophesying on occasion etc. I have twice in the time that I have been back seen the Lord give a word to people in the congregation. You do hear people speaking in tongues, in fact I do as well and I absolutely adore my ability to communicate with my Lord in this way as to me its as though I have my own private little world with Him and can have private conversations with Him which are just between me and Him. I haven’t recently but in the past in this church I have seen people falling in the spirit, in fact it has happened to me. But not to the extend that it is out of control, or chaos in any way. However, I must add this, earlier this year, my husband pulled me out of a hyper-charismatic church which is near to where we live. I started attending this church which in hindsight I can now see was utterly out of control. In fact when my husband decided that he wanted the Lord back in his life, I took him to this church with me and half through praise and worship, he walked out. Afterwards he started to tell me that to him it was utter disrespect of the church and it was like a freak show. Looking back at the incident I can see what he saw, it was completely out of control, I saw people speaking in tongues which to me is normal but at the time it didn’t occur to me that it had been taken to a whole other level in this church, one image that has settled in my mind of that day was one of the woman on her knees in front of the church speaking and crying and tongues and her whole body convulsing violently. Looking back at the time it didn’t bother me, but now I find it quite frightening. When I took my husband to Harvest Christian Fellowship where we are now, I was a bit nervous because I had seen similar things happen at Harvest but I hadn’t been to Harvest in 14 years so I didn’t know what I was walking into. However, when we left that first Sunday, my husband told me that he absolutely loved Harvest, he felt completely at peace there, he found it to be warm and inviting and to this day, he loves being and going there, so does my son, who by the way I took to the first church with me as well and it freak him out too.
    Just as a last note, when I was attending the first hyper-charismatic church, my husband kept telling me that I had changed, the fights in our house were indescribable, we had been married only a few months at the time and my husband at one point during one of our worse fights brought me a suitcase and told me to pack my stuff and get out of his house. He told me that I had changed and that he wanted his wife back, I couldn’t see that I had changed and had become completely unbearable to live with.
    The problem that I have now is that I’m confused, I don’t know what to believe anymore and its not from a position that I care what people say about me, I don’t have any desire to please man. My only desire is to please God, but which way do I turn, what do I believe, what is right, what is wrong, my biggest fear right now is turning down a wrong road which leads away from Him and on judgement day hearing from Jesus “depart from Me, I never knew you”…hearing those words would break me. And I am so confused and so lost at the moment, I don’t know which way to turn. In addition my husband and I have been having dreams that I believe in some ways are prophetic or are God trying to show us something, but how do I know if it is from Him and then if it is how do I know what He’s trying to show me. Just based on the content of both our dreams I tend to wonder if the dreams were from Him. The Bibles does say that in the last days young men will see visions and old men will dream dreams. my mind is in such a mess at the moment, I just don’t know which way to turn or what to do or who to speak to. If the Lord is trying to show me something or give me an instruction, I want to jump and get to it, I don’t want to delay or keep Him waiting. There is just so much out there at the moment and we get bombarded from all sides and I just don’t know what to believe from one person or moment to the next. Sometimes I think maybe I should just leave church completely and just fellowship with the Lord on my own and shut the rest of it out. But I know that would not be the best way to go since as Christians we need support from each other and we need that fellowship with each other. Ok, this post has become waaaaaaaaay too long. Apologies. lol Oh!! by the way I am from Johannesburg South Africa

  70. Maria Billingsley says:

    Staci the Lord has blessed you with the gift of discernment. Use it and share it with others, Be strong in the Word and understand your dreams. Your confusion will lead you to clarity. It is a beautiful thing you are going through and when you realize that the Lord is with you always then you will lead others back to the truth.

  71. Staci says:

    I always thought having the gift of discernment was clarity, that I would be able to walk into a church for example and know instantly that something is very wrong, or right there. I don’t understand what I’m going through at the moment and I don’t understand how you can see that I He has blessed me with discernment lol,…this definitely doesn’t feel like discernment at all, it feels like absolute chaos and confusion my head lol and not mention fear that I am doing wrong and moving away from Him. And I definitely don’t understand what it is exactly that I’m going through. It’senough to give me headache lol

  72. Maria Billingsley says:

    Out of chaos comes clarity..be patient and you will see the fruits of what the Lord has in store for you..

    1 Corinthians 2
    New International Version (NIV)
    2 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

    God’s Wisdom Revealed by the Spirit

    6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:

    “What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
    and what no human mind has conceived”[b]—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—
    10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

    The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[c] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

    “Who has known the mind of the Lord
    so as to instruct him?”[d]
    But we have the mind of Christ.

  73. anni says:

    Sad to say this is happening in Oklahoma as well, known as the bible belt. I was caught up in the beginnings of this, without the gold dust etc., but thankfully Jesus opened my eyes when I began to read the bible for myself again. Being ‘fed’ is easier than feeding yourself but so dangerous when you don’t check the validity within God’s word.Thank you for sharing so that those who wonder if they’re ‘Pharisees’ or ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ will hear the truth.

  74. christina says:

    I have been to lots of spirit filled churches and lots of more fundamental churches, In all of those churches the bible as truth was upheld. The “selfishness” you describe I have not ecperienced form anyone in a spirit filled church, in fact they have always been pretty much self less without question. They strived for and acted on the principals in the word to reflect Jesus. I do not see where the idea that Jesus or the holy spirit only has a somber side came from. He commanded us to obey his commandments, to be faithful in prayer, to love one another and to rejoice in him. I have never been to the church that is referred to in here, but it seems not to be in line to say that feeling the Holy Spirit and being changed by it and the work you do through forgivenss, humbleness, and growth that the spirit brings is all a false spirit.

  75. Craig says:

    christina,

    Would that be the Bible as objective truth or relative truth?

  76. just1ofhis says:

    Christina,
    Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit of God. Being sober minded so that we can pray is taught by Peter. We are told over and over again in the Bible NOT to be drunk or live in drunkeness.

    My experience at a charismatic church involved just the opposite behaviors as this. I also experienced a sense of “spiritual arrogance” on the part of those attending what you refer to as “spirit filled churches”. They believed themselves to be the only people who “got it”. A person who is filled with the Holy Spirit of God is first and foremost convicted of his or her sin and need for repentance, only available through the blood of Jesus Christ who came in the flesh. They are convicted of the truth, completeness and sufficiency of the Word of God who is Jesus Christ in the flesh. They strive to live, by the grace of Jesus, according to His Word. This isn’t a laundry-list for salvation, but evidence of the “born again” status of that person. We look at the fruit of that person’s life, which includes self-control.

    No one is saying that Jesus only has a somber side. Joy is also a fruit of the Spirit of God. But, that joy is not a hyped-up, emotionally charged response to a rock concert or any other such fleshy thing (think slain in the spirit, shaking on the floor); rather, it is the incredible peace which the children of God walk in daily as they come to understand His incredible love and mercy more deeply. That joy with work in the person’s heart a love for the brethren and not a sense spiritual superiority. Hint, if you are in a church and they describe denominational churches as being “dead” or claim to be any kind of “seed generation” or “new move of God”, they are arrogant and showing incredibly bad fruit.

    Every friend that I have who is caught up in charismania has shunned my family for our refusal to join in, though we are devoted to the Word of God and have done nothing but help them when they needed help and love them. Why? Because men and women, like Bill Johnson, lie to them and teach them that we are bound by a “religious spirit” and following the antichrist (because we love the Word of God!). That is bad, rotten, stinking fruit. We pray that they come out of it.

  77. Staci says:

    Craig i have to just post this comment quickly. I am part of a pentecostal church, in fact I have returned to the church which is part of the school that I attended High School and where I found the Lord. Before returning to this church I was attending a full charismatic church and experienced exactly what you’re talking about here, it was utterly out of control to the point that when I took my husband there he got up and walked out in the middle of praise and worship.
    However, I returned to the church we are now at and as I said it is a Pentecostal church, but in all the time that I have been attending this church even when I was a teenager, I used to from time to time see the same things but definitely not out of control at all, very respectful and always kept under control and dignified. And nothing has changed. I remember when I was teenager twice in 2 years I was witness to tongues being interpreted. I had seen people slain in the spirit, but nothing of the type that you would see in a full charismatic church, I never once saw people going into convulsions or any weird psychotic behaviour, I would see people slain in the spirit, get up and walk away back to their seats. Any deliverances that need to be performed were NEVER done in the middle of a service an appointment was made for that person to come in and it was quietly and respectfully behind closed doors, out of consideration for that persons dignity more than anything else, obviously a persons need for deliverance is not something a person wants broadcast to the entire church and there privacy was always respected and so done privately with only a handful of people having knowledge of it being done. Even going there now, I have heard people speaking in tongues but very quietly on their own, respectfully, I tend to believe just having their own private conversation with the Lord during worship. And just all around not making a spectacle or a freak show. Even my husband the first time I took him there, I hadn’t been back in 14 years until the day I took my husband and I must admit I was nervous to take him there because I didn’t know what to expect and what his reaction was going to be. And when we left, he told me he loved this church, he said when he walked in he felt a complete sense of peace and he felt comfortable and he said this was a church he could stick with and be happy there.
    So I tend to think that not all pentecostal churches are the same, I tend to think that some are decent and do show the fruit of self-control etc and do things the way they should be done.
    My husband actually commented on something a few Sunday’s ago, after praise and worship a lady stood up and asked our Pastor if he would pray for her, and he knelt down on the platform and quietly prayed with her and when he was done she went and sat down again, there were no fire works to speak of, no feathers falling from the ceiling or gold dust lol, she didn’t keel over and go into body racking convulsions.
    So yeah, I don’t think all pentecostal churches are the same in the way they do things, I think some are decent and can be trusted, but I also think that there are those pentecostal churches that take things waaaaaay out of hand and go completely overboard and tend to make people run from them.
    Please free tell me if I’m wrong in this observation…….

  78. Craig says:

    Staci,

    I’m a bit short on time at present; but, in looking over your comment I see nothing wrong. Yes, I do believe there are pentecostal and charismatic churches which are just fine. This is why I use the term hyper-charismatic to describe the likes of Bill Johnson, his protege’s, and his followers.

    The best thing to look for is a clear Gospel message and true exegesis of the Scriptures.

  79. Maria Billingsley says:

    What is really important is LOVE….

    Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

    1 Corinthians 13:8

  80. Craig says:

    Maria,

    I agree with you; but, I wish to qualify that. Love is preaching the Gospel so that the lost can have eternal life. Love means telling someone they’re lost in their sins and bound for hell unless they repent. This is usually a VERY unpopular message to those of the world – and this includes many who go to our churches. And this includes many (so-called) leaders within the “Church”.

  81. just1ofhis says:

    Regarding love:

    When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me MORE than these?” (John 21:15)

    When Jesus asked this question to Peter, they were eating on the beach with Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee (James and John, who recorded the event), and two other disciples. By my count, that is Jesus, Peter and six other disciples. Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, Jesus, more than these brothers.

    We can’t “feed the sheep” if we don’t love Jesus first and most and love His Word enough to hold it up above everything else, included each other.

    I had contact with a church that was doing incredible work feeding the poor in their community. They had a walk in, take what you need, food pantry and a once-a-month meal for anyone who wanted. Some years ago, during their first meal, they were offered free Bibles to put into gift bags that they were handing out to everyone who came. They turned down the Bibles flat, saying they didn’t want to do anything to discourage people in need from coming and getting food. I still find that extraordinary in a really disturbing way.

    On the surface, the actions of those in the church look so loving; I mean they love those poor people so much they are going to make it just as comfortable and welcoming as possible so they will come and eat. BUT, they have fed their bellies and left their souls empty, starving of the Word that could bring salvation. It is actually the deepest form of hatred I can think of: hatred toward God, hatred toward His Word who is Jesus Christ, and hatred toward those poor souls who have no one to tell them the gospel. The free meal was meaningless.

    Real love can only ever follow the Word of God.

  82. Martin says:

    Hi Craig,

    Just wanted to show my support to you and your website. Once upon a time i would have defended Bill Johnson and the Bethel thing to the ends of the earth. I now realise however, that as much as i thought that it was correct,and as much as i refused to believe it, there were some major fundamental flaws in his teaching..highlighted in “When Heaven invades earth”. To be fair it is fairly complex to understand, but once you ‘get it’ – you cannot go back!

    Keep up the good work!

  83. Craig says:

    Martin,

    Hey, good to hear from you! I hope you’re doing alright.

    Thanks for the kind words; they mean a lot!

  84. Sylvia says:

    Martin you are so right with your observance …… “once you get it – you cannot go back!”
    Many many people are having eyes opened, praise God, with sites like this which truly are invaluable.

    Craig I echo Martins’s encouragement: “Keep up the good work”.

  85. Jonathan says:

    I can really use some prayer and some help.

    It was about 4 to 4 1/2 years ago that I downloaded a podcast from Bethel Church of Bill Johnson speaking. My fiance (at the time – we are married 3+ years now) and I got really into all of Bethel and friends – Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, Brian & Jenn Johnson, the early Jesus Culture, the Banov’s, Rick Pino, many others – and started going to conferences whenever we could. Our pastor of many years was (and sadly still is) into Bethel and their teachings. It was a great time for me personally and while I was involved with everything I felt like my relationship with God was at its best.

    After getting married and looking more closely at budgeting and our personal finances, I started to see the discrepancies and, sadly, it wasn’t until then that I realized how much of their teaching was about MONEY. That snowballed into my researching everything that I could – from false teachings, false prophecies, false endorsements (Todd Bentley!!) and other things that should have been blatantly obvious but I was somehow blinded instead.

    This has been over two years of a revelation for me and I have had the hardest time getting back on track with God. Everything about my view of God has been tainted and I don’t know how to separate the evil garbage that I have been soaking up for so long and the truth. Where I am right now I feel hopeless and I have doubt that I never had before, and it is terrifying.

    The first order of business would be to find a body of believers to be involved in a community, but there is so much denominational drama, and I live right in central Pennsylvania where Global Awakening is tied to many, many churches locally. I have never been drawn to the reverent structure of the Catholic or Anglican church before, but because of the craziness in this movement I have been considering checking these churches out. I don’t know what to do or where to go and could use some guidance from those of you who haven’t been involved in this destructive culture or those of you who have been saved from it!

    Thank you!

  86. Craig says:

    Jonathon,

    I’m really sorry to hear of your situation; however, on the other hand, PRAISE GOD you’ve been shown the Truth! You made the statement: “Where I am right now I feel hopeless and I have doubt that I never had before, and it is terrifying.” The mere fact that your doubt is “terrifying” illustrates you are actually in the faith.

    The best thing to do – and you may well have done this – is to pray a sincere prayer asking for forgiveness for having followed these men rather than God, renouncing all the teachings by these men being used of Satan.

    Take heart. Everyone has doubts. While I’ve not read this particular book, Migliore’s Faith Seeking Understanding is said to be an excellent basic systematic theology.

    http://www.christianbook.com/understanding-introduction-christian-theology-second-edition/daniel-migliore/9780802827876/pd/82787X?product_redirect=1&Ntt=82787X&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP

    Of course, it almost goes without saying that you should be in the Word of God on a consistent basis.

    I actually have some family in your general area; so I’m familiar with some of the awful stuff there. My best suggestion is to keep checking for good, bible-based churches, to include denominations. You may not agree with everything in a particular denomination, but you’ll more likely be with individuals who treasure the word over experience and man.

    Just so you know, I’ve never been directly involved in what I term hyper-charismaticism; so, my perspective is a bit different than others who have. However, I’ve been in the world a LONG time before coming to Christ a dozen years ago giving me a different perspective than others who are middle-aged.

  87. Craig says:

    I would also suggest staying away from Catholic churches. While I believe there are true believers in that ‘system’, there are too many problems within it including Mariology (deifying Mary). I don’t know as much about the Anglican church, but it seems to have gotten very liberal.

    Truly, you are much better NOT attending a church that is tainted in any way with hyper-charismaticism. How about finding other individuals, outside of a ‘church’ (church building), in order to have home based fellowship? While not as effective, maintaining fellowship over the internet as a potential option in the interim.

  88. desean says:

    Jonathan
    I was in that kind of a mess, hyper charismatic, for 18 years. I went to several churches in this community before I found one that was NOT fouled by Latter Rain/Emergent/New Age/Occultism/Seeker Driven, etc.

    I have been out for several years and God is still revealing error to me. Be gracious to yourself. It takes time to unlearn the error. God is patient and I am thankful that it was a gradual process as I am not sure I could have handled it.

    How do I pray? What was I reading “into” the Word? How was I twisting the Word because that was what I was used to? What was the truth? How do I view those I’ve left behind? How in the world was I going to get healed? The songs/music of where I came from still pulled on me. The truth became very important to me. I did not want to settle.

    My prayers are with you and your family, desean

  89. just1ofhis says:

    Jonathan, my prayers are with you also.

    And, I’ll second Craig that the most important “place” for you to be is in the Word of God.

    When God was bringing my family out of a word-of-faith, bethel-type church; we returned to a strictly Bible church for a time. I say for a time, because my children experienced some strong bullying in that church. We “home-church” now, and have just devoted ourselves to staying in the Word and trusting Jesus to do the rest. Though I long for a “church” family, God has faithfully put a few people in our paths who love and serve Him in truth. And then, there are all the awesome people who post here and blogs like it. I personally draw great encouragement from them.

    Remember that falsehood and lies NEVER originate with Jesus Christ who is the Word of God made flesh. You will find peace in simply repenting of any involvment in those lies and searching out the truth where He is really found, in His Word.

    You are walking a walk that MANY of us have walked. Take heart in that. If you stick with the Word of God and test EVERYTHING against it; the fog will clear and you will walk with confidence and peace in Jesus.

    .

  90. Carolyn says:

    Jonathan…I came out of the Charismatic mess as well. I’m still not in a church because of health issues but I do find a lot of good Bible based teaching on the internet.

    Check out this website for help. It’s one of my favourites. Much good information. And stay in touch with us. Feel free to discuss specific questions you might have.

    http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/page2.html

    I agree with what desean said and I add…don’t panic. it takes time to unravel the entanglements of false teaching…but the Holy Spirit is your guide. Let him guide you into all truth.

  91. Carolyn says:

    It seems that I am convicted, myself, for still trying to find a guru, a never ending cycle for me. Over and over, I try to align myself with someone who has their ducks in a row and who I can trust will set me back on the straight and narrow, should I flounder in these troubling times we live in. But this is too much pressure for any one individual or ministry. For one thing, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. And if we give our power to someone else other than to the Holy Spirit who has promised to lead us and guide us, (in the Word), we stand in jeopardy of being misguided. I rest my case…the Holy Spirit is the only one with all his ducks in a row…

    Here’s another guru that we shouldn’t be trusting in…

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/newsweek-obama-is-the-second-coming/article/2519111#.UP184o7iM22

    The World is about to embark on this pathway of trusting in a someone who will ultimately lead them astray. Anyone who exalts himself as the One who has all the answers or even allows himself to believe such a delusion will be someone Satan can entrust with his “final solution”. Ultimately, the Word who IS the “final authority” and the World will learn this as well, but too late. History has proved over and over that someone given to Satan’s Master Plan laid out in the Occult symbology and the Secret Doctrines is a candidate to channel “The Force” in his plan to Destroy the Truth.

    Here comes Obama…is he the the Anti-Christ or just another pre-figure? Time will tell. Certainly, I believe, that with all the signs already in progress, we are close to the “final-final solution Anti-Christ” who will be the One who divides Jerusalem, sits in the Temple of the Jews, exalts himself into the place of God and declares that he is God. What a historical milestone that will be…

    In this time when there are so many opinions on how it will all turn out, I’m thankful that we have the guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit who has promised never to leave us or forsake us. Our eyes are seeing specific events heralding the coming of the Anti-Christ but ultimately our focus is on the hope and the reality of the Promise of the Saviour from heaven who will call us to the sky by his own appearance.
    1 Thessalonians 1:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
    17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
    18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

    This will be the sight that the Holy Spirit gives those who are walking by faith, on a Narrow Path by the the light of the Word. I’m not looking for a Bridal Paradigm but rather, for a Bridegroom from Heaven.

  92. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    THAT Newsweek is very disturbing!

  93. just1ofhis says:

    How reassuring is it then that Jesus said that even the gates of Hell will not overthrow the true church! Carolyn, one of my happiest days was the day I realized that Jesus simply was asking me to follow the truth of Him in His Word and that nothing else was needed. What wonderful freedom and joy there is in that truth!

    I agree that we are seeing an incredible preparation for the AC being put into place: corruption in the church, twisting of scripture, new age everything, and declarations galore.

    The AC will say these things about himself…

    Lets see, Kenneth Copeland’s “I Am too…”; the pope’s “Holy Father, doctrine of infallability, etc.”, Bill Johnson’s “smearing of the Christ anointing” and so on and so on. How many we have already!

    One is coming who will lift himself above all of them, and Jesus will overthrow him with the breath of His coming. Joyful, joyful that day!

  94. Carolyn says:

    Yes Just1of His…ascribing to man what only belongs to God…perfection! Yes, nothing else is needed…we should be asking the Holy Spirit first for spiritual answers and others second…not the other way around.

    Craig…that’s not the only thing that’s disturbing…I can feel the colour drain from my face when I read some of the alarming reports…from Iran having enough Bio Weapons to destroy North America, to Obama opting for a foreign policy of Isolationism…leaving Israel to defend itself…to this…the stockpiles of coffins and guillotines…

    http://www.christianforums.com/t7656086/

    But the good news is…none of this has taken God by surprise, and it hasn’t taken those who have studied prophecy (even a bit) by surprise. We’re all safe in the arms of our Saviour.

  95. Maria Billingsley says:

    Jonathan, God is calling His people away from false teachings. Once you pull up your boot straps and know that you have been called to be a soldier ,you will have to go right back in there and HELP save more out of the darkness. You have to be strong in faith! As faith is the only thing we have that is of the flesh, the rest God takes care of through his Son Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit., the comforter.

    How wonderful ! We should all celebrate your new found gift of discernment! Rejoice in the love God has for you as many will not have the opportunity to go back to their first Love. Amen Brother!

    This a joyous time in Heaven!

  96. Jonathan says:

    Thank you all for your comments and encouragement! This is definitely a new season for me, and your encouragement is something that I have been lacking not having a congregation to be a part of. I am personally ok with doubts and questions – in the past these have strengthened my walk. It has just been more difficult this time around.

    Craig – you mentioned looking for denominations in my search for a church body to be a part of. I am feeling like that is something that I definitely need – non-denominational churches are the ones that I was part of that got me caught up in this mess in the first place! Do you have any suggestions? It is difficult to find any house groups or home-based churches that do not have anything to do with the hyper-charismatic madness in my area.

    desean – “How do I pray? What was I reading “into” the Word? How was I twisting the Word because that was what I was used to? What was the truth? How do I view those I’ve left behind? How in the world was I going to get healed? The songs/music of where I came from still pulled on me. The truth became very important to me. I did not want to settle.” — that is me! That is exactly what I am going through! Even my prayer life feels tainted by these false teaching and doctrines. Thank you for your prayers!

    just1ofhis – thanks for your words of encouragement! I am in a place now where I know that I may not be able to find what my heart longs for – hopefully I won’t have to resort to an online church family, but knowing that I am not alone in this is definitely a help.

    Maria Billingsley – I agree that we need to help our brothers and sisters – though I am only beginning to get back to the basics of my relationship with Jesus… I know that we are called to spread the Gospel and I don’t want to sit around and wait while I am “dealing with stuff” internally but I feel very messed up at the moment. Thanks for your encouragement and I pray that we can shed the light on these false teachings to those closest to us that are sucked in!!!

    Is there a community/message board on here that some of you communicate through? This thread is great but I am sure isn’t the most convenient place to continue discussions that could easily spiderweb into other topics…

  97. Craig says:

    Jonathan,

    While each denomination has its own bias, some are more strict than others. So, I guess I can only say “it depends”. You could try Baptist (although they could be staunchly King James Only) or Presbyterian. I don’t wish to leave out any other denominations, because, frankly, I have little experience or knowledge of these myself. All you can do is try each one individually and see which one ‘fits’.

  98. Maria Billingsley says:

    Maybe its time for you to put the creator before the creation then your heart will be filled.

  99. just1ofhis says:

    Jonathan,

    I have dear Christian friends who attend a decent Baptist church in our area. I believe the key is that they don’t completely adhere to the teachings in the church but test them against scripture.

    Some of the best Bible studies I have been to were at a very conservative WELS church (Wisconsin Lutheran Synod); although they have some teachings regarding communion in particular which are hard for me to stomach and my children experienced some very negative things from other children in the church. I have dear friends who still attend that church, again, not holding to certain teachings but more putting up with them. I think Missouri Synod is along those lines, though I haven’t attended one.

    I have believing family who attend an Evangelical Free church, and I’ve had interaction with an Evangelical Free pastor that was wonderful. Unfortunately, the Evangelical Free church in our area is very large and has a few too many “men-pleasing” type attractions for me. My family lives out of this area and attends a much smaller church. They would be the first to tell you that there are problems within that system also, but they have stuck with it and had some good interactions with people.

    There is no perfect “church” out there; but there is a perfect Word that is Jesus Christ. First, and foremost, you need to trust Him and keep yourself in His Word. As long as you remember to set Him as the Head over all you do, you will be okay. Remember, Jesus warned us that the love of most people would run cold at the end. I believe that is the root of so much of the trouble that we are seeing and experiencing; the love for the Word of God is cold or the love for the brothers in Christ is cold, either one leading to some not-so-great things.

    Terrible times at the end, Paul said. But you are called to stand firm, in the truth of the Word of God and in love for your brothers and sisters in Christ. God will equip you with all that is needed for this. Just trust Him.

  100. Carolyn says:

    Just 1of His…I like what you said…no perfect church out there.

    Jonathan, there is also no perfect community board. The Word is the only perfect thing you can trust. There are good discussions going on, but you must be grounded in the Word first. So before you embark on a mission trip, you should just let the Word penetrate deep into your heart and allow it to make you one who can recognize the counterfeit because you know the real.

    You can find message boards by just googling different topics that you’re interested in, but with that you will get a lot of arguing about “words” as Just1of His has said. So just keep your eyes open and compare everything that is said with Scripture. Don’t embrace strange teachings until you have brought them to the light of the Holy Spirit for His inspection. I repeat, the Holy Spirit is our Teacher and has promised to guide us into all Truth.

  101. desean says:

    Maria,
    You said ” “Once you pull up your boot straps and know that you have been called to be a soldier ,you will have to go right back in there and HELP save more out of the darkness. You have to be strong in faith! As faith is the only thing we have that is of the flesh, the rest God takes care of through his Son Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit., the comforter.””

    Maria, I don’t think it’s possible to pull yourself up by your boot straps any more than we could have followed the law to save ourselves. Our faith is not our own but is the means that God ordained for salvation. If we think of faith as “ours” we then have merit before a Holy God. desean

  102. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    Your post on Obama is better served over here:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/misplaced-trust-part-ii/#comments

    I’ll reply to it there.

  103. peacebringer says:

    Jonathon,
    First of all it is a good thing you have woken up to see. Praise God. You indicated you love truth, and that is the hall of what leads out of deception. Continue to seek God. There is healing but do focus on God’s word. Test everything. Pray about where God would have you as a church home. As far as “forums” go, they come and go. Nothing to point you to and places where there used to be forums end up closing when folks who used to go do not go anymore (like deception bytes sight) or other reasons. Find places and people that you know build you up in truth. Test everything. There is not any church that is not flawed and error that is not the hypercharasmatic but also error none the less is out there. There is even error in those pointing out others errors. Effectual deception is pervasive. So seek God and test everything. Seek Him first and then “all these things shall be added unto you” so that includes what you need to continue to grow in Christ.

  104. just1ofhis says:

    desean said, “Maria, I don’t think it’s possible to pull yourself up by your boot straps any more than we could have followed the law to save ourselves.”

    However, we are called to stand firm in what has been done for us, through His Mighty Power working in us:

    “Finally BE STRONG in the Lord and in His mighty power. PUT ON the full armor of God so that you can TAKE YOUR STAND against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore PUT ON THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to STAND YOUR GROUND, and after you have done everything, TO STAND. STAND FIRM then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, YOU TAKE UP the shield of faith, with which YOU CAN EXTINGUISH all the flaming arrows of the eivl one. TAKE THE HELMET of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Eph 6:10-17)

    So our actions are working with our faith, making us soldiers in a battle that is unseen by the world. God’s doing (as desean pointed out), and our being urged through faith to act on His doing (as Maria pointed out). None of this makes us worthy before a Holy God, only working to be obedient to what He has called us to. I love that scripture!

  105. desean says:

    Just1ofhis,
    I love Eph 6:10-17 also. The commands in those verses drive me to the only One who can cause me to stand. Just as the 10 Commandments should have driven the children of Israel to God instead of viewing them as a checklist to ‘do’ or a burden of ‘have to s”. Just as our justification is through Christ alone, so is our sanctification. desean

  106. Carolyn says:

    Peacebringer, you said” “There is even error in those pointing out others errors. Effectual deception is pervasive.”

    Never a truer statement. We all stumble in many ways, says the Scripture. When we are convicted, we must repent. We all have some learning to do. It’s when we come to the Scriptures with an AGENDA that big problems arise, taking scriptures out of context, isolating scriptures to fit our agenda/doctrine, excluding scriptures, being selective, etc.

    Jonathon, one thing I picked up on from what you wrote was that you have identified one of the tell tale errors of the movement you were in…covetousness. That’s good. Now that the error is exposed, you can believe/rest in the truth. We serve God alone…not money. The two are in opposition.

  107. Chris N says:

    Carolyn – you should take heart – not one of the “alarming reports” you mention is even remotely true.

  108. Craig says:

    Chris N,

    First of all, I had already mentioned (at Jan 22, 1:09pm) that these sorts of political comments are best served over here:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/misplaced-trust-part-ii/#comments

    Secondly, perhaps you can irrefutably illustrate your bold assertion with absolute proof (again, on the thread above)?

    A general note: Let’s try to keep the comments pertinent to this particular thread and move other subjects to where they are most appropriate.

  109. joseph potifa says:

    hie the world is being deceived in a so called revival going on and the so called prophets of our day who are moneymongers, poeple with an eye to wordly riches…….to be honest with you you hate it or love william branham lived a life of a true prophet of this age,HE ONLY HEARD FROM GOD

  110. Craig says:

    William Branham. You mean the guy who added a belief in the power of pyramids and astrology to the Bible to get his theology? The guy who believed in the “serpent seed” doctrine in which the serpent in the Garden of Eden mated with Eve resulting in a tainted lineage beginning with Cain and continuing to this day? The “prophet” who had propesied falsely numerous times? The teacher who taught that all denominations were the mark of the beast and that these were actually the pale horse, death, of Revelation 5:7-8 and who would be killed off by the collective white horses made up of Jesus and the ‘church’? The “prophet” who could only speak when his “angel” was present, and who, when true Bible-believing Christians prayed that if his power was of God that God would use him, was unable to ‘minister’ saying, “There are disturbing powers here; I can do nothing.”?

    Branham is just as much a false prophet as many others in hyper-charismaticism.

  111. Arwen4CJ says:

    Joseph Potifa,

    The test for whether a person is a false teacher is NOT whether or not they say they have heard from God. Many people claim to have heard from God. Spiritual experiences should not be evaluated by subjective experience. We should not accept someone as speaking for the truth just because they are popular, they claimed to heal people, or signs and wonders followed them.

    You have to look at the actual content of the teaching. Does it line up with Scripture (in context)? Is the gospel message the most important thing that the person teaches about? Is it the main emphasis? Etc.

    It seems pretty clear to me that Branham was against Christian orthodoxy — he was against the Trinity, believed that pyramids had special powers, and all the other things that Craig listed above. Astrology is condemned by God, so God did not teach him about astrology. If Branham was getting his doctrine from a spiritual being (whether an angel or some entity who claimed to be God), then this being was not on God’s side.

    Furthermore, as Craig mentioned above, when Bible-believing Christians attended one of Branham’s healing meetings, these Christians prayed to God. They prayed something like this, “If this man’s healing is from You, bless him. But if it is not, hinder him.”

    Well, as it turned out, Branham claimed he could not do his healings that day. He said, “there are disturbing powers here; I can do nothing.”

    This means that Branham called God a disturbing power.

    Satan and his demons can counterfeit signs and wonders, including healing. One of my friends had to attend a pagan healing ceremony for a class he was in when in college. People were healed at this pagan event. However, obviously these people were not healed by God.

    True prophets of God in the Old Testament always pointed people back to God. They encouraged people to repent, and they spoke God’s truth. They spoke out against astrology and other practices that God condemned.

    The very fact that Branham believed in and practiced the occult (the pyramid stuff and the astrology), and the fact that he preached against the Trinity, should be enough to disqualify him as a true prophet of God.

  112. Craig says:

    I see I left out Branham’s denial of the Trinity. To paraphrase Kris Vallotton, who once prayed for believers to have the “anointing” of William Brahham: “That’s even a bigger one there.”

  113. Staci says:

    I have very much reached a bit of a turning-point in my walk with the Lord, in the sense that my eyes have been opened. Yes, we all know that there are false teacher’s out there, if you as a Christian you don’t know that, I’d be very worried about you as this should be Christianity 101. But since I live in South Africa Bethel Church is too far away from me to have any influence or concern on my life, I do listen to Jesus Culture as one of my favorite Christians artists, I find there music inspiring and uplifting and calming and I just love their music. However, I have come to a conclusion, inspite of there being false teacher’s out there I will NEVER walk away from Christ, He is my one and only Lord and Saviour. But I have a number of rules I live by when it comes to who I listen to 1. who do you say Jesus is? , if that person does not profess Jesus to be the one only son of the one true living God, I walk away. If a person in ANY way denies, the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, I walk away. 2. People who teach that Jesus went to into hell to be punished, I walk away. And finally and most importantly, if God did not say it first in His Word, I won’t believe you and I walk away. It’s that simple. The only way in my belief to spot a false teacher is spend time in the Word and with God, know the Word, live it, eat it, sleep it, breathe it every day of your life to the point that it becomes a part of you, a part of the way you think, act and react to situations. Let it be your first and only go to place, do that you will find God and truth. I question the fact that some people say that God doesn’t not speak to us anymore, why? are you prepared so much to limit the God of creation to that extent? he created the Heaven’s and the earth is the Lord of the Heaven’s and the earth, why would you consider it not possible that He could or would want to speak to us? God can do absolutely ANYTHING including speak to us. What I do take offence to is people who say God spoke to them and made it a definite fact, a verse in Deuteronomy states exactly what happens to you when you say that God said something and He didn’t. However, if you make a statement like that and precede with something like “I believe, the Lord spoke to me” or “I think, the Lord said this to me”, that still leaves room for error….which is acceptable, but don’t make it a solid fact statement, that’s looking for trouble. I go to a pentecostal church, but by no means is it extreme, our pastor very vehemently does not allow anyone to say the words “thus sayeth the Lord” leave room for error when making a statement of God spoke to you, is acceptable to him and he allows that. Prayers for people are done quietly and respectfully, praise and worship is pleasant and calming and as praise and worship should be, and yes, I have felt the Lord’s presence from time to time, but extreme, not by any means. My husband who is as conservative as they get when it comes to churches, says our church is the most peaceful sanctuary he has ever set foot in and would happily come back anytime. He loves it there and always comments to me about the sense of peace he feels when walking into our church. Deny the Trinity, I walk away. All people need to do is get into the Word, study it and live it and breathe it and you’ll be on the right track.

    Yours in Christ always
    God Bless you all
    xxx

  114. Craig says:

    Staci,

    Thanks for your post. I largely agree with you, but I wish to comment on this:

    But since I live in South Africa Bethel Church is too far away from me to have any influence or concern on my life, I do listen to Jesus Culture as one of my favorite Christians artists, I find there music inspiring and uplifting and calming and I just love their music.

    Bill Johnson (and all the hyper-charismatic false teachers) have made a concerted effort to take their false teachings all over the world. I’m pretty sure Bill Johnson’s influence is in South Africa; if it doesn’t affect you now, it may in the future via someone you know. However, Jesus Culture IS a part of Bill Johnson’s church. They look up to and adhere to Johnson and his doctrine. The music can well be uplifting, and I don’t think it’s all bad. Yet, just a little leaven leavens the whole, does it not? However, what IS alarming is Kim Walker-Smith’s “Awakening”:

    Jesus Culture Awakening Kim Walker Part 1

    Clearly, this is ‘another Jesus’, ‘another spirit’ [2 Cor 11:4].

  115. Staci says:

    It could possibly affect me at some point, I don’t know much about the church except what I’ve read here….So I have been warned and can keep an eye out. I actually don’t know anything about “Awakening” since in all honesty I’ve never really had an interest in the band members themselves and only like the music, but since I am currently studying the prominent teachers in the world and dissecting their teachings etc and paying more attention to who I trust and follow and seeing who is legit and who not, I will read the links you’ve posted, thanks :)

  116. Staci says:

    Ok, from part 2, it doesn’t feel right to me how she describes God’s reaction to Him creating her, Maybe it’s only the way I see God in my mind, but the way she describes His reacting seems a bit disrespectful to me and in a way, the way she describes it is almost as though she’s describing the reactions of some sort of a mentally disturbed idiot?? (No offence Lord, I love you). And that’s not how I see God, a God who’s reactions are according to her description is not a God I would feel the urge to respect or revere or worship in any way. The way I see God, is as a being that commands respect and worship and obedience, a God that has that type of reaction I wouldn’t take seriously, by any means. I see God the way the Bible describes Him, as Spirit, as a Loving Father, as a Just Judge etc. Fair and firm yet loving and forgiving and compassionate, but also to be taken very seriously and with all respect. Besides that I remember hearing the testimony of a woman YEARS ago who had a vision of Heaven (I wish I could remember her name or the details but it was too long ago) and I remember her describing being taken into the thrown room, but she said the light that God emits from the thrown is soooo bright you can’t look into it, but not so much the light being the reason you can’t look at Him, she said it was more being in His presence that all you can do is fall on your knees and worship she didn’t want to do anything else. Kim is describing actually seeing God….now that’s a contradiction between 2 different accounts and if she saw God’s face and she saw Him why didn’t she describe what He looks like? it’s something I would’ve done, or maybe that’s just me? another discrepancy, God put her in His heart, I do believe that God keeps all His children close His heart and even in His heart etc, but does Jesus not come to live in us when we accept Him as Lord and Saviour? not the other way around? or maybe I’m wrong about that being a discrepancy. The reason I like Jesus Culture so much is because their songs put into words what I feel in my heart for the Lord and that’s the main reason why I listen to their music and use it in worship, because it’s what’s in my heart…..and I do listen to the words very carefully and if there is anything I don’t like in it believe me it will be deleted. I do agree with you that a little leaven leavens the whole definitely. That’s why I am careful.

    At this point, I’m taking everyone that I have followed and listened to up to this point and I am at the start of a major research project and getting back to basics in my walk with the Lord and I believe He’s showing me to get back to the Bible, get back to the Word and make that my basis for learning and following Him and finding the truth. But at the same time, I’m also taking each person, evangelist, pastor, etc and dissecting them piece by piece and figuring out who is legit and who is not. So that I can cut off the dead weight and only follow those with the right fruit, that are true and pure. I know this is going to be a long project, but I have no issues with doing this, since this is my eternity we’re talking about and my very soul at stake.

    I will be posting updates from my research on my blog, so as not to keep my findings to myself but to educate others in the process as I go along. You’re welcome to follow my blog updates if you’d like and feel free to comment. Any input is always appreciated as far as help in finding the right direction. http://www.accordingtostaci.blogspot.com

    God Bless
    xxx

  117. Craig says:

    Staci,

    You are starting on the right track with your analysis. However, keep in mind that in the OT it states that no one can see God and live. Yet Kim Walker would have us believe not only did she see God the Father, but He had a chat with her and ran around like a crazed teenager, yet she lived to tell us the story. The Apostle Paul went to the third heaven yet was told not to speak about it [2 Cor 12]. This is not an everyday experience for the believer. I’m highly doubtful that someone today would actually get caught up to the third heaven.

    My suggestion is to take all the extra books and discard them. Same with the teachers you’ve been following: Take the teachings in any form and cast them into the trash. If you have any doubts about a given teacher, by all means, ask here and I’ll tell you if I know anything or can find anything through my contacts. And, I hate to say it, but it’s probably best to not listen to any of the associated music for a while. You’ll probably find out after a music ‘fast’ that it’s best to not listen to it again – that is, if it has any relation whatsoever with these false teachers.

    I can appreciate that the relearning process would be difficult, so your own advice to stick with Scripture is a good one. If one is truly saved, one is Holy Spirit indwelled. He will guide you into all Truth through Scripture reading.

  118. Staci says:

    That was the main thing that stuck out for me…if I had just seen God face to face, unless He instructed me to keep my mouth shut, one of the main points in my testimony would be a description of what He looks like but that didn’t factor into her testimony which I found strange and then I remembered God telling Moses “no man shall see Me and live”. I remember the story of Paul being caught up into the 3rd Heaven and he said whether in the spirit or the body he didn’t know, but he saw things of which he could not speak. What this woman saw could possibly just have been a vision, who knows, honestly it was just waaaaaay to long ago for me to remember the exact details. But my point was that say hypothetically you had to be caught up into the 3rd Heaven and taken into the throne room as a human being I honestly don’t believe that you would be able to stay standing in God’s presence, you would fall on your face, your only urge would be worship etc. What she was describing was the complete antithesis to that, she was stating that she stood in God’s presence and had a chat with Him and at no point did she describe any type of emotional effect on her part, or any type of urge to worship Him or bow before Him, which my logic tells me would be a natural reaction in His presence……..or at least that would be my reaction. If I came face to face with God, there is no way I would be able to just stand and watch Him and talk to Him and not have some type of initial emotional reaction. The other thing that struck me, my mother-in-law was recently diagnosed with Cancer and it is an issue that I have been trusting the Lord with, but the God she’s described is not a God that I would trust with an issue like that as you described the God she was describing as a crazy teenager, I have a teenager and I can tell you they have the attention span of a dead fly, now if I have to come to the God she’s describing with this problem first of all I’m not gonna trust a God like that with this problem and second of all I’d be thinking that He’s gonna forget what I asked Him in about 2 seconds flat. So yeah, my main problem is how she describes God, which doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t like to believe that God is angry and cold and unforgiving etc, but what she’s describing is just too extreme on the opposite side of that for my liking.

    My honest feeling on Kim is that she’s been lead astray and she honestly believes that the teaching she receives is truth. But I also think that perhaps we shouldn’t condemn her for it, I believe what we should do is start to pray for her, start to pray and ask the Lord to open her eyes, to bring things and people along her path and into her life, that are going to start making her question what she is being taught, make her start questioning these things and to open her eyes to the truth of His Word and to be able to read it in context and she what she is doing wrong. She is an AWESOME worship leader she has the most amazing voice, but I think she’s been lead down the garden path and I think she could do amazing things for the Lord’s Kingdom but only if and when she has her eyes opened and she starts to see where she is going wrong and how the teaching she receives is wrong. And I think we just need to pray for her and just pray that her eyes will be opened and that she will start to question and that will put her back on the right path.

  119. Craig says:

    Kim Walker is not any different from anyone else who is adhering to false teaching. She deserves nothing special, but nothing less. The point is for everyone to get away from this sort of thing. No one is condemning her. Yes, she needs prayer, but just like everyone who is caught up in false teaching, and everyone who is unsaved. In fact, I’ve no doubt there are many in hyper-charismaticism who are unsaved – whether Walker-Smith is one of those I’ve no idea. She may well be. Since the true Gospel is not, or very rarely, preached, how can individuals get saved? Instead, experiences and emotions are exalted as if they are the truth. Then, like a drug, one must reach for that ever elusive next big emotional experience.

    This was most definitely not a God encounter; it was a demonic encounter. Satan comes as an angel of light [2 Cor 11:14-15]; it is quite possible that Walker-Smith herself is a willing servant of Satan [vs. 15]. Of course, we don’t know that for sure; she could well be ‘merely’ very deceived instead. But, here’s the thing: A true Holy Spirit indwelt individual should feel uneasy about an encounter like Walker-Smith just went through AND described. By that I mean that not only she herself should have been alarmed at the moment of this very disturbing encounter, but anyone in her audience should have been disturbed as she unfolded this “awakening”. This is what happens when folks are Biblically illiterate, instead listening to the teachings of these false teachers rather than the clear words of Scripture.

    Even the term “Awakening” should give us pause. It is a term used in the occult and New Age/New Spirituality, not a term associated with Scripture. Christians are born from above (born again) by the Holy Spirit upon accepting the Gospel message [John 3:1-15; I Cor 15:1-8]; there are no further “awakenings”. It is my firm belief that those teaching in hyper-charismatic circles are truly teaching doctrines of demons, whether wittingly or unwittingly.

    Jesus Culture may well have some good songs (I don’t know enough by them), but if they are led of deceiving spirits – as I believe they are – should we try to figure out which ones are good as worship and which aren’t? Wouldn’t all the music be tainted if the group members themselves are led by demonic spirits? In general, the music of hyper-charismaticism is performed to elicit an emotional response, which may or may not be to worship God. Most in the audience are actually looking for an emotional high, and hoping for their own ‘God encounter’, in whatever form that may take. This is not much different than what is done in Eastern mysticism.

    Worse yet, the music is mostly repetitive and conducive to putting its listeners in mild to moderate hypnotic states. This makes them even more susceptible to familiar/deceiving spirits.

  120. just1ofhis says:

    Craig said, “Worse yet, the music is mostly repetitive and conducive to putting its listeners in mild to moderate hypnotic states. This makes them even more susceptible to familiar/deceiving spirits.”

    Our family was pressured to send my oldest son to an Acquire the Fire weekend (Ron Luce) (we resisted). These were the same people who introduced me to Kim Walker and Jesus Culture through internet videos. The clips that I saw in the marketing material for Luce and the clips of Jesus Culture both reminded me of the type of hyper-emotionalism that I witnessed in my pre-born again days in the heavy metal rock concert arenas. Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. The emotional high, as Craig describes it, of the music coming out of these “ministries” (Luce, Johnson), leads to behavior that is full of bad fruit. Demonic?….absolutely.

    The very fact that I was cornered and pressured to send my son to this thing was evidence of the “bad fruit”. Peer pressure is a thing of the devil, not a fruit of the Spirit of God.

    Also, we don’t “acquire” the Holy Spirit of God, we are freely given the Holy Spirit of God in abundance as we put our faith in the Word of God and the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation for those who believe (also a miracle of God). And that same Holy Spirit works in us a fruit of “self-control” and “gentleness” which makes these concerts alarming to us.

    It’s just a hypothetical, but I often wonder if a person simply took their Bible and walked up on stage at any of these places and overtook the microphone and just started to read (book of Revelation anyone?), how long do you think the crowd would tolerate it? There were those among the Jews who were willing to believe in Jesus to a point (see John 8), but they weren’t willing to follow His teachings in truth and so be saved. They couldn’t accept the idea that they were slaves to sin and on their way to hell unless they received Him on His terms. The Jews who “believed” Jesus in verse 31 take up stones to stone Him by verse 59. This was no born-again man smeared with the “holy spirit” that they were rejecting:

    John 8: 58 : Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

  121. IWTT says:

    I found this link recently and thought is was a great resource that will be added to often. The most interesting part of the site is the A – Z list of songs and at the bottom of the lyrics an explanation of why they are rated in the way that the author has… check it out.

    http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/worshipsongratings.html

  122. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    Thanks for the link. As with any rating system it is inherently subjective, but I definitely respect Sandy Simpson’s opinions. I’ve only glanced down the list, but I did note one Jesus Culture song, Dance With Me, which he gives zero stars.

  123. Shawn says:

    Arwen4CJ – of course “pyramids had special powers” – they keep the sky from collapsing on our heads, no?

    /Sigh – It’s sad the amount of non-biblical teaching that has invaded the Church. Having once been sucked into this junk myself I’ll forever continue to speak out against it even if I come across as the local nut at my Church.

    I recently had someone tell me they felt they could “redeem” yoga to be godly. I told them that I felt the same way about Satanism yet no one would listen to me. They laughed – but I think they got the point. How can you “redeem something for God” that was never created by Him in the first place? Christ redeemed us because he was buying us back.

    I know you guys are talking about the music right now so just wanted to remind you that both Elisha and David used music to facilitate hearing from God. I’m sure there are other OT examples. Not defending “hypnotic” music – just ensuring that we don’t run off and bash all contemplative style music – if we contemplate God and His’ Word that it’s not a bad thing.

    For me, it’s more about what you think on when you hear the music that makes its appropriateness the deciding factor. Some of you might be able to listen to country style worship music and feel fine – others might be reminded of all the infidelity stories that populate the genre and, therefore, find themselves unable to listen to it.

    Others who were previously involved in New Age circles might find a soundtrack of crashing waves to be hypnotic and reminds them of their prior efforts to connect with spirit guides. For me, that soundtrack would remind me of a house I once lived in and the many great times I had praising God with my house mates.

    Anyway – thanks for letting me comment – and before anyone responds – I’M NOT DEFENDING JESUS CULTURE so please don’t start on that ok :)

  124. Craig says:

    Shawn,

    Well, for the individual who thinks yoga can be “redeemed”, it may be instructive to view its definition:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/yoga?s=t

    1. a school of Hindu philosophy advocating and prescribing a course of physical and mental disciplines for attaining liberation from the material world and union of the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle.

    2. any of the methods or disciplines prescribed, especially a series of postures and breathing exercises practiced to achieve control of the body and mind, tranquillity, etc.

    3. union of the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle.

    _____________________________________________________

    You’ve also touched on something I’ve wanted to state about music. Music is a subjective experience. There are not many who enjoy music more than I do. I listen to a lot of secular music, in fact – music of all types. Yet, even in my BC (before conversion) days I didn’t ‘enhance’ my music listening experience with drugs, etc. For example, I think Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is a great artistic statement, but it doesn’t necessitate ‘enhancement’ to enjoy it, and one doesn’t need to use it as a launching pad for some mystical experience (though certainly some do).

    Music itself is not inherently good or evil. Now, the lyrics – that’s another story. What do the lyrics convey? While a given artist (secular) may have evil intent with some hard to understand lyrics (unless one is ‘in the know’), it doesn’t mean that the listener will apply the same understanding or meaning. Myself, I tend to prefer lyrics that are ambiguous, or with no real meaning. Or, those promoting socio-political causes, even if I don’t support the cause for whatever the reason.

    Recently, I’ve been listening to Estonian composer Arvo Part’s In Principio (which means “In the Beginning” in Latin) which takes the first few verses of the Gospel of John, puts them into a choral/orchestral setting. Fabulous music!

    http://www.allmusic.com/album/arvo-p%C3%A4rt-in-principio-mw0001877927

    http://www.ecmrecords.com/Catalogue/New_Series/2000/2050.php?cat=%2FArtists%2FPart+Arvo%23%23Arvo+Part&we_start=0&lvredir=712

    Yet, Part is Eastern Orthodox, and I don’t agree with some of their tenets. Does that mean I shouldn’t listen to it? Of course not. The rest of the cd is a mix of chamber music (less instruments), some orchestral without voices, etc.

    Anyway, the point is that music is somewhat what you, as the listener, make of it. However, what makes Jesus Culture music dangerous is that it purports to worship the Christian God. Yet, in reality it does not.

    This comment is probably not well thought out as I’m kinda busy at the moment….

  125. Jonathan says:

    Since we are talking about Jesus Culture and what NOT to listen to – What suggestions do you all have regarding worship that is sound in its doctrine? I enjoy any and all styles of music and would love some suggestions for hymns and other (maybe more modern?) sounds that aren’t heretical in nature (i.e. Jesus Culture, Brian & Jenn Johnson, IHOP, Sean Feucht, Rick Pino, etc.).

  126. Craig says:

    Jonathan,

    See the link IWTT provided yesterday. I’d think most any tradional hymn, whether set to music or a cappella, would be fine, such as Amazing Grace. Sadly, I’d say that quite a bit of the rock-based worship tunes have distorted lyrics. Frankly, I don’t listen to much ‘worship’ music, in part for that reason.

  127. Craig says:

    For those interested, here’s the first piece from Part’s In Principio:

    In Principio: In principio erat Verbum

    In addition, here’s another piece from the same release performed by others which very closely matches the cd version:

    Da Pacem Domine from ‘In Principio

    Da pacem Domine means “Give peace, O Lord” and was commissioned two days after the Madrid bombing of March 11, 2004, which killed 191 and injured another 1800, as a tribute to the victims.

    I much prefer that for worship over the ‘feed the flesh’ type of music played in churches passing as “worship”.

    But, as I stated earlier I enjoy all kinds of music, most of it secular.

  128. IWTT says:

    How can you “redeem something for God” that was never created by Him in the first place?

    One aspect of this comes from the improper teaching of “pleading the Blood”. I know several Christian Family members that think that if they go into the session or use their stretching yoga videos with a “pleading the blood” of Jesus over it, or, even “invite Jesus into the time” that somehow that “redeems” it and makes it alright to do. Also if one believes that God is “in everything” then I would suppose that this would be Gods as well and if you are a Christian and “cover it” before you do it (yoga, etc.) then it is all right and you have redeemed it.

    Interesting that they feel they need to “cover”, “redeem”, “plead the blood” over things like this. Means in their minds they know it’s wrong, I guess, but they want a way to do it without the conviction of sin for doing it?

  129. Arwen4CJ says:

    From what I looked up on “pleading the blood” recently, and how I’ve seen the term used, it seems to me more like a magical incantation or superstitious phrase that people say in order for them to be protected. I think this is closely linked to the improper understanding of spiritual warfare. It seems to me that they think of Satan as being out to get them all the time, and if they say these words, then it is like a magical charm and protects them against Satan.

    Spiritual warfare is real, but they are going about it all wrong, and their theology about it is all wrong. Christians should not feel like they have to live a life in fear, as if some demonic power is going to get them unless they say certain words.

    That’s why I was curious about the origin of the term — because it always disturbed me when I heard Christians say it. It’s from hyper-charismatic belief, and it is trickling into the whole church now. People go to a conference, or they read a book, or they watch some person on TV, and they hear this phrase, and then they think they have to use it too….as if it will make them better Christians.

    It disturbs me in the same way that it does when a Christian superstitiously knocks on wood. People who are into the “knock on wood” superstition panic if they don’t find a piece of wood to knock on, afraid that something bad will happen if they don’t.

    Some people “plead the blood” over everything, being afraid that some demon will jump out and grab them if they don’t say it. Others probably do say it over something if they know that something could be spiritually dangerous — but then they should know better than get involved with things like yoga.

    Anyway, about Christian worship music, I do believe that there are some good contemporary songs out there, but you need to be careful. I’ve noticed a trend in Christian worship the last few years — a move towards a more unbiblical way of worship and worship songs. This could have been in part because of the pastors that were at the churches.

    There have always been bad worship songs in the Christian world. But along with the bad, there are also good ones. I think I’ve said this before — my friends in college had a worship band, and they would have weekly worship services where all we would do would be to sing to God. It was beautiful. I would look at the lyrics and really think about the meaning of the song as I was pouring my heart out before God, praising Him for who He is and what He’s done. It was during this time that I really understood what real worship was.

    As with anything good, worship can be twisted to be ungodly — and that is what has happened with many hyper-charismatic settings. They took a beautiful concept (worshiping and praising our Lord) and flipped everything on its head, making “worship” be all about us, and what we can get from God. Then, there was further corruption — making worship all about getting some emotional high, experiencing God in a new way, seeing signs, wonders, manifestations — and trying to be spiritually connected to God in an unbiblical way.

    I have a ton of worship songs on my computer. Some of the songs are better than others. My favorites are the ones that are solidly based in Scripture. If you want, I can tell you what I think of a particular artist or song….if I’ve never heard of the song or the artist, then I can look the person or song up.

  130. Maria Billingsley says:

    It is becoming increasingly difficult to communicate with Christians who are in “hyper-Christianity”. Those who get drunk,slain,convulse etc in what they call the “anointing”. They have scripture proof for every act I consider an abomination. These people get very angry if you disagree with these manifestations to the point of being neurotic. I believe the Lord wants me to guild them ever so gently to the truth however it is met with such disdain. This forum helps me recover knowing that I am not the only one who can see the truth.

    Thanks for keeping me in the loop.

  131. Arwen4CJ says:

    Maria,

    I think it’s difficult to communicate with many of the Christians in the hyper-charismatic movement because they have invented their own version of Christianity. They use some of the same terms that orthodox Christians use, but they have redefined everything, including the gospel. It’s like speaking a foreign language with them. When we talk to them (if they will even talk to us), then we have to define every term we use — find out what they mean by it, and tell them what we mean by it.

    I think there may come a time when the hyper-charismatic “Christianity” is the most common. They may say that we are not even Christian — which according to their definition of it, we wouldn’t be. We may have to start calling ourselves simply followers of Jesus Christ.

    Many hyper-charismatics are not willing to talk to us, or not willing to think about what we say, because they see themselves as spiritually superior to us. After all, they experience all these signs and wonders and we don’t, so they think there is something wrong with us.

    If you find one that is willing to talk and listen to your point of view, then wonderful. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will show them the truth. There is always hope. God can change any heart.

    Unfortunately, the Bible seems to indicate that as we get closer and closer to the end, more and more people will fall for the false teachings, because they didn’t love the truth, and they’ll run after all this error. God can and does harden hearts. That is the scary thing.

    We can certainly pray for those that we know who have fallen into this stuff.

  132. Craig says:

    I think it’s difficult to communicate with many of the Christians in the hyper-charismatic movement because they have invented their own version of Christianity. They use some of the same terms that orthodox Christians use, but they have redefined everything, including the gospel….

    This is one of the reasons I’m trying very hard to show that this is the same modus operandi of the so-called “esoteric Christianity”, which is in reality occultism. In my ‘Christ’ in the New Age article I quote from Hannah Newman’s excellent The Rainbow Swastika, which speaks of this same problem from a Jewish perspective. I only used her “Trojan horse” quote, but here’s a bit more context:

    …The main tenets of NA religion are important to grasp, not least because familiar religious terms are given radically different meanings while allowing outsiders to define them as they like (for example, the Great Invocation). This ploy has allowed NA “change agents” (as they are known to insiders) to infiltrate the unsuspecting Jewish community in the Trojan Horse of semantics. They say all the “right” things, work hard in service and scholarship, win leadership positions, and only then do they set out to reshape the old concepts to fit the “new paradigm”….

  133. IWTT says:

    Arwen4CJ says:
    March 20, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    From what I looked up on “pleading the blood” recently, and how I’ve seen the term used, it seems to me more like a magical incantation or superstitious phrase that people say in order for them to be protected……..

    Yes, I agree, it is ALSO used in the Deliverence ministry in the way you mentioned. I too heard AND used it as such in my days with Cleansing Stream Ministry as one of the leaders in my local church and on a national level.

    That’s just it, it is more like a magical incantation and is/can be used in all types of ways to “protect” or “cover” oneself.

  134. just1ofhis says:

    Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.” Matt 26:27-28

    The “pleading the blood” routine of the wof crowd is such a degradation of the truth. We have a precious promise in the Word of God that the blood of the Lamb provides the covering for our sins, NOT the protection of our vehicles or houses or bank accounts or our walk down the street. God can and often does those things, but NOT because a person has supersticiously “plead the blood”.

    I had a dear friend who read a book by a false teacher that described “pleading the blood”. She started “pleading the blood” hourly over everything. As soon as she began this routine, her life started falling apart: injuries, financial difficulties, illness, ect. I remember her dismay and her questioning at how God could allow all these things to happen to her, as she was “pleading the blood” over everything. She was doing the “works”, God was supposed to respond with “protection”. I believe God was answering her, however. My hope and prayer is that she will ultimately wake up and listen to His Word.

    This is one of the ways where wof is witchcraft, or magic, or new age…whatever title you give it. It is all the same, and it is all of the type of spiritual bondage that the true Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came to set us free from.

  135. just1ofhis says:

    http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=11959

    Above is a link to a paid advertisment being run on the Elijah List today. “Can one pill make you look younger?” is the heading.

    Wonder how much “blood” they had to “plead” over that?

    Anything for a buck…..

  136. Craig says:

    Well, I’ve heard that:

    one pill makes you larger
    and one pill makes you small
    but the ones that mother gives you don’t do anything at all

    The ones that Grace Slick takes make you not blink at all:

    Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit circa 1967 or ’68.

    Hyper-charismaticism is like a drug; and, while it doesn’t do the damage that hallucinogenic drugs may do, it leads some to think that the evidence of their salvation is in having some sort of mystical experience, the evidence of sanctification is in that next ‘greater’ mystical experience, and with an ever increasing need for “MORE”. Yes, just like a drug.

    But, yes the EL, just like the leaders in hyper-charismaticism, are all looking for “MORE”…………………MONEY! The conferences, the books, the cds. It’s all promoting their own materialism, the love of self among their followers, and a works-based religion for all.

  137. Staci says:

    I think after all I’ve read over the past few days I think I’ve permanently sworn off all televangelists for life….its terrible, the Lord has REALLY opened my eyes and frightening as it is it’s also very refreshing to see clearly again.

    I realize that this topic is a completely different subject to what I am about to mention, but I just really want to share this with you guys. A few days ago I saw a show on natgeo regarding exorcisms, being a pentecostal Christian I did start training in the deliverance ministry because this was how i wanted to help people (that’s another story). Anyway, in watching this documentary on Natgeo I came across Mr Bob Larson (not sure if you’ve heard of him). Anyway, having started training in the deliverance ministry and being trained decently by people who actually do know what they’re doing, watching Mr Larson was quite a horrifying experience. He calls himself “The Exorcist” I call him a disgrace to Christianity. His tactics and the way he handles things was most DEFINITELY NOT the way I was taught to say I was disgusted and horrified would be an understatement. This guy may as well paint the words “false teacher” on his forehead in bright neon letters.

    Just thought I’d mention it, perhaps you guys would maybe like to go and google it and see for yourselves. This is definitely one you could sink your teeth into and definitely my first case study for my blog.

  138. Arwen4CJ says:

    Staci,

    I’m not sure where I’ve heard the name Bob Larson before. Maybe some hyper-charismatics that I knew were into him? Anyway, I don’t know much about him…I’ve just heard the name before somewhere.

    I just googled him and found this:

    http://www.boblarson.org/religious-demon-proofing-prayers

    The description of the book on the page disgusts me. Demon proofing prayers? Seriously? (Of course the implication that comes with such a book is that if we aren’t praying these demon proofing prayers that we will be invaded by demons, perhaps even possessed).

    As Christians we DON’T NEED to pray prayers to keep demons away.

    So why do all these Christians think that it is necessary? Maybe because hyper-charismaticism has steeped itself deeply into the occult. Some of the people in hyper-charismaticism aren’t really saved because they’ve never heard the real gospel, or heard about the real Jesus…..so those people would be vulnerable….especially after engaging in many occult practices.

    But a true Christian does not need to ward of demons — and the suggestion that we do actually plays into the occult worldview. Our trust needs to be in Jesus Christ, not in magical incantations to ward off the evil.

    I do believe that spiritual warfare is real, and that demons can possess people, but I don’t think that a real Christian can be possessed. There are legitimate ministries that deal with exorcisms, but they are few and far between. In general, I am extremely cautious of any ministry that calls itself a “deliverance ministry.” There is almost always a false view of spiritual warfare that accompanies such ministries.

    A book that I found helpful is called “The Kingdom Of The Occult,” which was put out by Walter Martin’s daughter. It’s a collection of Walter Martin’s apologetics on the subject of the occult. (Walter Martin wrote the book “The Kingdom Of The Cults.”) I think that Walter Martin had a pretty balanced and healthy view.

    Another book that I’ve read that I think is pretty solid is called “3 Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare,” by Clinton E. Arnold. (He writes against things like territorial spiritual warfare, and shares his concerns with how spiritual warfare is being viewed in some Christian circles today.)

    That’s just my thoughts on the subject. Others are free to share what they think.

  139. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,
    Wow…..that Hannah Newman article was amazing. Thanks for sharing! I also read her page that links Nazism with the occult. I’d heard it before, and it made sense….but wow……she basically says things are spiritually the same today as they were in Nazi Germany, and all that is missing is an Anti-Christ figure (she didn’t use that term, but that’s how I understood it). She links all these teachings back to gnosticism and Alice Bailey, etc. It was interesting to read it from an orthodox Jewish perspective as well.

  140. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Constance Cumbey was the first Christian to make those same connections back in the early ’80s. I feel certain Newman had read Cumbey’s work/s.

  141. Arwen4CJ says:

    just1ofhis,

    Agreed — many have taken the concept of Jesus shedding His blood for us, and twisted it into something very evil. This is the very gospel being attacked here.

    Our trust needs to be in God, not in we speak some statement out loud. We already have everything we need in God, and He is holy, and He is sovereign. He isn’t some genie in a lamp who will give us everything we want, and He isn’t some impersonal force that we can manipulate.

    The more and more I think about it, this pleading the blood superstition stinks more and more of the occult.

    I was so saddened to hear about what happened to your friend. What happened to her happens to so many others — more and more people are being deceived. I can’t imagine the kind of bondage she was under — to feel that she needed to “plead the blood” hourly over everything. How scared she must have been — scared that if she didn’t do what she’d read that awful things would happen. And it turned out that they did….but only after she started this evil practice.

    Yes, I’m calling it evil.

    I will pray for her — I hope that her eyes are opened to the evil out there that is masquerading as Christianity. It seems that these false teachings only get worse and worse. I am concerned for future generations. What must the kids who are growing up in these kinds of churches think? They’ll never have heard the real gospel, and they’ll think that what they are learning is orthodox Christianity. :( And they’ll grow up and pass it along to their kids, unless, by the grace of God, God intervenes in their lives.

    Yes — it is witchcraft/magic/New Age/gnosticism/New Thought/occult, etc. It is all of those things. All of these movements all perpetuate the same lie from the Garden of Eden, and these teachings have the same demonic source, and much of the same content in them.

    Yes, if only people would turn to the real Jesus, and be set free of this awful bondage!

  142. Staci says:

    http://www.factnet.org/bob-larson-exposed-con-man-and-daughters-fleecing-sheep

    This was a link I came across last night when I started my study on Bob Larson and reading about how his meetings are conducted I was absolutely shocked that a man who calls himself a Christian can carry on in that manner and treat people in that manner. I stand by my previous statement is saying that in my eyes he is a disgrace to Christianity.

    I do believe in deliverance as being something that a church needs to be trained in and experienced in, in the event of in case it is needed. Spiritual warfare is very real, the spiritual realm both good and bad is very real. But I tend to believe that same take it to a whole other level and blow it completely out of proportion. Our pastor was talking a few Sunday’s ago about people who become – for lack of a better word – “addicted” to deliverance believing every problem in their life is demonic and keep coming back to the church asking for deliverance because they think that this is the solution to all their problems or any problem that arises. And he is very blatant in saying that he will NOT indulge or enable such a person, as he believes that these people’s problems run a lot deeper than what they are experiencing in life and churches and Christian leaders who do indulge them are doing nothing more than enabling these people and rewarding this behaviour and its not helping. He told us that if he believes that deliverance is necessary he will consider it, but not until every other avenue has been attempted first to help the person.

    As far as pleading the blood, I personally don’t feel the need, when I committed my life to the Lord I gave Him control of my entire life, why would I feel the need to “plead the blood’ over other little avenues of my life etc when I already once gave God control of everything in the first place. The only thing I do do is that every so often, I commit to spend an entire day with the Lord, I take communion very early in the morning in remembrance of Jesus sacrifice for me and what He did for me and to thank Him. I then walk my house and bless all the doorways and windows with olive oil and claim the space for the Lord, that this house belongs to nobody but the Lord and He and only He is welcome here and I ask the Lord’s protection over my house and to ban anything from my house that is not of Him and to not allow it to enter. That only the Holy Spirit is welcome to dwell in my house. After that I spend the day praying and fasting and in the word and spending the day with Him. i do it every so often as an act of dedicating my home and my family to Him. Funnily enough I’ve had a number of people visit me and tell me that they feel such a sense of peace in my house. I don’t feel the urge that it needs to be done everyday, out of some sense of paranoia. Just every now and again, to dedicate my home, my life and my family to Him. And in thanks to Him, since without Him I wouldn’t have all that I have.

    But anyway, back to the topic at hand, we need to remember that the only one ever thrown out of Heaven was the worship leader…..lucifer was in charge of praise and worship, he was the worship leader, so his specialty is music…and remembering this we need to be cautious.

    I wanted to also mention something else on the hyper-charismatic movement and the effect it had on me. I have found for the longest time, that I’ve been very insecure in my relationship with the Lord, and I believe it was Him who showed me that I became so addicted to so-called “mountain top experiences” that if I don’t have one then I start thinking He’s not there anymore, or He’s angry with me or He doesn’t love me anymore or I’ve done something wrong. I managed to reach a point where I needed a “mountain top” spiritual experience to feel secure in my relationship with Him. Which is frightening to consider that this how my mind works. Now I’m at a place where I need to learn to trust Him whether He reveals Himself to me or not, I need to learn to be secure in just spending time with Him with no expectation and learn to feel secure in the knowledge that He is there, whether I know it or not. It’s called FAITH.

    Another thing I have noticed aswell, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2006 and I have found since coming back to the Lord in 2010 that my symptoms have subsided and I am a lot better in fact I have been off my medication since around this time last year not because I was trying to be clever but because my husband and I decided to start trying for a baby and I couldn’t be pregnant with that stuff coursing through my veins.
    I still have my moments though every so often, but what I have found is when I spend time with the Lord I’m a lot calmer, I find myself able to handle life’s challenges a lot easier and I’m more at peace. I’m not the easiest person around and my husband will be the first to attest to that, i have little to no patience… period, but I find when I spend time with the Lord early in the morning before anything else, I’m an easier person, I have a greater sense of patience and I’m just generally calmer. And I mean “spend time with the Lord” with or without a “mountain top experience”.

    Its gonna be a long process, but I’m learning and I will get there….eventually lol

  143. Shawn says:

    Arwen4CJ, you said “Many hyper-charismatics are not willing to talk to us, or not willing to think about what we say, because they see themselves as spiritually superior to us. After all, they experience all these signs and wonders and we don’t, so they think there is something wrong with us.”

    I think this is spot on – you have hit the proverbial nail on the head!

    While we are on the topic of “pleading the blood,” I’d like to offer you all a discounted price on my demon protection charms – I used to sell them to Harry Potter and his ilk to protect against Voldemort – but they’ve since been upgraded to take care of demons too!

    And for the incredibly low, low price of your sanity and faith in Jesus Christ, you can sign up for my monthly newsletter where I’ll indoctrinate you with this same kind of “out-of-this-world-but-you-won’t-use-your-brain-to-test-what-I’m-saying-so-it’s-all-good” crazy theology too! Wow! And if that were not good enough, let me throw in this free set of Ginsu knives – you just pay shipping and handling of $125! What a bargin!

    /sigh. God rescue His Church – because we surely need it.

  144. Craig says:

    Staci,

    You wrote, “But anyway, back to the topic at hand, we need to remember that the only one ever thrown out of Heaven was the worship leader…..lucifer was in charge of praise and worship, he was the worship leader, so his specialty is music…and remembering this we need to be cautious.”

    While this is commonly thought and taught, this is not borne out in Scripture. Some have extrapolated this, but there’s no Scripture to back it up. The Scripture used to proof-text this is taken out of context.

  145. Craig says:

    Staci,

    You wrote: “Its gonna be a long process, but I’m learning and I will get there….eventually lol”

    Yes, you will! As long as you have the willingness to learn, and learn from the mistakes you and others have made, you will. And, from what you’ve written, you do. As you said it’s about faith, not in yourself, but in the One Who can bring these changes about as you submit to the Holy Spirit.

  146. Arwen4CJ says:

    Staci,

    Wow….that Bob Larson article certainly does show how he is not a Christian.

    Oh, and there is another book that I read awhile ago that seems to be pretty balanced in regard to spiritual warfare — “The Invisible War,” by Chip Ingram.

    Yes, we do need to know about spiritual warfare, and be able to use it if the need arises — but I also think that many Christians, especially hyper-charismatic ones, tend to overemphasize it in an unhealthy way.

    I think what your pastor said is correct — it should only be considered as a last resort — not the first “treatment” to any problem. And yes, a very unhealthy view is to see demons in everything.

    There was a woman who went to my graduate school (which was a seminary), and she was hyper-charismatic in background. She was convinced that her son’s drug problems and sexual immorality, and his rebellion towards her, and various other problems were all the results of demons. So, she would vigorously pray against these demons (she would name one for every sin), blaming her son’s problems entirely on demons, and not his sin. Sadly, her “spiritual warfare” never did anything.

    This woman would constantly go around campus, trying to get rid of the “territorial spirits” that had invaded the campus. For her, evil spirits were responsible for all her problems on campus, and everything that annoyed her. This even included the fact that the post office had decided that students not working in the mail room were no longer allowed in the mail room. Instead, they had to open their mailboxes from the outside.

    Most other students on campus would avoid her. Why? Because she wasn’t pleasant to be around. She would always talk about how demonic spirits were persecuting her, or how there were evil spirits all over the place. She never really seemed happy, and she always seemed to be afraid of demons.

    When she was asked to leave the seminary, she was temporarily homeless. My roommates and I told her that she could stay with us until she found somewhere to live. She stayed with us for over a month, and during the whole time all she did was complain to us. She also tried to pit us roommates against one another by talking to each one of us in private, and saying negative things about our fellow roommates. She also said that evil spirits lived in our apartment, and not the Holy Spirit. She smoked, and she stayed with us in the winter, and she would go out to smoke in the cold without a coat on. She ended up getting sick, and then telling everyone at the hospital how it was our fault that she got sick because our apartment wasn’t clean enough. She ended up leaving after that….

    Perhaps real demons were bothering her, and were following her around wherever she went….but it seems that her spiritual warfare theology, her territorial spiritual warfare practices, and her occultic spiritual practices (like pleading the blood), all opened the door for demonic oppression in her life.

    I had to watch a video about deliverance ministry by a Roman Catholic named Francis MacNutt as part of a requirement at my internship site. I was not impressed at all. The DVD showed him exorcising people….and most of them were Christians. The people would supposedly manifest, making noise and convulsing, and he would exorcise the “demon,” and the person would be fine.

    But I have to wonder if all this apparent demonic possession and oppression is actually created by the whole belief system. Some of these manifestations might be fake, but some might be real. If they are real, then my guess is that the person was never a Christian to begin with, since I still find it hard to believe that a true Christian can be possessed like that, having demons inside them and speak through them.

    So, my question is, do you think that some of these questionable deliverance ministries are sort of a demonic spiritual business — demons manifest, pretend to be cast out (or might actually be cast out, only to return later), keeping people in constant bondage to this kind of deliverance ministry. Individuals who are caught up in this bondage are never able to really be free, and they never find any confidence in Christ?

    Back to talking about Francis MacNutt — he was of the opinion that Christians should always be praying prayers of protection, at least once a day, to ward of demons. He also seemed to suggest that Christians constantly were possessed, especially if they tended to be “wounded” in any way, or were exposed to those who were “wounded.” (Such as counselors) He talked about spirits of rejection and fear or abuse or whatever. (I also read his book on the subject.)

    Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Christians should be doing this, or that Christians can become possessed because they counsel people who have been wounded. I’m pretty sure that Francis MacNutt is not alone in this theology of spiritual warfare. The theology surrounding it just keeps people in constant bondage, making it so that people need to be exorcised regularly.

    So, yes….it would be wonderful if Christians were educated in the correct kind of spiritual warfare — in the biblical kind. However, I think most deliverance ministries today are more like the Francis MacNutt version.

    I praise God for how He is opening your eyes to some dangers within Christianity. The addiction to mountain top experiences isn’t something that only hyper-charismatics fall into — any Christian can fall for it, if we begin to think that emotional experience defines both reality and truth. That’s the real danger — when we think that our feelings are an indicator of our relationship with God.

    I’m so glad to hear that God has been touching your life in such a powerful way.

  147. Arwen4CJ says:

    Shawn,

    LOL :)

    You did a good John Shelby Spong impersonation there, probably without even meaning to :)

    Spong really does have a newsletter that a person can subscribe to for a fee. And for an extra fee, you also get to read his responses to people’s questions. Since Spong’s theology is actually New Thought, it isn’t so different from the kind of off the wall stuff that is being spouted by hyper-charismatics — it just comes packaged a little differently.

    Christianity is being attacked on several different fronts from within — we have the hyper-charismatics on one end and the extremely theologically liberals on the other, but both groups are attacking Christian orthodoxy, the gospel, Jesus Christ, and can be traced back to gnostic type doctrines, and the demons behind those doctrines.

    Their tactics are different, as each group appeals to a different Christian population, making the packages look different, but inside, both packages contain the same rotten fruit. The result is the same — people are pulled away from the true God, and they start accepting occult methods and doctrines. Both belief systems open the follower up to the world of spirit guides, occult practices, and abandoning Christian orthodoxy.

  148. Maria Billingsley says:

    The people would supposedly manifest, making noise and convulsing, and he would exorcise the “demon,” and the person would be fine.

    If you look at what is happening in the churches that practice “slain in the spirit” this manner of manifestation is considered an anointing. Any Christian with just a bit of common sense would recognize this as a false spirit. All these people are being seduced by the “son of perdition” and taking on the mark of the beast. It is spreading like wild fire, no pun intended, When preachers sell the loving grace of God as a circus act we must assume very few are guided by the Holy Spirit.

    The result is the individual inviting the seducing spirit which they think is the Holy Spirit and therefore the real spiritual battle begins. Paranoia for one! God has full control of Satan and will allow him to do un to us that which we invite and covet. The signs and wonders movement is covetous and very dangerous as we all know.

    This video is an abomination…read the detailed caption..this is professed as an anointing.

  149. Craig says:

    A general note to those posting YouTube videos:

    For some reason they are no longer posting. I can see the url initially in my email notifications of pending messages to the site; however, when I go to release the comment on the site, the url is totally GONE. The only way I can post these now are via html tags. See this example for instructions:

    http://www.w3schools.com/tags/att_a_href.asp

    I’m not able to post the actual instructions here as they automatically disappear as it’s read as html code. I can try by substituting ‘{‘ and ‘}’ – subsituted for the necessary left and right arrow keys respectively, the left key is just below the letter “K” and the right is below “L” on your keyboard. Remember DO NOT USE the brackets { }, but use the arrow keys in their place:

    You must put quotes (” “) around the url, and you must put a space between the first ‘a’ and the following ‘href':

    {a href=”the-url-you-wish-to-use”}actual-title-of-video-or-document{/a}

    Using Maria’s YouTube video as an example:

    {a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAWF_wzbWf4″}proof of god….slain in the spirit{/a}

    To reiterate: use the left and right arrow keys in place of the brackets ( { & } ) used in the example above.

    This works to hyperlink ANY url.

  150. Staci says:

    Craig, just to let you know, I can see the links as working, so the problem may be on your side alone, I don’t know if anybody else is experiencing the same problem as Craig though.
    Maria as soon as I have a chance I would like to go and have a look at that video and soon as I have I’ll post here and tell you what I think :)

    Arwen4CJ – As far as your question whether I think these manifestations are real or not, I don’t think there is anyway to know on an intellectual level with our own eyes or understanding. I think each case needs to be judged on his merits but more importantly in these things I think we need to rely on the discernment that the Spirit gives us and trust Him that He knows what is true and what is not. And if seeing a manifestation we need to trust what the Spirit tells us regarding that manifestation.

    In my days when I watched Perry Stone, I liked him because he didn’t just preach at you, you actually learnt something. But anyway, something he said on one of his Israel tours I found very profound with regard to spiritual warfare and Christian’s having demons. He said he was listening to a professor once and this professor was asked the question as to whether a Christian can have a demon and the professor’s response was “a Christian can have whatever a Christian wants to have”.I found this answer to the question quite profound because what he was essentially saying was – if you’re gonna dabble in things you shouldn’t and you’re gonna open doors you shouldn’t and you’re gonna essentially by doing these things as a Christian invite demons into your life, then you’re gonna get what you’re asking for. Its quite that simple, even the Bible says ‘resist the devil and he will flee from you”, I think resisting the devil includes staying away from the occult and witchcraft etc. Don’t extend the invitation and you won’t have anything to worry about.

    I do tend to have this belief on demons though and if you think about it it makes sense. Demon’s would love to toy with us as Christians, if we allow them the opportunity. The reason being that first of allJesus/God said that we are made in His image and they hated Him before they hated us so I would imagine they would take great pleasure in doing us harm precisely for that reason. When we’re not Christians we are living in their world and we are essentially following them whether we know it or not and we’re not a threat to them, but when we become Christians that’s a different story, and we become a threat to them, so any opportunity to harass or oppress or harm us that we give them they’re gonna take the opportunity. Because look at it this way, if they can manage to pull us back into their world in anyway a backslidden Christian becomes a trophy to them or to satan for them to brag that they took one away from God.

    So there are times when the manifestations could be real and other times not so much. But as the Bible says “lean not on your own undestanding….” we need to trust the Spirit in these matters after all He knows better than we do.

    I don’t want to harp on this subject too much since this is not what this particular post is about, but just back to Bob Larson for a second, when watching the documentary on NatGeo on exorcism they interviewed one woman who said that Bob had performed a deliverance on her over 50 times. That each meeting he drove another demon out of her, now when I was training in deliverance and also based on Scripture of Jesus driving out demons I don’t remember in either case being taught that we do this one at a time, over 50 times?? And then logic hit me, why is he doing it this way? because if he does it all at once, that’s one less cash cow he has because she’ll leave his ministry because she no longer needs him. So he does it to keep her coming back. And the longer he drags it out, the longer she’s gonna stick around.
    It makes sense doesn’t it?
    Also part of that interview with her, she said that she had been tormented by demons all her life and that from as early as she could remember they would come into her room at night and rape her. Now this reminded me of a book I read by a Pastor Tom Brown called “Devil, Demon’s and Spiritual Warfare” and he had a similar problem, he said he dealt with a woman who believed that she had blasphemed the Holy Spirit because she had been having sexual relations with demons that were tormenting her. He explained to her that first of all if she had blasphemed the Holy Spirit she wouldn’t even care because God would harden her mind and as they say turn her over to a reprobate mind and she wouldn’t care and second of all it is impossible to have sex with a demon since they do not posses a physical body which makes the act physically impossible. He concluded that she didn’t need deliverance because she didn’t have a problem besides her own insecurity, but a few years later he received a letter saying that she never came right inspite of all that he did to try and help her and had eventually jumped infront of a train and ended her own life.
    This made me think of the woman on NatGeo with Bob Larson, logic hasn’t ocurred to her apparently that a demon does not possess a physical body and therefore does not have the physical ability to rape her. And I’m wondering how far is she from suicide?
    Also I’ve noticed a lot of these deliverance ministers, when conducting a deliverance tend to have a conversation with the thing first, they want to know it’s name, and where it’s from, and why it’s there etc etc, Bob Larson says the reason he does this is to get the information he needs…for what? I ask with tears in my eyes and does he not know that satan and his angels have a tendency to bend the truth (I’m being sarcastic – we all know they blatantly outright lie), so what would be the point of having a conversation with it first? They’re only going to tell you half truths and whole lies. Besides that taking Jesus as an example, He never felt the need to have a pleasant chat first, the most he ever did was in the incident in Mark 5 when He asked the demon its name and it said “my name is legion, for we are many” and Jesus proceeded to show mr legion the exit. Another incident was in the temple with the man who stood up and started shouting and all Jesus said was “get out of him”. Never once did he feel the need to talk to it first. Yet these guys think that’s what needs to be done.

    But just to end off as far as the woman that was in seminary with you that things always seemed to be going wrong for her…..as I said before I find when I spend time with the Lord I’m a lot calmer and more peaceful etc I also find that the days when I spend time with the Lord things that would normally go wrong go right for me and I have a good day as opposed to when I don’t spend time with Him, everything that can go wrong will and I have a miserable day. And I don’t “plead the blood” over my day, all I do is commit the day to Him, put it in His hands and ask Him to have control over every aspect of my day and to walk with me and stay with me. That simple :) And I tend to think that I get better results than some hyper-charismatics pleading the blood over everything.

  151. Craig says:

    Staci,

    The video is seen only because I used a hyperlink. Had I not done that (same with the Kim Walker videos), no one could see them.

  152. Craig says:

    OK, it seems the video links are showing up as usual on the site itself (what the reader sees), yet not in the administrative comments section I see (only the administrator of a site can view this section). This is only a recent phenonemon. I’ve no idea why.

    So, go ahead and post the YouTube urls as usual.

    But, at least everyone can see the instructions to post hyperlinks, as from my earlier comment.

  153. Arwen4CJ says:

    Maria,
    Yes, I am very aware that the “slain in the spirit” phenomenon can be caused by demonic spirits. I also think that some of the people who claim to be “slain in the spirit” are faking it, just because it’s a marker among the hyper-charismatic that someone is spiritual. When it is real, then it is caused by a demonic spirit.

    These people are being seduced, yes.

    Hmmmm…..yes, if someone invites a seducing spirit, whom they think is the Holy Spirit, then I could see how that spirit would come in…

    Yes, that video is an abomination.

  154. Arwen4CJ says:

    Staci,

    It’s hard for me to understand how a real Christian can be possessed, but I also admit that I don’t know everything. The answer that that professor gave does satisfy me, so thank you for sharing it.

    However, there is still danger with the idea that Christians can be possessed, because if a person believes that they can, and that they can invite a demon in…then what would constitute as inviting them in?

    If Christians use too broad an explanation, then that just feeds the unbiblical views of spiritual warfare, in which Christians need to live in constant fear of the possibility of demons possessing them, and thus they always need to be delivered of them, constantly.

    It makes sense to me that if a Christian can be possessed, then it would be only because they were actually playing with real, deadly, fire. (Such as playing with the occult — and this includes hyper-charismatic occultness, talking with demonic spirit guides aka angels of light, engaging in magic, witchcraft, participating in occult manifestations, etc.)

    I still do not believe that a Christian living their normal daily life is in danger of being possessed by a demon. (In other words, I don’t think that helping others, listening to others with problems, etc. are in any danger of being possessed.) If Christians were constantly in danger of being possessed because they were living their lives as Christ wanted us to live, then the NT writers would talk about the need for us to be exorcised often. Jesus would have said something about it. There would have been some mention of it in the Bible.

    I just think that some of these deliverance ministries are going about it all wrong, and that they are breeding more and more demonic encounters. This keeps these exorcists in business, and causes people to trust in this system — people feeling that they always need to get exorcised. It seems to me that it keeps people in bondage, and puts people’s focus on demons and Satan, and not on Jesus Christ. Please not that I’m not saying that I do not believe in demons — but I do think that there is a wrong focus on them in some sections of Christianity.

    And yes, I know that Satan can oppress or bother Christians, but that is not the same thing as possessing people. And, yes, I do think that the demons would really enjoy pulling us away from Christ. But as long as we are in Christ, they can’t really do that…unless, we play with dangerous fire, and we abandon the real Jesus Christ in favor of the false.

    Your point about Bob Larson making money was the point of the second part of my question in the last post — whether or not a spiritual warfare theology that encourages Christians to think that they are always in danger of being possessed, and that they constantly have to be exorcised, is just feeding into the system, keeping people trapped in it. To me, it appears so. It pads their pockets.

    But then, that brings up another question — if Bob Larsen is a false teacher, and is actually working for the demons (knowing it or not), then can he actually exorcise them? Or, are the demons just toying here? They could pretend to leave the person — to cause the person to manifest, let everyone know that they are there — and then allow Bob to say a few words, and then go silent, but not actually leave. Thereby, they could deceive people into thinking that an exorcism took place, and get more and more people trapped into this false ministry, and away from a focus on Christ.

    Please note here that I do think that there are real exorcisms, and real deliverance ministries out there that are doing things right…..but so many of them seem to be off. Thus, I think in general, these ministries seem to be sort of playgrounds for the demons to have fun with people. I think this is especially true with ministries that make deliverance a kind of show or entertainment. The ones who do it in the background, with very few people watching, tend to seem more credible to me.

    I mean, putting on a seminar and inviting a lot of people to come, and to pay to be there, and then have this guy show off, and say, “everyone watch me deliver people from demons,” isn’t that humble. And it seems to only serve to pad pockets and turn the demonic activity into a main attraction.

    If Bob Larson actually knows that there are 50 demons in someone, and only exorcised one per meeting, yes, that would serve to keep the money flowing….but I don’t know if a demon would actually accept the authority of a person who mocks God, regardless of whether or not that person uses the name “Jesus.”

    Anyway, thank you for your responses so far. This deliverance ministry stuff has been something I’ve been wandering about ever since I saw the Francis MacNutt video….

  155. Staci says:

    Arwen – I agree with everything you’ve said. As we all know knowledge is power, so Christians who live in constant fear of being possessed I believe stems from a lack of knowledge and most importantly a lack in knowing the Scriptures. The Bible teaches us everything we need to know about spiritual warfare and if people know scripture well enough I don’t believe they would be living in fear as they do.

    Spiritual Warfare is a subject that has always fascinated even from being a child, maybe not such a good thing since I am of the belief that if you give the enemy enough attention he’ll be happy to oblige your interest and introduce himself in someway. So I am careful to make sure that I keep a good balance.

    I tend to believe that the hyper-charismatics make spiritual warfare more complicated than it needs to be. And i tend to think its simple, stay away from the things God instructed us to stay away from, which would comprise the occult in a nutshell. He never tells us to stay away from something because He wants to be a party pooper, He always has a good reason. i don’t believe that Christians can be fully possessed, provided that they do have The Holy Spirit dwelling in them for the simple reason that the Holy Spirit and a demon cannot occupy the same space. Think about it….would it make any sense that the Holy Spirit could dwell in the same place a demon? no, one of them would have to leave and considering this is God’s Spirit, I think the demon would be shown the exit if it was even hypothetically possible that it would attempt to enter the same space as the Holy Spirit, which is not possible. I do however, believe that demons can and will harass and torment Christians and oppress them and try to make life hard for us. But if we are in Christ that shouldn’t be concern, because as long as we are in Christ, what can they really do to us. “If God is for us who can be against us?”

    I agree with you, Christians living their normal everyday life who live in constant fear of possession are paranoid and they feed that paranoia with a lack of knowledge and also being taught wrong by the wrong people. Jesus didn’t give us a spirit of fear……in fact He left us His peace…..the peace that passes all understanding but some Christians who live in constant fear of possession seem to have forgotten this and what does that say about their trust in their Lord and Saviour? Which is precisely why the Bible gives no mention of Christians being exorcised often because it’s not necessary. Quite frankly if a Christian believes’s that they have something dark bothering them or are being oppressed why do they feel the need to go to a deliverance minister to get rid of it, why don’t they just ask God Himself to remove it? I’m sure if their is something there, He’d be happy to take care of it for them…..or do they believe that the deliverance minister is more competent that God Himself to help them with such a problem? Which is the same thing as the Catholics going to a priest to confess and get forgiveness…who gave the priest authority to forgive sins? only God has that authority. Do you see what I’m getting at, why run to people to help you, when you have the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth who specifically instructed us to cast our cares on Him? or do some Christians believe that man is more competent than God to assist us in our problems?

    I agree with you people who are constantly running for deliverance are definitely in bondage and finding demons behind every bush. And of course it would keep them in bondage and in constant fear and this keeps these so call exorcists in business, these guys feed off of the fact that they know that there are Christians out there who are always going to come running to them for help because they honestly believe that they are possessed. When in fact I believe that these people’s problems run in a different direction to deliverance and they need a different kind of help, but these so called exorcists use these people’s problems and insecurities to their advantage which to me is sick.

    But you are right Christians will be oppress if they don’t keep their focus on Jesus and start toying with things that they really shouldn’t toy with and the things that God told us to stay away from. The Bible says “resist the devil and he will flee from you”….but for some reason these Christians don’t seem to be doing much resisting.

    Of course it pad’s their pockets, as long as these guys have people believing that they constantly need an exorcism, they longer have an income, so all they have to do is fan the flames and keep the people coming back. Think what would happen to these guys if people woke up to the truth, stopped living in fear and stopped coming to their seminars?? they’d be out of a job.

    With Bob Larson….who knows? it could be either one, either he’s a false teacher working with the demons to keep his so-called ministry going or he’s an idiot who actually believes his own lies and actually thinks he’s driving out demons and the demons are toying with him and laughing at him. And no, I don’t believe any demon would take somebody like him seriously because he’s mocking God and not operating under God’s authority and the Spirit’s leading. So I generally think, the demons are laughing at him. There’s a story in the Bible of the pharisees who saw Jesus’ disciples casting out demons and decided that they could do it too because they figured it didn’t look that hard and so they attempted it and the end of the story was that the demons sent them running away down the street minus their pants or with their pants around their ankles….because they were operating on their own authority not under Jesus. Same concept I think.

    I had to go through a deliverance when I was 18, same church I’m with now my problem was manifesting in aggression especially towards my parents, I was vicious beyond anything imagineable, there was a very ugly, dark side to me. And I was 2 different people at church and at home. And when the deliverance ministry of the church saw this, they decided it was necessary. The reason I believe that the deliverance ministry in our church is legit, is because my deliverance was conducted in the middle of the week when the church was deserted and quiet and nobody was there. The only people who knew about it, was the Pastor, the man who was in charge of the deliverances and his assistant and it was conducted in a closed sound-proof room. To this day no other person in that church has any knowledge of that deliverance happening. Can you imagine what life would’ve been like for me if it had been done in public infront of the entire congregation? I would never have been able to walk into that church again with any shred of dignity and that is one of the main reasons why our church keeps it as quiet as it does, to spare the person any level of humiliation. Look you will have the rare occasion when I genuine manifestation will come up in a service, but how a church handles it tells alot. Our church for example will get that person subdued and then get them into a closed room and deal with it there, not in front of the whole congregation. Obviously the congregation will know what happened, but they won’t get to witness a blow by blow account.
    Other churches will deal with it right where it is.

    I don’t think genuine demons would take Bob Larson seriously if he has infact dealt with any and this poor woman is being tortured by this man and falling for his lies hook line and sinker and I actually feel so sorry for her. She obviously has a problem and all he’s doing is exploiting it for his own gain. There’s nothing humble about pride, greed or arrogance.

    But as I said, if Christians especially those that live in fear of possession just got a little more knowledge on the subject and got to know the scriptures a bit better, they’d see that Spiritual Warfare isn’t as complicated as some would like to make it out to be.

    I tend to live and make my decisions this way, if I don’t feel peace about something, I don’t do it. And stay away from the things God told me to stay away from…..if they stick to those 2 things, I think they’d be fine.

  156. Arwen4CJ says:

    Staci,

    It sounds like we are in agreement, then :)

    Wow…yes, it sounds like your church handles deliverance in a sound way, and it respects the dignity of each person. Thank you for sharing your experience here.

    Thank you for your very long explanations. :) We are in agreement here.

  157. Staci says:

    I think we are most definitely in agreement :) Anytime :)

  158. Staci says:

    @Maria…i just had a look at that video…..let’s think about this logically, these people profess that in that state they are in God’s presence? am I right? Now logically what would you imagine your reaction be to begin in God’s presence? does it seem logical that you would shake and convulse and scream etc? I don’t think so. That last video reminds me of the way a genuine demon manifestation would throw somebody around. The way that woman was being thrown around she could seriously hurt herself like that and I don’t think I would be wrong in saying that God would cause your body to do something that could cause injury or end up hurting you….if He did that, then He wouldn’t be a God who loves us, because love doesn’t dictate that you physically harm the people you love? Second of all, if these people were genuinely in God’s presence as they profess to be, wouldn’t it seem logical that they would be in a state of worship as opposed to an apparent epileptic fit? Everything I saw reminds me of a demon manifestation….these people convulsing gives me the impression of some type of demonic spirit having control of them and controlling their bodies? Another thing I have to ask in regards to this….When Jesus was on earth and He encountered people, was He not anointed with the Holy Spirit? And since that was the case why are there no accounts in the Bible of people who came into contact with Jesus reacting this way being in His presence, not just with the Holy Spirit’s anointing on Him but also with Him being God in the flesh? Surely if this is how people react now to God’s presence they would have reacted the same way in Jesus’ presence? In our church I have seen people slain in the spirit, BUT it doesn’t happen often first of all and second of all, the amount of times that I have seen people in our church react in that manner amounts to exactly 0. The reaction to being slain in the spirit in our church that I have seen is the type of reaction that I would logically expect from a person being in the Lord’s presence. They are calm and peaceful and doing nothing more than basking in His presence. I am yet to hear a person scream, or laugh uncontrollably and even less going into violent convulsions. God is a God of order and the times that I have seen people falling in the Spirit it has been with a sense of order and control, the person will fall and they will be left alone, there is nobody standing over them, shouting incantations or anything of the sort. They fall, they are let down gently and left alone and when done they get up calmly and either stay where they are or go back to their seat. The instances in our church of falling in the spirit that I have seen has been nothing more than what I would expect of being in the Lord’s presence which is a state of worship and just enjoying basking in His presence and being there. No, freakshow side attractions, no circus acts, nothing of the sort. Being a Pentecostal church, I think you guys would be very shocked at how calm and peaceful and the sense of order and control in our church lol :D But that video was off the charts and absolutely not normal and definitely not something I’m used to and not something that sits right with me. I’ve always had this question…..what are the blankets for? if anybody knows. Yeah, but that’s frightening.

    http://staciscorner.wordpress.com/

    Added a link to my new blog if you would like to come and follow mine aswell :)

  159. just1ofhis says:

    The first few minutes of this video deals with Rob Bell. The video then moves into a synopsis of other false teachers from the hyper-charismatic camp.

  160. Craig says:

    Spong’s words at 6:36 are instructive here:

    “The function of ‘the Christ’ is not to rescue the sinners, but to empower you and to call you to be more deeply and fully human.”

    This the New Age jesus. If you’ll read the bit at the end of the newest post, the Open Challenge to Fans and Critics of Bill Johnson/Bethel Church, the Levi Dowling quotes with the ‘Christ within’ and the ‘Christ without’ concept, this is what Spong has in view here. To restate this short statement:

    The function of the Christ without (the “now” Word that the WoF/hyper-charismatic folks hear through soaking, “prophetic words” (aka “impressions”), etc.) is not to rescue the sinners, but to empower you and to call you to be more deeply and fully human, by achieving your own divinity via your ‘Christ within’. To be “fully human” is to be god-like, for we all have the seed of god within (divine spark, spiritual DNA, etc.) just waiting to be activated, then fully actualized. We are not inherently sinful; we must reject these ‘error-thoughts’ and listen to the ‘god-thoughts’ (of the ‘Christ without’) – keep a positive mental attitude (since thoughts/words have power).

  161. Maria Billingsley says:

    @staci… If anyone is falling your church has been infected with the false spirit. It starts out innocently with one or two ,probably women, falling to the seducing spirit, Everyone thinks they are special and have an anointing but it is false. This is how Satan gets in. This type of manifestation turns into mayhem. “Seducing”…. this is the key word for pulling Gods people away from doctrine. I am sure when these individuals get seduced your church thinks….wow what power from God! But this is not the case at all. Satan will not present himself as a foe but as a friend to God and will disguise himself as one clothed in white. So be smart and of pure doctrine for that is all we have and that is what Christ told us to do.

  162. Arwen4CJ says:

    Just a note Spong is NOT hyper-charismatic. LOL — I am laughing thinking about him in a hyper-charismatic setting. What he is, though, is an extremely theologically liberal retired Episcopalian bishop, and he has rejected all orthodox theology in favor of New Thought. He’s been tried for heresy three times. (I have no idea why they didn’t find him guilty).

    He’s one of those liberal theologians who is on the Jesus Seminar. He and his buddies pulled all of Jesus’ quotes from the New Testament and then voted on whether or not they thought that He said them. They did the same with His deeds, like the miracles. They basically voted the Gospel of John out.

    He is certainly a false teacher. He’s written books about how Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead. However, if directly asked, he’ll say something like this: “Jesus was raised to the meaning of God.” So, for him, Jesus’ resurrection was only a spiritual thing…or maybe a mystical thing.

    He made the statement that he hopes that New Thought “Christianity,” such as the Unity Church is the future of Christianity. He hates the cross, he hates the concept of sin, and he hates the idea that we are sinners in need of a Savior. He is an enemy of substitutionary atonement.

    He came to my graduate school (which was a seminary) and spoke there. I went to hear him, just to see what he’d say. I already knew that he was a false teacher, etc. His speech was identical to the one I found online that he gave to the Unity Church. I’ll look for the link now. (When he spoke to us, he didn’t praise Unity, New Thought, or Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Science, but everything else was the same.)

    Here’s his Unity speech:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/UnityOnlineOrg/videos?query=Spong

    Here are some links to Unity so that you can see what he’s talking about. (His speech makes more sense if you read up on Unity and New Thought)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unity_Church
    http://www.unity.org/
    http://www.unity.org/about-us/our-philosophy
    http://www.unitydelawareohio.org/what_we_believe.html
    http://www.unitydelawareohio.org/unity_basic_principles.html

    http://www.unity.org/resources/articles/manifesto-time-has-come
    http://www.unity.org/resources/articles/what-expect-unity-retreat

    Craig is right, though — Spong’s Christ is the New Age Christ. (Actually, maybe saying occult Christ would be more accurate). Spong is a fan of the Christ within concept, and the idea that we are all little gods. For Spong, being fully human means being a god.

    The funny thing is that Spong somehow thinks this occult “Christianity” makes more sense than orthodox theology. He doesn’t think that any of the miracles in the Bible are real, yet he thinks that we are all little gods running around. So, here he shows that he believes Jesus is less than his definition of fully human.

    Spong isn’t the only theologically liberal aka progressive theologian who is drawn to Unity and New Thought. Bart Ehrman is another one who is into it, as Spong points out in the above youtube video.

    And, yes, New Thought is directly tied to The Theosophical Society/Gnosticism….the same source that Craig has argued that hyper-charismatics draw from. So although Spong isn’t hyper-charismatic, it does show what is happening on the other end of the theological spectrum, as I said in a previous comment. The very same demons are deceiving Christians with different packaging.

    Spong is also the one that I said has a newsletter that he makes people pay for, including a special subscription for seeing his answers to questions that people ask him about. He is proud of pulling people out of the church, and he calls people who have left the church and decided to follow him the Church Alumni Association.

    Oh, and he labels anyone who disagrees with him a fundamentalist. He thinks people from the midwest are a bunch of country bumpkins who don’t know anything, and he is very full of himself. He lectured the former archbishop of Canterbury in a letter that he sent him.

    Spong makes a big deal about arguing against a theistic God. When you understand his theology, you understand that he’s doing this because of his New Thought pantheistic beliefs.

  163. Craig says:

    As I’ve mentioned before, E.W. Kenyon pulled from New Thought, Unity and Christian Science (all of which have roots contemporaneous with Blavatsky’s Theosophy – which Bailey primarily pulled from, and these cults are praised by Bailey). And, Kenneth E. Hagin (shown in the video by Maria), Copeland, etc. are all from the same polluted Word of Faith stream coming from Kenyon. In the BJ, New Age Christ, III, I quote this from Unity’s own Metaphysical Bible Dictionary (I ‘stumbled’ upon a copy at a local book store) in their definition for “kingdom of God”:

    …Jesus likened the kingdom to a seed because a seed has unexpressed capacities, and needs to be planted in the soil best suited, and when planted in a receptive mind it brings forth the fruits of the Spirit. The life of the word is the spiritual idea it contains.

    The kingdom of heaven is attained, first, by one’s establishing in one’s mind the consciousness of the truth of Being; second, by one’s outer life to Truth.

    Jesus used many commonplace things to illustrate the establishing of the kingdom of heaven in consciousness in order that we might the more easily adjust all our thoughts and acts in harmony with the ideas that make heaven.

    Jesus likened heaven to a man that sowed good seed in his field, but when he slept an enemy sowed tares there (Matt. 13:24-30). The explanation is this: The field is consciousness; the good seed are our true thoughts, which are sown when we express our mind positively. The tares are the error thoughts that drift in when the consciousness is negative or ignorant…

    This is a very similar concept to Dowling’s and the doctrine of B Johnson himself as shown in the Open Challenge post.

    More accurately, New Thought (and all the others mentioned here) is panentheistic, which means “God is in all”, rather than pantheism (“God is all”).

  164. Arwen4CJ says:

    Oh, I just looked at the youtube link I sent. I didn’t realize that it only listed two parts of his speech. I’ll have to look for the rest.

    Here they all are (each segment is under 10 minutes):
    Part 1

    Part 2

    Part 3

    Part 4

    Part 5

    Part 6

    He’s a false teacher, so keep that in mind. He denies all the essentials of our faith. The reason? Because he has embraced Unity/New Thought/Theosophy/Gnosticism/Occult.

    Note how he says he loves Unity and hopes New Thought becomes the future of Christianity. Note also how he talks about the gospel. He calls our gospel false and bad :(

  165. Craig says:

    I need to add: The “Christ without” is essentially taken from Platonism (then Middle Platonism, then Neoplatonism). For simplicity’s sake, I’ll paraphrase rather than get specific on the particulars. Each person has a ‘god within’ (nous, or “mind”), and there is also an external ‘god’. The material, physical realm is either illusory (not real) or an inferior copy of the REAL. The goal is to unite the ‘god within’ to the external ‘god’, and as this process continues the material, physical world sort of fades into the background until this ‘background’ disappears as the person becomes ‘one’ with ‘god’.

    Going back to the Unity quote from earlier: What’s described is the universal “Christ consciousness” concept (promoted in “New Age”). Everyone can attain this “Christ consciousness” by employing the method Unity describes. It is, in essence, just like Platonism, with the “Christ consciousness” (external god) a substitute for the ‘Christ without’.

  166. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Right….panentheistic rather than pantheistic….I made that mistake again. I was looking at my copy of “Kingdom Of The Cults,” by Walter Martin, which calls the god of The Theosophical Society pantheistic, so I used the term as well. You are probably more accurate.

    Thanks for clarifying Kenyon as pulling from all these cults that came out of Blavatsky’s Theosophy. Sorry if I inaccurately stated points you’ve made. I was trying to say that they are all linked together, and it is this kind of stuff that Spong and other liberal theologians want to be the future of Christianity.

    Those in Word of Faith and hyper-charismatism probably also hope that their version of it becomes the future of Christianity.

    If these two movements merge — Spong’s liberals and hyper-charismatics, look out. Somehow, I don’t know if Spong’s ilk would put up with the circus act that goes on with hyper-charismatics, but maybe their spirit guides would tell him that it’s fine. Who knows.

    Even if these two groups never officially merge, they are both on the same side in their fight against Jesus Christ and the gospel.

    It’s valuable to see what these false teachings consist of, because it helps us understand the Word of Faith and the hyper-charismatic teachers better. Their teachings can be traced back to the same source material.

  167. Craig says:

    Most tend to use pantheism, as panentheism is a newer and less well-known term. But, I contend that most of what is termed pantheism (primarily the Eastern religions) are really panentheistic. Also, an important aspect of panentheism typically missed is the transcendent God. Most understand the immanent (god within) aspect, but the transcendent is equally important. Theosophy and Kabbalah both explicitly describe a time when all the sparks/seeds within will converge into one. Then the transcendent portion will join with this now-converged seeds/sparks making “god” whole again – the teaching is that god suffused diffused a part of himself within all of creation and yearns for the time that he himself becomes whole once again.

    But, yes, the hyper-charismatics are different from the more ‘academic’ liberal theology of Spong, Ehrman, John Hick in that the latter group generally disbelieve in the supernatural events in Scripture. But, their Christology is mostly, if not solely, rooted in Gnosticism/Dualism/Platonism. The Emergent church is not, generally, charismatic, yet it has the same skewed Christology underlying it. IMO, these groups will merge together. There are already signs of the Emergent uniting with the hyper-charismatic.

    This is because all of occultism really boils down to much the same theology; it’s just all packaged differently to appeal to this group or that group. Al Dager told me a while back to not try to find a specific occult background for any of these false teachers in the “Church” because they chose a bit of this one and a bit of that one. The more I research, the more I see he’s right. There will be variations; but, the more I research the different ones, the more clearly I see their similarities.

  168. just1ofhis says:

    I don’t know about Spong’s liberals, but Rob Bell is leading people straight into eastern mysticism. One lie told in a thousand different ways…but it is still one lie….”you will be as he”.

    Jesus Christ in the flesh is denied, and man becomes a “god” or a “little god” or “in touch with the divine within him” or whatever….it is all the same. The Bible is altered, added to, subtracted from, torn apart, ignored, and despised. But not forever…Come, Lord Jesus!

  169. Craig says:

    just1ofhis,

    Yes, you’re right. Bell is part of the “Emergent church” stream which has borrowed large chunks of Eastern practices.

    BTW, I’d seen quite a bit of the material on that video, but it was good to see once again how Bell got hammered by Bashim in that interview. Bell was no match for him.

  170. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I cannot recommend enough D.R. McConnell’s A Different Gospel, which goes into the roots of WoF, which of course discusses Kenyon and then Hagin and those disciples of Hagin. I really think you’d get a lot out of it.

    It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but here’s a telling quote:

    At one time I was a blind follower of E.W. Kenyon…Now with the passing of a little time and with a little more understanding I have come to realize that E.W. Kenyon has simply “baptized” many concepts from Christian Science. In so doing, he became a source for a form of “Pentecostal Christian Science,” even though Kenyon himself was not a Pentecostal. [quoted from John Kennington, "E.W. Kenyon and the Metaphysics of Christian Science," unpublished written statement, Portland, OR, July 8, 1986.] – from the first page of chapter 2 of McConnell’s book [I state it this way, rather than referencing a page number, as I have an old non-revised copy of it (Hendrickson Publishing).]

  171. Staci says:

    Well in all honesty….the last time I saw it happen there was in 1998 and since I’ve been back i haven’t seen it once so….I’m not too concerned at the moment :)

  172. peacebringer says:

    Regarding Bob Larson. He had a radio show back in the 80’s and I used to listen to it. He would be very confrontative and would have on supposed satanists and demonic possessed and so on, on the radio. He had a downfall after having and affair and plagarizing someones novel. He really pushed the Satanic Ritualistic Abuse element especially before folks like Mike Warnke were exposed as frauds. After the affairs and the plagarism/stealing his defense was that it was a doppelganger. He disappeared for awhile until coming pack in the past decade having a TV show focusing on exorcisms. The guy spent most of his radio show begging for $ and using the threat of “I could go off air tomorrow if don’t get more funding.” I wouldn’t trust the guy at all.

  173. Arwen4CJ says:

    You know, since yesterday’s conversation, especially in regard to the video that featured Bell, Spong, and the others……and Craig’s comments about Spong, and what I know of Spong……

    I can’t help but wonder if the theological liberals who deny everything, are really following Bailey’s advice. It’s clear from Spong’s speech to the Unity Church that he has read Mary Baker Eddy as well as the leaders of Unity Church. I would find it hard to believe that he hasn’t read Bailey and Blavatsky, and other Theosophy writers.

    If he and other theologically liberal “Christian” scholars have read all these people, and they revere their writings, perhaps they are trying to do what Bailey suggested, but in a different way from those who are in hyper-charismatic leadership.

    Maybe their goal is to strip Christians of their Christian faith, so that they can “rebuild” it, replacing the orthodox beliefs with occult/Theosophy/gnosticism/New Thought/New Age — whatever you want to call it. Many seminaries have the goal of striping people’s faith and replacing it with the faith that the seminary wants the people to have. These liberal theological scholars would be very familiar with that method.

    Before I knew that Ehrman was into Unity doctrine, I’d thought of him as an atheist. He wrote a book about how nothing in the Bible is true, etc. Before I found the Unity videos about Spong, I simply thought he was just trying to deny everything in our faith because he didn’t believe in much of anything. I thought these liberal scholars were pretty much just atheists.

    I honestly think that they are doing this on purpose — they want to come across as denying everything — saying that they are true scholars — just to tear down as many people’s faith as they can. Then, once a person is hooked on these liberal scholars, the scholars will introduce them to New Thought, and those attracted to this kind of liberal theology eat it up.

    Really, this makes sense…because if you take the gospel out, then the Christian faith is empty. The liberals had to replace the content with something else…..and so they are. This would explain why most of the people at my seminary (most people were liberal in their theology) were embracing spirituality found in Eastern religions and the occult. They were doing what Spong and the others taught them.

    The bishop in residence at my seminary (she is United Methodist), is a huge fan of Spong. She taught courses in spirituality, and she used a lot of Spong’s writings. She also invited a spiritual director to the seminary who was into the New Age and shamanism. She recommended this spiritual director to both students and professors alike……Also, something that both students and professors found hugely attractive was the Eastern kind of meditation and guided imagery.

    So, it isn’t that the Spong and other theological liberals are not embracing eastern mysticism. They very much are. But it’s being introduced into their sector of the church in a very different way from how it’s being introduced in hyper-charismatic circles. Many liberals value scholarship, so Spong and the others are using scholarship as the means by which to bring New Thought ideas into the church. They intellectualize everything orthodox right out of Christianity, then they replace it with occult spirituality — but people accept it because they accept the scholarship of these scholars.

    Craig, I agree with what you said about occultism being packaged differently in order to appeal to different people, yet that it all is really the same teaching from the same demonic source.

    Thanks for the recommendation of “A Different Gospel.” I will have to read it. It sounds very interesting.

    Hmmm, perhaps the groups will merge together once they have appealed to enough people in each group to see a common bond. Then the leaders of each groups would have to sit down and discuss things, and they’d have to accept one another. If they are both working towards the same goal, and they each have spirit guides, then it could work. I think any merging might be a ways off yet, though….though who knows what might be going on. As far as the Emergent Church merging with hyper-charismatics, that may very well be further along.

    At some point I think those in all these groups will accept the Anti-Christ, and then they really will merge into the one world religion.

  174. just1ofhis says:

    Staci,

    I never once witnessed anyone “slain in the spirit” in the wof church we were attending. What we were exposed to was a celebration of the “ministry” of Kenneth Hagin. Honestly, I was shocked when I saw the clip above of KH “drunk in the spirit” for the first time. But, both of my pastors had learned directly from him, and his philosophies were theirs. But the way it was all packaged and presented had all the trimmings of “normal” church, for lack of a better word.

    What we did see that set off our alarms were the following:

    1. an emphasis on a literal 10% tithe (and the promise that God would prosper you, if you did)

    2. Bible teaching centered on little snippets of scripture often pulled out of context. It was rare to hear an entire Bible passage read in context.

    3. an extreme emphasis on how things and people looked in the church (was it appealing to folks who wandered in off the street?)

    4. an out-of-control youth (the pastors called them “on-fire for ‘god’ “, but what we witnessed were teens who jumped up and down uncontrollably during the ‘worship’ part of church and had a hard time sitting still for the ‘sermon’). What we later learned is that the youth program was being “bethelized” before the church. One of the girls involved in the youth program asked after a wild night of youth “worship”, “Do the adults in the church know what we are doing?”

    5. obsessive paranoia about the “words” that people would speak.

    We heard people boast of their experiences being “slain in the spirit”, as we heard them boast of their “gifts”, but we never witnessed “slain in the spirit” (or “drunk in the spirit” for that matter) in the church.

    That said, “slain in the spirit” or “drunk in the spirit” are things that line up with eastern mystic practices and not with anything in the Word of God. They have been borrrowed from pagan religious systems and just had “Christianese” added to them. Scripture does not back them up. As a matter of fact, scripture tells us that “self-control” is a fruit of the Spirit of God. I don’t know anyone who can fall to the ground in a stupor and claim “self-control”. I do believe they are “basking” in something, but it is the same “something” that pagans “bask” in when they fall down.

    If you aren’t seeing it in your church, good.

    I remember a story of a few women who went to watch William Branham during one of his “performances”. These were Bible-believing women who didn’t know if Branham was a real follower of Jesus Christ or not. When they got to the church they prayed and asked God to bless Branham’s work if it was of Him but to stop Branham if it wasn’t. Branham walked out on stage, paused, and announced something to the effect that there was a “spirit” present that was going to keep him from doing anything that night and left. God is so faithful!

    If we keep asking God what is of Him and what isn’t, He will always answer. If we ask Him to protect us from falsehood and lies, He will always do so.

    “Two things I ask of you, O LORD;
    do not refuse me before I die:
    Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.
    Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
    and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’
    Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:7-9)

    Jesus’s version:

    “Our Father, in heaven,
    hallowed be your name,
    Your kingdom come,
    your will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us today our daily bread.
    Forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    But deliver us from the evil one.” (Matt 6:9-13)

  175. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I’d say you’re right, but I think it’s actually more simple. The common denominator of all these false religions/cults/sects is demonic influence. There is enough overlap for an adherent of one of these to also accept some of the tenets of another, without necessitating actually having read the other material.

    The way I see it, the one-world religion will not so much be only one with its own set of beliefs, but a universal acceptance of many of these individual aberrant belief systems. The key will be that each one accept the other as equally valid. This, of course, will necessarily exclude Christianity which is by very definition exclusive. On the Lucis Trust website are two separate articles which speak of the “evil of separation/separateness”, which, if one reads between the lines, speaks of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

    But, on the other hand, I’m not sure what to make of Islam. I cannot figure how Islam will fit into the one-world religion scenario. The best I could come up with is that radical Islam will be used as a tool to rid the world of Christians and Jews, as Judeo-Christian ideals are the real enemy of the enemy. Yet, I concede there are some holes in that theory.

  176. Craig says:

    just1ofhis,

    The account you reference about Branham is like the following. This is a portion used in the In Exonerating Paul Cain is the ‘Aberrant Practices’ Document Invalidated? article:

    …Kurt Koch relates that Branham was limited in his healing: “if my angel does not give the sign, I cannot heal.” [Koch, Kurt Occult A-B-C. 1986 (second edition), Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI; p 235]. The following, from his book, provides more indication of occultism:

    Another evidence [of spiritistic (occult) healing] is the fact that…Branham [was unable] to perform cures when faced with born-again Christians who had committed themselves to the protection of [Jesus] Christ…When he [Branham] spoke in Karlsruhe and Lausanne, there were several believers in the audience – including myself – who prayed along these lines: “Lord, if this man’s powers are from You, then bless and use him, but if the healing gifts are not from You, then hinder him.” The result? On both occasions Branham said from the platform, “There are disturbing powers here, I can do nothing.” [ibid]

  177. just1ofhis says:

    “But, on the other hand, I’m not sure what to make of Islam. I cannot figure how Islam will fit into the one-world religion scenario.”

    Another possibility is that the liberal forms of Islam will meld into the “one world religion”; while the radical forms will be among the persecuted. You are already seeing a number of “churches” combining “christianity”, islam, and judaism. They aren’t “unity” churches per se, but churches that have 3 separate branches with combined common ground.

    Those liberal forms of Islam will accept the same perversions that the liberal forms of “Christianity” (and the liberal forms of Judaism) do. People will either join up to that system or be shut out of it.

    As Mao was coming into power in China, those who opposed him were shut out of the Chinese system. Even today, the model exists already in China. Those who support the Chinese system are in the innermost circle and treated as “citizens” with rights. Those who go against the Chinese system are outside of this circle (house churches included). They are not considered “citizens” and do not have the same rights. The government can come into their properties and take everything away from them, jail them, torchure them…you name it. It is a shadow of what the final system will look like. As Mao came into power, 100,000,000 people starved to death.

    If we live to see that day, we are going to have to rely completely on God to provide our daily bread in every form that it is needed. It will be a real test of faith, and patient endurance of the saints will be required. I believe that day, in part, is how God will punish the Great Harlot church system. Those who don’t come out of her in time will be persecuted along with her.

    In Rev 17 verse 3, the harlot is sitting on top of the beast with the ten horns.

    “Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.”

    In Rev 17 verse 16-17, the beast with the ten horns turns on the harlot and devours her.

    “The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitue. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put in into their hears to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled.”

    “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;” (Rev 18: 4)

  178. just1ofhis says:

    “Deep in America’s heartland, a Reform synagogue, a nondenominational mosque and an Episcopalian church are all putting down roots on a 37-acre tract of land that once belonged to a Jewish country club. A body of water called Hell Creek runs through the development, over which the faith groups plan to build “Heaven’s Bridge.” ”

    Read more: http://forward.com/articles/140929/a-church-a-shul-and-a-mosque-try-faithful-experime/#ixzz2OexD6Gfo

    They are going to build “Heaven’s Bridge” over Hell Creek….that is funny!

  179. Craig says:

    just1ofhis,

    That was a well thought out comment! There’s no doubt the less ‘committed’ Christians, Jews, and Muslims will embrace the new religion (and some have already). Perhaps radical Islam will continue until they’ve done the damage the world elites wish; and, following that, they will be among the persecuted. Revelation does talk of actual beheadings, something that Sharia Law allows.

  180. Shawn says:

    Craig,

    You said, “the way I see it, the one-world religion will not so much be only one with its own set of beliefs, but a universal acceptance of many of these individual aberrant belief systems. The key will be that each one accept the other as equally valid. This, of course, will necessarily exclude Christianity which is by very definition exclusive.”

    I’m not sure I agree. I think it is entirely probable for “Christianity” to become the “one-world” religion. We only need to look at the “Seeker friendly” movement to get an indication of how this could be possible. Even mainstream Catholicism is under pressure to encourage members to use condoms to reduce out of wedlock babies. Other Churches have already accepted gay ministers into the Church – how long before that pressure is also applied to the Catholic Church?

    I think given enough time, Churches are more than capable of throwing out the pure Gospel of Christ, and the divisions/judgments it causes the unsaved, in order to continue to morph into an all-encompassing and welcoming religion.

    Have you never heard that “Jesus appears to people/cultures as they need to see him? That there are many pathways to God? Buddah and Allah are other names for God?” My friend – we do not know how this will all turn out but I am deeply concerned for the Christian faith and the corruption of Biblical teachings – again, I think it is more than likely that “the Church” could be the one-world religion.

  181. Craig says:

    Shawn,

    I think we’re saying the same thing. True Christianity will never merge into/with the one-world religion, but the tares amongst the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30) will not “stand firm till the end” (Matt 24:13). The ‘converts’ from “seeker friendly” are quite likely the tares.

    Many churches have already thrown out the Gospel of Christ. That includes hyper-charismaticism and the Emergent church. The Gospel is not preached.

    And, yes I’m well aware of other “jesus'” in the other religions.

  182. Craig says:

    Shawn,

    Check out this two part article I wrote a while back:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/misplaced-trust-part-i/

    I will also add “the Church” is not a building or many different buildings, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Yet, many seem to think that by going to the church building down the street they are somehow pleasing God. At the least, they are assuaging their own guilt. But, the true Church is made up of those who’ve accepted the True Gospel of Jesus Christ, and, consequently have the Holy Spirit indwelling. And, those led of the Spirit, will resist the coming one-world religion with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.

    This means quite likely that they will have to stop going to the church building down the street, for these buildings will be polluted with the false gospel which pervades many already and/or there will not be enough congregants of the faithful churches to keep them running.

  183. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Yes, I know that the common denominator between all these false religions/cults/sects is demonic influence. The demons know what they are doing.

    However, sometimes the leaders in these groups do read each other’s works. I do know that Spong is a scholar, and he has read some of the things written by those in Unity. I know for sure he’s read Mary Baker Eddy, and he likes their work. A scholar who really likes a piece of writing is likely to read more coming from that school of thought. So, I’m guessing he has read at least some of Bailey.

    I suppose I went a bit far by suggesting that he’s probably following her advice, whether on purpose or not. That may or may not be the case. You’re right about the demons influencing her.

    And you’re right about the one-world religion likely being a universal acceptance of many of these individual aberrant belief systems. But I do think that this will mostly consist of the stuff that looks like what we’ve seen in people who have spirit guides — the gnosticism/occult stuff that has been in all these false movements.

  184. Craig says:

    Sorry, didn’t mean to imply that Spong absolutely did not read any of the Bailey material. My point was that he may have received it directly from the demonic realm instead. But, then again, he may have read some Bailey (or Blavatsky even).

  185. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Right — he could have gotten it from a combination of the two. Demons are definitely in the mix. I think that’s a way that a lot of these false teachers are getting their doctrine — on the one had through experiential, such as contemplative prayer/soaking/eastern method they use to have an experience, or through occult power.

    And on the other hand, they’ve read work by like-minded individuals, which further influences their ideas or teachings. This would still have its origin in demonic (because the original work was likely obtained through occult means), but we can still be influenced by the persuasion of another person, especially if we like what they have to say.

    In the end, it doesn’t matter how much he got directly, and how much he got from reading other people’s work. The actual origin of the doctrine is the same — it is doctrine of demons. The same can be applied to Bill Johnson and those in the hyper-charismatic camp.

    How this will all enfold in the end times we don’t know. I would expect it to continue as it has — people abandoning the gospel in the church, in favor of occult doctrine and practice. Whether or not the one world religion will embrace the Christian label, or will use a new label, we don’t know. We don’t know how organized it will actually be either. It could be that people are “allowed” to keep their own religious affiliation, as long as they adhere to the approved occult beliefs. So liberal Christianity, liberal Judaism, liberal Islam, etc. could be allowed. Orthodox Christianity and orthodox Judaism will not be tolerated, as these faiths are enemies to occult doctrine.

  186. Craig says:

    I firmly believe that a Christian label will be part of the one-world religion. The way I see it, this is integral to lure and keep those who’ve grown up in the West under a Christian (or quasi-Christian) culture. So, just like Cerinthus thought the “Christ Spirit” descended upon Jesus [way back at the dawn of the 2nd century], thus perverting our faith, the same will likely continue in order to appeal to those in the West.

    If you don’t have a copy of Constance Cumbey’s first book (not meaning to exclude her second), The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow, you should get a copy. It can be found used on the cheap. In it she has reference to a full page article taken out in ’81 (or so, don’t recall offhand) in a number of prominent newspapers worldwide announcing “THE CHRIST IS NOW HERE”. Of course, this refers to the Antichrist (substitute Christ). In this ad is the statement that he will be known as the Imam Mahdi to Muslims, the Fifth Buddha to Buddhists, the Messiah to Jews, etc.

  187. Craig says:

    I’ve just added the full page advertisment “THE CHRIST IS NOW HERE” at the end of the ‘Misplaced Trust’ article:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/misplaced-trust-part-i/

    I’ve enlarged it to make the text more readable.

  188. Shawn says:

    Hi Craig,

    You said, “I think we’re saying the same thing. True Christianity will never merge into/with the one-world religion, but the tares amongst the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30) will not “stand firm till the end” (Matt 24:13). The ‘converts’ from “seeker friendly” are quite likely the tares.”

    Thanks for clarifying your earlier comments – I agree 100% – the true Church will be saved, the false one will not.

    Arwen4CJ, you said, “You did a good John Shelby Spong impersonation there, probably without even meaning to.”

    You’re absolutely right – I’ve never heard of the guy before and after reading some of the comments about him on here, I’m not surprised – he sounds exactly like the type of person I try and avoid.

  189. Erinn says:

    Thank you for this post. Very helpful. It explains alot about some of the movements and church’s about the feel good seekers.

    I do want to share. I go to Rob DeLucas church and he is my pastor. Our church is nothing like what you explained. In fact those people that just chase the glory but don’t go deep end up leaving. I have spent more time on the floor getting my heart right and getting a level of freedom and deliverance and learning the word like never before over the last 2 years. They have guest speakers from time to time but they are ones who bring the word of the Lord and we have all changed and become more like Jesus because of The Delucas and leadership. They cause me to want to change and keep my heart pure. The Bible talks about jewels and gold and his love that is for us. It’s just not the focus its the blessing of Gods love for us. We are a church of friendship and family and unity. I have felt more love from these people than anyone before. They are selfless and truly laying down their life for us.

    Hope this clears up any confusion or thoughts that HisWay is the same as all the other holy spirit lead church’s. Its clearly not and the people that came from bethel type church’s seem to leave because they don’t like how this church causes you to change and repent and be on your face getting your life right staying in the word and renewing your mind with the word each and everyday. They have taught me to have authority with the word in my life. I am so very thankful for this church. I have been set free as well from the deception and feel good fantasy life I had with the glory addicition and no real fruit or change or deliverance from all the pain in my heart until God lead me to this church and I am getting healed and delivered and becoming who God created me to be.

  190. Craig says:

    Erinn,

    While I myself have not looked into Rob Deluca, others have. He has compared the Holy Spirit to an epidural injection (I saw the video on YouTube a while back, but it’s now “private”), and, in so doing, has reduced the third Person of the Trinity to a substance and plaything. Deluca is no better than the other hyper-charismatic false prophets in the church to include Bill Johnson of Bethel.

  191. Arwen4CJ says:

    Erinn,

    I know nothing of your church either or your pastor. I just visited the church website, and I couldn’t find any statement of faith there. Maybe I just didn’t see the link, or maybe there isn’t a link to it…..but I couldn’t check the doctrine. I haven’t seen any youtube videos of him either, so I cannot evaluate it.

    What is the main thread or teaching of the teachings that you hear from the pulpit? What does your pastor often preach on? What is his emphasis? For example, if your church had holy week services, what was the message? (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter).

    If he taught about Jesus death and resurrection, what did he specifically say about these things? What do they mean for us as believers, etc. If you could summarize this in your own words, that would be helpful :)

    What you said about the people in the congregation is what many people find in their churches, which is very comforting. It’s definitely a plus, and the type of church that most people want to belong to. The problem, though, is that it doesn’t necessarily guard against heresy. I could say the same things about the people who were in the two churches that I was a part of when they were getting theologically off. That’s why we can’t test a church’s soundness by whether or not the people are loving and care for one another and are like a family.

    What you had to say was a beautiful testimony of your experience, but sadly, those attending Mormon churches could say the same thing about their congregations. I think most Christians want to have an experience like this, which is why people can be deceived into thinking that their church is doctrinally correct.

    It does sound like you want to grow in your relationship with God, that you want a pure heart before Him, and that your faith in Him is genuine, and that you do not chase after signs and wonders yourself. I don’t know what all you have been set free from or your experience, and I cannot argue against your testimony, nor do I want to. I just want to caution you that many people in different sorts of churches have similar testimonies, which is why we can’t judge the soundness of a church’s doctrine by personal experience alone.

    You said that you have learned to have authority with the word in your life — what do you mean by that? What does that look like? Can you give an example.

  192. Kent says:

    This is a little weird for me. I went to a church like you guys are talking about that’s super conservative. Everyone dresses super nice every Sunday. You better not have a tattoo or long hair or you wil be considered a sinner. No effort is given to bring the presence of Jesus. It wasn’t till I went to a charismatic church that sings tons of Jesus culture songs and preaches about the love of Jesus more than condemnation for sinners that I truly repented for my sin and turned my life to God. I saw how passionate these people were about Jesus and how serious they were about their relationship with him. Yes they love bill Johnson. Yea they love soaking
    And jesus culture. Yes they hate sin. Yes they preach repentence. Yes they are 100 percent serious about spreadin the gospel to the lost. It’s all about our heart. Many people are trying to knock the new apostolic/charismatic movement because we are 100 percent about the presence of God and we leave out the religion. There are less hypocrites and more righteous people in this church than any I have ever been to. Alot of people have tattoos and long hair but they know the word and they live their lives for Jesus.

  193. Craig says:

    Kent,

    You’re speaking of stereotypes and false dichotomies. I’ve only rarely attended a “super conservative” church like you describe, and I didn’t attend long. I’m actually quite liberal (I’ve only been a Christian for 13 years and I’m passed the 50 year mark; so, I know what it’s like to be in the world) in a lot of ways. I don’t like tattoos, and I don’t think one should get a tattoo, but that’s not that big of a deal to me – HOWEVER, if one is all tatted-up, I don’t find that God-honoring in the least. If a person had tattoos in their “BC” life, then I certainly won’t see any big deal (though I think any sacrilegious ones should be covered up and eventually removed); but, I have to wonder when a professing Christian gets all tatted-up during their “Christian” walk (think Todd Bentley).

    But, you are sadly mistaken when you say you “leave out religion”. I’m assuming that “religion” means doctrine (as you say, “they know the word”), correct? Well, any time you speak about God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, you are talking about doctrine. Doctrine is important as it separates Christianity from cults and false religions.

    Tell me, Kent, in your own words, what is the Gospel? Have you heard Bill Johnson preach the Gospel? And, what is “the presence of God”?

  194. Craig says:

    Kent,

    And, you mention Jesus Culture: I just posted a comment on another thread about Kim Walker’s account of seeing both Jesus and the Father with VERY bizarre behavior. According to Scripture, you know “religion”, no one has and can see the Father except Jesus, and the OT states that no one can see God and live. Yet, here we have Kim Walker:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/assessing-bill-johnsons-eternally-god-declarations-amidst-his-other-christological-statements-2/#comment-9050

    Now, either Kim Walker was having some horrible awake-dream, or a demonic encounter. Remember, Satan comes as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14).

  195. Maria Billingsley says:

    Bill Johnson does not preach that Christ came in the flesh in the true sense of what Christ preached. Therefore one must test the spirits, for Satan comes as an angel of light to deceive many, even the elect. Lets not get caught up with the feathers,glory clouds and especially the fire tunnel, for these are given by God to those who seek signs and wonders, the adulterous generation, Get out, repent lest you get swallowed by the fish that Jonah was in.

  196. Arwen4CJ says:

    Kent,

    You’re assuming that everyone who questions Bill Johnson and other hyper-charismatic teachings must be “super conservative” and legalistic. No one here has mentioned that long hair on men or having tattoos makes someone sinful, or that not wearing fancy clothes to church makes someone a sinner. We might have our own opinion on tattoos and such, but that doesn’t mean that we assume that everyone who has them is sinning.

    As Craig asked you, I’d like to know what you mean by the “presence of Jesus.” Let’s define terms here so that we can have a conversation.

    While people need to hear about the love of Jesus for sure, I think that it can become a huge problem if that is ALL a church preaches on, or if that is mainly what the church focuses on. Why? Because even New Age/occult spirit guides tell people how much “god” loves them. Focusing too much on being loved can be a snare for us. Truth has to be preached too…and that includes that we are sinners.

    John chapter 1 says that Jesus came in grace AND truth. I’ve heard someone say that if Jesus just came in grace, then He wouldn’t be just. And if He came in just truth, then we would all be condemned.

    How would you define repentance? What do you mean when you said you repented? What do you mean by saying they preach repentance? (I’m asking these questions because there are some hyper-charismatic teachers who have different definitions from that of orthodoxy).

    And I, too, would like to know, in your own words, what the gospel is.

  197. just1ofhis says:

    “No effort is given to bring the presence of Jesus.”

    Jesus Christ IS the Word of God made flesh. No person “brings” His presence anywhere. He Is. And He has given us His Holy Word. And if we want to commune with Him and spend time sitting at His feet, then we open our Bibles and read and partake of the feast He has laid out freely for us. It is so very simple, in spite of the efforts of the “wise” to mess it up.

  198. Reblogged this on The Narrowing Path and commented:
    This is a testimony worth reading. I have heard many reliable testimonies that corroborate this one, both from people exposed to Bethel Church, as well as to other churches/ministries around the world that teach similar false doctrine. Please read this and if you wish to learn more, the other articles on the Crosswise website are an excellent place to start.

  199. Dawn says:

    You wrote “So I gave up my regular bible reading and embraced soaking.”

    Obviously, that is not a very wise thing to do from the get-go.

    An analogy: certain medical drugs are beneficial to saving lives, but just because some people abuse them and use them to the extreme, does it mean the drugs are bad and should be banned?

    No.

    Soaking and worship is a wonderful part of a believer’s relationship with our Father, but it is NOT everything to it. “We do not live on bread alone but on the Word of God”. Mature Christians would know that. It is unfortunate that you didn’t have more proper guidance and support during your initial experiences in the revival movement.

    Bill Johnson himself has preached – “don’t chase signs and wonders. Chase Jesus and signs and wonders will follow you.”

    His sermons have greatly blessed me and many other believers I know in pointing us to Jesus. I pray you will have greater discernment in the future. Shalom and may you grow from glory to glory in Christ.

  200. Craig says:

    Dawn,

    You wrote: Bill Johnson himself has preached – “don’t chase signs and wonders. Chase Jesus and signs and wonders will follow you.”

    Do you have a source for that? Here’s an article about a Johnson tweet, “If signs and wonders don’t follow you, follow them until they follow you.”

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/bill-johnson-and-the-sign-of-jonah/

    And “soaking” is not much different than contemplative prayer, which is not much different than the Eastern Transcendental Meditation. We meditate on God’s Word by reading and then reflecting, thinking about, concentrating on what the Word says; we don’t empty our minds (only to have it filled it with who-knows-what, and there’s actually no way to ‘empty’ our minds in the first place), and we don’t chant a mantra (which ends up putting one in a hypnotic, suggestive state).

    There are many articles on this blog that point to the myriad problems with Bill Johnson’s theology.

  201. RK says:

    Craig, this may help with your concern with Bill Johnson: http://youtu.be/Fsqu35kojQw.

    Both statements can be true and helpful in the right context …

    “don’t chase signs and wonders. Chase Jesus and signs and wonders will follow you.”

    “If signs and wonders don’t follow you, follow them until they follow you.”

    With any move of God, the flesh and/or demons will come in to destroy the authentic work. We are in a spiritual war. Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

    Peace.

  202. Craig says:

    RK,

    No, sorry, but that video (I just listened to the first minute and a half) does nothing for me. The story of Chris and the subsequent story of the lady from Montana are in the last two pages of his When Heaven Invades Earth book. Johnson claims he has a tape of Chris’ healing of his club feet, yet with all the YouTube videos of Johnson, I’ve yet to see the actual tape of this purported healing. Have you seen the tape?

    Benny Hinn also claims many have been healed, so did Todd Bentley, yet there is absolutely NO evidence. The Greek word pneuma (transliterated) means either spirit or wind. The hyper-charismatic pneuma is nothing but hot air.

    And, I guess you don’t get that the two quotes are contradictory. One says to chase signs and wonders, the other says to “chase Jesus” so that signs and wonders will follow.

  203. Pingback: Is it bad to play Jesus Culture in church? - Page 2 - Christian Chat Rooms & Forums

  204. amybeth8484 says:

    This was exactly my same experience with the Brownsville Revival! They put fear in you by telling you that if you question them you are grieving the Spirit, could be committing the unpardonable sin, and could even bring God’s judgment upon yourself just for questioning anything. The enemy is very cunning. He has people tricked into thinking that religious demons cannot be present in a place where the name of Jesus is being preached.

  205. Craig says:

    amybeth8484,

    If you don’t mind me asking, who was in leadership at the time?

  206. Craig says:

    Readers of this thread should view the video posted here in this comment:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/miscellany/comment-page-1/#comment-10819

  207. Linda says:

    I have read some posts re attending psycic fairs and as a person called to share the gospel I disagree with these posts saying the gospel isnt preached. Many people came to faith as the experiencec the love, truth of the gospel and the prophetic. It was a huge blessing to see God work like this and a privilege to be involved. I am not by the way bethelised but I know that day God moved powerfully on these dear folk and was like out of the Bible.It comes down to a belief that God wants to use us in healing, deliverance, bringing the gospel or not, all I can say is I do believe this and Jesus himself said You will do even greater works than these. I have seem
    n and experienced 100% accurate prophetic words that open people’s life for the gospel like Jexus did e.g the woman at the well. Jesus often demonstrated the supernatural power of God before He revealed who He was. In the last days we will need each other so lets not be quick to criticise each other and play into the hands of the enemy .Bless you all dear ones. LINDA X

  208. Craig says:

    Linda,

    Assuming you are not a ‘drive-by’ commenter, please explain in your own words exactly what the Gospel is.

    As to your comment about doing greater works, please read this article: http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/greater-works-shall-you-do/.

  209. Linda says:

    Hi Craig God loved us so much that He sent His own son to die, receive the punishment for our own personal sin, becoming the sacrifice so removing the guilt of our sin, removing the barrier that had existed between us and God thus restoring us to right relationship with God, restoring destiny and giving us life for eternity. What a wonderful Father.

  210. Arwen4CJ says:

    Linda, what did you mean when you said, “restoring destiny?”

  211. Bran says:

    I too have had to realize that being charismatic, or whatever, many of the new churches are are just like any other part of history. Maybe a truth is revealed but then a religion is formed out of it. I have had to not run and turn completely away from everything out of fear, but learned to stay close to the Father so He can show me how to “eat the meat and spit out The bones”. There’s truths (meat) always mixed with something twisted (bones)

  212. Craig says:

    Bran,

    This is why I differentiate between “charismatic” and “hyper-charismatic.”

  213. Craig says:

    David Alan Black posted this account of a man arrested for driving “drunk-in-the-spirit” (I didn’t capitalize “spirit” on purpose):

    http://www.larknews.com/archives/426

    “He was swerving all over the road, and laughing and staggering around when we got him out of the truck,” says an officer.

    Henderson could not stand on one leg, nor walk a straight line, and was thrown into the city jail for the night, where he giggled and spoke in tongues.

    “I was so high on the Holy Spirit, it was a good night for me, no matter where I was,” he says.

    Fort Morgan’s “drunk-in-the-Spirit driving” ordinance prohibits people from driving in “a mentally impaired or intoxicated state.” Police perch near revival meetings to hand out tickets to erratic drivers. The city is also considering a law against “spiritual drunkenness among young people” which could land pastors and visiting evangelists in hot water.

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