Five Years On: Todd Bentley and Bob Jones Teaching Manifest Sons of God in 2008 (Birth of the Man-Child)

2008 was a banner year for the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR – what I term hyper-charismaticism) – at least until it was revealed that Todd Bentley was having an affair with his nanny and divorcing his wife, the mother of their two children (he and the nanny married later).  From April 2nd until about August 11th of that year the so-called Lakeland Revival was headed by Todd Bentley.  Bentley was, shall we say, “christened” by a number of NAR “Apostles” including C. Peter Wagner, Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, Che Ahn, and others on June 23rd.  It’s too bad for these “Apostles” that there wasn’t an NAR “Prophet” who could have foreseen the disaster that was Bentley’s adultery/divorce and subsequent remarriage.  Perhaps all the NAR “Prophets” were deep in thought, otherwise busy, traveling, sleeping, etc. at the time (cf. 1 Kings 18:27-28)?  But I digress.

The purpose of this article is to revisit some Manifest Sons of God (MSoG) teaching in order to educate those not quite understanding this particular doctrine, its ramifications, and how it fits into the larger scheme of things.  Following are two examples from 2008.

On May 28, in a somewhat lengthy monologue, Bentley explicitly spoke of and promoted the MSoG doctrine.  Here’s a portion:

Tonight is a crossing over and we have a moment,’ says the Lord, ‘where we can labor and travail until Christ is formed in you

…I feel if we gave it a big push that we can literally form Christ – Christ in you.  I’m talking about a maturing of what God has placed on the inside of your spirit.  It’s gonna come out of the birth canal – it’s gonna come out of the womb – because there is a labor and there is a travailing that is going on in the spirit…

…And, we are saying LET THERE BE LIFE.  And, there was life—speaking things into existence.  I am talking about a creative realm… …Under the anointing you make a declaration and it forms tonight…

…We’re going to go back into travail right now until Christ is formed.  God promised a day where heaven and earth must retain Him until the restoration of all things.  Heaven will hold back the coming of Jesus Christ until sons and daughters come into maturity.  It’s called the Manifestation of the sons of God.

Heaven will hold back the Second Coming… A mature church manifests the glory of God.  A mature church manifests the Word of God in truth and power.  A mature church walks in holiness and character.  A mature church walks in miracle, signs, and wonders.

I’m talking about a maturity tonight – and it’s being formed in you.  Let Christ be formed in maturity.  Let the full man, let the fullness of God come forth, and let the womb open tonight…and let there be a great birthing…

The birthing, laboring, and travailing language is all part of the “birth of the man-child” doctrine, an important aspect of MSoG, as it’s the culmination of the teaching.  According to this teaching, there will be ‘one new, perfect man’ (a perversion of Ephesians 4:13).  This is the climax of Bentley’s monologue: “Let Christ be formed in maturity.  Let the full man, let the fullness of God come forth, and let the womb open tonight…and let there be a great birthing…” The New Age / New Spirituality calls this the forthcoming “Corporate Christ”.  MSoG doctrine is such that this “birth of the man-child” IS the Second Coming.  This is paralleled in New Age / New Spirituality teachings (see below).

With the proceedings of Lakeland in full swing, Bob Jones spoke at a conference held at Heritage International Ministries Retreat Center, featuring Todd Bentley, Bob Jones, and Rick Joyner, on August 08th (DVD of this event sold through Rick Joyner’s MorningStar Ministries Media Store, item # TS50, “Todd Bentley Healing and Impartation Service, 08-08-08”).  Here’s an excerpt of his monologue:

The New Breed is just simply the body of Christ is gonna grow up…What He’s [God’s] doing now is bringing you to a level of maturity where you grow up…So, what he’s talking about is; the New Breed is this: it’s Romans 1:4 – the spirit of holiness.  So, for years I tried to get understanding of what the spirit of holiness is for it’s different than the Holy Spirit [ED: YIKES!].

So, last Saturday, He spoke to me about a New Breed of people.  And, He said, ‘I don’t want to get in front of them, I want you to get behind them.  They’ll be close to the ages of 25 and 40… this is who the New Breed is.’

The New Breed will be those that are partaker of the divine nature.  As you begin to grow into the likeness of Christ you’re gonna begin to partake of the divine nature.  And, once you begin to grow up in that-a-way you’ll continue to mature until you look like Christ all over the world.  Jesus was one person.  Now get ready for Jesuses [sic - plural of “Jesus”] all over the world.  Then, he began to tell me that those who have [sic] partaker of his divine nature shall be a friend with God – John  15:15…

So, that divine nature is a friend.  It’s really Paul’s prayer.  I believe God is answering Paul’s prayer in Galatians 4:19 ‘I travail for you, I pray for you until Christ be formed in you.’  There are Christians on the earth now that are growing in maturity to where Christ is being formed in youIf Christ is being formed in you then when you speak you’ll speak as Christ did.  And, you’ll have also authority in this.  Then, in this He was saying ‘this then will be a generation that will do nothing apart from the Father.’  So, I think the main thing you’re getting ready for is a generation for the fathers to come back in.  And, I think the first one that’s gonna come back is Papa.  For Jesus came back over…2000 years ago, The Holy Spirit came over 100 years ago [ED: apparently a reference to Azuza Street], this last revelation is who your Daddy is.  And, I think this is what’s getting ready – is Papa’s getting ready to reveal his family.  And, His family, what He lacks in you is what was in His Son.  So, there are those who’s gonna begin to shine like the Son.  And, that divine nature will have authority over all the works of the enemy

I’ve been back here 33 years today [ED: Jones is speaking about his own purported death and resuscitation experience].  33 years ago I stood before the Lord.   I looked into His eyes.  To be honest with ya, I didn’t want to come back because it had been so hard.  But, He asked… He told me,” if you’ll go back you’ll see the greatest wave of all time in evangelism.  I’m gonna bring over a billion youth into myself.”  Now, these that’s between 25 and 40 are youth leaders.  Getting ready for a birthing of youth beyond anything you’ve ever seen before…And, what he’s after now is the 25 to 40’s which are harvesters…So, get ready.  Things have changed.  The New Breed – let’s get behind them.  For they’re gonna bring the youth behind them.  It’s a change of times.  The torch is being transferred from the old generation to this 25 to 40.  This is the New Breed.

We won’t go into all the issues in Jones’ awful use of Scripture (that was done here).  The main reason in putting both Bentley’s and Jones’ MSoG teachings on the same page is to show the reader what to look for in the teachings of others.  With this in mind, re-read (or read for the first time) the two previous CrossWise articles (here and here) and look for similarities.  Let’s discuss. 

But, before doing so, ponder on the words of Alice A. Bailey – occultist, New Ager, the willing vehicle of the channeled writings of “Djwhal Khul”:

…We can produce, and as a [human] race, give birth to, the next kingdom in nature, which Christ called the kingdom of God; this is the kingdom of souls, the kingdom of spiritual lives, and herein, uniquely, Christ emerges… [From Bethlehem to Calvary: The Initiations of Jesus © 1937 by Alice A. Bailey, renewed 1957 by Foster Bailey, Lucis Trust, 4th paperback ed., 1989, Fort Orange Press, Albany, NY, p 259.  Emphasis added.]

More explicitly, here’s Barbara Marx Hubbard in her work The Book of Co-Creation: The Revelation, Our Crisis is a Birth [Foundation for Conscious Evolution, Sonoma, CA, 1993 (first edition)] with even more alarming tie-ins to Bentley’s and Jones’ messages above (and others who’ve taught MSoG in hyper-charismaticism).  In a section titled The Marriage of Christ and Eve, she begins by referencing the Virgin Birth and the fact that Christ raised Himself from the dead – at least she affirms Jesus Christ’s role in His own resurrection, contrary to Bill Johnson and others who claim it was “the Father by the Spirit” – wondering: “Are we moving beyond sexual reproduction and preprogrammed death?” [p 55].

In order for “Eve” to marry Christ, one’s body must be prepared to transform, to regenerate itself…

If we are approaching a new “normalcy,” normalizing in ourselves what Christ could do, as the next stage in our evolution, then do we have the innate ability, as a proto-universal species, to “become mothers to ourselves,” giving birth to ourselves as fully evolved humans?… [p 56.  Emphasis added.]

Marx Hubbard ponders this and other questions until she receives a “revelation” about her own previous “birth experience”, which she records in a journal:

The benign presence I sensed in my planetary birth experience was the Christ.  The light that surrounded the Earth and awakened us was the Christ-light.  The light that arose within us was the Christ-light that dwells in every one of us! [p 56.  Bold in original]”

She then explains:

The Christ “act” – to do the work that he did – is a new kind of resurrection and transformation at the dawn of the next stage of evolution.

The marriage of Christ and Eve happens at the Second Coming.  It is in real time, like his birth.  It is an event in history [p 56.   Emphasis added.]

Recall the words of many in hyper-charismaticism, such as this one example by Bill Johnson: Jesus is returning for a bride whose body is in equal proportion to her head [as referenced here].  Also, consider Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO, with his emphasis on the so-called “Bridal Paradigm”, in which Jesus is “love-sick for His Bride”.

Later in this same book Marx Hubbard goes through the Book of Revelation [skipping 6:3-8, though this is covered in an unpublished manuscript of this work, as quoted from here], claiming new revelation from “Higher Voices”.  In the following these “Voices” ‘expound’ on Revelation 9:15-16, 18-21, bringing “new revelation”:

The alternative to Armageddon is the Planetary Pentecost.  When a critical mass are in the upper room of consciousness on a planetary scale, each will hear from within, in their own language, the mighty words of God.  All who are attuned will be radically empowered to be and do as Jesus did.  If those people who are not self-centered align their thoughts in perfect faith, that they are whole, created in the image of God, the world can be saved.  [p 147.  Emphasis in original.]

Obviously, we know that God will not change His Word and save the whole world.  But, note the similarities of this to various teachers within hyper-charismaticism.  Note the hyper-charismatic call to unity at the expense of sound doctrine.  Recall Jones’ (and others) teaching that there will be a “billion souls saved”.  Are these actually a billion souls lost to the New Age / New Spirituality “Jesus”?

Reader, I implore you, please read the words of Bentley and Jones then compare to the words of Marx Hubbard and Bailey.

NOTE: The Barbara Marx Hubbard material was reprised in a later book titled The Revelation: A Message of Hope for the New Millennium [Nataraj Publishing, Novato, CA, 1995], with the pagination a bit different from above.

About these ads

209 Responses to Five Years On: Todd Bentley and Bob Jones Teaching Manifest Sons of God in 2008 (Birth of the Man-Child)

  1. Carolyn says:

    Barbara Marx Hubbard quote: The alternative to Armageddon is the Planetary Pentecost. When a critical mass are in the upper room of consciousness on a planetary scale, each will hear from within, in their own language, the mighty words of God. All who are attuned will be radically empowered to be and do as Jesus did. If those people who are not self-centered align their thoughts in perfect faith, that they are whole, created in the image of God, the world can be saved. [p 147. Emphasis in original.]

    It does sound like a page out of the play book of the NAR…and Bill Johnson’s teaching. Keep the focus on the cosmic consciousness, the planetary movements, the corporate involvement, attuned to ONE LANGUAGE (Tower of Babel anyone?) and the empowerment of the people to save themselves. That way no one thinks of what Jesus actually taught (simple but profound truths) and what he wants and what HE came to do. And so…when everything turns out EXACTLY the way he told them it would, and he says to them, “I never knew you”…they will be surprised, because that will be the first time they ever REALLY heard him speak.

  2. Arwen4CJ says:

    Something clever that those in the hyper-charismatic movement do is play words games. When I confronted the pastor at the church I used to attend, calling his sermon on birthing what it was — dominionism and Manifest Sons of God (he even used the word “dominion” several times in his sermon, in reference to Satan stealing dominion from Adam and Eve, and Christ winning it back for us at the cross, so now we need to claim dominion over Satan, etc.) I defined what dominionism and Manifest Sons of God doctrine was.

    His whole sermon was about “birthing something in the spirit realm/making something spiritual happen in heaven so that it will happen on earth…” He plugged Dutch Sheets several times, recommended his books, especially the one on intercession, and revealed that he had attended Dutch Sheets’ church when he had lived out west.

    He had some guy come up at the end of service to give a prophetic word, and that “word” had to do with dominionism/birthing stuff too.

    So in part of his e-mail response to me he said something like this, “I didn’t know (name of church) was preaching dominionism and Manifest Sons of God doctrine. That is news to me. (He was being sarcastic there). I call those things Triumphism, and I do not preach that. We don’t teach it.”

    I looked up Triumphism just now, and it seems to be a very general word that means believing someone is superior to others. That’s a good description of the overall attitude that accompanies the hyper-charismatic teachings.

    I suppose that this pastor reasoned that hyper-charismatics do not teach any aspect of Triumphism because they believe that the eliteness isn’t something humans perceive, but is ordained by God? Or maybe they are blind to where these doctrines lead.

    In any case, the pastor didn’t address any of the theological issues in Manifest Sons of God/dominionism. He didn’t affirm them or deny them. He was just quick to change words and then say that the church didn’t teach “it.” He changed it to a term that was very broad and had no real theological content to it — it was more of a sociological term.

    Anyway, it does seem that those in the hyper-charismatic world are teaching very similar things to those into the occult. Again, these pastors would probably deny it, changing terms and not addressing the actual theological concerns.

  3. Craig says:

    Playing semantics is exactly what these folks do. When push comes to shove, they’ll tell you what (they think) you want to hear. Yea, basically I’m calling them fabricators. When one looks at the “preponderance” of the message of the likes of Bill Johnson et al, it’s clear that they are not teaching Biblical truth. There’s always leaven with it – sometimes more so than Truth. And the way I see it, the doctrines of hyper-charismaticism line up closer to New Age / New Spirituality / occult than Biblical Truth.

  4. Arwen4CJ says:

    There seems to be a fakeness about these pastors in this movement. When questioned directly, they do tell us what they think we want to hear. Switching terms confuses people, but I knew he had dodged the actual issue, and his answer didn’t make me feel any better.

    When these leaders in this movement are asked:
    Do you believe that Jesus is God? They will attempt to answer in an orthodox way, even if their actual teachings suggest differently.

    When an unbilbical doctrine is defined and asked about, they deny that they teach it — playing the semantics game, or some other method to try to confuse the issue….and they never end up talking about the actual doctrine in hopes that we won’t notice the falseness.

    I am inclined to think now that the leaders of these churches know more than they let on about how their doctrine is unbiblical, and that they are being very sneaky about how they are trying to bring it into their churches.

    The senior pastor at the church in my graduate school town was also very fakey about things. I had a conversation with him about the Toronto “blessing” and the manifestations associated with that, and Todd Bentley, etc. He assured me that he thought those things were not of God, and were too far. Maybe he did think that to some degree. And maybe he was lying. I had the feeling he was lying a bit….and that he was telling me what he knew I wanted to hear from him. Why? Because he was secretly passing out Bill Johnson’s books to people in the church and recommending them. His sermons and doctrines were consistent with Bill Johnson.

    It is possible he thought the Toronto Blessing and Bentley stuff went too far, yet he didn’t have a problem with the doctrine. I don’t know.

    But I felt there was a fakeness to both pastors, and I didn’t really trust either of them.

  5. Craig says:

    I’ve heard/read quite a few accounts of “pastors” essentially booting out an ‘offending’ congregant for having dared to question them. It may not exactly be that extreme in every case, but that’s pretty much what it amounts to. When the congregant works up enough nerve to actually question the “pastor”, the “pastor” pays the individual lip service. If the questioner continues, then the tactics begin. It becomes an ad hominem attack on the questioner until finally they leave.

    I’m convinced that those churches that want their congregants to list all their previous struggles with various sins will use these very struggles against them. If you’ve struggled with substance abuse, then you must be ‘using’ again; if you’ve had trouble with sexual sin, then you must be struggling with it anew (or it never really abated). It’s used as blackmail.

    Then there’s the strong groupthink. If you question the “pastor” you are labeled as one who does not submit to authority, and very soon every one knows. Then, it’s time to shun. Of course, those who are left in the group who may have doubts don’t dare to question for fear of being shunned themselves. Feeling isolated, the individual reluctantly leaves, a wounded person.

    Essentially, the “pastor” does not want you there any longer for fear that you’ll persuade some others.

  6. Craig says:

    Let’s discuss specifics. How does the info in this article relate to the two previous articles? How does it relate to the Kris Vallotton article?

  7. Carolyn says:

    Arwen, I like what Craig said, and I would add: if we have the Spirit of Christ in us and we are sensing that someone is lying to us, or that something isn’t quite right, whether it be coming from our pastor or whoever, then chances are it is a different spirit operating in the other person. Truth is truth…and the Spirit of Truth will witness with our spirit that what we are hearing is right or wrong. True Christians are not those who call him Lord, but those who believe and do what he says.

    If the person you are talking to is wanting something besides truth, and is blinded by his/her own wilful persuasions, favourite mentors and chosen doctrines, there’s not much hope of them “hearing” you, although you still have the responsibility to tell the truth and point out error.

    If they won’t listen to the Word, they probably won’t listen to you.
    Matthew 10:23-25
    New International Version (NIV)
    23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
    24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!

    It’s very disappointing to see the disconnect and blindness in others. Seeing how I came out of my own blindness, gives me hope for some of them.

    ******

    Craig: Specifics? ok…here’s one. “Christ formed in you”…they love that one. You’ll hear it expounded by Bill Johnson. in his “throne speech” and by Todd Bentley above:
    “…I feel if we gave it a big push that we can literally form Christ – Christ in you. I’m talking about a maturing of what God has placed on the inside of your spirit. It’s gonna come out of the birth canal – it’s gonna come out of the womb – because there is a labor and there is a travailing that is going on in the spirit…”

    And they love “partaker of the divine nature”…

    “…The New Breed will be those that are partaker of the divine nature. As you begin to grow into the likeness of Christ you’re gonna begin to partake of the divine nature. And, once you begin to grow up in that-a-way you’ll continue to mature until you look like Christ all over the world.”

    In both these quotes, they are making a case for self exaltation. I won’t say a lot more, because there isn’t much more to say…it’s that simple, at least for me it is.

    When you read the Word FOR YOURSELF, without the embellishment of the “spirit” of these guys, then you have a sense of being humbled at the reality of Christ being formed in you or as you become a partaker of the divine nature. Yes, CHRIST is exalted. We are diminished. Opposite thing occurs when they are up there on the stage, pumping out this prideful seduction cloaked in a veneer of false humility.

    How do I know these guys are lying???? Their lips are moving…and I have the witness of the Spirit.

  8. IWTT says:

    @Craig says:
    August 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    They have all probably read Rick Warrens book to pastors who do PDL on how to get rid of church members who aren’t in unity with the program…

  9. Craig says:

    I wasn’t aware there was such a book. I’d LOVE to get a copy!

  10. Harold says:

    I live just north of Joyner’s New Age Mystic Church (Heritage). In the last 20 years, I have watched many area churches get involved in the heresy and apostasy they spew. Even some of the old mainline Pentecostal & Charismatic churches have fell to it. I have fought against their heresies for that whole time, an action which has caused me to be labeled a trouble-maker by many, even to the point of losing friends and Christian colleagues over their Apostasy.

    I recently read an article by Paul Washer that gave me a great deal of peace over this. He said someone came up to him and said “isn’t it terrible how so many people are being deceived by people like Rick Warren and Rick Joyner and Joel Osteen?”. Paul immediately told that person (great word of wisdom)- “those preachers have not deceived those people. Those people were deceived when they went to their churches. Have you not read the scriptures?

    2Ti 4:3 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;
    2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    No, these people have found teachers to tell them what they want to hear. These preachers are merely God’s Judgement against them for not holding with sound doctrine!”

    According to the Bible, the Dispensation of Grace is ending. Soon, we’ll enter the time of Judgement. We are in the last days before the end of the Church Age (same dispensation- also ‘Times of the Gentiles’). I think the Judgment on America has already begun. If it hasn’t, I certainly don’t want to be here when it does start.

  11. Craig says:

    Harold,

    I’m glad you held fast to the Truth!

    I think 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 applies as well:

    9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

    I’ve lost friends, as well, over this.

  12. IWTT says:

    http://pastors.com/6-biblical-ways-to-handle-disunity/

    Rick Warren on those who oppose “Purpose Driven” teachings in their church:

    “Be willing to let people leave the church. And I told you earlier the fact that people are gonna leave the church no matter what you do. But when you define the vision, you’re choosing who leaves. You say, “But Rick, yes, they’re the pillars of the church.” Now, you know what pillars are. Pillars are people who hold things up … And in your church, you may have to have some blessed subtractions before you have any real additions.”

    — Rick Warren, while giving his “Building a Purpose-Driven Church” seminar at Saddleback Church, January, 1998. Seminar was taped, transcribed, and reported on by Dennis Costella in his article The Church Growth Movement.

    http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/04/2-purpose.htm

  13. just1ofhis says:

    “But when you define the vision, you’re choosing who leaves.”

    That is a very telling statement.

  14. Here is a wonderful video sermon from Samson Jebutu on the Holiness of God. In it, he also refutes the current claims of visions, trips to heaven and other unbiblical ‘god’ encounters and he also defines “true men of God”.

    It is a great encouragement! I hope you are as blessed by it as I was. Keep standing firm in the faith.

    (Harold, you might enjoy this!).

  15. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Wonderful message, Narrowing Path! So refreshing to listen to this dear pastor.

  16. Carolyn says:

    Sherryn: That video was very timely and powerful for me.

    I found myself by a stroke of misfortune, today to be situated in the pen of the Bulls of Bashan (if you’ve met them, you will know what I mean). They had obviously been awaiting a chance to straighten me out on my Christian faith and took the opportunity with passion and frankness. The main spokeswoman said that she was not religious, but that she was “spiritual”. I said, with a wry smile, that obviously because I am a Christian, I believe in Christ. She gave me a withering look as she informed me that the Bible was written by men. I responded with “but with inspiration”.

    I won’t even bother to discuss the profane babblings of the others. They presented me with a platter full of arguments against all the world religions, including Christianity that just don’t add up to anything worthwhile. I said very little because it was pointless. They seemed to know more than me, except they didn’t know WHO i knew. Even the works of religion versus relationship with God seemed a moot point when someone was proclaiming to relate spiritually to God (albeit, without specifics). As the barking and snapping continued, silence seemed my best option. My body came out of that episode alive, but my spirit was a bit deflated.

    When I got on the internet tonight, I was intending to take a refresher course in what makes Christianity different from the “spirituality” of all the other proclamations. Stopping by Crosswise for a quick pass, and seeing your video clip, I decided I would listen for a bit to see if anything caught my attention. Yes, it was exactly what I needed to hear tonight. Like YesNa, I am refreshed and transformed by the truth of his Holiness. That is for certain something very different than what you find among those who claim a spiritual walk apart from the true God of the Bible! Thanks for posting!

  17. Carolyn says:

    FYI: Sometimes it seems like we are getting off topic (and sometimes we are) but I prefer to believe that most of the time, God is directing our conversations if we are submitted to him. For instance after a few of us recently had a conversation about the different heavens and near death experiences, Last week, I had a very specific conversation with someone about God, eternity and faith along the very same lines. It was a definite benefit to have all those concepts fresh in my mind when being asked questions by this individual. It really seemed that God had ordered the whole thing and I was, once again, in awe his work….

  18. :-)

    For great Bible teaching with another fabulous accent…try Dr Lloyd-Jones at mljtrust.org. Particularly “Not Ashamed of the Gospel” and “God Must Punish Sin” (also at NTP). Two sermons every Christian should hear, and ideally memorize!

    I agree that the discussion that goes on here seems to be equipping me for conversations that keep cropping up in the ‘real world’. I hope it has the same benefit to the rest of the crew!

    Slightly related to this, I had a very lovely, mature Christian lady I know ask me about a nearby Anglican church’s new healing ministry (over a lovely lunch chat). Something set off my “NAR” radar and I expressed my sense of vague unease to her. I asked her if she would like me to look up the church and the foundation for it’s ministry and she said ‘yes please’ as she had been planning to attend, but would now hold off going. I looked into it and lo and behold…it has been started by Ken Fish of Kingdom Fire Ministries. And yes, the clue is in the ministry name. This is the same guy who when he came over here last year, my old pastor attended and had ‘words of knowledge’ spoken over him. His teachings are pure NAR. Grrr….anyway, the blessing is being able to steer my dear friend away from exposing herself from something unholy.

    A sidebar…this same friend’s son was born at over 12 pounds, clinically dead (really, truly dead) and had no hearbeat or breathing for 45 minutes. He is now an Olympic hockey player for Australia (played on the bronze medal winning team at Bejing), has no disability (was actually very advanced in his development) and is a born-again Christian. So she has seen a real miracle. I’d like to see BJ show me one of those!

  19. As for “Pastor” Rick and his purpose drivel, well let’s just not get me started. I have seen that poison fruit in action at my last church. Disgraceful, bullying behaviour in the name of unity. Not true unity in Christ, that’s for sure! On my blog is an article on unity (http://thenarrowingpath.com/2013/08/18/true-and-false-unity-in-the-body-of-christ/).

    Here is a free book on the new age connections in his PDL stuff, written by a faithful sister in Christ, Tamara Hartzell who also writes at Lighthouse Trails.

    http://www.inthenameofpurpose.org/

    The book is In The Name Of Purpose: Sacrificing Truth on the Altar of Unity and can be downloaded for free. Her book “The Ark Of Oneness” about the emergent church is also available there for free download. Imagine that. A free book. Funny how I see that a lot with true believers, and NEVER with NAR or PDL folks. Hmmm….

    (If I have shared this before, just ignore this comment. I was just reminded of this great resource when IWTT mentioned the Rickster.)

    @ Carolyn, thanks for the feedback by the way. Bulls of Bashan…is that the Amos reference? Ouch. Also, I love seeing how the Lord is working in your life. :-)

  20. Carolyn says:

    Sherryn: actually I had Psalm 22 in mind Bulls of Bashan

    Ps. 22:12,13,16
    12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
    13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
    16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

    It was more of a feeling I got as they talked and a sense of evil…

  21. Now I read the Psalms reference again, I do know the feeling you mean and why you would use that reference. I am struck sometimes at the darkness in certain people I meet, a wilfulness and very conscious rejection of God…beyond the usual. It is very disconcerting to encounter these people.

    By the way, Craig…Keith Gibson was on The Berean Call radio program talking more about the dangers of the NAR movement. I haven’t listened to it, but I wonder if he talks about BJ too.

  22. Carolyn says:

    Thanks, Sherryn for kind words. Yes, the hatred does sometimes go beyond human anger…there’s something in the eyes….

    Again, not endorsing this person….don’t know him…I was just looking up Bulls of Bashan and found a bit of trivia/info

    http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/bulls-of-bashan-craig-benner-sermon-on-cross-174244.asp

    “Bashan is mentioned 60 times in the Bible.
    Bashan was a city on the east side of the Jordan River. Probably to the far north. Most likely what is the Golan Heights today.
    It is known for cattle grazing on its hills and for the many oaks that grow on it.

    Dt. 3:10-13
    10 All the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, unto Salchah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan.
    11 For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.
    12 ¶ And this land, which we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, and half mount Gilead, and the cities thereof, gave I unto the Reubenites and to the Gadites.
    13 And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, being the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, with all Bashan, which was called the land of giants.

    Og, who was king of Bashan, was the last of a line of giants that Moses was to conquer.
    Og was a descendent of Rephaim. Known in Hebrew as the “walking dead”.

    Amos 4:1
    Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink.

    Herein is the picture of the Innocent who has been surrounded by wild, raging creatures. They encircle their prey. The prophet, Amos, tells us that they make a party out of their misdeeds.

    Those who took part in the crucifiction of Christ are likened to three savage animal:
    1. strong bulls
    2. ravening, roaring lions
    3. wild dogs”

  23. Craig says:

    One of the direct correlations between both Jones and Bentley in this post and Vallotton in the previous post is the way they all distort Galatians 4:19. Jones actually mentions it by chapter/verse making it easy to find, while Bentley states, “labor and travail until Christ is formed in you” and ad nauseum throughout. Vallotton states, “It is important that we ingest the Word of God in a way that causes us to digest His life until Christ is literally formed in us.”

    And, since I didn’t state this explicitly… Then we have Barbara Marx Hubbard’s, “do we have the innate ability, as a proto-universal species, to “become mothers to ourselves,” giving birth to ourselves as fully evolved humans?”, which compares to Bentley’s:

    “Let Christ be formed in maturity. Let the full man, let the fullness of God come forth, and let the womb open tonight…and let there be a great birthing…”

  24. Carolyn says:

    …”until Christ is “literally” formed in you”…isn’t that an addition to the Word to make it say something different? (tongue in cheek)

    …and this addition to the Word is chilling:
    “Let Christ be formed in maturity. Let the full man, let the fullness of God come forth, and let the womb open tonight…and let there be a great birthing…”

  25. Craig says:

    While researching for an article, I came across this Bailey quote regarding the “first Initiation”:

    [The disciple]…should lift them [his eyes] to the plane where dwells his immortal Spirit, and then by self-discipline, mind-control and a definite refining of his material bodies, whether subtle or physical, fit himself to be a vehicle for the divine birth, and participate in the first Initiation. When the Christ-child (as the Christians so beautifully express it) has been born in the cave of the heart, then that divine guest can consciously control the lower material bodies by means of consecrated mind. Only when the buddi [ED: intuitional thought] has assumed an ever-increasing control of the personality, via the mental plane…, will the personality respond to that which is above…Only when Spirit, by the power of thought, controls the material vehicles, does the subjective life assume its rightful place, does the God within shine and blaze forth till the form is lost from sight… [Alice A. Bailey A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, 1951, 4th edition, Lucis, NY, pp 139-140; emphasis added.]

  26. Craig says:

    The above quote is taken from a chapter titled Kundalini and the Spine. It is described as a “fire at the base of the spine”. Recall Bentley repeatedly talking about the “fire of God” as he ‘imparted’ those at Lakeland.

  27. just1ofhis says:

    For just $55, you can enroll in Bentley’s latest school of the prophets:

    “Fresh Fire Ministries is excited to announce our brand new School of the Prophets. Its time of a greater release of the true Prophetic and Supernatural Ministry. This is a gathering of prophetic ministries and speakers include Todd Bentley, Rick Joyner, Bob Jones, Jason Hooper and Ivan Roman. This will be more than just a School, we are believing for an atmosphere of heaven and an awesome release of spirit of prophecy and the spirit of revelation. We will be releasing and activating people in the prophetic. You will not want to miss the impartation and training that will be takeing place during this event.

    Class Listings:
    Session 1: Activating our Spiritual Senses
    Session 2: The Foundation of the Prophetic Heart
    Session 3: Developing the Seer Gift
    Session 4: Cultivating a Love for the Word
    Session 5: Basics of Prophecy
    Session 6: Prophetic Decrees
    Session 7: Activating our Spiritual Senses
    Session 8: Cultivating a Prophetic Heart Pt1
    Session 9: Cultivating a Prophetic Heart Pt2
    Session 10: Panel Q&A
    Session 11: Walk of the Prophetic Person
    Session 12: Levels of Prophetic Revelations”

    http://www.freshfireusa.com/email-template/email-banner/4-03-2013-email-blast.html

    Hmmmm…no session on the abomination of sexual immorality.

  28. Arwen4CJ says:

    And nothing on discernment or foundational biblical doctrine either. This sounds like an occult class to me.

  29. just1ofhis says:

    Rick Joyner calls for a full military takeover of the United States. I am not familiar with this web-site, but they have the video of Rick Joyner posted. Morningstar has managed to scrub this video off of youtube already, but this site still has it:

    http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/david/christian-tv-host-asks-god-military-takeover

  30. Craig says:

    This is very disturbing!

  31. Arwen4CJ says:

    Wow…..I read the comments on the link, and they made me just as sad as the article/video. I’m just as scared by the idea of Joyner’s statement as I am by the statements of those commenting. I’ve seen this kind of thing before —

    The idea that it’s okay to lock people up, or even kill them, because they express different beliefs than we do (whether it be political or religious, or something else), because those people “deserve it.”

    I’ve seen this expressed from both sides of the political spectrum.

    I also am seeing something else — people buying into stereotypes of specific groups of people — Republicans or Democrats. In this case, they are stereotyping Republicans and Christians, assuming that they hate poor people, are racists, and making assumptions that people like Joyner speak for all of them.

    This is how they are able to make statements like, “religion should be outlawed,” “these people should be locked up,” “wouldn’t it be great if we used the guillotine to kill these nut jobs,” etc.

    I don’t like Joyner at all — he is clearly misleading people and is teaching evil doctrine. However, I don’t want the government to knock on his door and secretly arrest him without trial. I don’t want the government to simply dispose of him, by guillotine or any other means.

    Even though Joyner made fool of himself, and is wrong, and he should not have said those things doesn’t mean he should have his rights striped from him. He can spew whatever garbage he wants to, even if what he says is unbiblical, Anti-Christ, and just plain foolish. He does have a right to free speech.

    I’m concerned that people buying into the “all Christians are just like him” or “all Republican Christians are like him,” or “all evangelical Christians are like him,” or “all theologically conservative Christians are like him,” and their justification and opinion of what should be done to people like him, might be applied to all of us.

    They might see no problem in killing theologically conservative Christians because they honestly don’t think we deserve any rights, or even life itself. So they might not see a problem with calling for all Christians of a definition of their choosing to all be systematically destroyed.

    It’s quite telling to see the extent to which people would go for those who don’t agree with them. Those who truly support rights should be evaluated on this basis — what kinds of rights (or lack of rights) should people have that hold to different opinions from you, even those spewing heretical statements?

    Because, ultimately, it comes down to who would get to define who has the “right” opinions and who doesn’t? That’s why we should be advocating for rights of everyone, no matter what side they come from. If we don’t watch out, our rights could be taken away because we, as a people, think it’s okay to take them away from those we don’t agree with.

    If atheists were in charge of determining who had the “wrong” idea, then certainly those who hold to orthodox Christianity would fall under the definition of people who should not have rights.

    If hyper-charismatics were in charge of determining who had the “wrong” idea, then it would be everyone who disagreed with the “anointing.” Maybe Joyner hopes to personally make his spiritual civil war a reality. There would be those in the military who would be hyper-charismatic.

    If people into the occult were in charge of determining who had the “wrong” idea, then they’d also eliminate all those holding to Christian orthodoxy and anyone else opposing their belief system.

    And we could keep listing groups here.

    The fact is, using this kind of justification for taking people’s rights (and lives) is dangerous in any hands, whether it be from some military takeover, or from the government itself, or from some other source.

  32. Arwen4CJ says:

    I guess the point I was trying to make is that if we do not allow people who disagree with us to speak freely in this country, then how can we hope that will be given the right to speak freely? Once someone starts limiting the rights of some, then eventually our rights will be taken away, too.

    It might start small — for example, maybe those who are part of the hyper-charismatic movement might be silenced, imprisoned, or killed. People might be tempted to think, “good riddance — these people were spewing false doctrine and leading people away from the real Jesus. Now there are fewer false teachers, so people are less likely to be deceived.” The reason for getting rid of these people might be, “These people are providing unhealthy, dangerous belief systems, so they need to be locked up or killed.”

    But then it might extend to those who hold to a view that is not popular in society — such as viewing some things as sins. The argument might be, “this is for the good of society — these people have backwards or bigoted views, so they need to be locked up or killed.”

    Then it might extend to those who are against occult spirituality — anything against New Thought. The reasoning given might be, “these people are stuck in their old ways, and they are not able to progress spiritually. They are holding humanity back. This is for the good of everyone that they be locked up or killed.”

  33. just1ofhis says:

    “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign LORD who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways AND WILL BRING THE WAY OF TRUTH INTO DISREPUTE.” (2 Pet 2:1-2)

    I read some of the comments also, Arwen, and was deeply saddened by them. Joyner shoots off his mouth with no fear of a Holy and Sovereign God, and those who have heard him shun us all. God is Sovereign. All authority in heaven and on earth is already given to Jesus Christ. He can place leaders or remove them at His will. It is a complete lack of faith in an All Powerful God which calls for a human overthrow (through the might of man) of a government.

    “Come out of her, my people.”

  34. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ & just1ofhis,

    Keep in mind that it’s both the extreme left (Marx Hubbard, e.g.) and the extreme right (Joyner, Jones, Bentley, e.g.) calling for a “Joel’s Army” – an elimination of those Christians who adhere to the tenets of historically orthodox Christianity. Here’s where it get’s interesting. The far left and the far right are BOTH New Age. It may seem almost as if instead of a continuum, a straight line with the Dems on the left and the Rep on the right, instead, there’s a circle in which as one goes further to the left one reaches the extreme right and vice versa.

    For just one example of leftist right-winger (or the reverse), here’s an old post from Cumbey’s blog on Newt Gingrich:

    http://cumbey.blogspot.com/2011/05/newt-gingrichs-new-age-just-in-time-for.html

    In actuality, it’s a divide and conquer strategy. As folks clamor to one side or the other, staunchly defending their own heroes, there are discussions in the back room (so to speak), in which the seeming opponents are scheming together for the next move/s. Using just the US here, we find each side digging in, seeing the other as the ‘enemy’, while those who are apathetic are tuning into the latest (un)reality show for escapism, all so busy that they’re oblivious to the REAL goings-on. Crises after crises arise (some of which are manufactured), until there will be that one giant cataclysmic economic depression. Now THAT’s when the real “solution” comes about. Forget about the dollar, euro, yen, etc. – let’s just have ONE currency. No more fluctuations of currency and/or fluctuations in exchange rates. Life will be SO much simpler!

    And yet no one will be able to buy or sell without the mark. The mark of the beast.

    Perhaps I’m wrong. But, I must ask: If we are to take Scripture seriously, we must take a good look at Rev. 13:16-17. Personally, I do not see how this can occur without some grand conspiracy on a worldwide scale.

    Having stated all the above, I don’t think Joyner will be accosted.

    I’ll add: the current practice of just printing $$$$$ to stay out of debt is, to borrow a New Age associated term, unsustainable. Pretty soon there will be nothing in Peter to pay Paul. The economic house of cards is bound to fall; it’s just a question of time. And, IMO, this will orchestrated at the “right” time.

  35. just1ofhis says:

    Classic Hegelian dialectic.

    Spiral them “up” (or down, imo) to one given outcome.

  36. IWTT says:

    Not only 2 Peter 2 but 2 Thess 2 as well

    9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

    Turned over to their own delusion…
    They perish. Why?
    Refused to love the truth and be saved. Reason?
    So they will be condemned. Why?
    Did not believe the truth but delighted in wickedness

  37. just1ofhis says:

    It brings this to mind. Before the presidential election in 2008, I was occasionally following a conservative blog. As the election drew near, and it became apparent that Barack Obama was going to be the Dem. candidate; the level of hatred and attacks against the perceived “enemy” began to rise. Some anonymous poster who had been agitating the crowd (in agreement with them) left the following remark, which gave me chills. I never returned to the blog again:

    “Poor Republicans. They don’t know who the enemy is.”

  38. Arwen4CJ says:

    Okay, I don’t think Joyner is actually going to be locked up. My point was the attitude of people who have the view “let’s lock up or kill those with differing opinions.” I then gave an example of where it inevitably leads.

    And yes, both those who are on the far right and those on the far left are playing in the same occult/New Age playground. However, whether or not the sides join together is another matter. Maybe they will and maybe they won’t.

    Regardless of human actors, and their own roles in it, I am certain that there is a demonic component to it, and that there is at least a demonic conspiracy. Maybe it would serve Satan better to malign the church, Christians, humanity, and God further by watching a fight between the two sides.

    So are humans the main participants, purposely plotting things out in the back rooms, while the followers of both parities (which are pretty much the same party with different faces) sit around and insult one another — attacking people instead of problems. “You voted for Bush, everything is your fault.” “Look at the state of things with Obama is the President — it’s all you liberals fault.”

    Or maybe leaders of both parties go back to their respective back rooms and each meditate, and Satan whispers the same things in each of their ears — and how they should meet together, and directs them that way.

    I have no doubt there will probably be an economic crisis that is worse than what we’ve seen so far. Again, manufactured by us, or allowed to happen, or put into motion by Satan, or a combination? I have no idea. But I am confident that it will eventually happen somehow.

    Perhaps that’s what is going on in our government right now — where both parties act childish, refusing to work with one another.

  39. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I hope you didn’t take it that I was negating any of your statements. I was merely adding to them and providing another perspective.

    No doubt the collusion which will culminate in the mark of the beast will be of demonic origin. Our battle is not against flesh and blood…

  40. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    No, don’t worry. I just wanted to make sure that you understood I didn’t think that the police would be knocking on Rick Joyner’s door anytime soon….although……who knows…..

  41. just1ofhis says:

    Is it just me, or are the MsoG-types picking up velocity in the violent nature of their “words”?:

    http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=12661

    “The following word was received on June 2nd, 2013 at The Oasis Church in Middletown, Ohio:

    The Lord says, “If anyone attacks you, don’t for a moment suppose that I sent them. If any should attack, nothing will come of it. No weapon formed against you will prosper, and every tongue which rises up against you in judgment, you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord.”

    (What happened to “turn the other cheek” or “do not resist a violent man” or “blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”? Condemn those who judge you?!? )

    It goes on:

    “Not one kingdom will be able to withstand them. My unique eagle force will startle the world with the intensity in which they stand for Me. The coming generation of ‘War Eagles’ have been groomed and reserved for Hell’s siege of the earth; and they will now be loosed. They will not bow to the enemies of their God. They will not pay tribute to enemy kings. They will not listen to the propaganda and insults of Hell, and they will not allow Me to be lumped in with other gods which are not gods.”

    (The only “lord” who speaks those words is satan. How utterly blind and deceived these people are! Pair this with Rick Joyner’s military overthrow of the government, and be disturbed.)

    And then this:

    “”My ‘War Eagles,’ both young and remnant veterans, will now rise with Me,” says the Lord, “and they will scream with hunting aggression and ride Me in the battle.”

  42. just1ofhis says:

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” Matt 6:44-45a

    The true sons will never “scream with hunting aggression” at anyone.

  43. Craig says:

    I’ve heard Patricia King (formerly Cocking – and ‘former witch’) use Isaiah 40:31 in an MSoG sense:

    31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
    They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

  44. Arwen4CJ says:

    Hmmm…I wonder if Satan has something big planned in the near future….something that would deceive these people into thinking that they are doing and saying God’s will…..and will be deceived by the Anti-Christ.

    It’s almost as if they are preparing for people to “come against them.” Maybe the “come against” isn’t a physical thing, but is something with words — like apologists pointing out how these people are false prophets. So, when people, “fight against them” with words — they can flash there “you can’t be speaking for God because you’re speaking against the prophet, and therefore I condemn you,” card.

    This is yet another tactic to weed out those with true discernment in their midst. Anyone speaking out against the false prophets is labeled “against God,” and now the “church” has a command from “God” that they are to condemn these people, and that they are not to listen to them.

    But then it can also be applied to physical things….I wonder what they would do if “God” told them to kill us who do not agree with their prophets. Would they feel justified in doing this? Probably.

    It sounds like the Anti-Christ is gearing up his army…..

  45. Craig says:

    The threat against those who speak out on this movement has been implicit for quite a while now. They’re not quite explicit, but VERY close.

    From part of Bob Jones’ “word” last year (that just1ofhis posted as a comment, just after I finished this particular article, inducing me to substantially revise it) is the following:

    …They have been warriors in many religious churches. Now I call them unto “the church” and they will have a victory in Me. Amen.

    Which are these ‘religious churches’, and who makes up ‘”the church”‘? What is this “victory” that will be over ‘”the church”‘?

    From this CrossWise article:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/chuck-pierce-hosts-conference-referencing-one-new-man/

  46. MaryM says:

    Sounds like ‘Joel’s Army’ is gathering…?

  47. jeffrey says:

    Hello all,

    It’s been a while since I posted here. This is an interesting topic. I think what it shows best is that there “is nothing new under the sun.” Likewise, this heresy is not new, what is new is the level of biblical illiteracy, and placing of experience over the word which allows it to flourish!

    As some of you may know, I was involved in the HOP for a season, though never formally to the one on KC, though they were somewhat linked to the one we were building in our city. I still have many friends who are involved there in KC, some of who I do know to be Godly people. As The word says, wheat and tares are mixed together, but we must come out of Babylon. I do think IHOP at best is a mixture, with very dangerous elements increasing there.

    In recent months, I have been saddened to see other friends back in the USA caught up in some of Crowder’s nonsense. I tried to reason with many of them from the word, to little avail. And when I was back in the states, many people I knew were running to the Lakeland revival or glued to God TV, ooing and ahing over it. I remember being skeptical. But any skepticism was being dismissed by others as “putting God in a box.” Well, things certainly fell “out of the box” in a few months as Bently, had an affair, left his wife,etc.

    One thing is for certain, if you question the “move of God” you are religious or have a religious spirit. That is the devil’s default accusation to these things. But the bible teaches that those who don’t discern are the ones who are rebellious to God’s clear commands and are therefore opening a door for sin and deception. We are to test ALL things and EVERY spirit. Sadly, I see little change too at the church I ministered to here in Latvia, which is caught up in the Toronto nonsense.

    One thing God has reminded me of in recent days is the spiritual nature of this battle. Even in talks with my friends, it reminds me of talks I have had with Mormons, where I can show them in the word, and through historical evidence their religion is false, and created by a known liar, cheat and swindler, whose claims are absolutely erroneous. I have shown these people the truth, and they still refused to follow it. One thing God has shown me, is that the false comes as a judgment from God, just like he sent a lying spirit to Ahad in the OT, HE sends these false prophets as a judgment of those who love the flesh and the world. We can make all the reasoned arguments we want, and I am not saying we should stop in that, but only God can open their eyes. Only those truly seeking God will listen, and only God can change the hearts and open the eyes, especially of those who don’t want to see.

    Prayer is the key. Compassion prayer in co-laboring with the Holy Spirit.

    It has been a long few months for me, dealing with these things, I have run into heresy of every kind in recent days. I must say the most frustrating are the Crowder blasphemy and the Hebrew Roots garbage. I am not knocking people who want to observe and study Hebrew festivals, etc. to edify their walk with God, but most of that movement is a legalistic cult not unlike the KJV only people, which also frustrates me to no end. You can reason all you want with these people and correct, rebuke, etc. but gain little ground. It is a spiritual war, and that is how it must be fought. Even Paul bore little fruit in Athens when he debated! But clearly it has value to reason from the scriptures. Let’s just continue to do it prayerfully.

    As one who is earnestly contending for the faith where God has placed me here overseas, I ask for your continued prayers. These errors the USA is exporting to all over the world ( It’s not just hollywood that is guilty!), is something I fight on a regular basis in ministry. As I said before perhaps, I have some friends hear very caught up in every wind of doctrine. And I may have the chance to speak to BJ later this year, potentially ministering at the same conference, though I have a feeling God may not allow me. I am not sure. I could use your prayers for this as well. Thanks.

  48. Craig says:

    Jeffrey,

    Welcome back. Thanks for your comments.

    Most of the Christians I speak with who have no idea about any of this stuff, just are not ready to believe that it’s worldwide in scope. Yet, your testimony here is one among many proving otherwise. And to think it largely begins in our home country. Very sad.

    You will remain in my prayers.

  49. jeffrey says:

    I Just spoke with a friend back home about some of this stuff, and she asked about Bethel saying she didn’ “Want to throw out the baby with the bathwater.” So I began telling some things Johnson asserted. She replied, “that’s gnosticism.” but wanted page numbers, etc. So, I am compiling a list, to which I am glad I have your cite as a resource!

    but what do we say to the bathwater article? I want to say, what if the bath was full of acid and already ate up the child? But I think there must be a better, more biblical response.

    I am finding it difficult to approach these people in the right love, and also guard my own heart. It is a perilous path. Only God can help one to walk. We cannot become elitist minded, arrogant “heresy hunters” but nor can we ignore the destructive teachings secretly coming in. I am alarmed lately with new understanding (eye opening) from the Holy Spirit and the word, about lying miracles, false christs, etc. Stuff you see before, but yet don’t really see in a full light.

    Many will come didn’t we cast out demons in your name…. Problem is, it was his name, but it was a “different Jesus.” I don’t think I realized that till recently, pairing it with the different Jesus scripture. Not only did Jesus not know them, they didn’t know Him, yet presumed they did. God, as David prayed, heal your people from presumptuous sins.

    I just heard today that Patricia King is coming to town and know some friends will be going. I am going to look closer at her, pray, and warn people if God leads. She does have many appearances of being false but I don’t know much about her. Again, it’s knowing who is a false teacher, and who is still a brother. I find that line hard to draw sometimes. But as JEsus said, even the very elect would (almost?) be led astray by these miracles. Real Christians wont always know what is of God. This gives me comfort but also terrifies me. Any prayers and resources about her would be appreciated. thanks again.

  50. Arwen4CJ says:

    You know, I really think that the hyper-charismatic abhorrence for words like “doctrine” and “theology” and “religion” and “religious” could, in and of itself, evidence that their theology is anti-Christ in nature.

    Either the people preaching against these things are ignorant of what those words actually mean, or they are declarations that they want nothing to do with the historic Christian faith — in other words, they don’t really want to be part of the church.

    My church is doing a study on church doctrine and beliefs, and the study seems to be orthodox so far, and it has gotten me thinking….

    Doctrine is what the church officially believes and has defended since the beginning of our faith. If there are people who claim to be part of the church are making fun of the idea of doctrine, or claim that new revelation is better than what has been handed down to us, then, really, they are declaring that they do not want to be part of the true church.

    Those who speak of doctrine in a disparaging way, are not making a distinction between doctrines. They hate the very idea of doctrine, so we must conclude that they are against all of them — they are against the idea of doctrine.

    If they no longer follow the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, then they have placed themselves outside of the church — and they flaunt it. “The revelation we receive from the spiritual realm is superior to things like doctrine. Doctrine is for religious people.”

    I think I have said this before — but when they say that people have a “religious spirit,” what they are really doing is calling the Holy Spirit a religious spirit. Because, for them, a religious spirit is a bad thing, they are saying condescending things about the real Holy Spirit. The real Holy Spirit is holy; He would not put up with John Crowder’s circus. I’m convinced that they are purposely trying to offend the Holy Spirit — but they don’t know He is the Holy Spirit. They call good evil and evil good.

    I understand what people are trying to say when they say that Christianity isn’t a religion, but it is a personal relationship, but I don’t agree. It is both a religion and a personal relationship. What they have done is made Christianity all about emotions and feelings, and have removed any objectivity.

    They mock the Bible itself in the same way that they mock doctrine, and since church doctrine comes from the Bible….once again, they are mocking God and everything to do with real Christian belief and the church.

    They truly are creating a system whereby people are no longer worshiping the real God, and they themselves are outside the boundaries of the true church.

    If these people want to call me religious or say that I have a religious spirit — fine. I’ll proudly wear the label, as it suggests that I might be following the real Holy Spirit.

    Jeffrey, I’m saddened that you are seeing all of this in your corner of the world. I will definitely keep you in my prayers.

    I can identify with what you’re saying about the Hebrew Roots movement. I think that the Jewish festivals and such are rich and beautiful, so I have no problem with people wanting to follow those, even keeping the laws, so long as they do not believe it is a requirement for salvation, or force these things on all believers, or condemn those who do not do what they do. I have a real issue when they make these things part of the gospel, or if they try to force them on everyone. I got into conversations with people who condemned all Christians to hell because we didn’t use the Hebrew name for Jesus, and we celebrated Christmas and Easter, and we didn’t follow Jewish laws. This is part of the issue that is raised in Colossians, Galatians, and elsewhere in the NT.

    The same is true for the KJV only folks. I don’t mind if they prefer the KJV to any other Bible translation, or if they personally believe it is superior, etc. I do have a problem when they condemn other Christians for using different translations, even saying we’ll go to hell if we read a different Bible translation.

    You wrote:
    “One thing is for certain, if you question the “move of God” you are religious or have a religious spirit. That is the devil’s default accusation to these things. But the bible teaches that those who don’t discern are the ones who are rebellious to God’s clear commands and are therefore opening a door for sin and deception. We are to test ALL things and EVERY spirit. Sadly, I see little change too at the church I ministered to here in Latvia, which is caught up in the Toronto nonsense.

    One thing God has reminded me of in recent days is the spiritual nature of this battle. Even in talks with my friends, it reminds me of talks I have had with Mormons, where I can show them in the word, and through historical evidence their religion is false, and created by a known liar, cheat and swindler, whose claims are absolutely erroneous. I have shown these people the truth, and they still refused to follow it. One thing God has shown me, is that the false comes as a judgment from God, just like he sent a lying spirit to Ahad in the OT, HE sends these false prophets as a judgment of those who love the flesh and the world. We can make all the reasoned arguments we want, and I am not saying we should stop in that, but only God can open their eyes. Only those truly seeking God will listen, and only God can change the hearts and open the eyes, especially of those who don’t want to see.”

    My response:
    Exactly.

    I’ll definitely keep you and those you talk with in constant prayer.

  51. Arwen4CJ says:

    Jeffrey, I just wrote a big post, but there was an error when I tried posting it, and I lost it all.

    I will say that I am sorry to hear that Patricia King is coming to your town. She is in thick with people like Todd Bentley, Bob Jones, and others. You can google her and you’ll find lots of information on her. She represents the very worst of the hyper-charismatic world.

    I tried posting a bunch of links before, but I don’t know if that was the cause of the error or not. I’m sure that Craig has a lot on her, and he can e-mail you some links. She promotes trance dancing, has a fascination with angels, is totally into mystical things like taking trips up to Third Heaven, and she is a former witch who seems to have only changed the name of her practices (she gives them Christian names, but is basically still doing the same things she did before). She has a TV show called Xtreme Prophetic, and runs a Prophetic School.

    She has a couple of youtube channels and also websites, so you can see what her actual teaching is. Many apologetic blogs similar to Craig’s have exposed her.

  52. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    There’s not much more frustrating than losing a well-thought-out comment! I can only suggest that if you wish to type out a long post – or even a short one – to do it in MS Word, or the like, first.

  53. Arwen4CJ says:

    Yeah…sometimes I copy it before posting, but I often forget to do that. Sometimes if it doesn’t post, I can also hit the back button, and my post will be there. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

  54. jeffrey says:

    Arwen, I don’t have a problem with people who are tired of “religion.” and don’t want to have anything to do with being “religious.” Because I can agree to an extent, the churhc has become to religious-into ritual devoid of true engagement with heart mind and strength. So, I understand this frustration. IT’s how many unsaved feel too. I can’t certainly blame them. What I have a problem with is Christians using this language carte blanch to dismiss anything they disagree with. Like it is a magic phrase you can use to avoid dealing with doctrine and critique, especially coming from so called leaders. Ironically, many of them use this language “religiously.”

    I was just visiting Patricia King’s website and something quite surprised me. I saw someone on her front page who recently came and ministered at an event hosted in my very own church. What is more surprising is that it seemed to be fairly solid Bible teaching that edified and exorted me to live a Godlier life in Christ Jesus. Would I have excepted it if I had known he was associated with this woman? Probably not. But I was Berean with the message, as normal, and found nothing amiss.

    That is the problem with all of this, and why we need discernment. Much of this false is mixed in with the true, and it is spread throughout the whole body. God is the only surgeon who can extract this cancer without destroying the body. If we go in maverick style with our swords (the word) we can do a lot of damage.

    I want to draw a parallel to how the false operates in this movement. Prophecy is from God and shows the truth. The slave girl who grieved Paul was proclaiming something to be 100% true. The problem is how she got it-by demonic means. Likewise, some in the Charismatic movement are playing around with spiritual means contrary to the bible. But, similarly, we can notice what is wrong with what they are doing and deal with it in fleshy means, instead of God’s way.

    I don’t doubt the man who came and taught is a Christian. He also could be false. At the least, he could be doing certain things outside God’s parameters-we call this sin. Jesus said the wheat and tares must grow together for a time. Things don’t always reveal themselves quickly on the surface. I will treat this guy as a brother until otherwise directed by God. I will warn him, question, rebuke, correct, etc. if I feel I have biblical grounds to do so.

    I don’t know Patricia King. From what I can tell she does seem to make a game out of the supernatural. It makes me very sad, and concerned for her and others. There seems to be little reverance for the Holiness of God. Is she a false prophet? I don’t know enough about her to say, though I’d lean in that direction. At the least I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could throw her, given her endorsements of Bentley and other stuff.

    Unlike many here, I do believe Christians can open themselves to demonic spirits, that can, in turn control areas of their lives. I have had experience confirm this over and over, and find nothing in the word to contradict it. I think we have further evidence from people caught up in the Toronto thing, and other recent “revivals” who have had these manifestations, only later to develop much worse problems. Some are sincere believers who were led astray by some of their impure desires. Sincere followers of Jesus who stepped outside of His boundaries and opened themselves to the occult, and Kundalini spirits. I don’t want to argue this can happen, but I have seen it confirmed over and over. We don’t need power encounters and dramatic deliverances, but the truth does set people free from these spirits. Call it affliction, opression, whatever you want. I don’t care. It happens.

    These are perilous times, and they promise to get worse. And without holiness no one will see God. Let us pursue it and pray for those led astray. And continue to warn some, and snatch some from the fire. Let’s expose the wolves too, but let;s do it in God’s way. With holy fear, and not thinking too highly of ourselves, lest we also fall.

    I had a powerful encounter with God a few days ago, praying about all this. Asking Him if I should even carry this burden. It weighs me down all that is going on in the church. He assured me the burden for the church was from Him, and that He even wanted to increase it, but the problem was that I was carrying it in my own strength. He said my love must increase for the church, and I needed to walk in His strength and get more of his love. And that is what drove Paul. We see His tenderness, and that in one place he tearfully warned God’s people daily for 3 years.

    These perilous times call for a great depth of love for God and people. Of course we must fear God and not man, and love Him and His truth more than anything. But we have to do things His way.

    This is in no way a rebuke of anyone. Just sharing my convictions in love. God bless, brothers and sisters. Thanks for your prayers. Keep earnestly contending!

  55. Arwen4CJ says:

    Jeffrey,

    The problem is how people are defining the words “religion” and “religious,” and how they are using them. The words “religion” and “religious,” do not, in and of themselves, mean something negative. It is a term for a community of people who share the same faith. So we have world religions, and in that context, Christianity should rightly be considered a religion. As Christians, we believe that Jesus is the only way, but this doesn’t mean that false religions do not exist.

    Things that people who are part of a religion do are “religious” things — praying, reading the Bible, going to church, singing songs, etc., are all religious acts. Anything that directly has to do with a religion is also religious in nature. For example, Christian songs that praise God are religious songs, whether or not they are contemporary songs or hymns.

    I have to go. I’ll finish this later.

  56. jeffrey says:

    Narrowing Path,

    thank you for that sermon on the holiness of God. It was awesome. Really blessed me.

  57. Arwen4CJ says:

    Jeffrey, (continued)

    Within languages, meanings to words can change over time. Maybe that is what is happening with the words “religion” and “religious.” Perhaps we are living during a time when the definition to these words are changing. If that is the case, then some people are using the traditional definition of these words when talking about them, and others are using the new definition of the words while talking about them.

    Maybe the problem, too, is that we live in a post-modern culture in which words themselves no longer have objective meanings for people. Everything is subjective. So people are defining words the way that they experience them, regardless of the actual dictionary definition.

    Or maybe only some people are changing the definition of the words, while others do not….as other words have been redefined by those in hyper-charismatic circles, and these definitions are making their way into many charismatic and other churches.

    Then there is the influence of the New Age/Pagan/occult/Spiritual But Not Religious crowd. They, too, are wanting to change the definition of “religion” and “religious.” They, too, see these words as being negative, and this negative connotation has sneaked into mainline churches. In these concepts, “religious” and “religion” have to do with organized religion. They see anything Christian as being “religious,” and anything Eastern as being “spiritual.”

    Both are trying to make a distinction between being spiritual and being religious, with the implication that spiritual is positive and religious is negative. The two groups go about doing this in different ways, and the outcome looks a little different. However, both groups say that revelation from spiritual beings, emotions, and spiritual experiences are spiritual things, and both groups want as many of these spiritual things as possible.

    Those who are atheists or agnostics would also consider anything having to do with Christianity as being religious. I’m not sure how they would view those self-identifying as spiritual but not religious. Maybe some would consider those things religious as well, and might laugh at the distinction that people are trying to make.

    I get what you’re saying about considering religion/religious as being a route act that people engage in that is ritualistic and devoid of true engagement with heart, mind, and strength. But the thing is, that a religious act does not have to be devoid of meaning or true engagement with heart, mind, and strength.

    When some go to church, they might just be going through the motions and giving lip service to things. With other people, they might engage in the same actions, but they are not just going through the motions. They are engaging with their heart, mind, strength, and the rituals have meaning for them. For these individuals, they truly are worshiping God.

    So the problem isn’t with the rituals themselves, but with the state of people’s hearts who are doing them. However, as often happens, we as people tend to judge something by our own experience. If we grew up in a traditional church, and we were just going through the motions, and it meant nothing to us, then we tend to think that everyone who worships in that way has the same experience. So then we start condemning the rituals, assuming that anyone who engages in them is not truly worshiping God.

    This is also seen in the reverse — if someone was raised in a non-denominational church that had a contemporary worship style, and it was devoid of meaning to the person, and they were going through the motions, lifting their hands, closing their eyes during the songs, and had a negative experience in this setting, then they tend to assume that no one can really worship God in this setting. So then they tend to condemn all contemporary style services.

    And what I see in many charismatic and hyper-charismatic churches is that they are passing judgment on more traditional worship styles, and those who worship in that way. I went to a retreat when I was in college where the leader condemned people who worshiped in traditional services, making a statement “you can’t quietly worship God — these people just read off of a piece of paper, and sing words out of hymnals, but they are not worshiping God. In order to worship God, you have to close your eyes during the songs and lift up your hands.” That made me angry because she was assuming that it was impossible for anyone to worship God in these settings and circumstances. She grew up in a Roman Catholic church, and going to church was empty and meaningless for her. So she then assumed that no one in a traditional service could genuinely worship God.

    Then I have heard stories of people raised in contemporary churches, who later came to Christ when they were attending a traditional church. It makes me equally angry when these individuals condemn those who go to contemporary style services, making the assumption that no one can worship God in these settings.

    You see, any kind of worship can become route and empty. The problem isn’t these worship styles, but what is going on in the hearts of the people. For some, because of the experiences they have had, they find it easier to worship in traditional worship settings. For others, they find it easier to worship in contemporary worship settings. What matters is whether or not people are worshiping God.

    So we are speaking from our own subjective experience when we assume that people who worship in a certain way are not really engaging with God. And this is what the charismatic community is doing when they make these statements.

    Now, that doesn’t excuse the problem that many people who attend churches are nominal Christians, and that they are just going through the motions. But this problem isn’t isolated to one style of worship or one denomination. It is found in all churches, non-denominational or not, contemporary or traditional. This is a problem that the church needs to deal with.

    So….in my personal opinion, when Christians say things like, “I’m not religious,” it becomes confusing to those outside of Christianity. It just makes the people saying it look like hypocrites in their eyes, because they are defining “religious,” differently. In their heads, they are thinking, “what do you mean you’re not religious? You go to church, you read your Bible, you talk about Jesus, etc. You’re religious. You’re just trying to trick people into following Jesus.”

    Not to mention, I think using “religious” and “religion,” the way that many are using it today — is actually divisive. For those who are using it to mean something negative, it’s like saying, “those who fall under my definition of religion can’t be true Christians, and they can’t really worship God.”

    Those who are still using the terms “religion” and “religious” in a positive way are then misunderstood by others….and these individuals might look down on those who claim that they are not religious.

    But the problem is, when discussing the concept, unless both sides define what they mean by “religious” in the conversation, and unless both sides are willing to listen, then there is broken communication and misunderstanding.

    And then, people take it a step further, using this language as a carte blanch to dismiss anything they disagree with, just as you said. Agreed, they have turned it into a magic phrase that people can use to avoid dealing with doctrine and critique.

  58. Craig says:

    Years ago, I recall seeing on ‘Christian’ dating sites as self-descriptor “spiritual but not religious”. If I remember correctly, this was one of two to four choices in a drop-down box, though I can’t say that with any real confidence. It was either that, or most individuals just adopted that particular phrase. I recall thinking it very strange; but, this was before I was introduced to hyper-charismaticism (and before I knew it’s New Age application). This is a false dichotomy. The terms should not be mutually exclusive, as I see “religious” as one who adheres to ‘tradition’, meaning Truth as handed down from the saints of old.

  59. Arwen4CJ says:

    Jeffrey, (continued)

    I’m glad that you visited Patricia King’s website. I think it is important that we go to the actual sources when evaluating someone’s ministry. I had several links to her websites and youtube channels on that post that didn’t go through.

    While I cannot speak for the person who Patricia had on her website, I don’t necessarily think that everyone she promotes is a false teacher, although it would be a red flag for me, prompting me to really look into the person’s ministry. She may have some solid teachers — maybe these individuals have not done much research on Patricia King themselves, and because they are fellow charismatics, Patricia is happy to advertise them.

    I agree that we need discernment. There is some false mixed with the true, yes, and anyone can be led astray, even people who start out solid. May I ask who this teacher is? I think I might be able to guess.

    Your point about there being little reverence for the Holiness of God is exactly right.

    Each person must use their own God-given discernment to evaluate teachers. I have researched Patricia King enough to have made up my mind about her, and if she is really coming to your town, I would encourage you to continue to research her and to pray for the people in your community. If you reach the same conclusion that I have, then I also would suggest prayerfully considering how to sound the alarm, and to warn people.

  60. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Yes, I agree — it is a false dichotomy to pit the word “religious” against the word “spiritual.” And I think that “one who adheres to ‘tradition,” is part of what it means to have a common belief and to worship in community with others who share it.

  61. Craig says:

    Yes, Jude 3 speaks on this:

    3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.

    The bolded portions imply both a common salvation and a common faith, a ‘tradition’, a religious tradition. Without the religious tradition to anchor the spiritual, an individual can go off into all sorts of non-Christian territories.

  62. jeffrey says:

    I agree with what you are all saying. I was merely offering a gracious explanation. Though I do remember using the word even as a child in a non “religion” way. Ex: He eats cereal religiously every morning. This is not something hyper-charismatics invented. Though there does seem to be some dishonest and divisive use of the words “religious” and “religion.” Although I do think there is a religion version of Christianity devoid of Christ. Look at legalist. They have a form (religious ceremony, etc) of God devoid of power.

    When someone asks me what religion I am, I say Christian. But I would say it is not about dead religion, but living, active engaged and yes, SPIRITUAL religion. I don’t like thinking of Christianity as merely a religion. And I don’t like pitting the word spirituality against it. It usually is an excuse for a heart of rebellion, like the people who say they follow Christ but don’t believe in organized religion or going to church. WHAT?! Jesus didn’t leave you that option, as he said the church was HIS body, and not to forsake it. The church (organized religion in a pure sense) is His plan on the earth. You don’t get to choose how you will follow Him. That’s the heart of paganism-strange fire.

    Having said all this, I can identify with people in the world who say they want nothing to do with religion. I become all things to all people. I have told such people, Christ is not about “religion” but about relationship. religion is secondary. Many have the religion but not the relationship. I think all of us would agree with that, because religion is what you believe, or SAY you believe, but following Christ is faith WITH action.

    I agree about divisive people in the church. But I also have grace for them, because I realize most of them have been hurt by the church. They need healing. But it does not excuse their rebellion, and thinking they can form a relationship with God however they want.

  63. Arwen4CJ says:

    I know that hyper-charismatics did not invent the negative connotation of the word “religion” and “religious.” However, I think they are adding to the problem when they only refer to these words in a negative sense.

    It just really turns me off to hear someone use these words to demean others, or in a sarcastic, unholy way, or as labels to condemn others.

    I happened to read someone’s comment on a Internet site in which they tried to argue that Christianity was not a religion. They were trying to appeal to those outside the church, and to those who held the same view as they did. But in doing so, they were actually giving a dishonest answer — not according to them, but objectively speaking, they were.

    And the other people who commented thought that was ridiculous, as Christianity is obviously a religion by the actual definition of religion.

    Yes, there are versions of Christianity that are devoid of Christ, legalistic, etc. And those that follow these versions do do religious things, just as those who are truly worshiping God do religious things. There are those in all denominations (and non denominations) who fall into the category of going through the motions, all the while being devoid of Christ. But there are those in all denominations (and non-denominations) who have a vibrant spiritual life in Christ. We cannot judge from the outside what is in someone’s heart — are they worshiping God, or is it empty ritual?

    Christianity is by no means a dead religion. It is individual people who make it dead. Associating the word “religion” with “dead” is part of the negative connotation that has been attached to the word by humans.

    Part of the problem with it being dead in many people’s mind is because a lot of churches have stopped preaching the real gospel. If people teach that there is no such thing as sin, that Jesus was just a victim who died too young, and that Jesus didn’t really raise from the dead, and all the miracles in the Bible are just metaphors for other things — then of course people are going to see it as a dead religion. Christ has been denied, and the real power of God has been denied.

    People don’t even have to go that far for it to be perceived as being dead. All they have to do is downplay the gospel, or just not teach it at all. They might be afraid of talking about sin, or grace, or salvation because they don’t want to offend someone. By not proclaiming the gospel as they should, these pastors empty Christianity of its power, too.

    I am convinced that this is why theologically liberal Christians feel that they have to turn to Eastern religious practices in order to find spirituality. They have emptied Christianity of its spirituality, so they turn elsewhere.

    The same can be said for the hyper-charismatics — if the real gospel is not preached, and instead emphasis that should be on the gospel is placed on signs and wonders and angels, then orthodox Christianity is emptied of its power.

    People will always turn to something other than the Truth if the Truth is not being taught.

    So instead of saying, “Christianity is cool….” we should be telling people who Jesus is and what He has done for us. If we tell them the Truth, and the Holy Spirit works in their hearts, they will understand that Christianity is not dead.

    Christianity isn’t merely a religion, but it is one.

  64. just1ofhis says:

    Jeffrey,

    I’m glad to see you back.

    My family and I have been home-churching now for several years. We tried many “churches” in our community, from conservative churches all the way to the word-of-faith non-denominational. What we found in each one, aside from a healthy dose of bullying and persecution, were a great number of people following a good number of men (and women); and precious few people who had any desire to follow Jesus Christ in any true sense of the word.

    The “church” is the body of true believers. Jesus said, “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am.” I put my faith in this. I don’t think Jesus cares one iota if these believers form an organization of 2000 or a small gathering of 2, just that they seek Him out in truth and love and cling to His Word.

    I hope your understanding of “church” doesn’t exclude those who follow this pattern. Those whom I have been blessed to know who fall into this home-church category are among the most devoted, gentle and loving of Christians (and very often have been among the most rejected and persecuted).

    This comment that you made– “It usually is an excuse for a heart of rebellion, like the people who say they follow Christ but don’t believe in organized religion or going to church. WHAT?! Jesus didn’t leave you that option, as he said the church was HIS body, and not to forsake it.”–could be construed that way.

    The book of Revelation, chapter 18 vs 4 calls people OUT of the harlot church system:

    “Then I heard another voice from heaven say:

    ‘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;”

    Jesus didn’t leave the option to follow anyone but Him. That is what we strive with all our hearts to do, reaching as He will have us reach into whatever place He leads us each day of our lives.

  65. just1ofhis says:

    Arwen said, “Part of the problem with it being dead in many people’s mind is because a lot of churches have stopped preaching the real gospel.”

    BINGO! A gospel-minus…

    Or you get gospel-plus; which is just as dangerous, because it is steeped in some form of “works-based-righteousness”.

    “The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails–given by one Shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.

    Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

    Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:

    Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the whole duty of man.

    For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil.”

    Ecclesiastes 12:11-14

  66. jeffrey says:

    That was very well said Arwen, very well said. Good food for thought too. I agree completely.

    One thing I have been meditating on lately is the centrality of the Cross, and the need for the Gospel to be preached, not just to the new or uninitiated, but to mature believers. There is no “advanced” stuff we get to graduate into really. It’s the gospel itself in all it’s beautiful simplicity that matures us. We just get to see and enjoy deeper truths about it as we go.

    People need to know who they are in Christ. That is the great need for Christians. Not a focus on extemporaneous “stuff.” All those miracles in Acts happened as a result of proclaiming the Gospel.

    “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2

    And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
    Acts 5:42

  67. jeffrey says:

    Just1ofhis,

    Of course a house church is the real deal! a small number of people who gather together to follow Jesus is organized!

    My understanding of “church” is people denying themselves and following Jesus wherever He leads. It is organic and fluid, tailored to the culture to an extent and to the purposes of God.

    It looks different anywhere you go, but is marked by love, committment and a desire and hunger for truth and to live in it, and make His name known. We all know all this.

    I was simply saying some people use the organized religion, etc. as an excuse sometimes. Sorry if it seemed I was saying something negative about people truly following God.

    One thing I do know, though, from experience, is that you can’t hear from God well if you have anger, hurt or bitterness in your heart. Truly following Him is a continual process of releasing such things to Him and being conformed to Christ. Again, we all know this, or should.

    I am non-denominational myself, and attend a small church, which God may be leading us out of soon to start a house church, ironically. We are praying about it. My definition of Church is quite fluid. One thing is certain though. Jesus is the builder of it, not us, and He builds it upon the Spiritual (by Holy Spirit) revelation of who He is.

    God bless.

  68. Craig says:

    My personal definition of “Church” (ekklesia) is true Christians (Holy Spirit-indwelt) past, present, and yet future. In an individual more formal gathering (ekklesia is most literally an assembly/gathering, not necessarily Christian, in its truest sense), there should be leadership; however, said leaders are to be servant leaders. Many “churches” do not fit that bill in my eyes, to include both denominational and non-denominational. I agree, a ‘house church’ seems to be the most Biblical. Are we to buy or lease buildings for the express purpose of holding a gathering of Christians? I’m not so sure. If “church” is only held on Sundays and Wednesdays, it seems like a waste of utility to me. And, NO, I don’t believe making a “church” building into a multi-purpose center is the answer either.

  69. jeffrey says:

    Craig,

    I mostly agree. I especially agree about leadership. It’s a point I was hinting at but didn’t say in the best way.

    About buildings, etc, it’s also why I mentioned organically to fit the culture. In the early church they were meeting in homes AND the temple, which was quite large. Of course, that sort of thing is not possible in closed countries, Muslim countries, etc. Jesus knows how to build it, if man could only keep his grubby hands off. :)

    Some time ago, the Western church stop letting Jesus in on the plans so much, and yes, it became formulaic, and some hold to it “religiously” (sorry, couldn’t resist).

    One thing that is great about house church meetings is that you can lovingly raise an objection to what is being shared. Try that in a mega church, or any church with a platform.

    I do know this, though. God gives a special grace to leaders. I have seen it in action. And with leaders, more can get acomplished. That’s the way it is, and I believe God set it up that way. and yes, SERVANt leaders. Nevertheless, everyone has something to share-a word, a psalm, etc.

  70. Craig says:

    Jeffrey,

    I didn’t mean to imply that I disagreed with you, as I mostly agree. I was just adding to your thoughts.

    With true servant leaders, the congregation, small or even large-ish, can and should have a say, with the leaders willing to be lovingly challenged or rebuked. No one is perfect, hence leaders are imperfect. Too many are, in essence, autocratic – “my way or the highway”.

    The thing about buying or leasing buildings is that it can create an unnecessary financial burden. This can (and I think most always in these cases) induce ‘leadership’ to mandate a “tithe” (don’t get me started).

  71. just1ofhis says:

    A word about servant leaders:

    I have a hen who snuck into the garden 6 weeks ago and sat on a nest of eggs. For 21 days she sat on that nest, unseen by us, barely eating or drinking and faithfully turning her carefully gathered eggs each day. We didn’t notice her, until my oldest son discovered 3 newly hatched chicks in the garden. For the last 3 weeks we have watched her.

    Each night (and every time the chicks get cold) she covers them up and braves the weather herself to keep them warm and safe. All this time she has been out of her safe and warm chicken coop and away from her “buddy” hens and her rooster.

    When we throw food out to her (her favorite treats, of course), she FIRST tears the treats up into tiny morsels, making certain that each of the three chicks gets its fill. And she watches carefully to make certain that they each actually EAT whatever she has given them. Once they are finished, she will eat the leftovers.

    She has faithfully covered them in pouring rain, dark nights, and a surprise frost that rolled in a few nights ago. They are healthy and thriving in their little corner of the garden.

    When the other hens get in the garden, she chases them off.

    When she sees something big fly overhead, she calls them and covers them under her wings.

    You know, a chicken isn’t really all that smart. She isn’t exactly the sitting at the top of the food chain. This is a simple animal, with some God-given instincts. And I mean God-given. This hen was hatched out of an incubator and raised under a heat lamp. She had no example to follow.

    Jesus had this to say, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” (Matt 23: 37)

    Real love gives even when it hurts. Devoted men make certain that the sheep are fed the bread of life, the Word of God, and not poisoned with the yeast of hypocrisy or choked with the vomit false prophecy. Jesus wanted to gather them AS A HEN GATHERS HER CHICKS. She calls them and they come running, and she gives them what they need with complete devotion. A real servant leader is willing to be cold and lonely and hungry, if that is what it takes to care for those who he has been entrusted. If God gave such sense to a lowly hen, what do you think He expects from His shepherds?

    just asking….

  72. Arwen4CJ says:

    God’s been bringing that very thing to my attention for a long time now, and has been doing so especially again because of this doctrine study thing that I’m doing through my church.

    I have really cried out to God about what I see going on in much of what calls itself the church today.

    The thing that God keeps impressing upon me is the need for the gospel and sound doctrine to be preached, and yes, even for us who have been in the faith for a long time. We never can reach a point in our faith where we are beyond hearing about the foundational truths to our faith. If we think we’ve reached that point, then chances are that we are going astray.

    One huge problem that I’ve seen with charismatic (and this includes hyper-charismatic as well) is that they want to hurry up and give people an experience of the Holy Spirit, and see people operating in the gifts without giving people a foundation of what the faith is.

    That’s not to say that God cannot use someone who doesn’t know doctrine well — but I think it is a poor model for the church to encourage people to use the gifts before they are sure that the people are actually believers.

    As an example, I took the Alpha course at the church that I left a while ago. While they did sort of provide foundational Christian teachings through the videos, the curriculum assumes that everyone in attendance accepts the gospel when it is presented, and accepts everything that is said. Even though the course is geared for both believers and non-believers to learn about the Christian faith.

    I don’t remember how many weeks the alpha course is — 14 or 15 or something like that, and there is a new topic every week. One person in my group was not a Christian at the start of it, nor did he actually come to Christ when the gospel was presented. He was seeking, but he had made no decision to follow Christ. I know because I talked with him about it. There were others in the group I was with who were not strong believers.

    And then we had this Holy Spirit retreat weekend where there was a prophecy time — people would come up and prophecy over others — warm fuzzies — but it’s very dangerous to present the spiritual gifts if not everyone present is actually Christian yet. There was also no training on discernment. There was no encouragement given for people to test anything, and really no way to test warm fuzzies. The people doing the prophesying were the leaders in the Alpha groups.

    Then, a couple weeks later there was a session very similar to the prophecy session, with one difference — everyone was encouraged to exercise the gifts, including the participants, regardless of whether or not the people were actually saved. All that does is encourage people to try out a spiritual experience, which may or may not be of God. We were asked to close our eyes and to try to see if any picture or anything came to us. I didn’t do this, as I felt that the method was wrong. I objected to the fact that they didn’t test anything. Anyone who had something could just speak up, and they would write it down. There was almost a pressure for people to speak up and say something. Then they would go through each “word” that was written down and see if it applied to anyone in the room.

    That’s dangerous.

    The spiritual gifts are not things to play around with, and see if some vision or whatever applies to someone else in the room. Not all “impressions” in our minds are of God. In these sessions, had someone been an active practitioner of the occult, they could just have done what they always did, and spoken what they “received” out loud, and no one would be the wiser. Furthermore, they would now think that their occult divination abilities were from God, and that the Christian God was the same as the source of power that they drew from.

    Almost everything that a preacher says should relate back to Jesus Christ, to the gospel, and to the cross — Jesus’ death and resurrection. If that is not the main thread that runs through their teachings, then I would say that they are probably off. That’s not to say that they have to preach on the cross every week, but the majority of the teachings should point to the gospel.

    As we hear the gospel more and more, we become more grounded in it.

    And you’re right, the NT church preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This was the main message. Throughout all the NT letters, the cross is the central theme. Jesus’ death and resurrection were essential.

    God will see that we are more than equipped to do His will, and He will gift us as He sees fit. And I think that God calls us to use these gifts as we mature in the faith. All we need to do is to pursue Him and His truth and be obedient to Him — these things are not requirements of salvation, but they help us grow spiritually.

    It kind of bothered me at first that this doctrine study we’re doing at my church isn’t an actual Bible study. But then, as the week progressed last week……I came to understand that actually it’s good that we’re studying doctrine before doing a real Bible study. Why? Because in this day and age, people can make the Bible say anything they want it to say, and they justify their view. If a good doctrinal foundation is laid, then at least people know what the historic church teaches about our faith. They learn what the boundaries are. There is less chance for someone to put forth a heretical understanding of the Bible.

    I think many theologically conservative churches make a mistake when they have salvation calls, and then do nothing to help the new Christians mature in their Christian faith. Yes, it is important that people get saved, but it is also important that they learn about the Christian faith, that they become grounded in Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

    So I think that many hyper-charismatic churches have it backwards — they want to see people move in God’s power, and they hope people get Jesus and the truth along the way. Johnson once made a comment that he hoped there were witches in the audience who would be wowed by the power displayed by those at Bethel.

    It should have been that Johnson hoped that those in the occult would hear about Jesus Christ, and that they would learn what He did for them on the cross, and who He is, and that they would turn to Him. They needed to be wowed by Jesus and the gospel.

    This operating in spiritual gifts and things — that should be secondary to Jesus and the gospel.

  73. Craig says:

    I think many theologically conservative churches make a mistake when they have salvation calls, and then do nothing to help the new Christians mature in their Christian faith. Yes, it is important that people get saved, but it is also important that they learn about the Christian faith, that they become grounded in Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

    And this is why I have the following included in my personal statement of faith:

    “All Christians should have a part in the Great Commission by making disciples of all nations [Matt 28:19; Mark 13:10]. This includes initial conversion through the power of the preaching of the Gospel [Luke 24:47; 1 Cor 15:1-7] followed by instruction to obey the teachings contained in His Word [Matt 28:20; John 8:31-32] in order to foster continuing growth [Heb 6:1; 1 Cor 2:6; Php 3:12-16] and to comfort those going through various trials brought forth by God for our development [James 1:2-4; Heb 12:5-11; Romans 8:28-30].”

    Note that Matthew 28:19 is the first part, with 28:20 the latter.

  74. jeffrey says:

    Craig,
    I didn’t think you were disagreeing with me. Nor was I with you. I think us all sharing is a good example of how the church should be! That’s one way we display the manifold-multi-sided-wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10-11).

    Just1ofhis,
    excellent parable for God’s true servants to heed! Simple devotion to Christ and His people, and giving to the weaker instead of serving ourselves. AMen!

    Arwen4CJ,
    I think you expounded even greater on what I was saying earlier about the gospel being for “freshmen” AND “senior” believers alike. It is the beginning, middle and end of our Christian walk-the Gospel, the cross, the person and work of Jesus. And yes, let’s make sure people have a foundation before we start teaching them spiritual gifts.

    Speaking of, I recently posted a question on Facebook: If discernment is one of the gifts of the Spirit, how come it is rarely even mentioned, much less pursued? Of course, Paul says to desire prophecy above all gifts, but then he lays out a framework to test it! And He goes on to say in Thessalonians not to despise it, but to “TEST ALL THINGS”

    The lack of discernment in the body scares me almost more than anything.

    I also feel the need to make a promise to God that I will always mention the cross in every sermon or talk that I give. It really should be at the heart of all preaching, implied or otherwise.

    This discussion has edified and exorted me. Thank you all.

  75. Craig says:

    The lack of discernment leads to the consequences of 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 – those who do not pursue discernment will refuse to love the Truth, and because of this will not be saved.

  76. Craig says:

    Here’s a portion of a comment I posted on another blog, which is apropros here:

    I’ll quote from Craig Blomberg’s NAC Commentary on Matthew. Of verse 28:19b [Matthew] Blomberg states emphatically, “…[T]he missiological debate about the validity of group conversions cannot be settled by any appeal to this text….” (p 432). Of 28:20a, he asserts the Great Commission in a general way:

    Teaching obedience to all of Jesus’ commands forms the heart of disciple making. Evangelism must be holistic. If non-Christians are not hearing the Gospel and not being challenged to make a decision for Christ, then the church has disobeyed one part of Jesus’ commission. If new converts are not faithfully and lovingly nurtured in the whole counsel of God’s revelation, then the church has disobeyed the other part… (p 433)

    Of 28:19a, Blomberg states more specifically:

    …Too little is made of [to make disciples] when all attention is centered on the command to “go,” as in countless appeals for missionary candidates, so that foreign missions are elevated to a higher status of Christian service than other forms of spiritual activity. To “make disciples of all nations” does require many people to leave their homelands, but Jesus’ main focus remains on the task of all believers to duplicate themselves wherever they may be…. (p 431)

    The key here is wherever they may be. Continuing with the immediately preceding:

    …The verb “make disciples” also commands a kind of evangelism that does not stop after someone makes a profession of faith. The truly subordinate participles in v. 19 explain what making disciples involves: “baptizing” them and “teaching” them obedience to all of Jesus’ commandments. The first of these will be a once-for-all, decisive initiation into Christian community. The second proves a perennially incomplete, life-long task (p 431).

    Just preach where you’re planted. It’s simple. Then, help the convert grow in knowledge.

    Now, as for Jeffrey, he’s planted in Latvia, of course.

  77. Craig says:

    RE: “spiritual but not religious”, here’s the very liberal Huffington Post with a piece on this subject. The article hyperlinked below to the “spiritual but not religious” phrase, titled The Limitations of Being ‘Spiritual but Not Religious’, is especially apropos to the recent discussion.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/16/10-people-who-came-out-of_n_4086176.html?ncid=webmail29

    In a 1967 interview, “What I Believe”, John Lennon opened up to the world about how he discovered God.

    You don’t have to have a great faith or anything. The whole thing is so simple — as though it’s too marvelous to be true,” Lennon said of discovering Transcendental Meditation in India with guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, during the interview with The Daily Sketch. “I don’t and never did imagine God as one thing. But now I can see God as a power source, or as an energy.”

    Lennon went on to say, “It’s all like one big jelly. We’re all in the big jelly.” Now, with nearly one in five Americans identifying as “spiritual but not religious,” and countless successful people in a range of professions saying that meditation is their greatest secret to success, some of America’s most beloved public figures and successful business leaders are following suit, opening up about their first “big jelly” moments of spiritual awakening — and telling the world why they believe.

    “We’re all in the big jelly” = panentheism, the transcendent aspect.

  78. just1ofhis says:

    Does anyone know if Ruth Heflin was the first of the gold dust pushers?

    It sells a lot of books. Just ask Bill Johnson.

  79. just1ofhis says:

    In case anyone wasn’t familiar, the short clip features Ruth Heflin’s voice. It is Slivania Machado brushing the gold dust from her hair. As far as I could find, it was Ruth Heflin who first brought this particular parlor trick to the body of Christ.

    Although I’m pretty certain that stuff like this has been around for a long time.

  80. just1ofhis says:

    Bill Johnson’s variety.

  81. joe says:

    Wow, what an edifying line of comments! Many are answers to prayer as i have been seeking on responses to comments like “religious spirit” vs “spiritual” and presenting them in a non abrasive Christlike manner. I find myself in such a parallel position(battle??) as i perceive most of the commentors are in. I praise God for equipping all of you to speak truth in such a non offensive manner!! I lift you all to Him that you continue to receive favor&blessings in all your lives!! For His Glory!!!

    Also, ii have been following P. King &her “teachings” for about a year&a half now and i can honestly say as i have yet to hear her rightly handle any verse in context. Its all allegory or just no clue of meaning. I would really struggle to say she was Holy Spirit filled as truth seems to have escaped the bathtub she sits in. Chris Rosbrough “fighting for the faith” on pirate Christian radio does alot of segments on her “teaching”. His format takes some getting used to, to say the least, yet has been helpful in discerning iffy teaching.

  82. Craig says:

    joe,

    Thanks for your comments here. Certainly, one of our biggest battles is against the forces of evil [Eph 6:12] controlling those purporting to be Christians and those caught up in the teachings of same.

  83. just1ofhis says:

    I don’t really know where to post this, Craig. Isn’t it the Holy Spirit who brings us into the remembrance of all things? This just gives me the creeps…..

    https://www.godjotter.com/?utm_source=EL-HomePage&utm_medium=Banner250x200&utm_campaign=Godspeaks

  84. just1ofhis says:

    Mike Bickle, a lover and practitioner of falsehood, in his own words:

    The Holy Spirit of God, when we participate in His divine nature through the blood of Jesus Christ, does not “touch our bodies” but rather allows us to escape the corruption in the world cause by evil desires. Self-control is one of the qualities that we are to possess in increasing measure. (2 Peter 1)

    Jesus told the sinner (and still tells the sinner today) to “go and sin no more”.

    This garbage is indefensible against the Word of God. It is an abomination.

  85. apart from the dumb name, I find nothing alarming about “God-jotter” seems like just a tool to keep track of your spiritual journey with God. Maybe I am missing something.

  86. just1ofhis says:

    “About Us

    Godjotter™ is a tool created to “organize all your God thoughts in one place”, record the many ways God speaks to you, and reveal the presence of God in your life as you journal. The idea for Godjotter came from our own need for a way to keep inspirational notes at our fingertips along with an easy way to access them.

    Recording your personal thoughts in a journal or diary isn’t anything new, but Godjotter offers more than your typical online journal or diary. Along with a private space to record journal entries, we’ve built additional features into our paid plan, Godjotter Plus. Click on Get Started to learn more about the features offered with our two plans, Godjotter Plus and Godjotter Free. Godjotter is a great tool for anyone who wants to have a private space to journal and grow closer to God.

    As we look forward to seeing what God will do with Godjotter, we are even more excited about giving back to the community. We will donate 51% of Godjotter’s profits to local, national, and international faith-based charities, as God leads. The 51% symbolizes God’s controlling interest in Godjotter. All charitable contributions will be made through a foundation to be established for that purpose, so stay tuned.

    We want to thank the many people involved in getting Godjotter launched, without their help none of this would have been possible. Most importantly, we want to thank God for the opportunity to create Godjotter; this is really not “about us”, it’s all about Him! We feel blessed to be the stewards of this project.

    Thank you for supporting and using Godjotter.

    May God Bless You,
    The Godjotter Team

    Find us, follow us, or tell your friends about us!”

    https://www.godjotter.com/about/

    The profits are coming from a $19/year fee for the plus service.

    This is the extent of their “about us” page.

    “it’s all about Him!” they say (well, except for the 49% which isn’t). But the question of the day is which “Him” is it all about?

    That gives me the creeps, so-to-speak. In more grown up language, it alarms me and reminds me once more that we are rapidly approaching a day where “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” will be far, far away from any “god” that most professing believers are willing to worship.

  87. just1ofhis says:

    Thanks for the edit, Craig. I haven’t figured out how to do the “box” in my comments.

    btw, Jeffery, I don’t believe you are missing anything. As a matter of fact, all of us who are believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and clinging to His Word are walking will such tremendous blessing of the deposit of His Holy Spirit. What could we possibly be missing, we who are the very children of God? Certainly nothing worth having, although I admit to needing an occasional reminder of that….

  88. Craig says:

    To indent a quote, bold, or italicize, use the following html commands. With each they are opened and closed using the left and right arrow keys, below the “K” and “L” on the keyboard. Since these left and right arrow keys will disappear in comments, I’ll illustrate by using brackets. So, just substitute the brackets below for arrow keys, and you’ll get the desired effect:

    [blockquote]This is how to indent text[/blockquote]

    [b]bold[/b]

    [i]italics[/i]

  89. Arwen4CJ says:

    I wasn’t going to comment on the Godjotter journal website thing, but I think I should. I think we need to be careful that we are not overly critical of things that are not necessarily advocating dangerous practices.

    Godjotter doesn’t appear to tell people to engage in dangerous things — like it doesn’t look like it teaches people about guided imagery, how to get in touch with spirit guides or angels, etc. Now, that isn’t to say that people who use occult spiritual practices do not use the site.

    It seems to be neutral — just a site for people to record their thoughts about God. These things could be just notes about what God’s doing in your life, or they could be things a person receives from occult sources. It seems that the site is just trying to provide a place for people to record their theological thoughts.

    Now, that isn’t to say that the site’s name isn’t in poor taste, or that their business practices are not in poor taste, etc.

    But the point is that it doesn’t appear to necessarily teach occult spiritual practices.

    A orthodox Christian might use the site, and record orthodox things.
    A heretic might use the site and record heretical things.
    A person into the occult might use the site to record their demonically influenced things.

    There is no censorship on the site, and there is no statement that a person must only post things that adhere to a certain view.

    So some posting there are going to record things they have received from another Jesus, and they will talk about another god. At the same time, someone else might record genuine reflections about the true God.

    So, what it sounds like to me is that the orthodoxy of statements depends on the user, and not the site itself.

    I think that many Christians (and others) would be turned off by the business practices of this site, but having bad business practices doesn’t necessarily mean the site is promoting another god.

  90. just1ofhis says:

    Arwen,

    It is just a question for thought, but:

    If I come saying that God has sent me and serving people in God’s name but make no mention of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, in whose name have I come?

    The fact that this website claims to be of and for “Him”, and yet makes no mention of Jesus Christ, is a problem in and of itself. I believe that can be as dangerous for Christians as something that teaches occult practices. If this was simply a neutral website just providing a generic journaling tool, I would say there is no problem with that. Let people journal what they want to journal, right? That would be no different than Facebook or your e-mail. BUT, this website claims to be of God and for “Him”. For me, that is where the problem comes in. We aren’t to judge those things which are outside of the church but, rather, those which are within. This site claims to be within. As such, it fails to meet even the most basic statement of Christianity.

  91. just1ofhis says:

    In Acts 4 and 5, the apostles were persecuted for teaching in the name of Jesus.

    Acts 4:17-18: “But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name. Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.” (my note, they didn’t order them to stop doing miracles)

    Acts 5: 28: “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”

    Acts 5:40: His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

    The apostles didn’t respond to all of this by coming up with a less offensive manner to reach people with God. There isn’t any. What they did is what we are all called to do unapologetically:

    Acts 5: 41-42: The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

    While it may seem like I am making a big deal about nothing, it is all to easy for all of us to back away from holding up the Name of Jesus Christ. When we hold up that Name, we are persecuted in numerous ways. I don’t want to participate in things which pretend to be of God but shy away from holding up that Name for money or popularity or any other purpose. It sets a dangerous example, imo.

    (I am attempting the html commands on this. Thank you, Craig.)

  92. Craig says:

    Looks like you got ‘em down!

  93. Arwen4CJ says:

    I’m not saying that we should avoid being offensive — but…..I’m not sure that this site is meant to be seen as an evangelistic tool, or a place people go to learn doctrine. I’m trying to view it in terms of its context, and that context seems to be that it is simply a website offering services for people to record their thoughts about God.

    It isn’t an apologetics site, a church website, a Christian organization website, or a Christian charity — I would expect to see statements of faith on these kinds of websites. I would expect to see mention of Jesus and the cross, etc.

    I see it as a place where they charge people fees to use their service.

    I think that you’ve probably read enough of my comments to know how much I value the cross and the true gospel and for people to know the real Jesus. So please don’t see my comments on this topic as downplaying any of this. I’m simply trying to be fair to the site.

    You point out that they do not mention Jesus, which appears to be true. They mention God plenty of times. They don’t seem to have a statement of faith on their website, at least from what I found, so we cannot be sure what perspective the people running the site are from. They may not even be Christian. A lot of people talk about God, but they may mean very different things. They do mention Scripture.

    I just watched their video….and they play a Bethel song that mentions Jesus’ name in the video…which had me wondering about the people who put up this website.

    I then searched their website for more information about the people running it…and….I hit a brick wall. There is not only no information about Jesus or the cross, as you mentioned, but there is very little information provided on the website at all, even about the “Godjotter team.”

    This, to me is very worrying, provided the fact that they claim that they will keep people’s information private, but anyone can write a privacy policy.

    They do have a privacy policy, and through that, we learn that they are supposedly based in Richfield Minnesota, an S Corporation.

    I learned from an online friend who is into computer programming the importance of encryption for things to truly be private. The only thing that Godjotter actually says is encrypted is credit card data, and that is through their credit card vendor, not through the site itself.

    The people behind this site say very, very little about themselves, their business model, etc. To me, this sounds shady — I don’t think anyone should trust themselves with this website, just using common sense. Using this site would not be wise.

    They should also have a better way of contacting people than giving a link to a blank “contact us” form — a form that you don’t know where it will go, who will read it, etc. At the very least, they should have a real address and a real e-mail address for people to contact, and a real telephone number.

    For all we know, this whole thing could be a scam. There are no logos on the website that guarantee payment methods, so we don’t even know who their “vendor” is.

    It is true that a site claiming to be Christian should provide some sort of resources for people to use. They do have a Bible in their software — they say they have two translations, but they never say what these translations are. This is the only resource that I see them using, apart from user’s comments.

    And a good Christian website should have a statement of faith. The owners of the website should make it so that people learn a little about them.

    So….I think this site is poorly designed, untrustworthy, and possibly scam material — and I would not recommend that anyone use it.

    This part of the evaluation is made purely on the design of their site and it’s contents (or lack of contents).

    I’ll continue my evaluation in the next comment.

  94. Arwen4CJ says:

    just1ofhis,
    You wrote:

    “If I come saying that God has sent me and serving people in God’s name but make no mention of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, in whose name have I come? “

    My response — of course, if someone claimed they were sent by God and were serving in God’s name, but made no mention of Jesus and Him crucified, then that would indicate a serious problem. It would mean that they weren’t preaching what they should be preaching.

    However, my point was that we should evaluate things by the context that they are made. We don’t evaluate a service tool website in the same way that we evaluate a preacher, author, Christian organization, etc.

    We should evaluate it like we would any other website, Christian or not, that offers paid services on their website. And on these grounds I just did evaluate the website, and I think it is dangerous. Without your comments, I wouldn’t have looked into it deeper. But now I did. So I don’t think it is wise for Christians (or anyone) to use the website, apart from theological problems.

    Now, if they had passed evaluation #1, the next question would be — should a Christian support this website? Since it is a site that says it offers Christian tools, then we can look for what perspective they come from, to see if we …..and we can only go on the information they provided, which is very, very little. The only information the provided on this topic is that they think that God speaks to us today in many ways, and they like Bethel music.

    Neither view is necessarily heretical, but the Bethel music thing would call into question what their theological views are…..do they support Bethel? Or did they just like that one song? If they played the song in the video because they support Bethel, then should orthodox Christians support the website? That would be something that each individual Christian would have to decide. I would say it isn’t wise to support a Christian website in which we didn’t know what the views of its creators were.

    Leaving off Jesus Christ and Him crucified from a Christian website providing a web tool does not necessarily mean that those behind the website are denying Him, or believe in another Jesus. It does mean, however, that the website does not follow a good model for a Christian website. But, as people just use the site for jotting down their own thoughts about God, the theological views of the site owners do not influence your own beliefs. They are not sending out podcasts, sending you teachings, etc. So the matter is whether or not you could ethically support someone’s website who may not be teaching in accordance with sound doctrine. This, I think is a personal decision.

    You wrote:

    “The fact that this website claims to be of and for “Him”, and yet makes no mention of Jesus Christ, is a problem in and of itself. I believe that can be as dangerous for Christians as something that teaches occult practices. If this was simply a neutral website just providing a generic journaling tool, I would say there is no problem with that. Let people journal what they want to journal, right? That would be no different than Facebook or your e-mail. BUT, this website claims to be of God and for “Him”. For me, that is where the problem comes in. We aren’t to judge those things which are outside of the church but, rather, those which are within. This site claims to be within. As such, it fails to meet even the most basic statement of Christianity.”

    Yes, it is problematic that they do not mention Jesus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they deny Him. It could be a case of offering a poorly thought out and designed website. That doesn’t excuse them not mentioning Him, but it also doesn’t mean that they are necessarily encouraging people to follow another Jesus.

    Since the people at the website do not appear to actually be teaching any doctrine or any practices — they are simply providing space for people to record their own thoughts, by their own methods, then I don’t think we can assume they are encouraging people/teaching people the occult. It is true that they are not discouraging the occult — but it isn’t an apologetics website.

    It’s just saying “we’ll provide you with space to record your thoughts about God, and we’ll provide this to you for a fee….unless you want to use the free account…then you can only use it for ten days.”

    If the website itself were trustworthy, then I don’t see this as so bad, especially if the provided a statement of faith and a place people could go to learn about the real gospel. It would be better if they included a cautionary section that said something like this, “Beware of certain popular methods of supposedly hearing from God….” and then went into detail about some modern errors.

    Without this kind of statement, they are allowing for anyone to say anything, even using occult methods to “hear from God,” but they are not explicitly promoting it, either.

    You wrote:

    In Acts 4 and 5, the apostles were persecuted for teaching in the name of Jesus.
    and
    The apostles didn’t respond to all of this by coming up with a less offensive manner to reach people with God. There isn’t any. What they did is what we are all called to do unapologetically:

    Acts 5: 41-42: The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

    My response:
    Again, this Godjotter website isn’t setting out to witness to people. It’s not trying to be an evangelistic tool, or even, really, a ministry. Their goal isn’t to teach people about Jesus, or to make people disciples of Jesus.

    What they are trying to do is build up the body of Christ by providing a tool for people to use to write down their own thoughts about God, all in one place. Now, of course this doesn’t prevent non-believers from using the site, and it doesn’t prevent those who have a different god from posting.

    So, because of the chance of a non-Christian wandering onto the site, they should provide a link that states the gospel so that non-believers might have the chance of seeing it, or being convicted by it. That would be what a good site like this would do.

    However, since their only goal seems to be to provide a space for people to write things down about God, then it isn’t necessarily required of them to provide such a link. By not including it, they are not necessarily denying Jesus or the gospel. Certainly, if a site offering a Christian tool explicitly denied Jesus or the gospel, that would be another thing.

    So I can’t say that this website is trying to be inoffensive in how it leads people to Christ…..because it isn’t trying to lead people to Christ. It’s set up as a place for people who are already believers to go and write their thoughts.

    If their goal was to show people how great God was, and encourage them to think about God, whether or not they knew Him, then your evaluation on this would be fair.

    You wrote:

    While it may seem like I am making a big deal about nothing, it is all to easy for all of us to back away from holding up the Name of Jesus Christ. When we hold up that Name, we are persecuted in numerous ways. I don’t want to participate in things which pretend to be of God but shy away from holding up that Name for money or popularity or any other purpose. It sets a dangerous example, imo.

    Of course we should be on our guard to make sure that we are not backing away from holding up the Name of Jesus Christ. I don’t think that they are purposely shying away from the name of Jesus for money or popularity. I think it’s just a poor site design, and they “overlooked” mentioning Jesus’ name. However, that is just speculation. (Of course “overlooking” something as important as Jesus’ name is no small thing, and it does indicate that they may not value Jesus as their number one priority).

    They could have avoided using it because of money or popularity….but they don’t seem to be encouraging people from all faiths to use it. They seem to make the assumption that those using the site are Christian. They said nothing on the site that made me think they were trying to be inclusive. Such statements might be “the God of your preference,” “or whomever or whatever is God, to you,” or “the God of all faiths,” or “the God of all religions,” etc. These things would be dead giveaways that their lack of mentioning Jesus was for those reasons.

    The only religious writing that they include in their paid program is the Bible.

    Now, the website appears to have been created in 2013, so it isn’t that old. Maybe it’s just a new site, and they haven’t added everything to the site that they want to add, and they don’t realize what is missing. But I wouldn’t trust it.

    All that said, again, I think it is a very poorly designed site, and that it has questionable site policies, and that it might even be a scam. Christians should avoid the site for these reasons, and for others. Since they don’t state much about their theology, it is, at best, questionable, but it doesn’t mean they are teaching people the occult.

    I would not recommend that anyone use this site.

  95. Arwen4CJ says:

    oops…I used “quote” instead of “blockquote” in the above comment.

  96. Craig says:

    The tags disappeared, so I had to guess where you intended to put the blockquotes.

  97. jeffrey says:

    I sent God-jotter the following message:

    No offense,
    But your website has no statement of faith, nor even mentions Jesus for that matter, list no affiliation or endorsement of Christian organizations, etc. Also, it does not even mention which charities you fund. Can you explain this lack of accountability and ambiguity about which “God” you are endorsing?

    If I knew of where to do it, I would even report them to a “Watchdog organization” Not because I want to slander them or be critical, but because I believe (after digging deeper) that this could actually be a scam, or at least an unethical business. At the least, they are not doing business with integrity, whether in ignorance or not.

    Maybe they are trying to be legit but are just foolish, who knows. At the least, the current business model IS shady looking.

  98. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    You put them in the right places. Thanks.

  99. abey says:

    If the OT is to the coming of Christ the NT is to the Manifestation of the Sons of God (Rom. 8:19) The Israel of God(Gal 6:16) off the Covenant(Gal 3:16). The Elect of God sealed with His name. The First fruits of the lamb/ The Remnant seed of the Woman, with the lamb itself as the first , the 144000 redeemed among men, arisen out of the Enmity put by God between the serpent & Woman at Eden, for the Enmity concerns the salvation of Man. They who keep the commandments of God & have the testimony of Jesus for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy. The Brethren of the Elohim(Sons of God in Heaven) one of whom wrestled with the Patriarch Jacob thus introducing the name Israel meaning Inheritance of God – Trained by them. Spiritual in Character. They follow the Lamb where ever He goes & Reign with Christ for the 1000 years called the Millennium & the fruit of their works is seen in Rev. to the uncountable ones before the Throne covered in white garments. A visitation from them in the spirit reveals the words of Jesus “The many that I love I rebuke & chastise’ “My Yoke is easy & my burden light” come against sin hence no appeasings unlike the appeasings & earpleasings of the world even by its Prophets. All in all “Err not for the Son of Man comes not to condemn but to save” They who have not been defiled by Women meaning averse to any form of sexual corruptions the core of which is Sodom.for there was no sin that was so utterly destroyed by God than the sin of sodom. They detect & track His sheep for unto St. Peter is said “Feed my sheep’.thereby testing the sheep by the two commandments first by the second & then the first as is stated “If you do not love your brethren who you can see how then can you love God who you cannot see” This invinsible army of God come in the latter rain called the Post Advent of Pentecost, by its name “army” is also to war to the fullfilment of the war of King Josiah against Egypt- Egypt to the prophecy of “Spiritual Sodom & Egypt” signified by the many alters figured in the Israeli freemasonic supreme court into the Prophecy of the beast gathering the nations to war against the lamb & Lo who can stand against the Lord of hosts.

  100. Craig says:

    abey,

    Assuming you are not a ‘drive-by’ commenter, explain when this manifestation of the Sons of God actually occurs by using the immediate context of Romans 8:19.

  101. abey says:

    Craig (Rom:8:19) “For the earnest expectation of the creature(Creation) waiteth for the manifestation(revelation) of the sons of God” To your question I quote from my words “A visitation(a trembling event) from them, in the Spirit—” as a witness to the words of Jesus mentioned, including that unto St. Peter to the subsequent “shattering” tests from them, manifests their love for God in the spirit & truth of it for “The Spirit itself bears witness with our Spirit, that we are the children of God”.

  102. Craig says:

    Abey,

    So, you’ve used your own ‘revelation’?

    Let’s put this in its proper Biblical context.

    18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed [or "manifested"]. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

    22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. [Romans 8:18-25, NIV]

    Note in verse 18 “the glory that will be revealed in us”; this is yet future from the time of Paul’s writing, of course. At what point will this glory be revealed? Verse 23 provides the answer: It will be upon “the redemption of our bodies”, which obviously occurs at, not at any time before, the eschaton, the end of all things. So, upon conversion Christians receive the “firstfruits of the Spirit”, which is the Holy Spirit’s indwelling; however, it’s not until the consummation (Christ’s return) that we are fully adopted into “sonship” with the “redemption of our bodies”(v 23).

    Yet, in verse 19 we also see that creation is waiting for “the children of God to be revealed” in order for the liberation of creation in verse 21. This means that once Christ returns Christians will receive their glorified bodies [1 Cor 15:50-54; 1 Thes 4:17-18], i.e. full manifestation, after which creation will be renewed. However, it’s Christ Himself who provides for the redemption of the earth just as He provides the full glorification/redemption of believers when He returns in bodily form, the way in which he left [Acts 1:11; cf. Matthew 16:27, Daniel 7:13-14].

  103. Arwen4CJ says:

    Abey,

    I have some questions for you — do you believe that there are different “levels” or “classes” of believers, or do you believe that all those in the church are on equal footing?

    In other words, what I am asking is this:
    Do you think that things written in the Bible are referring to a special group of Christians, or do you think it is talking about all Christians…..or do you some verses apply to all Christians, and some verses apply to a special group of Christians?

    Or, of those claiming to be Christian today, do you think that only those who walk in miracles/signs wonders, etc are the Christians, and everyone else isn’t?

    Is there a difference, according to your beliefs, between a believer and a someone in the special army?

    How would you define what a Christian is?

  104. abey says:

    Craig: You try to put everything literally, when actually it first comes in the Spirit before being manifested in the Physical . Now when Jesus said on the cross “It is finished” how come it is not Finished till this day as far as redemption of man is concerned, ’cause He spoke in the Spirit as the Bible says “His words are Spirit: Moreover He is the Spirit of Prophecy Himself & for that scriptures have to searched through the OT, to the Prophecy of His words on the cross to the specific task connected with the words.. Trying to identify revelations literally without the Spiritual understanding which comes through revelations from the Spirit is but to serous errors like Dispensationlism & to satisfy that the rapture had to be made into a pretrib basis creating a greater error. For there is the difference to Christ coming in the clouds for the saints before & during the Millennium & the final coming on white horse with the saints after the millennium. There can be only one rapture. This differenciation can only be understood by knowing exactly what it means to “Christ coming in the cloud & to be caught up with Him in the air,” which is the key & does refer to the same way he went up the same way he will come, This cannot be logically understood unless be revealed in the Spirit.

  105. abey says:

    Arwen: The followers of Christ were first called Christians in Antioch & many of them proved it by their Martyrdom. As far as the day is concerned I have already mentioned, coming to know whether we be Christians or not, neither be taken for granted. So it is not for us to boast but by Him to reveal us.

  106. Craig says:

    abey,

    You claim I “put everything literally”, yet you claim the “Millennium” as if it were literal. Who says it is? And, who says the Millennium comes after Christ returns?There are two other understandings: post- and a-millennialism. (and, I’m not pretrib, btw.)

    But, Romans 8 is quite clear that creation (personified here by Paul) is waiting for the revealing (manifestation) of the sons of God. Paul wrote those words well after (roughly AD50) the first Christians walked this earth. Why weren’t they fully manifested then, since, in your claim Jesus said “It is finished”? And, given that Romans 8 is VERY clear that creation is waiting for its own “liberation from bondage” (as a result of Adam’s sin) until AFTER the revealing of the sons of God in their glory (i.e., with glorified bodies: 1 Cor 15:42-54), would you claim that creation is already liberated?

    You speak from the typical arrogant position (though usually one of false humility) of those in hyper-charismaticism. You’re making the implicit claim that I (and others such as scholars with the same views) either 1) am not saved because I don’t have the Spirit, or 2) I’m less of a Christian than you because I don’t know how to listen to the “Spirit” like you do. You have all the answers because YOU get revelation “by the Spirit”, yet when it clearly contradicts Scripture, you’ll continue in your claim, explaining that it’s NEW revelation, thus trumping Scripture. Have you ever considered that maybe, just maybe, this ‘revelation’ is coming from a spirit besides the Holy Spirit?

    I don’t wish to waste my time going down this particular track. Let’s get back to the subject of the post itself. Do you agree with Bentley’s words that there is (well, was, in 2008) a ‘birthing’ of the manifestation of the sons of God? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is returning BODILY; or do you believe Christ is coming back spiritually “through the church body”?

  107. Arwen4CJ says:

    abey,

    Okay — so do you think that everything that is “spiritual” or “revealed by a spirit” is good, and everything that isn’t is bad/evil/inferior?

    And you believe that a person is only Christian if they receive a spiritual revelation that they are, and that is the only basis by which a person can be said to be a believer?

    So, let’s say that the Holy Spirit reveals to a lot of people that they are true believers, are there different classes of believers (some Manifested Sons of God and some regular Christians, or are all believers Manifested Sons of God), according to your belief system?

  108. Arwen4CJ says:

    abey,

    More importantly — do you believe that Jesus Christ literally took on the human nature (that He came as a real human) on the earth, or do you believe that His coming was only a spiritual thing — that He just seemed to be human, but He was really just spirit?

  109. Craig says:

    Here’s an interesting quote:

    The disciples of the world (with their nicely formulated ideals and their neatly expressed idealistic concepts) are oft glamoured by the future beauty because they are oblivious of the present opportunity. Many of them will find out later that they have been left behind as far as registering the new truths is concerned. To this Christ referred when He said that it was not possible to put new wine into old bottles for that which is old will be destroyed by the expanding new life.

    Who wrote that? C. Peter Wagner? Some other hyper-charismatic leader? No; it was Alice A. Bailey – well, actually the demon Master D.K., whom she willingly allowed to speak through her as a channel of automatic writing. It’s from Discipleship in the New Age, Volume I; 1944; p 86.

    Most who are in or who have studied the NAR are aware of the interpretation of the “new wine” of Matthew 9:16-18, and the New Age version is essentially the same. The “new truths”, of course, are ‘new revelation’. Note that the modern “Latter Rain” movement began somewhere around, probably just before, 1948, and compare to the date of 1944 of Bailey’s writing.

  110. abey says:

    Craig: My question was !) Christ appearing in the clouds & the exact meaning of it 2) Christ coming in the white horse & off the two comings mentioned to which is the rapture ? 3) The OT prophecy relating to the words of Jesus on the cross 4) The Millennium to the 1000 years is a time range here on earth, to the plain simple truth that his reign during this period will it be Literal or Spiritual (this is our point of contention) 5) In all of my comments where is it suggested “disciples of the world” other than “Appeasings & earpleasings of this world even by its Prophets”& where in my first comment are non-related Biblical words & what is new other than coming contrary to your set mind, and grandmother’s tales as the baileys like saying “I am saved you are not saved” & all that Mumbo Jumbo conclusions you have come up with, the same error like the Jews, stiffnecked ones as God called it, the very Scholars -Scribes & the Pharisees, not only missing out themselves but turning others away from the long Prophesied Messiah, ’cause the spirit was not in them. For even today they relate to the Scriptures denying the Messiah & lo the dispensationlists go by their error for the Christ they profess becomes another christ to that graven alters already mentioned.
    Arwen: Christ came in the flesh, as the Bible says the Lord from Heaven & to His coming when all eyes will see would you see Him as Man or His original image as the Lord, When it is said Spiritual it means the Spirit leading the body, & continuousally when it comes to the Resurrected state- the opposite of this is the earthly state

  111. jeffrey says:

    Craig,

    In response to Abbey, you wrote “however, it’s not until the consummation (Christ’s return) that we are fully adopted into “sonship” with the “redemption of our bodies”

    I think you are both right. It is now, but not yet, as many things in the bible.

    Jesus work on the cross was full and complete, so I am 100% fully a son of God right now. Do I get the full benefit? no, but do I fully have it? yes. One cannot be “partially” a son.

    The bible is full of such paradox, for God cannot be defined. It has always been and always will be this way. In Exodus 33, it says Moses spoke to God face to face as a friend, yet He tells Moses no man can see me and live. What gives? Jesus, fully God, fully man. It’s actually an impossible concept, for to be man means to be non-man, and to be man means to be non-God. Yet Christ did it.

    I see this deep revelation of God in all of creation. It is why some things are best explained by science, others by poetry. human-ness is inherently deficient to explain or understand. God is like the sub-atomic particle in the respect that I speak: you can know the velocity or location, but never both- God is revealing His nature here. The notes on a song hit me in a deep way but I can’t explain why. God is revealing himself here.

    Let us strive to know God fully, and also know we never will. Knowledge puffs up, love builds up.

  112. Craig says:

    abey,

    I nearly edited out quite a bit of your comment, but decided to let it stay so others can see your elitist attitude. This thread has nothing to do with Dispensationism (and I am not a Dispensationist); so, any further comments on this topic will be summarily deleted. In addition, this thread is not about eschatology (end times), with the exception of manifest sons of God doctrine, which is not Biblical, and, is in fact heretical by the manner presented and exposed in the blog post and your comments, so let’s have no further discussion on end times. I go back to my question on this: Given that Romans 8 is VERY clear that creation (metaphorically personified by Paul) is waiting for its own “liberation from bondage” (as a result of Adam’s sin) AFTER the revealing of the sons of God in their glory (i.e., with glorified bodies: 1 Cor 15:42-54), would you claim that creation is already liberated? This is the only conclusion you can reach if you believe that Christians (or at least SOME Christians) are currently fully manifested sons of God. Yet, it’s quite obvious that creation is still in the same state post-Fall as spoken of in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:17-19). If you have a ‘spiritual’ explanation to exegete Romans 8:18-22 that falls in line with your manifested sons of God belief, I’d love to hear it.

    You wrote: …where in my first comment are non-related Biblical words & what is new other than coming contrary to your set mind… Your first comment took portions of various Scriptures out of their proper contexts in order to make your “new” points. I’m well aware of the tactics of shoe-horning extra-biblical doctrines into Scripture by proof-texting, especially by taking a bunch of unrelated verses to do so.

    Your next comment needs to address my question above, or it will not see the light of day.

  113. Craig says:

    Jeffrey,

    Perhaps you’re intent is to be gracious to abey; however, let’s be clear that the context of Romans 8 states that the revealing and “glory” comes later. And, of course, I’m aware of the “already but not yet”, especially in regards to this doctrine of MSoG, as the two articles previous to the one on which we are commenting address this very topic at length. So, no, abey and I are not “both right”. Abey is propounding heresy, and I will not dilute it on this blog.

  114. jeffrey says:

    I did not read the whole exchange, frankly. I am not defending her. Just commenting on the fact that we are 100% sons already. That is immutable and non-negotiable.

  115. Arwen4CJ says:

    abey,,

    Thank you for answering one of my questions. I’m glad that we are agreed that Christ came in the flesh.

    Now, I must ask you something further — what do you believe Christ means, and is Jesus the only Christ, or can anyone be Christ?

    And another question — do you think that the resurrection is spiritual, or physical, or both?

  116. Craig says:

    abey,

    I, as well, would like your answers to Arwen4CJ’s questions, but please do so only after answering mine at 9:58 on 11/24.

  117. abey says:

    Craig, even Arwen: Let me make this very clear.That which concerns me to the deleting & Non deletings is only to the book of the lamb, not to any body’s website. By your unyoked threats you do remind me of another, whom you know but that is beside the point, for let the dead take care of the dead. Now a person gets a visitation in the spirit & is tested in the spirit, for the Spirit does not lie, tested severely for the Two commandments of Christ by them which to me come as the revelation of the sons of God . Now Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted off the devil a spiritual temptation. The difference is that unto Jesus it was the Temptation , reflecting the temptation at Eden also a Spiritual one whereas in this case(remember His words “I have overcome the world) a test (spiritual) by Christ through the sons of God filled in the Spirit for that is the revelation, is but to reveal our own faith, to calling oneself a Christian. Now to this visitation come not by the will of the person but by the will of Christ & if this person confesses the incident even Biblical, how on earth can you call that person an Elitist, for by so doing you are calling Christ an Elitist, for that is a lie against he who humbled himself before the Father even unto the Crucification ? Be of such humbleness
    Jeffrey, to a small correction, abey to a nick name is spelt abraham the official or Baptism name. And lo in a deep sleep came a vision, a horror of a great darkness falling upon him & this time he knelt stretched forth his hands on either side looked up & prayed in the Spirit “Our Father — thy kingdom come , thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven—–” This is “The Contention”, our contention, my contention. Craig since you say Dispensation /Pre trib are not to the topic I do not bring it up but once again Humble, Humble thy self to your words of accusations & threats. As for the delete/non delete, do as you please( but alter not) so as not to fall by your first words” Drive-By Commentator” to become an accusation unto yourself, as for me it is but dusting my feet & moving away. But do remember our contention goes no where but remains in Spirit to the truth of it unto its manifestation. Amen.

  118. Craig says:

    As I assumed, abey refuses to actually engage in discussion, but rather spouting off hyper-charismatic lingo, which he thinks is “spiritual” rather than, presumably, “religious”. But, I decided to post it anyway so other readers can view his hypocrisy in demanding me to be humble while he continues with his elitism, which he apparently cannot see.

    abey’s post here aptly demonstrates the cult-like atmosphere of hyper-charismaticism. See this article:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/the-use-of-loaded-language-in-hyper-charismaticism/

    …and note these words:

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

    “Immediately when someone outside the movement asks where a particular practice [ED: or doctrine] is found in the Scripture the loaded language kicks in.”

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

    And, this is why abey refused to answer the question of how creation is obviously not “liberated” yet, in his view, the sons of God are revealed/fully manifested. The thinking is that somehow the answer is spiritually discerned – even though this does not make any sense of the context. While I can be sympathetic to metaphorical readings, this must be applied systematically and make use of the actual context, which abey has not demonstrated.

    Implied in a number of abey’s comments, including the most recent, are that he is saved and I’m not (though he initially denied this after I first made the observation), with words such as “unyoked threats”, these reminding abey of another (the accuser of the brethren – see loaded language article), “[f]or even today they relate to the Scriptures denying the Messiah” (comment at 10:30 on 11/24), etc.

  119. jeffrey says:

    Abey,
    no offense, but your language construction, grammatically and choice of words is so awkward I can hardly make sense of your language. It is full of run on sentences, dangling modifiers, adverbial and other phrases so misplaced (some awkward in almost psuedo-Elizabethian tone) it is very hard to read. It’s just a complete jumble to me. Is there any way you could write in clearer, shorter sentences that is less encumbered by antiquated construction? I think it is only contributing you to being misunderstood. Please consider a change, thanks.

  120. just1ofhis says:

    Jeffrey,

    I don’t believe that Abey, though difficult to understand (and your request to this person was well put), is being misunderstood. Craig made reference to this comment in Abey’s last post:

    ” By your unyoked threats you do remind me of another, whom you know but that is beside the point, for let the dead take care of the dead.”

    Calling Craig part of “the dead” and referring to “another” whom he “knows” (imo, satan) seems plain enough. “Unyoked” was a popular buzz word in hyper-charismatic circles when I was in them. It always referred to one not filled with the Holy Spirit of God.

    If one of my children was standing on the edge of a cliff doing a jig, I would certainly confront them and point out the danger and plead with them to come to a safe place. If one of my children were getting drunk or high, I would confront them and point out the peril and plead with them to stop. If we truly love Abey and all the others stuck in charismania, then we must do the same thing, and we do this with many tears and prayers. God, have mercy!

    We speak the truth in gentleness and love. To those who hate the truth, it sounds harsh and hateful. For the children of God who are patiently waiting for His return, even though they suffer many trials and temptations in their earthly jars of clay now; this is, and has always been, the walk. Real faith trusts in the Word of God as it is given by Him for once and all for all the saints. I pray that Abey might come to understand that.

  121. Arwen4CJ says:

    abey,

    I have sent you no threats — just questions to try to clarify your thinking and your perspective. I think Craig is after the same thing — we just want clarity. Jeffrey is correct; your writing style is very hard to make sense of.

    My hope was that by answering the questions I asked, we could then move onto talking about the actual issues that you bring up, and how those relate to Craig’s article.

    I think everyone here cares about the Bible, and wants to see it properly handled.

    You wrote:

    Now a person gets a visitation in the spirit & is tested in the spirit, for the Spirit does not lie, tested severely for the Two commandments of Christ by them which to me come as the revelation of the sons of God.

    My response:
    This doesn’t provide any answers to the questions that Craig and I asked. Instead, it just produces more questions for us, and causes us to be more convinced that you are speaking from a certain mindset.

    Since you have not been answering many of the questions that you’ve been asked, let me be very clear here. While the Holy Spirit does reveal things to believers, and while some people may experience some spiritual visions and whatnot, all of these things need to be tested. We need to test them by Scripture. The “revelations” a person receives does not interpret Scripture, as some Christians leaders have taught.

    People can have experiences or receive “revelations” from other spirits that claim to be the Holy Spirit. So just because someone has a spiritual experience, encounter, or visitation does not automatically mean that it is of God. People in all non-Christian religions experience these things, too. Demons disguise themselves as angels of light in order to deceive people.

    You have given us no evidence that the revelations that you have received are actually from the Holy Spirit. You have taken verses from Scripture out of context, and have refused to actually discuss any verses, saying that your spiritual knowledge justifies the viewpoint. That is totally unhelpful in a discussion like this.

    At this point, it appears to me like you are a neo-gnostic who believes that all spiritual revelation is superior to any other kind of knowledge, and that the goal of Jesus coming here was to provide secret spiritual knowledge to certain people (people with a divine seed/spark/manifest son of God). If this isn’t your viewpoint, then you are not helping us understand you.

    I would help, maybe, if you could explain your perspective to us a bit.
    For example:
    1.) What church do you attend, if you go to church?

    2.) Before coming to this blog, had you heard of Bill Johnson, Bob Jones, and Todd Bentley? If yes, then do you agree with their teachings? If not, then do you agree with what they seem to teach?

    3.) What do you think about people like Alice Bailey and the New Age/New Thought Movement? (If you have heard of these things. If not, then say you never heard of them)

    You wrote:

    “whereas in this case(remember His words “I have overcome the world) a test (spiritual) by Christ through the sons of God filled in the Spirit for that is the revelation, is but to reveal our own faith, to calling oneself a Christian. Now to this visitation come not by the will of the person but by the will of Christ & if this person confesses the incident even Biblical, how on earth can you call that person an Elitist, for by so doing you are calling Christ an Elitist, for that is a lie against he who humbled himself before the Father even unto the Crucification ? Be of such humbleness”

    My response:
    This is the reason I think it is important to try to find clarity in our communication. From your responses so far, Craig has drawn the conclusion that you must adhere to NAR/hyper-charismatic teaching, and thus he assumes that your definition of sons of God is the same as theirs…..like I’ve said before, you’ve really given us very little to go on. You aren’t bringing any clarity to your beliefs, so we are forced to make some assumptions that may or may not be right.

    It seems to me that what you’re saying is that a person needs to have a spiritual experience, specifically a visitation in the spiritual realm, and in this visitation, a spirit must tell us that we are a son of God. This experience validates whether or not we are a Christian, which is synonymous with being a son of God. Have I understood you correctly?

    If I have understood you correctly, then you may not be part of the NAR/hyper-charismatic movement, but you have similar beliefs to theirs. But then again, I don’t know because you haven’t told us much information about your perspective.

    Because I don’t know whether or not you are in the NAR movement, it seems to me that you may have a slightly different slant on the concept than they do, but it is very similar. It is elitist to claim that you are a better Christian because you have spiritual experiences/visitations than Christians who do not have these experiences. However, you may not think that those who do not have these experiences are Christian to begin with…..which is why I asked the question earlier.

    I believe it is a lie to say that only certain people who experience certain spiritual experiences are true Christians. Why? Because that isn’t what the whole counsel of Scripture teaches. You are isolating one verse that Paul wrote about the Holy Spirit and using that as the test of whether or not someone is a Christian. Paul wrote other things, too — he wrote about the gospel. He preached Jesus Christ’s life, death, and bodily resurrection. It is by grace through faith that we are Christians, not by spiritual experiences.

    There are not two classes of Christian, one better and more powerful than the other.

  122. Craig says:

    abey responded but with more of the same, which I deleted. I’m very serious about receiving a response to my reiterated question before allowing anything further to come through from him. No answer = no comments released.

    However, the comment wasn’t worth releasing as it was more of the same, though he disparaged Jeffrey’s attempt at correcting his awful grammar and writing style, continued to criticize me, and even mocked just1ofhis’ chosen moniker in a very childish manner. And, as usual, no paragraph breaks, inadequate punctuation, et cetera. At least Arwen4CJ was spared his wrath this time.

  123. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig, these are your questions you want Abey to respond to, right?:

    I go back to my question on this:
    1.) Given that Romans 8 is VERY clear that creation (metaphorically personified by Paul) is waiting for its own “liberation from bondage” (as a result of Adam’s sin) AFTER the revealing of the sons of God in their glory (i.e., with glorified bodies: 1 Cor 15:42-54), would you claim that creation is already liberated?

    This is the only conclusion you can reach if you believe that Christians (or at least SOME Christians) are currently fully manifested sons of God. Yet, it’s quite obvious that creation is still in the same state post-Fall as spoken of in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:17-19).

    2.) If you have a ‘spiritual’ explanation to exegete Romans 8:18-22 that falls in line with your manifested sons of God belief, I’d love to hear it.

    and

    I don’t wish to waste my time going down this particular track. Let’s get back to the subject of the post itself.

    3.) Do you agree with Bentley’s words that there is (well, was, in 2008) a ‘birthing’ of the manifestation of the sons of God?

    4.) Do you believe that Jesus Christ is returning BODILY; or do you believe Christ is coming back spiritually “through the church body”?

  124. Craig says:

    Basically, I’m looking for an answer to #1, and an answer to #2 amounts to same. I’m looking for an answer pertaining to the liberation of creation in the context of current fully manifested/glorified sons.

  125. jeffrey says:

    I intend no insult to Abey, and I am being completely honest when I say that I cannot understand the language they use. I want to judge their statements fairly, which requires that they make sense, logically and grammatically. I just ask that Abey slow their sentence constructing down. I tried to look over some paragraphs and reconstruct them getting at their meaning but is simply is overly time consuming, and perhaps impossible. I was a writing tutor for three years in college, and I am at a loss. Maybe I should never have been a tutor?

    Here’s an example of the problem from Abey’s writing: “Now Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted off the devil a spiritual temptation.

    I had to read this sentence a dozen times, and there are several possibilities for what it means.

    Here is the best estimation I have:

    “Now Jesus was led of the Spirit to be tempted by the devil with a spiritual temptation.”
    Is this what was meant?

    It took me a few extra minutes, to discover what they meant, when it could have taken them a few seconds to correct simple grammar errors for the clarity of their own thoughts. This should be their responsibility, not mine. I am not being a prude here or pretentious. We all should be considerate enough to make this effort.

    All I am asking is that this person spend more time editing their statements for clarity so the rest of us don’t have to waste our time doing so, and this will help eliminate unnecessary confusion. Slow down, take a breath and self-edit. It’s common courtesy. And try to avoid antiquated speech. Please?

  126. Craig says:

    Jeffrey,

    I also have difficulty translating abey’s posts, of course. I’m sympathetic to individuals who’ve not been properly schooled in grammar, etc., but, certainly an attempt at a higher level of clarity can be made. And there’s no excuse for not using paragraph breaks.

    However, it’s been my experience that some who are caught up in the hyper-charismatic movement (aka NAR, Latter Rain, etc.) are so deep in deception that, it seems to me, it actually affects their capacity at constructing coherent thoughts (see “Loaded Language” article). And part of the thinking is that it’s sooooo spiritual that only the elite can understand it, so mere mortals will undoubtedly be at a loss. They just need the Spirit!

    I’m reminded of a song by the Manchester, England based band Joy Division, which changed their name to New Order (one of the most popular bands of the ’80s and ’90s) after lead vocalist/lyricist Ian Curtis committed suicide on the eve of their first North American tour in 1980. The title is Disorder:

    I’ve been waiting for a guide to come
    and take me by the hand
    Could these sensations make me feel
    the pleasures of a normal man
    New sensations bear the innocence –
    leave them for another day
    I’ve got the spirit, lose the feeling
    take the shock away

    It’s getting faster, moving faster now,
    it’s getting out of hand
    On the tenth floor, down the backstairs
    into no-man’s land
    Lights are flashing,
    cars are crashing,
    getting frequent now
    I’ve got the spirit, lose the feeling, let it
    out somehow

    What means to you,
    what means to me –
    and we will meet again
    I’m watching you, I watch it all
    I take no pity from your friends
    Who is right and who can tell,
    and who gives a damn right now
    Until the spirit, new sensation
    takes hold – then you know
    (3)
    I’ve got the spirit, but lose the feeling
    I’ve got the spirit, don’t lose the feeling

    Feeling (7)

  127. just1ofhis says:

    Craig said, “However, it’s been my experience that some who are caught up in the hyper-charismatic movement (aka NAR, Latter Rain, etc.) are so deep in deception that, it seems to me, it actually affects their capacity at constructing coherent thoughts (see “Loaded Language” article). And part of the thinking is that it’s sooooo spiritual that only the elite can understand it, so mere mortals will undoubtedly be at a loss. They just need the Spirit!”

    I also have experienced that. I think, in part, it comes from a great deal of emphasis placed by church leaders on being “spiritual” and a discouragement to test everything against scripture. Wild and uncontrolled outbursts are welcome, as long as they are performed in the name of “jesus” and only ever state positive things to those in the room. Great attention is given to those who are “anointed”, so there exists a pressure to act “anointed”. Unfortunately for many, this includes such things as staggering around “drunk” in the “spirit”. Try and have a coherent conversation with someone in that state of being.

    These things are demonic, and they mess up the minds of those who participate in them. The same God who can deliver from all this darkness and does, also turns people over to the desire of their hearts when that desire is not for Him.

    The same person who told me that a person could not learn about healing from the Bible boasted to me once of a wild prayer meeting in a different country where chairs literally started flying around the room. This person wanted the crazy and bizarre and believed those things to point to a great “move of God”. I could fill a book with the wild stories this person told to me. This person longed for the fragmented speech and falling down incoherence and thought that the harder one shook the more “spirit” they had. I am inclined to agree, however the “spirit” they are receiving is most definitely not Holy.

    So, is this person some back alley nutcase who just has gone too far in things spiritual? On the contrary, this person is an ordained minister and the director of a multi-state Healing Room.

    The Bible was written by the Holy Spirit of God through ordinary, and most often uneducated, men. Consider the uneducated fisherman, Peter:

    “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” (2 Pet 2:1-3)

  128. jeffrey says:

    I agree with you both. I just want balance. Not sure if any of you checked out John McCarthur’s conference he had recently on charismatic excess, but his superior attitude was just as heinous. I am certain he is headed into serious error, I’ve seen it happen again and again when people start becoming so critical, they always end up in deception. There is no way around it.

    I pray for the day God brings widespread correction to those in both camps. Sadly, I think only persecution will be the thing to purify JEsus’ church in such a way. I actually welcome persecution because of this. I know that sounds cray, but it is true. Id rather have people suffer now than suffer eternal consequences.

  129. just1ofhis says:

    As I was re-reading 2 Peter 2, I was reminded that one of the first red flags I was given about the Word of Faith movement was a pastor speaking about Adam having given satan his authority over everything in the earth. That is also a part of the MSoG teaching, as I understand it. It is a misunderstanding about the battle that we are in.

    This is one way in which both MSoG and WoF deny the sovereign Lord. To paraphrase Kenneth Hagin, “Jesus wants to do something to help you, but He can’t unless you……”, followed by some prescription for gaining this favor. In other words, God’s power is dependent on man and man’s response to God. But then God wouldn’t be sovereign, would He?

    The word Peter used for sovereign Lord was “despotes”, meaning an absolute ruler and denoting one with supreme authority.

    In Matthew 28, Jesus claims for Himself all “exousia” in heaven and on earth, meaning power over persons and things, dominion, authority, rule. .

    Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28: 18-20)

  130. Craig says:

    I’ve only read about MacArthur’s conference; but, I’ve been critical of him for some time. He is already in some serious error, if you ask me – even before the conference.

  131. just1ofhis says:

    Jeffrey, “Not sure if any of you checked out John McCarthur’s conference he had recently on charismatic excess, but his superior attitude was just as heinous.”

    Agreed. My greatest and most painful persecution came from a very conservative church when I gave testimony of praying in tongues and witnessing real healings and miracles, praise God. McCarthur holds the same attitude that I witnessed in that church. The Word says what it says and doesn’t say what it doesn’t say. And we have the greatest and most perfect teacher ever in the Holy Spirit.

    John McCarthur has forgotten that it is infants in Christ who are tossed around by every wave of false teaching. Infants can grow if given the correct shelter, food and lots of love. And God is exceedingly patient in this, or He would have cast me aside long ago. He knows the heart. Those who are seeking Him in truth will find Him in truth. It can be no other way, because He is always faithful to His Word.

    Who has written, co-authored, or lent his name to more books in the name of Jesus: Bill Johnson or John McCarthur?

    I know of only one book that is needed in truth, and each and every believer has the anointing they need to teach them of the things of God.

    “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.” (1 John 2:20)

    “I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him. (1 John 2:26-27)

    The sword that is the Word of God which comes from the mouth of Jesus Christ is a two-edged sword. (Heb 4:12 and Rev 1:16) The beauty of a two-edged sword is that it cuts both ways.

  132. Arwen4CJ says:

    As I’ve read abey’s responses so far on here — I just wonder if there may be some sort of demonic influence that he could be writing under. I’m not trying to attack him by the suggestion; I write this out of serious concern for him.

    I have encountered various people online before who write in a similar style to his — incoherent statements, poor spelling, poor grammar, and very little punctuation, and an appeal to the spiritual. At least some of them were definitely into the occult.

    I just wonder if maybe, at least some of his comments here, were written via automatic writing (what he has been writing may not be his own words, but rather a demon whom he could be channeling). If this is the case, then we won’t get him to write coherently unless it is abey himself that does the writing, rather than a demon.

    Another thing that causes me to wonder if this may be the cause is some of abey’s own comments regarding his definition of Christian/manifest sons of God. He stated that we don’t become a Christian unless we have the confirmation from a spirit, and we have a spiritual experience. To me, this sounds a lot more like a spirit guide occult experience.

    I know what verse he is using to come up with this doctrine — he’s talking about where Paul says the Holy Spirit bears witness to our spirit that we belong to Christ, but abey (or possibly a familiar spirit) has taken this verse completely out of context, and then used his understanding of it to base his entire belief system upon.

    It is my hope that abey may yet answer Craig’s questions, and after that, answer a few more questions….and then we can have a discussion with abey himself. But I think that all of us here are going to have to do a lot of praying.

  133. Arwen4CJ says:

    just1ofhis,
    You wrote:

    As I was re-reading 2 Peter 2, I was reminded that one of the first red flags I was given about the Word of Faith movement was a pastor speaking about Adam having given satan his authority over everything in the earth. That is also a part of the MSoG teaching, as I understand it. It is a misunderstanding about the battle that we are in.

    That’s essentially one of the main reasons I stopped going to one of the churches I’d been attending. Both the pastor and several leaders in the congregation were talking about how dominion/authority over everything in the earth had been given to Satan at the fall, and that we had to take it back.

    There were also prophetic “words” given about this, too.

  134. jeffrey says:

    Craig, I agree with you about McCarthur. I was trying to still be generous.

    Just one, I know that of which you speak. I think many of us have been persecuted by those in different camps, both non-gifts and those in hyper-charismaticism, as well as others.

    it is very profound what you said about baby believers.

    Christ said the world would know us by our love for one another. That challenges all of us-the fact that without love, all of our “truth” is completely, utterly useless. Nothing is of any avail if we lose sight of love. I have been contemplating the vulnerability of God-He created those who He knew would reject Him, and came to die on a cross with supreme ignominy-We serve a God who made himself vulnerable- Why are we as believers so loath to do this? Are we not to follow His example? I have been contemplating these deep mysteries this week, and I believe it is what God wants me to preach on this coming Sunday, before I leave Latvia to come back to the states. (please say a prayer for me)

    I believe love cannot be possible without making oneself vulnerable-which is hard to reconcile with an all powerful God, but if there is one thing the world needs it is a revelation of God’s love.

    Be blessed.

  135. Craig says:

    Jeffrey,

    My opinion on serious error with respect to MacArthur is due to his statements concerning the ‘new nature’. His claim explicitly is (unless he’s changed this stance in a newer work I’ve not seen) such that Christians have ONE new nature, implying (or he may have stated outright) that the old sin nature is completely gone. As a second hand source, unless I’m mistaken, I’d read a couple years ago or so on wiki that he believed that God could (or would) not do any “Apostolic” miracles today. The current wiki on cessationism doesn’t go quite that far. My memory may be faulty on this.

    From my perspective, theologically/Biblically cessationism does not hold up. This position centers around the Greek transliterated teleiov in 1 Corinthians 13:10, which is variously translated perfect, completeness, time of perfection, completion, etc. In the BDAG, it is in the sense of “pert[aining] to meeting the highest standard”. In Danker’s The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, an update on the definitive BDAG, though not unabridged, the author states, “that which will supersede or bring to perfection present phenomena”. In context, this best describes the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, not the closing of the Canon. Moreover, I’d argue that the Bible is not “perfect” or “complete”, given the Greek manuscript evidence. While I’d certainly affirm that the “original”, or autograph as it is better known, is perfect, we do not have the original autograph; that is, we are not 100% sure which of the manuscripts EXACTLY makes up Biblical writers actual words.

    Textual critic Daniel Wallace believes the autograph is somewhere in all the manuscripts we currently have. I’m not of that opinion, but then I’m no scholar either. But, the way I see it, Wallace believes this on an a priori basis (based on his cessationist stance?), rather than a fully reasoned one. Why should we think we actually have it all when we, as of this moment, have not one scrap of manuscript from the 1st century? But, I digress.

    Once this “perfect”, or “complete” comes we will see proswpov pros proswpov – face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12). Do we see (presently) the Bible face to face; or, does it make more sense that we will see (in the future) Christ face to face?

    I say all this as one who does not speak in tongues and one who’s not sure if he’s witnessed a miracle (an obvious one), though I firmly believe that salvation is the greatest of all miracles. But, I HAVE witnessed the Spirit subtly reveal things to me many times. I suppose my faith is such that I don’t need an obvious in-your-face type miracle to believe.

  136. jeffrey says:

    I think it is abundantly clear “face to face” is not talking about the bible. And because of this, many have tried to separate that verse from the “perfect.” And this is the scripture most cessationist stand on. Talk about shaky ground. It would be humorous if it wasn’t incredibly sad.

    Exegetically speaking, Cessationism that denies the gifts completely is a joke. One big, sad joke. I think you can make an argument they diminished (certainly there is evidence for this) but stopped completely? Not one scripture affirms this, quite the opposite-until face to face and until we have achieved maturity to the full stature of Christ.

    I have witness miracles, many of them. I also have routinely prayed for people where the HS has told me intimate details about them no one would know. It’s either Jesus or demons giving me the info. I guess it’s easier for some people to believe it’s demons?

    But when the result is repentance, changed lives and people glorifying Jesus more, I have to point to what He said when they accused Him of casting out demons by the power of Belzebub.

    The gifts are for today, my friends, especially in an age where Satan’s power and influence grows and grows. Are we arrogant enough to think we can do God’s work without them?

  137. Carolyn says:

    Interesting conversation guys. This from Craig:

    However, it’s been my experience that some who are caught up in the hyper-charismatic movement (aka NAR, Latter Rain, etc.) are so deep in deception that, it seems to me, it actually affects their capacity at constructing coherent thoughts (see “Loaded Language” article). And part of the thinking is that it’s sooooo spiritual that only the elite can understand it, so mere mortals will undoubtedly be at a loss. They just need the Spirit!

    I believe this is all part of the tactic of the occult ascended masters or spirit guides that take over willing subjects, including automatic writing and super spiritual prophecies. The message is purposely garbled and nebulous. It’s funny. When you listen to songs or fortune cookies or prophetic utterances, they continually contradict themselves, and the listener can “hear” either positive or negative, whichever suits his/her desires. So two, three or four people can hear the same words and fill in the blanks with their own specifics. Like from the song you used, last two lines:
    “I’ve got the spirit, but lose the feeling
    I’ve got the spirit, don’t lose the feeling”

    Huh?

    On another note, I think being honest with Abey is the most loving thing you can do. He needs to get real and speak from his heart.
    Matthew 6:7
    But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

    At one time I had a habit of interjecting a lot of KJV language into my own prayers because such was the flavour of praying in the church I grew up in. Someone pointed it out to me and thankfully, I was not too stubborn to take correction. Our speaking should be simple and to the point, since:
    “Psalm 139:4
    Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.

  138. Carolyn says:

    Quote Craig: “Given that Romans 8 is VERY clear that creation (metaphorically personified by Paul) is waiting for its own “liberation from bondage” (as a result of Adam’s sin) AFTER the revealing of the sons of God in their glory (i.e., with glorified bodies: 1 Cor 15:42-54), would you claim that creation is already liberated?”

    Here is another verse that proves that we are not yet liberated or perfected. We are not like Him yet. At this point in the game, our faith is being purified by fiery trials, testings and hardships. Will we still follow him and serve him even though the way is hard? Will we stick with our faith and continue to pray and abide in the Word, believing that God is at work even when circumstances say otherwise? Will we overcome by our faith?

    1 John 3:1-3
    Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
    3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

    To say that we are already manifested in perfection is a diabolical lie. It distracts us from humbly learning submission, obedience, repentance, trust and respect and love for God and his plans. Instead, it sets us on a course of pride and arrogance. Why do we need a God and Saviour when can sail our own ship, master our own destiny and become gods?

    Jeffrey, I don’t see the word vulnerable for God in the Bible. I know what you mean about love making us vulnerable to hurt and rejection, etc. But God is an eternal being and vulnerability doesn’t fit. Christ made himself vulnerable to human cruelty, but as God…his love is not subject to our fickleness. His love is pure and perfect, holy and just. His character is complete. What do you think?

  139. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    Regarding the song lyrics (posted lyrics on the ‘net keep the word “but” the same in both lines, but I definitely hear it differently, hence I changed it), it shows ambivalence or confusion: I don’t like the feeling. No, I like the feeling.

    Alternatively: If you read the individual stanzas, in the first one the “spirit” is desired in order to help him feel like a ‘normal man’. This continues all the way through until the last two lines. Therefore, the last line is a desire to lose the former bad feeling without a full life “in the ‘spirit'”. In other words, when the final lines are read, it is first repeated as it has all along (but lose the feeling), yet in the final one the “spirit” is more in control than the former bad feelings (don’t lose the feeling), so he doesn’t want to lose this new feeling and go back to the former bad feeling.

  140. jeffrey says:

    Carolyn,
    I think a lot of people can’t conceive of a God who is vulnerable. And I think that is part of the problem of our Christianity. But it is there, in the bible. Just because the word is not spelled out does not mean it isn’t so. When we think of vulnerablity, we incorrectly think of it as powerlessness, but that’s not the case. “Jesus wept.” He was a man aquainted with Sorrows. I really don’t see how that is possible unless He made himself open to the plight of those around Him, which requires vulnerability. God cannot stop loving people, yet He created those who would reject Him. But He did it anyways with an open heart. That’s vulnerability, not powerlessness. He is described as a lamb-again and image of vulnerability. He came as a child in a humble manger-again, same thing.

    I never saw this about God until the past few weeks, but now I am wondering how I missed it. God chooses vulnerability, unlike us who are are often forced there BY powerlessness. His choice does not negate His omnipotence, in the same way being fully human did not eliminate Jesus’ Godhood.

  141. Craig says:

    The period of the Incarnation from conception to Jesus’ death and burial is known as the “humiliation” of Christ. The Resurrection begins the “exaltation”. However, the Spirit can be “grieved”. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the Father came running up to the son as He saw him in the distance.

    I offer this as food for thought, not to take sides in this debate.

  142. Carolyn says:

    Jeffrey,
    Here are the two main definitions of vulnerable:
    1. capable of being physically or emotionally wounded or hurt
    2. open to temptation, persuasion, censure, etc

    Depending on what we include in the definition, Christ as God made himself able to be moved by human emotion. He wept over their unbelief. In the OT, God was angered by their unbelief. But what does it mean that Christ entrusted himself to no man because he knew what was in man’s heart? John 2:23-25 That sounds like he was above the normal human range of vulnerability.

    Here’s where I see less vulnerability in God.

    Regarding Todd Bentley adulterous relationship, since that’s who we are presently talking about, these two things, in my opinion,
    1. emphasis on miracles, signs and wonders and
    2. the idea of reaching sinless perfection and godlike status seem to go hand in hand.

    God, in his mercy, allows Satan open season on those who claim a relationship with him and think they have reached a kind of invulnerability, so that they might see that indeed they are NOT morally spotless and those who put someone up on a pedestal as a “god” to worship have their idol smashed before their eyes. And mankind, humbled, is made to accept his own vulnerability.

    Job thought he was righteous by his acts of service, his high moral standards. He ended up saying that now that he had seen the truth face to face, he repented in dust and ashes. But first he had to be thrown into the trial by fire to show who his faith actually was in. It appeared that he had not really known God, but rather his trust was in his own religious rituals, i.e. the things he did to cleanse himself and his family of sin. It was only through perseverance in the trial that clarity for who was actually sinless and perfect became known to him.

    James 5:11
    As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

    The Pharisees thought they were righteous. Christ exposed their hypocrisy calling them whitewashed tombs, among other things. But they were so intent on the outward manifestations of their lifestyle, positions and traditions that they missed the deeper issues that Christ was pointing to.

    In the fire, we manifest what is in our hearts, whether it be the fruit of the Spirit or the fruit of the flesh. That everyone involved in the Todd Bentley debacle, missed the signfigance of their own spiritual blindness and prideful heresy is the real issue…not simply Todd’s act of adultery which is what they chose to focus on.

    1 Corinthians 11:18-20
    18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

  143. Carolyn says:

    Craig, just a comment about the song. To me, it’s about him and his spirit guide being together through a trip on drugs moving from sensation and reality into escape. Disorder breaks the cycle of pain. Once you know the drill, you can hear it in a myriad of songs talking about the same thing. There’s the ghost or the beautiful woman standing by and then there is the “trip”. Disorder…code for pathway to hell.

    The church is on the same trip. Same Disorder. Same structureless, disorganized chaos.

  144. Craig says:

    Lyricist/vocalist Ian Curtis suffered from epilepsy and depression (because of his epilepsy?) He had seizures, even onstage while performing, causing a halt to the show(s). He took medication, but either he was not diligent about it, or it was at least partially ineffective.

    The purpose of posting the lyrics/song was not to analyze the lyrics; it was to show a correlation between being under the control of a “spirit” outside of Christianity, in order to compare with those who may think they are under the influence of the Holy Spirit when it could be another spirit instead.

  145. jeffrey says:

    Carolyn,

    Of course he’s above the normal range of human vulnerability. I thought I had said as much. So I guess we are agreeing on that.

    Concerning your 1st listed definition, I found other main entries where it just means one can be attacked, though not necessarily harmed. But I will concede to it as one we can work from.

    Was Christ not both physically and emotionally wounded? Why are we willing to admit this physically but not emotionally? How many times does God grieve in the OT? many… How can you grieve unless you have been hurt? How can you love without making yourself open and vulnerable?

    Just because He was doesn’t mean he had “open wounds” or bitterness, etc. It does not, IMO, indicate any kind of weakness, in fact, it indicates more strength and wholeness. I have found the most loving people in life are those who are not wounded. I think they mirror God in this. I have found the ones less likely to open themselves up and make themselves vulnerable are the insecure, weak and afraid.

    Jesus did not commit himself to anyone, because he knew people were fickle but he still put himself in a place to be betrayed by Judas. I think this is saying God did not put his confidence in people. We all could learn from that.

    ANyways, not trying to argue, just have an honest discussion here. I know the concept of God being vulnerable is challenging. It’s not about who is right here, it’s about delving deeper into God’s character.

  146. Carolyn says:

    Depression is a fact of life. Everyone has it to varying degrees. And I understand your points about health issues. But this song of course is about taking the hand of a spirit guide. And in the apostate church, we change the name to angel. But if the message or the trip is not Biblically correct, then the “angel” is a lying spirit guide in disguise. I agree with you.

    If you are hearing from the Holy Spirit, he will tell you that Adultery is never right and that goes for Todd Bentley or Joe Blow from Mexico. And neither is hypocrisy, or malice or heresy or spiritual drunkenness. We are being tempted all the time by spirits. Most of us don’t see drug induced spirit guides but many are beginning to experience the appearance of angels talking to them as a matter of course in their daily lives.

    So my point? If the spirit is leading you to do something wrong, don’t go there. Even if a sweet stranger tries to tell you something different. Even if an angel from heaven directs you in a different way. Even if a spirit guide gives you an ecstatic experience and the words to an awesome song. If it deviates from the truth that is in Christ, then it’s wrong.

    I like this principle of God’s care for us:
    Jeremiah 29:11
    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

    Satan also has plans for us. He is most likely the one behind our pain and suffering. And for the reason of the testing of our faith, he is allowed for a season. He wants us to jump the gun and make something happen before God’s timing. We are greatly tempted sometimes. Look at what happened in the case of impatience in the case of Sarah and Hagar. But if we wait for God’s timing, we will be rewarded.

    And for those who might be tempted by a spirit which has tried to disguise himself as the Holy Spirit, but the message doesn’t quite sit right with you, wait on God, cry out to him for understanding, search for his paths (in the Word) and don’t give up till he answers. He will answer. Wait for it.

  147. Carolyn says:

    Jeffrey, I’m not at all threatened if your opinion differs from mine. Just so long as we are reaching for a little more clarity and understanding in our walk with God. Discussion is great.

    Yes, I agree that Christ was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin. He showed emotions many times. And since we are made in the image of God and we have emotions, it would follow that the God in whose image we were made, would have the same range of emotions that we do. The difference being, ours are corrupted by sin and selfish desires.

    Does that make God vulnerable? When I was going through my divorce 13 years ago I was in a vulnerable position. That made me open for predators to take advantage of me where I was insecure or challenged. God is neither insecure or challenged. So I still can’t see the word “vulnerable” fitting his character. Yes, the Holy Spirit is grieved today when we sin. Yes Christ was angry with the “den of robbers”. But it was a righteous anger. A holy grief. Not a vulnerable one.

    God’s love is not vulnerable. His love is constant. His love is complete and perfect. His love is strong and unchanging. IMHO

  148. Carolyn says:

    Jeffrey in re-reading your comment you ask the question: “How can you love without making yourself open and vulnerable?” If you are asking whether we can be hurt or feel pain when we love others, the answer is yes. But God’s love somehow supersedes hurt feelings. It’s like they evaporate in the wind when you submit to the Holy Spirit. So the pain is swallowed up in the atmosphere of love. But if we refuse to submit our pain to God’s love, then we have problems like bitterness and malice. I really like this phrase, “it keeps no record of wrongs”. On a human level this is impossible. But with God, it’s possible.

    1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    In fact love, according to this definition, is impossible on the human level. Given enough pain and rejection from another person, there’s bound to be an adverse reaction. So, I have to say that I believe that God’s love is incorruptible and together with justice, reacts differently. Ours is definitely corrupted and hence we feel the pain of sin’s effects on our emotions.

  149. Carolyn says:

    Now what did I say? It seems I am having a debate with myself. Anyhow, no pressure to answer, just a few more thoughts for anyone’s consideration on the character and nature of God..

    Here’s my thought on grieving the Holy Spirit. I’m not sure what HE is feeling, but I know what I’m feeling. It’s a mixture of pain and fear. Upon waking from a nap, for instance, a sensation of grief, pain and fear will sweep through my soul and threaten to separate me from the comfort of God’s abiding presence. The more of his Presence you have experienced, the less you want to lose it. If there was no threat, where would be the discipline?

    Yes, I do believe that that God’s Spirit will not always strive with man. And if we are allowing sin to control us after we have received a knowledge of the Truth in Christ, then we are on shaky ground. Our God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. He cannot and will not tolerate rebellion, sinful practice and idolatry. Every time we feel pain, fear or grief, it drives, or should drive us to seek God for a reason why we would be having this sensation. In my opinion it is God wanting us to purify our hearts. So grieving the Holy Spirit is almost like a warning light for us. It wakes us up, it sets alarm bells off. Is this God’s way of showing love you say? You bet it is. We’ll have eternity to thank him.

    One more thought. I agree that we must make ourselves vulnerable if we are to love someone. But as Isaiah 55:8-10
    New International Version (NIV)
    8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
    declares the Lord.
    9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
    In my opinion, God has not set himself up to feel pain or rejection on any human level. He is not susceptible to the fallen creature’s illness, but has, instead created a solution through Christ. He will carry it through to completion if we are willing to stay the course with him.

  150. desean says:

    Are you saying that you think you can ‘lose’ your salvation?

  151. Carolyn says:

    Desean: yes. The Scripture speaks plainly if you haven’t already been indoctrinated in certain denominational thinking. But this is my understanding. Won’t be arguing the point. There’s already lots out there on the subject.

    2 Peter 2:19-21 NIV
    19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

    Colossians 1:23
    if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

    Luke 8:13
    Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.

  152. Carolyn says:

    This will probably be my last post on this subject, but I think I have settled on a word to replace the “vulnerability of love” versus “something else”. A better word for the “something else” would be sacrifice. When we are vulnerable, we have no options, things take us by surprise, we are without the means of protection. Was Christ ever in a position of vulnerability by that definition?

    1 Peter 1:18-20
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    18 knowing that you were not [a]redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared [b]in these last times for the sake of you

    Sacrifice. The spotless and unblemished lamb of God laid down his life. Christ showed his power right up until the end. He replaced the ear of the slave of the high priest that Peter cut off. He predicted Judas betrayal and Peter’s denial. He said no man takes away my life, but I lay it down willingly. He said, to Pilate that he wold have no power over him unless it had been given from above.

    Vulnerability speaks to me of being open to hurt and pain and attack without options. But Christ fully demonstrated that he had options. He refused them. He could have called legions of angels. (a legion is 6,000) Matthew 26:53 Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?
    He could have refused the cup of suffering. But he took it and drank it to the last bitter drop. He was the sacrificial lamb that paid for our sins. Not because he was without options, or vulnerable to the intrigues and schemes of men, but because he was committed to the plan. He therefore was not a defenceless, vulnerable lamb. He was a sacrificial lamb.

  153. desean says:

    Carolyn:
    What ‘denominational thinking’ would you be referring to?

    From the KJV:

    Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

    Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

    Hebrews 6 and 10

    Galatians 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

    To trust in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation and sanctification keeps us from partly trusting in our own righteousness. Hebrews and Galatians warns us against all teaching that rejects the sufficiency of Christ alone. desean

  154. jeffrey says:

    “Vulnerability speaks to me of being open to hurt and pain and attack without options.”

    We always have options, too. People can choose not to have children to avoid the potential pain, but don’t. People could stay single for the same reasons but don’t. Making yourself vulnerable does not mean you don’t have options.

    When we say a child is vulnerable to disease or abuse, we use it in the sense that the child had no options, but this is only one meaning of vulnerable. Vulnerable can also mean you open yourself up to attack or injury. Christ did this, in fact, the Godhead did it when they created man.

    I have found believers have more of a problem with a God who was fully human, than a Jesus who was fully God. God is always asking us to put ourselves in a position of vulnerability, in this, we model His son. Read Isaiah 53.

  155. just1ofhis says:

    Jeffrey, you said: “I have found believers have more of a problem with a God who was fully human, than a Jesus who was fully God. God is always asking us to put ourselves in a position of vulnerability, in this, we model His son. Read Isaiah 53.”

    Does real faith ever make a person vulnerable; and if it does, then vulnerable to what?

    Yes, we suffer persecution as He suffered persecution. Yes, we ache for all the wickedness and evil that we see around us, and we cannot even grasp the pain that this causes Him. This is nothing new for those who love Him. When we are persecuted, He holds us fast and grows our faith in Him. When we suffer, He fills us with peace and joy that the world cannot understand. And He is glorified in all!

    See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. (Isa 52:13)

    When we read Isaiah 53, we see the suffering of the King of kings and the Lord of Lords who offered Himself freely to fulfill the Words of which He is flesh. Where is the vulnerability? The Words of Isaiah are the very Words that He was brought to earth to fulfill.

    But now, this is what the LORD says–He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isa 43:1-2)

    The Lamb of God knew the end from the beginning. Yes, He suffered for us, perhaps more than any of us can ever even begin to grasp. But, He knew the end and He has made it known to us. When our eyes are on Him, what are we vulnerable to?

    What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all–how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who can bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is He that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

    “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

    No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:28-39)

    I do not believe that only a small handful of people understand these things. God makes them known to all those who seek Him in truth, and we are scattered throughout the entire earth. We are people who have spent our lives quietly serving God in whatever walk of life He called us. We pray behind closed doors, mourn with those who mourn, help others when given an opportunity, and faithfully come to the Word every day for life sustaining bread. We look to Him to carry us through every step of our lives, and we love Him with all our hearts.

    “Believers” do not have a problem with a Jesus who is fully God and fully man. We accept this as truth, because we are filled with the Holy Spirit of God and have the scriptures opened to us. He writes these truths in our hearts Himself. It is non-believers, be definition, who have a problem with a Jesus who is fully God and fully man.

  156. Carolyn says:

    Desean, I would have answered last night but I was doing two things at once, and while I was away from the computer, missed the cue that the battery was low. It shut down, I lost my nicely polished contribution and went off to bed muttering to myself.. So here’s a similar answer:

    You are talking about what Christ did for us, that which we can fully rely on and trust in to take us into glory. I agree, He is absolutely faithful and we have the assurance that if we trust in Him, we will be saved.

    Question: There are those among us who attend church on Sunday. They can’t remember if it was Noah or Moses who sailed the ark, but they could tell you where to find the best porn sites, they never cease to rhyme off blockbuster trivia and/or live for the next game with beer and chips. They still think, because they made the decision to follow Christ, that, they’re in. Sure they struggle with sin, but that’ll all get dealt with before they die. After all, they’re saved by faith, not by anything they do (tongue in cheek). Is this man on his way to heaven?

    Tell me you think he was only a “professing” Christian, not a real one, and I’ll tell you what denomination you’ve been influenced by. Tell me he’s not included in the “elect” and therefore didn’t have a chance anyway, and I’ll tell you what man’s thinking has skewed your vision of Christ’s words.

    Here’s what Jesus says about this man and what he has done with the words of Jesus (gospel).

    Luke 8:14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

    Then there is the parable of the ten virgins. Five of them were foolish. Their lamps had gone out, which means that at one time, they were filled with oil(representative of the Holy Spirit) but they had neglected the gift of his life to the point that they no longer had any oil. And since oil could not be borrowed in the parable, they were shut out.

    Matthew 25:2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that werefoolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

    I believe that the further in the sanctification process that we get, the less likely we are to turn from the Lord, since we discover our only hope is in him. However, God has not taken away our freedom to turn away, like those in John 6.
    66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
    67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
    68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

  157. Carolyn says:

    Encouraging thoughts, Just1ofhis.

    Jeffrey, point taken. Most of the time, the vulnerable still have some options that they don’t take for one reason or another. The street person has the option of going into a shelter for the night but chooses not to. He wouldn’t be able to take his crack with him. So he chooses the street. He’d rather be vulnerable (open to attack) on the streets than suffer loss of his habit.

    Words DO have meanings. There is a reason I would use vulnerable to describe this man. There is a reason you are struggling to redefine vulnerable to fit Christ. Christ willingly suffered but he chose to for our sake, not his own. And to me that still fits with the word sacrifice.

    I would use the same word “sacrifice” to describe someone who went to the streets in order to give his life to feed the poor and clothe the hungry when he didn’t have to. His love was a sacrifice. If he became vulnerable to hurt and attacks during the process, then we could use the world vulnerable.

  158. just1ofhis says:

    In response to Carolyn’s 12:12 post Dec. 3., another good example of “falling away” is John 8:30-59. Jesus addressed Jews who had “put their faith in Him” (verse 30). Once He began talking about their sinful nature and the freedom brought from putting faith in Him and keeping His Words, they fell into disbelief. In truth, they had no room for His Words in their hearts.

    By verse 59, these Jews who “had believed in Him” (which we are told in verse 30 and 31) tried to stone Him to death.

  159. Carolyn says:

    Just1ofhis – You’re right. These are Jews that had believed in Jesus. I hadn’t seen that detail.

    John 8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

    Then follows a most brutal dialogue in which Jesus systematically exposes their hypocrisy, what they truly wanted, who they truly served, what is truly in their hearts, so angering them that they took up stones to stone him. Wow.

    Was Christ’s love vulnerable here? Love compelled him to tell them the truth about themselves. I don’t believe he was wounded by their words because he already knew what was in their pretentious hearts. It wasn’t time for his suffering so he simply slipped away.

  160. Craig says:

    There’s also Judas. However, we must remember that no one actually had the Holy Spirit indwelling until Pentecost. The indwelt Holy Spirit provides a guarantee of salvation:

    13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. [Ephesians 1:13-14, NIV]

    21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. [2 Corinthians 1:21-22, NIV]

    On the other hand:

    12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. [Matthew 24:12-13, NIV]

    26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
    32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
    36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,
    “In just a little while,
    he who is coming will come
    and will not delay.”
    38 And,
    “But my righteous one will live by faith.
    And I take no pleasure
    in the one who shrinks back.”
    39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. [Hebrews 10:26-39, NIV]

    I don’t think we’re going to solve this debate in the comments to this blog post.

  161. Carolyn says:

    Quote Jeffrey: “I have found believers have more of a problem with a God who was fully human, than a Jesus who was fully God.”

    Maybe the bigger problem is because we cannot conceive of someone who is not just like us.

    Maybe the biggest problem is that Christ was unique. He was fully God and fully man, but when you combine those genetics together you get something different, something human but also with qualities that are truly divine. When you have a combination of the seed of the woman and the seed of the Holy Spirit, you have an individual with supernatural powers manifesting the character and nature of God with inherent power. He is truly the manifested Son of God.

    This is what the Anti-christ will be, I believe. He will have a combination of DNA that has been altered by something other than simple human genetics, giving him qualities where he can demonstrate his supernatural abilities through signs and lying wonders. He will be a cut above the rest. Satan will give him his power and his seat of dominion. And he, the Anti-christ will promise those that worship him and take his mark, that they will be transformed by the same divine, immortal qualities creating a fully developed “manifest son of god”. (a lie of course)

    So God was fully human in the sense that he had a full set of human capabilities. But he was not limited to only human capabilities (eg. walking on water, turning water to wine). He was indeed God in the flesh. In that respect he was nothing like us. He could identify with weakness as he experienced it all around him, but he himself was not subject to weakness unless for a specific purpose such as the wilderness temptation or the crucifixion.

    Craig…is my reasoning correct from what you’ve studied? Is this a fair answer to Jeffrey’s statement?

  162. Craig says:

    During the “historical Jesus” studies of the 18th 19th and 19th 20th centuries, the charge was that most Christians deified Christ at the expense of His humanity. This was not wholly untrue. The kenosis theories that began in the mid-18th 19th century were perhaps an attempt at “correcting” that. Yet, these went the opposite direction, humanizing Christ at the expense of His deity. Both continue today, but my opinion is that the latter is more prevalent. It seems most connot conceive how Jesus Christ could perform His own miracles without the aid of the Holy Spirit, thus implying an imbalance between the humanity (over-stressed) to the deity (under-appreciated). I say this because of the prevalence of those who promote kenoticism (even those who don’t know the actual doctrine by form or name) throughout denominations and non-denominations.

    I’m not sure I’d use the term “genetics” to apply to Jesus Christ’s deity. This, to me, seems to imply some sort of rebirth of His deity from ‘the Word’, second Person of the Trinity, to ‘the Word made flesh’. When the eternal Word became flesh, there was absolutely no change whatsoever in the second Person of the Trinity, except the addition of human flesh. There was no commingling of deity with humanity (as per the Chalcedonian Definition), yet the two natures are not side-by-side, as if there were two persons in one, either.

    No, the Anti-Christ will not be some sort of quasi-human with altered DNA. There’s absolutely NO Biblical support for that. Tradition holds that he will be fully possessed by Satan. This seems borne out in the Alice Bailey writings in which the goal IS demon possession, though I’ve not yet found an explicit reference to “Maitreya” or “the Christ” as a Satan-possessed man (it’s very close, though, and can be inferred from some of the writings). Yet, we cannot be 100% sure if the antichrist will be the literal possession of Satan, as Scripture does not make this explicit; however, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 9-10 (cf. Revelation 13:5-6) seems to imply it.

  163. Carolyn says:

    Well said.

    “Yet, these went the opposite direction, humanizing Christ at the expense of His deity.”

    It’s a frame of reference that has served the population of WoF and NAR prophets well…in that “if he was so human, we can be just like him.”

    The only word I had to look up was. “comingling”. I was pronouncing it coming-ling (a brand new word for me) but in actuality it is pronounced “co-mingling”. Well, I dunno, Craig. With the genetics and technology of today, with goats giving spider milk and green glowing pigs, anything is possible. But is it Biblical? Yes, that is the question. I may have some thoughts later.

  164. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    We are not going down the track of the mixing of DNA. We’ve been down this road before. The discussion on DNA/genetics ceases.

  165. Arwen4CJ says:

    Since this seems to be the most active thread at present, I’m guessing that not many have seen my question on the other thread regarding Jan Johnson (as far as I know, no relation to Bill Johnson). Anyone know much about her?

    One of my sister’s friends recommended a book by Jan Johnson, and my sister has asked for this book for Christmas.

    I looked her up on the Internet, and she is squarely in the contemplative spirituality/contemplative prayer camp. She also was trained as a spiritual director at some school in California, and it is an inter-faith school.

    I read some of the reviews of Jan Johnson’s books at Amazon, but the reviews were mostly positive, so only those who were already in the contemplative spirituality camp were writing the reviews. I did read one review that was written by a former New Ager that said the author used some techniques that he/she recognized from his/her days in the New Age, but it seemed that this reviewer thought the author may have been unaware of the origin of these things, and gave the book 3/5 stars, I think.

    When looking at Jan Johnson’s website, I saw that she used guided imagery as a spiritual technique, which of course is not biblical.

    Although Jan Johnson had to be aware that her spiritual director training was given at a school that was interfaith, she might be ignorant of some of the origins of some of the techniques she recommends. I don’t know. She also might be just following current trends in Christian spirituality, and may not be evaluating these things biblically. At the same time she may be very aware.

    The absence of reviews that talked much about Jan Johnson’s theology, and a lack of a statement of faith on her own website leave me with no idea of where she actually stands on things. By just reading the back cover of the book that my sister wanted, it seems she may be a sincere Christian who thinks that these spiritual practices help people to connect with God, and enhance their relationship with Him. For all I know, though — she could have a spirit guide or be into New Age spirituality deeply. This is why I wanted to see if someone had evaluated her theology.

    There is no question in my mind that contemplative prayer is dangerous, as is guided imagery.

    All my sister’s friends seem to be caught up in this contemplative movement, and I am seeing how it is a real danger to evangelical mainline churches, and it may very well merge with the NAR teachers some day.

    Anyway, I’m thinking of writing a message to my sister to warn her about some of this stuff. If anyone knows of some good resources on Jan Johnson, contemplative prayer, or contemplative spirituality (specifically as it exists in the evangelical mainline churches — not the NAR route).

    Do you guys have friends that are reading Jan Johnson’s books?

    Thanks.

  166. just1ofhis says:

    http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/janjohnson.htm

    http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=1789

    Arwen,

    I was not familiar with Jan Johnson, but Lighthouse Trails is a great resource for exposing anything in the contemplative realm. The two links above both deal with Johnson, and I believe they have more information on this person on their blog. You can search out her name in their search field.

    Hope that helps.

    God bless!

  167. Arwen4CJ says:

    Thank you, just1ofhis. :)

  168. Carolyn says:

    Craig, I found your reply overly harsh. I was not meaning to go down that trail again. I thought we were on new ground but apparently, you saw it differently.

    I was pondering why you couldn’t use the word genetics for Christ and digesting your explanation. Believe it or not, I still struggle with simple things, but I have been trying to understand. I was coming back to say that in number 2 I just see the simple code for life.

    ge·net·ics [juh-net-iks] Show IPA
    noun ( used with a singular verb )
    1. Biology . the science of heredity, dealing with resemblances and differences of related organisms resulting from the interaction of their genes and the environment.
    2. the genetic properties and phenomena of an organism.

    So anyhow, as I reread your answer a few times, it occurred to me that God in human flesh is still a mystery. How God could clothe himself with flesh via the hypostatic union is beyond our finite understanding.

  169. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    God is spirit; that is, God is a spirit being with no corporeal (physical) body. Can an incorporeal Being have genetics? Well, one would have to go into speculation to try to attempt to make such a case, as Scripture does not speak on this subject. I don’t wish to get into speculation.

    Definition 2 applies to an “organism” Is God an organism? I’d think that “organism” implies creation. The Creator is not creation, but rather the Creator of creation.

    Yes, the Incarnation is a divine mystery – one that we will never understand this side of glory. And I’m fine with that.

  170. Carolyn says:

    Lightbulb moment. God is a spirit. Can spirit have genetics? Interesting thoughts. Thank you.

  171. Carolyn says:

    1 Timothy 3:16
    Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

    Just so I don’t leave this conversation hanging quite so badly, permit me a couple of observations that may or may not shed some light on the hypothesis. First, it troubles me that in my lightbulb moment, I basically denied the humanity of Christ in favour of his Spirit being. Secondly, to be human it is necessary to be made up of DNA, having 46 chromosomes, 23 from the female and 23 from the male, completing the code of life. Thirdly, he is of the lineage of David, so therefore his body must be human.

    Since God made the first Adam out of nothing, he could just as easily complete the male, y-chromosome half of the DNA with the same “out of nothing” material. Note: the y-chromosome is present only in the male chromosome side.

    Anyhow, the body was human. But into that body, came the Spirit of the Son of God, the 2nd person of the the Trinity. In this way, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Could we say that the perfect body of the second Adam was the clothing of the perfect Son of God?

    Am I creating a heresy here or does this make sense bringing some closure to the problem of over-emphasis on the question of was Christ fully God or fully man?

  172. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    You wrote: First, it troubles me that in my lightbulb moment, I basically denied the humanity of Christ in favour of his Spirit being.

    I didn’t see it that way, as I saw that you were merely affirming that God probably doesn’t have genetics. If you had totally dismissed that Jesus Christ had any genetics, then I’d agree that you “basically denied the humanity of Christ in favour of His Spirit being.”

    You wrote: Since God made the first Adam out of nothing, he could just as easily complete the male, y-chromosome half of the DNA with the same “out of nothing” material.

    I would agree. There are those who have speculated a number of things about the physical make-up of the human body of Jesus Christ, but I see this as a real possibility. I’ve said as much in a comment on another thread a while back.

    You wrote: Anyhow, the body was human. But into that body, came the Spirit of the Son of God, the 2nd person of the the Trinity. In this way, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Could we say that the perfect body of the second Adam was the clothing of the perfect Son of God?

    I’d prefer to state that the Word of God, 2nd ‘Person’ of the Trinity was conjoined with a human body/nature resulting in the Virginal Conception, specifying that the human body/nature never existed on its own, as if the Word were somehow deposited into the body/nature. There can never be a time when the human body/nature existed apart from the Word, for, if so, this would be the heresy of adoptionism.

    Also, I’d not say Jesus Christ had a “perfect” body. His body was as humanly ‘perfect’ as any other; it was not anything more special than any other human body. In this way, He was “fully human” in addition to being “fully God”. He wasn’t super-human or extra-human. But, then again, we must never think of Jesus Christ as “merely” human, as it’s His inherent deity that makes Him more than human.

  173. desean says:

    Chalcedonian Creed
    An ancient creed about the Trinity and Jesus Christ, Chalcedon answered with the famous formula: “Without confusion, without change, without division, without separation”

  174. desean says:

    Circa 451 A.D. Chalcedon

    Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.

  175. Craig says:

    desean,

    If you haven’t read this particular article, I address the importance of the Chalcedonian Definition:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-ii/

    And, I have in the works a comprehensive article centering on Chalcedon.

  176. desean says:

    Thank you Craig, I will read it

  177. Craig says:

    It’s only the first two sections that pertain to Chalcedon, and ecumenical creeds in general.

  178. Carolyn says:

    Thanks for feedback. I’ll leave it there. Look forward to reading your article on Chalcedon, Craig.

  179. Arwen4CJ says:

    I wanted to give an update on my research of Jan Johnson — I followed the links that just1ofhis provided, as well as googling her some more….and….

    I did some research on a guy that she has co-written books with, Dallas Willard. I came across a video of a sermon/interview that he did with a pastor during a church service. People from the congregation asked Dallas Willard a bunch of questions through their pastor, and the pastor chose which ones to ask him. One of the questions asked was “is Jesus God?” And there were questions about salvation as well.

    I listened several of the questions, and I was disturbed by the answers given. Willard basically said that people get into heaven based on how well people do at loving God and loving our neighbors, and whether or not God thinks we have done a good job at this.

    This would be an okay answer if the conclusion was “no one could make it in under this standard, so we need Jesus.” And then went on to talk about the gospel. But Willard doesn’t do this. He says that a person doesn’t need Jesus, and he doesn’t say it is impossible to meet God’s requirement. On the contrary, he thinks it is possible for people in all religions to meet God’s requirements.

    If that isn’t disturbing enough, what I found even more disturbing was that Willard seemed to claim that not all true Christians would be saved. The pastor who was interviewing him tried to clarify the answer by using his own understanding of Willard’s answer — which I believe he interpreted incorrectly, and didn’t grasp what Willard was actually saying. The pastor thought he was talking about people who go through the motions, but don’t actually believe.

    I think Dallas Willard meant something else, given the actual words that he used in his answers. It seems to me that he meant that not all who actually believe in Jesus or the gospel will be saved. Only those who “practice the silence,” practice spiritual contemplation, and are into mysticism will be saved because these are the only methods by which we can actually know God. This would be a gnostic-like gospel, and not much different from what some hyper-charismatics think and teach.

    Dallas Willard has since died, so there is no way to ask him for clarification. However, he and Jan Johnson did work closely together. They were co-authors on more than one book, and she helped write some of the study guides Willard’s books. We can be pretty sure that they talked about their views and shared them with each other. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Willard spoke for Jan Johnson, as she may disagree with him on some things, but it does mean that she still was willing to associate her name with his.

    From the research I’ve done on Jan Johnson, it seems that she believes mysticism and practicing the silence/contemplative prayer are the only methods by which we can actually hear from God, and grow in our faith/personal relationship with God.

    I also came across the name of another Jan Johnson who is an occult publisher, and what this Jan Johnson and folks writing on that website said were very telling about the current spiritual state in the US and elsewhere. They said that people were hungry for occult spirituality and mysticism. So these occultists would be delighted with the state of the church.

    I say all this to state how much the universal church is in need of prayer, and how close we appear to total apostacy. Dallas Willard, Jan Johnson, and others like them are widely appealing to those in the evangelical church. It’s like Satan is really trying to push for mysticism to be accepted and taught in as many churches as possible to pull them away from orthodoxy.

    In my research, I even found the names of Christian authors that I had thought were orthodox, and many Christians think are orthodox. They have begun to sprinkle their writings with contemplative prayer and guided imagery. Many churches are offering classes with a mystic slant now…… :(

    One example I found was a class at Tim Keller’s church where it was recommended that people use a rope in their prayer. The suggestion was that people should remove their distracting thoughts from their minds, move these thoughts into their shoulders and arms, and down into the rope!

    People are being deceived by authors and churches that have been orthodox in the past. In some ways, I think this is even more dangerous than people like Bill Johnson, but maybe this is how it started off with Bill Johnson. The overall problem is that Christians are not being discerning. They think that if their pastor recommends something, then it must be right. They think “this is part of church tradition, and has always been part of the church.” But they don’t think about the fact that none of this is in the Bible. Jesus never instructed people to pray like this, and never taught that it was necessary to do in order to know Him. Neither did any of the biblical authors. They just take one verse out of context “be still and know that I am God,” and have formulated a whole theology around it.

  180. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I’m glad that you are both knowledgeable of Gnostic teachings and willing to look at some teachings of others through that interpretive lens as a possibility for the basis of their doctrine. If only more would do that.

    I only know of Willard as a contemplative; I’ve not studied him. I’ve no reason to doubt what you’ve found as to his view of Christ and salvation. It actually makes sense. As you well know, in the Gnostic conception, Jesus Himself was in need of redemption and used contemplation (“seeking His presence”, etc.) in His relationship with the Father, and ultimately this would result in His own redemption. Then, Jesus became our exemplar for same.

    In my opinion, mysticism, specifically in the form of contemplative prayer (TM, “seeking His presence”, etc.) is the common denominator, and will likely become the unifying factor in a “one world religion”. As I quoted Matthew Fox in the 2nd part of “BJ, New Age Christ?” article:

    Without mysticism there will be no “deep ecumenism,” no unleashing of the power of wisdom from all the world’s religious traditions…

  181. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    You wrote:

    In my opinion, mysticism, specifically in the form of contemplative prayer (TM, “seeking His presence”, etc.) is the common denominator, and will likely become the unifying factor in a “one world religion”. As I quoted Matthew Fox in the 2nd part of “BJ, New Age Christ?”

    Without mysticism there will be no “deep ecumenism,” no unleashing of the power of wisdom from all the world’s religious traditions…

    I think you are correct, and I see it more clearly than ever before. Only, I would phrase it this way: mysticism, specifically in the form of contemplative spirituality (which includes contemplative prayer) and occultism in general is the common denominator, and will likely become the unifying factor in a “one world religion”.

    The reason I would phrase it like that is because the mysticism/occultism that has become so popular in progressive Christianity, hyper-charismaticism, some parts of evangelical churches, the New Age Movement, New Thought, Eastern religions, and all other religions and cults seems to involve not only contemplative prayer (emptying the mind and trying to find union with god), but also includes guided imagery, and occult spiritual practices.

    However, the door that gets people into the broader occult category seems to be contemplative spirituality — probably contemplative prayer first.

    Once someone is convinced that we should have a lot of listening silence in their prayers, that person starts to like the feeling. Maybe something happens to them spiritually. They feel more in tune with God, or maybe they hear something in the spirit realm.

    They then delve into it further by trying to find more books on the subject. And they begin to trust the authors or speakers that they are learning from. Results were produced when the person tried the contemplative prayer exercises. Now they are willing to try guided imagery. They continue to experience more spiritual things.

    At this point they might meet a spiritual guide or other being that they get into contact with. It might be through a vision, or it might be just through emotions, and thoughts start popping into their head. They like what they are receiving.

    So they seek more of these encounters — whatever method their favorite teacher suggests. This could be soaking, more prayer and listening time, using ropes to get rid of their thoughts, and whatever else the author might suggest.

    The person no longer thinks to check the Bible. The author/speaker has gained their trust. They have received the promised results, and they feel closer to god.

    Pretty soon other spiritual things might happen — such as miracles, or any other kind of sign or wonder. These things seem to confirm that the practices are valid and of God. They use all kinds of flawed reasoning to justify the practices, taking verse after verse out of context, and they don’t even realize they are doing this. They don’t even realize that they no longer believe how they used to believe, or read the Bible how they used to.

    So the hyper-charismatic practices are steeped in mysticism and the occult. So is what seems to be happening within this contemplative spirituality movement. Both of these practices will lead people to the same conclusion.

    You know, it may be the case that the one world religion won’t even be organized. Maybe it will just be a way of knowing “god.” It may be that the general population will be agreed that mysticism is the correct way of finding god, regardless of the form that it takes. Anyone who opposes this mysticism will be seen as being backwards.

    It could be that the various camps of mysticism/occult just accept one another as having valid practices, and are not concerned with specific differences in doctrine. The only thing that may count is whether or not someone is into mysticism and receives new revelation.

    Key people in each part of it might speak favorably about other groups or leaders that practice mysticism, and they may even work together on some things. For instance, a hyper-charismatic apostle might be welcomed by an evangelical contemplative at an event, or the two might even speak together, endorsing one another.

    Mystics from non-Christian religions might speak favorably about mystic Christians. They might even hold classes to train people in all faith traditions — oh wait, that has already happened in the form of spiritual director schools.

    We are already seeing the beginnings of these things happening. So is the one world religion already here? Maybe — but maybe it isn’t developed to the extent that it will be. Maybe ties will be official, and there will be an official structure. Maybe not. But I do think that some form of mysticism/occultism is likely to be the one world religion, and that it will definitely involve contemplative spirituality, including contemplative prayer.

  182. Arwen4CJ says:

    Oh, there was another interesting thing about the question/answer session with Willlard. Willard twisted this:

    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6 NASB)

    Willard claimed that Jesus was only saying that I AM is the way, the truth, and the life, and that Jesus wasn’t making an exclusive claim about Himself. That explanation might be plausible if it were not for the second part of the verse “no one comes to the Father but through Me.” When Jesus used Me, He was clearly applying the whole verse to Himself.

    I don’t know how Willard thinks that his interpretation is valid……except…..oh……maybe he was talking over people’s heads, intending his statement to only make sense to others who are on the contemplative path.

    Maybe his view is similar to the Christ anointing/gnostic view that we are all (or maybe only a select few) have the I AM in them, and maybe he thought that the Christ spirit/I AM spirit was speaking through Jesus there, rather than Jesus speaking about Himself.

    Yes, I think that this passage is one of the “I AM” passages in John where Jesus is applying the name I AM to Himself. But it is because God (I AM) is triune, and not because some I AM spirit entered Jesus.

    Another possibility is that he didn’t think that the first part of the verse had anything to do with the second part, but that doesn’t seem as likely.

    Or maybe Willard simply pretended that the second part of that verse was not even there. I’m not sure if he even quoted it. I don’t remember. He certainly didn’t emphasize it. It could be that his apparent understanding of the verse was what he was really trying to say — that anyone seeking God in whatever religion they are a part of will find Him because He is the God of all religions. He was claiming that this is what Jesus was saying with this verse.

    Anytime the pastor asked him a question that was about the exclusive claim of Jesus, Willard always twisted the question to something else — to a mystic sort of response. The pastor he was being interviewed by didn’t seem to mind this. I don’t think he got what Willard was doing, or what he was actually saying. It just sounded good to him.

    It’s hard to really know what someone is really saying when they dodge direct questions, and they answer questions that are not even asked, and when they twist verses. How are we to know that what they appear to be saying is actually what they are trying to convey, especially when they think that there are people who are more spiritual out there who can understand what they are saying?

    If people like Willard are twisting John 14:6 to mean something totally different from its context, what might people like Bill Johnson think? Could Bill Johnson and Dallas Willard hold to a similar interpretation? It might be interesting to see what Johnson or others in the hyper-charismatic camp would say about this verse.

  183. just1ofhis says:

    http://store.ibethel.org/p7869/the-ascended-life

    I ventured over to ibethel store to see if they had any Dallas Willard material, and this caught my eye. It is apparently the “latest” from Bill Johnson.

    Title: “The Ascended Life”

    God the Father looks at you as someone who has experienced the same resurrection power His son Jesus experienced. His resurrection is your resurrection! The Christian life is about learning to release His resurrected power over everything, a feat that requires you to see
    from a heavenly perspective. This is what the Apostle Paul called being seated in heavenly places. To that end, God extends this invitation to all who desire to reign in life with Jesus: come up higher!

  184. Craig says:

    I guess that would be this podcast here (or something VERY similar):

    http://podcasts.ibethel.org/en/podcasts/thinking-from-the-throne

    Note the similar language:

    God is continually inviting us to come up higher. It’s time to survey our inheritance from His perspective: every enemy has been both defeated and humiliated and put under the feet of the redeemed! We reign in life through Christ Jesus which means that nothing can come against us that we don’t already have authority over because of His victory on the cross!

    This specific podcast was transcribed here, of course:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/bill-johnson-claims-you-can-think-and-live-from-the-right-hand-of-god/

  185. just1ofhis says:

    A little bit about an “ascended life”:

    Students of Ascended Master Teachings organizations (also known as “Ascended Master Activities”) believe that the Presence of Life – God – Individualizes as the “I AM” and incarnates throughout the created universes. They believe that their Teachings have been given to humanity by the Ascended Masters. These are believed to be individuals who have lived in physical bodies, acquired the Wisdom and Mastery needed to become Immortal and Free of the cycles of “re-embodiment” and karma, and have attained their “Ascension”. They consider the Ascension to be the complete permanent union of the raised and purified outer self with the “I AM” Presence – that True Identity that is the unique Individualization of Almighty God for each person. This knowledge is believed to have previously been taught for millions of years only within “Ascended Master Retreats” and “Mystery Schools”. It is believed by adherents of the Ascended Master Teachings that this wisdom was partially released by the Theosophical Society beginning in 1875, by C.W. Leadbeater and Alice A. Bailey, and began to have more detailed public release in the 1930s by the Ascended Masters through Guy Ballard in the I AM Activity.[1][2] However, Theosophists maintain the concept of Ascended Masters are a corruption of the original Theosophical concept of the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom. The term Ascended Master was first introduced in 1934 by Guy Ballard with the publication of Unveiled Mysteries, a book which he said was dictated to him by the Ascended Master St. Germain.[3][4] Other Ascended Master Teachings are contained in The Bridge to Freedom (1951),[5] Mark Prophet and Elizabeth Clare Prophet’s The Summit Lighthouse (1958) (reorganized as the Church Universal and Triumphant in 1975),[6] The Temple of The Presence (1995),[7] The Hearts Center (2005), the I AM University (2004), and various other organizations such as the White Eagle Lodge (1936) and the Aquarian Christine Church Universal, Inc. (2006).[8][9]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascended_Master_Teachings

  186. just1ofhis says:

    The “ascended life” message doesn’t come freely either:

    CD-Audio : $30.00
    MP3 Download : $16.00
    M4V Video Download : $30.00
    DVD : $60.00

    (off the same link as my 11:23 post tonight)

    $60 for a DVD?

    $30 for an audio cd?

    We know them by their fruit.

  187. Arwen4CJ says:

    From the wikipedia article that just1ofhis provided:

    Unveiled Mysteries records:

    “Truly the Great Ascended Masters are Gods. It is no wonder in the mythology of the ancients that their activities have been brought down to us in the guise of myth and fable. They wield Tremendous God Power at all times because they hold with unwavering determination to the Great God Presence and hence all Power is given unto them for they are All-Perfection. “‘When Jesus said, All these things I have done, ye shall do and even greater things shall ye do, he knew whereof he spoke,’ continued Saint Germain. ‘He came forth to reveal the Conscious Dominion and Mastery that it is possible for every human being to attain and express while still here on Earth.”

    Now where have we heard that concept before? Hmmmmm…….let’s think…..

    Perhaps, the manifest sons of god teaching that is so prevelant in the hyper-charismatic realm, which this very article speaks about. And of course there is Bill Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth book and the teaching that just1ofhis linked to.

    In fact, this statement by this occultist is practically identical to what Johnson claims with the ascended life/thinking from the throne teaching.

  188. Arwen4CJ says:

    I think that Dallas Willard and others in the contemplative spirituality movement have come to hold the same or similar beliefs about the I AM that was expressed on that ascended masters article.

    And, seeing that what I quoted above, we can see a link between the ascended masters, Bill Johnson, and Dallas Willard — even if these people don’t know about the teachings of each other — it is obvious that it is coming from the same demonic source.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if hyper-charismatic leaders spoke about John 14:6 in the same way as Willard and the “ascended master” demons do.

  189. Hello dear brothers and sisters! I have missed you all and the great discussions here, and thought I would randomly drop in to a post to say hello and blessings for the Christmas season. Craig, it was about this time last year I started reading your blog…I remember the snow! :-)

    I hope you are all well. For some reason I haven’t been getting updates from this site so will resubscribe and hopefully rejoin the discussions. Looks like I have a lot of comments to catch up on!

    God’s blessings to you all…Craig, just1ofhis, Arwen4CJ & Carolyn. In Christ’s love, Sherryn

  190. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    I was wondering where you were. IIRC, you are subscribed to the site (I could be wrong), which means you should have received an email when I posted this one:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/charismatic-ramifications-on-the-long-ending-of-marks-gospel/

    If you are subscribed to the blog itself, this does not mean you’ll receive notice of individual comments. To do this, you’ll have to subscribe to the particular blog article of which you wish to receive updates by checking the appropriate box just before leaving your comment on that particular thread.

  191. Hi Craig :-)
    I haven’t received an email for the last few posts, but will double check before resubscribing. I do usually subscribe to the comments of the posts I am following with you and the other regulars, but somehow it has slipped off my radar. I will do some catch up reading and then stick around. I have sent some people to this site to do some reading, but haven’t done any myself. Sorry! I am glad to see the discussions are still going strong, and look forward to catching up.

  192. Arwen4CJ says:

    The Narrowing Path,

    Merry Christmas to you, as well. :)

    To all — I have some more reflections in regard to “progressive Christianity,” contemplative prayer, and hyper-charismatic and the occult direction all of these things are moving in.

    I have been trying to understand all of these movements for some time now, and as I said above, I think it is the occult practices (like contemplative prayer) that unite them….but I think it goes deeper. I think it is also rooted in a false gospel.

    It seems to me that deception begins the moment someone has become convinced that the real gospel isn’t enough. Something else is required of them to grow in their relationship with God. If a person continues to follow down that path, eventually they will become convinced that the real gospel is not only insufficient, but that it is completely wrong. They might come up with different explanations of why this is, but they all come to believe in another gospel and another Jesus.

    I think I have talked about the study class that my church is doing for their “Bible study” before. It’s a class on doctrine. This past week we discussed the doctrine of sin. And in doing this, I became aware of something that is going on in Christianity. :(

    I knew about the social gospel — that the “Progressive Christians” taught and preached that we should take care of the poor and work to reduce injustices in the world, which is all good. But their problem is that they teach only that, and don’t teach about Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins, or the real gospel. I’ve known that for awhile….but I didn’t realize why this was until just this past week.

    I think it’s the same reason that many hyper-charismatics (such as Todd Bentley) teach the manifest sons of god doctrine. I think it is because many Christians have redefined sin. If sin is redefined, or thought of in a different way from what the Bible teaches, then it follows that people will come up with the wrong solution.

    I think that most people (including those who believe in false gospels) would agree with the statement that humanity’s main problem is sin.

    But if people have a different definition of what exactly “sin” is, then the solution to the problem of sin is going to be false, and thus, they will believe in a false gospel. (A belief in the right definition of sin doesn’t guarantee the right solution, either, but a wrong definition will always lead to a wrong solution).

    When people start defining sin in a social way, then it follows that the solution would also have to be social. So, for example, if a person defines pollution as a sin, then the solution for it would be humanity’s social efforts to change this. If poverty is defined as sin, then again, the solution would be a social response (humanity must fix this social problem and eradicate it). If discrimination is defined as a social sin, then the solution is that we must work to fix it. If having class structure is defined as sin, then the solution is to work to get rid of that.

    The point I’m trying to make is that if we conceive of sin as being a society wide thing rather than on an individual basis, then the solution will always have to be a society wide solution. So if social problems are defined as “sin,” then our “redemption” can only be arrived at if these things are fixed.

    While sinful individuals can get together and make sinful decisions or pass sinful laws or whatever, and while the Bible does tell us to serve the poor, the Bible always talks about sin as being on an individual basis. When Israel sins it is because a lot of people have individually sinned. I understand how some might view these passages as the whole society having sinned socially, but some of the things that these people are calling sin I don’t think necessarily are sin. In my reading of the Bible, I don’t see God calling social structures sins. That doesn’t necessarily mean that God is happy with all of our human social structure all the time, but God never tells us that we have to fix it. In fact, it seems to only be at Jesus’ second coming that our social problems (and all other problems) are fixed. We can’t do it on our own.

    But, since there are now many people who have been convinced that sin = only social problems and structures, then they have come to the conclusion that the only reason Jesus came was to teach us how to live well socially, and to provide us with encouragement (or to empower us) to fix the problems ourselves.

    Some might say that Jesus’ death on the cross provided forgiveness for our social sins, but many have decided that the cross is basically irrelevant to us. Jesus’ blood means nothing other than that Jesus’ death was a good example of social ills, and that Jesus played the part of a good victim.

    These things leave their faith really dry, so they seek out for other spiritual practices that will help them feel closer to “god.” What they receive when they delve into occult spirituality only confirms their beliefs, as their demons tell them how great they are, and how much they could do to help redeem humanity.

    I think the hyper-charismatic version of this is very similar, only their starting definition of sin might be different. Instead of conceiving it as mainly a social thing, they might be confusing sin with the consequences of sin. So, they might think that disease itself is sin. So the redemption of this would be for the person to find healing. They might do the same with physical death. So their whole goal would be to try to develop the gifts necessary to get rid of these problems. They are still social in nature, but with a different twist, and more individualized than with the “progressives”.

    Or, the hyper-charismatics might define sin as anything that hurts us or would make us unhappy. So this would include being poor, so their solution to it is through positive confession.

    In the case of those who are teaching manifest sons of god — they, like the Progressives, think that the solution to humanity’s problems can be achieved through humanity (or an elite group of humans), and that humanity itself (or at least some of them) is godlike.

    If anyone practices contemplative spirituality, they will eventually come to this conclusion. When God’s truth isn’t enough for us, and we start delving into other things, our beliefs about key doctrines are going to be off.

    There were several readings in one of the books that went with the class that made me aware that the authors might be thinking of a social redemption (because of how they defined sin) rather than the biblical solution.

  193. Arwen4CJ says:

    Also, there is a lady in the church who I talked to yesterday who enjoys making prayer beads. She read a book by an author who explained the history behind prayer beads (both the rosary and Hindu prayer beads), and studied the different colors and the different materials that the beads are made out of. Certain beads are supposed to bring “protection.” Other beads supposedly mean different things.

    I don’t know much about the origin of the rosary, or if Roman Catholics attach any meaning to the color of beads or the material that those beads are made of. It’s possible that some do. It’s possible that they originally did. But it is also possible that the author who wrote the book was interfaith, and decided that all prayer beads are the same, and that what was true of Hindu beads could be applied to all other kinds of prayer beads.

    The lady in my church saw no problem with trying to make a charm out of these prayer beads, using different colors and materials, or that there was anything wrong with making something that could be used with Hindu spirituality.

    They have begun teaching “Christian” yoga at my church sometime during the week. I don’t know how many people go to the class, and I don’t know how popular it is, but perhaps this prayer bead concept (which sounds very occult like to me — having beads influence our lives — she is basically making magical charms) is a fruit of this.

    Somehow all of these factors are combining together in the universal church as a whole to move us in the direction of a universal occultism.

  194. Arwen4CJ says:

    Oh….according to the wikipedia article on the origin of the rosary…..

    “Prayer beads may have their origins in the Eastern religions in India in the 3rd century BC. The use of knotted prayer ropes in Christianity goes back to the Desert Fathers in the 3rd and early 4th centuries. These counting devices were used for prayers such as the Jesus prayer in Christian monasticism. The period after the First Council of Ephesus in 431 witnessed a gradual growth in the use of Marian prayers during the Middle Ages.”
    :( There is the connection…..so the author of that book appears to be correct. And there is our like to contemplative prayer and occultism.

  195. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Quickly:

    There is no doubt that each of these different (yet in some ways same) streams have a false gospel. The unifying factor, as I see it, is self-salvation (auto-soterism); they’re all works based. At its core is the idea that we have the inherent ability to save ourselves, which implies that we are gods (or that we don’t need God).

    As for sin, keep in mind that according to New Age / New Spirituality doctrine there is only one sin – the “sin” of separation / being separative / exclusivism. I think you’ll find that in the ones you’ve mentioned there is both a certain openness to other faith traditions (at least to a degree) and a want for unity at the expense of sound doctrine.

    New Agers / New Spirituality adherents are using social justice as a means to redistribute wealth – which really means giving more to the elites who do as they deem necessary with YOUR money. The real end-goal is to have a two-class system worldwide – a very few ‘haves’ and the rest ‘have-nots’. Then all will be ruled by the haves, who will ensure that no one can buy or sell without a certain mark….

  196. Craig says:

    These prayer beads as you describe are certainly being used as magick (with the “k” at the end) charms, which means they are most definitely of the occult.

  197. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think you are a subscriber to CrossWise, which means you would not receive updates on new postings. With that in mind, have you seen this?:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/charismatic-ramifications-on-the-long-ending-of-marks-gospel/

  198. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Yes, they are all works based, but the reason why they are that way is because they have explained away the biblical understanding of sin, and thus, the biblical solution for sin. Maybe it isn’t always the definition of sin, but it is something about the doctrine of sin that has been changed by many groups. But I know that it is also not a universal explanation for all false teachings.

    I don’t think that most people in these churches set out to teach false gospel, but it happens slowly over time. This is especially true of denominations. A denomination may put more and more emphasis on social issues/spiritual experiences, while not denying the real gospel. However, children growing up in that denomination may not hear the real gospel much at all, so they think that Christianity is all about social issues/spiritual experiences. So, when these kids grow up and become leaders in their churches, they put even more focus on the social issues/spiritual experiences aspect, and may not even know the real gospel. And pretty soon the real gospel gets lost. The denomination or church may never reach the point where they actually deny the gospel, but in their teaching and actions, they do.

    But, yes — they do come to the conclusion that we have an ability to save ourselves, which implies that we are all gods (or that we don’t need Him, or that we don’t need the biblical God).

    While it is true that the New Age and New Spirituality talk about the “sin” of separation/exclusivity/being separative, I think this is ultimately because they think there is no separation between creation and god, and no separation between individuals. Kind of like a sin = ignorance kind of knowledge thing — we are ignorant of our own divinity, or ignorant of the universality of god.

    Anyone who doesn’t agree is not part of the team/living in a state of sin/holding back humanity from what it could be/spiritually ignorant and underdeveloped.

    I don’t know anything about their two class system goal — but if that is their goal, then it is demonically inspired, and for the purpose of establishing a one world government. Regardless of whether or not this is accurate, we do know that there is a demonic goal of a one world government someday.

    If they do adhere to a two class system goal, then their reason for supporting social justice is different from the goals in theologically liberal Christianity. These people honestly think that God wants us/needs us to change the world by eradicating all the social ills, and that in doing that, humanity can be redeemed. (If there is a goal of establishing a two class system, then there may be some in these churches that have that goal, but I think the majority of people in that category don’t have that as their end goal).

    I wish Christians would test all things, especially spiritual practices, to see whether or not they line up with the Bible. We are to trust in God, not some special properties that an object supposedly holds. Roman Catholicism definitely has some of these magick objects, such as their medals that they carry around that are supposed to do the same thing — offer protection or whatever.

    In and of themselves, I actually don’t have a problem with prayer beads. While they are not in the Bible, there is nothing that forbids them, so long as people are not praying in a way that is forbidden in Scripture. However, if people are using them as magick charms, or using them for contemplative prayer, or using them to pray to Mary or the Saints or anything other than the God of the Bible, then I take issue with them.

  199. Craig says:

    Social justice is presented in a way that those who don’t go along with a particular aspect are seen as selfish and uncaring. Who wants to be viewed like that? It’s the typical tactic to vilify your opposition rather than accept differences of opinion in debatable matters. On Christians, it’s goal is to appeal to our sense of fair play and our willingness to give in general.

    As to a two class system, here in the US we may as well face it that we’ve had an oligarchical system (rule by a few) for a while now. Not to get into a political discussion, but the Affordable Care Act is a case in point. Basically legislation was passed on a bill that (presumably) no one read. Right. Sure. No one really knew what was in it. Anyway, stay with me on this.

    New Agers have long manufactured crises with a ready-made solution to ‘fix’ them when the inevitable occurs. As regards the ACA, my opinion is that the goal was a single-payer system all along, i.e., socialized medicine. When the current system inevitably implodes (many – not yet, but more or coming – left with no insurance will cry for a fix, rates too high {to be blamed on those pesky insurance companies who cannot afford to cover all those things mandated by the ACA without raising rates, of course}, etc.) the solution will be right at hand.

    When we add the problem of illegal immigration to the mix, pretty quickly some of the middle class will fall to the lower class, requiring subsidy. This will, of course, result in an increased tax burden on all, which means those who are on the cusp of falling into the lower class will do so, with a domino effect. As more and more fall into needing subsidies added with the concurrent rise of the tax burden for those still in the middle class, even more will fall into the lower class, and ad infinitum. More and more people will become financially reliant upon the government.

    Add to this the decrease in discretionary income, which will result in job loss, with this too creating a domino effect.

  200. Carolyn says:

    Merry Boxing Day to you all.

    Arwen, you said:

    “I have been trying to understand all of these movements for some time now, and as I said above, I think it is the occult practices (like contemplative prayer) that unite them….but I think it goes deeper. I think it is also rooted in a false gospel.

    It seems to me that deception begins the moment someone has become convinced that the real gospel isn’t enough. Something else is required of them to grow in their relationship with God. If a person continues to follow down that path, eventually they will become convinced that the real gospel is not only insufficient, but that it is completely wrong. They might come up with different explanations of why this is, but they all come to believe in another gospel and another Jesus.

    I am visiting relatives(some I know well and some I don’t) for Christmas and this morning we were discussing if and how we like our coffee. Everyone likes their coffee mixed with something else, be it chocolate, French vanilla cream or coffee creamer. I was the only one that likes coffee for the taste of coffee alone. When it is mixed with some other substance it no longer tastes like the full bodied, aromatic, roasted and original thing. Yum

    Well, my meaning is that most people prefer their gospel mixed. I prefer mine straight up.

    One other little story to be told is that I was Christmas shopping in Walmart for some craft supplies. I remembered last time I was here in this particular town, that the craft supplies were on the right side of the aisle. After heading down to the end of the aisle, I spent almost my entire allocated time searching for the craft supplies on the right side because that’s where I thought they were. At last I turned to the left and there they were, giving me a surreal breakthrough.

    My friend who I have known for years and years just accepted Christ before I left home. It seems she has searched all her life on the right side of the aisle for what she was looking for and has decided to turn left. It’s God’s timing, I believe, for he has allowed adverse circumstances and a shortened allotted time in which to search for meaning. She needs the real thing, straight up and not from her own headspace but where it truly is to be found…The Word of God. You can say a prayer for Bonnie.

    Love you guys! Be blessed!

  201. Carolyn says:

    Arwen, I found your post from December 16, 10:31 interesting. I’m still sifting through it:

    When people start defining sin in a social way, then it follows that the solution would also have to be social. So, for example, if a person defines pollution as a sin, then the solution for it would be humanity’s social efforts to change this. If poverty is defined as sin, then again, the solution would be a social response (humanity must fix this social problem and eradicate it). If discrimination is defined as a social sin, then the solution is that we must work to fix it. If having class structure is defined as sin, then the solution is to work to get rid of that.

    The point I’m trying to make is that if we conceive of sin as being a society wide thing rather than on an individual basis, then the solution will always have to be a society wide solution. So if social problems are defined as “sin,” then our “redemption” can only be arrived at if these things are fixed.

    I agree with you. The sin that angers God the most is what comes from the individual’s heart. The foundation of sin is unbelief not social misconduct.

    It is interesting that God, rather than giving us collective and group examples, has given personal examples of belief and unbelief to help us understand what he is after. We find a very personal involvement of a God who is both constant and responsive. He treats us as unique individuals with a capacity for understanding his will on an individualized basis.

    Can we trust God enough to leave the confines of religion and set out to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit through submission and personal revelation of his Word to us?

    The counterfeit of that, IMO is what we see in, for example, the Manifested Sons of God teaching where there is the tendency toward Christ conscious groupthink, both social and prophetic. It’s emphasis is on what we can do for God as a community or what we can come to know about God for the purpose of manipulating him to do our will. It’s about finding a pre-determined ritual or rite that works or about securing a glimpse into the future or a blueprint of our destiny.

    Contrasting that, in order to obey God, he has required that we search out his will for ourselves and a personal knowledge of God’s present revelation in his Word to us. God singled out individuals as examples of faith for us to follow. He dealt with the individual on a personal basis, not on principal but by faith and by personal submission to his will. Take Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac. There was no precedent for that, but only obedient submission and a knowing that it was God speaking to him.

    In the end, we want someone besides God to tell us what God wants. And that is of course, idolatry. We are unwilling to take the time to seek out God for ourselves. We are unwilling to accept that we are sinners and we have need of a Saviour. We want a different solution, a collective one, a contemplative one, an easier one. We would like a definition, perhaps; one that does not involve a time consuming continuum, a hard way complete with difficulties, failures and insecurities. But that is the way that God has designed for us and if we submit to his will, we will find a real solution, different from what we could think or imagine. Better.

  202. yesnaspanishtown says:

    “It’s all in your head!”

    I grew up hearing this phrase from adults when I whined and complained about various aches and pains. Here is an interesting video clip of something called the “Nocebo Effect”. I think that it has application to spiritual experiences as well.

    No doubt the Nocebo Effect has spiritual application also, and plays a part in Charismatic practices.

  203. Carolyn says:

    YesNaSpanishTown: I cannot watch the video you posted, as the server here is too weak but I did some reading on it and it sounds like shamanism…tricks played on the mind by demons. There are other names for illness related to negative thoughts, like psychosomatic, neurotic, etc. Combatting negative thoughts with positive confession works to a point, but in the case of real demonic oppression and negative suggestion by spirits who torment the soul (King Saul, for example), our own thoughts are powerless.

    **********

    Craig: Quote from third last paragraph in artice: “Later in this same book Marx Hubbard goes through the Book of Revelation [skipping 6:3-8, though this is covered in an unpublished manuscript of this work, as quoted from here], claiming new revelation from “Higher Voices”. In the following these “Voices” ‘expound’ on Revelation 9:15-16, 18-21, bringing “new revelation”:

    The alternative to Armageddon is the Planetary Pentecost. When a critical mass are in the upper room of consciousness on a planetary scale, each will hear from within, in their own language, the mighty words of God. All who are attuned will be radically empowered to be and do as Jesus did. If those people who are not self-centered align their thoughts in perfect faith, that they are whole, created in the image of God, the world can be saved. [p 147. Emphasis in original.]

    You are right…they are on the very same track as the Manifest Sons of God and the Bill Johnson teaching that If we can adjust to the tune of spiritual vibes and the voices within, we can be empowered as Christ was. We can change our destiny.

    Asked myself why people are not seeing the error of Bill Johnson. It has to be because they are filtering what he says through their own semi-orthodoxy. Just as a cigarette filters out the smoke impurities before the poisonous nicotene reaches the lungs, so the brain filters out the heresies through it’s own deceptive processes before error connects with the soul.

    My next thought was in terms of who we are attuned to. This is so clear, the arrogance of changing the prophetic future that God spoke through John in Revelation. Even the name Manifest Sons of God testifies to a false ideal. They are not manifested yet. Their faith is future. It’s a lie. They will never get there and Satan knows it. But he cons them. He makes false promises. He sets up false grounds for belief. He gives them a false sense of security and a false light to lead them. Their hope is doomed. Their fate is sealed.

    When Christ came to earth, he didn’t have to ascend to anything. He didn’t have to tune into anything but the Father’s will. We need to read and re-read the gospels to get who he is. Our perceptions have been so badly distorted by religion(man’s ideas on how to please God), that we aren’t hearing (present tense) what God is saying to us in real time.

    Christ’s deity is obvious to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear. John 21:25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. He was God, he had no hesitation in telling the Pharisees who he was and that his miracles testified of his deity and he stated plainly that he was equal with God.

    But to those who wanted to hear something else, the truth was/is hidden. It’s a phenomenon that creates wonder in me and in every individual that is tuned in to the real Holy Spirit through his Word. To those who walk with God, present tense there is no need for pretence.

    As for Manifested Sons of God kind of miracles, signs and wonders, pure Shamanism. The deceivers have been found out. The con artists have been discovered. The greedy, contemptuous extortioners and liars have overplayed their hand. They are false. When will they stop pretending that God is in their midst?

  204. Carolyn says:

    Here’s something I found interesting when I was looking up some info on Shamanism. Starting about half way down the page, here is an excerpt:

    A number of prominent ministries use the eagle as a corporate symbol, and most of these do so quite innocently. But research into the testimony of a young prophetess associated with C. Peter Wagner’s self-titled New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) raises great concern. (The NAR, a blended resurrection of several modern heresies-kingom-dominionism, manifest sons of God, new breed, et al.-is spreading like wildfire through a growing number of charismatic and evangelical churches.) Here is just one example of cause for alarm:

    Sharnael Wolverton…was called to the ministry at an early age….During [an]
    incredible period of seeking intimacy with [God] she encountered many dreams,
    visions, visitations and divine appointments leading to the birthing of Swiftfire Ministries….One divine appointment…was with Bob Jones, who introduced her to a golden eagle named “Swift.” “Swift is sent forth to those in order to carry the purposes of God swiftly.” Another encounter was with Patricia King of Extreme Prophetic, who had also been introduced to Swift.

    from: http://www.thebereancall.org/node/2682

    Craig, you may have something similar to this somewhere in your articles. It has a familiar ring, but I felt it tied in to my comment above on the signs and wonders of the MSoG and Dominionists. The fact is that they are being influenced by familiar spirits in altered states of consciousness and hearing from spirit guides in the form of angels or animals or birds who are “assisting or encouraging” them in what they are writing about or saying. Shocking when you do comparisons.

  205. Pingback: Thoughts on Craig Keener’s Review of MacArthur’s ‘Strange Fire’ | CrossWise

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 252 other followers

%d bloggers like this: