“Look at the Fruit!”

In response to criticism of a leader or teacher within the hyper-charismatic movement, one of the most popular catch-phrases used by followers in their defense is, “Look at the fruit!” [See The Use of Loaded Language in Hyper-Charismaticism.]  But does this really provide an adequate counter-argument?  Let’s see how Scripture speaks on this matter.

The word “fruit,” karpos in the Greek, has a number of different renderings in the NIV including: fruit, crop(s), harvest, benefit, grain, fruitful, and others.1  However, other sources define the term: an effect; work; act; result; yield; and more.2,3  Context will determine intended meaning, of course.   With the phrase, “Look at the fruit,” the meaning of “fruit” in this limited context would be “result,” “benefit,” “an effect,” “yield,” etc.

There are three primary areas in Scripture which address “fruit”: 1) “The Fruit of the Spirit” [Galatians 5:16-26], 2) “The Vine and the Branches [John 15:1-17], and 3) “A Tree and its Fruit” in the Sermon on the Mount [Matthew 7:15-20].  We’ll look at the first one briefly, discuss the second one a bit more, and examine the third even more closely.

The Fruit of the Spirit

 16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with one another, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. [Galatians 5:16-18; NIV 1984.  All Scripture references are from NIV 1984 except as noted]4

The Apostle Paul is admonishing the Galatians to live by the Spirit and leave the bondage of the (Mosaic) law.  As F. F. Bruce states, “‘Walk [live] by the Spirit’ means ‘let your conduct be directed by the Spirit’”.5  Paul goes on to list “the acts of the sinful nature” [“acts” is from a different Greek word than karpos] and contrasts those with the fruit of being led of the Spirit:

19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. [Galatians 5:22-26]

Verses 22 and 23 list the traits of those being led of the Spirit rather than by their sinful nature [vv 19-21, 25-26].  “Fruit” in this context is result or outcome.6  Keeping “in step with the Spirit” [v 25] will result in the outward display of the fruit listed above; whereas, not being directed by the Spirit may be evidenced by the acts of the sinful nature in vv 19-21.

This is not to say that the unregenerate (non-Christian) cannot exhibit some of the same qualities as those listed as the fruit of the Spirit.7  For example, surely the Dalai Lama exhibits some of these traits, at least by outward appearances. Therefore, the appearance of having the fruit of the Spirit does not necessarily guarantee that the individual is truly being led of, and exhibiting the fruit of, the Spirit of God.  On the other hand, exhibiting those traits of the sinful nature is a sure sign of not being led of the Spirit whether regenerate or not.

The Vine and the Branches

In the upper room discourse [John 13-17] Jesus, after Judas Iscariot leaves to betray Him, tells the remaining eleven about the Holy Spirit who will come after His Ascension.  The Holy Spirit is “another Counselor” [14:16], the “Spirit of truth” [14:17, also 15:16; 16:13] who “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” [14:26].  A bit later, Jesus says of the Holy Spirit, he will “testify about me” [15:26]; “convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” [16:8] “guide you into all truth” [16:13]; and “speak only what he hears” [16:13].  In the midst of these descriptions of the Holy Spirit’s function Jesus teaches “The Vine and the Branches” [John 15:1-17]:

“I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples. [emphasis added]

Jesus’ words make it clear that to “bear fruit” – i.e., produce positive results/outcomes for the kingdom of God – you must “remain” in Christ, and He will, in turn, remain in you.  Further, those who do “bear fruit” will be pruned – afflicted and disciplined resulting in the process of increasing sanctification [see James 1:2-5; Heb 12:4-11; Pro 3:11-12; Ps 94:12] – so they will bear even more fruit.  This is similar to the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ in the Galatians passage above in that this outward fruit will be the evidence of being “in step with the Spirit.”

In contrast, verse 4 illustrates that you cannot bear fruit apart from abiding in Christ.  Verse 6 goes even further: those who do not remain in Christ will be thrown into the fire and burned up!  J. C. Ryle comments:

“The consequence of not abiding in Christ, of refusing to live the life of faith in Christ, are here described under a terrible figure.  The end of such false professors [of faith in Christ] will be like the end of fruitless and dead branches of a vine…They will finally come to the fire that is never quenched in hell.”8

So, what does it mean to “remain in me” [Jesus]?  The apostle John continues Jesus’ words:

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruitfruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other. [emphasis added]

To remain in Jesus is to remain in His love.  To remain in Christ’s love is to have His words remain in you [v 7] so that you may “obey His commands” [v 10].  And, to “obey His commands” is to lay down your life [v 13], “take up your cross daily” [Luke 9:23].  F.F. Bruce states, “…the mutual indwelling of the Father and the Son, and of Jesus and His disciples, and of the disciples with their heavenly Father as his children, is a mutuality of love, a love in which obedience is a spontaneous joy and not a painful duty.…”9  Note that ‘love’ is the first attribute listed in the “fruit of the Spirit.”  The way to be in His love is to know His word, His commands, as revealed in the Scriptures.  This is not unlike Jesus’ words in John 8:31-32:

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.”

Quoting Bruce once again, “To ‘remain’ in Jesus’ ‘word’ is to adhere to his teaching – to direct their lives by it….discipleship is something continuous; it is a way of life.  A true disciple has an affinity for his teacher’s instruction and accepts it, not blindly but intelligently….”10

A Tree and its Fruit

In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew records Jesus’ words of “wolves in sheep’s clothes” equating these to bad trees bearing bad fruit [7:15-20].  To understand the larger meaning of this passage it’s best to put this teaching in its full context by reading the verses immediately preceding and immediately following.  Here’s the section identified in the NIV as “The Narrow and Wide Gates”:

13 “Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. [Matthew 7:13-14]

Of the various “I am” statements in the Gospel of John including, “I am the Resurrection and the Life,” [11:25] is this one: “I am the Gate for the sheep” [10:7; 10:9].  Jesus is the “Gate” – the “narrow Gate.”  He is the one who “leads to life.”  “Only a few find it” while many do not.  This brief two verse passage sets the stage for the teaching that follows, “A Tree and its Fruit,” which provides a warning about those who seem to be in the faith yet are not.  These are some of those who lead down that broad road through the wide gate to death [John 10:10]:

15 “Watch out for false prophets.  They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them.  Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. [Matthew 7:15-20]

The term “false prophets” here is to be understood in a broad sense11, i.e., not merely indicating those who fail in the foretelling of future events, but also including all who claim to speak on divine authority yet, in actuality, do not [see also Mat 24:11,24; Mark 13:22; Jer 23:9-40].  Verses 16 and 20 show that it’s the fruit, the results, which expose these false prophets for who they are.  Notice the similarity between verse 19 and John 15:6 above in the “The Vine and the Branches” teaching.

While the wolf as natural enemy to the sheep is a well used motif, the phrase wolves “in sheep’s clothing” is unique in the literature of the time.12  Obviously, these wolves come with the intent to deceive and then devour.  Since they “come to you” [v 15] this appears to be indicative of travelling missionaries13 which sounds not unlike those nowadays who are frequently putting on various conferences worldwide and peddling their wares to the unwary.  This would also seem to include televangelists.  Of course, this is not to say that all missionaries or those who preach on TV are false prophets.

Matthew Henry believed the fruit referred to in vv 16 and 20 could be both: 1) the “fruits of their persons,”14 such as the acts/traits listed in Galatians 5:19-21 as well as Philippians 3:18-19; and, 2) the “fruits of their doctrine”.15

“If the doctrine be of God, it will tend to promote serious piety, humility, charity, holiness, and love with other Christian graces; but, if [to] the contrary…we may conclude that ‘this persuasion comes not of him that calleth us’[Gal 5:8, KJV]…” 16

Donald Hagner, in his 1993 commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, states:

“…The ultimate test of the truth is in deeds, not claims or pretensions.  The Church must be ever vigilant against appearances and empty words and press the criterion of good works in discerning the true from the false.”17

The NIV Study Bible includes verses 21-23 under the heading titled “A Tree and its Fruit” as does the NASB.  This would seem to indicate that these editors understand these three verses to conclude this particular section.  However, some other versions differentiate verses 21 through 23 from 15 through 20 by a separate heading.

The NKJV titles this three verse subsection “I Never Knew You.”  Rudolf Schnackenburg’s The Gospel of Matthew titles this portion “Concerning Self-Deception”18 although he apparently considers verses 13-29 all of a piece titling this section of his commentary “Concluding Admonitions”19 and thus a conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount which began in chapter 5 of Matthew’s Gospel with the Beatitudes.  Perhaps the most descriptive comes from Hagner who titles this subsection: “The Insufficiency of the Charismata”.20  And, similar to Schnackenburg, Hagner groups verses 13 through 27 as simply “Conclusion”.21

21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!’ [Matthew 7:21-23]

These are some of the most sobering words in all of Scripture.  Surely, not many, if any, would want to be referred to as “evildoers” by Jesus Himself on Judgment Day and be told, “I never knew you.  Away from Me…”  Perhaps worse yet are the Apostle Paul’s words stating that God Himself will send a “powerful delusion” to those who “refuse to love the truth” by following and participating in “counterfeit signs and wonders” [II Thessalonians 2:9-12] so that they will continue in their deception and thus be condemned.

In the larger context of verses 15 through 23, the “Insufficiency of the Charismata”22 subsection seems to be explaining aspects of, and resulting fruit from, the ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ [v 15]. The charismatic demonstrations from these ‘wolves’ will be for naught resulting in eternal damnation instead of redemption.  Apparently, the prophecies, exorcisms, and many miracles [v 22] were not done according to the will of God [v 21].

While this section may not be describing all the characteristics of ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing,’ note the word “prophesy” (again, to be understood in its broad application) in verse 21 which correlates to the “false prophets” of verse 15 and the word many, — not some or few, but many – which begins the list of the charismata in verse 22.  Also, compare many in verse 13 to the many of verse 22.

The next section, titled “The Wise and Foolish Builders” in the NIV, both concludes the previous section and at the same time concludes the Sermon on the Mount:

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Taken together, this final section and the two verses which make up “The Narrow and Wide Gates,” provide bookends to the “Tree and its Fruit” [including vv 21-23] passage.  The former section explains that there are only two ways: the way to life which is narrow compared to the broad road which leads to death.  The final section contrasts those who built wisely upon the rock, i.e., Jesus Christ, with the foolish who built on sand.  Both of these parables demonstrate that it’s the truth of the Scriptures which provides the way to life and this truth is found by abiding in Jesus Christ, His Word, and the Holy Spirit [John 15:1-17, Galatians 5:16-26] in order to do His Father’s will.  And, in between these two parables is an illustration of the consequences of being outside His will and, therefore, not in the truth – the broad and foolish road to death.

Inspecting the ‘Fruit’ of the phrase “Look at the Fruit!”

This short phrase, “Look at the fruit!” uttered in defense of the criticisms levied against hyper-charismatic leaders can either be interpreted as a request to look at the character of, or the results from, the leader(s) being defended.  As to character: as noted above, the outward appearance of the “fruit of the Spirit” does not necessarily indicate being led of the Spirit.  However, acts of the flesh are a sure sign of being led by the sinful nature.  It appears, though, that a defense of character, the ‘evidence’ of “the fruit of Spirit,” is the least likely meaning behind the use of this phrase.

There have been quite a few leaders in the hyper-charismatic movement who have ‘fallen from grace’ over the years.  In fact, it’s usually the so-called “good fruit” of works predominately of the “signs and wonders” variety which are of dubious authenticity that are used to justify or override the sinful behavior of those who’ve ‘fallen from grace.’  Supposedly, because these individuals are “so used of God” they are that much more subject to the devil’s snare.

However, according to Scripture, to “bear fruit” is to show results for the kingdom of God.  To accomplish this, one must remain in Jesus Christ’s teaching in order to do the Father’s will.  How is this done?  As outlined above: by taking up one’s cross daily, to die for the One who calls you ‘friend,’ our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is accomplished by following His precepts, the truths of Scripture.  Is this the intended meaning behind “Look at the fruit!?”  It would not appear so.

Most, if not all, hyper-charismatic leaders adhere to some aspects in their teachings and/or practices that are clearly at odds with historical orthodox Christianity.  Biblical truths are, in fact, many times superseded by “present truths” – new revelations.  This then would be an indication that these leaders are not abiding in Christ and hence not capable of bearing good fruit for the kingdom of God.

The large majority of the time the phrase “Look at the fruit!” is used to defend the “fruit” of prophecy (mostly of the foretelling variety which has a very low percentage of accuracy), healings, exorcisms, raisings from the dead, etc.  Many of the so-called “prophecies” are mentioned after the fact with no proof that an actual prophetic word was uttered prior to the incident in question.  The healings are rarely, if ever, verified; the ‘dead raisings,’ never.

Apparently, it’s the fruit of aberrant teachings from these ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ which lead to the fruit of aberrant practices resulting in the fruit of the “ministries” of hyper-charismatic leaders.  In light of Matthew 7:21-23, this is bad fruit indeed!

21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!’ [Matthew 7:21-23; emphasis added]

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness![Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV; emphasis added]

1Goodrick, E. W. & J. R. Kohlenberger III. NIV Exhaustive Concordance. 1990; Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI; p 1737
2Thayer, J. H. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. 1979 (20th Zondervan printing); Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI; p 326
3Bauer, W., W. F. Arndt, and F. W. Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 1958, 2nd edition; Chicago, Chicago, IL; pp 404-405.  Also known as “BAGD.”
4Barker, Kenneth; Burdick, Stek, et. al. NIV Study Bible. copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society,  Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI
5Bruce, F. F. The Epistle to the Galatians: A Commentary on the Greek Text, NIGTC. 1982, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI; p 243
6Bauer, p 404
7Bruce, p 255-256
8Ryle, J. C.  “Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: John 13:1-21:25”  Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Volume Four: John 10:31 – 21:25. 2007 (1878), Baker, Grand Rapids, MI; p 102. Originally part of a seven volume series with one each of Matthew and Mark, two of Luke (1-10 & 11-24), and three of John (1-6:70; 7-12:50; 13:1-21:35) beginning in 1856 and completed in 1878.  Available also at < http://www.gracegems.org/Ryle/ >
9Bruce, F. F. The Gospel & Epistles of John. 1983, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI; p 310
10Bruce, p 196
11Hagner, Donald A. Word Biblical Commentary: Matthew 1 – 13. 1993, Word, Dallas, TX; p 183, 187
12Schnackenburg, R. The Gospel of Matthew. 2002, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI; p 78
14Henry, M. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Volume 5. 1991 (8th printing 2006), Hendrickson, USA; p 77.
17Hagner, p 184
18Schnackenburg, p 78
19Schnackenburg, p 76
20Hagner, p 184
21Hagner, p 177


17 Responses to “Look at the Fruit!”

  1. Pingback: The Use of Loaded Language in Hyper-Charismaticism « CrossWise

  2. Craig says:

    Wide is the Gate:


  3. Craig says:

    From Bob DeWaay as posted on Deception in the Church comes this analysis of Bill Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth:

    Click to access orrel46.pdf

    “Signs and wonders that accompany a false Christology such as that of Bill Johnson do not thereby prove the existence of a great end-time revival. Rather, they prove end-time deception as predicted in the Bible.”


    “…A psychic healing might be a real healing, but it is not from God. It is known to be false by the false teaching of the healer. If such a false teacher produced a real, verified healing, the teaching and teacher would still be false.”


  4. Pingback: Articles of Interest 04-16-11 | Onward, Forward, Toward...

  5. jakeelliot says:

    Wow! Your blog topic just popped up under my latest published article.
    My blog is http://www.leavinoutleaven.wordpress.com.

    I can see why yours popped up on mine. This afternoon, I finished writing the concluding article of a three part series. I hope that these three articles cast out these leaven teachings from these catchy Christian sayings. I hope you enjoy them:

    Part 1. Beware Of Wolves In Sheeps Clothing

    Part 2. You’ll Know Them By Their Fruits

    Part 3. Many Will Say To Me “Lord! Lord!”

    I really hope they bless you. It’s amazing how others get these kind of revelations at the same time.


  6. SLIMJIM says:

    Thank you for this post…I’ve recently been having those defend against some of the supporters of a false prophet name Jaeson Ma (he’s an IHOP fan and seems to be really into that circle) over at my blog, and some of them keep on making an issue of Matthew 7. This is good stuff here!


  7. Thanks craig, (and others) for sharing,

    I think the key is in the analogy used. Many trees look similar outwardly, but eventually their genetics or “what’s on the inside” becomes apparent. Though, like with natural trees, that may take some time to manifest, become apparent. I think Jesus is clearly saying you can fake it on the outside, and in that, we should not be looking much at what people prophesy. In fact, if some of the people who prophesy, heal and cast out demons are going to be told by the Lord, “I never knew you,” I would submit that we should hardly be looking at works at all. And only behavior in a limited sense-after all they ARE wolves in sheep’s clothing. Though, surely the wickedness in a false prophets heart will come out in behavior too, the passage is about false doctrine primarily. That is the fruit-dishonesty.

    False doctrine and wicked motives is what is on the inside, and it will come out.
    I am reminded of a time a few years back, when a young woman said to me, because I had prophesied many accurate things, “wow, you really are hearing from the Lord lately.” My first thought was, “how do you know that?” I know she was sincere, but it made me sad. It seemed clear she was looking at the prophesy as an indicator of me being close to God. The moment encouraged me even more to seek the fear of the Lord in my life, and served as a reminder of how people tend to look at the flashy things for “confirmation,” rather than truth as outlined in God’s word. We live in unprecedented times of Biblical illiteracy. I don’t despise prophecy, obviously, but I often do despise the way people look at it. We are to test ALL things.

    I know I have been guilty in the past of not properly handling such things. Thank God for his mercy and grace.


  8. Arwen4CJ says:

    Hey all, it’s been awhile since I was last here. I came across something else that I thought I would share with this blog community.

    I’m looking for a job, and I posted a resume online. I was contacted by a couple companies. The first happened to be an insurance company called Bankers Life. I don’t want to sell insurance, so I turned them down. The second is the subject of this comment. It was a company called Surace Smith, which is based in Cleveland Ohio and has branches all over Ohio.

    Why do I bring this company up on your blog and, in particular, on the subject of “Look at the Fruit?” Because I did some online research into the company, and it turns out it has connections with the hyper-charismatic community.

    If you visit their website http://www.surancesmith.com, you will find that the “charities” that they donate to are mostly (if not all) hyper-charismatic churches in the Cleveland area. One of them is Bethel Cleveland. Another is an International House of Prayer that is based there.

    Jim Surace himself is an executive board member of an apparently hyper-charismatic organization. It mentions anointings and so forth on its website.

    When I researched this company, I found post after post on various websites talking about how this company cheats and lies to people in order to get money. It is very deceptive. I also saw many similarities between how hyper-charismatics (specifically Bethel) functions and how this surance smith runs itself as a business. For example, one thing that kept on coming up on the online complaints is that the employees are told not to question anything. Several people indicated that they were required to “hear religious talks” and “go to prayer meetings.”

    The company itself doesn’t say it is Christian on the website, and I don’t think it is necessarily a “Christian” job. But I do think they are trying to sneak hyper-charismatic theology to people through this job.

    The person who called me did not mention anything about it being a Christian company. She didn’t even tell me that it was an insurance company.

    Anyway, they apparently teach their employees to lie and to cheat people…and those that have worked for them consider them to be a Christian company. Several people were disgusted by the way they treat people.

    Although this isn’t directly tied to Bill Johnson, this company and the way it operates is a fruit of Bethel and hyper-charismaticism.

    This company certainly does not exhibit the fruits of the Spirit.

    If a leader of a hyper-charismatic organization can run his business this way, it makes me question what they are trying to do with the church itself. Are they knowingly lying to Christians, knowingly deceiving Christians and leading them towards the demonic? Who knows.


    • Craig says:


      Good to hear from you! Good luck on your job search.

      Been busy, so I’ve only skimmed your comment; however, the url isn’t working. Can you provide the correct one?


  9. Arwen4CJ says:

    Sure. Sorry, I thought I had the right one. Here it is again. Let me know if this does not work.



    • Craig says:

      I was intrigued by “Hydrating Humanity;” so, I decided to do a quick check on the individuals behind it. The very first name, Matt Peterson, is associated with Rick Joyner’s MorningStar in Winston-Salem, NC, as I found out with a quick “matt peterson + rick joyner” search.


    • Enjoyed your article on “known by the fruit”.. also checked out suracesmith.com … Googled and saw lots of complaints from past employees and job hunters on Indeed and Monster who referred to American Income insurance (who SS represents) as scam artists, liars and more! I’d say some bad fruit there for sure! I continue to be amazed that Bethel and its ilk continue to gain followers! The AG (my roots) churches are being invaded by Bethel routinely… See it on Facebook a lot… So many are uninformed or plain naive…. Very sad! Keep defending the faith! Sharon

      Sent from my iPhone



  10. Arwen4CJ says:

    Somehow that doesn’t surprise me 😦

    Exactly. Here are some of the sites I found that had negative reviews:


    Here are a few highlights from the site:
    “I am an HR manager in Chattanooga TN and I can attest to the sketchy nature of this company. The truth is, you can work your way up and make a lot of money in this company, but not selling insurance, scamming people… See basically once you filled out that slip, they teach you some bogus insurance nonsense and then teach you how to sell the company to eager individuals seeking employment. It’s a great place to work and you should really get involved! The art of scamming is a very profitable one and I am constantly looking for more help. See look at me, I was an education major at a small college in TN and became an HR director in less than a year with the company!! My salary last year was $220, 000 so there is money to be made here mam, it’s just depending what you want to do to get it”

    “Just went to interview at Surace-smith, it was a circus. Felt like I was at a snake oil sales tent. Recognized their top person from a real estate scam just 7 months ago. This was in North Royalton Ohio, my personal recommendation is to save your time and energy. ”




    And there are many other sites like these with comments like the above. Some even go into great detail about the cheating and lying and deceptive tactics that they were taught to do when working for either Surace-Smith specifically or American Income Life, which Surace-Smith is part of.


  11. CEC says:

    Two things:

    First, one of the fruits of the spirit is self-control. How do these “Fire Walks” at Bethel, where the participants start acting drunk (as could be said also of any of these types of “spirit filled” encounters that took place in Toronto or Lakeland) show any kind of self-control? They don’t. That’s prima facie evidence they are not from the Holy Spirit. And some of these people actually start acting like animals, which is a curse in light of King Nebuchadnezzar’s ordeal in becoming animal-like for his sin.

    Secondly, you are exactly right about Johnson and these others who are all about performing miracles or having them happen in their churches. These are the people Jesus says He never knew. Why? Because they act like they know Jesus but the Jesus they know is not the Jesus of the Bible. I might know John Smith, but there are five John Smith’s in my local Yellow Pages. Which one is the real John Smith that I know? Well, by reading the book I look up his address because I know where he lives. These wolves have no clue who the real Jesus is because they prostitute the Word for their own gain. They think they are doing His will, only to find out in the end He never knew them. Tragic, really. Because many of their followers will end up in the same boat when they realize they didn’t get out their Bibles and test the spirits and the words of these wolves. They just blindly followed them because they wanted their “ears tickled.”

    This is exactly what Jesus spoke of in the last days and it’s happening right before our eyes. Yet God allows this to happen so that He can separate his sheep from the goats. We are called to be sober and vigilant.

    God Bless.


    • Craig says:


      You are exactly right. I find Matthew 7:15-23 (especially the latter 2 3 verses) and 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 some of the most sobering in all Scripture. Sadly, many do not take heed, in part because they do not know the Scriptures, being caught up in emotionalism instead.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: