Why I Began Blogging / It’s Been Ten Years!

Hard to believe, but I’ve been writing blog articles here for ten years now, as of today. My impetus was Bill Johnson’s somewhat off the cuff statement claiming Jesus was ‘born again’—and all that entailed.

However, I began researching things related to the movement associated with all this about six months prior. This movement is the so-called New Apostolic Reformation (aka Apostolic-Prophetic Movement), which is related to the Word of Faith (Word/Faith) movement. That was my real introduction to the blogosphere.

With the benefit of time and things I’ve learned in the interim, I can now relate the background.

In early 2010, I began attending another church’s weekly class. There I met a particular woman. She was slowly introducing me to some new things. Prior to this, I never gave a thought to spiritual gifts. But she was keen on them. Wanting to remain teachable, I listened to what she was presenting—as a Berean.

Some ideas seemed innocuous enough. Others I just wasn’t too sure about. The upside is that I subsequently studied the issue of spiritual gifts, determining that they most certainly are valid for today—including the so-called “sign” gifts (in 1Cor 12:7-11). Besides exegetical reasons supporting their continuance, to totally reject them would entail rejecting “distinguishing between spirits” (12:10). Is this not valid and necessary for today? More on this particular gift further below.

The downside is that I became increasingly certain she was being led down the wrong spiritual path. Later, I found there are many others treading this same hyper-charismatic trail.

My first eyebrow-raising incident came in a phone call before work one Friday morning in April. She just had to tell me about this vision she had about me the previous night! It couldn’t wait. In this vision God told her I had “a heart like David” and he “wanted me to ‘come up higher’ in my walk”. I later learned this verbiage is very common. It appeals to pride (God told her about me and my good heart!), while simultaneously playing upon a legitimate desire to please God (‘come up higher’ in my walk). But I remained skeptical. What did this ‘come up higher’ actually mean? Yet I didn’t want to totally discard it either. So I researched more.

Though I was growing increasingly concerned the more I researched, I didn’t let on. We maintained a friendly relationship. I wanted to develop our friendship so that I could show her that she may be in spiritual danger.

In early May she gave me a card referencing something I’d say occasionally: Christians are on an incredible journey. In this card she stated she was “grateful to the Lord for allowing our paths to cross” and that she had been “blessed tremendously” to meet “such an awesome man of God”. There was even more flowery language (I was “one of God’s beloved sons”, etc.), though nothing romantic—we didn’t have that kind of relationship.

But I knew and still know myself better than that. I’d lie like the Father of Lies if I were to speak or think of myself in this manner. I’m well aware of my shortcomings, my struggles. I thought it a bit over-the-top that she’d describe me like this. And I only bring all this up to contrast with what was to occur in the not too distant future.

Just a couple weeks later, she invited me to a home group. She mentioned the group before, and, after praying about the matter, I had asked her if I could attend at some point. I knew that it could, and likely would, be spiritually dangerous. After further prayer, I was led to go—against some other Christian friends’ counsel, who were concerned for my spiritual well-being.

All told, it was probably the single-most bizarre evening I ever had.

To further set the stage, she came to pick me up—in a rental car, for she was recently in an auto accident (no one was hurt). Though I cannot recall if I drove there (I think I did), I’m certain I drove back. In the pouring rain. I state this only to reiterate the state of our relationship. She trusted me and felt comfortable enough to let me drive.

The study group was held at a man’s house about a 30 minutes’ drive away. Nice house and nothing untoward when I walked in. The late 40s-ish man hosting it (about my age at the time) seemed reserved and a bit introverted—about what one would expect for the stereotypical accountant. Yet when he began to teach he spoke in the absolute LOUDEST voice I’d ever heard anyone speak! He did so without the slightest hint of strain in his voice as would be the case if he were shouting. But it was certainly loud enough to be akin to the level of shouting. It was very unnatural. And it was completely unnecessary, for there were only a relative handful in attendance and the room was hardly large enough to require such volume. Really strange. It was as if he were, uh, overtaken. He certainly spoke with authority, but I had to wonder by whose.

Even before he started, I was continually praying. Music had been playing in the background and I sensed an odd, unsettling atmosphere. It was not overpowering though, which I attribute to my continued praying.

His teaching was from Luke 4, beginning with Jesus’ temptation and continuing through to Jesus’ driving out the evil spirit (4:33, 36: akathartos pneuma), a demon (4:33: daimonion akathartos). His focus was on the words authority (exousia) and power (dynamis) and how we have this same authority and power Jesus displayed. Somewhat ironic that the text he had chosen spoke of driving out an evil/unclean spirit, when I discerned he himself may well have been the mouthpiece for one!

Afterward came the time for a local ‘prophet’ to provide ‘words’. I KNEW I’d be called upon. First up was another woman. As I expected, there was a ‘catcher’ behind her—I read about this sort of thing. I cannot recall what this man said to her, but remember her gently falling over backward after he was through. She was helped by the ‘catcher’.

Next I was called. Should I go? I felt led to do so—as I continued praying. But I KNEW I was NOT going to fall for the ‘falling over’ thing.

As I stood in front of him, I felt compelled to close my eyes. I continued praying. As he spoke, I felt this force pushing me backward. No matter how much I prayed, it kept on pushing. And I fought to stand completely erect. Like I said, I wasn’t going to fall for it! When he finished, I indeed fell over backwards, caught by the ‘catcher’. I cannot say that this latter part was either negative or positive. Was this a result of my prayer, or was this standard fare for this sort of thing? I don’t know. The initial pushing of the force was a bit disconcerting, though.

My friend dutifully recorded the entire ‘word’. It wasn’t very long. And it was so vague that it could have applied to most anyone. It didn’t appear to come from God, unsurprisingly. But upon reading it again this morning for the first time in years, one thing struck me: “The anointing will break the yoke of bondage.” Hmmmm. I’ll return to this.

My friend offered her ‘spiritual mentor’—who had also attended this meeting—a ride home. She later told me her ‘spiritual mentor’ was like an Elijah to her as Elisha. And she wanted that double portion anointing! Later, I found this sort of thing commonplace in this movement. Like addicts looking for their next fix, those in this movement must have their next, even greater, spiritual experience.

On the way home, they remarked how subdued “the Holy Spirit” was at the meeting, which they attributed to my presence there. They surmised that I wasn’t quite ready for ‘the deeper things’ just yet. I thought it was due to my praying.

One thing my friend said struck me. She claimed, “If you have the Holy Spirit indwelling, He will not allow you to be deceived.” I knew that wasn’t right. This way of thinking, of course, provides no Biblical basis upon which to judge spiritual experiences. And the Bible speaks volumes about false teachings and their dangers.

But I kept my thoughts to myself. I desired to help her out of this dangerous movement. I needed to pray to discern the best approach. In the meantime, I continued feverishly researching online.

Either that following weekend or the next, she went on a women’s retreat. After this she called me, excited to tell me all about it. I read about these retreats online, but I had never heard a personal account.

The teaching purported to be from Revelation 2—5. Given her words—which sound like they came from Mike Bickle’s “Bridal Paradigm” teaching—she was, at the least, familiar with this framework sourced from the Song of Songs/Solomon.

She described her “soaking” time—lying on the carpet having visions, etc. I scribbled some notes:

His kisses are better than wine.

Now I know how the Shulamite woman felt.

Lovesick.

The Lord romancing me.

I grew alarmed. What did she mean by “romancing”? Wanting to determine exactly what she meant, I mentioned how I’d read one woman’s claim of having a spiritual experience that was “better than sex”. In reply, without missing a beat, she stated something to the effect that it was ‘like pent-up sexual frustration released’. I was dumbfounded.

She went on to claim most were “drunk in the spirit” and “everyone was on the floor.” Then she stated, “I thought, ‘What is it like for a man’?” Well, I certainly didn’t want to know! Then she claimed a man told her, “I was sucked through a vortex, sensed fear of the Lord; waves of love; as if the Lord was a lion roaring.” Not sure what to make of this, given it was a women’s retreat.

After retrieving my lower jaw from the floor—good thing this was a phone conversation rather than in person—I somehow mustered a reply of some sort. Once she hung up, I remained flabbergasted for a bit.

Just prior to this, I had been sending her occasional emails with Scripture about false teachers, etc. in order to provide some sort of gentle caution. After this last conversation, I sent more. Though I’m not 100% sure, I don’t think she replied to any of them.

Shortly thereafter I received from her an email with nothing in the subject line. She began by acknowledging that I’d sent her some emails warning about possible danger. She specifically stated that she thought my intentions were good. Then she abruptly closed it by instructing me to never contact her again.

I was dumbstruck. It was very troubling in myriad ways. After regaining a bit of composure, then calling a friend, I deleted her email contact info and removed her phone number from my phone.

For a solid month after this I daily prayed fervently for her. Then I received a clear feeling that I was finished, I was no longer to continue my prayers.

I never heard from her again. I hope she is doing well. More importantly, I hope she has extracted herself from this dangerous movement.

New Revelations from Whom?

I subsequently learned these ‘new revelations’ from modern day ‘prophets’ (or ‘Prophets’) were to be regarded as even greater than Scripture to the individual it’s intended for. This is called the rhēma word. Years later I discovered an occult parallel. Might this ‘rhēma’ doctrine have similar roots? I think it does.1

In a book by Alice A. Bailey titled, Telepathy and the Etheric Body, I found teachings about new revelations given by supposed benevolent higher beings.2 In the very beginning of the book is a preface, titled, “EXTRACT FROM A STATEMENT BY THE TIBETAN”.3 “The Tibetan” is another name for Djwhal Khul, aka “Master D. K.” Bailey freely admitted she was the voluntary medium through which Djwhal Khul dictated the works that were later published for Lucis Publishing Company. In this preface, Bailey records The Tibetan stating:

I am a brother of yours…who has wrestled and fought his way into a greater measure of light than has the aspirant who will read this article, and I must therefore act as a transmitter of the light, no matter what the cost…My work is to teach and spread the knowledge of the Ageless Wisdom…4

Reading through the book one finds at the top of this spiritual hierarchy dispensing this “Ageless Wisdom” a certain “planetary Logos”, among others. The “etheric body” in the book’s title is the supposed interconnecting invisible conduit carrying all “divine” thought running through the universe, which is passed to the seeking aspirant (via “telepathy”):

The thought-directing energy has for its source a Thinker Who can enter into the divine Mind, owing to His having transcended human limitation; the thought-directed receiver is the man…who has aligned his brain, his mind and his soul.5

The explanation of the basis on which the mechanism for transmission is the supposed

fact that omnipresence, which is a law in nature…that the etheric bodies of all forms constitute the [one] world etheric body, makes omniscience possible. The etheric body of the planetary Logos is swept into activity by His directed will; energy is the result of His thoughtform playing in and through His energy body.6

Putting aside the rather fanciful explanation for the means and method of receiving from the “planetary Logos”, notice the use of terms associated with Christianity: Wisdom, omniscience, omnipresence, Logos. There are others in the book, as well. But they are all redefined, including “Lord of the World”, which is turned on its head. In other words, it’s all a perversion of Christianity.

Always About the Anointing

I noted above that, having read afresh the false ‘word’ I’d been given, I saw something more in this statement: “The anointing will break the yoke of bondage.” I’ve written about ‘the anointing’ before (see The Christ Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit), and I’ll encapsulate it here. Essentially, it’s redefined:

Christ = the anointing

antichrist = against the anointing

In the New Testament, however, “Christ” is always associated with the person of Jesus. The term is not to be reduced to simply “the anointing”. Jesus is the Anointed (One), the Christ, the Messiah. But in hyper-charismatic circles it has to do with some sort of spiritual empowering. Thus, anyone against the false teachings of these movements—anyone against ‘the anointing’—is considered antichrist.

When I realized this, I understood why my now-former-friend wanted to cut all ties. I was considered spiritually dangerous to her. According to this ideology, I was antichrist.

And since I rejected ‘the anointing’, I wasn’t able to “break the yoke of bondage” in the ‘word’ I had been given. Could it be that she (or her spiritual “Elijah”) realized that I’d rejected ‘the anointing’ in the ‘word’ I was given by questioning the movement, via my emails? That is, was this a further reason to cut ties with me?

In any case, seeing how both “Christ” and “antichrist” are redefined, might there by other terms and concepts redefined or refashioned in the so-called New Apostolic Reformation? Like the occult work I referenced just above?

_____________________________________________________

1 Though it is beyond the scope of this article to argue at any length here for this, see, e.g., D. R. McConnell, A Different Gospel (“A bold and revealing look at the biblical and historical basis of the Word of Faith movement.”). Copying from a footnote in the previous article on this subject: For those unaware, many Word/Faith teachers assert (among other things) the false dichotomy that rhēma denotes the ‘higher’ word from God for believers only, while logos indicates the written Scriptures as a whole for everyone, including non-believers. Not only is this reductionistic, it fails to account for the fact that the verbal form (legō) of logos is used quite often preceding speech (so-and-so said [legō], “…”). A good example to refute this dichotomy presents itself in Matthew 12:36: But I say (legō) to you that every idle word (rhēma) that men speak (legō) they will give account/reckoning (logos) for in the day of judgment. Moreover, rhēma is found in only 65 verses in the New Testament as compared to over 300 for logos, while the verbal form legō occurs over 2000 times.

2 Alice A. Bailey, Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle (NY: Lucis Publishing Company / Printed in the US, Philadelphia, PA: George S. Ferguson Company, 1950).

3 Ibid. p v.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid. pp 6-7.

6 Ibid. p 7.

49 Responses to Why I Began Blogging / It’s Been Ten Years!

  1. Hi, Craig! Your blog and my birthday fall on the same day, yea God! Wow, what a powerful experience! Praise God for keeping you grounded in Truth. I have zero time for the NAR, as you know it is hurting people beyond measure. I struggle when my church sings songs from Bethel, Jesus Culture, Cory Asbury etc. Thank you for the helpful resources, I will look into these!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Also, have you watched either of the American Gospel documentaries? The first one is on Prosperity/Word of Faith and can be seen on Netflix the second one is on the emergent church and can be seen on Amazon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Craig says:

    It is distressing when churches use most music from these sources. I can definitely recommend D. R. McConnell’s book (I have the first edition). I’ve sourced it in a number of previous article.

    As for the Bailey material. I always provide a bit of caution up front, given the source. But I must say, when I began reading some of these works years ago, I was struck at how well they deftly twist the meanings of Scripture. That Father of lies is crafty!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Craig says:

    No, I haven’t watched it yet. But I recently had someone contact me about an old Bill Johnson post, looking for some material to suggest for yet another one.

    I have to say that I grew so weary of all the negativity surrounding what I call hyper-charismaticism that I stopped writing about it, mostly. I began really researching and writing about more technical matters relative to Scripture and/or the Greek. I learn as I write, it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Craig says:

    Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can understand wanting to research and write on more technical matters!!! Learning the original languages makes the Word come to life like nothing else!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Craig says:

    Absolutely!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bruce Cooper says:

    Thank you very much for this post Craig. I’ve done a fair amount of research and a good number of posts on the many dangers and outright false teachings of the NAR movement but what you have brought to the surface in this particular post is a deeper level of source and I can’t help but think of the deeply sinister origin. Sometimes it strikes me as a form of mocking that has a need to be recognized in the midst of the flock and it is deeply disturbing. Everything I see within the NAR movement does indeed speak of this seemingly abstract greater anointing or empowerment and it is perverse in its distraction or taking away from God’s Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. I think there have been two or three times in my life when I have caught a glimpse of the depth of the underlying depravity and it kind of takes your breath away. However”, . . .Because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” comes to mind. Sincerely appreciate that you shared this. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Craig says:

    Bruce,

    Thanks for your comments. I do believe this goes way back. Some of it even mimics 2nd century Gnosticism.

    Have you seen this series? Bill Johnson’s Christology: A New Age Christ?, part I. Though parts of it are a bit speculative, I think the overall thrust stands. It’s VERY long in its many parts. The first one is not as deep into what I perceive as the root. I’ve studied the Bailey material for nearly a decade.

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  10. Bruce Cooper says:

    You are correct in that it does indeed go away back, I’ve written a couple of posts on the Gnosticism connection but I will check out the link you referred. I did a fair bit or research on Graham Cooke and his automatic writing source plus New Age associations ought to scare any Christian but far too many are eager to eat at the table spread before them. I also backed off for the couple of years (except for a few posts on the Passion Bible) and felt led to focus on Jesus, but it continues to spread like a cancer. Thanks for the link, I will be checking it out. Blessing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Craig says:

    BTW, years ago I and Holly Pivec had a back and forth conversation with Brian Simmons. Holly had written a one-star Amazon review on one of the ‘Passion “translation”‘ books and he responded there. It was clear that he had absolutely no real training in the Biblical languages or NT textual criticism, and I called him out on it. Shortly thereafter, he deleted all his comments! What a charlatan.

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  12. Bruce Cooper says:

    Hi Craig, I’m aware, there have been more than a couple of others who have also identified the same qualification flaw. But apparently it doesn’t matter to most because very few take the time to actually do any research on him or the Passion Bible itself, which in and of itself is amazing to me. That is straight forward deceit but Bill Johnson (and many others) think it’s the greatest translation since sliced bread. These aren’t stupid people, so somewhere along the line they made a mental decision to foster the deception. Hard to fathom. Thank you for all the hard work you have done, many of your posts are featured as trusted links under my NAR heading in my Christian Resources page. God’s rich blessings to you and yours.

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  13. Jim says:

    Again, happy tenth blog birthday Craig. My Christian walk began in Catholicism, then since proper conversion have generally been in non-denom charismatic or Pentecostal settings. I have watched with amazement at the take over of so many churches by what can only be described as ‘spiritianity’ versus Biblical Christianity. Very much in line with your experience in 2010.

    If I can introduce a suggested link as to why this aberrant form of Christianity is flourishing so extensively. The reason is well summarised by this article from the same site I have linked to before, and I’m using his term in the previous sentence. http://www.hebrew-streams.org/works/spirit/spiritanity.html I’ll post his conclusion for ease of reference, but it’s worth a read. The point he makes, and I tend to agree, is that all that you experienced ten years ago that set you on this path, all I have seen in charismatic churches, can be attributed in large part to the doctrine of the trinity, particularly the personhood of the Holy Spirit. This post, your testimony, and our previous conversation on the Paraclete actually can be linked very closely. The early 20th C revivals, especially focusing on the miraculous and calling on the Spirit to fill, flood, burn etc congregants can arguably be laid at the feet of this doctrine that we’ve all come to accept as orthodox truth. He concludes by saying:

    “1. Spiritanity draws its authority from the Doctrine of the Trinity—not the Hebrew Bible or even the New Testament (as Christian theologians admit).

    It promotes new revelations of divine truth, independent of written Scripture—often in clear contradiction of Scripture.
    It has long been an element in elitist Roman Catholic circles, that devotion to the Third Person is used as a way to reassert the “teaching authority” of the Church of Rome and as an ecumenical force to bring Protestants back home—via the lordship of the Spirit. (My note: for RC also read NAR and most charismatic churches).
    This Spirit is transferred through specially anointed leaders and seers who have priest-like authority in bestowing the Holy Ghost on others during ceremonies resembling shamanistic channeling of divine powers.
    Its reception is not dependent on the recipient’s understanding of Scripture, trust in the Messiah, personal repentance of sins, even of the character of its mediating dispensers.
    Its mediators avoid telling people about the dangers of seeking supernatural encounters, while they themselves profit materially from contributors to the Holy Ghost Industry. This is not new. Acts 8:18-24 tells us about Simon a magician who used religion as a fountain of power and self-promotion, and wanted to get in on the burgeoning “Jesus Movement.” Benny Hinn is a modern example of the same desire for supernatural power and passion to control other people.
    In stark contrast, when Jesus discontinued his miracles and taught self-crucifixion, the crowds left.

    This imitation Holy Spirit exalts itself, not Jesus, by creating a religion in which the Holy Ghost is Lord of all—even though Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me ” (Matthew 28:18). In Scripture, no such authority was given to the Spirit.

    Consequently, Spiritanity is anti-Biblical because it completely diverts the focus of biblical faith on Jesus the Messiah sent by God (John 3:16) and on God, the Father, who sent him (John 17:3).”

    I feel kind of awkward pulling this post back to the Trinity, but when I read the article and saw the overlap with your experience of a group that sought just the miraculous and almost eroticised spiritual encounters, I thought I should share these thoughts. Gnosticism, neo-Platonism and plain old back-to-Eden deception (you can be as God) have combined to bring this religion of the senses and feelings, disguised as a religion of the spirit, to the fore in the last 100 or so years. It’s no wonder that, in my experience and, seemingly yours, that the leaders are men but the adherents are mostly women.

    Anyway, you’ve tackled the issue much more academically and thoroughly than I have, so kudos for all your hard work and research.

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  14. Jim says:

    There were 6 dot points after the number 1 which seem to have dropped out in the quote. Not sure what happened there.

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  15. Craig says:

    Jim (re 2:26 am),

    You can add 6 ‘bullet’ points here if you want. What you may have to do is copy the text in MS Word first, then post here. Sometimes formatting gets ‘lost in the translation’ in blog commenting, whatever the reason.

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  16. Craig says:

    Bruce,

    It’s sad but folks seem willingly desiring to be deceived. It’s that spiritual ‘fix’ they need. Our (Holly and I) conversation with Simmons (he jumped in after I responded to another pro-pro-‘Passion’ commenter) illustrated beautifully that he had no idea what he was talking about. I don’t recall what he asserted–in response to something I said–but it laid bare his ignorance, which I quite happily further exposed. He was so far out of his depth that I have to admit that I was so surprised he’d be so brazen to blatantly lie further (in order to cover his ineptitude), which further exposed his woefully lacking knowledge of even basic NT textual criticism (which he had claimed some sort of proficiency).

    In any case, it’s clear the ‘Passion’ “translation” is not an actual translation, but a work written especially for the NAR. Doctrines that are eisegetically pulled from good Bible translations are reworded in order to more closely fit their ideology. And folks eat it up!

    Thanks for the kind words and the use of some of my older articles under your NAR links. Blessings to you and yours, as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Craig says:

    Jim,

    Without going much further into what the article you link purports, the mere fact that Simon the sorceror was in some manner distorting the Holy Spirit illustrates that the position of the article has it backwards. This occurred before the third ‘Person’ (hypostasis) of the Trinity was even codified in the Councils. Without looking at the link, Montanism (with two main ‘propetesses’, i.e., women), which flourished in the late 2nd century (even Tertullian fell for it, for a time) can be viewed as a precursor to the modern ‘prophetic’ movement. Essentially, most of this boils down to improper Christology, such as what is an implied apologetic against in 1 John, namely Docetism (Jesus cannot be God, because all matter is evil, so since He’s God, then we must assume His material body is really an illusion of sorts).

    In any case, I’m glad you escaped RCCism. But you needn’t discard the Trinity as a consequence.

    Like

  18. Craig says:

    Jim, I want to respond to this from the article you cite:

    This imitation Holy Spirit exalts itself, not Jesus, by creating a religion in which the Holy Ghost is Lord of all—even though Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me ” (Matthew 28:18). In Scripture, no such authority was given to the Spirit.

    Actually, look at John 16:14-15: 14 “That One [paraclete] will bring glory to Me, because He will receive from Me and disclose it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is Mine; therefore, I said this because He receives from Me and will disclose it to you.”

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  19. Jim says:

    I think his point was that Simon the Sorcerer wanted to cash in on spiritual manifestations, much as the TBN and NAR-related pastors do and have done for decades. That is easier to accomplish if your focus is on the Holy Spirit and the ethereal rather than Jesus and scripture. Benny Hinn really accelerated this through his book ‘Good Morning, Holy Spirit’. BJ et al are simply exploiting that very popular church dynamic.

    Like

  20. Craig says:

    These folks will pay a DEAR PRICE for their deeds (Matthew 7:21-23).

    Like

  21. Jim says:

    Yep, John 16:13-15 looks like a clincher for spirit personhood. That said, if we took out the capital S which only became a translation norm in the early printed bibles, and took your Misgendering the Spirit post that personal pronouns should not be the deciding influence in trinitarian doctrine, then it appears less conclusive.

    The spirit of truth does not, then, have to have personality other than being another way of Jesus framing his invisible breath (cf John 20:22). The way the author of the article has stated his opinion is, to my reading, simply that a false or imitation spirit of truth has been given the same authority Jesus was by the proponents of NAR and Word Faith movement teachers.

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  22. Craig says:

    Jim,

    With all due respect, you are extrapolating beyond what I said or intended. The “Misgendering the Spirit” post illustrates that we cannot derive personhood from the masculine pronouns (erroneously attributed to pneuma by some)–not that this impacts Trinitarian doctrine. The fact that the Holy Spirit, aka paraclete, aka the Spirit of truth is described in personal terms here and elsewhere in Scripture is what determines the ‘Personhood’ of the Holy Spirit. And this ‘another paraclete‘ cannot be coextensive with Jesus Christ, since it is Jesus Christ and the Father Who send Him to indwell believers at Pentecost.

    The bottom line is that I don’t think this line is going to get us anywhere. We are not going to agree on this. I didn’t post either of these articles for the purpose of arguing for or against the Trinity. I have a larger purpose, which will be evident in my next post.

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  23. Jim says:

    No worries. Just imagine what it must have been like in the run-up to the Council of Nicea. I’d be looking at a small waterless island in the Mediterranean to cool my heels for 30 years 🙂

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  24. Tim 64 says:

    Hi Craig,

    It’s been 10years now huh? Wow, time flies. Well, thank you for a great blog post. I pray that ears will hear and eyes open for those who might be looking at getting involved in this movement.

    God Bless

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Craig says:

    Hey Tim! I hope all is well. I tried to reach you via phone (text), but I didn’t receive a response. Good to hear from you. Are you in the clear from those Left coast fires?

    Like

  26. Craig says:

    Here’s an article that points to some of the conclusions (questions) in this post:

    When Bethel Invades Your Church!

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  27. gemmaclover says:

    Our former church was being Bethelized and my wife and I went down the research rabbit hole after our daughter’s youth group received a “prophetic word” which, as was related to us, sounded more like fortune-telling. I found the speaker’s facebook page and saw the words Global School of Supernatural Ministry and thought — what the heck is that? (A promotional video for Randy Clarks Global Awakening School GSSM -https://youtu.be/uBDY01Bojjg ). From there my wife and I frantically researched what the heck was going on in the youth group only to realize it was the entire church being overrun from the bottom up (music “ministry”, women’s ministry, then jr. pastors until finally the sr. founding pastors were repenting to the congregation for having a dead church. Guest Speakers and workshops. Prayer circles and Prayer walks. The last service we went to (several years back now) a guest speaker gave a message from Luke 5 and, similar to your Luke 4 encounter, emphasized the following end of the following passage:

       ......And the power of the Lord God surged through him to instantly heal.  Luke 5:17 TPT  (I'm using the Toilet Paper Translation just for fun.)
    

    The message that day, [I’m paraphrasing) was that Jesus was just a man in the right relationship to God and that that day he the Holy Spirit came down to Him and gave him the power to heal that and, accordingly, we can have that power through the Holy Spirit as well if we just have enough faith. We can be as powerful as Jesus was.

    There were 3 services that day. We usually attend the 2nd service but for some reason went later that one week. I went back to rewatch the sermon/message online to confirm the heresy I believed we heard and was amazed to watch the 3 services in succession with what I believe in hindsight to be an evil spirit coming over him pushing him to be more and more heretical with each passing service. The 3rd service he actually said what you could see he had to strain to resist saying the first two services.

    Obviously, there’s a lot more to the story, including a Senior Pastor pretending his son was at Bethel University in Minnesota instead of BSSM, church money we were pretty sure was being used to sponsor or “seed” other young persons “tuition” at BSSM to the uncovering of a secret trip by a Senior Pastor to Redding. The part that really tore my wife and I apart was the blank responses we received back from many of our very conservative and, we thought, discerning friends. They were buying into it and surely God wouldn’t lead them astray. After all, they were conversing with God now. What could possibly be wrong with a 24-hour prayer room and doing prayer tunnels & neighborhood kingdom reclamation walks with Jesus? All we could do was pray for them. Over time several friends came to us as the Lord opened their eyes to what was going on as well but, overall, it turned out to be a lonely journey walking away. It wasn’t God’s fault – we should have been more discerning than attending a seeker church in the first place. It took MONTHS to find a new church that included expository teaching and wasn’t singing, playing or performing Hillsong and Bethel Music. We had been leaders and it crushed us to lose that (pride) but it’s such a blessing that we were given the privilege of right discernment and the opportunity to walk the much narrower path albeit without many of our former brothers and sisters.

    Thank you Craig for your Blog. My wife and I found it several times as we researched different aspects of the hyper-charismatic movement being trained, promoted and sponsored in large part by Bill Johnson at Bethel. x

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  28. Craig says:

    Thanks so much for your comment. I’m glad the blog here provided help in your research.

    You wrote:

    …The part that really tore my wife and I apart was the blank responses we received back from many of our very conservative and, we thought, discerning friends. They were buying into it and surely God wouldn’t lead them astray. After all, they were conversing with God now. What could possibly be wrong with a 24-hour prayer room and doing prayer tunnels & neighborhood kingdom reclamation walks with Jesus? All we could do was pray for them. Over time several friends came to us as the Lord opened their eyes to what was going on as well but, overall, it turned out to be a lonely journey walking away…

    I can only imagine the heartbreak. In a small measure, I felt the same way about my now-former friend. But, I’m delighted to learn that there were a few whose eyes were opened as a result of your example (and, I presume, efforts).

    Liked by 1 person

  29. SLIMJIM says:

    Congratulations on 10 years! Your blog has covered quite a bit of vast subjects from its beginning!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Craig says:

    Thanks SLIMJIM! Yes, quite a variety.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. SLIMJIM says:

    And it got more technical over time!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Craig says:

    Not sure if that’s good or bad. I don’t want to lose readers. But it helps me learn, since I learn as I write.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. SLIMJIM says:

    I hope it will gain you readers lol

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Craig says:

    Jim,

    Are you still reading here? I’ve been working on the follow-up to the previous two articles, which moves to 2 Thessalonians 2 and one of the reasons I don’t find the Holy Spirit as a tenable reference for the “restrainer”. While working on it I found something I’d not expected, which actually helps my case against the Holy Spirit there. It’s taking even longer because I want to be sure to explain to readers not familiar with grammar. I’m using more examples at the expense of brevity.

    In the mean time I wanted to go back to your position that the Holy Spirit–the third ‘Person’ in the Christian Trinity–is the source of the sort of heresies by Bill Johnson and the like. I’ll get more specific as to why I think it’s much more fundamental. It has to do with the occult anthropology of two natures in humankind: one human and one latent divine. THIS is the reason basis. From this basis, Christianity is perverted–that is, for Johnson, et al, it uses this occult anthropology and superimposes it over Christianity. This is what ‘BJ New Age Christ’ series is about. If you haven’t already read, check out part IV:

    Bill Johnson’s Christology: A New Age Christ?, part IV (Conclusion)

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  35. Jim says:

    Thanks for the reminder of that article and link. I had a quick refresh of what you’d written. It reminded me a good deal of the sermon only last Sunday from the church I’m at, inasmuch as the reasoning for the main point was an extension of, and relied upon, the body, soul, spirit anthropology of man.

    According to this model (which was supported in that sermon by the alleged evidence of the trinity being three, even though there’s no correlation between the two to my mind), there is a ‘dead’ or inert spirit entity in man that must be awakened. This apparently is done though salvation, and then the rest of our lives are spent trying to get this spirit to control the soul, which, so the theory goes, tells the body what to do, think and say.

    I’d need much more time to debunk that model, but it’s a close reflection of the new age ‘articles of faith’ you describe very thoroughly in the Bill Johnson IV Conclusion post. This understanding of man seems endemic in the charismatic church world, and the stark reminder this last Sunday is likely to prompt me to head for the exit……again!

    Just to correct my point above, or provide you additional clarity, I didn’t posit (or mean to at any rate) that an entity called Holy Spirit was responsible for such aberrant teaching that is coming from BJ et al, but rather a trinitarian theology of God. This is because, only in the last 110 years, really since Asuza street, although longer if you include the Quakers, has there been a ‘revival’ of the Holy Spirit as the primary focus of the church gathering, rather than Jesus. Because of the personhood nature of the Holy Spirit, the Hagins, Copelands, Hinns etc of the charismatic church have changed CHRISTianity into SPIRITianity, in my opinion. A trinitarian theological landscape lends itself to that outworking and it has been fully exploited, with strong new age leanings thrown in for good measure to keep the sensationalism on an upward trajectory. Hence its popularity.

    Now, I don’t say this to try and ‘persuade’ you from your theology of God, which you’ve stated is a point of disagreement that isn’t likely to change any time soon. I really wanted to bring to light that an excessive focus on the Holy Spirit such as we’ve seen from Bethel church, one which is never witnessed in the NT, is made all the easier from a trinitarian view, but can’t be supported if the spirit of God/truth/Jesus has no personhood because it is the evidential presence of Jesus and the Father invisibly at work. I don’t want to swing everything back to a trinity-bashing exercise, but I sincerely thought there was an interesting connection between trinitarianism, spirit personhood and the excesses and heresies from BJ and others that you rightly expose.

    Anyway, all that aside, I am looking forward to your piece on 2 Thess 2 and the restrainer.

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  36. Jim says:

    And it’s this ‘latent divinity’ model which is Edenic in its deceptive origin that you rightly state is new age in the article. What I see is that this is at the root of all mystery religions, errors, and heresies and that a pagan and, more recently, neo-platonic duality is the foundation for elevating man to god-like status but without Jesus Christ, or at least without the real Christ. The non-material or spiritual is the sole domain of purity, and attainment is through gnostic enlightenment. That’s today’s church mantra in many circles and is total deception that will lead millions into a delusion they are unable to discern in the coming days.

    Like

  37. Craig says:

    Jim,

    You wrote:

    According to this [anthropologic body/sould/spirit] model (which was supported in that sermon by the alleged evidence of the trinity being three, even though there’s no correlation between the two to my mind), there is a ‘dead’ or inert spirit entity in man that must be awakened. This apparently is done though salvation, and then the rest of our lives are spent trying to get this spirit to control the soul, which, so the theory goes, tells the body what to do, think and say.

    First of all, I agree that the tri-fold view of anthropology is a bad analogy for the Trinity. I’ve never liked it—whether one accepts that anthropological view or not.

    Second, I’d never heard this angle you write here: that the human spirit of the tri-model needs to be awakened. That’s a twist on the bi-fold matter/‘divine spark’ or ‘seed’ doctrine.

    Going back to the two-part anthropology of Gnosticism: If we understand that this is the true basis for Johnson’s view, then everything falls into place. This is why his kenotic teachings lean ontological, but sometimes sound functional: It’s the divine spark/seed that’s Divine in a sense. And since the schema includes the matter/spirit dualism in Gnosticism, this spark/seed needs both activation and growth, both of which are accomplished by Johnson’s “the anointing”/”Christ anointing”/”Baptism in the Holy Spirit”. And when Johnson talks about “repentance”, he means ‘meditation’, i.e. akin to Bailey’s model of accessing the ‘divine mind’ via the ‘etheric realm’—if you read the following through this lens, it makes sense:

    If the Kingdom is here and now, then we must acknowledge it’s in the invisible realm. Yet being at hand reminds us that it’s also within reach…That which is unseen can be realized only through repentance. It was as though He said, “If you don’t change the way you perceive things, you’ll live your whole life thinking that what you see in the natural is the superior reality. Without changing the way you think you’ll never see the world that is right in front of you. It’s my world, and it fulfills every dream you’ve ever had. And I brought it with me.” All that He did in life and ministry, He did by drawing from that superior reality.

    I will say that the research/writing (for me the two are one) for the forthcoming article has been very fruitful.

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  38. Jim says:

    I’m surprised you’ve not come across this ‘dormant ‘ spirit model or idea. It’s fairly common in charismatic churches, and there seemed to be a clear overlap with this divine spark or seed concept. Gnosticism tends towards a looser collection of specifics, albeit with broad underpinnings such as duality of realms, rather than a set of firm doctrines. Consequently, I could see how the new age writings you’ve studied would have traction in the charismatic belief structures that I outlined, and am wary of.

    Certainly, the baptism in the Holy Spirit as a means of reaching this ‘higher path’ of relating to God and exhibiting his power, is a non-starter to me. There’s no business and coach class in salvation. Glad the writing and researching is fulfilling. It’s a great way to learn, and then this platform allows you to share as well, which is that extra dimension most of us haven’t stepped into. Keep at it Craig!

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  39. Craig says:

    What I’m trying to say is that I think Gnosticism is the real root. It’s just ‘Christianized’.

    Maybe it’s because that I haven’t been keeping up with current trends in hyper-charismaticism and/or that I don’t have direct experience, only indirect and what I read out of books or see in online presentation.

    As regards the writing, I also have the added advantage of receiving feedback that I can apply later. But I still haven’t figured out a good way to take some of the more technical aspects and reduce them down to layperson levels.

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  40. Jim says:

    Would you say that Gnosticism was, more precisely, a branch or derivative of the false and deceptive religion that was sown in the garden of Eden? To me it appears that all forms of errant religious expression come from a desire to elevate self to the divine (or denigrate the divine to man’s level), and to do so proponents must tamper with the ontology and anthropology of both.

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  41. Craig says:

    I suppose in the most general sense, yes.

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  42. SLIMJIM says:

    Hope you are doing well brother

    Like

  43. Craig says:

    Doing OK. Are the fires getting under control?

    Liked by 1 person

  44. SLIMJIM says:

    Glad to hear you are ok; yes, fires are under control here! It is 50 % contained and over a thousand fire fighter is now involved and they really put up a big bold front fighting the fire once it got one mile from the city (I’m another 1.5 mile or so away from the edge of the city). God is good

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  45. Craig says:

    Glad to hear that! Of course, it’ll be better when it’s completely extinguished.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Wow Craig. What an amazing thing to read. Praise the Lord!

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Craig says:

    Thanks for your comment. I appreciate it.

    Like

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