The Downward Trajectory…Charismatic Post Mortem

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.(Matthew 7:21-23)

I was struck one day, while reading this sober passage from the Sermon on the Mount, that these words of Jesus could only apply to those ‘believers’ who are open to the supernatural manifestations. These are not Jehovah’s (false) Witnesses or Mormon heretics.

The people  who are so stunned to hear the words “Depart from me…”are congregations of those who thought they had the power of God, and the Word of special Prophecy and who were cutting edged Christians performing many signs and wonders!

What struck me about this scripture was that it hit so close to home, these were people that I worshipped with, and were using terms I was familiar with, they came out of my spiritual world. In short these are Charismatics of a sort.

I am not saying this applies to all Charismatic, for the Charismatic movement was never monolithic, and it developed into several different strains. Some have continued on down the road, following the latest “wave”, whether it be the new prophets, Todd Bentley, or some sort of pilgrimage movement, trekking to Toronto or wherever they think the ‘spirit’ is moving.

Others have left Charismatic churches and gone to “safer” churches, without all the antics of their former Charismatic churches. Many have been drawn into the spectrum of Calvinism, due to the fact that Calvinistic and reformed Evangelicals appear to treat scripture with greater reverence than the typical Charismatic pastors.

There are good many former Charismatics who have made their way into more sober Evangelical and Baptist churches also, something I find preferable to them leaving the faith altogether.

But within the Charismatic world as it developed over the last three decades, I had noticed a pattern, spelled out by Jesus.

LORD,LORD, Didn’t we prophesy in your name?

...And Cast out demons?

…And didn’t we do many wonderful works?

I didn’t realize it, but after the fact I noticed my first three books reflected this pattern. My first book, Making War in the Heavenlies(1994) examined the spiritual warfare movement, My second book, WEIGHED AND FOUND WANTING;PUTTING THE TORONTO BLESSING IN CONTEXT, (1995)critiqued the “signs and wonders” revival. Shortly afterwards(1999) I wrote a caution of the “Prophetic” movement called BEWARE THE NEW PROPHETS, which I have recently revised.

Starting in the mid 1980s there was an emphasis on Spiritual Warfare. But this wasn’t Spiritual warfare as envisioned by the Apostles. This new Spiritual Warfare was based on the erroneous Manifested Sons of God doctrine, and involved a theology of “Territorial Spirits”, “Binding and Loosing Satan”, “Releasing entire geographical locations from the grip of Satan”, Discerning the names of the demonic entities over cities and regions, symbolic actions such as “Prayer Marches” (The founders of March for JESUS taught that the march was a spiritual action designed to alter the spiritual atmosphere).

This new “mystical warfare”  degenerated into such practices as carving scripture or sacred words into stakes and driving them into the ground to mark territory for Jesus, Co-ordinated efforts to stand on (literal) high places, such as the top story of the tallest building, so that authority could be taken over principalities.

Another aspect of the new warfare was popularized, called Identificational Repentance, the false teaching that by repenting of the sins of our ancestors, we could “change the past”, alter the spiritual atmosphere and “break through the heavens”.

Th militaristic theme permeated the Charismatic church for a while, Larry Lea led rallies in combat fatigues as on of “God’s Generals”, Cindy Jacobs started her group “Generals of Intercession”, and the (since disgraced ) teacher Roberts Liardon wrote a book of biographies of ‘Christian’ heroes of the past called “God’s Generals”. The book has introduced to a whole new generation the false prophet William Branham, of which we have more to say ahead.

The problem with all of this fervent activity, which seemed pretty spiritual and exciting at the time, was that none of it was Biblical.Neither Peter or Paul ever researched the history of the cities they ministered in to find the name of the “Strong Man” that they might “bindHim” or “Plead the blood” around the city. They never tried to “repent for their ancestors” to heal the wounds of the past, seeking a breakthrough.

Their Spiritual warfare was debating, reasoning, taking the time to try and remove the intellectual and emotional barriers people had , in the way of accepting Jesus. The prime example would be Paul’s behavior in Athens,

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.(Acts 17:16-17)

What did Paul do when his Spirit was grieved by the idolatry in Athens? Did he rebuke Zeus? Did He bind Appollos?  Did he ‘plead the blood”?

No he went down to the synagogue first, and talked to the Jews, then the God Fearers(Gentiles attached to the synagogue but uncircumcised), then He went out and engaged greeks in the Marketplace. That is Spiritual warfare, because the way the Devil blinds minds is by vain reasoning, philosophy and “knowledge that exalts itself against the knowledge of God”!.

The Spiritual Warfare movement,  was well meaning but almost entirely mystical, superstitious and even pagan. Christians possessing high places? Driving sacred stakes?

The Spiritual warfare movement was an exercise in mysticism which set up charismatics for the next heretical phase, the plethora of self proclaimed prophets and Apostles such as Rick Joyner, Bob Jones, John Paul Jackson, Che Ahn, C Peter Wagner, John Wimber and Mike Bickle, and a host of others, all of whom wreaked much damage to the faith and even to churches of those unfortunate and undiscerning enough to get caught up in that phase of the downward spiral.

We will elaborate on this in our next article….

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12 Responses to The Downward Trajectory…Charismatic Post Mortem

  1. midrashcreed says:

    More excellent stuff here. You really should make a book out of this!

  2. I must admit that I am amazed at the number of people that I have met over the years who have fallen for parts of the deception.. When the Toronto movement came along I just thought oh, falling backwards.. mm , when men come into God’s Prescence they always fell on their faces.
    I went to visit a good Christian friend whom I had known for twenty years or more,a man relied upon for good doctrine, I said what about this Toronto movement then, He said ” great isn’t it?
    I thought he was joking and said ” yeh, right”, but he wasn’t.. he thought it was a wonderful revival and I couldn’t shake him out of it.
    That’s when I realised how much danger we are in, if seeming strong men of God fall we are in for a great shaking in the church and so it proved to be, God help us.
    Keep up the good work Bill,
    yours Chris.

    • julie says:

      Chris, I always wondered about that falling business too! In the NT scriptures the people who fell down before Jesus worshipped Him and/or pled with Him for healing. They certainly weren’t laughing. In contrast, the people like the young man in Luke 17:15 who fell and were incapacitated were demon possessed!

  3. Wayne says:

    These warnings need to be constantly promulgated. Thank you Bill.

  4. Roger says:

    This whole series is so very relevant – thank you Bill 🙂

    I, and two other brothers in Christ Jesus our risen Lord, have recently been banned from a forum where for some while we have been sharing with others whom we thought were members of His Body – ones who had previously spoken against the likes of ‘Toronto’, ‘Pensecola’ etc. However, over the last year, there has been a change – spiritual elitism, with a hint of MSOG, together with a form of replacement theology, has been gradually introduced by some, and accepted by others.

    I can understand why Jesus warned His disciples and followers, more than once, of these seductive deceptions. We all need the continued counsel and guidance from the indwelling Holy Spirit.

    We must heed those warnings now, and continue to abide in Him and the full context of Biblical scripture.

  5. Having lived through and been a part of many of the of the scary, “charismatic” practices you’ve described here, I find it difficult to find a place of fellowship not tainted with some form of unsound, unbiblical doctrine. And that includes a small house group of the past several years. “Charismatic” deception aligns itself very well with the “seeker friendly”, “feel good” mentality that has been sweeping the Church along the same timeline. It is grieving because may be at stake. I have shared the Mt 7 “Depart from me…” scripture in the past but it does not resonate. I have recently pulled away from this very fellowship that I co-founded, being viewed as somewhat unloving because, just like in the world, acceptance and tolerance and a distorted view of what it means to “love” are becoming the primary virtues over truth and sound doctrine. Thanks for these articles, Bill. It is comforting not to feel alone in these matters.

  6. DMarie says:

    “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless do NOT rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” Luke 10:19
    Jesus warned us that we should not focus/glory in this legitimate power we have, but instead on our SALVATION. The former is a temptation to turn our focus ‘inward’ to ourselves and ‘our mighty works’ – while the latter is complete and humble dependance upon our Great Savior.
    I recently watched “War Room” (Beth Moore was featured in this – another false teacher), and was struck by this same militaristic and arrogant demeanor, as the main character cried out to the devil to, “go back to hell where you belong!” Firstly, the devil cannot ‘go back to hell’ because he hasn’t been cast there yet. He has been given authority (by God) to rule over this fallen world for the time-being. Are ‘we’ really going to try to overrule that???
    It brought to mind another scripture: “Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.” Jude 8-10
    (THANK YOU for opening up this VERY IMPORTANT topic – so many great insights have been written, and we know that “iron sharpens iron” – we are able to learn from one another and help one another, as He is the Head of His Body, and The Cornerstone of His True Church (against which the gates of hell will NOT prevail – because HE has promised !!
    The Lord Jesus bless those who LOVE Him 🙂

    • DMarie, Indeed,this is a VERY IMPORTANT topic. And, despite what I believe is satanic resistance to it, we need to address it, as I it is a set up for buying into the “signs and wonders” and the apostasy described in the Revelation. Also, interestingly enough, I thought the same along with the same Michael the archangel portion of Scripture in the War Room movie. Intend to be very discerning of any person or form of media that gets popular.

  7. Ryna says:

    Pastor Bill, could you please shed some light on the ‘pleading of the blood, over everything’ issue. Where does this come from? I hear it everywhere and always think, we don’t have the authority to do anything with the precious blood of Jesus, It was a sacrifice for God and was for the atonement of sin. Thank you for your insight and wonderful blog, I find your articles so relevant and helpful.
    God bless you and your family.

    • billrandles says:

      “Pleading the Blood of Jesus” is a superstitious use for the doctrine of atonement and a denial of the precious truth that Jesus shed his blood to satisfy the wrath of God, therefore the blood was shed and presented to God as an offering, and is not just another “tool” to use in spiritual warfare. We do indeed overcome Satan by the blood of the lamb, and the Word of our Testimony and because we “love not our lives unto death”, but that is another way of saying Satan has lost his hold on we sinners, because Jesus shed his blood to put us on God’s side, and to justify us before God. One never sees any of the apostles “Pleading the blood”. Hope this helps-

  8. G. Farmer says:

    I was a new believer in Christ and went to a service where people were mumbling, shouting, laughing and the preacher waved his Bible and like 20 people fell out of their chairs…..a verse came to mind that the Lord is not the author of confusion, Only time I walked out of a church service. It was crazy and i didn’t see where that glorified God at all.

  9. mywordlikefire says:

    Reblogged this on My Word Like Fire and commented:
    I have really appreciated Pastor Randles 10 part (so far) series on the Charismatic movement. Pastor Randles believes this started as a legitimate revival that was quickly corrupted. I have believed it was false from the very beginning–yet Pastor Randles was there, and I was not. Either way, this series provides an in depth look at the severe abuses, counterfeits, and ramifications of this movement.

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