Lord, Didn’t We Do Wonders?…Charismatic Post Mortem pt 7

Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.  Behold, I have told you before.  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.  For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.(Matthew 24:23-27)

In December 1995, my wife and I travelled to Toronto Canada, to observe services at the Toronto Airport Vineyard fellowship, because we had heard reports of revival breaking out, attracting people from around the world. We stood in the cold, in a line which numbered hundreds of people eager to get into the service and willing to wait for hours in the freezing Canadian wind, till the doors opened.

We interviewed quite a few pastors, from Canada, America, Africa, Europe, and almost to a man they testified that they had quit preaching the Word, now that the “Spirit” had come! The Word “didn’t work” , for their services were “dead and religious”, and sermons would not touch this post modern generation.

I asked them “Do you believe what the Bible says about a ‘last days’ deception?”. Most of them did. But when I asked if they thought it possible that they were being deceived via the “Toronto Blessing”, almost all of them scoffed at the notion.

It turns out that they had long been conditioned to think in terms of spiritual elitism; that they were the “Joseph company” of believers, the “man child”, the final greatest generation of the church,(Remember, God saved his best for last), and that as Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians, they had more “revelation Knowledge” than the vast majority of “old fashioned, religious, conventional Christians. Normal Christians could be deceived but not the new generation!

So they traveled , looking to receive from the “new Anointing”. In the scripture above, notice Jesus warned that they would be saying “Here is Christ”, not “Here is Jesus”. What does ‘Christ ‘ mean? Christ  means “anointed one”. A “New Anointing” is a new Christ, or an anti-Christ.

What was it that they waited out in the freezing cold to enter into? They wanted to “Soak” in the presence of the LORD, to be “Slain in the Spirit” and to drink in the “new Wine” until they were “Drunk in the Spirit” of the LORD. Many of them had initial feelings of resistance to entering into ‘the river’, but they had been encouraged to keep on receiving ‘impartation prayer’, until the inner resistance was overcome.

The “Toronto Blessing”, as this mystical  movement came to be called, did not come out of heaven by a “Rushing mighty Wind” but is rather the logical outworking of the steady influence of decades of false prophecy, heretical doctrine (The Manifested Sons of God/Latter Rain), anti-rational bias (“God is offending the mind to reach the heart”), and the desire for ‘experienced based” Christianity.

Charismatics had been conditioned by these influences and their false Shepherds to expect a revival of pure power and unmediated experiences in the “Presence of the Lord”. They had been taught that doctrine is divisibve, and those concerned about doctrine are “religious” and furthermore they had been taught that “The man with an experience is ever at the mercy of the man with a teaching”.

The linkage of influence is roughly as follows-

The false Prophet William Branham- Oral Roberts Kenneth Hagin and Copeland and the WORD of Faith movement- Mystical Spiritual warfare- The Kansas City Prophets and the other false prophets- Rodney Howard Browne’s mystical “laughing revival”- John Wimber’s “Power Evangelism” and the Vineyard movement which came out of it.

That is from where the Toronto Blessing, and the Pensacola movement which came out of it, descended .

Rodney Howard Brown is a South African evangelist who came from the Word of Faith Movement. He began to have meetings in America in which the preaching of the Word of God had to be halted due to outbursts of uncontrollable laughter, as ‘the spirit’ descended upon the people.He reports that at one service, He was preaching on Hell, but had to stop because the congregation was laughing so uproariously!

Howard Browne was ministering what he called “New Wine”. People were becoming drunk, spiritually. They couldn’t walk, they couldn’t pray or sit or listen, they staggered about and said ridiculous things as the rest of the congregation rejoiced and praised God for this ‘spirit’. Howard Browne called his meetings “Joel’s place” and himself “the Holy Ghost Bartender” and spoke as if the congregation were in a nightclub getting intoxicated, only they insisted that it was the new wine.

Howard Browne affected the Vineyard movement, they wanted that “Anointing” that he seemed to have, and sought it. When “it” hit the church in Toronto Canada in 1994, “It” brought those who had succumbed to “it” or had received the “Impartation of it” through the laying on of hands , into full blown mysticism, reminiscent of the Kundalini fits imparted by Hindu gurus.

At Toronto we saw people do things which would be physically impossible, as they came under the power of this ‘spirit’ which they called Revival. Stacy Campbell, one of the leaders of the movement shook so hard that her long hair would crack like a whip, all the while she breathlessly prophesied! An older lady , perhaps in her 70’s was involuntarily laying supine on her back in the sanctuary, doing crunches for more than forty  five minutes! It seemed like bedlam in that sanctuary.

The defining manifestation was Spiritual drunkenness. Through distortion of scripture like the book of Acts chapter 2,

And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?  Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.  But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;(Acts 2:12-17)

Notice it was the mockers who accused the apostles of drunkenness on the day of Pentecost, and the apostle Peter was quick to deny any drunkenness whatsoever.

Modern mockers have entered into our sanctuaries and have enticed a self absorbed generation, which in many cases had barely escaped the ravages of drug and alcohol abuse,  into thinking that the Spirit of God wants to bring you into some sort of Holy intoxication and abandonment.

The scriptures of course say the opposite, for Peter himself warned us “Be sober and vigilant….” (I Peter 5) and all of the apostles call for the church to be clear thinking and alert. But Rodney Howard Browne, John Arnott, John Scotland, and John Wimber, among others, initiated a false revival of “spiritual drunkenness” and have brought dissolution and reproach upon a good many of God’s dear people.

But there is another way to interpret Spiritual drunkenness. Spiritual drunkenness is from God , alright, but not a blessing, it is a judgment upon an unbelieving and faithless people;

Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.  For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.  And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:  And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.  Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.( Isaiah 29:9-14)

Read this and consider its implications! I weep and tremble because I have seen the outworking of this prophecy on the Charismatic movement. God isn’t speaking to the Seers. The leaders don’t understand the Bible , what little they did understand was wiped out in the “Signs and wonders” revival. The people think they are nearer to God than any other “Dead” Christians,  but they couldn’t get any farther away. The wisdom perished in the bouts of drunkenness and irreverence.

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False Prophecy As Spiritual Test…Charismatic Post Mortem pt 6

If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,  And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.( Deuteronomy 13:1-3)

Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner. Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will entice him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so. (2 Chronicles 18:18-21)

There was a figure, an evangelist and self proclaimed prophet who emerged among Pentecostals in the years leading up to the Charismatic movement, by the name of William   Marion Branham. This simple man who had been a warden at a state park in Indiana, but had also been a country preacher from his youth would fill large auditoriums and church halls  to overflowing due to his unique gifts.

At times, he was able to call strangers out of the crowd, and tell them the secrets of their heart, things which could not naturally be known about them, and would pray for their healing, many of which would testify that they were healed.  Serious conditions such as blindness and deafness were seemingly ‘healed’ when this man performed his gifts.Twice professional photographers took his picture and when they developed it, there was a halo over his head!

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William Branham Halo Photo

The only problem arose when he would teach. In fact Pentecostal ministers would beg him to come and perform his signs and wonders, but only on the condition that he not teach his doctrines. You see, his doctrines would un-nerve people.

Branham taught that The Bible, The Horoscope and the Great Pyramid in Gaza all brought the same message. He taught that He,  Branham, was the Angel of the church of LAodicea, and that the fall involved Eve having intimacy with the serpent, thus there is a group of humanity called “the serpent’s seed” which can never be saved. Furthermore if a woman cut her hair it was sinful… need I go on?

This is a classic example of what Moses warned us of in the scripture above. God himself will allow for false prophets to perform “Signs” which do indeed come to pass. But the signs and wonders are not(or should not be) the basis for judging the ‘Prophet’.

It is the teaching of the prophet that is essential, what he says about God, Christ, salvation and so forth, that is the basis for judgment. I don’t think Moses anticipated that anyone would get up in a pulpit and say “Lets go after other Gods…”. What Moses is saying is that what a prophet teaches comes from his ‘god’ whether he be a true prophet of Jahweh, or a false prophet.

If God’s people love power, and “success”, crowds and activity, more than they love God, they will do what Pentecostals did in the 1950’s with Branham, they will welcome a man whose teaching obviously doesn’t come from the God of the Bible, as long as he produces powerful results.

But if God’s people really love God, they will be loyal to the Word of God, and reject any miracle worker whose teaching departs from the faith, once and for all delivered to the Saints.

Someone asked Branham one time if He did his miracles by the Holy Spirit, his answer, “No, I do them by my Angel”. Branham would wait at the front of the auditorium full of expectant people, until his “Angel” entered the room,then he would begin to operate in his gift.

Thus did the Pentecostals in large part flunk the test of Deuteronomy 13.

Didn’t we Prophesy in thy name?

One of the ways the Charismatic movement developed over the years was in the area of “restored Prophets” and Apostles. This came as a direct development of the Manifested Sons of God teaching, which held that the “man child” company of the church would not come into the “great last days ” revival util the offices of “Apostle and Prophet” were restored.

Gradually “Prophets ” began to emerge such as the “Kansas City Prophets” , who took the world by storm in the mid 1980’s, operating out of a church called the Metro Vineyard Fellowship, Kansas City,  pastored by Mike Bickle.

Bickle’s onstage interviews with “prophet Bob Jones” went somewhat viral,(this was before the internet, but the cassette tapes spread rapidly around the world in Charismatic circles).

Jones and Bickle discussed  how Jones received prophetic revelation at time through his senses,(pinpricks on his hands), Jones’ encounter with Angels, (one of them named “Emma”), His prediction that a billion souls would be saved, Jones’ belief in the “chosen seed” doctrine,( a coming ‘new breed’ from the bloodline of Peter, James and John) , and how that every year the LORD himself would meet with Jones on the day of Atonement! These discussions were uncritical, Bickle obviously was impressed that Jones was a “Prophet” sent to his church.

Before long there were Prophetic conferences featuring Bob Jones’ “Words” and teachings, and Bob Jones was allowed to “impart” his “Anointing” by the laying on of hands.

Soon Jones as joined by another “Prophet”, Paul Cain. Paul Cain had at one time worked for William Branham, but had to leave the ministry due to scandal.

The Metro Vineyard leadership were so impressed by Cain’s gifts, they called him “the terror of the LORD” and boasted that in conferences the power of God was so strong in his presence that cassette players and cameras would surge electrically and burn out!

Cain and Jones were joined by John Paul Jackson, a “prophetic dream interpreter”, and other lesser known prophets. These were sent out all over the world to “minister in churches”, and at conferences where people thronged to receive “Words” from them, and hoped for “Signs and wonders” and miracles to be performed at the conferences.

Bickle ,Cain, Jones and all of the Kansas City Prophets and those who rose to prominence around them, all taught variations of the Manifested Sons of God doctrine, that there was coming a day when the believers would come into their own, and an elite company of believers would realize the power of Christ , demonstrating to all of the world the power in the church.

One of those associated “prophets”, Rick Joyner, of MorningStar ministries, actually prophesied that the apostles and prophets in the Bible will be waiting in heaven to shaw our hands when we arrive their, because “God has saved the best for last”.

This is the flattery which has ruined thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands, rendering them un ready for the testings and trials coming upon us. Only Truth can cure us and set us free.

The Kansas City Prophets, with Rick Joyner, developed doctrines to explain why they so often made predictions in the name of God which failed to come to pass. It was revealed to Bob Jones that the Prophets were allowed for now to be at ten percent accuracy, because they were developing their ‘gifts’. In fact Jones taught it was a good thing that they were inaccurate, because of they were anywhere near 90-100 percent, people would be dying in churches as in the days of Ananias and Sapphira!

In another revelation, the ‘LORD” showed Jones that inaccurate prophecies are like blanks in a gun. True prophecies are like bullets.

It should be obvious by now that these men are charlatans as are the ones who propped them up, and who still prop them up. IHOP in Kansas city has a website in which they credit these charlatans as being the spiritual foundation of the ministry. The insane prophet Todd Bentley has patterned his life after the ministry of Bob Jones and Paul Cain.

There is a pattern to be observed in the ‘ministries’ of these three men. Each of them eventually were exposed as sexual deviants, and Cain as an alcoholic! Bob Jones was taking vulnerable women behind closed doors, disrobing them  and having “Prophetic reading sessions”. Paul Cain was exposed as a homosexual, and zone week after ten leading Charismatic apostles and Prophets endorsed Todd Bentley as the man holding the mantle of the prophetic movement, Bentley abandoned a sickly wife and his children to run off with his secretary.

Rick Joyner “rehabilitated” Bob Jones, putting him back into the prophetic ministry, and allowing the false prophet to minster to a whole new generation of unsuspecting people. Joyner brought Bentley and his new wife back also.

There was no heart searching, nor public apology for foisting these frauds on the body of Christ. Bickle is actively in ministry, highly sought after, his IHOP ministry has enticed youth from around the globe, inundating them in Manifested Sons of God theology, the acceptance of false prophets, and the overlooking of serious moral sins.

Joyner is still in ministry as well. Bob Jones was able to die and be mourned by the “Prophetic community”. There is an entire generation of younger charismatics who are being raised up to carry on the mantle of this false movement, and for whom Branham, Cain, Jones and the others were pioneers of the faith.

The Prophet Jeremiah spoke well when in horror he uttered,

A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;  The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?(Jeremiah 5:30-31)

Posted in charismatic post mortem, Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Attention Spanish Speakers; Nacido en Lo Alto 10-12

Capítulo Diez
La Naturaleza del Amor de Dios por el Mundo

Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que cree en El, no se pierda, mas tenga vida eterna. (Juan 3:16)

Debido a la influencia del modernismo y la psicología en el entendimiento bíblico de muchos, incluso en el evangelicalismo, el concepto del amor de Dios ha sido completamente distorsionado. La gente incorpora en textos como Juan 3:16, su propia comprensión humanista acerca del amor.
Por ejemplo muchos pastores modernos y maestros dicen algo así como que la cruz nos muestra la medida de nuestro valor. Como un popular maestro Cristiano lo planteó:
“Si Dios puede amarnos y aceptarnos tan espontáneamente, es porque debe haber algo verdaderamente maravilloso acerca nuestro.”

Otro apologista en varios aspectos muy efectivo, nos asegura que: “Para Dios tú eres ‘digno de Jesús’, ya que ese es el precio que El pagó por ti.” (Josh McDowell, “Building Your Self-Esteem” -Wheaton: Tyndale, 1986, pp. 42-43) Todos hemos oído puntos de vista como este o variaciones del mismo, así como el siguiente proveniente de otro autor evangélico popular que postula lo siguiente:
“Por supuesto la mayor demostración del valor de una persona para Dios fue dada cuando El dio a su Hijo.” (William Kirwin, “Biblical Concepts for Christian Counseling” -Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984, p. 107)

Creo que perspectivas como éstas son engañosas. A pesar de que estas declaraciones contienen una verdad parcial, el énfasis está desviado, lo cual lleva a la gente a una comprensión distorsionada acerca del amor de Dios. Como apropiadamente dijo Martin Luther:
“Dios no nos ama porque somos valiosos, somos valiosos porque Dios eligió amarnos.”

¿Que es lo que Jesús quiso decir cuando proclamó que de tal manera amó Dios al mundo?
Para poder entender esto primero debemos captar el significado bíblico de la palabra “amor”. En el idioma Griego del Nuevo Testamento hay mas de una palabra utilizada para referirse al “amor.”
La palabra en el idioma Griego “eros”, del cual obtenemos la palabra “erotismo”, significa el amor relacionado con el deseo. El muchacho le dice a la muchacha “te amo”, pero a menudo lo que el quiere decir es “te deseo…” (para mi).
Hay un “eros” que es valido dentro de los límites del santo matrimonio, pero vivimos en una sociedad de erotismo desmedido, promiscuo y profano.
Hay otra palabra en Griego que se traduce como “amor” y es la palabra “phileo” que significa, el “amor de un hermano”, o el “amor de un amigo”. El nombre de la ciudad Philadelphia quiere decir “ciudad del amor de hermanos”. Un “Francófilo” es alguien que ama aquello que es Francés.
Otra palabra griega que significa amor es “storge”, que se refiere al afecto, pero puede variar en el aspecto del compromiso. “Storge” puede y debe ser parte de lo que los padres sienten hacia sus hijos. “Storge” también se refiere en diversos grados, a los diferentes niveles de afecto natural por aquellos quienes Dios ha puesto en nuestras vidas.
Pero “storge” también puede significar algo así como lo que quiere decir la palabra moderna “ternura”, la sensación que se obtiene cuando alguien ve a un bonito bebé, o un niño. Dios no “Storge al mundo” en Juan 3:16.
El Dios de Juan 3:16 no amó al mundo basado en algo dentro nuestro que era deseable para El, o porque había algo en nosotros que El vio que era bueno, noble o incluso agradable. Ciertamente, su amor por nosotros no debe interpretarse como una medida de nuestra dignidad.
Dios tampoco amó al mundo de acuerdo a una afección sentimental.
La palabra que Jesús usó en Juan 3:16 es “ágape”. Agape se refiere al amor voluntario.
A pesar de la animosidad y rebelión del hombre contra Dios, El vio nuestra necesidad y quiso nuestro bien. El ágape lo movió a hacer lo que era necesario para salvarnos de la ira que merecíamos. Se podría decir que El puso su amor en nosotros, mientras nosotros aún seguíamos siendo pecadores.
El hecho que Dios “Ame al Mundo” que lo ha rechazado y despreciado, y cuando tuvo la oportunidad lo crucificó, ¡es la mejor historia jamás contada! ¡Es incomprensible!
Pero muchos hoy en día son como aquel ateo Francés, a quién en su lecho de muerte se le preguntó, “Qué pasaría si estuvieras equivocado?”
Su respuesta indiferente fue, “Dios me perdonaría. Ese es su trabajo…¿no?”
Sorprendentemente, Dios amó tanto al mundo, que El encontró una manera justa para satisfacer las demandas de su justicia Santa contra nosotros, mientras que al mismo tiempo mostró su infinita misericordia para con nosotros. ¿La respuesta al dilema? La cruz de Jesús.

Al que no conoció pecado, le hizo pecado por nosotros, para que fuéramos hechos justicia de Dios en El. (2 Corintios 5:21)
Capítulo Once
El Amor de Dios es un Misterio Impresionante

Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que cree en El, no se pierda, mas tenga vida eterna. (Juan 3:16)

Pero Dios, que es rico en misericordia, por causa del gran amor con que nos amó… (Efesios 2:4)

Juan 3 es el registro de una entrevista que Jesús concedió al Rabino líder, Senador (Sanedrinista) y Fariseo, Nicodemo. ¿El tema? El nuevo nacimiento.
Jesús le dijo a Nicodemo que el nuevo nacimiento era más que, como creían los Judíos, la aceptación de una nueva serie de responsabilidades como el matrimonio o el ministerio. El nuevo nacimiento es un acto de Dios, el Espíritu Santo. Fue y es el cumplimiento de la promesa dada a través del profeta Ezequiel, que Dios otorgaría a Israel un “lavado en agua” y les daría un nuevo “tierno corazón de carne” para que pudieran mantener sus mandamientos.
Ningún ser humano jamás podría llegar a ser lo suficientemente bueno para alcanzar este nuevo nacimiento, es un regalo de Dios, dado a nosotros a través del descenso del “Hijo del Hombre, que está en el cielo”, y quien ha llegado a la tierra.
El don del nuevo nacimiento vendría como resultado de un evento similar al de la “serpiente de bronce” de Moisés erigida en el desierto. Del mismo modo es necesario que el “hijo del hombre sea erigido”, para que los que crean en El puedan recibir el regalo de la vida eterna. El Hijo soportaría en el árbol la sentencia que nosotros merecemos, para que podamos vivir.
Hemos discutido previamente lo que la frase “Porque de tal manera amó al mundo” no quiere decir. Tuvimos que hacerlo debido a décadas de enseñanzas humanísticas, debido a la influencia de la psicología y a la creciente sentimentalización del cristianismo, que han dado lugar a graves concepciones erróneas acerca del amor de Dios.
Dios no amó al mundo porque vio algo en él que era deseable. Y la cruz tampoco la es la medida de nuestro valor, como tantos afirman en esta era psicologizada. No había absolutamente nada en nosotros que haya obligado a Dios a amar el mundo; nada en nosotros hubiera podido persuadir a Dios que amara al mundo.
La palabra usada en Juan 3:16 en el idioma original para denominar al amor es “ágape”, significando que Dios eligió amarnos, El lo quiso así, y puso su amor en nosotros debido a su idiosincrasia, no a la nuestra.
Dios vio nuestra situación, optó por querer nuestro bien e hizo lo que había que hacer para salvarnos. Hay muchas facetas en este proceso de amor tan grande y tan Divino. De hecho tomaría una eternidad tan solo para empezar a sondear las profundidades del amor que Jesús menciona en Juan 3:16.
Por ahora, será suficiente que veamos solamente algunas de estas facetas. ¿Qué fue lo que persuadió a Dios para ofrecer a su Hijo por nuestra salvación?

MISERICORDIA – El Dios revelado por Jesús en Juan 3 es un Dios de misericordia y verdad. El no desea que nadie perezca, como dice el apóstol Pedro, sino que todos se arrepientan y puedan recibir el don de Dios que es la vida eterna.
Su verdadera naturaleza es perdonar, como el Salmista lo indicó—

Compasivo y clemente es el Señor, lento para la ira y grande en misericordia. No contenderá con nosotros para siempre, ni para siempre guardará su enojo. No nos ha tratado según nuestros pecados, ni nos ha pagado conforme a nuestras iniquidades. Porque como están de altos los cielos sobre la tierra, así es de grande su misericordia para los que le temen. (Salmos 103:8-11)

La misericordia de Dios hace que El quiera aliviar los sufrimientos, incluso aquellos afligidos justamente. El vio nuestro pecado y todas sus implicaciones, toda la miseria, la vergüenza, el dolor, la confusión y la muerte que la añadidura del pecado humano traería consigo, entonces El hizo algo para proveer alivio y salvación.

AMOR SANTO – El amor de Dios es un Amor Santo. El tenía que aliviar nuestros sufrimientos de una manera santa y justa. No podía barrer nuestro pecado debajo de la alfombra; El tenía que hacerlo de una manera consistente con su propia naturaleza. ¿Su respuesta? La sustitución.
Debido a que Dios es santo, el pecado debe ser respondido. Cumplir con el jurídico requerimiento de que el pecador deba morir y que la ira sea satisfecha en respuesta a toda transgresión, a toda iniquidad y pecado. Jesús es la ofrenda que Dios hizo a Sí mismo, para nosotros.

AMOR COMPASIVO – El amor de Dios lo obligó a salvarnos entrando de lleno en nuestra humanidad. Dios mismo sentiría lo que sentimos, experimentaría plenamente todo lo que significa ser humano, (excepto el pecado).

Dios estaba en Jesucristo, viniendo hacia nosotros, probando la muerte en todas sus formas; el odio y el rechazo, el hambre, la sed, la limitación, la traición, el amor no correspondido, la humillación e incluso la vergüenza. El profeta Isaías dijo de El:

Creció delante de El como renuevo tierno, como raíz de tierra seca; no tiene aspecto hermoso ni majestad para que le miremos, ni apariencia para que le deseemos. Fue despreciado y desechado de los hombres, varón de dolores y experimentado en aflicción; y como uno de quien los hombres esconden el rostro, fue despreciado, y no le estimamos. Ciertamente El llevó nuestras enfermedades, y cargó con nuestros dolores; con todo, nosotros le tuvimos por azotado, por herido de Dios y afligido. Mas El fue herido por nuestras transgresiones, molido por nuestras iniquidades. El castigo, por nuestra paz, cayó sobre El, y por sus heridas hemos sido sanados. Todos nosotros nos descarriamos como ovejas, nos apartamos cada cual por su camino; pero el Señor hizo que cayera sobre El la iniquidad de todos nosotros. (Isaías 53:2-6)

No es de extrañar que Charles Wesley nos haya enseñado a maravillarnos en el siguiente canto de adoración:

¿Cómo puede ser que yo gane
un interés en la sangre del Salvador?
El murió por mí, quién causó su dolor.
Fue por mí, por quién El persiguió la muerte?
¡Asombroso amor! ¿Cómo puede ser,
que tú, mi Dios, murieras por mí?
¡Asombroso amor! ¿Cómo puede ser,
que tú, mi Dios, murieras por mí?

Capítulo Doce
El Hijo Unigénito

Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que cree en El, no se pierda, mas tenga vida eterna. (Juan 3:16)

El don de Dios, que es la vida eterna o “nacer en lo alto”, ha sido posible gracias a que el justo y santo Dios hizo un camino justo para redimirnos a nosotros, los pecadores. Ese camino implicó el ofrecer a su “Hijo unigénito” como nuestra propiciación (expiación).
¿Qué significa el misterioso término “Hijo unigénito”? Es así como Jesús se describe a sí mismo en Juan 3:16. Aquí comenzamos a profundizar en los misterios de la Trinidad, por lo cual debemos avanzar con reverencia y primeramente asumir que nunca podremos entender completamente a Jesús. Es solamente con humildad que podemos recibir, en la medida en que somos capaces, la auto-revelación de Dios.
El mismo Jesús lo dijo cuando proclamó:

…Nadie conoce al Hijo, sino el Padre, ni nadie conoce al Padre, sino el Hijo, y aquel a quien el Hijo se lo quiera revelar. (Mateo 11:27)

Sólo Dios el Padre puede entender completamente a Jesús y sólo Jesús puede entender completamente al Padre. Para nosotros existe sólo una revelación parcial (pero suficiente) del Padre y del Hijo.
Tal vez deberíamos comenzar diciendo lo que Jesús no dice cuando se refiere a sí mismo como “el Hijo unigénito” del Padre.

El no está diciendo que alguna vez hubo un tiempo en el cual El no existía. Jesús no se originó en Belén. El vino al mundo, pero Jesús es desde toda la eternidad, tal como lo anunció Miqueas,

Pero tú, Belén Efrata, aunque eres pequeña entre las familias de Judá, de ti me saldrá el que ha de ser gobernante en Israel. Y sus orígenes son desde tiempos antiguos, desde los días de la eternidad. (Miqueas 5:2)

Isaías se hace eco en un pasaje familiar.

Porque un niño nos ha nacido, un hijo nos ha sido dado, y la soberanía reposará sobre sus hombros; y se llamará su nombre Admirable Consejero, Dios Poderoso, Padre Eterno, Príncipe de Paz. (Isaías 9:6)

Esto no hace referencia a la madre humana de Jesús. El Apóstol Juan dice de El, “Nadie ha visto jamás a Dios; el unigénito Dios, que está en el seno del Padre, El le ha dado a conocer.” (Juan 1:18)
El “Hijo unigénito” es un término eterno, se refiere al “que está en el Seno del Padre”, pero que vino a revelarnos a Dios. El Hijo de Dios es eterno, existiendo mucho antes de que hubiera habido una natividad en Belén, El existió así como este Proverbio lo afirma.

¿Quién subió al cielo y descendió? ¿Quién recogió los vientos en sus puños? ¿Quién envolvió las aguas en su manto? ¿Quién estableció todos los confines de la tierra? ¿Cuál es su nombre o el nombre de su hijo? Ciertamente tú lo sabes. (Proverbios 30:4)

Definitivamente no estamos diciendo que Jesús fue creado. El Hijo de Dios es el creador de todas las cosas, así como el sustentador. Se lo llama en Colosenses 1 “el primogénito de la creación”, lo cual es una referencia al hecho de que la nueva creación empezó con la resurrección de Jesús. También es una referencia a la preeminencia de Jesús en la creación. “¿El es la imagen del Dios invisible, el primogénito de toda criatura?”

El es la imagen del Dios invisible, el primogénito de toda creación. Porque en El fueron creadas todas las cosas, tanto en los cielos como en la tierra, visibles e invisibles; ya sean tronos o dominios o poderes o autoridades; todo ha sido creado por medio de El y para El. Y El es antes de todas las cosas, y en El todas las cosas permanecen. El es también la cabeza del cuerpo que es la iglesia; y El es el principio, el primogénito de entre los muertos, a fin de que El tenga en todo la primacía. (Colosenses 1:15-18)

La frase “Hijo unigénito” es la traducción de una palabra del texto Griego, “Monogénes”. Jesús es el singular y único Hijo de Dios.
Tú y yo, a través del nuevo nacimiento hemos sido aceptados en la comunión familiar de Dios. Llegamos a ser “hijos de Dios” por adopción e impartición de la vida eterna.
La humanidad deriva su concepto de la paternidad y filiación del eterno Padre y eterno Hijo dentro de la Trinidad. No importa qué tan deformado y tergiversado este concepto pueda estar en este mundo de pecado, la verdadera devoción filial y amor paternal provienen de la Trinidad.
Sólo Jesús es el “monogénes”, el único y singular Hijo del Padre. El es el Hijo eterno de Dios, quién desde siempre ha estado en comunión con el Padre y el Espíritu. Por lo tanto, Jesús es verdaderamente único. No hay otra persona como El y nunca podrá haberla.
Desde la eternidad El Hijo de Dios existió en amor, comunión y subordinación al Padre. El fue enviado por el Padre a esta tierra, para convertirse en un hombre, y que así pudiera entrar en nuestro ambiente para sufrir y morir por nosotros como un sustituto.
Es pasmoso, que debido a los pecadores, a los rebeldes, a la arruinada, deformada y perversa raza de los hombres, Dios enviaría ¿a quién?… ¡A su único Hijo! Eso es lo que hizo falta para poder rescatarnos y llevar a cabo un “nuevo nacimiento” para los hombres caídos.
¡He aquí el amor de Jesús por el Padre!

Por eso Jesús dijo: Cuando levantéis al Hijo del Hombre, entonces sabréis que yo soy y que no hago nada por mi cuenta, sino que hablo estas cosas como el Padre me enseñó. Y El que me envió está conmigo; no me ha dejado solo, porque yo siempre hago lo que le agrada. (Juan 8:28-29)

He aquí también, el amor del Padre por el Hijo. “Este es mi Hijo amado en quien me he complacido…”
El hecho que el eterno Padre haya enviado al Hijo bendito y eterno desde el cielo para salvarnos de nuestros pecados… y que el Hijo, siempre obediente, se haya subordinado al punto de la muerte y la vergüenza por nosotros para cumplir con la voluntad de su Padre… ¡Tales misterios son incomprensibles!

Y nosotros hemos visto y damos testimonio de que el Padre envió al Hijo para ser el Salvador del mundo. Todo aquel que confiesa que Jesús es el Hijo de Dios, Dios permanece en él y él en Dios. Y nosotros hemos llegado a conocer y hemos creído el amor que Dios tiene para nosotros. Dios es amor, y el que permanece en amor permanece en Dios y Dios permanece en él. (1 Juan 4:14-16)

Amor asombroso, ¿Cómo puede ser? He aquí el amor del Padre y del Hijo por un mundo perdido, rebelde, desagradecido y desviado!

Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que dio a su Hijo unigénito… (Juan 3:16)

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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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The Sickness Unto Death…Charismatic Post Mortem pt 4

 

There are many lessons we can learn from the death of the Charismatic movement, if we are willing and humble enough to prayerfully consider them. ( I define the death of a Spiritual movement as this; If you are worse off and further from “the only True God”for having participated). I don’t think it helpful to just dismiss everything about it as rubbish and to try to move on, for only Truth can set us free.

I would like to call our attention to the foundational source of the departure,  which is the erroneous doctrine which quickly flooded in and was widely accepted in various forms.

It is ironic that one of the features of the Charismatic movement as it developed  was an “Anti-doctrine” bias.

If I heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times and in a thousand forms, “We are not into doctrines which Divide…we are just into loving Jesus”. Doesn’t that sound nice? Loving and simple, thats all we want, right? To get back before the “dusty doctrines” or beyond all “the petty fighting about dogma” between “religious leaders”, pastors and Theologians who have “nothing better to do than fight and divide over silly doctrine”.

But that was a deception in itself, and a seduction.

The deception is manifold; First of all, it implies that doctrine is a petty, trivial annoyance, compared to “knowing the LORD and loving him”. Secondly it teaches that christian doctrine isn’t as important as Love, and that theologians who care about doctrine are striving about nothing and in the process dividing the church.

But what is doctrine?  Doctrine is the body of truth, the teaching delivered to us by the apostles. Is it important? You be the judge-

Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.  Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: ( 2 John 8-10)

It is impossible to be without doctrine. You will either have right or wrong doctrine , but it is impossible to be void of doctrine, and your doctrine determines everything else about you spiritually.The most important thing about anyone is what they think of God.

Secondly, doctrine does indeed divide. True doctrine culls out the faithless and the heretics. False doctrine is extremely divisive.

This anti doctrinal attitude actually opened up the Charismatic movement from the very beginning to strange new doctrines, special revelation, and dampened the sense of discernment of a brand new generation of born again Christians, newly endowed with the Holy Spirit indeed, but also viscerally resisting anything that smacked of “dead religion” that many of them came out of.

I said that this was a seduction as well, because this whole attitude about Doctrine,(The Truth) , implies that those who have the Spirit and the deep “Revelation knowledge” are above the more traditional Christian who is full of “head knowledge”. It is a gnostic seduction, and is hard to see and resist.

In the place of the “Dry dusty doctrines of the past”, as one Charismatic leader described them, flooded in new revelations and teachings, such as Shepherding, the Word of Faith, Dominionism, Church Growth, Spiritual Warfare, Experiencing God, Visualization, the Manifested Sons of God, Restoration of the Apostles and Prophets, the Prophetic movement, Kingdom now, and Deliverance excesses all flooded into the Charismatic church over thirty years or so, under different “Apostles”, “Prophets” and teachers.

It is not my place to expound on each of these separately, rather I would like to point out the similar themes that underlay all of them and served to be the poisonous “Sickness unto death” of the Charismatic movement.

The false teachings which soon engulfed and eventually killed the Charismatic movement have these attributes in common;

  • They were all basically Triumphalist- The believer is supposed to be the “head and not the tail”, we are all supposed to reign in this life, (in the name of Jesus of course), We are all destined to do “Greater works” than Jesus did, He was the pattern Son that we are supposed to imitate, and collectively become. Satan is under our feet, we just don’t know it yet, because we haven’t received the “revelation knowledge.
  • They usually featured an “over realized Eschatology”, which confused the glories to come in the next Age, with the present day. False teachers would posit that rather than waiting for Jesus to come back and set the world straight, Jesus is waiting for that portion of the Church which has “revelation knowledge” to come into its own, and to set the world right.

Jesus is supposedly “kept in the heavens until…” the time of restoration, which we must accomplish under the guidance of restored Apostles and Prophets. This is based on a distortion of a scripture in Acts 3,

And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:  Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.(Acts 3:20-21)

Orthodox Evangelicalism would say, that Jesus is waiting in heaven to come back, that He(Jesus) may restore all things. But the Charismatic teachers insisted that Jesus is waiting in heaven until the time which we are rebuilt by renewed Apostles and Prophets, in order for we the church to restore all things.

  • These teachings promised a coming ultimate”Golden Age” a great last days revival in which the church would so demonstrate the power of Jesus, nations would tremble and shake, running to our leaders to learn what it is that we have.
  • These heresies exalted an elite company of men (and women)- The “Shepherding “movement was an attempt to bring order and teaching to those who had received Jesus and the Baptism of the Spirit and in many cases had come out of dead churches. The Shepherds were exalted beyond measure, christians were taught to submit all things to their Shepherds, even deeply personal decisions between married couples.
  • Another example of human exaltation was the theology of the “Manifested Sons of God”, Which promised that an elite company of super Christians would come into “the revelation knowledge” of who they “truly are in Christ”and would begin to demonstrate for all to see that the true Church is full of the power of God. This errant theology is based upon a distortion of a passage in Romans 8 :22-   For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

Supposedly the true Sons of God shall arise in the last days, and basically demonstrate the reality of God, through signs wonders and miracles. They would establish the Kingdom of God, and shortly afterwards Jesus would come back to receive the Kingdom from them!

This is one of the main themes that runs underneath almost all of the errors which have so seduced and distorted those in the Charismatic movement. It is so intoxicating to those in the movement, that although it has been denounced and exposed as false all along the way, this hope of super Apostles and Prophets bringing the world to its knees for Jesus  keeps resurfacing.

The Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination pronounced it as a heresy in the late 1940’s, and again in the days of the “Toronto Blessing”,George Wood of the AOG produced a fine paper denouncing the mystical revival as yet another expression of the Manifested Sons of God heresy. But when the same thing broke out in the Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola Florida in the late 1990’s, the denomination sold out the truth and fell in behind the error.

Manifested Sons of God is the underlying error of the Word of Faith error as well as Dominionist theology, and the heretical New Apostolic Reformation of today.

  • Part of the above error is the belief which developed which taught that these “manifested Sons” cannot arise until the offices of “Apostles and Prophets” are restored to the churches. Suddenly in the 1980s there were new “Apostles” and “Prophets” which arose, going about giving “Words”, and making predictions in the name of the LORD which often failed to materialize.
  • A departure from the normal view of the Fall and Redemption entered in. The Fall was a fall from Dominion granted to Adam as “god of this world”. Adam allegedly turned the Dominion over to Satan, making him “god of this world”. God was supposedly on the outside looking in! I have heard Copeland and Hagin teaching that God needed a man on this wealth to work through, in order to do anything!

Salvation was a restoration of Dominion, and the church’s work is to “take Dominion once again ” over this planet.

*Finally- there has been a strong strain of anti-rationality in spiritual experience. God “zaps” you and you change for the better, Strange and irrational things are happening because God wants to “offend the mind” that He might get at the heart.

This anti-intellectualism is of course, Paganism and not Christianity. But when you consider the extremes this took many people and churches, particularly in the Toronto and Pensacola movements, it is frightening. How are you ever going to come back when you have gotten “Drunk in the Spirit” or “soaked in prayer “or “swam in the River of life” in front of thousands of people?(Only by humbling yourself and admitting you are wrong).

I could go on and on, but I think I have demonstrated that the main theme of almost all of this bad teaching, was a form of human exaltation, the Sovereignity of the Believer, a power hunger, and craving to see “the greater works” and to bring the unbelievers in to “Awe and amazement”. An anticipation for “Super Apostles and Prophets” to come and demonstrate the power of God.

Also, there developed a spiritual warfare void of reverence and the fear of God, nor of any regard for the person of Satan as a fallen angel of high status, (Jude 8-10) in which we Christians learn the techniques to bring down the principalities and powers, and to take dominion over our own cities and territories.

Even worship and repentance became a means towards this end. Worship itself is “Spiritual warfare”, blasting a hole through the heavenlies, taking the dominion that was ours, making openings for the blessing of God to come down.

I remember standing in a Charismatic worship service and hearing the congregation rousingly singing “We are making war in the heavenlies, we are tearing down principalities…” and then “We rush on the cities and run on the walls, great is the army that carries out his word….”, on into “These are the days of Elijah…”.

I was struck by the contrast to the early days, when we would sing simple songs like, “Jesus,name above all names, beautiful Saviour, glorious LORD…”, as we lifted hands and wept, and adored God the Father and Jesus the Savior and LORD.  I thought, “There is something so wrong here, all we are singing about is ourselves…We are sick…”.

 

 

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A Valid Question-Was it Ever Genuine?…Charismatic Post Mortem

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?  This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?(Galatians 3:1-3)

In my years as a Christian and as a Pastor in particular, I have found that it is one thing to get caught up in aberrant and heretical forms of Christianity, and another thing to come out of them spiritually intact.

I have met many people who had at one time participated in the Word Faith excess, or in hyper forms of “Deliverance”(remember “Pigs in the Parlor”?), or perhaps had deeply drank of the so called “Toronto Blessing”or Pensacola hype artistry. They have come out of it, but not necessarily intact. I know folks who now feel foolish for giving their money to prosperity preachers, or making fools of themselves in one of those “River” meetings.

These people are no longer in the error, but neither do they have a wholesome and expectant faith in Jesus Christ anymore. Some of them have become engulfed in the discernment movement, to the point where that is all there is to their faith. Others are bitter or cynical about what they went through and cannot resume a satisfying Christian discipleship.

I know many who are now hypercritical, and emphasize only what they don’t believe.Some reacted to the shallow teaching, by going into extreme Calvinism, even denying that Jesus died for everyone.

False prophets, prophecies and teachings are very destructive.These heretics and the false Shepherds who welcomed them into their churches really do damage to God’s flock! This is no light thing, and God will call us all into account over these issues.Especially Pastors, who should have guarded the flock, but too often instead they sold it out for gain of some kind.

I believe that one of the major issues that those of us who are refugees from crazy and defective forms of Christianity must face, is repentance.

It is not enough to realize you have been deceived by a Hagin, or a Hinn or an Arnott, and subsequently we despise their movement now. We who were deeply involved in those things must undergo a “Re-think”, which is part of what repentance really means. We must ask ourselves, “What was it in me that attracted me to these unbiblical extremes?”. Why did I follow teachers who taught that we are all “little gods”? Why did we want to be “the power people”, elite Christians, better and deeper than “normal Christians”?

Only by facing up to the larceny in our own hearts, that part of us which resonated with those false apostles, prophets and teachers, can we then be healed and move on in our sincere love for Jesus and belief in His Word.

Jeremiah lamented that in his days, “The prophets prophesied falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means…”, but worst of all, “…my people love to have it so! And what will you do in the end?”

Here we are at the end which Jeremiah spoke of.

The end is where those who have ravaged the church have left us. In a time where a clear minded sober and united church is needed to stand for truth and righteousness, Lou Engle and other charismatics are trying to jump start the Azusa street revival of 1906, and in the process they are prostrating themselves before Agents of the corrupt Roman Catholic church!

I couldn’t have visualized anything more pathetic when pondering the church in the last days!

One astute reader gently pointed out to me that though I  didn’t want to debate whether the Charismatic movement was of God or not, (I didn’t) she thinks I have opened it up anyway. Perhaps.

In view of all of the corruption and evil fruits that have been done on the name of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movement; false and sensual revivals, blatantly false prophets fleecing the sheep, sensual music, experienced based religion, irreverence, shallow preaching and a false “love only gospel”…etc, you all could fill in the empty slots as far as all that is lamentable which seemingly has “come out” of the movement.

I think this part of the discussion is germane to those who must “re-think” their involvement, for only reality can truly help us…the “Truth can set us free”.

I have a very simple answer to the question , “Was the charismatic movement ever of God or not?”. My first response is – what about the parable of the sower? Four seeds were sown, on all kinds of hearts. The seed was good and true, but alas the hearts were either too hard, or distracted, or deceived and finally prone to wander.

Jesus warned us that it would be like this!

It is a temptation to just deny everything we once knew as false, so we don’t have to do the work of true and deep repentance, and the further work of taking the time to seek God and His Word for discernment to separate the “precious from the vile”.

I have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit was sovereignly awakening millions of people to the reality of God and of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.He visited a secularized, commercialized, jaded  western world, and really touched many people who had drifted far  from the God of their ancestors, and ignited the flames of love, prayer, spiritual hunger, evangelism, and longing for unity.

There is no axe to grind or denominational loyalty to defend, and certainly I can admit wrong in my life, but I refuse to discount the reality I have known.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, and I know that we need His reality in our day as never before. I believe we should all seek a full measure of the Spirit and we should long for our churches to be spiritual. Cessationism is as unbiblical as charismania!

I have no doubt that Satan has raised up the Copelands, Hagins, Oral Roberts  and Benny Hinns, to discredit the idea that the Holy Spirit is vital and alive in all churches where people seek to be filled with the Spirit.

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Grievous Wolves…Charismatic post mortem pt 2

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.(Acts 20:28-32)

We have been doing an autopsy on the Charismatic movement, trying to consider how it is that a Holy Spirit movement, which brought hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life into the saving knowledge of God,  the love of Jesus Christ and the sweet fellowship of the Holy Ghost, could so degenerate that now a person is worse off for association with the charismatic movement, than they would be had they never heard of it.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, millions of people came into the Christian faith in those days, but being born again is a beginning, and not an end itself. It is one thing to be converted, and another entirely to “Abide in Christ”. Much of staying power is dependent on teaching. Pastors are supposed to receive new converts and feed their souls that which is truly nourishing to the soul, “The sincere milk of the Word of God”, as Peter says.

But faithless Pastors are like a broken tooth or a sprained ankle, if they pass on false teaching, or passively allow false teachers to infect the flock, it is devastating. This is a major cause of the death of the Charismatic movement.

Perhaps my own personal experience can serve as a microcosm of the movement as a whole.

In 1978, shortly after I was born again into the wonderful world of evangelical, Pentecostal Christianity, I plunged into the local church which first introduced me to these things.It was there that I first saw people worshipping and adoring God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, tears streaming down their faces, hands lifted up, singing songs I had never heard before.

The people of First Assembly of God, in Ames Iowa, were so earnest, simple and beautiful in their love for Jesus and concern for each other. I had never sen such love, and belief. If any were sick they would pray, and their would be constant testimonies of real hearings and miracles.

For example, A farmer refused to miss church, one Sunday, though he had hay laying in the field waiting to be bailed and put away, even though a terrible rainstorm was threatening. But God honored his faith, and the rain stopped just short of his property line. He put God first, and it paid off. I couldn’t wait for testimony time, and eagerly went forward for prayer every chance I got.Those were simple, beautiful days.

Not long after I was saved, someone gave me a 12 pack of Kenneth Copeland teaching cassettes, which I eagerly devoured. I didn’t realize it but I was plunging fully into heretical Christianity, the Word/Faith Movement.  Copeland was such a communicator, engaging, folksy and personal, furthermore he was a “mans man” and not “religious” or stuffy as it seemed so many pastors were.

But I was too immature at the time to discern Copeland’s defective theology, such as his teaching that the Believer is a “Little God”, who could “frame his world” by the use of Words, as God made our world by Words. Copeland seemed to make sense, teaching that “Dogs have baby dogs, and Cats have kittens”, but when God has children, they are “little gods”(with a little”g” of course.

Here is an example from Copeland’s tape, “The force of Love”-

He is a spirit. And Jesus said the time will come and time now is that they that worship him worship him, in spirit and in truth. And he imparted in you when you were born again…Peter said it just as plain, he said we are partakers of the divine nature. That nature is life eternal in absolute perfection. And that was imparted, injected into your spirit man and you have that imparted into you by God just as same as you imparted into your child the nature of humanity. That child wasn’t born a whale…born a human. Isn’t that true? Well now you don’t have a human, do you? No, you are one. You don’t have a god in you, you are one (The Force of Love, tape #02-0028)

These teachings are devastating, because they engender pride. Word of Faith(WOF theology literally eschews classic Biblical humility, teaching a form of the serpent’s lie in the garden, that “Ye shall be as gods…”.  In fact the teaching that makes men out to be “god” is the ultimate corruption of spirituality, and is in fact the very “mystery of iniquity” that the Apostle warned about.

Copeland was not alone and the above is far from the only problem with this sick aberrant theology, all of which is based on perversion of scripture. Kenneth Hagin, Oral Robert, Robert Tilton, Jerry Savelle, Charles Capps and a host of other Word of Faith teachers disseminated these heresies to those hundreds of thousands who had recently been born again and flocked into Charismatic churches, hungry for Christian teaching.

But they all looked and acted so powerful! They all seemed to perform miracles and seemed to be  spiritually far beyond “Religious”, “churchy” regular old ordinary ministers,  of the normal church as most people had once known it.

One aspect that I think in retrospect furthered their deception and seduction of so many, was that a lot of these ‘bold men of God’ would use a kind of derisive mockery of the old fashioned meek, (humble ), traditional pastors and leaders. We were all in on the joke, because we knew that we WORD/FAITH people had ‘the anointing’ and operated in revelation knowledge, and were the furthest thing from the old religious prudes of the old system.

I don’t know how many sermons I heard which began with a comment like this, “Now I am fixing to upset your doctrine here, so hang on to your seat…”, as if orthodox Christian doctrine is wrong, and insufficient, compared to the “new light” the new gurus were bringing to us. We would laugh and clap as these teachers undermined the ancient faith “once and for all delivered to the Saints”.

In retrospect, each heretic took the Charismatics further from the Truth, they built upon each other. William Branham, (of whom I have much to say shortly) was an arch heretic and yet a wonderworker who deceived millions, and set the stage for the apostasy we see now. He made possible the acceptance of Hagin and Copeland, who paved the way for John Wimber, John Arnott and Rodney Howard Browne. There would be no Bill Johnson or Mike Bickle without these earlier apostates. Todd Bentley would have been rejected as a lunatic without the constant , thirty or forty year garage of mysticism, false teaching and experienced based (Pseudo) revival promoted by these deceivers.

What happened to me? The Holy Spirit gave me the power to overcome this Anti-Christ Spirit, this is the true meaning of I John 4:4, “Fear not little children for you have overcome them , for greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the World”.

It was a confluence of events, of which two things dominate; 1) When Dave Hunt came out with a book, “The Seduction of Christianity”, I saw by the reaction of my “leaders”  that they acted cultic. “Don’t read that book”, they said, “…it will hurt your ‘anointing’ “. I thought that our faith could stand up to any scrutiny!

Why shouldn’t we read a book that challenged it? They hated and reviled Hunt,(whom I had never heard of) they castigated him as though they were afraid of his message! Ithought it odds, but I still hadn’t read his book yet, but then…

2) I went with my wife to a WOF pastors conference, (by this time we had started a church in our home).One of the pastors pulled in, sporting on his Car a ‘vanity license plate”, which said”IAMAgod”.

I looked at Kris,(my beautiful wife) and she looked at me and we both said,”What have we gotten ourselves into?”. We reeled. What is this? The other pastors congratulated the man for his “bold faith” but we knew that was blasphemous! Then I believe I heard the Holy Spirit, for a clear thought penetrated my troubled mind…”All he is doing is taking your teachers to their logical conclusion!”.

I had to undergo a season of serious reflection and repentance. I had to re-examine everything I thought I believed, in the light of the Word of God. I had to turn my back on ‘my teachers’ wherever I found them to be false.This took about five or six years.

I had to commit to a new loyalty(which was actually the original loyalty) . My loyalty must be to the Word of God, not to teachers or a movement, or a teaching or revelation which contradicted the Word of God. And finally I had to ask my self, “What drew me to these heretics anyway? What is it in me, that they appeal to?”

I realized then that I don’t want to be a “God”, not a big one or a little one, nor do I want to be a “man of faith and power”. In fact all I wanted to do is go back under GOD, and be a redeemed worshipper again, a nobody, a nothing,  a man. Under God.

 

 

 

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