C Peter Wagner in His Own Defense

Some time back I was hit with quite a bit more traffic than usual and was able to trace it back to an online magazine called Al Jezeera. There I found an interesting article regarding Rick Perry and the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). The reason for my traffic was a link AJ made to one of the articles on my blog. So, it was with great interest that I just happened to find the following info in a google search!  Thought you’d like to see it for yourselves if you haven’t already.

C. Peter Wagner is speaking out against those who revealed what he stands for; dominionism, taking biblical control of the world by force via the seven mountains of influence, and the joining of the NAR to political America.

Volumes have been written already in exposing the false doctrine of the NAR, the organization behind what has become to be considered mainline Christianity. While some of the things that are said up front sound right, a close study of the bible and a comparison to God’s word with Wagner’s books reveal a completely different doctrine. I consider his teachings and all of the NAR activity to be doctrine of demons. (if you are one of his followers, please do some prayerful research!)

Wagner also did a bit of back-peddling after endorsing the apostate preacher Todd Bentley during the Lakeland fiasco, once it was found to be exactly that – a fiasco.

Earlier, a fellow blogger pointed out that the previously published NAR – Apostle/Prophet list I linked to another article here on my blog had disappeared. This was a handy link to have as it made it quite easy to find out if those we trust and take our doctrine from were part of the NAR. My search to find an updated copy revealed that the list is now only available to members!  See here – International Coalition of Apostles.

What could they be hiding? Maybe there is something to the fact that Chuck Pierce held some meetings last year in a Masonic Temple…Secret Societies.

Read on...I’d love your input!

___

THE NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION

An Update by C. Peter Wagner, Ph.D.

THE NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION

August 18,2011

Surprisingly, the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has recently become a topic of discussion in the political media. I noticed some mention of it in connection with Sarah Palin’s run for Vice-President, but I considered it relatively insignificant. Then more talk of the NAR surfaced around Michelle Bachman, but it soared to a new level when Rick Perry entered the race for the Republican nomination for President in August. The best I can discern, the NAR has become a tool in the hands of certain liberal opponents of the conservative candidates designed to discredit them on the basis of their friendship with certain Christian leaders supposedly affiliated with the NAR. To bolster this attempt, they seek to accuse the NAR of teaching false doctrine and paste on it the label of “cult.” For example, Forgotten Word Ministries posts an article by Marsha West expressing concerns about Rick Perry’s prayer assembly in Houston on August 6, that uses the title: “Texas Governor’s Upcoming Leadership Event Includes Cult Members.”[1]

Soon after the event, nothing less than Al Jazeera News picked up on the theme and posted an article on the NAR under the title “America’s own Taliban.” My name comes up in most of the Internet postings on NAR, but in this one I am called the “intellectual godfather” of the movement.[2] When I read that, I felt that I had a responsibility to attempt to bring some clarification as to what the NAR is, what are its goals, and how these goals are being implemented. That is why I am writing this brief paper.

What Is the NAR?

The NAR is definitely not a cult. Those who affiliate with it believe the Apostles’ Creed and all the standard classic statements of Christian doctrine. It will surprise some to know that the NAR embraces the largest non-Catholic segment of world Christianity. It is also the fastest growing segment, the only segment of Christianity currently growing faster than the world population and faster than Islam.[3] Christianity is booming now in the Global South which includes sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and large parts of Asia. Most of the new churches in the Global South, even including many which belong to denominations, would comfortably fit the NAR template.

The NAR represents the most radical change in the way of doing church since the Protestant Reformation. This is not a doctrinal change. We adhere to the major tenets of the Reformation: the authority of Scripture, justification by faith, and the priesthood of all believers. But the quality of church life, the governance of the church, the worship, the theology of prayer, the missional goals, the optimistic vision for the future, and other features, constitute quite a change from traditional Protestantism.

The NAR is not an organization. No one can join or carry a card. It has no leader. I have been called the “founder,” but this is not the case. One reason I might be seen as an “intellectual godfather” is that I might have been the first to observe the movement, give a name to it, and describe its characteristics as I saw them. When this began to come together through my research in 1993, I was Professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary, where I taught for 30 years. The roots of the NAR go back to the beginning of the African Independent Church Movement in 1900, the Chinese House Church Movement beginning in 1976, the U.S. Independent Charismatic Movement beginning in the 1970s and the Latin American Grassroots Church Movement beginning around the same time. I was neither the founder nor a member of any of these movements, I was simply a professor who observed that they were the fastest growing churches in their respective regions and that they had a number of common characteristics.

If I was going to write about this phenomenal move of the Holy Spirit, I knew I had to give it a name. I tried “Postdenominational” but soon dropped it because of the objections of many of my friends who were denominational executives. Then, in 1994, I tested “New Apostolic Reformation.” “Reformation” because the movement matched the Protestant Reformation in world impact; “Apostolic” because of all the changes the most radical one was apostolic governance, which I’ll explain in due time; and “New” because several churches and denominations already carried the name “apostolic,” but they did not fit the NAR pattern. Other names of this movement which are more or less synonymous with NAR have been “Neopentecostal,” “Neocharismatic,” “Independent,” or “Nondenominational.”

I am rather fascinated at the lists of individuals whom the media glibly connects with the NAR. I’m sure that some of them wouldn’t even recognize the term. In many cases, however, they would fit the NAR template, but since the NAR has no membership list they themselves would need to say whether they consider themselves affiliated or not.

For those who might be interested in such things, the books I have written related to NAR include The New Apostolic Churches (1998); Churchquake! (1999); Apostles and Prophets (2000), Changing Church (2004); and Apostles Today (2006). These are all available on amazon.com.

Concerns about the NAR

If the critics are using openness to NAR as a slur against conservative political candidates, they obviously need to verbalize what could be wrong with NAR in the first place. To suppose that NAR is a “cult” or that it teaches “heresy” can be attributed only to sloppy or immature journalism. All too often “heresy” has come to mean only that the person disagrees with me and my friends, but the purpose of using the word is to project guilt by association on the politician. It attempts to implant a question: Who would vote for a heretic? But there is little evidence presented that the issue in question incorporates the doctrinal unorthodoxy of a true heresy. Instead, key words are usually dropped which describe legitimate areas of disagreement among Christian theologians on the level of whether or not we baptize infants. Neither of the opposite positions on matters like this deserve to be placed in the category of heresy.

Let me review the media pieces I have collected and pick out some key words in order to clarify my position. I say “my position,” because others in NAR might not agree with me, and they are not compelled to do so. NAR has no official statements of theology or ecclesiology, although a large number of us do happen to agree upon many somewhat radical conclusions. Most of us have long track records of service within traditional Christianity, and we have needed to go through paradigm shifts to get where we are now. Keep in mind that one of the affects of every paradigm shift is that some people get pulled out of their comfort zones. One of the reasons for opposition to some of the more radical ideas of NAR is that certain people have decided not to change and they are upset with those who have chosen to change.
Apostolic governance.As I mentioned before, this is probably the most radical change. I take literally St. Paul’s words that Jesus, at His ascension into heaven, “gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:11-12). Most of traditional Christianity accepts evangelists, pastors, and teachers, but not apostles and prophets. I think that all five are given to be active in churches today. In fact, St. Paul goes on to say, “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers…” (1 Corinthians 12:28). This does not describe a hierarchy, but a divine order. Apostles are first in that order.
I strongly object to journalists using the adjective “self-appointed” or “self-declared” when referring to apostles. No true apostle is self-appointed. First of all, they are gifted by God for that ministry. Secondly, the gift and its fruit are recognized by peers and the apostle is “set in” or “commissioned” to the office of apostle by other respected and qualified leaders.

The office of prophet. Prophets are prominent in the Bible, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. As we just saw above, apostles are first and prophets are second. Every apostle needs alignment with prophets and every prophet needs apostolic alignment. One of the reasons why both should be active in our churches today is that the Bible says, “Surely God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). And also: “Believe in the Lord your God and you shall be established; believe His prophets and you shall prosper” (2 Chronicles 20:20). I want to prosper and I want you to prosper.

Dominionism. This refers to the desire that some of my friends and I have to follow Jesus and do what He wants. One of the things He does want He taught us to pray for in the Lord’s Prayer: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This means that we do our best to see that what we know is characteristic of heaven work its way into the warp and woof of our society here on earth. Think of heaven: no injustice, no poverty, righteousness, peace, prosperity, no disease, love, no corruption, no crime, no misery, no racism, and I could go on. Wouldn’t you like your city to display those characteristics?

But where does dominion come in? On the first page of the Bible, God told Adam and Eve to “fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, etc.” (Genesis 1:28). Adam, Eve, and the whole human race were to take dominion over the rest of creation, but Satan entered the picture, succeeded in usurping Adam’s dominion for himself and became what Jesus calls “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30). When Jesus came, he brought the kingdom of God and He expects His kingdom-minded people to take whatever action is needed to push back the long-standing kingdom of Satan and bring the peace and prosperity of His kingdom here on earth. This is what we mean by dominionism.

A theocracy. The usual meaning of theocracy is that a nation is run by authorized representatives of the church or its functional religious equivalent. Everyone I know in NAR would absolutely reject this idea, thinking back to Constantine’s failed experiment or some of the oppressive Islamic governments today. The way to achieve dominion is not to become “America’s Taliban,” but rather to have kingdom-minded people in every one of the Seven Mountains: Religion, Family, Education, Government, Media, Arts & Entertainment, and Business so that they can use their influence to create an environment in which the blessings and prosperity of the Kingdom of God can permeate all areas of society.

Extra-biblical revelation. Some object to the notion that God communicates directly with us, supposing that everything that God wanted to reveal He revealed in the Bible. This cannot be true, however, because there is nothing in the Bible that says it has 66 books. It actually took God a couple of hundred years to reveal to the church which writings should be included in the Bible and which should not. That is extra-biblical revelation. Even so, Catholics and Protestants still disagree on the number. Beyond that, I believe that prayer is two way, we speak to God and expect Him to speak with us. We can hear God’s voice. He also reveals new things to prophets as we have seen. The one major rule governing any new revelation from God is that it cannot contradict what has already been written in the Bible. It may supplement it, however.

Supernatural signs and wonders. I have a hard time understanding why some include this in their list of “heresies.” Whenever Jesus sent out His disciples he told them to heal the sick and cast out demons. Why we should expect that He has anything else in mind for us today is puzzling. True, this still pulls some traditionalists out of their comfort zones, but that just goes with the territory. One critic claimed that the NAR has excessive fixation on Satan and demonic spirits. This is purely a judgment call, and it may only mean that we cast out more demons than they do. So what?

Relational Structures

Some of the authors I read expressed certain frustrations because they found it difficult to get their arms around the NAR. They couldn’t find a top leader or even a leadership team. There was no newsletter. The NAR didn’t have an annual meeting. There was no printed doctrinal statement or code of ethics. This was very different from dealing with traditional denominations. The reason behind this is that, whereas denominations are legal structures, the NAR is a relational structure. Everyone is related to, or aligned, with an apostle or apostles. This alignment is voluntary. There is no legal tie that binds it. In fact, some have dual alignment or multiple alignment. Apostles are not in competition with each other, they are in cahoots. They do not seek the best for themselves, but for those who choose to align with them. If the spotlight comes on them, they will accept it, but they do not seek it.

The key to this? The mutual and overriding desire that “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”

-end-

[1]http://www.forgottenword.org/leadershipevent.html

[2]http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/07/20117259426336524.html

[3]David B. Barrett, et. al.,  eds., World Christian Encyclopedia,, Volume 1, Oxford UK: Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 4

The Vineyard – Emergent Connection

If you attend a Vineyard Church, or if the names John Wimber, Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, Madam Guyon resonate as great spiritual teachers, please take some time to consider who you are following. Spiritual formation, contemplative prayer, meditation, and yoga are not spiritual teachings of the bible.

I noticed these names at the Vineyard I used to attend and I had no idea of who they were or what they stood for. After I began my research I started to see the connection between these names, the Vineyard and the Emergent Church. It didn’t take me long to find the truth and to recognize these teachers are not of Christ.

Remember, we were warned in Matthew 24 by Jesus that many would come in His name and many would be deceived.

Important read from Lighthouse Trails –

This week we received an e-mail from someone who asked us to check up on a workshop taking place at the Vineyard in Anaheim, California. Our reader shared her concern that this may be an emerging type workshop and that the church might be going in that direction.

Our Response:

“The Vineyard Movement Grabs Hold of Contemplative Spirituality”

The Vineyard movement was started in the 1970s by John Wimber (who had been a leader in the Friends (Quaker) church) after breaking off from Calvary Chapel where Kenn and Joanie Gulliksen had started the first meetings. Vineyard Anaheim is the “mother” or “flagship” Vineyard church, pastored today by Lance Pittluck. Regarding the  ”Spiritual Formation” workshop that our reader wrote to us about, on the church website, it states:

We believe that every disciple is invited by the Holy Spirit into becoming conformed to the Image of Christ through the disciplines encompassed by solitude, silence, scripture-meditation and reflection.

Vineyard Anaheim has turned to Richard Foster’s Renovare to bring these “disciplines” to their church members. Richard Foster, also a Quaker, is one of the pioneers in bringing contemplative spirituality to the evangelical/Protestant church and is a disciple of Thomas Merton. Foster believes that Merton tried to “awaken” God’s people (through mysticism)2 and that he “has perhaps done more than any other twentieth-century figure to make the life of prayer widely known and understood.3 Yet Merton’s panentheistic view (i.e., God in all) coupled with his strong affinity to Buddhism (he once stated: “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity … I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can”4) is contrary to the God of the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Richard Foster so resonates with Merton that he includes him in his list of spiritual masters in his two books Spiritual Classics and Devotional Classics.

It’s not just Richard Foster that Vineyard is looking to for “spiritual formation.” On the ”Pastoral Staff Recommends” page, there is a who’s who of contemplative mystics listed. Craig Lockwood, the pastor who will be heading up the Spiritual Formation program, includes Dallas Willard, Jan Johnson, Larry Crabb, Madame Guyon, Richard Foster, Gary Thomas, Morton Kelsey, and Adele Calhoun on his recommended reading list. These are some of the “heavy weights” in the contemplative movement, and you can read about most of them in A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen or on our research site. Typical of the contemplative mindset, one of those listed, Morton Kelsey, stated: “You can find most of the New Age practices in the depth of Christianity . . . I believe that the Holy One lives in every soul.”5

In Adele Ahlberg Calhoun’s book, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook (which Lockwood recommends), Ahlberg Calhoun promotes mantra meditation, giving detailed instructions on several types of contemplative practices. In addition, she quotes from many New Age sympathizers and New Age contemplatives and encourages the use of centering prayer, breath prayers, contemplative prayer, labyrinths, palms-up, palms-down exercises, and recommends for further reading a plethora of mystics. One of those she lists is Tilden Edwards, the founder of the mysticism promoting Shalem Prayer Institute, who said that contemplative prayer is the bridge between Christianity and Eastern religion.6

An interesting name shows up on the “Pastoral Staff Recommends” page at Vineyard Anaheim – J.P. Moreland. The beliefs of Moreland have been discussed in a number of Lighthouse Trails articles regarding his contemplative views, but we didn’t realize that he attends Vineyard Anaheim. When we saw his name on the Pastoral Staff Recommends page, we called Vineyard and were told that Moreland attends Vineyard Anaheim and “sometimes speaks” there. Moreland, a teacher at Biola University and Summit Ministries (in Colorado) recommends a number of Dallas Willard books and The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen. In that book, which is a primer on contemplative prayer, Nouwen states:

The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart . . . This way of simple prayer . . . opens us to God’s active presence. 7

What Nouwen is describing here is mantra meditation (i.e., eastern-style meditation). Practicing mysticism is what led Nouwen to say near the end of his life:

Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.8

By saying this, Nouwen illustrated the “fruit” of contemplative spirituality – panentheism (God in all) and interspirituality. This can be further proven by Nouwen’s strong affinity with New Age meditation proponent, Beatrice Bruteau where he called her a  “trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness” (from Abba’s Child) . J.P. Moreland’s endorsement of The Way of the Heart will point Vineyard members to the same spirituality Nouwen came to  embrace.

In a book review of Moreland’s book Kingdom Triangle, he lays out a three-step process to bring about a kingdom of God on earth through spiritual formation (i.e., contemplative prayer). This would resonate with what Vineyard is doing – turning to contemplative to accelerate their kingdom of God on earth goals.

In Kevin Reeves book The Other Side of the River, Reeves addresses the spiritual viewpoints of John Wimber. Wimber said that the Western church needed to go through a major paradigm shift because of its resistance to the supernatural.9 Reeves explains some of Wimber’s ideas:

 The old study and learn method (commended by the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 4:13-16, and II Timothy 3:14-17) is no longer adequate. In fact, according to Wimber and a flood of Third Wave teachers, it never has been. Experience is what counts, they say, and all that head knowledge we’ve been accumulating all these years is a big waste of time. This teaching states that to really know God, His power and miracles, we need to shuck all that dead letter stuff and get into the life.

 Wimber also first introduced into mainstream charismatic congregations the incredibly strange manifestations that are supposedly initiated by the Holy Spirit. Pogoing (jumping up and down in place), rippling on or under the skin, tingling, shaking, convulsions, uncontrollable laughter—many of the same kinds of manifestations traditionally attributed to demonic influence—have now attained prominence in River meetings. It is shocking and frightening to see the similarities between Wimber’s manifestations and what is called Kundalini, “a Hindu term for the mystical power or force that underlies Hindu spirituality.” Here is a list of Kundalini symptoms:

* Burning hot or ice cold streams moving up the spine.

* Pains in varying locations throughout the body.

* Vibrations, unease, or cramps in legs and other parts of body.

* Fast pulse and increased metabolism.

* Disturbance in the breathing–and/or heart function.

* Sensitivity to sound, light, smell, and proximity of other people.

* Mystical/religious experiences.

* Parapsychological abilities.

* Persistent anxiety or anxiety attacks, confusion

* Insomnia, manic high spirits or deep depression. Energy loss.

* Impaired concentration and memory.

* Total isolation due to inability to communicate inner experiences out.

* Experiences of possession and poltergeist phenomena. 10

What some may not realize is that many of these symptoms are also experienced during deep contemplative meditation. By combining the hyper-charismatic experiences with contemplative spirituality (as Vineyard is doing), the process of going into altered states of consciousness (i.e., demonic realms) is speeded up; and the voice heard, believed to be God, may not be Him at all. Reeves points out that Wimber was drawn to the writings of Agnes Sanford and Morton Kelsey. Did Wimber realize that Kelsey “equates the ministry of Jesus with shamanism, commends encounters with the dead as natural spirit-earth links,bases much of his book on paganistic Jungian psychology, and calls the atonement a “hypothesis developed” by the early church”?11

An article titled “Buried Seed: Spiritual Direction and the Vineyard Movement” written by a Vineyard “spiritual director” in New Zealand reveals the efforts by spiritual directors in Vineyard to integrate spiritual formation into the Vineyard movement. Just to show the lack of discernment that occurs by contemplative advocates, the author of the article lists Thomas Keating as a source he used to write the article. Keating, like Merton, is a panentheist and mystic Catholic priest.

We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and “capture” it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible.

 Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices, especially where they have been initiated by reliable teachers and have a solidly developed Christian faith to find inner form and meaning to the resulting experiences. 12

Our reader who sent us the e-mail inquiring about Vineyard Anaheim asked if there was any emergent connection to spiritual formation. We have always contended that they are basically the same thing (see Faith Undone). What’s more, on the recommended reading list of Vineyard Anaheim, senior pastor Lance Pittluck recommends Rob Bell along with several other contemplative/emerging figures (Nouwen, Sider, Manning, Miller, Boyd, etc). It is clear that Pittluck resonates with these people.

For those who wonder if the contemplative/emerging infiltration is confined to just Vineyard Anaheim, a Book Recommendations for Youth list on the main USA Vineyard website recommends emerging church favorites N.T. Wright, Andy Stanley, Erwin McManus, and Shane Claiborne, and contemplatives Henri Nouwen, Dallas Willard, John Ortberg, Jim Burns, and John Eldredge.  Sadly, Vineyard youth are being introduced to these contemplative/emerging leaders. In addition, Vineyard has at least one leader who is designated to work with Vineyard churches in spiritual formation. And just as a sampling to show this is not an isolated situation, listed below are a few Vineyard churches that are incorporating “spiritual formation” into church life:

Vineyard City Church – Redding California’ (also links to the very contemplative/emerging Simpson College and Bethel Church in Redding)

 Live Oak Vineyard – Monrovia California (promotes New Age sympathizer Phyllis Tickle)

Friends Langley Vineyard – BC Canada

Vineyard Community Church – Cincinnati, OH

All this would leave little doubt that the Vineyard movement has hopped onto the contemplative/emergent track, seemingly full speed ahead.

Notes:

  1. Bill Jackson, The Quest For The Radical Middle: A History of the Vineyard, ch 3, p. 80.
  2. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd ed, 2006), pp. 76-77, quoting Richard Foster at a seminar Yungen attended.
  3. Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin, Spiritual Classics (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 2000), p. 17.
  4. David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969).
  5. Morton Kelsey cited in Charles H. Simpkinson, “In the Spirit of the Early Christians.”
  6. Tilden Edwards, Spiritual Friend (New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1980), pp. 18.
  7. Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1991), p. 81.
  8. Henri  Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing, 1998), p. 51.
  9. John Wimber: 1934-1997. Wimber’s “paradigm shift” is discussed and documented in several books and articles such as C. Peter Wagner’s Acts of the Holy Spirit (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2000), p. 123.
  10. Kevin Reeves, The Other Side of the River (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2007), pp. 167-168.
  11.  Ibid, p. 169.
  12.  M. Basil Pennington, Thomas Keating, Thomas E. Clarke, Finding Grace at the Center  (Petersham, MA: St. Bede’s Pub., 1978), pp. 5-6.

Link

Be encouraged. What about that bottle of tears?

The words of our Lord are precious and bring life to our drained souls. Blessed be His name and may you know this Lord who’s promised –

Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

We all love to ponder about God saving our tears in a bottle, but we never quite got the meaning. Now we can.

PJ Miller at Sola Dei Gloria had this to say

Psalm 56:8 – Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? (link)

thanks PJ!

In Blindness and In Rebellion

Remember this –

Someone brought this to my attention the other day –

I’ve already posted this in a comment –

This is demonic possession. It is time to stop fooling around and dancing around the things that have become so clear. It is bad enough to see grown men and women (of which I was one) do these things. We already know it has spread into the youth because of the long-standing and heretical Joel’s Army. But, oh, these are small children, still babies!

False doctrine breeds heresy.

Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness, they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteousness judgement of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them.

Matthew 18:4 “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

:6 Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Have we lost a fear of God? I believe so. People who practice these things  no longer consider the truth in scripture. Even those who do not do these things, encourage those who do and make excuses for them, twisting the scriptures to say things they do not. They are just as blind as those who do, and in rebellion just the same.

This is madness.

Consider the second video in which these little children are laying hands on grown men who fall to the floor. In a previous conversation with another, I was given the following scriptures to support these goings on.

Please also take the time to read the surrounding scriptures to see the context. It is important to see the details.

Rev.1:17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.”

This is an account of John who was a disciple of Jesus, exiled for his faith to the island of Patmos. John is receiving a vision of things to come  – aka the book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Ezekiel 1:28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face and I heard a voice of One speaking.

Let’s look at the next section, Chapter 2:1 And He said to me, Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.

Daniel 8:17,18 So he came near where I stood and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me; “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.” 18 Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me, and stood upright.

All of these men were taken into supernatural experiences for God’s purposes.  When they fell, it was out of fear. What happened? They were told to not fear. They were made to stand upright. These were not just experiences of visions or visitations, but were important meetings to establish words of scripture!

They were not children.

They were not women.

They were not aided by another human.

They were not anointed with manufactured oil.

No one laid hands on them.

No one blew thier stinky breath on them.

No one waved their arms or jumped up and down in front of them.

They were not in meetings, conferences or gatherings.

They had not been in extended ecstatic worship.

No one taught them these things in classrooms or organized training.

What was the direction in which they fell? Forward – on their faces.

These events were initiated by God, not men.

Let me stress one more time – grown men, not children, not children, not children.

Now, if you cannot see the difference between the happenings in the videos and the scriptures here by my writing and the points I have made, and you believe you are born again, then I urge you to repent for your blindness and your rebellion to God. The differences are like night and day.

2 Things

Quote

The separation of families is happening to many – See John 3:16-20 and 2 Corinthians 2:15-16

Many people are leaving churches, opting for aloneness or meeting in homes as a witness of false Christianity in its various forms is being revealed. The church, especially the westernized one has abandoned the reasons it was established in the first place.

2 Corinthians 4:7-??? be encouraged we are not alone, many brothers and sisters share and suffer in the same things.

Bethel’s Jesus Culture Awakening

Jesus Culture Awakening – Bethel (from Inerrant Word)

Well, there is an event starting today called the Jesus Culture Awakening in Chicago. Jesus Culture are essentially the worship band from Bill Johnson’s Bethel church. This is a dangerous group to be associated with and to be caught up in – I know!

I have had personal experience with the effect of Jesus Culture and Bethel when my wife was caught up in their music and teaching. You can find her testimony (4 parts) of how she got out from under their influence here, here, here, and here.

There is something insidious about Bethel and its associates. Often they appear at face value, to say Christian things and they even appear convincing (though there are some so ludicrous that it is a wonder anyone buys into them). But, for me, I was often left with a very ill feeling in my gut. Then when you start hearing some of the quotes from people like Bill Johnson who say that if we preach a message which allows for sickness, we preach another gospel (in reference to Galatians 1:8). There are plenty of youtube videos which show this.

For the message of Bethel is this: health and wealth, sign and wonders are what God does for you. You should be seeking after these things and if they are not abounding in your life, then something is desperately wrong! They will deny it of course: “we never say such a thing!” Not outright but it permeates their sermons, and messages. It is clear, unless you are experience all manner of odd things and signs and wonders etc, then you are in trouble.

Their ministry has such things as “healing rooms”, soaking, etc. You can read some very interesting reviews of these here.

I know that my wife turned from being a joyful, contented mother and wife into an aggressive, belligerent, and antagonistic woman. I have had people say, “oh, she must have just got carried away” or the like. The fact is, she was not alone. I know several other people personally who got caught up with this sort of thing. They acted and changed in the same way. The fruit of the Spirit goes out the door. Jesus and the Word being the sufficient and satisfying saviour and focus has gone too. Instead this obsession with miracles, angle feathers, gold dust etc replaces it. There is no contentment – only a desire for greater and more fantastic “miracles”. A desire which becomes absolutely consuming.

Now some of the people whom they associate with are very dangerous. People like Todd Bentley, John Crowder, Joshua Mills etc. If you have not heard, Todd Bentley has been involved in a crazy, signs and wonders revival in Lakeland in the recent past. During which it turned out he had an inappropriate relationship with one of his staff (while he was married) and then he ended up divorcing quickly and marrying this girl. I believe there were other issues he suffered with at the same time. While this was happening (and before it was publicly known), Bill Johnson and other extreme Pentecostal heavyweights laid hands on him in service and proclaimed God’s anointing on him and how he was doing great things for the Lord and would outshine Moses etc. Well, if they were speaking for God (which clearly they were not for they are false prophets) surely He would have warned them to provide Todd help in the very least? But no, it appears they use God as a means to gain.

John Crowder is as weird as they come. He refers to himself as a “new mystic”. The only word I can use to give him justice is blaspheming heretic. I have seen him do things which would make your hair stand on end! Things like sucking the anointing from people in graves like a vacuum, smoking “holy ghost” drugs (toking the ghost he calls it), falling around like a drunkard (calling it the drunken glory of the lord). He speaks heretical trash and the most shocking thing is not necessarily the things he says and does (for we have always had nutcases around) it is the fact that so many people follow him and show themselves to be undiscerning, ignorant, and deceived. One day, he will give an account to the Lord and it will not be pretty! You can look up multitudes of videos on you tube which show off the show that is John Crowder. Here are some interesting reviews of this man, his ministry, and his behaviour (there are many more if you type his name into Google): Apologetics Index, Slaughter of the Sheep, and Apprising Ministries.

So these are the people that Bill Johnson relate with and associate with. Dangerous people who would lead the flock astray and bring them to calamity.

But some great sites which have a lot of information about Bill Johnson, his associates and their teachings are Heralding Truth, M’Kayla’s Korner, Closing Stages, Apprising and Crosswise. There are multitudes of articles, reviews, comments, and testimonies.

All I can say, is be careful of this ministry and his teachings. Make sure that you test the spirits (1John 4:1) and do not let anyone tell you to let go of your mind etc. God created us a rational, thinking, creatures whom he commanded to worship in spirit and TRUTH (John 4:23). He tells us many times to test what we hear (Acts 17:11, Rev 2:2) to know if it is truth or heresy. My wife’s testimony provides some links in there to a post on a blog which helped her incredibly when she realised what was happening to her. I pray that you also will benefit from this.

The best thing I can encourage surrounding this event is that even if you are curious or you have friends of family going, run! Do not go. I beg you to avoid this event at all costs for it is dangerous. I am not someone who has taken these people out of context – their ministry, life and teaching is out of context. You can find multitudes of material on them and what they teach in proper context in their books, sermons etc which are easily accessible. The mounting evidence of their false teaching is damning.

I pray God gives you wisdom and discernment and if you are caught up in this stuff, I pray He would open your eyes and draw your heart back to Him!

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Before you go, take a look to see what the children at Bethel are being taught. This video is a couple years old and was brought to my attention on a comment. – I was floored at the complete lack of reverence and respect for God, Jesus Christ, spiritual authority and the bible! What will become of these children?  Some scary stuff happening.