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People always remember the story about the talking donkey. Balaam’s part in this story is often forgotten and overlooked. It is Balaam who is made a fool of, by the spiritual awareness of the ass, who could see what the “seer” could not see. The donkey was more spiritually discerning than the prophet.
Israel was finally beginning to conquer her enemies before they were to enter and take possession of Canaan. After wandering for so long in the desert, the time was quickly approaching. Balak, the king Moab, was afraid, because the Israelites had just taken the land of the Amorites. They left no survivors. So the king resorted to magic or witchcraft to solve his problem of the Israelites who were beginning to the conquer the adjoining lands around him. He wanted the Israelites cursed.
Balak hired Balaam, knowing full well that he was a diviner. Some commentaries make Balaam out to be a good guy gone bad, but I can’t see how this could have been true. We know Balak knew of Balaam’s powers of divination because messengers were sent with a “divination” fee to hire him to make the trip. Divination was his profession and he was hired to curse the Israelites.
So what is a diviner? It is someone who uses hidden powers to gain secret knowledge about the future. This information does not come from God. It usually comes from Satan. If a method is used to attain the information from the spirit world, then it is occult.
Here is a definition from
DIVINATION, n. L., to foretell1. The act of divining; a foretelling future events, or discovering things secret or obscure, by the aid of superior beings, or by other than human means.

And from Strong’s Concordance

Strong’s H7081

1) divination, withcraft

a) of the nations, Balaam

b) of false prophets

c) in a good sense (king’s lips as oracles)


Balaam’s words are interesting to the messengers when they arrived. Listen to the phrases he used.

Numbers 22:8 “and I will bring you back the answer the Lord gives me.”

Numbers 22:13 “Go back to your own country, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.”

Numbers 22:19 “I will find out what else the Lord will tell me.”

If you heard someone speak these phrases, would you think him a follower of the true God?

It seems that when Balaam set out on his journey, something was wrong. God had said to go and only tell the men “the word which I shall say unto thee.” But when he left, God opposed him because the angel obstructed his path three times, but this did not stop him. He even acknowledged he had sinned, but he did not turn back.

So now we get to ask, was Balaam doing God’s will or his own? His words sounded so mighty earlier. What do his actions say about him? Do you follow leaders who are obstructed in their ministries? Do you follow them because of their righteous sounding words and because they say they hear from the Lord?

Have you ever gone ahead with your own plans even though God opposes them? Have you taken your own pathway only to find continuous obstacles? It was as though God said, “Okay… you go Balaam and I will let you make a fool of yourself.” Have you ever asked God over and over again for the same thing? He may allow you to have this thing you so desire but there will be consequences to pay later.

An interesting verse is Numbers 22:28-29 Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these times?” Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”

Balaam could not see the sword in the angels hand, when the donkey could, and God spared the donkey. Balaam himself died by the sword but could not “see” this part of his future.

We do learn that God would not let Balaam curse the Israelites and would let the diviner speak the words that He, the Lord, gave him, much to Balak’s distress.

Because the diviner would not curse Israel as he was hired to do, Balak took him to three different locations. Different oracles were offered by Balaam but none of them were curses against the people of Israel. God would not allow His people to be cursed. Israel is His chosen and He had a covenant with them. God keeps His promises. Do you keep all of your promises?

Interestingly, Balak was hoping that the three different perspectives or locations would influence Balaam into changing his mind, so he would curse the people. Do you go to different people to find the answer you are looking for? If you do not like one answer, do you go to another, and another, and another person till you find an answer that suits you?

Now Balaam blessed Israel in his oracles, so God amazingly used this diviner, but the story does not end here. This is why we are to read the entire Bible. If one stops here, one may think that indeed Balaam turned out to be a pretty good guy. But this was not the case.

In Numbers 25 we find out that “the men began to indulge in sexually immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate and bowed down before these gods. So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them.”

So what does this have to do with Balaam? We find out in Numbers 31:15-16. Moses asked why the women were not killed in the war on the Midianites as the Lord commanded.

“Have you allowed all the women to live?”  he asked them. “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the Lord in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people.”

It was Balaam that enticed and led the people away from God. If he could not curse them, he would find a way to go against God’s will. In verse 8 Balaam is killed by the sword.

What lessons can we pull for us today from this story of the diviner. For one thing it is evident that the people were eventually deceived by him. He introduced heresies which led the people astray.

I hear many leaders in the church say today, “The Lord told me.” But we have to examine all teachings today. And the teachers. God has sent us many good preachers and teachers who prophesy God’s Word, and I praise Him mightily for this, but also there are those who are not really followers of Christ. Like Balaam. He was actually used by the Lord but truly, he was not a true believer.

In the end, those who listened to Balaam bowed down to other gods and worshiped Baal.



A study of divination and how it has infiltrated the church.








Some Dare Call It ‘Christian’ 

John Crowder and the ‘Mystical Communion Festival’

by Bud Press, Director,

Christian Research Service

April 17, 2009


Parents, do you know what your children were doing during April 8-11, 2009? If they attended John Crowder’s “The New Ecstatics Mystical Communion Festival” in Santa Cruz, California, they may have been “Rolling in the Butter” or caught up in a “Butter Trance.”


And what does “Rolling in the Butter” and “Butter Trance” mean? Take a few minutes and watch these two YouTube videos:







Pause video #1 at 12 seconds, and notice the bodies laying next to and on top of each other. Pause the video again at 16 seconds, and notice the young girl in the tye-dyed T-shirt reaching for the umbrella.


Pause video #2 at 56 seconds, and notice the young boy trying to walk through the bodies on the floor. Pause the video again at 1:03. The man in the blue helmet is Stacy Denboer, blasphemer and dedicated follower of John Crowder (for example, watch this video of Crowder leading Denboer around by his head: ).


For the past year, Stacy Denboer has worked hard to make a name for himself within the hyper-Charismatic camp, and has finally attained celebrity status.


Stacy Denboer, whose discerment IQ is 3 digits higher than a house plant, recently founded “Drooling Ministires,” which he so eloquently introduces in this video ( ).

This is the same Stacy Denboer who believes “God” put it on his heart to “give birth to a global revival,” who enjoys nursing on the “breast of Jesus,” and who is the inventor of the “Piggy Anointing” (among other animalistic anointings):


And some dare call it “Christian.”


If anyone doubts the cult-like influence John Crowder has over his followers, show them the above videos, as well as the following quote from none other than Stacy Denboer:   


“You know, I just got my disco-mystica from John Crowder. I’m gettin’ really, really sautéed. And, you know what I was thinking about? I just really think that if Jesus were here in the flesh, that He’d probably be, like, part of John Crowder’s ministry team. That’s what I think.” (Stacy Denboer, “The Church Needs to Bring Heaven to Earth,” YouTube video, March 18, 2009,
There is nothing “Christian” about the above videos. To the solid, Bible-based Christian, the videos demonstrate an intensified level of deception that has slithered its way into the minds of gullible, innocent, and unwary.  


After all, is there a better way to ensure the future of demonically-inspired teachings and behavior than to condition and deceive impressionable children and young adults? 


It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble (Luke 17:1-2).


Parents, do you know what your children will be doing on April 17-19? For John Crowder’s next appearance is scheduled at Glorybound Ministries in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Crowder is among those the Bible warns as evil men and impostors” who “will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:12-13). 


Be delayed and wait, blind yourselves and be blind; they become drunk, but not with wine, they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the LORD has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep, He has shut your eyes, the prophets; and He has covered your heads, the seers (Isaiah 29:9-10). 


Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the LORD, intoxicating all the earth. The nations have drunk of her wine; therefore the nations are going mad (Jeremiah 51:7).


Related reading and viewing:




Videos by LocalPastor


Videos by VinnieActs2030 

From – Possessing the Treasure

A Dead Church

by Mike Ratliff

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” (Revelation 3:1 ESV)

As part of my research for this piece, I did some Google searches on the Internet using the word phrase, “A Dead Church.” It was very interesting reading what “some” people considered the markers of a “dead church.” One fellow was adamant that the two markers which revealed that a church was dead was that its leaders used a Bible other than the King James Version and/or its denomination practiced infant baptism. Other markers I saw were things like the sort of music was used in worship or if there was an over abundance of ceremony or ritual in the order of worship. Are these the markers of a “dead church?”

I received the following commentary by John Piper today in an email from a dear friend.

My Annual Visit to a Mainline Protestant Church

April 6, 2009

by: John Piper

Category: Commentary

I made my annual visit to a Sunday morning service in a “mainline Protestant church” a couple weeks ago. It is an eerie experience. Heart-wrenchingly eerie.

  •       A magnificent building.
  •       A magnificent choir singing, “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of he world, have mercy on us” (in Latin).
  •       A closing hymn, “Lord, I want to be a Christian.”
  •       Three women pastors on the platform and two men.
  •       Pews filled with well-to-do looking folks.

The reason I say it was eerie is that much of this religious language means something totally different in their minds from what I mean by it. There is a keeping of the language and a demythologizing of the original meaning.

On one of our earlier visits Noël recalls the pastor saying that when he was a child he used to read stories like the one about Jesus walking on the water as if they were literally true.

What made my visit heart-wrenching was that the children’s choir sang these words-trust me, I am copying them from the bulletin-”Birds and trees, people and plants, dolphin and whale all lives are equal. . . . Sister Rain, Brother Stone bring us back to our true home.”

So when I stand at my study window that looks out over the downtown cityscape of Minneapolis, I pray: “O God, have mercy on us. Send a shocking revival to the churches-and a great awakening to this city. In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.”

This mainline Protestant Church is dead. It is spiritually dead because its leaders are people without faith. No one can be spirit-filled, spirit-led, Christian without the faith given to him or her at regeneration. This faith believes God and when the Word of God is read, it is believed because it is true. The markers of dead church are given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ in Revelation 3:1-6.

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Revelation 3:1-6 ESV) 

In Matthew 5:48 our Lord Jesus said, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” He stated in Revelation 3:1-6 to the church in Sardis, “You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead…” Why was it dead? It had become contaminated by the world just like the church John Piper visited above. It had taken on the world’s values and integrated them into how church was done there. It had disintegrated and was now dead. What is more, they did not realize it. They continued going through the motions of worship and activity, but it was just like the dead religiosity of the Jews in Jesus’ day. In other words, the church as Sardis was very much like the liberal church today; i.e. Dead!

The people in the church at Sardis were physically alive, but they were spiritually dead. Unbelievers were operating the church. Some may scoff at that and disbelieve that churches and whole denominations can be taken over by unbelievers, but this very thing is happening today. Dead men are in the pulpits. Dead men are in the pews. Dead men are running the church and dead men are in control of the denomination. Churches die when those who truly alive in Christ are replaced by dead people. What causes this?

A church becomes dead when unbelievers are allowed to take over ministries in the church. It happens when a church becomes more concerned with form and liturgy than it is with life on a spiritual level. It also occurs when a church becomes more concerned with welfare and social ills than it is about the Gospel. Death occurs when a church loves its religiosity more than it loves Jesus Christ. It may very well love another Jesus and another gospel, but this is the same thing as elevating religiosity over the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Death occurs when a church’s focus is moved away from God’s Truth to Man’s so-called truth. Focus moves away from obedience of Gods’ commands and devotion to Him to material things or any temporal focus. A Church dies because of sin.

Sin in any form that a church tolerates is the root cause of a church dying. It does not matter if the sin is tolerated in the leadership or in the members. This tolerance begins the cycle of death. This opens the door to tolerance of unbelievers in the church. Soon, no one cares who is a believer or an unbeliever. When the man who runs the church is not a believer, and this is inevitable once the cycle starts, then the end comes and the church dies spiritually. The cycle of death begins with tolerance of sin. These sins of commission and omission kill the church bit by bit. Over time, the professing Christians in the church become carnal. The carnal do tolerate unbelievers being part of the local body. This is followed by total tolerance for sin. As the church begins its death throes, God will draw out of it the people in it who really love the Lord Jesus. As they leave, unbelievers replace them. I hear from several believers every month who cannot find a local church in their area that has not become compromised like this. I left a church that was beginning the process of inviting unbelievers in. It was putting one foot in the world while trying to keep one foot in the Church. That was nearly 3 years ago and the pain from that separation is still with my wife and I.

The church at Sardis was only going through the spiritual motions. It may have indeed had a name that it was alive, but God condemns every single religious activity that is not directed by the Holy Spirit. Unbelievers were not persecuting it. Why? The church at Sardis was just a religious form of the world and this is exactly what any church in our day is that is not controlled and directed by the Holy Spirit to serve the Lord Jesus Christ according to God’s will. We were discussing markers of a dead church earlier. We have actually been looking at this over the last few days. Dead churches and disingenuous believers hold to a man-friendly, man-centered, easy-believism from of the gospel. This non-gospel is cross-less, therefore, it also is Christ-less. The genuine Church holds to the genuine Gospel, which is cross-centered, and does not flinch from the reproach and shame of the Cross of Christ. The natural man hates the Gospel. It is hated by the world. Only the regenerate loves it, grasps it, and preaches it. This will bring persecution from the world.

Never forget my brethren that God is in the business of preserving a remnant within that which is dead, “Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.” God always has His remnant. Even in this dead church at Sardis there were still some who were not contaminated by the world. These would be suffering mightily as they were spiritual, but surrounded by carnal and fleshly. They were devout and sincere amongst hypocrites. They were humble among the proud. They were separate from the world, but the rest in that church were of the world. These would be equivalent to those I regularly hear from who remain in their dead church because there is no where else to go. Never forget my brethren, a church is not a building, but a body of believers. The church at Sardis was speaking of every professing Christian in that city. These genuine believers were God’s remnant at Sardis. The emphasis on their garments not being soiled is speaking of their righteousness, which is spotless so it is God’s righteousness. These are genuine believers who are promised that they will receive a new “white” garment and will walk with Christ in glory.

Our Lord gives five key commands to the church at Sardis. These commands are: wake up, strengthen, remember, keep it, and repent. These commands are given to all three different types of members of the church in Sardis. These three types of members are the dead (unbelievers), the sleeping or fleshly professing Christians, and the few who have not defiled their garments.

The first command is “wake up!” (vv 2,3). This can also be translated as “be watchful” or “watch!”. The command is a warning that if they do not watch then He will come upon them as a thief in the night. This is obviously spoken to the unbelievers in the church at Sardis.

The second command is “Strengthen!” This is a command to the genuine believers at Sardis to work to wake up the sleeping professing believers on the fringes. These fleshly Christians are spiritually blind. They are next to dead. This command is to those who see God’s light, reflect it to all, and hear His voice to preach repentance to those who are just hanging on.

The third command is “remember!” This is spoken to the genuine believers at Sardis to remember their salvation. This is a command to continue growing in Grace in their daily walk devoted to Christ. This remembering is keeping the mind occupied with the person of Christ and the miracle and reality of their salvation.

The fourth command is “keep it!” This can also be translated as “Hold Fast!” This is another command to the genuine believers at Sardis. They commanded to hold fast or keep to sound doctrine. This is vital. We are constantly under attacks that are designed to distract us with the things of this world away from God’s perfect doctrines of His truth. These distractions include false doctrines as well. The command to these Christians and to us in our time is to hang on and not let the world distract them from sound doctrine.

The fifth and final command is “repent!” This is given to the unbelievers and the fleshly believers at Sardis. These need to repent. The unbelievers need to believe the Gospel and repent. The fleshly believers need to seek for God to grant them repentance as they turn from the flesh and its debilitating blindness to have their hard hearts smashed by the grace of God.

Sardis was a dead church, but so are countless churches in our time who have become compromised. These five commands are for them as well. Examine yourselves by brethren. If you are in a doctrinally sound and spiritually alive church then rejoice and do not take that for granted. If you are in a dying church and there is nowhere else to go then ask the Lord for the grace to stand firm as His remnant where He has you. On the other hand, if you are dead then the command from our Lord is to believe and repent. If you are a professing Christian who is enslaved to your flesh then now is the time for you to come to the throne of grace for some serious confession and repentance.

Soli Deo Gloria!


[reprinted by permission.]


Todd Bentley: Claimed but Not Ordained

by Bud Press, Director

Christian Research Service

April 7, 2009


According to his January 2008 book, Journey Into The Miraculous, Todd Bentley claims to have been “ordained” through the Canadian-based Christian Ministers Association, and recognized as a “minister” through the World Ministry Fellowship here in the United States.


With its original roots in the Pentecostal movement, the Christian Ministers Association (CMA) is a “licensing body” that “provides a covering for those in need of meeting the requirements of Canadian Law concerning ordination of clergy,” and a “Canadian charter society registered with the Federal Government” ( ).


But according to a top official from the Christian Ministers Association (CMA), Bentley is not ordained through the CMA, and has never been a member of that association.


Further, Christian Research Service has learned that while Todd Bentley was recognized as a minister through the World Ministry Fellowship (WMF), his membership “papers” have been removed, according to a top official.


Founded in 1963, the WMF is an outreach and fellowship of ministers worldwide that “functions under the oversight of a 12 member Executive Board, a 21 member Advisory Board, and a 12 member Credentialing Committee” ( ). 


Once the WMF board learned the circumstances surrounding Bentley’s leaving the Lakeland revival and resignation from Fresh Fire Ministries, the WMF wasted no time and “moved-in quickly to take action,” a top official said.


Christian Research Service’s contact with the CMA and the WMF was due to the claims made by Todd Bentley in Journey Into The Miraculous

I thank God for my friendship with Patricia [King], and for how God used her as an instrument to ordain me into the ministry–but I always will know that the call came from God. I’ve since been ordained in Canada by my local church, and through the Christian Minister’s Association. In the U.S., I’m recognized as a minister of the Gospel through World Ministry Fellowship in Texas. [Todd Bentley, Journey Into The Miraculous, Destiny Image Publishers, January 2008, p. 162]   

According to Bentley, “God” led him to write Journey Into The Miraculous (p. 22).


Currently, Todd Bentley is undergoing another “restoration,” this time under the auspices of Rick Joyner, Bill Johnson, and Jack Deere. Unfortunately, Joyner, Johnson, and Deere are part of the problem, not the solution.


Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:12-13). 


Truth to the core


In 2008, Todd Bentley left the Lakeland revival in controversy, disgrace, and sin. Since then, Christian Research Service has maintained that he needs to repent and be born again, and surround himself with solid, Bible-based Christians for council.
CRS has also maintained that if Bentley is groomed, mentored, and “restored” by those who groomed and mentored him in the first place, he will end up in worst shape than ever before.

Solid, Bible-based men and women strive to lead holy lives and teach sound, Bible-based doctrine. They set good examples for others to follow–including the younger generation. They do not suddenly disappear in controversy, disgrace, and sin, then suddenly return months later in more controversy, disgrace, and sin. They are accountable first to God, then to their fellow Christians. To them, truth is paramount, and a false prophet is a false prophet; a false teacher is a false teacher, and sin is sin.



Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them

on the tablet of your heart (Proverbs 3:3). 


Closing comments…


This current fiasco is just the tip of the iceberg, and a natural consequence to a hyper-Charismatic movement gone wild and out of control. In many cases, false prophecies, false teachings, and sin are just mere “mistakes” that can be handled by playing the Wiser than God game, then filtered down though the Department of Compromise and Excuses. Eventually, after all the dust has settled, sin in the camp ends up in a mound of paperwork on the desk of Mr. I. Could Care Less. From there, it ends up in “File 13” (trash can), never to be discussed again.

And they get away with it because they have spent years conditioning and deceiving and intimidating their followers into believing in their self-appointed apostles, prophets, and teachers over-and-above God’s written word, the Bible.


But their fine-tuned deception hasn’t gone unnoticed. God’s righteous judgement is already at work, for He does not bless, honor, or excuse false prophets and false teachers. And they, like others before them, will fall:


Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap (Galatians 6:7).

There is an old saying: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Todd Bentley made choices. His actions will return to haunt him and those surrounding him. In the meantime, God warns those who continue to be fooled by the Todd Bentley’s of this world:



He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD (Proverbs 17:15).




Time is an enemy to all false teachers. Time has revealed that Todd Bentley’s claims are not ordained.


April 2009



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