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It was great to get a mention on WorldViewWeekend…

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Mike Bickle of IHOP wants a book about Catholic mystics to be “manual for IHOP-KC”

Much of the literature being sold through the International House of Prayer’s online FORERUNNER Bookstore indicates a contemplative influence. One such book being offered is Fire Within, written by Father Thomas Dubay. IHOP founder Mike Bickle states, “I want this book to be the manual for IHOP-KC.” [1]

That is high praise indeed from Mike Bickle. The full title of the book is Fire Within: St. Theresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and the Gospel–On Prayer. Incredibly, Bickle’s “manual” is about Catholic, contemplative mystics! Also for sale on the website are books by and about St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and even Madame Guyon.

Another book being offered is The Forgotten Desert Mothers, by Laura Swan. Swan writes, “We begin to discard our old ways and go in search of new ways of communicating with God. Our prayer matures and takes on new forms.” [2] And what are these new forms? Swan states, “Centering prayer, lectio divina, Christian meditation, Taize, and the Divine Office are all sought. Prayer moves us toward the simple: often sitting silently before the Divine–in contemplative or centering prayer–is all we feel drawn to do.” [3]

In an audio message, Mike Bickle apparently voiced great enthusiasm for contemplative prayer. Jocelyn Andersen has transcribed some of what was said, which you can find HERE. Kim Olsen of Discernit has reproduced IHOP’s promotion of contemplative prayer HERE. Perhaps it is not surprising that these have vanished from the web but can still be examined because of the diligence of these two saints.

Full article HERE

Related Articles

The Parable of the Candy Apple – Or What is the Doctrine behind IHOP

Confusion on the Davidic Tabernacle

and a very strange and sad story of IHOP youth evangelism at a Psychic fair:

IHOP goes to the Fair

in the comment section after this article a representative of the International House of Prayer tries to play down its involvement.

Governor Rick Perry’s “The Response” prayer rally is, if nothing else, revealing the growing political influence of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) evangelists. These are people who believe they have supernatural powers and the divine authority to rule over “the nations.” The prayer rally is a snippet of a widespread, well-organized movement.

The NAR evangelists embrace “seven mountains dominionist theology,” a belief that Christians must dominate seven “mountains” of culture which include church/religion, family, education, arts and entertainment, business/finance, media and government. Emerging as a leader of this movement is a group that calls itself The Oak Initiative, which seeks to reshape the culture and “to work on every level where government is found, from the most local to state and national levels.”

A number of The Oak Initiative’s board members are involved with Perry’s prayer rally and, in a recent newsletter, the group announced its latest goals:

Article HERE

Make sure to watch the video about Rick Joyner

“Joyner also claims that he has transcended time and space by mysteriously popping from one city to another.”

Anyone that has appeared on Sid Roth’s show is a false teacher, participates in false teaching, or is deceived by false teaching.

I like to jump around on other people’s posts on facebook. Going down the rabbit holes, or finding the source of one’s inspiration is very telling of the spirituality they speak of. For instance I bounced around to a site that had the title:

Theological/philosophical/cultural/spiritual thoughts about God and the Real Jesus.

Oh,  this person has found the Real Jesus. Let’s see!  I had only to scroll down about 7-8 articles to find what he wrote:

Thomas Merton has written: “Keeping a journal has taught me that there is not so much new in the interior life as one sometimes thinks. When you reread your journal you find out that your newest discovery is something you found out five years ago. Still, it is true that one penetrates deeper and deeper into the same ideas, the same experiences.” (Merton, Thomas (2007).

Growing deeper and deeper into Christ and His love is to discover new things about the same thing. I think that if you and I were more mastered by Christ’s love it would be life overwhelming, life overflowing.

Today stick to the basics, the most foundational of which is: Love.

Ah….Thomas Merton…. So let’s take a good look at Merton. Lighthouse Trails Research has this good article about him titled:

Thomas Merton – Contemplative, Mystic, Panentheist.

Article HERE

Here are a couple of quotes from Thomas Merton.

“It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, … now I realize what we all are …. If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are …I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other … At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth … This little point …is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody.”

FROM A TIME OF DEPARTING BY RAY YUNGEN (quoting Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (1989 edition, 157-158)

“I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity … I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.”

(David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969)

There is no way I can trust this person’s claim that they know the real Jesus when they are following false teachings.

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oTohomas Merton – Contemplative, Mystic, Panentheist Thomas Merton – Contemplative, Mystic, Panentheist

An Escape From Bethel and the False Prophetic

excerpt from m’kayla’s  korner

Just received this as a comment. Please, if you are involved with Bethel, Crowder, any part of the charismatic/word of faith movement, the healing rooms or the prophetic, check these methods with the word of God. They may seem right, but they are occult at the core. I know this is so because I used to be a part of it all. Praise God for His saving grace!

I really wanted to share my story too as my church in the UK has become well & truly Bethelized, the transition into it has been a subtle & underhanded invasion, swapping of truth for error, what Im posting is about that journey of utter deception & how it gets in.

late 2009- Bill Johnson comes to my town in a big church wide event…. some time after that mtg (I didnt go to it because I really dont like big events) our senior pastor sat down with some leaders & discussed the audacity of bethel people visiting mind/body/spirit./psychic type fairs & setting up stalls that would offer to pray for healing & prophesy over people that would frequent such a place… 1st red flag no gospel preached/ & irresponsible – how on earth do people who are mostly drawn to occult practices discern & distinguish & make appropriate responses to that which is reportedly from a Holy God in that type of setting. ok I know god can reach anyone anywhere anyhow – but his “method” promotes spiritual confusion I believe in people who are dead to sin & lost to HIM.

Full Story at m’kayla’s Blog HERE

IHOP’s New Breed Leaders

 



The very strange teachings about Bloodlines, New Breed, Elect Seed, New Order and Abortion in the history of the IHOP movement

  • “The best of every blood line”
  • “300,000 that will have a special measure of the Spirit”
  • “getting the next generation into the warfare”
  • ” the elect generation”
  • “leadership over the one billion” (Mike Bickle & Bob Jones)[1]

The IHOP (International House of Prayer) movement is now front and center stage as a national controversy continues to swirl around Texas Governor Rick Perry and his upcoming prayer rally The Response featuring prominent IHOP and NAR leaders as “endorsers.” The national media is scrambling to catch up with the significance of this event, and a few reporters are bungling it badly.[2]

In the meantime, The Response showed no signs of faltering, as James and Shirley Dobson, Max Lucado and Maine Governor Paul LePage added their weight to a new promo webpage for the event, “What Others are Saying.” This quasi-political prayer event continues to be controversial because of the potential political ambitions of Gov. Perry who, according to one reporter, “may be counting on apostles and prophets to help propel him to the White House.”[3] This same article recounts the attempts by the NAR and IHOP movements to bridge racial divides:

Full STORY

I believe that the 66 books of the Bible is the divine Word of  God.

Those who subtract from the 66, end up with an incomplete knowledge of God.  Those in this camp, isolate verses to create their own theology or pet views. Or they focus only on one book like Acts, or Revelation and like to ignore the epistles which are full of warnings to the church. Ignoring the Old Testament deprives one of the richness of learning about the Patriarchs and learning about God’s power and sovereignty.

Those who add to scripture do so in various ways. One way is to read the gnostic books that were rejected long ago. The seduction that one has found secret answers outside of scripture is very bewitching. But as I watch those who pay heed to these writings I see them falling away from the simplicity that is in Christ, and ridicule those who cling to the canon as narrow and unsophisticated. They use John 3:12 as a verse to say that others do not understand heavenly things like they do. Eve desired this knowledge so long ago, she thought it would make her wise and like God. But the opposite happened. She doubted God by listening to the serpent who asked, ” Did God really say?”

Another way people add to scripture is to prophesy from their hearts and minds, but they tell fables and their predictions do not come true. The Bible is clear…do not listen to them for they do not speak for God.

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ASSAULT ON BIBLE PROVES ITS DIVINE INSPIRATION (Friday Church News Notes, July 15, 2011, http://www.wayoflife.org

The broad assault on the Bible today is a fulfillment of prophecy and therefore an evidence that the Bible is true. 2 Timothy 3:7-8 warns that even professing Christians will join in the assault. They will be ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, and in fact, will resist the truth (2 Tim. 3:7-8).

This is a perfect description of Christian higher education today, even among “evangelicals” (as we have documented in the book New Evangelicalism). The typical seminary takes a syncretistic approach, having a tolerant attitude toward a wide assortment of “theologies” and enthusiastically entertaining an endless stream of ancient and end-times heresies, while despising any dogmatic approach to doctrine and attacking those who hold the Bible as the infallibly inspired Word of God.

Christianity Today recently published an article questioning the historicity of Adam and Eve and pretending that it doesn’t matter one way or the other. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 prophesies that end-times Christians will trade sound doctrine for fables and will be led in this diabolical business by heaps of teachers who are willing to scratch people’s ears with new things. Peter prophesied that many will teach damnable heresies, even attacking the person and character of Christ; and by their false teaching and sensual lifestyle they will bring great reproach upon Christianity (2 Peter 2:1-2).

Peter also prophesied that at the end of the age there will be widespread unbelief toward the global flood and the second coming of Christ; there will be scoffing and flagrant rejection of God’s moral laws (2 Peter 3:3-6). The apostasy, which began in the days of the apostles, will grow in intensity as the church age progresses (2 Timothy 3:13).

These amazing 2,000-year-old prophecies, which are precise and detailed, give a perfect description of conditions in our day. This would not be possible apart from divine inspiration.

Some years back, I thought that the New Apostolic Reformation led by C. Peter Wagner would remain a fringe cult. I was wrong. So very wrong.

Listen to a ten minute video of Brannon Howse. I agree with everything he says. The link is below. It is titled:

GOVERNOR OF TEXAS, RICK PERRY BASES CALL FOR NATIONAL PRAYER ON JOEL’S ARMY CULT?

http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-tube/video.php?videoid=4450

Then read:

On September 28, 2009, at 1:40 p.m., God’s messengers visited Rick Perry.

source HERE

On this day, the Lord’s messengers arrived in the form of two Texas pastors, Tom Schlueter of Arlington and Bob Long of San Marcos, who called on Perry in the governor’s office inside the state Capitol. Schlueter and Long both oversee small congregations, but they are more than just pastors. They consider themselves modern-day apostles and prophets, blessed with the same gifts as Old Testament prophets or New Testament apostles.

The pastors told Perry of God’s grand plan for Texas. A chain of powerful prophecies had proclaimed that Texas was “The Prophet State,” anointed by God to lead the United States into revival and Godly government. And the governor would have a special role.

The day before the meeting, Schlueter had received a prophetic message from Chuck Pierce, an influential prophet from Denton, Texas. God had apparently commanded Schlueter—through Pierce—to “pray by lifting the hand of the one I show you that is in the place of civil rule.”

Gov. Perry, it seemed.

Schlueter had prayed before his congregation: “Lord Jesus I bring to you today Gov. Perry. … I am just bringing you his hand and I pray Lord that he will grasp ahold of it. For if he does you will use him mightily.”

And grasp ahold the governor did. At the end of their meeting, Perry asked the two pastors to pray over him. As the pastors would later recount, the Lord spoke prophetically as Schlueter laid his hands on Perry, their heads bowed before a painting of the Battle of the Alamo. Schlueter “declared over [Perry] that there was a leadership role beyond Texas and that Texas had a role beyond what people understand,” Long later told his congregation.

So you have to wonder: Is Rick Perry God’s man for president?

Schlueter, Long and other prayer warriors in a little-known but increasingly influential movement at the periphery of American Christianity seem to think so. The movement is called the New Apostolic Reformation. Believers fashion themselves modern-day prophets and apostles. They have taken Pentecostalism, with its emphasis on ecstatic worship and the supernatural, and given it an adrenaline shot.

The movement’s top prophets and apostles believe they have a direct line to God. Through them, they say, He communicates specific instructions and warnings. When mankind fails to heed the prophecies, the results can be catastrophic: earthquakes in Japan, terrorist attacks in New York, and economic collapse. On the other hand, they believe their God-given decrees have ended mad cow disease in Germany and produced rain in drought-stricken Texas.

Their beliefs can tend toward the bizarre. Some consider Freemasonry a “demonic stronghold” tantamount to witchcraft. The Democratic Party, one prominent member believes, is controlled by Jezebel and three lesser demons. Some prophets even claim to have seen demons at public meetings. They’ve taken biblical literalism to an extreme. In Texas, they engage in elaborate ceremonies involving branding irons, plumb lines and stakes inscribed with biblical passages driven into the earth of every Texas county.

If they simply professed unusual beliefs, movement leaders wouldn’t be remarkable. But what makes the New Apostolic Reformation movement so potent is its growing fascination with infiltrating politics and government. The new prophets and apostles believe Christians—certain Christians—are destined to not just take “dominion” over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the “Seven Mountains” of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world. They believe they’re intended to lord over it all. As a first step, they’re leading an “army of God” to commandeer civilian government.

In Rick Perry, they may have found their vessel. And the interest appears to be mutual.

In all the media attention surrounding Perry’s flirtation with a run for the presidency, the governor’s budding relationship with the leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation movement has largely escaped notice. But perhaps not for long. Perry has given self-proclaimed prophets and apostles leading roles in The Response, a much-publicized Christians-only prayer rally that Perry is organizing at Houston’s Reliant Stadium on Aug. 6.

The Response has engendered widespread criticism of its deliberate blurring of church and state and for the involvement of the American Family Association, labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its leadership’s homophobic and anti-Muslim statements. But it’s the involvement of New Apostolic leaders that’s more telling about Perry’s convictions and campaign strategy.

Eight members of The Response “leadership team” are affiliated with the New Apostolic Reformation movement. They’re employed or associated with groups like TheCall or the International House of Prayer (IHOP), Kansas City-based organizations at the forefront of the movement. The long list of The Response’s official endorsers—posted on the event’s website—reads like a Who’s Who of the apostolic-prophetic crowd, including movement founder C. Peter Wagner.

In a recent interview with the Observer, Schlueter explained that The Response is divinely inspired. “The government of our nation was basically founded on biblical principles,” he says. “When you have a governmental leader call a time of fasting and prayer, I believe that there has been a significant shift in our understanding as far as who is ultimately in charge of our nation—which we believe God is.”

Perry certainly knows how to speak the language of the new apostles. The genesis of The Response, Perry says, comes from the Book of Joel, an obscure slice of the Old Testament that’s popular with the apostolic crowd.

“With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God’s help,” Perry says in a video message on The Response website. “That’s why I’m calling on Americans to pray and fast like Jesus did and as God called the Israelites to do in the Book of Joel.”

The reference to Joel likely wasn’t lost on Perry’s target audience. Prominent movement leaders strike the same note. Lou Engle, who runs TheCall, told a Dallas-area Assemblies of God congregation in April that “His answer in times of crisis is Joel 2.”

Mike Bickle, a jock-turned-pastor who runs the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, a sort of command headquarters and university for young End Times enthusiasts, taught a 12-part series on Joel last year.

The Book of Joel describes a crippling drought and economic crisis—sound familiar?—in the land of Judah. The calamities, in Joel’s time and ours, are “sent by God to cause a wicked, oppressive, and rebellious nation to repent,” Bickle told his students.

To secure God’s blessing, Joel commands the people to gather in “sacred assembly” to pray, fast, and repent.

More ominously, Bickle teaches that Joel is an “instruction manual” for the imminent End Times. It is “essential to help equip people to be prepared for the unique dynamics occurring in the years leading up to Jesus’ return,” he has said.

The views espoused by Bickle, Engle and other movement leaders occupy the radical fringe of Christian fundamentalism. Their beliefs may seem bizarre even to many conservative evangelicals. Yet Perry has a knack for finding the forefront of conservative grassroots. Prayer warriors, apostles and prophets are filled with righteous energy and an increasing appetite for power in the secular political world. Their zeal and affiliation with charismatic independent churches, the fastest-growing subset of American Christianity, offers obvious benefits for Perry if he runs for president.

There are enormous political risks, too. Mainstream voters may be put off by the movement’s extreme views or discomfited by talk of self-proclaimed prophets “infiltrating” government.

Catherine Frazier, a spokesperson for the governor’s office, wouldn’t respond to specific questions but wrote in an email, “The Response event is about coming together in prayer to seek wisdom and guidance from God to the challenges that confront our nation. That is where the governor’s focus is, and he welcomes those that wish to join him in this common cause.”

For the moment, Perry’s relationship with the New Apostles is little known. Few in Texas GOP circles say they’ve ever heard of them. “I wish I could help you,” said Steve Munisteri, the state Republican Party chair. “I’ve never even heard of that movement.”

“For the most part I don’t know them,” said Cathie Adams, former head of the Texas Eagle Forum and a veteran conservative activist.

Nonetheless, Perry may be counting on apostles and prophets to help propel him to the White House. And they hope Perry will lead them out of the wilderness into the promised land.

Listen closely to Perry’s recent public statements and you’ll occasionally hear him uttering New Apostle code words. In June, Perry defended himself against Texas critics on Fox News, telling host Neil Cavuto that “a prophet is generally not loved in their hometown.”

It seemed an odd comment. It’s the rare politician who compares himself to a prophet, and many viewers likely passed it off as a flub. But to the members of a radical new Christian movement, the remark made perfect sense.

The phrase “New Apostolic Reformation” comes from the movement’s intellectual godfather, C. Peter Wagner, who has called it, a bit vaingloriously, “the most radical change in the way of doing Christianity since the Protestant Reformation.”

Boasting aside, Wagner is an important figure in evangelical circles. He helped formulate the “church growth” model, a blueprint for worship that helped spawn modern mega-churches and international missions. In the 1990s, he turned away from the humdrum business of “harvesting souls” in mega-churches and embarked on a more revolutionary project.

He began promoting the notion that God is raising up modern-day prophets and apostles vested with extraordinary authority to bring about social transformation and usher in the Kingdom of God.

In 2006, Wagner published Apostles Today: Biblical Government for Biblical Power, in which he declared a “Second Apostolic Age.” The first age had occurred after Jesus’ biblical resurrection, when his apostles traveled Christendom spreading the gospel. Commissioned by Jesus himself, the 12 apostles acted as His agents. The second apostolic age, Wagner announced, began “around the year 2001.”

“Apostles,” he wrote, “are the generals in the army of God.”

One of the primary tasks of the new prophets and apostles is to hear God’s will and then act on it. Sometimes this means changing the world supernaturally. Wagner tells of the time in October 2001 when, at a huge prayer conference in Germany, he “decreed that mad cow disease would come to an end in Europe and the UK.” As it turned out, the last reported case of human mad cow disease had occurred the day before. “I am not implying that I have any inherent supernatural power,” Wagner wrote. “I am implying that when apostles hear the word of God clearly and when they decree His will, history can change.”

Claims of such powers are rife among Wagner’s followers. Cindy Jacobs—a self-described “respected prophet” and Wagner protégée who runs a Dallas-area group called Generals International—claims to have predicted the recent earthquakes in Japan. “God had warned us that shaking was coming,” she wrote in Charisma magazine, an organ for the movement. “This doesn’t mean that it was His desire for it to happen, but more of the biblical fulfillment that He doesn’t do anything without first warning through His servants.”

There is, of course, a corollary to these predictive abilities: Horrible things happen when advice goes unheeded.

Last year Jacobs warned that if America didn’t return to biblical values and support Israel, God would cause a “tumbling of the economy and dark days will come,” according to Charisma. To drive the point home, Jacobs and other right-wing allies—including The Response organizers Lou Engle and California pastor Jim Garlow—organized a 40-day “Pray and Act” effort in the lead-up to the 2010 elections.

Unlike other radical religious groups, the New Apostles believe political activism is part of their divine mission. “Whereas their spiritual forefathers in the Pentecostal movement would have eschewed involvement in politics, the New Apostles believe they have a divine mandate to rescue a decaying American society,” said Margaret Poloma, a practicing Pentecostal and professor of sociology at the University of Akron. “Their apostolic vision is to usher in the Kingdom of God.”

“Where does God stop and they begin?” she asks. “I don’t think they know the difference.”

Poloma is one of the few academics who has closely studied the apostolic movement. It’s largely escaped notice, in part, because it lacks the traditional structures of either politics or religion, says Rachel Tabachnick, a researcher who has covered the movement extensively for Talk2Action.org, a left-leaning site that covers the religious right.

“It’s fairly recent and it just doesn’t fit into people’s pre-conceived notions,” she says. “They can’t get their head around something that isn’t denominational.”

The movement operates through a loose but interlocking array of churches, ministries, councils and seminaries—many of them in Texas. But mostly it holds together through the friendships and alliances of its prophets and apostles.

The Response itself seems patterned on TheCall, day-long worship and prayer rallies usually laced with anti-gay and anti-abortion messages. TheCall—also the name of a Kansas City-based organization—is led by Lou Engle, an apostle who looks a bit like Mr. Magoo and has the unnerving habit of rocking back and forth while shouting at his audience in a raspy voice. (Engle is also closely associated with the International House of Prayer—, Mike Bickle’s 24/7 prayer center in Kansas City.) Engle frequently mobilizes his followers in the service of earthly causes, holding raucous prayer events in California to help pass Prop 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative, and making an appearance in Uganda last year to lend aid to those trying to pass a law that would have imposed the death penalty on homosexuals. But Engle’s larger aim is Christian control of government.

“The church’s vocation is to rule history with God,” he has said. “We are called into the very image of the Trinity himself, that we are to be His friends and partners for world dominion.”

“It sounds so fringe but yet it’s not fringe,” Tabachnick says. “They’ve been working with Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Sam Brownback, and now Rick Perry. … They are becoming much more politically noticeable.”

Some of the fiercest critics of the New Apostolic Reformation come from within the Pentecostal and charismatic world. The Assemblies of God Church, the largest organized Pentecostal denomination, specifically repudiated self-proclaimed prophets and apostles in 2000, calling their creed a “deviant teaching” that could rapidly “become dictatorial, presumptuous, and carnal.”

Assemblies authorities also rejected the notion that the church is supposed to assume dominion over earthly institutions, labeling it “unscriptural triumphalism.”

The New Apostles talk about taking dominion over American society in pastoral terms. They refer to the “Seven Mountains” of society: family, religion, arts and entertainment, media, government, education, and business. These are the nerve centers of society that God (or his people) must control.

Asked about the meaning of the Seven Mountains, Schlueter says, “God’s kingdom just can’t be expressed on Sunday morning for two hours. God’s kingdom has to be expressed in media and government and education. It’s not like our goal is to have a Bible on every child’s desk. That’s not the goal. The goal is to hopefully have everyone acknowledge that God’s in charge of us regardless.”

But climbing those mountains sounds a little more specific on Sunday mornings. Schlueter has bragged to his congregation of meetings with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, state Sen. Brian Birdwell, and the Arlington City Council. He recently told a church in Victoria that state Rep. Phil King, a conservative Republican from Weatherford, had allowed him to use King’s office at the Capitol to make calls and organize.

“We’re going to influence it,” Schlueter told his congregation. “We’re going to infiltrate it, not run from it. I know why God’s doing what he’s doing … He’s just simply saying, ‘Tom I’ve given you authority in a governmental authority, and I need you to infiltrate the governmental mountain. Just do it, it’s no big deal.’ I was talking with [a member of the congregation] the other day. She’s going to start infiltrating. A very simple process. She’s going to join the Republican Party, start going to all their meetings. Some [members] are already doing that.”

Doug Stringer, a relatively low-profile apostle, is one of the movement’s more complex figures—and one of the few people associated with The Response who returned my calls. His assignment for The Response: mobilizing the faithful from around the nation. Though he’s friendly with the governor and spoke at the state GOP convention, Stringer says he’s a political independent, “morally conservative” but with a “heart for social justice.”

Stringer runs Somebody Cares America, a nonprofit combining evangelism with charitable assistance to the indigent and victims of natural disasters. In 2009, Perry recognized Stringer in his State of the State address for his role in providing aid to Texans devastated by Hurricane Ike.

Stringer’s message is that The Response will be apolitical, non-partisan, even ecumenical. The goal, he says, is to “pray for personal repentance and corporate repentance on behalf of the church, not against anybody else.”

I ask him about his involvement with the Texas Apostolic Prayer Network, which is overseen by Schlueter. Six of the nine people listed as network “advisors” are involved in The Response, including Stringer, Cindy Jacobs and Waco pastor Ramiro Peña. The Texas group is part of a larger 50-state network of prophets, apostles and prayer intercessors called the Heartland Apostolic Network, which itself overlaps with the Reformation Prayer Network run by Jacobs. The Texas Apostolic Prayer Network is further subdivided into sixteen regions, each with its own director.

Some of these groups’ beliefs and activities will be startling, even to many conservative evangelicals. For example, in 2010 Texas prayer warriors visited every Masonic lodge in the state attempting to cast out the demon Baal, whom they believe controls Freemasonry. At each site, the warriors read a decree—written in legalese—divorcing Baal from the “People of God” and recited a lengthy prayer referring to Freemasonry as “witchcraft.”

Asked whether he shares these views, Stringer launches into a long treatise about secrecy during which he manages to lump together Mormonism, Freemasonry and college fraternities.

“I think there has been a lot of damage and polarization over decades because of the influence of some areas of Freemasonry that have been corrupted,” he says. “In fact, if you look at the original founder of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, he had a huge influence by Masonry. Bottom-line, anything that is so secretive that has to be hidden in darkness … is not biblical. The Bible says that everything needs to be brought to the light. That’s why I would never be part of a fraternity, like on campus.”

Why would Perry throw in with this crowd?

One possible answer is that he’s an opportunistic politician running for president who’s trying to get right, if not with Jesus, with a particular slice of the GOP base.

Perry himself may have the gift of foresight. He seems preternaturally capable of spotting The Next Big Thing and positioning himself as an authentic leader of grassroots movements before they overtake other politicians. Think of the prescient way he hitched his political future to the Tea Party. In 2009 Perry spoke at a Tax Day protest and infamously flirted with Texas secession. At the time it seemed crazy. In retrospect it seems brilliant.

Now, he’s made common cause with increasingly influential fundamentalists from the bleeding fringe of American Christianity at a time when the political influence of mainstream evangelicals seems to be fading.

For decades evangelicals have been key to Republican presidential victories, but much has changed since George W. Bush named Jesus as his favorite philosopher at an Iowa debate during the 2000 presidential campaign. There is much turbulence among evangelicals. There’s no undisputed leader, a Jerry Falwell or a Pat Robertson, to bring the “tribes”—to use Stringer’s phrase—together. So you go where the momentum is. There is palpable excitement in the prayer movement and among the New Apostles that the nation is on the cusp of a major spiritual and political revival.

“On an exciting note, we are in the beginning stages of the Third Great Awakening,” Jacobs told Trinity Church in Cedar Hill earlier this year. (Trinity’s pastor, Jim Hennesy, is also an apostle and endorser of The Response. Trinity is probably best known for its annual Halloween “Hell House” that tries to scare teens into accepting Jesus.) “We are seeing revivals pop up all over the United States. … Fires are breaking out all over the place. And we are going to see great things happening.”

Moreover, various media outlets have documented a possible coalescing of religious-right leaders around Perry’s candidacy. Time magazine reported on a June conference call among major evangelical leaders, including religious historian David Barton and San Antonio pastor John Hagee, in which they “agreed that Rick Perry would be their preferred candidate if he entered the race,” according to the magazine.

Journalist Tabachnick says politicians are attracted to the apostolic movement because of the valuable organizational structure and databases the leadership has built.

“I believe it’s because they’ve built such a tremendous communication network,” she says, pointing to the 50-state prayer networks plugged into churches and ministries. “They found ways to work that didn’t involve the institutional structures that many denominations have. They don’t have big offices, headquarters. They work more like a political campaign.”

But if the apostles present a broad organizing opportunity, the political risks for Perry are equally large.

In 2008 GOP nominee John McCain was forced to reject Hagee’s endorsement after media scrutiny of the pastor’s anti-Catholic comments. Similarly, Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign nearly fell apart when voters saw video of controversial sermons by the candidate’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright. If anything, Perry is venturing even further into the spiritual wilderness. The faith of the New Apostles will be unfamiliar, strange, and scary to many Americans.

Consider Alice Patterson. She’s in charge of mobilizing churches in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma for The Response. A field director for the Texas Christian Coalition in the 1990s, she’s now a significant figure in apostolic circles and runs a San Antonio-based organization called Justice at the Gate.

Patterson, citing teachings by Cindy Jacobs, Chuck Pierce and Lou Engle, has written that the Democratic Party is controlled by “an invisible network of evil comprising an unholy structure” unleashed by the biblical figure Jezebel.

Patterson claims to have seen demons with her own eyes. In 2009, at a prophetic meeting in Houston, Patterson says she saw the figure of Jezebel and “saw Jezebel’s skirt lifted to expose tiny Baal, Asherah, and a few other spirits. There they were—small, cowering, trembling little spirits that were only ankle high on Jezebel’s skinny legs.”

Those revelations are contained in Patterson’s 2010 book Bridging the Racial and Political Divide: How Godly Politics Can Transform a Nation. Patterson’s aim, as she makes clear in her book, is getting black and brown evangelicals to vote Republican and support conservative causes. A major emphasis among the New Apostles is racial reconciliation and recruitment of minorities and women. The apostolic prayer networks often perform elaborate ceremonies in which participants dress up in historical garb and repent for racial sins.

The formula—overcoming racism to achieve multiracial fundamentalism—has caught on in the apostolic movement. Some term the approach the “Rainbow Right,” and in fact The Response has a high quotient of African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans in leadership positions.

Lou Engle, for example, is making a big push to recruit black activists into the anti-abortion ranks. “We’re looking for the new breed of black prophets to arise and forgive us our baggage,” he said at Trinity Assemblies of God, “and then lead us out of victimization and into the healing of a nation, to stop the shedding of innocent blood.”

Rick Perry is a white southern conservative male who may end up running against a black president. It doesn’t take a prophet to see that he could use friends like these.

There’s one other possible reason for Perry’s flirtation with the apostles, and it has nothing to do with politics. He could be a true believer.

Perry has never been shy about proclaiming his faith. He was raised a Methodist and still occasionally attends Austin’s genteel Tarrytown United Methodist Church. But according to an October 2010 story in the Austin American-Statesman, he now spends more Sundays at West Austin’s Lake Hills Church, a non-denominational evangelical church that features a rock band and pop-culture references. The more effusive approach to religion clearly appealed to Perry. “They dunk,” Perry told the American-Statesman. “Methodists sprinkle.”

Still, attending an evangelical church is a long way from believing in modern-day apostles and demons in plain sight. Could Perry actually buy into this stuff?

He’s certainly convinced the movement’s leaders. “He’s a very deep man of faith and I know that sometimes causes problems for people because they think he’s making decisions based on his faith,” Schlueter says. He pauses a beat. “Well, I hope so.”

But the danger of associating with extremists is apparent even to Schlueter, the man who took God’s message to Perry in September 2009. “It could be political suicide to do what he’s doing,” Schlueter says. “Man, this is the last thing he’d want to do if it were concerning a presidential bid. It could be very risky.”

Way of Life reviews The Alpha Course and offers alternate courses.  I glady reprint this because I was recently invited to attend this course by a Catholic. This person said that he “could feel the giggles” coming on while attending….hhmmm.

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The Alpha course, “a short practical introduction to the Christian faith,” grew out of a study program started in the 1970s by Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB), one of the largest and most influential Anglican parishes. It is located at the heart of London’s most exclusive shopping district, Knightsbridge, and is just down the street from the world famous Harrods department store (owned by the father of Dodi al-Fayed, who was killed in the auto crash with Princess Diana in September 1997).

The program consists of 15 sessions and runs for ten weeks. It covers such basic topics as who is Jesus and why did He die, how and why should I read the Bible, why and how do I pray, how does God guide us, and what about the church? The course has been extremely successful among Anglican parishes, so much so that some churches that had been closed were reopened.

In 1991, the Alpha program was revised by Nicky Gumbel, one of the pastors of HTB, for use in other churches. Since then Alpha has crossed denominational lines and has grown rapidly. Only 600 people attended the courses in 1991, but by 1996, that number had exploded to 250,000 per year. By 1997, it increased to 500,000 participants worldwide. It is estimated that 15 million people have taken the course as of 2011. The materials are being used in 163 countries and have been translated into nearly 50 languages.

The Alpha program has also grown rapidly in North America and has been promoted by Jack Hayford, Robert Schuller, J.I. Packer, Luis Palau, Rick Warren, and many other well-known Christian leaders.

Christianity Today for Nov. 12, 2001, called the Alpha Course “the fastest-growing adult education program in the country.” More than 4,200 churches in the U.S. use the curriculum.

Many have asked me about Alpha, and I offer the following warnings.

ALPHA’S DOCTRINAL WEAKNESS IS EVIDENT IN ITS WIDE ECUMENICAL APPEAL

Alpha has achieved wide ecumenical appeal. Nicky Gumbel of Holy Trinity Brompton stated the ecumenical philosophy of the HTB in these words: “We need to unite … there has been some comment which is not helpful to unity. Let us drop that and get on. It is wonderful that the movement of the Spirit will always bring churches together. He is doing that right across the denominations and within the traditions … we are seeing Roman Catholics coming now … Nobody is suspicious of anybody else … People are no longer ‘labelling’ themselves or others. I long for the day when we drop all these labels and just regard ourselves as Christians with a commission from Jesus Christ” (Renewal, May 1995, p. 16).

Alpha has even been accepted by the Roman Catholic Church. In the February 1997 issue of Alpha News, the lead article was titled “Archbishop praises Alpha on Pope visit as Catholic church hosts conferences.” It noted that Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey praised the Alpha course in a speech in Rome during his official visit with Pope John Paul II in December of that year. In May 1997, more than 400 Catholic leaders attended an Alpha conference in Westminster Cathedral in London, to be trained in conducting Alpha courses in Catholic parishes. The meeting received the blessing of Cardinal Basil Hume, the highest Catholic official in England (Alpha News, February 1997, p. 1). The courses were so popular with the Catholics that many other Alpha training conferences were scheduled for Catholic venues. In Belfast, Northern Ireland, Catholics and Protestants both are using Alpha. Two Catholic churches (Church of the Resurrection and St. Gerard’s) are meeting with Fortwilliam Park and Rosemary Presbyterian churches and with St. Peter’s Church of Ireland “for prayer and training” (The Burning Bush, February 1998). Alpha was endorsed by the archbishop of Baltimore, Cardinal William Keeler (“Education through Alpha,” The Ledger, Lakeland, Florida, March 13, 1999, p. D3). One of the largest Alpha conferences in the United States took place March 18-19, 1999, at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Winter Springs, Florida. It was attended by 600 people.

The Alpha program has achieved this ecumenical acceptance because it is doctrinally weak. It refers to salvation, the cross, the death of Christ, etc., in such a general way that false doctrine is not refuted. It says salvation is by grace, for instance, but it does not say that salvation is by grace ALONE by faith ALONE through the blood of Christ ALONE without works or sacraments. It refers to the Bible as God’s Word in a general sense, but it does not explain that the Bible is truly God’s inerrant, infallible, supernatural Word that must be reverenced and obeyed in every detail, that the Bible ALONE is the authority for faith and practice. It refers to Christ’s death on the cross, but does not plainly explain the vicarious atonement that was required for man’s salvation. It refers to man’s need, but it does not describe man as a totally depraved nature sinner. If Alpha were that specific, it is certain it would not be ecumenically popular in this apostate hour.

ALPHA PROMOTES CHARISMATIC CONFUSION

It is important to understand that the explosion of Holy Trinity Brompton’s (HTB) Alpha program coincides with that church’s involvement in the “Toronto Blessing” or the “Laughing Revival” since 1994.

Among those who attended the Laughing Revival in Toronto in 1994 from England was Eleanor Mumford, wife of Pastor John Mumford of the Southwest London Vineyard. Upon her arrival back in England, she testified of her experiences in Toronto and the Laughing Revival broke out in the Vineyard congregation, both in the general services and in various house meetings. One of these meetings in May 1994, was attended by Nicky Gumbel, the aforementioned Anglican priest from Holy Trinity Brompton who popularized the Alpha program. At the house meeting, Eleanor Mumford told of her experiences in Toronto and “invited the Holy Spirit to come.” The moment she did that, strange things began to happen. One person was thrown across the room and lay on the floor howling and laughing, “making the most incredible noise.” Another man lay on the floor “prophesying.” Some appeared to be drunken. Gumbel testified that he had an experience “like massive electricity going through my body.” Gumbel got himself together and rushed to a meeting at Holy Trinity Brompton, where he apologized for being late. When he closed that meeting with prayer and said, “Lord, thank you so much for all you are doing and we pray you’ll send your Spirit,” the same strange phenomena were again manifested. One of those present lay on the floor with his feet in the air and started laughing like a hyena. (This information is gathered from material I collected on my visit to HTB in 1997.)

When Sandy Millar, vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton, found out about the spiritual slayings of Gumbel and other HTB people, he and the other leaders invited Eleanor Mumford to speak at both the morning and evening Sunday services on May 29. When Mrs. Mumford finished speaking, she invited the Holy Spirit to come. The Laughing Revival broke out in HTB and the mainline British newspapers quickly broadcast it to the nation. On May 31, Millar and the pastoral director from HTB flew to Toronto to examine the “Toronto Blessing” firsthand. Thus, the Alpha program’s explosion into international popularity coincides with Holy Trinity Brompton becoming a British headquarters for the unscriptural Laughing (or Drunken) Revival.

There is also a connection between Holy Trinity Brompton and the confusion that is being perpetrated by the Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida. In January 1995, a Pentecostal evangelist named Steve Hill was on his way back to the States from a missionary trip. Stopping over in London, he stayed with a charismatic Roman Catholic couple who open their home for visitors. Hearing of the happenings at Holy Trinity Brompton, Hill sought out Sandy Millar and requested that he lay hands on him. When Millar acquiesced, Hill was knocked down. This is how Hill describes it:

I stepped over bodies to get to the pastor. When Sandy touched me I fell to the ground (I don’t ever do that) … I was like a kid at a Toys ‘R’ Us … Then I got up and ran up to a couple and said, ‘Pray for me, hey man this is good.’ They touched me and wham! I went back down. Some of you God is going to hit in a powerful way. If you are hungry get prayed for a dozen times (Steve Hill, Father’s Day Video, Brownsville Assemblies of God Church).

Six months passed after Hill experienced a touch from the Laughing Revival spirit. On June 18, 1995, he was preaching in the Brownsville Assembly of God near Pensacola, Florida, when the Laughing or Drunken Revival broke out in what would become its greatest arena to date. John Kilpatrick, pastor of the Brownsville church, fell to the floor and lay there for almost four hours. “When I hit that floor, it felt like I weighed 10,000 pounds. I knew something supernatural was happening” (Kilpatrick, Charisma, June 1996). He has been so “drunk” that he could not drive himself home.

The “Pensacola Outpouring,” as it has been called by many Charismatics, has connections with the Laughing Revival in Toronto not only via Hill’s contact with HTB in London, England, but even more directly through visits of its members to Toronto. For several weeks before June 18, many members from the Brownsville Assembly of God had traveled to the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church to participate in the Laughing Revival. Just before he became the music leader at the Brownsville Assembly of God, Lindel Cooley attended the Toronto Laughing Revival meetings. The wife of Brownsville Assembly pastor, John Kilpatrick, visited Toronto two times accompanied by the wife of one of the church officers (Dr. Herb Babcock, former member of Brownsville AOG, “That’s How They Do It in Toronto!” The End Times, March-April 1997, p. 8). Also, prior to the June 18 breakout of the Laughing Revival in Brownsville, a film featuring the “Toronto Blessing” was shown in the church.

The close connection between Toronto, Brownsville, and Holy Trinity Brompton is evident, and it is this type of unscriptural, subjective, hunger-for-the-miraculous approach to Christianity that is being promoted by the Alpha program.

The Alpha course itself is permeated with Charismatic error. About half-way through the 10-week program, the leaders conduct “Holy Spirit Day” or even have a “Holy Spirit Weekend Away.” The purpose is to bring the participants into a Charismatic experience. Note that the focus is on the Holy Spirit rather than upon Jesus Christ. The leader “takes them through the experience of receiving the Holy Spirit” and prays for the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Those who take the courses are urged to open themselves to the “slaying in the spirit” and other unscriptural experiences associated with the Charismatic movement. They “shake like a leaf in the wind” and experience “glowing all over” and “liquid heat.” The participants are taught that “tongues speaking” can be learned. They are taught to expect extra-biblical revelations from God through dreams and “words of knowledge.” One of the Alpha sessions deals with the question, “Does God Heal Today?” It is treated from a Charismatic-Pentecostal perspective. In the book Questions of Life (pp. 140-144), Gumbel says “tongues” can be used in worship, in prayer under pressure, and in intercessory prayer for other people. He treats “tongues” as a prayer language that Christians should exercise privately, and he claims that tongues must be “learned” through “perseverance.” He develops doctrine through human reasoning rather than through sound exegesis of the Word of God: “Languages take time to develop. Most of us start with a very limited vocabulary. Gradually it develops. Tongues are like that. It takes time to develop the gift. Don’t give up” (Gumbel, Questions of Life, p. 147). Nowhere in the New Testament do we see the Christians learning how to speak in tongues!

Nicky Gumbel was powerfully influenced by John Wimber, and there are many references to Wimber in Alpha material. In a video series, Gumbel traces his call to evangelism to a 1982 incident in which he received prayer from Wimber. As Wimber laid hands on him, “He experienced such supernatural power that he had to call out for it to stop.” Wimber also gave a “word of knowledge” that Gumbel had a gift of “telling others.”

John Wimber (1934-1997) was the founder of the Vineyard Association, comprised today of some 600 churches worldwide. In the mid-1970s, Wimber became affiliated with Fuller Theological Seminary and was strongly influenced by Fuller professor C. Peter Wagner, a pragmatic church growth expert. In analyzing church planting models, Wagner seems to be as impressed by “success” as with doctrinal purity. If a methodology “works” it has value, regardless of whether or not it is scriptural. Wimber applied this type of pragmatism to the practical side of Christian life and ministry. He focused more on experience and feeling than on doctrine. He warned against “worshipping the book” and mocked those who judge everything strictly by the Bible, saying they have “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Book” (Wimber, as cited in Counterfeit Revival, p. 109). On another occasion Wimber warned against being “too rigid” and “too heavily oriented to the written Word” (Ibid.). One would say something like that only if he were attempting to promote things that were not in accordance with the Word of God. The Psalmist said the written Word “is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). It is impossible to be too strongly oriented toward the Bible! The Wimber mindset leaves one open to spiritual delusion. If the Holy Spirit operates contrary to the Word of God, there is no way to discern between the true Spirit and false spirits. This subtle undermining of biblical authority is one reason why strange and unscriptural things such as the Laughing Revival and the prophetic movement have swept through the Vineyard Association.

Wimber taught a course on “Signs, Wonders, and Church Growth” at Fuller Seminary in the early 1980s. Later he traveled to many parts of the world with his “signs and wonders” crusades, promoting his doctrine that the Christian life and ministry should be accompanied by experiential miracles to be authentic, that miracles produce faith. In his popular books Power Evangelism and Power Healing, Wimber promoted this idea: “Clearly the early Christians had an openness to the power of the Spirit, which resulted in signs and wonders and church growth. If we want to be like the early church, we too need to open to the Holy Spirit’s power” (Wimber, Power Evangelism, p. 31). In reality, kingdom power and the manifestation of the sons of God in glory will be enjoyed only when Christ returns, and we who live in this present world must patiently hope for those events (Rom. 8:23-25). Wimber did not deny Christ’s coming or the power that will be manifest at that time, but he also taught his followers to expect kingdom power now. This carnal enthusiasm for the miraculous is the climate required for the manifestation of a Laughing Revival and other End Times error.

It is John Wimber’s pragmatic, experience-oriented, subjective approach to Christianity that is promoted through the Alpha program.

Pastor Paul Fitton makes the following observation in his report on Alpha: “The Alpha Course is being used to prime the pump, to condition the thinking of church people to accept the teachings and phenomena which we associate with the Toronto Blessing — phenomena which have no anchorage in Scripture; doctrines which otherwise would be rejected out of hand. These phenomena are unbiblical. There is no ground in Scripture upon which to anchor them. The Alpha course in its philosophy is New Age. It relies heavily upon experience; in practice it leads to experiences which are rooted in the occult: if they are calling down the spirit and they are possessed by that spirit, and that spirit is not the Spirit of God, then they have opened their minds to other spirits, to evil spirits” (Fitton, “The Alpha Course: Is It Bible Based or Hell Inspired?” Australian Beacon, February 1998).

EVANGELISTIC BIBLE STUDIES: REJECT THE ALPHA PROGRAM BUT NOT THE ALPHA CONCEPT

While the Alpha program itself is very dangerous because of its weak doctrinal content and its ecumenical/charismatic philosophy, and while we sound the loudest possible warning against participation in it (see our article “The Alpha Course” at the Evangelism section of the End Times Apostasy Database at the Way of Life web site); at the same time, the underlying concept is very interesting and could be used to good advantage by Bible-believing churches. Call them “Basic Christianity Bible Studies,” or “Basic Bible Truths,” or whatever other name is feasible. Evangelistic home Bible studies can be one of the most effective means for teaching the gospel in the careful, systematic way that is necessary for grounding people. The basic concept of Alpha is to provide a series of studies on the gospel and basic Christianity in a context that is casual, that allows the teacher to build a relationship with the students and that allows the unsaved to relax and ask any questions that might be necessary to enable them to understand Bible truth.

The liberal ecumenical churches are achieving great success with this approach, because many people do have questions about the Bible and are willing to attend the sessions. There is no reason why Bible-believing churches cannot take a similar tack but provide a truly sound Scriptural answer to people. The details and logistics of the program can be approached in many different ways according to the desires of the leaders and the requirements of the particular situation.

A similar approach can be used by Bible-believing churches to advertise a series of Bible studies conducted in homes or at the church or some other location. Any knowledgeable preacher could design a series of basic Bible studies that cover the Gospel, then other basic aspects of the Christian life, such as the Bible, prayer, and the church. It would not be difficult for a preacher to write his own series of basic lessons for the Bible studies, but there are also many developed courses that could be used for this.

SALVATION BIBLE BASICS by Pastor Doug Hammett, [Lehigh Valley Baptist Church, 4702 Colebook Ave., Emmaus, PA. 610-965-4700 (church), pastor@lvbaptist.org (e-mail), http://www.lvbaptist.org (web site).] This consists of four in-depth lessons on Bible salvation. A strong foundation is laid by defining sin from God’s perspective and helping the sinner to see his lost condition before God. In Lesson Four, Repentance and Faith are carefully explained. It is very unusual for an evangelistic Bible study to go into repentance as thoroughly as this one does. A simple chart helps illustrate the Bible truths. “Bible Basics is the backbone of our evangelism. We approach visitors, friends and people in door to door outreach offering a four-week, one-hour-a-week personal Bible Study. Our statistics break down to 1/2 of those that complete the study get saved, 85% of those that get saved are baptized into the church, 90% of those are here one year later faithfully serving. That book is available through our church.”

Another possibility is BASIC BIBLE TRUTHS by Lester Hutson [Berean Baptist Church, 10250 North Freeway, Houston, TX 77037. 281-447-8484 (voice), 800-555-9098 (orders), 281-999-0308 (fax), info@berean-houston.org (e-mail), http://www.berean-houston.org (web site)]. This consists of six lessons that carefully and systemically guide the seeker through the truths of the Gospel. It lacks a clear presentation of repentance, but this can be added by the teacher.

WON BY ONE is another course that can be used for evangelistic Bible studies. It can also be used for basic discipleship. The first section has 13 lessons on Bible doctrines: the Scriptures, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, the Devil, the Creation, Sin, Repentance, Faith, Salvation, the Second Coming of Christ, Heaven, and Hell. The second section contains instructions for Believers, and deals with things such as assurance of salvation, Christian victory, separation from the world and false teaching, the church, and the believer’s witness for Christ. [Bible Press, 6585 NW 6th Dr., Des Moines, IA 50313. 515-289-1090 (voice), http://www.biblepress.net, biblepress@juno.com] Pastor John Mincy, Antioch Baptist Church, Antioch, California, gives the following testimony: “We have used the ‘Won By One’ Bible study booklet for years and have seen many saved and discipled. It has been the most effective evangelistic tool, and the large majority of those who finish the course stay and serve in the local church.”

*update on Won by One submitted to me by Mel Lacock

I appreciate your kind words on your website concerning Won by One.  You will probably want to make contact changes etc. since it is no longer published by Bible Press but by Fox Creek Printing, 435 Wade Hampton Blvd., Greenville, SC, 29609.  website www.wonbyonebiblestudy.com

WHAT’S NEXT? by Charles T. Shoemaker [Church Planting America, P.O. Box 37887, Jacksonville, Fl 32236] was recommended to us by Serge Lapare as follows: “I’ve been using a booklet called ‘What’s Next’ since 1993. I’ve had very good success with it. I’ve had several people realize they weren’t saved after teaching the first lesson on salvation. I’ve had many people dedicate themselves to separate from the world after teaching the lesson on separation. I’ve had at least a dozen people in the last two years alone become effective soul winners as a result of the lesson on soul winning. I’ve added many scriptures to my copy of the booklet over the years, but the basic booklet is easy to teach from and easy for new Christians to understand. It’s not too long, so it won’t overwhelm the new convert.”

ONE YEAR DISCIPLESHIP COURSE by David Cloud [Way of Life Literature, http://www.wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143] The first few lessons of this course can be used effectively as an evangelistic Bible study course. The titles of these lessons are Repentance, Faith, The Gospel, Baptism, and Eternal Security.

1. EVANGELISTIC BIBLE STUDIES CAN BE USED AS FOLLOW-UP FOR MASS EVANGELISTIC CAMPAIGNS (house to house literature distribution, radio broadcasts, etc.). Include a brochure announcing a course such as “Basic Christianity Bible Studies” or “Basic Bible Truths.” Instead of trying to get people to pray a sinner’s prayer before they understand the gospel, focus instead on getting the interested ones involved in a series of Bible studies where a relationship can be established and they can be dealt with carefully. This is what the apostle Paul did. He preached the gospel to the masses, then took the interested ones aside and instructed them more carefully in the things of God (Acts 17:34; 18:5-11).

2. EVANGELISTIC BIBLE STUDIES CAN BE USED TO TARGET SPECIFIC NEIGHBORHOODS. Bible studies can be conducted in different neighborhoods by various men and women in the church and thus greatly expand the congregation’s outreach. We are not talking about “cell groups.” The evangelistic Bible studies have the goal of getting people saved and brought into the membership of the church (and incorporated into the full life of the church, including the regular services).

3. EVANGELISTIC BIBLE STUDIES CAN BE USED TARGET SPECIFIC GROUPS OF PEOPLE. Basic Bible Studies can be geared to specific groups, such as women, teenagers, foreigners, professionals, uneducated, deaf, etc. By offering Bible studies for a particular group, the church can focus on their special needs in a way that cannot be done during regular church services or Sunday School. For example, in American cities today there are large numbers of immigrants and visitors and students from other countries and cultures. They often need special consideration when the Gospel is communicated to them. Oftentimes they do not speak English well. It is not uncommon for them to be completely ignorant of the gospel or even of the most basic facts of the Bible and Christianity. The typical “Romans Road” gospel presentation will often be insufficient. They need to be taught the very basics of biblical truth, such as creation, the fall of man, the character of God, and the uniqueness of the Bible, before they can understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. All of that can be taught out of Romans, of course, because Romans itself begins with creation and the fall of man, but this is not what most people do when they present the “Romans Road.” Many immigrants and foreign visitors will not be familiar with any of the terms of the gospel, such as sin and repentance and grace and faith. Unless those terms are carefully explained, they will “hear” the gospel, but they will not understand it. Too much of the soul-winning activity in North America is simply too shallow and hurried. Missionaries who work in other parts of the world understand this and develop ways of teaching the gospel effectively to their people, but too often personal workers in North America approach foreigners without proper knowledge of how they think and how to reach them. They try to reach them exactly as they would someone who has grown up in the Bible-belt of the United States, and they wonder why it doesn’t work. Involving select groups of people in Bible studies that are geared to their needs and that are led by people who understand them can solve many of these problems.

4. EVANGELISTIC BIBLE STUDIES CAN BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH EVANGELISTIC REVIVAL MEETINGS. It is said that only about 5% of people making professions at large (mass or city-wide) revivals go on to become active church members. Of course, one would suppose the percentage to be higher in local church revivals. Still, the percentage of those who don’t “stick” is appallingly high in all types of evangelistic programs today. There are many reasons for this, one of the chief being that scores of those making professions do not truly understand the gospel and are, therefore, not committing themselves to Christ in biblical repentance and faith. It’s one thing to say, “Yea, I’ll go along with that; it sounds good; I’ll pray that prayer,” and quite another to be truly born again of the Spirit of God. If most of those coming forward in revivals were strongly encouraged to commit themselves to a six- or ten- or twelve- week Bible study course and if godly, mature church members faithfully taught the course, we can only imagine that the lasting fruit of our meetings would be ten-fold greater than would otherwise be the case.

The Formation of a Revolution

Governor Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally already has support from self-proclaimed prophets and apostles like Cindy Jacobs, Mike Bickle, Che Ahn, Doug Stringer, John Benefiel, and Jay Swallow, and now we can add one of the most prominent leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation to the list of endorsers: C. Peter Wagner.[1]

Background information:
Part 1: IHOP is starting to feel its Dominion oats
Part 2: IHOP: International House of Political Action

Last week C. Peter Wagner added his name to the list of The Response prayer rally endorsers.[2] This has the effect of putting the full weight of his New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) behind Texas Governor Rick Perry and his potential bid for president. The “Kansas City Prophets” via their IHOP movement was already a primary backer of this quasi-political “prayer event.” But now, with Wagner’s high-profile endorsement, the event takes on new significance. Wagner’s presence indicates the marshaling of forces of his Seven Mountains Army behind a potential presidential candidate.

For the full story:

HERESCOPE

There is a local health  institute that has done excellent work for the community here in the state of Washington. For that I commend them.

This is from from an article dated  August 20, 2009.

http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/kitsap/pat/news/53850762.html

CAPRI’s 12-week cardiac rehabilitation program helps people recover from heart attacks, angina, heart surgery including bypasses and valves, angioplasty and stent insertions, and heart/lung transplants. CAPRI also offers an eight- to 10-week pulmonary rehabilitation program that helps people manage pulmonary conditions such as COPD, emphysema, asthma and pulmonary fibrosis.

Once rehabilitation is done, many clients move on to the cardiac and pulmonary maintenance program to continue improving their health.

Their website says that this is their mission or vision.

CAPRI’s Pulmonary Programs

Our Vision

“STRIVING TO ACHIEVE OPTIMAL HEART AND LUNG HEALTH IN OUR COMMUNITY”

But it seems that some serious issues have arisen.

The director has taken it upon himself to further enlighten the participants of this program. I was given one of the handouts circulated at a June 23, 2011 meeting. It is titled, “Healthy Thinking & Positive Self-Talk.”

There are many great suggestions on the front and back of page one regarding healthy thinking in relation to stress, healthy diet, exercise, etc. The areas I disagree with here are the recommendations of meditation 15 minutes a day and hypnosis to “reprogram your attitudes, beliefs and thoughts”, as “methods of reprogramming the subconscious.”

Page two further develops how such things may be accomplished. It is titled “Notes on Thoughts, Belief and Destiny.”  My first reaction was to ask, ” Why is an exercise program delving  into spiritual issues? As a Christian I can tell you that my discernment alarms clanged loudly  at the following list of quotes.

“There is one secret, and that is the power we have in forming our own destinies.” Dolley Madison 1833

This goes against biblical thinking. There is no secret. God’s plan is laid out openly in the Holy Bible. Consider these verses in Isaiah 45:19, “I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth…I, the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right”, and 48:16. “Come near to me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning.” In Luke 8:17  we read, “For nothing is hidden that shall not become evident, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light.”

The buzz from the book The Secret teaches otherwise. In his review of  The Secret, Donald Whitney says, “It is not exaggeration to say that this book implicitly ( and sometimes explicitly) denies virtually every major doctrine in the Bible.” [1]

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Napoleon Hill, 1937, Think and Grow Rich

Here again we have positive thinking on steroids. False teacher Robert Schuller based  his ministry on these concepts and now faces bankruptcy for his ice palace of a church. All the visualizations of money rolling in from the visualized fat wallets of the congregation seems to have fizzled out.  

What is behind the man, Napoleon Hill and how was his philosophy created. The answer may surprise you. This is from Mike Oppenheimer of  Let us Reason Ministries.

Napoleon Hill wrote about imagery and visualization in his book, Think and Grow Rich. He writes, “The THIRTEENTH principle is known as the sixth sense, through which Infinite Intelligence may and will communicate voluntarily, without any effort from, or demands by, the individual…. Step by step, through the preceding chapters, you have been led to this, the last principle. If you have mastered each of the preceding principles, you are now prepared to accept, without being skeptical, the stupendous claims made here….”Just before going to sleep at night. I would shut my eyes, and see, in my imagination, this group of men seated with me around my council table…. After some months of this nightly procedure, I was astounded by the discovery that these imaginary figures became apparently real.” “Each of these nine men developed individual characteristics, which surprised me…. “These meetings became so realistic that I became fearful of their consequences, and discontinued them for several months. The experiences were so uncanny, I was afraid if I continued them I would lose sight of the fact that the meetings were purely experiences ofmy imagination. …. Whatever you believe that the adviser is a spirit, a guardian angel, a messenger from God, a hallucination, a communication from your right brain to your left, or a symbolic representation of inner wisdom is all right. The fact is, no one knows what it is with any certainty. We can each decide for ourselves….

Sometimes people will encounter religious figures like Jesus, Moses, or Buddha, while others will find an angel, fairy, or leprechaun. People sometimes encounter the adviser as a light or a translucent spirit…. The best way to work with this and any other imagery experience is just to let the figures be whatever they are. Welcome the adviser that comes and get to know it as it is.

Source

Also from Dave Hunt

Though he clung to the idea that it was all imagination, from what Hill wrote it is clear that visualization had opened the door to the world of the occult:

Source

Ah…so Napoleon Hill had spirit guides. The bible is clear on divination, we are not to contact spirits from the other side, because we will indeed be deceived by them.

There are  other quotes from James Allen, As A Man Thinketh, and Florence Scovel Shinn. Mixed in we have some scripture about prayer. The Bible verses just don’t fit in the New Age mix, and of course this is intentional for the new thinking involves finding your own truth. The thinking is that you can pick and choose whatever you happen to like at the moment and create your own religion and your very own God..which of course is…youself, because some entity has made you feel divine.

New Age ideas and thought do not mix with Bible teachings because they are completely opposed to each other.

In the new age, truth is found within, but the Bible teaches that we are not to trust our hearts. Jeremiah 17:9 says that “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it.” Yet James Allen tells us to seek Ancient Wisdom and that the master is the inner voice which is self. Shinn instructs that the Bible is “a book dealing with science of the mind…telling man how to release his soul from bondage.”  This person could not be more wrong about the Bible.

Jesus Christ came to release o free  us from our SIN. This is bondage we face daily. The way to everlasting life is to put your faith in Jesus as Savior, who died on the cross, taking our sin upon His sinless self.  He rose again from the dead, showing us His power and glory, as the Son of the true and living God.

John Ankerberg wrote this in his book, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs. It was difficult to find a summary passage in this large book. This section tells how children are being indoctrinated at an early age into hypnosis, guided imagery, visualization, and meditation.

In November of 1988 we received a letter from a couple involved in researching a program used in elementary schools in Florida and other states. This program used tapes called “Quieting Reflex and Success Imagery.” A mother had told this couple that her little girl had contacted an inner guide through the hypnotic techniques used in this program. The daughter, commented, “My wise person told me not to pray in the name of Jesus anymore.”  Furthermore this wise person was not the guide that the little girl has chosen for herself but rather someone that had appeared unexpectedly and spontaneously in her consciousness. It claimed that it resided in the corner of  a “safe place” in her mind. But it proceeded to command her to do mean and nasty things. The mother was distraught and had no idea what to do. [2]

The guidance counselor comes into the second grade class and the regular teacher leaves….The counselor turns off the lights and begins to play the audio tape. The counselor is there to enhance the children’s self-esteem…after the meditation and relaxation exercises they are instructed to picture a rabbit as a friend in the secret place.  And they are told that there is a secret and that it is believing in yourself and your self-power. With it you can do anything like magic. Answers to many things come up from a bubbling spring after watching for a white light. The answers come from the deep springs. Sometimes you will hear the words in answer to your question and sometimes you will feel it.

What you have read above is a brief induction method  for meditation and hypnosis. In fact, meditation, hypnosis, progressive relaxation and guided imagery or visualization have more commonalities than many people realize.

However these techniques are also taught by the spirit world as a means to become channelers, i.e., one who is possessed by spirits in order to allow the spirits to channel information out of them…..What these spirits encourage is no different than what New Age educators are now teaching children. [2]

Apparently these techniques and beliefs are also being taught in pulmonary programs.  I was told by the director at Capri:

 Our educational session on healthy thinking and positive self-talk draws upon the teachings contained in several highly-respected books including the Bible. Some of the material is science-based, some of it is belief-based from a variety of beliefs, and some of it is opinion. CAPRI does not subscribe to a particular religious belief, nor do we promote any particular religious beliefs. We provide material from a wide variety of sources because people approach these matters from a wide variety of beliefs and perspectives.   As part of our cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs, we encourage people to adopt a positive mental attitude. We trust that they will do that in a manner that is consistent with their core values and religious beliefs. We are not trying to change anyone’s religious beliefs, nor are we trying to conform to any particular religious beliefs.

Thing is….new age teachings are incompatible with Christianity and do not belong on the same page and cannot be lumped together. Jesus said He is the only way to the Father. In John 14:6 it says “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This totally goes against what James Allen taught who said the master is the inward voice. You can’t have it both ways. Is this narrow and intolerant?. Yes it is but this is what the Bible teaches.  
 
Using techniques meant to relax the body actually can open one up for demonic deception. New agers always look for the light, but God gives a warning.
 
2 Corinthians 11:14  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
 
As eastern spirituality grows leaps and bounds, those who cling to biblical faith will be ridiculed and mocked. You will be called intolerant and hateful for your faith. But take heart, beloved, Jesus said, in John 15:21, “They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.” Pray for those who persecute you.
 
So stay in the Word of God. When you hear such things as the law of attraction, or that the universe will fulfill your desires if only you ask, you can compare such teachings against the Word of God and immediately recognize it as a false teaching.
 
Believer, ask that the power of the Holy Spirit will teach and guide you into all truth and that God’s written Word is absolute truth for all times.
 
 

1. Donald S. Whitney, “A Review of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.

2. John Ankerberg, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, pgs. 412-413

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