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Another great testimony

Leaving Church

This is my story. I have spent 21 years of my life in the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement but something happened to me recently that caused me to walk away completely. I am writing this blog in hopes that if you stumble upon it that it will be a source of great comfort to you. It is a very disorienting thing to walk away from a long held belief and a system you have promoted and loved for many years. One of the greatest resources that helped me through this difficult time has been others sharing their stories and so I am compelled to share mine.

I have not walked away from my faith in Christ, only what I now consider false teaching and a system that is overtaken with false prophets and corruption.  I guess this has been a long time coming. Many times I would sit in church and hear the…

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“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”   Ephesians 5:11

Lovebug in Spider's Web - Fruit of Deception 7

SOURCE 

This is an important testimony especially from those who experience oppression after being involved in false teachings. 

by Hope Wingo

My Personal Story of Deception

My story involves the New Apostolic Reformation and GOD TV.

The following is an excerpt from Man: The Dwelling Place of God by A.W. Tozer:

How to Try the Spirits
THESE ARE THE TIMES that try men’s souls.
The Spirit has spoken expressly that in the latter times some should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. Those days are upon us and we cannot escape them; we must triumph in the midst of them, for such is the will of God concerning us.

Strange as it may seem, the danger today is greater for the fervent Christian than for the lukewarm and the self-satisfied. The seeker after God’s best things is eager to hear anyone who offers a way by which he can obtain them. He longs for some new experience, some elevated view of truth, some operation of the Spirit that will raise him above the dead level of religious mediocrity he sees all around him, and for this reason he is ready to give a sympathetic ear to the new and the wonderful in religion, particularly if it is presented by someone with an attractive personality and a reputation for superior godliness.

Now our Lord Jesus. that great Shepherd of the sheep, has not left His flock to the mercy of the wolves. He has given us the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit and natural powers of observation, and He expects us to avail ourselves of their help constantly. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” said Paul (I Thess. 5:21) . “Beloved, believe not every spirit,” wrote John, “but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1) . “Beware of false prophets,” our Lord warned, “which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). Then He added the word by which they may be tested, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

I discovered this classic book by A.W. Tozer shortly after my ordeal ended. With the encounter still so fresh in my mind, I comprehended Tozer’s words with full discernment and a new understanding.

In light of my story, you need to know that I did not have a computer until the end of 2011.  As far as Christian programming, I was at the mercy of cable TV with TBN, Daystar, and a few other channels. Whenever I discerned a red flag in one of the programs, I’d just switch the channel to another pastor with another sermon. That was all just part of watching Christian TV. I didn’t know the term Word of Faith, much less the New Apostolic Reformation. I only knew that I loved the Lord and craved all of Him that I could get. What I did not realize was that I was the perfect candidate to fall into deception… I matched Tozer’s qualifications perfectly, in that I fervently craved more of God and would not settle for lukewarm Christianity! I wanted everything that I could get!

In 2008 I was introduced to GOD TV (a New Apostolic Reformation channel) and I quickly became addicted to it. The programming, the worship music, and the pastors were completely different from the others that I had become accustomed to. They were fascinating and spiritually enticing! Even the channel’s music leading up to their commercial breaks was intriguing… Quite frankly, I couldn’t get enough of it. Their worship music seduced the viewers into a deep spiritual experience with captivating repetitions. The pastors spoke of deep, prophetic things that they had heard from God. It wasn’t long before I had completely abandoned the other channels for GOD TV. I was totally blind to its influence.

The red flags were there from the start…  I noticed that spiritual experiences seemed to dominate most of the sermons while repentance and the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus were not being mentioned at all. There were stories of angelic encounters, oil dripping from the speaker’s feet, feathers and gold dust falling on the worshipers, rain falling inside of the buildings, and supernatural gems being found all over the church. Due to my strong Christian upbringing, I knew that those things were not coming from God, but I was so intrigued with it all that I kept watching it. It was exciting compared to the money-grabbers and fake healers that were on the other Christian channels.

One night on my way home from work, I heard a sermon on the radio that spoke of *****.  (I don’t remember what it was about.)  However, when I got home and turned on the TV, the first thing out of the pastor’s mouth was, “if you just heard *****, you are a part of us!”  Hey, how could I resist a confirmation like that? It made me feel so accepted!

Let me pause here to say that, by allowing this programming to continue, I gave satanic deception an open door. When I initially noticed the red flags, I should have rejected this false doctrine. However, I chose to ignore the warnings, so…

Another night after work, I turned on the TV to find a woman introducing a special training program that was available through her ministry.  As she spoke, I watched the television disappear from around her, leaving only her face in the room.  She continued to explain how we could order this program.  I was not afraid of her.  Having surrounded myself with deception for months, I thought, “Surely this must be from God”.  I ordered the series.  A few days later it arrived in the mail and I began to listen to the CDs.  When I got to the middle of the series and realized what it was all about, I was literally shocked.  It was demonic.  It was angel worship.  It was astral projection in the name of praying for others.  Yep, we could go to them!  We could also hover over other countries as we prayed for them.  We could leave our bodies and enter into the “third heaven“. (The link is this actual teaching.)  It was purely satanic.

Instead of throwing the garbage away, I decided to listen to the CDs again.   Then I listened to them again; then over and over… I had become intrigued by them. A few weeks later, having gone through the lesson several times, I tried to do what they suggested, by inviting an angel to appear in the room, even though I knew that the Bible warned against it. I listened to the music that they had provided as I tried to experience “going to heaven” with them.  I also imagined my spirit going into another person’s house to pray for them.

Shortly thereafter, I began to experience many vivid dreams and daytime flash-visions. I saw angels. I heard voices.  Even though I knew better, I tried to convince myself that these were Godly manifestations that I had somehow missed in my earlier Christian walk.

On the physical side, flocks of vultures began to hover over my house. If I stood outside, they would circle over me and cast their shadow on me, one by one. One day, when returning from town, while I was still about 1/2 of a mile away from my house, I saw a flock of about 100 of these birds hovering directly over my house. Another time, I heard a crash outside of my back window as an entire flock crashed a tree limb in my back yard. I later learned that birds often represent demonic spirits.

One day, as I was about to enter my front door, I felt a swat on my back side as if a parent had just swatted a child. This frightened me terribly as I realized that I had just entered a realm that I didn’t want to be in. Demonic spirits had actually been allowed to touch me. At that point, I knew that it was only going to get worse, so that very day, I threw away all of the materials that I had received from that ministry. I also cleaned house and threw away most of my contemporary Christian music CDs.

At that point, I knew that the games I had been playing with God were over and that I was being forced to make a decision as to whom I was going to follow. In doing so, I desperately called on the Jesus that I had known as a child. Even so, it took months… and I mean months… to get back into a right relationship with the Lord. It still frightens me when I think about how I allowed this deception into my life. After all, I had been grounded in biblical truth since childhood.

Let me backtrack a little to add that when I threw the CD lessons in the trash, it sparked an attack of satanic rage that lasted for the next several months. I started seeing demonic faces in clouds, in trees, in bushes, in reflections, and in almost everything else…. all day long, day after day. These were harassing spirits.  They were relentless and tormenting, and they robbed my mind of all peace. I learned to keep music on all the time to block out the mental noise, especially when I attempted to fall asleep. I was worn down to my wit’s end, both mentally and physically.

The torment eventually began to subside through the process of fully submitting myself to Jesus again.  I could do nothing else but to throw myself into the verse, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)  In my efforts to make that happen, I made a conscious decision to resist the devil by literally ignoring the harassment.  During that time, I stopped looking up at the sky and simply would not acknowledge the images. I turned away whenever I noticed one of them.  At the same time, I acknowledged that I had brought this upon myself by allowing the witchcraft to remain in my house.  I read the Bible and filled my mind with the Word every chance I got.  I prayed constantly.  Then, finally… one day it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen them for a while.  It had taken months, but they were gone… Completely gone!

Today, I’m aware of many forms of deception that I knew nothing about a few years ago.  I recognize the Emergent, the NAR, the Seeker-Friendly, the Word of Faith, the Purpose Driven, and on and on.  Jesus wasn’t kidding…  We must “test the spirits”.  Deception is everywhere these days!  …and what did He tell us in Matthew 24 concerning our day?  BE NOT DECEIVED!!!

I will also say that I cannot prove that all of the NAR teachers allow training to this extent in their churches.  Even so, it speaks volumes that GOD TV airs both NAR and witchcraft, and I have yet to hear the pastors on that channel argue against it. Obviously, when signs, wonders, and experienced-based doctrines are preached in place of biblical doctrine, other forms of deception are tolerated as well.

I realize that I’ve opened myself to ridicule by telling my story, but I also know that we are living in the end-times, and that many other Christians have been tempted to fall for this same deception. Hopefully, my story will spare someone else from having to go through this same thing. You need to know that God WILL let you be intrigued to death… even to eternal death. It’s up to you to keep yourself from being deceived. 

You’ll find the Truth in His Word… just where it has always been.

To repeat Tozer’s words, “…He expects us to avail ourselves”.  (See 1 John 5:18 below.)

***

Matthew 7:15 – Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Matthew 24:24 – For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

1 John 4:1 – Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

2 Timothy 3:13 – But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

1 John 5:18 – .We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

Unholy Signs & Cash Flows

Bethel’s example of Church working with Corporate and State

 

By Pastor Rod Page
“I dedicate this book to my children’s children’s children’s children. Though we will not meet until we get to heaven, I wanted you to know that I had you in mind as I wrote every word of this book, and I continue to hold you in my heart. You will become the answer to my prayers and the fulfillment of my prophecies. By the time you read this book, I will be watching you from heaven (see Hebrews 12: 1).”[1]

This quotation above is the opening dedication to Kris Vallotton’s upgraded book called Heavy Rain. Its former title was How Heaven Invades Earth. At the outset it sounds like a way to soften, or even spiritualize, the more militant sounding “invade” language in his book from six years ago. I believe this change is part of a new effort to say the same thing in a more sophisticated, and yet more palatable, way in order to attract a wider audience.

In this day and age where everything is seen from a marketing standpoint, as far as publishers and agents and business in general, it is no surprise that this would happen from within the headquarters of a now worldwide movement—Bethel Church in Redding, California.

I am writing this from Redding as it is the closest city to where we live for groceries and doctors. It is also where I lived for several years. It’s a pretty typical town in most aspects, with a Costco and an old converted theater downtown, and a mix of working people and retired folks looking for the sun…. It is even sunnier in Redding than Phoenix!

But Redding is actually quite special in regard to what is happening in Christendom. A phenomenon has grown up here. There is something almost “magical” about the effect that Bethel has had on this community. The city has fallen in love with this “church”. Is this even possible in our day of hysteria over “separation of church and state”? It is not separate in Redding. Bethel bailed out the Civic Auditorium and is running it well from all indications. Bethel is also becoming a major property owner. They have bought and improved several commercial properties and hope to increase their School of Supernatural Ministry to 3000 students in the next few years. (It is currently around 1400.) They want to build a museum of revival in Americana and have spent around $40,000 to purchase one man’s memorabilia collection of articles from major “moves of God” going back into the 1950s.

Bethel is growing while the city of Redding has endured a decline in many facets. Crime is up. The housing market is flat at best. Homelessness is rampant. But Bethel is doing really well. I believe they know why. I think they have discovered a secret to moving forward at this time in their history. Before I get back to this subject let met tell you why I am writing this report.

The Bethel “cash flow” agenda, cited HERE

Why I Write 
Before becoming a full time pastor in 2011 I spent over 30 years being a regular Christian, with a regular secular job, raising a family with my wife of 37 years. Before we moved to Redding we attended a church for 10 years beginning in 1994 in Yuba City, California. We noticed after almost 7 years in that church that the teaching was changing. We heard things that shocked us, but because of intense loyalty to the leadership we tried to justify things we should have checked out immediately. We were told that spiritual warfare was calling out demons by name and defeating them in the atmosphere, and thus allowing our city to have a mass revival. We were told it was always God’s will for us to be physically well. We were told our children were a chosen seed to bring in the great harvest of all time—that they would do miracles greater than Jesus or the Apostles. These things came in slowly, like a steady drip. We were told that Christians have demons that need to be cast out. We were to go on “prayer walks” that would run the devil out of neighborhoods and out of families as we took dominion over our city.

The problem is it didn’t work, and we could not find a good Biblical reason to swallow all of this new teaching. Young people would go to the church’s new “discipleship” school and come out on the other end bewildered by a lack of power, not blaming the leaders who taught them but God, who they thought did not keep up His end of the bargain. We looked at our Bibles and saw texts that were clearly meant for the next world being brought into ours, with no concept for context or proper Biblical interpretation.

It took us almost 3 years to realize we needed to get back to the Bible. Then we found the Discernment Ministries’ Herescope blog (www.herescope.net). God led us to this small cadre of folks who had been writing for years about different new teachings, that were really old things wrapped up in new and upgraded lingo. As Solomon says, there is nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1:9).

Then, because of a job, and a ministry opportunity to take what we were finding about Satan’s schemes and warn younger believers, we moved to Redding to start a new job and work with a couple we thought truly were wanting to warn others. Sadly, within a year we found out we were not on the same page with the very people we were supposed to serve with. Shortly after this we began to attend a church where the Bible was taught verse by verse. God put us away in His waiting room where we could get our thoughts and hearts in line with His precious Word.

We began to serve the Lord in humble but useful ways. We helped clean the church each week, emptying waste cans and vacuuming the carpet. Later we taught Sunday School. We truly had many glorious times with our 4th grade class teaching through the entire Bible line upon line. Eventually I was asked to teach in place of the pastor when he was out of town. We were asked to shepherd a part of the congregation and had a “home group” of over 40 people in our home each month. What I found in those days was that God is gracious. When we seek Him and His ways for His glory, He provides all we need. His Word has the answers we need to communicate. We don’t need to make up anything fancy to attract attention to it.

I had heard the Lord calling me to ministry when I was 12 years old. I had, because of fear, chosen not to follow His call for many years. Finally at 50 years of age I answered that call. I began to seek the Lord, and asked others to pray with me about going into full time work. I assumed it would be in a ministry to young people, as that was the reason I moved to Redding. I wanted to warn them of what the enemy was trying to do, both within the church and without it. After another year of waiting, just when I began to give up, an opportunity came as the Lord opened up a door for ministry. I have been serving as pastor at a small community church in Lewiston, California, ever since. I live within 35 miles of Redding in the mountains. God is gracious indeed. It is the hardest, and yet most fulfilling job, I have ever had.

But Bethel is still a thorn. I suppose it reminds me of what happened to us in Yuba City. But it is far worse. It is a leader, a worldwide and dominant leader, in a movement rife with error. This is grievous to me personally because it goes after, and actually targets, young people in a huge way. This is why I write. These young people (and old people, too) are precious to our Savior. This movement is swallowing them in ways I never could have imagined even 6 years ago when I lived within a mile of Bethel Church. This church is more sophisticated and more “excellent” in an alarming way.

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