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By Rick Becker  

FAMINE IN THE LAND

Scripture warns us that in the last days some will depart from the faith, and be deceived by evil spirits and teachings of demons. Those who teach false doctrines are not on the fringes of christianity, they are in the center in the form of the Evangelical Industrial Complex.  Bethel, Hillsong and other NAR “churches” have infested the visible church like gangrene.  Those who are saved from this deception, try to warn their friends and family still caught up in the quagmire of celebrity teachers and false doctrines.  When we warn them of the precarious position they are in, they usually resort to arguments we are all familiar with. This post deals with some of those questions.

Do you know them personally ?

It is not necessary to know figures such as Brian Houston or Bill Johnson personally to test their teachings.  Those of us who come out of these churches know what it takes to work your way up the hierarchical structure in order to “get to know them personally.”  Have they taken the time to get to know the people whose faith has been shipwrecked due to their teachings?  Do they care that their sponsored posts reach millions of naive and biblically illiterate people?  Not content with shepherding their own congregations,  these hirelings spread their doctrines with impunity.  They are not contributing to the body of Christ, but building their own empire.

Their teachings are in print, on social media, in the public domain and therefore open to public scrutiny.  It is their teachings we examine and compare to the word of God – as instructed in scripture.  If the apostle Paul’s teachings were compared to scripture, why give modern day apostles a pass?
“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so”
Acts 17:11

 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1-2

Have you approached them directly ?

 

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By Elizabeth Prata

Sufficiency of scripture is an important topic for me as a woman, because so many of the books aimed at women loading the shelves at Christian bookstores, and so many women’s ministries telling us we should be hearing from God or are touting some author’s experience from having heard from God.

I listened to Phil Johnson and Justin Peters at the Truth Matters Conference last night. The topic this year is sufficiency of Scripture and by contrast, that we are not hearing personally from God in these days. If one is hearing from God outside of scripture it means the canon is not closed, and it means the scripture we have is not enough, or, isn’t sufficient. But scripture itself declares that it is.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16)

It is a daily grief to me to see so many women ‘Bible teachers’ casually telling auditoriums full of eager female listeners of their wonderful conversations with God. It hurts my heart to see the devotional “Jesus Calling” on friends’ shelves with bookmarks in them. It makes me mourn to hear friends sigh and say they wish they could hear from God like ___________fill-in-the-blank teacher.

For example, the founder of the wildly popular IF:Gathering Jennie Allen heard a directive from allegedly God audibly telling her to equip this generation. Gee, even Paul didn’t receive such an impressive mandate. He was told he must suffer for the name. (Acts 9:16).

In another example, the wildly popular HGTV mogul and lauded Christian celeb Joanna Gaines allegedly heard directly from God specific promises of coming fame and success in her chosen career.

Sarah Young of Jesus Calling regularly hears whispers and voices from the other side, so much so she filled a book with His exact words, allegedly. Or two. Or three. If she is hearing from Jesus and writing His words down in quotes, she is writing scripture. Do you believe Jesus Calling is scripture?

Queen of the audible silent whispers in her ears and voices on heart Beth Moore hears from God in such casual terms so frequently you wonder if He has taken up residence in her living room.

Ladies, God is not speaking personally now, to anyone on earth. He is in heaven, interceding, preparing a place for us, and sustaining the universe by the power of His word. (Romans 8:34John 14:3Colossians 1:17). Making such a claim strikes directly at the sufficiency of scripture. We have Jesus, the second person of the trinity, and the Spirit, the third person of the trinity, speaking to us through the written word and illuminating it to our minds and conscience. If that is not enough for you, please ask yourselves why.

Meanwhile, here is the short blog essay by Jeremiah Johnson and Justin Peter’s short response to the title question:

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20 New Age Practices that are Infiltrating the Church

by Doreen Virtue

 

When Jesus saved me and I left the New Age to follow Jesus, I thought that I was done with it. I was shocked to find how many New Age practices have infiltrated the church. The devil is sowing tares amongst the wheat!

Here is a list of 20 New Age practices that all Christians should avoid and rebuke:

Not preaching the Gospel: Stay away from churches that avoid teaching the Gospel that Jesus died to save us from the penalty for our sins. In the new age, there’s no discussion of anything that could offend someone. So no one learns about sin, hell, repentance, Jesus’ work on the cross, or salvation. In the new age, the belief is that everyone is going to heaven. New agers also believe that you go to heaven by “being a good person.“ That is a salvation-by-works belief, which is unbiblical. Tragically, the lack of Gospel teaching sends unsaved new agers straight to hell. People need to realize that we are all sinners, and that we need Jesus as our Savior.

Downplaying or doubting the Bible; adding to the Bible with “special revelation” that contradicts Scripture: The new age says that the Bible is tampered with, and incomplete with missing books. “Special revelation messages” contradict what the Bible says; therefore, they are false. Everything must be compared against the Bible.

Yoga: each pose is bowing to a specific pagan deity. Yoga is not just stretching; it is idolatry.

Music with unbiblical lyrics: We have to compare the worship music lyrics against scripture. We also need to avoid listening to or singing music from new age-infiltrated churches like Bethel, Hillsong, and Elevation. Paying licensing fees to these churches, only encourages their apostate actions, and can cause the congregation to believe unbiblical ideas.

Prophets / speaking a prophetic word over someone: This is psychic work, forbidden by the Bible, and it’s nothing like the old testament prophets. Prophetic messages contradict what the Bible says; therefore, they are false. Everything must be compared against the Bible.

 

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Link right now using the Download Audio below in blue or click the link below and search the site by entering Defecting from Bethel.

https://apologiastudios.com/cultish/defecting-from-bethel

Part 1.

Defecting From Bethel

In this highly anticipated Cultish exclusive, co-hosts Jeff Durbin and Jeremiah Roberts are joined in Studio by former BSSM student Lindsay Davis.

Just a few weeks ago, Lindsay created much controversy with the announcement that she was expelled from the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry for publicly speaking out against the school.

Why did this happen?

What caused her to doubt Bethel’s cause and begin to think differently than she had a few months prior?

In this three-part series, we speak in depth with Lindsay Davis about her time at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry and discover what makes this worldwide movement so alluring.

We also discuss some very concerning psychological and sociological cultish behaviors which line up with descriptions given by experts like Steven Hassan and Rick Allen Ross, who have extensively researched recent cultish movements in the United States.

Most importantly, we discuss the theological cultish behaviors that fall under Walter Martin’s classic definition:

“ a group of people gathered around a specific person or person’s misinterpretation of the Bible. “

Additionally, we explore the physical and supernatural manifestations happening at Bethel, which brings up the question: are these experiences movements of God, psychosomatic episodes, or something else?

Could it be possible to experience healing and the supernatural apart from God?

There is no doubt that Bethel Church has worldwide influence, and because of this, it is imperative to have this conversation.

We invite you, regardless of where you stand on this issue, to be part of this conversation and listen to Lindsay’s story with an open mind.

 

By Amy Spreeman

My heart is heavy for Christians who have been so exposed to false doctrine that they are floundering. Many are women who are oh-so easily deceived by the incredible amount of fluff that passes for women’s ministry materials

I recently received a letter from a woman whose seemingly solid pastor has a big heart and a large blind spot when it comes to naming names and helping his sheep discern. The fruit of these “spiritual cataracts” is a women’s ministry rife with yeast, and ladies who delight at being tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching that comes in pretty pink packages.

I know full well that women become very angry when you challenge their favorite teachers and conferences, and will accuse you of all sorts of vile motives. Those who believe the branding of these “real, raw, transparent sincere” celebrities don’t mind a little apostasy as long as it’s fun.

Sadly, our women are being led off by every conceivable feel-good movement out there; the newer the better. They don’t check the speakers to see if they’re solid, but they do check to see if these speakers can bring in the numbers. Thus, far too many women in our churches resemble the women described in 2 Timothy 3:1-7:

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From The Sword & Trowel 2007, issue 2 by Dr Peter Masters
Leaving the charismatic movement involves leaving friends, worship-style and entering an entirely new environment. Here is advice to spiritual shepherds about helping those who come to sound churches.

The title of this article is obviously not meant in a charismatic sense. We offer no advice on how to cast out demons, rather on how to help true believers who have been heavily influenced by charismatic ideas, and who have come to see them as wrong. They have come away from the world of tongues, visions, prophecies, ecstasies, dancing, falling down slain, and all associated activities, and have sought fellowship among ‘traditional’ Bible-believing Christians.

These friends often have many problems, and pastors and church officers must be ready to help. Some former charismatics have made the transition so well and so speedily that one can scarcely believe they once thought and acted very differently. We readily acknowledge that some need little or no help in adapting to conservative, biblical Christianity.

Many, however, find that their time in the charismatic movement has left them troubled, unsure, and perhaps even scarred spiritually. They have wrested themselves away from a host of emotional props, and severed connections with numerous dear friends, and this has cost them much pain.

Doctrine, worship, fellowship and service now take a vastly different form. Their new environment has a way of thinking and looking at matters utterly unlike that of charismatic circles. Furthermore, in the back of the mind lies the nagging fear that these ‘traditionalists’ are indeed the cold, lifeless formalists they have been long warned about – people who have never tasted the Spirit, and who wilfully oppose his liberating power.

Broadly speaking, there are three causes for people leaving the charismatic movement. The first one mentioned here is the best, and most often leads to them adjusting wholly to orthodox evangelical teaching. The last two give rise to the least stable ‘converts’.

A first cause of leaving occurs when people experience some serious disappointment or disillusionment with the charismatic movement, and begin to evaluate its claims more carefully. Perhaps a relative or close friend has died and they have seen at close quarters the false promises and the failure of -healing prophecies. It may be that they have seen through some of the dishonesty and pride which stalks the citadels of charismatic activity, and have recoiled with shock.

Objective Bible study then caused the entire edifice of charismatic practice to crumble and fall before them

Some years ago, for example, charismatics all over the world were shaken by the wild phenomena of the Toronto Blessing, and they turned to God’s Word in a new spirit of enquiry. Objective Bible study then caused the entire edifice of charismatic practice to crumble and fall before them.

A second cause of departure from charismatic activity is personal disaffection. While this may lead to people’s eyes being opened, it often does not. In charismatic house groups and cells an artificially high degree of emotional interdependence is fostered, and in such a climate offences can occur which drive people out. These may come over to the derided traditionalists almost as an act of protest. The real issue is one of personal disaffection, not doctrinal unease, and while these émigrés may criticise everything they have left, it may only be the outworking of hurt feelings.

Sometimes people leave because their ‘gifts’ have not been sufficiently recognised, or their own leadership hopes have been thwarted. Such leavers will probably return, if not to the same group, to another section of the charismatic camp. We may almost say that the more heated the invective, the sooner a person will go back. We certainly have an opportunity to help such disgruntled people see the real issues, and we pray that the Lord will open their eyes, but our efforts may well be in vain.

A third cause of departure which usually leads to people returning is that of a generally unstable temperament. This is not a comment on the mental stability of people, but on their inability to think clearly and to recognise foundational principles of biblical conduct.

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Mythbuster: “Slain in the Spirit”

by Costi Hinn

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It had been over three hours since the service started, and I was really starting to feel God’s presence in the building. As I stood next to my friend, the music was deep and intense. The lighting made everything feel so intimate, and a slight fog danced through the air. The lead singer’s voice was so beautiful – Jesus Culture’s music is so anointed. The voices all around me sang in unison, and I felt myself slipping into a deep, rhythmic trance as I swayed to the song. The pastor had been continuously telling us to expect an encounter with God and that God was going to touch us all in some special way. Could this be the solution to my problems in life? I’d been through so much heart-ache and insecurity. I was tired of being told that God’s word and prayer was enough. Maybe this was the real deal – maybe this was the encounter I needed. Just then, the pastor interrupted the singing and shouted, “Jesus is here! The anointing is yours! If you want a fresh touch from God get down here to the front of the stage!” I looked at my friend quickly and said, “Are you coming?! This is it!” He shrugged nervously and stayed put. I think he was skeptical of this sort of thing – he’s a Baptist. Oh well, I thought – his loss. Bodies poured out into the aisles as people just like me hurried desperately down to the stage. As I got closer to the front I felt adrenaline pump through my veins and soon found a spot just a few feet away from the pastor. Looking up at him I felt like God was telling him who to lay hands on. His eyes scanned the sea of young people below his platform. Then, my moment came. He told one of his assistants, “Get that girl right there! The power of God is all over her!” I felt so special that he picked me it caused me to sob uncontrollably. I was pulled up on the platform and it felt like I had made it to the holy of holies. My hands were shaking from the nerves, my breaths were short but heavy, and I sensed the catchers getting into place. Then he shouted, “FIRE!!! on you…” The emotion of the moment was too much for me to take as I felt something take a hold of my body. I abandoned all rationale and was powerfully forced to the ground. My body began to convulse and contort while I was laying on the stage; sounds poured out of my mouth I’d never made before. I could hear and feel other bodies beginning to fall around me and on me. Some people were laughing hysterically, others touched me and groaned deeply, and some were screaming while crawling on all fours. I have heard some Christians say this sort of experience was demonic, while others say it’s just hypnosis. To be honest, I haven’t seen it in the Bible and don’t really know what it is…but I really feel like it’s the Holy Spirit…

The virtual tour you’ve just read through is taking place all over the world every single week in tens of thousands of charismatic churches, healing crusades, youth groups, kid’s camps, Third Wave revivals, and N.A.R. conferences. Many conservative Christians are scared to death of their children ever going to one of these services but when asked what the issue really is, most cannot explain it but to say, “It’s unbiblical” or “not God.”

We need a better answer than that.

So what exactly does someone mean when they say, “I got slain in the spirit!”? This phrase describes what many believe to be a touch from God that sends them falling to the ground – literally. Those who ardently defend this practice claim that it’s God’s manifest presence in a service that causes people to fall over. According to them, God’s power is usually “imparted” to people by a pastor who lays his hands on them, blows his breath on them, waves his hand, waves his jacket, or shouts a phrase like, “Fire!” or “Touch!” These gestures cause people to go flying in all directions. Sometimes it even occurs when a certain song is sung by the worship band, or because people are overcome with emotion during a portion of the service. Often times those being slain in the spirit will manifest on the ground by making animal sounds, crawling, slithering, shaking, convulsing, weeping, laughing, and experiencing trance-like euphoria. Some say they feel electricity when the pastor touches them, others feel warmth, while others are not able to stand under their own strength for hours afterwards. All of this is believed to be the work of the Holy Spirit as He refreshes and renews spiritually empty and broken people. With over 500 million charismatics, and 1.5 billion Hindus (Kundalini Awakening)  practicing slaying people in the spirit, it is no exaggeration to state that at least 2/7 of the entire world has beliefs tied to falling or shaking under the power of some sort of spirit. This is not fringe behavior. This is now mainstream spiritualism and considered highly normative – it’s everywhere.

But does the Bible have any evidence to prove normative activity by the Holy Spirit that causes people to shake, slither, laugh, bark, crawl, or convulse in the church? When God interacts with people in the Bible, does He electrocute them into a seemingly drunken state where speech is slurred and the body uncontrolled?

 

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From:

The Narrow Path

Escaping the grips of deception while discovering His way life and truth.

Glimpses of My Testimony: Part 3

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”. ~Matthew 7:13-14

If I only knew how much these words would define my life.  As soon as I said yes to writing a book, this scripture literally showed up everywhere. “Fine, I got it God”! So The Narrow Path would be the title to my book. But at the time I didn’t understand the magnitude of just how narrow that path would become. It was a miracle, an absolute miracle that I had been saved from such a web of lies, but I never expected to find it in the church. Understand this…..there is a false gospel, and a different Jesus. That same new age version of Jesus exists in a growing movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation. It is a mystical miracle movement that seeks to bring back office of Apostle and prophet who receive new revelation. God’s word has merely become a side dish, instead of the main course. The NAR is rapidly growing, and will deceive many. 

“Be assured there is nothing new in theology except that which is false”~ C.H. Spurgeon

 

Growing up I was always attracted to the mystical. I had various supernatural experiences that led me down a very dangerous path. Fast forward to my early twenties, and I became very involved with yoga and Eastern spirituality. I thought I could just combine Jesus with my practice of yoga and mysticism. I considered myself a Christian mystic. At a certain point in my life I began questioning my spirituality, and seeking to discover who Jesus truly was. As I began to pray to God for answers I had a kundalini awakening that felt blissful at first, but quickly turned into a nightmare, and I became depressed and suicidal. This all became part of God’s plan to shine His light upon the darkness. Having the scales removed from my eyes completely dissolved my view of truth. But I knew that I must leave all behind and follow Jesus.

As I began trying out churches I found myself bored and wanting more. Eventually I felt led to attend a small church close to my house. The first time I heard the pastor preach it was powerful! He was charismatic, and such a great speaker. As time went on, I absolutely loved this church! Everyone there always showered me with such love. It was just what my soul was thirsty for. I remember the first time attending a monthly event called ‘Friday Flow’. It was a spontaneous night of worship, where people could just flow in the spirit. There would be repetitive type worship songs, and prayer to induce  a meditative type state and change the atmosphere. People there would flow in the holy Spirit and have visions and prophecy. I felt completely changed and renewed. As I sat observing and quietly praying, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit encompass my entire being; a warm blanket of peace surrounded me. In an instant I felt my heart soften, and realized for the first time the love of the Father. That was the night I completely gave my life to Christ, and changed dramatically.

I immediately noticed huge changes in myself, and would dive into God’s word, and fast from food. I was trying desperately to get to know my savior. The Lord was with me during this time, but I had no idea how much some of these intense feelings of love would fade. This was a confusing time for me, as I was also going through intense spiritual warfare after my baptism. One thing I always seemed to notice was every time at our Friday flow meetings, and after I would experience the “presence”, I would feel very oppressed. I chalked this up to spiritual warfare, and thought the demons were mad that I was experiencing God. Currently, I’m not too sure that was the case; perhaps I was opening myself up to warfare by engaging in mystical practices. Now I did experience things that could only be from God, but I started to question the manifesting of the environment. I now understand conjuring up a presence, and getting into a trance like state is nothing more than sorcery.

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This article is from Berean Research. I have been contacted by many who suffer the consequences of spiritual adultery by the use of regression, divination, or contact of dark spirits. Please read.

Berean Research“Guard Yourselves in Steadfast Truth!”

Victims of Bill Johnson’s SOZO Ministry speak out

Many churches are bringing a practice called SOZO into their ministry, at the peril of damaging the sheep and possibly shipwrecking their faith. SOZO Prayer is a technique based on psychology and used by so-called “inner healing ministries” sweeping churches today.This psycho-spiritual deliverance and inner healing methodology is designed to exorcise demons from Christians. Not that a Christian can be possessed by demons, but that is one of many apostate teachings from the New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR. (See, What your church needs to know about NAR.)

This technique came out of Bethel Church, invented by NAR apostle Bill Johnson himself. The Bethel SOZO website says SOZO will heal your broken connection with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so that you can walk in the destiny to which you have been called and reach your potential.

During SOZO sessions, counselees receive help opening their minds to be filled with the Holy Spirit. They may be told that they have a spirit of Jezebel, or a Squid spirit, or some other creature or demon living inside of them.  Once the demons are excorcised, their spirit-filled minds are now healed, and their broken connection to God is restored.

Furthermore, SOZO counselors are taught to guide their clients (called “Sozoees”), through the “Five Doors” and “Father Ladder” concepts. The Five Doors through which demonic lies enter our brains are: Hatred, Sexual Sin, Occult (which SOZO actually is), Thievery and Fear. (More about these doors and ladders in the article, “Has SOZO given me evil spirits?”)

In my series of 50+ articles titled, Leaving the NAR Church, many of the testimonies included tales of SOZO happening in their churches. If you’ve experienced SOZO, I encourage you to share your story in the comments section or email it to me for a future anonymous article series to Bereanresearch@gmail.com.

Here is an eye-opening article from 2012 titled, Victims of Johnson’s Sozo Ministry Speak Out, and am sharinga part of it here for more information:

My daughter attended a Sozo session at Bethel eight years ago. While in that session she experienced a so called “Recovered Memory” that I had molested her from the age of three to thirteen. That was the end of our relationship and almost the end of my life. Her mother and siblings know and have testified that it is completely false, but the damage is done. None of us in our family will ever be the same.

When I found out about this I tried to contact Bill Johnson for help. Apparently, being falsely accused of a crime that can carry a life sentence (and that resulting from one of Bethels’ ministries) is not quite enough to get his attention. I could not get past the “counseling center”. When I related what had happened to them they expressed how sorry they were at my experience and actually tried to get me to set up a counseling session. Yes, a counseling session. I declined that invitation.

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When I first got saved and joined a small Bible church that was not part of a denomination my friends were concerned that I had joined a cult. The church was small (50 or so attendees), we met in a school hall, the pastor was a foreigner (any American teaching just smelled suspicious), and we had a lengthy membership process, part of which required baptism because my “mainstream” Catholic christening didn’t count. It also included signing a document that said I understood the practice of church discipline, resulting in excommunication for violating Scripture.

In retrospect, I can sympathize with their concerns. My beliefs and behavior altered, and albeit for the better, it still seemed radical. I attended three Bible studies a week, two services on a Sunday, and listened to countless hours of John MacArthur tapes. I started dating a girl in the church who had refused to date me while I was Catholic. I can see what this looked like. At one point the pressing concerns of a close friend of mine caused me to pause and consider: had I joined a cult?

I asked a friend in another church how I could know if I was in a cult. I have been asked the same question by others, and I’ve had Christian parents enquire how they can know if the church their college-aged child has got involved in is a cult or not.

First, let me say that the mere fact that you are asking the question is a good sign. Even if someone in my own (Baptist) church asked me if we were a cult I would not be offended but encouraged. It signals that the person is thinking critically about their faith, rather than accepting it based on an authority figure spoon feeding (or worse: force feeding) it to them. I would also recommend to the enquirer that they not accept my answer as final either, but that they read widely and research other sources to check what I say.

Also, bear in mind that cultic patterns occur on a spectrum. The more characteristics your church exhibits, the more concerned you should be. And just because a group is missing one or two of these traits does not mean it is a safe spiritual place.

Your church might not be a cult, while still exhibiting cultic behavior, that you should address with the leadership.

So here is the short answer, in 500 words…

5 Characteristics of Cultish Groups:

Read the Characteristics HERE 

 

 

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