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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 

 

 

From Famine in the Land

By Rick Becker  25 January 2018

In order to make the gospel more palatable, many are resorting to crafty means in order to attract the lost.  One of the means employed is going “under cover” at various events.  This new breed of revivalists and evangelists don’t rely on the gospel, but so called “encounters with God.”  Words of knowledge and healings are utilized in order to win the lost. This covert evangelism involves:
• an absence of the gospel
• using terminology that does not offend
• supposed supernatural encounters
• cards, colours and stones to facilitate messages from God
..In other words – “another gospel”

A host of articles have recently exposed the unbiblical evangelistic tools and shenanigans of Bethel and Christalignment.  Going undercover at psychic fairs and the use of “destiny cards” to offer readings, or as they would argue – words of knowledge, are part of their evangelistic strategy.
In stark contrast to the methodology of Christalignment and Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry Students, the Apostle Paul refused to disguise the truth:

“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.   But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing“  2 Corinthians 4:1-3

Clandestine operations were probably employed by the false teachers in Corinth.  Paul was making it clear that the gospel does not need to be disguised or tampered with in order to be effective.

John Gill commentary: “not walking in craftiness; they used no sly and artful methods to please men, to gain applause from them, or make merchandise of them; they did not lie in wait to deceive, watching an opportunity to work upon credulous and incautious minds; they did not, by good words and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple; nor put on different forms, or make different appearances, in order to suit themselves to the different tempers and tastes of men, as did the false apostles: not handling the word of God deceitfully. They did not corrupt it with human doctrines, or mix and blend it with philosophy, and vain deceit; they did not wrest the Scriptures to serve any carnal or worldly purpose; nor did they accommodate them to the lusts and passions of men; or conceal any part of truth“

Those who tamper with God’s word or employ deceit when presenting it are doing so in order to please man or gratify themselves in some manner: “But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.  For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.  For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness.  Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others”  2 Thess 2:2-6

Bethel came out in defense of Christalignment (not surprising since Theresa Dedmon of Bethel came up with the brand “Destiny Cards”)    In their statement, they made this point: “The Hodges are attempting to contextualize the Gospel and bring people to the realization that God is looking for them and loves them no matter where they are – just like the apostle Paul often did. In Acts 17:22-34, Paul spoke to a group of religious people who didn’t yet know God and lived in a city full of altars, idols, and various religions. In that moment, Paul referred to a single altar in their city that had an inscription to the “unknown god,” and he used this familiar object (something they understood and valued) as a starting point to connect them with the God of all creation. He wasn’t worried that they would get a wrong idea (like that God is merely one of many gods or that idols are appropriate) because he would soon be introducing them to the true God.”

When contextualizing leads to compromise, the gospel is polluted.  In Acts 17 Paul did not attempt to blend in with the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers; in fact the reason he was taken to the Areopagus was because his message was different : “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection”  Notice that Paul was not ashamed to name Jesus, whereas the new breed of crafty evangelists prefer terms such as spirit of creation, high spirit, Christ spirit etc.  Paul’s reference to the “unknown god” cannot be compared to going undercover and changing biblical terminology in an attempt to smuggle Jesus in at a later stage.

The irony is that Bethel and Theresa Dedmon use this passage to justify Christalignment’s  contextualization of the Gospel – which includes the use of Destiny Cards.  Dedmon writes: “Destiny Cards” are not tarot cards.  They do, however, have a similar look that attracts people who are searching for a “reading”.  There is no way one can justify creating something that looks similar to a demonic tool in order to “attract” people searching for a “reading.”
Dedmon gets it dead wrong once again when she writes in the same article: “Jesus always spoke in parables that communicated the message in creative ways in which people could relate and receive.”  Parables and Destiny Cards are not comparable.  Jesus did not use parables in order for people to relate and receive; in fact most could not relate and never received anything.  Paul put it this way:  But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing”  2 Corinthians 4:3

 

Finish article HERE 

Brace yourself for a wild ride while we take a break from the life of Abraham and take a look at a season in life of Lot. Today, we will look at the situation the evening two angels stay in Sodom under the roof of Lot.

From

A Narrow-Minded Woman

“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:14)

Two Angels in Sodom

The two angels left Abraham’s hospitality and are now entering Sodom. The Lord promised Abraham that if there were just ten righteous men in the city, He would spare them.

This story of Sodom is tragic and heartbreaking. However, what is even more shocking is the behavior of Lot. It is difficult for us to understand how Lot can act the way he does and yet still be characterized as a righteous man in 2 Peter 2:7.

Brace yourself for a wild ride while we take a break from the life of Abraham and take a look at a season in the life of Lot.

Lot Offers Hospitality to the Angels

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. (Genesis 19:1-3)

Let us start by recalling how Lot ended up in Sodom. Lot is Abraham’s nephew and for many years he lived with Abraham. However, their servants began quarreling over grazing land so Abraham and Lot decided to separatein order to keep the peace between them. Abraham gave Lot the choice of land and he chose the more fertile land that was near Sodom. At some point, it seems Lot must have moved into the city itself rather than living in the wilderness.

Later, Sodom was attacked by other nations and he and his family were taken captive. Abraham gathered an army and rescued Lot and his family. However, rather than deciding that would be a good time to find a new home, Lot returned to Sodom.

This brings us to the passage today. 

Finish Article HERE 

I have been searching for articles with research on the early Corinthian Church. The background of the paganism that the Corinthians had been involved with is very enlightening. It helps explain Paul’s instruction in 1 Corinthians.

 

Tongues and the Mystery Religions of Corinth
by H. Wayne House
Of all the controversial subjects discussed in Christian circles,
probably few have received more attention than the subject
of glossolalia. Though the material written on this subject is
enormous, much confusion pervades the issue. Since the Corinthian
assembly gave undue preeminence to “speaking in
tongues,” it is only to be expected that a person seeking to understand
the Corinthian phenomenon should desire to know the
reason for this stress. This article seeks to demonstrate that
some of the Corinthian Christians brought aspects of their
pagan background into their worship and theology. These false
perspectives and practices were characteristic of the contemporary
religious setting in Corinth from which they had been converted.
This article also seeks to show that the Apostle Paul, in
order to rid the church at Corinth of these ideas, used various
means of argumentation to combat these practices, even using
some of their terminology for the purpose of argument.
Statement of the Problem
It is not a new thought that pagan forces were hard at work
in the church at Corinth, but their identity and to what degree
they influenced that congregation, is a matter of debate. Scholars
of the History of Religions school earlier in this century
believed that Christians, including those at Corinth, were
affected by the Hellenistic mystery religions.1
On the other hand Tongues and the Mystery Religions of Corinth 135
Schmithals and others have posited Gnostic influence in the
church at Corinth.2
Religious ecstasy, particularly glossolalia, is found in the
mystery religions or the religion of Apollo, rather than in Gnosticism
as Bultmann and others have argued. Some of the characteristics
of Gnosticism were already present in the generad religious
attitudes in the first century A.D.; but since Gnosticism
was a later Christian heresy,3 it would be anachronistic to see
Gnosticism in Corinth. Whatever the cause, the church in this
hub of pagan perversity was in grave trouble; the church
abounded in nonbiblical and immoral practices.

 

Finish entire article HERE 

 

Conclusion:

Corinth was experience-oriented and self-oriented. Mystery
religions and other pagan cults were in great abundance, from
which cults many of the members at the Corinthian church
received their initial religious instruction. After being converted
they had failed to free themselves from pagan attitudes and they
confused the true work of the Spirit of God with the former
pneumatic and ecstatic experiences of the pagan religions, espe-
cially the Dionysian mystery or the religion of Apollo. By careful
and delicate argumentation Paul sought to help these believers
recognize their errors and operate all the χαρίσματα (gifts of the
Spirit) not just the πνευματικά (tongues). Also he desired that
they perform the χαρίσματα for the edification of the body of
Christ, not self.

 

Another interesting link

 

http://www.piney.com/TonguesIndex.html

 

 

I continue to study and warn about The New Apostolic Reformation. It is infiltrating Christianity. I was shocked to read an EBook written by Susan Rowan of Bible Study Fellowship called “The Gospel Changes Everything”  that was filled with 7 Mountain Mandate terminology. (Chapter 6)

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/bsfinternational/The-Gospel-Changes-Everything-2.pdf

Please read  the following by C.H. Fisher  from TRUTHKEEPERS 

Historically, Israel has long been hated for what she is, was, and will become. That ages-old satanic spirit of hatred is surfacing again, fomenting anti-Semitism via Replacement Theology (Supercessionism). It is not only evident via Replacement Theology in liturgical dominations, but has seeped deeply into Evangelicalism. It is alarming because Replacement Theology (RT) has historically been the single most powerful provocateur of anti-Semitism.

RT posits the claim that the New Testament covenant replaces the Abrahamic covenant, and that the Church has replaced Israel as God’s chosen people.[1]Thus, the Church is now “Israel” in the plan, purpose, and promises of God. The promises that God made to Israel are spiritualized and every mention of Israel in the New Testament after Pentecost refers to the Church.[2] Further, RT included beliefs based primarily on the notion that the Abrahamic Covenant no longer applies that promises Israel eternal ownership of land in Canaan (Genesis 17:7-8). Thus, because the Covenant no longer applies, Israel is just as any other nation and her only hope is in the Church.[3]

I could write about all of those manifestations of anti-Semitism, but there are numerous very well written books exposing those errors. In my research I found an anti-Semitic threat to Israel that is greater than all the others combined. In the last couple of decades a different type of anti-Semitism has manifested. It is anti-Semitism that is not easily discerned or detected, but glides silently along in a rapidly growing Movement. Obscured in the folds of Dominion Theology, this new type of anti-Semitism is thriving in the most heretical faction of Christianity, the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

The NAR’s potential to do harm to Israel is far greater than the threat of anti-Semitism from alleged Jewish deicide, the anti-Semitism of the Arab nations, and anti-Semitism that stems from Replacement Theology.

Finish article HERE 

A good article by Rick Becker from

Famine In The Land

 

You probably have friends and family caught up in New Apostolic Reformation churches (Bethel, Hillsong etc) and you have found it extremely difficult to persuade them they are being deceived.  You may have been accused of having a critical spirit, of being divisive, judgemental, or of being a heresy hunter when warning them of the false doctrines in this movement.  Why is it so difficult for those caught up in the New Apostolic Reformation, word of faith and prosperity gospel movements (NAR & CO) to break free?

These movements have characteristics similar to cults, making it almost equally difficult to come out from their grip and deception. There are reasons why it is so difficult for people to escape from these movements and churches that teach false doctrine. Firstly, we will look at some secondary reasons, and then note the two primary reasons why people struggle to break free from this deception.

1  A new priesthood has been established within the NAR & CO.  When the likes of Patricia King, Kris Vallotton or Bill Johnson claim to have a revelation for the body of Christ, a new strategy etc, who are you to question when God does not speak to you on such an intimate basis?  Like any cult leader, they claim to have special knowledge, immediately placing them on a level that is admired by their followers.  Leaders claim to have taken trips to heaven, talked with angels, received new downloads and impartations from an open heaven.  Their so called ability to receive new revelation has elevated them above their followers, in clear contradiction of 1 John 2:27: “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”  There is no difference between the manipulative priests and Popes of the Roman Catholic Church and this new breed of apostles, prophets and pastors.  They interpret scripture on our behalf, and through eisegesis twist the scriptures to promote their false doctrines.  They are rarely challenged by their own followers, and point two reveals why.

2  Submission induced through an unhealthy fear keeps followers in their place.

Finish article HERE

Sage advice:
Don’t listen to anyone whose teaching requires “spitting out” afterwards.
Don’t listen to anyone that gets “downloads” (new revelations) directly from God.
Don’t listen to anyone who gives lip service to the Bible but rarely actually reads it.
Don’t listen to anyone whose ideas require “The Message Bible” for validation.
Don’t listen to anyone who is getting rich from his or her “ministry.”
Don’t listen to anyone who twists God’s Word or approves of those who do.
Don’t listen to anyone who values the world’s approval more than service to God.
Don’t listen to anyone who talks more about themselves than the Lord Jesus Christ.
Don’t listen to anyone who “casts a vision” that you’re required to follow.
Don’t listen to anyone who claims to have the ability to “speak things into existence.”
Don’t listen to anyone who claims to have discovered a “secret” from God.
Don’t listen to anyone who preaches a whole sermon based on half of a (KJV) verse.
Don’t listen to anyone who preaches a sermon based on his or her new book.
Don’t listen to anyone who questions the Bible while pretending to value it.
Don’t listen to anyone who values adoration from the audience above service to God.
Don’t listen to anyone who refers to their own illegal activities as mere “mistakes.”
Don’t listen to anyone who preaches all Law and no Gospel.
Finally, don’t listen to anyone who thinks this list is too harsh and narrow-minded! 


Read: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs by Steven Kozar: http://bit.ly/1KtXas2

18812658_280001122405660_2877473078655320064_n

An article from:

Anthony Wood on September 14, 2017

EQUIP THE SAINT

Calling today’s world to God’s timeless truth…

 

I’ve some friends who know the “signs and wonders” movement pretty well. We’ve seen the backstage planning of a “miracle” crusade, the selection of those to be healed, the bravado in the green rooms, the falsified twitter feeds, the manipulation of youthful naïveté, and even the post event cash-money exchanges behind hotel doors in some destitute third world nation… smoke and mirrors… all of it.

So, it poses the question, is this form of miracle-manipulation part of biblical history? Well, Acts 8 indicates it was:

When Simon saw how the Spirit was given through the apostles’ laying their hands upon people he offered them money with the words, “Give me this power too, so that if I were to put my hands on anyone he could receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “To hell with you and your money! How dare you think you could buy the gift of God! You can have no share or place in this ministry, for your heart is not honest before God. All you can do now is to repent of this wickedness of yours and pray earnestly to God that the evil intention of your heart may be forgiven. For I can see inside you, and I see a man bitter with jealousy and bound with his own sin! [Acts 8:18-23]

Once we realize miracle manipulation was part of biblical history a subsequent question asks if extra biblical revelation and miracle manipulation was part of church history? Again the answer is affirmative. Miracle manipulation has always been around. In fact, dating back to A.D. 156 one can research the assault on orthodox Christianity by a charlatan named Montanus. Montanus came from Asia Minor along with two “prophetesses” named Prisca and Maximilla. His sect of followers insisted that opposition to their versions of prophecy was blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and caused many churches to split. Sound familiar?

Finish HERE

Beth Moore is an ecumenical charismatic who supposedly receives messages and visions from God. She has been instructed by God to pass these messages to the church. Oh really. While some of her teachings may be correct they are also filled with allegory which spiritualizes text. This often changes the meaning of what the text is teaching. She also teaches men from the pulpit which puts her in direct rebellion to scripture. Her emotional stories really tug at the heart of women who need to beware.

Lauran Breaks Free of Beth Moore: A Testimony

The following testimony was submitted to Pulpit & Pen for publication:

My name is Lauran.  I am a Southern Baptist from Tennessee.  I walked the aisle to accept Jesus at age 5 but I believe I was truly saved 12 years ago at the age of 21.  I am currently the women’s Bible study leader at our church as well as the pastor’s wife.  I have broken free of Beth Moore.

I grew up attending a flagship in Southern Baptist Church in Tennessee.  It was and is one of the most vibrant churches in the convention; its former and current pastors have been the President of the Southern Baptist Convention and both served on the Baptist Faith and Message Committee.  At this faithful church, the Bible was proclaimed as God’s inerrant word.  Growing up in a church like that, I was often involved in Bible study.  One of my favorite Bible study authors was Beth Moore.  I was heavily involved in her studies for years.  I have seen her speak live multiple times, done countless numbers of her studies and own tons of her books.  I’ll never forget the day five years ago when my husband informed me that Beth Moore may not be a sound teacher.

My husband had stumbled across the profile on Beth Moore at the Christian Apologetics Research Ministry (CARM) website.  Incredulously, my Baptist husband read Matt Slick’s negative critique of Beth Moore.  He was surprised to see that CARM, one of the most trusted online sources for Christian doctrine, did not recommend participating in Beth Moore studies.  He knew she was the darling of Southern Baptist women’s studies, a best-selling author at Lifeway.  After studying the article, my husband couldn’t help but agree with Slick’s assessment.  The evidence was right there.  Beth Moore was not a sound teacher.  Sheepishly, he informed me that Beth Moore may not be a sound teacher.  I was aghast!

“What?!” I exclaimed.  “No Way! Beth Moore is a godly woman.” I had been growing in my knowledge of the word in leaps and bounds over the past few years.  I had even attended Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary for a degree in Christian education.  It had never been brought up to me in my long Baptist life that Beth Moore, this trusted woman, and leader, might actually be a poor teacher or even a wolf in sheep’s clothing!  I had always just assumed that what she was teaching was biblical. All of the churches I had ever attended had endorsed and done her studies as part of their women’s Bible studies. How could they keep doing her studies if her teaching and actions were unbiblical?!

There was only one way to answer this question.

 

 

Finish HERE 

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