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The Vineyard, the Charismatic Church, and the Cults

Source Deception in the Church 

author unknown

 

Table of Contents

THE VINEYARD, THE CHARISMATIC CHURCH, AND THE CULTS                       2

WHY I WRITE                                                                                                                     2

THE WALK                                                                                                                         3

THE VINEYARD                                                                                                                 9

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD                                                                                          10

THE “BLESSING” COMES TO TORONTO                                                                         10

THE CHARISMATIC CHURCH                                                                                     12

SAVED BY GRACE                                                                                                           13

A FEW QUESTIONS ABOUT TORONTO                                                                          15

THE 15 POINTS OF WALK TEACHING AND PRACTICE                                         20

WALK TALK                                                                                                                     24

RED FLAGS OF DECEPTION                                                                                         25

CHARACTERISTICS OF A CULTIC MINDSET                                                           30

SPIRITUAL DRUNKENNESS: LAST CALL FOR THE SOBER TO FLEE                 33

RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!                                                                                                    38

WHERE THE RIVER OF GOD FLOWS                                                                          39

 

The Vineyard, the Charismatic Church, and the Cults

Why I Write

 

Long before becoming a born-again Christian in the fall of 2000, I spent 7 years in a cult calling itself the Church of the Living Word, also known as ‘the Walk’, lead by John Robert Stevens. After the Walk, I went to the Vineyard and spent 9 years there from 1989 up until 1998. When I became a Christian in 2000 I was attending a local Charismatic church.

 

Soon after becoming a Christian I began to notice many similarities between what we had been taught in the Walk – an outright cult – and what was being taught in the Vineyard and Charismatic movements. As a result I started taking a closer look into the teachings of charismatic leadership. I also noticed that there was prevalent within Charismatic/Vineyard churches a ‘mindset’ which was very similar to the type of mindset I found within the cult. I will discuss this ‘cultic mindset’ in more detail later[1], but for now suffice it to say that I am not referring to specific doctrines, but in the way rank-and-file members relate to the leadership and accept their teachings with little, if any, serious critical evaluation. This cultic-mindset is rampant in the charismatic church today and has resulted in an appalling lack of discernment in that movement.

 

Charismatic and Vineyard churches are highly autonomous, so I want to be careful not to paint them all with the same broad brush. It is not my purpose to label them all as cults and many of these churches are attended by sincere Christians. However, Charismatic and Vineyard churches as a group embrace the same basic ideas about how the Holy Spirit is working in the church today, and have endorsed the new ‘third wave’ generation of charismatic apostles and prophets as bona-fide spiritual leaders.[2]

 

Yet many of the sincere Christians who attend these churches have not made a complete or careful examination of the teachings of these apostles and prophets, nor carefully searched the Scriptures to see if they are true. Many of the major beliefs and premises of these prophets and apostles are very similar to (and in some points identical) the heretical teachings taught by the Walk. Furthermore, within the charismatic movement there are pronounced tendencies that are highly cult-like in the way members relate to spiritual leadership and respond to teaching.

 

What I hope to accomplish in this article is to address the similarity of teaching and mindset between the cult and Charismatic/Vineyard groups. The similarities are not minor, nor are they confined to peripheral issues. It involves almost all of the core doctrines and major beliefs of the charismatic movement.

 

The Walk

 

For 7 years during the 1970’s and early 80’s I was a member of a cult calling itself “The Church of the Living Word”, also known as “The Walk”. It was founded by a man named John Robert Stevens who, it was believed, was the ‘Apostle’ raised up by God to lead the Christian church into the “fullness of the Kingdom of God” on the earth. He taught a blending of Latter Rain[3] doctrine and occult, with enough of a Christian veneer to fool sincere believers who had a hunger for something more than what their traditional church had to offer.

 

I was immediately attracted by the sense of ‘spiritual’ energy and divine mission they seemed to possess. They had apostles and prophets, just like in the Bible, and they told us that God was doing a new thing and we were “it”. I spent most of my Walk years from 1977 to 1984 as a member of local cell churches in Ontario and Alberta, with frequent trips to larger Walk centers around the US.

 

The founder of the Walk, John Robert Stevens (JRS), claimed to be the Apostle to the Kingdom. He believed he was receiving the new revelation from God necessary to lead the church into the New ThingGod was bringing, which was the fullness of the Kingdom of God in the Earth before Christ’s return. The Walk was one of the more radical tributaries that flowed out of the Latter Rain revival of the late 40’s and 50’s. Walk doctrine incorporated the worst of the many heresies that came out of the Latter Rain movement, with some of Steven’s own ideas thrown into the mix.

 

Stevens had been hugely influenced by William Branham[4] during the Latter Rain movement. Branham believed that he was the angel of the seventh church mentioned in the Book of Revelation. He also believed, among other things, that the Word of God was expressed to us not just in the Bible, but in the Zodiac and Egyptian Pyramids, and his teaching was a blending of the occult, spiritism, and the Bible. Stevens picked up many of his ideas from Branham and other Latter Rain teachers and started his own church in 1950, located in the Los Angeles area.

 

I knew nothing of Walk history at the time, but when I joined in 1977 it had grown to a large network of about 100 churches spread across North America, with a few small groups in Europe and South Africa.

 

I soon found out that being in the Walk was going to be a whole lot more fun than traditional church life. Walk people took the doctrine of “salvation by faith alone” into interesting new levels. It didn’t matter a whole lot how you lived as long as “your heart was right” and you believed the right things. I didn’t smoke, drink, or visit bars when I joined the Walk, but that all changed. Many Walk members would often frequent bars and strip clubs, drink excessively and generally whoop it up, and I was soon going along with them. This was considered to be a healthy development for me since I was coming from a “religious” background.

 

In the Walk, one of the biggest hindrances to true spirituality was to have what we termed a “religious spirit”. Being religious was ‘old order’ and would hinder the ability to receive the new revelation coming from JRS. It was believed that one of the best ways to break a religious spirit was to let it all hang out and indulge your fleshly cravings. Indulging and expressing “the flesh” was considered more honest and “being real”, and therefore closer to God than phony, restrictive, “religious” behavior.

 

So in the topsy-turvy world of the Walk, carnality and sinful indulgence was an accepted route to spirituality. Many of those regarded to be the most spiritually mature were also often the wildest drinkers and party goers. But it was generally agreed that this was perfectly fine, because they were considered spiritually strong enough to handle it.

 

The Walk was very insular and elitist in the extreme. As far as we were concerned, the Walk was it. We were the embodiment of what God was doing in the earth today, moving towards becoming the manifestation of Christ in the earth with all His power and glory, which would enable us to usher in the new era of Christ’s Kingdom. Anyone who was in tune with God would see this and join our movement. Those who did not see things our way just didn’t have the revelation.

 

Steven’s would have nothing to do with other denominations and we did not associate at all with other Christian groups. In our view, there was little to be gained by associating with other Christian groups anyway, since we were the ones who had “the revelation”, and if there was more to be given, God would give it to us. We were on God’s cutting edge, leading the way for the “new thing” God was doing in our generation. This elitism, the sense of being on God’s cutting edge, was what attracted most of us to the Walk. We loved the sense of being a part of God’s inner circle.

 

Violent Intercession and Prophecy Junkies

 

Our services typically compromised of sitting around in a group listening to the latest tape from Anaheim. We all became prophecy junkies and lived from week to week in eager anticipation of the latest “word.” There was little teaching from the Bible. The pastor/leader was the guy who switched on the tape machine or regurgitated the latest apostolic revelation. After listening to the latest “word” from the Apostle, we would begin to engage the enemy in spiritual warfare through a form of prayer known as “violent intercession”.

 

Spiritual “violence” was one of the very basic premises behind the Walk, taken from the King James translation of Matthew 11:12. This teaching, generally referred to as “Taking the Kingdom by Violence”, was the concept that the Kingdom would only belong to those who wanted it badly enough to attain a sufficient level of spiritual intensity[5]. (Violence did not mean physical force, but a spiritual intensity.) Only those intense enough would “break through” in the spiritual realm and release the spiritual power necessary to make the word a reality. Intensity of prayer, or “violent intercession”, is what made it happen. This violent intercession was a big part of Walk church meetings. We believed that intensity and forcefulness behind our prayers was required to be effective, so we all worked very hard at building up our intensity by shouting, stomping our feet, and punctuating our demands with slashing hand action (like a sword).

 

We would typically begin to “intercede” by standing around in a circle after listening to the latest tape. Intercession would often begin by rebuking complacency in God’s people and appropriating the promises with shouts of faith. We would rebuke the Devil and the host of evil beings arrayed against us in the heavenlies.

 

‘Violent’ intercession comprised of shouting favorite “catch phrases” at God or the Devil. Some typical catch phrases often shouted repeatedly during intercession were:

 

“We loose the word tonight, Lord!” (With foot stomping.)

“We rebuke all passivity tonight!” (Rapid hand motions slice the air in emphasis.)

“We cast down the enemy and all his lies.”

“We speak the Apostles release today, Lord!”

“We won’t rest until we have the fullness of your Kingdom Lord.”

 

The intensity of our prayers and faith would “loose the word”. “Loosing the word” was setting its creative power free, and was another major premise of the Walk.

 

Great emphasis was placed in becoming the “word” through the intensity of our intercession. Attaining greater levels of spirituality depended upon our intensity. We believed we could speak the ‘word’ into existence, and appropriate the reality through prayer and positive confession. “Speaking” a word, such as ‘peace’ or ‘faith’, would impart it. Prayer commonly involved making ‘prophetic declarations’. As we prayed, we would lean forward, rapidly rocking back and forth and stomping the ground with our feet. Prophetic declarations were punctuated with rapid hand action, chopping and slicing through the air. We seldom ever sat or kneeled in prayer, as that made it more difficult to be intense.

 

The focus of our prayers would be to appropriate for ourselves the latest “truth” revealed by the Apostle and to speak it into being. We would also pray for the Apostle Stevens to have the “Kingdom breakthrough” we were all believing for. It was believed that once we pushed him through to the Kingdom through our intense intercession, he would be able to bring the rest of us into the Kingdom.

 

The Walk was very militant in tone. The songs, prayers and teachings all had a military air. A lot of Walk teaching revolved around the whole concept of a spiritual army ‘taking the Kingdom by force’, which resulted in prayers that were not about submission to God or seeking His will, but in casting down demonic powers and strongholds in high places. We were very demanding and insistent of our rights as sons of God. Praying in the Walk had little to do with humbly seeking God for His will and submitting to it as most Christians properly understand prayer. No, not us – we demanded the promises! Of course, we believed that it was all according to God’s will as revealed by the Apostle. We were intense prophets, God’s spiritual warriors excitedly taking the Kingdom by storm, not humble servants!

Getting the Revelation

 

In the Walk, we often talked of “getting the revelation” or “revelation knowledge”. This was a mystical insight that gave us access to spiritual truths, as opposed to informing the intellect through the study of God’s Word. ‘Getting the revelation’ was knowledge of the truth gained through a mystical experience or insight. This method of gaining the truth was considered much more spiritual, and therefore far superior, to mere Bible study. The knowledge of truth was received by direct spiritual insight or impartation, of which the apostle Stevens was the channel. We were expected to accept what Stevens said as direct from God, without criticism. Our own spiritual capacity to receive the truth would confirm it. No need to carefully check the Bible.

 

There was often much talk and teaching about the necessity of bypassing the mind in order to ‘receive’ the truth. Those who were properly open to God would receive the divine illumination to know the truth of what the Apostle said. We were to have a mystical inner sense that told us what was true.  Those who didn’t believe just didn’t have the necessary spiritual ability to receive, and therefore couldn’t “know”.

 

Possessing the inner mystical ability to “get the revelation” permeated the Walk and it’s teaching, and believing that you had it was essential to joining the Walk. This is a hyper-spiritual way of thinking that becomes very self-authenticating[6]. It provides an almost impermeable defense from any form of criticism, because anyone who questioned us or our teaching just didn’t have the ‘revelation’ and thus could be safely ignored. They were obviously low-wattage Christians, below us on the spiritual scale of things, and we were above quibbling with them. No rational argument from scripture impacted us, because we had moved beyond scripture and entered into the realm of direct knowledge from God. The only scriptures we were interested in were those that seemed to support our beliefs. No one in the Walk ever questioned what Steven’s said, and anyone who did soon left. They were known as “blow-outs” that couldn’t handle the revelation.

 

Revelation knowledge was in fact what the Walk was all about. God was doing a new thing in the earth, preparing an army that would “break through” into the Kingdom and usher in the reign of Christ in the earth. The Apostle Stevens was the anointed man of God to lead the charge. New revelation was needed for the “new thing”, so God was also raising up prophets and apostles along with Stevens to speak the new, living word of God. A few isolated scripture verses were heavily spiritualized to support this.

 

Little Christ’s in the Earth

 

Stevens taught that the Bible text was a dead letter, and it was only alive as it lived in us and the Apostles. The “word made manifest” was common Walk talk. The “Living Word” was revelation knowledge spoken through the Apostle. The word of God was “Living” because living vessels spoke it and it wasn’t just “dead” text in a book. We believed that we could “become the word” as the word became manifest in us. By this, Stevens literally meant that we could become “the Word made flesh” just as Christ was, and become “little Christ’s” in the earth today.

 

The spoken word was, in practice if not in doctrine, placed on a par with scripture. In fact, most of us in the Walk ignored our Bibles. I seldom ever opened its pages. Why would I? We were getting God’s latest, hottest word straight off the press.

 

According to Stevens, he never knew when he might receive a sudden, divine impartation of new wisdom. He was receiving such a steady flow of new revelation from the Lord that he often had a small entourage of assistants following him around with tape recorders so that none of his prophetic utterances would be missed.

 

Stevens often talked about the Devil. He seemed to talk about what the devil was doing as much as what God was doing. Apparently Stevens was so vital to God’s endtime plan, and moving in such a high level of prophetic impartation, that the devil was always after him and giving Stevens a hard time. Stevens always gave the impression that he was in constant life and death spiritual battles with the enemy,[7]and we were always encouraged to pray for him. In fact, praying for him and listening to his tapes was the main focus of our meetings and of the Walk in general.

 

We often made pilgrimages to the bigger Walk churches in Sepulveda and South Gate, and several other cities around the U.S. The Walk had a large complex in Iowa, just outside of Washington, called Shiloh. This was our major conference center and school of the prophets. It was a huge wooden structure surrounded by corn fields. I spent a couple of summers there, attending conferences and picking corn. Shiloh soon earned a bad reputation with the locals due to the drinking habits of our church members, who liked to patronize the local bars and drink excessively. Many of the local establishments became “off limits” to Walk members because of our drunken behavior.

 

However, drinking was very popular in the Walk and seen by many as an effective antidote to a ‘religious spirit’. We were always on the guard against religious spirits cropping up in ourselves and others. Religiosity was considered at least as bad, or even worse than, sin. It was often taught that it was better to just sin and be honest, rather than run the risk of being religious.

 

Once a man joined our group who used to attend a local Pentecostal church. It was the general consensus that this new member had a religious spirit. We were very worried for him, but much to our relief he soon discovered that he liked the taste of beer and took up drinking. We considered that this was a good thing as it was a sign that the religious spirit that had him in bondage was being broken.

 

Stevens died in the early 1980’s and his widow, Marilyn, took over leadership of the Walk. I left the Walk in 1984. The last time I had any direct contact with former friends in that group was years later, and they were still praying for Stevens to be raised from the dead.

 

It is not within the scope or purpose of this article to write a complete history of the Walk and it’s doctrines[8], but I wanted to give you a summary of it’s major teachings, characteristics and mindset, because the same beliefs that Stevens taught in the Walk are surfacing in the Vineyard/Charismatic prophetic movement today. I have included a summary of the major Walk doctrines in a subsequent chapter.

 

The Walk embodied a hyper-spiritual way of thinking that fosters spiritual pride, making the affected Christian susceptible to all kinds of unbiblical, elitist beliefs. The Walk conditioned it’s adherents to view all the rest of Christianity as a type of religious ‘Babylon’: in spiritual darkness, unable to receive the revelation we had, and therefore abandoned by God. The Walk was it. I remember well a comment Stevens made once that sums up this cultic conditioning very well. He said it in a very off-the-cuff manner, but it expressed the prevalent Walk attitude. “Once you’ve been in the Walk, it ruins you for anything else. You won’t ever be able to return to Babylon.” (Babylon being any church other than the Walk.)

 

Hyper-spiritual thinking turns a Christian into a spiritual surfer, always wanting to ride a new wave and looking to catch the next big move of God. Such Christians are seldom satisfied with the plain message of the Bible and reaching the lost so that others can be saved. They are more interested in discovering deeper truths or discussing some novel insight. One of the greatest dangers behind this type of thinking is to cause Christians to forget that our main job here on earth is to preach the gospel and teach the basic Word of God so that others can be brought into the faith of Christ. Instead, it sets Christians on a quest for ever higher spiritual experience, raising up great spiritual armies and engaging in high level cosmic warfare.

 

The Vineyard

 

I left the Walk and joined the Vineyard movement in the late 80’s. The Vineyard is a Charismatic church growth movement characterized by a casual, relaxed atmosphere and an upbeat, modern style of worship music. The Vineyard is at the forefront of a much larger Charismatic revival, lead by the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TACF)[9], Peter Wagner, Rick Joyner and the new wave of prophets and apostles rising to prominence. The first thing I noticed about the Vineyard was its music and laid-back preaching style. The music was great and the worship went on for extended periods, the dress was casual and it had a coffee bar at the back. I was to remain in the Vineyard for the next 9 years.

 

I soon discovered there was a reason for the laid back preaching style in the Vineyard: The Vineyard was very laid-back about what it believed. In contrast to the Walk, the Vineyard was very wishy-washy about what it believed and adopted an easy-going approach to the truth. There was lots of warm and fuzzy preaching on God’s love, personal fulfillment, setting and reaching goals, and dreaming big dreams for life. I used to be in sales in the business world, and recognized most of it as repackaged business management-speak and sales motivational teaching that had more to do with Norman Vincent Peal than the Bible.

 

The Vineyard was very pragmatic in its approach to church growth. We were often developing new ways to reach the community through various out-reach programs, such as door-to-door food give-aways, free barbeques, or pop give-aways on street corners. These things are not wrong in themselves, of course, but for all our good works, there was little Gospel content in what we did. We put a lot of thought into how to reach the community, but little consideration into the content of the message we were reaching them with. Most of our growth came from attracting existing Christians to our church with our popular music and coffee-club atmosphere.

 

The Vineyard also took a pragmatic approach to truth: whatever worked was OK. What Bible teaching there was usually came in the form of “keys” or “steps” to reaching some personal or group goal, such as realizing your full potential. Lots of teaching centered on the mechanics of various “how-to” methodologies, such as ‘how-to journal’ as a method to hear God. How-to pray for the sick. How-to reach the community. How-to minister and receive inner-healing. How-to discover your spiritual ‘gift mix’. How-to interpret dreams, and so on.

 

Often, preaching was little more than subjective ramblings about what the speaker “felt” God was currently saying or doing. And always about how much God loved us and how some wonderful new thing was on the horizon. Always couched in very spiritual terms, but it was typically the leader’s opinions of what God was saying at the moment and seldom was there much, if any, Biblical exposition.

 

In one such very typical service, the entire teaching consisted of gleanings from a secular book on business success that had been written by a Mormon. In another very typical service I recall, the sermon consisted of jokes the Pastor read from a Christian joke book. The only occasions that I can recall in which the pastor actually expounded on the Bible at any length (apart from cherry-picking the occasional, isolated proof text), was when the church started running into the red, and a sermon on tithing was dusted off.

 

Night of the Living Dead

 

Even before the ‘Blessing’ hit the Toronto Airport Vineyard in 1994 we were seeing bizarre manifestations in the Vineyard. In the early 90’s, just before 1994 when the ‘laughing revival’ broke out, there was a Vineyard conference in Kitchener that I still think of as “the night of the living dead”. In this conference, when the altar call was given, a large crowd lurched to the front, probably half the auditorium, and started dancing, twisting, gyrating, and hopping at the front as a “blessing” was prayed over them. Vast numbers of people lurched, crawled, staggered and limped around like a mass of grotesque horror flick zombie’s. The room was filled with all manner of freakish, bizarre and even obscene behavior. One girl was on her back in front of the stage, making orgasmic, thrashing and gyrating motions that could only be described as sexual activity.

 

The Vineyard leaders accepted all this as the moving of the Spirit. The prevailing attitude of the leadership and members was that this was God moving. According to standard Vineyard thinking, the Holy Spirit can do a deep inner work without the mind being informed or knowing what is going on, or without any further knowledge of truth. It was generally acknowledged that some of the bizarre behavior may be demonic in origin, but most of it was the work of the Holy Spirit or the human response to the power of the Holy Spirit at work within. It was believed that the Spirit often worked best and deepest if it could bypass the intellect, and there was no need for the mind to be informed. So we weren’t too concerned because we believed that God was doing a deeper work in them and we simply prayed that God would bless them even more.

 

The “Blessing” Comes to Toronto

 

In the Vineyard, adhering to true doctrine was not as important as just being open to whatever the ‘spirit’ wanted to do. For any leader, it was more important to be lead by the spirit, and as long as a ministry seemed to move in that, and could get results (make “stuff” happen, which in our circles meant healings and manifestations) h/she was assumed to be a man or woman of God regardless of the content of their teaching. Whatever they said was accepted as a message from God.

 

As a result of this mindset, a speaker could say almost anything from a Vineyard pulpit as long as they came packaged with the right charismatic personality and spiritual gifts. In the Vineyard, one of the gravest sins that could be committed was to get too firm on beliefs, since that was considered unloving and divisive. Since questioning a teaching was perceived to be divisive and critical, we seldom ever seriously questioned what was taught or took seriously the Biblical warning to test all teachings and prophetic “words”.

 

Discernment devolved to the level of feelings, intuitive insight and subjective impressions in which no one could know anything for sure, but certain people (usually the ‘prophetic’ types in our midst) were generally trusted to have the right discernment on issues. This attitude fostered a lack of real discernment among Vineyard leaders which opened the doors wide to a large influx of false teachers and false prophets in the early Nineties. I believe it was this lack of discernment, largely due to Biblical illiteracy, that paved the way for the arrival of the Toronto “Blessing” in 1994.

 

Early in January of 1994, I heard that revival[10] had broken out in the Toronto Vineyard and we went up to check it out. Our Vineyard was within an hours drive. Many friends from our Vineyard church also went up that night. We entered the meeting room and I was stunned by the bizarre scene that opened up before us. It was pandemonium everywhere. The large room was crowded with people shaking, bobbing, running on the spot and flapping their arms.

 

I didn’t get the “Blessing” that night, but many of my friends did. I walked up to one friend, a worship leader from our church, who was running frantically on the spot and flapping his hands. I asked him what he thought was happening and how he felt. He had no explanation, only a smile, and he couldn’t stop the running or hand flapping.

 

I attended several Toronto meetings. Although the leaders would often say that the manifestations where not what it was all about, that’s what they mostly talked about and they held them up as the proof of God’s moving in our midst. It was obvious that the manifestations were the big drawing card. After an extended time of worship, there would be a testimony time in which the leader would interview people up front about what they felt God was doing within them.

 

Manifestations often started during worship, but became very pronounced during testimony time, and the leaders would go with “whatever God was doing in our midst” and allow almost anything to happen. Often there was no time left for preaching. But that was never an issue, because we were not going up to hear the Word. Soon, the thing was to double over making gasping or mooing noises. From that time on, there was a lot of “mmmooooooing”, “wwhhooooing” and “ooooooing” in Vineyard meetings.

 

One Vineyard service I remember at a church north of Toronto was very typical. It was more like a drunken party than a church service. The chairs had been cleared away so that the middle was open. The congregation stood around and danced to loud rock “worship” music. Many at the front were falling over each other. As they touched each other, they would get “blessed” and double over, collapsing in a heap, arm in arm. Communion was served as a women danced through the crowd with a tray serving glasses of grape juice to other dancers on the floor. We were there until after 10:30 at night, and still the worship and dancing continued and no one preached. I stood in the back, not dancing.

 

At this time, and for several years, I was decidedly pro-Toronto Blessing, as the renewal came to be known. I didn’t understand what was going on, but decided that if that’s how God wanted to move, then that was fine by me. Who was I to question God? It never occurred to me to open my Bible and test what was going on against the Word. The mystical education I received in the Walk set me up perfectly to accept the Toronto Blessing without question.

 

I had been taught in the Walk to accept that God could do things that did not line up with the written Word. Now, in the Vineyard we had Prophets who were getting a steady stream of messages from God who could interpret what was going on for us, even though we did not know what the Bible taught on such matters.

 

So I went with it, and criticized the critics for being closed to what the Spirit was doing. I considered that those “old order Pharisees” just couldn’t handle it when God wanted to do something fresh in another group like ours. They just didn’t understand what God was doing in our midst. If they’d just open up their hearts to the Spirit, then they would understand that this was really God. But they couldn’t do that because they were “religious” and narrow minded. This pretty much summed up my attitude and the prevalent attitude of the pro-Toronto crowd.[11]

 

In the Walk we were used to accusations from other church groups of being a cult, and we all learned how to deal with that without letting it get to us. Didn’t Ishmael always persecute the true Isaac? Didn’t the old order always misunderstand the new thing God does? Were not the true prophets persecuted? So when other Christian groups began to question the Toronto Blessing and raise many serious and legitimate theological concerns, I already had the necessary psychological defenses in place to dismiss them out of hand – without ever stopping to think for even a moment that they just may have a point!

The Charismatic Church

 

During the mid to late 90’s, I was involved in a new Vineyard church plant in our community. However, by 1998 the church plant fizzled and I began attending a local Charismatic church. But I still considered myself to be a part of the Vineyard and continued to move socially in Vineyard circles for a few more years.

 

The 2 years that followed were the worst of my life. Looking back on it now, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me, because the Lord used it to finally bring me to Himself in real surrender and conversion. Faithful are His afflictions.

 

“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”[12]

 

I was in the deep black pit of despair and saw no way out. A small software company I had started with a friend a few years earlier was in deep trouble. A large business deal I had made with a big distributor turned sour and threatened to bankrupt me, and I became embroiled in a lengthy and expensive lawsuit. My marriage was in trouble and was heading for the rocks. I struggled on until finally, in the summer of 2000 I hit bottom, financially, emotionally and spiritually. My business was a failure. I was out of work and saddled with a huge debt. The lawsuit continued to grind on with no end in sight. I owed more money than I ever hoped to pay off, and began to look into bankruptcy proceedings.

 

Late one night in September of 2000, I was laying awake in bed worrying about my debt, the lawsuit, my marriage and how everything in my life had gone terribly wrong. I didn’t know where to turn. I thought I was a good Christian and couldn’t understand why my life was falling apart.

 

As I laid there reviewing my life, I began to realize that even though I considered myself a good person and I believed in God in an intellectual way, Jesus was not the Lord of my life. I was still in control of my life and I was not living for Him. I had never given Him my life and entrusted myself completely to Him, and I was afraid of what He might do if I did. I had never given up my will and desires. I did not believe that His way really was better than mine. That night I saw my unbelief and lack of trust in Christ for the sin that it was.

 

Saved by Grace

 

At around 2 AM I got up and went downstairs to the living room so I wouldn’t wake my wife, and got on my knees and began to pray and call out to God. I began by confessing all my sins that I was aware of and repenting of them, asking Him to forgive me and help me to change. I confessed especially my sin of unbelief and rebellion by not trusting Him to direct my life. I repented of my fear of what He may do with my life, and I handed my life fully over to Him, asking Him to come and be the Lord of my life and take charge completely.

 

I don’t remember what words I used exactly, but this in a nutshell was how I prayed. The key was surrendering control of my life over to His Lordship. I confessed that I was still a sinner because I was in control and essentially doing things my way. I repented of this, and surrendered my will and ambitions over to Christ and committed myself to doing what He wanted, no matter what. I asked for His help to do this as I knew I couldn’t live the Christian life without His strength. I prayed like this for a long while, and then went back to bed.

 

I don’t recall feeling anything in particular while I was praying, but I soon noticed that a change took place inside me that surprised me. I became spiritually alive in a way that I had never experienced before. I had a new inner life and strength, freedom from many sins that had plagued me, and a real inner peace that I had never known. I also found a new power to resist and overcome sin. I was by no means perfect, but I had a new strength and power over sin which I previously didn’t have. Worldly interests faded and I lost interest in the usual entertainment with which I used to occupy my free time. It now seemed to me to be such a colossal waste of time, and even sinful. Instead, I much preferred to spend my free time in prayer, studying the Scriptures, or with my family and other good tasks which pleased the Lord. But probably the most significant change was a great inner peace which I had never before known. Christians through the ages have referred to this change as regeneration, conversion, the new birth, or being born-again.

 

One of the first things I noticed after my conversion was that I had a new love for His Word and a passion for the truth. I hadn’t read the Bible for years because I never got very much out of it, but immediately after my prayer of commitment to Christ, I found a new love and pleasure in the Word. His Book came to life for me in a way that I had never experienced before, and I began to spend hours reading it.

 

Also, I began to pray and soon made a habit of getting up early each morning so I could pray before going to work. One of the first things the Lord taught me after my conversion was the importance of spending time alone with Him everyday to maintain and grow in the life of His Spirit. This is how we grow deeper in Him so that we can continually receive His life and not dry up. It is the only way to grow in personal knowledge of Him.

 

One of the most delightful aspects of repentance and coming to faith in Christ is the spiritual reality that begins on a personal level with the Savior. Life changes from the inside, and it is truly a new life. One of the several changes that took place for me, and I believe for anyone truly regenerate, is a new love for God’s Word. I had a new hunger for the Word, and I could not get enough of God’s truth. I started to devour the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. And this is when my trouble with the charismatic church started.

 

Soon after my conversion I became appalled at the backslidden condition of the church and horrified over its spiritual squalor. For months I was in an agony over the state of the church. The preaching in the Charismatic church I was attending at the time of my conversion was mostly hype, froth and vacuous enthusiasm with little substance. It reminded me of the motivational seminars I used to attend while in business. Yet the people all thought it was wonderful and wanted more. It was a nightmare.

 

Neither did I understand why most of the people were spiritually dry or even depressed. There was a revolving door at the altar as the people continually went forward for a ‘fresh touch’ to pick them up out of their spiritual slump week after week. I soon realized that most of them knew little about daily quiet time alone with Christ and as a result did not have a very good connection Him. They were trying to get what life they could second hand from others. And I was appalled that the church leaders seemed blind to this situation, and were not teaching the people the crucial importance of getting alone with God every day to pray and read the Bible.

 

A generation ago, in born-again circles daily quiet time alone with God was considered basic to the Christian life, and neglecting time alone with Him was a sign of back-sliding. This is no longer the case. Today, the church in general is so backslidden and lukewarm, that those who are in the habit of turning of their TV sets and making real time for God each day look like flaming radicals. During a breakfast meeting one morning a few months after my conversion, I told the Pastor of our Charismatic church about my new found joys in quiet time and the new life in Christ I found in it. He only had this word of warning for me: “Don’t turn into a hermit”.

 

My outward circumstance didn’t change for a long time, and in some ways even got worse, but I felt a Peace that defied explanation. I knew that everything was in God’s hands and I wasn’t worried or anxious. I knew I was where He wanted me to be and that He would take care of me and see me through. However, it was still a long time before there were any visible changes in my external circumstances. The debts were still there and the legal battle continued. Then, about 8 months after my conversion, I lost my job and entered a period of very erratic employment. But I can honestly say that His peace carried me through it all, and I felt perfectly at rest in Him. I did not feel much anxiety over it. I knew He was in control and that if He was allowing these things, then He had a very good reason for it whether I understood or not. All along, God was more concerned with teaching me something rather than simply snapping His fingers to make everything better. Eventually He did rescue me, more wonderfully than I could have imagined, but only after I had learned the lessons He had for me.

 

A Few Questions about Toronto

 

Up until my conversion I was still very pro-Toronto Revival, even though I had some questions and had not done a thorough search of the scriptures. I was still of the opinion that we shouldn’t run the risk of going against God by asking questions. But it wasn’t long after my own renewal in Christ that I started to have some serious questions about the Toronto Blessing (TB). There were too many stark contrasts between what I was seeing in the Word and what these TB people were experiencing. I didn’t think that everyone had to experience God the same way I did, but there were too many differences that seemed to be of such a fundamental nature as revealed in the Word that I started to question whether it was really the same spirit at work.

 

One question I couldn’t wrap my head around was – why did Christians have to receive the Spirit from another person? Christians, supposedly already born-again and having the Spirit, were continually going to Toronto Blessing renewal conferences to receive a further blessing (‘fresh touch’) from the hands of someone who had “it”. Then, once someone had the TB, they could in turn pass it on to others.

 

This requirement seemed to me to be at odds with the Word and nature of the Holy Spirit, as well as my own experience.[13] Was not the way into the Holy of Holies made for all of us in Christ? To enter in, all we had to do was retire to our private prayer closet. Why did all these Christians need some “Holy Ghost Bartender” to dispense a blessing? Didn’t Jesus say that “Whoever believes in me, as the Scriptures have said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:38) We shouldn’t need anyone to touch us in order to receive from God. All we have to do was get alone with Him.[14]

 

We shouldn’t need to work ourselves up, get hyped or pumped at a conference by great music in order to receive. According to the New Testament, we no longer need “anointed” worship leaders to usher in the presence of God. Didn’t the Bible say that we no longer had to go to a certain location to enter His presence and that He was with us in our prayer closet? Why then this mad stampede to Toronto to get “it”? These “Toronto” people talked as if they didn’t know how to meet God at all apart from getting zapped at a conference. Whatever it was, it seemed to require all kinds of just the right externals to make it happen: it required the right music, “anointed” worship leaders, charismatic speakers and receptive crowds in order for “it” to happen. It all made me wonder exactly what “it” was that they were getting.

 

Another thing that struck me as contrary to the Word was that the TB was being passed on to others indiscriminately. It was anyone’s for the asking, no strings attached. The TB leaders were praying for everyone who lined up along the tapped line to receive the Holy Spirit. The only requirement seemed to be the desire to have it. There was no call to holiness, confession of sin and repentance. Again, this seemed to contradict the Bible in many ways.[15]

 

TB people were often told not to pray, as it hindered their ability to receive the “blessing”. Instead, they were often counseled to remain silent and just be open to receive. [16] This made no sense to me at all. How could praying ever hinder the Holy Spirit?

 

Also, why the drunken behavior and loss of control that totally contradicted everything the Word had to say about the Spirit of God?[17] I had spent weeks in a very manifest, tangible sense of His presence after my conversion and I came away from the experience with a greater understanding and renewed love for the great truths of the Bible. Never once did I lose control or feel “drunk”. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of clarity and sobriety, of truth and wisdom, Who comes to give us greater knowledge of Christ through an increased understanding of His Word. But these revival drunks were descending into a mindless stupor as they staggered around in a fog, falling over each other. The drunks gained no greater love for the Word as a result of their so-called meeting with God. All they wanted was “more, Lord, more”.

 

This was in total contrast to my own experience of God’s presence, which was marked by great clarity and left me with a greater love for the written Word and a new joy in reading it. I saw old, familiar Bible truths in a new, clear light that made them fresh and amazingly wonderful.

 

Déjà vu

I pondered these and many other questions for a long while. I had a lot of questions and few answers. So much of what I was seeing in Toronto Vineyard and Charismatic circles just didn’t line up with the Word or the nature of the Holy Spirit as revealed in the Word.

Although I had been in the Vineyard when John Wimber embraced Paul Cain and the Kansas City Prophets and introduced them into the church, I didn’t know much about them or what they taught. The Vineyard accepted them and I had many friends who held them in high regard, so I assumed they must be all right. But not long after I was converted, I decided it was time to check into the charismatic prophets and teachings for myself.

 

I decided to start with Rick Joyner’s teaching and messages, since many of my friends held him in high regard and he seemed to be one of the top “Prophets”. I started reading his stuff, with an open mind since I had no real opinions about him either way. In fact, if anything, I started with a bias in favour of Joyner because I had heard nothing but good about him in Vineyard circles and I had no reason as yet to think otherwise. Soon, my research over the weeks and months spread to the many ministries associated with him: Peter Wagner, Bob Jones, Paul Cain and the Kansas City prophets. For ease of use, I’ll refer to this group as the Third Wave.

 

As I looked into the teachings of the Charismatic leaders and prophets, I was startled to find out that they believed the same things we believed in the cult. Also, the overall tone and flavor of their prophesying and prophetic lingo was familiar. It sounded too much like the Walk, and I got a bad dose of déjà vu as I realized that the prophets and leaders of the Vineyard and Charismatic movements were teaching the same things we believed in the Walk.

 

 

I began making a list of the similarities between the Walk and the Third Wave, a list which eventually reached over 50 items. I later developed these points into a list of ‘Red Flag’ symptoms of deception.[18]There were far too many heretical teachings in common to be coincidental, so I started looking into historical roots. As a result of this research I learned that they shared the same Latter Rain roots.[19] The same Latter Rain doctrines and teachers which had influenced John Robert Stevens had also influenced Paul Cain, the Kansas City Prophets, and many others who influenced the Vineyard.[20] But this time it was not on the fringes of Christianity like the Walk, but leading the prophetic revival sweeping the Vineyard/Charismatic church.

 

Another question still nagged at me: Was the Laughing Revival a real move of the Holy Spirit or not? So one night in December of 2001 I sat down with my Bible and concordance. I decided the best place to start was with spiritual drunkenness, since this was one of the most prominent manifestations touted by revival leaders as a sign of the Holy Spirit. I read through all the scriptures that talked about drunkenness, cross referencing any related words that came up, such as “staggering”.

 

I was surprised at how much the Bible had to say on spiritual drunkenness[21], and just as shocked at how overwhelmingly negative it was. The Bible teaching on drunkenness, spiritual or otherwise, is notable in its overwhelming condemnation of it. In no place does the Bible ever suggest that “spiritual drunkenness” is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, but quite to the contrary, is a sign of spiritual delusion and blindness. Drunken behavior is universally condemned as sinful[22], and therefore could not be the work of the Holy Spirit. There may be some gray areas in the Bible, but this is not one of them.

 

 

Learning to Be Berean

 

I remember the Vineyard revival leaders telling us not to be afraid of being deceived. In fact, we were often told that we should be more afraid of missing out on what God is doing than in being deceived. According to them, God wouldn’t let us be deceived. But now I understood why Jesus and Paul so often expressed concern that we be not deceived.[23] As I studied the Bible, I began to see in the Word how and why deception happens. In a nutshell, it is often due to Biblical illiteracy.

 

Many Christians are misled because they lack a ‘Berean’ like diligence to “examine the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”[24] The Bible calls them “more noble” for this diligent regard for the Word. Paul welcomed this Berean spirit. I wonder why the so-called apostles and prophets today don’t appreciate it. Today they call it ‘religious’, fault finding, critical, divisive, and warn such people that they risk being judged by God. Revival leaders seldom miss an opportunity to mock what they regard as a ‘religious spirit’, which in their view is anyone who is less than enthusiastic about their movement.

 

Judging teaching is not judging the person. We are not to judge the person, as far as judging their hearts, motives or sincerity. We cannot know those things, but it is a Biblical injunction to judge their teaching and reject those who bring false doctrine. We are to test all prophecies (I John 4:1, 1 Cor. 14:29), test the apostles (Rev. 2:2) and evaluate all teaching (2 John 9-11), to list but a few verses. We are to test all of them, and ignore the false ones all together.

 

Heresy Hunting

 

This article is not about heresy hunting. We have the God given duty and responsibility to challenge error and in love warn those caught up in it. God holds us responsible if we don’t.

 

There is no doubt that the Walk was a cult. Cult experts are agreed on that and the same cultic tendencies and ideas we had in the Walk are being embraced by Vineyard and Charismatic circles: end-time elitism, Apostolic restoration, mysticism, exaltation of the prophetic and revelatory word, mindless acquiescence to prophetic leadership and directives, marginalization of Scripture, to name but a few.

 

‘Bereans’ who check teachings against the Word are no longer called ‘noble’, but labeled Jezebels, fault finders, and accusers of the brethren. Christians are becoming Biblical illiterates and as a result easy prey for anything that comes along that looks spiritual. They have lost their love for the written Word and are out for an experience. This lack of discernment, especially among Vineyard leaders, is one of the single biggest reasons false prophets and teachers have gained such easy access into the church to spread their heresy. Lack of discernment in the church turns it into a buffet for demonic spirits to feast upon.

 

Many church goers today are religious consumers who sit passively through the preaching, accepting what is said with little critical thought – much like watching TV. Truth isn’t as important as great worship music and the right religious feeling. As a result, today a prophet or teacher can say almost anything and get away with it as long as they say it with a bright smile, sound ‘loving’, and appear to have the right kind of personality. Getting too sticky about the truth is considered divisive and unloving.

 

The Vineyard went along with what John Wimber said because it was he who said it and they had placed their confidence in him as a man of God. Few of us, including myself, ever checked our Bibles carefully beyond the proof text given. This is devotion to a person over the objective truth of the Bible, and is the essence of a cultic mindset.[25] We see this in churches whenever people passively accept what is being taught without checking the scriptures: the primary criteria being that the speaker displays all the charismatic trappings of someone moving in the Spirit. No one wants to believe that the smiling, loving, charismatic figure on the platform is preaching heresy and might be a false prophet.

 

The 15 Points of Walk Teaching and Practice

The following 15 points define the major teachings of the Walk. This is not an attempt to create an exhaustive description of all Walk theology. For a more complete look into Walk theology and history, please see the unpublished manuscript on the Walk by the Spiritual Counterfeits Project.[26] As a former member of the Walk for over 7 years, I can attest that this report by the SCP is a very accurate and fair description of that cult.

 

I have placed an asterisk (*) beside each point of Walk teaching that has an equivalent in the charismatic/prophetic movement.[27] The exact terminology may differ, but the ideas are essentially the same.

 

  1. End-Time Elitism (Elijah Company). (*)

In the Walk it was known as the “Manchild Company”. Over the years this doctrine has also been known as “The Manifested Sons of God” (MSOG). This was one of the major heresies to come out of the Latter Rain, and has been picked up and repackaged over the years by various charismatic and prophetic groups. They will be an elite class of spiritual warriors with the power and anointing to lead the church to where it should be, establish the Kingdom of God and even inaugurate Christ’s reign on earth. It can take on a wide range of flavours and meanings, from a super-anointing on a spiritually empowered elite to “little Christ’s” – manifestations of Christ incarnate. The Joel’s Army (Gideon’s Army, Elijah Company) talk in charismatic prophetic circles is essentially the same idea.

 

This was one of the major premises behind the Walk, and Stevens taught a very extreme flavour of this concept. His followers could become the Word of God made flesh in the same sense Christ was. This was essentially the meaning behind the term “Living Word” as used in the name of his church: physical expressions of the Word like Christ. They could become ‘little Christs’ who will have the power of God surpassing anything ever seen before in the church. Many even saw this as possibly representing a spiritual second coming of Christ in the group before He returns physically.

 

  1. Kingdom Now/Dominion Theology. (*)

Often coined “Kingdom Breakthrough”. The victorious church, lead by the spiritual elite (The Manchild Company) will establish the Kingdom of God on Earth before Christ physically returns. “Breaking through” into the Kingdom was in fact what the Walk was all about. The Walk’s entire reason for existence was to push Stevens into the Kingdom, mostly through the prayer of “violent intercession”. Once in the Kingdom, Stevens would bring the rest of the Walk in, by “imparting” it to his followers. Sort of a push/pull approach. The Walk would push Stevens in, and then Stevens would pull the rest in. Stevens was often likened to the point of the spear, with the Walk as the shaft, that would be thrust into the Kingdom level and achieve “Kingdom breakthrough”.

 

  1. Spiritual Violence.

“Violence” was common Walk verbiage for the level of spiritual intensity required to achieve Kingdom breakthrough. The Kingdom was a new spiritual level that the church needed to attain, and only those who were intense enough could breakthrough into it. This required very intense prayer known as ‘violent intercession’. Passivity – lacking the necessary spiritual intensity – was seen as one of the greatest threats to the success of the Walk. Stevens and Walk leaders would often rant against passivity. It was a grave offense to be passive, and members were always being exhorted to rise up into greater levels of intensity, otherwise we ran the risk of failing to achieve Kingdom breakthrough. Passivity was overcome within us by entering into intense, violent prayer, which involved stamping our feet, shouting, slicing the air with excited hand gestures and other hysterical behavior. Wild shouts such as: “We rebuke all passivity today!” was a common feature of corporate prayer.

 

  1. Revelation Knowledge and Special Revelation. (*)

Divine knowledge from God revealed directly to the human mind apart from the written Word; a direct, mystical insight into truth that bypasses the rational processes of intellect, logic, reason and learning. When people received this kind of revelatory insight, they would know intuitively something was true irregardless of Scripture, reason, commonsense, or any objective evidence of truth.

 

‘Getting the revelation’ is an inner mystical sense confirming the truth of a special revelation or of Scripture. Knowing the Bible and believing it because it is God’s Word was not good enough in the Walk and considered inferior to ‘getting the revelation’ of a truth. A person needed to receive a subjective inner witness of the truth that confirmed God’s Word. This was a spiritual insight that enabled them to ‘see’ the truth for themselves, as opposed to believing it because God said it.

 

In order to receive revelation knowledge, all a person had to do was simply ‘tune in’ to the ‘flow of revelation’ that was constantly coming from heaven. This was a mystical ‘openness’ in the spirit which could be learned, and had nothing to do with studying the Scriptures and the cognitive faculties. The Walk taught that reasoning things out, even through knowledge of Scripture, would only hinder a person’s ability to receive revelation. All that was required to ‘receive the revelation’ was a spiritual capacity to open up to it and allow it to flow into our minds and spirits. Special revelation did not necessarily have to line up with Scripture, and was quite independent of it.

 

  1. Restoration of Apostles. (*)

The Walk taught that God is restoring the ministry of Apostles equal to spiritual authority and revelation to the first century Apostles. It was believed that the full restoration of apostolic ministry was necessary to equip the church for the fulfillment of its purpose and bring it to maturity. God was laying a new foundation for the church because the old foundation was no longer adequate for the new day dawning. Stevens was, naturally, the Apostle to the Apostles. [28]

 

  1. Restoration of the Prophetic Office. (*)

Along with the new order of Apostles, God was also restoring the full office of the Prophetic ministry. These are prophets equal in stature to the Old and New Testament Prophets of the Bible. A new revelation is needed for a new day, and God is raising up Prophets and Apostles to bring it. The Bible isn’t sufficient for the new task today. In the Walk, we needed a ‘fresh’ word each week. Stevens’s ministry churned out a vast number of tapes and booklets, and each week there was a new tape with Stevens’s latest, hottest revelation. Stevens’s weekly messages were taken verbatim as direct revelation from heaven. We all became prophecy junkies as we waited each week for the latest prophetic word.

 

  1. Resurrection Life.

Stevens taught a doctrine called ‘Resurrection Life’ that he picked up from some of the more extreme elements of the Latter Rain movement. It is the idea that we could enter into our resurrected (heavenly) bodies now, without having to die through a process of evolving spiritual states. Entering our heavenly bodies would bring us supernatural power and immortality. It was never very clear how this would happen, except that when we finally attained enough faith and spiritual intensity, we would break through into a higher spiritual level where resurrection life could be appropriated.

 

  1. Spiritual Warfare. (*)

Rebuking the enemy and tearing down demonic strongholds through intense prayer known as ‘violent intercession’. Intense, focused prayer was required to bind the enemy and ‘loose the word’, thereby releasing the purposes of God and overcoming the Devil so that the Kingdom of God could advance against the forces of darkness.

 

Stevens often talked about the “Nephilim”, and had whole tapes and booklets devoted to this topic. Nephilim were human agents and channels of demonic forces. Praying against people identified as Nephilim was common practice in order to bind them and block their influence.

 

  1. The Living (Rhema) Word. (*)

God is speaking a new living ‘Rhema’ word for today through His Apostles. The ‘Living Word’ was as much the Word of God as was the Bible, but better because it is ‘alive’ whereas the Bible was a dead letter. “The letter kills, but the Spirit brings life.”[29] This verse was often used by Stevens, which he twisted to mean that we needed living Apostles and Prophets today to speak the word so that the Word of God would be alive. Without the new Apostles the Bible remained a dead text, mere ink on paper. The word lived in the flesh of Apostles and Prophets.

 

  1. Impartation. (*)

The idea that one person can give spiritual gifts, anointings, attributes or qualities to another through prayer and the laying on of hands. Superficially it sounds like Rom.1:11, but in practice it was used as a short-cut to instant spiritual growth by ‘zapping’ spiritual values[30] from person to person. It was very common in Walk services to have personal ministry time in which an apostle, prophet or “mature brother” would impart spiritual gifts and attributes to another. The ability for leaders to ‘replicate’ themselves by imparting what they had to younger ‘Timothy’s’ was considered crucial to the future success of the Walk.

 

  1. Positive Confession (Word of Faith). (*)

This teaching is also known as positive proclamations or prophetic proclamation. It was believed that speaking ‘words’ of positive confession had creative power. We could ‘speak’ things into being, especially in the unseen realm, but also in more practical areas such as finances. This was tied in very closely with Stevens’s Living Word teaching. Because God was in us, our words had the same creative power in our mouths that God has when He speaks things into existence. Commonly used prayer lingo associated with this belief was as follows: “Loose the word!”, “Loose faith!” or “We speak faith!” or “We speak release tonight.” or “We proclaim…” and “We claim…” Prayer was usually about loosing and speaking things into reality in the spiritual realm.

 

  1. Don’t Think. (*)

Don’t think about it, just open up and accept it. The new revelation could only be received by opening up to it and accepting it, not by the understanding or studying the Scriptures. Stevens had a favorite saying: “People would be better off if they would stand on their heads.” By this he meant put down your intellect and stop thinking so much. Thinking too much blocked your ability to receive divine revelation. The Berean spirit was heavily discouraged, and any kind of questioning of doctrine was taken as a personal assault on Stevens.

 

  1. Signs Ministry. (*)

Stevens taught that the Holy Spirit would direct us through various physical sensations in our bodies. He often experienced these sorts of signs himself. For instance, a headache meant spiritual assault or witchcraft was coming against you. Stevens also taught how to interpret the color of people’s aura’s in order to discern their spirit. Red in a person’s aura meant they were rebellious, for instance.

 

  1. Personal ‘words’ of direction. (*)

It was a common practice in the Walk to give individuals personal prophetic direction during a church meeting. Personal prophetic words were a common feature of church services. The group would often enter into a period of personal ministry in which the group would pray and prophesy over an individual. During this time the other members of the group would give personal messages of future direction and encouragement to the individual being ministered to. A common feature of these messages was to reveal what that person’s future ministry was to be and what their spiritual gifts and abilities were. These words of direction could often be very long a detailed.

 

  1. The Religious Spirit. (*)

The ‘old order’ (Babylon) was what God did in previous generations, and ‘religious’ people were still ‘bound’ to it through fear and legalism. According to the Walk, religious people are characterized by fear and suspicion of anything new; a rigid, legalistic outlook characterized by an unwillingness to move with the Spirit into the ‘new thing’ God was doing. Religious people were seen as spiritually dead because they were into the legalism of Biblical text, but not the life and power of the ‘Living Word’. This religiosity blinded them to the new thing God was doing in the Walk. Hence, anyone who opposed the Walk was blind and religious.

 

In the Walk, a religious spirit was the antithesis of true spirituality. Therefore, it only followed that anything offensive to a religious person must be good. It was also recognized that religiosity was common to human nature and something to be guarded against personally. So Walk people were always on the guard for any development of religiosity within themselves. Any kind of offensive, irreligious behavior was seen as helping to thwart our own tendencies towards religiosity and cultivate greater personal spirituality. Hence, Walk people strove to be as irreligious as possible and cultivated very offensive behavior. Swearing, rude and offensive behavior was very common in the Walk at all levels. Stevens himself frequently swore from the pulpit during sermons.

 

Walk Talk

A glossary of some common Walk terminology and catch phrases.

 

“Appropriate”: Claiming and acquiring spiritual gifts, power and attributes

“Babylon”: Old order. Most other churches, especially those who opposed the Walk.

“Be Christ!”, “Be the Word!”: Become the Word made manifest in human flesh like Christ.

“Blowouts”: Those who left the Walk. Spiritual failures that just didn’t have the right stuff.

“Breakthrough!” or “Kingdom Breakthrough” Entering into new spiritual levels.

“Loose”: Such as “Loose the word!” or “We loose faith.” Releasing the spiritual power of the thing loosed in order to create the reality of it. A method of positive proclamation.

“Nephilim”: Human channels of demonic spirits. Most anyone who opposed the Walk.

“Passivity”: Lacking in spiritual violence. A big no-no.

“Rebuke”: “We rebuke passivity tonight.” “We rebuke the Devil.”

“Resurrection power”: The spiritual power of the new kingdom age.

“Violence”: Spiritual intensity necessary for ‘breakthrough.’

“We speak…”: Such as “We speak faith to so-and-so.” A method of imparting something to a person or speaking it into existence in the spiritual realm.

 

Red Flags of Deception

 

The following is a list of ‘Red Flags’ that are symptoms of deception in a person or group. In developing this list, I was concerned, not so much with addressing specific doctrines, but in identifying characteristics that are symptomatic of deception. I started writing this list when I noticed the many similarities between the Walk and the prophetic movement gaining momentum in Vineyard/Charismatic circles. These characteristics of deception predominate in Charismatic/Vineyard groups and in the Walk.

 

  1. Spiritual elitism. This is the root of many delusions. Any kind of elitist belief is a certain indication of deception. Elitism is the belief that God has given a certain group special revelation/power/anointing that other Christian groups or previous generations have not entered into. They are on the spiritual cutting-edge, rising to spiritual levels not attained by other groups. It’s often dressed up as “Joel’s Army”, “Gideon’s Army”, and Elijah Companies of super anointed end-time warriors. Elitism is seen today in the ‘this-is-the-greatest-generation-ever’ kind of preaching we often hear. It can be found in the need to search out so-called ‘deeper’ truths and discover new, hidden mystical insights.

 

  1. A tendency to marginalize the written Word. Watch out for any talk that plays down devotion to Scripture, such as “God is bigger than the Bible” or “God is doing a new thing, so put away your Bibles.” Marginalizing the written Word can take many forms:

 

  1. a) Ignoring the Word. Neglecting private Bible study in daily life is a strong symptom of deception.

 

  1. b) Disregarding the Word. A careless attitude towards obedience. I’ve seen examples of this in wild revival meetings in which people mockingly quote the verse, “Let all things be done decently and in order”, while they enjoy a good laugh over their disorderly and drunken behavior. Any teaching that plays down our requirement to be doers of the Word is a sure sign of delusion.

 

  1. c) Deceived groups that marginalize the Word are often those who have an emphasis on prophecy. Beware of any emphasis on the revelatory, prophetic word, especially where there is a sidelining of the written Word. We are not to despise prophecy, but the real meat of the Word that nourishes the saints and builds them up in the faith is the written Word of God, not the prophetic. Teaching that would make Christians dependant on prophets or apostles for ‘current’ truth effectively marginalizes the Word of God.

 

  1. d) “Fools despise knowledge.” Any kind of talk that does not give the Word the high regard it is due, effectively marginalizes the Word and is a sure sign that deception is at work in the group. As the Word says, “Choose my instruction instead of silver.” Love it more than anything else.

 

  1. Prayerlessness in private. Neglect of private prayer time, alone with God, is a strong indication of deception. If it is prevalent across a church or movement, it indicates deception is taking hold of that group. Please note that deceived people will often continue to attend and even enjoy public church functions, especially when there is good sound, light or music – but private quite time loses its appeal.

 

  1. Disdain for Berean[31] spirited searching of the scriptures. Any kind of anti-Berean, anti-discernment teaching that discourages people from questioning what is going on or being taught is a sure sign of deception. If you ever hear the leadership of your church group say anything along the lines of “put away your Bibles”, or “don’t worry about being deceived”, then head for the exit as fast as you can.

 

  1. An inability to separate Godly criticism of their words from personal attack. Equating ‘Berean’ (Acts 17:11) activity with criticism. Such leaders may often talk about the ‘Jezebel spirit’ and the ‘accuser of the brethren’ and warn people about moving in a fault finding or critical spirit. What they are driving at is that if you question what is going on, or challenge what is being taught, you are being critical and run the risk of incurring the Lord’s disfavor.

 

  1. Lack of accountability. One common trait among the new wave of apostles and prophets rising to prominence these days is that they do not like to be held accountable for their teachings and failed prophecies. Any criticism of their teachings and prophetic utterances is taken as an attack against their ministry.

 

  1. Discernment primarily the prerogative of leadership. A tendency to see discernment as a special gift or anointing not available to everyone to the same degree, or that increases with higher spiritual office. The ‘higher’ you are on the prophetic ladder, the more discerning you are. Since leaders supposedly have better discernment as per their higher office, followers tend to trust the opinions of their leaders over their own, since the ‘apostle’ or prophet must have better understanding anyway due to their higher standing in the spiritual ranks[32]. Believers are not encouraged to trust their own discernment, or are encouraged only so long as it agrees with the overall word as set forth by the leaders. Discernment among the ranks becomes little more than a faculty (an inner witness of the spirit) that confirms what the Apostle or Prophet is saying.

 

  1. Any form of Mystery Religion. A mystery religion is a religion that has successive levels of knowledge and ‘deeper’ truths, which are not necessarily available to all, at least not at first. Those in higher levels will know things not revealed, nor available, to lower levels. A new ‘believer’ comes in on the ground floor, and then progresses up through successive levels of spiritual understanding and empowerment as he is introduced to the ‘deeper’ truths.

 

  1. Heightened interest with spiritual levels and rankings. Higher ‘spiritual’ rank is equated with greater closeness to God. Gifts and callings are typically ranked, and those higher in rank are seen as closer to God in some practical way, such as hearing from God more frequently and being more privy to God’s inner secrets. Those on higher spiritual levels have a privileged access to God that is not available to those holding lesser callings. As a result of their higher standing or special calling, God visits them more often and they receive greater mystical experiences than the rest.

 

  1. Heightened interest in dreams, visions, new revelations and novel insights. This may not necessarily be explicitly stated in their Creed, and they may claim to believe the Bible as the Word of God. But in actual practice dreams, visions and revelations are the preferred stock-in-trade over sound Bible teaching and exposition of the basics.

 

  1. An increase in subjectivity. Looking for subjective impressions, personal ‘prophetic’ words and ‘revelation’ for guidance and direction. Seeking the mystical ‘inner voice’ as guide over the written Word. You can be sure that if a person is seeking new personal ‘words’, it is because they are not in the Word, and serious deception cannot be long avoided.

 

  1. Detractors dismissed as having inferior vision. They see themselves as being in tune with God, and anyone who is also in tune with the Divine will agree with them. Detractors are obviously not in tune with God and have inferior vision. This sets up a very neat circular reasoning that is almost impossible to get past. It is a defensiveness which is very difficult to penetrate, because they are convinced that detractors don’t have the same level of anointing or discernment as they have. As they see it, if detractors did have the same level of anointing, they’d be in agreement. They dismiss any criticism of their teaching or conduct as bitterness, jealousy or fault finding, while they themselves feel they have very sharp spiritual perception. People are truly discerning only as long as they support their movement.

 

  1. Dismissive attitude towards detractors. Detractors given derogatory labels, such as ‘religious’, ‘old order’, ‘old wineskins’, or ‘Pharisees’. Detractors denounced as not being able to ‘handle it’, or they have a ‘Jezebel spirit’, or a ‘spirit of criticism’. They are ‘accusers of the brethren’, that sort of thing. Threats of God’s judgment on detractors and critics are a sure sign of a cultic mindset and delusion.

 

  1. A ‘get-on-board-or-else’ mentality. A fear that you’ll miss God’s new move and be left behind if you don’t join up. God is doing a new thing and if you do not go along with it, regardless of how long you’ve been faithfully serving God over the years, God will pass you by and you’ll get left in the dust.

 

  1. New thingism. God is doing a ‘new thing’ and you’d better get with it. There is now a further requirement if you want to remain a first class Christian and in God’s highest favour, which is to be a part of the new thing represented by the group. If you don’t come along, you run the risk of God passing you by.

 

  1. A special anointing. A certain person or group has been anointed by God to introduce something to the rest of the Body. God has given it to them, and other believers can come to them to ‘get it.’

 

  1. A priesthood. Placing a person or group in an exalted status with God, so that they become special intermediaries, is a sure sign of delusion. False movements and false religions invariable try to interject some kind of priesthood between the believer and God. This is seen whenever a person or group claims to have received something from God that can be received from their hands. They become an intermediary between you and Jesus Christ if you want more of God, and people are encouraged to go to the ‘anointed’ of the Lord to get it.

 

We see this today in certain revival circles where it is necessary to get more from God at the hands of a specially chosen vessel. Worship leaders have ‘an anointing’ to lead us into the presence of God. Prophets and apostles have a privileged access to receive things from God that the rest of the church needs. False religion always reverts to some form of human priesthood.

 

  1. “Don’t think about it, just jump in” type of teaching that encourages people to throw caution to the wind. Encouraging followers not to worry or think things through, that God won’t allow them to be deceived. Just jump in before it’s too late or you may miss the boat.

 

  1. Glorification of the vessel. An excessive focus on the ‘anointed’ person of God.

 

  1. Old Testament ‘typed’ anointing. (A ‘Phineas’ anointing. The mantle of Elijah, etc.)

 

  1. An excited interest in peripheral subjects not central to the gospel. A de-emphasis on the central themes of the gospel. They claim to agree with the gospel, but the bulk of their teaching, writing and prophetic messages show a greater interest in peripheral topics, novel insights and new revelation.

 

  1. May talk unity, but bring division along lines of gender, age, race or nationality.

 

  1. Watch out for leaders who love to surround themselves with minions who affirm their special anointing.

 

  1. More interest in breaking through to new levels and remaking the church along new lines rather than reaching the lost with the good news of Jesus Christ.

 

  1. False spirits love to show off and love center stage. They love to parade their subjective impressions and experiences up front for others to see. Publicly sharing highly subjective impressions and insights that cannot be proved or disproved one way or the other is a real “Red Flag”.

 

  1. Conference chasing. Running from place to place to meet God. Any emphasis on experiencing God corporately more than privately is a symptom of delusion. Whenever people need to go to a conference or certain location to receive a ‘fresh’ touch, something is very wrong.

 

There is a whole generation of believers now who are bored with ‘quiet time’ alone with God, who don’t know how to meet God in the prayer closet, and can only meet with God and experience Him in public settings that provide the right mood and atmosphere, usually involving the right music. The reason so many are chasing God at conferences is because they are not in the Word and prayer at home.

 

  1. The ‘anointed’ leader has a privileged access, a hot relationship, with God that the rest have yet to attain. They get angelic visitations, dramatic visions and prophetic insights, and they publish ‘prophetic bulletins’ to keep others abreast with what God is doing. Because the apostles and prophets are in such a privileged position of receiving the latest hot word from God, the rest are reduced to second hand status, anxiously awaiting the latest prophetic bulletin. Watch for groups that tend to place emphasis on the leaders anointing or relationship with God. This results in Christians running to conferences for a ‘fresh touch’ from those who seem to have ‘it’.

 

  1. The Holy Spirit is seen more as coming to bring an experience rather than a greater understanding of the Scripture.

 

  1. A tendency to distinguish between people who accept their movement as a true move of God and those who don’t.

 

  1. Beware of any dichotomy between the Spirit and the mind. Any anti-intellectual position, such as the belief held in many charismatic circles today that exercising the mind will hinder the Holy Spirit, is a real indication of deception. Deceivers like to parrot phrases like: “God will offend the mind to reveal the heart.” This cute little mantra often repeated in certain revival groups sounds very spiritual, but is very false. A careful reading of the Word tells us the truth: God will inform the mind to convince the heart. Jesus often did offend the Pharisee’s – by telling them the truth! The Holy Spirit leads people to Christ by shining the light of God’s Word into their minds and convicting them of its truth.

 

Characteristics of a Cultic Mindset

 

The difference between a cult and a legitimate group is relationship, not doctrine. Although it will usually follow that a cultic group will also endorse heretical doctrine, that is not what makes it a cult. Other, non-Christian religions will embrace doctrines contrary to Christian faith. That does not necessarily make them cults. A group is defined as cultic by the dependant/controlling relationship that forms between the leader of the group and his followers. The leader acquires an inappropriate level of control over the individuals of a group by fostering personal dependence upon him as the source and definer of truth. A cultic group has a strong, influential leader who knows how to encourage followers to remain personally dependent upon him for truth, purpose and guidance.

 

In developing this list, I was more interested in showing the characteristics of a cult as opposed to addressing specific heretical teachings; cultic symptoms rather than specific doctrinal aberrations.

 

My reason for this approach is twofold: First, specific heresies will change from one cult to another, but there are certain characteristics which remain fairly consistent between cults by which a cultic group can be identified. Secondly, and perhaps more ominously, large segments of the charismatic church are becoming very cultic in practice even though they may claim to believe the major tenets of Christian faith. Most of these traits were very characteristic of the Walk, and are becoming very common in Vineyard and Charismatic circles.

 

  1. Loyalty to charismatic leadership over Scripture. The primary characteristic of a cultic mindset is devotion to leadership over an objective standard of truth. Cultic followers have an excessive devotion to popular teachers, and are unwilling or disinclined to question them. They place too much trust in leadership without exercising independent, critical thought that resorts to objective standards of information outside of the group. This mindset is very predominant in Vineyard and Charismatic circles, seen in the almost blind trust placed in prophetic leadership. This is evident in their willingness to believe what they are told, as long as the right person says it. They are disinclined to exercise independent, critical thought and search the scriptures to see if what is being taught is true.

 

  1. Believing what’s said based on WHO says it. Truth is determined by what the leaders say. The cultic-mindset determines the acceptability of what is said more by who says it rather than how well it conforms to the Word of God. This mindset is predominant in the Walk, and has become predominant in Vineyard/Charismatic and “TB” circles. Today, anyone can say almost anything in a Charismatic/ Vineyard crowd and get away with it, as long as they have the right type of ‘loving’, charismatic personality and appear to move in spiritual gifts. In other words, as long as the ministry package looks good, they tend to accept the contents of the teaching with little question.

 

  1. An unwillingness to question leaders. Idolizing leaders and placing them on a pedestal. Quick to excuse and overlook their faults. Leaders will often take doubts and questions as a personal attack. Questioning the leader is viewed as rebellion, stubbornness, or spiritualized as a demonic ploy to undermine ‘God’s anointed’.

 

  1. Fear of disapproval by the group. A fearfulness of saying something that the leaders and/or others in the group may not approve of.

 

  1. Elitist and exclusive. They think of themselves as the spiritual cutting-edge. An excessive need for acceptance and belonging to an ‘inner circle’. A fear of being left out of Gods new thing is one expression of this.

 

  1. Dismissive attitude towards those outside the group. A disregard for what others say and think who are not in the group.

 

  1. A polarized “In or Out”, “Us” versus “Them” attitude towards those outside the ‘movement’. Those outside the ‘move’ are given derogatory labels. It is considered that those outside don’t have what it takes to be apart of the superior goals of the group. This is often seen in the ‘get-on-board-with-this-move-or-you’ll-miss-it’ style of preaching often seen in charismatic circles.

 

  1. Those outside the group just don’t understand.

 

  1. Lack of tolerance for dissent. Dissenters threatened with divine punishment. Dissent, doubt and questioning are not tolerated and perceived as a personal attack on the leadership. They have difficulty separating the message from the messenger. (Need I bother pointing out here that “TB” revival leaders are well-known for attacking dissenters, and threatening them with judgment from God?)

 

  1. Rational thought is discouraged. Group experience over loyalty to truth. Don’t think about it, just jump in. Don’t stop to analyze, just be open to what the ‘spirit’ is doing.

 

  1. The superior ends of the group justify the means. Revival leaders are well known for their pragmatic approach to the ‘truth’. If it works, it’s OK.

 

  1. Group leaders determine how followers should think and what is ‘true’. Truth and reality (paradigm) are determined within the context of the group. People with a cultic-mindset tend to submerge their own thoughts under the thoughts of the leader and group. They have greater confidence in the opinions of others than of their own.[33]

 

  1. A lack of discretion and independent thought. Pro.2:11 states that “discretion will protect you”. Discretion is the ability to think for yourself; to exercise independent thought or action according to one’s own judgment. Cultic followers are noticeably lacking in this ability,[34] so they are easily persuaded by a dynamic and charismatic leader. They find it difficult to stand back with a measure of detachment and evaluate things with a cool head in the light of God’s Word.

 

  1. Cultic persons gravitate towards dependence upon a ‘priesthood’ for their contact with God. This ‘priesthood’ can take the form of an ‘anointed’ person, a prophet, an apostle, or anyone who receives from God for the follower. Cultic persons place excessive trust in the leader and the leader’s so-called contact with God.

 

  1. Accusative self-doubt in relation to leadership. It can take the form of self-doubting questions such as: Who do I think I am, anyway? Who am I to question what the leaders are saying? What makes me think I was right and so many big name ministries are wrong?

 

  1. Lack of recourse and accountability outside the group. Little if any accountability outside the group. Members of the group take little recourse outside the group for information or help as far as the defining ‘truths’ and purpose of the group are concerned.

 

 

 

Spiritual Drunkenness: Last Call for the Sober to Flee

 

The Bible has a lot to say about drunkenness, spiritual or otherwise. And none of it is good. With the Biblical tools we have available today, there is no reason for anyone to be deceived about the “Laughing Revival”. My Bible and concordance was all I needed to find out for myself the truth behind so-called ‘spiritual drunkenness’.

 

One night, while I was still unsure about the ‘Laughing Revival’ (and frankly, I was at that time still leaning in favour of it and hoping to have my suspicions allayed) I sat down with my NIV Bible and concordance and simply did a word study to see what the Bible had to say. I wasn’t expecting to find much when I started, and once I got past the 2 or 3 isolated verses favored by TB supporters (we’ll look at those last), I was very surprised to discover just how much the Bible had to say regarding this phenomena.

 

Spiritual drunkenness is a sign of a deep spiritual sleep and blindness:

 

Isaiah 29:9-14. “Be stunned and amazed, blind yourselves and be sightless; be drunk, but not from wine; stagger, but not from beer. The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep: he has sealed your eyes (the prophets);” Verses 11,12  further describe these people as being unable to understand God’s Word. Then, verse 13: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Therefore … the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”

 

I don’t know how much clearer the Word of God could be. Spiritual drunkenness (“drunk, but NOT from wine”), far from being a sign of God’s blessing and favor, is a sign that the following spiritual conditions and judgments have fallen upon a group professing to worship God: 1) they are blind, 2) they have fallen into a deep sleep spiritually, 3) their prophets are blind, 4) they’ve lost the ability to properly understand God’s Word (sealed v.11,12). The reason for all this is given in verse 13. This group of people has, over time, professed to love and worship God, but they have departed from obedience to His Word and have insisted on trying to come to God on their own terms.

 

Spiritual drunkenness is a sign of being under God’s judgment:

 

Isaiah 28:1,3. “Ephraim’s drunkards”. Ephraim was a name for the northern tribes of Israel, who were at that time seriously backslidden and about to be judged. Obviously, the Bible is not casting ‘drunkard’ in a good light.

 

Is.49:26. “drunk on their own blood” in judgment.

Is.51:21. “made drunk, not with wine” under God’s judgment.

Is.63:6. “in my [God’s] wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground.”

Jer.48:26. “Make her drunk, for she has defied the Lord.” Israel’s neighbour, Moab, is made drunk because she has defied the Lord!

 

Deut. 29:18-21. This passage describes a person who invokes the promises and protection of God’s covenant, but disregards it’s conditions. He has turned away from obedience to the Lord, yet invokes the Lord’s blessing and protection and thinks to himself: “I shall have peace.”

 

Verse 19 (NKJV). “ ‘I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart’ – as though the drunkard could be included with the sober.”

Verse 19 (NIV). The NIV footnote offers the following alternative translation: “ ‘I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way’ – in order to add drunkenness to thirst.”

 

Deut.29:18-21 indicates that spiritual drunkenness is a sign that the drunkards have invoked the blessing of the covenant for themselve’s, yet walk after their own heart.

 

Jeremiah 51: A warning to flee because a greater judgment is coming!

 

I recommend a careful reading of Jeremiah 51, with particular attention paid to verses 6-9 and 37-45, in conjunction with Rev. 17:1-6, 18:1-8. Babylon was a real city in Jeremiah’s day that the Lord was about to judge, but Babylon is also a Biblical type of apostate religion.

 

Note: For those who are unsure about using the Old Testament in this manner, please look at the following passages: 1 Cor.10:6,11; 2 Peter 2,3; Heb.10:29-31, 2:1-3, 12:25-27 and Jude. Paul and the other NT writers clearly considered that the judgments of God recorded in the OT were still very relevant warnings to us under the NT. See also 2Tim.3:16 “ALL scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”.

 

Jer. 51:6-9:

v6,8,9: Spiritual drunkenness is an indication that the church is about to be severely judged, and a warning to the sober minded who still remain to get out before it is too late. “Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives!”

v7,8: “Babylon was a gold cup in the Lord’s hand[an instrument of judgment]; she made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore they have now gone mad. Babylon will suddenly fall and be broken.” Not only was Babylon under judgment, but she was an instrument of judgment in the Lord’s hands. Certain ‘revival’ centers made the whole earth drunk, as multitudes poured in from around the globe to partake. The results of many deluded pastors who ‘fetched’ the blessing in Toronto/Pensacola and brought it back to their home church can only be described as ‘madness’, as hundreds of churches were devastated.

 

Jer. 51:37-45:

v37,38: “Babylon will be a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals,…Her people all roar like

lion cubs.” – animal noises, roaring like lions.

v38a: “while they are AROUSED, I will set out a FEAST for them” – it’s party time!

v38b: “and make them DRUNK,” – spiritual drunkenness!

v38c: “so that they SHOUT with LAUGHTER” – ‘holy’ laughter.

“then SLEEP forever and not awake, declares the Lord.”

v40-44: And then final judgment is to follow, “I will bring them down…to the

slaughter…”

v45: The final call for God’s people to get out while they still can. “Come out of her, my

people! Run for your lives!”

 

This makes it pretty clear. Here we have a people being aroused to party, shout and laugh, roar like lions and get ‘drunk’ just before they are judged. The Bible describes in many places that immediately before severe judgment, people are given over to a “party” spirit: a fun-loving, amusement mad, self-gratifying wild party time! See Is.56:12; Amos 6:1-6; Micah 2:11; Is.22:2,13; The inhabitants of Jerusalem threw parties as the Babylonian army surrounded their city. Ezek.21:10 (Amp and NKJV) “Shall we then rejoice and make mirth?” [when the sword of judgment has been sharpened against us.]

 

More Old Testament references to drunkenness:

 

The following passages also refer to drunkenness as an indication or sign of being under the displeasure of God and judgment.

 

Ezekiel 23:33. “filled with drunkenness and sorrow, the cup of ruin and desolation”

Nahum 1:10, 3:11. Nineveh drunk under the judgment of God. “You too will become drunk”.

Hab.2:15-16. Woe to him who gives drink, making his neighbour drunk. Now it is your turn, drink and be exposed! The word ‘be exposed’ used here can also mean ‘stagger’ according to the NIV footnote.

Is.24:19-21. The earth reels like a drunkard under God’s judgment.

Joel 1:5, “Wake up, you drunkards.”

Ecc. 10:16-17. Blessed is the land who’s King is noble, who princes eat at the proper time for strength and NOT FOR DRUNKENNESS.”

Jer.13:13. The Lord fills the kings, priests and prophets with drunkenness before he judges them.

Amos 6:6. “You drink wine by the bowlful”

Micah 2:11. The deceiver says: “I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer!”

Is.56:9-12. “Let us drink our fill of beer!”

 

Biblical References to ‘staggering’:

 

Staggering ‘under the influence’ is a common occurrence at TB style revival meetings. Interestingly, the Bible also has a lot to say about staggering.

 

Job 12:25.“They grope in darkness with no light; he makes them stagger like drunkards.”

Psalm 60:1-3.“You have rejected us…you have given us wine that makes us stagger.”

Is 19:11-15. “the leaders of Memphis are deceived;…The Lord has poured into them a spirit of dizziness; they make Egypt stagger in all she does, as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit.” Clearly not a sign of God’s blessing, but of His judgment upon foolish and deceived leadership.

Is. 28:1-16. The drunkards of Ephraim… “stagger at seeing visions”, “reeling like drunkards”

Pro.24:11. “staggering towards slaughter”

Is.3:8. “Jerusalem staggers” under judgment because their words and deeds are against the Lord.

Jer.25:15-29. In this passage, the Lord has filled a cup filled with the wine of His wrath and makes the nations drink from it. Drinking from the cup of God’s wrath causes them to “stagger and go mad” before they are brought to judgment. V.27 “drink, get drunk and vomit, and fall to rise no more”

Is. 51:17. The cup of God’s wrath is “the goblet that makes men stagger.”

 

Roaring like a lion:

 

Jer.12:8 “she [my people] roars at me, therefore I hate her.”

Jer 52:38 the people of Babylon [who are under judgment] roar like lions

Zeph.3:1-4 “Woe to the city [referring to a wicked city under sentence of God’s judgement]…Her officials are roaring lions…”

Is. 5:25-30 Israel’s enemies roar like lions when they come to devour her.

Ezek.22:25 false prophets roar like lions.

I Peter 5:8 The Devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

Jer. 2:15 “Lions have roared” in judgement.

 

New Testament references to drunkenness:

 

Lk.12:45; Mt.24:48-50 – The unfaithful servant gets drunk.

I Cor 5:11; 6:10 – Drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Lk.21:34-36; Ro.13:11-14; Gal.5:19-21; 1Pet.4:3; I Thess.5:4-8. – Drunkenness is sinful and will be judged.

 

The Word of God clearly censors drunken behavior. There are an overwhelming number of verses in the New Testament which ascribe self-control, self-discipline, order, decency, and sobriety as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Why then would the Holy Spirit ever induce people to mimic behavior that is censored in the Word and contrary to His own nature?

 

And finally, the two proof texts most often cited in support of ‘spiritual drunkenness’:

 

Let’s take a look at the 2 passages of Scripture used by “TB” supporters in an attempt to lend Biblical credibility to their drunkenness. They are Acts 2:13 and Eph. 5:18. We’ll take a look at each separately.

 

1)      Acts 2:13, “They have had too much wine.”

 

We will look at the entire context of the chapter, from verse 1 to the end. In Acts 2:13, it was only the MOCKERS who were making fun that said they were drunk. I do not think we should take our queue from those mocking Peter and the believers. Other than that, there is no evidence in the text that they were acting like drunks, and all the evidence clearly indicates the opposite. Peter got up and preached a clear, coherent, hard-hitting gospel sermon that cut the Jews listening to him to the heart with conviction of sin. He did not display anything like drunken behavior. Peter’s behavior was nothing like the revival drunkards who love to stagger around, slurring and stammering so much that they can hardly put a coherent sentence together, let alone an entire sermon that can bring 3000 new converts into the Church in one day. The rest of the 120 that came out of the upper room with Peter were speaking in real foreign languages, clearly understandable to the foreigners visiting Jerusalem at the time, proclaiming the “wonders of God” (Acts 2:11). These people were anything but drunk! Whatever ‘spirit’ the Toronto people are moving in, it’s not the same Spirit at work in Acts 2.

 

2)      Eph. 5:18, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit.”

 

Read the surrounding verses from 5:8-5:20 carefully: Paul wasn’t comparing the condition of being Spirit filled to drunkenness, he was contrasting it! From verses 8 through 18, notice the contrasts he makes between pairs of opposites: light/darkness, wise/unwise, understanding/foolishness, and finally drunk/spirit filled. You were once darkness, but now you are light (v.8); not unwise, but wise (v.15); don’t be foolish, but understanding (v.17); don’t be drunk, instead be filled with the Spirit (v.18).

 

The verse says: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit.” Do not get drunk – it leads to debauchery! Notice the word ‘instead’, indicating a contrasting opposite. Paul was contrasting being filled with the Spirit to drunkenness, NOT likening it.

 

In their foolishness, revival drunks actually turn that around to say, “Woohoo, lets party and get drunk in the Spirit!” The debauchery Paul warns against in v.18 is just what we are seeing in the wild party atmosphere that now reigns in revival churches. The vast number of verses in the New Testament that tell us the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of order and sobriety are stunning. Self-control, sobriety, and order are fruits of the Spirit, and nowhere does it say the Holy Spirit is a spirit of drunkenness. Therefore, spiritual drunkenness, staggering, slurred speech cannot be the work of the Holy Spirit of God, as that would be inconsistent with the nature of the Holy Spirit according to Scripture. Surely what Isaiah said is true of them: “The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes … For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll.” (29:10,11)

 

Run for your lives!

 

I would like to offer the following conclusions based on the evidence of God’s Word.

 

1)      ‘Drunkenness’ is a form of spiritual judgment upon a church or group professing the name of the Lord yet have departed from obedience to the truth. According to the Bible passages we have looked at, spiritual drunkenness is a form of God’s judgment on a church for the following reasons, as well as being a signal to others that the church has fallen into these conditions:

 

  1. a) They are deceived.
  2. b) They are blind – have little or no discernment left.
  3. c) Their priests and prophets are backslidden.
  4. d) They have tolerated false prophets in their midst.
  5. e) They have tolerated bad, questionable teaching.
  6. f) They give God lip-service, but have turned away from a carefulness to follow His law. In other words, they love to sing to the Lord on Sunday, but are carnal or even sinful through the week.
  7. g) They want to serve and worship the Lord on their own terms; set their own altars.
  8. h) They have ignored the Lord’s Word.
  9. i) They have sought experience over truth.
  10. j) Their shepherds are asleep, and have allowed the enemy in.

 

2)      ‘Drunkenness’ is a signal that another, much more severe judgment is coming!

 

More ominously, in these Bible passages, drunkenness preceded severe judgment. It is a signal that much greater judgment will follow the drunken party.

 

3)      ‘Drunkenness’ is a last call to get out!

 

Finally, I believe it is a last call to the sober minded who still remain in these churches to get out as fast as they can. It’s a clear signal to flee while you still can because time is running out fast. In Jer.51, the drunken party (v.39) preceded final judgment (40-44). Other passages listed above bear this pattern out as well. Verse 45 – “Come out of her, my people! Run for your lives! Run from the fierce anger of the Lord.” and again in v.6 the call is repeated to “Run for your lives!” If these passages are to be believed, than spiritual drunkenness in a church is a warning from God to GET OUT NOW. Don’t hang around such churches even out of curiosity just to see what happens. From these verses, we can gather that it will not be safe to be in these groups when the next judgment arrives. There is no point in speculating what form the next wave of judgment may take, but it will be very severe and of such a nature that being in these groups when it comes will be incredibly dangerous and foolish. It would be foolish to take His Word lightly and disregard the clear warning signals God has given us.

 

Where the River of God Flows

 

“On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water ill flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” John 7:37-39

 

There is a lot of talk about the ‘river’ of God and intimacy with Christ these days. Christians by the thousands are flocking to conferences centers to swim in the river. The pursuit of God in this day involves chasing God from conference to conference seeking a fresh touch. I have no doubt that some do in fact have an encounter with God, because God is sovereign and He can meet His children anywhere, but on the whole this movement is deeply flawed and not born of the true Spirit of God. We can know this because it does not follow the Biblical pattern for gaining true closeness with God. Rather, it places emphasis on receiving ‘blessings’ and ‘fresh touches’ at the hands of another who seemingly has ‘it’.

 

Any true believer, who has come to Christ in genuine repentance and total surrender of life, will be born from above by the Spirit of God and experience the regenerating life of Christ within his soul. Through the new birth, the soul comes into vital contact with the living God, and the life of God flows in. This life brings a new power for holy living, new desires in life, and the old appetites for sin and the world fade away. Sometimes sin or carelessness in the life of the Christian will cause a blockage which hinders the life giving flow of God, but the remedy is repentance.

 

Blessed is the man

who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

or stand in the way of sinners

or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit  in season

and whose leaf does not wither.

Psalm 1:1-3

 

Our relationship with God can only be cultivated by devoting daily plenty of time to seek Him through prayer and study of His Word. It seems that Christians today have lost their patience for this, and would rather dash of to fun filled church meetings to have the ‘anointed’ man or woman touch them for a faster, more direct ‘impartation’. The prayer closets are empty, but church conferences are packed with seekers listening to talk of intimacy.

 

Having someone touch us, pray over us, impart blessings or a ‘fresh touch’ cannot make up for the neglect of our spiritual roots. Whatever these believers are experiencing, I doubt very much that it is bringing them into a truer knowledge of God. We must go to the seller of oil directly for ourselves in order to receive. What I see happening before me on such a large scale in what calls itself the Church of Jesus Christ has little to do with true intimacy with God, and is in fact a massive rebellion against the very intimacy they so loudly claim to seek. The foolish virgins are madly running around, looking for another to give them more oil. What a sad parody of the true relationship with God that Christ has made possible for us in the New Testament!

 

Feeling dry? Instead of running out to some conference to receive a ‘fresh touch’ from an ‘anointed’ person, examine your private devotional life. How’s your “Quiet Time”? Are you neglecting His Word? Ignoring Him through prayerlessness? Is there any sin? Any carelessness in devotion? Check for unforsaken sin or negligence of  duty. Bring your sin to the cross and He has promised to forgive you and “give you grace to help.”

 

The true ‘River’ of God runs through the prayer closet, not a conference center. The single greatest reason so many Christians feel ‘dry’ is because they are not in the Word and in prayer at home. Consequently, they are easily seduced by the ‘Laughing Revival’ and other false movements. And they have tried to make up for this lack of spirituality in their private lives with lively, rousing public worship and busy activities.

 

Devote yourself daily to the holy task of knowing Him by seeking Him in His Word and prayer. Turn off the amusements of the world with which you normally entertain yourself, and learn to find all your delight in Him. True spiritual revival can only begin in the prayer closet. Then the Lord will be able to use you to reach the lost around you.

 

The law of the Lord is perfect,

reviving the soul.

The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,

making wise the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right,

giving joy to the heart.

The commands of the Lord are radiant,

giving light to the eyes.

 

The ordinances of the Lord are sure,

They are more precious than gold,

They are sweeter than honey,

By them is your servant warned.

 

Psalm 19:7-8,10-11

 

I think that one of the highest crimes in the church today is a leadership that encourages people to come out to church, or attend the latest conference, to receive a “fresh touch” at the hands of another, but does not teach nor encourage their people to get alone with God daily in prayer and the Word. What is presently being touted in revival circles as intimacy with God is not true intimacy at all but a cheap counterfeit experience which is leading the people away from a true relationship with Christ. The true River of God is flowing through my prayer closet.

 

[1] Please see the chapter below “Characteristics of a Cultic Mindset”.

[2] For ease of use the terms ‘charismatic’ or ‘charismatic movement’ in this article will include the entire broad spectrum of Vineyard, TACF, ‘Toronto’ churches, ‘Kansas City’ churches, as well as the Charismatic church.

[3] The Latter Rain was a revival in the late 40’ and 50’s beginning in North Battleford, Saskatchewan which quickly spread throughout the world. Although it seemed to start out well enough, it quickly developed many aberrant teachings and moved into heresy, and the occult.

[4] Branham not only influenced Stevens, but most of the ‘prophets’ and ministries that came out of the LR, including Paul Cain, until recently a major leader in the current prophetic movement in Kansas City. Branham, his life and teachings are well documented and easy to find on the web. See http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain4.htm

 

[5] The use of the term ‘violent’ in the Walk was unfortunate and can easily give those outside the Walk the wrong idea. The Walk never advocated physical violence as far as I know.

[6] This is very similar to Gnosticism, a prominent heresy in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and has survived in one form or another to this day. The Gnostic isn’t content to believe God by taking Him at His Word as written, but wants to have an inner mystical sense that tells him what is true so that he will ‘know’. The Gnostic requires a mystical experience to confirm the truth.

[7] Over the years I’ve noticed that this as a common characteristic of a certain class of Christian often involved with what is now popularly called ‘spiritual warfare’. They take a perverse pride in the demonic attacks they suffer, taking that as some kind of sign that they must really be moving in higher spiritual realms in order for the devil to take such notice of them. People like this can often be heard complaining about all the spiritual attacks they suffer.

 

[8] For a well researched account of the history and teachings of the Walk, please refer to the unpublished manuscript by The Spiritual Counterfeits Project.

[9] TACF was the progenitor of a phenomenon which began in early 1994 and quickly spread to other churches around the world. Characterized by outbreaks of uncontrollable laughter, and all manner of drunken and bizarre behavior, it came to be known as the Laughing Revival or the ‘Toronto Blessing’.

[10] The Toronto Revival came to be known as the Toronto Blessing or the Laughing Revival. It was characterized by outbreaks of uncontrollable laughter, people imitating animal behavior and noises, large numbers staggering and falling down, and all manner of drunken and bizarre behavior.

[11] This attitude is a classic example of spiritual elitism (Gnosticism), which makes it very difficult for those so affected to receive Godly and beneficial criticism from concerned Christians outside the ‘camp’.

[12] Psalm 119:71. See also vs. 67

[13] The few cases in Scripture of people receiving the Spirit at the hands of another were new converts who had not yet received the Holy Spirit. There are no examples of believers who have already received the Holy Spirit needing someone to touch them for more.

[14] I am not saying we don’t need to pray for one another. I am referring to imparting a touch from God or a deeper experience. We cannot ‘zap’ one another into a deeper relationship with Christ.

[15] For one Bible example, see Acts 8. Simon asked for the power of the Holy Spirit, but received a stern rebuke from Peter instead who discerned the impurity of Simon’s heart.

[16] Contrast this to the Book of Acts in which people receiving the Holy Spirit prayed. It makes one wonder what the “Blessing” received really is.

[17] Another chapter discusses at length the Bible passages on spiritual drunkenness, and so will not repeat the Scripture references here.

[18] See the subsequent chapter: Red Flags of Deception. It is a list of characteristics in common between Steven’s cult and the Charismatic Apostolic/Prophetic revival.

[19] The historical Latter Rain roots of the Walk and Kansas City have been well documented on the web and in many books.

[20] One notable example is William Branham, who heavily influenced both JRS and Paul Cain.

[21] See the following chapter on spiritual drunkenness

[22] Acts 2 and Eph 5:18 are not the positive endorsement of ‘Holy Drunkenness’ that many suppose. See the chapter on Spiritual Drunkenness.

[23] Mat.24:4,5,11 and similar warnings throughout the  NT.

[24] Acts 17:11

[25] One of the main characteristics of a cultic mindset is the propensity to believe what is said based on the personality of the speaker rather than an objective standard of truth. See the chapter: Summary of the cultic mindset.

[26] For a very complete and accurate description of Walk theology and history, I highly recommend the report produced by the Spiritual Counterfeits Project on the Walk: “John Robert Stevens and the Church of the Living Word (The Walk)”, unpublished manuscript from Spiritual Counterfeits Project, P.O. Box 4308, Berkeley, CA 94704

[27] I am not inferring by this that the charismatic movement endorses the Walk, or even knows about it. It is very likely that most people in the Vineyard and Charismatic movements have never heard of the Walk.

[28] It has even been suggested by some charismatic prophets that the new apostles and prophets today may even be greater than the first century Apostles.

[29] St. Paul was speaking of the Old Testament (the letter of the law) and the better New Testament we now have through Jesus Christ. He was in no way implying that the written word of God was dead.

[30] Values imparted could be just about any spiritual thing: spiritual gifts, anointing, power, resurrection life.

[31] Acts 17:11. The Christians in Berea were commended because when Paul came to them with the gospel they examined the Scriptures for themselves to see if what he said was true.

[32] I feel I must point out again here, that this is a highly cultic mindset, a chief characteristic of cult followers, AND IT PREDOMINATES IN THE VINEYARD and many CHARISMATIC church groups. This is not at all what the Bible means by submission and obedience to the Word and to those in authority!

[33] I am not suggesting here that we are to have that kind of arrogance that won’t listen to others. That’s not a healthy mindset either. Godly men and women will listen to, and give serious consideration to, the opinions of other godly people whom they know to be walking in holiness and obedience to the Word of God. But the criteria for judging what we think and what others tell us is the Word of God, not WHO says it.

[34] Discretion and independent thought is typically the first thing a cult seeks to remove from a new or potential convert, and it is one of the first things that have to be restored in an individual seeking to get out.

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

— 2 Timothy 4:3-4

The Charismatic Day of Infamy: June 28th 2008

From Pirate Christian

June 23, 2008 is the “Charismatic Day of Infamy” and you are NOT supposed to know about it or even talk about it. 

If everyone knew about what happened on this day (and stopped making excuses for it) a whole bunch of false teachers would put their tail between their legs, pack up their bags and go home. The “New Apostolic Reformation,” the “Signs and Wonders Movement,” the Hyper-Charismatic Movement (whatever it’s being called at the moment) should not even exist. 

Here’s a video showing part of what happened on live television that day:

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The “Super Apostles” were so proud of themselves that day; they could hardly believe that they were even gathered together at the same place. C. Peter Wagner (who does the official “commissioning” here) is the man who made up the name “New Apostolic Reformation” and then appointed himself God’s leader of it. Other important “Super Apostles” on stage were Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, Che Ahn, John and Carol Arnott, and the Super Star of the whole, messed up day: Todd Bentley.

These men were all gathered in Lakeland, Florida, to officially “commission” Todd Bentley to become part of the “Super Apostle” club. Wagner says, “I take the apostolic authority that God has given me and I decree to you Todd Bentley: Your power will increase. Your authority will increase. Your favor will increase. Your influence will increase. I also decree that a new supernatural strength will flow through this ministry. A new life-force will penetrate this move of God. Government will be established to set things in their proper order. God will pour out a higher level of discernment to distinguish truth from error. New relationships will surface to open the gates for the future! And rainbow-colored unicorns will spread golden pixie-dust and shift the atmosphere!!” (Okay, that last sentence wasn’t real.)

Finish article HERE

Posted on Stand Up for the Truth and written by Marsha West.

Bethel Church’s “Apostle” Bill Johnson: A Comedy of Errors, Part 1

 

Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson is no stranger to controversy. For one thing, he claims to be an apostle, as in the unique position held by the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ.  He was given this high honor by C. Peter Wagner who holds many titles himself, including president of Global Harvest Ministries, chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute, convening apostle of the New Apostolic Roundtable, and my personal favorite: presiding apostle of International Coalition of Apostles (ICA).  So for the purpose of this article I’ll dub him Presiding Apostle Peter or PA Peter for short.   What’s important to know about him is that he’s sort of like the pope of the “new apostolic-prophetic movement.”

Following is ICA’s definition of modern day apostle:

An apostle is a Christian leader gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 3.20.05 PM

What role do the so-called apostles play? There are a couple of tasks, says PA Peter.  First, apostles are to “set things in order” and “they’re to assure that the body of Christ is operating on the basis of sound, biblical doctrine.”

Sound biblical doctrine my Aunt Fanny!

Finish HERE

By Tim Wirth

Beware of those promoting a new Great Awakening or great Revival because of what scripture teaches in the end times.
Most, if not all of the preachers and evangelists (many call themselves prophets and apostles) agree that the time is short – the end is near. Among Christians in general, there is a great feeling of urgency to go about the task that has been set before the Church…to preach the gospel to all the nations. There is also general agreement that the Church has been, and to a degree, is still lazy, content to sit in their pews, pay their tithes, and bask in the reflected glory of their own little ponds. Most of the churches spend more time arguing with each other over jots and tittles than in going about their real job – reaching a lost and dying world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
While all Christians want to see a move of God, and conversions by the thousands (or even millions), we must examine several things in the light of The Word of God, and also in the light of published (written and spoken) statements made by those who are advertising this great revival and move of God. Links to other sites will be obvious by their blue color, so that you may go and read for yourself those things that are said that have a bearing on these questions. First and foremost is a small admonition that will weave a thread throughout this study. We, as Christians, live by faith…NOT by sight.

Beyond that, I believe that most of us can agree-we are in the end times, spoken of in The Word, and it won’t be very long before we see the rise of the anti-christ and his false prophet. But what does The Word say about these times? Is there going to be a great worldwide revival? What about the ”move of the spirit” as typified in the Toronto Blessing/Vineyard and Brownsville Revival movement, and its attendant functionaries and proponents, such as Steve Hill, Benny Hinn, Rod Parsley, Paul Crouch, Kenneth Copeland, et al? What about the moral fiber of these alleged prophets of God? This question comes into play simply because of the influence these people have over thousands of believers throughout the world, and the millions of dollars being given to them to support their ministries so as to create this world wide revival.
This brings us to the question of: If there is no end time revival (or move of God) then how do we explain all the manifestations that are occurring in various places, and the appearance of revival that is occurring. How do we explain all the thousands upon thousands in other places that are coming to God during the crusades.
First, I believe that we need to examine very carefully the “manifestations” that are occurring in places like the Toronto Vineyard (now the Airport ??????), or at Brownsville AoG, or in the crusades that Benny Hinn puts on. The links appearing here will go into far more detail, and are from eyewitnesses. Aside from that, I can attest to having seen, on tape and on tv some of the manifestations spoken of. I find, in scripture, no corresponding description to what I have observed other than in Mark 1:23-26, where Jesus cast a demon out of a man in the synagogue, and after the “spirit had torn him”, it departed.

Try as I might, I can find no place, in Old Testament or New, where there are examples of people shaking violently, twitching uncontrollably, flopping on the floor like fish out of water, or laughing for hours on end in a manner more devilish than truly happy. I must admit to having the hair on my neck stand up when I observed many of these things, and failing at any time to receive a witness of the Holy Spirit that these things were from God. I do not doubt that the things, in most cases, were real, but the real question is from what spirit they came.

In over 20 years of ministry, I have NEVER seen a manifestation of one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that did not, unequivocally, point to Jesus Christ, and glorify God in the doing of it. The Holy Spirit does not bring attention to Himself or to the person being used, but ONLY to Jesus Christ. As Jesus said “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth; for HE SHALL NOT SPEAK OF HIMSELF; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall GLORIFY ME…” John 16:13-14. Many times during ministry, I have seen or heard things that the Holy Spirit did not bear witness with, and can be best explained as the flesh trying to simulate spiritual things, but these things I have observed on TBN, and via Brownsville tapes bear the imprint of the devil himself, not the Spirit of God.
Of great importance here is a question concerning the moral character of the people purporting to be instruments and ministers of God. Paul, in I Timothy gives a reasonable explanation of the type of character that must be possessed by a man of God, When talking about bishops, or deacons (translate pastors, shepherds, elders, or those in positions of spiritual leadership), two points become quickly obvious. One, that the person must have a good report of them which are without, and two, that they be not doubletongued, or greedy of money, and must HOLD THE MYSTERY OF THE FAITH IN PURE CONSCIENCE. My understanding of these passages are that a minister of God cannot do things in such a way as to cause those who do not know God (those who are without) to question him, or to bring reproach upon the name of God.
The second thing that a minister of God cannot be is doubletongued (lying, fibbing, exaggerating, stretching, or wishy-washy depending upon who he is talking to). I would submit that many of the ministers we have today such as Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, Steve Hill and others fail miserably in the question of being doubletongued. Aside from outright lies that they have been caught in, none of them seem to believe that the scripture is profitable for reproof, and reject any and all admonition from others concerning their heretical statements. Paul Crouch in particular has vocally cursed any who would dare to point out anything to him that does not meet with his own belief. When ministers of God presume to place themselves above the Word of God, and immune from what it says, or think to change what the Word says into something they want it to say, then they have gone beyond the point of just being in error, and fall squarely into the definition of ”ungodly men who have crept in”(Jude). ”Clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots…to who is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever”.

Rodney Howard Browne started this off around 1987 when he stated “In 1987 when the Lord opened the door for us to come to the USA. He told us to stir up the churches, to get them on fire for God, so they would be stirred to win the lost.
Out of this came The Toronto Blessing, Pensacola Blessing, Lakeland with Todd Bentley and many other venues featuring bizarre manifestations that includes slain in the spirit, people acting like animals and many other weird manifestations not found in the scriptures.
Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner and many others also advertise their meeting as Great Awakenings.
Dan Bohi advertises his revivals as Great Awakenings as well. Here is what Dan’s stated mission is…
“A calling to awaken the church of Jesus Christ
to the power, purity, and freedom of the Spirit-Filled life,
found, realized, experienced and exhibited
in the lives of believers in the Book of Acts.”
It all sounds good doesn’t it?
What Christian does not want revival which would cause us to turn from all the false teachings that is rampant in the church today.
But wait the above listed are all false teachers so if a great Awakening or Great Revival would cause us to wake up, read scripture and then as a result not just live sanctified lives but turn from false teaching. We would have to turn from all the above teachers if what they claim is happening.
But wait lets hold on the brakes and see what scripture teaches on this matter.
Does the Word of God tell us of an end-times world-wide or ”great” revival?
The closest we can come to a clear statement of what the end times shall be like is found in Jesus’ words to His disciples in Matthew 24, sometimes referred to as the Olivet Discourse. The disciples came to Jesus, and asked:
vs.3: Tell us, when shall these thing be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
vs.4: And Jesus answered and said unto them, take heed that no man deceive you.
vs.5: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
vs.6: and ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
vs.7: For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
vs.8: All these are the beginning of sorrows.
vs9: Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
vs.10: and then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
vs.11: and many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
vs.12: and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
vs.13: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
vs.14: and this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.
vs.38: for as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark…
There are a number of points made in this discourse, and we will examine them one by one.
Vs.4-take heed that no man deceive you. Jesus was making clear that there would be people who would attempt, in any number of ways, to deceive the believer. By what means He did not expound upon, other than to say…
Vs.5-many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ. The construction of this sentence leaves the possibility that not only would some come saying that they were the christ (Mayatreya is a recent example), but of more importance, since Jesus was talking to His disciples (true believers), that many would come, simply, in His name, meaning that they were professing Christians supposedly ministering in the name of Jesus. That such people can exist is borne out in many books throughout the New Testament, such as Timothy, Peter, James, John, and Jude. Of interesting note here is a statement made, and supported by others, by Kenneth Copeland, about being ”a little Christ walking around up here”.
Vs.11- and many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many. Many Christians tend to rely upon an oft quoted section of the Old Testament concerning false prophets, in which God says that we shall know a false prophet if what he says does not come to pass. Assumption: if something DOES come to pass, then the prophet must be righteous. What is often skipped is the little squib in Deuteronomy 13:1-3, where God says if there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a SIGN or a WONDER, and the sign or the wonder COME TO PASS…thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Puts us in a bind as to who to believe, doesn’t it? No. All we have to do is check out what the person is saying, and weigh it against the Word of God. If it doesn’t line up, then they don’t, and are to be ignored. Many today use scripture to support or destroy certain beliefs or points that they are trying to make, but we are admonished to use all scripture, which is given by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2Tim3:16). The part concerning reproof and correction will come into serious play a little later.
Vs.14 – and this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations… I think it is very important to note that Jesus said this gospel…shall be PREACHED (or published)…for a witness. Nowhere did Jesus say that the gospel shall be believed, or acted upon, or cause millions of conversions…only that it would be preached as a witness. The sinner cannot know he is a sinner unless the gospel of righteousness is preached to him, nor can he repent unless he knows..and how shall they know, if there is no preacher? Still, the point is that although we may use many different means (including this web presentation) to preach the gospel, there is no guarantee from scripture or otherwise that it will be believed and acted upon. Indeed, scripture in Matt.24:9-10 makes very clear that true gospel preachers and true believers will be hated, and afflicted, and even killed.
Vs.38-as it was in the days of Noah… I will have to admit here to a great deal of speculation concerning just exactly what it was like then. The Bible tells us only that God told Noah to build an ark because He was disgusted with the actions of mankind, and He was going to destroy them. Obviously, Noah was chosen because he conducted himself in a manner that was pleasing to God, and did not do those things that the rest of mankind was doing. The real speculation enters here. I think it is reasonable to assume that while Noah was gathering materials, and building what was a VERY large boat (ship?), some of the townsfolk had to be curious. I am sure that at some point, these people asked Noah what he was doing. Noah, upon explaining that he was building an ark, was then asked why? ”So that I can ride out the flood”. What is a flood? ”A whole lot of water”. Since there had not been rain on the earth up til this time, I doubt the people understood, and if Noah also said (I’m sure he did) that God had told him to do it, these worldly people had to have made a lot of fun of Noah. That happens to be a lot like today. People of the world are complete in their own eyes, and make fun of the things of God, even to the point of trying to stop Christians (particularly) and just about any other religious types from doing or saying anything that might ”offend” them. Indeed, many are offended because of Christ.
All of this leads us to the point where we may reasonably say that the end times will be characterized by a number of things:
1. Increasing denial of God by the world.
2. Increasing ungodliness in activity.
3. Increasing demand by religious people for hearing & experiencing only what they want.
4. Increasing apostasia from sound doctrine and truth.
Rather than a ”great revival”, what we will see (and are currently seeing) is the apostasy of those claiming to be Christian, a great falling away from the truth of Jesus Christ and the written Word of God.
So again beware of those who go out and proclaim that they will bring a great Awakening to the church in these endtimes we are in.
Why because I say so?
No because the scriptures do not teach it.

Other sources John 8:12.com

And the various other false teachers listed websites and FB pages

Link

http://www.john812.com/index.htm

DO YOU REALLY WANT TO JOIN THE RALLY?

Saturday, 06 August 2011

SOURCE

by Jackie Alnor

Apostasy Alert.org

Christians around the world reacted in such shock that the media would dare to label the Norway terrorist a “fundamentalist Christian,” when in fact he was a hate-filled degenerate with no connections to the Christian faith whatsoever. But these allegations did not come out of a vacuum.

There are voices in the “Christian” media chanting slogans all over the public airwaves calling for Christians to rise up and take dominion over the entire world. There are groups that gather in large numbers at political prayer gatherings chanting affirmations such as: “We’re taking back the world for Christ” “We’re the head and not the tail”- and the world takes notice. Preachers in mega-churches are telling their congregations to “take back what the devil stole” in the marketplace, economics, entertainment, politics, and everywhere in society.

This chatter that permeates social media is bringing persecution upon all professing Christians who get labeled as one of them – especially when all streams in this polluted river join together for a show of force and unity. But where did this cocky collective Christian attitude originate that appears to the onlooking public as a threat to their freedoms? Besides from the prince of the power of the air, it comes from his agents who have wormed themselves into the professing church and seek to climb to the top of the heap.

Unbelievers cannot differentiate between Islam’s professed aim to dominate the planet and the boastings of professing Christians who are boldly proclaiming that they’re the ones who will rule the world and create Christ’s kingdom on earth before He returns.

Hitching their star to a presidential candidate, such as Texas Governor Rick Perry, the Joel’s Army visionaries are trying to position themselves to expand their power base. The Response (name of the prayer rally in Houston for America on behalf of Perry’s potential presidential bid) is an attempt of the Mother Harlot to ride the Beast of secular power. The new “Holy Roman Empire” is to rise again!

JOEL’S ARMY ON THE MARCH

There have been many efforts over the past couple of decades by Joel’s Army leaders to capture a critical mass of people and rally the troops behind them. A leading “prophet” in the movement is Bill Hamon, founder of Christian International Ministries in Florida. He calls the current effort to bring people together “the Saints Movement” in an ongoing effort to achieve what he calls “the restoration process” of the Church – the idea of restoring secular authority back to the Church that was once held by the Roman Catholic Church.

In an interview with The Voice Magazine, he describes where he believes we are now in the restoration process.

“We are at the prophetic-apostolic. The prophetic movement of the 80s brought in the prophet. And in the 90s it was the apostle. Now we have all five ascension gifts fully restored. Now we can get busy, working, training, equipping, and activating the saints to demonstrate the Kingdom of God…Now it’s the whole Body of Christ arising and demonstrating the supernatural. We will see the Body of Christ coming forth in the Saints Movement. We’ve crossed over the Jordan. The moment you cross over Jordan you’re going into warfare. As fanatical as it may sound to fundamental evangelical Christians, the Church is destined to subdue all things and put all things under Christ’s feet before He actually literally returns from heaven…The Church is being prepared now for the next moves of God. After the Saints Movement will be the Army of the Lord Movement. The next movement after that will be the Kingdom Establishment Movement.”

[Source: http://www.thevoicemagazine.com/ApoMoments_BillHamon.htm ]

The only thing holding them back, according to Hamon, is the belief in the Rapture.

“Rapture teaching is one of the most faith deadening teachings ever preached. It has the most neutralizing affect on a Christian’s aggressive growth process…If you don’t have a big comprehensive vision, both restorationally and eternally, then what motivation is there to do much except try to win a few souls to get a big reward in heaven?”

At the same time “The Response” is taking place in Houston, the Roman Catholic Church is holding a prayer rally in Maryland. Called “The Summer of Mercy,” sponsored by the Archdiocese of Washington and the Archdiocese of Baltimore, this Catholic event also includes Protestants coming together with them under the pro-life cause. 
http://summerofmercy.com/

The website announcing the Summer of Mercy event, shares the testimony of a person who attended the last one a decade ago:

“We (Catholics and Protestants) prayed together… rallied together… sang together… processed together… attended church services together. It was peaceful and it was prayerful unity. In response to what the Holy Spirit is doing in this hour, we are inviting Christians and people of good will from all across America to come to Germantown, Maryland and be involved in the Summer of Mercy 2.0. Our desire is to see a sovereign God powerfully move, shift history, bring awakening to our nation and end abortion. Join us July 30 though August 7, for this historic season of prayerful and prophetic witness in Maryland. We will be having; 24/7 prayer and worship, inspiring evening rallies with national political and Christian leaders and cutting edge public events.”

Protestants and Catholics together, united in prayer and power to “shift history” – Is that the purpose of the body of Christ today? Jesus told His disciples, “they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” [Matt. 24:9] and the Apostle Paul wrote, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” [Phil. 3:20]

POO-POO PROPHET

So-called prophet Bob Jones is one referred to in the circles of dominion-seeking “Protestants.” Leaders like Rick Joyner of MorningStar and Mike Bickle of IHOP point to him as the one who gave them their marching orders. Jones blatantly teaches the Joel’s Army idea that the end-times church will go to war with the world and come out on top before the Lord’s return. How odd that Jones is still admired when he was exposed as the pervert he is years ago when he used his “prophetic office” to molest women.

Jones claims to be taken up to heaven on a regular basis. On one occasion, he described his heavenly garments as diapers. “I had a pamper on,” Jones told Mike Bickle who was interviewing him. “And I really messed it good. It was running down both my legs. And the Lord had ahold of my hand and I was a bawlin and a squallin…And so it was like the angels come and changed my pamper and washed me up and the next thing I knew I was back in bed.”

Jones revealed where he gets his marching orders in the 2008 Shepherd’s Rod publication. He wrote, “In our own ministry, we have been emphasizing the importance of honoring healing revivalists such as A. A. Allen, John Alexander Dowie, John G. Lake, William Branham and others. Some of these have been the most dishonored individuals of the 20th century Church, yet used most notably in soul winning and the miraculous. Our adversary has effectively attempted to neutralize the testimony of these individuals as forerunners by overly emphasizing their shortcomings and weaknesses. Even so, the Lord is allowing a body of people to recognize the pioneering influence these individuals conveyed in order to position us to carry forward the unfinished commissions.”

[For background on these “healing revivalists,” see my article on “God’s Generals” at: http://www.apostasyalert.org/generals.htm.%5D

These men did indeed have dishonored lives that included homosexuality, alcoholism, false doctrine, denial of the deity of Christ, and unverified claims of healings. Before joining with these groups in their prayer/political rallies, a Christian needs to pay heed to the warnings of the discernment ministries against associating with errant brothers.

Mike Bickle may put disclaimers on his website, denying that he believes in the Joel’s Army teachings, but that would carry more weight if he would apologize to the church for promoting them in the past. After all he published the writings promoting Joel’s Army by men like Bob Jones and Paul Cain in his newsletters when he was their pastor overseeing the “Kansas City Prophets.”

But he and Joyner and the other associates of the New Apostolic Reformation have picked up the mantles of the “unfinished commissions” and are vying for the top positions in the end-times army. Their slogan to take back America has caught on with the apostate lukewarm church with the help of the “Christian” TV networks and the compromising broadcasters who have joined hands with them by appearing on their networks without pointing out their errors.

The war has begun, and the persecution of the true saints is at hand.

 

 

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.

From Deception Bytes

The new Apostolic Reformation (NAR) sprang from the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement. They claim that they have been given authority to lay the foundation for the “new” global church. They believe they are restored apostles called and ordained by God to be the government for the emerging “New Order” church. In order to maintain this governance they stress strict obedience and submission to them in all matters. They claim they hear directly from God, and many claim that Jesus visits them in person. Like the true biblical apostles who established the early church, these so called restored apostles believe they are called to lay the foundation and government for the new Kingdom (one world church). Their goal is complete and utter control of the church and subjugatation of its current governance to them. They want power, dominion and total control. They truly believe that the world is awaiting fulfillment of a take over by a militant church (Joel’s Army) that will arise, govern and dominate the world politically and spiritually. This is a highly organized group with a global agenda. It has been well thought out, well strategized, and will be implemented with military precision. The grid is in place – our future is planned.

We know from the Word of God that there will be a one world church and a one world government. This one world government and church is not God’s. We know that the end of days will be marked by deep deception and lying signs and wonders. In fact, the Bible says that the Antichrist will call fire down from Heaven. The Bible also says that God will send a powerful delusion to those that did not love the Truth so that they will believe a lie. If your only basis by which to judge whether a person or ministry is from God are signs and wonders then sadly enough you are already deceived.

Below are some of the teachings and beliefs of these self styled apostles.

· They believe that God is restoring the office of prophet and apostles to the church

· Claim that they alone have the power and authority to execute the plans and purposes of God

· Believe they are building a new foundation for a global church.

· Believe they will literally establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth

· Believe in a coming “civil war” in the church where they will overcome all (true Christian) opposition.

· Place an inordinate emphasis on angels and the supernatural

· Claim extra biblical revelations that can not be scripturally proven ( progressive revelation)

· Claim that God is doing a “new thing”

· Frequently say that those not accepting their heretical teaching are “Putting God in a box”

· Teach that we should never question their authority.

· They use the term “Touch not God’s anointed” frequently when questions are raised.

· They peg those that question their authority as bound by religion, legalistic, divisive, narrow minded, rebellious, and demonic

· Place a greater emphasis on dreams, visions and extra-biblical revelation than they do on the word of God

· They believe they will be the corporate incarnation of Christ

· They believe they will execute judgment upon those who oppose them (up to and including death).

· They believe in a one world religion operating in sync with a one world government.

· They believe in complete unity and believe that there is nothing they can not accomplish through this unity.

· They believe they can bring Heaven down to earth (Yoism- see link below for more information) (http://herescope.blogspot.com/2006/05/yoism-creating-heaven-on-earth.html)

· They believe that we will be perfected here on earth

· They believe in aggressively organizing small group networks

· They believe in the organization of apostles under pre-eminent apostles

· They believe that ALL local churches must be under the authority of a regional or trans-local apostle

· They believe each city must have an apostle- men given extraordinary authority in spiritual matters over the other Christian leaders in the same city

· They consider themselves divine, little gods and equal to Christ ( although they loosely veil this)

· They believe they will attain perfection on earth

· They consider themselves the “Defenders of the Faith”

· Place a great deal of emphasis on mysticism and hidden knowledge ( Gnosis)

· Do not believe in the rapture (or believe the wicked are the ones that will be ruptured)

· Stress unity over doctrine and reject the literal interpretation of the Bible

Full article HERE

The Dangers of Divination
by Bob DeWaay


“When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations.  There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead” (Deuteronomy 18:9-11).

One of the claims I often hear from those who use techniques to gain spiritual information is this: “Methods are neutral.” Another statement often made by the purveyors of new techniques for “hearing from God” is: “God cannot be limited, He can use anything.” My intent is to show from Scripture that the first of these statements is false and the second is misleading.

The Bible forbids certain methods for contacting the spirit world.  The passage cited above lists several.  This is not an exhaustive list because methods for contacting the spirit world are limitless.  The term “divination” is a general term that covers any such method.  Old Testament scholar Eugene H. Meff ill comments on this: “The phrase ‘practicers of divination’ refers generally to the whole complex of means of gaining insight from the gods regardless of any particular technique.”‘

The reason for the existence of divination is the fact that the spirit world is hidden from our eyes and information about it cannot be gained by normal means of learning.  The various cultures that the ancient Israelites contacted all had means of divination.  They believed that their fate and well being was in the hands of gods whose intentions were mysterious.  A good diviner, like Balaam (see Numbers 23), was adept at interpreting signs and omens. His desire was not only to learn the future, but to influence the present.  Thus Balaam was hired to curse Israel.  Diviners hope to break curses and forestall bad fate.

Why God forbids Divination

God spoke authoritatively to his chosen people through Moses.  What Moses wrote was God’s revealed will.  It was the only access they had to true information about their relationship to things hidden from normal means of learning (general revelation).  Moses wrote: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law(Deuteronomy 29:29).  The word “occult” means secret or hidden knowledge.  Divination is any practice not specifically ordained in scripture that seeks to gain secret knowledge (i.e. spiritual knowledge God has not revealed).  God purposely limits His people’s access to such spiritual knowledge for their own good.  That which is outside of “the things revealed” is not for us.  Why?  Because there are spirit beings out there who have been practicing the art of deception for many thousands of years.  They are good at what they do.  If we dabble in their world we will be deceived.

In the same section of Scripture that forbids divination, we find this promise: “For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so.  The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among yot4 from your countrymen you shall listen to him” (Deuteronomy 18:14,15).  The “prophet’ who God was to raise up was none other than Jesus Christ (see Luke 9:35; John 5:45-47; Hebrews 1:1,2).The true prophets that came after Moses were not law-givers.  They exhorted Israel to be faithful to the Law and they predicted the future.  They did not add to the Law of Moses.  As further protection against deception, Moses declared that the prophets had to be one hundred percent accurate or they were to be dismissed as false (Deuteronomy 18-22). Also, if they made true predictions but led the people away from God they were false (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).  The next authoritative law-giver was Jesus Christ.

By limiting both the methods and the persons that were available to Ms people, God was protecting them from deceiving spirits.  Every pagan culture has had its methods of divination.  Balak would not have been willing to pay Balaam richly if Balaam had not been good at what he did.  The evil spirits that Satan uses to deceive people make these practices work.  The reason that divination is so prevalent is that it works.

Divination in the Church Today

The teachings of Jesus Christ are contained in the New Testament and constitute the further divine revelation that Moses promised when that new “Prophet” came.  These writings are authoritative and combined with the Old Testament constitute “the revealed things” (Deuteronomy 29:29) that belong to us.  This is the limit of authoritative, divine revelation.  Prophecy in the New Testament is not adding to authoritative revelation, but exhorting from it and applying it.  Just as the Old Testament prophets (except Moses) were not law­givers but law-appliers, so are the “prophesying ones’ in the New Testament.  The other function of Old Testament prophets was to inerrantly predict the future of Israel and her Messiah.  Since the One to whom the prophets pointed has come and spoken in full and final revelation, that role no longer exists.  All the prophecies about the future that we are allowed are already contained in the Bible.

Using prophetic techniques to learn secret information or the future is divination.  Today it is like it was in Jeremiah’s day: “Then the Lord said to me, ‘The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name.  I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divinations, futility and the deception of their own minds” (Jeremiah 14:14). 

For example, the “prophet” Rick Joyner went into a trance, visited heaven, and talked to the apostle Paul.  Here is what the departed “Paul” told Joyner: “If what I have written is used as a foundation, it will not be able to hold the weight of that which needs to be built on it … You must see my teachings through the Lord’s teachings, not try to understand Him from my perspective.” (Joyner, The Final Quest, 133).  Necromancy (communicating with the dead) is a technique for gaining secret information that is forbidden.  When forbidden techniques are used, deception is gained. 

 The information from Joyner’s “Paul” is contradictory to the New Testament where Paul claims that his writings are foundational and authoritative. I do not deny that various practices from guided imagery, to EMDR (a technique used by some practitioners of “Theophostic Ministry” to help people find hidden memories and gain personal revelations from God), to contemplative prayer (which uses techniques to silence the mind in the hope of hearing God’s voice), and many others “work.” They do. I deny that they are from God.  God has chosen the valid means by which we can hear from Him.  Those means are revealed in the Bible.  Going outside of God’s ordained means is rebellion which constitutes divination.  Samuel told Saul: “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is an iniquity and idolatry.  Because you have rejected the word of the Lord He has also rejected you from being king” (I Samuel 15:23)

Using divination puts one in the realm of deceptive spirits.  Paul predicted: “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons ” (I Timothy 4: 1).

Conclusion

I said at the beginning of this article that methods are not neutral.  That much has been proved by the fact that the Bible forbids divination, a practice which involves innumerable possible methods.  The other claim that “God can use anything,” is misleading.  That God could use something if He chose to does not mean that He will.  It also does not mean that if He does use something it is a good thing.  For example, God used Balaam to prophesy of Messiah, yet Balaam is condemned through Scriptures as a wicked person who led Israel astray (see Numbers 24:17 for Messianic prophesy; Balaam is condemned – 2 Peter 2:15; Jude I 1; Revelation 2:14).  Balaam was a practitioner of divination, hired to curse Israel yet God chose to sovereignly use him to bless Israel instead.  God may indeed use things He condemns, but that does not exonerate those who are thus used.

Today divination is rampant in the church.  It is just as poisonous to the faith today as divination was to Israel’s faith in the Old Testament.  It is rebellion in that it involves refusing to stay within the boundaries God has set for our own good.  Those who are thus deceived have put themselves into that horrible state because they did not receive the love of the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12). The truth is the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We need to purge divination from the church and replace it with Gospel preaching and Bible teaching.

Bob De Waay is the pastor of: Twin City Fellowship P.O. Box 8060 Minneapolis, MN 55408 Phone: 612-874-7484 http://www.twincityfellowship.com pastorbob@twincityfellowship.com Pastor DeWaay produces a newsletter called: “Critical Issues Commentary.” You can subscribe to this newsletter by contacting Twin City Fellowship; previous issues are archived on the Twin City Fellowship website listed above.

From  A Seed Sower, in New Zealand I believe.

http://www.youtube.com/user/ASeedSower234

 

Todd Bentley: Claimed but Not Ordained

by Bud Press, Director

Christian Research Service

April 7, 2009

  

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

 

With its original roots in the Pentecostal movement, the Christian Ministers Association (CMA) is a “licensing body” that “provides a covering for those in need of meeting the requirements of Canadian Law concerning ordination of clergy,” and a “Canadian charter society registered with the Federal Government” ( http://www.canadacma.org/home/index.php?id=4 ).

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Truth to the core

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

Closing comments…

 

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


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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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