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They Walk Among Us: Unmasking the Deceivers in the Pulpits

How to Recognize False TeachersMasked, I advance. – René Descartes

As a former occult practitioner, my answer to whether Christians should celebrate Halloween is that if Christians saw the real faces behind Halloween, they would be horrified. Witchcraft is as the sin of rebellion (1 Samuel 15:23), and the decorations of gore and evil should not be associated with light and purity (2 Corinthians 6:14). Whatever my viewpoints are, I know many Christians exercise “Christian liberty” with this holiday, so I’ll let this controversy brew without further input from me (for this year anyway).

Horror movies exploit fear to create more fear. But fear of what? The evil characters in these movies can only destroy the body; the bigger horror is the evil characters in the pulpit that lead many to eternal damnation. Millions of people are deceived by the disguises donned by false teachers, because these teachers are not outfitted in obvious, evil costumes. These false teachers are dressed to con and deceive. Moreover, the false teachers who are obvious in their heresies are doubly useful to the enemy – not only do they have their naive followers, but the following is commonly heard: “Oh, Heidi Baker/Juanita Bynum/Gloria Copeland is a false teacher for sure but not Beth Moore/Priscilla Shirer/Christine Caine.” It’s easy to assume that outlandish performances in the pulpit would only sound the discernment alarm; however, the performances of a Todd Bentley or a John Crowder further mask the stealthiness of a Christine Caine or a Rachel Held Evans, for example. And how dare anyone mention Peter Popoff and Beth Moore in the same sentence! Shock! Gasp! Yet, despite outward appearances, all false teachers have many things in common, including their delight in deception (2 Peter 2:13).

It is because of this horrifying level of deceit that I apply my Halloween reasoning – if Christians saw the real faces behind false teachers, they would (should, surely) quickly repent and turn away from these teachers. So, let’s unmask these liars and discover how these whitewashed tombs deceive their victims and hold them captive. Let’s not end up like the victims in a B-rated horror movie: Those who run around in confusion, their arms flailing in every direction, and who ultimately (and predictably) meet their respective ends by stumbling into a dark alley, when they should have stuck to the well-lit streets. Let us set our feet upon solid ground, and let the light of Scripture guide our way.

False Teachers Operate in Secrecy and Disguise

There are numerous Biblical references to the deception and trickery that false teachers use. Satan, who is their father (John 8:44), is crafty and cunning; he does not appear in slasher-film garb nor is he dressed up as a villain or archenemy. Being what he is, he appears as an angel of light. Satan doesn’t spew venom or curses from the pulpit; he preaches happiness, false unity, tolerance, and love. Sadly, this is how Christians, who should be as wise as serpents, become the victims of wolves. These Christian victims may have their Little-Red-Riding-Hood moments of “Pastor, what big teeth you have”, but in the end, many people are destroyed.

These verses warn of deception (italics are mine):

  • How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart? (Jeremiah 23:26)
  • Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15)
  • They disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
  • See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit (Colossians 2:8)
  • Deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars (1 Timothy 4:1-2)
  • Who will secretly bring in destructive heresies (2 Peter 2:1)
  • So as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect  (Matthew 24:24)
  • By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive (Romans 16:17)
  • For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist (2 John 1:7)
  • For certain people have crept in unnoticed (Jude 1:4).

Not only do we need to be aware of the deceptions within the visible church, we also need to be aware of the deceit of our own hearts (Jeremiah 17:9). It is the deceit of the heart that lead Christians to believe that Joyce Meyer has been a blessing in their lives, and it’s the same deceit that prompts people to recite prosperity affirmations in the vain hope of receiving wealth. A hint of pride and false humility hides in the heart when a person declares, “I don’t judge anyone!” Scripture commands us to judge righteously and not by appearance (John 7:24). False teachers are quick to publish photos of their missionary work; unfortunately, those photos lead the undiscerning folk to think that they’re seeing good fruit. It’s not good fruit; it’s a deception. Unbelievers give to charity as well. False teachers have an appearance of godliness (2 Timothy 3:5).

Identifying Marks of the Disguise

1. False teachers teach a different doctrine (2 Corinthians 11:4; 1 Timothy 6:3)

A trap that all false teachers use is to teach half-truths mixed with lies. For instance, many Christians think that because Scripture is referenced in the channeled book Jesus Calling, that it must be biblically sound. I have heard the same defense from followers of Joyce Meyer. These teachers add to and take away from Scripture to justify their counterfeit Jesus and different gospel.

False teachers rarely mention sin or repentance, and when they do, their assertions are unbiblical, such as Joseph Prince’s comments regarding repentance and confession:

Joseph Prince, false teacher

The above quotes demonstrate 1 Timothy 6:4: “Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words”.

Scripture instructs us to teach the whole counsel of God, and that includes sin and repentance (Acts 20:27). Joel Osteen disagrees:

The remarks in the video are typical of false teachers who focus on happiness and success instead of godly living. They offer formulas and “breakthroughs” – prescriptions that do nothing to remedy our wretched state of sinfulness. False teachers promote a love for this world, a love that feeds the carnal mind. These teachers promise freedom, but they are slaves to corruption (2 Peter 2:19).

Another doctrine of demons that is gaining popularity in the modern evangelical church is mysticism. Christians are instructed to perform dangerous things, and many of them are obeying. This quote is from the Twitter feed of Jesus Calling:

Contrary to the above quote, Scripture instructs us to guard our hearts and renew our minds with the Word of God (Proverbs 4:23Romans 12:2).

2. False teachers deceive through smiles, flattery, and an appearance of knowledge

In the Osteen video above, he appears to have the fruit of love, peace, and gentleness – who would have guessed that he is actually ruled by Satan? Osteen is very slick through his use of flattery – what person (Christian or not) wouldn’t want to believe that he or she is destined for greatness and highly favored? However, Scripture warns that by smooth talk and flattery these teachers deceive the hearts of the naive (Romans 16:18).

Another form of deceit is the popularity of these false teachers. Undiscerning Christians believe that these celebrities must be biblically sound because they have large followings; however, Scripture states that these teachers have forsaken the right road and have followed the way of Balaam, who had attempted to curse Israel for the rewards of wealth and popularity (2 Peter 2:15). It is assumed that these celebrities and teachers have great knowledge because they have written (and keep writing!) best-selling books and/or because they have doctorates. Despite these successes, Scripture says that these teachers are ever learning, but they are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7). Scripture also states

Despite their best-selling books and sold-out conferences, false teachers cannot understand truth! The naive think they are learning something profound and wise from these deceivers, but their teachings are nonsense. Consider these quotes from Joyce Meyer:

Joyce Meyer, false teacher

 

The quotes above reflect Jude’s warning that false teachers are like clouds without water – they promise much but deliver nothing. Besides the obvious unscriptural assertions and the horrendous lack of logic, Meyer is correct about one thing – there is a battle for the mind, since that is how the Word of God is absorbed. Satan loves it when the modern church interprets truth as the world and experience-based pagans do. The father of lies is the true author of Meyer’s book, and his royalty payments are souls. Chilling.

Behind these masks of smiles, flattery, and knowledge hides arrogance – these teachers would have to be arrogant to exchange the Words of God for their own words (Jude 16). They are filled with their own self-importance, and they do not hold themselves accountable to anyone since they reject authority (Colossians 2:18; Jude 8).

The arrogance of Benny Hinn’s desire to kill those who question his teachings, Steven Furtick’s Hater video, and Joyce Meyer’s declaration that she is not a sinner are well known. Let’s veer from the usual list of suspects and see what’s happening in the lesser-known circles. Meet Jory Micah. According to her website, Micah is in the process of writing a book; she was named one of the top 10 female bloggers in Beyond Evangelical – the personal blog of Frank Viola. Not surprisingly, Viola is a false teacher. On her website, Micah says that she had a dream from the Lord and “if you are a woman who has felt limited or oppressed by the Christian Church in any way, YOU were in my dream and there is freedom for you.” Her mission is to 

Help women shake off the chains of limitations and the shackles of oppression that the Christian Church has wrapped around them in the name of the Bible and stale religion. (Her) goal is to see women universally embraced as church leaders – elders, lead-pastors, evangelists, Bible teachers, apostles, worship leaders, and every leadership position that both lay women and ordained ministers can dream up with God.”

The errors within the above quote are outside the scope of this article. However, for the record, Micah and I did converse regarding the unbiblical role of women pastors; sadly, she would not listen to what is plainly written in Scripture – that women pastors are unbiblical.  According to her website, anyone who disagrees with her is a hater. (And probably a big meanie too!) Micah is obviously a bright young woman, and from all appearances, she could easily become the next Rachel Held Evans or Christine Caine. As the Meyers and Caines of the women-led pulpits age, there are many young women being trained to assume their positions.

Micah admits she was warned; however, arrogance ruled:

 

The deceptive teaching that women pastors are biblical

 

3. False teachers are motivated by greed.

Skip to 2:06 to view Leroy Thompson parading through money:

 

That video speaks for itself.

Many Christians are too focused on the twisted Scripture verses of the prosperity gospel to notice that the Bible clearly warns that false teachers are motivated by greed. These teachers prey on their victims through the same corruption that has led them to the pulpit to begin with – greed! These teachers deceive by evil and carnal means, so it follows that their motivation is also carnal. Paul Washer says, “False teachers are God’s judgment on people who don’t want God, but in the name of religion plan on getting everything their carnal heart desires.” Terrifying thought.

Here are some warnings about the greed of false teachers:

  • In their greed they will exploit you with false words (2 Peter 2:3a)
  • Having itching ears, many people 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)
  • They use godliness as a means of gain (1 Timothy 6:5)
  • They are shepherds feeding themselves, and they live to satisfy their desires (Jude 12Jude 16)
  • Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction (1 Timothy 6:9).
Guard Your Hearts and Minds

Stay away from these masked bandits! Christians are commanded to avoid these liars who do the work of Satan. Some appropriate verses:

  • Have nothing to do with them (Ephesians 5:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:14)
  • If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works (2 John 1:10-11)
  • Don’t let them take you captive or cause you to lose your own stability because false teachers have turned people away from the faith (Colossians 2:8; 2 Peter 3:171 Timothy 4:1).

It would be pure terror to share in the fate of false teachers as listed here:

Jude, a half-brother of Jesus, lived at a time when Christianity was under attack by apostates, and in the book of Jude, he called the Church to contend for the truth. Therefore, I believe it is fitting to close with his instructions and subsequent praise to God:

But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.  And have mercy on those who doubt;  save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 17-25).

Soli Deo Gloria

Pamela

Please note that false prophecies are also an indication of a false teacher, which I have warned about here.

I’m exercising my Christian liberty to hand out a costume award:

How to recognize a false teacher

 

 

 

 

 

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Truth or Snare? Testing Your Pentecostal/Charismatic Experiences Against Scripture

 

Do you know why you believe what you believe about your Charismatic experiences?

 

I apologize for the sparse blog posts – nerve issues are a recent challenge, and while grasping objects is amusing, typing is less so. There was a time when I believed that if I had enough faith, then I would be healed of my ailments. I was not only taught that physical healing was guaranteed in the atonement, I was also taught that because Jesus healed and because the apostles had the gift of healing, that Christians today could heal too. Sadly, my beliefs were a mix of faith healing, positive confession, and the continuation of the sign gifts. In this article, I will specifically address the healing and speaking in tongues aspects of these sign gifts.

In my Pentecostal and charismatic circles, we didn’t examine how, when, where, why, or to whom the sign gifts occurred; our conversations were based on experience and not on theology. That no one knew what the messages behind the tongues were (or what they even meant), or that no one was healed during the healing practices was not a concern – the experiences alone convinced us that something divine had occurred. The goal was not to glorify God, to proclaim the Gospel, or to grow in holiness – the goal was to have a spiritual experience.

I was unaware of the cessationist viewpoint; I believed that you were either “walking in the power of the Spirit” or you weren’t. The idea that the sign gifts had ceased never entered my mind. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to encourage my Pentecostal and charismatic continuationist sisters to examine, through a series of questions, why they believe what they believe about healing and speaking in tongues.

To Be Clear …

It is not my intention to attempt to end the debate between cessationism and continuationism, nor is it my intention to create division – whether or not the sign gifts operate today is surely not a salvational issue. If you have studied the Scriptures and you are fully convinced (Romans 14:5) that the gifts are still in operation today, then great. However, if you are not sure why you believe what you believe, then examine the Scriptures (Acts 17:11), and make sure that your beliefs are founded on the Word of God alone. The Bible is authoritative over feelings, experiences, and intentions; therefore, “I just feel that…”, “This happened to me in church…” or “God knows my heart…” are not qualifiers for objective truth.

There is a misperception in general that cessationists believe that God no longer performs miracles. However, the question is not whether God is sovereign – God can do anything through whomever, wherever, and whenever He chooses. I believe that God still heals people today; however, Christians do not determine His choosing to heal. We do not control or direct God’s hand. Additionally, the concern is not whether experiences, such as the gift of speaking in tongues exists; rather, the concern is whether what occurs today is biblical. Cessationists do not question whether God can grant the gift of signs; the question is: is He granting it now? The hand of God is not held up for scrutiny, experiences are; there is a lot of spiritual activity in today’s churches, all of which must be tested against Scripture (1 John 4:1).

Following are questions to help you examine your beliefs; these questions address the sign gifts as well as two beliefs concerning salvation – the first is the belief that physical healing is guaranteed in the atonement, and the second is the belief that speaking in tongues is evidence of salvation.

Questions to Consider Regarding Speaking in Tongues

1. If the unintelligible gift of speaking in tongues is from the Holy Spirit, then why do people from other religions speak in unintelligible tongues too? Egyptian priests in the 11th century B.C. spoke in tongues, as do present-day Muslims, Buddhists, and many New Age and occult practitioners.

2. If speaking in tongues is evidence of salvation, then why did the modern tongues movement start only around 1900? Shouldn’t the speaking in tongues have been a continuous practice since Pentecost?

3. If speaking in tongues is for everyone, then why did Paul teach that signs, miracles, and wonders (that obviously included speaking in tongues) were signs of a true apostle (2 Corinthians 12:12)?

4. If speaking in tongues is a sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, then why did Paul imply that not every believer was expected to speak in tongues (1 Corinthians 12:30)?

5. Since “tongues” were real languages at the time of Pentecost (Acts 2:6-11), why are the “tongues” that are spoken today nothing but babbling and gibberish?

6. Why, despite Paul’s warning against babbling or unintelligible speech (1 Corinthians 14:9-11), is this sort of speech still encouraged today?

7. Paul expressed that speaking in a language that was understood was better than speaking in an unknown language (1 Corinthians 14:19); therefore, shouldn’t there be no babbling today?

8. If, as some say, this babbling is “angelic utterance”, then why does Paul teach that there must be an interpreter (1 Corinthians 14:27-28)? Are there angels in the church that can interpret these babblings?

9. If the gift of speaking in tongues is still in operation today, then why is it necessary to send missionaries and other volunteers to foreign language schools? And why is the Bible still painstakingly being translated into numerous real foreign languages, year after year?

10. If the speaking in tongues occurred spontaneously at Pentecost, then why do people today teach others how to speak in tongues?

11. If the gift of speaking in tongues was a sign for the benefit of unbelieving Jews (1 Corinthians 14:21-22), then why is it spoken in churches today, and amongst gentile believers of all people?

12. Paul taught that if tongues are spoken that only one person at a time is to speak and no more than three people (and not at the same time!) are to speak (1 Corinthians 14:27); however, as far as I have witnessed, this is not the case today. Many people speak simultaneously, which results in chaos and confusion. Why do churches willingly allow that which is in direct violation of Scripture?

Questions Regarding Healing

1. If faith is required for healing (and lack of faith is a reason for a lack of healing), then why were unbelievers healed?

  • The demon-possessed man from Gerasenes was healed (Luke 8:28-33)
  • Jesus healed Malchus, who had his ear cut off by Peter (Luke 22:51; John 18:10)
  • The man at the pool of Bethsaida was healed without knowing who Jesus was (John 5:11-13).

2. Why were people healed through the faith of others?

  • The centurion’s faith healed his servant (Matthew 8:5-10)
  • The paralytic was healed by the faith of the men who carried him (Mark 2:5)
  • Jarius’ daughter was healed by his faith (Mark 5:35-43)

3. Why were people of faith not healed?

4. Why do faith healers teach that we must continue to claim our healing for complete deliverance from illness when in the Bible healings were both immediate and complete?

  • Peter’s mother-in-law was healed instantly (Matthew 8:14-15)
  • The centurion’s servant was healed “at that very moment” (Matthew 8:13)
  • Jesus healed the woman with chronic bleeding “immediately” (Mark 5:29)
  • Leprosy “left” the leper and he was healed “immediately” (Luke 5:12-13)
  • “…the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear…” (Matthew 11:5).

5. Why do we read in the Bible that obviously physical illnesses such as leprosy and paralysis were healed, whereas unseen afflictions such as arthritis or migraines are “healed” at healing crusades?

6. Why in the Bible were healings public and witnessed by people who knew the afflicted persons, whereas today we hear of “testimonies” of healing, often in faraway and remote places?

7. The apostles were given the power to heal – so why are there “healing schools” today?

8. Why aren’t faith healers curing the sick in hospitals or care centres? Additionally, as shown above, healing also occurred through the faith of others; therefore, if you, dear reader, have faith that healing is guaranteed, why are you not healing in the hospitals?

9. Why do faith healers wear prescription glasses? Why do they age? Why do they seek medical attention? Why do they fall ill at all?

10. Raising the dead, the handling of snakes, and the drinking of deadly poison without falling ill occurred in the Book of Acts, so why aren’t these activities occurring in the local assembly today?

11. Why did the believers in the Book of Acts seek healing from the apostles if they supposedly could heal themselves through their own faith?

12. Why is Scripture filled with the benefits of affliction and illness if we are supposed to be completely healthy?

13. If healing is guaranteed, why do all Christians (everyone, in fact) physically die?

Additional Questions to Consider:

1.In Scripture, signs verified the message of the messenger (Exodus 4:1-9;1 Kings 18:36-37;Joel 2:27-32;Acts 2:1-21;John 10:37-38;1 Corinthians 14:22). Today, we have the completed Scriptures and the Holy Spirit to testify to the truth (John 15:26;16:13). Other than salvation (since believers are performing “signs”), what would signs today signify?

2. If all Christians could perform signs and wonders, then why were they given to verify the identity of Jesus and true apostles (Acts 2:22; 2:43; 4:30; 5:12;14:3; Romans 15:18-19; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:3-4)?

3. If there is a second baptism, which is evidenced by speaking in tongues, then why does Ephesians 4:5 state there is one baptism?

4. The Bible condemns against seeking signs and giving signs (Matthew 12:38-39; 16:4; Mark 8:11-12; Luke 11:29), so why do so many Christian seek them?

5. Since Satan and his sorcerers can perform lying signs and wonders (Exodus 7:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Matthew 24:24), isn’t it dangerous to seek these experiences? Even those under Satan’s control can perform signs, so how do we know who the true believers are if everyone can perform these signs?

6. If signs are for today, why does Hebrews 2:3-4 state that signs were in the past?

7. The Holy Spirit was sent to testify about Jesus, who is the Word; therefore, why wouldn’t the Holy Spirit first correct the improper doctrine in the Charismatic movement before performing signs and wonders? Why wouldn’t this “Holy Spirit” testify about Jesus, as that is His main role?

8. If God is not a God of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), why is there so much chaos at healing revivals and many Charismatic gatherings?

 Let Us Reason Together (Isaiah 1:18)

After considering these questions and studying the Bible, can you, dear sister, still claim that the Word of God backs up your spiritual experiences? Do you really believe that the modern “tongues movement” reflects Pentecost? Have you noticed any discrepancies between charismatic experiences and the Word of God? Is it possible that you could be reading Scripture to fit your experience instead of submitting to the authority of God’s Word, regardless of what you feel and experience?

As mentioned earlier, I do not expect to end the debate as to whether the “sign gifts” are still in operation today, but might I suggest that instead of seeking signs, that we rather seek after the truth! To seek the truth is to pursue Jesus – not only is Christ Jesus the Truth (John 14:6), but wisdom and knowledge are found in Him (Colossians 2:3). Don’t let your experiences and feelings guide you, but let the Word of God be a lamp to your feet and a guide for your path (Psalm 119:105).

Hallowed be His name,

Pamela

 

But-grow-in-the-grace-and-knowledgeof-our-Lord-and-Savior-Jesus-Christ

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If it Heals Like a Snake and Prophesies Like a Snake, It’s Satan Masquerading as an Angel of Light

Do healings and prophecies in the modern church have more in common with the occult than the Bible?

I have been hearing about the power of the Spirit in regards to prophecy and healing frequently, and not only from professing Charismatics and Pentecostals. Is this healing and prophesying done in the power of God, or is this Satan masquerading as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14)? While Scripture is our first and highest authority, I’ve noticed that the healing and prophesying being performed in the modern church have more in common with the occult than it does with the Bible. I will discuss healing and prophesying as done in the occult, the apostate church, and the Bible.

Although I am questioning the methods and practices of man, I do believe that God still heals today.

 

When Moses prayed for the people, God instructed him to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole so the people could be healed (<a href=

When Moses prayed for the people, God instructed him to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole so the people could be healed (Numbers 21:5-7). However, the serpent became an object of worship (2 Kings 18:4). source.

Healing in the Occult

 

May the Force Be With You

In the occult, energy and vibrations are manipulated for emotional, physical, and spiritual ‘healing’. Those in occult circles claim that this energy is an impersonal force that is in all creation. It is referred to as consciousness, energy, vibrations, spirit, or force. The goal of occult ‘energy work’ is to ‘enlighten’ the individual and to raise one’s frequency to attain a higher consciousness. In The Kingdom of the Occult, Walter Martin writes,

Energy can be defined in countless ways: creative life forces, moving power, or ley lines (energy lines said to crisscross the earth). Reiki (the energy associated with Reiki massage), Prana, polarity, chi – there are many names for occult energy–but generally it refers to the creative life forces within human beings and/or outside of them. This energy is the power that can be controlled by human beings through various means –crystals, cards, ceremonies, meditation, the correct diet, and yoga. This is the power source worshipped by the kingdom of the occult. God has revealed that this power source does not originate with Him, and that leaves only one other source: the prince of darkness–the devil (p. 324).”

Initiations and Spiritual Teachers

The occult world offers many different techniques and training in spiritual healing. Sometimes, there is an initiation or ceremony which involves a ‘transfer’ of the power or an activation of the supposed ability. Spiritual healers are channelers of energy and they impart this energy to the initiate.

Experiencing the Supernatural

A spiritual healer reports the following regarding the experiences of his client:

I have had people tell me they have experienced temperature changes, heat and coolness, tingling feelings, a feeling of weightlessness, sometimes a feeling of heaviness, feelings of their bodies moving even though they are on their back, sharp pains for a short time, which then disappear, feelings of some kind of manipulation, and have seen emotional releases (crying).”

That was also my experience as a former Reiki practitioner. During my involvement in that occult practice, there was a strong presence of energy coursing through me and my clients; there were also vibrations, heat, and emotional releases. Counterfeit feelings of ‘love and peace’ were also present. There is a definite psychic component to this type of healing, which is not surprising since holistic healing encompasses mind, body, and soul. Please not that there is also a strong connection between prophesying and healing in many apostate church ministries.

Healing in the Apostate Church

Please read the following and ask yourself if it appears biblical:

Throughout the history of the Church, Christians have been listening to the call of the Spirit, being anointed by God, and providing healing and life-saving prophetic information for others. In the church, a man or woman may be called to the gift of healing by God Himself. This call may come through a dream, or while in the wilderness, a vision. Sometimes, a serious illness may be used by God and lead to this anointing. When the call is answered and the person begins receiving impartations with an elder, the illness is often healed altogether. There are three big stages in the initiatory process: suffering, death, and resurrection.

As a discerning Christian, you’re most likely feeling uncomfortable about what you’ve just read–as you should. That statement is from a website* which promotes the occult practice of shamanism; all I did was edit the words so it appears biblical. Here is the original text (note that I did not alter the last sentence!):

“Since time immemorial, shamans have been listening to the calling of the spirits, being initiated by them and bringing back healing and life-saving oracular information for others. In indigenous cultures, a man or woman may be called to the path of the shaman by the spirits themselves. This call may come through a dream, or while in the wilderness, a vision. Sometimes, a serious illness may foreshadow the path toward shamanism. When the call is answered and the person begins training with an older shaman, the illness is often healed altogether. There are three big stages in the initiatory process: suffering, death, and resurrection.”

This exercise shows how easily the undiscerning Christian can be deceived when statements appear biblically sound. Many movements take advantage of this weakness, and they also redefine words such as ‘faith’ and ‘power’.

God is an Electric Force

In the Word of Faith movement, faith is a ‘force’ to be manipulated. This movement’s false teachers claim you have a ‘miracle in your mouth’ because words have power, and through these words, you are able to create your destiny. Likewise, faith healers speak of the anointing power that is required for healing. This power causes people to fall backwards, stumble, and/or shake uncontrollably. The faith healers claim you are ‘slain in the Spirit‘ because the power of the Spirit has come upon you.

About 40 years ago, Benny Hinn says he met this counterfeit ‘power’ at a healing crusade of the late faith healer Kathryn Kuhlman. He recalls:

As I stood in line, I suddenly began to shake. Nothing like that had ever happened before. It didn’t stop. I was too embarrassed to tell Jim or anyone around me. Even when we got to our seats on the third row of the auditorium, the shaking continued. The longer it continued, the more beautiful it became.”

After Kuhlman talks about what she perceives to be the Holy Spirit, Benny Hinn says,

At that moment, I cried and said, “I’ve got to have this!”

Then, within moments, the service was over. I was shaken to the core. God had used that service and His mighty evangelist to reveal His power that day.

All the way back to Toronto, I kept thinking, “What did she mean? What was she saying when she talked about the Holy Spirit?”

I was totally exhausted when I arrived home, but I could not sleep. As I lay on my bed, I felt as if someone were pulling me off the mattress and onto my knees. It was a strange sensation, but I didn’t resist.

I had never spoken to the Holy Spirit before. I didn’t know He could be addressed that way.

Finally, I prayed, “Holy Spirit, Kathryn Kuhlman says You are her Friend. I don’t think I know You. Before today, I thought I did. But after that meeting, I realize I really don’t. I don’t think I know You.”

Then, like a child with my hands raised, I asked, “Can I meet You? Can I really meet You?”

A few brief moments passed, then like a jolt of electricity my body began to vibrate all over again, exactly like at the church in Pittsburgh.

I was afraid to open my eyes. I felt like a warm blanket of God’s power was wrapped all over me. That continued until I finally dropped off to sleep that night. Even then, I still didn’t realize all that had happened to me.”

This interaction with the ‘Holy Spirit’ is not biblical, but it’s interesting that Benny Hinn says, “I’ve got to have this!” What is this? It sounds more like the impersonal force of the occult than the personal being of the Holy Spirit. Benny Hinn should be seeking a who, which is Jesus; not a what.

Todd Bentley is another faith healer who speaks about this force: “When people visited me at my home, they’d get zapped by an invisible electric force field in whatever room I was in, and then they’d bounce back.” Extra-biblical healing practices have a strong appeal to the senses and may cause tingling, heat, and seeing light.

Teachers and Initiations (Impartations)

As with the occult, the so-called ‘Christian’ community also has many leaders who impart power and who teach how to perform healings. This is from Bethel’s Healing School website:

At the Bethel Healing School, you will be inspired, trained, and activated in a lifestyle of healing & miracles. The school is more than just a seminar of teaching. It is a quick immersion into a culture of joy, freedom, and understanding of everything that Jesus paid for! During the school, you will increase in understanding how to carry the anointing as well as learn ways to cultivate and maintain an atmosphere conducive to healing in your churches and ministries.”

There is much nonsense in that paragraph; for instance, how is power from God ‘activated’ and where in the Bible does it teach us how to ‘carry the anointing’? Additionally, does it make sense that the Holy Spirit would give us this gift (1 Corinthians 12:11) but then require man to activate it?

Another alarming occult practice is grave sucking – the transferring of supposed energy from the dead. Many professing Christians do this bizarre ritual. Benny Hinn admits to frequenting the tomb of Kathryn Kuhlman to receive anointing from her dead and decomposed body. Well, this is nothing but necromancy. Todd Bentley claims to have received his anointing from false teacher William Branham, even though Branham had died nine years before the birth of Bentley.

Putting aside anointings from the dead, consider what this article from LetUsReason.org says about anointings in general:

Many today are taught to get an impartation from the anointed preacher. There is no need when Scripture states we all have the same standing before God; all believers have the same Holy Spirit and Christ as our mediator. We can all receive from Jesus, who is the one we should all be seeking. Going to a certain person or meeting to seek an anointing by impartation is unbiblical. No other person is to be our mediator to receive the Holy Spirit. Whenever men become mediators, Christ’s teachings diminish and men’s teachings increase. We are then giving them, not the Lord control over our lives.

Laying hands on the sick to pray is not the same as imparting the spirit and watching them buckle.

A ‘transferable anointing’ is not seen nor practiced anywhere in Scripture. We also find that the Apostles did not rush around laying hands on people to impart an experience of ‘fire’ or power. They did not chant words over and over and expect a immediate response. The impartations done today that come through certain men are not the true anointing, who is the Spirit of God. Only God can give the Spirit; Jesus is the baptizer of the Holy Spirit, not man. Man cannot control God- there is no teaching on how to obtain or release the anointing to another.”

John MacArthur also warns, “Dear ones, Jesus is the only mediator between God and man, right? Demons are mediators between hell and man. They make captives out of man”.

Supernatural Experiences

As explained above, the healings of the apostate church provide sensations of electricity, shaking, and vibrating. When I was still spiritually immature and lost, I experienced similar sensations with two different faith healers, and these abnormal feelings were uncannily similar to the electric sensations I had experienced  as a Reiki practitioner.

Healing itself is not proof that it came from God; also, it’s worth knowing that falling to the ground (or lying prostrate, e.g.) in repentance and grief over one’s sin is very different to falling backwards and shaking uncontrollably.

 

Healing In the New Testament

We are commanded to test all things (1Thessalonians 5:21), including the spirits (1John4:1), and when we examine the healings in the New Testament, we see that they were instantaneous and permanent. Since they were obvious and public, they went unchallenged. The apostles were given authority to heal every disease and every affliction–unlike what we see at healing crusades, where those in wheelchairs are pushed to the sidelines.

Do healings and prophecies in the modern church have more in common with the occult than the Bible?

The Pythia, commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi, was the name of any priestess throughout the history of Temple of Apollo. The Pythia was widely credited for her prophecies inspired by Apollo. source

Prophecy (fortune-telling) in the Occult

Merriam-Webster defines a fortune-teller as “a person who claims to use special powers to tell what will happen to someone in the future.”** Fortune-tellers work with energy as well and claim to be sensitive to vibrations from the spirit world. Since Satan and demons are not omnipresent or omniscient, fortune-tellers’ predictions are often wrong. However, they know that if they get some things right or are able to manipulate circumstances in favor of their predictions, that their victims will be held captive. Divination practices such as astrology, palmistry, and tarot reading are never entirely accurate; however, millions of people are in bondage to these enchantments. God forbids fortune-telling (Deuteronomy 18:10-13).

Prophecy In the Apostate Church

If we believe that the office of prophet is still active today, then we have a duty to test and investigate the practices and prophecies being made against Scripture.

GotQuestions.org says,

Prophecy – The Greek word translated “prophesying” or “prophecy” in both passages properly means to “speak forth” or declare the divine will, to interpret the purposes of God, or to make known in any way the truth of God which is designed to influence people. The idea of telling the future was added sometime in the Middle Ages and is in direct contradiction to other scriptural passages that condemn such fortune-telling or predicting the future (Acts 16:16-18).”

The kind of prophesying we see in the apostate church is one of fortune-telling. God has already revealed in Scripture all that He desires us to know. As Jude says, we have the faith once delivered (Jude 1:3). However, many people are dissatisfied and seek personal revelations, despite the command not to go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6). Not only are the vast predictions of modern-day prophets incorrect, but their collective theology is among the worst in the church. If the Holy Spirit, who is truth (John 16:13), is actually the one giving these revelations to these fraudsters, why would He not first correct their doctrine?

Prophecy In the Bible

In the New Testament era, the early believers did not have the completed Bible, so prophets (or apostles) proclaimed messages from the Lord. Prophets were foundational to the church (Ephesians 2:20), and they were 100% accurate.

Furthermore, GotQuestions.org says:

Note the transition from prophet to teacher in 2 Peter 2:1: “There were false prophets among the people, even as there shall  be false teachers among you” (emphasis added). Peter indicates that the Old Testament age had prophets, whereas the church will have teachers. The spiritual gift of prophecy, in the sense of receiving new revelations from God to be proclaimed to others, ceased with the completion of the Bible. During the time that prophecy was a revelatory gift, it was to be used for the edification, exhortation, and comfort of men (1 Corinthians 14:3). The modern gift of prophecy, which is really more akin to teaching, still declares the truth of God. What has changed is that the truth of God today has already been fully revealed in His Word, while, in the early church, it had not yet been fully revealed.”

Examining the Fruit

Mysticism and the occult seduce the flesh because they provide subjective experiences and promise to reveal secret knowledge. This is the opposite of how Christians are commanded to live. We walk by faith in God, trusting that He will direct our steps (Proverbs 16:9). Much of what is occurring in the apostate church is divination and speaking to spirits – forms of sorcery that mark the lives of unbelievers (Galatians 5:19-21). Sorcerers are given power by Satan to lead people away from God (Matthew 24:242 Thessalonians 2:9) and since there will always be sorcerers, even in the end times (Revelation 18:23), we must always be vigilant (1Peter 5:8).

One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:23), not falling down and shaking uncontrollably or speaking false prophecies – these practices are the work of Satan. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit does not allow Himself to be the focus; He does not seek the spotlight.This is in direct contrast to the blasphemous way that these unbiblical ministries so falsely portray the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus, not Himself (John 16:14); the Holy Spirit also testifies about Jesus (John 15:26), not about Himself.

Our enemy always promises something that we think will benefit us, and it’s important to remember that our minds can be corrupted (2 Corinthians 11:3). To think that we cannot be deceived simply because we are Christians is contrary to the many New Testament warnings about deceptions. To assume we can dabble in the occult because of a response to an altar call is as much a lie as the belief that the occultists can surround themselves with ‘white light’ to protect themselves from evil spirits. If we claim to follow Jesus, then we should truly follow Him. We should have nothing to do with pagan and occult practices. Do not be deceived – God performs miracles; Satan performs magic.

Friends, do not subject yourself to anything that ‘awakens’ you, that encourages you to open your heart, or that manipulates energy. Do not seek ‘fresh fire’, new revelations, or impartations. If God desires for you to be healed, trust that He will providentially provide for the healing. Do not believe everything you hear, but test the spirits (1 John 4:1). Let’s leave signs and wonders alone; instead, let’s strive to be holy and righteous, and living a life that’s pleasing to God.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pamela

* http://www.shamanicuniverse.com/shamanic-initiation.html

** “Fortune-teller.” Merriam-Webster.com, n.d Web.24 May. 2015. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fortune-teller

Additional Resources:

A Call For Discernment Part 1, 2, 3

Kundalini Warning Part 1, 2, 3

Is the anointing tangible and transferable; can we impart it?

The Lord Told Me – I Think!

 

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“Psst … Lectio Divina … your mysticism is showing.”

Beware! Lectio Divina is a mystical practice

 

One thing I appreciate about the clothing of Jesus’ day is that there were no zippers or grommets to contribute to a possible wardrobe malfunction. People from that time also didn’t have to worry about removing of an overkill of stickers and price tags from clothing. And who is not grateful when told a dryer sheet is stuck to a sweater? Oh, but are we grateful when someone points out our theological loose threads? Just as we would inspect and remove an offending item from clothing, are we just as quick to inspect and remove faulty doctrine from our lives? Are we as teachable with our theology as we are with our outward appearances?

Recently, I was privy to a conversation regarding the promotion of the mystical practice of lectio divina. Thankfully, there were many discerning women warning of it; however, there were many who could not see the error of this practice. Lectio divina has gathered momentum in evangelical circles and, like most deceptive practices, there is much ignorance regarding its origin and intent. I do appreciate the desire to be closer to God; however, we walk by faith, not by experience and feelings.

 

Beware of Lectio Divinia

 

What Is Lectio Divina?

Pronounced “lex-ee-o di-veen-a”, it is Latin for “divine reading” and “is undertaken not with the intention of gaining information but of using the texts as an aid to contact the living God.”* It is popular among Catholics and Gnostics and has gained wide acceptance within the emerging church. In general, lectio divina is being promoted as a form of Bible study and is found within the unbiblical practice of spiritual formation. Sadly, this practice has found its way into the evangelical/protestant church too, and many teachers and preachers are openly promoting and endorsing this unbiblical practice. Note that other faiths practice lectio divina too; so it does not matter whether one is reading from the Koran or the Bible, all one has to do is ‘adopt’ this practice for Christianity – you know, as the visible church has done with yoga.

The practice is described as follows, courtesy of Lighthouse Trails Research:

Reading (lectio)—Slowly begin reading a biblical passage as if it were a long-awaited love letter addressed to you. Approach it reverentially and expectantly, in a way that savors each word and phrase. Read the passage until you hear a word or phrase that touches you, resonates, attracts, or even disturbs you.

Reflecting (meditatio)—Ponder this word or phrase for a few minutes. Let it sink in slowly and deeply until you are resting in it. Listen for what the word or phrase is saying to you at this moment in your life, what it may be offering to you, what it may be demanding of you.

Expressing (oratio)—If you are a praying person, when you are ready, openly and honestly express to God the prayers that arise spontaneously within you from your experience of this word or phrase. These may be prayers of thanksgiving, petition, intercession, lament, or praise. If prayer is not part of your journey, you could write down the thoughts that have come your way.

Resting (contemplatio)—Allow yourself to simply rest silently for a time in the stillness of your heart, remaining open to the quiet fullness of God’s love and peace. This is like the silence of communion between the mother holding her sleeping infant child, or between lovers whose communication with each other passes beyond words.”

Where are these steps in Scripture? Surely, if we needed to repeat words many times over, it would be in the Bible. In fact, in Matthew 6:7 Jesus instructs us to do the opposite: “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again (NLT).”

Common Misperceptions about Lectio Divina

1. “It’s been practiced throughout the history of the Church”

First, lectio divina was started around the year 220 by contemplative monks, but the four steps date back only to the 12th century**. Second, which “church” are we talking about? The roots of this practice lie in Catholicism and has no ties to the true church of which Jesus Christ is the only cornerstone and head (Colossians 1:18). Catholics who are knowledgeable of and practice lectio divina, boldly declare it as mysticism, and they do not claim that it is found in Scripture. Additionally, as many have pointed out, if this practice is vital to ‘experiencing God’, then what did the church do before the year 220? Truly, the Body of Christ – the true Church – has nothing to do with this heretical and unbiblical practice.

2. “The Bible says we are to meditate and pray”

Yes, we should; however, the proponents of lectio divina have redefined meditation and prayer. These people do not mean biblical prayer – they mean contemplative prayer, which seeks to empty one’s mind to hear the ‘still small voice’ of God. Consider this description of meditation (courtesy of Southern View Chapel):

Meditatio: the next step is meditation but not meditation as we normally would understand it. Boa describes meditation as “a spiritual work of holy desire and an interior invitation for the Spirit to pray and speak within us (Romans 8:26-27).” [28]  Two brief thoughts before we move on.  First, note the misinterpretation of Romans 8:26-27, which is virtually universal in mystical literature.  The text does not promise that the Holy Spirit will speak to us in prayer but that He will intercede with the Father for us as we pray. This is an important and often overlooked point.”

and

‘Christian’ mystic Madame Guyon writes, “[In lectio you are not reading the Scriptures to gain some understanding but to] turn your mind from outward things to the deep parts of your being. You are not there to learn to read, but…to experience the presence of your Lord!”

Since our Lord is the Word (John 1:1), to what ‘lord’ is Madame Guyon referring (2 Corinthians 11:4)?

Part of the misunderstanding is the belief that lectio divina is merely prayerful reading. However, according to mystics, “it is the focusing on and repeating a word or small phrase to facilitate going into the ‘silence'”. Indeed, and that is the real danger. As this article in Lighthouse Trails Research points out, “There is certainly nothing wrong with reading Scripture carefully and thoughtfully. Thoughtfully, we say. In eastern-style meditation (and in contemplative prayer) thoughts are the enemy.”

In lectio divina, Scripture is merely a tool to bring about a mystical experience. A word or phrase becomes a mantra where it is repeated over and over, and the words become what the practitioner’s imagination or other influences – be they internal or external – come up with. The words do not hold the meaning that the original authors intended. In effect, what the adherents of this practice are saying is that Scripture isn’t sufficient and that extra-biblical revelation is needed – additional, personal revelation gleaned through man-made works. We are warned about being taken captive by human tradition (Colossians 2:8).

3. “It has affected me for good”

Why hasn’t Scripture done this? The Word of God thoroughly equips us (2 Timothy 3:15-17) and is perfect (Psalm 19:7). What is being gained through a mystical experience that trumps the Word of God? Nowhere in Scripture are experiences heralded; in fact, we have the more sure Word (2 Peter 1:19), which outranks experiences. Additionally, the Word of God, through the Holy Spirit, convicts us of sin (Hebrews 4:12). It is good to be convicted and led to repentance, so we can become holy (1 Peter 1:16), as God expects us to be.

The different forms of contemplative prayer that I used to practice soothed and pacified me; I was courted for pride and destruction. My sin and wretchedness never came to mind during my devotional time because my wicked and deceitful heart always deceived me (Jeremiah 17:9). During this contemplative period, I was never affected for good because I needed a truth that was outside of me – the objective and authoritative Word of God.

4. “I belong to Christ; this has nothing to do with Satan”

Practicing man-made techniques and basing our approval on them through subjective evaluation and misinterpreted Scripture are dangerous. We are to renew our minds through the Word of God (Romans 12:2), not empty them; and we are commanded to guard our wicked hearts, not open them (Proverbs 4:23).

It’s erroneous to think one can be a Christian and practice whatever ‘spiritual’ ritual or fad one wants. Whenever the Israelites were about to enter a foreign land, God would warn them to stay clear of the pagans’ “abominable practices” (Deuteronomy 18:9-11). In our age of global travel and global communication, these pagan practices have come to us; and so we need to be on full alert (1 Peter 5:8). Additionally, the entire Bible is packed with warnings to the church about false teachings – simply because something is taught within the walls of a church does not necessarily make it biblical.

Unfortunately, many Christians believe Satan and his minions are only involved with Ouija Boards and spirit mediums; unfortunately, this misunderstanding is further complicated by deceptive TV shows and movies (Long Island Medium, Ouija, etc.) that glorify and glamorize these occult activities and that basically applaud Satan’s evil craftiness. Yes, of course Satan and his demons have a hand in these things. However, using his subtle deception, it’s inside the church where he does his best work. It’s within the ‘safe’ confines of a church that he deceives through false doctrine and tempts with experiences, personal revelations, and secret knowledge. He doesn’t show up as the visible boogeyman in pew number nine; he shows up as falsehood. Certainly, if he did show up in person, he would sit in the center of the front row, smiling, and clutching a well-worn Bible.

R.C. Ryle quote

 

The claim of this quote is supported by this Southern View Chapel excerpt about lectio divina. As we’ll see, an expository understanding of Scripture is frowned upon:

How the believer mines the treasures of Scripture is through the normal, literal (often called grammatical/historical) approach to its reading and study.  As God’s truth is understood through this process, it is then to be applied to our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is not the approach to Scripture recommended and promoted within spiritual formation.  As a matter of fact, this approach is often ridiculed as merely an intellectual process that does not reach the inner person and does not lead to transformation.  Instead, we are told that if our lives are to be truly reformed by the Bible we must turn to an ancient technique, never actually taught in the Word itself, known as lectio divina.

Ruth Haley Barton adds that while reading we are to listen “for the word or the phrase that strikes us…we have a sense of expectancy that God will speak to us.  After reading there is a brief period of silence in which we remain with the word, savoring it and repeating it without trying to figure out what it means or why it was given.”

Rather than turning us to the Word of God to hear the Lord’s voice, lectio turns us inward to attempt to listen to a subjective thought that is being interpreted as coming from the Lord.  In addition, Barton cautions her readers not to think too much about the passage at this stage, rather “keep coming back to the word that we have been given.” [30] The word “given” to one of the students of Yaconelli, while reading about Jesus sitting in a boat, was “cushion.” After repeating the word “cushion” over and over “for the longest time” until he started to remember his grandmother lying on a pillow just before she died, the youth felt so peaceful he nearly went to sleep. [31]. This was supposedly the message that God was speaking to this young man from Mark 4:35-41.”

How tragic that Scripture is utilized for this! Since the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth, and seeing that the above eisegesis is unbiblical, exactly what spirit was guiding Yaconelli’s student?

Conclusion

I long to see my sisters and brothers free in Jesus; I long to see them consciously deciding not to chase after Satan and fall for his age-old lies. There is a growing appetite for experiencing God, and the enemy is more than happy to see us gorge on his deceit. Pagan religions seek to ‘experience’ God, whereas Christians live by faith. As true believers, we are partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) – how much closer to God can we be?

Therefore, if someone says to you, “Psst, you need a theological alteration”, please pray for discernment and knowledge (Psalm 119:66). Test everything (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

Soli Deo Gloria

Pamela

Recommended resources:

Moody’s Pastors’ conference and lectio divina

Got Questions

http://www.lectio-divina.org/

** http://www.neomysticism.com/lectio-divina.html

 

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Three Reasons Why There Are No Modern-Day Prophets

3 Reasons Why There Are No Modern Day Prophets

 

 

 

What is a prophet? Basically, a prophet had the ability to receive direct revelation from God and would then communicate that revelation to the people. The controversy today is whether God has new revelations for His church; is He still sending prophets?

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), an offspring of the Latter Rain Movement, promotes the idea that there are modern-day prophets. This movement also supports a social gospel, the belief that some of its apostles can raise the dead, and it also supports pagan, mystical practices such as contemplative prayer and labyrinth walking.

Additionally, NAR claims that Christians must submit to its leadership because God has appointed some in their ranks as apostles and prophets so that the kingdom of God can be established on earth (Christian Domionism).

In the following clip, C Peter Wagner, credited for founding the NAR, is seen here endorsing faith healer Todd Bentley as prophet and apostle. Keep an ear open for Wagner’s dominion theology:

Does Bentley ever stop shaking? Is he in full demonic possession perhaps?

After this endorsement by Wagner who expressed hope that Bentley “bear much and lasting fruit”, Bentley left his disabled wife. That is tragic in itself, but isn’t it odd that a faith healer couldn’t heal his own wife? In fact, I haven’t heard of one documented healing performed by Bentley that has taken place, which is no surprise since he loves to kick people in the face.

Now that we know what’s going on in the NAR movement, let’s look at reasons why God has not sent prophets for the church today.

1. Prophets Were Temporary

The prophets were foundational to the early church (Ephesians 2:20). The completed New Testament was not around back then, so the gift of prophecy revealed additional information. We have a complete Bible, from Genesis to Revelation; we do not need to add to anything.

2. Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura)

Hebrews 1:1 tells us God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets but in these last days He has spoken to us by his Son. Jesus is the truth (John 14:16), and the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13). Since the Holy Spirit helped the apostles write Scripture (John 14:26), it is fitting that the Holy Spirit illumines Scripture for believers (Ephesians 1:17-18).

We are to look to Scripture alone for guidance. 2 Peter 1:3 says we have everything we need for godly living. Scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17). What more do we need?

3. The Canon is Closed

The principle that we should not add to God’s words appears throughout Scripture:

 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).

“You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2).

“Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it” (Deuteronomy 4:2).

“Do add to His words, lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:6)

One may think that the so-called divine revelation does not necessarily mean adding to anything to Scripture; however, if God spoke, surely those words (if His) would be just as authoritative as the words of Scripture, not so?

Additionally, we are commanded to test everything (1 Thess 5:21). We are to compare what we are told with the Word of God, and we should dismiss anything that’s not found in the Bible. The self-proclaimed prophets of today have given false prophecies. A simple Google search will reveal some of the false messages from those such as Jack Van Impe, Benny Hinn, and John Hagee (pictured above).

In the Old Testament, God said a prophet who spoke things that God had not commanded Him to speak had to be put to death (Deuteronomy 18:20). We would be rather busy today if that command still applied.

It is clear that direct revelation, prophetic hotlines, and personal prophetic words from God are not biblical. There is only one kind of prophet that exists in the church today, and that is the false prophet (Matthew 7:15).

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pamela

Please note: I’m not suggesting the Holy Spirit cannot bring a Bible verse to recollection for someone or impress upon us a lesson from the Bible.

Additional verses:

Ezekiel 13:6-7

They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the Lord,’ when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares the Lord,’ although I have not spoken?” 

Matthew 7:15

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

2 Peter 2:3

And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

2 Peter 2:1-22

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly.”

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