Archive for the ‘Dominionism’ Category

Rodney Howard Browne – The Man Who Laid Hands on President Trump

LTRP Note: Last week, it was announced in several news sources  that Rodney Howard Browne was one of a number of “evangelical” leaders who laid hands on and prayed for Donald Trump at the White House. Browne is the “father” of the Holy Laughter movement and said on his Facebook page after last week’s presidential prayer, “we are going to see another great spiritual awakening.” We find it sad and troubling that someone like Browne (not to mention some of the others present) is in a position to represent Christianity to both the president and the world. To understand some things about Rodney Howard Browne’s teachings and beliefs, please see the article below by Warren B. Smith. You can read about some of the other leaders present by using the search engine at www.deceptioninthechurch.com.

FALSE REVIVAL COMING?—Part 1: Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion?

By Warren B. Smith

Editors Note: Today there is much talk in the church about revival. Some leaders, citing God as their authority, state they have been told that a great “outpouring” of God’s Spirit is about to occur. Other leaders are describing this imminent “move of God” as another “Great Awakening”—a “second Pentecost.” What is immediately troubling to us is that some of the church figures who are leading the charge for this coming “revival” are the very same ones who gave us the “holy” laughter “revival” back in the 1990s—a “move of God” that was dubiously dubbed “The Toronto Blessing.”

Back when this alleged “revival” was spreading throughout the church, author and former New Ager Warren B. Smith wrote an article that expressed his concerns about what was taking place. His 1994 piece was titled “Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion?” and was featured in a discernment newsletter and later reprinted in other Christian magazines and journals. The article’s main focus was on South African evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne—the man who was responsible for bringing the “holy” laughter “revival” into the church. As countless people flocked to Toronto to get “hit” with “holy” laughter, Smith urged everyone to take a closer look at what was being called a “revival.”

With no apologies for “holy” laughter and the strange manifestations associated with his “holy” laughter “revival,” a somewhat reinvented Rodney Howard-Browne now pastors a 3,000-member church in Tampa, Florida. He is frequently found preaching on cable channels around the country. Howard-Browne also heads Revival Ministries International and presents “Global Awakening” conferences throughout the world. In the summer of 2014, he organized and headlined a much ballyhooed two-week “Celebrate America” event that was held in Washington D.C. In asking for financial support for the event on his revival.com website, Howard-Browne asked people to “invest in the Great Awakening” that he believes he has been ordained by God to lead. Some of those who spoke alongside him included Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Senate Chaplain Barry Black, Retired Colonel Oliver North, Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin, author/columnist Dr. Ben Carson, and best-selling author Jonathan Cahn (author of The Harbinger).

Because Browne has placed himself at the forefront of the present-day push for revival in the church, we feel it important to revisit the concerns expressed by Warren B. Smith back in 1994.

Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion?

I watched the video again. It was titled Signs and Wonders Camp Meeting 1994.1 Pastors of huge charismatic churches were stumbling around the church stage “drunk” with “holy” laughter. Wanting to testify to the fact that “holy” laughter had transformed their ministries and their lives, many of them were unable to speak when called on to do so. But their “drunken” condition became their testimony. Their halting speech was seen as “proof” of the “power of the spirit” that had come over them. The congregation roared in approval as pastor after pastor laughed uncontrollably then fell to the floor. Standing alongside the “drunken” pastors was evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne, the self described “Holy Ghost bartender” who was serving up this “new wine” of “holy” laughter. Many Christians believed that Howard-Browne was God’s appointed channel for imparting joy and revival to the end-times church. Other Christians came to see Howard-Browne as a false prophet who has inflicted great damage to the body of Christ.

Early last spring we received a fax from someone expressing concern about a new phenomenon called “holy” laughter. He said that a San Francisco Bay Area Vineyard Church was experiencing what was being described as “revival” and that the manifestation of “holy” laughter was being cited as one of the signs of this “revival.” Church members and visitors were reportedly breaking into fits of spontaneous and uncontrollable laughter during their nightly services.

Later when I visited the San Francisco Vineyard and talked with several members of the congregation, I was told how hundreds of people were getting “hit” with “revival”—how some people were getting so “soaked in the spirit” they would lose consciousness for up to several hours after falling to the ground with “holy” laughter. The Vineyard members described “holy” laughter unqualifiedly as “awesome” and definitely “the work of the Lord.”

I learned that their Vineyard pastors had recently flown to a Vineyard church in Toronto where God had reportedly “touched down” and where “revival” had “broken out.” The San Francisco pastors participating in the Toronto “revival” had then “brought it back” to San Francisco. It seemed that one of the characteristics of “holy” laughter is that it can be easily transferred from one person to another through the laying on of hands. Thus, the Toronto “revival” had now “spread” to San Francisco. Nightly meetings were being held at the San Francisco Vineyard to accommodate the streams of people wanting to get “touched” by this “move of God.”

Within weeks of my visit to Vineyard, I happened to catch a program on “holy” laughter on a local Christian TV station. The panel of guests was enthusiastically discussing “holy” laughter and endorsing it unquestioningly as a latter days “outpouring” of God’s Holy Spirit. Comparing “holy” laughter to the “work” of the Spirit at Pentecost, they were convinced that “holy” laughter was completely authentic. They equated “holy” laughter with the biblical notion of joy. As far as they were concerned, “holy” laughter was the “joy of the Lord.” Scriptural references to joy were cited; testimonies were given; songs were sung; and by the end of the program, I felt like I had just watched a one-hour infomercial on “holy” laughter.

Then, several weeks later, there was a program about “holy” laughter on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. While preacher Rodney Howard-Browne was giving what appeared to be a serious message, people in the audience were laughing wildly for no apparent reason. But Howard-Browne seemed oblivious to the disruption and kept on preaching. Then when the laughter was at its height, he began incorporating all that was happening into his sermon. He said that the “holy” laughter they were experiencing was a last days expression of God’s “Holy Spirit.” He also compared the “Spirit” that was manifesting to the Spirit at Pentecost. He reminded his audience how those gathered in the upper room had been viewed by others as being “drunk” on alcohol when in fact they were “drunk” in the Spirit.

Howard-Browne’s audience continued to laugh hilariously as he spoke of a present-day “revival” and how “holy” laughter was ushering in this “revival.” At the end of the service, Howard-Browne shuffled around the huge assembly hall, now breaking into long fits of laughter himself. As he walked around, talking and laughing and speaking in tongues, he began to lay hands on people. After he said “be filled” and repeated the phrase “from the top of your head to the tips of your toes,” people fell to the ground in hysterical laughter. As the program ended, the evangelist continued to weave his way amongst the fallen bodies, many of them still convulsed in laughter.

Also during this time, I was sent a copy of a flyer saying that Charles and Frances Hunter, the authors of a new book titled Holy Laughter, were coming to Portland, Maine. The flyer said, “God is filling the church with holy laughter! Come and receive a baptism of joy! You will never be the same! Don’t miss this unforgettable move of the Holy Spirit!” Another book on “holy” laughter titled Fresh Anointing: Another Great Awakening, was also brought to my attention at this time. In it, author Mona Johnian describes the “holy” laughter “revival” that erupted in her Boston church after she and her husband attended a meeting led by Rodney Howard-Browne.

In the midst of this same two-month period, there was yet another program on “holy” laughter. I was watching a locally televised church service, and the guest preacher was Richard Roberts, the president of Oral Roberts University and son of Oral Roberts. His whole sermon was on “holy” laughter and how it had changed his life and ministry. He described how “revival” had come to Oral Roberts University. Roberts explained how he had canceled classes for two days so that his four thousand students could personally experience the “joy of the Lord” and receive the “gift” of “holy” laughter. I was not surprised to learn that the “revival” Roberts was describing had come through the person of Rodney Howard-Browne.

And then to round out my summer crash course on the subject of “holy” laughter, the August issue of Charisma magazine had Rodney Howard-Browne on its cover. He was clearly the man of the hour. The cover story on this by now wildly popular “Holy Ghost bartender” was titled “Praise the Lord and Pass the New Wine.” The article was yet one more endorsement of Howard-Browne and “holy” laughter. And what I was starting to realize was that all of the “holy” laughter I had recently encountered—the TV programs, the books, the various “anointings, and “revivals” could all be traced back to him: Toronto Vineyard, San Francisco Vineyard, the Hunters, Mona Johnian, Richard Roberts, and all the rest. The Charisma article described Rodney Howard-Browne as the “spiritual conduit” for “holy” laughter. But I wanted to know how Rodney Howard-Browne got his “anointing?”

The Charisma article stated that in South Africa, in the summer of 1979, Howard-Browne “spent hours praying for a deeper experience with God.” In the midst of his prayers, he is quoted as having told God, “Either you come down here and touch me, or I will come up there and touch you.” Charisma said that suddenly in the midst of that prayer Howard-Browne’s “whole body felt like it was on fire. He began to laugh uncontrollably. Then he wept and began to speak in tongues.” In Howard-Browne’s book The Touch of God, Charisma quotes him as saying, “I was plugged into heaven’s electric supply, and since then my desire has been to go and plug other people in.”

And certainly one of the most outstanding characteristics of Howard-Browne’s “anointing” and the whole “laughing revival” is that it is so immediately transferable from person to person. Those “anointed” by Howard-Browne can now “anoint” others. And that is what’s happening. The “Spirit” that visited Howard-Browne has exponentially multiplied as it has been passed on from person to person around the world. A video advertised in that same August issue of Charisma documents the spread of Howard-Browne’s “holy” laughter. It is titled The Laugh that was Heard ‘round the World (see a video example below).

The “holy” laughter “revival” started by Howard-Browne is spreading like wildfire around the world. A recent conference sponsored by Toronto Vineyard drew 2300 pastors from countries as far away as Cambodia. They had all come to observe the “laughing revival” that was now being called “The Toronto Blessing.” Even skeptical pastors were getting “hit” with the “Spirit” and then taking that “Spirit” back to their churches and towns.

Howard-Browne’s “laughing revival” has now officially moved into the Christian mainstream with a recent endorsement from Pat Robertson on his popular 700 Club. On October 27, 1994, Robertson said this about holy laughter:

[W]hat this says to me is revival is taking place in the world in a mass wave . . . and we look to the coming of the Lord. I think this is a very encouraging sign in the middle of all this trouble and all these wars and all this confusion. God is saying I’m on the throne and I’m going to touch multiplied millions. It’s wonderful. I applaud it.

But what does the Bible say about laughter?

Last summer, after watching Rodney Howard-Browne on TBN, I consulted my concordance to see if there was any biblical precedent for “holy” laughter. Surprisingly, I found only 40 references to laughter in the Bible; 34 of them were in the Old Testament, while only six were in the New Testament. Of those 40 references, 22 of them referred to scornful laughter, as in Nehemiah 2:19 when Nehemiah said, “they laughed us to scorn.” Of the 18 remaining references to laughter, seven of them referred exclusively to Abraham and Sarah’s initial disbelief and ultimate astonishment that God would give them a child in their old age. Barely into my study on laughter, I was already down to my last 11 references.

In Job 8:21, Bildad, one of Job’s false comforters, wrongly advised Job that if he were in right standing with God he would be prosperous and full of laughter. The Psalmist in Psalm 126:2 recorded that when the captivity of Zion was over, “then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with singing.” Proverbs 29:9 says, “if a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.”

With only eight remaining references, I had seen nothing in the Bible up to this point that suggested anything even resembling “holy” laughter. In Ecclesiastes 2:2, Solomon says, “I said of laughter, it is mad.” Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 7:3-4 says, “sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” Ecclesiastes 7:6 says, “for as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of a fool: this also is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 10:19 says that “a feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry.”

Interestingly the Bible’s last three references to laughter—the only three references to authentic laughter in the New Testament—warn against laughter. These three references actually seemed to underline Solomon’s contention in Ecclesiastes that “sorrow is better that laughter” and that now is a time to weep and not to laugh. In Luke 6:21, Jesus says, “blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.” In Luke 6:25, Jesus says, “woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.” James 4:9 tells us not to laugh but to “be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.”

I had searched the Scriptures to find any biblical precedent for “holy” laughter, and there was none. To my amazement, I had discovered surprisingly few references in the Bible to any kind of laughter. Did this mean that God doesn’t have a sense of humor or that people in the Bible never laughed? No. It just meant that laughter apparently was not something God chose to emphasize very much. And certainly Jesus’ last words on laughter—”woe unto you who laugh now!”—were not ones that would seem to give any encouragement to a “laughing revival.”

The Lord says, “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18).

14 Concerns About “Holy” Laughter and the “Laughing Revival”

(1) There is no biblical precedent for “holy” laughter.

Laughter is rarely mentioned in the Bible. Yet, when it is, the Bible seems to make more of a case for holy sorrow than for “holy” laughter. Scripture supports Solomon’s contention that “sorrow is better than laughter.” It does not support the present “laughing revival.”

(2) Substituting the word joy for laughter is a non sequitur. It is inaccurate and misleading.

There is no scriptural authority for equating biblical references to joy with the involuntary manifestations of “holy” laughter. Just because there are insufficient Bible texts to make the case for “holy” laughter, it does not follow that you can simply redefine the word laughter by substituting the word joy.

(3) “Holy” laughter advocates rarely, if ever, discuss the need to test the spirits.

The Bible warns us that not every supernatural manifestation is necessarily from God. 1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Charles and Francis Hunter write in their book Holy Laughter, “Once you begin to walk in the supernatural you really have to be ready for anything and everything and never question the way God does it!”

(4) “Holy” laughter advocates rarely, if ever, talk about the Spirit’s express warning that in the latter times some people will be supernaturally seduced by deceptive evil spirits into following them and not the one true God.

1 Timothy 4:1 warns, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

(5) “Holy” laughter advocates rarely, if ever, talk about the Bible’s warnings of false prophets who come in the name of Jesus but bring with them “another spirit.”

2 Corinthians 11:4 says, “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

(6) Many laughter advocates condescendingly discourage and even openly intimidate sincere Christians who question the “laughing revival.”

According to the August 1994 Charisma article, Rodney Howard-Browne “disparages” people who “try to apply theological tests” to what he does. The Hunters’ book Holy Laughter refers to skeptics as God’s “frozen chosen.” Mona Johnian writes, “skeptics, hesitators and procrastinators do not get anointed.” She warns that “any person or church that wavered could be eliminated.”

(7) Rodney Howard-Browne’s prayer to God just prior to his “anointing” (“either You come down here and touch me or I’ll come up there and touch You”) is unscriptural.

Howard-Browne’s prayer was, in essence, “my will be done.” It was not “thy will be done” as taught by Jesus in Scripture. Why should we automatically assume it was God who answered his prayer?

(8) “Holy” laughter advocates, in talking about “signs and wonders,” rarely, if ever, mention the Bible’s many warnings about deceptive signs and wonders.

In Matthew 16:4 Jesus warns, “a wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.” In Matthew 24:24, Jesus says, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” In 2 Thessalonians 2:9, the apostle Paul warns of the coming Antichrist, “even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.”

(9) “Holy” laughter advocates seem to lay hands on almost everybody. The Bible specifically warns against this.

The eighth chapter of Acts describes how the disciples would not lay hands on Simon, a baptized believer, even though he desperately wanted the gift of the Holy Ghost, because his heart was “not right in the sight of God.” 1 Timothy 5:22 warns us to “lay hands suddenly on no man.” Yet “holy” laughter is passed on from person to person without so much as a second thought.

(10) “Holy” laughter advocates blatantly disregard the biblical admonition that things be done decently and in order.

1 Corinthians 14:40 says, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” Mona Johnian in her book Fresh Anointing says, “decently and in order! We must do things decently and in order. The Bible itself commands it, cry those who are frightened by that which is beyond traditional order.”3 She advises her readers to “break with tradition.”4

(11) The chaos and confusion that usually characterizes the “laughing revival” contradicts the Bible’s description of the Person of God.

1 Corinthians 14:33 states, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”

(12) Laughter advocates rarely if ever, discuss the well-documented demonic deceptions that have manifested in past revivals.

To combat the deception that arose during the Welsh revival at the turn of this century, authors Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts wrote War on the Saints: a disclosure of the deceptive strategies used by evil spirits against God’s people. Both were very involved with the revival and were extremely concerned about the demonic manifestations that began to dominate their meetings. The foreword to War on the Saints warns of “the grave dangers that beset the path of uninformed enthusiasm.”

(13) A number of Christians have experienced the equivalent of “holy” laughter when they were in the New Age.

Indian Guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was affectionately known by his followers as the “divine drunkard” because he was reputed to have drunk so deeply from the well of the “Divine.” As a former follower of Rajneesh, I met hundreds of Sannyasins who had flown to India “to drink” from “Bhagwan’s wine.” When followers were physically touched by Rajneesh, or even if they were merely in his presence, they would often experience feelings of great exhilaration and joy. Disciples of Swami Baba Muktananda would often manifest uncontrollable laughter after receiving Shaktipat (physical contact) from the guru.

(14) The “laughing revival” could one day merge with what the New Age calls the coming day of “Planetary Pentecost.”

Barbara Marx Hubbard (revered New Age leader and a 1984 Democratic nominee for the Vice Presidency of the United States) writes in her book, Teachings from the Inner Christ, how the human race will soon experience a day of “Planetary Pentecost.” Hubbard, claiming to be in contact with “Christ,” writes, “the Planetary Smile is another name for the Planetary Pentecost. When enough of us share a common thought of our oneness with God, Spirit will be poured out on all flesh paying attention.”5 In her book The Revelation, Hubbard says that “Christ” (in describing the Planetary Smile) said,

An uncontrollable joy will ripple through the thinking layer of the Earth. The co-creative systems, which are lying psychologically dormant in humanity will be activated. From within, all sensitive persons will feel the joy of the force, flooding their systems with love and attraction . . . as this joy flashes through the nervous systems of the most sensitive peoples on Earth, it will create a psycho magnetic field of empathy, which will align the next wave of people in synchrony, everywhere on Earth. This massive, sudden empathic alignment will cause a shift in the consciousness of Earth. 6

Writing in Happy Birth Day Planet Earth, Hubbard repeats what she heard from “Christ.” He said:

As the planetary smile ripples through the nervous systems of Earth, and the instant of co-operation begins, and empathy floods the feelings of the whole body of Earth, separation is overcome, and I appear to all of you at once.7

The controversy over “holy” laughter is splitting congregations and causing deep divisions in the body of Christ. And while many people have already taken sides, there are many more who are still trying to figure out just what is going on. Is this really a move of God, or is this the kind of deception the Bible warns about in Matthew 24, 1 Timothy 4:1, and in the second chapter of Thessalonians?

Unity is indeed the heartfelt desire of every sincere Christian (Psalm 133:1). But the Bible warns of massive deception that will come at the end and in Christ’s name. Before the Church—in the name of unity—free falls into a worldwide “laughing revival,” we had better be sure what it is we are uniting with.

In reflecting on “holy” laughter during these very troubled times, I recalled a music special I had seen on television a number of years ago. In the midst of an otherwise polite Hollywood type crowd, a male vocalist sang straight faced and sober into the teeth of their celebration. His words were electric and piercing, and they seemed to hang in the air. He sang, “You’re laughing now, but you should be praying. You’re in the midnight hour of your life.”

Some Examples of “Holy” Laughter in Other Religions

1) Kundalini Energy is typically described as a powerful energy source lying dormant in the form of a coiled serpent at the base of the human spine. When freed, it reputedly has the capacity to effect great physical healings. Christina and Stanislov Grof, New Age authors of the book The Stormy Search for the Self, describe how the awakening of Kundalini energy can be triggered by an advanced spiritual teacher or guru. And how the awakening can bring up memories of past psychological traumas. The Grofs state that:

Individuals involved in this process might find it difficult to control their behavior; during power rushes of Kundalini energy, they often emit various involuntary sounds, and their bodies move in strange and unexpected patterns. Among the most common manifestations . . . are unmotivated and unnatural laughter or crying, talking tongues . . . and imitating a variety of animal sounds and movements.8

The Grofs also state that “careful study of the manifestations of Kundalini awakening confirm that this process, although sometimes very intense and shattering, is essentially healing.

A. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the former Oregon guru, tells one of his followers in his book Dance Your Way To God:

Just be joyful . . . God is not serious . . . this world cannot fit with a theological God . . . so let this be your constant reminder—that you have to dance your way to God, to laugh your way to God.9

Often referred to as being “drunk on the divine,” Rajneesh encouraged his followers to come and “drink” from him. Bhagwan’s spiritual “wine” was often passed along with a single touch to the head. Many of his Sannyasins would fall to the floor in ecstasy after their encounters with Rajneesh.

B. Ramakrishna, an Indian saint, “daily went into ‘samahdi,’ a trance in which one involuntarily falls down unconscious and enters a rapturous state of super-conscious bliss (ananda), complete with beautiful visions and often involving astral projection. These states could last anywhere from a few minutes to several days and were often accompanied by uncontrollable laughter or weeping. He could send others into this state with a single touch to the head or chest.”10

C. Swami Baba Muktananda would transfer what was called “guru’s grace” to his followers through Shaktipat (physical touch). This “grace” triggered the gradual awakening of the Kundalini, which in turn produced various physical and emotional manifestations. Manifestations included uncontrollable laughing, roaring, barking, hissing, crying, shaking, etc. Some devotees became mute or unconscious. Many felt themselves being infused with feelings of great joy and peace and love. At other times, the “fire” of Kundalini was so overwhelming they would find themselves involuntarily hyperventilating to cool themselves down.11

2) African Kung Bushmen of the Kalahari—The Grofs, in their book The Stormy Search for the Self, also cite an interesting parallel between the Kundalini awakening and the trance dance of the African Kung bushmen. During rituals, the bushmen “enter a profound altered state of consciousness associated with the release of powerful emotions such as anger, anxiety, and fear. They are often unable to maintain an upright position and are overcome by violent shaking. Following these dramatic experiences, they typically enter a state of ecstatic rapture. According to the bushmen tradition, the dance releases from the base of the spine a cosmic healing force called ntum or ‘medicine.’ This is then passed by direct physical contact from one person to another.”12

3) Qigong (ancient Chinese practice)—Yan Xin, a Chinese Qigong master known to most of the over one billion people in China, gave a talk in San Francisco in 1991. Seventeen hundred devotees, most of them Chinese, showed up at the Masonic Auditorium to listen to Yan. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that “minutes into his talk, several began experiencing what Yan Xin calls spontaneous movements.” The Chronicle reporter said that “before long, the scene resembled a Pentecostal prayer meeting with many people waving their arms and making unintelligible sounds.” Yan told his audience, “Those who are sensitive might start having some strong physical sensations—or start laughing or crying. Don’t worry. This is quite normal.” The article said that “since 1985, when a Qigong revival started sweeping China, 50 to 60 million Chinese have gone to see Yan.”13

4) Subud—According to The Encyclopedia of American Religions, the central element of the Subud faith is the practice of “latihan.” Latihan is the way one surrenders to the power of God. It is a group process. The Encyclopedia says:

The latihan proper is a time of moving the consciousness beyond mind and desire and allowing the power to enter and do its work . . . often accompanying the spontaneous period are various body movements and vocal manifestations—cries, moans, laughter and singing. These occur in the voluntary surrender of the self to the power. During this time, people report sensations of love and freedom and often, healings. All reach a higher level of consciousness.14

To order copies of FALSE REVIVAL COMING?—Part 1: Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion?,” click here

Endnotes:

  1. You can watch this video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jduW9apCP1c.
  2. Charles and Frances Hunter, Holy Laughter, p. 65.
  3. Mona Johnian, Fresh Anointing, p. 35
  4. Ibid., p. 45.
  5. Barbara Marx Hubbard, Teachings from the Inner Christ, p. 79.
  6. Barbara Marx Hubbard, The Revelation, pp. 234-235.
  7. Barbara Marx Hubbard, Happy Birth Day Planet Earth, pp. 10-11.

Question to the Editor: What Do You Know About Ed Silvoso and the Transformation Movement?

“Ed Silvosos’ paradigm is no different than many others who have come into the church before basically “rethinking everything into a new strategy.” Using the magic word of ‘transformation’ (a word originally found in theosophy of the New Age movement), it has found itself as one of the many new platforms for ‘mission strategies’ now being employed by the New Apostolic Reformation.” – Mike Oppenheimer

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

Ed Silvoso

Do you know anything about Dr. Ed Silvoso who, from this announcement below, is coming to Tulsa? Someone sent me this announcement and I did some Internet research on him re: his bio, etc. Can you tell if his “transformation” is anything like Rick Warren’s?

Thanks,

B. _______

Our Comment:

While we don’t have anything about Ed Silvoso on our site, we are familiar with the transformation movement. It’s not exactly like Rick Warren’s agenda. It is more along the lines of the NAR movement and the redeeming the cultures movement. Silvoso and other leaders in the transformation movement may have good intentions, but they are kind of like the salesman who promises miracles with his product, and people buy it because of all the hype, but in the end, the product doesn’t deliver. Since the 1980s, the transformation movement leaders have promised that entire cities were going to be changed dramatically and violence would be reduced throughout our society if Christians followed their ideas on unity and prayer. But look where we are today in this world. Cities are not being transformed, and society is growing darker and more violent, just as Scripture tells us it will because men’s hearts will grow colder and further away from Christ.

Here are a few articles that will provide information on Ed Silvoso and the transformation movement:

The Global Transformation of Redeeming Cultures by Mike Oppenheimer

BOOKLET TRACT: Can Cultures Be Redeemed? (Some Things You Should Know About the Indigenous People’s Movement) by Nanci Des Gerlaise

Transformations or Re-transformation? A Paradigm Shift for Evangelism by Mike Oppenheimer

Ed Silvoso & Transformation Africa by Herescope

 

NEW BOOKLET: Beware of Bethel: A Brief Summary of Bill Johnson’s Unbiblical Teachings

NEW BOOKLET:Beware of Bethel: A Brief Summary of Bill Johnson’s Unbiblical Teachings by Bill Randles is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract.  The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of  Beware of Bethel: A Brief Summary of Bill Johnson’s Unbiblical Teachings, click here.

Beware of Bethel: A Brief Summary of Bill Johnson’s Unbiblical Teachings

By Bill Randles

BKT-BR-BJ-2What would you think of a Bible school that sends young people out to literally prostrate themselves on the graves of deceased preachers so that the students can absorb “the anointing” that lingers on the graves? What about a church in which a mist containing feathers, gold, and jewel dust descends on the worshippers in the sanctuary? How about a church conference which features prophetic “tattoo readings” as one of the workshops?

What would you expect of a church which is a combination of the Word of Faith error and the prosperity gospel of Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin, the signs and wonders of Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn, the false assumptions of the “spiritual warfare” and hyper-deliverance movement, the “prophetic movement,” and the gnostic mysticism of the Toronto Blessing?

You don’t have to wonder any longer, for there is such a “ministry” which is currently the most recognizable and influential face of the prophetic movement. I refer to Bill and Beni Johnson who co-pastor Bethel Church in Redding, California and its related ministries including “Jesus Culture” youth band and Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry.

Bill Johnson, a noted conference speaker and leader, is the author of several best-selling books and considered to be an apostle and leader within the Apostles and Prophets movement. Hundreds of thousands have been affected by his ministry and have attended retreats and conferences where they have been “imparted” with “the anointing.”

In order to fully understand this prophetic movement in its current state, we must examine the teachings and ministry of Bill Johnson in the light of the Word of God. Didn’t Jesus warn us not to be naïve but that “every tree is known by its fruits”?

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

The primary “fruit” of any professed prophet would be the teaching. (The same would go for any pastor or apostle or anyone who stands in the name of God).

Let’s examine some of Bill Johnson’s teachings which go errant on so many levels that it is hard to decide where to begin. For the sake of brevity, I will address four areas of concern: a) The Word of Faith Movement; b) Johnson’s teachings on the Incarnation; c) the anointing (Holy Ghost); and d) his theology of experience. I urge you to be the judge according to the test in Deuteronomy 13.

I. The Word of Faith Movement

It doesn’t take long to see by reading his books that Johnson is a proponent of the Word of Faith teaching, popularized by Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland. Therefore, it is necessary to give a brief overview of WOF teaching to be able to see where Johnson is coming from.

In a nutshell, the WOF teaching is based on a gnostic interpretation of the Fall and of redemption. The following is my paraphrase of their explanation:

When God created Adam, He gave him all dominion over the earth, to rule and reign as God’s regent. However, when Adam fell, by obeying Satan, he handed that God-given dominion over to Satan, who became the “god of this world.” God, the Father, couldn’t just come in and take the dominion back—Adam had given it away.

God had to find a way for a man to come in, as a man, and undo the folly of Adam, gaining back the authority given to Satan by Adam. Jesus is that man. (The WOF teachers do acknowledge that Jesus is God but believe that He “laid aside His own Divinity” in the Incarnation).

As a man, Jesus came into the world, resisted all of the temptation that Adam and Eve and the human race succumbed to, and died on the Cross as a sacrifice for our sins.

But there is a twist, for the WOF teachers insist that salvation wasn’t secured for man in Jesus’ death on the Cross as a substitute for our sins. Rather, Jesus first had to descend into hell and suffer the torment of Satan and his minions until God was satisfied that it was enough and could legally raise Him from the dead.

Of course, the Word of God says that Jesus’ death on the Cross was sufficient, and that when He said, “Telestai!” (It is done), it really was done. But Copeland and Hagin teach that it wasn’t finished until Jesus had literally “become sin” and endured demonic torment in hell.

The Fall, according to WOF, was as much about the loss of power and authority as it was about sin and alienation from God. Therefore, salvation is about restoration of power and authority, as well as forgiveness of sins. We get the power back and can now exercise dominion over this life and take authority over evil.

Because of this skewed view, WOF is a power religion. This is why WOF Christians frequently speak in terms of authority; they “bind and/or loose” angels and demons; they decree, rebuke, and otherwise speak in terms of “releasing” peace, grace, or mercy into this situation or that.

The essence of this theology is the restoration and practical use of the “authority to the believer.”

The ideal in WOF circles is that of the born again man of power and authority, the miracle man who has come in to the “revelation knowledge” of “who he is in Christ,” and demonstrates the power of “the anointing” to a lost world. There have developed extensive mythologies around truly historical figures such as John Alexander Dowie, John G. Lake, and William Branham. These are the men who really “took authority,” they say, and showed us all what any believer could do if he had but the faith and “anointing” to do so!

The WOF is an offshoot of an earlier expression of these very ideals, the Manifested Sons of God (MSG), once repudiated by the Assemblies of God in the 1940s but now widely embraced in this new form. MSG is based upon an erroneous interpretation of Romans 8:19, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”

Traditional Christianity has held that this verse refers to what happens at the bodily coming of the Lord. When Jesus returns, the curse on Creation will finally be removed, and the true children of God will be manifested.
But the MSG teach that this verse means that the Creation is waiting for the church to attain to the knowledge of the power and authority, in order to “manifest” our Sonship to the world, through signs and wonders. All of this must occur before Jesus can come back!

This is the context in which to understand where Bill Johnson, Jesus Culture, and the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry are coming from, as they seek to bring the church into the power and anointing of their “mystical revival.”

II. Incarnation

In his teaching on the Incarnation, Bill Johnson states, and rightly so, that Jesus Christ is God. But Johnson also emphasizes to an unbiblical extreme that Jesus completely laid aside His deity:

Jesus had no ability to heal the sick. He couldn’t cast out devils, and He had no ability to raise the dead. He said of Himself in John 5:19, “the Son can do nothing of Himself.” He had set aside His divinity. He did miracles as man in right relationship with God because He was setting forth a model for us, something for us to follow. If He did miracles as God, we would all be extremely impressed, but we would have no compulsion to emulate Him. But when we see that God has commissioned us to do what Jesus did—and more—then we realize that He put self-imposed restrictions on Himself to show us that we could do it, too. Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father—without the Father’s help.1

There are several problems with this teaching of Johnson’s. For example, it is theologically inaccurate to say that “Jesus had no ability . . .” and that Jesus “set aside His Divinity.” It is dangerously close to being a denial of the deity of Christ, for divinity by definition cannot be “set aside” nor could God ever be said to lack ability in any sense.

In the Incarnation, the eternal God became a man, though He never ceased being God. He always had all power, but restrained Himself, declining the prerogatives of power and majesty, which are inherent to Him, that He might live and die for us as true man.

Another problem with this is that Johnson asserts that Jesus performed miracles to “set forth a model for us . . . to show us that we could do it (the miracles) too . . .”

This is at the very heart of the Word of Faith teaching from which Johnson has emerged. Supposedly, we as individual believers can and should be doing all of the miracles of Jesus, in the power of the Spirit. To Johnson, Jesus came in the flesh, partly to show us that we too could do what He did!

This quest for miracle power is misguided and has led many into deception. Jesus didn’t do His miracles to “show us that we can do it.” The miracles of Jesus are manifestations of the merciful God, whether they be the ones in the Gospels, or in the Book of Acts, or those done in His name throughout the world today. “These signs will follow those that believe.” We are not to seek them. It is only a “wicked and adulterous generation (which) seeks after signs.”

Johnson actually posits that any believer has the potential to experience most of what Jesus experienced in the Gospels, even the Transfiguration! He states:

Most all of the experiences of Jesus recorded in Scripture were prophetic examples of the realms in God that are made available to the believer. The Mount of Transfiguration raised the bar significantly on potential human experience . . . The overwhelming lesson in this story is that Jesus Christ, the Son of man, had the glory of God upon Him. Jesus’s face shone with God’s glory, similar to Moses’s after he came down from the mountain.2

Johnson seems to fail to appreciate that though Jesus became “as one of us” in the Incarnation, His uniqueness cannot be safely diminished. Imagine a spirituality spent seeking to attain a transfiguration! No wonder Johnson’s students go to such lengths seeking “glory” experiences.

III. The “Anointing”

The second aspect of Johnson’s teaching that is dangerous and has led to the reckless mysticism in which so many associated with Bethel are involved is what he teaches about the Holy Spirit, particularly “the anointing.” Johnson states:

Christ is not Jesus’ last name. The word Christ means “Anointed One” or “Messiah . . . [Christ] is a title that points to an experience. It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title. He had to receive the anointing in an experience to accomplish what the Father desired.3

First of all, here is an example of a teacher setting forth an unbiblical separation between the person “Jesus” and the word “Christ.” This is a very dangerous thing to do; it is similar to what the New Age movement claims, and it is being done towards a similar end.

New Agers want to establish the (false) idea that Jesus was merely an enlightened person, one who was anointed (Christed) at thirty years old, very similar to other remarkable human beings such as Gandhi and Zoroaster. This “anointing” is a self-realizing experience.

Johnson seems to be trying to establish that just as the man Jesus had to be anointed with the Holy Ghost in order (as a man) to do the miracles He did, we too can have the same experience to do the same thing, for Jesus is our model.

The Bible doesn’t do this with the word “Christ.” The apostles never relegated Christ as being a title, nor as being an experience. Christ is a designation of Jesus’ deity. Scripture insists that Jesus is the Christ, and it refers to Jesus as Christ, “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself . . .” Christ is an eternal person, the second person of the godhead, chosen of the Father, and thus anointed with the Holy Ghost.

When Jesus came into the world, He already was Christ; he never had to become Christ, nor can anyone become Christ unless he is a false Christ (i.e., antichrist).

On the same subject—the “anointing”—Johnson continues:

The word anointing means “to smear.” The Holy Spirit is the oil of God that was smeared all over Jesus at His water baptism. The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit.

The outpouring of the Spirit also needed to happen to Jesus for Him to be fully qualified. This was His quest. Receiving this anointing qualified Him to be called the Christ, which means “anointed one.” Without the experience [the anointing] there could be no title.4

Do you see the problems Johnson’s teachings on “the anointing” raise?

For example, did Jesus become the Christ at His baptism? If “Christ” is only valid upon an experience, what was Jesus before the Holy Ghost came upon Him in the Jordan? Was He merely an unqualified “man with a title” up until then?

Johnson’s view on the Christ is strikingly reminiscent of an error which emerged early in the history of the church and was repudiated as heresy. It is called adoptionism. It holds that Jesus was a devout man who did not become “Christed” until He was thirty years old when He was anointed of the Holy Ghost. It was by the Holy Ghost that He did His miracles, but the “anointing” left Him when He died on the Cross. If Jesus could do these things (through revelation knowledge and the anointing), so could any other believer.

There is a passage in 1 John 5 that refutes this very error about the Christ:

This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. (1 John 5:6)

The heretics were teaching that Jesus was not Christ until He was baptized in water and anointed with the Spirit. He remained Christ until He shed His blood. But the apostle insists that “He came by water and blood;” that is, He was already Christ when He was baptized and remained so on the Cross, and through His resurrection. The designation, “Christ,” was and is more than an experience; it is inherent to Jesus, the Divine God/man.

IV. The Emphasis on Experience, De-Emphasis on Doctrine

Finally, Bethel (and Bill Johnson) is actually dangerous in its approach to doctrine and experience and has exposed its followers to the following practices:

False prophecy

Visualization

“Fire tunnels”

Grave soaking trips5

Visualization, contemplative prayer, and meditation practices

Chanting, soaking, and spiritual drunkenness

“Toking” the Holy Ghost to get “high on Jesus”

In addition to “normal” prophetic words, those who attended Bethel’s “Power and Love Conference” in February 2014 received readings based on their tattoos and piercings. Doug Addison can interpret the hidden messages on your body and even train you to do the same. You don’t even have to fly to where he is; for the reasonable fee of $150, he can tickle your ears over the phone for thirty minutes.6
Believe me when I say I have just scratched the surface of the irrational, unbiblical, and even anti-biblical practices of Bill Johnson’s influential ministry. How do confessing Christians become so undiscerning?

There is one aspect of Bethel that is perhaps the most dangerous. Johnson, like so many Pentecostals and evangelicals who have preceded him, has a strong anti-doctrinal emphasis. To the neo-mystics of the New Apostolic Reformation, doctrine has a deadening effect and is valid only to the extent that it induces experience. Doctrine is “the letter which kills” and leads to “head knowledge” as opposed to the personal experience of God, based upon individual revelation.

Those who insist on adherence to true doctrine are caricatured as Pharisees. There are familiar clichés in these circles such as “God is offending the mind to reach the heart,” and “a man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with a doctrine.” These kinds of preachers often delight in saying, “I am going to upend your theology now . . .” as they unveil the latest nugget of their own revelation. Bill Johnson, in illustrating this, stated:

Jesus made a frightening statement regarding those who hold to Bible study vs. experience, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). If our study of the Bible doesn’t lead us to a deeper relationship (an encounter) with God, then it is simply adding to our tendency towards spiritual pride. We increase our knowledge of the Bible to feel good about our standing with God and to better equip us to argue with those who disagree with us. Any group wanting to defend a doctrine is prone to this temptation without a God encounter . . . Jesus did not say “My sheep will know my Book;” it is His voice that we are to know.7

Johnson is deconstructing those who seek scriptural knowledge as being in danger of “spiritual pride,” increasing in knowledge in order to “feel good about their standing with God,” and to be better able to win arguments with those who disagree with them! What a pastor! It is almost as if he would discourage the desire to grow in scriptural knowledge!
But on the other hand, it is the ones seeking “deeper knowledge” (than that which Scripture reveals?) and a deeper “encounter” with God (experience) whom Johnson considers to be blessed. Imagine a young person sitting under a steady diet of this, and you will see why Bethel, Jesus Culture, and the School of Supernatural Ministry are given over to the most sensual mysticism!

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)

To order copies of  Beware of Bethel: A Brief Summary of Bill Johnson’s Unbiblical Teachings, click here.

(See related booklets.)

Endnotes
1. Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, first edition, January 1, 2005), p. 50.
2. Bill Johnson, Face to Face with God (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2007), p. 200.
3. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, 2005), p. 87.
4. Ibid.
5. http://beyondgrace.blogspot.com/2011/07/bill-johnson-and-john-crowders-leaven.html; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrHPTs8cLls https://www.facebook.com/photo.
6. http://gospelliving.blogspot.com/2013/04/why-jesus-culture-bethel-church-and_15.html.
7. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth, op. cit., p. 93.

To order copies of  Beware of Bethel: A Brief Summary of Bill Johnson’s Unbiblical Teachings, click here.

The “Kingdom of God” in the Emerging Church: A Theology of Despair and Hopelessness

By Bob DeWaay

Imagine a world where the polarity of time is reversed so that history moves backward toward Paradise rather than forward toward judgment. Consider a world in which God is so immanently involved in the creation that He is undoing entropy1 and recreating the world now through processes already at work. Think of a world where the future is leading to God Himself in a saving way for all people and all of creation. This imaginary world is our world viewed through the lens of Emergent eschatology.

Several acts of God’s providence brought me to know the nature of Emergent theology and its unique eschatology. The first happened in 1999 during my final year in seminary when the seminary hired a new professor, LeRon Shults. Shults, a theological disciple of the German Theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg, became my professor for a logic class. Shults often described his beliefs with this simple statement: “God is the future drawing everything into Himself.”

Some years later, several people suggested that I consider writing an article examining a new movement called “The Emerging Church.” For my study I carefully read Brian McLaren’s book A Generous Orthodoxy.2 What baffled me about his theology was that his views were nearly identical to those refuted 40 years earlier by Francis Schaeffer, who had called it “the new theology.” But as Schaeffer so clearly showed, the result of this theology is despair because under it there is no hope of knowing the truth. But the Emerging writers describe their theology as one of hope. If there is no hope of knowing the truth about God, man, and the universe we live in (as they claim), then how is hope the result? It turns out that a theology from the 1960s, first articulated in Germany when Schaeffer was writing his books, is the answer.

That leads to a second providential event. A woman in our church handed me a book that she thought might be of interest in my research: A is for Abductive – The Language of the Emerging Church.3 Under the entry “Eschaton,” the heading “The end of entropy”4 appears. It then says, “In the postmodern matrix there is a good chance that the world will reverse its chronological polarity for us. Instead of being bound to the past by chains of cause and effect, we will feel ourselves being pulled into the future by the magnet of God’s will, God’s dream, God’s desire.”5 Reading this brought my mind back to 1999 and Shults’ interpretation of Pannenberg: “God is the future drawing everything into Himself.” Could this be the ground of Emergent “hope”?

The third providential event was the debate with Doug Pagitt, the 2006 event on the topic of The Emergent Church and Postmodern Spirituality. That event gave me the opportunity to ask Pagitt, a nationally recognized leader in the Emergent movement, whether or not he believed in a literal future judgment. He would not answer either way but did state that judgment happens now through consequences in history. His refusal to answer that question convinced me that the Pannenberg/Shults eschatology was behind the movement!

The fourth providential event was a meeting with Tony Jones with the goal of setting up another debate. It turned out that they did not want another debate, but Jones offered to answer any of my questions about Emergent. I responded by e-mail asking about Stanley Grenz, Wolfhart Pannenberg, LeRon Shults, and Jürgen Moltmann and their influence on Emergent theology. Jones replied that Grenz (who, as I will later show, praises the theologies of both Pannenberg and Moltmann) was influential and that Jones himself was studying under a professor named Miroslav Volf who had studied under Moltmann. Also, he helped me with his comment that their hope-filled belief generally leads them to reject eschatologies that “preach a disastrous end to the cosmos.”

The fifth providential event was when I fell and fractured my ankle while trimming trees. The broken ankle required that I sit with my leg elevated for a full week in order to get the swelling down. I had found a copy of Jürgen Moltmann’s Theology of Hope that I knew I had to read to prove my thesis. Reading Moltmann was so laborious that finishing the book was not likely to be completed quickly. But because of my immobility I finished Moltmann, taking notes on the contents of every page. The same week I read Moltmann, I obtained the just-published An Emergent Manifesto of Hope with Pagitt and Jones as the editors. I read that as well and found Moltmann cited favorably by two emergent writers.6 In that same book, Jones describes why this theology is so hopeful for them: “God’s promised future is good, and it awaits us, beckoning us forward. We’re caught in the tractor beam of redemption and re-creation, and there’s no sense fighting it, so we might as well cooperate.”7 Or as professor Shults always said, “God is the future drawing everything into Himself.”

All of this leads me to my thesis: That the worldview represented by the theology of Grenz, Pannenberg, Moltmann, and Shults is the bedrock foundation of the Emergent Church movement. Their language and ideas present themselves on the pages of many Emergent books. For example, McLaren writes, “In this way of seeing, God stands ahead of us in time, at the end of the journey, sending to us in waves, as it were, the gift of the present, an inrush of the future that pushes the past behind us and washes over us with a ceaseless flow of new possibilities, new options, new chances to rethink and receive new direction, new empowerment.”8 Here is Pagitt’s version of it:

God is constantly creating anew. And God also, invites us to be re-created and join the work of God as co-(re)creators. . . . Imagine the Kingdom of God as the creative process of God reengaging in all that we know and experience. . . . When we employ creativity to make this world better, we participate with God in the recreation of the world.9

These writers often refer to “God’s dream.” Apparently they mean that God imagines an ideal future for the world that we can join and help actualize. When this dream becomes reality in the future, it will be the Kingdom of God.

This series of providential events in my life worked together to help me accurately understand a movement that works very hard to stay undefined. Definitions draw boundaries. Definitions are static. But definitions are necessary in order for us to understand anything. With no defined categories we would be hopeless human beings because, for example, we need our rational minds and valid categories to distinguish between food and poison. Definitions are valid, and no amount of philosophical legerdemain can change that reality. Definitions, to their way of thinking, impede the process of the “tractor beam” of redemption they are experiencing. They consider definitions too “foundationalist,” as we will discuss in a later chapter. I believe that I can now define the Emergent Church movement more accurately because I understand what they believe.

The Emergent Church movement is an association of individuals linked by one very important, key idea: that God is bringing history toward a glorious kingdom of God on earth without future judgment. They loathe dispensationalism more than any other theology because it claims just the opposite: that the world is getting ever more sinful and is sliding toward cataclysmic judgment.10 Both of these ideas cannot be true. Either there is a literal future judgment, or there is not. This is not a matter left to one’s own preference.

(Used with permission.)

 Note: In September 2009, Bob DeWaay attended the “2009 Emergent Theological Conversation” (http://www.jopaproductions.com/moltmann-conversation-0) where Jurgen Moltmann was a guest speaker. This substantiated DeWaay’s findings regarding Moltmann’s significant influence in the emerging church.

Notes:
1. Entropy is the principle by which physicists describe heat loss in a closed system. The existence of entropy is a proof that the universe is not eternal because if it were infinitely old it would have already died of heat death.
2. CIC Issue 87, March/April 2005. http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue87.htm
3. Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren, and Jerry Haselmayer, A is for Abductive – The Language of the Emerging Church (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003).
4. Ibid. 113.
5. Ibid.
6. In An Emergent Manifesto of Hope,Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones editors (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007); Moltmann is cited favorably by Dwight Friesen on page 203 and Troy Bronsink page 73 n. 24.
7. Ibid. Tony Jones, 130.
8. Brian D. McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy; (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004) 283.
9. Doug Pagitt, Church Re-imagined(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003/2005) 185.
10. Please note that classical amillennialism also believes that the world is facing future judgment. Emergent is not merely opposed to dispensationalism, but any version of eschatology that asserts that God will bring cataclysmic judgment at the end of the age.

 

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Is religion to blame?—War, Religion, and the Interfaith Global Peace Agenda

Is religion to blame?—War, Religion, and the Interfaith Global Peace Agenda  by Carl Teichrib i is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Is religion to blame?—War, Religion, and the Interfaith Global Peace Agenda by Carl Teichrib, click here.

“Is religion to blame?—War, Religion, and the Interfaith Global Peace Agenda”

Is-Religion-To-BlameBy Carl Teichrib

[A]ll modern trends point to the specter of a terrifying, bigger and more pitiless conformity.1—Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

If a global motto exists, it would have to be “Give Peace a Chance.”2 From every corner of the world, from every academy and institution, from every school, public office and even many churches, the cry for global peace is being sounded.

Peace is a noble idea; but since mankind has had a written history, we have never known true peace. The scattered, bleached bones of human history testify to this brutal truth—millions upon millions of times over.

So is mankind incapable of achieving ultimate peace on Earth? In a nutshell, yes. But accepting this reality doesn’t imply that we are to automatically embrace conflict and strife. If anything, it gives us a window into who we are and how we operate. Unfortunately, the view from this window isn’t very pretty.

How do we collectively respond to this sad state of affairs? By perpetuating a lie!

Religious Guilt and the Death Factor
It has been popularly said that religion is responsible for the majority of the world’s conflicts. Posted on a BBC News Talking Point discussion board on the relevance of religion, one commentator boldly asserted, “Just look around the world today. Religion is the cause of all war and hate.”3

Expounding on this line of thinking is an Internet petition seeking “world peace” by the outright banning of “organized religion.” This petition, which needs to be viewed for what it is—an exercise in dissent—makes it very clear that organized religion “in all its factions, is responsible for most of the worlds wars and the entire ‘War on Terrorism.’” A number of petition signers, some showing immense tolerance by resorting to obnoxious and crude language, repeat the mantra “Religion is the cause of all wars.”4

In a more serious fashion than this off-beat online petition, interfaith founder of the metaphysical Integral Institute and a contributor to BeliefNet.com Ken Wilber writes:

Throughout history, religion has been the single greatest source of human-caused wars, suffering, and misery. In the name of God, more suffering has been inflicted than by any other manmade cause . . . for every year of peace in humankind’s history there have been fourteen years of war, 90% of which have been fought either because of, or under the banner of, God by whatever name.5

Has religion really inflicted “more suffering” than any other man-made cause? Is this assumption, one shared by a large segment of society, an accurate notion? Certainly it’s a position that’s well ingrained.6 Demonstrating the imbedded nature of this popular impression, history professor Pat Johnson writes:

I challenge my classes to comment on the following statement: Organized religion has caused more suffering, wars and violence than any other cause. Almost all the students raise their hands in agreement.7

Logically, if religion has been the major cause of the world’s wars and death, then religion should shoulder the burden of responsibility towards making peace. Today, this rationale underscores much of the global interfaith movement, including the 2005 United Nations Conference on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace.8

But can the finger of guilt really point to religion as the primary cause of war and strife?

The Killing Century
In analyzing this hypothesis of religion’s global war guilt, let’s examine the role of religion as the primary killing factor in the bloodiest century of all time—the last one hundred or so years. As Winston Churchill explained during the MIT Mid-Century Convocation:

Little did we guess that what has been called the Century of the Common Man would witness as its outstanding feature more common men killing each other with greater facilities than any other five centuries together in the history of the world.9

So was religion the prime death factor, the “single greatest source” of war and suffering, for this very cruel and brutal century?

In order to understand the answer to this question, let us take a look at  the major wars and human-caused genocides that occurred during this time frame. And in order to do this in the space allotted for this booklet, we need a lower stop-limit number—let’s say 1.5 million as a minimum death total.

Please bear in mind that this list will not be able to separate-out all examples. Some, such as the death figure for World War II, could be broken down into holocaust tabulations, single battle totals, etc.—but we’ll try to keep it simple.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that many historical conflicts and killings lack accurate death tabulations, and in some instances the numbers given in our list may actually be too low.

Other problems arise from the lack of concrete death totals. For example: the Mexican uprisings of 1910-1920 variably run between 750,000 and 2 million dead, likewise the decades-old Rwanda/Burundi conflict falls into this statistically difficult range. Because of the variance in accounting up to the 1.5 million mark, I will leave out these two examples along with many others that display complex numerical discrepancies up to the 1.5 million figure.
However, the following death-inventory will suffice for our brief review.10 Notice how few of these mass-killing events had classical religion as its central cause. And yes, religious factors do come into play in some instances, yet even in these examples there are other causes and motivations that go beyond religion.

Congo Free State (1886-1908): 8 million—with some estimates up to 13 million; control of colonial profit and power base.

Feudal Russia (1900-1917): 3.5 million; political control and consequences of political struggle.

Turkish Purges (1900-1923): 3 to 5 million; political control before and surrounding the Ottoman collapse, Islamic/ethnic factors within political/national expansionism—Pan Turkism.

First World War (1914-1918): 15 million; balance of power.

Russian Civil War (1917-1922): 9 million; political control.

Stalin (1924-1953): 20 million—with some estimates up to 60 million; political control.

China Nationalist Era (1928-1937): 3 million; political control.

Second World War (1939-1945): 55 million; German/Japanese expansionism, balance of power

Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945): 17 to 24 million; Japanese expansionism into China. Note: this number may or may not include the Henan Famine of 1942-43, which started as a drought but was horrifically accelerated by the Chinese government in Chongqing. If the numbers for the Sino-Japanese War do not include the Henan Famine, than add 3 to 4 million more dead. Furthermore, it must be recognized that the Sino-Japanese War blended into the Pacific Theatre of World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Soviet Repatriations—Victims of Yalta (1944-1947): 1.5 to 2.8 million; end-of-war and post-war repatriation of “Soviet citizens” from Western Allied-controlled territory to the Soviet Union.

Post-World War II German Expulsions (1945-1950): 2.2 million—with some estimates at 5 million; post-war retributions and displacement actions of Germans from Eastern Europe, consequences of Allied policies and Soviet “reparations in kind.”

Yugoslavia (1941-1987): 1.5 to 4.8 million; political control, ethnic/religious issues play an important role. Note: The history of conflict, genocide, and democide in the Balkans is complex and the accuracy of the numbers are difficult to ascertain. That said, the numbers given represent WWII and up to the immediate post-Tito era.

Chinese Civil War (1945-1949): 2.5 million; political control.

Mao Zedong (1949-1975): 45 to 70 million; political control and consequences of collectivist policies. Note: Approximately 45 million perished during Mao’s Great Leap Forward alone, due to starvation, collectivized and forced labor, beatings, and executions. The higher number of 70 million would include the death toll of the Great Leap Forward.

North Korea (1948-today): 2 to 3.5 million; political control and consequences of collectivist policies. Note: The numbers may be much higher due to famine/starvation.

Korean War (1950-1953): 3 million; political control.

Second Indochina War (1960-1975): 2 to 4 million; political control. Note: The higher figure represents the expanded capacity of the Second Indochina War beyond Vietnam and into surrounding nations.

Ethiopia (1962-1992): 1.5 to 2 million; political control and the exasperation of famine conditions, ethnic issues come into play.

Nigeria-Biafra War (1967-1971): 1 million but up to 3 million due to starvation; political control, religion and ethnic issues played a role.

Pakistan-Bangladesh Genocide (1971): 1.7 to 3 million; political/economic and social control over East Pakistan, ethnic and religious issues come into play.

Khmer Rouge (1975-1978): 2.5 million; political control and collectivist policies.

Afghanistan (1979-2001): 1.8 million; political control, Soviet expansion, religion (Islam) and tribal/ethnic factors played a role in internal strife.

Second Sudanese War (1983-2005): 2 million; historical ethnic struggles, Islamic issues played a key role, resource control and usage.

Congo (1998-today): 3 to 5.5 million; political control and regional debasement, ethnic strife, resource and territorial control.

The sheer horror and brutality of mankind throughout the twentieth century cannot be properly demonstrated in a simplistic chart. However, it’s more than apparent that the principal causation of the majority of these awful events—especially those with death numbers more than five million high—cannot be laid at the feet of classical religion.

Remember Professor Johnson and his statement, “Organized religion has caused more suffering, wars and violence than any other cause”? Professor Johnson just baited his students, and as the good professor tells us, “Almost all the students raise their hands in agreement.” He adds:

I then demand that they provide dead bodies as evidence. They usually mention the Crusades and one or two other religious wars they might have heard of but in none of their examples can they come up with a million deaths . . . I then point out that most of the people who have died as a result of war, have done so in the 20th century and that most of the killing was done in the name of secular ideologies. I then ask them who is the ‘baddest’ of them all. Most guess Hitler. I then tell them that he is rated #3. Some then guess Stalin, and I inform them that most scholars place him at #2 with 20 million killed. Almost no one gets #1 who, of course, is Mao who starts with an estimated 45 million. I then point out that the top two were Communists, and Hitler was a radical proponent of Social Darwinism. All of these ideologies are based on atheistic systems.11

Matthew White, a librarian who has done a tremendous amount of study in genocide/war issues and is the author of the online Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century, gives this Q&A response to the question of “religion”:

Q: Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

A: No, of course not—unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century—Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union—no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion.12

Major John P. Conway, studying at the US Army Command & General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, commented in an article “War and Religion: Is Religion to Blame?”:

Most times, it can be argued that religion may play a key and significant role in the conduct of warfare on a psychological and cultural level, but is it the cause of warfare? Do nations, states and kingdoms wage war over religion? Is religion a primary cause of conflict between governments? Many have argued that it is. Another popular statement is, “Religion has been the cause of more wars than any other factor throughout history.” This is commonly accompanied by “people have been killing each other in the name of God for centuries.” Upon closer examination, these statements exude an element of mythology versus fact . . . A fundamental analysis of past wars commonly attributed to “religion,” as the causal factor, may reveal an uninformed and reactionary misjudgment. Throughout the course of history, the cause of warfare between sovereign states, kingdoms, and governments is attributable to many factors, but can rarely be attributed to “religion” as is so often the assertion.13

Major Conway continues:

[I]t becomes apparent that those who make the claim “religion has been the cause of more wars than any other factor in history” may speak from ignorance or have ulterior motives for the assertion. Further, this type of assertion seems rooted in anti-religion posturing . . . Men and nations have a history of warfare and the root of conflict is power and gain . . . Occasionally war is fought over religion, as is perhaps the case during the reformation period in Europe. More often than not however, the cause of war can’t be laid at the door of religion.14

Certainly religion plays a motivational and ruse factor in various conflict scenarios. All kinds of pretexts can be used in inciting and snow-balling hostilities; in 1969, for example, soccer played a key role in exploding tensions between Honduras and El Salvador. But as a whole the main cause of the major genocides and wars of the last one hundred years lie outside of purely religious stimulus. Moreover, even wars that contain a deep religious element often have multiple causation, including economic, political, and territorial grievances.

None of this is to say that religion is innocent when it comes to strife. Historically, we can cite the Catholic Crusades and the resulting Reformation genocides, and the mass slaughters done in the name of Allah—such as during the Wars of Apostasy.15 In modern times, we can see the effects of Catholic-Protestant clashes in the British Isles, Hindu-Islamic hostilities in India, the Islamic-Christian slaughters in Sudan, Buddhist-Hindu warfare in Sri Lanka, Moslem-Christian fighting in Indonesia, and the constant struggle in the Middle East between Israel and her Moslem neighbors. Islam as a religious/cultural/political system does play a dominant role in many regional conflicts and localized tension-points. However, in terms of the largest concentration of outright killing capacity, communism, national socialism, and imperial expansionism—all power struggles based on centralist political methodologies—have been the grandest contributor to war and human-caused mass death. Nothing else comes even remotely close.

Clearly, to exert that “religion is the cause of all war and strife” demonstrates a severe degree of historical naivety or deeply distorted emotional blinders or the outright broadcasting of disinformation for an ulterior motive (see Major Conway’s previous quote).

For the students of Mr. Johnson’s class, naivety is the most probable reason for their belief in this religion-war mythology. But for others, ulterior motives exist.

Wrong Assumptions, Wrong Peace
When wrong suppositions are employed, wrong results are guaranteed.

As already demonstrated, the war/religion assumption is nothing short of faulty. While religions today and historically have been culpable (Islam is a prime example in both modern and ancient contexts16), religion has not been the prime cause in every instance of war and strife, not even in the most extraordinary cases of the 20th century. Embracing this mythology as fact, the quest for world peace already finds itself building on a shaky foundation.

But regardless of the incorrect nature of the above point of view, many religious authors and spiritual leaders hold to this assumption. Then, taking motivational cues from this war theory, a response is formulated around another faulty assumption.

In a nutshell, this line of reasoning goes as follows: As faith communities are to blame for the world’s sorrows, then religions need to unite under a common umbrella to ensure peace and security prevails. Therefore, by uniting faiths in the push toward world peace, the divisions that drive humanity to mass violence will be bridged. Today’s global interfaith movement takes this approach, as do many such as Ken Wilber.

Postulating this idea of religious unity under the assumption of religion’s historical war burden, Wilber states:

If humanity is ever to cease its swarming hostilities and be united in one family, without squashing the significant and important differences among us, then something like an integral approach seems the only way. Until that time, religions will continue to brutally divide humanity, as they have throughout history, and not unite, as they must if they are to be a help, not a hindrance, to tomorrow’s existence.17

So what does it mean to be religiously “united in one family”?

Marcus Braybrooke, president of the World Congress of Faiths, explores this theme in his book, Faith and Interfaith in a Global Age:

My hope—though certainly not the hope of all in the interfaith movement—remains that dialogue will eventually bring convergence or, at least, that theology will become an inter-religious discipline or “global theology.”18

German Catholic theologian Hans Küng describes a similar pan-spiritual unification:

[A]fter intra-Protestant and intra-Christian ecumenism we have irrevocably reached the third ecumenical dimension, ecumenism of the world religions!19

Küng and Braybrooke’s concept of interfaith or interspirituality is shared by a large assortment of spiritual thinkers and even some religions. John Davis and Naomi Rice—both connected with the Coptic Fellowship International—succinctly tell us:

[T]he ultimate objective is a fellowship of religions, and the gradual appearance of a world-faith, which in its broader concept will be able to encompass all humanity.20

Similarly, the Bahá’í International Community, the global representative of the Bahá’í faith, openly asserts, “The key to interfaith harmony and co-operation is to focus on the essential oneness of all religions.”21
To a global public sick of war and bloodshed, the above unification ideology becomes a very appealing venue. Yet this postulation flies in the face of anthropology, sociology, history, and theology. The belief sets of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Animism, Hinduism, New Age, and so on, are fundamentally and irrevocably disconnected from one another—including who God is (or is not), the constitution of Man, the problem of evil, and the redemption solution to humanities failed state. Furthermore, the concept that all religions are “equally valid” is logically inconsistent when their theologies are in opposition to each other.

If all religions are authenticated as valid, we must then admit each spiritual expression into this new “global religious club” as legitimate forms. Therefore, cults-of-death—such as the Aum Supreme Truth movement, which was accused of delivering nerve gas inside a Tokyo subway train—must be more than just tolerated; they must be embraced as legitimate sources of truth. Satanism too, along with any other anti-social belief system, no matter how disagreeable, must be accepted on par and received into this universal fold. In time, Bible-believing Christians will be singled out as unacceptable ingredients to this global ecumenical soup.

Clearly, this “world faith for world peace” assumption is also lacking in credibility. However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise; after all, this flawed unity concept is designed around the first fabrication—the guilt of war.

It can never be said that a House of Truth is built on lies, yet the perfect dream of world peace is being constructed on that very foundation. Waving the flag of tolerance and solidarity, religion is looking to re-invent itself to a new level of “planetary responsibility”—devoid of truth, logic, and reality.

Indeed, as mankind sacrifices truth in the pursuit of peace, the only peace gained will come at the sacrifice of liberty. Why? Because such a system, misdirected from the onset, can only coerce and enforce. And whenever man imposes a utopian peace design—that is, the “creation of peace” at the expense of reality—it inevitably becomes a “bloody utopian dream.”22
Paradoxically, by its nature, a “world faith,” world peace structure may actually become a type of self-fulfilling prophecy, ultimately raising the terrifying banner; “Peace is the destruction of all opposition.”23

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division. (Luke 12 :51)

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.—Jesus (John 14:27)

To order copies of Is religion to blame?—War, Religion, and the Interfaith Global Peace Agenda by Carl Teichrib, click here.

Endnotes:
1. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse (Arlington House Publishers, 1974), p.17.
2. The song “Give Peace a Chance” by John Lennon, recorded on May 31, 1969, has become a type of global anthem often sung at peace rallies.
3. BBC News Talking Points, “Is Religious Faith Still Relevant?” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/1885779.stm, April 9, 2002).
4. Caution: some of the language is very foul and would not be suitable for young readers, http://web.archive.org/web/20050115081421/http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/Ban%20religion/signatures.
5. Ken Wilber, “Why Do Religions Teach Love and Yet Cause So Much War” (www.beliefnet.com/story/147/story_14762.html BeliefNet column).
6. See Carl Teichrib, “Casting Stones: Christianity and the History of Genocide” (http://www.jashow.org/wiki/index.php/Casting_Stones_-_Part_2#Casting_Stones_-_Christianity_and_the_History_of_Genocide).
7. Professor Pat Johnson, responding to an online Christian apologetics discussion regarding war as an excuse against Christianity (http://net-burst.net/hot/war.htm).
8. The U.N. Conference on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace was held on June 22, 2005, in conference room #4 at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. A reading of the various speeches and documents that surround this event demonstrates the link between religion as a conflict force (and the guilt this implies) versus what religions can now do—unite under the banner of world peace and development.
9. Winston Churchill, MIT Mid-Century Convocation address, March 31, 1949.
10. Sources for this chart include the work of R.J. Rummel, Matthew White, and a host of other encyclopaedic resources.
11. Professor Pat Johnson, op. cit.
12. Matthew White, FAQ section on 20th century history (http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/war-faq.htm).
13. Major John P. Conway, US Army Professional Writing Collection, “War and Religion: Is Religion to Blame?” (http://web.archive.org/web/20130415011457/http://www.army.mil/professionalWriting/volumes/volume1/december_2003/12_03_2.html).
14. Ibid.
15. For more information on these historical conflicts and slaughters, see The Encyclopedia of Military History by R Ernest Dupuy and Trevor N. Dupuy, The Age of Faith by Will Durant, The Crusades by Zoe Oldenbourg, Judgement Day: Islam, Israel and the Nations by Dave Hunt, Martyrs Mirror by Thieleman J. van Braght, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe, A History of the Jews by Abram Leon Sachar, and The Arabs in History by Bernard Lewis, etc.
16. See Dave Hunt, Judgement Day: Islam, Israel and the Nations (The Berean Call, 2005) and Dore Gold, Hatred’s Kingdom (Regnery Publishing, 2003).
17. Ken Wilber, “Why Do Religions Teach Love and Yet Cause So Much War,” op. cit.
18. Marcus Braybrooke, Faith and Interfaith in a Global Age (CoNexus, 1998), pp.15-16.
19. Hans Küng, Preface to Willard G. Oxtoby’s, The Meaning of Other Faiths (The Westminster Press, 1983), p.10.
20. John Davis and Naomi Rice, Messiah and the Second Coming (Coptic Press, 1982), p.111.
21. Bahá’í International Community, “At the UN, Governments and Religious NGOs Convene a Peace Conference” (One Country, April-June 2005, p.14, http://www.onecountry.org/story/un-governments-and-religious-ngos-convene-peace-conference).
22. See the “Bloody Utopian Dreams” series by Carl Teichrib: http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/05/teichrib/utopian-dreams-1.htm.
23. http://www.forcingchange.org/under_war’s_bloody_banner.

To order copies of Is religion to blame?—War, Religion, and the Interfaith Global Peace Agenda by Carl Teichrib, click here.

Glenn Beck Invokes Joseph Smith, Mormon Beliefs During Liberty University Speech

By Heather Clark
Christian News Network

BeckLYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty University and its president, Jerry Falwell Jr., recently invited Glenn Beck to take center stage to address thousands of students during its annual convocation ceremony, whose speech included references to Joseph Smith and Mormon theology.

The outspoken conservative talk show host, and founder of the news outlet The Blaze, compared Mormonism to Christianity during his half-hour speech and cited that the Lord gave him a message of coming back to “settle scores.”

“I am Mormon and share your faith,” Beck asserted during his spiritually-mixed charge to students, as he stood in front of a large banner bearing the university’s motto, “Training Champions for Christ.”

Beck was introduced by President Jerry Falwell, who noted that the university presented the political commentator with an honorary doctorate in 2010 as he likewise addressed the students during that time. Falwell remarked that the “Sounds of Liberty” also performed at Beck’s “Restoring Honor” event that year in Washington, which the university chancellor attended. Click here to continue reading.

Related Information:

The Church in Crisis! – Liberty University Hires Open Homosexual Advocate to Choreograph ‘Mary Poppins’ Production

Letter to the Editor: Liberty University Offering Yoga Classes . . . AGAIN!

Mark Driscoll and Liberty University Are Good Match – Both Promote Contemplative Spirituality

The 2nd Coming of the “Presence”

By Discernment Ministries (Herescope)

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) teaches the same basic doctrines as the IHOP movement. This is because they both have the same historical roots that track directly back the old Manifest Son of God/Latter Rain cult. There is a noticeable difference, however. Mike Bickle invented his own unique verbiage in his “Bridal Paradigm” in order to update the old Latter Rain doctrines with the prophetic visions of his group of “Kansas City Prophets.” It takes some in-depth indoctrination to grasp the gist of Bickle’s message. But it is somewhat easier to figure out what the NAR is teaching. Both groups rely upon the old George Warnock “Feast of Tabernacles” allegory[5] for their eschatology. And both are eagerly anticipating a “Second Pentecost” experience of a coming “Presence.”

A Second Pentecost? 
Charisma magazine recently published an article about this titled “Spirit-Empowered Believers Praying for Second Pentecostal Outpouring.” The article reveals a meeting of a group calling itself “Empowered 21” (E21),[6] featuring Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson, Oral Roberts University’s President Billy Wilson, and top-ranking NAR “apostle” Cindy Jacobs. These leaders met together to plan their long-anticipated “Second Pentecost,” a key component of their Latter Rain endtime beliefs. To read this entire article and for endnotes, click here.


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