Posts Tagged ‘seducing spirits’

Spiritual Warfare: The Unseen Foe Behind Rising Evil

By Berit Kjos
Kjos Ministries

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; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron…” 1 Timothy  4:1-2

We don’t hear much about spiritual warfare these days. Most churches seem to ignore the reality of Satan and the evil he inspires. God’s warnings about fellowship with the world’s alluring thrills doesn’t fit the contemporary image of Jesus as a tolerant, easy-going friend.

Since the 18th century’s birth of the “Age of Reason,” an increasing number of “enlightened” Western leaders and influential “change agents” have tried to discredit the Bible and silence believers. More recently, a vast number of politicians, media masters and educators have joined this war against biblical truth and Christian values.

No wonder our public schools are becoming bastions of atheism, immorality and — spreading fast — the promotion of Islam. Like the persecuted Jews during and after Hitler’s holocaust, today’s Jews and Christians are facing hatred and rising persecution for standing firm in their faith.

It’s no secret that Satan’s lies have sparked wars and cruelty through the ages. Ever since Eve chose to follow her own feelings rather than God’s wise guidelines, humanity has faced assaults from “the evil one” — often through his willing pawns. Call him the Devil, Deceiver, Satan, or serpent; it doesn’t matter. It’s all the same ruthless oppressor:

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world…” Revelation 12:9

From the beginning, this invisible fiend has been seeding doubt, depravity, despair and death. Through the ages, he has inspired idolatry, witchcraft, deadly curses and magical arts that were used to control people and corrupt cultures. He lost some ground during America’s Christian era, when — by God’s grace — our nation was relatively free from such dark forces. But our times are changing fast, and once again the captivating forces of evil are mesmerizing vulnerable children as well as adults.

In 2014, Fox Network launched a new TV series that glorifies Lucifer; marketed with pro-Satan tweets:

“The more subtle side of satanism in Hollywood entertainment is now a thing of the past, as primetime television airs blatantly evil shows like the upcoming Fox drama Lucifer, which glorifies the goings about of the ‘lord of hell’; after he fictitiously leaves the lake of fire and retires to Los Angeles.

“The premise behind the absurd drama, which is set to release in 2016, centers around so-called ‘Lucifer Morningstar’ and his new life as the owner of Lux, an upscale nightclub located in the City of Angels…. ‘It’s only fitting, then, that this modern-day show produced by satanists would portray Lucifer as a type of benevolent god… to take the place of the real God…. Whether you believe what the Bible says or not, this is the clear-as-day implication of this upcoming show that will soon be watched by presumably millions of people.”[1]

This world is changing fast, and we must prepare for the challenges ahead. Our children need to know and remember warnings like these:

“There shall not be found among you any one that…  that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer….  For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord…”  Deuteronomy 18:10-12

Satan knows well that no nation can maintain true freedom apart from God’s moral law. Quenched by propaganda, hedonism and distorted views of God’s Truth, the biblical values that made America kind, generous, honest and successful are now fading fast — even in churches. Some years ago a youth pastor sent me this conflicting message:

“I am a strong Christian and love the Lord with all my heart. The problem is I really enjoy reading the Harry Potter books and nothing about them conflicts with my spirit…”[2]

A young woman who called herself “a solitary witch” wrote this revealing message:

“I am a Harry Potter fan for several reasons. … You are not just drawn into the story but into that world. Then through talking about them with fans you fall further and further in love with the characters, you analyze them and worry about them until they feel real to you. Then you have, in a way, become a part of that shared universe, and it is a wonderful place to be.”[3]

What a cruel illusion! When a nation turns from God’s ways to decadence and imaginary thrills, our Lord withdraws His blessings and protection. And when Satan has his way, calamity reigns. Remember, the evil one rules a hierarchy of like-minded demonic beings:

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers , against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God , that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”  Ephesians 6:12-13

That “evil day” may already be upon us. It’s beginning to bring fear and oppression to wayward America — as it did to the persecuted Christians in the Middle East. And now, with today’s massive movement of migrants who — like some of our leaders — despise both Jews and Christians, our world is changing faster than ever. What’s more, Western countries like America, the UK and Germany are still hosts to unthinkable occultism and secret societies. Some of those empowered servants of darkness may well join tomorrow’s tyrants.

Are we prepared to “stand firm” in Jesus Christ, wearing His Armor  as we face the challenges ahead? Can we count on our Lord and King to win this battle on behalf of His people?

Yes we can! God always wins — even when the victory looks more like defeat to us! He is the sovereign Lord and King over all, and His wisdom and long-range plans for our lives far surpass our finite understanding. Everything is under His command:

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

With our limited insights into His heavenly plans, we may be tempted to complain. To resist that lure, we need to trust God, know His Word, and remember His Wonderful Promises.  No matter what challenges we face, He is with us – strengthening our faith and training us to endure! For,

“…in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Romans 8:37

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil….  

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness; and shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all,  taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…”   Ephesians 6:10-11, 14-18.

  1. Fox Network launched a new “TV series that glorifies Lucifer; marketed with pro-Satan tweets.”
  2. This was a personal note from a private person.
  3. This was a personal note from a private person.

Used with permission from Kjos Ministries.


About That Jesus Calling – 10 Things You Might Not Know

1. Did you know that Sarah Young says she had been inspired by the “Jesus” of a book called God Calling?

2. Did you know that Christian publisher Harvest House’s book The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs says that God Calling is an example of a channeled New Age book “replete with denials of biblical teaching”?1

3. Did you know that the “Jesus” of God Calling teaches that God is “in” everyone?

4. Did you know that the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling contradicts the Jesus of the Bible?

5. Did you know that the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling rejects the Jesus of the Bible’s warnings about the future and tells us to “laugh” at the future?

6. Did you know that the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling frequently flatters his followers, which contrasts the way Jesus Christ spoke to people?

7. Did you know that Sarah Young’s “Jesus” revises the night that Jesus Christ was born and calls it a “dark night” in a “filthy stable” in “appalling conditions” even though the Bible says the shepherds rejoiced in all that they had seen that night? 2

8. Did you know that the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling revises the accounts of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph of the Bible?

9. Did you know that the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling encourages his followers to practice contemplative “listening” prayer and to have a “buffer zone of silence” with no warning about seducing spirits?3

10.  Did you know that the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling emphasizes New Age terms and concepts throughout the book?

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailThe 10 points above have been taken from Warren B. Smith’s new book, “Another Jesus” Calling. This book provides valuable information that can help you warn your family and friends how the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling contradicts the biblical Jesus.


1. John Ankerberg & John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1996), p. 103.

2. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, p. 376.

3. Jesus Calling, June 15th entry

Dear “Contemplative Christian”: Are you the victim of seducing spirits?

by Ray Yungen

I once heard a radio interview with Richard Foster that revealed the high regard in which many influential evangelicals hold him. The talk show host made his own admiration obvious with such comments to Foster as, “You have heard from God . . . this is a message of enormous value,” and in saying Foster’s work was a “curriculum for Christ-likeness.” I found this praise especially disturbing after Foster stated in the interview that Christianity was “not complete without the contemplative dimension.”1 Of course, my concern was that Foster’s curriculum would result in Thomas Merton-likeness instead.

When I look ahead and ponder the impact of [what I am saying], unquestionably there are some very sobering considerations. The contemplative prayer movement has already planted strong roots within evangelical Christianity. Many sincere, devout, and respected Christians have embraced Thomas Merton’s vision that:

The most important need in the Christian world today is this inner truth nourished by this Spirit of contemplation . . . Without contemplation and interior prayer the Church cannot fulfill her mission to transform and save mankind.2

A statement like this should immediately alert the discerning Christian that something is wrong. It is the Gospel that saves mankind, not the silence. When Merton says “save,” he really means enlighten. Remember, Merton’s spiritual worldview was panentheistic oneness.

Some will see [what I am saying] as divisive and intolerant—especially those who share Merton’s view of the future. Pastors may be set at odds with one another and possibly with their congregations; friends, and even family members may be divided on the issues of contemplative spirituality. Nevertheless, having weighed the pros and cons, I am prepared to receive the inevitable responses from fans of these contemplative mentors. And although I sincerely feel goodwill toward those I have critiqued, I am convinced the issues are of vital importance, leaving me compelled to share them regardless of the cost.

After taking an honest look at the evidence, the conclusion is overwhelming that contemplative prayer is not a spiritually-sound practice for Christians. The errors of contemplative spirituality are simple and clear for the following three reasons:

• It is not biblical.
• It correlates with occult methods (i.e., mantra, vain repetition).
• It is sympathetic to Eastern mystical perceptions (God in everything; all is One—Panentheism).

These are well-documented facts, not just arbitrary opinions. Furthermore, the contemplative prayer movement is uniform, indicating a link to a central source of knowledge. Based on the above facts, we know what that source is.

The apostle Paul warns us of seducing spirits in his first letter to Timothy: “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.” (I Timothy 4:1)

The operative word here is “deceiving” or seducing which means to be an imposter or to mislead. It is plain to see a real delusion is going on or, as Paul called it, a seduction. How then can you tell if you are a victim yourself? It is actually not that difficult.

The doctrines (instructions) of demons—no matter how nice, how charming, how devoted to God they sound—convey that everything has Divine Presence (all is One). This is clear heresy—for that would be saying Satan and God are one also (i.e., “I [Lucifer] will be like the Most High,” Isaiah 14:14). If what Henri Nouwen proclaimed is true when he said, “[W]e can come to the full realization of the unity of all that is,”3 then Jesus Christ and Satan are also united. That is something only a demonic spirit would teach!

An even more subtle yet seductive idea says: Without a mystical technique, God is somehow indifferent or unapproachable. Those of you who are parents can plainly see the falsehood of this. Do your children need to employ a method or engage in a ritual to capture your full attention or guidance? Of course not! If you love your children, you will care for and interact with them because you are committed to them and want to participate with them. The same is true of God’s attention towards those He has called his own.

And, we must not forget the most decisive indication of the Deceiver’s handiwork: the belief or doctrine in question will undermine the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as both God and man and His atoning work on the Cross. The apostle John brings out this distinction with clarity in his first letter:

Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (I John 4:2-3)

It is evident then, that the whole idea of a Christ consciousness where we all have divinity, is completely unbiblical in that it negates who Jesus was and what He came to do.

The central role of a shepherd is to guide and direct the sheep. The sheep know the voice of their Master by simply following Him in faith (John 10:14-18). The Shepherd does not expect or desire the sheep to perform a method or religious technique to be close to Him. He has already claimed them as His own.

Remember! Religiosity is man’s way to God while Christianity is God’s way to man. Contemplative prayer is just another man-inspired attempt to get to God.

When we receive Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit—thus we receive God. Christians do not have to search for some esoteric technique to draw closer to God. The fullness of God has already taken residency in those who have received Christ. The Christian’s response is not to search for God through a method but simply to yield his or her will to the will of God.

When looking at principles like these, Paul’s warning becomes clear. A seduction will not work if we are wise to the ways of the seducer.

Christians must not be led purely by their emotions or a particular experience; there must be ground rules. A popular saying is: “You can’t put God in a box.” That is correct in some ways, but it’s not true if the box is the Bible. God will not work outside of what He has laid down in His message to humanity.

The answer to the contemplative prayer movement is simple. A Christian is complete in Christ. The argument that contemplative prayer can bring a fuller measure of God’s love, guidance, direction, and nurturing is the epitome of dishonor to Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd. It is, in essence, anti-Christian.The late Dr. Paul Bubna, President of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, wrote in an article, “Purveyors of Grace or Ungrace”:

Knowing Christ is a journey of solid theological understanding. It is the Holy Spirit’s illuminating the Scriptures to our darkened minds and hearts that give birth to the wonder of unconditional love.4

The contemplative message has seriously maligned this wonderful work of God’s grace and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who guides the Christian into all truth. Those who have the Holy Spirit indwelling them do not need the silence. It is one thing to find a quiet place to pray (which Jesus did) but quite another to go into an altered state of consciousness (which Jesus never did). The Christian hears the voice of Jehovah through the Holy Spirit, not through contemplative prayer. Again, Jesus made it clear He is the one who initiates this process, not man:

If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:15-17)

Scripture instructs us to “try the spirits” (I John 4:1). Let’s test them, using Richard Foster’s teachings. In his book, Celebration of Discipline, Foster devotes a number of pages to what he calls the biblical basis for this form of prayer. He makes reference to many instances throughout the Bible where God talked to people,—in other words, encounters between man and Divinity. But Foster then jumps straight into contemplative prayer, leading the reader to think this is how it is done when, in fact, he has not really presented a biblical basis for using the repetition of sacred words at all. He looks to the contemplative mystics to legitimize his teachings when he writes:

How sad that contemporary Christians are so ignorant of the vast sea of literature on Christian meditation by faithful believers throughout the centuries! And their testimony to the joyful life of perpetual communion is amazingly uniform.5

That is the problem. The contemplative authors are “amazingly uniform.” Even though they all profess a love for God and Jesus, they have each added something that is contrary to what God conveys in His written word.

Contemplative mystic John R. Yungblut penned the following observation that rings true for almost all such contemplative practitioners. He concludes:

The core of the mystical experience is the apprehension of unity, and the perception of relatedness. For the mystics the world is one.6

Panentheism is the bedrock of the contemplative prayer movement; therefore, the establishment of whether or not it is biblically valid is imperative.

Foster also believes, that God’s ability to impact the non-contemplative Christian is limited. Foster expresses:

What happens in meditation is that we create the emotional and spiritual space which allows Christ to construct an inner sanctuary in the heart.7

But the Trinity already has an inner sanctuary in every Christian. It is being in Christ (via the Holy Spirit) that allows every believer to receive guidance and direction.

Furthermore, when Richard Foster cites someone like Sue Monk Kidd as an example of what he is promoting (as he does in his book Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home), it is reasonable to expect that if you engage in Foster’s prayer methods, you will become like his examples.

Monk Kidd’s spirituality is spelled out clearly in her book When the Heart Waits. She explains:

There’s a bulb of truth buried in the human soul [not just Christian] that’s “only God” . . . the soul is more than something to win or save. It’s the seat and repository of the inner Divine, the God-image, the truest part of us.8

Sue Monk Kidd, an introspective woman, gives a revealing description of her spiritual transformation in her book God’s Joyful Surprise: Finding Yourself Loved. She shares how she suffered a deep hollowness and spiritual hunger for many years even though she was very active in her Baptist church.9 She sums up her feelings:

Maybe we sense we’re disconnected from God somehow. He becomes superfluous to the business at hand. He lives on the periphery so long we begin to think that is where He belongs. Anything else seems unsophisticated or fanatical.10

Ironically, a Sunday school co-worker handed her a book by Thomas Merton, telling her she needed to read it. Once Monk Kidd read it, her life changed dramatically.

What happened next completely reoriented Sue Monk Kidd’s worldview and belief system. She started down the contemplative prayer road with bliss, reading numerous books and repeating the sacred word methods taught in her readings.11 She ultimately came to the mystical realization that:

I am speaking of recognizing the hidden truth that we are one with all people. We are part of them and they are part of us . . . When we encounter another person, . . . we should walk as if we were upon holy ground. We should respond as if God dwells there.12

One could come to Monk Kidd’s defense by saying she is just referring to Christians and non-Christians sharing a common humanity and the need to treat all people well. Yet, while respecting humanity is important, she fails to distinguish between Christians and non-Christians thereby negating Christ’s imperative, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7), as the prerequisite for the indwelling of God. Her mystical universalism is apparent when she quotes someone who advises that the Hindu greeting namaste, which translates, I honor the god in you, should be used by Christians.13

Monk Kidd, like Merton, did not join a metaphysical church such as the Unity Church or a Religious Science church. She found her spirituality within the comfortable and familiar confines of a Baptist church!

Moreover, when Monk Kidd found her universal spirituality she was no teenager. She was a sophisticated, mature family woman. This illustrates the susceptibility of the millions like her who are seeking seemingly novel, positive approaches to Christian spiritual growth. Those who lack discernment are at great risk. What looks godly or spiritually benign on the surface may have principles behind it that are in dire conflict with Christianity.

Since the original edition of A Time of Departing came out [in 2002], two major discoveries have come to my attention. First, Sue Monk Kidd has become a widely known author. She has written a bestselling book titled The Secret Life of Bees, which has sold millions of copies. Her latest book, The Mermaid Chair, is also on the bestseller list. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I found even more profound evidence that my conclusions about her worldview were right. It seems that just a few years after she had written the book I’ve quoted, she wrote another book on spirituality. This one was titled The Dance of the Dissident Daughter. If ever there was a book confirming my message, this book is it.

In her first and second books, Monk Kidd was writing from a Christian perspective. That is why the back cover of God’s Joyful Surprise was endorsed by Virtue, Today’s Christian Woman, and (really proving my point) Moody Monthly. But with her third and fourth book, Monk Kidd had made the full transition to a spiritual view more in tune with Wicca than with Christianity. Now she worships the Goddess Sophia rather than Jesus Christ:

We also need Goddess consciousness to reveal earth’s holiness. . . . Matter becomes inspirited; it breathes divinity. Earth becomes alive and sacred. . . . Goddess offers us the holiness of everything.14

There is one portion in Monk Kidd’s book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter that, for me, stands out and speaks right to the heart of this issue. I want my readers to grasp what she is conveying in the following account. No one can lightly dismiss or ignore the powers behind contemplative prayer after reading this narrative:

The minister was preaching. He was holding up a Bible. It was open, perched atop his raised hand as if a blackbird had landed there. He was saying that the Bible was the sole and ultimate authority of the Christian’s life. The sole and ultimate authority.

I remember a feeling rising up from a place about two inches below my navel. It was a passionate, determined feeling, and it spread out from the core of me like a current so that my skin vibrated with it. If feelings could be translated into English, this feeling would have roughly been the word no!

It was the purest inner knowing I had experienced, and it was shouting in me no, no, no! The ultimate authority of my life is not the Bible; it is not confined between the covers of a book. It is not something written by men and frozen in time. It is not from a source outside myself. My ultimate authority is the divine voice in my own soul. Period.15

If Foster uses these kinds of mystics as contemplative prayer models without disclaimers regarding their universalist beliefs (like Sue Monk Kidd), then it is legitimate to question whether or not he also resonates with the same beliefs himself. At a Foster seminar I attended, a colleague of his assured the audience that when they were in this altered state, they could just “smell the gospel.” Based on the research of this movement, what you can smell is not the Gospel but the Ganges [River]!16 (To better understand the contemplative prayer (Spiritual Formation) movement, read A Time of Departing.)


1. Interview with Richard Foster, Lou Davies Radio Program (Nov. 24, 1998, KPAM radio, Portland, Oregon).
2. Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer (New York, NY: Image Books, Doubleday Pub., 1989), pp. 115-116.
3. Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey.
4. Dr. Paul Bubna, President Briefings, C&MA, “Purveyors of Grace or Ungrace,” March 1978.
5. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline (San Franciso, CA: Harper, 1988), p. 19.
6. John R. Yungblut, Rediscovering the Christ (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1991), p. 142.
7. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1988), p. 20.
8. Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1990), pp. 47-48.
9. Sue Monk Kidd, God’s Joyful Surprise (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1987), p. 55.
10. Ibid., p. 56.
11. Ibid., p. 198.
12. Ibid., pp. 233, 228.
13. Ibid., pp. 228-229.
14. Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 1996), pp. 162-163.
15. Ibid., p. 76.
16. The Ganges is a famous river in India, thought to have holy powers but is actually very polluted.

False Doctrines and Seducing Spirits Leave Christians Open to Bizarre Teachings and Mystical Practices

By Kevin Reeves
(author of The Other Side of the River)
It was a cool evening for summer, and as the neighborhood was some distance out of town, the area was quiet and dark. The night and solitude worked in our favor, for the gathering itself was not of the barbecue fellowship variety, and I, for one, wished to avoid unwelcome stares from neighbors. I felt ill at ease in the evening atmosphere of the event. It just didn’t feel right, like we were involved in a perversion of something.

About ten of us stood in the backyard of elder Bob Matson’s [not real name] house, knotted together in the gloom and listening intently to instructions. Jason Klein [not real name] stood as the usual centerpiece. Handing out the bread, which in our case was individual saltine crackers, he reminded us of the importance of our presence there and of the power of what we were about to engage in. He began to pray, and with the bread in our hands, we bowed in agreement with him. I looked around. If others felt fear or nagging doubt, they didn’t betray it. Maybe I was the only one out of sorts, just not as spiritual as I should have been. Again.

Putting the crackers to our lips, we ate half, then crumbled the other half and sprinkled it on the ground as we walked in single file around the perimeter of the property. We made a full circle and declared that the body of Christ sanctified the ground. We then did the same with the wine, or in our case grape juice, drinking half and pouring the remainder onto the ground to conform to the property boundaries, thus forming a “blood line.” Then came the final prayer:

Now we give notice to all demons that have inhabited this area that your time is ended. We command you to go now, in the name of Jesus! This property has been claimed for the kingdom of God, so go!

Amid all the smiles and rejoicing, I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was glad to just go home.

Learned from Gwen Shaw’s book Redeeming the Land,1 this practice was utilized in our church for “breaking the curse of the enemy” upon our town, as we liked to put it. This was one of a host of methods for removing the stranglehold of sin and religious stodginess over both the people and the land. As matriarch of End Time Handmaidens, a “prophetic” group composed mostly of women who minister throughout the world via publications and in person, Gwen Shaw spoke with authority. I met her once, when she was invited to speak at our congregation of New Covenant Fellowship, in the late 1980s, and I have to admit being impressed with her angelic face and what I then perceived to be a godly demeanor. An attractive woman probably in her fifties at the time, she spoke humbly, and as we sang some of the old hymns I love that were never a part of our group’s corporate worship, she won me over without a struggle. Attended by another older woman whose name I’ve long forgotten, Mrs. Shaw’s sermon focused on the doctrinal abuses within the Catholic Church, spotlighting the specific practices of certain penitent of the Roman clergy. Priests would abuse their bodies to the point of death with self-imposed penance in order to secure acceptance into heaven. Having spent twenty-four loyal years within the ranks of Roman Catholicism, even memorizing the Mass in Latin, I was understandably horrified. Yet I well knew that such abuses were indeed possible. The Catholic Church’s emphasis of salvation through an unceasing battery of good works was a fertile breeding ground for fanaticism.

So I was quite taken with Gwen Shaw. Were we purposely duped? I suppose it depends on your definition of the word purposely. The sincerity with which she presented her case seemed genuine. And the books she brought with her for sale (and there were lots of them) seemed to speak powerfully to the need of our community. We were a cutting-edge church, and these were the tools to get the job done. In the back of one of her books, an advertisement showcased a supposed recording of the angelic host singing along with a choir—I was wowed and wanted to hear it. In Redeeming the Land, when Mrs. Shaw outlined a host of demonic entities, their specific abilities, and their assignments over geographic locations, I was enthralled. In that same book, she presented the testimony of one man who said he had died and was taken by the angel of the Lord to view and record all the demonic principalities and powers so that the church might more successfully prevail against them.2 Hearing this, I craved more.

Although she obviously believed them, the very practices and teachings outlined in some of these volumes presented tremendous obstacles to a Bible-believing Christian. And the group’s extreme preoccupation with angelic beings led to extra-biblical beliefs and manifestations, some of which are documented in the book Our Ministering Angels.3 This compilation of anecdotes and supposition mixed with a certain amount of Scripture merge doctrine and personal experience to convince the reader that people resemble their assigned “guardian angel,”4 that the “photograph” of angels over a coffin is genuine,5 that angels are seen in the most unusual places, such as a car hood,6 and that an angel joined in worship at the community of Engeltal.7 Mrs. Shaw claims she has had many interactions with angels. She writes that once while walking in Jerusalem’s Garden Tomb area, she heard the spiritual hosts singing the resurrection hymn sung by them on the morning of our Lord’s rising from the dead.8 Of course, she acknowledges that precedent for this cannot be found in Scripture, but she heard it nevertheless, and the reader is left with the impression that to argue with her is to deny spiritual reality. Hers seemed to be the voice of authority.

Her strange doctrines found willing ears and hungry hearts in my former congregation.

What needs to be understood is that most, if not all of us at New Covenant Fellowship [not real name], were truly desirous of serving the Lord and fighting the good fight of faith. Like so many other independent charismatic churches, we wanted to see souls saved and the miraculous power of God manifest in healings, deliverances, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But there was an underlying factor, a premise woven throughout the fabric of our church probably from its inception—elitism. We were the fortunate ones, called to walk in the authority that the church was so bereft of in these last days.

Through its own incompetence and adherence to legalism and dead religious doctrines, we were repeatedly told, the body of Christ had surrendered the wisdom and power that came from knowing Him. It was up to us at New Covenant to demonstrate that God’s kingdom power was real and available to every Christian in our town. This prideful mindset was a recipe for disaster. Our heartfelt desire to belong, a need to submit to spiritual authority, and the hidden agenda of the flesh to be one of the super-anointed took their toll on our church’s scriptural integrity.

My former congregation was not alone in its beliefs then, nor are they now. All across the world, many groups like this are given over to the excitement of carnal manifestations, esoteric wisdom, and elitist mentality. In fact, this thinking within the charismatic community has grown so common as to minimize the legitimacy of those who simply want to serve Jesus and know the Word of God. Anymore, that’s old hat. The “new thing” demands subservience to the experiential, and the current trend of gross subjectivism doesn’t allow for old fashioned adherence to Scripture as the basis of faith and practice.

These are critical days for the body of Christ. We are in the epoch of church history spoken of by the apostle Paul as “perilous times” (II Timothy 3:1). What makes the danger all the more imminent is that not much of the church believes it. Many of us have owned the glorious but erroneous vision of an end-times remnant walking in unconquerable power, transforming entire societies. The result has been nothing short of catastrophic. How soon we forget. Every cult in the world has sprouted from the fertile soil of deception, always initiated by a drastic move away from the primacy of the Word of God into the nebulous, self-defining atmosphere of experience. At New Covenant, our desire to accumulate otherworldly wealth (i.e., supernatural power) had ushered us into a contrived system of personal spiritual elevation . . . .

In the case of my former congregation, our pre-supposed love of the Word of God, along with our ignorance of and opposition to nearly every scriptural warning about false doctrine and seducing spirits in the church, left us open to bizarre teachings and practices. As we embraced mysticism, our biblical parameters melted away. Yes, we were sincere, but what we were wanting was diametrically opposed to our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Like physical signs of pain, there were signs in our church that something was terribly wrong. But just like the person who ignores the pain and avoids going to the doctor, we too ignored what should have been so obvious. That is, until it got so bad that avoidance was no longer an option.

Why do people ignore warning signs? It’s like a motorist painting over his oil pressure gauge so he won’t notice the depleting measure. But the reality of the situation will become evident enough when his engine seizes up, and the car comes to a sudden halt. I’ve discovered that in the spiritual arena most people will do exactly this: they take pains to look the other way when something bumps up against their doctrine. As a Christian, there’s no quicker way to start a fight with a friend than to tell him that some of his most fervent beliefs are wrong. I know. I’ve lost my share of friendships that way. The problem comes when folks aren’t willing to deal with the uncomfortable. And the horror of it is that in spiritual matters, we’re dealing with eternal things. While the person who ruins his vehicle can at least purchase another, the human soul is irreplaceable.

What we believe and place our trust in will certainly determine our eternal destiny, regardless of our sincerity. . . .

In my own case, association with a cutting-edge group offered me security and personal power, and for years, the paranoia of offending God kept me from asking too many unsettling questions. It’s ironic that, in a fellowship that taught a watered-down version of the fear of the Lord, it was fear that motivated me to stay put.

Many other Christians find themselves in this same predicament, especially those with a genuine heart for the truth. When some doctrine foreign to biblical Christianity is introduced into the congregation, they want to inquire about its origin and validity, but fear holds them in check. If it comes from the pastor, who surely must be more spiritual than the rest of the group, then God must simply have approved it. Therefore, questioning or opposing the pastor or church leadership is seen as opposing the Lord Himself.

But God doesn’t work that way. Throughout the Bible are examples of those who love the Lord who questioned authority when it was wrong. And what’s more, “prove all things” is clearly God’s instruction to the believer (1 Thessalonians 5:21). (from Chapter 1 of The Other Side of the River by Kevin Reeves)


“Touch Not Mine Anointed” – the Cry of Modern-Day Prophets and Heroes  by Kevin Reeves

That Dreaded Word . . . HERESY!!  by Kevin Reeves

Gwen Shaw and Her End-Time Handmaidens, a story of Heresy, Plagerism, and Necromancy by Mark Scheiderer (testimony of former member of End-Time Handmaidens)


1. Gwen R. Shaw,  Redeeming the Land (Jasper, AR: Engeltal Press, 1987)

2. Ibid., pp. 107-113.

3. Gwen R. Shaw, Our Ministering Angels (Engeltal Press, 1986)

4. Ibid., p. 52.

5. Ibid., p. 6.

6. Ibid., p. 117.

7. Ibid., p. 136.

8. Ibid., pp. 69-70.

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