By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
NEW YORK — A video released Tuesday by the Center for Medical Progress shows a top Planned Parenthood director explaining in graphic detail how the abortion giant harvests and sells baby body parts and organs nationwide—a practice that is a felony under federal law.
The Center for Medical Progress released the video as the next in its “Human Capital” investigative series, as it researches the organization’s illegal sales of fetal body parts in America.
“Planned Parenthood’s criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organization,” director David Daleiden remarked in a statement. “Elected officials must listen to the public outcry for Planned Parenthood to be held accountable to the law and for our tax dollars to stop underwriting this barbaric abortion business.”
The video features abortionist Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s senior director of medical services, who oversees the practices of all the 700-plus Planned Parenthood locations nationwide. Nucatola thinks she’s having a business dinner with representatives of a fetal tissue procurement company, but what she doesn’t know is that the man and woman that she is speaking with are undercover investigators and are recording her conversation. Click here to continue reading.
Related News Article:
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
An executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has unanimously voted to lift a long-standing ban on openly homosexual troop leaders.
“As a result of the rapid changes in society and increasing legal challenges at the federal, state, and local levels, on Friday, July 10, the Boy Scouts of America Executive Committee adopted a resolution amending the adult leadership standards policy,” the BSA said in a statement on Monday.
“This change allows Scouting’s members and parents to select local units, chartered to organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families,” it outlined. “This change would also respect the right of religious chartered organizations to continue to choose adult leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own.”
The 17-member vote moves the matter on to the 80-member National Executive Board for a vote on July 27th. Click here to continue reading.
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! —Isaiah 5:20
In the first book of Kings, God comes to Solomon in a dream and tells him he can ask for anything that he wants:
In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. —1 Kings 3:5
Solomon asks for discernment: He wants to be able to discern the difference between what is good and bad—between good and evil. He answers God:
Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? —1 Kings 3:9
God is pleased with Solomon’s request, noting that he asked solely for discernment rather than selfish things for himself:
And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment. —1 Kings 3:10-11
While our Adversary furiously attempts to undermine the importance of discernment by ridiculing it, we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).
SOME OF THE MANY ACCUSATIONS MADE BY DISCERNMENT DETRACTORS
1) If you hate deception and evil and try to expose it, you are a hater—but the Bible says:
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. —Proverbs 8:13
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [expose] them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved [exposed] are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.—Ephesians 5:11-13
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. —John 15:18
2) If you contend for the faith, you are contentious—but the Bible says:
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. —Jude 1:3
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. —1 Timothy 6:12
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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 armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. —Ephesians 6:11-13
3) If you sound an alarm, you are an alarmist—but the Bible says:
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand. —Joel 2:1
If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people. —Ezekiel 33:3
I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. —1 Corinthians 4:14
4) If you try to expose heresy, you are a heresy hunter—but the Bible says:
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies. —2 Peter 2:1
For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. —1 Corinthians 11:19
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. —Ephesians 5:11-13
5) If you critique false teachings, you have a critical spirit—but the Bible says:
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [expose] them. —Ephesians 5:11
6) If you name the names of false teachers, you are a name caller—but the Bible names names:
Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works. —2 Timothy 4:14
This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. —2 Timothy 1:15
And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred. —2 Timothy 2:17-18
7) If you exercise righteous judgement, you are considered judgmental—but the Bible says:
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. —John 7:24
8) If you separate yourself from the things of the world, you are a separatist and into separation—but the Bible says:
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. —2 Corinthians 6:17
9) If you think the way is narrow, you are narrow-minded—but the Bible says:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. —Matthew 7:14
10) If you think Jesus is the only way, you are exclusivistic and way off—but the Bible says:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. —John 14:6
11) If you mark them which cause divisions contrary to doctrine, you are divisive—but the Bible says:
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. —Romans 16-17
12) If you warn about deception, you are a deceiver—but the Bible says:
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!—Isaiah 5:20
Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.—Matthew 27:62-63
13) If you warn about the wild grapes, you are sour grapes—but the Bible says:
Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? —Isaiah 5:1-4
14) If you believe Jesus’ prophetic words in the Book of Revelation that the battle of Armageddon will happen one day, then you are a “Doomsday Deceiver”—but the Bible says:
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. —Revelation 16:16
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. —Revelation 1:3
15) If you say “no” to the false teachings of the world, you are a “naysayer”—but the Bible warns:
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. —Matthew 5:37
16) If you expose Satan (Beelzebub), you are called Satan (Beelzebub) too—but the Bible warns:
It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? —Matthew 10:25
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: ”—Matthew 5:11-12
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. ” —2 Timothy 3:12-17
Letter to the Editor: Ravi Zacharias to Share Platform with New Age Sympathizer Leonard Sweet at Synergize 2016
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I thought you might want to know that Ravi Zacharias is speaking at the 2016 “SYNERGIZE” Conference in Orlando, FL, sharing the platform with New Age sympathizer Leonard Sweet.
Ravi Zacharias’ scheduled appearance at this January 2016 conference is reminiscent of your posting in Jan.2008 expressing great concern over Ravi Zacharias’ anticipated participation in Robert Schuller’s “Rethink 2009 Conference” at Crystal Cathedral: See link: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=1440.
Now, in 2015, why is Ravi Zacharias speaking alongside Leonard Sweet?
Ravi Zacharias was general editor of Walter Martin’s 2003 revised,updated, and expanded edition of Martin’s classic reference book originally published in 1965: “The Kingdom of the Cults.” In the “General Editor’s Introduction” of that 2003 edition, Ravi Zacharias credits Martin as contributing to his own thinking on the task of apologetics and says he considers it a “distinct honor” to have been asked by Walter Martin’s family to become general editor of the updated edition of Martin’s classic reference book. Ravi Zacharias also says in that General Editor’s Preface (2003): “Of one thing we can be sure: Where we find truth, often in close proximity we also find a way that distorts and faults . . . the power to deceive is enormous.”
How can Ravi Zacharias have written that in 2003 and be willing to speak at a conference with Leonard Sweet?
Over the years, I am so glad Lighthouse Trails has posted many articles alerting readers of Leonard Sweet’s New Age sympathies and propagation of contemplative/mystical and panentheistic heresies. See Lighthouse link:
See also this link to a 2010 article by Ingrid Schlueter (former CrossTalk Radio host): http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=4948.
Is Ravi Zacharias aware that Leonard Sweet thanks occultist David Spangler for his spiritual influence and considers Pierre Teilhard De Chardin one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century? Warren B. Smith documents Sweet’s “New Light” heroes in Chapter 10 of his book: A “Wonderful” Deception.
Has Ravi Zacharias read Leonard Sweet’s book Quantum Spirituality in which he says on p.125: “Quantum spirituality bonds us to all creation as well as to other members of the human family. . . . This entails a radical doctrine of embodiment of God in the very substance of creation [panentheism]”?
CONCERNED IN CALIFORNIA
Slain in the Spirit—Is it a Biblical Practice? by Kevin Reeves 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 Slain in the Spirit—Is it a Biblical Practice?,” click here.
By Kevin Reeves
Jason had just picked himself up from the floor at the front of the sanctuary and clasped the aged hands of a dear older believer who occasionally came to Sunday service. With a deep reverence, he gently kissed her hands in a gesture of honor.
Only a moment before he had been laid out on the carpet. Sister Carmen had come up front at the service’s end to receive healing prayer for eyes suffering from progressive vision deterioration. She was a sweet old lady, a pioneer who talked a lot about getting back to her home in a small community farther north and deeper into the backcountry. In the previous few months, I had spent considerable time with her and her young companion, a fervent Christian and fellow sticks-dweller who had land staked out for homesteading. A loving and self-appointed protector, he guarded Sister Carmen physically in their travels, and she in turn imparted some of the Christian wisdom gleaned over many years of serving the Lord.
Jason anointed Sister Carmen with oil, and I prayed for her with my eyes closed. I was completely unprepared for what happened next. Sensing a pulling away by Jason, I cracked open my eyelids just in time to see him, frozen in position with his hands outstretched in ministering prayer, free-fall to the hard floor. So stunned that I failed to react, I watched as Jason hit the thin carpeting with a frighteningly loud thump! He lay there in an attitude of sleep while I stood, jaw unhinged and, a ridiculously helpless look on my face. Getting up a few minutes later, Jason said in hushed tones that he had witnessed Jesus overshadowing Sister Carmen.
At the time, I never doubted him, not for a moment. Despite hammering the floor with his head at concussion force, he seemed unhurt, and he was so spiritual about the entire incident that I could barely speak.
Called to the Carpet
Anyone becoming involved with an active charismatic ministry knows what being slain in the spirit means by the end of his first week. It is so common in so many Pentecostal and charismatic services that if it fails to happen for a while, folks engaged in this practice begin to wonder why God’s favor has left them. Experiencing the slain phenomenon for the first time at my old church, New Covenant, I have witnessed it probably hundreds of times in the past twelve years.
But what exactly does being slain in the spirit mean? Traditionally, the term applies to the supposed power of God coming upon a person at a specific time, overpowering his physical strength so that he or she is unable to stand, wherein he or she falls backwards. Sometimes while lying on the floor, the person is totally aware of the experience; at other times individuals claim the power is so intense that all outside influences disappear. Visions are often seen or voices heard during such trance-like states, usually attributed to God. Sometimes the person becomes stuck to the floor, as if held in place by an unseen hand. Some claim to have undergone tremendous spiritual renewal after “falling out,” and still others claim physical healing.
During my years (some of which I was an elder) at New Covenant Fellowship, I believed very strongly in the experience, recommended it to others, and marveled at the power of God that could cut a man’s legs out from under him as with an invisible scythe. I have witnessed entire rows of people go down at the wave of a minister’s hand, bodies collapsing in a disheveled heap on chairs or in the aisles. There were times the anointing seemed to come on me, and I was amazed that I’d lay hands on people or merely walk by them, and they would hit the floor with no warning. The first time this happened, I was awed, deeply grateful that God’s presence had manifested in such a powerful way through so inferior a vessel. I determined to walk more closely with Him, wanting to be used again in this way.
Carnality in Motion
At first, I was very caught up in the excitement, but in later years some disturbing hints began to surface that everything was not as I had first believed. For one thing, a few in our congregation seemed to swoon at the slightest hint of God’s power in the room. Nancy Bullinger was one such, falling out more times than anyone else I knew. I thought it was because she was so sensitive to the things of the Spirit that God just naturally gravitated toward her to demonstrate His presence. But the closer I watched, the more nagging doubts tugged at me. On more than one occasion after she was supposed to be slain, I saw her sit up and pull her skirt down to a discreet level, the hem of which had risen inappropriately when she was laid on the floor by the catcher. She then lay back down and stayed there for a reasonably long period of time. This bothered me. If she was really under the power of God, as we believed, she would have not have had the strength to move, much less be concerned or aware of her modesty.
But this brought up another scriptural inconsistency. I Corinthians 14:40 addresses this concern: “Let all things be done decently and in order.” Many of the women who had skirts or dresses fell with legs askew, exposing skin that should have, in decency, been covered. This obvious immodesty even spawned the ministry of covering in some churches, where specific individuals are assigned the duty of draping prepared cloths over the legs of women indecently exposed. One video of a Kenneth Hagin conference showed one of Hagin’s aides going down to the floor under the power, falling into a sitting woman and sliding down the side of her legs—a woman, mind you, who was not his wife. This scenario was repeated in this video numerous times.1
Would the same God who commanded His people to do all things “decently and in order” also permit—rather instigate—a spiritual practice that places them in physically compromising positions?
Catch Me if You Can
In most services where being slain in the spirit occurs, some members of leadership are routinely assigned the duty of catcher. Their job is to stay behind the person being prayed for and be prepared to catch, should the individual be overcome, and to lay him gently on the floor while God “ministers.” Since the job can be physically demanding, most of the catchers are men, and, since a great percentage of those slain are women, the catchers must come into abrupt physical contact with the woman’s body. While a catcher is often able to lay hold of the woman’s arms or shoulders, that is sometimes impossible. I have seen some women collapse so quickly and in such a free fall that the catcher has no time to consider appropriate contact, regardless of good intentions. Many people have swooned without prayer of any kind and with no warning beforehand. Those present are faced with the split-second choice of letting the person hit the floor with a thud or laying sudden hold on whatever limbs or body parts present themselves and lowering the person gently.
Sometimes they are not caught at all. There are simply too many at once responding to “the power,” and they fall one on top of another. During the early ’90s, I witnessed this aplenty, a mass of bodies sprawled out in the aisle, men on top of single women or other men’s wives.
However you slice it, it comes up way short.
I had also been bothered by the very necessity for catchers. If God indeed was knocking His people down, surely He would have the mercy to cushion the fall. In all fairness, I have heard of some who were slain and hit the floor hard, but felt they landed on a bed of feathers. Jason had insisted he was unhurt after his falling out. But that, at best, is subjective. It may or may not have happened the way the person relates the experience. Embarrassment can be a strong silencing factor. Or there may be another reason for that altogether.
But people at times do get hurt, sometimes noticeably. I have personally seen at least one young man go down without realizing no catcher was behind him. He plummeted to the floor and cried out in obvious pain, holding his head. I wonder how many would fall down if they knew nobody would be there to lower them gently. A young church elder visiting our congregation from another town stood behind me as I received prayer during a Sunday service. Noticing I was shaking violently and fighting the urge to fall, he said quietly, “It’s okay, I’m here. You won’t get hurt.”
Of course, I went down.
Context or Pretext?
Where does being slain in the spirit come from? The Bible, presumably. Our favored verse and the one uniformly lifted standard-like by the charismatic community is 2 Chronicles 5:13-14:
[A]s the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.
Whenever anyone asked for scriptural proof for the validity of being slain in the spirit, we’d trot out this verse with a less-than-humble attitude. And, on the surface, it does look very similar to the modern practice.
There’s just one small difficulty—that’s not the end of the story.
Pastor Ted Brooks, in his devastating critique of modern false signs and wonders within the church, I Was a Flakey Preacher,2 notes that we should continue to read down through chapters six and seven of 2 Chronicles, which is a continuation of this same narrative. Solomon addresses the multitudes present, prays to God, and way over in 2 Chronicles 7:1-2, we find a startling revelation:
Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.
And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house.
The priests were not able to minister in the house of God in the first place because they were not in the house of God at the time. They had come back out and stood with the large gathering of people after setting up the Ark of the Covenant in the holy place. While charismatic teaching would have us believe that the temple was littered with the bodies of incapacitated priests, the Old Testament simply tells us they could not even enter into the area where God had manifested His glory!
A quick reading of 1 Kings 8:10-11 will reveal the same thing. The priests simply were not in the holy place when it was filled with the glory of God.
We must look to Jesus. If He was the Word made flesh (John 1:14), then the entire canon of Scripture is summed up in Him. Not once is it even hinted at in Christ’s ministry that being slain in the spirit ever occurred. It is true that when the soldiers came to take Him in the garden of Gethsemane, He spoke and they all “went backward, and fell to the ground” (John 18:6). But two things must be borne in mind here. For one thing, those who came to take Him were unbelievers and subject to His judgment. In this case, being slain in the spirit is not something to be sought after. Second, the mob didn’t just stay on the ground for a while—they immediately got up again. If Christians are going to use this verse to support being slain in the spirit, it must be used in context with nothing withheld. Seen this way, this particular passage does more damage to the notion than provide support.
Daniel 10:9 has also been used with some success to validate the practice. Confronted by an angelic being, Daniel said “then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.”
But again, one must read on to verses ten and eleven:
And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
We need to take every word of God at face value. If Daniel says he fell into a deep sleep, we need to accept that without adding to or taking away. If some call this being slain in the spirit, another could as easily say that he simply passed out from fear. The contrasts between this and current practice are rather graphic. When Daniel was touched by the angelic messenger, he received strength to get up. In church when we were “touched by God,” we lost strength. Daniel stood up to face the angel. We lay down so that God could minister. Daniel’s encounter happened through no human agency, and without another witness present. Being slain in the spirit almost always happens under the touch or prayer of an anointed minister, and it is done in public. While it does happen on occasion when a Christian is alone or in prayer, these instances are reportedly rare, and again, subjective. I have seen enough instances, and experienced them myself, to recognize the effects of heightened expectation. The result is often just what the person believed would happen simply because the desire for the experience was so great.
A Visit With “God’s Bartender”
This very thing happened to me in my living room with my wife and daughter present. When Rodney Howard-Browne and his new wine, get-drunk anointing exploded onto the charismatic scene in the early ’90s, both being slain in the spirit and holy laughter roared through our congregation, like wildfire. We grasped any teaching we could get on those subjects. With a five-pack of Rodney Howard-Browne videos, I sat down to glean as much as I could from this man. Since I hadn’t the funds to travel to his itinerant services in Anchorage or Juneau, I reckoned this avenue the next best. I recall being disappointed with his preaching. Watching him maneuver through the congregation I couldn’t see what all the fanfare was about. Mostly he told stories, anecdotes peppered with rehearsed jokes. He talked about the power and mocked those who questioned its origin. I struggled through the teaching because I wanted to get to the “glory.” It was something dangled before me the entire time, and my expectations of being touched rose concurrent with my desire for the power. By the end of his teaching, I was primed, sitting on the edge of the couch.
When he spoke to the congregation and told them to expect the glory to manifest, I looked at Kris, who was combing my daughter Megan’s hair. “I’m going to do it,” I told her gravely, and stood.
I closed my eyes and listened to Browne’s voice as he prayed. Suddenly, the decibel level shot through the roof.
“There it is!” he shouted, meaning the power of God. I listened as he described the anointing, which was supposed to be the manifest presence of God, as it moved up one side of the building and down the other, knocking people to the floor right and left.
When he shouted something like “Take it!” the air was forced out of me in a loud groan, and I fell like a rock back onto the couch. I heard Kris say of Megan, “Kev, you’re scaring her.”
But with my hands still raised and feeling “drunk in the spirit,” I laughed, wept, and felt the power go all over my body, quite unconcerned about who was being frightened. It lasted maybe a half-hour, and when I came out of it, I felt refreshed, a bit awed, and wanting more.
What happened there? An honest appraisal requires me to admit susceptibility to an emotional surge. It wasn’t the power of God. I’ve seen this same form of manipulation in church services (my former church included), whereby recipients are whipped into a fever pitch of expectation. Of course they will go down! That’s what they’ve been waiting for throughout the entire service. It is only natural that they will respond at the appropriate time to the signals given by the man behind the pulpit.
My suspicions finally had an outworking about two years prior to my leaving New Covenant. By that time, having seen so much obvious hype, fakery, and emotionalism, I decided that if God was ever going to knock me down again, then He would be able to do it with my eyes open and my feet planted solidly. Although maintaining a respectful attitude about the entire practice, I was adamant that I would not fall prey to emotional manipulation.
I was never again slain in the spirit.
It is important to understand that all of what goes on in a slain in the spirit service, regarding the actual manifestation, is attributed to the anointing of God. Depending on which River preacher you ask, this anointing can mean power, the weight of glory, the presence of God, or all of the above. While the Bible does refer to an anointing (I John 2:27), it has in these days of sensual faith been contorted almost beyond recognition. And as with so much of hyper-charismatic experience, it has been placed in the realm of something that needs to be reached for, pursued, or worked up in order to be obtained.
Many of today’s biggest superstars in the church have redefined the anointing in a way that brings the experience more into agreement with occult forces than biblical truth. Benny Hinn told of his touch received at the grave of Foursquare founder Aimee Semple McPherson.3 The anointing rests on her bones, he believes, and he shook with the power emanating from her long-dead body. The idea is that visiting these certain graves will give a double-dose of anointing. There’s the “Rambo” anointing of one major Laughing Revival evangelist,4 and the “Braveheart” anointing of Toronto Blessing’s Wes Campbell.5 It doesn’t seem to matter that both Rambo and Braveheart are the main characters of two R-rated movies of gore, mayhem, and foul language. Then there’s Carol Arnott’s “Sword of the Lord” anointing, that makes you shake, cry out, and jerk violently. The video of this specific women’s conference was very revealing.6 I watched in amazement as one of the ladies participating behind the pulpit hefted a huge Scottish broadsword and passed it over the gathering to the congregational accompaniment of wails, groans, and manifestations. This was like something out of ancient Celtic wizardry.
Another major problem in the error-stricken part of today’s charismatic subculture is that some people, usually big-name ministers like Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, or John Kilpatrick, are looked upon as being more anointed than others. This naturally presupposes the necessity of making a journey to wherever they happen to be ministering in order to be touched by them, and consequently, by God. It is universally recognized by River adherents that the impartation of power is passed from person-to-person via the laying on of hands, and that belief has provoked a virtual scramble among regular church members to get to the preacher that has “it.” It was certainly common practice among New Covenant membership to gravitate toward the most anointed minister who happened to be preaching at our meetings. Long lines formed before the power or prophecy minister, even if there were others less prominent in the visiting ministerial team that might be standing around with nothing to do and no one to pray for after the service.
Today’s River proponents believe also that God moves in particular geographical locations, hence the necessity to get wherever God happens to be in order to get a touch from Him. Places like Toronto and Pensacola have become neo-Medieval pilgrimage destinations, and in fact, people are encouraged to make the journey by many of the front-running River preachers and by their own pastors. And this despite Jesus’ obvious counter to that line of thinking when He told the Samaritan woman that physical locations mattered little in the eyes of God (John 4:21). The Temple made of stones would become obsolete. No more yearly pilgrimage. As long as we worship in Spirit and truth, He will dwell with us and reward us accordingly (John 4:20-24).
A little common sense might help here. What about the poor or those in some far distant corner of our planet who simply believe Christ’s Gospel without knowledge of or desire for the Toronto anointing? Does it leave them out in the cold, or have they missed a necessary move of God? Plus, the fact that so much merchandising unarguably goes on in the form of videos, tee shirts, cassette recordings of worship music, conference fees, skyrocketing pastors’ salaries—ad infinitum—that this current movement bears more of a resemblance to the money changers in the Temple than the humble followers of Jesus.
The Biblical Anointing
So, what, actually, is the anointing? In the Old Testament, it was used to signify the setting apart of an object or the ordaining of an individual for special service to God (Exodus 30:22-30). The anointing oil was specially prepared according to the command of God, and was not to be used for any other purpose or manufactured without regard to God’s specific instructions (Exodus 30:31-33). Kings as well as priests were anointed (1 Samuel 10:1, 1 Samuel 16:13). Elisha was also anointed prophet by Elijah (1 Kings 19:16). The act of pouring out the oil on an individual was used to signify God’s selection, authority, and empowerment for the position.
But with the coming of Jesus Christ, this form of anointing (signifying God’s choice for a position) with oil passed away* and was replaced with the anointing by the Holy Spirit, who Himself has come to live in each believer, empowering us to follow Christ (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). He also is the one who ministers the gifts of the Spirit within the congregation (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, Ephesians 4:8-12), and who performs works of miracles (Galatians 3:5) among His people. He leads us into all the truth, and reveals to us the things of God (1 John 2:20, 27). This entire series of Scriptures, and many others on the same subject, shows us that the scriptural anointing is completely different from what is practiced today within the hyper-charismatic circles of which I once participated.
The anointing is not a thing conveniently passed from person-to-person—like getting zapped by a current of electricity a la Rodney Howard-Browne or Benny Hinn. To say, as we so often did in New Covenant Fellowship, “the anointing is now present for healing,” or prophecy, or whatever, is to replace the indwelling Spirit with a physical feeling, emotion, or experience, and to separate Him from His ministry.
This is exactly what is suggested by terms like “getting plugged into the power.” What this kind of thinking promotes is exactly what we are seeing within the River camp, the idea that we need something more than we already possess as believers in Christ. This is precisely the original temptation in the Garden of Eden. Just look in the third chapter of Genesis. The fact is, if the Holy Spirit resides in us (and He isn’t going anywhere), then His power is there as well, to enable us to do what He wants us to do. Anything added to what God has already provided is a counterfeit. We don’t need to get zapped, or experience extra-biblical manifestations in order to feel that we have arrived, or to earn inclusion into the mythical great end-times army of Dominion or Latter Rain doctrine.
Examine the Source
Is there ever a real power at work? I have thought about this one long and hard, because if we admit that there is a genuine supernatural power manifesting, then in light of both the Scriptures and the voluminous evidences of carnality, we must conclude it is a spirit other than the Holy Spirit. Again, if this is so, that can only mean that Christians have opened themselves up to seducing spirits come to lead believers away from the one true God. I have come to the conclusion—very cautiously—that, at times, a real supernatural power is at work. In both River meetings and at the Brownsville Revival, documented testimonies from church leadership have involved vivid descriptions of people lifted bodily by an unseen force and violently thrown across the room and up against walls. Our own Tom Smalley told of being witness to this in one of Howard-Browne’s Anchorage meetings. He’d seen a man well over two hundred pounds thrown back across three rows of chairs at the touch of God’s Bartender. This is scary stuff. And it doesn’t match anything I’ve come across in my Bible about God’s dealings among His faithful covenant people.
I have experienced only two incidents of being slain that felt like a genuine power outside of myself. One was in a local Assembly of God service. A visiting woman preacher laid hands on many who had come forward for prayer, and a mass of them went down. Then it was my turn. Though she never so much as touched me, I felt a numbness sweep over my body, and I fell. On the floor, I shook uncontrollably for about ten minutes. The other time involved a service in my former congregation, again with the aid of a visiting minister. My wife, sitting in one of the pews, described my body contorting backward at a severe angle when the power hit me. To me, they both seemed supernatural. Whether or not that was the case, I will leave for the Lord to decide. If they were indeed supernatural, I now question from which source of power they truly came.
But I have yet to know of anyone, myself included, who, because of being slain experienced a changed life characterized by a love for the truth and a knowledge of God in agreement with the Scriptures. In my experience, the exact opposite has happened. When folks get touched with this kind of power, they routinely become almost unteachable, preferring the experience to the Word of God. I can’t relate how many times I’ve heard, “Well, maybe I can’t find it in the Scriptures, but it happened to me, so it’s real!”
That’s a dangerous step to take. In my many years of involvement with the occult prior to salvation, I had numerous real encounters with the supernatural. Certainly they could not have originated with God, but I once believed some of them did, and to me that was all that mattered. My ears were closed to any protest from Christian friends. Such a stubborn mindset is a fertile seedbed for deception. From just such a people will spring up a world ruler who will lead many to everlasting destruction:
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:7-10)
To order copies of Slain in the Spirit—Is it a Biblical Practice?,” click here.
1. Kenneth Hagin conference video/DVD, “Kenneth Hagin and the Spirit of the Serpent” by Joseph E. Chambers (Charlotte, NC: Paw Creek Ministries). To order this dvd, 800/338-7884.
2. Ted Brooks, I Was a Flakey Preacher (Westlock, AB, Canada: Guardian Books, 1999).
3. G. Richard Fisher with M. Kurt Goedelman, “Benny Hinn’s Move into Necromancy” citing Benny Hinn sermon, Double Portion Anointing, Part #3, Orlando Christian Center, Orlando, Fla., April 7, 1991. From the series, Holy Ghost Invasion.
4. Mike Oppenheimer citing Rodney Howard-Brown, “The New Anointing” (Let Us Reason ministries, http://www.letusreason.org/Pent40.htm).
5. “New Year 1998—Where To Now?” article by Christian Witness Ministries (Australia) citing Wes Campbell’s Braveheart speech. (http://www.christian-witness.org/archives/cetf1998/newyear1998.html).
6. Carol Arnott speaking at the Arise Deborah women’s conference in Pensacola, Florida, January 1999, documented by Jewel Grewe, “The Sea of Subjectivity” (Discernment Ministries newsletter, March/April 1999, Volume #2, Issue #10).
To order copies of Slain in the Spirit—Is it a Biblical Practice?,” click here.
Other related resources by Lighthouse Trails:
The Other Side of the River by Kevin Reeves
“I Just Had a Vision!” by Kevin Reeves
The New Age Implications of Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson by John Lanagan
False Revival Coming: Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion? by Warren B. Smith
A Perfect Storm of Apostasy: The Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators by Mary Danielsen
10 Questions for those who claim The “Supreme Beings” of the Nations Are the True God by Sandy Simpson
To Lighthouse Trails:
I am coordinator of my church’s children & youth ministries, and I am looking for solid, Bible-based children’s and youth curriculum.
I would appreciate any suggestions you may have. I am so skeptical of much of the curriculum out there now especially with so much of the emergent ideas creeping in.
Thank you for any input you can offer.
The publishers on the following list are Christian publishers that have been publishing contemplative and emergent materials for several years: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/publishers.htm.This list includes Zondervan, NavPress, Thomas Nelson (and Tommie Nelson), and InterVarsity. Baker Books and Multnomah publishers are also on the list as they too now publish that type of material. If curriculum is used from any of the publishers in this list, there will most likely be threads of contemplative/emergent ideas woven throughout much of their material.
The list of publishers on this page – http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/publishersgood.htm – do not publish contemplative, emergent material to our knowledge. However, many of them are smaller publishers and may not have study curriculum. We do mention Harvest House and Barbour publishing on this list; however we include them with a cautionary note. Sadly, we removed Moody Publishers from this list some time ago.
As with all things, use discernment and weigh all things against Scripture. As Christians, we must “Test all things” and “Try the spirits” through the screen of Scripture (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1).
By Ray Yungen
Two authors from Great Britain portray a stunningly clear picture of New Age spirituality. They explain:
[T]he keynote of it appears to be a movement for synthesis derived from an understanding of the underlying unity behind all things and the sense of oneness that this brings.
This oneness of all life is the crux of the New Age movement.17
Catholic monk M. Basil Pennington defined the contemplative spiritual worldview in his book Thomas Merton My Brother. He related:
The Spirit enlightened him [Merton] in the true synthesis [unity] of all and in the harmony of that huge chorus of living beings. In the midst of it he lived out a vision of a new world, where all divisions have fallen away and the divine goodness is perceived and enjoyed as present in all and through all.18
The first viewpoint describes God as the oneness of all existence. In Merton’s new world, God is perceived as being present “in all and through all.” It certainly appears that the same spirit enlightened both parties. The only difference was Merton’s revelation worked in a Christian context just as occultist Alice Bailey predicted. Unfortunately, this context is now commonplace in Catholic circles, becoming so in mainline Protestant churches, and being eagerly explored and embraced by an ever-increasing number of evangelical Christians.
Evangelical leaders now debate whether such spiritual truths as resting in God are the same as contemplative silence. Based on these presented documentations, I believe contemplative prayer has no place in true Christianity. Scripture clearly teaches that with salvation comes an automatic guidance system—the Holy Spirit. Lewis Sperry Chafer, in his outstanding book Grace: The Glorious Theme, spells out this truth with crystal-clear clarity:
It is stated in Romans 5:5 that “the Spirit is given to us.” This is true of every person who is saved. The Spirit is the birth-right in the new life. By Him alone can the character and service that belongs to the normal daily life of the Christian be realized. The Spirit is the “All-Sufficient One.” Every victory in the new life is gained by His strength, and every reward in glory will be won only as a result of His enabling power.19
Show me a Scripture in the Bible in which the Holy Spirit is activated or accessed by contemplative prayer. If such a verse exists, wouldn’t it be the keynote verse in defense of contemplative prayer?
I want to emphasize what I believe cuts through all the emotional appeal that has attracted so many to teachers like Richard Foster and Brennan Manning and really boils the issue down to its clearest state.
In his book Streams of Living Water, Richard Foster emanates his hoped-for vision of an “all inclusive community” that he feels God is forming today. He sees this as “a great, new gathering of the people of God.”20
On the surface, this might sound noble and sanctifying, but a deeper examination will expose elements that line up more with Alice Bailey’s vision than with Jesus Christ’s. Foster prophesies:
I see a Catholic monk from the hills of Kentucky standing alongside a Baptist evangelist from the streets of Los Angeles and together offering up a sacrifice of praise. I see a people.21
The only place in “the hills of Kentucky” where Catholic monks live is the Gethsemane Abbey, a Trappist monastery. This also, coincidentally, was the home base of Thomas Merton.
Let me explain this significant connection. In the summer of 1996, Buddhist and Catholic monks met together to dialogue in what was billed the “Gethsemane Encounter.”22 David Steindl-Rast, a Zen-Buddhist trained monk and close friend of Thomas Merton, facilitated this event.
During the encounter, presentations on Zen meditation and practice from the Theravedan Buddhist tradition were offered.23 One of the speakers discussed the “correlation of the Christian contemplative life with the lives of our Buddhist sisters and brothers.”24
For these monks and the Baptist evangelist to be “a people,” as Richard Foster says, someone has to change. Either the monks have to abandon their Buddhist convictions and align with the Baptists, or the Baptists have to become contemplative style Baptists and embrace the monks’ beliefs. That is the dilemma in Foster’s “great gathering of God.”
Mystic David Steidl-Rast once asked Thomas Merton what role Buddhism played in his going deeper into the spiritual life. Merton replied quite frankly: “I think I couldn’t understand Christian teaching the way I do if it were not in the light of Buddhism.”25
Did Merton mean that in order to understand what Christianity really is, you have to change your consciousness? I believe that is exactly what he meant. Once he personally did that through contemplative prayer, Buddhism provided him with the explanation of what he experienced. But again the catalyst was changing his consciousness. This is what I am warning Christians about. Contemplative prayer is presenting a way to God identical with all the world’s mystical traditions. Christians are haplessly lulled into it by the emphasis on seeking the Kingdom of God and greater piety, yet the apostle Paul described the church’s end-times apostasy in the context of a mystical seduction. If this practice doesn’t fit that description, I don’t know what does.
You don’t have to change your consciousness to grab “aholt” of God (as Brennan Manning insists). All you need is to be born-again. What Steidl-Rast and the other Gethsemane monks should have been telling Buddhists is, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
In his book, Ruthless Trust, Brennan Manning mentions that once Baptist Sunday school teacher, now New Ager, Sue Monk Kidd eventually came under the mentorship of Dr. Beatrice Bruteau who authored the book What We Can Learn From the East. Since that title is self-explanatory, it’s easy to understand why Dr. Bruteau would write the preface to a book like The Mystic Heart by mystic Wayne Teasdale. In the preface, she touts that a universal spirituality based on mysticism is going to save the world.
It seems that all these people want a better world. They do not seem like sinister conspirators like those out of a James Bond film. Yet, it is their niceness that rejects the reality of the fundamental separation between Man and God. It is their sense of compassion that feeds their universalism. It is idealism that makes Manning so attractive and causes him to say that Dr. Bruteau is a “trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness.”26
The irony of this is that Manning is completely correct in his statement—Dr. Bruteau is a reliable guide to contemplative awareness. She has founded two organizations, the Schola Contemplationis (school for contemplation) and the very Christian-sounding Fellowship of the Holy Trinity. With the latter, she is promoted as “a well-known author and lecturer on contemplative life and prayer.”27 Both of these organizations incorporate Hindu and Buddhist approaches to spirituality. This should come as no surprise because Bruteau also has studied with the Ramakrishna order, which is named after the famous Hindu swami Sri Ramakrishna.
The Ramakrishna order is dedicated to promoting the vision of Sri Ramakrishna. He was known for his view that all the world’s religions were valid revelations from God if you understood them on the mystical level. He was an early proponent of interspirituality. According to the book, Wounded Prophet, Henri Nouwen even viewed him in a favorable light and esteemed him as an important spiritual figure.
Sue Monk Kidd became enamored with contemplative spirituality while attending a Southern Baptist church. We could possibly dismiss that and say she was just an untaught member of the laity who was spiritually lacking in discernment. Maybe her spiritual dryness was a result of her not being grounded firmly enough in the faith. But what about the leaders and pastors whom so many look up to and who are considered trusted individuals in the church? Surely they are able to discern what is spiritually unsound. It seems safe to make this assumption. Right? Unfortunately, this is no longer the case.