Posts Tagged ‘kevin reeves’

Coming into “Alignment”

LTRP Note: Kevin Reeves is the author of The Other Side of the River, which is an account of his years as an elder in a Latter Rain, “River” church.

By Kevin Reeves 

Back in about the early ’90s, my former church went through a series of divine healing videos put out by Charles and Francis Hunter, or “The Happy Hunters.” At the end of each video, we put the teachings to the test—not the scriptural test for truth, mind you, but the “practical application” of what we had just learned. By laying on of hands, usually administered by Jason (our pastor) but sometimes by others in the group, we often felt things—sometimes a sense like an electric current running through the body, sometimes “drunkenness” (I experienced this one time where I literally could not speak without slurring my words), and sometimes in a very strange manipulation of the limbs. This was particularly powerful. Once (and I was not the only one so affected), according to the command on the video, I stretched out my arms and brought my hands together in order to see if my back was out of alignment. Well, according to the Hunters’ criteria it was, and when I asked for God to heal me, right there in that room with about fifteen other people, my back seemed to move of its own accord, my outstretched arms and shoulders slowly rotating as if there was another person inside me doing the motions. There appeared to be a definite power at work unlike any I had ever felt before. I was thrilled. Even elder Smalley was impressed, pointing at me and exclaiming with a huge smile, “Look at Kevin!”

This manipulation went on for about ten minutes, when it gradually subsided and left altogether. We had seen many people on this video manifest in this way, so it was only natural that we should experience the same thing. Incidentally, I never did feel any lasting change in my back.

It wasn’t my spine that needed aligning—it was my heart. And that needed to be aligned using the plumb line of God’s Word. Although we could not find its precedent in Scripture, the experience was powerful,stimulating, and sometimes seemed to work. Even unbelievers who were occasionally brought to meetings testified of the power that coursed through their bodies and moved their limbs of its own accord. At least one, however, left our meeting hurting with worse pain than when he arrived.

Was it of God? What do you think? Its absence from the ministries of Jesus and the apostles should sound warning bells loud and clear. This was a formula prayer, the same thing Jesus had in fact warned against in Matthew 6:7.

“Do this, and this will happen.” How many times I heard that kind of spiritual reasoning in our congregation eludes me. But God simply doesn’t act that way. Jesus healed differently for different people, based on heart attitude, not a specific agenda, method, or ritual. One of the main points of the video, which fell right into line with our own doctrine, was that Christians should not be suffering under sickness. Well, if we believe that, then we will have a very hard time explaining away the sickness of sincere believers like Timothy (I Timothy 5:23), Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-27), and Trophimus (II Timothy 4:20). In congregations today that follow these doctrines of men, the many who suffer sickness, sometimes chronically, are placed in the position of being healed or being condemned for their lack of faith, either by church leadership, the congregation, or their own feelings. They believe they have failed God. Or worse, that God has failed them.

Other Articles by Kevin Reeves:

Slain in the Spirit: Is it a Biblical Practice? by Kevin Reeves

C is For Catholicism—An Evangelical Primer on Catholic Terminology

D is for Deception—The Language of the “New” Christianity

 

 

NEW BOOKLET: C is For Catholicism—An Evangelical Primer on Catholic Terminology

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: C is For Catholicism—An Evangelical Primer on Catholic Terminology 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 C is For Catholicism—An Evangelical Primer on Catholic Terminology, click here.

C is For Catholicism—An Evangelical Primer on Catholic Terminology

rp_BKT-KR-cath.jpgBy Kevin Reeves

I remember well those hot pre-summer vacation days in Philadelphia, standing in formation with my classmates in the parking lot of the Catholic church/school to which I belonged, the sun baking my hatless head as we sang in unison the praises of Mary, the Mother of God. It was a yearly festival, this May Procession, and although we grade-school kids were supposedly there to honor Mary, we all knew that if we adhered close enough to the religious choreography, the parish priest looking on would cut that school day in half. And, if we were really sharp, he would give us off the whole next day. That was the real goal, and we knew it—for each to keep his place in formation, standing straight and uncomplaining, responding correctly to cues from the nuns. It usually paid off, though I clearly recall once being stiffed by the priest although we’d suffered admirably through the hot, endless ordeal.

I bring up the May Procession, not by way of mocking, but because it is indicative of the Catholic Church at large. The term “religious choreography” is aptly used, because it is descriptive of the rigidity of the faith and practice in which I was immersed for the first twenty-four years of my life. The church called the way we were to move, think, act, if we wanted to remain in good standing and possibly attain salvation.

It has been my experience that Roman Catholicism is basically composed of rules to be obeyed. The closer one adheres to said rules, it is taught, the holier one becomes. Though the Scriptures are utilized—albeit in conjunction with what Protestants believe are non-canonical books, like Maccabees and Tobit—they are never stand-alone but are always viewed through the lens of Catholic tradition and doctrine and take secondary place to that church’s form and structure. Catholicism teaches that one cannot be righteous apart from the Catholic system; salvation, as such, is not solely on the basis of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, but also on the basis of works—works which adhere to the Catholic formula. For all those years, I was taught, and believed, that it was the Catholic Church that saved me, not Jesus alone. And for all those years of faithful belief and practice, including twelve years of Catholic school, I never once heard the undiluted Gospel preached.

It was said with pride within my own family that we came from 200 years of Catholic tradition. Our spiritual forebears included poor Irish farmers, assorted rogues one step ahead of the law, fiddlers, and (I was told, anyway) an Irish archbishop, and with such an impressive, unbroken line of Catholicism, we were born into the fold. Until I drifted away from the Catholic Church at twenty-four, all my religious experience had been formed by that ancient tradition. I was raised among statues of Mary and the saints, scapulars, holy water, and blessed palm leaves, but I don’t recall ever seeing a Bible in the house. We really didn’t need one for the spiritual path we were on. The parish priest and nuns taught us all we needed to know to be good Catholics. Not good Christians, mind you. Good Catholics. I say without animosity that there was, and is, a huge difference, one which Catholics do not seem to understand.

For the past several decades, there has been a concerted effort by both the Catholic hierarchy and some leading evangelicals to join hands, forget the tumultuous past, and work together as brothers and sisters in Christ. Though it has always been a subtle thrust of the Vatican to draw back to its church those who consider themselves “Protestant,” now the move has gained such momentum that subtlety is no longer warranted. Today, so much Catholic tradition has inundated even mainline churches that the lines between truth and error are blurred, or worse, eradicated altogether.

Even many Bible-believing Christians love Saint Francis of Assisi, that gentle mendicant at whose beckoning wild animals would supposedly become tame. They have no idea that in real life he was a Catholic mystic, whose vision of Christ supposedly pierced his own hands, feet, and side with the visible, painful wounds of Christ’s crucifixion; they don’t know that Francis honored and held as holy his pope, Innocent III, who instituted the first serious persecution of those who deviated from Catholic tradition; they do not know of the many popes who had mistresses, sired illegitimate children, lived in luxury, ruled as emperors and yet whose word, spoken “from the chair” of Saint Peter was still considered by the faithful to be the very word of God.

When asked about the discrepancy, a Catholic may indeed admit to a checkered papal history, and at the same time confess that a reigning pope can and does speak infallibly, “from the chair.”

Many Christians who don’t recognize the danger infiltrating Christ’s church might well remark that because the pope and his emissaries don’t do those same things today, then we should forget the past, forgive, and move on, recognizing what is good in Catholicism and even incorporating some (or many) of its tenets and practices. I wonder if John Hus, William Tyndale, or scores of other good Christian men and women who gave their all to free multitudes from the religious bondage of Catholicism would think it appropriate to let bygones be bygones. Remember, for all the papal bluster about goodwill toward those outside Vatican purview, the Catholic Church is still basically the same as it was many hundreds of years ago. It has never renounced the Counter-Reformation, nor repented for the execution of men like Hus, nor repudiated its most dearly held doctrines like transubstantiation (the re-sacrifice of Christ on the Cross in every Mass) or the belief in Mary as mediator between Jesus and men.

Many of the following terms were pulled from my memory of long association with and participation in the Catholic Church. As a child I learned the Mass in Latin, competed for “holy cards” in Catholic school, revered both the priests and nuns, and, faithfully adhered to the system marked out for me from birth. Some outworking of Catholicism may have changed since my Catholic days, but the system, the doctrine, and the practices are essentially the same. I have also turned to the research and work of Roger Oakland, director of Understand the Times, International and his excellent book, Another Jesus?: The Eucharistic Christ and the New Evangelizations to confirm the meanings of the following terms.

As Christians who hold fast to the Scriptures and abide in Jesus, we need to love Catholics, while at the same time expose the errors of the religious system in which they are enmeshed. Only by speaking the truth in love and finding no place for compromise with error can we glorify the God who saved us through the shed blood of His only Son.

For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2: 8-9)

Catholicism in Terms

Absolution: The forgiveness of one’s sins by a priest, who acts as a mediator between God and man. That the priest is the one who forgives sin is confirmed by the priest’s own words: “I absolve thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” As a teenager once, prior to confession, I asked a priest, “Father, can you forgive hatred?”

“I can forgive any sin, son,” he said with confidence in his authority.

This is in direct conflict with Scripture, which states in 1 Timothy 2:5 that “. . . there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Ash Wednesday: Catholic holy day wherein a priest smudges the sign of the cross on the foreheads of the faithful with a semblance of the words, “dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return,” a warning of the short earthly life span of man. The faithful usually wear the ashes on their foreheads the entire day, in full view.

Assumption: The supposed heavenly taking up of the body of Mary into glory.1

Bleeding Host: A communion wafer that oozes blood and/or pulses like a heart.

Catechism: A book enumerating and explaining the teachings of the Catholic Church. It is given to potential converts and, historically, taught in Catholic schools to students.

Confession: The act of confessing one’s sins to a priest in order to obtain absolution. The priest acts as mediator between God and men, forgiving sins and prescribing what he considers an appropriate penance.

Confessional: The dark, boxlike structure where Catholics to go “confession” (see cover of this booklet). A screen is between the priest and the sinner so that neither can clearly see the other, for privacy’s sake.

Contemplative Prayer: Going beyond thought by the use of repeated prayer words or phrases. The religious chanting common in some monks’ orders qualifies as contemplative, since the phrases, intonation, and method used in the chant is designed to lift the practitioner from the earthly to the divine realm.

Counter-Reformation: The movement, exemplified by the Council of Trent, organized by the Catholic Church and meeting for years that codified Catholic belief in opposition to the Protestant reformers. The council essentially denied the simple truth of the Gospel in favor of longstanding Catholic tradition and Vatican interpretations, and placed an anathema (curse from God) on those in disagreement with its findings on such things as transubstantiation.

Crucifix: Cross on which a figure of Jesus still hangs. Central point of any Catholic church and affixed to the rosary chain, the crucifix reminds the worshipper of the suffering of Christ and His sacrifice for the salvation of souls. Praying while staring at the crucifix is common among Catholics, as the crucifix is used as a prayer assist.

Ecstasy: The ultimate goal of the Catholic mystic in his seeking of God, usually involving separate incidents over a lifetime of devotion. Manifestations accompanying ecstasy, such as visions, crying, rapture, trance, levitation, the receiving of the stigmata, etc., have been reported throughout history.

Eucharist: The sacrament of the partaking of the Communion wafer and wine consecrated by the priest during the Mass. Believed to impart special grace, because the recipient is said to be eating and drinking the actual body and blood of Christ. Also refers to the Communion elements themselves.

Eucharistic Christ: The actual, physical presence of Christ in the consecrated Host, which is to be worshipped by the faithful. It is important to remember that Catholics do not believe they worship a wafer; they believe they worship the Christ that appears in wafer form.

Eucharistic Miracle: Communion wafers that bleed, pulse like a heart, etc. Wine that turns miraculously into human blood. If reports are genuine, then these are actual supernatural occurrences, and completely at odds with the Scriptures, hence demonic in origin.2

Ex Cathedra: Literally, “From the Chair,” meaning the chair of Saint Peter, whom Catholics believe was the first pope of the Roman Church. When a pope speaks Ex Cathedra, his words are considered to be the very words of God.

Father: Official term of address for a priest, as he is seen as a mediator between God and men, the conduit through which the eucharistic transubstantiation is performed, and in matters of faith and practice the wise leader of a spiritual “family” (his parishioners). This is in direct violation of the commandment of Jesus in Matthew 23:9, wherein our Lord states, “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, who is in heaven.”

Though Catholics downplay the importance of this distinction, to call anyone “father” in the official, spiritual sense indicates deference to his presumed spiritual standing, which is believed to be higher and more in tune with God. Implied in this term and image of the Catholic “father” is the idea of a God who is not directly approachable by the “laity,” or the everyday Catholic. Instead, the common people who come with petitions or confessions to God the Father approach through a complex spiritual protocol of Mary, the saints, the angels, and, of course, the family or parish priest. But the Scriptures tell us repeatedly that “. . . because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6) and that we are to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). By His death and resurrection, Christ Himself has torn the veil that separated us from God (Matthew 27:51) and removed the system that required a human high priest as intermediary. A priest, Catholic or otherwise, is no longer needed for the Christian to directly approach his Father God.

Genuflection: The act of bowing down on one knee before the altar, often in consort with a sign of the cross, in worship of the Jesus whom Catholics believe is physically present in the Host. The Host is kept in a special, ornate box behind the altar. The faithful Catholic, before leaving the church building, turns, faces the Host (the body of Jesus), and falls on one knee in worship of the Host he believes to be God. This is no less than idolatry.

Good Works: In the Catholic sense, necessary to maintain one’s salvation. Catholics will cite James 2:17 (“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone”) to support their assertion. But James here is speaking of works showing that you already have faith in Christ, not that faith plus works equals salvation.

Hail Mary: A prayer of devotion to Mary, ending with the plea, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Holy Water: Water blessed by the priest and normally kept in small water dishes near the inside entrance to a Catholic church. The faithful dips a finger or two in the water and makes the sign of the cross.

Host: From the Latin hostia, meaning “victim,” because Christ is supposedly sacrificed repeatedly, in every Mass. Physically, it is the Communion wafer consecrated by the priest. When lifted up at the high point of the Mass, and blessed by the priest, the Host is said to become the actual body of Christ. Likewise, the wine, when lifted up and consecrated during the Mass, is said to become the actual blood of Christ.

Immaculate Conception: The doctrine which declares that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born without original sin in order to be the perfect vessel for the birth of the Son of God. The Scriptures say that only Jesus was born without sin, because He was God incarnate.

Indulgence: A pardon or shortening of the time that a soul is sentenced to purgatory, granted by an act of the pope. The selling of indulgences to raise monies for the building of a new church or add to the Vatican treasury, etc., was so widespread during the Middle Ages, that a ditty developed from the practice: “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs.”

Infallibility: A characteristic presumed of the pope when speaking officially on faith and doctrine. His words are considered inerrant, without flaw, as coming from God.

Lectio Divina: Means “sacred reading.” In today’s contemplative movement, it often involves taking a single word or small phrase from Scripture and repeating the words over and over again.

Lent: The forty-day period preceding the day the Lord’s resurrection is celebrated. During Lent, Catholics donate extra money, give up certain harmless pleasures, make a more serious commitment to the church, sacrifice for others, etc.

Limbo: The supposed state just short of heaven wherein reside those good souls who had not been baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. This includes babies stillborn or those who died before being baptized.

Lourdes: A famous grotto in France where the peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous supposedly witnessed multiple appearances of the Virgin Mary. The grotto later became a pilgrimage site for the sick and infirm, and many supernatural healings have been said to occur there.

Mary: The mother of Jesus in the Bible, called The Mother of God by Catholics. She is the object of adoration to the faithful who pray to her for mercy, forgiveness, or miracles. The faithful sometimes make vows to her, contrary to the admonition in Matthew 5:33-37 to utter no oaths at all. Also called the Blessed Mother, Blessed Virgin, Virgin Mary, Our Lady, and the Queen of Heaven. One common prayer of praise to her states, “Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope.” So much in this prayer usurps the authority of both Christ and the Father in the life of the true Christian. In 2 Corinthians 1:3, God, not Mary, is the one from whom mercy flows, He being called “the father of mercies and the God of all comfort.” In the above prayer to Mary, she is also called “our life,” but Colossians 3:4 states that “. . . when Christ, who is our life, shall appear . . .” Later in that same prayer to Mary, she is called the Catholic’s “advocate,” thus again usurping Christ’s position, as 1 John 2:1 calls Him, not Mary, the Christian’s advocate.

This image of Mary as a powerful go-between is so central to the Catholic faith that it is impossible to conceive of Catholicism without her in the position of adoration that she holds. It is of utmost importance to realize that the Bible says very little about the mother of Jesus. Catholic tradition is responsible for the Marian construct we see in operation today.

Marian Apparitions: Though not exclusively a Catholic term, it is used to denote supposed appearances of Mary in her glorified state. She is said to have appeared to individuals or groups of people in many locations throughout the world, including at Fatima, Portugal in the early part of the twentieth century.
Mass: A celebratory re-sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. This is a contradiction of the many Scriptures that declare Christ died only once, for all men, for all time, such as Hebrews 9:28, which states that “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.” He is never to be re-offered as a sacrifice for sin, such as is done in the Mass. His one sacrifice was sufficient.

May Procession: A spiritual celebration of the Catholic Church, which, in my time, was composed of schoolchildren in the Catholic school I attended, and directed by nuns and priests. Mary is honored as the Mother of God. One of the songs sung during the celebration is “Immaculate Mary.”

Mediatrix: Term applied to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who is said to be a co-redeemer with Christ. In Catholic practice, Mary is often the mediator between men and Jesus, it being suggested that she is more merciful and that her Son in heaven would refuse her nothing.

Monstrance: The ornate, hand-held container that is used to display the Host. A priest raises the monstrance above his head and passes it before the congregation, allowing them to worship the supposed Jesus in the Host.

Mortal Sin: A sin that, if not repented of before death, condemns a soul to hell.

Mystic: In Catholic parlance, one who seeks complete union with God.

Mysticism: A direct experience with the supernatural realm outside scriptural boundaries.

New Evangelization Plan: A program by the Catholic Church designed to win the world to Christ (the Eucharistic christ), with the Eucharist as the focal point.3

Our Father: The Catholic term for the Lord’s Prayer. “Forgive us our debts” is usually substituted with “forgive us our trespasses.”

Pope: From the Latin papa. The supreme, spiritual head of the entire Roman Catholic Church on earth, considered the “vicar” of Christ.

Purgatory: Place of punishment wherein those who died with venial sins on their souls will be purged. Considered by some Catholics to be a place of fiery torment of unspecified but limited duration.

Penance: Good works, restitution, or a set of prayers to be prayed after a priest absolves sin. Failure to do penance when so ordered invalidates the absolution.

Relics: Anything once belonging to a deceased, sainted Catholic, including bones, articles of clothing, personal possessions, etc., that are considered imbued with supernatural power. Historically, the sale of relics was a booming business. Supposed pieces of the “true cross” and spots of “Christ’s blood” were once peddled in Europe.

Righteousness: The position of being in right standing with God through good works, prayers, and devotion to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Contrary to the use of the term in the Bible (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 3:28), righteousness in the Catholic system is not imputed and irrevocable, but rather maintained by following the Catholic protocol.

Rosary: A set of beads, ending in a crucifix, that is used with a particular pattern of fixed prayers, especially the Our Father and the Hail Mary. Primarily a devotional tool to Mary.

Saints: Devoted Catholic men and women, most notably mystics, who were canonized by the Catholic Church after a Vatican investigation has proven that two miracles occurred through or by their intervention. Catholic tradition ascribes to some saints rather fantastic characteristics, such as bi-location (being in two places at one time), levitation, or the stigmata.

Separated Brethren: Any Christian who is not a Catholic. Protestants.

Scapular: Small piece of consecrated cloth, with a picture of the Mother of God and/or the saint to whom it was first given. The scapular is designed to be worn about the neck as a symbol of consecration to Mary. Supposedly presented by Mary to Catholic Saint Simon Stock in the early medieval period, in the form of a monk’s habit. It was eventually cut down to its present form for use with common Catholics, with the promise that the faithful who die wearing the scapular will not be sent to hell.4

Sign of the Cross: Short ritual, using the hand to touch first the forehead, then the center of the chest, then the left side of the chest or shoulder, then the right. During the ritual some bow their heads, and some say, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” The ritual is a symbol of worship and humility.

Statues: It would be difficult to overstate the importance of statues (those miniature or life-size representations of Mary, the Catholic saints, and Christ) in Catholic worship. In a church, or consecrated by a priest for private use, such statues are viewed as holy by “the faithful.” Catholics kneel before them, fix their eyes upon them while praying, and implore favors from those they represent. This practice is in direct violation of the Second Commandment, written in Exodus 20:4-5, which forbids the pagan practice of bowing before images in worship. Doing connotes idol worship.

In many churches, bouquets of fresh flowers are placed at the feet of a statue of Mary, by the faithful as evidence of their devotion to the Mother of God. Statues may also be attired according to month, holy day, or festival, such as those of Mary in certain Catholic nations, where the statue is crowned, dressed in fine garments and jewels, and paraded on a garlanded platform through the streets amid throngs of worshippers. In some churches, the statue of Mary, normally placed near or beside the altar rail, is shown with a serpent under her feet, indicating that she will tread down Satan. The Bible states that only Christ, not Mary, will crush the serpent’s head, since it is He alone who purchased salvation for believers at the cost of His own blood.

In the past century, miracles attributed to Catholic statues include mouths moving as if to speak, and blood or tears or milk flowing from the eyes. In view of the Scriptures, such bizarre manifestations can only be considered demonic.

Stigmata: Visible marks depicting the wounds of Jesus’ crucifixion, appearing on the hands, feet and side of certain mystics, such as Francis of Assisi.

Tabernacle: The ornate box on the altar containing the hosts.

Transubstantiation: The doctrine that asserts that during the Mass, the Host (the communion wafer) and the communion wine are transformed miraculously into the literal body and blood of Christ.

Venial Sin: A “smaller” sin, one that does not place the soul in eternal jeopardy. It is believed that a Catholic may die with venial sins on his soul, and, after a time of suffering in purgatory, be taken to heaven.

Visualization: Can be used as a springboard to mysticism, i.e., visualizing oneself walking with Jesus, talking with Him, sitting at His feet and listening to His teaching. This goes much farther than harmless imagining in that visualization is utilized to actually bring one into contact with God.

To order copies of C is For Catholicism—An Evangelical Primer on Catholic Terminology, click here.

____________

Endnotes
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assumption_of_Mary.
2. Joan Carroll Cruz, Eucharistic Miracles: And Eucharistic Phenomena in the Lives of the Saints (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, 1987), back cover; cited in Roger Oakland’s Another Jesus? (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2004), page 115.
3. Read chapter 6, “The New Evangelization” of Another Jesus? for more information.
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Stock.

To order copies of C is For Catholicism—An Evangelical Primer on Catholic Terminology, click here.

2015 YEAR IN REVIEW – PART 5 – TOP 10 ARTICLES BY LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS AUTHORS

See also Part 1 Year in Review | See also Part 2 Year in Review | See also Part 3 Year in Review | See Also Part 4 Year in Review

In order of date posted.

Caryl Matrisciana

Caryl Matrisciana

1/A Special Letter from Caryl Matrisciana – Reflections on Sorrow by Caryl Matrisciana

I’m so grateful to Jesus Christ for having walked the sorrows of this life and given us His example of how godly sorrow vs. worldly sorrow can be faced through the empowerment of His Holy Spirit, which is freely given to believers as His Gift of Grace (2 Corinthians 1:5-6; Hebrews 2:10;). The apostle Paul distinguishes two sorts of sorrow: “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2 Corinthians  7:10). The one is that sorrow for sin [that is] wrought by God [and] leads to repentance, while the other is a sorrow about worldly objects which, when separated from the fear of God, tends to death, temporal and eternal. (Unger Bible Dictionary)

Roger Oakland

Roger Oakland

2/Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome And How One Interview Revealed So Much by Roger Oakland

In 2014, Rick Warren (called “America’s Pastor) was interviewed by Catholic T.V. network host Raymond Arroyo. The interview took place at the Saddleback Church campus and was posted on YouTube by EWTN in April of 2014. Because I had written previously in 2013 about Rick Warren’s connections to Rome and to the Catholic convert Tony Blair (former prime minister of Britain), I was very aware that Rick Warren was heading down the path toward Rome. But not until I saw this interview did I realize just how far he has gone in that direction.

cedric-fisher

Cedric Fisher

3/The Unacknowledged War and the Wearing Down of the Saints by Cedric Fisher

In the wake of a brutal execution of Christians at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon in October 2015, the Obama administration announced the appointment of a new czar position to supposedly battle domestic terrorism.

Ray Yungen

Ray Yungen

4/Pope Francis and the Thomas Merton Connection by Ray Yungen

n 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected Pope Francis the First. This new pope immediately began causing ripples in the Catholic Church with his statements on certain issues. He also caused many to take notice of his unpapal lifestyle such as living in a guesthouse with twelve others rather than living in the papal apartments like previous popes. He projects a down-to-earth image that denotes compassion and trust. He has been called the people’s pope, someone who is your friend, someone you can trust. But there are certain things about Pope Francis’ coming on the scene that are being ignored by the media and most people.

smith

Warren B. Smith

  5/Be Still and Know That You are Not God!—God is Not “in” Everyone and Everything by Warren B. Smith

Our Spiritual Adversary would have everyone believe that we are all “one” because God is “in” everyone and everything. Using every promotional means possible—including a creative and ingenious perversion of quantum physics—he is attempting to convince the world and the church that while Jesus was Christ, so is everyone. And while Jesus was God, so is everyone else. To underscore this heretical New Age doctrine of God and Christ “in” everyone, he would have us further believe that nothing of any significance happened on the Cross of Calvary.

6/Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer and Why War Room Should Not Have Used Them by John Lanagan

Contemplative prayer, which Priscilla Shirer refers to as her “brand new way” and Beth Moore says is essential in really knowing God, is in reality an ancient prayer practice that is essentially the same as New Age or Eastern meditation though disguised with Christian terminology. Those who participate and enter the contemplative silence, as it is called, open themselves to great deception.

7/“For God So Loved the World . . . That Whosoever!” by Harry Ironside

Why do so many people think this is the greatest text in the Bible? There are other wonderful texts that dwell on the love of God, that show how men are delivered from judgment, that tell us how we may obtain everlasting life; but no other one verse, as far as I can see, gives us all these precious truths so clearly and so distinctly. So true is this that when the Gospel is carried into heathen lands, and missionaries want to give a synopsis of the Gospel to a pagan people, all they find it necessary to do, if they are going to a people that have a written language, is to translate and print this verse, and it tells out the story that they are so anxious for the people to hear.

Berit Kjos

Berit Kjos

8/The New Age, Occultism, and Our Children in Public Schools by Berit Kjos

Why would our country, so richly blessed by God, embrace the occult? What caused this drastic change in values? How could it have happened so seemingly fast?! Actually, the entire Western world had already been “softened up” by the 1960s when the rising rebellion against God erupted into public view.

9/D is for Deception: The Language of the “New” Christianity by Kevin Reeves

A number of years ago, a book written by emerging-church leaders Brian McLaren and Leonard Sweet was released. The book was called A is for Abductive: the language of the emerging church. Going through the alphabet, the authors identified many terms they hoped would be picked up by the younger generation, thus creating a unique emerging spiritual atmosphere. They called it a “primer with a mission.” That mission that McLaren, Sweet, and other like-minded change agents embrace has been successful in bringing in a new kind of “Christianity. . . .”

Lynn Lusby Pratt

Lynn Lusby Pratt

10/BIG NOISY GOD—Dispelling the Rumor that God Can Be Found “Only in the Silence” by Lynn Lusby Pratt

Have you heard the rumor going around—that God can be found “only in the silence”? Don’t buy it. Please understand. I love quiet. I drive for hours with the radio off, sit in the porch swing and listen to the birds, and lie on Gram’s quilt in the dark to watch the stars. I insist on quiet for Bible and prayer time.

New Glossary of Terms Project Needs Lighthouse Trails Readers’ Input

Close Up Of A Dirty Vintage TypewriterAfter many requests for this, Lighthouse Trails editors and LT author Kevin Reeves are putting together a booklet (or possibly a small book) that will contain a glossary of “new” spirituality terms and their definitions. These terms will fall into the categories of contemplative, emerging, church-growth, seeker-friendly, and New Age/New Spirituality. If you have terms you would like to see in this booklet, please e-mail your list of terms to us at comments@lighthousetrails.com. Here are a few that we will be including:

missional

emerging

at-one-ment

soul care

sacred space

contemplative

labyrinth

enneagram

hipster

We will also have a section at the back of the booklet/book with a list of Scripture verses that warn about spiritual deception. You can send any verses you would like to see included with your e-mail as well.

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Slain in the Spirit: Is it a Biblical Practice? by Kevin Reeves

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.

rp_BKT-KR-SL.jpgSlain in the Spirit—Is it a Biblical Practice?

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.

Whose Anointing?
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.

Endnotes:
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

NEW BOOKLET: The Perfect Storm of Apostasy – An Introduction to the Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators

The Perfect Storm of Apostasy – An Introduction to The Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators by Mary Danielsen is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Perfect Storm of Apostasy – An Introduction to The Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators, click here.

rp_bkt-md-kcp-lg.jpgThe Perfect Storm of Apostasy – An Introduction to The Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators

By Mary Danielsen

When speaking of spiritual things, what goes around comes around. This is true of every false movement within Christianity, especially in the last days, because the enemy is not going to let a perfectly good deception go to waste but rather will redesign anything to appeal to a subsequent generation. If a particular aberrant teaching is not rejected by the church when it first appears on the horizon by those who perceived it with spiritual eyes, then this movement or aberrant teaching will continue to lead people astray into a future generation.

Add to that the current social media technology wherein deception can attain an unprecedented level of exposure through multi-media, blogs, and conferences, and you have the recipe for a perfect storm of apostasy containing every unbiblical element imaginable. The latter-rain prophet movement is a perfect example of how this works. Regardless of the teaching, or how absurd it is, there will always be a following due to the church’s death of discernment today. With that in mind, I present to you some information of the current crop of “prophets” and “apostles” within the evangelical church. You can file this subject under “Last Days Deception,” along with everything else in Satan’s bag of tricks.

I’m goin’ to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come.—Fats Domino

Back in the mid 1980s, a modest tremblor rattled many churches in the midwest when Kansas City Fellowship registered on the Christian Richter scale. The buzz we experienced here in Wisconsin was that there was a “great move of the Lord” going on there, and the movers and shakers were prophesying and prognosticating the path or direction of people’s lives and the church as a whole. Enter a strange form of spiritual peer pressure, which proposed that if you wanted to follow the Spirit, you needed to go there because, well, you never know where it might lead and you don’t want to miss out “on what God is doing.”

People began to flock to Kansas and return to their hometown churches with dramatic tales of miracles, signs, wonders, and forthtelling. While this move was preceded by the Latter Rain movement of the 1940s, along with the Manifest Sons of God, Kingdom Now theology, the Word/Faith behemoth, and the five-fold ministry, the Kansas City Prophet movement seemed to catalyze it all, taking previous Pentecostal excesses, spinning them in some sort of spiritual centrifuge, and spewing it all forward for a new generation. Those who embraced a “more is better” version of Christianity found themselves prone to seeking out an experiential spirituality.

The core team of Mike Bickle, Bob Jones, John Paul Jackson, Rick Joyner, and Paul Cain became the primary prophetic celebrities. The very first aberration, that continues to this day in this and offspring movements, is the emphasis on raising up personalities who claim to have certain prophetic or apostolic authority. The instruction and prophecy of the Bible takes a back seat while through the elevation of man and the emphasis on experience, Scripture is no longer considered the final authority. In this storm of apostasy, the cult of church celebrity takes a back seat to no one here, to the great peril of the church. This is a foundational problem, and so you can expect everything to skew from that point, and skew it does.

Regarding the forthtelling by Kansas City Fellowship, a couple questions need to be asked. First, is God revealing new and shiny future revelations to mortals, and second, is this additional information meant for more than just a few select? If so, it is a big deal. A very big deal. Now, if He is not doing this and these people are deceived deceivers, that is very big deal #2. Which is it, and is the church sufficiently concerned about either premise? When all this started out, the church was not concerned at all; if it had been, we wouldn’t have half the mess we have today. I hope that by providing some background and history of the KC prophets, you may be able to come up with some answers.

Mike Bickle and John Wimber
Back in 1982, Mike Bickle claimed to receive a prophecy in Egypt, which started The Mess. According to the IHOP (International House of Prayer) website,

While visiting Cairo, Egypt, Mike Bickle heard the audible voice of the Lord say, “I will change the understanding and expression of Christianity in one generation.”1

“God” told Bickle to move to Kansas City and begin a global work. Thus the Kansas City Fellowship was born; it is worth noting that this has been the formula for the genesis of nearly every major cult in the 19th and 20th centuries. A young man (or woman) receives a prophecy or sees an angel telling him he is chosen to do A,B,C or D, which usually involves starting a church or movement. See Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, William Branham (founder of the Divine Healing Movement), and so forth.

Around the same time Bickle was entertaining voices and angels, a man named John Wimber was bringing his version of church-growth mathematics into the evangelical church. The paths of Wimber and Bickle intersect significantly later on. But starting back in the ’70s, after leaving the Quaker church, Wimber moved on to Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California to study church growth. He came to believe that the Pentecostals and charismatics were leading the way in church-growth models, so he sought to incorporate signs and wonders, believing “that the Gospel is largely ineffective without signs and wonders.”2

During his time at Fuller, Wimber was greatly influenced by C. Peter Wagner, who is considered by most to be the father of church-growth methodology. This methodology spread across state lines to Illinois, home of Bill Hybels’ mega-growth model, Willow Creek. Wagner, also father of all things related to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), brought the church another gift in the ’80s and ’90s—the “territorial spiritual warfare” falsehood, which taught a generation that we can “take cities for God” and rid the planet of demons so Jesus can return. This strange “warfare theology” and bad eschatology has been around long enough for any sane person to see that our cities and byways are no more “Christian” than they were before and in fact are rapidly degenerating; thus, the fruit of that movement is non-existent. But that too does not keep an entire generation from believing in and giving their hard-earned money to false prophets and wolves in sheep’s clothing.

C. Peter Wagner himself will say that John Wimber was his mentor and parrots Wimber’s view that the only way churches will grow and produce revival is if they are accompanied by signs and wonders.3 So regardless of what cart came before which horse, what happened to Wimber? Let’s pick up there so we can move forward to our KC prophets.

The Vineyard churches actually began in 1977 when Wimber resigned from Fuller and began to pastor. He requested that Calvary Chapel (a fast-growing group of evangelical churches under the leadership of founder and pastor, the late Chuck Smith) be his covering. However, Wimber sought increasing spiritual power through a combination of psychology and charismatic practices, looking for signs and wonders to explain every imaginable problem known to humans. His church began heading in a direction that was not compatible with Calvary Chapel (according to Chuck Smith’s “distinctives”) as Wimber was drawn to practices that emphasized being “slain in the Spirit,” aura reading, visualization, and other Eastern mystical practices.4 As he shifted completely to an experiential approach to ministry, with nothing off limits including everything from name-it-and-claim-it prosperity teachings to Catholic validity of miracles, Chuck Smith challenged him on his low view of Scriptures and increasingly bizarre practices. Seeing two possible directions for the church under his care to go, one being to stress the systematic teaching of Scripture, the other, to rely on signs and wonders to extrapolate and confirm subjective truth, Chuck Smith offered other Calvarys the choice to stay or go, but he maintained a stand to protect the flock from hyper-charismaticism.

Wimber went on to start the Vineyard churches, which went global. Incidentally, the “Toronto Blessing” was birthed at a Vineyard church—Toronto Airport Vineyard—which not only is proof of the fruit of their deeds but highlights the danger of emphasizing what is perceived as the Holy Spirit’s work over the atoning work of Christ. After founding the Vineyard movement, Wimber left to continue his studies at Fuller, further validating his spiritual worldview in a class he taught called “Signs and Wonders and Church Growth.”

Joel’s Army

The “Day of the Lord” is re-interpreted by the false prophets to mean that Christ will come to His Church and incarnate (become God in flesh) an army of believers—thus giving them supernatural qualities to execute judgment on the Church.5

According to Ernest Gruen, a Kansas City pastor and “contemporary” (for lack of a better word) of the KC pastors:

Bickle was already convinced early on then, that this was a special movement and the beginning of a “new order” of things. He believed that this “worldwide movement” would see over a billion conversions, headed up by 12 different key churches in America. Kansas City would “cross-pollinate” with Vineyard and become a training center for end-time prophets and apostles. He believed that the KC movement had been established by the “two resurrection angels” which were present at Jesus’ tomb.6

In addition to such a mindset, Bickle believed that in the last days, God would raise up 300,000 to be leaders in “Joel’s Army”; hundreds of apostles would be trained there, and an “authority structure” would be put into place to oversee the end-time church and handle all the prophecies and signs and wonders.7

“Prophet” Jack Deere, who served with John Wimber at Vineyard Christian Fellowship, explains their view of this end-time army of God:

How is God going to bring judgment upon His Church and then judgment upon the land after His Church? He’s going to do it with a large and mighty army.8

Hey, if you are going to dream, dream big or go home, I say. Who has time for just studying the Word, praying, serving the flock, and worshiping the King? Small potatoes if you have a mind so puffed up you cease to even make sense at some point.

Bob Jones’ Visions
Enter Bob Jones at this point. Bob’s is an interesting story. The fact that he was a major influence and mentor to Lakeland, Florida’s hyper-charismatic Todd Bentley should be enough information for those who follow such antics to make a decision to change course. Bob’s bizarre visions could fill a book, but back in the KC day, he was said to have had between three to five visions and bodily translations every night.

Jones’ visions began when he was only nine years old when the angel Gabriel supposedly appeared to him and presented a bull skin mantle, signifying his future office of a “seer.” He describes his young adult life as being one continuous alcohol binge, getting into trouble, and ending up in a mental institution for a brief stay. At that low point, he says that when he cried out to Jesus, “a voice spoke to me,” saying, ‘I can’t help you Bob, until you forgive them [people in his past]. Go kill them or forgive them.”9 His visions and interpretations of bizarre spiritual experiences, which are far too numerous to recount here, were foundational to the KC movement, and this is important to understand. Nevertheless, that did not prevent Bickle and his prophesying cohort Jones from laying hands on people and throwing “thus sayeth the Lord” around like softballs—believe me, it affected the personal lives of many.

Ernest Gruen, a Kansas City pastor and “contemporary” (for lack of a better word) of the KC pastors, wrote a very extensive exposé of the KC mess titled “What’s the Problem?” He also authored a 250-page indictment titled, “Documentation of the Aberrant Practices and Teachings of Kansas City Fellowship.” In this document, he outlines numerous power abuses, false prophecies, Scripture manipulation, and outright heresies that were engaged in by the leadership there.

From that report, Gruen explains how one Kansas City psychologist, who counseled with well over a hundred persons who attended KC fellowship, gives a glimpse into the harm that was done in the name of advancing the interests of Kansas City Fellowship (later renamed Grace Ministries). Over a short span of time, he heard of many personal prophecies predicting sudden deaths, illness, financial ruin, and other impending physical issues, which all proved to be false. Needless to say, there appeared to be zero regard for the spiritual safety of the flock.10

Another brave soul who came out with a well-done exposé was Albert Dager, author of the newsletter, “Media Spotlight.” Dager was one of the first in a line of discerning believers who began to see heresy and apostasy being birthed in the church back in the 80s. His article, “Latter Day Prophets—the Kansas City Connection” is a thorough treatment of the excesses and abuses that many suffered at the hands of supposedly “godly men.”

Children were also led into the fray as these men taught that God was raising up a “super generation” of powerful humans who would usher in the end times. Children in their charge were taught to have out-of-body experiences, see angels, be slain in the Spirit, or be drunk in the Spirit.11

As if this weren’t bad enough (again, barely a surface scratch here), we also have exponential false teaching through Paul Cain, Rick Joyner, Francis Frangipane, John Paul Jackson, Jim Goll, and David Parker, all ready to oversee and manipulate a congregation that went from a handful of people, to over 3000 in a very short period of time, in six congregations.

Paul Cain
Paul Cain, a Scotsman and contemporary of Latter Rain guru William Branham, believes he was visited by Jesus Himself at age eight and again at eighteen years old and called to hold healing services. He held all the same convictions of Jones and Bickle when it came to manifestations of spiritual power. As researcher Mike Oppenheimer points out, Cain said William Branham was, “[t]he greatest prophet that ever lived in any of my generations or any of the generations of revival I’ve lived through.”12

Cain was referred to by Bob Jones as a prophet’s prophet of sorts, and Cain’s prophetic record is as abysmal as the rest. At least one of his prophecies revolved around a time when he said all sporting events would be canceled and stadiums used for revivals, displaying resurrections and healings on a global scale.13 He claimed to have regular visitations from the Lord and that every hypocritical TV preacher would be exposed by the end of the ’80s.

Rick Joyner
Rick Joyner, founder of Morningstar Publications and Ministries, has been and remains an enigma on the Christian scene. In addition to Joyner’s significant role with this gang of prophets, he is a Supreme Council member of an organization called “The Knights of Malta” (an ecumenical—Orthodox, Evangelical, Catholic and Protestant—order). His own website confirms this to be true.14 According to an article by author and lecturer Roger Oakland,

The [Knights of Malta] order is sanctioned and “blessed” by the Vatican. . . . Pope Benedict XVI “invokes . . . the continued protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” Each “Knight” . . . is required to take a vow. In this vow, the Knight pledges himself to “be guided by the ideas of the Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem (started in 1090 and is the predecessor of the Knights of Malta).15

Joyner believes he is one of the warriors who will come against the Islamic horde on American soil. He is yet another self-proclaimed new breed of “super prophet” and “super-apostle,” all who intend to set up their earthly “kingdom of God” while redefining Christianity.

Where Are They today?
According to a 2005 Charisma Magazine article, Paul Cain admitted to being “involved in long-term homosexual activity and often got drunk, sometimes in public.”16 Bob Jones was discredited in 1991 when he was caught in a sexual misconduct scandal.17 He passed away in February of 2014 to glowing eulogies from his former contemporaries. Until his death in February of 2015, John Paul Jackson had his own ministry involving visions and dream interpretation. Mike Bickle, perhaps the highest profile prophet of them all, developed IHOP in 1999 (International House of Prayer) and continues on in his “prophetic” ways to this day. In addition to his heretical “prophetic ministry,” he has come out as a strong advocate for contemplative prayer (a prayer practice that involves eastern religion practices).18

John Wimber’s health began to spiral down in 1993 after being diagnosed with cancer. He suffered a stroke some time later, followed by bypass surgery. He died of a brain hemorrhage in 1997 after a fall at age 63.

Following all the prophet and apostle mayhem of the ’80s and ’90s, the “Seven Mountains (or Spheres) of Culture” is the latest deceptive fiasco by the NAR to rally evangelicals around their latter-day dominion-promoting theology with a mandate to “take back” the culture. Personalities like Bob Buford, C Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs (head prophetess of the movement), and Chuck Pierce continue to press their bizarre spiritual schemes. Included in this Seven Mountain teaching is legislating a form of morality in which all peoples will follow the Mosaic Law. Given the right political and cultural scenario, things could become remarkably dark and evil as we approach the consummation of this present age.

This assigns a different meaning to “go and make disciples of all nations.” By coercion? Through political channels? The church should reject the dominionism of these false prophets outright in favor of waiting for the return of Jesus Christ for His church, in a world completely ripe for judgment and mass deception.

This booklet is just the tip of the iceberg in exposing the Kansas City Prophets and other “prophetic” voices speaking to the church today. I hope this is enough information to show that this prophets and apostles movement is out-of-control and unbiblical. I encourage you to examine this more closely and weigh these things against Scripture. I have listed some helpful resources on the last page of this booklet.

The Bible warns that in the last days, there will be much deception and delusion.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

To order copies of The Perfect Storm of Apostasy – An Introduction to The Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators, click here.

Endnotes – see below

Resources to learn more about the Kansas City Prophets, IHOP, and the NAR

Let Us Reason Ministries with Mike Oppenheimer: www.letusreason.org.
Believers in Grace with Pastor Bill Randles: http://www.believersingrace.com.
Deception in the Church with Sandy Simpson: www.deceptioninthechurch.com.

Other Related Booklet Tracts by Lighthouse Trails
What You Need to Know About Jim Wallis and the Social-Justice Gospel by Mary Danielsen
I Just Had a Vision!” by Kevin Reeves
False Revival Coming? – Holy Laugher or Strong Delusion? by Warren B. Smith
The New Age Propensities of Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson by John Lanagan
10 Questions for those who claim The “Supreme Beings” of the Nations Are the True God by Sandy Simpson

Endnotes
1. http://www.ihopkc.org/anniversary.
2. Albert Dager, “The Vineyard: History, Teachings, and Practices” (Media Spotlight, 1996, http://www.mediaspotlight.org/pdfs/The%20Vineyard.pdf), p. 6.
3. http://www.talk2action.org/story/2009/5/28/19033/8502.
4. Albert Dager, “The Vineyard: History, Teachings, and Practices,” op. cit., p. 11.
5. Jewel Grewe (Discernment Ministries), “Joel’s Army”
6. Pastor Ernest Gruen and staff, “Documentation of the Aberrant Practices and Teachings of Kansas City Fellowship,” Section II: The Movement; Part B. (http://www.banner.org.uk/kcp/Abberent%20Practises.pdf).
7. Ibid.
8. Jack Deere, “It Sounds Like the Mother of All Battles “Joel’s Army” (Vineyard Ministries International. 1990, audiocassette message); as quoted in “Joel’s Army” by Mike Oppenheimer: http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain10.htm.
9. Mike Bickle with Bob Jones, “Visions and Revelations” transcript, series of five tapes (http://www.ihopnetwork.com/ihop/BobIHOP/FullText.pdf, 1988).
10. Pastor Ernest Gruen, “Documentation of the Aberrant Practices and Teachings of Kansas City Fellowship,” op. cit.
11. Ibid.
12. Paul Cain, “Selections from Kansas City Prophets,” taken from Mike Oppenheimer’s article “Prophet Paul Cain” (http://letusreason.org/Latrain5.htm).
13. A talk given by Paul Cain at Christ Chapel in Florence, Alabama on August 30, 1995 (evening session); see: “The Significance of Filled Stadiums” by Ed Tarkowski, http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/pgn3_sd2.htm.
14. http://www.morningstarministries.org/about/questions-and-answers/knights-malta-rick-joyner#.VWp5AyJ0zq4.
15. Read Roger Oakland’s article “Will the Evangelical Church Sell out the Gospel for a Dominionist Political Agenda?,” http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=7114.
16. J. Lee Grady, “Prophetic Minister Paul Cain Issues Public Apology for Immoral Lifestyle” (Charisma Magazine, http://www.charismamag.com/site-archives/154-peopleevents/people-and-events/1514-prophetic-minister-paul-cain-issues-public-apology-for-immoral-lifestyle).
17. “Pam Sollner, “Minister removed after confession of sexual misconduct” (The Olathe Daily News, November 13, 1991; http://www.religionnewsblog.com/16929/minister-removed-after-confession-of-sexual-misconduct).
18. See John Lanagan’s article “Mike Bickle of IHOP-KC Instructs followers on Contemplative Prayer”; http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=7574.

To order copies of The Perfect Storm of Apostasy – An Introduction to The Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators, click here.

Will Christians Replace Commitment to the Gospel for Commitment to a Unified Dominionist Agenda to “Save the Country”?

photos used with permission from bigstockphoto.com.

As America is fast approaching another presidential election year, Dominionist/Kingdom Now political and religious figures are joining forces with evangelical Christian groups. While having concern for the state of America is more than legitimate, will Christians replace commitment and loyalty to the Gospel for commitment and loyalty to a dominionist agenda? If they do, they will learn the hard way that compromise and a “whatever it takes” attitude will do more harm to the cause of Jesus Christ than good.

This article is not a statement that Christians should not be involved in or concerned about the political state of their countries. Rather, the intention of this article is to exhort believers to use discernment in understanding the times in which we live. It is to show how a present ecumenical, dominionist movement (that is heading toward a one-world religion to “establish the kingdom of God on earth”) is operating and deceiving many Christians. As Christians, we are to be witnesses for Jesus Christ and His Gospel message of salvation. But today, many Christians may be on the brink of buying into a plan that will ultimately create a global religion and global government.

The apostle Paul was very clear that we are not to entangle ourselves with those who say they are of the faith but preach “another gospel” (Romans 16:17, Titus 3:10, 2 Corinthians 11: 13-15).

The definition below of dominionism is helpful in understanding the goals of the dominionist movement:

The Gospel of Salvation [according to dominionism] is achieved by setting up the “Kingdom of God” as a literal and physical kingdom to be “advanced” on Earth in the present age. Some dominionists liken the New Testament Kingdom to the Old Testament Israel in ways that justify taking up the sword, or other methods of punitive judgment, to war against enemies of their kingdom. Dominionists teach that men can be coerced or compelled to enter the kingdom. They assign to the Church duties and rights that belong Scripturally only to Jesus Christ.

Dominionism shares some of the same ideologies as the emerging church, the primary similarity being the belief that a utopian “kingdom of God” will be set up on earth prior to the return of Jesus Christ, and in fact there won’t actually be a bodily physical return of Christ; but rather His presence will become more manifest within us the more the kingdom of God on earth is created. This is totally contrary to Scripture that tells us that Jesus Christ will return physically (where every eye shall see Him), and it will be to a world that has become completely chaotic and reprobate, not utopian and godly.

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. (Revelation 1:7)

An article titled “7 Mountains – Set to Go Viral” by Discernment Ministries examines the goals of this dominionist agenda, expressing “concern that this radical mandate for dominionism, and the leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) which birthed it, are becoming part of the political Right and evangelical mainstream.” The article states that the “7 mountains mandate is already becoming a unifying rally point among evangelicals from many diverse theological camps and from some very unexpected quarters.”

The Dominionist/Reclaiming our Culture mind-set is a dangerous path that leads, not to biblical truth, but rather to an ecumenical, Road to Rome, “Army for God” that will attempt to force culture to be “Christian” (something Jesus Christ or the disciples never mandated) and will end up leading all down that Road to Rome and eventually into a one-world religion and one-world government.

The Discernment Ministries article assesses:

Not only does the Kingdom of God have a different King to the kingdoms of the world, but it has different citizens, has a different future and it operates by different principles. One of the principles that makes God’s Kingdom radically different to that of the world is the lust for power as opposed to the willingness to serve.

“Jesus said: ‘Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.’” (Matthew 20:25-28).2

This is not to say that Christians should not try to be a light and the “salt” in a fallen culture (Matthew 5:13). But there is a difference between what Scripture instructs us to do and what the 7 Mountains movers teach; they  believe they are “building an actual PHYSICAL kingdom here on earth — structurally through man’s mechanisms. This is the 7 mountains that they want to take over. They believe they can take them over by political, scientific, and psycho-social means.” And like the New Agers, they also want to build the spiritual kingdom within, “which they believe they can perfect themselves here on earth via mysticism” thus “they will begin to ‘manifest’ Christ — become the sons of God.”3

A Civil War?

In a radio transcript titled “Blues and Grays,”  Roger Oakland of Understand the Times states:

Christianity is about to be purified through a civil war, they say. Is this behavior indicative of a revival as some claim? Or is this exactly what occurred in the past when “enlightened Christians” became the “manifested sons of God”?

[In] an article written by Rick Joyner called the Coming Civil War in the Church. . . . Joyner states he believes a civil war will soon be breaking out within the church. He states: “There is a huge portion of the church which is being held bondage to the same religious spirit that manifested itself to the Pharisees, and it will attack any new movement that arises in the church. The more anointed the new movement is, the more these traditionalists will be threatened by it, and the more vehemently they will attack it.”

Joyner’s solution for removing the people who oppose this “anointed new move” sounds rather militant. Listen to what he says:

“The longer we continue to compromise with such institutions which use manipulation or control for the sake of unity or for any reason the more it will ultimately cost us to remove the cancer from our midst.”

Joyner then went on to describe how the conflict in the church will develop:

“The coming spiritual civil war will be between the Blue’s and the Gray’s. In dreams and visions blue often represents heavenly-mindedness, and gray speaks of those who live by the power of their own minds – which is equivalent to the brain’s gray matter. This will be a conflict between those who may be genuine Christians, but who live mostly according to their natural minds and human wisdom, and those who follow the Holy Spirit.” 4

In Kevin Reeves book, The Other Side of the River, Reeves discusses Rick Joyner. Reeves, a former elder of a Latter Rain/dominionist church, states:

Joyner’s blatant Latter Rain beliefs were assimilated into our congregation on the wings of the mythical end-times revival which would supposedly sweep millions into the kingdom. A super-spiritual elite group of prophets and apostles will be raised up, Joyner states, and will transform the world of these last days, doing greater miracles than even the apostles who walked with our Lord. Whole nations will tremble at the mention of their names.

Interesting. Sounds a lot easier to deal with than Jesus’ prophecy that “[Y]e shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9).5

In Final Quest, Joyner says he hears from a dead saint (one of the foolish virgins mentioned in Scripture), who has told him the things that are to come. According to one researcher, “Rick Joyner was one of the ‘Kansas City Prophets’ who now wields considerable influence through his ‘prophecies’ about a coming militant church.”6 Joyner states:

We are coming to the times when passive Christianity and passive Christians will cease to exist. There is a maturity, a discipline, and a divine militancy coming upon the people of God. Those who have succumbed to humanistic and idealistic theologies may have a hard time with this, but we must understand that God is a military God. The title that He uses ten times more than any other in Scripture is “the Lord of hosts,” or “Lord of armies.” There is a martial aspect to His character that we must understand and embrace for the times and the job to which we are now coming.7

We know that the Lord will return with a cloud of witnesses to bring down judgment on the earth, but we don’t believe Rick Joyner or the self-proclaimed apostles and prophets will be leading the way.

Will the Christian Church Sell Out?

During the years just prior to the 2008 presidential election, an all out effort was made by leaders in the emerging church to help get elected a liberal, far left president. Many of these leaders, such as Rick Warren, said things that made many conservative Christians feel guilty for voting on moral issues such as abortion and homosexuality. Books by emerging “progressive” authors suggested that Christians shouldn’t even become involved in politics (e.g. Shane Claiborne’s book, Jesus for President) (see our booklet on this issue).  And while the older conservatives were being manipulated not to vote, young Christians were being persuaded to vote differently than their “old fashioned parents,” to vote for social justice regardless of biblical standards or lack of them.  And, well, no need to say what these emerging efforts did to America.

No single political party can save the world. The Bible says that the closer we draw to the second coming of Christ, the worse the state of the world will be in. Rather than “evolving” into perfection, mankind is disintegrating.8 It’s because of man’s sin and a world that has for the most part rejected the Savior of the world. Revelation 12:9 states that the day will come when Satan will “deceiveth the whole world.” Yet just as Jesus gave the coin to pay the tax to Caesar, so too we as Christians can be responsibly active in our world. But foremost, let us remember that the Bible says we cannot serve both God and man at the same time (Matthew 6:24).The true calling of born-again believers is to preach the Gospel, make disciples, and contend for the faith. And we must never compromise by embracing dominionist agendas and interspiritual Peace Plans and joining forces with those whose goals and ambitions are contrary to the Christian commission given to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We must ask ourselves, is a militant dominionist agenda what we really want to embrace and support? Is it what we want to serve?

In a powerful radio interview a few years ago, former radio host Ingrid Schlueter addressed this dominionist agenda. She stated:

We have a group of leaders who are horrified with the moral collapse in this country. I am horrified with the cultural collapse in this country. We have a problem in identifying and discerning why our culture is collapsing. What we are seeing around us is not fruit of Christians not caring. It’s fruit of Christians abandoning the gospel. And if we’re not going to define the gospel along biblical terms, and we’re going to allow false teachers in among us, and we’re going to link arms with said false teachers, and we’re going to work with them who are preaching another gospel, who are teaching lies, if we’re going to link arms with them to save the culture, we are not only engaged in a futile effort, but God is going to, in turn, judge that conduct. Because judgment, Scripture tells us, begins at the house of God.9

An article on this issue states:

The sad fact is that great opportunities to present the message of the gospel of salvation are being lost. Precious time is being wasted . . . Those who truly need to hear a message of repentance, salvation and hope aren’t being witnessed to. Discipleship isn’t happening. . . . It is a false gospel that preaches that the culture/nation can be changed rather than focusing on the lost who will perish in hell if they do not repent. . . . And when the lost are truly saved and born again, their lives will change and this is when the miracles begin to happen and when the culture around them begins to be positively impacted by the salt and light of their changed lives.10

Lighthouse Trails is dedicated to warning the sheep about last-days spiritual deception. While it is difficult to have to sound this warning at a time when many are concerned about the state of their countries and the world at large, Jesus made it very clear about how we are to view the world, behave in the world, and reach out to the unsaved. He never told his disciples to form associations with those promoting spiritual deception in order to establish a kingdom on earth. On the contrary, Jesus said:

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (John 15:18-19)

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)

My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. (John 18:36)

Notes:

  1. “Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism”: http://www.crossroad.to
  2. “Seven Mountains Set to Go Viral
  3. Discernment Ministries in an e-mail conversation on 8/15/2011 with Lighthouse Trails.
  4. “Blues and Grays” by Roger Oakland: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/radio%201299%20BLUES%20AND%20GRAYS.doc
  5. Kevin Reeves, The Other Side of the River, (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2007), p. 99.
  6. http://www.discernment-ministries.org/ChristianImperialism.htm
  7. “TAKING THE LAND—“We Are Establishing Our Eternal Place And Position Here On Earth” by Rick Joyner, 11/29/05, http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=3617
  8. Please watch Roger Oakland’s powerful DVD lecture series on evolution vs creation. It shows the connection between evolution and the current spiritual deception in the world today: Searching for the Truth on Origins.
  9. VCY America interview with Ingrid Schlueter
  10. “May Day Prayers: What Repentance?”:  http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/010/discernment/5-may-day.htm

Other Resources:

CrossTalk on WorldNetDaily Article – Challenge to Dominionist Leaders – The Gospel Should Come First!

Jesus Camp Film Reveals the Mystical and the Militant, Not Biblical Christianity

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR)

The Coalescing Of The Christian Right With Apostolic Dominionism

Will the Evangelical Church Help Usher in the “Age of Enlightenment


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