Lighthouse Trails Research Journal

         LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESEARCH  
        June 21, 2016
    LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS PUBLISHING

** Don't miss this article: Evangelical/Ecumenical Leaders Together in “The Gathering” Raises Serious Questions

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Interview with Roger Oakland: Setting the Record Straight

The following audio interview took place on June 15th, 2016 with Roger Oakland and a Calvary Chapel pastor. We believe this interview sets the record straight in a number of areas. If you cannot hear this audio YouTube interview below, click here.

 

 

 

 

Roger with some of the Bryce Home children in Myanmar

Roger with some of the Bryce Home children in Myanmar[/caption] Within hours of this interview, Roger Oakland was rushed to the hospital for a high blood pressure scare. We are happy to report that he was able to go home a few hours later and is doing fine. Please pray for him as he continues in his ministry work.  

Fractal Theory in The Shack (A Still-Popular Book Among Christians)

By Jennifer P.
Used with permission.

I finished reading my copy of William P. Young's, The Shack and had something happen that I want to share for those who are interested. While reading The Shack, I rented a movie that came out last year that also, like The Shack, involved some controversy. The movie was called, The Seeker, and it's based on a book titled, The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper. The Seeker was said to have New Age undertones and was also, like The Shack, being marketed to Christians. Because of my interest in cults and also in the New Age movement, I decided to watch the movie to see if indeed the claims were accurate. This is where it began to get interesting.

In the movie, The Seeker, a young boy is a chosen one who is to find signs hidden throughout time, which will help fight against the encroaching darkness. I won't go into the plot too much but what I will say is, in the movie, each sign that the boy is to find is known as a "fractal." When I heard the term "fractal," right away I realized that I had heard that same term somewhere else recently.  Later on that day I remembered where I had heard it … The Shack.

Beginning in Ch. 9 in, The Shack, which is titled, "A Long Time Ago in a Garden Far, Far Away," we read about how the character Sarayu (who represents the Holy Spirit) has created a garden, and we learn on page 129, that the garden is a "fractal." We learn about fractals from Sarayu when she says, "A fractal is something considered simple and orderly that is actually composed of repeated patterns no matter how magnified. A fractal is almost infinitely complex. I love fractals, so I put them everywhere." [1] Then we continue reading through the rest of Ch. 9, which is filled with ideas that are not only relativistic, but are also panentheistic, which means that God is in all.

Digital Fractal on Black | bigstockphoto.com
Digital Fractal on Black | bigstockphoto.com

After noticing that "fractals" were mentioned in, The Seeker, and in The Shack, and remembering that the movie and the book were touted as having New Age undertones, I decided the common term found in both was a coincidence that needed to be further explored. I began to read many critiques about, The Shack, to see if any of them mentioned the significance of the word "fractal," only to find that none of them approached the subject. So I decided to do a search on the Internet using the words "fractal" and "New Age"… bingo!!!

What I discovered was a widely held belief in New Age philosophy known as "Fractal Theory" also known as "Chaos Theory." There is a phrase spoken among New Agers in which they say to one another, "As above, so below." In the New Age movement, "Fractal Theory" or "As above, so below," means that macrocosmos is the same as microcosmos. The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man, man is the same as the cell, the cell is the same as the atom … and so on. [2] New Agers claim that "Fractal Theory," or the phrase "As above, so below," comes from something known as the Emerald Tablet, and embraces the entire system of traditional and modern magic. According to New Age philosophy, the phrase "As above, so below" was inscribed on the tablet in cryptic wording by someone known as Hermes Trismegistus. The Emerald Tablet is one of the most revered magical documents in Western Occultism. [3]

So, how do "fractals" or "Fractal Theory" play into the phrase "As above, so below?" In New Age thought, "Fractal Theory" and "As above, so below" are synonymous. They attempt to explain the origin and meaning of the universe. "Fractal Theory" says that in looking at the big picture of nature, we see an evolution of consciousness from small systems of consciousness, to progressively larger and more complex systems of consciousness. Basically, conscious beings are like fractals evolving to ever greater scales of magnitude. Along the way, we follow the same basic patterns, but at each stage of consciousness we find unique variations in this evolving process.  These variations can easily lead to confusing chaos if you don't know the underlying patterns, or "fractals," which are the basic laws. New Agers say if you know what to look for, which are the key fractal structures, it's analogous to looking beyond millions of individual trees and realizing that what you really see is a forest … the unity behind the great diversity of nature. [4] To sum it up, "God" is both our origin and our aim, thus the core belief of the New Age movement which says we need to have a self-realization that we are all gods.

After doing more Internet searches to get a handle on the term "fractal" (I also ran searches with the term fractal combined with popular New Agers such as Eckhart Tolle, Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Alice Bailey), I came to realize that "fractals" and "Fractal Theory" are not only a core belief in New Age thought, but are the very foundation of what defines the New Age which states that we are evolving from the Age of Pisces, represented by a mess or a chaos, and are moving into the Age of Aquarius, represented by the "fractal" or the self-realization that we are all gods.  The term "fractal" was coined by Polish mathematician, Benoit Mandelbrot. [5] But, as is typical of the New Age movement, they latched onto Mandelbrot's theory, spiritualized it, and then made it their own. [6]

Now for those of you who have a copy of The Shack, turn to page 138 and read where the character, Sarayu, tells the main character, Mack, that the garden which Mack described as "the mess," is his very soul. Sarayu proclaims to Mack, "This mess is you! Together, you and I, we have been working with a purpose in your heart. And it is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process (evolving). To you it seems like a mess, but to me, I see a perfect pattern emerging and growing alive – a living fractal." [7]

Another interesting fact about the New Age phrase, "As above, so below," which is synonymous with the term, "fractal," in New Age thought, is that it's also used in the popular paraphrase of the bible known as, The Message, written by Eugene Peterson. In, The Message, Matthew 6:9-10 where we find the Lord's prayer, it reads, "Our Father in heaven, reveal who you are. Set the world right, do what's best – As above, so below." [8] Eugene Peterson's recommendation of The Shack, is found not only on its front cover, but also on it's first page beneath where it says, "What others are saying about The Shack." Peterson's comment states, "When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of The Shack." [9]  I disagree and would suggest that what's being "cross-fertilized" is a biblical world view with a New Age world view.

After studying New Age philosophy by breaking out my old copy of Kingdom of the Cults, by Dr. Walter Martin [10], going to the library to check out a New Age book titled, As Above So Below, by Ronald S. Miller,  and continuing to scour New Age sites on the Internet, it became obvious to me that The Shack is filled with New Age thought and Eastern mysticism. I did not come to this conclusion by reading critiques, but found it by doing my own homework. It is my opinion that somewhere along the way, William P. Young has been deeply influenced by New Age thought. This naturally leads to my next question … is William P. Young a New Ager, or is he himself a Christian who's been deceived? I have no way of knowing the answer to that question, but what I do know is, after all of my studies, and listening online to William P. Young speak at Mariner's Church [11], along with reading The Shack for myself, what Mr. Young teaches when he speaks, and the message his book conveys, is not orthodox biblical teaching, but in fact is New Age thought and Eastern mysticism interspersed with some Christian terms.

My encouragement to everyone is to listen to the warnings of the late Dr. Walter Martin. His call to Christians was to know the word of God so we would be able to spot counterfeits. [12] Walter Martin's heart was so heavy because of the lack of discernment within the Christian church. His call to Christians took place back in the 1980s. His fear was since the New Age had already infiltrated our society through books, seminars, and business philosophy, that it was only a matter of time before it would infiltrate the church.  Dr. Martin hit the nail on the head and was right to sound the alarm. Now 25 years later, the New Age has indeed infiltrated the church, so much so that what is orthodox Christianity, and what is New Age philosophy, is becoming blurred. It is so important that we heed Hebrews 4:12-13:

 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Only by studying and knowing God's word, which is truth, can we as Christians gain biblical discernment to spot the counterfeits.

Footnotes:
[1] The Shack, William P. Young, Windblown Media 2007, p. 129.
[2]  http://www.pagannews.com/cgi-bin/spirit.pl?40.
[3] As Above So Below-Paths to Spiritual Renewal in Daily Life, Ronald S. Miller & The Editors of New Age Journal, Penguin Putnam, intro. pp. xi-xv.
[4] http://www.fractalwisdom.com/.
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benoit_Mandelbrot.
[6] http://www.naturalworldhealing.com/fractalinformation.htm.
[7] The Shack, William P. Young, Windblown Media 2007, p. 138.
[8] The Message, Eugene Peterson, paraphrase of Matt. 6:9-10.
[9] The Shack, William P. Young, Windblown Media 2007, inside cover.
[10] Kingdom of the Cults, Dr. Walter Martin, Bethany House 1997, Ch. 11.
[11] http://web.archive.org/web/20120719090733/http://www.marinerschurch.org/theshack/av/index.html.
[12] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68LyjLu2SGw.

Related Resource:

The Shack and Its New Age Leaven by Warren B. Smith

 

Interview with Roger Oakland: Setting the Record Straight
Fractal Theory in The Shack (A Still-Popular Book Among Christians)
Evangelical/Ecumenical Leaders Together in “The Gathering” Raises Serious Questions
The Changing Face of the Southern Baptist Convention
Vanderbilt University Founded by Methodist Church to Offer Sex Change Surgeries to Students

Three Biblical Texts Older Than Estimated

BRYCE HOMES IN KENYA - A MISSIONS PROGRAM WORTH SUPPORTING
LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS TOPICAL BOOKLETS - NOW 94 TITLES - HELPING THOUSANDS OF CHRISTIANS SHARE TRUTH
NEW BOOKLET: Beware of Bethel: A Brief Summary of Bill Johnson’s Unbiblical Teachings
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2013 LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS YEAR IN REVIEW
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Evangelical/Ecumenical Leaders Together in “The Gathering” Raises Serious Questions

On June 13, Lighthouse Trails reported on an event called Together 2016 that will take place this summer in Washington DC. We explained that organizer Nick Hall was bringing together evangelical, emerging, charismatic, and Catholic leaders for the ecumenical purpose of uniting together. A special video appearance by Pope Francis will be part of the event. A similar event (but without the Pope) has been announced. The Gathering: A National Solemn Assembly will take place in September in Dallas, Texas, and while there doesn’t appear to be any direct promotion of the Roman Catholic religion as there is with Together 2016, there is a definite united-we-stand-regardless-of-our-beliefs scenario in The Gathering.

leadersThe Gathering motto is “One Vision, One Voice, One Agenda.” The mission statement says:

The Gathering has one purpose: to unite the Body of Christ in America – all believers, regardless of race, age, or denomination – in prayer for forgiveness, wisdom, and provision for our nation.

To further explain its purpose, The Gathering website states:

Whenever a solemn assembly or sacred gathering has been called in Scripture, it has usually been called by those in leadership – whether that be a priest, prophet or king – and it has usually been called for leadership first. Even in America, our historical records verify that prior to every national awakening, the spiritual leadership of the day has placed a heavy emphasis on gathering in smaller groups for fasting and prayer which then led to larger gatherings and greater change.

National revival must begin in the heart and in the home before it can spread throughout communities and nations.

But a question that begs an answer is: What would “national revival” look like considering the condition of the church and its leaders today?

For example, James Robison, one of the speakers at The Gathering, has shown on many occasions his ecumenical stance with regard to the Catholic Church. For instance, Robison stated in 2014: “I believe there is an important spiritual awakening beginning in the hearts of those truly committed to Christ in the Protestant and Catholic communities. Is it possible that Pope Francis may prove to be an answer not only to the prayers of Catholics, but also those known as Protestants?” (emphasis added) (*see below)

At least two of the speakers at The Gathering, Priscilla Shirer and Max Lucado, promote contemplative spirituality  (a belief system that Christian leaders continue to ignore even though it has been the cause of New Age occultic practices coming into the church).

Two of the speakers at The Gathering – Greg Laurie and James Robison – have both endorsed a book by Steve Berger, Have Heart, in which Berger promotes the idea of necromancy.  Laurie has also promoted the ecumenical Rick Warren on different occasions – see more)

Ann Graham Lotz (another Gathering speaker) recently sent out a letter to her followers promoting prayer circles and an ancient mystic named Honi. When she was challenged about this, she responded by defending her statements on Honi and prayer circles. We are not saying this suddenly makes Lotz a contemplative advocate, but why would a Christian leader promote a ritual of prayer circles yet say nothing of warning about mystical practices that have entered the church?

Nick Hall (another Gathering speaker) is the man who is directing the Together 2016 that will occur in July in Washington DC, in which Pope Francis will deliver a video message of unity. There’s no question about his ecumenical persuasions.

Bishop Ray Sutton

Bishop Ray Sutton of The Gathering is Dean of the Province and Ecumenical Affairs of the Anglican Church in North America and is involved in a number of ecumenical (road to rome) activities. Sutton also advocates for the Catholic transubstantiation of the communion elements (a re-crucifixion of Christ) (click here and here for some more information on Sutton).

And last, Gathering speaker Leith Anderson is an early pioneer in the emerging church movement. Anderson once said:

The only way to cope and be effective during this period of structural change in society is to change some of the ways we view our world and the church. It is what some call a paradigm shift—a new way of looking at something. Such a shift will allow us to view our changing world with new perspective. It is like a map. Old maps from 1950 may have sufficed before the construction of interstate highways and the expansion of major cities, but new maps are needed now. Likewise, we need a paradigm shift for the future. (A Church for the 21st Century, p. 17).

Sadly, the evangelical church has gone through that paradigm shift now and presents a “new” Christianity (progressive, emerging, ecumenical, contemplative).

Christian leaders are hoping for a “spiritual” or “national awakening,” but how can the nation be awakened spiritually (and biblically) when Christian leaders are leading “the Body of Christ in America” in the wrong direction and not in a manner that is in accordance with the Word of God?

How is it so many Christian leaders find it so vital to show spiritual comradeship with all people, thinking this is how the world can be saved? We’re not talking about humanity sharing a common kindness and respect toward one another or about people of different social, racial, and political views working together in various projects and efforts. We are talking about spiritual unity. While a Christian can (and should) live together in peace and harmony among fellow humans as much as is possible, there cannot be spiritual communion or fellowship with those outside the biblical faith (which is that faith solely focused on the Gospel message of Jesus Christ through His atoning work on the Cross as the only means of salvation).

How can Christian leaders help our nation when so many of them are deceived themselves and partaking in (whether they realize it or not) blurring the lines that separate the Gospel of Jesus Christ from every other belief system? At the risk of upsetting people who admire and follow some of these leaders, these figures have become the blind leading the blind. They promote all kinds of dangerous and unbiblical ideas, books, practices, and people and show no remorse, humility, or willingness to change when they are challenged for doing these things. These things ought not to be so by those claiming to be the leaders of the Christian church.


* Regarding Robison’s ecumenism, also see “TV Preachers [Copeland, Robison] Glowingly Describe Meeting with Pope to Tear Down ‘Walls of Division.’

The Changing Face of the Southern Baptist Convention

LTRP Note: Posted for information and research purposes. Incidentally, Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is one of the scheduled speakers for the ecumenical (Protestant/Evangelical/Catholic) upcoming event, Together 2016 (see our recent article “Dress Rehearsal for a False Revival?”).

“Southern Baptists Go Beyond Conservative Politics at Meeting”

Ronnie Floyd – President of SBC

By Travis Loller
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Southern Baptist Convention has been closely associated with conservative politics for years, but at its annual meeting this week the nation’s largest Protestant denomination showed that its concerns are becoming more diverse along with its membership.

Where 20 years ago the convention voted to boycott Disney for promoting homosexuality, on Tuesday, delegates passed a resolution extending love and compassion to the victims of the recent shooting at an Orlando gay night club. The resolution also asked Southern Baptists to donate blood and offer other forms of support.

Southern Baptists haven’t changed their belief that sexual relations between same-sex couples are sinful, but it is no longer acceptable to denounce gay people. Click here to continue reading.

Vanderbilt University Founded by Methodist Church to Offer Sex Change Surgeries to Students

By Garrett Haley
Christian News Network

NASHVILLE – A private university in Tennessee that was founded by the Methodist Church will soon begin covering transgender-related surgeries under its student insurance plans, drawing sharp criticism from a local congresswoman.

Vanderbilt University is a private school in Nashville, Tennessee. For the first 40 years of its existence, Vanderbilt was under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. However, the school and the church severed their ties with each other in 1914.

According to a report from Vanderbilt’s student newspaper, the school will soon begin covering transgender-related surgeries under the student insurance plan. Medical documentation obtained by Christian News Network shows that the operations will be covered just like “any other eligible service” once the policy goes into effect at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, meaning students will not have to pay for the surgeries out of pocket. Click here to continue reading.

Related Information:

Looking for a Christian College for Your Child in 2016 – Better Be Careful!

 

 

Three Biblical Texts Older Than Estimated

Courtesy The Berean Call

Studying Ancient Handwriting Reveals Biblical Texts are Older Than Estimated

By using handwriting analysis technology, Israeli scholars from a number of fields have concluded that certain ancient biblical texts are older than originally thought.

ABCNews.com reports that a Tel Aviv University team of doctoral students in mathematics, math professors, archaeologists, and a physicist used technology similar to that used by intelligence agencies and banks in analyzing signatures in order to examine the ancient handwriting.

The handwriting itself is not from a biblical text, but is made up of inscriptions on ceramic shards which were discovered at the site of an ancient military fortress in southern Israel.

The scholars used multispectral imaging to reconstruct Hebrew letters that had been erased with time. They then applied a computer algorithm to analyze the handwriting. Click here to continue reading.

 

BRYCE HOMES IN KENYA - A MISSIONS PROGRAM WORTH SUPPORTING

The Bryce Homes for Widows and Children program by Understand the Times is continuing on, now in 7 countries. The photos below are from some of the Bryce families in Kenya. If you would like to be a part of this biblically based, Gospel-focused missions program, visit: http://www.lighthousetrails.com/content/17-bryce-homes-international. You can make one-time donations or become monthly donors.

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LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS TOPICAL BOOKLETS - NOW 94 TITLES - HELPING THOUSANDS OF CHRISTIANS SHARE TRUTH

Lighthouse Trails began publishing the topical booklets three and a half years ago. We now have 94 vital titles, and thousands of people have been helped by these booklets, which share truth, warning, and the Gospel. Below are the various categories of booklet titles. These beautifully done, well-written booklets (5 1/2" X 8 1/2") are designed to pass out to others, and at just $1.95 each, they are affordable for everyone. Plus, each booklet has quantity discounts as low as 50% off that price.

From Jesus Calling to Bethel Church to contemplative prayer, the New Age, homosexuality, native spirituality, and the emerging church (not to mention evolution, child sexual abuse, Israel, and the road to Rome), these booklets are covering topics that other Christian publishers are not dealing with. We also have booklets especially to encourage and others on salvation.

 

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

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

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

By Bill Randles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I. The Word of Faith Movement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

II. Incarnation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

III. The “Anointing”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

False prophecy

Visualization

“Fire tunnels”

Grave soaking trips5

Visualization, contemplative prayer, and meditation practices

Chanting, soaking, and spiritual drunkenness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(See related booklets.)

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

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

Fractal Theory in The Shack (A Still-Popular Book Among Christians)

By Jennifer P.
Used with permission.

I finished reading my copy of William P. Young's, The Shack and had something happen that I want to share for those who are interested. While reading The Shack, I rented a movie that came out last year that also, like The Shack, involved some controversy. The movie was called, The Seeker, and it's based on a book titled, The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper. The Seeker was said to have New Age undertones and was also, like The Shack, being marketed to Christians. Because of my interest in cults and also in the New Age movement, I decided to watch the movie to see if indeed the claims were accurate. This is where it began to get interesting.

In the movie, The Seeker, a young boy is a chosen one who is to find signs hidden throughout time, which will help fight against the encroaching darkness. I won't go into the plot too much but what I will say is, in the movie, each sign that the boy is to find is known as a "fractal." When I heard the term "fractal," right away I realized that I had heard that same term somewhere else recently.  Later on that day I remembered where I had heard it … The Shack.

Beginning in Ch. 9 in, The Shack, which is titled, "A Long Time Ago in a Garden Far, Far Away," we read about how the character Sarayu (who represents the Holy Spirit) has created a garden, and we learn on page 129, that the garden is a "fractal." We learn about fractals from Sarayu when she says, "A fractal is something considered simple and orderly that is actually composed of repeated patterns no matter how magnified. A fractal is almost infinitely complex. I love fractals, so I put them everywhere." [1] Then we continue reading through the rest of Ch. 9, which is filled with ideas that are not only relativistic, but are also panentheistic, which means that God is in all.

Digital Fractal on Black | bigstockphoto.com
Digital Fractal on Black | bigstockphoto.com

After noticing that "fractals" were mentioned in, The Seeker, and in The Shack, and remembering that the movie and the book were touted as having New Age undertones, I decided the common term found in both was a coincidence that needed to be further explored. I began to read many critiques about, The Shack, to see if any of them mentioned the significance of the word "fractal," only to find that none of them approached the subject. So I decided to do a search on the Internet using the words "fractal" and "New Age"… bingo!!!

What I discovered was a widely held belief in New Age philosophy known as "Fractal Theory" also known as "Chaos Theory." There is a phrase spoken among New Agers in which they say to one another, "As above, so below." In the New Age movement, "Fractal Theory" or "As above, so below," means that macrocosmos is the same as microcosmos. The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man, man is the same as the cell, the cell is the same as the atom … and so on. [2] New Agers claim that "Fractal Theory," or the phrase "As above, so below," comes from something known as the Emerald Tablet, and embraces the entire system of traditional and modern magic. According to New Age philosophy, the phrase "As above, so below" was inscribed on the tablet in cryptic wording by someone known as Hermes Trismegistus. The Emerald Tablet is one of the most revered magical documents in Western Occultism. [3]

So, how do "fractals" or "Fractal Theory" play into the phrase "As above, so below?" In New Age thought, "Fractal Theory" and "As above, so below" are synonymous. They attempt to explain the origin and meaning of the universe. "Fractal Theory" says that in looking at the big picture of nature, we see an evolution of consciousness from small systems of consciousness, to progressively larger and more complex systems of consciousness. Basically, conscious beings are like fractals evolving to ever greater scales of magnitude. Along the way, we follow the same basic patterns, but at each stage of consciousness we find unique variations in this evolving process.  These variations can easily lead to confusing chaos if you don't know the underlying patterns, or "fractals," which are the basic laws. New Agers say if you know what to look for, which are the key fractal structures, it's analogous to looking beyond millions of individual trees and realizing that what you really see is a forest … the unity behind the great diversity of nature. [4] To sum it up, "God" is both our origin and our aim, thus the core belief of the New Age movement which says we need to have a self-realization that we are all gods.

After doing more Internet searches to get a handle on the term "fractal" (I also ran searches with the term fractal combined with popular New Agers such as Eckhart Tolle, Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Alice Bailey), I came to realize that "fractals" and "Fractal Theory" are not only a core belief in New Age thought, but are the very foundation of what defines the New Age which states that we are evolving from the Age of Pisces, represented by a mess or a chaos, and are moving into the Age of Aquarius, represented by the "fractal" or the self-realization that we are all gods.  The term "fractal" was coined by Polish mathematician, Benoit Mandelbrot. [5] But, as is typical of the New Age movement, they latched onto Mandelbrot's theory, spiritualized it, and then made it their own. [6]

Now for those of you who have a copy of The Shack, turn to page 138 and read where the character, Sarayu, tells the main character, Mack, that the garden which Mack described as "the mess," is his very soul. Sarayu proclaims to Mack, "This mess is you! Together, you and I, we have been working with a purpose in your heart. And it is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process (evolving). To you it seems like a mess, but to me, I see a perfect pattern emerging and growing alive – a living fractal." [7]

Another interesting fact about the New Age phrase, "As above, so below," which is synonymous with the term, "fractal," in New Age thought, is that it's also used in the popular paraphrase of the bible known as, The Message, written by Eugene Peterson. In, The Message, Matthew 6:9-10 where we find the Lord's prayer, it reads, "Our Father in heaven, reveal who you are. Set the world right, do what's best – As above, so below." [8] Eugene Peterson's recommendation of The Shack, is found not only on its front cover, but also on it's first page beneath where it says, "What others are saying about The Shack." Peterson's comment states, "When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of The Shack." [9]  I disagree and would suggest that what's being "cross-fertilized" is a biblical world view with a New Age world view.

After studying New Age philosophy by breaking out my old copy of Kingdom of the Cults, by Dr. Walter Martin [10], going to the library to check out a New Age book titled, As Above So Below, by Ronald S. Miller,  and continuing to scour New Age sites on the Internet, it became obvious to me that The Shack is filled with New Age thought and Eastern mysticism. I did not come to this conclusion by reading critiques, but found it by doing my own homework. It is my opinion that somewhere along the way, William P. Young has been deeply influenced by New Age thought. This naturally leads to my next question … is William P. Young a New Ager, or is he himself a Christian who's been deceived? I have no way of knowing the answer to that question, but what I do know is, after all of my studies, and listening online to William P. Young speak at Mariner's Church [11], along with reading The Shack for myself, what Mr. Young teaches when he speaks, and the message his book conveys, is not orthodox biblical teaching, but in fact is New Age thought and Eastern mysticism interspersed with some Christian terms.

My encouragement to everyone is to listen to the warnings of the late Dr. Walter Martin. His call to Christians was to know the word of God so we would be able to spot counterfeits. [12] Walter Martin's heart was so heavy because of the lack of discernment within the Christian church. His call to Christians took place back in the 1980s. His fear was since the New Age had already infiltrated our society through books, seminars, and business philosophy, that it was only a matter of time before it would infiltrate the church.  Dr. Martin hit the nail on the head and was right to sound the alarm. Now 25 years later, the New Age has indeed infiltrated the church, so much so that what is orthodox Christianity, and what is New Age philosophy, is becoming blurred. It is so important that we heed Hebrews 4:12-13:

 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Only by studying and knowing God's word, which is truth, can we as Christians gain biblical discernment to spot the counterfeits.

Footnotes:
[1] The Shack, William P. Young, Windblown Media 2007, p. 129.
[2]  http://www.pagannews.com/cgi-bin/spirit.pl?40.
[3] As Above So Below-Paths to Spiritual Renewal in Daily Life, Ronald S. Miller & The Editors of New Age Journal, Penguin Putnam, intro. pp. xi-xv.
[4] http://www.fractalwisdom.com/.
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benoit_Mandelbrot.
[6] http://www.naturalworldhealing.com/fractalinformation.htm.
[7] The Shack, William P. Young, Windblown Media 2007, p. 138.
[8] The Message, Eugene Peterson, paraphrase of Matt. 6:9-10.
[9] The Shack, William P. Young, Windblown Media 2007, inside cover.
[10] Kingdom of the Cults, Dr. Walter Martin, Bethany House 1997, Ch. 11.
[11] http://web.archive.org/web/20120719090733/http://www.marinerschurch.org/theshack/av/index.html.
[12] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68LyjLu2SGw.

Related Resource:

The Shack and Its New Age Leaven by Warren B. Smith

 

 

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