The latest from Wagner

Other bloggers have pointed out several notable things that Wagner has said in his recent release.  Let me address a few here:

While there must be no toleration or whitewashing of sin, there must also be no allowances for ungodly judgments in the name of Jesus. Hatred often masquerades as a passion for holiness. And while the church has had its share of tragic failures of leaders in recent days and equally tragic reactions, we must get this one right. It is possible to promote holiness and accountability in the spirit of grace.

The quickness to condemn and abandon a fallen comrade has caused us as much concern as has the actual sin of our friend. Some want to humiliate and expose Todd before the world. And then there are others who want to point to the obvious anointing on Todd’s life as the sign of God’s approval of Todd’s behavior. Neither is acceptable to us. There must be deep repentance and thorough restoration.

The restoration process must be firm but loving, while holding to the Kingdom standards of both holiness and grace. The initial goal is not to get Todd preaching again. It is to get him healed from the issues of the heart that have brought devastation to his family, and such shame and failure to him. His gift will always function when given an opportunity. We just want it to come from a place of personal victory and triumph this next time.

1.  Where is the discussion or even admittance of wrong doctrine being preached?  I have heard no repentance of false doctrine coming from this camp.

2.  Where is the discussion of the false prophecies given on stage June 23, 2008?

3.  I have seen no bloggers attack Bentley for his “moral failures” aka sin – what I have seen is much discussion on the wrong doctrine he promoted and his hyped up “revival”.  Still no admission of wrongdoing from Revival Alliance or Wagner.

4.  I also question their belief about “Todd’s gift will function when given opportunity”.  I question whether it was a godly gift at all.

I’m still waiting for Bentley’s public apology.  We could be waiting a long time.

The Cathedral is Cracking

On Sunday it was announced that the Senior Pastor of the Crystal Cathedral will no longer be preaching.  His father, Robert H. Schuller, made the announcement to the church during it’s weekly service.

I rather enjoyed listening to the son, Robert A. Schuller, as his sermons were based more on the bible and less on pop psychology.  I had great hopes that this church would one day be a church rather than a TV sound stage.  Alas, this is not to be.

Let’s pray for the younger Schuller that God will provide a more suitable pulpit and allow him to preach the word of God unfettered.

Blank Page Bible

I was just blog surfing when I stumbled upon this wonderful idea here.  The idea is to take a hardback bible text, cut off the binding, insert blank pages in between the bible text and then rebind so as to make yourself a note taking bible.

You could also print the bible text on standard 8.5×11 paper and then save your work in a notebook.  Make your own study bible!

The Anatomy of Deception

I have just finished reading The Anatomy of Deception by Art Katz.  It is only 23 pages but well worth the read.  He makes several points that I wish to bring up and discuss.

1.  The Love of the Truth

10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 (ESV)

Do we have the discernment to distinguish the authentic from the counterfeit? Are we so habituated to success, and so desirous of seeing some visible effect of power that we are not too discriminating so long as we ‘get it,’ somehow? We want the excitement; we want the titillation; we want the appearance of power; we want to succeed, because the possibility of failure is a form of death we are not willing to bear, thus avoiding the Cross. We ought rather to ask ourselves what is success as God defines it? (pg 3)

There is no greater tragedy in the body of Christ today than the following statement – “Yes, I do have quite a bit of problems with the man’s doctrine but he seems to move in miracles and healings.” If Jesus confirms His word with signs following, then who is confirming the works of someone who isn’t preaching the word?

2.  The Right Perception of God

Manifestation phenomena are already perplexing the Church, with many asking, “Is it God?” People seem to receive benefit; they are delivered from hang-ups and depression; marriages are reconciled; people are restored to the faith. There is much evidence of ‘good’ things, but when the Last Days’ deceptions come, of which we have been warned, will they not come with ‘good’ things? Can we tell the difference between the true and the false, especially when we want so much to be blessed and to have an experience and be relieved of our hang-ups and depressions? How discriminating are we about the source from which the ‘blessing’ comes? How do we tell whether something is of God, or a contrary spirit who is able to lift the depression that he may well have inflicted in the first place? Here is the key: our authentic knowledge of God, not as we thought Him to be, but as He, in fact, is. (pg 3)

26 with the purified you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
Psalm 18:26 (ESV)

Those who are rooted and grounded in God’s word and know Him personally, through time spent in prayer, will have a check in their spirit when faced with deception.  Sometimes we suppress that witness because of our hunger for the miraculous  or because we haven’t kept ourselves in the purity God demands.  When that witness comes though, will you obey or be lead by your senses?

Waiting is a priestly function, and we need to wait to see if our spirits are hospitable to what is being mediated from church platforms. Is it compatible with our already existing knowledge of God? If it is not compatible, they can stand on their heads, run all over the platform, and every other kind of madness. We are not to mindlessly give ourselves to it at all. Our integrity in God needs to be guarded, and we should not allow ourselves to be influenced, taken up and affected by the current trends, or else we will never have anything significant to give. (pg 4)

3.  Profanity in the Church

26 And you shall not go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness be not exposed on it.’ Exodus 20:26 (ESV)

The priests in the Old Testament ascended to the altar by means of a ramp instead of stairs lest perchance some glimpse would be seen of their flesh.  Do we have that reverential fear of God in our midst?  Does the Spirit of holiness within you cringe at the sight of people being openly vulgar in the house of God?

At the heart of priestliness is waiting upon Him for the time that pleases Him. If we want to be the revelation of His radiance, then we are going to have to reconsider what we are doing when we launch off into worship and choruses or any other kind of simulation of ‘waiting upon God.’ Unless there is a sense of priestliness, worship will become a mere mechanic, a technique, a device and a manipulation. It is not an entering into the holy place at all. If we degenerate into becoming some kind of charismatic fellowship that celebrates praise, believing that we have some kind of revelation, but have made of it only technique and manipulation, then our end will be disastrous. I cannot think of anything more tragic than that worship should become mere rhetoric and words, a vocabulary that is appropriate to us, but a vocabulary that has no real life or meaning. (pg 7)

 
4.  Absence of the Word of God
 

When we see a phenomenon touted as revival, in which the word of God is conspicuously absent, or denigrated as not being the source of God’s greatest blessing, our alarm bells should start ringing. When those who are at the forefront of any revival phenomenon begin to deprecate their own preaching, saying that what they are now seeing far eclipses any result that they saw from their preaching, then we have already embraced a deception. If the avenues by which the ‘blessing’ comes are not the word of God, or our response to God’s word, which has always been the operative principle of God, but rather, it comes through the hearing of the testimony of others, or seeing men decompose before one’s eyes in drunken stupor, sagging and collapsing on the platform, accompanied by shrieks of delight and the inducement to join in, then we have already crossed an invisible line of truth. It may be an avenue of receiving alleviation from dullness and boredom from church programs, but we have already succumbed to deception. (pg 8.)

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 (ESV)

The gospel  is the power of God for salvation!  Paul goes on to say in Romans 10 “how will they hear without a preacher?”  To me, the biggest sign of deception in the church today is the absolute drought of the word of God being preached. 

How many churches, conferences and meetings I’ve gone to where the bible was never referred to – never needed during the service.  Many people have quit bringing their own bible to church!  Is it any wonder we have weak Christians who need to be spoon fed?

In Conclusion

It is not just the truth, or the acknowledgement of the truth that God makes the key to the issue of deception, but they did not receive the love of the truth. Truth needs to be loved, or we are not going to suffer the sacrifices by which truth is obtained. Confessing your faults one to another is being truthful. It is a painful and humiliating sacrifice to do so, and we will only do it because we love the truth. The love of the truth that will withstand whatever cost it requires is God’s only provision against the deception that comes from lying signs and wonders. If we are only habituated to the effect of them, if we only want to see the excitement, if there is a void in our lives that wants to be titillated at the apparent miracle and power without asking too many questions about how it is performed, and by whom it is performed, and who is ultimately receiving the glory for the performance, then we are candidates for being deceived. Do we love the truth so much that we will raise those questions, that we will be alert to them, that we will not just be impressed by the performance? (pg 21)

Will you exalt God above all else?  Will you hold forth the Word of God as being the source of truth in this day and hour?

The Deuteronomy 13 Test

13:1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (ESV)

What is the Deuteronomy 13 test?  Bill Randles in his book Weighed and found Wanting: The Toronto experience examined in the light of the Bible, uses the story of William Branham in illustrating this principle.

In those days also, a simple, obscure man rose to prominence in healing ministry. Eventually, he came to be regarded as a prophet of God. His name was William Branham. His unique life marked a turning point for American Pentecostalism. He did represent a test from God. (Deut 13:1-5) The kind of test in which we, in failing, have to a degree lost our eyesight (discernment). This will become more clear as we look at his interesting and unusual life. (pg 30)

Randles goes on to share a brief history of the ministry of William Branham: his humility, his prophetic accuracy, the signs and wonders in which he moved – yet one thing marked Branham as a false prophet. 

Now is the time for us to re-examine both Deut 18 and Deut 13. The teaching is that if anyone calls himself a prophet and is inaccurate at all, speaking in the name of the Lord, you are not to fear him (Deut 18). But Deut 13 tells us that a prophet can arise, who is accurate in his gifts, but still is a false prophet. Why is this? Because God can allow the accuracy to test the loyalty of His people. The question is, will we live by bread alone? Or by every word that comes from God? Will we be dazzled by powerful signs and wonders? Or do we loyally uphold the truth of God? If false prophets can have accurate gifts, and people get healed and predictions come to pass, how can you tell if they are true or false? By examining the content of their teaching. This is the test we keep failing. We get so intoxicated by signs, wonders, prophecies, words, healings, crowds, and personality, that we overlook doctrinal error. After all, we don’t argue over “doctrinal gnats,” do we? (pg 34)

We, as a Christian body have failed this test time and time again.  In our quest for the latest, greatest thing, we keep putting our bible under our seats instead of reading it.  Many today laugh at doctrine and bible reading as being too constrictive and old-fashioned.  Thus, we fall for the latest fad in charismatic circles over and again.

Branham was discredited as a minister only after his teachings became so bizarre that they fell outside of any respectable church.  Yet today, there are still those who idolize this man and proclaim him to be the most anointed man since the days of the apostles.

The real fruit of Branham’s ministry can be seen today in false teaching, destroyed lives and churches and heresy that is fanning across the globe.  This is why it is so vitally important that we examine doctrine and teaching in the body of Christ through the lens of Holy Scripture.

In conclusion, let me remind you of these words from Isaiah:

8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Quality Bibles

Recently, while web surfing, I came across this blog by Mark Bertrand.  He reviews various bibles as they are published and gives not only good quality photos but details about binding, typeset, design, readability and layout.

If you’re a bibliophile like me, you’ll love the photos and good discussions on this site!!

Ernie Gruen Report

I have just finished reading Ernie Gruen’s report of the Kansas City Fellowship (link to download pdf file here ).  He has gathered testimonies from those directly involved as well as statements from Mike Bickle and Bob Jones themselves.

The picture that emerges is that of a cult.  Power plays, false prophecies and blatantly false doctrine are the hallmarks of this fellowship.  Furthermore, failing to correct obviously false prophecies and false prophets is only more proof that this sect of Christianity needs to be exposed and repudiated for the benefit of all.

Since we are quoting a man who claims to have mystical experiences virtually every night of his life–usually five or ten different ones in one night–it must be stressed that there are many more wild stories than we can possibly present here.
MB: “…Bob normally gets five or ten visions a night, maybe he sees angels ten or fifteen times a week, you know, or whatever, in dreams and it’s just, so it’s such a way of life…” (P.His 2, p. 14)
Statistically, from 1974 (when the visions started), Mike’s above statement–if accurate–would mean that Bob Jones had received between 27,375 to 54,750 visions, and seen angels between 7800 and 11,700 times…
So, as you read these representative samples, remember that these and other examples throughout this document not only received Mike’s “seal of approval,” but were also things Mike wanted Bob to share publicly for the promotion of their cause.

In contrast, Peter had one vision and one encounter with an angel yet was a leader of the early church and was used of God to write Scripture.  Paul had maybe 3-4 visions/encounters with angels and yet wrote 75% of the New Testament and headed the missionary work to the Gentiles.

I would encourage you to download the pdf file and read it for yourself.  God bless.

English Standard Version

 Personally, I like the English Standard Version.  Here is why:

  • It uses familiar terms like redemption, atonement and justification that Christians are familiar with.
  • It is a word for word translation yet the English is easy to read either to yourself or outloud.
  • It is an excellent translation.  After comparing other translations to the Greek or Hebrew, I envariably come back to the ESV as being the closest to the original in thought.

Take the poll and then share your comments below.

Real Revival

J. Lee Grady wrote today:

After visiting Moriah Chapel and rereading the accounts of the Welsh revival, I find myself longing for an authentic move of God. I am so weary of the fake and the fabricated. In this day of media manipulation, it seems we can use smoke and mirrors to create “revivals” that have neither conviction of sin nor conversions.

Oh, we think we have the power. We boast about the size of the crowds. We brag about miracles. We are ready to declare a revival if Christians fall on the floor or give big offerings. But when the music stops, the TV cameras are turned off and the money is counted, what do we have? Nothing but a cheap imitation.

Where is the God of Elijah? Where is the God of Evan Roberts? Where is the true power of God that can sweep over a city and bring backslidden Christians to repentance and hardened sinners to experience the greatest miracle of all—the miracle of new birth? Read blog here

I applaud Grady for having the courage to say that recent so called “revivals” were media manipulation and smoke and mirrors.  Knowing that Charisma derives its income from some of the big names in the charismatic world, it must be hard for him to speak out against the excesses that we find there.

One thing all of us would love to see is more salvation decisions in connection with revivals.  However, Roman is clear that without the preaching of the gospel that won’t happen.

13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Romans 10:13-17 (ESV)

One of the biggest things that was sadly lacking in the Lakeland meetings was gospel preaching.  There was loud music, shouting, shaking, bam’s and colored lights but no clear presentation of the gospel.

When we as Christians hunger for the word of God and demand that it be preached in our services, the unsaved will have a chance to hear the good news, the saved will grow and mature in their faith, and things will be done decently and in order.

God will confirm His word with signs following (Mark 16:20) but first that word must be preached. 

The End of the Lakeland Revival

We all knew it had to end sometime (see article here ).  Many thought it should have ended with the disappearance of Todd Bentley and his moral failure.  The day it stopped for me conclusively (I had my doubts before then) was June 23, 2008 when the public ordination took place.

Specifically, the part in the service where this video is taken

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gjl5wKso9eU

On stage, with perhaps 10-15 other supposedly prophetic men and women watching, Stacy manifests what I believe to be demonic head shaking.  Not one person, stopped her or led her offstage to be delivered.Furthermore, once Bentley’s moral failures had been revealed – the question then became – why did none of the supposedly prophetic men or women on stage perceive anything amiss in Todd’s life?  They all, with one accord, heap prophetic praises upon him.

Having been charismatic for years, but not particularly acquainted with this sect of Christianity, I began to investigate those in Bentley’s circle of friends.  What I found was the heretical Latter Rain theology mixed with New Age concepts of “portals” and astral projection.  Experiences trumped the word of God and many people were buying into the fake shaking, moaning and twitching that had been passing for “being in the Spirit”.

Two examples of this nonsense immediately come to mind – ekstasis worship and John Crowder.  The first video is what Patricia King endorses and the second is an example of the blasphemy of John Crowder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAm0hBe7uOo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSoOE33UpJM

It is my opinion, that this is not a case of just a few people with a few minor questionable doctrines, but rather a movement that is heresy itself.  Please examine carefully and prayerfully anything said by anyone who associates with this group.