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A kabbalahist named ALLA SAID:  I have no idea what a kabbalahist is? But, you can ask k231 how false I am in that. I am gifted in kabbalah. There is no ‘is’ because it is not a religion.

Kabala is very much a religion because it deals with religious matters! Being the creation, God or theology, man and his relation to God and the creation and the destiny of a mans soul (matters of the spirit). Kabala is not just a philosophical system as Buddhism is, with no god (panatheism). The occultic objective of kabala is to enlighten men to their so called ‘rightful place among the universal/collective soul’ AKA godhood. Kabala is pantheism, the belief that all things are god. It is often expressed this way,, ‘God is all, all is God’ And enlightenment (illumination as ALLA says) to this is called ‘self realization’, among many other terms. Another way to refer to pantheism is monism, the belief that all things are one.

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In case you have not noticed I would like to point out to you that universalism is not Christian at all. But rather the one world religion of the coming anti-Christ/pantheist and new age system of religion. And universalism as with all the above stated, is really anti Christian. No matter how much someone may tout tolerance to and for all.

Pantheism is a religious belief in MONISM and the divinity of all things. It seeks to absorb all other religious systems besides biblical Christianity because the two are incompatible. The new age is really a revival of pantheistic paganism from way back to Egypt and Babylon. The NWO is a religious, political and financial system that is currently in place to offer it’s power thrones to the antichrist when he gets here. ( Spare me any debate on the antichrist right now to make this point). They all have the same conclusions and the only real difference is that the one world order religion will replace all these absorbed into universalism and replace it with a luciferian religion of luciferian worship and sacrifice towards the unholy one.. Do yourself a favor and Google “David Spangler, luciferian initiation” and see for yourself that ALL of our governments all the way up to the qausi government of the United nations has waiting for all humans and for us biblical Christians who will not take such and initiation or oath.

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The Doctrine of Autonomous Self: A Hidden Idolatry
By A. Sutono

Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!

how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven,

I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:

I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:11-15)

I. Background

In this text, Isaiah describes the fall of Lucifer, as well as the cause and effect of it. We learn the cause of him being eternally condemned by God from v.13 and 14 is that he is so filled with pride and self-adoration that he declares himself to be worthy to ascend into heaven and be exalted above the stars of God. He considers himself to be as equally valuable, as equally worthy, if not more valuable and more worthy than God himself that he should be like the Most High. In response, God removed him from his original state and declares that his splendor be nullified and brought down to shame, and he himself be brought down to hell, to a place of eternal torment which is the lake of fire (Rev 20:10) forever as his eternal destiny. When Lucifer was removed from heaven, his name became Satan, and was cast to the earth. In the account of the Fall in Gen 3, after which God offered the promise of deliverance through the atoning work of the LORD Jesus Christ on the cross implied in v. 15, we may observe the correlation between Satan’s sinful ambition to what he tempted Adam and Eve with, which eventually led the couple to sin against God and caused the entire humanity to be totally and hopelessly depraved and under the same condemnation that Lucifer has as a result. The correlation is clearly seen in Gen 3:5, when Satan, disguised as a serpent, said to Eve, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Here are the double lies being offered to Eve springing out of the same principle behind his botched coup attempt; first, that she would be like gods, and thus independent, able to rule over herself apart from God, and secondly, there is not one God, but many gods; each is sovereign over himself or herself.

From here, I would like to state the thesis of this article before expounding further:

1. That the doctrine of autonomous-self, or often referred to as “free-will”, whether it be “Christian” or non-Christian one, though may not appear explicitly, originates from the same spirit by which Lucifer rebelled against God, that is, the spirit of self-idolatry.

2. That the doctrine of autonomous-self is indeed a non-Christian doctrine because there is nowhere in the Bible that teaches such a doctrine and therefore, should be rejected by all true Christians.

I would like to first define what an autonomous self is. I would then attempt, by the use of the first thesis, refute the free-will Arminian argument to defend this false doctrine, particularly in regard to the Fall, salvation, and all the affairs of the world. Finally, I would close with the Biblical basis of my refutation with the exhortation given in the second thesis.

II. Definition of Autonomous Self

Throughout history, there are many who teach the doctrine of autonomous self, among whom is Pelagius. I would now quote from John Owen [1] on what Pelagianism teaches about the autonomous self:

“According to Pelagianism, God gives grace to all who hear the law and the gospel preached. Those who do this are persuaded to repent and believe by the promises of the gospel and the threatenings of the law. The things taught and commanded in the law and gospel are seen to be not only good in themselves, but so utterly reasonable that anyone would gladly receive them if they were not so prejudiced ( i.e., men can themselves respond favorably to the gospel preached by believing in the message without any regenerating work of the Holy Spirit), or deliberately chose to continue with their sinful life. Man has only to consider these promises of the gospel and threatenings of the law to remove these prejudices and so reform himself. When man believes the gospel and obeys it of his own free will and choice (again, no external divine influence at work to convince him of the truth of the gospel, on the contrary, this conviction comes out within himself), then he receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, enters into all the privileges of the New Testament, and has a right and title to all the promises concerning both the present and the future life. So say the Pelagians. Thus man converts himself, and the grace of our LORD Jesus Christ and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit are both excluded. All that is needed is the ability to persuade him to repent of his sin and believe and obey the gospel.”

In other words, the doctrine of autonomous self teaches that men in both unregenerate and regenerate states is completely independent and capable of self-determination of what is good and bad for him (hence the term autonomous) and from which make decision without any external divine influence or swaying to a particular direction.

To understand what autonomous-self is more clearly, let us look at Sproul’s definition of autonomy [2]:

“To be autonomous means to be a law unto oneself. An autonomous creature would be answerable to no one. He would have no governor, least of all a sovereign governor. It is logically impossible to have a sovereign God existing at the same time as an autonomous creature. The two concepts are utterly incompatible. To think of their coexistence would be like imagining the meeting of an immovable object and an irresistible force. What would happen? If the object moved, then it could no longer be considered immovable. If it failed to move, then the irresistible force would no longer be irresistible.”

Then for the definition of autonomous self, I would borrow from David Wells [3], defining the autonomy generation as:

“…those who belonged in this outlook saw themselves as being at the center of life, as being responsible only to themselves, as having the sole hand in deciding what beliefs to hold and what behaviors to follow.”

And therefore, continuing to quote Wells [3]:

“… the self becomes the main form of reality and the pursuit of its rights and unique intuitions, even in the face of others, is what life is about.”

My comment to Prof. Well’s definition is this. Isn’t the autonomous-self then the essence of prosperity gospel, where Christ has been reduced to a lackey or a genie to serve us to accomplish our agenda whether that be family, or money, or career, or, self-healing, self-improvement or anything other than Christ himself? Some may say they don’t believe in prosperity gospel but believe in free-will in the autonomous sense. This, in my view, is an implicit endorsement of the prosperity gospel.

II. Refutation of the Arminian Argument of Autonomous Self

Now I desire to refute biblically a familiar argument in regard to God’s sovereignty in salvation and all events throughout the course of history. In addition, I would also attempt to show the spirit behind all these arguments tends to resemble that of Lucifer as written in Isaiah 14:13-14. Before I go on doing so, however, I would like to point out ‘the goal of the commandment is love’. I can understand new Christians who believe in autonomous self, because I was like that. I tend to think it is natural for new Christians to have such an understanding of how salvation and all the affairs in the world work. I acknowledge I need the humility to understand those who are slow to grasp the truth in the sovereignty of God over all things. The fact is the LORD had mercy on me to reveal what I consider a precious biblical truth of his sovereignty that I have come to love, embrace, and desire to defend with hopefully a holy zeal, holy motive, yet with humility as well in this article. And may the LORD grant the grace to change and transform hearts and minds into ones that acknowledge and submit joyfully under his supremacy over all things (Col 1:18).

The argument that I would like to refute (though there has been many more qualified pastors and theologians than me, past and present who have done this, but I would try to do it from hopefully a different point of view), is a common free-will Arminian / Pelagian argument which was the first Arminian article in their remonstrance brought by Johannes Uitenbogaard and Simon Episcopious in 1610, which was refuted by the Calvinists’ Counter Remonstrance at the Synod of Dort in 1618-1619, in regard to how salvation works as follows. This first article stated the following: “God’s foreknowledge, that is, divine election was conditiond on foreseen or foreknown faith”. In other words, it says “faith is the cause of election” the basis of which is for example in Rom 8:29, refers to God knowing in advance of who is going to believe by their own free will and who is not, and from there God elects them to be saved. Thus man’s faith existing apart from God’s will but from the man himself is the cause of God’s election. In other words, it all starts with man’s free will to choose to be saved. Men are the Alpha, the beginning, not God. Then based on each independent isolated individual’s decision to believe or to desire to be saved where God has nothing to do with because this comes out completely and independently from man and not God, God is obliged to save them because they have faith to believe. Here men call God to account and demand that because they initiated to believe the Gospel, God is required to save them. So God’s sovereignty consists in submitting himself to and making sure the wills of men are carried out. God is not free in ordaining anything because He is subject to the will of men that he values very much even more important and above himself. Here is the worst kind, the most blatant, the most arrogant, and the most blasphemous of man-centered doctrine that is nowhere taught in the Bible, and an example how the Scripture like Rom 8:29 is distorted to serve man’s needs or if I may borrow John Piper’s quote[4], the gospel has been abused for ‘psychological form of mind control’. I regard this Arminian stand on the free agency of man and God as the most self-centered among man-centered doctrines, even more man-centered than opentheism.

Opentheism at least admits the future is unknown, even God has no control over it and anybody could change it. The Arminian doctrine in regard to the free-will of men as we have discussed is worse than open-theism because it teaches the future is already known, at least in regard to salvation, who is saved and who is not, and who makes this decision before the foundations of the world is men. Then God responds to each individual decision either by saving or condemning. Here is the kind of abomination that I dread has been prevailing in the minds of many Christians, because this is how they were taught by man-centered, world-loving, money-loving preachers. Those who teach this doctrine usually insist that God is still sovereign and omnipotent. But I sense this is simply a futile attempt to cover up their self-centeredness and thus, self-idolatry. God, despite his omnipotence, has been domesticated to serve man’s needs. His omnipotence has become subordinate to man’s will and it is his to use for his benefit. Man makes the call first independently out of his own self-determination of good and bad. Then it is God’s turn to follow up on man’s actions and decisions, whether to clean them up if they are sinful, or to bless them if they are good.

As Mark Talbot says [5] (he explains it in the context of opentheism, but I believe it is applicable here as well) that the doctrine of autonomous self teaches that God values man’s free will so much that he is willing to pay any price. God is really good in cleaning things up to the point that the alternative plan B that he executes looks even better, more perfect than the botched plan A that man has frustrated. So in a way, the doctrine of autonomous self treats God like a lackey or a genie in a bottle whom man can stir as he pleases and wills. Everything God does is for the benefits of man, and here is man, the center of the universe and God’s idol. Therefore, men are not only the Alpha, the beginning, but also the Omega, the end of everything God does and the whole entire universe work for. This, I fear, may God forbid, is the desire behind those who embrace the doctrine of autonomous self which is nothing but the very ambition of Lucifer to be exalted above God (Isa 14:13-14) because the resemblance between the two is striking. It is all about desire for control, as Dave Wells pointed out behind autonomous self [6]:

“This preoccupation with the future is really about control. At least, it is about our attempts at controlling the future as it crests into the present by being able to position ourselves to avoid what is disagreeable and to capitalize on what is advantageous. Indeed, we even go further. We imagine that the future begins in our minds and we can actually create it.”

At this point, I would point to Scripture texts (that I also included somewhere else [7]) that I hope the LORD uses to show the fallacy of the doctrine of autonomous-self, to humble its proponents and exhort them to embrace the doctrine of absolute sovereignty of God over all things. While these texts tend to be self-explanatory in themselves but I shall attempt to expound a little on each:

– “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13). John says the decisive power to become the sons of God ( v.12), i.e., to be saved, does not come from man’s will power, but God’s (v.13). Therefore, contrary to what the first remonstrance article says that faith is the cause of election, John says election is the cause of faith. God initiates salvation, not men. Men are dead in their trepasses (Eph 2:1). Physically dead people do not and can not have any desire (inclination) and ability to eat, drink, work, because they are dead, their brain is dead, their heart is dead, their digestive system is dead, and there is no way for them to revive themselves. So also dead Lazarus was unable to revive himself until Jesus called him and infused life to his body to revive him. (John 11). Lazarus did not revive himself. Jesus did. And thus Lazarus couldn’t brag he was alive because of his free will to be alive. Likewise, it is impossible for spiritually dead people to have any desire for God. Their heart is ‘desperately’ or ‘hopelessly’ wicked as Jer 17:9 says. St. Paul affirms the total depravity of humanity apart unless God changes this heart of stone with the heart of flesh (Ez 36:26-27) because “The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law. Nor can it do so.” (Rom 8:7). Notice the last part that says “Nor can it do so.” So let us not brag that we have the free will to be christians or we in our sovereignty “decided” to be christians. Let us not think of ourselves more highly than we should (Rom 12:3) but with sober judgment, I’d say, of who we were, and what we are now, and who God is. Do not rob God of something He did and claim we did it. The faith, the willingness to believe, to embrace Christ as our treasure, our LORD does not come from our self-determination, but He purchased it on the cross.

– “All the plans of the LORD stands firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” (Psalm 33:11). God has written down the course of history from the beginning to the end. All his plans will happen, stand firm forever. Everything originates from Christ and returning to Christ, and the details for everything on its way returning to him is fixed and unchangeable (see also Heb 1:2-3, Rom 11:36). God does not make mistakes. God is not a God who is good in cleaning up mess created by men and coming up with plan B. Nobody can frustrate nor thwart nor prevent God from doing anything he wants, Dan 4:35, “All the people of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand, or say to him, ‘What have you done?'”

– “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16) God has written down not only the entire course of history before the foundations of the world, but also the scenario of each individual who ever lives, past present and future. This is good for believers for two reasons (but may cause free-willers to feel dejected because they don’t desire God to make the call for them, they desire to make the call themselves). First, it teaches humility that you and I are creatures and God is God. We have absolutely no right over ourselves because we don’t own ourselves, God does. Secondly, this is good news because God knows you and me better than we know ourselves. Therefore whatever plans he has for us can be guaranteed to be the most absolute best for our good and the magnifying his name first and most importantly (see Rom 8:28).

– “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” (Isa 46:10-11). God is free to do anything he wants according to the pleasure of his will. His decision making is not constrained by anything, not by the will of men, not by the wills of angels, not by the will of the devil. He is absolutely free in making any calls. Isn’t this what it means to be God? If God has to submit beforehand in his foreknowledge to men’s decision to be saved or not to be saved, then men are gods, and God is their lackey.

A question then arises, “How, despite crystal clear words from the apostle that believers are slaves of Christ (e.g., Rom 6:18,22), can there be such an arrogant doctrine as the autonomous self in Christian churches?” The answer is because the LORD Jesus Christ is an infinitely good, gracious, merciful, patient, loving Master. He is not a hard Master at all. Men, seizing this opportunity arising from their deep-rooted corruption inherited from the Fall, reinforced by the temptation of the old serpent, abuse the kindness of Christ for their own glory. Men, out of their odious mind resulting from the stench infected to them from the Fall, distort the grace of the Savior to serve their own vanity, and so distort the message of the gospel, that is the pursue of God’s (not men’s) glory in salvation through Christ. Since Christ is so patient, then it is their opportunity to question him, to hold him accountable to them, and thus, what John Piper pointed out [8], that men placing themselves on the bench and putting God in the dock, instead of the other way around (he actually quoted this from C.S. Lewis). I sense free-willers would feel uncomfortable in hearing what God’s goal is in everything he does in Eph 1:5-6, “… he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasures and will, to the praise of his glorious grace.” that God saves men not because he makes so much of them, but for the praise of his glorious grace, that his name may be magnified, cherished, worshipped for his great mercy upon mankind, “…that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.” (Rom 15:9). The only way to cure this discomfort is to acknowledge and repent of the pride and the self-idolatrous spirit behind the doctrine of autonomous self, renounce it, and embrace the doctrine of the absolute sovereignty of God who causes all things to work together for the good of those who love him, and who have been called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called, those he called he also justified, and those he justified, he also glorified. Amen.

References
1. J. Owen, “The Holy Spirit,” The Banner of Truth Trust, 1998, p. 76-77.

2. R.C. Sproul, “Chosen by God,” Tyndale House Publishers, October 1986, Ch. 3, p.?

3. D. F. Wells, “Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World,” Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006, p. 234, 153.

4. J. Piper, “Woe to Those who Trample the Son of God,” Desiring God Ministries (audio), April 13, 1997, http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceL…he_Son_of_God/

5. M. Talbot, “All the Good that is Ours in Christ: Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do Us,” Desiring God National Conference, Minneapolis, MN, October 7-9, 2005.

6. D. F. Wells, “Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World,” Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006, p. 239.

7. A. Sutono, “The Defense for the Sovereignty of God in the Fall of Man,” Nov 25, 2006.

8. J. Piper, “Pastoral Thoughts on the Doctrine of Election,” Desiring God Ministries, Nov 30, 2003, ttp://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceL…e_of_Election/

ttp://www.christianchatforum.com/articles/elect.shtml

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Healing the economy means going beyond ‘What’s in it for me?’
By Douglas Todd 01-10-2009

Healing the battered economy means going beyond the ‘self’; ‘What’s in it for me?’ is not an attitude that will work in the times we face

Many Pentecostal Christians have been among the hardest-hit victims of the economic meltdown in North America.

“Victims” might not be the best word to describe their fate, though. Followers of the popular “Prosperity gospel” suffered because of their own desperation, naivete and uncontrolled desire.

Prosperity gospel adherents have put too much stock in certain Pentecostal leaders in the United States and Canada who preach that God will provide worldly wealth if you just give your soul to Jesus Christ and your donation to the church.

The most prominent proponent of this theology of cars, boats and houses is Joel Osteen, author of Your Best Life Now.

With virtually no assets, many financially struggling Christians attracted to the Prosperity gospel of Osteen and others were eager to jump at the subprime loans offered by sleazy brokers.

Prominent Pentecostals have admitted that many followers believed God was miraculously answering their prayers when a bank gave them a loan they couldn’t afford. However, it’s not only adherents of the Prosperity gospel who have spiritual and moral lessons to draw from the financial collapse. After all, they haven’t been alone in their struggles.

The larger spiritual themes behind this financial meltdown are those of too much blind optimism about the financial system, too much faith in leaders and too much unacknowledged self-interest.

Which brings us to greed.

There can be benefits from modest amounts of each of the Seven Deadly Sins: anger, lust, envy, sloth, pride, gluttony and greed.

While there is something to be said for moderate self-interest fuelling our lives and the economy, greed has careened beyond control on many economic fronts. In the movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko was not much of an exaggeration of a real-life financier when he baldly preached, “Greed is good!”

Rebecca Blank, senior economic analyst for the Brookings Institute and co-author of Is the Market Moral?, recently said: “Greed is good to most economists. It’s greed that makes people work harder, be more productive, and helps the economy grow. Greed has certain economic advantages. It’s hard for an economist not to say that.

“But greed is clearly partially responsible for where we are right now. There’s a level beyond which greed can go too far, and . . . being greedy for more goods and to make another buck can make me stop paying attention to the effects of my action on you. That is when greed clearly becomes sinful — even, I think, in economics.”

Moral concerns about our over-avaricious attitudes have even been expressed recently by high-profile evangelical Christian leaders such as Chuck Colson (Richard Nixon’s former right-hand man), who has made a career of praising Jesus Christ in the same breath as free enterprise. Like theologian Michael Novak, Colson believes western democratic capitalism is like a three-legged stool, resting on political freedom, economic freedom and moral restraint. “Take away moral restraint and the stool collapses.”

But Colson’s solution — simply to talk more about morality in churches and elsewhere and to wish for greater moral behaviour — won’t make the economic system more stable or fair. That is what was uncovered through a revealing investigation of the moral behaviour of evangelical leaders by scholar Michael Lindsay, author of Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite.

Lindsay found precious few evangelical executives were “distinguishing themselves from their secular peers” by taking salaries capped, for instance, at a ratio between the highest- and lowest-paid employees of 20:1. Most tried to justify astonishingly luxurious salaries.

Just as the Communist Soviet Union fell apart because it wasn’t realistic to expect everyone to embrace the principle of equality, the western capitalist system cannot sustain itself just by hoping everyone will embrace justice.

Without regulations to enforce society’s moral ideals, the scoundrels prevail. Now nearly all of us are suffering because we were drawn, knowingly and unknowingly, into their unrestricted avarice.

As Aristotle said, “At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.”

Spiritual insight into the economic collapse comes from Martin Marty, of the University of Chicago Divinity School, one of the most distinguished religious historians in North America.

Marty believes the economic meltdown grew out of a growing global obsession with the “self.” He points to the way many economists talk about how the “spreading disease” in the global economy will “self-heal.” But Marty believes the modern free world is fixated on terms such as “self-generating,” “self-developing” and “self-correcting.” It’s the kind of thinking that has led many to over-optimistically advocate for an “unfettered” and “unregulated” market that never impinges on the supremacy of the “self.”

But there are crucial limits to the “self.”

Marty suggests Americans (and, I’d add, many Canadians) haven’t been willing to face the dark, shadow aspects of an economic system and foreign policy that focused on serving only the “self” (including that of the nation).

Just as the Iraq war has proved disastrous on human and financial fronts, Marty says the battered economy is making us look at all aspects of what happens when “the self” is glorified as absolute.

“We are well aware of our own virtue, knowledge, power and security, and these are real enough to be celebrated,” he writes.

“But we did not recognize their undersides: vice, ignorance, weakness and insecurity, which overtook us.”

As a Lutheran, Marty responds to the financial crisis with a secular translation of the “body of Christ” theme, which teaches us to reflect on how “we are members one of another.”

Instead of “self-healing,” he wisely suggests the western economic system needs “mutual” healing.

To use the language of other traditions, a Buddhist might say we need economic solutions that recognize we are all interconnected.

In secular terms, the late American political philosopher John Rawls would teach that we need economic policies beneficial to us all, no matter where we find ourselves on the financial ladder.

The simplest way to put one of the spiritual lessons of the economic collapse, however, is simply to make it clear that creating a healthy society has to go much further than asking, “What’s in it for me?”

dtodd@vancouversun.com

http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/blogs/thesearch/archive/2009/01/10/healing-the-battered-economy-means-going-beyond-the-self-what-s-in-it-for-me-is-not-an-attitude-that-will-work-in-the-times-we-face.aspx

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Does God Want You To Be Rich?

A growing number of Protestant evangelists raise a joyful Yes! But the idea is poison to other, more mainstream pastors. By DAVID VAN BIEMA, JEFF CHU Posted Sunday, Sep. 10, 2006

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1533448,00.html

When George Adams lost his job at an Ohio tile factory last October, the most practical thing he did, he thinks, was go to a new church, even though he had to move his wife and four preteen boys to Conroe, a suburb of Houston, to do it. Conroe, you see, is not far from Lakewood, the home church of megapastor and best-selling author Joel Osteen.

Osteen’s relentlessly upbeat television sermons had helped Adams, 49, get through the hard times, and now Adams was expecting the smiling, Texas-twanged 43-year-old to help boost him back toward success. And Osteen did. Inspired by the preacher’s insistence that one of God’s top priorities is to shower blessings on Christians in this lifetime–and by the corollary assumption that one of the worst things a person can do is to expect anything less–Adams marched into Gullo Ford in Conroe looking for work. He didn’t have entry-level aspirations: “God has showed me that he doesn’t want me to be a run-of-the-mill person,” he explains. He demanded to know what the dealership’s top salesmen made–and got the job. Banishing all doubt–“You can’t sell a $40,000-to-$50,000 car with menial thoughts”–Adams took four days to retail his first vehicle, a Ford F-150 Lariat with leather interior. He knew that many fellow salesmen don’t notch their first score until their second week. “Right now, I’m above average!” he exclaims. “It’s a new day God has given me! I’m on my way to a six-figure income!” The sales commission will help with this month’s rent, but Adams hates renting. Once that six-figure income has been rolling in for a while, he will buy his dream house: “Twenty-five acres,” he says. “And three bedrooms. We’re going to have a schoolhouse (his children are home schooled). We want horses and ponies for the boys, so a horse barn. And a pond. And maybe some cattle.”

“I’m dreaming big–because all of heaven is dreaming big,” Adams continues. “Jesus died for our sins. That was the best gift God could give us,” he says. “But we have something else. Because I want to follow Jesus and do what he ordained, God wants to support us. It’s Joel Osteen’s ministry that told me. Why would an awesome and mighty God want anything less for his children?”

In three of the Gospels, Jesus warns that each of his disciples may have to “deny himself” and even “take up his Cross.” In support of this alarming prediction, he forcefully contrasts the fleeting pleasures of today with the promise of eternity: “For what profit is it to a man,” he asks, “if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” It is one of the New Testament’s hardest teachings, yet generations of churchgoers have understood that being Christian, on some level, means being ready to sacrifice–money, autonomy or even their lives.

But for a growing number of Christians like George Adams, the question is better restated, “Why not gain the whole world plus my soul?” For several decades, a philosophy has been percolating in the 10 million–strong Pentecostal wing of Christianity that seems to turn the Gospels’ passage on its head: certainly, it allows, Christians should keep one eye on heaven. But the new good news is that God doesn’t want us to wait. Known (or vilified) under a variety of names–Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It, Prosperity Theology–its emphasis is on God’s promised generosity in this life and the ability of believers to claim it for themselves. In a nutshell, it suggests that a God who loves you does not want you to be broke. Its signature verse could be John 10: 10: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” In a TIME poll, 17% of Christians surveyed said they considered themselves part of such a movement, while a full 61% believed that God wants people to be prosperous. And 31%–a far higher percentage than there are Pentecostals in America–agreed that if you give your money to God, God will bless you with more money.

“Prosperity” first blazed to public attention as the driveshaft in the moneymaking machine that was 1980s televangelism and faded from mainstream view with the Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals. But now, after some key modifications (which have inspired some to redub it Prosperity Lite), it has not only recovered but is booming. Of the four biggest megachurches in the country, three–Osteen’s Lakewood in Houston; T.D. Jakes’ Potter’s House in south Dallas; and Creflo Dollar’s World Changers near Atlanta–are Prosperity or Prosperity Lite pulpits (although Jakes’ ministry has many more facets). While they don’t exclusively teach that God’s riches want to be in believers’ wallets, it is a key part of their doctrine. And propelled by Osteen’s 4 million–selling book, Your Best Life Now, the belief has swept beyond its Pentecostal base into more buttoned-down evangelical churches, and even into congregations in the more liberal Mainline. It is taught in hundreds of non-Pentecostal Bible studies. One Pennsylvania Lutheran pastor even made it the basis for a sermon series for Lent, when Christians usually meditate on why Jesus was having His Worst Life Then. Says the Rev. Chappell Temple, a Methodist minister with the dubious distinction of pastoring Houston’s other Lakewood Church (Lakewood United Methodist), an hour north of Osteen’s: “Prosperity Lite is everywhere in Christian culture. Go into any Christian bookstore, and see what they’re offering.”

The movement’s renaissance has infuriated a number of prominent pastors, theologians and commentators. Fellow megapastor Rick Warren, whose book The Purpose Driven Life has outsold Osteen’s by a ratio of 7 to 1, finds the very basis of Prosperity laughable. “This idea that God wants everybody to be wealthy?”, he snorts. “There is a word for that: baloney. It’s creating a false idol. You don’t measure your self-worth by your net worth. I can show you millions of faithful followers of Christ who live in poverty. Why isn’t everyone in the church a millionaire?”

The brickbats–both theological and practical (who really gets rich from this?)–come especially thick from Evangelicals like Warren. Evangelicalism is more prominent and influential than ever before. Yet the movement, which has never had a robust theology of money, finds an aggressive philosophy advancing within its ranks that many of its leaders regard as simplistic, possibly heretical and certainly embarrassing.

Prosperity’s defenders claim to be able to match their critics chapter and verse. They caution against broad-brushing a wide spectrum that ranges from pastors who crassly solicit sky’s-the-limit financial offerings from their congregations to those whose services tend more toward God-fueled self-help. Advocates note Prosperity’s racial diversity–a welcome exception to the American norm–and point out that some Prosperity churches engage in significant charity. And they see in it a happy corrective for Christians who are more used to being chastened for their sins than celebrated as God’s children. “Who would want to get in on something where you’re miserable, poor, broke and ugly and you just have to muddle through until you get to heaven?” asks Joyce Meyer, a popular television preacher and author often lumped in the Prosperity Lite camp. “I believe God wants to give us nice things.” If nothing else, Meyer and other new-breed preachers broach a neglected topic that should really be a staple of Sunday messages: Does God want you to be rich?

As with almost any important religious question, the first response of most Christians (especially Protestants) is to ask how Scripture treats the topic. But Scripture is not definitive when it comes to faith and income. Deuteronomy commands believers to “remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth”, and the rest of the Old Testament is dotted with celebrations of God’s bestowal of the good life. On at least one occasion–the so-called parable of the talents (a type of coin)–Jesus holds up savvy business practice (investing rather than saving) as a metaphor for spiritual practice. Yet he spent far more time among the poor than the rich, and a majority of scholars quote two of his most direct comments on wealth: the passage in the Sermon on the Mount in which he warns, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth … but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven”; and his encounter with the “rich young ruler” who cannot bring himself to part with his money, after which Jesus famously comments, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Both statements can be read as more nuanced than they at first may seem. In each case it is not wealth itself that disqualifies but the inability to understand its relative worthlessness compared with the riches of heaven. The same thing applies to Paul’s famous line, “Money is the root of all evil,” in his first letter to Timothy. The actual quote is, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

So the Bible leaves plenty of room for a discussion on the role, positive or negative, that money should play in the lives of believers. But it’s not a discussion that many pastors are willing to have. “Jesus’ words about money don’t make us very comfortable, and people don’t want to hear about it,” notes Collin Hansen, an editor at the evangelical monthly Christianity Today. Pastors are happy to discuss from the pulpit hot-button topics like sex and even politics. But the relative absence of sermons about money–which the Bible mentions several thousand times–is one of the more stunning omissions in American religion, especially among its white middle-class precincts. Princeton University sociologist Robert Wuthnow says much of the U.S. church “talks about giving but does not talk about the broader financial concerns people have, or the pressures at work. There has long been a taboo on talking candidly about money.”

In addition to personal finances, a lot of evangelical churches have also avoided any pulpit talk about social inequality. When conservative Christianity split from the Mainline in the early 20th century, the latter pursued their commitment to the “social gospel” by working on poverty and other causes such as civil rights and the Vietnam-era peace movement. Evangelicals went the other way: they largely concentrated on issues of individual piety. “We took on personal salvation–we need our sins redeemed, and we need our Saviour,” says Warren. But “some people tended to go too individualistic, and justice and righteousness issues were overlooked.”

A recent Sunday at Lakewood gives some idea of the emphasis on worldly gain that disturbs Warren. Several hundred stage lights flash on, and Osteen, his gigawatt smile matching them, strides onto the stage of what used to be the Compaq Center sports arena but is now his church. “Let’s just celebrate the goodness of the Lord!” Osteen yells. His wife Victoria says, “Our Daddy God is the strongest! He’s the mightiest!”

And so it goes, before 14,000 attendees, a nonstop declaration of God’s love and his intent to show it in the here and now, sometimes verging on the language of an annual report. During prayer, Osteen thanks God for “your unprecedented favor. We believe that 2006 will be our best year so far. We declare it by faith.” Today’s sermon is about how gratitude can “save a marriage, save your job [and] get you a promotion.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever preached a sermon about money,” he says a few hours later. He and Victoria meet with TIME in their pastoral suite, once the Houston Rockets’ locker and shower area but now a zone of overstuffed sofas and imposing oak bookcases. “Does God want us to be rich?” he asks. “When I hear that word rich, I think people say, ‘Well, he’s preaching that everybody’s going to be a millionaire.’ I don’t think that’s it.” Rather, he explains, “I preach that anybody can improve their lives. I think God wants us to be prosperous. I think he wants us to be happy. To me, you need to have money to pay your bills. I think God wants us to send our kids to college. I think he wants us to be a blessing to other people. But I don’t think I’d say God wants us to be rich. It’s all relative, isn’t it?” The room’s warm lamplight reflects softly off his crocodile shoes.

Osteen is a second-generation Prosperity teacher. His father John Osteen started out Baptist but in 1959 withdrew from that fellowship to found a church in one of Houston’s poorer neighborhoods and explore a new philosophy developing among Pentecostals. If the rest of Protestantism ignored finances, Prosperity placed them center stage, marrying Pentecostalism’s ebullient notion of God’s gifts with an older tradition that stressed the power of positive thinking. Practically, it emphasized hard work and good home economics. But the real heat was in its spiritual premise: that if a believer could establish, through word and deed (usually donation), that he or she was “in Jesus Christ,” then Jesus’ father would respond with paternal gifts of health and wealth in this life. A favorite verse is from Malachi: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse … and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘If I will not for you open the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.'” (See boxes.)

It is a peculiarly American theology but turbocharged. If Puritanism valued wealth and Benjamin Franklin wrote about doing well by doing good, hard-core Prosperity doctrine, still extremely popular in the hands of pastors like Atlanta megachurch minister Creflo Dollar, reads those Bible verses as a spiritual contract. God will pay back a multiple (often a hundredfold) on offerings by the congregation. “Poor people like Prosperity,” says Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University. “They hear it as aspirant. They hear, ‘You can make it too–buy a car, get a job, get wealthy.’ It can function as a form of liberation.” It can also be exploitative. Outsiders, observes Milmon Harrison of the University of California at Davis, author of the book Righteous Riches, often see it as “another form of the church abusing people so ministers could make money.”

In the past decade, however, the new generation of preachers, like Osteen, Meyer and Houston’s Methodist megapastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, who gave the benediction at both of George W. Bush’s Inaugurals, have repackaged the doctrine. Gone are the divine profit-to-earnings ratios, the requests for offerings far above a normal 10% tithe (although many of the new breed continue to insist that congregants tithe on their pretax rather than their net income). What remains is a materialism framed in a kind of Tony Robbins positivism. No one exemplifies this better than Osteen, who ran his father’s television-production department until John died in 1999. “Joel has learned from his dad, but he has toned it back and tapped into basic, everyday folks’ ways of talking,” says Ben Phillips, a theology professor at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. That language is reflected in Your Best Life Now, an extraordinarily accessible exhortation to this-world empowerment through God. “To live your best life now,” it opens, to see “your business taking off. See your marriage restored. See your family prospering. See your dreams come to pass …” you must “start looking at life through eyes of faith.” Jesus is front and center but not his Crucifixion, Resurrection or Atonement. There are chapters on overcoming trauma and a late chapter on emulating God’s generosity. (And indeed, Osteen’s church gave more than $1 million in relief money after Hurricane Katrina.) But there are many more illustrations of how the Prosperity doctrine has produced personal gain, most memorably, perhaps, for the Osteen family: how Victoria’s “speaking words of faith and victory” eventually brought the couple their dream house; how Joel discerned God’s favor in being bumped from economy to business class.

Confronting such stories, certain more doctrinally traditional Christians go ballistic. Last March, Ben Witherington, an influential evangelical theologian at Asbury Seminary in Kentucky, thundered that “we need to renounce the false gospel of wealth and health–it is a disease of our American culture; it is not a solution or answer to life’s problems.” Respected blogger Michael Spencer–known as the Internet Monk–asked, “How many young people are going to be pointed to Osteen as a true shepherd of Jesus Christ? He’s not. He’s not one of us.” Osteen is an irresistible target for experts from right to left on the Christian spectrum who–beyond worrying that he is living too high or inflating the hopes of people with real money problems–think he is dragging people down with a heavy interlocked chain of theological and ethical errors that could amount to heresy.

Most start out by saying that Osteen and his ilk have it “half right”: that God’s goodness is biblical, as is the idea that he means us to enjoy the material world. But while Prosperity claims to be celebrating that goodness, the critics see it as treating God as a celestial ATM. “God becomes a means to an end, not the end in himself,” says Southwestern Baptist’s Phillips. Others are more upset about what it de-emphasizes. “[Prosperity] wants the positive but not the negative,” says another Southern Baptist, Alan Branch of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. “Problem is, we live on this side of Eden. We’re fallen.” That is, Prosperity soft-pedals the consequences of Adam’s fall–sin, pain and death–and their New Testament antidote: Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and the importance of repentance. And social liberals express a related frustration that preachers like Osteen show little interest in battling the ills of society at large. Perhaps appropriately so, since, as Prosperity scholar Harrison explains, “philosophically, their main way of helping the poor is encouraging people not to be one of them.”

Most unnerving for Osteen’s critics is the suspicion that they are fighting not just one idiosyncratic misreading of the gospel but something more daunting: the latest lurch in Protestantism’s ongoing descent into full-blown American materialism. After the eclipse of Calvinist Puritanism, whose respect for money was counterbalanced by a horror of worldliness, much of Protestantism quietly adopted the idea that “you don’t have to give up the American Dream. You just see it as a sign of God’s blessing,” says Edith Blumhofer, director of Wheaton College’s Center for the Study of American Evangelicals. Indeed, a last-gasp resistance to this embrace of wealth and comfort can be observed in the current evangelical brawl over whether comfortable megachurches (like Osteen’s and Warren’s) with pumped-up day-care centers and high-tech amenities represent a slide from glorifying an all-powerful God to asking what custom color you would prefer he paint your pews. “The tragedy is that Christianity has become a yes-man for the culture,” says Boston University’s Prothero.

Non-prosperity parties from both conservative and more progressive evangelical camps recently have been trying to reverse the trend. Eastern University professor Ron Sider’s book Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, a fringe classic after its publication in 1977, is selling far more copies now, and some young people are even acting on its rather radical prescriptions: a sprinkling of Protestant groups known loosely as the New Monastics is experimenting with the kind of communal living among the poor that had previously been the province of Catholic orders. Jim Wallis, longtime leader of one such community in Washington and the editor of Sojourners magazine, has achieved immense exposure lately with his pleas that Evangelicals engage in more political activism on behalf of the poor.

And then there is Warren himself, who by virtue of his energy, hypereloquence and example (he’s working in Rwanda with government, business and church sectors) has become a spokesman for church activism. “The church is the largest network in the world,” he says. “If you have 2.3 billion people who claim to be followers of Christ, that’s bigger than China.”

And despite Warren’s disdain for Prosperity’s theological claims, some Prosperity churches have become players in the very faith-based antipoverty world he inhabits, even while maintaining their distinctive theology. Kirbyjon Caldwell, who pastors Windsor Village, the largest (15,000) United Methodist church in the country, can sound as Prosperity as the next pastor: “Jesus did not die and get up off the Cross so we could live lives full of despair and disappointment,” he says. He quotes the “abundant life” verse with all earnestness, even giving it a real estate gloss: “It is unscriptural not to own land,” he announces. But he’s doing more than talk about it. He recently oversaw the building of Corinthian Pointe, a 452-unit affordable-housing project that he claims is the largest residential subdivision ever built by a nonprofit. Most of its inhabitants, he says, are not members of his church.

Caldwell knows that prosperity is a loaded term in evangelical circles. But he insists that “it depends on how you define prosperity. I am not a proponent of saying the Lord’s name three times, clicking your heels and then you get what you ask for. But you cannot give what you do not have. We are fighting what we call the social demons. If I am going to help someone, I am going to have to have something with which to help.”

Caldwell knows that the theology behind this preacherly rhetoric will never be acceptable to Warren or Sider or Witherington. But the man they all follow said, “By their fruits you will know them,” and for some, Corinthian Pointe is a very convincing sort of fruit. Hard-line Prosperity theology may always seem alien to those with enough money to imagine making more without engaging God in a kind of spiritual quid pro quo. And Osteen’s version, while it abandons part of that magical thinking, may strike some as self-centered rather than God centered. But American Protestantism is a dynamic faith. Caldwell’s version reminds us that there is no reason a giving God could not invest even an awkward and needy creed with a mature and generous heart. If God does want us to be rich in this life, no doubt it’s this richness in spirit that he is most eager for us to acquire.

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Did The Prosperity Gospel Play A Role In Suprime Crisis?
Oct.03, 2008 in Commentary, Economy
According to this author, the answer is “Yes”.

Has the so-called Prosperity Gospel turned its followers into some of the most willing participants — and hence, victims — of the current financial crisis? That’s what a scholar of the fast-growing brand of pentecostal Christianity believes. While researching a book on black televangelism, says Jonathan Walton, a religion professor at the University of California Riverside, he realized that Prosperity’s central promise — that God would “make a way” for poor people to enjoy the better things in life — had developed an additional, toxic expression during sub-prime boom. Walton says that this encouraged congregants who got dicey mortgages to believe “God caused the bank to ignore my credit score and blessed me with my first house.” The results, he says, “were disastrous, because they pretty much turned parishioners into prey for greedy brokers.”

Others think he may be right. Says Anthea Butler, an expert in pentecostalism at the University of Rochester in New York state, “The pastor’s not gonna say ‘go down to Wachovia and get a loan’ but I have heard, ‘even if you have a poor credit rating God can still bless you — if you put some faith out there [that is, make a big donation to the church], you’ll get that house, or that car or that apartment.’” (more…)

When I read the title of this article, admittedly I dismissed it as far-reaching speculation. But after reading it and taking the time to reflect upon my own experiences in the church, I think the author is on to something.

For starters, I think that there is enough blame to go around–STARTING ON MAIN STREET.

My Atlanta Experience

I remember how pastors would tell folks about how the Lord wanted them to move into home ownership–all while steering them to certain brokers and banks. I remember saying to myself “folks are getting broke off over this and the Lord has nothing to do with it. This is just a plain ol’ hustle.” Brokers would be publicly acknowledged in front of the congregation as they would convince the church that all of this was just his/her way of “giving back to the Lord”. No! He was giving back to the pastor as a way of thanking him for sending the business. Again, the Lord had NUTTIN to do with this arrangement. I saw all of this during the early stages of the housing boom.

My wife and I were part of a megachurch where the pastor made it a priority to move all the renters in his congregation into home ownership. He tied the whole thing into how God moved Israel into the promise land. While I agreed with the pastor that far too many of us have been renting too long, the huge influx of moving folks with bad credit into McMansions had me a bit nervous. This took place right at the time we were preparing to move out of state.

All of a sudden, getting approved for a loan with bad credit was seen as a miracle from God–all because of those generous faith offerings folks were told to give earlier.

“I told the Lawd ‘but my credit is too messed up to get a house’. Then I heard pastor preach about taking a step of faith last Sunday. Don’t you know I applied for the loan and now I am the proud owner of a 5 bedroom house…”.

These types of ‘testimonies’ were common in the churches I attended back when the market was getting hot.

I am of the opinion that any pastor who encouraged parishioners to commit to predatory-type loans while cloaking the whole thing as “God’s will for their lives” should be thrown out of office. Part of me is telling me to name names of pastors who I know engaged in this practice. I’ll chill with that idea for now.

Again, I must stress that churches that participated in peddling these loans do share A PART of the blame.

http://www.blackinformant.com/2008/10/03/did-the-prosperity-gospel-play-a-role-in-suprime-crisis

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Prosperity Gospel on Skid Row
Difficulties of high-profile pastors may reorient movement—or reinforce it.
Bobby Ross Jr. | posted 1/15/2009 09:40AM

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/february/2.12.html

Some of the high-flying icons of the prosperity gospel—the belief that God rewards signs of faith with wealth, health, and happiness—have run into financial turbulence.

Not all of their troubles can be blamed on the nation’s economic crisis, say critics of the name-it-and-claim-it theology found in some charismatic churches.

“I believe the charismatic movement, of which I am a part, is in the midst of a dramatic overhaul,” said J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine. “God is shaking us.” Grady predicts the movement will look much different in a few years as it refocuses on evangelism and overcoming what he calls the distraction of “materialism, flashy self-promotion, and foolish carnality.” But Scott Thumma, a Hartford Seminary sociologist who studies megachurches, is not so certain.

“Most clergy who preach a prosperity gospel would interpret for their congregation any conflict, scrutiny, or questioning as an attack of the Devil and proof that they are following God,” he said.

Among recent developments:

• In Fort Worth, Texas, a review board ruled December 7 that Kenneth Copeland Ministries’ $3.6 million jet did not have tax-exempt status. The ruling came after the ministry, whose 1,500-acre campus includes a $6 million church-owned lakefront mansion, refused to release the salaries of Copeland, his wife, and others.

• In suburban Atlanta, Georgia, a sheriff’s deputy served an eviction notice November 14 at Bishop Thomas Weeks III’s Global Destiny Church. Court documents indicate the bishop, the ex-husband of televangelist Juanita Bynum, owed half a million dollars in back rent. The church has lost roughly half of its 3,400 members since Weeks and Bynum’s 2007 fight in a hotel parking lot, in which Weeks was accused of pushing, choking, and beating his then-wife.

• In Tampa, Florida, Without Walls International Church—which once attracted 23,000 worshipers—has shrunk drastically after co-pastors Randy and Paula White announced in 2007 they were divorcing. The church faces an uncertain future after the Evangelical Christian Credit Union began foreclosure proceedings November 4 and demanded repayment of a $12 million loan on the church’s property.

• In suburban Minneapolis on November 18, Living Word Christian Center pastor Mac Hammond won the first stage of a court battle with the Internal Revenue Service to keep his salary private. Yet in 2008, he was forced to put his private jet up for sale and cut Living Word’s hour-long television show in half to save money amid falling contributions.
Meanwhile, Copeland and the Whites are among six televangelists whose large organizations have been targeted in a Senate Finance Committee investigation into allegations of questionable spending and lax financial accountability. All six preach some form of the prosperity gospel.

Could followers of the prosperity gospel—encouraged by pastors to “sow a seed” of faith by spending money, often in the form of a donation to the pastors’ ministries—be turned off by the recent turmoil?

Craig Blomberg, author of a 2001 study of prosperity theology, said he expects the movement to “take a small hit among those who recognize that it can’t deliver on what it promises.”

But many followers could view the financial difficulties as consequences for sin and personal failings—from Weeks’s assault conviction to the Whites’ divorce—and determine to try that much harder to please God and prosper themselves, he suggested.

“Some may well interpret this as judgment on the leaders who have abused their positions or proved immoral in other respects,” said Blomberg, a New Testament professor at Denver Seminary. “And many may simply assume this is the time to call others and themselves to an even truer faith so that the ‘system will work’ as it is supposed to in their minds.”

In Grady’s view, the notion that “God blesses us so we can be a blessing” is biblical. What is needed, he believes, is a shift to a more selfless movement where people “realize that God wants to bless us so that we can feed the poor, lift up the broken, and transform society.

“We need that kind of prosperity,” he said, “and I think that is where things are going.”

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Is the Prosperity Gospel Financial Heresy?
By Mr. ToughMoneyLove | October 5, 2008

Mr. ToughMoneyLove tends to avoid mixing religion and personal finance for a variety of reasons. However, I am going to make a very brief exception to that policy this Sunday.

This week Time ran a story on the possible role of the “prosperity gospel” in the sub-prime mortgage mess that has played a significant role in the current economic crisis. I certainly don’t agree with the premise that God should be blamed for what has happened. But the article makes an interesting anecdotal review of how believers in the prosperity gospel could be led to accept that divine intervention would prevail over their lack of financial resources. According to the prosperity preacher, that belief is enough to put the believer in a home he or she cannot afford. I think we can all agree that there is no logic to that belief. On the other hand, religion is based on faith, not logic.

I submit that are two hard truth takeaways from this story. First, the “prosperity gospel” is really intended to bring economic prosperity to those who preach it, not to those who listen to it. Second, an all too common rationalization offered by broke people when they make yet another discretionary purchase is that they “deserve” that car or gadget or vacation. The prosperity gospel reinforces that misguided rationalization and gives it another dimension. Just as I believe that poor people are not being punished by God, I also believe that wealth on earth is not bestowed based on spiritual merit.

What do you think about the prosperity gospel as a contributor to current economic conditions?

http://toughmoneylove.com/2008/10/05/is-the-prosperity-gospel-financial-heresy/

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Maybe We Should Blame God for the Subprime Mess
By David Van Biema Friday, Oct. 03, 2008

TIME.com

Has the so-called Prosperity gospel turned its followers into some of the most willing participants — and hence, victims — of the current financial crisis? That’s what a scholar of the fast-growing brand of Pentecostal Christianity believes. While researching a book on black televangelism, says Jonathan Walton, a religion professor at the University of California at Riverside, he realized that Prosperity’s central promise — that God will “make a way” for poor people to enjoy the better things in life — had developed an additional, dangerous expression during the subprime-lending boom. Walton says that this encouraged congregants who got dicey mortgages to believe “God caused the bank to ignore my credit score and blessed me with my first house.” The results, he says, “were disastrous, because they pretty much turned parishioners into prey for greedy brokers.”

Others think he may be right. Says Anthea Butler, an expert in Pentecostalism at the University of Rochester in New York: “The pastor’s not gonna say, ‘Go down to Wachovia and get a loan,’ but I have heard, ‘Even if you have a poor credit rating, God can still bless you — if you put some faith out there [that is, make a big donation to the church], you’ll get that house or that car or that apartment.’ ” Adds J. Lee Grady, editor of the magazine Charisma: “It definitely goes on, that a preacher might say, ‘If you give this offering, God will give you a house.’ And if they did get the house, people did think that it was an answer to prayer, when in fact it was really bad banking policy.” If so, the situation offers a look at how a native-born faith built partially on American economic optimism entered into a toxic symbiosis with a pathological market.

Although a type of Pentecostalism, Prosperity theology adds a distinctive layer of supernatural positive thinking. Adherents will reap rewards if they prove their faith to God by contributing heavily to their churches, remaining mentally and verbally upbeat and concentrating on divine promises of worldly bounty supposedly strewn throughout the Bible. Critics call it a thinly disguised pastor-enrichment scam. Other experts, like Walton, note that for all its faults, the theology can empower people who have been taught to see themselves as financially or even culturally useless to feel they are “worthy of having more and doing more and being more.” In some cases the philosophy has matured with its practitioners, encouraging good financial habits and entrepreneurship.

But Walton suggests that a decade’s worth of ever easier credit acted like a drug in Prosperity’s bloodstream. “The economic boom ’90s and financial overextensions of the new millennium contributed to the success of the Prosperity message,” he wrote recently on his personal blog as well as on the website Religion Dispatches. And not positively. “Narratives of how ‘God blessed me with my first house despite my credit’ were common. Sermons declaring ‘It’s your season to overflow’ supplanted messages of economic sobriety,” and “little attention was paid to … the dangers of using one’s home equity as an ATM to subsidize cars, clothes and vacations.”

With the bubble burst, Walton and Butler assume that Prosperity congregants have taken a disproportionate hit, and they are curious as to how their churches will respond. Butler thinks some of the flashier ministries will shrink along with their congregants’ fortunes. Says Walton: “You would think that the current economic conditions would undercut their theology.” But he predicts they will persevere, since God’s earthly largesse is just as attractive when one is behind the economic eight ball.

A recent publicly posted testimony by a congregant at the Brownsville Assembly of God, near Pensacola, Fla., seems to confirm his intuition. Brownsville is not even a classic Prosperity congregation — it relies more on the anointing of its pastors than on Scriptural promises of God. But the believer’s note to his minister illustrates how magical thinking can prevail even after the mortgage blade has dropped. “Last Sunday,” it read, “You said if anyone needed a miracle to come up. So I did. I was receiving foreclosure papers, so I asked you to anoint a picture of my home and you did and your wife joined with you in prayer as I cried. I went home feeling something good was going to happen. On Friday the 5th of September I got a phone call from my mortgage company and they came up with a new payment for the next 3 months of only $200. My mortgage is usually $1,020. Praise God for his Mercy & Grace.”

And pray that the credit market doesn’t tighten any further.

http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1847053,00.html?cnn=yes

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Understanding Word-Faith Teaching
by Rob Bowman

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Once upon a time, long long ago, on a faraway planet, there lived a good God. . . . Because Jesus was recreated from a satanic being to an incarnation of God, you too can become an incarnation – as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth! And, as an incarnation of God, you can have unlimited health and unlimited wealth – a palace like the Taj Mahal with a Rolls Royce in your driveway. You are a little messiah running around on earth! All it takes is to recognize your own divinity.

Hank Hanegraaff (summarizing the Word-Faith teaching)

It seems our friends, the book writers, have invented an entirely new theology called the “born again Jesus” built upon a conglomeration of quotations taken from 6 or 7 ministers, pulled out of context and combined as though we all believed identically the same thing or were even speaking about the same subject when quoted (which, in some cases, we were not). And the reader is told we all believe this “born again Jesus” theology, believe exactly alike about it, and we’re all heretics. Yet I am diametrically opposed to some of the doctrines held by those who are quoted on the same page as me! Kenneth E. Hagin

He who gives an answer before he hears, It is folly and shame to him. Proverbs 18:13

If we are to evaluate the Word-Faith teaching, we first need to understand it. As Solomon counseled, “He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him” (Prov. 18:13). We need to grasp the Word-Faith theology as a whole and understand how it all fits together from the perspective of the Word-Faith teachers if we are to make an intelligent decision as to whether it is biblical. Moreover, we need to look at the movement from all sides and consider it from every relevant angle in order to make our assessment as complete and balanced as possible. In this chapter I will set forth an agenda for such a complete assessment and then explain the Word-Faith teaching in order to make its basic message understandable.

The Roots, Shoots, and Fruits

A complete evaluation of any movement’s teachings requires that we look at three aspects of the teachings, which may be called the roots, shoots, and fruits of a doctrine.

Exposing the Roots
The roots of a doctrine are the sources or origins of the teachings. Did the ideas come from the Bible? Did they come from the biblically based teaching of a sound Christian teacher? Did they come from a source that is clearly cultic or non-Christian? Or did they come from a mixture of all three types of sources? If certain ideas can be traced to non-Christian or cultic roots, how were these ideas transferred?

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An examination of the “roots” of a teaching is never sufficient by itself, because non-Christians, after all, can express truths and can have genuine insights. It is perfectly fine for a Christian teacher to “plunder the Egyptians” by taking over ideas or formulations found in non-Christian thought and putting them into a soundly Christian context. So we must be careful not to argue that a particular doctrine is false merely because a cultist or other non-Christian advocated it. In logic this is called the genetic fallacy – attempting to dismiss an idea on the basis of its genesis, or origin.

William DeArteaga, in his book defending the Word-Faith movement, claims that Daniel R. McConnell’s critique of the Word-Faith teaching commits the “genetic fallacy” by arguing that “Hagin derived his teachings from Kenyon, who in turn was associated with the Metaphysical movement.” DeArteaga calls this error “the pharisaical objection of origins,” referring to his belief that the Pharisees erred by rejecting any workings of the Spirit that contradicted their theology or which they could not explain. This is an odd theory: the Pharisees never criticized Jesus’ teachings for supposedly deriving from a suspect source (say, that Jesus got his ideas from the pagan Greeks). They did accuse him of having a demon (Matt. 9:34; 12:24; John 7:20; 8:48, 52; 10:20), but this is a “genetic” argument of a very different sort! Setting aside this strange reference to the Pharisees, DeArteaga’s criticism overlooks the fact that McConnell explicitly denies trying to discredit the Word-Faith teaching by a simple exposé of its origins:

The historical origins of the Faith movement are not enough, however, to justify the charge of cultism. That would be an example of theological guilt by mere historical association. To prove cultism requires that it be demonstrated in no uncertain terms that the beliefs and practices of the contemporary Faith movement (not just those of Kenyon) are both cultic and heretical.. . . The Faith movement is cubic not just because of where it comes from. but also because of what it teaches.

DeArteaga elsewhere shows that he does take the question of the origins of the Word-Faith teaching to be relevant. In answer to McConnell, he argues that Kenyon’s doctrines of revelation – knowledge and of the Christian life are not really Gnostic at all but are instead rooted in the theology of the apostle Paul.

If the genetic fallacy is to be avoided, then why examine the roots at all? There are two reasons for doing so. First, sometimes teachers will misrepresent the source of their teachings in order to exaggerate their own originality or because the true sources are a potential embarrassment to them. In some cases professing Christian teachers have been known to plagiarize whole sermons or books from various cultic or questionable sources. Obviously, if they pass off as new insights or revelations from God ideas that they actually lifted word for word from a non-Christian or cultic writer, this constitutes a serious problem. Exposing these teachers’ lack of honesty in this area serves its own purpose independent of evaluating the teachings themselves.

Here again, DeArteaga argues that McConnell has criticized Kenneth Hagin unjustly by accusing him of plagiarism. According to DeArteaga, “McConnell also accuses Hagin of passing off his theology as pure ‘revelation knowledge’ without any credits to human sources” (emphasis added). DeArteaga points to the preface of The Name of Jesus in which Hagin acknowledges drawing on Kenyon’s The Wonderful Name of Jesus as proof that McConnell is wrong. Yet McConnell himself quotes Hagin’s preface and comments, “This is one of the few candid, direct acknowledgments of Kenyon to appear in any of Hagin’s writings.” McConnell also observes that “Hagin demonstrates the ability to give credit where credit is due with regard to the sources that he drew on to develop a particular idea,” except concerning those sources from which he plagiarized extensively. His contention is simply that Hagin’s repeated, massive plagiarism of the writings of Kenyon, along with those of John A. MacMillan, demonstrate that Hagin’s claim to have learned the Word-Faith teaching directly from visitations and revelations from God is patently false. DeArteaga’s criticisms of McConnell in this matter are not cogent.

Second, identifying the source of someone’s questionable doctrines can aid us in pinpointing the real problems in those doctrines. If certain doctrinal errors have been taught before and have been answered by sound Christian teachers, then finding these antecedents can be very helpful in identifying and refuting the errors. Discovering the true roots of the Word-Faith teaching, once it is shown to be unbibilcal and damaging to authentic Christian faith, will then aid us in getting to the core of the problem. It will also enable us to be better on guard against similar errors in the future.

Again, we do not expose the roots of a doctrine to prove it false. We examine the roots to help us diagnose the problems and prescribe a cure.

Examining the Shoots
The second aspect of any doctrine is the substance or idea of the doctrine itself. This is what for convenience I call the shoots, though it would be more precise to talk about the trunk and branches. More technically, the shoots of a doctrine are the doctrine itself as a doctrine – what the doctrine says in theory and the arguments or reasons given in its support.

Most of the time, we identify a tree by its shoots. That is, we can usually tell what sort of a tree it is simply by looking at its overall appearance as shaped primarily by its trunk and branches. A quick glance at the shoots of a fir tree is enough to determine that it is not an oak.

Examining doctrines is often not as easy, of course, because doctrines are not tangible entities that can be perceived with a single glance. What we purpose to do in examining a doctrine, though, is not merely to identify it but also to evaluate its soundness and strength. When examining a tree, for example, we would check various branches to see if they are strong and well connected to the trunk. If there was some doubt about the health of the tree, we might cut through the bark to examine the interior of the wood. When examining a doctrine, we would test its soundness and strength by examining the reasoning used to support the conclusion and seeing if that reasoning is firmly based on the Bible.

Examining the shoots, then, comes down to comparing the contemporary teachings with the teachings of the Bible. The Word-Faith teachers tend to resist this kind of critical examination, offering various reasons why their teachings should not be critiqued. I have evaluated these objections to doctrinal discernment in Orthodoxy and Heresy. Here I will point out simply that this sort of study is strongly encouraged in the Bible itself (see Matt. 22:29; Acts 17:11; 2 Tim. 3:16). It is the basic method used by Christians throughout the centuries to test novel and controversial teachings as they have arisen in the church.

Looking at the Fruits
The third and final aspect of testing a doctrine is to look at its fruit. This test is perhaps the best known because of the words of Jesus regarding false prophets: “You will know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:16, 20). Unfortunately these words are among the most abused words in Scripture. They are all too commonly cited to prove that testing someone’s teachings by comparing them with Scripture is either unnecessary or illegitimate. Yet this claim is itself a doctrine that people try to prove by citing Scripture!

What Jesus says here is absolutely true: One can know a false prophet by his or her “fruits.” We need to ask, though, what is included, and what is not, in these fruits. One thing Jesus makes very clear in the context is that prophetic utterances and miracles are not included (Matt. 7:22). This is important because Word-Faith teachers and those who support them often point to stories of healings, apparent supernatural revelations, and other amazing incidents as proof that God has blessed their ministry. But Jesus specifically excludes such things from the “fruits” by which we would be able to tell a false prophet from a true one.

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On the other hand, Jesus does not discourage testing doctrines by comparing them with Scripture. Indeed, his focus is not on the truth or falsity of a particular doctrine but on the divine calling of a professed prophet. The purpose of the test is to tell apart true and false prophets, both of whom seem to speak in the name of the Lord (Matt. 7:21-22). The implication is that a true prophet must represent the Lord truly both in word and in action. Thus the point here is not that true prophets can say anything they want as long as their outward lives are good. Rather, it is that a prophet is false if his fruit is evil, no matter how good or true his words seem to be.

A short while later in the same passage, Jesus contrasts the wise person with the foolish person. The wise person acts on Jesus’ words, while the foolish person fails to do so (Matt. 7:24-27). The implication is that one may and should compare people’s actions to the words of Jesus to see whether their actions are wise or foolish.

One bad fruit that is always produced by false prophets is confusion and division. When false prophets come along and teach false doctrines or make false claims, it is their fault when confusion and division ensue. It is certainly not the fault of those who oppose their unbiblical teachings.

The sum of the matter is this. The test Jesus sets forth in Matthew 7 is intended to expose false prophets. It is not the only such test, but it is a valid and crucial test. It cannot be used to avoid responsibility to teach doctrine that is faithful to the same Bible in which this test appears. False and unsound doctrine always contradicts biblical doctrine and results in bad fruit.

On Defining the Word-Faith Teaching

Before explaining the Word-Faith teaching, I need to say some things about the approach taken here. In discussing this subject with advocates of the Word-Faith teaching and with its critics, I have learned that how one approaches the discussion virtually determines whether communication and understanding will ever take place.

Is There a “Word Faith Teaching”?
Some people object to any critique of the “Word-Faith teaching” on two grounds. First, it is sometimes said that the Word-Faith teachers are evangelists, healers, prophets, or pastors, not teachers or theologians, and that they should not be judged as if they were theologians. Second, it has been argued that the critics of the Word-Faith movement have created a straw-man “Word-Faith teaching” from statements taken out of context or shoe-horned into a theology that none of the Word-Faith teachers espouse. We are told that the Word-Faith teachers differ markedly on a number of doctrinal points, so that the doctrine attributed to them as a group is an artificial construct of the critics’ own imagination.

It is, of course, true that none of the Word-Faith teachers is a systematic theologian or even a methodical teacher whose theological “system” is easily encapsulated from his writings. This does not mean, however, that the Word-Faith leaders are not teachers. Whatever they may see as their primary calling, when they regularly present teaching on matters of Christian belief, they make themselves teachers. It is silly to say that individual – articles, and disseminate video and audiotapes of their messages on doctrinal topics are not teachers.

In any case, at least some of these men do claim to be teachers. Kenneth Hagin, who claims that his primary calling is to the ministry of a prophet, also claims to serve in the ministry of a teacher. Thus it is perfectly appropriate to hold the Word-Faith teachers to a higher standard of doctrinal accuracy than we do persons in ministry who do not presume to teach doctrine (James 3:1).

As for the second objection, it simply is not true that the Word-Faith teachers have no theological system. The lack of a formal Word-Faith “systematic theology” does not mean that there is no structural or thematic unity in their teaching. If a Word-Faith teacher’s teaching is at all coherent or consistent, it should be possible to systematize his teachings in order to bring out its coherence and essential ideas. If such systematization is not possible, it only goes to show that his teaching is chaotic and therefore that he is a poor teacher.

Kenneth Hagin has complained that the theology attributed to him and other Word-Faith teachers is an invention of the critics (see the quotation at the beginning of this chapter). Hagin’s objection has some justice, but the legitimate point he is making should not be exaggerated. There is a core of doctrinal teaching that makes the Word-Faith movement distinctive and identifiable, a core of teaching to which the Word-Faith televangelists generally subscribe and that sets them apart from other Christian traditions. I agree that some of the critics of the Word-Faith teachers have erred in superimposing on the Word-Faith movement a greater degree of unity than is actually there. But the error of this extreme does not justify the opposite extreme of denying any distinctive doctrinal unity in the movement.

In this chapter, then, I will attempt to state that core theology of the Word-Faith movement. It may be that some Word-Faith advocates will disagree somewhat with the way their doctrine is presented here, but I believe that overall this presentation of the Word-Faith theology is accurate and representative of their teachings.

How Shall the Word-Faith Teaching Be Defined?
It is easy to make the Word-Faith doctrine sound silly or absurd. Indeed, one can do so by just stringing together a number of the more colorful statements that have been made by Word-Faith teachers. When critics of the movement do this and then fill in the gaps with their own interpretative embellishments, the result is a caricature.

This is the problem, as I see it, with the way in which the Word-Faith teaching is represented in the section titled “Once Upon a Time . . .” in Hank Hanegraaff’s Christianity in Crisis. Hanegraaff himself makes the following admission in a prefatory note in very small print:

The following tale is a composite of the erroneous teachings of individuals like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Frederick Price, and many others. While not all the Faith teachers hold to every aspect of this tale, they have all made substantial contributions to both the production and the proliferation of these aberrations and heresies. (emphasis added)
What Hanegraaff fails to acknowledge, unfortunately, is that none of the Word-Faith teachers “holds to every aspect of this tale.” The “composite” fails to represent accurately the views of any of the Word-Faith teachers, because none of them holds to the whole thing. Moreover, some of the elements of this “composite” are not held by any of the Word-Faith teachers but are Hanegraaff’s own imaginative and colorful additions. Hanegraaff describes the Word-Faith teachers’ God as hoping to get “lucky.” He describes the Jesus of the Word-Faith teaching as becoming “a satanic being” when he died. He claims that the Word-Faith teaching asserts that Christians can have “a palace like the Taj Mahal. . . . All it takes is to recognize your own divinity.” These descriptions, however, make the Word-Faith movement sound more akin to Eastern religions or the New Age movement than it really is. In truth none of the Word-Faith teachers ever talk this way.

This way of presenting the Word-Faith teaching, while it has shock value, unnecessarily offends those who embrace the Word-Faith teaching. Just as we would not want our beliefs to be misrepresented, we must be careful not to misrepresent the beliefs of those in the Word-Faith movement (Matt. 7:12). When they hear the views of their favorite televangelists being exaggerated or sensationalized, they use that to dismiss out of hand the many valid criticisms of the Word-Faith teaching that critics offer.

We must never lose sight of the fact that many persons do, after all, find in the Word-Faith doctrine a convincing and coherent message. I will therefore be presenting the teaching in such a form as I think a systematically minded advocate of the Word-Faith teaching might articulate it. What I have attempted to do here is to set forth the Word-Faith teaching in the best possible light, focusing on the most prominent and essential aspects of that teaching. This way, what is being refuted is not the worst possible representation of the teaching but the doctrine at its best.

I hasten to add that the more colorful and extreme ideas that have been taught by Word-Faith teachers are certainly, in and of themselves, fair targets for criticism. I will be critiquing some of them in this book. But these more outlandish ideas need to be placed fairly in the context of the Word-Faith teaching.

In order to be as fair to the Word-Faith movement as possible, I will base my exposition of its teaching solely on the words of Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland. Since these two men are the undisputed leaders of the Word-Faith movement, any doctrine to which both of them subscribe may be safely regarded as part of the Word-Faith teaching. With one important exception, I have avoided mentioning in this summary any doctrine taught by only one, and not the other, of these two men. Persons who acknowledge Hagin or Copeland as teachers and who accept the general ideas of the Word-Faith teaching, even if they deviate in one or a few particulars, may also be regarded as part of the Word-Faith movement.

What follows, then, is a summary of the theology of the Word-Faith movement, including the doctrinal issues that will be explored later in this book.

Human Beings Are Spirits

Basic to the Word-Faith theology is a particular understanding of human nature as spirit, soul, and body. Spirit is more real than the physical, according to the Word-Faith teaching, and therefore the spirit is the real person. It is the spirit that is made in God’s image, allowing the Word-Faith teachers to conclude that human beings are exact duplicates of God, or little gods.

Furthermore, it is the spirit to which God communicates (not the mind), and the spirit that is supposed to control the soul and especially the body. The problem with the human race is that we are allowing our bodies to control our lives, or our reason to dictate to our spirits, rather than having our spirits take control over our whole beings. This is fundamental for the Word-Faith teachers, since in their view we should disbelieve our senses when they tell us we are sick or poor, and disbelieve our reason when it tells us that the Word-Faith teaching is illogical or false (see chapter 6).

God and Humanity

According to the Word-Faith teachers, God is much more like a man than Christians generally have supposed. God is a God of faith; he created the world by faith and accomplishes all that he desires by believing in his heart and speaking the word of faith, thereby bringing things into existence (see chapter 7).

There is another respect in which Word-Faith teaching makes God more like a man than is traditionally thought. Although God is in essence a spirit, the Word-Faith teachers hold that God, like human beings, is spirit, soul, and body – albeit a “spirit body” (see chapter 8).

Likewise, the Word-Faith teachers insist that human beings are much more like God than Christians have usually believed. Our creation in God’s image is interpreted to mean that we exist in God’s “class” as the same kind of being as God, though on a smaller scale (as “little gods”). Moreover, the purpose of the coming of Jesus was to restore humanity to godhood by creating a new race of humans who, like Jesus, would be God incarnate (see chapter 9).

Humanity’s potential as little gods was, according to the Word-Faith teaching, thwarted by the fall. Adam forfeited his status as the god of this world by obeying the devil and thereby making Satan the god of this world. In sinning, Adam gave Satan legal dominion over this world and passed Satan’s nature of death, with its corresponding symptoms of sickness and poverty, down to the rest of humanity (see chapter 10).

Jesus Christ

To correct the situation arising from the fall, God, according to Word-Faith theology, implemented a strategy for reclaiming dominion from the devil. The centerpiece of this strategy was his becoming a man. Although Word-Faith teachers affirm that Jesus Christ was God incarnate, their understanding of what this incarnation meant is in some respects highly unusual.

First, all Word-Faith teachers argue that Christians are just as much “incarnations of God” as was Jesus Christ. This implies that “incarnation” in Word-Faith teaching does not mean the same thing it means in traditional Christian usage. Much of what the Word-Faith teachers say suggests that in their view anyone who is indwelled by the Spirit is an incarnation.

Second, Word-Faith teachers are not altogether clear as to whether it was the preexistent, eternal Son of God who became incarnate. Some Word-Faith teachers, such as Hagin, seem to assume this traditional, biblical view. Others, though, notably Kenneth Copeland and Charles Capps, teach that the Word that became incarnate was God’s Word of promise that he would redeem humanity, and that this Word was “positively confessed” into personal existence by the Virgin Mary (see chapter 11).

The Word-Faith teachers also have a distinctive view of what Christ did to effect our salvation. In their view, what Jesus did that was unique was to die, not merely physically but spiritually as well (thus taking on himself Satan’s nature), and go to hell. There, they say, he was “born again,” rising from the dead with God’s nature (which, it is sometimes implied, he had lost in dying spiritually). By doing so, the Word-Faith teachers argue, Jesus paved the way for us to be born again and exhibit God’s nature in our lives (see chapter 12).

As has already been mentioned, the Word-Faith teachers tend to interpret the incarnation as the prototype of God’s Spirit dwelling in a human being. In this sense, they insist, Christians are as much an incarnation of God as was Jesus Christ. This lends support, in their view, to the claim that all Christians ought to be able to overcome difficulties in their lives and perform miracles in just the same way Jesus did. In principle any of us can do anything that Jesus did on earth (see chapter 13).

Faith, Prayer, and Confession

The distinctive ideas about God and man in Word-Faith theology are the basis for its views on faith and prayer. Faith is not only believing what God says but also believing that we have whatever we say. Prayer is not only speaking to God but also speaking to things and circumstances and commanding them to do as we say. This is the basis for the concept of positive and negative confession, the idea that what we believe and say, whether good or bad, will happen for us (see chapter 14).

On the basis of a positive confession – itself based on faith that we are divine spirits created and redeemed to rule our circumstances by speaking words of faith – Word-Faith theology says we are to obtain health and wealth. Since Christ died to free us from the curse of the law, reason the Word-Faith teachers, this must mean that Christians need no longer accept sickness or poverty in their lives. Christians ought to live in divine health and wealth as testimony to the power of God and as evidence that they are children of God (see chapter 15).

This is the Word-Faith theology to be studied in this book. For the most part, my focus will not be on the personalities who promote these views but on the biblical teachings that are relevant to evaluating the Word-Faith theology. However, in order to understand the teachings fully, we need to consider how they arose and know something about their sources. The next four chapters will deal with just these questions.

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Matthew 9:34 – But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”

Matthew 12:24 – But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub,[4] the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

John 7:20 – “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”

John 8:48, 52 – The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” – At this the Jews exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death.

John 10:20 – Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”

Matthew 22:29 – Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.

Acts 17:11 – Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

Matthew 7:16, 20 – By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? – Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Matthew 7:21-22 – “Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’

Matthew 7:24-27 – “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

James 3:1 – Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Matthew 7:12 – So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

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Taken from The Word-Faith Controversy by Rob Bowman. Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright 2001. All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company. You can purchase The Word-Faith Controversy for a total of $15 by calling the Issues, Etc. resource line at 1-800-737-0172 .

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Word of Faith: Devastating Impact: Casualties

On a personal level, it seems that – in the long term especially – the WOF is devastating. It is devastating to the WOF believers because they have allowed themselves to be led astray and to be spiritually deceived. The presumption that God does not allow his own children to be deceived is obviously false, because in the Bible, Paul and John and Peter are constantly telling those early Christians to pay attention and to watch out that they would not be deceived – because the presumption is that it could happen, and in some cases was happening.

God has given us his Holy Word so that we can use it, and if we know it well, and if we use it often, and as our minds are renewed through the study of His Word, then When we know the teachings of the Bible, and how to defend our faith and identify false teachings, we are much less likely to be deceived.

But the impact of WOF for those who want to come out of it – is almost just as devastating for those who leave WOF (as it is for those who stayed), especially right after they have just left.

Where can a person go ? WHat Church would you send them to ? Who can they find to talk with, not only who will empathize, but who will actually offer them some seriously Biblical advice and genuine assistance ? And where do they start ?

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Scamming the Lamb’s Fam: Hireling Mike Murdock Gets Paid $100,000 For Twisting the Gospel on the Inspiration Network  See video here

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There are many thousands of walking casualties out there who have no idea how to respond to their WOF experiences: the first half seems to be those who thought that WOF was Christianity (Which it is not) – and who then have rejected Christianity because WOF did not work; the second half seems to be those who are Christians and realize that WOF does not work, and is wrong, and is misguided, but they do not have the practice nor enough spiritual understanding – to understand

1) where the problem is or 2) how to fix it and 3) how to go on from there. And the emotional consequences can be very heavy. For many of those involved, their friends and their Churches are still WOF. So they experience additional isolation from their friends, rather than support and comfort. This may be the price for also having friends not spiritually grounded, but that does not really help much either.

The solution should include books and authors that will talk about their own WOF experiences and help to highlight the contrast between 1) what the Bible says and teaches and 2) what the WOF teaches. All this can take a lot of time.

Another part of the solution seems to try to talk it out, work it out, write it out, and let it out, and to make these things part of the process of learning how to come to terms with WOF teachings and reject them, And THEN – replace those teachings with actual Biblical theology.

The “Soft” Cults

Changing your mind to change your master ?

It used to be that Cults were essentially those who operated using an environment of obvious mind-control, where a person was food-deprived, or sleep-deprived as part of their conditioning.

Cults today are much more sophisticated. Part of the dangers of the WOF movement is that its seduction is not so much what it does to you from the exterior – as much as it is what happens to the interior of the person, who has agreed to subject themselves to the same physical environment as the WOF Teacher.

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There are aspects of the WOF movement that resemble more the beauty and seduction of a “mass movement”, than they resemble the old cults or their methods. In fact, in some ways WOF movement is more dangerous because all of its impact is on the brain of the persons being affected.

They change you – by teaching you how to change your own consciousness.
They induce the atmosphere, but it takes the will and the cooperation of the person listening, existing there in that moment, and agreeing to “take it all in” and accept it – in order for them to have the impact that they do.

There are situations where a person can recognize faulty or wrong theology in a conversation in a Coffee place. Somehow, those same people are suddenly incapable of thinking of almost anything else – except to ACCEPT the experience which is offered, in the context of the WOF meetings.

One of the characteristics of God is that He does not require us to put our minds on hold, and experiences that are truly from Him 1) Agree with the Bible and 2) are Consistent with Biblical Teachings.

Its unfortunate to say this, but in many WOF meetings, it is insufficient to suggest that it is merely false teachings which takes place. I believe that in many of those meetings, demonic spirits are looking to control the audience and find people willing to accept the input of those Evil spirits. The Bible says that Satan comes as an Angel of Light. What better place for him to display this, than in the WOF meetings ?

I believe that increasingly – in the WOF meetings, the combination of the professional production, and the work of the Spiritual Enemies of the Cross are too powerful for those who are in the audience to not be affected by them.

We can all debate how long the impact of those meetings will be, but they must be long term: Because people coming out of WOF find it so hard to extricate themselves not only from having attended, but from the experiences that they were involved with.

====

In situations like that, I believe that it is important to recognize this for what it is: good old fashioned Spiritual Warfare. This is not the “demon of nail-biting” kind. It is rather simply the Devil making war on the saints, in order to attempt to paralyze us in as many ways as possible.

Praise God that there is a natural antidote called Prayer and Renewing of our Mind through reading the Bible.

Romans 12: 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

It is important to understand that we need to pray for

a) great wisdom and discernment,

b) to pray that we will understand what has happened,

c) to pray that we would understand Which part of our theology and teachings are wrong or have been changed and altered by Word of Faith.

Those of us who do not have a local church should pray that we would find one that has people inside with 1) great spiritual discernment and 2) great spiritual maturity – or that we would be able to find a group of Christian believers who are like that.

It is important to not Stay paralyzed. We do not mean a day or two. we are talking about weeks turning to months. It is important to recognize that God does not abandon us, (even though it can feel that way sometimes) and that He allows things in our lives which will make us stronger, but that there will be times when others hurt us and there will be times when we get burned, even by those who claim to be doing the work of God.

Often, what the Devil knows he may not be able to do anymore with deception, he may try to prevent us from serving Jesus Christ by Confusion or Paralysis. The only way to work out of those feelings is to try and process them, but not allow those bad feelings to become the basis by which we make our new everyday choices.

Bad things DO happen to Good people. And the fact is that although we like to think of ourselves as Good, we are really sinners saved by the Almighty Grace of a loving God. Having said that, it is important to know and remember that just because God lets us fall does NOT mean that He rejects us. On the contrary, God wants us to know Him better. We can never go faster than God, in His desire for our company, and in HIS desire for us to know Him better and continue to worship Him, in spirit and In Truth.

These times are exiting but they do bring some dark days. We know one of the reasons why things happen to us:

II Cor 1:
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

Just to be sure we dont miss it, it says that we have tribulation (Difficult & Hard times)

quote:

that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Other Verses are also helpful:

I Thessalonians 15: 18
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober [minded].

we should remember what Paul said:

II Thessalonians 2:16
Now [may] our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
17 Comfort your hearts, and [e]stablish you in every good word and work.

http://www.exorthodoxforchrist.com/wof_devastation_1.htm

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The Word of Faith Movement and the Capture of the Mind

One of the ways that WOF (Word of Faith) harms people is that it uses their own willingness to believe something which is false – against the person who is doing the “believing”.

Many of these people who are in WOF actually have been in this kind of stuff for their entire lives (some of the WOF teachers started back in the 1950s or before). But many of the people who are in WOF are NEW to the movement. Where did or do these people come from ?

Don’t they come from other churches ? Isn’t there some kind of implication that these churches – from which the WOF converts came – did Not teach people

1) how to rightly divide the Word of God or

2) how to study the Bible or

3) how to identify important doctrines in the Bible or

4) how to spot a cult or identify false teachers ???

We are not proposing that individual believers don’t have a choice, and don’t have a responsibility to educate themselves. Clearly they do, whether someone informs this of that or not, and they are {and will be} held responsible by God, for the doctrine that they believe. The Bible tells all of us to be on our guard and warns about Spiritual deception and also about the need to stay constantly in the Word (the Bible) So That …we will continue to grow spiritually.

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Scamming the Lamb’s Fam: Hireling Mike Murdock Gets Paid $100,000 For Twisting the Gospel on the Inspiration Network  See video here

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But having said that – the failure of the leaders and teachers in those local churches, would seem to be an indication of the spiritual weakness and sickness of the Church in general, that it would provide an “impression of safety and stability”, while seeming to encourage the Lack of Spiritual grounding and the Lack of development of Spiritual Maturity.

Thank God we should not leave it up to our churches, and that we can find others and good authors to help us grow spiritually. But it remains disappointing to see many people go to church but only find the confirmation of a lack of Biblically grounded and encouraging teaching.

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These implications seem to very serious. In many cases, the original independent local churches (around today) have almost entirely failed in their Biblical duty to educate and thoroughly ground the Christians who attend in the Bible, and especially the new Christians. But now the WOF [Word of Faith Movement] is becoming so large that it will likely continue to absorb those same former “local” churches and get many of those churches to adopt WOF theology and teachings.

http://www.exorthodoxforchrist.com/wof_&_the_mind.htm

 

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JONI A TRUE AND FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN

more about “Testimony of Joni Eareckson Tada“, posted with vodpod

 

 

 

Joni Eareckson Tada & Word/Faith [Word of Faith]

A Personal Experience

On December 8, 1999, Joni Eareckson Tada was on the Bible Answer Man, and made the following devastating comments about Word-Faith teachings:

Kenneth Copeland or Kenneth Hagin or Benny Hinn – they’ve never called me and asked me to come on their program.

…I had read some portions of Scripture that seemed to indicate that if God’s Word abided in me, and I abided in Him, I could ask whatever I wished and the request would be fulfilled and my joy would be brighter.

I took that to mean that God wanted me healed. And my sister packed me into her station wagon and a couple of friends, and we drove down to the Washington DC arena and Kathryn Kuhlman swept on stage and praise choruses and testimonies and songs and all of us in the wheelchair section, we kind of like with baited breath were waiting and wondering, and nothing happened. In fact, the ushers came up to all of us in the wheelchair section, about 35 or 40 of us, and said, “Let’s escort you all out early so as not to create a traffic jam, and so there I was, Hank, number 15 in line of 35 people in wheelchairs or on crutches, waiting at the stadium elevator to go up to the parking lot, and we could still hear the distant strains of the organ and piano – Kathryn Kuhlman’s meeting was still going on – and I looked up and down this line of solemn-faced individuals and saw so much disappointment, and I thought “Something’s wrong with this picture.

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Scamming the Lamb’s Fam: Hireling Mike Murdock Gets Paid $100,000 For Twisting the Gospel on the Inspiration Network  See video here

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Either I wasn’t reading God right in His Word or God is not coming through on His promises.” And I knew that wasn’t true, and so Hank, it was that experience that drove me into God’s Word so deep I started reading people like R. C. Sproul and J. I. Packer and Jeremiah Burrows and John Owen and Jonathan Edwards and other contemporary authors – Dr. John MacArthur, there’s so many. I really dove into God’s Word with both sleeves rolled up to understand the Lord’s perspective on healing and I can say now that I am so grateful for the wisdom of God.

…John 5 talks about where Jesus once visited the Pool of Bethesda, and among all these disabled people He touched and healed a man paralyzed on a straw mat for over 30 years. I remember I was in the dark at night. After my bible was closed I’d picture myself at that same pool. I would imagine me dressed in maybe a rough burlap coat lying on a straw mat, perhaps even near that man that Jesus healed, and I would plead with God in prayer, “Oh, Lord, do not pass me by.” I would even sing to Him that hymn, “Jesus, Jesus, hear my humble cry. While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by.” I would pray that, and yet I was never healed.

Well, as you know, years later, and I began to get my spiritual act together with the Lord Jesus and I realized He was using my affliction, my paralysis to push me up against a spiritual wall with my back, getting me to seriously consider His lordship in my life – years later – in fact, just last year my husband Ken and I had a chance to visit Jerusalem, and we chose to do the old city on a hot, dry, dusty day, midday, when we knew no tour buses would be around and we’d have the place pretty much to ourselves.

And Ken was pushing me in my wheelchair down the cobblestone streets and we arrived at the sheepgate, made a lefthand turn, and there, a couple of hundred yards down the path, it opened up into this grand old ruins of – my goodness, it’s the pool of Bethesda. Ken, I said, would you look at this. And although you could not make out the colonnades because the ruins were crumbling and tumbling, and there’s no water in the pool yet, the place was empty, and as I leaned against the guardrail with my elbow, Ken hopped the guardrail to jog down to the bottom of the pool to see if there was any water in one of the cisterns.

And while he was gone and the wind was warm and dry and the sun was hot, tears began cascading down my cheeks as I looked over this pool of Bethesda and I said, “Oh, Lord Jesus, how good of You to wait 30 years, almost as many years as that man laid on his straw mat, You waited this long to bring me to this place, a place where I imagined myself so many years ago, and I’m so grateful that You did not pass me by, because a ‘no’ answer to a request for healing has meant purged sin from my life, and it strengthened my commitment to you, Lord Jesus. It has forced me to depend on Your grace. It has bound me with other believers. It has produced discernment.

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It has disciplined my mind. It has taught me to spend my time wisely. It has given me a hope of heaven. Lord Jesus, You were so good in not healing me.” And I know there are many people listening now who wish to be free of their circumstances – they are looking for an escape hatch, or maybe a quick fix for their affliction, and they think they might find it in a divorce or they are pondering maybe with the idea of suicide, such as one caller mentioned earlier. Or they’re thinking that they’ll find it in pills or medication, or a healing service. But the 32 years that I’ve been in this wheelchair and being at the Pool of Bethesda last year, has taught me that suffering is that good sheepdog, always snapping at my heals and driving me into the arms of the Shepherd. For that, I am so grateful. I am so grateful.

God Is Not a Vending Machine

Who is Joni ?

http://www.exorthodoxforchrist.com/joni’s_story.htm

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What is the Word-Faith Movement ?

The Word-Faith Movement encompasses a number of different philosophical streams, that have coalesced into the false theological perspective that reality can be created not by human action, nor by the intention of our hearts nor by human effort (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit), but rather by the uttering of words from humans.

According to this perspective, humans have the ability to create/re-create matter and direct spiritual energy (& other energy) not by asking God, but rather by speaking words out loud. Speaking words out loud is considered speaking words “into reality”, the premise being that the words magically change the order of the universe and affect the world, or any person or circumstance, in accordance with the will of the one who utters those words. Another way of saying this is that it makes men as Gods.

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Scamming the Lamb’s Fam: Hireling Mike Murdock Gets Paid $100,000 For Twisting the Gospel on the Inspiration Network  See video here

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This view on speaking words/matter “into reality” has long been at the core of witchcraft and the occult. Under new disguises, this perspective continues to gain converts in Mainstream Christian Churches and Denominations, by those who are eager for a spiritual experience, but disregarding the source of that spiritual experience.

XOFC rejects the Word-Faith movement as contrary to the teachings of the Christian Bible, and as contrary to the teachings that Christians have held since the time of Jesus Christ. (check our books out for the documentation of this point)

Having compared Word of Faith teachings to the Bible, we don’t believe in the Word of Faith movement. Or should we say, we believe in its “reality”, just not its authenticity.

The Word of Faith Movement teaches that one can command God, and that one can do this using Words. The supposed basis for doing this is the Bible. But in Word of Faith, the Bible is treated much more like a book of Magic Incantations where the God of the Book must cooperate with those who have a copy of His
book.

This is comonly called “Word of Faith”. The Bible has another term for this: It is called Witchcraft. The belief that the Words in the Bible “activate” God and that God is compelled to respond because of the way that we pray … is simply an attempt to bend God to our will. It is the exaltation of the self in the Name of God.

But it is not connecting to God in any real sense. Charles Capps, E.W. Kenyon, Branham and Copeland actually are much closer to Charles Manson and Anton LaVey or Judas, than they are to Jesus, at least the Jesus Christ who is the Son of God, the one who died and rose again and is coming back.

The fact is that William Branham claimed to be in fear when interacting with the force that he was calling ” a Spirit”. (He also denied the Doctrine of the Trinity). Branham said that the spirit he was interacting with was threatening him. Oral Roberts also seemed to describe a Jesus who threatened him. It was the 800 or 900 Foot Jesus that had told Oral Roberts that Oral was going to have to die, if Oral could not raise a certain amount of money.

These teachings are not Biblical, and they are Not from God. The Word of Faith movement is full of counterfeit doctrines, that are Anti-Christ. The Word of Faith movement is simply Witchcraft disguised in Christian terms. We wish we could say we’re sorry for saying that, but we’re not.

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Don’t ask yourself if you are offended. Ask yourself if this is true. The teachings of E.W. Kenyon have much more in common with the standard teachings of Witchcraft than they do with the Bible. Additionally, the occultists teach that Satan is the one who will triumph. Not surprisingly, Word of Faith teachers affirm that “Jesus had to let Satan triumph over Jesus by torturing him for 3 days”.

That story is straight from Hell. It does not explain the resurrection. It mocks it ! Word of Faith teachers are simply the prelude to the symphony from an eternally dying being who knows that his own seven years of temporary evil will come to an end. Did you actually think that we are implying that Word of Faith teachings are from the Devil ?

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You Did ? Well that is what we are trying to say – based on the evidence.

Its not the Word of Faith movement we need. Its the Word of Jesus Christ.

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We would encourage all to study the details and the doctrines of the Word-Faith movement.

To that End, we have begin by posting information on one of the Leaders of the Word-Faith Movement – C. Peter Wagner and one of his spiritual disciples Pastor Ted Haggard, the newly elected leader of the National Association of Evangelicals.

We have posted this information below in PDF format. We appreciate those who have provided this information to us. We encourage all to continue to do research which is able to impact many for his True Kingdom.

More Specifics on the Word of Faith Movement

http://www.exorthodoxforchrist.com/word_faith_movement.htm

This article is long but it is very good and answers thoroughly and emphatically the question “Is Christianity and freemasonry compatible, can you be both?

I few years back I did a radio show with this article and some Bill Cooper audio mixes. I will try to find that and get it uploaded soon.

 

“Mixing Oil with Water”
Pastor Harmon Taylor

I’m going to share with you this morning a sermon entitled “Mixing Oil with Water.” You’ll quickly understand the subject, we’ll be using the Word of God, and many selected scripture portions at the very beginning of this message.

The important thing is to lift up to you a statement of Charles G. Finny, one of the foremost preachers of our day. He was a theologian who accepted Christ in 1821 and served Him until his death in 1875. He fulfilled the pastoral role in several churches. He became one of the most renown professors of systematic theology in all of history. But most of all he served his Lord to the very best he knew how to do, and that’s what I’m trying to do.

He said when faced with a challenge you should do this, every local branch of the Church of Christ is bound to examine this subject which I’m going to be talking about this morning, and pronounce upon this institution according to the best light they can get. God does not allow individuals or churches to withhold action and expression of their opinion until the churches are enlightened as themselves.

I have been involved in Freemasonry. I have been involved in the church of Christ. I have been involved in the reading of His Word. I have been involved in the comparison of the Word of God as I see it in Holy Scripture verses the Word of God as it is TOLD me it is in the ritual of the Masonic Fraternity. Invariably there are words changed. So let us look this morning at mixing oil with water.

I want you to know that this message has been bathed in prayer for more than three months now and intensively bathed in the prayers of literally hundreds of Christians and indeed in this hour there are more than a hundred Christians praying for this message to be heard and accepted. This message is being taped and it will be broadcast in the United States and Canada with distribution points in both locations, and it will be in an upcoming issue of an Evangelistic magazine of one of this nations’ greatest evangelists reaching Born-Again Christians literally, around the world. That is how much God wants this message out. I thought none of this, I asked only for prayer and these events came to pass for the glory of God.

(Praise song)

The hour is at hand, the Spirit of God is in this place and we have been called to proclaim His Word. Hallelujah! Before I begin I’m going to ask Hal if you’d pray for me and for this congregation.

Heavenly Father, we come before your mighty thrown as your children in and of Your Word, asking that you bless our Pastor, Bring Your Holy Spirit mightily through him this day in the message that he has for us. Help him say what You want to be said, and bring that message to this congregation that we may hear and learn in our hearts and our minds, and put it to use, what we hear this day, and learn this day in our daily lives. Move Your Holy Spirit this very morning that we may be strengthened O Lord, I ask it all in Jesus Name, Amen

Thank you.

We share from Psalms 118 Vrs.22. We’re going to be sharing several of these and I’ll try and move through them as quickly as possible so maybe its not a good Sunday to pick up your Bible and try and keep up, because I want you to hear the messages. The stone, the very stone which the builder rejected, It has become the capstone. The Lord has done this, it is a marvelous thing in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Then, moving over to Mt. 5, Vrs. 33-37, Jesus is speaking about perjury and retaliation being forbidden. Again you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, do not break your oath, but keep your oaths you have made to the Lord. But I tell you, says Jesus, do not swear at all, Either by heaven, for it is Gods’ thrown, or by the earth for it is His footstool, or by Jerusalem for it is the city of the great king, and do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair either white or black, simply let your yes be yes and your no be no. Anything beyond that comes from the evil one.

These are not my words now, these are the words of Jesus.

And then moving over to Mt. 24, Vrs. 1&2. Jesus left the temple and was walking away when His disciples came to Him to call attention to its buildings. Do you see all these things? Jesus asked. I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another. Every one of them will be thrown down. He was speaking of the temple.

Then, moving over to I Timothy, the third chapter and verse sixteen. First Timothy 3:16, You’ve heard of John 3:16, that’s an easy one to remember, I Timothy 3:16, hear the word of scripture, maybe its 2nd Timothy 3:16, Yes, 2 Timothy 3:16. All scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. This scripture is saying that its meant for more than just love, love, love. Scripture is God-breathed, useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.

2 Timothy 4, Words that the Lord has laid upon my heart, and reinforced so many times, before I ever spoke them as a section of scripture that the Lord was dealing with me, my daughter placed that scripture in my hand. Just the lettering, 2 Timothy 4, 2 thru 5. No, hers was 1 thru 8, but I’ve selected 2 thru 5. And this is Paul’s message to Timothy, a pastor. And it is a message to every pastor, it is a message that certainly God has for this pastor I know that I know that I know! that this is the scripture verse that God has for me, Preach the Word. Be prepared in season and out of season, correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instructions for the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine, instead, to suit their own desires they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an Evangelist, discharge the duties of your ministry. That is Gods’ call upon me and that is what I am trying to do. And then one other scripture verse, again relating back to Mt. 5. This is in James, Chapter 5 and verse 12.

Above all my brothers, do not swear. Not by heaven, nor by earth, nor by anything else. Let your yes, be yes and your no, no—or you will be condemned. God have mercy on us as we share together this morning around these scripture verses.

A little more than a year now we have been together. God has been moving dramatically in my life, He’s moved dramatically just to bring me to Clifton Park United Methodist Church. We have worked together as a pastor and people and in that time one word had stood out above all others in my Christian walk, and it is this; Be careful, Pastor, of deception. As God has moved in my life in these months, I’ve been able to see how easy it is for me and for others to be deceived and drawn away from the Christian walk. It was in October of last year that I shared with you the roots of Halloween and how it was brought into sink with the Christian holiday of All Saints Day.

I shared with you the evil of that; some rebuked it but it was the call of a pastor to preach Gods’ Word. Some of you learned, some of you were surprised. I was even more surprised when, almost a month to the day of that administrative council meeting a brother in Christ came to me, He’d been praying for four months-remember Nehemiah? Remember how I came here through four months of prayer? This brother prayed for four months before he came to me, to talk about my involvement in a cult! Bob, what are you talking about? Me? involved in a cult? I’m in the United Methodist Church! And then we began to share together. I realized that while I was sharing with you that you needed to be careful about dabbling in the occult even if it were just the dressing in a costume, here I was in a full blown cult.

It’s not easy for me to share that with you, for what you might think and how could I be so stupid. I’ve shared with others and actually had Christians laugh at me. Please, don’t laugh. But Listen. As a pastor, as a preacher, as a child of The King, I must preach the word without fear of mans’ criticism. I must preach it with the reverential fear of the love of God for the souls of all men.

This morning we will deal with a topic that may be uncomfortable to some of you. To others, it may tell you something you already suspected. To others, it will confirm what you already knew. At the very start I need to assure you that my object is not to attack or challenge any individual man, woman, or child. What I share with you has little to do with a man or woman or child but it affects the lives of many men, women, and children. And it is that evil that I speak against this day.

I am not attacking a person but I am seeking to lead men and women into a closer walk with the One, True God. The Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I do this in the name of Christ for the glory of God and hopefully with a boldness of a Charles G. Finny, a nineteenth century Evangelist who spoke as God gave him utterance.

First, let’s look at the dictionary definition of Immoral. Webster defines it as conflicting with generally and traditionally held moral principles. Concerning the fraternity of Freemasons my Christian friends, their benevolence, their moral principles in general, Charles G. Finny accurately states the following: “Masonry does not recognize the Bible as any higher authority with Masons than the sacred books of heathen nations nor the Koran of Mohammed or the Verti of Hindu. That Freemasonry recognizes all religions is equally valid. That so far as Masonry is concerned, it matters not at all what the religion of its adherents is, provided they are not Atheists.”

To join the Masonic Fraternity I could ask you to raise your hands as to how many of you think that the Masonic Fraternity is a Christian organization and probably one third of you would raise you hand, until you think about it or remember that there are Jews and many others in that organization, and the reason for that is that it requires a belief in only one god. Any god! Just one.

I’m not the first to stand up and to speak out against it. I’m just, perhaps, the latest. I’m going to share with you the names, of a remarkable list of great Christian men and statesmen who renounce the lodges and opposed them, and this is particularly important to you if you happen to be upset and just waiting to talk to the district superintendent, because one of the most illustrious figures in religion to speak out against Masonry was a man by the name of John Wesley. Yeah, I’m going back to Methodism. Right back to the very root. That man who left his church and preached the salvation message to miners in England. Yes, John Wesley, took a stand against Masonry. Alexander Campbell, Daniel Webster, Wendell Phillips, Chief Justice Charles Marshall, Charles Summner, John Hancock, Horace Greeley, Dwight L. Moody, R. A. Tory, Timothy Dwight, Charles Finny, Charles Blanchard, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John Madison, Amos Wells, Simon Peter Long, James M. Gray. A long list of men who spoke out against Masonry.

Listen to the words of Dwight L. Moody to pastors.

“I don’t see how any Christian most of all a Christian Minister can go into these secret lodges with unbelievers. They say they have more influence for good but I say they can have more influence for good by staying out of them and then reproving their evil deeds. Abraham was more influence for good in Sodom than Lot was for good. True reformers separate themselves from the world rather than becoming a part of it. But Dwight L. Moody, some say, if you talk that way you’ll drive out all the members of secret societies out of your meetings and out of your churches, “What if I did?” said Dwight L. Moody, better men will take their places. Give them the truth anyway and if they would rather leave their churches than their lodges the sooner they get out of the churches, the better. Those are the words of an Evangelist, a Prophet, Dwight L. Moody. “I would rather have ten members,” he said, “who are separated from the world than a thousand such members. Come out of your lodges. Better be one with God that a thousand without Him.”

Concerning a Christian as a member of a Masonic society we have this from the very Word of God. Rev. 18:4-5. “And I heard a voice from heaven saying Come out of her my people that Ye not be partakers of her sin and you receive not her plagues for her sins have reached unto heaven and God hath remembered her iniquities.”

There are many Christians, even ministers of the Gospel of Christ who support the adherence to the teachings of the Masonic lodge. I have been a Mason, I have been a past master of my lodge, I received the Master of the year award in my district for increasing the lodge attendance by 259% over the previous year. Yes, I was committed to it. I’m ashamed of it now. But it took a lot of time from my church, from my family, from my sleep. I did the best job I knew how to do. I was appointed a New York State Grand Chaplain; there’s sixty-some in the state. I was one of them and I was selected personally by the Grand Master because of my leadership and because of my service. Normally it goes thru a district committee where Right Worshipfuls get together, but they were saving me for district deputy Grand Master.

I was out of Gods’ will but I think within His permissive will. I guess if I could have known Gods’ words to me then since I wouldn’t come out of Masonry, was, then I’ll put you in a place where I can use you. And so the Grand Master Personally appointed me to that post. I served him as best I could. But what it says or should say to you is that I speak with the authority of the Word of God and I speak with the full knowledge of the rituals. I have performed the degreed in the blue lodge, two of the three, I have seen them all, observed, and been a part of them. There is a real question of what can be done with the great numbers of professed Christians including Christian pastors who are in the Masonic Fraternity. But I tell you, I pray for them every single day.

Let me just share with you what one pastor said. I wrote an Editorial in the newspaper and some of you heard it and others came to you and said, Well, what’s going on with your pastor, is he off his rocker? All I did was commend my denomination in England. That was August 6 Editorial in the Gazette, and the Roman Catholic church for taking a stand against Masonry and your coverage. I write as one who is well informed and not confused, and in no need of help concerning this matter.

Stanley Maxwell quoted as saying “The lodge honors Jesus Christ as it honors Socrates, Buddha, Mohammed. Christians and others need to know that Masonry honors none of these. They aren’t mentioned in any form of honor in the Fraternity. Their names aren’t mentioned and neither is the name of my Savior Jesus Christ. There is no place in ritual of the Masonic Fraternity where Jesus is acknowledged as “Your Savior”. What was the response by a man who is chairman of a district board of ministry that I answer to, to be able to stand in this Pulpit, a Grand Chaplain, Mr. Taylor has expressed his biased opinion, and his faith seems to have been adversely affected.

What men will do. What men will do in order to protect their fraternity. Even to the putting down of a fellow pastor. Charles G. Finny, and this is his book, he was a Mason, came out of it when he accepted Christ, and he wrote a whole book on it. The air had almost been darkened by the immense number of falsehoods that have been circulated by Freemasonry to destroy the reputation of every man who has renounced Freemasonry. Anybody come to you and criticized you? You know, in Hagemon, somebody came into an insurance office and told a member of my congregation that its a good thing you got rid of that guy when you did. I’ve told you how I got here. She said to him, We didn’t get rid of him, we wanted to keep him. He left. Do you know that a week after I came out of the Fraternity the man who wrote the History of Masonry gathered together the officers of my lodge, told them what a tragic loss it was, reminded them about my year in a back brace, told them that I’d been on some strong medication and evidently it had affected my mind.

Well I’ll tell you what the medication was. It was two Valium prescribed by the Doctor while I was in the Hospital for two weeks, reduced to half that amount when I got out of the hospital, and that was two years before I made the decision to leave Masonry. That medication is awful slow working! I think any Doctor would be able to document that it didn’t come from that medication. But Hallelujah! He spoke to the Master of my lodge, and you know what happened? A week after I left Masonry, Ralph signed my demit. Before the next meeting, I’ve got it here, I’ll share it with you:

To the Secretary;

I am resigning as a member of Welcome Lodge 829. There is a better light, that light is the light of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In His Word (Jn. 8:12) it says: “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness. I have walked in the darkness of Masonry. Today I am ending that darkness and following the One, True, Light, that of God, His Son , and The Holy Spirit.”

Hallelujah! I did more for Jesus Christ by leaving Masonry than I ever did by being in it. and that’s just the beginning, you know what else happened? The next day his son left and gave his testimony! And you know what else happened? That week they had a mid-week prayer meeting in the Church on Wednesday night.

I called up a man who walked by me one day at the Pine View Community Church, and he said to me- “I don’t know how you could be a minister and a Mason.” He was a kind of wimpy kind of guy so I just ignored it, but God didn’t let me forget it. And when I left the Fraternity I came to him, or I called him on the phone and I told him that I’d come out of Masonry and he said “Oh, great! Can I use that as a testimony tonight at worship?”

My gut reaction was no, I want to tell them the next time I get there. But that’s pride Taylor. O.K., you can tell them. He went to that prayer meeting, He shared, there was a guy with his Masonic bible. Big thing like this, has a big Masonic emblem on it. And as he told about this an writing a letter to the Grand Chaplain and leaving Masonry, he pulled the Bible closer to him. Next to him was a dear black lady who learned a long time ago how to really pray. It got to prayer time and she stood up and she started to pray that God would use that letter to lead other men out of the Fraternity by the hundreds. He could take no more of it, He picked up his Bible, he stormed out of the church; This fellow that I’d been talking to saw that Masonic emblem and he said, I’ve offended that brother.

When I got home I was up here in Ministry, didn’t get in until late, my wife knew I wouldn’t be in until late, He said, “Have him call me whatever time he gets in.” I called him, it was after 12:00, now in the morning of the next day, and he said I hear that your Grand Chaplain and you got a letter from a guy that’s leaving Masonry. Do you know anything about it? I said Yeah, I know all about it, I wrote the letter. I gotta talk to you. And so we went down and we ate at the Hilton Hotel. The same place where a brother talked to me, the same exact table. We sat there and we prayed and he told me his testimony. He wanted to know how to get out and what to do. You know, in that week eight men came out of the Fraternity and every single one of them gave a witness to the Lord Jesus Christ I’ve got four of them here with me today. Hallelujah!

What’s happening is that people don’t know. You know why the Masonic Fraternity is a secret organization? Because if they ever showed me that ritual before I went through the door of that lodge, I would have laughed. Then I would have gone home.

I don’t know how other men get into Masonry, I’ll tell you how I got in. I was a pastor to my people in Hagemon, and I slipped up bad. I let the men of my church lead me in an area where I should have been leading them. When I looked out in the congregation there were Masonic lapel pins on all but one of the men in my congregation. I couldn’t get a mens’ group started in my church and now I know why, they were all involved in Masonry, they didn’t have time for another meeting a week. Since I couldn’t get them to join a group, I joined the one they had listed. I asked them and oh, were they thrilled. Were they happy, their minister was going to join.

I had a lady in that church, Marion Campbell, She didn’t like my involvement in Masonry, but I didn’t have to worry about that you see, every time she spoke up these men put her down. When there were some tough times in the church some of those Masons who disagreed with what I was saying supported me because I was a Mason. Now that’s not the reason to support your pastor. It’s easy to get led in.

Finney challenges men like myself. Let Christian men labor with these Masons, Plead with them and endeavor to make them see it is to be their duty to abandon it. He continues; The morality inculcated by Masons is an exclusive, one-sided, selfish affair. In its best estate it is only partiality, and the doing in a very slovenly manner the work of a mutual insurance company.

You see, if you get involved the first person that a Masons’ going to help (and some of you who are Masons can attest to this) If you’re given a choice between giving help to a Mason and somebody else, you help that Mason first, even if the other one is in more need. Let no man deceive you by any means, Masonry claims for itself the power to conduct its disciples to heaven. You do it by your good works, and if you are good in your works, you will get there.

In many places in the ritual it teaches the candidate the observance of Masonic law, principles, and usage’s that will secure for him his salvation. I put a lot of those things in a corner. You ever done that in your house? You put a lot of things in a corner and the house looks pretty neat? But when you pull all that stuff out of the corner, what a mess! That’s what happened with me and Masonry. I stuck the salvation by works in a corner. I stuck some scripture that wasn’t quite right in a corner.

And as I sat down with a Christian brother who prayed for me for four months without my even knowing it, you know one of his prayer partners moved all the way to Carolina?, He called her every week to pray with her for me? That’s the kind of commitment that came to me by a brother and a sister in Christ, that I be led out. Do you know that brother and that woman came to my sons’ graduation because they couldn’t believe that a Mason would be allowed in the Laudenville Community Church pulpit.

Do you know when we met five months later He gave me a copy of that bulletin, wrote down everything, and a little Masonic symbol with a question mark wherever what I said didn’t line up with Masonic ritual. A lot of time, a lot of effort, and that’s what I’m trying to do with others. And I prayed over this message for nearly four months now. “Let no man deceive you for that day shall not come except there come a falling away, first of that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition who opposeth and exhalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that as he as god sitteth in the temple of God showing himself that he is god.”

Not only is Freemasonry a religion, it offers salvation by works. But it also claim the position of God thru its very rituals. In the seventh degree of the Royal Arch Masons there is a representative of the burning bush. I’ll tell you how deep I got into this. I went thru the Scottish Rite, the 4th thru the 32nd degree in Masonry. Some of you may know about the 32nd degree of Masonry, maybe your Dad was a 32nd degree Mason, and you think that’s a pretty good thing.

You know what it takes to be a 32nd degree Mason? Over a Mason? In Albany, $135, and all day Saturday watching six plays performed and maybe you’re selected to participate in one. That’s all it takes. But praise a man for being a 32nd degree Mason and he’s not going to tell you that. I never told anybody that when I was a Mason. The 7th degree of Royal Arch Masons there’s a representation of the burning bush. The candidate is told to take off his shoes for the place where he stands is holy ground. And then the Master of the lodge claims to be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What an awful, profane, blasphemous thing this is.

It is my most sincere prayer that our time together today, even though it is running fast, will help you to receive in a spirit of love and compassion what I endeavor to convince you concerning the dangers of the Masonic fraternity. I’ve been there! And I’ll tell you, it is only by the grace of God that I am out of there today!

You ever hear the story of the frog in the water? The frog sits in a pan of water, very content. You put the pan on a hot plate, and begin to turn up the temperature very slowly; and the frog sits there very contentedly-as the temperature rises from 68 to 75 to 80 to 100 to 140 to 180 to 212. You know that that frog will never jump out of that water?

And that’s the way it is with Christians-when they get involved with the wrong things, just a little bit at a time. Then you can get in, and when the water is boiling, you are still there. In my first degree, I wanted OUT! And I knew why I wanted out. Within four years I was doing that degree and bringing another man into Masonry.

The frog-that’s who I was! But God kissed me with His Word, and now I am a child of the King! Does that make me a prince (chuckle)?

What am I trying NOT to do this morning? I am not trying to have any quarrel or controversy with any man, woman or child who happens to be involved in Masonry. I am not disregarding the sensibility of any Mason regarding their pet institution. I do not want to assail them. I only want to point out that there come times in the church when we have the sacrament of Holy Communion and you will find that if Masons have a conflict, that they don’t come to Holy Communion, they go to their Lodge meeting.

There’s a mixed up priority, and it’s that frog syndrome.

What would I wish to do, if possible? I would wish to stop the spread of this great evil in the Church of Jesus Christ! I wish to give you some information, because I have heard from others that you said somebody came to you. But do you know that the two editorials I have put in the newspaper about Freemasonry? Not one member of the church has come to me and asked me about Freemasonry! They go to somebody else who knows nothing and ask “What do you think about that?” Or they go to another Mason and they ask “What do you think about that?”-a Mason to a Mason.

No man has come to me, nor woman, nor child; and asked me, “Why did you say that?” If you’ve got a question, go to your pastor and ask him!

What would I wish to do, if possible? I would wish to stop the spread of this great evil in our church-in the whole church. I wish to arouse young men who are Masons to understand the horrible consequences of their dealings in these solemn oaths. I wish to arouse young men who are not Freemasons to look before they leap. The church, and the Christians have been remiss in suffering a whole generation, including me, to grow up in ignorance of the character of Freemasonry.

No minister ever told me about that.

In the 1800’s Masonry was exposed; and Masons abandoned their lodges for the shame of it. It cost one man, William Morgan, his very life. But for me to lay down my life is gain. That holds no threat to me. This man wrote all of the rituals of Masonry in a book, and you know what Masons did? They kidnapped him from Batavia, NY; moved him out to Niagara; stored him in Ft. Niagara for three days, and then they took him out in a boat. They tied a rope-the Masons would call it a cabletow-around his waist (not quite Masonically) with a weight on it; and gave him one half hour to make his peace with his God. And he pleaded that he might be spared so that he might be able to care for his wife and his children.

These aren’t rumors. This is the deathbed testimony of a man named Howard Vallance; the man who pushed William Morgan off the bow of that boat.

In Masonic history, you know what they call that event, which I see your faces shuddering at? “The Morgan excitement.” How does that get you? They said if he were a drinking man, he’d be a drunk. See, they try to defame and disgrace everybody who doesn’t agree with them.

Oh! And the theme of Masonry is “Tolerance!” We must tolerate one another. Ah, dear brother, you know when you say that prayer as Grand Chaplain, you can’t end it in the name of Jesus because you might offend the Jewish brother. Where’s your tolerance, brothers?

Where’s your tolerance to the fact that the scripture tells us that we come to God the Father through Christ, His Son. You’re telling me to pray an empty prayer! And I remember saying to the Jewish brother-who was eating his ham dinner at the time, and who told me not to pray in Jesus’ name-I told him that I would pray in Jesus’ name, and that when he heard the brief silence after my prayer before I said “Amen” that he could rest assured that I was saying, under my breath, “In Jesus’ name.”

Isn’t that awful? See how far-how hot they had gotten the water around the frog? That he’d say the name of Jesus under his breath? Well, I’m not saying it under my breath anymore! Jesus Christ is my Savior and I’m serving him! That’s why I’m sharing with you!

Masonry claims the souls of men.

Let me tell you a little bit more about Henry Vallance. He was never arrested, never tried for the crime-and in that you find something about Masonry. The justices, the law enforcement officials-they took great pains to conceal, to deceive themselves. John Quincy Adams was president of the United States of America at the time, and he gave a scathing attack against Masonry, when he investigated the events behind it after leaving the presidency.

They even established two false editions of Morgan’s book, and they circulated the false editions and they would bring that false edition over to a Mason who had never read the true book, and show it to him; and he would say, “Why these rituals aren’t correct!” And then he would become the spokesman to prove that the Morgan book was a lie.

Charles G. Finney, as he wrote his book, had a copy of the real book. The Masons could now rightly claim that the book was not correct; but they did not have all the information. They’d been deceived by their own brothers.

But the good news was that following that incident, 45,000 of the 50,000 Masons in this country left their lodges, when the facts became known, to enter it no more. While Christians have slept, the fraternity has once again reared its ugly head; and taken unto itself Christians and ministers of the gospel.

Now how is this public to know what Freemasonry is? How are you to know? First, negatively, you are not going to find out what it is by reading most of the books written by adhering Masons. Because they are not going to tell you the truth-they are not going to tell you their ritual-or the history of their ritual. A couple of men made the mistake and did that. If you call the Grand Lodge of the state of*** on **** in *** and ask them, they’ll give you the names, unless of course they realize that I’ve been using them.

Secondly, you cannot learn about Masonry from the oral testimony of adhering Masons. They’ll tell you anything but the truth, because they need to protect that secret of their society.

Thirdly, Masons who are under an oath not to reveal any of its secrets will not reveal that. Their testimony, therefore, cannot be trusted, and is of no value on the subject of Freemasonry.

How then, are you positively to know about Masonry as the church? Positively, you can learn it from the published and oral testimonies of those who have taken the degrees, such as myself; and have afterwards renounced them, and confessed the error and publicly renounced Masonry.

You can know from these renouncing Masons that they are competent witnesses, they are credible witnesses, when they testify against themselves. And anyone who testifies against himself does not do it lightly. It is given with a certainty of incurring an unrelenting persecution.

Now I ask you, you have heard Masons speak to you about me. What have Masons said to you about me since I have left the fraternity? And the question is answered… They will trample over a man or woman of God to defend their institution.

I told you of the brother who said I was on drugs. What I didn’t tell you is that the police came to his door one night. They’d arrested his son-also a Mason-for peddling drugs. I didn’t tell you that the Masons got together and got him completely off the hook, and he is still a member of the Masonic lodge!

I didn’t tell you about another Mason in Scenectady who spent two months in jail while a 33o Mason while they looked for a Masonic judge to get him off, and then all the records are done away with. He forged money orders, and bounced checks on closed accounts! He’s still a Mason today. You see, Masons are bound to do more than help a brother; they’re to help a brother in distress, and it doesn’t say what kind of distress.

It could be that you’re a little bit out of money and need some food; or it could be that you’ve committed a crime. It really makes no difference. And as you get higher up in the degrees, even treason is allowed!

That means if you’re a Mason and a policeman, and if you abide by the oath of the fraternity; and you’re told to go and arrest another Mason; you call him on the phone and tell him to get out of town before you get to his door. It means that if you’re mugged and before the court and your lawyer is a Mason; and the accused gives the Grand Masonic Hailing Sign of Distress, your lawyer is under oath to flaw your case so that the brother goes free.

If you find a Mason on a jury, and that Grand Masonic Hailing Sign were given, you are going to have a hung jury, if that Mason carries out his oath; and many do!

Adhering Masons have persecuted and still do persecute those who reveal their secrets, just as far as they dare.

Dear Christian friends, I submit to you that this is the highest degree of INtolerance! Witnesses who testify under such circumstances as I have been under are entitled to credit; especially as they could have had no conceivable motive for deceiving the public. When someone asks you the next time, “What’s the matter with your minister?”, you tell them he’s been in the Word of God, okay?

He’s been in the ritual, but that was wrong and God has forgiven him.

Look at the Master Mason degree for a moment; and I’m going to share a little bit about the first degree, too. The Third degree, like those that have gone before, have taken the candidates in blindfolded; their eyes are covered. They can’t see. A rope around their neck! You ever been blindfolded? With a rope around your neck? Close your eyes for a minute and imagine that you don’t know anything that’s going on the other side of the door. What do you think? Comfort and joy?

I went to that Masonic lodge room dressed like I’m dressed today, in a business suit The members of my church were there! Masons! They went into the lodge room and I was told to go into the other room. I get in there, & they closed the door, they told me to take off all my clothes, and put on this cape and this pants that was missing one leg. And the brother stayed there, I didn’t even know that man’s name! And he’s in this small room with me about the size of this platform that I’m on. Then he blindfolded me and put a cabletow, a rope, around my neck.

Then there was a knock on the door, he asked who was there, and the man said that I was a poor, blind, candidate. Desirous of having and receiving a part in the rites, light & benefit of this lodge.

Masons ought to pay attention to the ritual that comes afterwards because I never did. I knew it, I learned it, I memorized it, but I didn’t know what it said.

Dear friend, you know what they were saying about your pastor? a born-again Christian pastor? They were saying as he came through the door of that lodge that he was spiritually blind and they say that about every Christian coming thru the door of that lodge.

They weren’t talking about the blindfold. The Masons sit on the sidelines, new members come in, the blindfold is on, they assume its physical blindness, but the ritual, the words themselves, are talking about spiritual blindness.

I was led to the end of the back of the lodge room, and I know there’s some Masons here, and you can testify to the truth of this, blindfolded, cabletow, and your heart may even be beating a little more rapidly as you hear that senior deacon say that he’s about to apply a sharp instrument to your naked right breast. And you are waiting to get shot with a needle, or feel a knife, you don’t know, but in a split second that feels like an eternity you feel the point of a compass, you know, the kind you make circles with, and then they lead you on! and you are scared!

You don’t think much of any of your friends that are there now. About all you can remember is that you’ve lived thru it. And then you’re told to kneel for the benefit of prayer & they say a prayer, a Godless prayer, and then they ask you in whom you put your trust.

You sure don’t put your trust in any of your congregation there who were Masons and that you know are in that place. You’d like to run out but you don’t know where the door is because they’ve moved you around a couple times and you were blindfolded. And you tell them the only thing you can, in God. They say, your trust being in God is well-founded. Rise, follow your conductor, & fear no danger.

Whew! That felt good! You know what that was? That was the lamb being led to the slaughter.

So I went from there following the ritual very comfortable, a member of my church escorted me thru this, was brought up to the altar and told to kneel, and I was told just how to place my hand on the Bible, Gods’ holy Word, and the oath began.

Are you still willing to take the obligations, say “I”. I did. Pronounce your name in full, and I did.

And repeat after me “In the presence of Almighty God, in this worshipful lodge, of entered apprentice…” and it goes on saying I do promise and swear that I won’t reveal the secrets, that I will help aid and assist a brother & then it gets to all of which, and remember, every person that’s a Mason has done this, every single one, First degree. Your pastor did it too but God forgive me. Hand on the Bible, he said under the ancient penalty having my throat cut across, my tongue torn out and buried in the sand of the sea where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours, if I ever reveal the secrets of this lodge. I got secrets greater than that! And I want to make them known.

Jesus Christ is Lord and I’m not bound by any oath that is in violation of His law, and His law says let your yes be yes and do not take any oath lest you come under condemnation!

Now I really don’t care if Masons get upset by that. as long as my God does not condemn me. And every Mason ought to know that too.

The candidates’ hands placed on the Bible in Third degree, binding myself under no less a penalty than having my body severed in twain, my bowels taken thence and burned to ashes & scattered to the four winds of heaven that there might not remain tract, trace, or remembrance of so vile and perfect a wretch if I should violate this, my obligation.

Would you have let me come into this church if you knew I took that oath? Only the Masons would have. God forgive me. And He has. That’s why I speak out! You tell your friends as they come to you and want to know why your pastor has gone off his rocker.

And you can find out and verify everything I’m saying. You think its a secret society. Down in your library you can get the ritual book, you can get the information about Masonry. Here’s a book right here that you can get Freemasonry, the Invisible Cult in our Midst.

Here’s another one, The AntiChrist: The Masonic Society, it’s available. Praise God, shortly there going to be available right here in your Christian bookstore.

Dear Friends, do you think this is a Christian institution? Do you really think your pastor ought to be involved in it? Are you going to be proud to tell others that your pastor was a Mason? Or , are you going to be proud to tell them that he got out?

Dear Mason, are you proud to be a Mason now? As you consider, outside of the lodge room the rituals you’ve taken part in? Do you know the Junior Warden says that he observes the Summit Meridian? That’s sun worship, the Senior Warden observes the sun as it sets in the West at the close of day, and the Worshipful Master observes the sun in the East, there are three candles around the altar, one for the Master of the lodge, one for the sun god, and one for the moon god!

Do you know that one of the passwords to get into one of the York rite bodies is “I AM THAT I AM”!

Do you know who “I AM” is? “I AM” is JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF!!!

Do you know that in the Knights’ Templar degree, one of their degrees has a Bible on the altar, a skull on top of that and wine in the skull; and you take a sip. Only one person does this for everybody. Took a sip of the wine, and then part of the obligation was that if he violated that obligation, not only your sins but the sins of the person whose brain resided in the skull, and the sins of Judas Iscariot would be upon you.

No Christian should be a Mason.

I just want to deal with one scripture, the prayer of the Chaplain. I’m going to close in five minutes, I know its been long and I do appreciate, and I hope you understand what I’m saying.

Masonic ritual, the Chaplains’ prayer says “Most Holy and Glorious Lord God, Great Architect of the Universe”, So that’s who you’re talking to, right? “Thou hast promised where two or three are gathered in Thy name, Thou wilt be in the midst.” Does that sound scriptural to you? Well, almost.

The Scripture is, “Where two or three are gathered in MY NAME, I will be in their midst”. And the difference is “Thy” refers to the most holy and glorious lord god, and “MY” refers to JESUS CHRIST!

There’s a big difference. You see, the name of JESUS can’t be mentioned in the lodge room. Not even by a Grand Chaplain to end his prayer.

Dear Christian, is you’re a Mason, I plead with you to hear my words. Run from Freemasonry to save your own soul.

And women, if you’re in a Masonic-related body, the Amaranth, the Eastern Star, the White Shrine, RUN FROM THEM!

If the base and the foundation of Masonry is rotten, you don’t want to be on the fourteenth floor of a building with a crumbling foundation, do you?

Well, let me tell you, its not just the foundation that crumbling, the structure is too.

Did you know that the Eastern Star symbol is the Five-pointed star? You see the Bethlehem star like this. The Masonic symbol, in every other place in the world to my knowledge, certainly in the United States, except New York state, it is like that, two points up. Now I’m going to share with you about this star.

One of the founders of the Eastern Star, the man who wrote all the ritual, Rob Morris, chose that find-pointed star. He selected it for a specific reason out of Mythology; it is the Goat of Mendez! And ladies did you know that the Goat of Mendez is the god of lust? What a jokester that Mason was. How blasphemous! That he would choose a symbol for his wife and his children to be a part of that is the Goat of Mendez, the god of lust.

Well, they don’t think of it that way. Let me show you. In extended debate, in the mid-west, in Michigan, yielded this result on whether or not to change the symbol. This emblem, which has been our symbol, although evil, has been redeemed by the good works of its members. This symbol, although evil, Who said its evil? The Grand Chapter of the State of Michigan! …Has been redeemed by the good works of its members. Salvation mind you is thru Christ alone, NOT THRU GOOD WORKS!

I’m not going to give any altar call this morning, because some people get upset by altar calls in churches too.

I’m not going to give an altar call this morning. I’m going to do it just the reverse. I’m going to call you to run FROM an altar this morning. If you’re a Mason, I’m calling you to run from that Masonic altar.

I’m going to call women in the Eastern Star and the Amaranth to run from their Masonic meeting place, from that altar, get out! Don’t stay for a friend, Don’t stay for a relative. Don’t stay for a Masonic funeral.

Continuance in this cultic, demonic diversion from the Christian walk WILL sentence you to HELL! That’s according to Gods’ Word, not mine. You may not have another day.

If you’re not in, stay out! You see, salvation is not by works as Masons claim. Salvation is only by Gods’ grace through JESUS CHRIST and HIS shed blood. And if you don’t believe that, you’re not a Christian! And if you do believe it, Dear Friend, You should NOT be a Mason!

I really thank you for taking the time & for letting me unburden my heart this morning on this subject. To let you know why I came out of Masonry. I hope you understand the love and concern that compelled me to do that. Yes, at the risk of my very life.

Charles G. Finny documents is his book seven men who have lost their lives. Mark was at the meeting with me at the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association Saturday and he told me he was concerned about a person that was there. Because he was afraid of what might happen.

He doesn’t want to lose his father, but he knows that if, if I should die, I win.

He knows where the Masons are in this congregation this morning. Praise God for it. And he’s been praying all during this service.

You know, when I came out of Masonry, I called my son as he got home from school and told him that I’d left the Masonic Fraternity.

One year after I was elected Grand Chaplain and he stood in the highest place of honor, and placed on my neck the Grand Chaplains jewel, You know what he said? You know what he told me? Dad, I’ve been praying for that for two years.

A son of mine had been praying that I’d come out of Masonry! He even had a video tape to explain Masonry in the house! But because it wasn’t the right time, he let it go.

I called my daughter. I told her that night that I came out of Masonry. You know what she said? I’m glad, Dad. Praise The Lord! I’ve been praying for that for four years! I didn’t come out easy. But I came out with a lot of friends!

Dear Christian Friends, don’t be upset if a member of your family is in Masonry. You pray. If you’re a Mason, hear my words and come out, so the people don’t have to continue to pray for you, year after year after year!

And the people of God said: Amen

http://saintsalive.com/freemasonry/mixingoilwater.html

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Tuesday nights @ 10pm Central

STARTING JANUARY 6

The How2BecomeAChristian.info RADIO SHOW will begin to air on BlogTalkRadio on January 6 at 10pm central. The show will be a mix of pre-recorded live shows and live call in shows. The show will feature interviews with well known Theologians and other professionals in various fields of Study. First up will be Ex-Word of Faith Preacher John Edwards from FaithPreacher.blogspot.com AND Christian Ufologist Guy Malone from alienresistance.org The shows will also do other things besides interviews. I will schedule ONE SHOW a month for people to air their grievances in a live format.

There is NOW a rough draft of a preview show with Pastor John in which I use audio from his video on his site, available for your listening (click the LOGO above). To let you know what to expect. The full and finished show will be finished and released in a few days. I will have MY INTERVIEW with pastor John coming in 1-2 weeks.

There will be 3 points of distribution for the How2BecomeAChristian.info RADIO SHOW and it’s Sister show OccultAgendaExposure.Info RADIO which will start sometimes in February.

1. BlogTalkRadio. The shows can be viewed and participated in at this URL http://www.blogtalkradio.com/How2BecomeAChristian The shows will also be available for download and listening there.

2. There will be shows that WILL NOT air at BTR. Those shows will be distributed at SoundClick.com at this URL http://www.soundclick.com/how2becomeachristian and the BLOGs

3. ALL shows will be broadcast from a respective BLOGPOST for that show episode.

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GUEST WISHLIST:

Scheduled: Guy Malone, John Edwards

Almost Scheduled: Peter Goodgame, Stan Deyo, Patrick Hering, David lowe, john Edwards, Michael heiser, Bill scnoebelen, Dave Ruffino, Jim Wilhelson, Joe Jordan, David Flynn
Wishful yet hopeful: Justin peters, Sandy Simpson, Rick Ross, biblical truth for Mormons, Mormon curtain, 20 truths about Mormonism, Keith and Lorrie Macgragor, and their Trinitarian friend, Ed Decker, Sharon and Derrick Gilbert at peering into the darkness, PID RADIO, Russ Disdar at shatter the darkness, Christ White No Where to Run from Revere Radio Network and Revelation Radio, Ron Rhodes: Reasoning from the Scriptures ministries, Sharon and Derrick Gilbert at Peering into the Darkness PID RADIO, Russ Disdar at Shatter the Darkness, Chris , James Spencer at Maze Ministry, Matt Slick at carm, Kirby Anderson Probe Ministries.

MORE TO ADD SOON. If you would like to submit a name or ministry to this list. Please leave the name or ministry name in the comment field below.

How2BecomeAChristian (with a numeral 2) ministries is a Christian Apologetics Ministry primarily devoted to answering the question “How to become a Christian?” The ministry focuses on Christian essentials but also covers all non essential doctrines and issues concerning Christianity and religion in general. Including all non/Christian religions, aberrant Christian cults, the Occult, the New Age Movement and much more.

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A 21st Century Defense of Christianity

by Peter D. Goodgame

 

www.redmoonrising.com

Introduction

Here at the dawn of the Third Millenium after the birth of Jesus Christ, the mainstream media has directed much attention to the beliefs and expectations of millions of Christians that the world will soon enter a time of Tribulation followed by the Second Coming of their Savior. Time, Newsweek, PBS, A&E, and even 60 Minutes have jumped on this subject, with what appears to be an agenda of proving to non-Christians that Christians are a bunch of irrational, out-of-touch lunatics whose belief system is dependant on blind faith and confusing, discredited and misunderstood ancient religious texts.

This editorial will attempt to show that Christians who believe in prophecy are not driven by irrational “blind” faith, but by their knowledge of two sets of data: Biblical/Historical Data, and the corroborating Contemporary Data. This editorial will also reveal that the media’s analysis of the Biblical/Historical Data is superficial and it’s analysis of the Contemporary Data is virtually non-existent. If the general public were simply presented, in an unbiased and factual manner, these two sets of data, then the public perception of Christian expectations would change from it’s present attitude of patronizing incredulity to one that would most likely be more sympathetic and understanding. Granted, not all would accept and believe the Christian message, but all, even the most extreme skeptic, would have to admit that the Christian expectation of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is understandable and even rational based on the data.

Rather than go into detail and refute the specific errors and shortcomings of the major media’s many articles, specials and documentaries, I will simply give a brief overview of the pertinent data, as it is seen by myself and many other prophecy-knowledgeable Christians. I believe that this short and by no means exhaustive list speaks for itself and proves that the major media either has an agenda against Christianity or has simply and inexplicably failed to do its homework.

The Antichrist

Christians believe that before the Second Coming a man will arise who will succeed in uniting virtually all of humanity in a world system to be composed of a single religion, a single government and a single economy. He will blaspheme the Creator and work to deceive every person on this earth into accepting him and rejecting Jesus Christ. Despite his evil intent he will use seemingly good causes to become loved and even worshiped by many, and he will achieve power and respect through his ability to perform miracles, signs and wonders. To verify the Biblical Data regarding this man go to- http://www.redmoonrising.com/biblicalAC.htm

The 20th century has seen the decline of traditional Christian beliefs and the rise of the seemingly all-inclusive, multi-dimensional belief system known loosely as “New Age” spirituality. Helena Blavatsky and Alice Bailey were two of the most well known organizers of this movement in the early part of this century (and they will be referred to throughout this article). Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society and Bailey, later a president of the TS, founded the organization known as the Lucis Trust, which has counted as members men of great influence such as David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, Paul Volker and George Schultz. Blavatsky and Bailey were avid trance-channelers who claimed to receive messages from spirit entities and both recorded many predictions that were made to them regarding the inevitable appearance of “The Lord Maitreya” or “The Christ” on the earth immediately prior to earth’s initiation into the utopian “New Age.” Because these women engaged in the biblically-forbidden practice of spiritism and because the messages they received were deeply anti-Christian, mocking and ridiculing traditional Christianity, bible-believing Christians have understood that the appearance of the man whom Bailey and Blavatsky predicted was not a prediction of the second coming of Jesus Christ, but was very possibly a prediction of the future Antichrist.

A man by the name of Benjamin Creme, a self-described disciple of both Blavatsky and Bailey, appears to have taken over where they left off. Through his early studies of their works he became convinced in the reality of the “Ascended Masters,” (the supposed inter-dimensional beings who direct humanity’s evolution), and claims that in 1959 he was first contacted by them. According to Creme’s biography… “He was told, among other things, that Maitreya, the World Teacher — the Master of all the Masters — would return in about 20 years and that he (Creme) would have a role to play in the event if he chose to accept it.” Creme claims that he has been in constant telepathic contact with “Maitreya the Christ” since the early ’70s and that Maitreya finally entered civilized society privately in 1977 when he materialized in human form and took up residence in a suburb of London. Since then Creme has traveled the world, giving lectures and appearing on talk shows, to prepare the world for the public emergence of Maitreya. He also claims that a major American television network has agreed to interview Maitreya at a time of Maitreya’s choosing.

One major aspect of Creme’s mission was the formation of Share International Foundation and the publication of it’s monthly self-titled magazine. Each issue contains a brief synopsis of the emergence of Maitreya on the first two pages and then a brief message that has been trance-channeled through Benjamin Creme from an Ascended Master known simply as “The Master” on page three. The spiritual thrust of SI is clearly obvious in each issue that is published. Despite this fact, or perhaps because of it, SI has a long list of prominent, well respected international diplomats, religious leaders and political figures who have had articles published in this magazine. They include articles written by former UN leader Boutros Boutros-Ghali; present leader Kofi Annan; former President of Ireland Mary Robinson; Gro Harlem Brundtland who is director-general of the World Health Organization and former Prime Minister of Norway; the Dalai Lama; and recently even Britain’s Crown Prince Charles. Even though the average man on the street would most likely dissolve into hysterical laughter upon being presented with the beliefs of Creme and Share International, it is easily shown that this magazine is well-respected and taken seriously by many influential members of the Global Elite. In fact, Share International Foundation is accredited as an official non-governmental organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and the magazine, as stated on the inside cover of each issue, is published by SI “…in association with the Department of Public Information at the United Nations.”

Creme and Share International are both intimately connected with a number of New Age groups including the Freemasons (Creme often lectures in Masonic halls), the Tara Canter of Hollywood, CA, the Theosophical Society, the Lucis Trust (one of thirty-six contributing organizations to the United Nations Millenium Forum of May 22-26, 2000), and World Goodwill, an organization created by the Lucis Trust and also recognized by the UN as an official NGO. World Goodwill also actively promotes the appearance of “Maitreya the World Teacher” in their literature and on their website.

Maitreya claims to be “The Christ” returned, yet there are many aspects of his character and many of his predictions (as given by Creme) which fall in line with the bible’s predictions of the coming Antichrist and the events that will surround the end of the age. For instance, Maitreya predicts many natural disasters and a period of violence and destruction prior to earth’s entry into the New Age; he warns that the worldwide capitalist financial system will be overturned; he predicts that a new world religion will be established under his guidance and that he will be aided by a future leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Regarding the current problems between Israel and the Palestinians Creme has stated that when Maitreya appears he will solve them, saying, “I believe Maitreya alone has the spiritual authority to point to the solution and achieve its implementation.” Most Christians understand that the final seven year period of earth’s rebellious history begins with a covenant that will involve the Antichrist and the nation of Israel. In addition to these facts Creme says that Maitreya may be rejected by intolerant “fundamentalists” (Christians and Jews), and “The Master,” an unnamed being who also speaks through Creme, warns of people who will reject Maitreya based on “scriptural warnings which they all too readily misinterpret.” (This researcher is doing his best to interpret them correctly.)

To verify this evidence which supports the Christian expectation of the coming Antichrist go to- http://www.redmoonrising.com/contAC.htm

The False Prophet

The book of Revelation makes it clear that the future Antichrist will be aided by an individual known as the False Prophet. He is the man who helps to convince the world that the Antichrist is worthy and deserving of worship, and ultimately it is he who enforces this worship on penalty of death. The bible also makes the provocative implication that the False Prophet may actually claim to be Jesus of Nazareth, and the prophet Daniel tells us that this powerful spiritual leader will come from Rome. Go here to verify this data- http://www.redmoonrising.com/biblicalFP.htm

Benjamin Creme, through the messages that he has received from Maitreya, tells us that “The Christ” and the “Master Jesus” are two separate individuals. According to him, Jesus of Nazareth channeled the power of “Maitreya the Christ” to make it through his crucifixion, death and resurrection as described in the Gospels. However, Creme claims that the simple message of Jesus of Nazareth was quickly twisted into wicked “fundamentalism” and the present Christian Church is the result. Because of the “problems” within Christianity Creme claims that the Master Jesus (an “Ascended Master,” along with Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, Sai Baba, etc.) has also privately entered human society and that he has the task of reforming Christianity so that it will accept the authority and direction of Maitreya the Christ. According to Creme, the Master Jesus now lives a relatively private life in Rome. Creme predicts that when the present Pope dies the Master Jesus will come out of his obscurity and take up a position of power within the Roman Catholic Church. He has also stated that right now there are two members of the Roman Curia (the members of the Pope’s inner circle) who are secretly direct disciples of the “Master Jesus,” although Pope John Paul II has rejected Maitreya. These predictions have been made numerous times in Creme’s written works, his lectures, on radio and on the official Share International website. Here is a quote from the “Frequently Asked Questions” page of the SI site,

From http://www.shareintl.org/background/FAQ/faq_main.htm#anchor17
Q: Could you explain the relationship between the disciple Jesus and the Christ?
BC: The disciple Jesus, who is now the Master Jesus, was born in Palestine as a third degree initiate. The five major Initiations which take one to Liberation have their symbolic enactment in the life of Jesus. That is what the Gospel story is really about. It is a very ancient story and has been presented to mankind again and again, in different forms, long before the time of Jesus. He was, and still is, a disciple of the Christ and made the great sacrifice of giving up his body for the use of the Christ. By the occult process of overshadowing, the Christ, Maitreya, took over and worked through the body of Jesus from the Baptism onwards. In his next incarnation, as Apollonius of Tyana, Jesus became a Master. He lives now in a Syrian body which is some 600 years old, and has his base in Rome. He has, in the last 2,000 years, worked in the closest relation to the Christ, saving his time and energy where possible, and has special work to do with the Christian Churches. He is one of the Masters who will very shortly return to outer work in the world, taking over the throne of St Peter, in Rome. He will seek to transform the Christian Churches, in so far as they are flexible enough to respond correctly to the new reality which the return of the Christ and the Masters will create. I am afraid that the Churches have gone very far away from the religion which the Christ inaugurated; which is to do with sharing, with love, with brotherhood and right relationship. But this monolithic institution has grown up in the name of that simple man and transformed his simple teaching into … well, you know what it has taught.

In summary, it is clear that Benjamin Creme claims that “Jesus” now lives in Rome and that he will take over the Roman Catholic Church and then lead humanity to accept Maitreya the “Christ.” For more on these predictions, which precisely correspond with the bible’s prophecies of the False Prophet, please go here- http://www.redmoonrising.com/contFP.htm

Restructuring the Calendar

The prophet Daniel predicted that the future Antichrist would endeavor to change the calendar. This understanding is taken from Daniel 7:25, “He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws.”

The World Summit on Peace and Time convened at the University for Peace in Costa Rica on June 22-27, 1999. The University for Peace is run by the United Nations and the Chancellor is Robert Muller, a former assistant Secretary-General of the UN (Muller credits Djwhal Khul, Alice Bailey’s guiding spirit, as the inspiration for his World Core Curriculum for education). The purpose of this summit was to prepare a Declaration on Calendar Reform as well as seven accompanying Articles of Resolution. The final goal is to change the calendar from its present “artificial” twelve month year to a more “natural” thirteen month year that more closely parallels the lunar and biological cycles. Kofi Annan and the Dalai Lama also expressed support for the project and it was attended by Maurice Strong, the secretary-general of the UN’s 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and highly regarded New World Order heavyweight. The proposed calendar is declared to be the new “Calendar of Peace,” and the results and declarations of this summit have been submitted to the General Assembly of the United Nations and to the Vatican.

Of course a bigger thorn in the side of the New Age movement, and presumably an irritant to the future Antichrist, is the fact that our present calendar is now set up to date from what was considered the year of the birth of Jesus Christ. Every time an individual writes out a check or signs a document he or she is acknowledging the amount of time that has passed since the earth’s Savior was born. When the Antichrist does make his public appearance and gains the necessary power he may indeed initiate calendar reform, perhaps changing it to a thirteen month year, and most likely doing away with our system that dates from the year of Christ’s birth. To verify this data go to- http://www.redmoonrising.com/calref.htm

The Rapture

According to the Bible there will be a future time when all of the believers in Jesus Christ are taken off of the earth to heaven to be protected from the time of terrible tribulation known as the Day of the Lord. This miraculous rescue is described in a number of Biblical passages such as Matthew 24:36-42,

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.”

And also 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17,
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…”

The secular media approaches this far-out belief with much patronizing glee, seeming to ask, “What person in his right mind would actually believe such ridiculous nonsense!?” The truth is that there are many people other than just bible-thumping Christians who believe in a very similar future event:

New Age guru David Spangler writes that “those attuned to the old world” will be “transported through the [cosmic] law of attraction” to “another planet, plane of existence or level of earth’s consciousness where they can be contained… the main point is that they will lose, for the time being, their access to the etheric planes of power and the ability to control or influence the developments upon earth.” (Revelation, Birth of a New Age, pp.163-4)

Best-selling New Age author, intellectual and promoter John Randolph Price was told by his spirit guide Asher, that in the near future two billion people who could not cope with the reality of the New Age would be wiped off the face of the earth during the future “cleansing” period.

New Age channelers and gurus around the world predict an event very similar to the biblical rapture, yet from their point of view the rapture will not be an event which rescues God’s faithful from His impending wrath on a wicked world, it will instead be an event that removes those who lack the proper spiritual vibration. It is said that those taken are those whose beliefs are characterized as “intolerant,” “fearful” and “of the past.” From the New Age perspective the rapture is seen as a global “cleansing action” that will remove “dark thought forces” to allow the earth to ascend to a higher plane of existence.

Barbara Marciniak is another well-known New Age channeler who predicts this event. This woman claims to have been telepathically contacted by aliens who come from the star-system of the Pleiades, and she has written numerous books on the messages that she has channeled from them. These spirit beings tell her a number of things regarding the future “shift in consciousness,”

“If human beings do not change — if they do not make the shift in values and realize that without Earth they could not be here — then Earth, in its love for its own initiation, is reaching for a higher frequency, will bring about a cleansing that will balance it once again. There is the potential for many people to leave the planet in an afternoon.”

“The people who leave the planet during the time of Earth changes do not fit in here any longer, and they are stopping the harmony of Earth. When the time comes that perhaps 20 million people leave the planet at one time there will be a tremendous shift in consciousness for those who are remaining.”

“Some of you want to pretend that the earth changes are not occurring. However, they are occurring, and there is nothing to fear, for they are part of the process of the great shift… Whether you stay on the planet and alter your vibration, or you check out and sit in the bleachers to watch the show, doesn’t really matter. On some level, in some avenue of existence, you will participate and you will learn.”

Thelma Terrell is yet another New Age author and trance-channeler. Also known by her spiritual name of “Tuella,” she wrote a book entitled Project World Evacuation. They are messages channeled from a being who calls himself Ashtar, the leader of an alien confederation, and throughout it are documented the predictions that this spirit being has made regarding the future “evacuation” of a significant number of human beings from off of the surface of the earth.

As New Age spirituality becomes more widespread the practice of channeling inter-dimensional beings increases as well. The internet is full of countless websites dedicated to this anti-biblical practice of contacting the spirit world. These sites document even more channelings which predict a future “cleansing action,” “evacuation,” or “transference” of a segment of humanity to another location.

Sheldan Nidle operates the “Planetary Activation Organization,” based in Maui, Hawaii, which is dedicated to preparing the world for extra-terrestrial contact. His website contains articles which refer to an evacuation of certain people to special mother ships of the inter-galactic fleet. He writes that these people will then go through a special “orientation training” before being released. In another section one of Nidle’s “lightworkers” asks him if New Age meditations and rituals might make an evacuation unnecessary. Nidle responds that although the rituals are essential the evacuation must still take place.

The Ashtar Command is another internet-based organization that claims ET connections. They make mention of an “ascension” process that goes through several phases. The second wave of Ascension is described as “the beginning of the evacuation,” but the timing of this event is not given because the announcement of dates “is not permitted.” This group also recognizes the Lord Maitreya as the “current planetary Christ.” The Ashtar Command has branches all over the world including Norway, Brazil, the Netherlands, Germany and the United States.

Soleira and Santari Green are two channelers from England who communicate with a being who likes to call himself “Metatron.” In one of their articles Metatron offers a warning to those who resist “unity” in the New Age,

“It is the time of the joining. It is the time of the choosing. And those who wish not to walk upon this path will be transitioned, transferred to a different reality. The time is upon us. The enemy is at hand and is about to become one with us and will be the enemy no longer. No longer will be there dark or light, good or bad. Only will there be unity and those who wish not to operate in unity, will operate elsewhere in another universe.”

Cristah is a Florida based “lightworker” who operates a website titled “Gateway to Oneness.” Within her site are channeled messages which predict that the earth will soon be ascending into the fourth dimension, but that individuals who lack the proper vibration will be left behind. Apparently from the earth’s point of view these individuals will simply appear to blink out of existence.

These are just a few of the many channeled predictions regarding the future disappearance of millions of people that can be found within New Age literature and on the internet. This information is strong evidence in support of the Christian expectation of a miraculous Rapture of every Saved individual from the earth to heaven. The only difference is that the Bible predicts that the good people will be taken while New Age trance-channelers are being told that the bad people will be taken. To verify all of these quotations and for much more please go to-
http://www.redmoonrising.com/contrapture.htm

To study the Biblical Data regarding the Rapture go to- http://www.redmoonrising.com/biblicalrapture.htm

For more information on this subject and to see the above quotes as well as many more go to-
http://www.redmoonrising.com/newage.htm

This leads us to address the reality of the fallen angels.

UFOs, Aliens, the Ascended Masters and the Fallen Angels

Throughout the 20th Century our secular academics have led humanity on a path that has rejected the existence of the spiritual side of the universe in favor of a completely materialistic paradigm. Our children are taught in public schools that all there is is all we can see and verify with the physical senses. As science and technology have improved we have turned our focus to the universe around us, leading many to hypothesize that because the universe is so big that life must have randomly evolved elsewhere from some other bubbling pool of slime. Carl Sagan was perhaps the king of the secular intellectuals, championing science and rejecting religion and spirituality as mere “pseudo-science.” He was one who romantically imagined that a highly evolved extra-terrestrial race might exist out there somewhere and he documented his notions into what became the movie “Contact.” It was promoted with the provocative, supposedly controversial affirmation of “We Are Not Alone!” Welcome back to solid Biblical Truth, Mr. Sagan.

Despite the fact that the major media promotes the notion that the existence of an advanced race of beings would be a challenge to the biblical view, the truth is in fact the opposite. The bible is clear that humanity is not alone and that non-human beings exist and have interacted with us from our beginnings. They are called “angels,” and they are divided into two groups, one group serves the Creator, and the other has rebelled against Him and taken over this earth. The “fallen angels” can also be divided into two groups, the first group, according to Ephesians 6:12, exists now in the heavens, the aerial regions around the earth, and Satan is the ruler of this “kingdom of the air,” (Ephesians 2:2). Revelation 12 predicts that in the future Tribulation, Michael will lead the good angels in a war against Satan and these fallen angels and cast them out of the heavens and physically onto the surface of the earth. The second group of fallen angels exists right now in a temporary place of confinement known as the Abyss. This group of imprisoned angels is led by an angel known as Apollyon (Rev. 9:11), and some of these demons will be let out of the Abyss to terrorize the earth for a time during the Tribulation.

The bible offers evidence that at one time some members of the first group of fallen angels actually co-habitated with human women, “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days–and also afterward–when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” (Genesis 6:4). This type of contact was apparently forbidden by God, and the angels guilty of this are among those who now reside in the Abyss, “And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home–these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 6-7).

The study of ancient history has been a goldmine of information which has brought forth evidence that substantiates the biblical view that a higher race of beings once intimately interacted with ancient civilizations. Zecharia Sitchin is perhaps the most influential of these researchers. For over twenty-five years or so this man has gathered evidence from ancient Sumerian, Egyptian, Hittite and other records, which all point to a time when nations were controlled by a higher race, the gods of “mythology.” The Sumerian records are the most ancient and many date to well past 2000 BC. These records were kept on baked clay tablets, and thus escaped decay. They have been uncovered on a massive scale during this century in the ruins of Sumerian cities, offering a glimpse of ancient history that is quite startling. These records show that the Sumerians knew that the solar system included the planets Neptune, Uranus and Pluto (modern astronomers did not discover Pluto until 1930). The records prove that the Sumerians understood that the earth orbits the sun, that they knew the relative sizes of all nine planets and they knew the relative distances between the planets. Sumerian records have also corroborated the book of Genesis point by point, from the genetic/sexual interaction of the Anunnaki/Fallen Angels with human beings, to the great flood, to the dispersal of the nations at the tower of Babel, and even documenting the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Ancient records from the Middle East and from the Americas even offer evidence that at one time the sun stood still in the sky for an extended period of time as related in the tenth chapter of the book of Joshua.

The Sumerians referred to these advanced beings as the “Anunnaki,” which means “Those Who From Heaven To Earth Came,” while the Hebrews referred to them as the “Nephilim” which means “Those Who Were Cast Upon [the earth].” The Sumerians and other pagan civilizations worshiped these beings as gods, while the Hebrews were told by God that they were rebellious beings outside of God’s grace who were to be shunned. Their final end was predicted in Jeremiah 10:11, “These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”

Helena Blavatsky referred to these “gods,” these wicked fallen angels, as “The Ascended Masters of Wisdom,” (perhaps down is considered up from their perspective). Through her channelings of these beings they convinced her of their benevolence, and they also led her to develop some very racist evolutionary ideas, promoting the notion of an Aryan race, and denigrating the Jews as inferior. This notion reached it’s climax through an Austrian by the name of Adolf Hitler. Dietrich Eckart was the famous occultist and German nationalist who befriended Hitler and promoted Blavatsky’s work, leading Hitler into a deeper and darker occult vision. At the very end of Hitler’s notorious book Mein Kampf, Hitler closed with these words,

“And I want also to reckon among [Nazi heroes] that man, who, as one of the best, by words and by thoughts and finally by deeds, dedicated his life to the awakening of his, of our nation: Dietrich Eckart.”

Blavatsky’s signature publication was a huge volume entitled “The Secret Doctrine,” which claimed to illuminate the true origins of mankind and our relationship with the Ascended Masters. At the end of Dietrich Eckart’s life, as he lay dying, he offered these final words regarding his infamous protege,

“Follow Hitler! He will dance, but it is I who have called the tune. I have initiated him into the ‘Secret Doctrine,’ opened his centers in vision and given him the means to communicate with the Powers. Do not mourn for me: I shall have influenced history more than any other German.”

The Apostle Paul referred to these “Powers” in his letter to the Ephesians as enemies of humanity (6:12), “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Is it such a shock to realize that Hitler was motivated by an evil much more real and much more dangerous than simply his own deluded mind? The occultic source of Hitler’s beliefs and goals have been documented in numerous literary works, yet why is there no mention of the spiritual side to his evil movement in our textbooks? Why is this information considered irrelevant?

Many secular researchers are fantasizing that UFOs are purely physical, and that they represent contact with a race of beings from another planet. However the data that has been gathered over the years on the UFO issue does not support this hypothesis. The UFO phenomenon does not represent the attempts of another intergalactic civilization to contact humanity, rather it is a phenomenon that has been with us throughout our recorded history and it is a phenomenon which transcends the materialistic rules that our modern scientists believe to be true. Jacques Vallee is perhaps the most unbiased and “scientific” among those who endeavor to understand the UFO phenomenon. Here he comments on how modern “science” conveniently ignores major facets of humanity’s existence,

“I have never been comfortable with an arbitrary separation of the world into the physical universe (which is presumably what science studies) and the psychological, social and psychic side of life. To me that arbitrary separation is the major weakness of our intellectual system.” (From an interview with Jacques Vallee in the e-zine 50 GCAT.)

And here are two quotes from him which deal with the subject of UFOs,

“The UFO Phenomenon exists. It has been with us throughout history. It is physical in nature and it remains unexplained in terms of contemporary science. It represents a level of consciousness that we have not yet recognized, and which is able to manipulate dimensions beyond time and space as we understand them.” (From his book Forbidden Science.)

“The UFO phenomenon represents a manifestation of a reality that transcends our current understanding of physics… The UFOs are physical manifestations that cannot be understood apart from their psychic and symbolic reality. What we see in effect here is not an alien invasion. It is a control system which acts on humans and uses humans.” (From Messengers of Deception.)

And they will continue to manipulate and deceive us until we are liberated from their control at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. For more information on this subject and to verify the data in this section please go to- http://www.redmoonrising.com/powers.htm

The New World Order

According to the prophecies of Daniel, the Antichrist will arise out of a single kingdom that dominates the entire world (7:23-24). The Antichrist may appear before this predicted New World Order, but he will not take over effective control until after it has been established. The so-called “New World Order Conspiracy” suffers greatly from ridicule in the mainstream media, but it is a reality nonetheless, with many different, yet inter-related supporting factions.

Three of the most important factions are:

The International Bankers Cabal- the monetary powers who rule behind the scenes.
A handful of families have, little by little over the centuries, gained control of virtually the entire world through their creation of central banks in the different economic centers of the world. First in Continental Europe, then in England, and then in America through the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. The banks these families own, despite the fact that they have names like the Bank of England, the Federal Reserve (sic) Bank of New York, the Bank of France, the Bundesbank-Germany, etc, are not institutions that exist by the people and for the people, but are instead completely private institutions that operate purely for the profit of the small group of elites who own them. This is how the United States Treasury has amassed a debt of trillions of dollars (a debt which we the people are responsible for), while the Federal Reserve has never been more profitable (a profit enjoyed by the owners of the Fed). Yet this incredible state of affairs is almost never commented on by the media, and those who call for eliminating the Fed and returning financial controls back to the public are labeled as kooks and extremists.

The situation is even worse in the Third World where, after half a century of “aid” from institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, these countries find themselves in a condition of perpetual debt and poverty that has stemmed from their reliance on high-interest loans that have often been squandered by their despotic leaders. The homepage of the official website for the World Bank (worldbank.org) is emblazoned with the headline, “Our Dream is a World Free of Poverty.” The fact is that the World Bank is one of a handful of institutions most responsible for the pathetic situation that the Third World is currently mired in. Bruce Rich, a former consultant to the World Bank, demonstrates this very conclusively in his book “Mortgaging the Earth,” and many other critics have amassed significant data and research proving this conclusion as well.

The march to a socialist, dictatorial New World Order is led by the men who control the world’s money, and many believe it will be ushered in by a pre-meditated and manipulated world financial markets crash which will, as did the crash prior to America’s Great Depression, act to transfer wealth from the masses back to the central banks, and to transfer power from the masses to a small circle of elitists bureaucrats. Benjamin Creme, in his lectures and writings, has stated many times that the appearance of Maitreya will be accompanied by a major stock market crash and a global financial meltdown.

The United Nations- the diplomatic/political arm of the NWO.
The UN is an organization that was created immediately after World War II to aid the moneyed elite in their goal of establishing a one world socialist government. Since that time it has steadily gained influence and respect. For the most part the UN is a benevolent organization with goals of world peace, ending poverty and hunger and stopping disease, yet there are many sinister aspects of this organization as well. The UN is striving to have all religions respected and acknowledged as equal in truth, and is promoting a ban, aimed at evangelical Christians, on all forms of proselytizing. The United Nations is also pushing for a worldwide ban on civilian gun ownership and it is promoting abortion as a “human right.” The UN is also working towards the establishment of a permanent “police force,” and supporting the formation of a permanent World Criminal Court.

All of these goals have the effect of limiting personal liberty and giving control and influence of many aspect of public life into the hands of unelected bureaucrats. Can we trust them to make the best decisions for individuals and the world as a whole? Increasingly we are being forced to accept their rules whether we agree with them or not.

The New Age Movement- the spiritual force motivating the NWO.
Alice Bailey and the Lucis Trust were staunch supporters of the formation of the UN. In her channeled writings it has often been stated that the UN is the organization whereby a united and peaceful world will be established. For years this occultic New Age organization was headquartered on UN property at the UN Plaza, until recently moving to a location on Wall Street. In 1950 the Secretary-General of the UN at the time, Dag Hammarskjold, designed the official UN Meditation Room and it was given over to the Lucis Trust, which has maintained it to this day. Share International also speaks highly of the UN. An SI columnist, Bette Stockbauer, writes this of the UN, “Maitreya and his group of spiritual co-workers have designed a plan that is brilliant in its simplicity and insight. They visualize a world organization, administered by the United Nations, which will completely restructure our economic systems. Instead of the present system of domination by market forces which has led to the complete polarization of wealth, we will see an equitable distribution of planetary resources. Instead of a world in which the richest societies blindly ignore the total degradation of countless millions, we will see the greatest solicitude for human suffering.”

The basic tenet of New Age belief is that all religions come from the same source, and that all serve their own limited purposes and point to a higher truth. New Age belief understands that all successful religions recognize the Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Within Christianity this Rule is understood as the second most important commandment, yet NA belief elevates this commandment to prime status and dispenses with Christianity’s most important commandment as irrelevant (see Matthew 22:34-40). With this basis the New Age movement welcomes a New World Order that will be based on socialism and the priorities of human evolution and environmental protection, and the global elites who actually control the mechanisms that could produce a NWO are deceiving countless well-meaning New Age believers into supporting their goals.

The Final Goal
Foster Bailey, the husband of Alice Bailey, referred to Hitler’s Third Reich as an attempt to put the ‘Plan’ into action. The next totalitarian experiment is just on the horizon and New Agers, communists, socialists, liberals, and other left-wing intellectuals and activists are ready to embrace it with open arms. Once again the tried and true technique of the Hegelian Dialectic is being used by the global powers to achieve their desired goal. On the one hand the moneyed elites are promoting full-scale global capitalism through the policies of the IMF and the WTO. This system puts profit as the ultimate goal, promotes greed, selfishness and materialism, contributes to environmental degradation, and places the third world in a system of indentured servitude. Yet on the other hand the moneyed elites have a history of supporting communism and socialism through their complicated network of private trusts and media control. They engineered the creation of the UN and they have infiltrated the global environmental movement. Why would the powers responsible for the present system of out-of-control global capitalism also promote the very forces which seem to be against it? Because they see neither global capitalism nor idealistic democratic socialism as the ultimate goal. By playing both sides they aim to achieve the desired synthesis which will be a totalitarian New World Order under their complete control (at least until the Antichrist takes command).

To verify the New World Order data please go here- http://www.redmoonrising.com/NWO.htm

End-Times Babylon

The 17th and 18th chapters of the book of Revelation offer a detailed description of the last great secular superpower that the world will see. She is shown as a woman that is dressed in “linen, purple and scarlet,” and named Babylon the Great. She is referred to as a great city, but other prophecies make it clear that she represents more than just a single city.

– This woman is said to effectively rule over the kings of the earth.
– The great city of Babylon is referred to as the “city of power.”
– Geographically she resides “on many waters,” and is composed of a melting pot of cultures.
– In Old Testament scriptures Babylon was the home to Jewish exiles, and this is implied of end-times Babylon as well.

These are all important clues regarding the identity of end-times Babylon, but by far the majority of the descriptive emphasis is placed on the fact that she is the world’s foremost economic power:

– Babylon is described as the wealthiest nation on the earth, basking in her “excessive luxuries.”
– She is described as being the home to the “merchants of the earth,” and these merchants are called “the world’s great men.”
– Her crimes include seducing the world through the luxuries that are peddled by her global merchants.
– Her general attitude is described as one of supreme self-confidence and arrogance, but when the great city is suddenly destroyed the merchants of the world weep with grief because of their terrible loss.

After the sudden destruction of the great city of Babylon the remnant of end-times Babylon appears to resist the New World Order and the conquests of the Antichrist. However this resistance is ultimately crushed and the nation is absorbed into the Antichrist’s kingdom as related in Revelation 17:17-18, “The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled.”

For more information regarding end-times Babylon, and for evidence of her obvious identity, please go to-
http://www.redmoonrising.com/MysteryBabylon.htm

Conclusion: Humanity’s Current Situation

One of the most important foundations of the Christian faith is the doctrine known as “Original Sin.” This is the belief, taken from the Genesis story of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit, that mankind is presently separated from God and the legal property of Satan and the Fallen Angels. Over the years, through a critical examination of history and through the research of politically incorrect topics such as UFOs and extraterrestrials, many well known secular researchers and historians have come to the similar conclusion that this earth is indeed controlled and manipulated by non-human beings who have an agenda all their own.

Researcher Jim Marrs, near end of his recent book Rule By Secrecy, mentions this possibility (p406). He quotes from William Bramley, who wrote in his book The Gods of Eden, “Human beings appear to be a slave race languishing on an isolated planet in a small galaxy. As such, the human race was once a source of labor for an extraterrestrial civilization and still remains a possession today. To keep control over its possession and to maintain earth as something of a prison, that other civilization (the “Custodians”) has bred never-ending conflict between human beings, has promoted spiritual decay, and has erected on Earth conditions of unremitting physical hardship. This situation has lasted for thousands of years and it continues today.”

Marrs also quotes from journalist Charles Fort (p.406), who wrote, “I think we are property. I should say we belong to something: that at one time, this Earth was No-Man’s Land, that other worlds explored and colonized here, and fought amongst themselves for possession, but that now it’s owned by something…” (Fort, The Books of Charles Fort, Henry Holt, 1941, p.163)

Fringe researcher David Icke offers these words about our situation, “Planet Earth was hijacked, you could say, and taken over by another civilisation or civilisations, which are highly advanced technologically, but pretty low on love and wisdom… Both the hijacking extraterrestrials and those with humanity’s interests at heart were regular visitors to the earth thousands of years ago. They became the ‘gods’ in the ancient texts and legends which have formed the foundations of most, perhaps all, of the major religions today.” (Icke, “…and the truth shall set you free,” Bridge of Love, 1995, p.5

Icke refers to this evil extraterrestrial race as the “Prison Warders from the Fourth Dimension.” Icke is definitely not a Christian, yet he has arrived at some uniquely Christian conclusions. He writes, “I think the takeover of Planet Earth was achieved by what I call the Luciferic Consciousness…” (“…and the truth…” p.9) Elsewhere Icke concludes that there will soon be a world government complete with a “central bank, currency, and army, together with a micro-chipped population linked to a global computer…” (“…and the truth…” p.428). These are all biblical predictions, yet Icke has arrived at his conclusions purely through his own contemporary secular research.

Zecharia Sitchin is yet another historian who conclusively demonstrates throughout his numerous works that the ‘gods’ of mythology, who exhibited extra-dimensional capabilities and UFO-like qualities, were very real beings who actively controlled every ancient pagan civilization except for the Hebrews. His works could be collectively titled “The History of the Fallen Angels,” yet they should be read with care, because the texts from which he draws his history are from the perspective of peoples who worshiped these beings as gods, revealing a bias that Sitchin often fails to mention.

And finally here again is a quote from perhaps the most respected scientific researcher of the UFO phenomenon, Jacques Vallee
(from http://www.arts.arizona.edu/v2/Sources.html)

“The UFO phenomenon represents a manifestation of a reality that transcends our current understanding of physics… The UFOs are physical manifestations that cannot be understood apart from their psychic and symbolic reality. What we see in effect here is not an alien invasion. It is a control system which acts on humans and uses humans.” (Messengers of Deception, 1979)

Obviously this researcher may differ with some of these statements regarding the nature of the controlling power, but the quotes from these independent secular researchers have been offered to prove only one point: All of them have come to the conclusion that the human race is controlled, even owned, by a non-human intelligence, and that this intelligence has been shown to often work against the best interests of humanity. Of all the major established belief systems there is only one that sets forth as a foundational doctrine the fact that humanity and indeed the entire earth is owned by a group of extra-dimensional beings who are in rebellion against the Creator. According to the bible this rebellion will one day end, and all who are a part of it, either actively or passively, will be held accountable. According to Christianity humanity is Lost, yet God has offered a way to be Saved, one single way out which can be found through a humble and sincere search for the truth. It is a profound, yet simple answer. So profound that our brightest intellectuals struggle with it and often reject it, yet so simple that it can be easily understood by children as young as my own two year old son. The origins of the human race and of our present situation are believed by many to be veiled in allegory in the book of Genesis, yet the basic truths are easily understood.

When Jesus first actively began His mission on this earth as the Messiah, the Savior of the earth, he began it with a period of fasting and prayer in the mountainous desert of Judea for forty days. During this time Satan appeared and tried to tempt Him. These temptations ended with the offer recorded in Matthew 4:8-10, “…The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: `Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” Jesus did not dispute the fact that Satan owns all the kingdoms of the world, nonetheless He rejected the offer on the basis that it was a sin to worship anyone other than God Almighty.

Jesus confirms the fact that Satan is in charge here on earth in John 12:31 and 14:30 when he calls him the “prince of this world,” and the Apostle Paul refers to Satan in 2 Corinthians 4:4 as the “god of this world.” Recall again what Paul says of the fallen angels in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

The book of Revelation introduces a document, a scroll that is sealed with seven seals. This scroll is deemed by many bible scholars to be something like the Title Deed to the earth. When Jesus takes this scroll twenty-four heavenly elders sing a song, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10). It was the death of Jesus Christ which “purchased men for God.” God would not have used the death of His Son to purchase mankind unless we were not in His possession.

The opening of this seven-sealed scroll signifies the beginning of the events of the end of the age and the rise of the Antichrist. As each seal is opened a judgement is made upon the earth. The judgement of the seventh seal is felt through the blowing of the seven trumpets. Finally after the blowing of the seventh trumpet voices in heaven proclaim, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” Only after the blowing of the seventh trumpet is the earth claimed as a legal possession of the Lord God and of Jesus Christ. Until then this earth will still be the property of Satan and the fallen angels.

Final Words

In the interest of brevity much information has been left out, such as the move to digital money, chip implants and the Mark of the Beast, the predictions involving Israel, a rebuilt Temple, and two Middle Eastern wars, expectations by some cults of “alien contact” and plans to build a “space embassy” in Jerusalem by the Raelians, etc. Despite it’s brevity it is hoped that this article has succeeded in its simple task of presenting at least some of the concrete data which supports the Christian expectation of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Christians are not crazy, they are simply informed. In presenting this article to members of the media it now becomes the responsibility of the media to carry out their duties of investigating the data (all of it clearly documented), and in continuing this process of informing the general public. The words of the disciple Peter, as written down almost two thousand years ago, make a fitting close,

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.”
2 Peter 1:16-19

“…There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.’ For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water… But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:3-9

I think He’s coming back.

Peter Goodgame  www.redmoonrising.com

*The Red Moon will be a clear sign of the end of the age,
as predicted in Joel 2:31 and shown in Revelation 6:12.

“A 21st Century Defense…” may be freely reproduced in whole or in part, without credit to the author.

http://www.redmoonrising.com/21Defense/defense.htm

 

Note to readers. I am a friend of the writer of this article Peter Goodgame. I interviewed him when I used to do radio. I have the raw interview but have lost the produced show of the interview. But I will make the raw interview available here on this blog soon. THIS BLOG WILL ALSO HAVE A RADIO

more about ““Red Moon Rising”“, posted with vodpod

 

 

 

 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Is There Only One God“, posted with vodpod

 

 

 

 

Wants to be a god?

So many people seem to be convinced that the Bible teaches that we are gods. The Mormons, the New Agers and yes, there are a growing number of Christians that believe this as well. Each of these have a different variation on what this means. The Christian view comes from the influence of heretical word/faith teachers that distort the Scripture.

We would be surprised how many people actually say this or insinuate it indirectly. They point to Jesus, who said in John 10 “I said ye are gods.” Many use this statement Jesus said as a Bible doctrine for believers. Let’s look at several famous Bible teachers statements on this Scripture.

“We want to be gods. Jesus said, ‘I said ye are gods’ (John 10:34). It is with the attitude of gods in the world that Jesus wants the Christian to live.” (John G. Lake: His Life His Sermons, His Boldness of Faith, Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1995, p. 13).

Is this the attitude Jesus wants? Not according to Scripture, he wants us to be dependent upon God and deny self and walk humbly, hardly a prerequisite for a god.

Lake also says “I want you to hear what Jesus said about himself. God was in Christ, wasn’t He? An incarnation. God is in you, an incarnation, if you were born again. You are incarnate. “ (ibid p. 196).

The mistake is-born again does not mean incarnate; it means to be regenerated. To go from something that has no life to being alive, to something that had no relationship with God to having one.

It’s not surprising that Kenneth Copeland would publish Lakes statements like these since he agrees with it. As he has stated: “You don’t have a god in you, you are one,” “We are a class of gods.” “Every Christian is a god.” Benny Hinn also agrees and states unequivocally “you are god” “Christians are little gods.” “I’m a God-Man.” With well known men like these teaching this its not surprising so many who listen to them have picked this up.

The fact that Gurus, New Agers, Mormons and some who claim Christianity all claim we are gods and have godlike powers is strikingly similar to what Maharishi Mahesh yogi says “When you know that you are God, YOU WILL BEGIN TO LIVE GODHOOD…”’ Margo Adler a witch says, “We are gods and might as well get good at it.” Anton LaVey explains the core of Satanism “here is one of the essential points of Satanism, attain his own godhead in accordance with his own potential. Therefore, each man, each woman, is a god or goddess in Satanism.” J.Z. Knight who Channeled the fallen spirit Ramtha pointedly says through her “You are God.” Sung Myung Moon leader of the Moonie cult says this, as do so many others. Maitreya the false new age Christ (one of many) says “May this manifestation lead you to see each other as the gods you are.”

What manifestation is this? It’s called the mystery of iniquity that has been in the world since the fall. As David Spangler puts it– “Lucifer prepares man in all ways for the EXPERIENCE OF CHRISTHOOD (Burns: Jay Gary, The Millennium Doctor http://www.cth.com/au/corp/despatch/JayGarybk3.htm, p. 2,3, quoting David Spangler). In new age language it means Christ is the way-shower.

It should be obvious to any Christian familiar with the Scripture that to call oneself a god is a doctrine of fallen spirits, what the Bible calls demons.

Helena Blavatsky in her “the secret Doctrine” wrote: “It is claimed that there exists, for untold ages, a body of supermen”… these according to her view were initiates, the Brotherhood of the Great White Lodge and light. They are known to Theosophists as ‘the Masters.’ The teaching of Theosophy, therefore, consists of information either directly imparted by them” (E.R.Mcneil Theosophy to Christian faith pp.1-2) Blavatsky wrote further “Satan is the door-keeper of the Temple of the King; he standeth in Solomon’s porch; he holdeth the key of the Sanctuary, that no man enter therein, save the Anointed having the arcanum of Hermes” (v. 20 and 21). [Vol. 2, Page 233). She is explaining the Luciferic initiation of those who have realized they are more than man- but supermen.

The Latter Rain movement still growing in its influence has similar affections. In the book the Pattern Son Bill Britton writes at Jesus was the “Firstfruits among many brethren and the PATTERN for many more “sons” to come. He calls this group the Manchild Company – they are the anointed ones and have the right to be called Christ. These are the ones who have reached a “very high level of anointings.” It is the same spirit that is moving these people and many others today to this realization that they are god. It does not matter whether one calls it the divine spark” or self-realization or the higher self, or “god” within every man, it all leads to the same place. Or as Neale Donald Walsch, in his bestseller book “Conversations with God” writes “You are already a God. You simply do not know it.” Isn’t it Interesting how so many spiritual diversities can agree.

Creflo Dollar who claims he is a teacher of Christianity sums it up for everyone believing this, quoting Jn.10:34 and Ps.82:6 he states “Now, notice what He says here, “Ye are gods” small g. You are gods? Somebody says “You trying to say we’re gods?” No, I’m not trying to say we’re gods. He already said it. But what I want to know is Lord, how can we be gods? And He answers it in the next phrase. Because you are the children of the Most High. See if you are truly a child of God, if you were born out of God, you got to be a part of the God class. I know I’m not God. But I’m a child of the Most High…I’m a part of the God class…. But then the next verse says, “Because you did not believe you were gods, you’re going to die like men.” But it says you’re gods. And I said now, Lord, wait a minute here. How we going to prove this? Because I kept hearing over and over again all this week, we need to have a God training class for Christians. So they can start acting … “(Our equality with God through righteousness 1/21/2001)

Notice he says Because you did not believe you were gods you will die like men. Is this what the Scripture is actually saying? It only takes a few extra words to confuse and change the meaning.

Ps. 82:6-8 ‘I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.’ Lets set the record straight, this Scripture does not mention little gods. Nowhere in Scripture is there a teaching of little gods along with big God, but false Gods verses the true God. So in reality to claim to be a little god is to put one in the category of a false God.

Lets go back to the beginning, when Lucifer a fallen angel shows up in the garden. Speaking to Eve he says “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). When both she and Adam ate of the tree that God told them not to, they knew what evil was experientially, by believing that this fruit would make them like God it caused them to lose their righteousness God originally gave them.

After the fall Adam begot his first son Cain and other sons and daughters in his own image and likeness. All those after are in this same image. This is why the Only true God became a man. When a Christian accepts the heretical teaching of subordinate gods to a greater god they are aligned with the originator of this lie, the teaching of the occult and those who incorporate its message. They are on their way to a great deception, the very one that Paul warns in 2 Thess.2, those who refuse the truth will believe THE LIE!

Anything created disqualifies it from being God. Adam was not a god (as Kenneth Copeland and the Mormons say), and Satan is not a god. Satan is called the “god of this age” because he is worshipped, not because he really is a god by nature.

He has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.(2 Cor. 4:4). In other words he blinds people to see Christ alone is God. Satan did not tell the truth but lied to Eve when he said, “You shall be like God,” and he continues to use the same lie to people today.

Paul taught that Christ (2 Cor. 4:4) ALONE ‘is the express image of God (his person) (Heb.1). No prophet ever thought of them-self as the express image of the invisible God, or that if you have seen them you have seen the father, they knew better. There are too many today who are exalting mans nature to be something the Scripture says it is not. Only Jesus is the exact image of God in man. Man has the image of God but this does not make a creature God, godlike, or in the same class. There is only one God and he always existed, this is why no creature can ever be equal to its eternal creator.

The Hebrew word for “likeness” (demuth) simply means similarity or resemblance, not identity. The term itself actually “defines and limits” the word “image” (Hebrew: tselem) in order “to avoid the implication that man is a precise copy of God, albeit miniature” (R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, eds., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 2 vols. Chicago: Moody Press, 1981, 1:192.)

God never said man is a god or in a god class as some claim. In fact, if we look at past and future history we can identify the ones who claim this.

The past- Isa. 14:12-14 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”

It was Lucifer who through the king said he would be like God in the past. Ezek 28:2-6 “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Because your heart is lifted up, and you say, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, in the midst of the seas,’ yet you are a man, and not a god, though you set your heart as the heart of a god (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god…” v:9 “Will you still say before him who slays you, ‘I am a god’? But you shall be a man, and not a god, in the hand of him who slays you.”

The future- 2 Thess. 2:3-4 “the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

Everyone who claims to be a god, the true God shows they are not, by bringing death to them. Jesus will slay the antichrist, the man of sin who will be worshipped as god by the word from his mouth. Zeph. 2:11 “The LORD will be awesome to them, for He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth”

Let’s not forget in our modern time one of the worst collective murders in history. It was Jim Jones who let the idea of being a god completely deceive him and near 1,000 people were affected by going to their deaths with him. He said “It is written that ye are gods. I’m a god and you’re a god” (Jim Jones, quoted in J. Reston, Jr. and N. Adams, “Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown” program on National Public Radio, 23 April, 1981.)

Satan’s methodology is to lower Jesus’ nature and exalt man’s to be equal to Christ using the same lie he deceived himself with. We should understand from the Scripture that to claim to be a God, big or small is what Lucifer did to himself and influenced man into sin.

With this background lets to the passage that people are using to prove they are little gods.

John 10:32-39 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” “If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),”do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;” but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”

Notice Jesus answered them by pointing to the Old Testament, and is using it to argue His exclusive deity as the Son of God, having a unique relationship to the Father that no other has. Jesus is responding to the Jewish leaders who had accused Him of blasphemy. In Jn.10 Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees. Are the Pharisees gods? Would someone that did not believe in Christ being the Son of God and were his enemies be considered a little god by Jesus?

To understand him further we must go to a context of a passage quoted by Jesus to see what he was trying to convey. Psalm 82:1-8 “God stands in the congregation of the mighty; he judges among the gods. How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked? Selah. Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked. They do not know, nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are unstable. I said, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.” Arise, O God, judge the earth; for You shall inherit all nations.”

In its context it can only mean something that is not flattering. Jesus in John 10 is mocking them as if to say, You all think you’re gods yourselves (rulers) and rightly so (this is a tongue and cheek expression). But you do not recognize THE God among you. The Pharisees were blinded to who Jesus truly was.

Ps. 82:6-8 ‘I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.’ This was addressed to the judges of Israel they were called gods not because they were divine but because they represented God when they judged the people. The word Elohim is used for God, men and angels, but it is never used for man or the angels to imply they are God but as rulers of certain positions in the world. The word here is Elohim, it is applied to an aspect of God, as God was also to be ruler and judge over the people so He installed human rulers to do the same (see Deut.19:17-18). God called the unrighteous judges of Israel “gods” (Elohim). The Psalm Jesus is quoting is a put-down of corrupt judges and leaders who were abusing their authority and it has a lot of irony in it. The word Judges is found in Ex.21:22; 22:8-9 it is Ha Elohim (other scriptures of how the acted are found in Deut.1:16;16:18; 25:1; 2 Sam.11:7).

As with any verse we need to read it in its complete context to get the whole meaning the author is writing. Then we are to go to other passages that may relate to it. Remember this is God’s word and will not contradict itself. Isa. 3:13-15 “The LORD stands up to plead, and stands to judge the people. The LORD will enter into judgment with the elders of His people and His princes: “For you have eaten up the vineyard; the plunder of the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing My people and grinding the faces of the poor?” Says the Lord GOD of hosts.

Jesus uses this to pronounce sentence on leaders who were not ruling over the people correctly. Instead they were showing partiality to the wicked and neglected defending the weak. They are wicked in that they do, they do not champion the cause of the poor or helpless. This is what Jesus is referring to in John 10 when he reminds them by quoting Ps.82. They are rulers with the authority God gave in this office. Considering this quote is in the gospel of John that upholds the deity of Christ, it makes this even more severe that certain men would take this out of the context and apply it to themselves. As v.5 says “They do not know nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable.”

He is conveying that if unjust judges are called to rule with power and authority, how much more the Son of God whose authority they willfully rejected. Jesus is being sarcastic in a way only those familiar with the Scripture would understand. They accused the only man who ever could legitimately call Himself “God” of blasphemy. And Jesus’ response is if God called men “gods,” (rulers) then Jesus is not blaspheming if indeed He is God.Jesus’ point is that the word of God cannot be broken (v.35) and then points out he was sent into the world by the Father and called himself the Son of God. So He could not be blaspheming. This was all done according to the Scripture. They were given authority to rule by God but they would not bow to his authority. They did not recognize the true God was among them who called himself the Son of God.

Notice Ps.82:6 also says they ‘will die as mere men and fall as one of the princes’, the prince that fell was Satan. This is sarcasm. Jesus is saying ‘the scripture cannot be broken’ referring to the Psalm. They thought they were like God but they will die as mere men. Then they will know the difference between the true God and their own mortality of man. Ps.82 ends with verse 8 ‘Arise, O God, judge the earth; for You shall inherit all nations.’ This points to only true God who can be called God, who eventually will judge and rule over everyone justly.

Let us go elsewhere in Scripture to see if the New Testament supports the teaching of men being gods. Paul and Barnabas were mistakenly called gods: “And when the multitudes saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us.” And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker … But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you in order that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth….” (Acts 14:11-15). Paul did not say, “we are not Zeus and Hermes but you are right, we are gods.” He said we are of the same NATURE as you and He turned them to the only true God, the creator. Here Paul and Barnabus unequivocally denied they were divine or any type of god. Were they ignorant of their new nature? No, not at all. They knew the true God and knew their relationship to him as men; so they could never claim to be more than they really were.

If the little god theory was true Paul would not have said this but he did not believe what some men teach today and would certainly identify it as a teaching not from God but from the devil.

To imagine that we are gods when we are saved is to misunderstand our condition, even though we are new creatures in Christ. Even though the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our lives, it does not mean that we have been deified! If man is deified, surely we also have to accept the doctrine that we are sinless! Yet, the Scriptures deny that we are sinless, even after our salvation (1 John 1:9).We are still sinners waiting for the full redemption of the body that has the sin nature.

There is something spiritually and fundamentally wrong with people who say they are gods.

And what is the affect of those who call themselves little gods? They believe they can call things into existence, they will be rich and successful like the big god they serve.

Isa. 41:21-24 “Present your case, says the LORD. “Bring forth your strong reasons, says the King of Jacob. “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; let them show the former things, what they were, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; yes, do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed and see it together. Indeed you are nothing, and your work is nothing; he who chooses you is an abomination.”

Here God challenges those who claim they are in control like God, and those who listen to them instead of the true God are disgusting to him. For he began his challenge to them all so they can come to a true understanding of God.
V.20 “That they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Ps. 86:8 “Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord” Ps. 95:3 “For the LORD is the great God, and the great King above all gods.” The Scripture says there exists ONLY ONE GOD; therefore any other that is called god is false by its nature. Genesis 1 says “In the beginning God.” If you were not there with him as him, then you are not God or a god.

As Paul clarifies in1 Cor. 8:5-6 “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.”

The greatest evil is to call oneself God when they are not. Since there is only one true God no one can ever be in the same class as a creature created by God. This is a delusion of unprecedented proportions to call oneself a god, it is the height of arrogance. It is the same sin in the beginning that caused Lucifer, the greatest creature God created to fall. And it is this same deception that will be rampant in the end.

Here’s what the God of the Universe says in Jer.10:11: “The God’s that have not made heaven and earth will perish.” This means any who claims to be God [god] are in the same category according to the one true God. This certainly means all Gods with a small g or a big G. Nowhere in Scripture is there a teaching of little gods verses big God, but instead false Gods verses the true God. In reality, to claim to be a little god is to put one in the category of a false God. All those who say this will find themselves sharing the same fate of false gods. If you are one of those who believes this, its time to reconsider. You may well receive the same punishment as those other false gods who are not the one true creator.

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VISUALIZATION: God-Given Power or New Age Danger? (Part One) by John Weldon and John Ankerberg

Summary

Visualization is the use of mental concentration and directed imagery in the attempt to secure particular goals, whether physical, psychological, vocational, educational, or spiritual. Visualization attempts to program the mind to discover inner power and guidance. It is often used as a means to, or in conjunction with, altered states of consciousness (e.g., as produced by meditation), and is frequently used to develop psychic abilities or make contact with spirits. There are at least four identifiable types of visualization in our culture: academic, popular, occult, and Christian. Although there are boundaries separating these types, they are usually fairly fluid, and there is much potential for interrelationships between them. The practice of visualization, a directed form of mental imagery and concentration, is having broad and substantial impact in our culture.

It involves the deliberate manipulation of the mind, individually or in conjunction with an assistant, to alter one’s consciousness toward a specific goal — often the seeking of some form of secret knowledge or power. Perhaps the most authoritative general text on the subject, Seeing with the Mind’s Eye: The History, Techniques and Practices of Visualization, observes, “If there are two important ‘new’ concepts in 20th century American life, they are meditation and visualization.”2

The book’s authors continue, “The growth of interest in visualization since the 1960s is part of a new climate of thought in the West. This new climate has manifested in an interest in all forms of imagery, in the experience of Eastern religions and philosophy, in hypnotism, and in hallucinogenic drugs and altered states of consciousness in general.”3

Visualization is prominent in modern humanistic/transpersonal education and increasingly finding its way into even conventional educational curriculum. Jack Canfield is Director of Educational Services for Insight Training Seminars in Santa Monica, California, past president of the Association for Humanistic Education, and consultant to over 150 schools, universities, and mental health organizations. In “The Inner Classroom: Teaching with Guided Imagery,” he asserts: “Guided imagery is a very powerful psychological tool which can be used to achieve a wide variety of educational objectives: enhance self-esteem, expand awareness, facilitate psychological growth and integration, evoke inner wisdom, increase empathy, expand creativity, increase memory, facilitate optimal performance, evoke a more positive attitude, and accelerate the learning of subject matter.”4

The reason visualization is being lauded today as an extremely powerful psychological tool for inner healing and personal transformation is that proponents claim it works dramatically. In this first of a two-part series, we will examine the nature and influence of visualization, the reasons people use it, and the different kinds of visualization. In all of this we will see that the spiritual implications of visualization practice are significant.

THE NATURE OF VISUALIZATION

New Age visualization claims to work by using the mind to influence one’s perceptions and personal reality. Proponents claim that by properly controlling each person’s alleged mental power, they can influence and change a person’s ideas, consciousness, and even his or her physical and spiritual environment.

For example, visualization can supposedly be used to change one’s self-image from negative to positive by holding a positive image of oneself in the mind. Visualization may also serve to uncover a claimed “inner divinity” that can allegedly manipulate reality. By creating the proper mental image and environment and then holding it or projecting it outward, practitioners claim they can exercise mental power over every aspect of their lives. Related practices are also used in magic ritual to call on spirits in order to secure such goals.

Because the mind is potentially so powerful, proponents say, proper visualization methods can affect health, finances, educational abilities, relationships, vocation — and even one’s destiny. In many Hindu and Buddhist religions, for example, the thought or image one holds at death is believed to powerfully influence one’s next life. This is one reason given for adopting mental training exercises such as visualization.

THE INFLUENCE OF VISUALIZATION

Visualization and imagery practices are being pursued by millions of people in America. These practices are having a growing impact in diverse fields, from New Age medicine and education, to a variety of occult practices, to certain schools of psychotherapy (i.e., the Jungian, humanistic, and transpersonal schools), to human potential seminars. The text Seeing with the Mind’s Eye observes the following: “In the last hundred years spec-specialists in different fields have begun to rediscover the existence and meaning of visualization. Historians, religious scholars, archaeologists, physicians, and psychologists have begun to study the nature of the inner image as it relates to their area of specialization. There is no widely accepted overview of visualization at this time. There is only a general striving toward understanding in many fields, from many viewpoints.”5

Many scientific journals on visualization have emerged, such as the Journal of Mental Imagery. They document the impact of visualization in psychology, education, the arts and literature, linguistics, mythology, anthropology, sociology, religion, and even thanatology (the study of death and dying).6

Different forms of visualization exist, with different goals. But even a brief perusal of the general influence of visualization is impressive.

Medicine. Visualization is used widely in New Age medicine. The relevance of visualization techniques here will become evident as we proceed. For now, we may observe that a central tenet of much New Age medicine is the manipulation of mystical life energies such as chi and prana. Visualization promoters also claim that the practice of visualization can “produce” and manipulate this energy:

Physicists have also begun to study subtle body energies and their effect on the world outside the body. Throughout history, philosophers have recognized this energy and given it many names. The Chinese called it chi, and the Indians prana or kundalini, the Japanese ki; 20th century parapsychologists have referred to it as bio-plasmic energy….Russian and Czechoslovakian scientists have studied bio-plasmic energy in association with healing, telepathy and psychokinesis. They have found that through visualization a woman named Nelya Mikhailoya can change her bio-plasmic energy fields….Studies like this tend to confirm occult belief in such concepts as auras and astral bodies. These experiments demonstrate how a visualization [technique] can produce energy which directly affects objects in the external world.7

Education. Visualization is now employed in education, such as in counseling, creative writing, and problem-solving courses. It is also used to develop altered states of consciousness in students in order to acquire the capacity to reach “inner guides” or allegedly tap the “higher self” and its powers. It is used for enhanced learning potential, self-esteem, and stress reduction.

Occultism. Shamans, spiritists, magicians, and witches routinely use visualization. Many people are familiar with American shamans Carlos Castaneda and Lynn Andrews, whose books have sold in the multiple millions. Their writings stress that visualization is a key ingredient for success as a shaman. According to hypnotherapists Richard Dobson and Natasha Frazier, “In the last few years shamanic trance techniques have been taught or explained almost entirely as a form of visualization.”8

Visualization is widely used in psychic healing. For instance, psychic healers Amy Wallace (granddaughter of Irving Wallace) and Bill Henkin observe in The Psychic Healing Book: How to Develop Your Psychic Potential Safely, Simply, Effectively: “Visualization is one of the most potent and widely used techniques in [psychic] healing. It has been stressed for centuries in schools of Eastern mysticism and is used in nearly every contemporary school of ‘consciousness-raising.’”9

Visualization is common to numerous occult religions. These include Rosicrucianism, Tantrism, and the mind sciences (New Thought, Divine Science, Unity School of Christianity, Religious Science, etc.).

In essence, occult practitioners of all stripes use visualization. For example, Kreskin, the psychic and famous “mentalist,” confesses he “rehearses constantly through mental imagery.”10

Psychotherapy. Visualization is also widely used in psychotherapy. According to one source, “The use of the imagination is one of the most rapidly spreading new trends in psychology and education….It is interesting to notice that many of the modern pioneers of imaginative techniques, Hans Karl Leuner and Robert Desoille among them, have stressed the compatibility of such techniques with all main schools of psychology.”11 Mike Samuels, M.D., who coauthored Seeing with the Mind’s Eye with his wife, is a committed spiritist and author of Spirit Guides: Access to Inner Worlds.12 In their book, Mike and Nancy Samuels devote almost two hundred pages to the use of visualization in modern psychology, medicine, parapsychology, art and creativity, and the occult or, as they call it, “the spiritual life.”13 They discuss visualization techniques used within many psychological disciplines and methods, including Freudian, Jungian, induced hypnagogic reverie, aversive training, implosion therapy, hypnotherapy (the spiritistic ability of automatic writing is classified here), behaviorist systematic desensitization, induced dream work, Kretschmer’s meditative visualizations, Leuner’s guided affective imagery, Gestalt psychodrama, psychosynthesis, and others.14

The Journal of Mental Imagery is sponsored by the International Imagery Association which conducts regular meetings for the academic community. The brochure for the Sixth American Imagery Conference held in San Francisco, “Timeless Therapeutic Images,” observed:

A rapidly growing body of scientific findings from psychology, psychiatry and neuropsychology has found that fast and extensive emotional, physiological and psychological change can occur through mental imagery….The image resides at the core of consciousness….It effortlessly joins the inner self with the outside world, permits the positive to confront and overcome the negative, leads us to an appreciation of art in Nature, [and] forges new paths in consciousness through new perception.15

As the Spiritual Counterfeits Project in Berkeley, California warns, many such conferences “may best be described as an amorphous blend of secular scientific materialism and a (sometimes) disguised brand of occult philosophy….[At one conference attended] the primary focus during the conference…was on the use of imaging in order to contact one’s personal inner advisor or spirit guide.”16

The practice of psychosynthesis is a fringe psychotherapy blending various Eastern and Western methods of self-awareness. It was developed by Robert Assagioli, who for years was the Italian director of Lucis Trust, the occult organization founded by New Age leader Alice A. Bailey.17 It makes extensive use of visualization and imagery in order to contact the “higher self,” which can become the means for psychic development and spirit contact.

Along similar lines, a psychic named Bob Hoffman (with the supposed help of a dead friend, Dr. Siegfried Fisher) and a psychiatrist named Ernest Pecci, developed a system of psychic psychotherapy called the Fischer-Hoffman technique, later renamed the Quadrinity Process. “This system involves imagining an inner sanctuary and a spirit guide in order to aid in receptive visualization.”18 One Quadrinity teacher, Jean Porter, reveals its occult application through her book, Psychic Development (Random House, 1974).

An early pioneer in the academic use of visualization was German psychiatrist Johannes H. Schultz. From his clinical experience with hypnosis,19 he developed what is called “Autogenic Training.” This is a form of therapy using autosuggestion, visualization, deep relaxation, and other techniques. According to visualization authority Samuels, it “is the most thoroughly researched and widely applied of all the systems of visualization in healing. Autogenic training has many characteristics in common with hypnotherapy (especially autosuggestion), certain psychic healing techniques, relaxation healing techniques…ancient yogic techniques, and the more recent healing techniques taught in mind-control courses.”20

In fact, some enthusiasts promote Autogenic Training as a method of developing occult states of consciousness for those who don’t want to take the time to follow an Eastern path:

Persons who, for whatever reasons, are not inclined to engage in any of the Eastern meditative techniques…might do well to consider autogenic training. It is a remarkably thorough and systematically designed practice with an end result comparable to that of diligent meditation….

In essence, the final stages of autogenic training may be compared to the breakthroughs of consciousness obtained through meditative techniques of various kinds.21

Wolfgang Luthe, one of Schultz’s students is “now the acknowledged authority on Autogenic Training.”22 He is author of Autogenic Training and, with Schultz, the technical seven-volume Autogenic Therapy, which cites some 2,400 case studies. Schultz observes that the autogenic program of visualization exercises may be improved by the use of meditation: “All the positive effects of the standard exercises are reinforced by this meditative training.”23 One part of the meditation has the patient “ask questions of his own conscious inner self,”24 a technique which has not infrequently become the means to spirit contact.

The influential psychoanalyst Carl Jung, himself a student of the occult,25 developed his own visualization method called “active imagination.” This potentially dangerous technique is considered a “powerful tool in Jung-ian psychology for achieving direct contact with the unconscious and obtaining greater inner knowledge.”26

Jungian analyst Barbara Hannah is a teacher at the prominent C. G. Jung Institute. In Encounters with the Soul: Active Imagination as Developed by C. G. Jung,27 she frankly admits the danger of active imagination and reveals in detail how it can powerfully influence the mind. She urges “great caution” before anyone employs this method.28 Hannah also confesses that active imagination employs a time-honored method to contact the “gods.”29 Indeed, there is little doubt that it may facilitate contact with what can only be termed spirit guides.30 However, these spirits are typically internalized as powerful psychodynamics; that is, they are conceptually normalized as part of the internal “structure” of the unconscious mind.

Human Potential Seminars. Most of the popular “think yourself rich” (or healthy, sexy, happy, etc.) seminars and texts endorse and use visualization. Modern New Age seminars, such as Silva Mind Control31 and the Forum (formerly “est”), collectively have millions of graduates, on whom they have used varying visualization techniques. In one’s mind, one can create “projection screens” on which to picture desired images — whether seeing oneself with greater self-confidence, learning abilities, or less weight, or imagining one’s white blood cells warding off viral invaders or specific illnesses. Further still, a secret inner sanctuary or mental laboratory may be constructed where one may contact “inner advisors” or spirit guides for assistance in decision making and direction in life.

The Church. Not unexpectedly, the modern impact of visualization in health, science, education, psychotherapy, and other areas has resulted in visualization techniques being used by more and more Christians. Jon Trott and Eric Pement note that “visualization exercises are increasingly finding their way into Christian churches.”32 In The Seduction of Christianity, author Dave Hunt devotes two chapters to the harmful influence of visualization within the church. He observes, “‘Visualization’ and ‘Guided Imagery’ have long been recognized by sorcerers of all kinds as the most powerful and effective methodology for contacting the spirit world in order to acquire supernatural power, knowledge and healing. Such methods are neither taught or practiced in the Bible as helps to faith or prayer.”33

Hunt distinguishes visualization proper from the nonoccult use of the imagination. He observes:

The visualization we are concerned with is an ancient witchcraft technique that has been at the heart of shamanism for thousands of years, yet is gaining increasing acceptance in today’s secular world and now more and more within the church. It attempts to use vivid images held in the mind as a means of healing diseases, creating wealth, and otherwise manipulating reality. Strangely enough, a number of Christian leaders teach and practice these same techniques in the name of Christ, without recognizing them for what they are.34

As more people turn inward or seek “enlightenment,” as interest in parapsychology and psychic development increases, as mind-altering techniques are utilized more and more in the medical, educational, sports,35 and psychotherapeutic communities, and as mind science philosophies and human potential New Age seminars grow in impact, the use of visualization will increase proportionately. Such an influence will continue impacting the church. But as Part Two will document, the world view of the visualization promoters is rarely Christian. Instead, it is often blatantly occult or humanistic. As Stanley Dokupil comments, “Imagination is fast becoming the focus of much of New Age thought and method.”36

WHY PEOPLE USE VISUALIZATION

We now turn to the claims visualization proponents have made. They can be summarized under three dominant themes: (1) the quest for personal power; (2) the quest for inner knowledge or spiritual enlightenment; (3) the quest for physical health. The following citations are representative for each category.

1. The Quest for Personal Power. Psychic Harold Sherman says, “There is tremendous power in imagery.”37 Andrew Wiehl claims in Creative Visualization: “Wonders have been performed, seeming miracles wrought, through visualization. It is a God-given power available to anyone.”38

2. The Quest for Spiritual Enlightenment. Jack Canfield remarks, “To me the most interesting use of guided imagery is the evocation of the wisdom that lies deep within us.” He proceeds to discuss how students can contact their own spirit guides as “wisdom counselors.”39

Mike Samuels observes, “Philosophers and priests in every ancient culture used visualization as a tool for growth and rebirth….Most religions have used visualization as one of their basic techniques in helping people to realize their spiritual goals. Visualization intensifies any experience.”40 In Visualization, est-graduate Adelaide Bry asserts that the practice has the power to “reveal our hidden truths” and to allow us to experience personal connections to “cosmic consciousness.”41

A journal devoted to Robert Assagioli’s method of psychosynthesis claims, “Imagination is superior to all nature and generation, and through it we are capable of transcending the worldly order, or participating in eternal life and in the energy of the super-celestial. It is through this principle, therefore, that we will be liberated from the bonds of fate itself.”42

3. The Quest for Physical Health. Consciousness researcher Kenneth Pelletier of the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute in San Francisco teaches: “The greatest potential of autogenic training and visualization [is as]…a potent tool in a holistic approach to preventative medicine.”43 In his Positive Imaging the late popular “positive thinker” Norman Vincent Peale cites shamanistic researchers Jeanne Achterberg and G. Frank Lawlis as stating: “Imagery may well prove the single most important technique for modern health-care.”44

Unfortunately, people may get more than they bargained for when they use visualization techniques for personal power, spiritual/educational enlightenment, or physical/mental health. Visualization programs usually come with additional baggage — various accompaniments, world views, and physical and spiritual dangers. But before we examine this additional baggage, we will first note the different varieties of imagery and visualization. This will help us to avoid confusing related, but distinct, practices.

TYPES OF VISUALIZATION

Visualization is essentially a powerful and directed use of the imagination with a wide variety of specific goals and methods. One problem in writing briefly on this topic is that the many different types of visualization make a general analysis difficult. The academic varieties do not have the same goals or necessarily the same methods as do the occult or Christian forms of visualization, so a valid critique in one area will not necessarily be valid in another. For example, those interested in imagination in the context of an occult world view do not have the same purposes or even practices as Christians who may attempt to use the imagination for what they see as godly purposes.

The chart on this page helps distinguish the types of visualization. It reveals that boundaries between the categories are rarely absolute; often it is more a matter of degree.

FOUR TYPES OF VISUALIZATION

1 Academic:

*Autogenic Training
*Jungian methods
*Imagery studies
*Secular or Transpersonal Psychotherapy

2 Popular:

*New Age therapies
*Mind Science practices
*Personal or business-oriented
motivational/achievement programs and seminars

3 Occult:

*Ritual magic
*Shamanism
*Psychic healing
*Spiritism
*Hinduism
*Buddhist practice
(such as the use of mandalas)

4 Christian:

*Christian psychotherpy
*Inner healing
*Jesus visualization
*Visualization with Scripture45

Between types 1 and 3, and 3 and 4, some boundaries are concrete, but potential interrelationships exist.

Between types 2 and 3, boundaries are fairly fluid.

Between types 1 and 4, and 2 and 4, boundaries are more fluid; potential and actual interrelationships exist.

VARIETIES OF VISUALIZATION

There are three general varieties of visualization:

1. Programmed Visualization is an active process used individually; for example, the practitioner holds a positive image in the mind in order to “create” the desired object or situation. It can be performed on the psychiatric couch or in magic ritual.

2. Receptive Visualization is a passive process; it “lets the movie roll” after an initial theme, setting, or the like is developed in the consciousness. The method is passive in that it receives whatever comes into the mind, which is usually interpreted as special guidance of some kind, such as instructions from one’s “higher self,” “inner guide,” or “divine consciousness.”

3. Guided Visualization, also termed guided imagery, employs a friend, counselor, or family member in either a therapeutic or occult, New Age context. The therapist suggests a scene — such as a meadow or a forest — and the patient imaginatively elaborates upon the scene as a key to his or her own “inner processes” and “unconscious conflicts.” Guided imagery may also be done by a leader of a New Age seminar or practice who helps the audience construct a particular mental environment for contacting a spirit guide. Silva Mind Control, with some eight million graduates, is one example.

These general types of visualization can be described loosely under a number of terms: guided fantasy, mental imaging, active imagination, directed daydreaming, inner imagery, and so forth. But it should be remembered that visualization is not the same thing as imagery. Visualization involves imagery, but the imagery is purposely directed toward a particular goal.

How does imagery differ from visualization? There are different forms of imagery, many of which we all experience. For instance, a “memory image” is a reconstruction of a genuine past event tied to a specific occasion, like the vivid recollection of one’s first date retained over a period of many years.

An “imagination image” is the construction of an imaginary image that may or may not contain elements of past perceptions or events but in any case is arranged in a novel way. One might, for example, imagine how one’s home would look with a new car parked in front, or how the living room would look with the furniture rearranged. One might also imagine what it would be like to be in heaven (or hell), or how one of the biblical prophets dealt with a difficult situation — or what one would do in his place. This is similar to “daydream fantasy” in which there is a combination of memory and imagination images.

In the sleep imagery of dreams we also find past perceptions reconstructed in novel arrangements.

Other types of imagery are experienced only rarely. In hallucinations we find internal imagery that is wrongly believed to be external. In supernatural visions we find externally induced, internally occurring imagery. These revelations may be either true or false, depending on whether they are from God or the devil (Matt. 4:8; Ezek. 1:1).

There are many other varieties of imagery. Typically, however, these kinds of imagery are not visualization. They lack the accompaniments, commitment, and trust involved in the visualization process and its specific techniques. All this is why it is important to distinguish imagination and imagery from visualization proper.

ACCOMPANIMENTS OF VISUALIZATION

Visualization is rarely used by itself. The typical accompaniments of visualization include: (1) relaxation, (2) meditation (sometimes accompanied by yoga-like controlled breathing and postures), (3) the cultivation of will power, (4) various forms of self-hypnosis, and (5) faith or trust in the “guide” (whether human or spirit) and in the process of visualization itself.

Relaxation is, of course, a vital and necessary part of everyday living. But when combined with visualization and meditation techniques, it can be transformed into an occult process. In “Relax Your Way to ESP,” a well-known psychic researcher, the recently deceased D. Scott Rogo, refers to the research of parapsychologist Rhea White, who discovered that of the greatest psychics “by and large many of [them] began with relaxation.”46 These psychics also stress the importance of suggestion and visualization.47

In Creative Visualization, New Age psychic Shakti Gawain observes, “It’s important to relax deeply when you are first learning to use creative visualization.”48 Jack Canfield even encourages classroom students to practice a variety of occult or potentially occult relaxation techniques just prior to the visualization process, including breath awareness, breath imagery, breath control, progressive relaxation, autogenic training, polarity, and chanting.49

In the following excerpt from Opening to Channel, two spirit-guides, “Orin” and “DaBen,” offer advice for relaxation which “helps you become accustomed to the state of mind that is best for a [spirit] guide’s entry.”50

Exercise from Orin and DaBen

Achieving a Relaxed State

Goal: This exercise is basic preparation for going into trance. We want your experience of channeling to be relaxing, easy, and joyful….

Steps:

1. Find a comfortable sitting position, either on a chair or the floor, which you can easily hold for ten or fifteen minutes.

2. Close your eyes and begin breathing calmly and slowly, taking about twenty slow, rhythmic, connected breaths into your upper chest.

3. Let all your concerns go. Imagine them vanishing. Every time a thought comes up, imagine it on a blackboard, then effortlessly erase it, or imagine putting each thought into a bubble that floats away.

4. Relax your body. Feel yourself growing serene, calm, and tranquil. In your imagination, travel through your body, relaxing each part. Mentally relax your feet, legs, thighs, stomach, chest, arms, hands, shoulders, neck, head, and face. Let your jaw be slightly open, and relax the muscles around your eyes.

5. Put up a bubble of white light around you. Imagine its size, shape, and brightness. Play with making it larger and smaller until it feels just right.

6. When you are calm and relaxed and ready to return, bring your attention slowly back into the room. Savor and enjoy your state of calm and peace. . . usually it is sufficient to practice every day for twenty minutes or so for one to two weeks to grow accustomed to deeper relaxation and inner stillness. This regime is not absolutely essential, but helps you become accustomed to the state of mind that is best for a guide’s entry.51

Relaxation, then, is an important component of successful visualization.

Meditation is a second component. Visualization is often conducted within a meditative environment, such as a structured program of internal concentration using a mantra or word of psychic power. As we have shown elsewhere,52 almost all meditation other than biblical meditation develops psychic powers, inculcates a nonbiblical, occult world view, and can open the door to spirit contact. Gawain observes that “almost any form of meditation will eventually take you to an experience of yourself as source, or your higher self.”53 What she means by “source” here is ultimate reality or God.

The systematic use of will power for effective visualization is stressed in magical and occult texts, particularly for ritualistic purposes. To a degree it parallels the popular usage, although often for different goals.54 Regardless, without willful intent and commitment, visualization does not exist. Thus,

Programmed visualization…is the deliberate use of the power of your own mind to create your own reality….there is nothing too insignificant or too grand for you to visualize. Our lives are limited by what we see as possible….A basic rule of visualization is: you can use visualization to have whatever you want, but YOU MUST REALLY, REALLY WANT WHAT YOU VISUALIZE. (emphases in original)55

Hypnosis can be another component of visualization. In fact, some visualization and progressive relaxation methods are indistinguishable from hypnosis.56 Hypnosis may be part of or joined with visualization in both the popular and the academic varieties. As far as the latter are concerned, interest in hypnosis is usually sparked by the fact that one’s ability to visualize and one’s susceptibility to hypnosis are related: “Imaginative involvement, or absorption in fantasy experiences, and high imagery are known to be positively related to measured hypnotizability….Today the intimacy between imagination and hypnosis are [sic] clearly recognized and studied by appropriate scientific methods.”57

Faith or trust is held to be an integ-integral factor regulating the effectiveness of visualization. As is clear from the material cited below, without such trust a person cannot expect much in terms of results. Yet, faith is rarely placed in the biblical God or Christ but rather in one’s own alleged inner powers, mental capacity, or “intuitive” abilities; or in cosmic energy, the universe, and so forth. The following statements note the importance of faith: “To put it another way, in attempting this or any other technique for self realization, one needs to trust that it can work.”58 “Have faith that it will materialize as you picture it, and never for a moment doubt it….Just as an attorney must understand law in order to practice it…so must we understand the law of the Universe and co-operate with it in order to have our desires realized. The more faith and enthusiasm we put into our mental imaging, the sooner it will work out for us.”59

CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS

Our discussion of visualization thus far suggests a number of conclusions: (1) We all routinely experience certain types of imagery. (2) Imagery is a component of visualization but may be studied in and of itself, apart from visualization. In other words, imagery studies may be strictly scientific and neutral, or they may be placed into a larger metaphysical world view. (3) Imagery is therefore not necessarily visualization. Visualization demands the exercise of will and faith within a context of relaxation, meditation, and often self-hypnosis. (4) In general, the classes, types, and methods of visualization can be, to one degree or another, fluid in their interrelationships. (5) The components of visualization often regulate its outcome. That is, they place it within a certain context, a certain world view, and to that degree influence the method’s effectiveness, impact, and spiritual implications.

In Part Two we will examine the world view that commonly accompanies the practice of visualization. We will also consider the dangers associated with visualization, its occult aspects, and the question of whether Christian visualization can be a safe and biblical practice.

http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Estates/6535/visual1.htm

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What is a Cult and the Occult? by Jim Bramlett

(The information below is summarized from numerous expert sources on cults and the occult)

The two words, “cult and occult,” sound similar. But while different, they both pose a similar spiritual threat to people by appearing to be something they are not. Both can cause its victims to miss God’s loving and free provision for their lives through Christ, and cause them to face a tragic, Christless eternity. There are many nice, friendly and caring people in the cults and the occult. God loves them, so much that Christ died for them. They are not our enemy. Our enemy is Satan and his deceiving spirits.

Cults

In popular usage, “cults” are religious groups predicted by the Bible (2 Peter 2:1) that deviate from the central, historic truths of biblical Christianity and God’s revelation in Christ. Some cults are offshoots of ancient pagan religions, have no similarity to Christianity, and are easy to identify. Others falsely try to imitate Christianity, often using the Bible and Christian terminology, and are more difficult to distinguish. These latter cults typically exhibit one or more of the following traits:

1. They may consider Jesus Christ as not equal to God the Father, but something less. But Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), and Paul said that Christ is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) The Bible is repeatedly clear that Jesus is deity, and when on the earth, He was God in human form. We can be redeemed from our sins only because God’s own perfect blood (in Christ) was shed for our perfect cleansing.

2. They may typically reject the clear biblical revelation of a triune God, sometimes called the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit — one God, not three, but manifest in three Persons. The Bible refers to all three as Persons, yet One. A mystery, but truth.

3. They may have their own “sacred” book in addition to the Bible. And although they usually deny it, these books conflict with and are given precedence over the Bible.

4. They typically reject the wonderful biblical truth that salvation is a “free gift” from God by grace through faith alone (this truth glorifies God and not man). Instead, cults and all other “religions” falsely say that people must “earn” their salvation by certain works and deeds, often works that will perpetuate the cult (this glorifies man rather than God).

5. Cults are often exclusive, centering around a strong leader (or late founder) who has the only “true” interpretation of Scripture. Whereas Christ came to give us freedom, (Galatians 5:1), cult members are in bondage to that cult or leader, with the threat that leaving the cult will cause a loss of salvation.

Thousands of these cults exist, but here are some major ones listed in most cult reference books: Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, The Unity School of Christianity, The Way International, The Children of God, Scientology, The Unification Church, Unitarianism and the New Age Movement (which is also occult).

If involved in any cult, run — don’t walk — to the nearest exit, and find a Christ-centered, Bible- believing church. Also, apply the four-step process below.

References. There are many excellent books available on cults. Four are: The Kingdom of the Cults, by Dr. Walter R. Martin; The Deceivers, by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart; Cult Watch, by Dr. John Ankerberg and John Weldon; and Larson’s New Book of Cults, by Bob Larson.

The Occult

The word “occult” refers to what is hidden, concealed, or secret. The occult involves the spirit world, but the spirit world of darkness. The occult is particularly deceptive because the spirit world is very real. Practitioners are dealing with reality — but dark, forbidden, and evil reality.

There are two kinds of spiritual reality. The first is God’s spiritual Kingdom of truth and light, where Christ is King, the nature of which is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17), and where God’s holy angels dwell, worship and serve Him. The second is the world of Satan (a fallen angel), a world of darkness and hopelessness, void of God, and where other fallen angels (called demons) who hate God work to advance this evil kingdom under their leader, Satan. This latter world of spiritual darkness is that which is experienced through the sinister practices of the occult.

The Bible does not reveal a “dualism,” or co-equal forces of good (represented by God) and evil (represented by Satan). Satan is totally subject to the sovereign, omnipotent Creator. But God has given Satan certain authority to operate in the earth as a result of man’s sinful fall. He operates through the minds and wills of fallen humanity, and he has constructed a complex web of many evil schemes, including occult practices, even religions, to deceive and snare people by appearing to offer them access to supernatural power and knowledge. The Bible says that such deception will increase in “the last days” before Christ returns (1 Timothy 4:1). But the Bible also says, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Those who trust and obey Jesus Christ have protection and victory through Him.

Any degree of occult involvement can produce problems of oppression, depression, despair, hopelessness, and many physical problems, sometimes bringing death, even self-destruction. Demonic influence can produce obsessions, phobias, bizarre behavior, violence, homicide and sexual perversion in its victims. Worse, it can deceive a person into eternal darkness. The occult is a form of idolatry and a sin expressly forbidden by God (Deuteronomy 18:9-12). In the New Testament when the gospel was proclaimed and received, the liberated people gladly burned all their occult materials (see Acts 19:19).

Here are just a few of the many occult practices: astrology, various kinds of “fortune telling,” witchcraft, satanism, ESP, telepathy, clairvoyance, seances, spiritism meetings, use of mediums or “channeling,” automatic writing, ouija boards, hypnosis, parapsychology, psychic surgery, eastern religions, reincarnation, voodoo, magic charming, yoga; involvement with psychics such as Jeane Dixon, Edgar Cayce; the Rosicrucians, and the New Age Movement. The New Age Movement is a catchall term embracing many modern occult beliefs and practices. There is even compelling evidence that UFOs are real, but supernatural and often occult manifestations of fallen angels whose ultimate purpose is to deceive humanity into thinking super-intelligent extraterrestrials will help usher the earth into a golden “New Age” of happiness without God. But with God rejected and without His blessings, occult-practicing, lost and depraved humanity will soon bring upon itself the end-time global holocaust prophesied by the Bible.

If you are now or have ever been, anytime in your life, involved with any cult or occult practice, you can be set free of it and any symptoms it may have brought by doing the following: (1) Confess sincere faith in and commitment to Christ; (2) confess the cult and occult sins to God, naming and forsaking each one; (3) renounce Satan, in Jesus’ name, and commanding him and his demons to depart; and (4), receive and claim your liberation by faith, without doubting, trusting in the authority and total faithfulness of God and His Word. If you do this, Satan must obey and release you, by the authority of Jesus’ Name and God’s Word, and any symptoms that Satan put on you must disappear.

References. There are many books available in Christian bookstores on the occult and the New Age Movement, including The Coming Darkness, by John Ankerberg and John Weldon; Inside the New Age Nightmare, by Randall N. Baer; Understanding the Occult, by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart. For information on UFOs: The Omega Conspiracy, by Dr. I.D.E. Thomas; Planet Earth–2000 A.D., by Hal Lindsey; and the outstanding documentary video, UFOs: The Hidden Truth (the video is available by calling 1-800-475-1111).

http://www.choicesforliving.com/spirit/cults.htm

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OUR EXPERIENCES WITH KENNETH COPELAND by Tom Killingsworth  @ exwordoffaith.blogspot.com

I would have left the Word of Faith on the basis of that denomination’s Gnosticism and the abuses of the Prosperity Gospel. But I would have parted peacefully. The abuses of human beings that I saw at the hands of leaders in the Word of Faith, particularly Kenneth Copeland, his daughter Terri Pearsons, and other leaders at Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM) and Eagle Mountain International Church (EMIC) are the reasons that I am blogging all this. Copeland needs to be exposed as a tyrant and a fraud!

Let me tell you what happened and you can judge for yourself.

My wife and I had been followers of Kenneth Copeland since 1990. We believed everything he said. While not members of Eagle Mountain International Church (the church affiliated with KCM and pastored by Copeland’s son in law), we did go there. We always wanted to work for KCM, and in August of 2003, we both got our chance. We were so excited! This was the opportunity of a lifetiime — to be able to help Brother Copeland put legs to his vision and help expand the Kingdom of God!

Yeah. We were in for a rude awakening! It was one thing to see KCM and EMIC from the outside. It was quite another to be insiders.

What we saw was nothing short of spiritual abuse and Shepherding. Remember, in a previous article, I mentioned two separate sources that prove that Kenneth Copeland married the Word of Faith with Shepherding. Keep that in mind as you read our experiences.

While I was at KCM, a nationally famous minister came in to encourage us at one of our staff “chapels.” He said “Don’t ask questions. Just do what you’re told. If you ask questions, then you aren’t in faith.” If we were going to do our job, didn’t we need to know what we were doing, and didn’t that mean we had to ask questions? This was nothing less than Shepherding, a restatement of “Don’t touch the anointed!”

A friend of mine who attended EMIC, began to become concerned about the direction the church was headed. It seemed all he heard were sermons on prosperity. So, he wrote the pastor a letter outlining his concerns. The next week, the pastor stood up and held up my friend’s letter and said “I have received a letter from a member outlining some concerns with our church. These are legitimate concerns and questions and I want to answer them. So, next week, I will answer this letter, question by question.”

The following week, the senior pastor remained seated, in a very submissive manner. His wife, Terri Pearsons, the senior associate pastor and Copeland’s daughter, stood up and took the microphone. In front of a congregation of 3,500 people, she said “Some of you have questioned what is taught in this church. If you don’t like it, I suggest you go find another church that you can more easily manipulate, because it won’t happen here.” My friend said that his blood ran cold because he knew the pastor’s wife was talking about him. Then the pastor’s wife led the congregation in an oath of allegiance to the pastor. I was there that day. I refused to take the oath, and I never returned after that Sunday. Oddly enough, KCM did not have a job requirement commanding employees to be members of EMIC, so we left and went elsewhere. An oath of allegiance? Total obedience to the pastor is a concept of Shepherding. I no longer ask myself why this woman said what she said. If Shepherding is a part of the official doctrine of KCM/EMIC, then she was just doing what she thought she was supposed to do.

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That was not the only occasion, either. We later learned that the pastor’s wife also publicly humiliated and eviscerated the head of the greeter department, simply because the head greeter refused to require all her ladies to wear dresses, and allowed a few to wear pants suits. In other words, the pastor’s wife, a member of the Copeland family, enacted the Shepherding practice of telling someone how to dress.

I have a friend who worked at KCM at the same time I did. While she worked there, her mother “came out of the closet” and declared herself to be a lesbian. A coworker took my friend aside and said that her mother couldn’t be her family anymore because she was going to Hell. Her coworkers were her family now. This cut my friend to her core! I don’t know the motivations of the woman who said this to my friend, but the end result was spiritual abuse. This is a sign of Shepherding, a belief that they have the right to tell us who our friends and family ought to be.

During my tenure at that ministry, I experienced quite a bit of indirect Shepherding. I say indirect, because these were rules that were hinted at, not given to me directly in writing or as a verbal warning. The appearance of what was appropriate was more important to leadership than our spiritual walk with God. So I knew I had to wear a mask of correct behavior and not admit to liking things that were frowned upon by the Copeland family (in my case, comic books, science fiction stories, unbridled sex for pleasure with my wife, and the theological works of non-Charismatic ministers). If any of us employees did mention these “unspeakables” in public, it was not uncommon for us to be silenced and told that if management found out, we could be fired. It grew wearying after a while, and I felt dehumanized after working there for four months. I was told that it was a great honor to work at that ministry, yet I felt totally dishonored as a person.

Shortly before my wife left KCM, it imposed a gag order. In a rather stridently written memo, management said that employees were not to talk to anyone, including family members, because they never knew who they would be talking to. That person could be a news reporter. I should think that an employee would know if his or her spouse or child is a reporter! This memo did nothing to help build marriages and strong families. Instead, if taken literally, it would build suspicion, distrust and paranoia within the families of employees. I’m sorry, but to me, this is Shepherding; management by fear and coercion, putting loyalty to the church above loyalty to family.

Parties are meant to be fun, to be celebrations of accomplishment, a holiday season, or just for the heck of it. But it is difficult to celebrate when your invitation to the party pretty much says “you are required to attend, required to have fun, and if you don’t, you will be fired.” While not putting it in exactly those terms, we knew that when the ministry invited its employees to a party, that if we valued our jobs, we should go. This is not just a rhetorical reading of the memo, either. Another friend of mine who worked at that ministry, decided to not attend the Christmas party one year. They were serving barbeque beef, something he doesn’t care for, so he went off site for a sandwich. When he returned, he was hauled into his supervisor’s office, given a written reprimand, and told me that the only reason he wasn’t fired was that he was too good at his job. His supervisor told him that when the ministry invites you to a party, it is a high honor and privilege so he better go!

Invitations to special conventions and teaching engagements were treated the same way. Like it or not, we knew we had to go, or lose our jobs.

That kind of action did nothing to enhance our spirituality or walk with God. If anything, that kind of action tore it down.

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I was a licensed Word of Faith minister for several years, and during that time I had a friend who was a pastor at EMIC. At one time, we were very close. But when I became a minister, things changed. He began to take it upon himself to mentor me, without my permission. At the time, I had a ministry to Goths, and he would tell me to teach prosperity to the Goths, tell them to stop wearing black, tell them to stop reading poetry, and go get jobs in the corporate world. I was trying to reconcile Goths to Jesus; if I had done what he said, I would have alienated them further. When I didn’t do what he said, he called me rebellious. Uh … I was licensed by a totally different church, so he was not part of my ecclesiastical chain of command, so how could I be rebelling? When I found out that KCM/EMIC was merged with Shepherding, I saw his actions for what they were – part of the theological platform that made up his job.

I left KCM as part of a massive layoff in 2004. My wife was fired in late 2007 … for posting a photo of her Halloween costume online. Before you go and scream at us for celebrating Halloween, I have to point out that she and I are old theatre people and take any opportunity to put on costumes. To us, it’s a reason to “dress up.” If we could do it in April and July, we would. We weren’t engaging in any sorcery or fright fests. Yet, a Halloween costume photo, on my wife’s personal blog, was a reason for this ministry to fire her. They were actually looking for a reason to fire her; her opposition to the Prosperity Gospel was becoming well known. My wife did something that was against the written and spoken doctrines of the church. Shepherding allows no independent thought or feelings by congregation members.

As soon as my wife was fired, I began to be stalked on my Xanga blog by employees of KCM. As many as 50 anonymous “footprints” (ISP addresses) would appear on my blog daily. Through Xanga’s footprint tracking system, I could easily tell that they originiated inside KCM. This lasted from mid-October, 2007 until early 2008. I guess they grew weary of me after I made my blog private. Stalking of ex-members is a Shepherding technique. I was perceived as a threat and had to be monitored.

Six friends left me. Two were very close, and I considered them to be two of my best friends. These friends left me, not just because of a theological dispute, but because they chose loyalty to the doctrines of men and to EMIC over loyalty to a human being. This was shunning in action.

The day after my wife was fired, several of our friends who worked at KCM at the time were hauled into their superiors’ offices and grilled about their connection with my wife and me. They were told that KCM had checked out their background thoroughly … one can only ponder what THAT meant! Most were given a “clean bill of health.” Two of these friends had restrictions placed on them by the pastors of EMIC, preventing them from having any future contact with us. I did not hear what the consequences would be if they ever ran into us in Wal-Mart. Shepherdists dare to tread only where our mothers did … in believing that they have the right to tell people who their friends will be. Some people are gullible enough to believe they have to obey.

Since our departure from KCM and the Word of Faith, we have found out more about Kenneth Copeland and his true nature. The way he is behaving is so much like a Shepherding preacher, or a cult leader, that I can’t tell the difference.

First, Senator Grassley launched an investigation into six televangelists. I’ve read the questions Grassley sent them. The questions to Copeland are the most extensive and the most damning. To read them yourself, click here.  Why did Copeland use a church owned airplane to fly to Colorado on a vacation? Why is there a for-profit cattle company operating on ministry land? What happened to the funds donated for investment in the Revival Capital of the World theme park, which shows no signs of being built? These are legitimate questions, and Grassley would not be investigating if there were not some evidence of wrong doing by Copeland. Did Copeland answer Grassley? No. He refused. What he sent as an answer to the Senator was a mere pie chart, their IRS statement, and the address to the IRS. In other words, KCM gives the appareance of having much to hide. If they had nothing to hide, then why not tell all to the Senator? Maybe that’s why KCM erected a wrought iron fence, complete with lockable gates, around the ministry property … to keep IRS and ATF agents out. They place does look more and more like the Branch Davidian compound.

Following an impromptu interview by a local reporter, Copeland attended what was supposed to be the dedication ceremony for KCM’s new Partner Services Building. Instead of reading the Bible or praying, Copeland spent half an hour blasting the reporter and calling him names. Gloria Copeland had to publicly remind him that he was there to pray for the building.

Two friends of mine, who are also ex-KCM employees, and now ex Word of Faith, agreed to be interviewed for a news broadcast in which they pretty much called Copeland a liar. The day after the local news broadcast (to read the transcript, click here;  to see the actual broadcast, click here), which was also two days after Senator Grassley launched his investigation into KCM, Copeland convened a “chapel,” which is more of a business propaganda meeting than any spiritual event. During the “chapel,” Terri Pearsons called Grassley, the local news reporter, and my two friends, Nazis and possessed of the anti-christ. Her rant was published on the KCM website, and everyone that I know who saw it all said the same thing; “She’s demon possessed!” The hatred and terror at someone catching her father’s hand in the cookie jar was palpable.To see her rant for yourself, click here.

In late November, Copeland had presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on the Believer’s Voice of Victory broadcast, giving a politician a week’s worth of free publicity. This is from a man who demands that Senator Grassley respect the separation of church and state, but is unwilling to recognize that same separation where an Evangelical candidate is concerned. That was just blatant hypocrisy. To see them for yourself, click here. You won’t have to scroll down very far. The dates are November 26 – 30, 2007.

It gets better!

Copeland revealed his true colors at his Ministers Conference, held January 22 through 24, 2008, at EMIC. He didn’t appear as a Shepherdist, but he did use the U.S. Constitution as toilet paper.

First, he turned the conference into a fund raiser for Huckabee. It was supposed to be a conference for ministers and by ministers. Instead, he turned it into a political platform, raising $111,000 in cash for Huckabee, and a million dollars in pledges. Oh, sure, the KCM spin doctors are saying Copeland did everything right. They say that Copeland never endorsed Huckabee, and that he dismissed the conference (early), and said that if anyone wanted to come back, they could. So, it was a private meeting. They also say that Copeland rented a room at EMIC to Huckabee, and that the fundraising happened there. The KCM spin masters say that EMIC has a tradition of renting rooms to ministers at the conference. Well … my wife was responsible for the Ministers Conference from 2004 through 2007, and began to set up for 2008. She told me that at no time did Copeland, KCM or EMIC rent rooms to anyone, especially during the Ministers Conference. The conference is tightly controlled, and KCM does not want a lesser known party trying to sell books behind the scenes. So, the publicly stated habit of renting rooms is a bold faced lie! This is total political pandering, using a religious meeting to garner money for a political candidate, and a violation of the U.S. Constitution. If this fund raising had happened in a hotel room after the conference, there would be no problem. But it happened inside a church, during the dates set for a ministers’ conference. That is a total violation of the separation of church and state. To read one news article on this, click here.

As if that wasn’t enough, during the Ministers’ Conference, Copeland declared war on the U.S. Senate. First, he said that his reply to Senator Grassley was “a six page lesson in ‘no!’,” meaning Copeland didn’t reply to Grassley’s request for information. Copeland said that the ministry’s finances belonged to God and that Grassley had no business looking at them. Furthermore, Copeland said that he could tell Grassley the truth, but wouldn’t, because Grassley didn’t know the truth. Finally, Copeland dared Grassley to subpoena him, throw him in jail, or execute him. That is sheer arrogance, and total hypocrisy from a man who for decades has preached patriotism and obedience to Romans 13:1-7. The website, Wittenburgdoor.com, has posted clips from Copeland’s rant. To see them for yourself, click here.

Now, CBS Evening News thinks Copeland has gone too far and has accused him of fraud, finding two more ex-employees who spoke out about their former boss. To see CBS’ video, click here.

So … Kenneth Copeland. Preacher of the Gospel, or Shepherdist madman? You decide.

Some of you may not like what I said about Copeland. You know what? I don’t care! What I wrote is the truth. I suffered much abuse from the hands of this man, and I owe it to Jesus to expose the apostasy in KCM. I do not want revenge, but like any rape victim, I do want to see justice and see the rapist go to prison. So does God.

You have to decide what the truth is for yourself. If you can continue to follow Kenneth Copeland with a clear conscience, then please do so. But I cannot. My conscience demands that I stand up, say something, and oppose what I see as a Gnostic-Shepherding preacher who is leading many sheep into destruction.

http://exwordoffaith.blogspot.com/2008/02/our-experiences-with-kenneth-copeland.html

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Walter Martin: The Errors of Positive Confession – 7 of 7

 

 

Is health, wealth, and prosperity always the will of our Father?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verses against Positive Confession/Word Faith Movement/ Mind Science

By Dwayna Litz

(My notes from a radio interview with True News to expose the occult, February 7, 2007)

Ex. 4:11—“Who had made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not the Lord?”
John 11:4—“This sickness is not unto death but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified.”
Matthew 16:24—Self denial. If anyone wishes to come after Jesus he must deny himself.
Acts 4:28—God is sovereign. We see a plan that He has predestined, and whatever He has predestined will occur.
Can anyone change His sovereign plan? Isaiah 43:13—“I act and who can reverse it?”
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” Isaiah 55:8-9

Warning: Hosea 4:14—people without understanding are ruined.
Matthew 7:14—The way is narrow
Jer. 17:15—Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
Flesh profits nothing—John 6:63
The mind set on the flesh is hostile towards God —Romans 8:7
WE RENOUNCE THE HIDDEN THINGS—2 Cor. 4:2
The days are evil (which goes against the world peace movement and one world religion)—Eph. 5:16
Romans 16:20 (for the world peace movement)—The God of peace will crush Satan under our feet!

The spirit of the world is not God—1 Cor. 2:12
Satan is the prince of the power of the air—Ephesians 2:2
Satan is the god of this world—2 Cor. 4:4
The whole world lies in the power of the evil one—1 John 5:19
Recommend “Errors of Positive Confession” by Walter Martin at www.waltermartin.com

The worship of talismans—Rev. 6:15-17—The “great men” of the earth will cry out to the rocks to save them instead of the Lord!
Stop regarding man: Isaiah 2:22
He must increase; I must decrease—John 3:30
Christian boasts in the cross—Gal. 6:14

Repentance: Luke 24:47; Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30; we must FOLLOW Jesus to have saving faith, not just believe. Mark 10:21; if we follow Him we will suffer—Luke 17:25; We are called to suffer—Phil. 1:29
Flesh sets itself against the spirit—Gal. 5:17
All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted—2 Timothy 3:12
Psalm 50:21—“You thought I was just like you”

We don’t get the truth from within:
Matt. 15:18-19—the heart is evil
Prov. 14:12—there is a way which seems right to a man, but in the end it is the way of death
Prov. 28:26—“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool”
Psalm 111:10—“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”
Jer. 17:5—“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind”
Jer. 17:9—The heart is deceitful and wicked
Prov. 3:5-6—Do not lean on your own understanding

Test the spirits—1 John 4:1

http://ltwinternational.org/verses_occult.htm

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more about “Paster Joe Schimmel on New Age Christ“, posted with vodpod

 

 

 

“The Jesus of the New Age Movement”
Part Two in a Two-Part Series on New Age Christology PART 1 is HERE
by Ron Rhodes

In her best-selling book, Out on a Limb, Shirley MacLaine recounts how a friend once said to her: “You know that nothing is recorded in the Bible about Christ from the time he was about twelve until he began to really teach at about thirty years old. Right?” “Yes,” MacLaine replied, “I had heard about that and I just figured he didn’t have much to say until he got older.” “Well, no,” her friend responded, “a lot of people think that those eighteen missing years were spent traveling in and around India and Tibet and Persia and the Near East. They say he became an adept yogi and mastered complete control over his body and the physical world around him[he] tried to teach people that they could do the same things too if they got more in touch with their spiritual selves and their own potential power.”[1]

Did Jesus travel to the East to study under gurus? Did He become “the Christ” as a result of what He learned and accomplished there? Are there mystical “gospels” that have been suppressed by the church, keeping us from knowing the real Jesus? In this article, we will look at these and other important questions related to the Jesus of the New Age movement. We begin by examining the claims of a controversial Russian writer.

THE LIFE OF SAINT ISSA

As the story goes, in 1887, Nicolas Notovitch – a Russian war correspondent – went on a journey through India. While en route to Leh, the capital of Ladakh (in Northern India along the Tibetan border), he heard a Tibetan lama (i.e., monk) in a monastery refer to a grand lama named Issa (the Tibetan form of “Jesus”). Notovitch inquired further, and discovered that a chronicle of the life of Issa existed with other sacred scrolls at the Convent of Himis (about 25 miles from Leh).

Notovitch visited this convent and was told by the chief lama that a scroll did in fact exist which provided details about the Prophet Issa. This holy man allegedly preached the same doctrines in Israel as he earlier did in India. The original scroll, the lama said, was written in the Pali language and later translated into Tibetan. The Convent of Himis possessed the Tibetan translation, while the original was said to be in the library of Lhassa (the traditional capital of Tibet).

Notovitch eventually persuaded the lama to read the scroll to him, and had it translated from Tibetan by an interpreter. According to Notovitch, the literal translation of the scroll was “disconnected and mingled with accounts of other contemporaneous events to which they bear no relation,” and so he took the liberty to arrange “all the fragments concerning the life of Issa in chronological order and [took] pains to impress upon them the character of unity, in which they were absolutely lacking.”[2] He went without sleep for many nights so he could order and remodel what he had heard.

From the scroll, Notovitch learned that “Jesus had wandered to India and to Tibet as a young man before he began his work in Palestine.”[3] The beginning of Jesus’ alleged journey is described in the scroll this way:

When Issa had attained the age of thirteen years, the epoch when an Israelite should take a wife, the house where his parents earned their living began to be a place of meeting for rich and noble people, desirous of having for a son-in-law the young Issa, already famous for his edifying discourses in the name of the almighty. Then it was that Issa left the parental house in secret, departed from Jerusalem, and with the merchants set out towards Sind, with the object of perfecting himself in the Divine Word and of studying the laws of the great Buddhas.[4]

According to Notovitch, the scroll proceeds to explain how, after briefly visiting with the Jains, young Issa studied for six years among the Brahmins at Juggernaut, Rajagriha, Benares, and other Indian holy cities. The priests of Brahma “taught him to read and understand the Vedas, to cure by aid of prayer, to teach, to explain the holy scriptures to the people, and to drive out evil spirits from the bodies of men, restoring unto them their sanity.”[5]

While there, the story continues, Issa sought to teach the scriptures to all the people of India – including the lower castes. The Brahmins and Kshatriyas (higher castes) opposed him in this, and told him that the Sudras (a lower caste) were forbidden to read or even contemplate the Vedas. Issa denounced them severely for this.

Because of Issa’s controversial teachings, a death plot was devised against him. But the Sudras warned him and he left Juggernaut, establishing himself in Gautamides (the birthplace of the Buddha Sakyamuni) where he studied the sacred writings of the Sutras. “Six years after, Issa, whom the Buddha had elected to spread his holy word, had become a perfect expositor of the sacred writings. Then he left Nepal and the Himalayan mountains, descended into the valley of Rajputana, and went towards the west, preaching to diverse peoples the supreme perfection of man.”[6] Following this, we are told, Issa briefly visited Persia where he preached to the Zoroastrians. Then, at 29, he returned to Israel and began to preach all that he had learned.

According to Notovitch’s “scroll,” by the end of Issa’s three-year ministry, Pilate had become so alarmed at his mushrooming popularity that he ordered one of his spies to accuse him falsely. Issa was then imprisoned and tortured by soldiers to force a confession which would permit his being executed. The Jewish priests tried to act in Issa’s behalf, but to no avail. Issa was falsely accused and Pilate ordered the death sentence:

At sunset the sufferings of Issa came to an end. He lost consciousness, and the soul of this just man left his body to become absorbed in the Divinity. Meanwhile, Pilate became afraid of his action and gave the body of the saint to his parents, who buried it near the spot of his execution. Three days after, the governor sent his soldiers to carry away the body of Issa to bury it elsewhere, fearing otherwise a popular insurrection. The next day the crowd found the tomb open and empty. At once the rumor spread that the supreme Judge had sent his angels to carry away the mortal remains of the saint in whom dwelt on earth a part of the Divine Spirit.[7]

Following this, some merchants in Palestine allegedly traveled to India, came upon some people who had known Issa as a casual student of Sanskrit and Pali during his youth in India, and filled them in on Issa’s demise at the hands of Pilate. And, as the story concludes, The Life of Saint Issa was written on a scroll – author(s) unknown – three or four years later.

Reactions to Notovitch

This alleged manuscript generated a number of lively responses. Let us briefly look at a sampling of these.

F. Max Muller. In October 1894, preeminent Orientalist Max Muller of Oxford University (who himself was an advocate of Eastern philosophy and therefore could not be accused of having a Christian bias) published a refutation of Notovitch in The Nineteenth Century, a scholarly review. Four of his arguments are noteworthy: (1) Muller asserted that an old document like the one Notovitch allegedly found would have been included in the Kandjur and Tandjur (catalogues in which all Tibetan literature is supposed to be listed). (2) He rejected Notovitch’s account of the origin of the book. He asked how Jewish merchants happened, among the millions of India, to meet the very people who had known Issa as a student, and still more “how those who had known Issa as a simple student in India saw at once that he was the same person who had been put to death under Pontius Pilate.”[8] (3) Muller cites a woman who had visited the monastery of Himis and made inquiries about Notovitch. According to a letter she wrote (dated June 29, 1894), “there is not a single word of truth in the whole story! There has been no Russian here. There is no life of Christ there at all!”[9] And (4) Muller questioned the great liberty Notovitch took in editing and arranging the alleged verses. Muller said this is something no reputable scholar would have done.

Notovitch promptly responded to Muller’s arguments in the preface to the London edition of The Life of Saint Issa which was published the following year (1895). But his response did little to satisfy his critics. He said: (1) The verses which were found would not be in any catalogues because “they are to be found scattered through more than one book without any title.”[10] (But in his first preface he said the Convent of Himis contained “a few copies of the manuscript in question.”[11]) (2) Regarding the unlikeliness of Jewish merchants encountering those who knew Issa as a child in India, Notovitch said “they were not Jewish but Indian merchants who happened to witness the crucifixion prior to returning home from Palestine.”[12] (Even so, it would still be unlikely that – among the millions in India – the merchants would come upon the precise people who knew Issa as a child.) (3) As for editing and arranging the verses in The Life of Saint Issa, Notovitch said that the same kind of editing was done with the Iliad and no one ever questioned that. (But how does this legitimize Notovitch’s modus operandi?) (4) As to the refusal by the lama of Himis to affirmatively answer questions about the manuscript (as he apparently did with the lady who wrote Muller), Notovitch says this was because “Orientals are in the habit of looking upon Europeans as robbers who introduce themselves in their midst to despoil them in the name of civilization.”[13] Notovitch succeeded only “because I made use of the Eastern diplomacy which I had learnt in my travels.”14 (This was a convenient rationalization, for Notovitch could always point to a lack of “Eastern diplomacy” on the part of a European challenger whenever a monk refused to corroborate the Issa legend.)

Assuming (wrongly) that his response to Muller laid criticism of his work to rest, Notovitch suggested that in the future his critics restrict themselves solely to the question: “Did those passages exist in the monastery of Himis, and have I faithfully reproduced their substance?”[15]

J. Archibald Douglas. J. Archibald Douglas, Professor at Government College in Agra, India, took a three-month vacation from the college and retraced Notovitch’s steps at the Himis monastery. He published an account of his journey in The Nineteenth Century (June 1895), the bulk of which reproduced an interview with the chief lama of the monastery. The lama said he had been chief lama for 15 years, which means he would have been the chief lama during Notovitch’s alleged visit. The lama asserted that during these 15 years, no European with a broken leg had ever sought refuge at the monastery.

When asked if he was aware of any book in any Buddhist monastery in Tibet pertaining to the life of Issa, he said: “I have never heard of [a manuscript] which mentions the name of Issa, and it is my firm and honest belief that none such exists. I have inquired of our principal Lamas in other monasteries of Tibet, and they are not acquainted with any books or manuscripts which mention the name of Issa.”[16] When portions of Notovitch’s book were read to the lama, he responded, “Lies, lies, lies, nothing but lies!”[17]

The interview was written down and witnessed by the lama, Douglas, and the interpreter, and on June 3, 1895, was stamped with the official seal of the lama. The credibility of The Life of Saint Issa was unquestionably damaged by Douglas’s investigation.

Nicholas Roerich. In The Lost Years of Jesus, Elizabeth Clare Prophet documents other supporters of Notovitch’s work, the most prominent of which was Nicholas Roerich. Roerich – a Theosophist – claimed that from 1924 to 1928 he traveled throughout Central Asia and discovered that legends about Issa were widespread. In his book, Himalaya, he makes reference to “writings” and “manuscripts” about Issa – some of which he claims to have seen and others about which people told him. Roerich allegedly recorded independently in his own travel diary the same legend of Issa that Notovitch had seen earlier.

Per Beskow – author of Strange Tales About Jesus – responded to Roerich’s work by suggesting that he leaned heavily on two previous “Jesus goes East” advocates: “The first part of his account is taken literally from Notovitch’s Life of Saint Issa, chapters 5-13 (only extracts but with all the verses in the right order). It is followed by ‘another version’ (pages 93-94), taken from chapter 16 of Dowling’s Aquarian Gospel.”[18] (We will consider the Aquarian Gospel shortly.)

Edgar J. Goodspeed. Notovitch’s The Life of Saint Issa refused to die; it was republished in New York in 1926. This motivated Edgar J. Goodspeed, Professor at the University of Chicago, to publish a Christian response. He commented that “it is worthwhile to call attention to [The Life of Saint Issa] because its republication in New York in 1926 was hailed by the press as a new and important discovery,”[19] even though first published over thirty years earlier (1894).

Three of Goodspeed’s arguments are noteworthy. (1) Goodspeed suggests a literary dependency of The Life of Saint Issa on Matthew, Luke, Acts, and Romans. This would not be odd except that The Life of Saint Issa was allegedly written three or four years after the death of Christ, whereas Matthew, Luke, Acts, and Romans were written two or three decades later. An example of this dependency relates to how The Life of Saint Issa attempts to fill in the silent years of Jesus between the ages of twelve and thirty: “these two ages are taken for granted by the author of this work, who unconsciously bases his scheme upon them. We know them from the Gospel of Luke alone, and the question arises: ‘Has the author of Issa obtained them from the same source?'”[20]

(2) Notovitch describes Luke as saying that Jesus “was in the desert until the day of his showing unto Israel.” This, Notovitch says, “conclusively proves that no one knew where the young man had gone, to so suddenly reappear sixteen years later.” But, says Goodspeed, “it is not of Jesus but of John that Luke says this (1:80), so that it will hardly yield the conclusive proof Notovitch seeks. At this point in Luke’s narrative, in fact, Jesus has not yet appeared.”[21]

(3) Goodspeed comments that The Life of Saint Issa does not purport to have been deciphered and translated by a competent scholar: “The lama read, the interpreter translated, Notovitch took notes. He could evidently not control either the lama or the interpreter, to make sure of what the Tibetan manuscripts contained.”[22]

Throughout the twentieth century, many individuals have responded positively to the work of Notovitch, including Janet and Richard Bock (makers of the film, “The Lost Years of Jesus”), Swami Abhedananda, Sai Baba, Paramahansa Yogananda of the Self-Realization Fellowship, and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Evidence abounds that the Issa legend is alive and well today.

Max Muller, J. Archibald Douglas, and Edgar J. Goodspeed have all presented solid refutations of the legend. These should challenge any serious Issa advocate to reevaluate his or her position. I shall offer further arguments later. But first, it is necessary to examine additional features in the New Age profile of Jesus.

THE AQUARIAN GOSPEL OF JESUS THE CHRIST

Another major source for the New Age Jesus is The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, written by Civil War army chaplain Levi Dowling (1844-1911). The title page of this “gospel” bears the words: “Transcribed from the Book of God’s Remembrances, known as the Akashic Records.” (Occultists believe the physical earth is surrounded by an immense spiritual field known as “Akasha” in which is impressed every impulse of human thought, will, and emotion. It is therefore believed to constitute a complete record of human history.) Hence, unlike Notovitch whose conclusions were based on an alleged objective ancient document, Levi’s book is based on an occult form of subjective (nonverifiable) illumination.

The bulk of Levi’s gospel, first published in 1911, focuses on the education and travels of Jesus. After studying with Rabbi Hillel (a Jewish scholar), Jesus allegedly traveled to India where he spent years studying among the Brahmins and Buddhists.

Jesus supposedly became interested in studying in the East after Joseph (Jesus’ father) hosted Prince Ravanna from India. During his visit, Ravanna asked “that he might be the patron of the child; might take him to the East where he could learn the wisdom of the Brahms. And Jesus longed to go that he might learn: and after many days his parents gave consent.” So “Jesus was accepted as a pupil in the temple Jagannath; and here he learned the Vedas and the Manic laws.”[23]

Jesus then visited the city of Benares of the Ganges. While there, “Jesus sought to learn the Hindu art of healing, and became the pupil of Udraka, greatest of the Hindu healers.”[24] And Jesus “remained with Udraka until he had learned from him all there was to be learned of the Hindu art of healing.”[25]

Levi proceeds to chronicle a visit to Tibet, where Jesus allegedly met Meng-ste, the greatest sage of the East: “And Jesus had access to all the sacred manuscripts, and, with the help of Meng-ste, read them all.”[26]

Jesus eventually arrived in Egypt, and – in what must be considered a climax of this account of the “lost years” – he joined the “Sacred Brotherhood” at Heliopolis. While there, he passed through seven degrees of initiation – Sincerity, Justice, Faith, Philanthropy, Heroism, Love Divine, and THE CHRIST. The Aquarian Gospel records the bestowal of this highest degree: “The hierophant arose and said, upon your brow I place this diadem, and in the Great Lodge of the heavens and earth you are THE CHRIST. You are a neophyte no more; but God himself will speak, and will confirm your title and degree. And then a voice that shook the very temple said, THIS IS THE CHRIST; and every living creature said, AMEN.”[27]

Later, following his three-year ministry as THE CHRIST and his subsequent death, Jesus’ resurrection is described by Levi in terms of a “transmutation” which all men may accomplish. He made many appearances to people all over the world to substantiate this transmutation. For example, he appeared to the “Silent Brotherhood” in Greece and said: “What I can do all men can do. Go preach the gospel of the omnipotence of man.”[28]

THE READINGS OF EDGAR CAYCE

Like Levi, Edgar Cayce claimed the ability to read the Akashic Record while in a trance. During his life, he gave over 16,000 readings, 5,000 of which deal with religious matters. It was from the Akashic Record that Cayce set forth an elaborate explanation of the early years of Jesus.

The person we know as Jesus, Cayce tells us, had 29 previous incarnations: “These included an early sun worshipper, the author of the Book of the Dead, and Hermes, who was supposedly the architect of the Great Pyramid. Jesus was also Zend (the father of Zoroaster), Amilius (an Atlantean) and other figures of ancient history.”[29] Other incarnations include Adam, Joseph, Joshua, Enoch, and Melchizedek.

This particular soul did not become “the Christ” until the thirtieth incarnation – as Jesus of Nazareth. The reason Jesus had to go through so many incarnations is that he – like all other human beings – had “karmic debt” (sin) to work off.

Jesus received a comprehensive education. Prior to his twelfth year, he attained a thorough knowledge of the Jewish law. “From his twelfth to his fifteenth or sixteenth year he was taught the prophecies by Judy [an Essene teacher] in her home at Carmel. Then began his education abroad. He was sent first again into Egypt for only a short period, then into India for three years, then into that later called Persia. From Persia he was called to Judea at the death of Joseph, then went into Egypt for the completion of his preparation as a teacher.”[30] During his alleged studies abroad, Jesus studied under many teachers (including Kahjian in India, Junner in Persia, and Zar in Egypt), and learned healing, weather control, telepathy, astrology, and other psychic arts. When his education was complete, he went back to his homeland where he performed “miracles” and taught the multitudes for three years.

JESUS THE CHRIST AND HIS TEACHINGS

There are many differing views regarding how Jesus attained “Christhood.” As we have seen, Levi said Jesus went through seven degrees of initiation, the seventh being THE CHRIST. Cayce said Jesus became “the Christ” in the thirtieth incarnation. Many modern New Agers say the human Jesus merely “attuned” to the cosmic Christ, or achieved at-one-ment with the Christ by raising his own “Christ-consciousness.” But, however, Jesus attained “Christhood,” New Agers agree that he was a teacher par excellence of New Age “truths.”

New Agers generally do one of two things with the teachings of Jesus. Some merely reinterpret the gospel sayings of Jesus to make it appear that Jesus was actually teaching New Age “truth.” Others add that long-lost (New Age) sayings of Jesus have been rediscovered. These “rediscovered” sayings can have one of two sources: reputed ancient extracanonical writings (like the “Gnostic gospels” which were allegedly suppressed by the early church and rediscovered at Nag Hammadi in 1945) and the Akashic Record. Let us now consider samplings of each of these.

The Gospel Sayings of Jesus. According to New Agers, we must all seek first the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 6:33), recognizing that the “kingdom” has reference to our inner divinity.[31] For indeed, Jesus said “Ye are gods” (John 10:34). The parable about those who foolishly build a house on sand (Matt. 7:24-27) teaches us that those who fail to recognize their divinity will not be able to stand against the storms of life.[32] But if we come unto Jesus, we will find rest, for his yoke (i.e., yoga) is easy and his burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30).[33]

“Newly Discovered” Sayings from Extracanonical Sources. Jesus taught a form of pantheism according to The Life of Saint Issa, for he said that “the Eternal Spirit [God] is the soul of all that is animate.”[34] He also taught that all humans have unlimited potential: “I came to show human possibilities; that which I am, all men will be.”[35] And, according to the Gnostic gospels, Jesus spoke of “illusion and enlightenment, not of sin and repentance.”[36] Indeed, man can save himself: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.”[37]

“Newly Discovered” Sayings from the Akashic Record. According to Levi’s Aquarian Gospel, Jesus was just a way-shower: “And all the people were entranced, and would have worshipped Jesus as God; but Jesus said, I am your brother man just come to show the way to God; you shall not worship man.”[38] Jesus also taught pantheism and monism: “The universal God is one, yet he is more than one [i.e., he takes many forms]; all things are God; all things are one.”[39] Jesus also tells us that “the nations of the earth see God from different points of view, and so he does not seem the same to every one.”[40]

THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN RESPONSE

A Christian response to the New Age rendition of Jesus may begin with the observation that the accounts of Jesus going East have irreconcilable contradictions. This fact alone should make any objective investigator suspicious of the reliability of these documents.

Each of the accounts differ, for example, regarding the beginning of Jesus’ trek. The Life of Saint Issa portrays Jesus departing secretly from his parent’s house with some merchants on their way to India so he could perfect himself by studying the laws of the great Buddhas. Levi’s Aquarian Gospel depicts Prince Ravanna from India asking Jesus’ parents if he can escort Jesus to India where he can learn Indian wisdom. Cayce’s reading of the Akashic Record has an Essene teacher sending Jesus to India to study astrology and other psychic disciplines.

What is particularly revealing is that both Cayce and Levi allegedly obtained their “revelations” by reading the Akashic Record, yet their readings blatantly contradict each other. Since both Cayce and Levi are highly respected in New Age circles, how do New Agers account for the obvious failure of at least one of them to properly “read” the Akashic Record? Furthermore, if one of these top-rated New Age seers cannot be trusted, which one can be?

Not only do the accounts disagree with each other, they all disagree with the gospel accounts in the New Testament. And the New Testament has solid, irrefutable manuscript evidence – something that should be considered by those wanting to replace it so easily with Gnostic gospels or alleged ancient manuscripts claiming that Jesus went East.

The New Testament gospels are based on eyewitness testimony. Moreover, they were written very close to the time of the events which they report. It is crucial to recognize that the four canonical gospels are all dated much earlier than the Gnostic gospels. The earliest Gnostic gospels date from A.D. 150 to 200. The New Testament gospels date from A.D. 60 to 100 – approximately one century earlier. Clearly, the New Testament gospels are the authentic and reliable source for information on the life and teachings of Jesus.

On the other hand, all of the “Jesus goes East” accounts contain historical inaccuracies, several of which have already been mentioned. Other examples include: (1) Levi’s Aquarian Gospel said Herod Antipas was ruler in Jerusalem. Antipas, however, never ruled in Jerusalem but in Galilee. Dowling meant to say Herod the Great. This is especially significant since Levi’s transcriptions are claimed to be “true to the letter” in the introduction of his Aquarian Gospel![41] (2) Levi’s reference to Jesus visiting with Meng-ste was probably meant to be the great Chinese sage, Meng-tse (tse, not ste). Dowling apparently didn’t realized, however, that Meng-tse died in 289 B.C.

The deeper one probes, the clearer it becomes that the Jesus of the New Age movement lacks any basis in history. To many, The Life of Saint Issa appeared to provide this. However, the world still awaits bona fide hard evidence that can be physically examined by all interested parties. Even a photograph would be helpful. But as Notovitch lamented: “During my journey I took a considerable number of very curious photographs, but when on arrival at Bombay I examined the negatives, I found they had all become obliterated.”[42] I don’t want to be cynical, but

In order to find a New Age Jesus in authentic documents, New Agers are forced to deal with the language of the New Testament in a manipulative fashion. Tal Brooke comments: “It is a little like the problem of the Marxist who wishes to change the common understanding of the United States Constitution so that a gradualist skewing of word meaning can enable a socialistic interpretation of words whose intended meanings in the original were clearly different.”[43]

Though the New Testament does not directly address this issue, there are strong indirect evidences that Jesus never traveled East for eighteen years. First, Jesus was well-known as a carpenter (Mark 6:3) and as a carpenter’s son (Matt. 13:55). That His carpentry played a large role in His life up to the time of His ministry is clear from the fact that some of His parables and teachings drew upon His experience as a carpenter (e.g., building a house on rock as opposed to sand, Matt. 7:24-27). Moreover, the people in and around Nazareth displayed familiarity with Jesus, as if they had had regular contact with Him for a prolonged time. At the beginning of His three-year ministry, Jesus “went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read” (Luke 4:16). After He finished reading, “all spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’ they asked” (Luke 4:22). This implies that those in the synagogue regarded Jesus as a local resident.

It is important to note that when Jesus stood up to read, He did so from the Old Testament Scriptures. And the Old Testament – for which Jesus often displayed reverence (cf. Matt. 5:18) – (1) contains numerous warnings and admonitions about staying away from false gods and false religious systems (cf. Exod. 20:2; 34:14; Deut. 6:14; 13:10; 2 Kings 17:35); (2) clearly distinguishes between the creation and the Creator, unlike Eastern thought; and (3) taught the need for redemption, not gnosis (knowledge). It is no coincidence that Jesus is often seen quoting from the Old Testament in the gospels, but not once does He quote from (or even mention) the Vedas!

While some in Nazareth were impressed at the graciousness of Jesus’ words, others were offended that He was attracting so much attention. They seemed to be treating Him with a contempt born of familiarity. We read in Matthew 13:54-57: “Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?…Where then did this man get all these things?’ And they took offense at him.”

Among those that became angriest at Jesus were the Jewish leaders. They accused Him of many offenses, including breaking the Sabbath (Matt. 12:1-14), blasphemy (John 8:58-59; 10:31-33), and doing miracles in Satan’s power (Matt. 12:24). But they never accused Him of teaching or practicing anything learned in the East. The Jews considered such teachings and practices to be idolatry and sorcery. Had Jesus actually gone to the East to study under “the great Buddhas,” this would have been excellent grounds for discrediting and disqualifying Him regarding His claim to be the promised Jewish Messiah.

It is noteworthy that the self-concept of the New Age Jesus is that he is just a man who became enlightened in the East, eventually achieving Christhood. The self-concept of the New Testament Jesus, however, is one in which He singles Himself out as God (cf. John 8:58).

It is understandable why the “Jesus who went East” refused to accept worship (cf. Dowling). The New Testament Jesus, by contrast, accepted worship on numerous occasions because He knew Himself to be the one and only God (note especially Matthew 28:17). Of course, only God can be worshiped (cf. Ex. 20:4-5; Deut. 6:4-5, 13). It is thus significant that even when Jesus was just a babe, the Magi (from the East) “fell down and worshiped Him” (Matt. 2:11).

The final word on this matter must belong to God the Father, for there is no higher authority in the universe. He Himself is quoted as saying to Jesus: “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever” (Heb. 1:8). It is Jesus – the second Person of the Trinity – that we as Christians look forward to seeing; ‘we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). And, as Christians, we exult in the truth that Jesus has a name that is above every name, and that at His name, every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth (Phil. 2:9-10).

A CLOSING REFLECTION

What if – despite all the arguments presented above – a manuscript should one day surface in India which speaks of Issa? Would this prove that Jesus did in fact go East during His youth?

Christians acknowledge that news of Jesus eventually reached India and Tibet as a result of the missionary efforts of the early church. It is conceivable that when devotees of other religions heard about Jesus, they tried to modify what they heard to make it appear that Jesus and His teachings were compatible with their own belief systems. It is possible that – sometime between the first and nineteenth centuries – these unreliable legends were recorded on scrolls and circulated among the convents in India. This would not be unlike the distorted versions of the life of Jesus that emerged among the early Gnostics (and recorded in the Gnostic gospels).

But for such a manuscript to be convincing, it would have to have the same kind of irrefutable manuscript evidence as the New Testament, the same quality of eyewitness testimony, and be written very close to the events on which they report like the New Testament. Until such an authoritative document surfaces, is it wise to base one’s eternal destiny on a manuscript that has as little evidential support as Notovich’s?

Douglas Groothuis issues this challenge: “Should any supposed record of Jesus’ life come to the fore, let it marshal its historical merits in competition with holy writ. The competitors have an uphill battle against the incumbent.”[44]

NOTES AND GLOSSARY ARE HERE
http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/JesusNAM.html

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“The Christ of the New Age Movement”
Part One in a Two-Part Series on New Age Christology PART 2 is HERE
by Ron Rhodes

“Who do you say I am?” (Luke 9:20, NIV) The question was first asked of Peter by Christ nineteen centuries ago, and has continued since then to the present day to be the litmus test of spiritual authenticity. Perhaps never in the history of the Christian church has this question been more relevant than it is today. One reason for this is that New Agers have taken the New Testament sculpture (if you will) of Christ, crafted an esoteric/mystical chisel, and hammered away at this sculpture until a completely new image has been formed.

The new sculpture is one that fits nicely on a display shelf with sculptures of Buddha, Krishna, and other “holy men.” This Christ is broad-minded and nonjudgmental. He is a “Master” among “Masters,” who – with the others – is leading the human race into a New Age of enlightenment and harmony.

Fundamental to any discussion of New Age Christology is the recognition that New Agers distinguish between Jesus (a mere human vessel) and the Christ (variously defined, but always divine, and often a cosmic, impersonal entity). Part One of this series will therefore focus on the Christ of the New Age, and will provide a brief history of the various views as to his (or its) identity, his purpose, how he aims to accomplish this purpose, and his relationship to humanity. Part Two will focus on the Jesus of the New Age, and will address such issues as the “lost years” of Jesus (as described by Levi Dowling, Edgar Cayce, and others), his supposed training in Eastern/occultic concepts, his “attunement” to the Christ, and his “New Age teachings.”

Regarding methodology, this article will anchor on two reference points – one primary and one secondary – from which the history of New Age Christology will be traced. The primary reference point will be Theosophy; the secondary reference point will be the teachings of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby. We might liken Theosophy and Quimby’s teachings to two trees which grew side by side, having been planted close to the same time (the mid to late 1800s) in the same soil, fertilized with common ingredients (nineteenth-century transcendentalism, the philosophy of Emmanuel Swedenborg, the influx of Hindu monism, etc.). Certainly, in many respects these two have distinct beliefs and different goals, but they both took root and flourished in the same mystical climate. Taken together, these represent an appropriate starting point for a study in New Age Christology.

THEOSOPHY AND ITS OFFSHOOTS

Theosophy, founded in 1875 by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, teaches that each human being evolves through seven planes of existence (the physical plane, the astral plane, the mental plane, etc.). Each plane a person evolves through brings him or her ever closer to union with the Absolute (God). Theosophists reason that this process can take a very long time, hence requiring innumerable reincarnations.

According to “revelations” received by Blavatsky, it is not only individuals who evolve; the human race as a whole also evolves. So far there have allegedly been three races: the Lemurian, the Atlantean, and the Aryan. Each of these three (which Theosophists call “rootraces”) are divided into “subraces.” Mankind is now in the third rootrace – the Aryan rootrace – and is about to enter the sixth subrace of the Aryan rootrace.

Theosophy teaches that at the beginning of each subrace, the Supreme World Teacher (also known as “the Christ,” the bestower of divine wisdom) enters the body of a disciple in order to assist and guide the spiritual evolution of man. Each “incarnation” reveals more to man about God than the previous one. The five incarnations of Christ in the five subraces of the Aryan rootrace were Buddha (in India), Hermes (in Egypt), Zoroaster (in Persia), Orpheus (in Greece), and Jesus (at the River Jordan, where the Christ came upon Jesus at His baptism).[1]

Jesus is said to have volunteered his body for use by the Christ. Annie Besant, who took over Theosophical leadership when Blavatsky died, said: “For Him [the Christ] was needed an earthly tabernacle, a human form, the body of a man. The man Jesus yielded himself a willing sacrifice, ‘offered himself without spot’ to the Lord of Love, who took unto Himself that pure form as tabernacle, and dwelt therein for three years of mortal life.”[2]

Theosophists reject any suggestion that Jesus died on the cross to pay for man’s sins. Man saves himself through continual reincarnations. This spiritual evolution leads men further and further away from the physical plane and closer and closer to spiritual planes of existence. Because of this process, every human being – regardless of race or religion – is a potential “Christ.”

Human beings who continue to evolve through reincarnation eventually become “Masters.” This is a group of formerly historical persons who have finished their earthly evolutions and voluntarily help lesser-evolved human beings to reach their level.

Because Theosophists believe the fifth subrace of the Aryan rootrace (the subrace of intellectual man) is about to give way to the sixth subrace (the subrace of spiritual man), they believe another incarnation of the Christ will soon take place. Note that since this will be the sixth appearance of the Christ in the Aryan rootrace, it is not spoken of as the “second coming.”

Annie Besant first announced the coming of this Messiah in 1906. Her aim was to groom Jiddu Krishnamurti for the role of World Teacher or Messiah. In 1925 she claimed for this young Indian man the title of “Messianic Leader and Reincarnation of the World Teacher.” But by 1929, Krishnamurti became convinced it was all a mistake. On November 20 of that year, he “refused to receive further adoration [saying frankly], ‘I am not an actor; I refuse to wear the robes of a Messiah; so I am again free of all possessions.'”[3] Theosophy’s Christ remains to appear.

Under the leadership of Annie Besant, dissension took its toll on Theosophy. The result of growing discontent within the Society was a four-pronged theological fork in the road. Theosophy continued along its traditional path (the first prong). But Rudolf Steiner broke away to form the Anthroposophical Society in 1912 (the second prong); Alice Bailey broke away to establish the Arcane School in 1923 (the third prong); and Guy and Edna Ballard broke away to lead the “I AM” movement in the 1930s (the fourth prong). Each “prong” has made an impact on New Age Christology.

The Christ of Anthroposophy

Dr. Rudolf Steiner was an active member of the Theosophical Society and headed the German charter of the group. However, when a Theosophical subgroup, the “Order of the Star of the East,” began promoting Krishnamurti as the new incarnation of the Christ, Steiner threatened to expel any member of the German charter who joined the Order. Annie Besant retaliated by canceling Steiner’s charter. Steiner then founded the Anthroposophical Society in 1912, and most of the German membership of Theosophy joined with him.

Steiner’s emphasis represents a significant departure from his Theosophical roots. Instead of arguing for a Christ who periodically incarnates into individuals as each new “subrace” begins, Steiner’s emphasis is on what the Christ accomplished through his decisive “incarnation” in the human Jesus.

Steiner’s Christology is based on his investigation into the “Akashic Records.” Occultists believe that the physical earth is surrounded by an immense spiritual field known as “Akasha” in which is impressed – like a celestial tape recording – every impulse of human thought, will, and emotion. It therefore constitutes a complete record of human history. Steiner claimed to be able to “read” the Akashic Records, thus enabling him to investigate human history without use of written records. Based on this, he discovered that the descent of the Christ on the human Jesus was the absolutely central event of human evolution.

In Steiner’s theology, the Christ’s descent on Jesus became necessary because man’s consciousness had progressively become too focused on the material realm and had completely lost touch with the spiritual nature behind physical reality. The danger was that this situation could become permanent.

To prevent this, the Christ’s initial goal was to “incarnate” into a human being (Jesus) so he could accomplish his greater goal of “incarnating” from Jesus into the “etheric earth.” Occultists believe an etheric earth exists behind the physical earth. The etheric earth is thought to be made up of a fine energy substance from which is created the mold for every form that is manifested in the physical plane. Every material object on the physical plane has an etheric counterpart. All material forms in the physical universe find their ultimate source in this energy substance of the etheric realm. The Christ desired to enter this etheric earth so he could bring about spiritual changes among people living on the physical earth. But in order to transfer from his spiritual realm to the etheric realm, he needed a human instrument through which to work. This instrument was found in Jesus.

The Christ “incarnated” into Jesus, and three years later was crucified. At the crucifixion, the Christ left Jesus’ body and “incarnated” into the etheric earth:

The blood flowed from the wounds of Jesus Christ. This blood must not be regarded simply as chemical substance, it must be recognized as something altogether unique. When it flowed from His wounds and into the earth, a substance was imparted to our earth which, in uniting with it, constituted an event of the greatest possible significance; this blood passed through a process of ‘etherization’…since the Mystery of Golgotha, the etherized blood of Christ Jesus has lived in the ether of the earth. The etheric body of the earth is permeated by what the blood that flowed on Golgotha became.[4]

Because of this, “ever since the Mystery of Golgotha man lives in a spiritual environment, an environment that has been Christianized because it has absorbed the Christ impulse.”[5]

Having mystically entered the etheric earth via his “etherized” blood, the Christ now seeks to “mass incarnate” into all humanity. This will lead to man’s redemption. Steiner says that the “Christ impulse will penetrate humanity. He belongs to the whole earth and can enter all human souls, regardless of nation and religion.”[6] This, says Steiner, is the true “second coming.”

The Christ of the Arcane School

Alice Bailey had been an active member in the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society (an inner group of trusted members who faithfully practiced Theosophy). But she eventually became critical of the organization’s policy that one could not become a disciple of a Master (which Bailey believed she already was) unless one was notified by Annie Besant (who seemed to have overlooked Bailey in this). This led to her dismissal from the Society, and shortly thereafter in 1923, she and her husband Foster founded the Arcane School.

Like Theosophy and Anthroposophy, Bailey believed that Jesus was a medium who allowed the Christ to use his body. But Bailey distinguished her beliefs from Anthroposophy by arguing that the “second coming” referred to the Christ coming in a single Avatar, not in all humanity.[7] According to Arcane thought, the Christ – along with his disciples, the Masters – will draw closer and closer to humanity and eventually appear on the physical plane. Bailey said this return necessitated three conditions that either have already come or are currently coming to pass: (1) catastrophic planetary conditions; (2) a spiritual awakening; and (3) a steadily mounting invocative prayer. This last condition involves use of The Great Invocation, a prayer which is intended to speed the reappearance of the Christ.

Preparation for the Second Coming is hence the responsibility of “attuned” human beings. Those who know about this Coming are to help create conditions of “spiritual alignment” which will ultimately draw the Christ forth into our midst. Without this, the Christ is impotent to act.

Bailey believed the Christ will come again in a way which will create no divisions or separations between men, either religious, social, or ideological. When he comes, it will be to establish through precept and example (in world service) the principles on which an interdependent world may create a new civilization.

While Bailey taught that the Second Coming will be in a single Avatar, she also affirmed that he will be mystically manifested in humanity: “There is a growing and developing belief that Christ is in us, as He was in the Master Jesus, and this belief will alter world affairs and mankind’s entire attitude to life.”[8]

The Christ of the “I AM” Movements

Guy and Edna Ballard were Theosophists up until Guy was contacted by Saint Germain, an “Ascended Master” who allegedly appeared to him in a physical body. Saint Germain informed him that he lived on Mount Teton with ninety-eight other Ascended Masters.

Saint Germain appointed Guy, Edna, and their son Donald as the only “accredited” spokespeople for the Ascended Masters. Saint Germain also taught Guy about the “Great Creative Word” (I AM). The “I AM Presence” is said to be in each person and represents a point of contact with divine reality. One can attune to the I AM Presence by chanting I AM decrees. Such chanting reportedly brings about dramatic results in the life of the one chanting.

The Ballards’ Christology is distinct in that Saint Germain is considered more important (in the dawning Aquarian Age) than Jesus, and is the primary object of worship among “I AM” devotees. Jesus – himself an “Ascended Master” – allegedly said that Saint Germain is “the Greatest Blessing that has ever come to mankind.”[9] The reason for this devotion to Saint Germain is that he has brought the Violet Consuming Flame: “The conscious use of the Violet Consuming Flame is the only means by which any human being can free himself or herself from his or her own human discord and imperfection.”[10] The I AM presence is invoked by chanting decrees, and this in turn activates the Violet Flame. The Violent Flame then burns away undesirable conditions in one’s life. Of course, this nullifies any need for Jesus’ work on the cross.

THE NEXT GENERATION

Having discussed the foundation for New Age Christology in Theosophy, Anthroposophy, the Arcane School, and the “I AM” movement, this article will now examine three representative contemporary New Age leaders to illustrate how this Christology has progressed historically.

Benjamin Creme and his Arcane Roots

From 1977 to the present Benjamin Creme has traveled around the world proclaiming that the coming of Maitreya (the Christ) is imminent. Maitreya, says Creme, is the leader of the Planetary Hierarchy and has been living incognito among human beings since 1977 when his consciousness entered a specially created body of manifestation, the “Mayavirupa.”

Creme originally claimed that by the end of spring 1982, Maitreya would reveal himself via worldwide television on the “Day of Declaration,” after which time would begin a new era of planetary happiness. This Christ would come not as a religious, political, or social leader, but as an “educationalist” who would solve all the world’s problems in these areas and usher in the New Age of love, peace, and shared wealth.

Obviously 1982 has come and gone and the Christ remains to appear. The most common explanation for the Christ’s no-show is that the media prevented it. Since the media represents humanity, the media’s apathy is indicative of the broader apathy of humanity. And since the Christ’s manifestation cannot occur against man’s wishes, his “declaration” has been delayed.

Some of Creme’s ideas are noticeably similar to Theosophy. For example, he divides the world and humanity into astral, ethereal, and physical planes. He also subscribes to the idea that the Christ inhabited the body of Jesus for three years.

But despite some Theosophical overtones, his ideas are primarily a reflection of Alice Bailey’s writings, particularly her book The Reappearance of the Christ. In this book are found almost everything Creme was later to propagate: the Age of Aquarius, world service, The Great Invocation, “overshadowing” (the occult means used by a Master to inhabit a human disciple’s body), and “transmission groups” (enlightened groups who “transmit” spiritual energy to the minds of other people in order to raise the Christ-consciousness of the planet).[11]

Despite such similarities, there are at least three notable differences between Creme and Bailey. First, Creme is a date-setter regarding Maitreya’s coming (i.e., spring 1982). Bailey was convinced the Christ would appear – and she had some idea about the general timing (sometime after 2025) – but she refused to set exact dates. She wrote: “It is not for us to set the date for the appearance of the Christ or to expect any spectacular aid or curious phenomena. If our work is rightly done, He will come at the set and appointed time.”[12]

Second, Bailey used the term “Christ” to refer to a person whereas Creme uses it in reference to an office or function. The present holder of this office, says Creme, is the Lord Maitreya, who has held it now for 2,600 years. It was Maitreya who – while holding this office – manifested himself through his disciple, Jesus, by the occult method of overshadowing.

Third, Christ and Buddha are the central figures in Bailey’s theology, while Maitreya is supreme in Creme’s thinking. Bailey mentions Maitreya on occasion, but never as the leader of the Hierarchy, as does Creme.

Creme’s following has understandably declined since 1982.

David Spangler and his Anthroposophic Roots

Like Rudolf Steiner, David Spangler understands Christ to be a cosmic spirit who utilized Jesus’ body to make the transfer from His own realm (the spiritual realm) to Jesus’ realm (the realm of matter).

Spangler sees the Christ as a cosmic principle: “Any old Christ will not do, not if we need to show that we have something better than the mainstream Christian traditions. It must be a cosmic Christ, a universal Christ, a New Age Christ.”[13] The Christ is not so much a religious figure, “but rather a cosmic principle, a spiritual presence whose quality infuses and appears in various ways in all the religions and philosophies that uplift humanity and seek unity with spirit.”[14]

Spangler believes a central purpose of the Christ is to act as a “universal educator.” He uses “educate” in the sense of the Latin root educare, which means “to lead out.” Most often he speaks of the Christ “leading out” man’s “inner divinity.”[15] The “universal Presence that calls out of form and spirit the higher potentials of Divine life waiting to be released into expression, is the Christ.”[16]

Like Steiner, Spangler believes the Christ entered the etheric earth at the crucifixion. By so doing, the Christ was able to reverse man’s “downward trend” toward a physical-oriented consciousness. The Christ is thus an “occult savior.”[17]

Spangler utilizes Christian terms to describe what the Christ accomplished through Jesus. For example, Spangler says that the Christ was occultly crucified (which resulted in placing his cosmic presence within the cross of matter, space, and time). The Christ was laid in a tomb (the tomb representing a level of life characterized by “great density” [i.e., the physical world], as opposed to the “low density” spiritual realm he was accustomed to). There he would stay until the resurrection (the outflowing of Christ-energies from the etheric earth) and ascension (the ascension of Christ-consciousness in humanity). Through this sacrifice, the cosmic Christ became a savior in that he no longer stood outside the evolution of the earth, but entered into that evolution by becoming incarnate into the earth.[18] There he would function as a guide of man’s spiritual evolution.

Like Steiner, Spangler believes the Christ is now incarnating into humanity from the etheric realm. This is not unlike what occurred in Jesus 2,000 years ago, for Jesus “was the prototype or the expression of the reality of the Christ consciousness which is inherent in us all.”[19] Spangler concludes that human beings can actually become “the Word made flesh.” In fact, he says that the Word will eventually be made all flesh.[20]

Elizabeth Clare Prophet and her “I AM” Roots

While the Ballards’ “I AM” movement has considerably declined since its heyday in the 1930s, another “I AM” movement has achieved high visibility and much popularity in New Age circles. This is the Church Universal and Triumphant, founded in 1958 by Mark Prophet and now headed by his widow, Elizabeth Clare Prophet.

Foundationally, certain aspects of the Prophets’ theology can be traced directly to Theosophy. These beliefs include (1) Masters who guide man’s spiritual evolution; (2) revelations to man from these Masters; (3) the Christ’s use of Jesus’ body; (4) human evolution through progressive stages; and (5) the belief that Blavatsky’s revelations marked the beginning of the Aquarian Age.

Beyond these similarities, the Prophets derived most of their theology from the Ballards. This is seen not only in their emphasis on the I AM Presence, but also on the prominent role of Saint Germain.

Elizabeth Clare Prophet says the I AM Presence has become hopelessly distorted within man due to negative energies from within and without. These negative energies impede spiritual progress, but are effectively combated by the “Violet Consuming Flame” which is poured out on the world by Saint Germain. This Flame changes negative energy into positive energy. It is therefore an antidote to sin.

This makes Jesus’ work on the cross unnecessary. In fact, Mark and Elizabeth Prophet dismiss the idea of Jesus’ atonement on the cross as an “erroneous doctrine which he himself never taught.”[21] Like the Ballards, the Prophets believe that Jesus attained Christhood as did other Ascended Masters. The “Christ” of “I AM” theology represents the divinity within all men: “God dwells in every man and not alone in His son Jesus the Christ. The only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth, is the Christ whose Image the Lord has reproduced over and over again as the Christ-identity of every son and daughter who has come forth from the infinite Spirit of the Father-Mother God.”[22] The Prophets conclude that “to become the Christ, then, is the goal of every child of God.”[23]

PHINEAS PARKHURST QUIMBY

Unquestionably, Theosophy and the groups that emerged from it are the source of many of the essential tenets of New Age Christology. But Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (who died in 1866) and the “metaphysical” groups his philosophy spawned also played a significant role.

Quimby espoused the metaphysical idea that the source of physical healing lies in the mind. He was convinced that physical diseases were caused by wrong thinking or false beliefs. These false beliefs are remedied by “the Christ.”

Like other metaphysical writers, Quimby distinguished Jesus from the Christ. Quimby credited Jesus with discovering the “Truth” of how to correct the error of sickness. “Not that He as a man was any better,” said Quimby, “but He was the embodiment of a higher Wisdom, more so than any man who has ever lived.”[24] This “Truth” or “higher Wisdom” discovered by Jesus was an impersonal mind-principle Quimby called “the Christ.” Quimby’s metaphysical concept of the Christ spawned several important movements.

New Thought

New Thought developed slowly during the nineteenth century after Quimby’s death in 1866. Quimby did not create an organization himself. But individuals he helped adopted his ideas and passed them on to others, adding to or modifying them along the way. Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science is a major example of this, though this tradition is too exclusive to meld with today’s New Age movement. However, several smaller, more inclusive metaphysical groups also emerged, and in the 1890s the term “New Thought” surfaced as a way of describing them.

The Christ of New Thought was an outgrowth of Quimby’s metaphysics. The Christ was considered not a person but an impersonal Divine Nature or Principle. Jesus was believed to have embodied or appropriated the Christ-principle as no human had before. He had fully realized his Christ-nature. But Jesus was not a savior to mankind; he was merely a “way-shower.” Salvation is based not on Jesus but on the recognition of the Divine Nature or Christ-principle within.

Unity School of Christianity

The Unity School of Christianity, an offshoot of New Thought, was founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore in 1891. They are distinguished from mainstream New Thought by their belief in reincarnation.

In Unity, salvation is attained by “at-one-ment” with God – a reuniting of human consciousness with God-consciousness. Jesus attained this; all men can: “The difference between Jesus and us is not one of inherent spiritual capacity, but in difference of demonstration of it. Jesus was potentially perfect, and He expressed that perfection; we are potentially perfect, [but] we have not yet expressed it.”[25]

United Church of Religious Science

The United Church of Religious Science, another offshoot of New Thought, was founded by “Dr.” Ernest Holmes who wrote The Science of Mind in 1926. This book later became the textbook for Religious Science. Holmes was extremely eclectic, attempting to syncretize the metaphysical ideas he sifted from New Thought with psychology, philosophy, and the various world religions.

His ideas about Jesus, the Christ, and mankind are similar to other New Thought groups: “Every man is a potential Christ. From the least to the greatest the same life runs through all, threading itself into the patterns of our individuality. He is ‘over all, in all and through all.'”[26] Jesus was merely a way-shower who embodied the impersonal Christ.

NOTABLE MENTIONS

The groups and individuals described above have all contributed to the emergence of a mystical and esoteric theological climate. This has paved the way for numerous other individuals and groups to hop on the New Age bandwagon and offer their own reinterpretations of the person and work of Christ. Two of the more notable developments are the following:

A Course in Miracles. According to this New Age textbook, the “Son of God” was created by God in a state of “wakefulness.” Later, however, the Son fell asleep and had a dream of being separate from God. In the dream, the Son denied that he was created by God, asserting instead that he created himself. This usurping of God’s role as Creator marked the beginning of ego, and led the Son to conceive of himself as being separate from God.

God then created and commissioned the Holy Spirit to awaken the Son. But the Son wrongly interpreted the coming of the Holy Spirit as judge.

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The New World Religion

(Part 1 in a continuing series)

In my first book En Route to Global Occupation I summarized the economic, political and spiritual aspects of the one-world/New Age movement, showing their interaction in the pursuit of a global civilization. My latest book The New World Religion picks up where En Route left off, bringing people up-to-date on the most recent developments while examining the one-world movement’s spiritual roots and religious goals.

In order to achieve their occult objective, New Agers had to deal with the “problem” of Christianity which had been the main obstacle to their success. Christians had to somehow be neutralized or, if possible, seduced to unwittingly support their agenda. The modern ecumenical movement, as I documented in my book, has played a key role in accomplishing this mission.

Most people do not realize that today’s ecumenical movement is an integral part of the broader one-world movement. The seeds for twentieth-century ecumenism were sown in the late 1800s. During that time there was a growing interest in achieving unity for the alleged purpose of building an earthly utopia. Masonically-inspired organizations, ranging from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn to the Theosophical Society, were busy laying the groundwork for the next century, which they hoped might finally usher in their long-awaited new world order.

Against this backdrop, religious leaders from around the world gathered in Chicago for an unprecedented ecumenical event – the 1893 Parliament of the World’s Religions (also known as the Parliament of World Religions). The people who attended this international conference came from a variety of faiths. Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Roman Catholics, Protestants, and a host of others prayed and dialogued together for seventeen days. This was the largest interfaith leadership conference of its kind up to that time.

In the following decades, two catastrophic world wars were fought, each adding to the one-world movement’s momentum. World War I resulted in the League of Nations and World War II led to the United Nations. Both were created in the name of world peace. These institutions would give the secret societies a focal point around which they could rally religious leaders. The public, worn down from years of war, was ready to accept a new approach to maintaining peace. The United Nations was presented as the only hope for peace between nations and unity among the world’s religions.

Riding this crest of postwar sentiment, global planners seized the moment, attempting to unite the Protestant denominations through one organization. Although the spirit of ecumenism had been alive for decades, the founding of the pro-U.N. World Council of Churches in 1948 marked the beginning of the modern ecumenical era.

Strongly influenced by the Masonic Lodge and with funding from major “old money” sources such as the Rockefeller Foundation, the World Council of Churches (WCC) embarked on its mission. From the time of its first meeting in Amsterdam its purpose was clear: to help create the religious atmosphere for achieving a new world order. In a report issued in 1994 at one of its meetings in Jerusalem, the WCC confirmed this intention, stating: “After the second world war, the establishment of the World Council of Churches in 1948 signalled the resolve of the ecumenical community both to work for the fuller unity of the church and to participate in the struggle for a new just world order.”

While the efforts of the World Council of Churches have been paramount in bringing some of the Protestant denominations together, no event would give greater momentum to the ecumenical movement than Vatican II. The Catholic Encyclopedia proudly boasts, “The greatest religious event of the twentieth century, whose teachings and clarifications have yet to reach their full impact, was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council, called Vatican II or the Second Vatican Council.”

Vatican II, which opened on October 11, 1962 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, added fuel to the growing ecumenical movement and helped pave the way for the acceptance of interfaithism. Pope John XXIII resided over the Council’s proceedings. According to M. Basil Pennington, a prominent Catholic priest, the Council urged “all Christians…to act positively to preserve and even promote all that is good in other religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, and other world religions.” To carry out this interfaith directive, the Vatican Council established the Secretariat for Non-Christians, which would eventually be renamed the Secretariat for World Religions.

Years later, Pope John Paul II would take the Council’s initiatives a step further by holding an actual interfaith summit in Assisi, Italy (discussed in my book). This 1986 gathering, consisting of leaders from the world’s major religions, and initiated by the Pope himself, would represent a visible transition from “ecumenism” to “interfaithism.”

Although these terms are often used interchangeably today, historically the public has viewed ecumenism as an effort aimed at unifying Christian churches. Interfaithism, on the other hand, has been perceived as a broader attempt to unify the world’s religions. In spite of the public’s perception, beneath the surface, ecumenism and interfaithism have been intertwined. The fact is, ecumenism has been used by New Age religious planners as a springboard to interfaithism. Once most of Christendom had been brought together under a false unity, it was thought that Christianity might be prepared to go the next step by merging with the other religions.

Regarding the spiritual condition of the world in the latter days Jesus warned that “even the elect” would be deceived if that were possible (Matt 24:24). What better way to deceive believers than through a false unity which has the appearance of Christianity, but is actually rooted in pantheism and the occult?

During the next few months, as religious and political events unfold and the new millennium approaches, we will keep you abreast of ways in which the New Age/one-world movement is advancing its agenda – especially as it relates to Christians. It is my sincere hope and prayer that our articles will not only inform you but will encourage biblical discernment and obedience to God’s Word!

http://www.garykah.org/article10.html

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The Power of the Spoken Word – Biblical or Occult Law? PART 2

We Learned in Part One about The Power of The Spoken Word being made out as Witchcraft. The discussion continues in this post.

I can of Mine Own Self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and My judgment is Just; because I seek not Mine Own Will, but the Will of the Father Who has sent Me” (Jn. 5:30).

As we mentioned previously, “Word of Faith” proponents teach that the purpose for believing in the power of the spoken word is so that one may learn to activate creative forces within him that will affect the circumstances and course of his life. New Agers and others follow the “Law of Attraction” to acquire exactly the same kind of power. In other words, the occult world is literally trying to offer mankind the powers of creation and lordship, powers that we as Believers know belong to God alone! God is the One and Only Creator and the One and Only Lord! God never gave man the right to be his own master and live according to his own will. Yet, this is precisely what those promoting occult spiritual laws want. It is, in fact, the exact same offer the serpent brought to Adam and Eve in the Garden — powers that will make you “like God.”

“And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die: For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:4-5).

Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science, stated, “Science of Mind teaches that Man controls the course of his life . . . by mental processes which function according to a Universal Law. . . .1

Kenneth Hagin said that through the discovery of the “spiritual laws” established by God to run the universe, the Believer can begin to put the laws to “work” for his own use: “In the spiritual realm God has set into motion certain laws just as He set laws in the natural realm. Those laws in the natural realm work don’t they? Just as you get into contact with those natural laws or put them into practice, they work for you. Over in the spiritual realm, the same thing is true. I have come to the conclusion that the law of faith is a spiritual law, that God has put this law into motion, and that as surely as you come in contact with it, it will work for you.”2

In other words, the “law of faith” is to the spiritual realm what the law of gravity is to the physical realm. Whenever the law is set into motion, it works. Thus, anybody, Christian or non-Christian, can plug into this universal law of faith and get “results.” “It used to bother me,” explains Hagin, “when I’d see unsaved people getting results. Then it dawned on me what the sinners were doing: they were cooperating with the law of God — the law of faith.”3

Since the law of faith is impersonal, just like the law of gravity, it works regardless of who the person is or of where he or she stands with Christ.

FORMULAS?

Essentially, faith teachers are recommending “formulas” that a person should follow in order to get whatever he/she wants from God. And, of course, Scripture Verses are taken out of context and misused in order to try to justify these formulas. One Verse misused is Romans 10:10, which states, “For with the heart man believes unto Righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made
unto Salvation.”

Actually, word-faith theology’s view of spiritual laws and formulas can really only be understood in light of the doctrine of god in the metaphysical cults. The “god” that the metaphysical cults believe in is not a personal God who sovereignly governs the universe, but an impersonal force — “the Force,” “the Infinite Power,” “the Spirit of Infinite Life,” and “the Infinite Intelligence.” This infinite, but impersonal, force rules the universe indirectly through “immutable laws” rather than directly through his presence and wisdom. Through his book, “The Force Of Faith”, Kenneth Copeland has made popular the term “faith force.” What he has really done is no less than turning Christianity into a fictional game of Star Wars, where Believers think they fight evil through “the Force.” “Faith is a power force. It is a conductive force.

It will move things. Faith will change things. Faith will change the human body, it will change the human heart. Faith will change circumstances . . . the force of faith is released by words. Faith-filled words put the law of the Spirit of Life into operation.” 4

Copeland also teaches that since “God is a Faith being” and man is “a faith being,” man has the faith to operate in the same way that God operates. What could be more blasphemous than thinking we have the same power as the Lord? In chapter 1 of his book, The Fourth Dimension, Yonggi Cho says: “What becomes pregnant in your heart and mind is going to come out in your circumstances. Watch your heart and mind more than anything else. Do not try to find the answer of God through another person, for God’s answer comes to your spirit, and through your spirit the answer comes to your circumstances. Claim and speak the word of assurance, for your word actually goes out and creates. God spoke and the whole world come into being. Your word is the material which the Holy Spirit uses to create.”

Similarly, in chapter 1 of his book, Your Best Life Now, Joel Osteen says, “We have to conceive it on the inside before we are ever going to receive it on the outside.”

And similarly, Charles Capps has said:
“In August of 1973 the word of the Lord came unto me saying, ‘If men would believe me, long prayers are not necessary. Just speaking the Word will bring what you desire. My creative power is given to man in word form. I have ceased for a time from my creative work and have given man the book of my creative power. That power is still in my Word.’”5

So, through “creative faith” man becomes not only a god, but a creator. Charles Capps is actually expanding on E.W. Kenyon’s concept of “creative faith” to the point that man, not God, is the only creator left in the universe.

New Thought advocate, Ralph Waldo Triune, said:
“This Infinite Power is creating, working, ruling through the agency of great immutable laws and forces that run all through the universe, that surround us on every side. Every act of our everyday lives is governed by these same great laws and forces . . . In a sense, there is nothing in all the great universe but law.”6

H. Emile Cody, one of the early founders of the Unity School of Christianity, said:
“The mental and spiritual world or realms are governed by laws that are just as real and unfailing as the laws that govern the natural world. Certain conditions of mind that are so connected with certain results that the two are inseparable. If we have one, we must have the other as surely as night follows day.”7

In other words, as Cody explains, “every thought of the human mind causes an effect in the universe through the operation of spiritual laws.”

In such teachings, man does not have to deal with a personal God, but rather with impersonal laws that can be manipulated by anyone regardless of their standing with God. When E.W. Kenyon refers to “the great spiritual laws that govern the unseen forces of life,” he is espousing the metaphysical version of deism, a universe governed by spiritual laws instead of by God.

So, in practice, the Word of Faith “god” differs not at all from the god of the metaphysical cults. Both must do the bidding of universal governing laws that are activated by human faith.

THIS KIND OF GOD

But this kind of “god” is nothing more than the proverbial genie in a bottle, whose power is limited to the demands of human beings who think they are little masters! In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill quotes from a poem entitled Invictus (meaning “unconquerable” in Latin), by British poet William E. Henley. The latter portion of this poem, which Hill trumpets repeatedly says, “. . . It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.” Hill says the reason we are the “master of our own fate” is because we have the ability to control our own thoughts.8 Jerry and Esther Hicks, whom Rhonda Byrne acknowledged for their contribution to her book, The Secret, teach on their website: “You are a creator; you create with your every thought. Anything that you can imagine is yours to be or do or have.” What a rude awakening these people will have on Judgment Day. The True God of the Bible does the bidding of no man or any of man’s imaginary laws!

“Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the Earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself, the Word is gone out of My Mouth in Righteousness, and shall not return, That unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear” (Isa. 45:22-23).

THE OPPOSITE OF CHRISTIANITY

These occult teachings are the exact opposite of Christianity! The Devil’s teachings always bring man back to his own will rather than the Will of God. They encourage man to create his own destiny rather than submit to the Plan God has laid out for his life. Even Jesus forsook His Own Will for the Will of the Father.

“And He went a little farther, and fell on His Face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will” (Mat. 26:39).

Are we surprised, then, that Satan would directly contradict the Christian life as modeled by Christ? In fact, it was demon spirits which taught the men who claim to have learned the secrets for mastering their fates.

Many of these individuals have even given us firsthand testimony regarding their spirit guides. It is quite obvious that Satan has specifically instructed his minions to plant these teachings into the minds of all men who are willing to listen. God’s Word specifically warned us, however, that this would occur.

“Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the Faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (I Tim. 4:1).

If we listen to the teachings of familiar spirits, we stand without excuse before God, because the Lord has repeatedly told His Followers never to have any part of communication with spirits (or the dead.)
“Regard not them who have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God” (Lev. 19:31).

1 (http://www.letusreason.org/WF48.htm)
2 (Hagin “The Law of Faith” Word of Faith. Nov. 1974, p. 2 CF “The Secret of Faith,” March 1968, p. 2)
3 (Hagin, “Having Faith in Your Faith,” p. 3-4)
4 (Ibid., p. 10, 16)
5 (Capps. “God’s creative power will work for you” p. 5-6; Capps. “The Tongue: A Creative Force” p. 8-14)
6 (Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With the Infinite. 1910, at sacred-texts.com)
7 (H.E. Cody, “Lessons in Truth,” p. 64-65)
8 (Napoleon Hill. Think and Grow Rich p.32)
September 2008 issue of The Evangelist

http://imablogger.net/2008/09/27/the-power-of-the-spoken-word-biblical-or-occult-law-part-2/

 

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The Power of the Spoken Word – Biblical or Occult Law? PART 1

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Many today in both the secular world and professing church world claim that there are universal spiritual “laws” which exist and that any person may learn to utilize, causing the spirit realm to work on their behalf. Supposedly, these “laws” will work for anyone from any walk or persuasion of life, whether Christian or non-Christian. One of the most popular and all-encompassing of these laws is what New Agers refer to as the “law of attraction.” You will hear it mentioned, however, under a variety of different terms. In the business world, you may hear it termed “the power of positive thinking” or “unlimited human potential.” In the church world, you may hear teachings such as the “word of faith,” the “fourth dimension,” or the “confession principle.” In witchcraft, it is the formula, “as above, so below” (meaning, as it is in the spiritual, so it is in the natural). And, as you may have already realized, these teachings actually go much deeper than mind science religions and philosophy. It is clear that these so-called spiritual laws originated in the occult world and came directly from Satan himself. We will discuss exactly how in more detail later.

THE LAW OF ATTRACTION?

Essentially, the “law of attraction” works by a concentrated focus upon a desire that one longs to have manifest in his life. This focus, of course, must eventually tap into the spirit realm in order to bring the desire into the physical realm. Part of this process involves the person developing a “consciousness” of belief that the benevolent “universe,” which many consider to be “god,” is bringing that desire to him. And, to ensure that his newfound faith doesn’t waver, the individual must think about, speak about, dream about, and even visualize his desire until it materializes in the physical/natural realm. According to one self-proclaimed pagan witch and supporter of the earth-goddess movement, “To work magic is to weave the unseen forces into form, to soar beyond sight, to explore the uncharted dream realm of the hidden reality . . . to leap beyond imagination into that space between the worlds where fantasy becomes real; to be at once animal and god . . . Spells [and magic] . . . require the combined faculties of relaxation, visualization, concentration, and [mental] projection . . . To cast a spell is to project energy through a symbol.”1 Oprah Winfrey has recently promoted a book entitled The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, which teaches this “law of attraction.” In it Byrne says, “Nothing can come into your experience unless you summon it through persistent thoughts.”2 Another important aspect of practicing this law is the belief that there is power in the words you speak. You see, the words we say are considered the tangible version of the thoughts we are thinking. Our words, therefore, have the power to create or destroy our destinies. So, in order to successfully practice this, one should confidently declare the “faith-thoughts” he has been meditating upon, even, at times, speaking about them as if they have already come to pass. Anything else is considered doubt in “god” or the “universe” (or doubt in “oneself,” since some believe that “god” and “self” are one in the same).

ALTERED CONSCIOUSNESS?

In fact, one must never speak a negative word or thought aloud because such can bring negative things into one’s life. In essence, they say, people will attract into their lives whatever things they consistently think and feel. “The law of attraction is the law of creation . . . You create your life through your thoughts.”3 And what becomes of the sin problem in this case? Well, a confession of sin would be considered a “negative confession,” so one would simply deny that there is even any sin in his life to worry about. People are led to believe that if they think about sin, they will bring more sin into their lives. Under this law, the confession and repentance of sin is eliminated! Therefore, Salvation is eliminated as well! “Science of Mind teaches that there is a favorable physical reaction, an effect, which follows a pattern of thought incorporating ideas of health, for the law of cause and effect governs everything. Similarly, it is held that right thinking will result in a greater experience of success and abundance. A successful person thinks success, and the law of mind that reacts has no other choice than to produce an effect corresponding to the causative idea.”4 It’s similar to the idea of karma, except that the action which brings the result is the person’s meditative (spiritual) thoughts. Actually, the dangerous reality of what can occur when a person repeatedly thinks and speaks the same thoughts is a state of altered consciousness. It is really a form of self-hypnosis brought about by mantra-like repetition and an obsession with one’s desired goal. The inspiration of the Holy Spirit is astounding as the Bible warns us of such a practice: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do . . .” (Mat. 6:7). For example, many motivational/success tapes, lectures, and seminars start you off by helping you make your thoughts repetitive.

Altered consciousness is another subject in itself, which we may also discuss in more detail later. It may cause a person to perform certain tasks with much greater efficiency. It may also act as a defense mechanism for dealing with the uncertainties and hardships of life by giving someone an ability to simply deny a problem even exists and continue on in their state of blind confidence, hence the reason many have ended up with some serious consequences such as total bankruptcy or the loss of a marriage! Most importantly, in this case, altered consciousness is a door into the spirit realm.

CONFESSION?

The “Word of Faith” teachers are probably the most recognized in the church world for believing in and practicing this heretical, and formally esoteric, doctrine. You see, until the recent past, formulas such as this were kept hidden from the general public because they would have been identified as sorcery and witchcraft, and the laws of the land would have punished the practice. So, members of such cults and societies were sworn to secrecy. Times are certainly different now; if anything, our society celebrates witchcraft, often believing that there are “good” or redeeming aspects to the practice. But, remember the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” in the Garden? Man wanted to be like God. Man wanted the “knowledge” that would enable him to operate in the spiritual realm. God, however, told Adam and Eve not to eat from any of the tree, whether the so-called “good side” or the “bad side.” God knew the entire tree was evil, and partaking of it eventually brought about the entire fall of man! Today, the church has fallen so far into darkness that she cannot recognize divination when it is practiced right within her own walls. Those who practice “Word of Faith” are functioning by the same occult “law of attraction,” while thinking they have discovered the key to victorious Christian living. They use the “confession” principle, by their definition, meaning that when one confesses a verse of Scripture or a promise from the Lord, the forces of good (God or angels) are released on his behalf. They believe that confessing the words of Scripture activate the Lord’s supernatural Power. “Christ and the Cross are completely ignored, with the avenue of success being ensconced in the proper Scriptures being chosen and properly confessed.”5

WITCHCRAFT

You see, teachers inside the professing church will incorporate Scriptures whereas secular society simply uses whatever else they may hold sacred and/or believe to possess great wisdom. However, the practical application and overall philosophy is exactly the same! It is nothing less than practical magic. Popular preacher, Joel Osteen, says “Your circumstances will line up with your words.” “Words are like seeds, they have creative power . . . The more you talk about it the more you call it in . . . You can use your words to bless your life or curse your life.”6 Joel Osteen was influenced by the “Word of Faith” teachings of Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland. Osteen also stated in his best-selling book, Your Best Life Now, “We have to conceive it on the inside before we’re ever going to receive it on the outside. If you don’t think you can have something good, then you never will. The barrier is in your mind. It’s not God’s lack of resources or your lack of talent that prevents you from prospering. Your own wrong thinking can keep you from God’s best.”7 A non-charismatic version of “Word of Faith” teaching may be more along the lines of Robert Schuller’s “positive thinking” gospel. Christians must realize that it is not automatically a noble deed in the eyes of God to believe the positive.

Righteousness strives to know what is true, whether positive or negative. Not one of these so called “spiritual laws” or teachings is found in Scripture! God has already given us the law through which His Power (which is the Power of the Holy Spirit) works: “For the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the Law of Sin and Death” (Rom. 8:2). The Holy Spirit works only through the shed Blood of Christ! Instead, what these men have done is ignore the true Source of Power, which is the Cross, and literally transformed the Bible into a witch’s book of spells. The Wikipedia on-line dictionary defines a spell as “A word or formula believed to have magic power.” “Word of Faith” even goes so far as to admit that the unredeemed can tap into these laws if they follow the right rules. But, make no mistake, the Lord does not function through magic! It completely ignores His Sovereign Will for a person’s life as the individual attempts to operate within particular “laws” to bring about what he desires for his own life.

Attempting to operate outside the Will of God and/or rebelling against His Will is witchcraft, pure and simple! “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft . . .” (I Sam. 15:23).

THE NEW THOUGHT MOVEMENT

In The Secret, Byrne “introduces Prentice Mulford (1834-1891) as ‘one of the earliest writers and founders of the New Thought movement’ . . . This quote from Thoughts are Things summarizes his ‘mental and spiritual laws’: ‘. . . In the future some people will draw so much of the higher quality of thought to them, that by it they will accomplish what some would call miracles. In this capacity . . . lies the secret of what has been called ‘magic.’ During the 20th century, such thinking inspired ‘positive thinking’ gurus like Norman Vincent Peale who, in turn, converted Robert Schuller and countless other leaders who are now pastoring churches or marketing the deception through church-related programs around the world. John Maxwell and other global change agents demonstrate the subtle influence of this feel-good, self-empowering ideology.”8 This is exactly the same teaching that motivational trainers like Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, have been saying for years. Hill teaches that “whatever can be conceived in one’s mind can be obtained. He teaches that the desired thing should be visualized in one’s mind, and done so repeatedly.”9 Hill also states: “Christianity is the single greatest force which influences the minds of men . . . it is because of faith.” “Faith is the head chemist of the mind. When faith is blended with the vibration of thought, the subconscious mind instantly picks up the vibration, translates it into the spiritual equivalent, and transmits it to Infinite Intelligence, as in the case of prayer.”10 Another promoter of this law is Yonggi Cho, “pastor” of probably the largest church in South Korea. His term for the power source reached through this universal law is the fourth dimension. “The fourth dimension is the Holy Spirit . . . Men, by exploring their spiritual sphere of the fourth dimension through the development of concentrated visions and dreams in their imaginations, can brood over and incubate the third dimension, influencing and changing it.”11 Norman Vincent Peale was another major proponent. “Peale pioneered the merger of theology and psychology which became known as Christian Psychology . . . Peale said, ‘through prayer you . . . make use of the great factor within yourself, the deep subconscious mind . . . [which Jesus called] the kingdom of God within you . . . Positive thinking is just another term for faith.” He also wrote, “Your unconscious mind . . . [has a] power that turns wishes into realities when the wishes are strong enough.”12 Peale even said this concerning occultic automatic writing: “It little matters if these writings come from Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus of Jane [co-author Jane Palzere], they are all the same consciousness and that consciousness is God. I am a part of God, and Jane [is] part of that same God.”13

BIBLICAL FAITH IS NOT MAGIC

So, now not only do we have the words of Scripture being used as magical spells, we have Faith itself being defined as a magic power. Faith is not magic! Yes, God does send His Power as a result of proper Faith, but Faith is not the Power of God in and of itself. Neither does “speaking words of faith” exercise the Power of God. God exercises His own Power. No human can direct or command the Power of God. Humans only receive what the Lord sovereignly supplies. Also, Faith is not the power of the mind, nor an attitude of mind over matter. Faith is trust and rest, specifically in the Work Jesus did at Calvary! Jesus addressed all our problems there. That is what the Lord wants us to believe in, trust in, and rest in. True Faith is not an exercise of speaking certain words or thinking certain thoughts. It is an assurance of Christ in one’s heart, knowing that because He has paid the price, He will work out everything for our good in His perfect Way and Time. This is the perfect Peace of Christ! “Great peace have they which love Your law: and nothing shall offend them” (Ps. 119:165). When Jesus said to the woman with an issue of blood that her Faith had made her whole, He meant that because she now had the correct Object of Faith (Christ and Him Crucified) that she had all she needed to be whole (Mk. 5:25-34). Jesus did not commend the woman for her positive confession or positive thinking. He commended her for her complete and utter trust that her Source of healing was in Him! It was proper Faith that made the woman whole, not proper confession!

1 (Starhawk, The Spiral Dance. New York: Harper & Row, 1979. p. 62)
2 (Rhonda Byrne, The Secret p.43)
3 (Ibid p.15)
4 (from Visions Center of Religious Science website: http://www.visions-center.com/)
5 (Jimmy Swaggart. False Doctrine Study Guide p.137)
6 (Joel Osteen. “Speaking Faith Filled Words,” Tape # 223 May 2, 2004)
7 (Joel Osteen. Your Best Life Now, ch.1 ‘Enlarging Your Vision’) (http://www.letusreason.org/Popteac29.htm)
8 (Berit Kjos. A New Mask for An Ancient Secret.) (http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/secret.htm#1)
9 (Jimmy Swaggart. False Doctrine Study Guide p.133)
10(Ibid p.49)
11(Ibid p.45)
12(http://normanvincentpeale.wwwhubs.com/)
13(http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/guidepo/mag.htm)

August’s issue of The Evangelist.

http://imablogger.net/2008/07/22/the-power-of-the-spoken-word-biblical-or-occult-law/

PART 2 is here –>>https://how2becomeachristian.wordpress.com/2008/10/28/the-power-of-the-spoken-word-biblical-or-occult-law-part-2/

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TITLE: DEMONS AND THE OCCULT

Subtitle: Biblical Reality vs. Popular Misinformation

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Confusion abounds today concerning demons and the occult powers of darkness, due to a lack of serious Bible study. The Word of God is the only authoritative textbook on the subject we need in order to gain a true understanding of its nature. All other sources have their origin in the pit and must be handled with the utmost of care. CAUTION! Only those Christians who are mature in the faith should ever attempt to obtain and study materials of an occult nature—and then only after much prayer and spiritual preparation by “putting on the whole armor of God.” I cannot possibly overemphasize the reality of demonic and satanic influence that is being exerted today—a reality that is consistently being overlooked and/or downplayed by preachers who are supposed to know better!

The word “occult” means “that which is hidden” and deals with the evil side of the supernatural. In stark contrast, the Bible tells us of the goodness and grace of God—knowledge that is to be proclaimed openly and to everyone that will listen. But the point many fail to understand is that the Bible is also a supernatural book and its subject material covers the on-going battle of good versus evil from God’s point of view. God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, along with God’s angels in heaven are routinely discussed in our churches, but for some weird reason people just do not attach the same level of reality or credibility to their evil counterparts. Why do you suppose that this is true? I believe the answer lies in understanding that if I were the devil and possessed the level of supernatural power that the Bible shows him to have, I too would spend much of my time persuading people that I did not exist! His agenda has been well served by staying behind a cloak of superstition and secrecy—hence the “occult” designation given to his plan and program. In order to try to expose him and what he is up to, I want to delve into what the Bible teaches about this malevolent spirit, along with the various beings who owe their allegiance to him.

Rather than trying to do a definitive study on the origin of Satan and the angels who joined with him in his rebellion against God, (a study within itself) I will assume that you already know these biblical facts and focus instead our attention upon their present location(s) and activities. First of all, it may surprise you to find that Satan (the devil) and his evil angels are not in hell! Quite the contrary, they still have free access to heaven and occasionally appear before the throne of God (Job 1:6). After the fall of man (Adam’s sin and subsequent expulsion from the Garden of Eden), God allowed Satan to become the “god of this world” (2 Cor.4:4). Since he corrupted it, God made him ruler over it. Thus all of mankind came under his rule and became his slaves. Between that day and the present, Satan and his minions have been the highly organized behind-the-scenes manipulators of world leaders and events—ever antagonistic toward God and His revealed will. Isaiah 14:12-14 reveals to us that Satan is the very personification of pride, having an insatiable desire to be like God and attempting to replace God in the hearts and minds of men. Apparently that is one of the reasons he is going to be allowed to have free reign during the Tribulation Period, but the Battle of Armageddon will end his rule and he will be “bound for a thousand years” (Rev.20:2). After this thousand years—during which the Lord Jesus Christ will rule and reign over the earth—Satan will “be loosed for a little season” (Rev.20:3, KJV). He will again attempt to overthrow God by raising an army to fight against Him, but fire from heaven will consume the army and Satan will then be thrown into the “lake of fire” where he will remain forever (Rev.20:7-10).

To further establish the present location of Satan and his angels, I call our attention to Revelation chapter 12 where we learn in verse 6 that, during the Tribulation Period, the woman (Israel) will flee for her life into the wilderness to escape the dragon (Satan). This will occur at the mid-point of the seven year period and elect Israel will be kept safe by God for the last 3 ½ years. Then (verse 7) war will break out in heaven, Satan and his angels will be defeated and cast out of heaven down to the earth! (vs. 8 and 9). Then and only then (during the last part of the Tribulation Period) will they be restricted to earth and denied further access to heaven. Their consignment to hell and the lake of fire will occur even later—(We can only surmise that the fallen angels will be cast into the lake of fire along with Satan at the end of the millennial reign of Christ, because we are not specifically told this.) The still future event of Satan being cast out of heaven may be what the Lord referred to in Luke 10:18, where He said that He “beheld Satan like lightning, fall from heaven.”

Therefore, at the present time Satan and his hordes of fallen angels freely travel back and forth between heaven and earth while pursuing their own evil plan of ruling over creation! And yet God continues to grant them the privilege of access to His throne. Why? We are not given any specifics, but it may be that God is “handicapping” the contest between Himself and Satan in some way, by granting concessions such as allowing him to be “the accuser of the brethren” (Rev.12:10). Something of this nature must be true, because God could have destroyed Satan and his angels long ago. It is fairly plain from the conversation recorded in Job chapter one and the actions of Satan during the “temptation of Christ”(in Matthew 4), that his entire viewpoint is antagonistic and he desperately wants to be worshipped as god. By giving him “enough rope to hang himself,” God the Father is patiently looking to the day when all of the devil’s excuses will have run their course and the matter will come to its terminus. Of course there is no chance whatever that Satan will emerge as the victor—Jesus Christ forever settled that matter on Calvary’s cross, when he died for the sins of His people. Satan is a defeated enemy, but as long as the sands of time continue to flow through God’s hourglass—he will continue the struggle and we (those still living on earth), along with God’s angels, will have to continue to deal with him and his “friends.”

It is extremely foolish to believe that Satan has no human followers! Increasingly, more and more people openly admit to being members of his “church”. Just as the Gospel message of Jesus Christ continues to go forth and captivate the souls of men, so too the occult message of the devil continues its evil work. The gospel redeems men from among the spiritually dead, while the occult works to blind their eyes to its message. The power of Satan is enormous and he utilizes that supernatural power to full advantage through the vast organization of his angelic followers. We get a glimpse into this organizational structure in the Book of Daniel, chapter 10 where we read in verse 13 that “the prince of the kingdom of Persia” (an evil angel) withstood (fought with and hindered for 21 days!) the unnamed angel sent from heaven to minister to Daniel. In verse 20 we see that the angel tells Daniel that once he (God’s angel) leaves, the “[hostile] prince of Greece will come.” Bible scholars infer from this and other Scriptures that the fallen angels are organized and have specific spheres of responsibility and influence. The apostle Paul refers to this organizational structure in Ephesians 3:10 and Colossians 2:15, by calling them “principalities and powers.” In Ephesians 6:12 he mentions them again and adds the words, “spiritual wickedness in high places”(KJV)—literally “in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere” (Amplified Bible).

Perhaps by now you have noticed that I have refrained from using the word “demon” to describe these evil angels. I believe that they are two distinctly different entities! The reason for this belief is found in the New Testament account of Christ’s healing the “maniac of Gadara” (Luke 8:27, ff.). This poor man was possessed by so many demons that they referred to themselves as “Legion”! When the Lord commanded them to leave the man, they pleaded with Him to allow them to enter into a nearby herd of pigs. From this primary reference, along with other Scriptures, we gather that demons per se are disembodied spirits and are constantly seeking to possess someone (or something). Since this particular trait or tendency is nowhere in Scripture ascribed to the fallen angels, we must conclude that they are actually two different entities. If they are not fallen angels, then what, or who, are they? Chuck Missler, a well-known business man and Bible teacher, maintains that they are the spiritual remains of the “Nephilim”—the “giants” of Genesis 6:4, who were the offspring of fallen angels (”sons of God”) that cohabited with women (”the daughters of men”)! The flood of Noah was God’s judgment upon mankind for that corruption of the “gene pool” (Satan’s attempt to thwart God’s human Messiah). In the flood the humanity of the Nephilim was destroyed, but their supernatural element survived as disembodied spirits—demons, if you will! Once is never enough for the devil, so he re-introduced Nephilim (also known as Anakim and Zamzummim, Deut.2:20-21), after the flood among the Canaanites and this was probably the reason God told Joshua to kill them all—men, women, and children!

Theologians generally agree that neither Satan, his angels, or demons are omnipresent. Only God Himself possesses the attribute of being everywhere present at the same time. Therefore it is statistically and logically improbable that any of us have ever encountered Satan personally. More than likely, he spends his time directing and influencing world leaders and others who are in positions that could prove advantageous to his cause. Some preachers have said that if we were to see him, he would probably be standing behind a highly regarded pulpit somewhere! The reason for this is found in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 where we read the following:

“For such men are false apostles—spurious, counterfeits—deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles (special messengers) of Christ, the Messiah. And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light, so it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. [But] their end will correspond with their deeds” (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary, emphasis mine).

When we study the Gospel accounts of Christ’s earthly ministry and then on through the history of the early church as recorded in the Book of Acts, we find numerous references to individuals being demon possessed—along with accounts of some of the demons being exorcised. Referring to this, some of the Bible commentaries express the opinion that demonic activity was especially strong at that time because of the Lord’s physical presence upon the earth. If that is true, then we should expect the same, or even greater, activity when the false christ—the antichrist is present. His coming is said to be with “all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thess.2:9). I am convinced that demonic activity is absolutely raging at the present time due to several factors—Not the least of which are the emails we receive from individuals experiencing problems which bear the unmistakable marks of spiritual oppression. Many of these people were involved in the occult before they were saved and are acutely aware that their problems have a supernatural basis. The senseless taking of human life is becoming pandemic— through mass murders involving guns, through abortions and suicides—all of which should alert us to the evil behind them. Another factor—and one that is not usually stressed—is the “signs and miracles” movement within Christendom. To those who would take exception to my assertion that this is demonic, I want to ask you one simple question: What good is it? What does it accomplish other than make those who participate in it “feel good”? The usual alibi is that “it increases my faith!” If that is the case, then why does Hebrews 11:1 state:

“Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title-deed) of the things we hope for, being the proof of things [we]do not see and the conviction of their reality—faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.”

Genuine faith is not predicated upon, nor built up by, that which titillates our flesh! And those poor benighted souls who are so infatuated by the “laughing revivals”, “being slain in the Spirit”, Marian apparitions, icons that weep tears, etc., etc., are being seduced by demons into chasing rainbows—thereby effectively captivating them and neutralizing them from anything spiritually productive. Remember that Satan just loves “religion” and is tickled to death to get people totally immersed in it—so that he can divert their attention from what the Bible teaches is really important. If this describes your so-called spiritual life, I beg you to wake up and grow up before you are totally swallowed up! 1 Peter 5:8 echoes this sentiment:

“Be well-balanced—temperate, sober-minded; be vigilant and cautious at all times, for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour” (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).

The apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, makes it crystal clear to us that our Christian warfare is not against mere mortals—when he says to us in Ephesians 6, verse 12:

“For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood—contending only with physical opponents—but against the despotisms, against the powers, against the [master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere” (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary, emphasis mine).

He then goes on in verses 13 through 18 to exhort us to protect ourselves by putting on the “armor” that God has provided for us: truth, integrity and moral rectitude, spiritual preparation through Bible study and prayer, saving faith, and then salvation itself—while all the time standing our ground and wielding the sword of the Spirit—the Word of God.

This allusion to military armor, so necessary for our personal protection amid the battles of life, reminds me of Elisha’s servant in 1 Kings chapter 6. The King of Syria was very upset because all of his attempts at warfare against the King of Israel had failed. Each time they had tried to spring a surprise attack against Israel, it was obvious that Israel knew about it beforehand. Syria’s king was so upset that he ordered that his men ferret out the traitor in their midst! That is when one of his servants informed him that none of his men was betraying him—the culprit was Elisha, God’s prophet in Israel! He was keeping the King of Israel up-to-date on everything Syria was doing. The Syrian king then ordered them to find Elisha and take him captive. When the Syrian army located him, they came by night and surrounded the city of Dothan, where he was staying,. The next morning, Elisha’s young servant went outside and when he spotted the huge army surrounding them he panicked! He immediately went inside and said to Elisha, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” To calm his fears, Elisha said to him, “Fear not; for those with us are more than those with them.” Verse 17 of chapter 6 records what happened next:

“Then Elisha prayed, Lord I pray You, open his eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire about Elisha” (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).

Thus the young man literally saw the supernatural army of God standing between them and their enemies! He had already been told by Elisha that their protectors were more numerous than their enemies and now he knew for sure, because he could see them. The same thing applies to us today—the very angels of God are on constantly on guard, standing watch over His people. And it is a very comforting thought to realize that they outnumber Satan’s angels 2 to 1! Remember that Revelation 12:4 (along with Jewish tradition) says that a third of the angels of heaven fell with Satan and that leaves two thirds on our side!

Do you sense the presence of “another dimension”—another sphere of reality that we refer to as the supernatural? Many have no hesitation at all to answer in the affirmative where the “good” aspect is concerned, but seem almost embarrassed to admit belief in “the dark side.” Most of our children have no problem at all in relating to “the dark side” because Hellywood (spelling intentional) has thoroughly indoctrinated them through movies such as “Star Wars”, “E.T.”, and a host of others too numerous to mention. At this time of year (the end of October) we are again confronted with another unwelcome celebration of “Halloween”, a pagan holy day sacred to the ancient druids as well as modern day witches, Wiccans, Illuminists, Satanists, and other assorted and sundry devils. If you think that Halloween is just “harmless fun”, you are part of the majority—but let me inform you that you are an unwitting participant in a world-wide deception of staggering proportions. Deception is the stock and trade of hell’s angels and they have, over a long period of time, lulled this world to sleep and have it set up for the ultimate deception: the revelation of their antichrist, Lord Matreya—Satan incarnate! His coming will doubtless be viewed by the people of the world as the most spiritually moving event in their lives and they will welcome him with open arms. He will “wow” them with his signs and miracles (just as his conditioning program is already doing within Christendom) and they are going to eat it up. But little do they know or understand that his bait has a hook from which they cannot escape. His plans for the world will be implemented with unprecedented efficiency and soon war and hunger and poverty will appear to be things of the past. Millions will sing his praises and, in the midst of it all, Israel will be worshipping him as their Messiah—thrilled beyond the ability of mere words to express—once again offering blood sacrifices at their own Temple after nearly 2000 years of exile. But their euphoria will be short-lived, because at the mid-point of the 7 year Tribulation Period the antichrist will reveal his true nature. The Bible tells us that he will stand in the “Holy of Holies” (the most sacred spot in their newly re-built Temple) and demand that both he and some kind of image, or idol, be worshipped as god! The prophet Daniel refers to this as being “the abomination of desolation” and Jesus Christ Himself refers to it in Matthew 24:15. This incident will be the “wake-up call” to God’s elect among the Jewish people. They will recognize the spiritual implications of what has occurred and flee for their very lives. What follows will be beyond description! The antichrist—Satan incarnate—will unleash his fury upon the Jews in particular and the rest of the world in general. That last 3 ½ years will be so terrible that God’s Word calls it “the great tribulation”. Hell will finally “boil over”!

We constantly get email from those who insist that Halloween is only a harmless tradition in which kids can mooch candy from their neighbors. Others say that the practice of Wicca, or witchcraft, or Ouija boards, or Tarot cards, or “native American religion”, or Freemasonry, or Roman Catholicism, or a great number of other “innocent” practices and religions—are not wrong and therefore we should not criticize them. Please believe me when I say that I derive no satisfaction from criticizing the beliefs of others and my criticism is not offered from the standpoint of personal superiority. When one takes the time to study the Bible carefully, it will quickly become apparent that everything associated with the occult is soundly condemned! And each of the aforementioned religions and practices contain an occult component that can be proven with a minimum of diligent study—along with a willingness to admit the truth as found. There are none so blind as those that just will not see! If you are currently involved in any of these religions and/or practices, I urge you to take stock of what you are doing and wake up to reality. Because if you are not aware of the inherent evil present, to put it in the common vernacular, you are being “suckered” big time!

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but have come to realize His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to accept His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can also do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you accept Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.

We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order — Kingdom of Antichrist — in their daily news.

Return to Pastoral Articles index

Finally, we would love to hear from you. You can write us at:
Cutting Edge Ministries, C/O Pastor Ron Riffe
P.O. Box 26
Gordo, AL 35466

You can also E-Mail Pastor Ronald Riffe regarding questions or comments about this article.

God bless you.

http://www.cuttingedge.org/articles/p142.htm

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EXCLUSIVE: Madonna offers Guy an extra £5million ‘if she can dictate access rights to children’ By Richard Simpson
Last updated at 8:54 AM on 23rd October 2008

Madonna has offered Guy Ritchie an additional £5million to dictate his access rights to their three children.

The singer has agreed to increase the lump sum cash payment he will get in their divorce from £15million to £20million if he backs down from a court battle over Lourdes, 12, Rocco, eight, and David Banda, three.

Legal sources said last night that Mr Ritchie would be well-advised to take the offer since Madonna as their mother would be seen as primary carer.

‘Madonna has said to Guy that if she ups the money, then would he agree to her setting out the access for the children until they turn 18. What she is basically saying is that if Guy wants this to go to court, she will get what she wants anyway.

‘Basically she is offering a cash incentive to him to encourage an amicable out-of-court agreement over the children.. Madonna is keen to give Guy good access to the children – but on her terms,’ a source said.

‘Guy wants the children to be educated in Britain – especially his beloved Rocco – but his lawyers will be advising him that if Madonna moves to New York and wants the children with her, a judge is likely to agree.’

Ritchie spent yesterday mulling over the offer with his lawyers.

The offer also contains a clause which will effectively attempt to gag Ritchie and his family from talking about the marriage break-down.

Access to the children is the only area of the split Guy and Madonna are now at loggerheads over.

Money and property have been discussed and all but agreed.

The Mail has learned that Guy finally decided the marriage was over during one particular bizarre exchange with his wife at their Marylebone house where she claimed to be ‘bigger than Jesus’.

Said a friend: ”The argument happened at the Marylebone house. Madonna had been moaning about his lack of support and lack of interest in what she has doing with Kabbalah.

‘She told Guy she did not understand why she was ridiculed by the press for what she was doing with the religion. But Guy just reacted quite sarcastically and told her to “get over herself”.

‘And that’s when it got a bit surreal. Madonna said that her destiny had been mapped out and that she had been chosen to live this life.

‘She said the reason why she is a living icon is that she had been chosen to be a spiritual guru. To which Guy turned around and said ‘Listen love, you’re just a singer’.

‘And it was then she turned around to him and said: “Listen baby, I’m bigger than Jesus'”.
‘Guy was dumbfounded. At that point, he realised that he really had lost her to the Kabbalah. From that point on, Guy felt totally alienated from Madonna. She made him feel that he was beneath her. To make matters worse, that had been one of the few times they had been together in recent months and it was spoiled by that argument.’

The source went on: ‘Guy truly believes that Madonna is deluded and lives in a fantasy world – particularly also when it comes to her age.

‘When Madonna turned 50 for example, she felt her biological age was only 35 so they went ahead as if it was a 35th birthday’.

Meanwhile it emerged last night that Madonna has also fallen out with her family over the divorce.

Said a source: ‘She has been blasted by her father – a devout Catholic – for divorcing twice. He is furious that they did not do more to resolve their differences – especially for the sake of the children.

Relationships with the entire family had already been strained over the publication of her brother Christopher Ciccone’s tell-all book.

‘Resentment has been building up over the years due to Madonna’s high-handed imperious behaviour. When the book was released, Madonna called on the help of her family to try to stop it but they were unable and indeed unwilling to prevent it coming out. The feeling was that had Madonna treated him better, it wouldn’t have happened.’

Further details also emerged last night of the division of wealth between Guy and Madonna in the divorce. As reported first by the Mail, Guy will get Ashcombe – their Wiltshire estate – plus cash of around £15 million. He will also get an allowance for homes in London and New York.

However, although Guy will be able to keep Ashcombe, all of the art and antiquities – in particular two Picasso paintings – will be stripped from the house.

All of the possessions she gave Guy in the marriage, she had told him he can keep. But all of the presents Guy ever gave her, she is putting in storage.

Friends are concerned that the divorce is going to become increasingly acrimonious over the access to the children, in particular the regularity of access and the length of each access period.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1079889/EXCLUSIVE-Madonna-offers-Guy-extra-5million-dictate-access-rights-children.html

 

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Kabbalah – Why the different spellings for Kabbalah?
Kabbalah is found spelled in many different ways — Qabbala, Cabala, Cabalah, Cabbala, Cabbalah, Kabala, Kabalah, Qabala, Qabalah, and Kaballah. The reason for this is because some letters in the Hebrew alphabet have more than one usage in the English alphabet. The Hebrew letter can be written as a K, Q, or C, but the “Kabbalah” spelling is the most common.

Kabbalah – What is it?
Kabbalah is derived from the Hebrew root for “reception and acceptance.” It is an esoteric (occult secret) system of interpretation of the Scriptures based upon oral accounts handed down from Abraham. It is also considered as secret oral teachings with a mixture of Jewish teachings, occultism, Gnosticism, and Neoplatonism. Jewish Kabbalah uses numerology to interpret the Bible’s message.

Kabbalah concentrates the attention of Jewish mysticism towards the nature of divinity, the creation, the soul’s beginnings and fate, and man’s place in this world. It is considered an esoteric off-branch of Judaism because it teaches meditation, loyalties, and mystical enhancements to a select few. It originated for Jews only, but many non-Jews have studied Kabbalah for the last 500 years.

The non-Jewish version of Kabbalah is called Hermetic Kabbalah. Some Jews have opted for the preferences of Hermetic Kabbalah. For centuries, Hermetic Kabbalah has grown in many directions with influences from Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, and its continued input from Jewish Kabbalah. The strongest philosophies of Kabbalah are ideals of religious humanism.

Kabbalah vs. Christianity vs. Judaism

  • Primary Texts: Christianity uses the Bible. Judaism uses the Torah. Kabbalah texts are much like taking notes in a classroom setting, but utilize commentaries from Herchalat, Yetzirah, Sefer Chasidim, Malakh, Bahir, Zahar, Pardes Rimonim, Ets Khayim, and Sulam.
  • Explanation of the existence of evil: Christianity determines evil as a disobedient rebellion against God. Satan, as an angel, of light first exercised it, when the devil tried to be like God. Then, the perpetrator enticed man to exercise the same rebellious disobedience. Judaism understands evil as the same act of rebellion. Kabbalah’s philosophy of evil stems from the belief that both good and evil come from God.
  • An existing need for a Savior (Messiah): Christianity teaches that the Messiah came as the Son of God (Jesus Christ) to redeem man from evil. Judaism teaches that the Messiah has yet to come and redeem Israel. Kabbalah’s philosophy does not include the sinful nature of man, and therefore, there is no need of the redeeming qualities of a Messiah.
  • One God or Ten: Christianity is built on one God, but expressed in the Trinity of God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit. Judaism believes in One God — Jehovah, no Trinity. Kabbalah’s ideals believe that there are ten parts to God, which they call emanations.

 

Kabbalah – Practices
Some Kabbalahists utilize divination and clairvoyance to foretell events or to know occult events, and some deal with potions and curses. Practical Kabbalah is termed for use in referring to secret sciences (ESP, psychic readings, Ouija boards, tarot cards, reading tea leaves, reading bones, numerology, mediums, spirit guides, channeling, mysticism, etc.), mystic art, or sorcery.

Principals of Kabbalah are intertwined with: Greek and Egyptian deities, the Enochian tradition of angelic mysteries (taken from the “Book of Enus” found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, not written by the prophet Enoch of the Bible), Hindu and Buddhist Eastern ideals instituted within the Masonic-Rosicrucian-Style secret orders, and the occult. The teachings of both Christianity and Judaism prohibit magical means in foretelling the future.

http://www.allaboutreligion.org/kabbalah.htm

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The New Apostolic Reformation  by Orrel Steinkamp, D. Min

A Second Pentecost?

C. Peter Wagner is attempting to will into existence what he calls a “New Apostolic Reformation”. He tells us in a book he has edited called “The New Apostolic Churches” of the struggle he had with naming his new reformation.

“I needed a name … For a couple of years I experimented with ‘Post denominationalism’. The name I have settled on for the movement is the New Apostolic Reformation.” (1)

Donald Miller a colleague of Wagner calls this movement “The New Paradigm Churches”. (2) This is advertised as a reformation greater in scale than the reformation of the 1500’s.

It is suggested that this “new reformation” is something entirely new. Wagner outlines his article with sections such as “new name”, “new authority structure”, “new ministry focus”, “new worship style”, “new prayer forms” etc. The centrepiece of this new apostolic reformation is the launching of new apostles and prophets. The restoration of modern day apostles and prophets is promoted in the book “The Gift of Apostle” by David Cannistraci. This book was offered to those attending a conference organized by Wagner called “Churches in the New Apostolic Paradigm”. Among the list of topics and presenters for the conference was Bill Hamon. (Can we really refer to the Bill Hamon’s teaching as new?) Bishop Hamon has been promoting restoration and manifest sons of God teaching for decades. Can it be argued that this “New reformation” is something that God has just recently dropped new from heaven like the baby Superman from Krypton? I suggest that there is nothing new here at all and for anyone willing to do the study they will find it a mere cutting edge version of something at least 100 years old. G. Raymond Carlson, former General Superintendent of the AOG [USA], had this to say regarding the new apostles and prophets:

“I saw it in the New Order of the Latter Rain in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Before that, it made its presence felt in the early days of the century among early Pentecostals.” (3)

The only thing new about this movement seems to be the new personalities who are promoting it and their creative marketing techniques. It is interesting that those promoting this end of the age global revival visualise and allegorise it as a “Mighty River”. Do the “River Boat Captains” know the direction the current river is flowing and do the gleeful riverboat passengers know where “the river” originated? Do they know that this river has been flowing for many years? Do they know the original channel that still determines where the river will eventually flow? We all know that the source and the course of a river determines its direction no matter how many tributaries may enter into it along the way. So it is with what is currently called the “River of Revival”. Provided people think logically, the underlying core paradigm will eventually play out according to the original vision much like the rules of chess determine what is a valid move and what is not.

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G. Raymond Carlson was right. This much-publicised new paradigm can be traced to the Latter Rain movement of the 40’s and early 50’s. Even though the Latter Rain of the 50’s faltered and fell into disrepute with the death of William Branham and the repudiation by the Assemblies of God it was kept alive by certain survivors and reintroduced in a veiled manner into the Charismatic Renewal of the 60’s and 70’s. Few people have realised just how influential the Latter Rain movement was and how effectively Latter Rain concepts were introduced into the Charismatic Renewal. Ern Baxter who was instrumental in the Shepherding Movement, worked with William Branham during the 50’s Latter Rain. George Warnock, who wrote the only systematic teaching from the Latter Rain (The Feast of Tabernacles), was Ern Baxter’s personal secretary. In the midst of the Charismatic Renewal I remember well the teaching of the fivefold ministry and at that time assumed it was a new revelation to the church not knowing it had been imported directly from the Latter Rain. But is the mid-century Latter-Rain the headwaters of the current River of revival? Not really. Rather than the headwaters it is a major tributary. We must travel further upstream to find the actual source. Dr Raymond Carlson again is correct in asserting that some of the early Pentecostal pioneers of the turn of the century also were involved. Before we stop with the early Pentecostals, we must go back just a little further and find the headwaters in the Holiness movement of the late 1800’s.

The Holiness Movement

Holiness enthusiasts of the late nineteenth century searched the scriptures for reference to the revival they were experiencing. One popular scripture was Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel shall be preached in all the world… and then the end shall come”. Holiness teaching served as a prelude to missions and missions a prelude to the second coming.

They identified their holiness experience as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the enablement to take the gospel to every nation and then Jesus could return. Holiness preachers searched the scriptures for this worldwide revival and interestingly enough the best they could find was a teaching they called the “Latter Rain”. This Latter Rain allegory was pieced together from scripture references of the early and latter rains of the growing season. (Deuteronomy 11:10-21 and James 5:7-8). These rainfall patterns metaphorically became a sort of lens though which to view all of church history. The outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost was seen as the early rain in which the church was planted and the end of age revival was the latter rain, a divine preparation of a last days harvest and the signal of the soon return of Jesus. Wesley Myland (1858-1943) who began his career as a holiness preacher was the first to put in writing the Latter Rain scheme, which he titled “The Latter Rain Covenant”. (4) He is also credited with writing the first Pentecostal hymn “The Latter Rain”. The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements also refers to his book, “The Latter Rain Covenant” as the first definitive Pentecostal theology.

Latter Rain And The Early Pentecostals

It was Charles Parham, a Methodist holiness preacher who broke with traditional holiness teaching and linked the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with a latter-day Pentecost. His new discovery was that tongues was both a sign of this Spirit baptism and also the signal of the end of the age.

The early Pentecostal pioneers initially accepted this Latter Rain motif. Spirit baptism was an end time repeat of the first Pentecost. Tongues were seen as an eschatological sign signifying that a second and final Pentecost was taking place, bringing the church into a new and final dispensation. This second Pentecost would bring a final world revival in which the nations would have one last opportunity to hear the gospel and then the end would come. Tongues were at first perceived as actual missionary languages to enable the gospel to be quickly preached throughout the whole earth. Indeed many at that time went to China assuming they had been given a Chinese tongue to announce the gospel. Most returned disillusioned. The term “Latter Rain” was used freely by the early Pentecostal pioneers as well as the term “apostolic”. The early Pentecostals were convinced that not only would there be a Latter Rain global revival but the last days’ church would be restored to the apostolic pattern. Joined to the Latter Rain teaching was a complementary truth called restoration.

Restoring The Apostolic Church

The basic principle of restoration teaching is that there is a fundamental discontinuity, historical and spiritual, between the church today and the New Testament church. In the restoration agenda, God will end the church as He began it. Events, however, caused the early Pentecostals to dispense with restorationism and the Latter Rain motif. In 1914 and later the founding fathers of the AOG turned their back on Latter Rain Apostolic Restoration thinking and espoused the current premillennial eschatology. The Latter Rain motif then sat more or less dormant for decades until 1948. In Canada the Latter Rain paradigm erupted again. Impartation of spiritual gifts by the laying on of hands was instituted as well as travelling prophets giving personal prophecy.

This time there was added the restoration of the apostolic office gifts of apostles and prophets. Indeed to restore the apostolic church without restored apostles and prophets would be a limited restoration of the apostolic church.

Restored Apostles And Prophets

To Latter Rain teachers it seemed obvious that if there was to be a repeated apostolic Pentecost then apostles and prophets must be restored as well. These teachers then devised a historical scheme of restoration. Church history was understood as a succession of recoveries of lost or neglected truths. Luther recovered justification by faith, Baptists believers’ baptism, Wesley holiness, A.B. Simpson healing and the early Pentecostal pioneers the gifts of the Spirit. The recovery process was now extended further. The end time body of Christ must go on to maturity and restore the apostles and prophets and these restored ministries must lead the church to a new and final dimension of power and authority not only bringing in the final harvest but establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth.

Kingdom Now Teaching

Now we are introduced to another major feature of the current move namely Kingdom Now Dominionism. Previously Latter Rain teachers saw a second and repeated Pentecost as a final harvest of souls before Christ could come back. Now there is a major addition to the Latter Rain/Restoration concept. The restored apostles and prophets will lead a new and reconstituted body of Christ in conquering the kingdoms of this world and establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth.

This dominion mentality is conceived as a gigantic end-time revival that will sweep the whole earth in its wake. Some even refer to a billion souls being swept in to the kingdom. An elite company of overcomers from out of the larger church will subdue all things and will be so endued with supernatural power that the first church apostles will be envious of the latter day apostles.

According to his view, summarised from the statements made by a number of its exponents, “the church isn’t going sit and take it any more. The church isn’t going to wait to be helicoptered out of the world in some rapture rescue plan. The church will stay right here and by its spiritual authority even defeat the principalities and powers in the heavenlies, dragging them to earth and putting them under their heel”. Paul Cain, a survivor of the Latter Rain (1950) is currently marketing a vision of an elite company of overcoming spiritual warriors called “Joel’s army”. This end-time spiritual army unit will be an invincible band, which leads the church in dominion on the earth. A purging of the wider church of those who will not follow the new order is necessary to constitute a unified global church.

Teachers of the new order tell us that all this has been prophesied. This is an end-time fulfilment of the Feast of Tabernacles. These teachers assert that Passover found fulfilment in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The Feast of Pentecost was fulfilled in the outpouring of Spirit, and now the only remaining feast is that of Tabernacles to be fulfilled in the last days’ church. It is a second Pentecost with restored apostles and prophets. This end time spiritual army will put all God’s enemies under its feet, yes even the last enemy, death itself. This introduces us to another added teaching of the Latter Rain (1950).

The Manifested Sons Of God

The body of Christ coming to spiritual maturity will be able to defeat death itself. This teaching became known as the “Manifest Sons of God”. Taking childish cues from Paul’s teaching in Romans eight and misunderstanding them, they suggested that a company of overcoming believers “the sons of God” will be manifested upon the earth with never dying spiritual bodies before the return of Christ. This would have to be the ultimate in dominion teaching.

Bishop Earl Paulk has stated the Manifest Sons teaching very clearly without ever using that unpopular term. Listen to his unmistakable teaching:

“Jesus Christ, as the first-fruit of the Kingdom, began the work of conquering death on an individual basis, but we, as His church, will be the ones to complete the task. Jesus said (Matthew 28:18), “all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” and the church today has that same power. Death will not be conquered by Jesus returning to earth. It will be conquered when the church stands up boldly and says, “We have dominion over the earth”. (5)

Obviously the church has not yet matured to the place of defeating death. Bishop Paulk counsels Christians not to accept death unless they get a specific revelation from God otherwise. There is a companion truth that often accompanies the Manifested Sons teaching namely the birth in the church of a corporate Christ. This corporate Christ is said to be a fusing together of the spiritual Christ within His many membered body upon the earth. The end-time glorious church is supposed to give birth to this corporate Christ. Though it is not always stated this view assumes and some teach (not all) that the literal physical resurrected Jesus will not need to return as such. Rather His second coming will happen when He is spiritually incarnated into his church, which will then be able to conquer death itself. This teaching has been expressed in various ways.

“Jesus was God in the flesh. We must be as He was in the world, even greater in volume and influence.” (6)

“The completion of the incarnation of God in the world must be in His church… Jesus Christ is the firstfruits, but without the ongoing harvest, the incarnation will never be complete.” (7)

“The living Word of God, Jesus Christ, was conceived in the womb of a virgin. The Word became flesh in the God-Man Jesus Christ (John 1:1). Likewise, the Word of God must be made flesh in the Church in order for us to bear witness to the Kingdom which God has called us to demonstrate.” (8)

“We are on earth as extensions of God to finish the work He began. We are the essence of God, His on-going incarnation in the world.” (9)

This is saying far more than the orthodox view that Christ indwells His church by the Holy Spirit. The question arises: how can Jesus, with his current resurrected body in heaven, be incarnated into the church that is still upon the earth? Some have seen this problem and solve it by adjusting their Christology.

“He [Jesus] entered a higher realm of restoration and love by becoming an indwelling Spirit.” (10)

We must oppose this view. Jesus has not become the Holy Spirit. It is rather the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer. The resurrected Jesus is at the Father’s right hand and in His glorified resurrected body He will return bodily to the earth. Obviously an indwelling spirit would not need to return from heaven. It is on this basis that some Dominion teachers assert that Jesus can be an ongoing incarnation of God in His body (church) upon the earth. Consequently scriptures pertaining to Christ’s ruling on earth are often seen as referring to the church rather than to Jesus. The church is viewed as a kind of Virgin Mary who must give birth to Jesus the indwelling spirit.

Francis Frangipane teaches a similar message:

“When the Spirit of Christ comes into the physical world, He must enter through a physical body. When Christ first entered our world as a child, it was Mary whom God chose to give Christ birth. Mary’s life symbolised the qualities the church must possess to walk in the fullness of Christ. God is preparing us as He did Mary to give birth to the ministry of His Son. Even now, in the spiritual womb of the virgin church, the Holy purpose of Christ is growing, awaiting maturity, ready to be born in the power and timing of God. The virgin church is in labour and in pain to give birth (Rev. 12:5) even now hell trembles and the heavens watch in awe for I say to you, once again, the virgin is with child.” (11)

Latter-Rain teachers have long used Revelation 12, teaching that the woman in this passage is the church and the “Man child” to be born is a spiritual second coming of Christ into His corporate body. When Latter Rain Prophet Paul Cain describes, in passing, the church as the “Man Child Company” he has this teaching in mind.

Marc Dupont of the former Toronto Vineyard claims to have received a significant prophecy in which he states the following:

“This move of the Spirit in 1994 is not just a Charismatic and Pentecostal experience, concerning power and gifting. It is one thing to be clothed with power, it is another to be indwelt with the Person of God.” (12)

Old Testament scriptures are spiritualised to see this birthing as the return of the ark to the temple, that is the coming of Christ invisibly into His living temple the church. This will occur when the Feast of Tabernacles is fulfilled which celebrates the Lord dwelling among His people. “When this happens, no longer will it be the Head (Jesus Christ) in heaven and the body (believers) on earth – but one Perfect Man filling both heaven and earth”. (13)

This teaching of a spiritual second coming of Jesus into His body is rarely advertised. Rather the more palatable teaching of a final global revival and restored apostles and prophets is the public teaching most emphasised. How can the present Charismatic/Pentecostal church even entertain elements of this teaching that originated from such a small group that operated on the fringes of the Pentecostal movement in the early 50’s?

When the Charismatic Renewal exploded in the 60’s and 70’s certain Latter Rain remnants found a new and undiscriminating audience. Charismatics had never heard of the Latter Rain and received the new teaching as part of their new wine experience. Consequently Latter-Rain/Restorationism received a greater hearing within the Charismatic renewal than it ever did in the Classic Pentecostal tradition. Through the Charismatic Renewal, Latter Rain teachings were renamed and finally homogenised sufficiently so that today Latter Rain ideas float freely on “the river” without anyone detecting their true identity. Furthermore the Charismatic Renewal has been mainstreamed into wider evangelical circles through John Wimber and Vineyard conferences, signs and wonders teachings, etc. Indeed some of the more extreme parts of the paradigm are not put out front, nevertheless, little by little the wider church is coalescing around what, when thoroughly analysed, are Latter Rain core beliefs. Without unwarranted employment of the Latter Rain allegory there is not even a hint in scripture of an end-time global revival and second Pentecost. Not everyone in the river uniformly accepts all the parts of the paradigm. But as time goes by more and more Latter Rain tenets exert a gravitational pull that draws participants to logically espouse more and more of the paradigm.

When Peter Wagner calls for and attempts to network a world wide apostolic reformation does he espouse the whole of the Latter Rain/Restoration paradigm? I don’t really know. In fact I doubt that he does. I do know, however, that by bringing Bishop Bill Hamon to speak at his conferences, he is bringing the whole paradigm mentioned above. There must be at least openness on Wagner’s part and many others because they without qualification recommend Bill Hamon’s books with its full-blown Latter Rain and Manifested Sons’ teaching. Wagner’s “New Apostolic Reformation” is nothing more than warmedup Latter Rain teaching. G. Raymond Carlson from his vantage point of history knew that all this has its source in a second end-time Pentecost, first articulated at the turn of the century and restated and expanded in the New Order of the Latter Rain 1950 and now imported and marketed into the wider church by means of the Charismatic renewal.

When much is made of a sweeping revival that will overflow the earth in the last days with billions of converts, you should be aware that this popular idea comes not from scripture but from a view of church history that has been running now for over a century. Take away the fraudulent allegorical use of the “Latter Rain” scheme and there remains no other biblical support for this elaborate view of the end-times. Rather it was Jesus Himself who asked the question: “When the Son of Man comes will He find faith upon the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

The scripture leaves no doubt that Jesus will return bodily, first to the air then to earth and when He does, at the first stage, His “body” upon the earth (the full complement of his church) will be raptured to meet Him in the air (I Thessalonians 4:17). It is then and only then that He will change our corruptible bodies in a twinkling of an eye. It is then (at the second stage) that Jesus will rule earth in His glorified and resurrected body. It is then that the Sons of God will be manifest. Rather than sensationalising a false and unbiblical agenda, the church must occupy until He comes and His body is completed. Faithfully this gospel must be preached to every nation and then the end will come. Even so come quickly Lord Jesus.

The PLUMBLINE
74425 County Road 21 Renville, MN 56284
Published by Orrel Steinkamp D. Min.
Tel. 320 329 3874

Email Address: anst@tds.net

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NOTES

C. Peter Wagner, The New Apostolic Churches (Ventura CA; Regal, 1998), p. 18.
Donald E. Miller, New Paradigm Churches in the Twentieth Century (Pasadena CA: Ministry Advantage, Vol. 6, No. 4, July/Aug 1996).
G. Raymond Carlson, personal letter to Jewel Van de Mewre.
Wesley Myland, The Latter-Rain Covenant (1910).
Earl Paulk, The Proper Function of the Church (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, undated), p. 13
Earl Paulk, The Uitimate Kingdom (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, 1986), p.121.
Earl Paulk, The Wounded Body of Christ (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers), p. 43.
Earl Paulk, Held In The Heavens (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, 1985), p.60.
ibid, p. 125.
Earl Paulk, Thrust In The Sickle And Reap (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, 1986), p. 132.
Fancis Frangipane, In The Presence Of God (New Wine Press 1994), pp. 153-157.
Marc Dupont, Mantle of Praise (Alpha Magazine, 1994).
Tricia Tillin, The Source and Goal of the Second Pentecost (UK: Banner Ministries, 1994).

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~rseaborn/New_Apostolic_Reformation.html

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