Posted in beth moore, charismatic, strange fire

Strange Fire Q&A: Beth Moore

One hundred years ago, the modern Pentecostal movement was born. By October 2013 the Pentecostal movement has morphed into the Charismatic movement with its particular brand of false doctrine and had infected much of western Christianity and polluted quite a bit of Christianity abroad. The excesses of the movement include faith healing, reports of raising the dead, babbling tongues, alleged prophecies and direct revelation, disorderly church services and worse. The movement assaulted the sufficiency of scripture, the inerrancy of scripture, besmirched the name of Jesus Christ and damaged the faith of many.

John MacArthur and his team at Grace To You took a stand against this movement and sought to bring clarity to why its doctrines needed comparison to the Bible correction. To that end, they organized the Strange Fire Conference, held in the fall of 2013. One of the main purposes of the conference was to initiate a substantive discussion about these issues. It achieved its purpose. Every sermon preached at the conference rebuked the movement simply by preaching the truth, and brought correct biblical doctrine to the fore. Given the outcry, it seems that the effect was immediate.

There were many good questions asked at the various seminars and Q & A sessions held during the conference period, but not all of them could be immediately answered. After the conference concluded, ministers and theologians at Grace Community Church and The Master’s Seminary wrote out answers to these unanswered questions, compiled them, and put them on one web page.

The page is a treasure trove of good, solid rebuttals to and practical helps about what to do if encountering Charismatic doctrines in your church, in your family, or in yourself.

Here is just one of the Q&A’s from the Strange Fire web page.

FYI, before you read the Q, in my own opinion, Moore passed the “heretical” mark in June 2013. Moore had said she had been lifted into another dimension by “Jesus” to see the global church as He sees it (!), to return and “tell”, (!!) and that the global church had apparently included the Catholic Church as a Christian denomination. This puts her on the far side of heretical, because Jesus would never do any of those three things, make a personal visit to earth, (Mt 23:39, Acts 1:11); give new extra-biblical revelation to be delivered as if Moore was a Prophet, (Rev 22:18-19); and include a false religion in His message. Nonetheless, here is the SF question from gty.org:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Can you talk about the dangers of popular teachers who are not heretical but say that God talks to them? I am thinking specifically of Beth Moore.What are we to do with people who refuse to see the danger and insist such teachers are OK

Believers must always listen carefully when any teacher or preacher speaks about the Bible and theology.They must share the nobility of the Berean saints whom Luke commended for double checking Paul’s teaching according to Scripture (cf. Acts 17:1–11).While Beth Moore teaches with accuracy on some points, she also holds positions and teaches doctrines that are both incorrect and dangerous.  

Beth Moore promotes contemplative prayer, a mystical practice not found in Scripture which includes elements of eastern mysticism.  She chooses not to draw firm doctrinal lines on her website while implying the Roman Catholic Church is a Christian denomination alongside the Methodist, Baptist, and other denominations.  Beth also claims that she has received visions from God and sometimes receives revelation from Him in her heart.  From these examples we must conclude that the lack of biblical and theological depth in Beth Moore’s teaching renders her a dubious and dangerous source of Bible teaching.You may read a critique of Beth Moore’s teaching here.

Posted in charismatic, discernment, strange fire

Strange Fire Q & A: How do we distinguish between the Spirit prompting us, and our own thoughts?

One hundred years ago, the modern Pentecostal movement was born. By October 2013 the Pentecostal movement has morphed into the Charismatic movement with its particular brand of false doctrine and had infected much of western Christianity and polluted quite a bit of Christianity abroad. The excesses of the movement include faith healing, reports of raising the dead, babbling tongues, alleged prophecies and direct revelation, disorderly church services and worse. The movement assaulted the sufficiency of scripture, the inerrancy of scripture, besmirched the name of Jesus Christ and damaged the faith of many. 

John MacArthur and his team at Grace To You took a stand against this movement and sought to bring clarity to why its doctrines needed comparison to the Bible correction. To that end, they organized the Strange Fire Conference, held in the fall of 2013. One of the main purposes of the conference was to initiate a substantive discussion about these issues. It achieved its purpose. Every sermon preached at the conference rebuked the movement simply by preaching the truth, and brought correct biblical doctrine to the fore. Given the outcry, it seems that the effect was immediate.

There were many good questions asked at the various seminars and Q & A sessions held during the conference period, but not all of them could be immediately answered. After the conference concluded, ministers and theologians at Grace Community Church and The Master’s Seminary wrote out answers to these unanswered questions, compiled them, and put them on one web page.

The page is a treasure trove of good, solid rebuttals to and practical helps about what to do if encountering Charismatic doctrines in your church, in your family, or in yourself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Epidemic in the Charismatic movement is the acceptance of personal revelations. Everybody and their brother it seemed is hearing from Jesus and were eager to share “a word from the Lord”. Such practices assault the sufficiency of scripture, of course, and must be corrected. However, one book is doing its level best to continue to attack the sufficiency of God’s word-  Jesus Calling. Jesus Calling was published in 2004, 16 years ago now, but is still on the bestseller lists. Friends, Jesus is not calling. he has spoken and His word is contained in the closed canon of scripture. The book has spawned a cottage industry of studies, devotionals, children’s books, and other material that has never stopped polluting the faith. Indeed, it seems to be increasing in its staying power and corrupt work.

Here is just one of the Questions and Answers in the Strange Fire Q&A page.

Q. How do we distinguish between the legitimate prompting of the Holy Spirit and our own thoughts or will?
A. While God can prompt us to think or do something, He has not given a clear and objective mechanism to identify when He is doing that. Since no one can identify with absolute certainty the source of the impressions he experiences, he must not ascribe authority to them or rely upon them as direction from God. John MacArthur gives good advice on that point in this downloadable audio. Mistaking a personal impression for divine guidance can lead us far astray from God’s will and may cause serious problems in our lives. 

How should a Christian respond to what he thinks might be a leading of the Holy Spirit? By comparing the impression with the objective, authoritative revelation God gave us—the Scripture. So, does the thought you are having agree with biblical theology? Is the action condemned or condoned in God’s Word? Will that choice ultimately bring glory to God? As you answer these questions in light of biblical teaching, you can know whether you are walking in the will of God.

I would also encourage you to listen to John’s two messages on the topic of understanding God’s will for your life. You can listen to the messages here.

Posted in charismatic, discernment, doctrine, strange fire

Strange Fire Q&A: How does God use false teachers and their heresies?

One hundred years ago, the modern Pentecostal movement was born. By October 2013 the Pentecostal movement has morphed into the Charismatic movement with its particular brand of false doctrine and had infected much of western Christianity and polluted quite a bit of Christianity abroad. The excesses of the movement include faith healing, reports of raising the dead, babbling tongues, alleged prophecies and direct revelation, disorderly church services and worse. The movement assaulted the sufficiency of scripture, the inerrancy of scripture, besmirched the name of Jesus Christ and damaged the faith of many.

John MacArthur and his team at Grace To You took a stand against this movement and sought to bring clarity to why its doctrines needed comparison to the Bible correction. To that end, they organized the Strange Fire Conference, held in the fall of 2013. One of the main purposes of the conference was to initiate a substantive discussion about these issues. It achieved its purpose. Every sermon preached at the conference rebuked the movement simply by preaching the truth, and brought correct biblical doctrine to the fore. Given the outcry, it seems that the effect was immediate.

There were many good questions asked at the various seminars and Q & A sessions held during the conference period, but not all of them could be immediately answered. After the conference concluded, ministers and theologians at Grace Community Church and The Master’s Seminary wrote out answers to these unanswered questions, compiled them, and put them on one web page.

The page is a treasure trove of good, solid rebuttals to and practical helps about what to do if encountering Charismatic doctrines in your church, in your family, or in yourself. Here is just one of the Questions and Answers in the Strange Fire Q&A page.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Does God allow false teaching to continue so believers can distinguish between true and false doctrine? 

Paul told the Corinthian church, “There must be heresies among you so that those who are approved might be made manifest’ (1 Corinthians 11:19). Would you please comment on this verse in light of the charismatic movement? Does God allow these false movements, in part, so the distinction is made clear to His people? Thanks. 

The Greek word translated as “heresies” in the King James Version is hairesis. While that word can refer to false teaching or heresy in certain contexts, Paul’s intended meaning when using the word in 1 Corinthians 11:19 is clearly the other possible meaning of “division, faction, separate group.” In this paragraph Paul is confronting the Corinthian believers’ selfishness and sectarianism (see vv. 18, 21–22, 33). The text of the New King James Version clarifies the meaning by updating the translation from “heresies” (KJV) to “factions” (NKJV). Paul says that when those inevitable divisions happen, they serve the good purpose of distinguishing between the sinful and the righteous people in the church.  

Having said that, the situation Paul describes regarding disunity in the Corinthian church is similar to the result of the error being taught within the charismatic movement today. The doctrines they tolerate and often perpetuate distort, pervert, and contradict sound, biblical teaching. The truly saved who revere and carefully study God’s Word can see the difference between false charismatic teaching and sound theology. While we would never condone false doctrine and practices, we do rest in our confidence that God uses even the wickedness of man for His good purposes (cf. Genesis 50:20; Acts 2:23; Romans 8:28)

Posted in charismatic, discernment, jesus calling

Strange Fire Q & A: Jesus Calling

One hundred years ago, the modern Pentecostal movement was born. By October 2013 the Pentecostal movement had morphed into the Charismatic movement with its particular brand of false doctrine and had infected much of western Christianity and polluted quite a bit of Christianity at home and abroad. The excesses of the movement include faith healing, reports of raising the dead, babbling tongues, alleged prophecies and direct revelation, disorderly church services and worse. The movement assaulted the sufficiency of scripture, the inerrancy of scripture, besmirched the name of Jesus Christ and damaged the faith of many.

John MacArthur and his team at Grace To You took a stand against this movement and sought to bring clarity to why its doctrines needed comparison to the Bible and thus correction. To that end, they organized the Strange Fire Conference, held in the fall of 2013. One of the main purposes of the conference was to initiate a substantive discussion about these issues. It achieved its purpose. Every sermon preached at the conference rebuked the movement simply by preaching the truth, and brought correct biblical doctrine regarding the sign gifts of the Spirit to the fore. Given the outcry, it seems that the effect was immediate.

There were many good questions asked at the various seminars and Q & A sessions held during the conference period, but not all of them could be immediately answered. After the conference concluded, ministers and theologians at Grace Community Church and The Master’s Seminary wrote out answers to these unanswered questions, compiled them, and put them on one web page.

The page is a treasure trove of good, solid rebuttals to and practical helps about what to do if encountering Charismatic doctrines in your church, in your family, or in yourself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Epidemic in the Charismatic movement is the acceptance of personal revelations. Everybody and their brother it seemed was hearing from Jesus and were eager to share “a word from the Lord”. Such practices assault the sufficiency of scripture, of course, and must be corrected. However, one book is doing its level best to continually to attack the sufficiency of God’s word-  and that book is “Jesus Calling”. Jesus Calling was published in 2004, 16 years ago now, but is still on the bestseller lists. The book has spawned a cottage industry of studies, devotionals, children’s books, and other material that has never stopped polluting the faith. Indeed, it seems to be increasing in its staying power and corrupt work.

Here is just one of the Questions and Answers in the Strange Fire Q&A page.

Last year a friend gave me the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  How do I approach my many friends who love this and similar books? 

Scripture has true spiritual power to save and sanctify those who listen and obey it, but human writings masquerading as divine prophecy—such as Jesus Calling—have no such power.  Nevertheless, many people today are enticed by the idea that God is speaking supernaturally through these frauds.  

In order to help your friends, you should gently point out the superior authority of Scripture and refer them to passages such as 2 Peter 1:16–21, 2 Timothy 3:16, Jude 3, and Psalm 19:7–11.  Another good resource is John MacArthur’s two-part series, The Sufficiency of Scripture.

Posted in charismatic, discernment, grace community church, intruder, strange fire

John MacArthur confronted by intruder mounting the stage during Sunday Service

On Sunday, August 16, an intruder wearing a backpack mounted the pulpit at John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church while Dr MacArthur was preaching the Sunday morning service, put his fingers in his lips and emitted a piercing whistle, pointed his finger at the pastor and began shouting that he had a message from the Lord to deliver to him.

The man, a Scottish “evangelist,” was angry that Dr MacArthur had preached in the past that the charismatic gifts have ceased, an interpretation termed “cessationism.” This biblical teaching was most recently delivered at the Strange Fire conference at Grace Community Church two years ago. That conference was a much-needed response and rebuke to the Charismatic movement which claims that Jesus delivers personal revelation to individuals today in the form of the temporary sign gifts of prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues, and also that people can and do perform miracles like raising people from the dead and healings, as the first century apostles performed.

Charismatics believe these temporary gifts intended as a temporary sign were not temporary at all and have never ceased. They believe the gifts continue. They are continuationists. Continuationism and its heresies and false notions of Christianity are rapidly overtaking the faith all around the world. If you have ever seen a “church service” where people are shouting, jerking, fainting or otherwise gyrating, this is a Charismatic church. If you have ever seen people lined up for healing by “an anointed preacher” at a healing crusade, this is charismania. If you ever have seen claims from ‘pastors’ who shout for the Holy Spirit “to show up” and He supposedly does by showering the congregation with gold dust from the ceiling, you’ve seen a charismatic congregation.

Not all Charismatic churches are so wild, but the ones that seem quieter are just as dangerous. They speak in tongues which are gibberish. They claim that the canon of scripture is not closed and have a word delivered by the Lord to share. Beth Moore makes claims all the time that Jesus speaks to her and commands her to teach what He tells her. Disgraced pastor Mark Driscoll claimed to have had many visions and audible revelations from God. So you see it is not just the Benny Hinns and Kenneth Copelands of the world engaged in dangerous twisting of God’s word in regard to the temporary sign gifts, but even conservative segments of the faith have now accepted personal revelation and mystical practices associated with Charismania.

The Strange Fire conference of 2013 sparked angry outbursts and heated reactions from certain segments, mainly from the people who claim to possess these gifts and are going around performing them. Apparently this intruder was one who feels he is a prophet from God, as he said while on the podium at GCC last Sunday. The reaction to the Strange Fire conference is continuing and satan is still inspiring people to anger over the biblical rebuke the preachers and teachers at that conference delivered. The warfare is real and ongoing. (Ephesians 6:12)

Here is video of the intruder at Grace Community Church. You can see he mounted the pulpit rapidly and got within 20 feet of MacArthur before anyone noticed or stopped him. Even though two men in the front row immediately rose and approached the intruder, I was shocked at how fast it happened. When the intruder points his finger at the esteemed pastor, it could as easily have been a gun. GCC fellow pastor Phil Johnson said the intruder got “way too close” to MacArthur.

Here is a video of Dr MacArthur’s gracious reaction afterward. It is a 3-minute video from SO4J, but it’s “exclusive” to SO4J.com so I can’t embed.

VIDEO OF MACARTHUR’S RESPONSE: JOHN MACARTHUR IS VERBALLY ATTACKED BY A FALSE PROPHET

This brings to mind safety concerns, of course. The congregants at Charleston’s Emmanuel African Methodist Church last June certainly didn’t expect to be shot while praying and singing inside the church, but that shooting shocked America and the world. Nine people were killed.

Even though Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church is not a church and Osteen is not a pastor, many people think it’s a church, and some had no compunction about mounting an orchestrated rebellion while services were going on this past June. These hecklers were outraged at Osteen’s brazen falsity and began calling him a liar as Osteen prepared to ‘preach’. There were six individuals ushered out from the Lakewood arena by security that day.

Unfortunately we are seeing these scenes of bouncers or security men ushering away some intruders more and more often. Here is GCC Pastor Phil Johnson with comments on the incident:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PHIL JOHNSON:

Here are some comments about church security and the performance of the GCC security team in particular. These are compiled mainly from my own replies in a couple of recent comment threads. The one comment below that I have put in quotation marks was made by one of my FaceBook friends. All the other comments from which I compiled this are mine:
__________

I agree that it’s both irritating and scary to see someone with mischief on his mind get that close to John MacArthur, but we are not going to erect a barrier between the pastor and the people in our church. I imagine the security team will henceforth put their most young and spry guys on the front row. But it’s a simple fact of life that if someone bent on doing harm is determined enough, it’s not possible to guarantee that every possible threat can be thwarted. On the other hand, all of us who preach Christ at GCC are willing to die for Him–but not willing to permit miscreants to force a barrier between the people and the elders. John MacArthur isn’t going to move around among his own congregation in a plexiglas bubble like the Popemobile.

I know for a fact that the security team is carefully examining Sunday morning’s incident with an eye to improving or beefing up the measures they take. But they DID handle this situation without injury to anyone involved, and the entire interruption lasted less than sixty seconds.

Bear in mind that over the years, the vast majority of criticisms aimed at our security team have come from people who seem to think ANYTHING they do is too hasty, too heavy-handed, or otherwise unChristlike. In fact, Martha Mac’s front-row video of Sunday’s incident (posted on her FB page) drew dozens of comments from charismatic critics and postmodern bleeding hearts who complained that the treatment our Scottish “prophet” friend received was overly harsh. So people should appreciate and have some empathy for the difficult position the security staff are in.

Finally, here’s a comment someone else posted elsewhere regarding security’s handling of this incident:
__________

“As a former LEO and member of my church’s security team, who knows a few of the GCC security team members, well done fellas. I agree with Phil that it was a measured and gentle approach, and they took care of business without incident. Praise the Lord! It will be good for them to do a review this incident to see how a response could be improved or tweaked next time, but there will always be lag time in any response, and there is always the risk that someone can get to your pastor first. Also, there is a delicate balance between what is the desired level of response by security, both from the pastor’s perspective and the congregation’s perspective. Go too hard, and there is criticism; go too soft, and likewise. John and his security team have an understanding on what is expected of them in their response, of this I am sure, and this appears to have played out. If you notice, John points at the disorderly subject, and the men react immediately and start to approach the stage. The subject stops away from John, and is merely pointing and yelling, with no visible weapon, which calls for a less dynamic response from the security team. Professional job, gentlemen. In under a minute, the situation is resolved, and it’s back to business as usual. Thank you for posting this, Phil, as a good reminder to those who protect our faithful pastors each and every week.”
_________

In short, I think people who don’t actually have hands-on responsibility for church security at this level should probably keep their Monday-morning quarterbacking to themselves.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We are not guaranteed safety in this world. Though we believe church should be a safe place, and we strive to make it so, it is actually ground zero in the warfare in which we engage. Sometimes that warfare shows up in the form of an angry person…sometimes the angry person has a gun. We are not guaranteed safe passage from this world to the next, what we are guaranteed is trouble.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. (Acts 14:22)

Ultimately the take-away is… PRAY FOR PASTORS. The pastors who unflinchingly preach the truth of God are most at risk. Pray for them for God to keep them spiritually safe, and physically safe. And He will. Until it is the day ordained from the foundation of the world for them to be called home.

Posted in charismatic, continuationism, john piper, spiritual gifts

Cessationism versus continuationism

A conference called Strange Fire, held at John MacArthur’s church last fall and attended by notable keynote Christian pastors, there has been an ongoing fire of its own. The conference was to expose the heresies of the Charismatic movement and to explain biblically why continuationism has a falsely interpreted basis.

Continuationism is the hallmark of the Charismatics and to a degree the word faith believers also. It holds that the first century apostles’ healings, direct prophecies, and other miracles are normative to every Christian’s experience. Cessationism holds that the miracle spiritual gifts were for a foundation only, alive in the first century apostles and designees only and ceased after the foundation of the church was laid the the bible was completed.

A lot of ink has been spilled in the debate prior to and subsequent from the conference. It is still raging. But there was one comment I enjoyed for its succinct biblical explanation of why these miracle gifts have ceased. It is from a blog essay posted this week by John MacArthur, who is following up on some things from the conference regarding John Piper. I encourage you to go to the essay and its follow up and read the piece in its entirety.

The comment I enjoyed is here, #44 by comment moderator Gabriel Powell. He was responding to the people who embrace continuationism by saying that to reject cessationism is to reject the Holy Spirit entirely.

Posted by Gabriel Powell | Tuesday, March 11, 2014at 3:47 PM

It seems like there is some confusion over what cessationism rejects. While there are clear differences between the two theological positions, the reality of miracles and healing is not one of them.

Cessationism affirms that God maintains the power to heal and perform miracles. What we deny is that the “gifts” to perform signs and wonders which were so prevalent and normative in the 1st century church are still prevalent and normative today.

God’s character remains the same (which is the point of “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever”), but He deals with His people in unique ways at unique times (Hebrews 1:1).

Posted in charismatic, false doctrine, false teachers

The story of Lucy Nduta: of ravenous false prophets and dead sheep

Readers of this blog are aware that I enjoyed the good biblical preaching at the recent Strange Fire conference. That was a conference that sought to refute the claims of the Charismatic movement, to rebuke the leaders of it, and to urge the brethren to pray for discernment so they will be able to detect falsity if it creeps in to their church (or heart).

The Charismatic movement is a movement which is based on the unbiblical notion that personally delivered prophecies, babbling tongues, and healing by men laying hands on the sick (sign gifts) are still going strong as they were at Pentecost and during the Apostolic era.

These sign gifts have ceased, and the preaching at the conference showed this. One of the speakers was Pastor Conrad Mbewe. Pastor Mbewe is pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church in Zambia, Africa. He spoke at John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference in Sun Valley, Calif., on Oct. 18, 2013. His first sermon was titled,  The African Import of Charismatic Chaos. He has been observing the growth of the Charismatic movement in his nation and beyond, for over thirty years. He has personally been impacted by it, as he said, not just from books but in every day life.

His second message was titled “Are We Preachers or Witch Doctors?” In this sermon, Pastor Mbewe related how the African mindset of the lost person, having been drenched in witch doctor superstition, will readily accept the unbiblical precepts inherent in the Charismatic movement because the two are extremely similar.

The lost person is desperate. It is the default condition of the lost person. They are wandering, empty, their lives are void of meaning. They also have life issues that may be very difficult to deal with and because they don’t have Christ, they do not have a lasting coping mechanism.

The sick, particularly, look for cures from any quarter: medicines, homeopathic, psychology, or spiritual remedies. The sick are often all too vulnerable and willing to grasp any person who claims to have a way, a cure, a method.

This is where Lucy Nduta comes in.

This woman is from Kenya. She calls herself Prophetess Lucy Nduta, and she preaches. In 2007, Worldwide Religious News printed the following, originally printed in the East African Standard

Churches Sow Miracles
Nairobi, Kenya – The sprouting of countless charismatic churches in the country has heralded a new breed of church leaders and worshippers with strong faith in the power of miracles. An increasing number of Kenyans are turning to ‘sowing the seed’ (giving huge sums of money for offering and tithe) at the prompting of church ministers who promise them to expect prosperity. However, it appears there are ‘men and women of God’ who are out to take advantage of the unwavering faith and ignorance of worshippers. These are people who hide self-interest under the cloak of religion. They quote biblical verses to suit their intentions and convince the congregation of the need to give more in order to receive more.”

What Lucy Nduta did was, in the name of Jesus, take sick people’s money, supposedly pray for them, and lie to them they were healed. But it gets worse, because it gets more diabolical.

Nduta preyed on people with HIV/AIDS, a scourge that particularly affects the people of the African continent. Nduta would claim that she had the power to heal people suffering from HIV/AIDS through her miracle working prayers, and then herd them to a clinic/lab she had built near her church. The sick people would get tested there, and because Nduta owned the lab, she would have the workers give clean bills of health to these unfortunately trusting people, lab reports that were totally bogus. The people really thought they were cured, and sought no further treatment. And of course in gratitude they tithed heavily to Nduta. Then, they died.

The Africa Report stated, “The police later found out that the clinics were her own creation to lure people. She was consequently sentenced to two years in prison. Despite these revelations, thousands still fill churches each Sunday waiting for miracles to happen in their lives.

Nduta was sentenced in 2008 and got out of prison in 2010.

False pastors who shred the sheep are a scourge. When the verse says-

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”(Matthew 7:15)

Ravenous means, ‘Extremely hungry; voracious, Rapacious; predatory, Greedy for gratification’. Ravenous predators never stop. They eat and kill and eat and kill. That is what they do.

Nduta and now her son, are at it again. This report is from last week, Nov 4, 2013-

Self-styled prophetess Lucy Nduta Mwangi has called in to defend her activities and that of her son, another self-declared prophet Victor Kanyari. Nduta says there is nothing wrong with what she and her son have been doing adding that they will continue asking for what is called seed money.

The report above ends with the announcer stating that the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya will convene to discus and strategize how to deal with the sudden rise of fake preachers in Kenya.

Ravenous is what wolves are. So if you believe that opening yourself just a tiny bit to doctrines which false prophets bring, you are very, very wrong.

An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?  (Jeremiah 5:30-31)

Posted in berean, charismatic, scripture

Why were the Bereans noble? First, they received the word with eagerness

Paul and Silas in Berea. (Acts 17:10-12)

“The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.”

I am currently in a sad mood because friends are following the false teachings of a growing Charismatic church in my area. I had a conversation with someone, who answered with emotional arguments and completely rejected all scripture I’d offered. Though I’d tried hard in showing the biblical stance through scripture, I’ve been thinking long and hard about why and how a professed Christian can reject the bible as authoritative and refuse to submit to its teachings.

The classic reference as to the nobility of those who search the scriptures is well-known. The Bereans relied on scripture to check what Paul was saying, as quoted above. I usually focus on the latter part of the key verse, “searched the scriptures daily”. But today I’d like to focus on the former part, “received the word with all eagerness.”

We think, ‘of course they received the word with eagerness! Who wouldn’t want to check what you are learning against the word?’ But it goes a bit deeper than that. Paul and Silas ministered in Berea in about 54 AD. We have the advantage of 2000 years of history, culture, and theology and a completed canon of a revealed word of God on which to stand while making that statement. The Jews & Greeks in Berea hadn’t. They had about 20 years.

First, many were Jews, and Paul was teaching in the synagogue. Jews had a nearly two thousand year tradition of intimacy with God since Abraham. Judaism was the world’s only monotheistic religion. The Jewish temple, rituals, holidays and laws were literally embedded in the Jews via DNA and having become a peculiar race of people.

“For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.” (Deuteronomy 14:2)

Second, Paul and Silas were teaching the opposite of everything every Jew had ever learned. They had to hear hard sayings. They heard Paul preach that the Messiah had come, and His peculiar people had rejected Him. They listened to teaching that His salvific gaze was no longer on the Jews but on the pagans until the time of the Gentiles was fulfilled. That He died and rose again- without having established the promised kingdom (yet). That pagans (Greeks) were now included in the bosom of the Lord as peculiar people- people a Jew had been taught to revile. That the Messiah had fulfilled all the law and there no longer needed to be feasts and Jewish holy days. That salvation only required belief in these hard sayings- faith in the dead and resurrected Jesus. And more.

How would you react if you heard hard sayings? Many who had just seen Jesus feed the five thousand rejected Him when they heard him speak hard things. And those were pagans with no history of a relationship with God. (John 6:53-56). I know that I get irritated when people email me to say that a certain interpretation I’d labored over was wrong. Or a pet teacher or preacher is no good. But I look into these things as a dutiful Christian to confirm what I am hearing, or to confidently reject it on the basis of revealed truth.

But the Bereans “received the word with all eagerness“. They listened, and then they checked. But the first part is that they listened and received the word. Their love for the Holy God of Israel was above any personal interpretation they held. It was higher than any value they laid upon the word. They wanted to know the truth, and it was obvious that these men were of God. Something was happening in the religious arena, exciting, troublesome, wondrous.

The only way they could begin to examine the scriptures was to compare what Paul and Silas were saying against it. So they listened.

Many Charismatics do not love Jesus more than their own experience. They do not love the word more than their own pet theory. They do not examine the scriptures to see if it is so. They reject the best this world has to offer, the sterling and true word of God.

Do they get angry,
or do they receive with eagerness?

If you are engaged in a discussion with someone who answers emotionally and refuses to listen to the scriptures you are sharing, they are not a Berean. They do not receive the word with all eagerness. And as long as they do not listen to hard sayings and verses from the bible, they can’t see if it is true. WHich is exactly satan’s point.

Then they can and do go on their way, experiencing and encountering and lifting ‘holy hands’ and singing and falling down in tongues and having a happy ‘worship time’ until the Lord returns and says “I never knew you.”

Third, what was the result of the Bereans receiving the word with eagerness, and then searching to see if it was so? Belief. It stands to reason that the opposite will be true also. Refusing to listen and search and confirm results in unbelief.

You see, He has revealed Himself in the word. Paul saw Him personally, all the apostles did. But we in the new millennium cannot see him, “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Do we rely on tongues and miracles and signs? No. We rely on the word.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

And why do we rely on the word and not on signs and sight and earthly works as ‘manifestations of the Spirit?’

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Mark 3:31)

The Bereans knew that when God speaks, you listen, and do so eagerly.

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)

God spoke to us! He speaks! The holy God who dwells in heaven, parted the veil, and took over a thousand years to put together a holy book by His Spirit for our benefit. Who are we to ignore it? Who are we to place a higher value on our supposed experience than His Son, the Word?

To conclude, remember that the verse regarding the noble Bereans has two parts, receiving the word eagerly and checking for themselves to see if what they hear is true. A sign you are dealing with someone who is seriously adrift is if that person refuses to address the scriptures you share. A sign you are dealing with someone who loves the Lord, even if they are getting irritated, is if they hang in there and stick to a scriptural talk.

I said to the person I was speaking with about Charismatic manifestations, that I cannot do any better than offer the word of God. There is nothing higher, more true, or more absolute to place on the table as common ground in any discussion. All else is just opinion. And we know what Proverbs 18:2 says about opinions,

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.”
Posted in charismatic, pentecostal, strange fire

Why the Charismatic excesses are not fringe

As the Strange Fire conference wrapped up Sunday, many Charismatics were incensed that the conference had deemed their movement as false and rebuked its excesses. Many who defended the movement said it was unfair to lump the sedate Charismatics/Pentecostals in with the “fringe”, who were the ones responsible for those excesses.

Christian Post reported,

“Another accusation has been that MacArthur and cessationists are talking about something that is only true of the extreme, lunatic fringe of the movement, to which he contends is “patently not true.” Because he believes there is error in the Charismatic movement that sweeps through the entire movement. “Ninety percent of the people around the world connected to the Charismatic movement take ownership of the prosperity gospel,” he said. “Twenty-four to 25 million of them deny the trinity. One hundred million of them are Roman Catholics. This is not some fringe; this is the movement. And it is growing at a rapid rate.”

But what is the Charismatic movement? What is Charismania? Discernment bloggers, evangelicals, conservative pastors, those who adhere to the doctrines of grace, etc., all know that Charismania isn’t fringe, but main body. The scope of the movement and its deep penetration into the heart of the evangelical body is frightening. The numbers are frightening, too. Alex Murashko noted in his article, “After John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Event: 10 Things You May Not Have Known About the Charismatic Mov’t

Islam is not the fastest-growing faith family in the world. Pentecostalism is. While Islam has gone from zero in 610 AD to 1.6 billion today (1,403 years), Pentecostalism went from zero to (about) a billion from 1906 to the present day (107 years).”

So it is obvious that if there are errors in the movement (and there are) and the movement is not fringe (and it isn’t) but is overtaking evangelicalism, it needs to be understood and its errors attended to.

The Charismatic Movement is the international trend of historically mainstream congregations adopting beliefs and practices similar to Pentecostals. (Wiki).

Fundamental to the movement is the use of the sign spiritual gifts. In one of the Strange Fire sessions, it was noted that the main influx of it ramped up in 1960, the 1906 beginnings of Azusa Street mentioned above, aside.

What is Charismania? Charismania is a derivative term usually applied by American Fundamentalist Christians to the extremists in the Christian Charismatic movement. In some cases it is used as a byword to describe the entire movement in a negative light. It was specifically coined to describe the perceivable chaos and mood swings (hence mania) that sometimes occur during Charismatic revival meetings.

Such disorderly occurrences as, being “slain in the Spirit”, excessive laughing/crying, screaming, wild dancing, violent shaking, and interruptive speaking in tongues and prophesying led many fundamentalists to believe that the Devil was involved while Charismatic Christians asserted that these were manifestations of the Holy Spirit. (wiki)

The mania also includes jerking, shaking, falling to the floor, acting drunk, proclaiming visions and inside intelligence from Jesus directly that are not found in scripture, barking like dogs, violence, and more. It includes heaven tourism, in which a person allegedly has a vision where they are either bodily lifted up or in the spirit lifted to supernatural realms like heaven, or in some cases, hell.

So with the numbers as they are, the spread of it to most continents and nations, its fast growth, its lack of theology, its lack of fruit, its making a shipwreck of the faith for millions, is Charismania fringe? No.

When “Heaven is for Real” heaven tourism book sells 8M books and 1M ebooks, and is seen as more credible than the heaven revealed in the bible’s book of Revelation, Charismania isn’t fringe.

When John Piper, Beth Moore, Francis Chan teach Roman Catholic mystical practice Lectio Divina at Passion 2012 to 60,000 Youths at the conference, Charismania isn’t fringe.

When ‘Jesus Calling‘, a book touting personal revelation from Jesus, wins 2013 ECPA Christian Book of the Year, Charismania isn’t fringe.

When Mark Batterson’s pagan circle maker practice catches on at 2012 Indianapolis True Woman Conference w/ Joni Earickson Tada & Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Charismania isn’t fringe.

When SBC teacher Beth Moore has vision where Jesus appeared to her & revealed spiritual information and was told to share it, & she teaches FROM THAT, Charismania isn’t fringe.

Please take some time to listen to the sermons from Strange Fire. Here are some below. They all will be listed at the Strange Fire site soon. This is an important issue.

Are we preachers or are we Witch Doctors?(Conrad Mbewe)
Providence Is Remarkable (Phil Johnson)
An Appeal to My Continuationist Friends (John MacArthur)
Testing the Spirits (John MacArthur)
A Deeper Healing (Joni Eareckson Tada)
Strange Fire (John MacArthur)
Undervaluing Pentecost (R.C. Sproul)
A Case for Cessationism (Tom Pennington)
Is There a Baby in the Charismatic Bathwater? (Phil Johnson)

Here are some good wrap-up essays for you

10 Things you may not have known about the Charismatic Movement (Christian Post)

Lessons Learned at Strange Fire (Tim Challies)

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Strange Fire (Clint Archer)

The Right Way and the Wrong Way to Engage John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference (Trevin Wax)

Posted in charismatic, macarthur, strange fire, tongues

Strange Fire: Final thoughts

John MacArthur/Grace Community Church hosted a major conference last week called Strange Fire. Its title is taken from the verses in Leviticus 10:1-3, where Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire before the LORD and they were killed by the LORD for it.

Strange Fire proclaimed truth
and the truth divides, Luke 12:51

The catalyst for the conference was because the organizers and speakers at Strange Fire had become concerned because of the improper worship offered to the Lord in the Holy Spirit’s name, in the form of the ever-growing Charismatic movement. This is the movement that has an expanding umbrella of false doctrines under it of Prosperity Gospel, miracles, tongues, healings, personal revelation, visions, intuition, and other shenanigans which the Charismatics claim are part of legitimate worship. The conference was held so that the men who were asked to speak could deliberately identify this movement as false and offer biblical reasons why. It was also intended to identify the true body of Christ, so that the body may be educated and the lost in this terrible movement be evangelized. Finally, it was to call out the leaders of both the Charismatic movement and the evangelical movement to step up and stand against it.

The conference was held on Wed-Thu-Fri Oct 16-17-18, and closed Sunday morning Oct 20 with a final message by Dr MacArthur at the Grace Community Church Lord’s Day morning service. I watched some live as it was happening, and some on YouTube when I got home from work each night. I saw the opening and closing sermon by Dr MacArthur, Phil Johnson’s stunning Baby in the Bathwater sermon, Tom Pennington’s case for cessationism, MacArthur’s address regarding the objections to having the conference, and Dr Steve Lawson’s brilliant sermon on the Puritans and cessationism. I also watched two Q&As, and the music worship. It was all great.

And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men. Isaiah 29:13.It’s been two days now since the final address by MacArthur, and my head and heart have had time to settle. The dust is now settling a bit also. The reaction to this conference was extreme. Twitter and blogs lit up with comments of all kinds, from support and thanks to hyperbole and incendiary fury. The Pope got involved. Christian and secular news reported on it. Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald, two men who lead churches, crashed the conference and then whipped up even more anger because they failed to be totally honest about what happened when they arrived. Accusations flew and theological battle lines were drawn. Phew.

It was sad to see such reactions but in another way, it was good. If you’re not taking flak, you’re not over the target, goes the old saying. It’s encouraging because I know that the Spirit was with the men of that conference and Jesus was honored by the truth being proclaimed.

The hyperbole is mostly on the side of people who disagree with the Strange Fire conference, either its existence or the content. The men who spoke at the Strange Fire conference were not hyperbolic, but spoke biblically in clarity, confidence and firmness, in love. Multitudes were edified, and said so.

Strange Fire: drew out men of faith.
It also drew out the faithless. Jo 8:32.

In fact, there is always hyperbole, division, and linguistic ruckus when the truth is proclaimed. Always. The fact that there IS such a ruckus is not indicative of a lack of work via the Holy Spirit, as some claim. To me, it is assurance that the Holy Spirit IS working. If we can take a look at the bible, Jesus spoke “hard sayings” and many left Him. Did He do it wrong? The Pharisees went hyperbolic over what Jesus was teaching, was the Holy Spirit not present?

In all that hullaballoo last week, there was one simple truth that was biblically explained time and again: the miracle sign gifts have ceased. The canon is closed. God is not speaking. Opening one’s self even one millimeter to the possibility of any of those things opens one’s faith to shipwreck, where it is heading for millions who believe they are experiencing visions and healings and miracles and tongues from the Holy Spirit, when it is really the devil.

This assertion inflamed millions, who hold that with half a billion people in the Charismatic movement they all can’t be wrong. LOL, by that standard, numbers, can a billion Muslims be wrong? A billion Catholics? Yes, and yes. And yes that many Charismatic people can be wrong too.

Both the number of heated reactions and the number of people involved in this false movement are staggering. It opened my eyes once again to the unfortunate fact of the proportions in the bible. There are many who are on the broad road, there are few on the narrow. Apostasy is on the rise so fast it is staggering.

CARM.org defines apostasy as “the falling away from the Christian faith. It is a revolt against the truth of God’s word by a believer. It can also describe a group or church organization that has “fallen away” from the truths of Christianity as revealed in the Bible.”

The Charismatics who believe in the things they believe (as discussed at Strange Fire) have fallen away from the truths of Christianity as revealed in the bible. It is depressing to see how many are drawn away.

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,” (1 Timothy 4:1)

“But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3)

I was heartbroken to hear that half a billion people are drawn away from a sincere devotion to Christ and instead are pursuing ecstatic experiences that look and likely are demonic. In Dr MacArthur’s final sermon at the conference, which was Sunday morning, he said that no conference of that sort would be complete without addressing the likely end of people who defect from the faith, these defectors are the ones who don’t know they have defected and they plead with Jesus on His Day. Matthew 7:22 has it–

“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'”

And grievously, the Lord will send them away, saying they are evil workers of iniquity and He never knew them. MacArthur noted that the list of works they use to plead their case are the exact list that the Charismatics insist are a work of the Spirit today: prophesyings, (and visions) demon deliverance, and miracles. The Charismatic movement as described at Strange Fire is indicative of apostasy.

This rising apostasy reminded me of a famous Japanese woodblock print called The Great Wave.

Wikipedia explains, “The Great Wave off Kanagawa is a woodblock print by the Japanese artist Hokusai. An example of ukiyo-e art, it was published sometime between 1830 and 1833 (during the Edo Period). This particular woodblock is one of the most recognized works of Japanese art in the world. It depicts an enormous wave threatening boats near the Japanese prefecture of Kanagawa. While sometimes assumed to be a tsunami, the wave is, as the picture’s title notes, more likely to be a large okinami – literally “wave of the open sea.” (source)

The foam at the top of the wave look like claws, ready to devour the helpless rowers underneath. That is apostasy, the lion prowling with claws ready to devour the helpless and hapless. By its very nature, the Charismatic movement opens scripture to additions, and this make a shipwreck of people and their faith.

In his book Toward An Exegetical Theology, Walter Kaiser wrote 34 years ago,

It is no secret that Christ’s Church is not at all in good health in many places of the world. She has been languishing because she has been fed, as the current line has it, “junk food”; all kinds of artificial preservatives and all sorts of unnatural substitutes have been served up to her. As a result, theological and Biblical malnutrition has afflicted the very generation that has taken such giant steps to make sure its physical health is not damaged by using foods or products that are carcinogenic or otherwise harmful to their physical bodies. Simultaneously a worldwide spiritual famine resulting from the absence of any genuine publication of the Word of God continues to run wild and almost unabated in most quarters of the Church.

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. (Amos 8:11)

There will be a lot of good that will come from the conference, there always is with the Holy Spirit. Men were edified. Truth was taught. Praise and honor to the Lord was given. People clarified their positions, on both sides. And in a seemingly negative good is that it showed just how apostate so many really are. The Lord said that before He returns there will be a rebellion against the faith, a falling away from it.

“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

“I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8)

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.” (Luke 17:26).

The Lord WILL be glorified. With all the words that have been said and will be said, there is only one goal. Worship the Lord properly. Glorify Him in Spirit and in TRUTH.

“All the nations — and you made each one — will come and bow before you, Lord; they will praise your great and holy name. For you are great and perform great miracles. You alone are God.” (Psalm 86:9-10)