Posted in anointing, discernment, holy spirit, joseph prince, Joyce Meyer, power

We’ve gone from ministering and serving to releasing. Yes, words matter

Release the hounds!

The phrase ‘release the hounds’ comes from fox hunting. Photo source

Release the Kraken!

Release the Kraken! is a catchphrase and image macro series based on a memorable quote uttered by Zeus in the 1981 fantasy adventure film The Clash of the Titans as well as the 2010 3D remake. Despite the dramatic delivery of the line in the reboot, the quote was perceived as unintentionally funny and quickly became a target of image macro jokes on the web.

You’ve heard the word “release” applied to many different cultural contexts, above are two examples. The word ‘release’ has also been used more frequently these days in Christian situations. “Release” is a frequently used word. It is a very bad word in Christianity. I don’t like it.

Why? It isn’t used to say that prisoner Barabbas was released. It isn’t used to say that Paul was released from jail. It isn’t used in the Old Testament way to indicate a release from debt in the Sabbatical Year (Deut 15:1).

The word ‘release’ is used as a substitute for ministering or serving. When we minister or serve, we are under someone or under an authority. When we release, it means we have the power over something or someone. Here are some examples.

Compassion International has edited their mission statement to say, “our mission of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.”

What they are saying is that they have the power over poverty and the authority to release from it the people whom they choose, in this case, ‘children’. They are not saying they are serving or ministering to children in poverty. They are saying they have the power over poverty.

False teacher Joseph Prince preaches how to “release the anointing into your situation.”

Prince is slyly saying that we have an anointing but there is a trick to releasing it. Most false teachers strive to tell you some kind of secret or action or trick to releasing it. However, this mysterious anointing isn’t mysterious and it isn’t laying dormant until you learn the secret password to having power over it. The anointing is the Holy Spirit in us, and all Christians have the Spirit. (1 John 2:27, more here).

What Prince is saying is not that we submit to the Spirit, or minister in the Spirit, but that we can obtain a certain kind of power that we wield as we wish, for ourselves, into ourselves.

Word faith false prophetess Joyce Meyer tells us “What words you choose will reveal what you believe and release the power of that belief.”

She is not saying submit to Jesus in faith and belief, she is saying we have the power to choose certain words that have power in and of themselves, and moreover, these words can release certain powers over myself at my behest, timing, and choosing.

And so on. There is a big difference between ministering and releasing.

Do we have power to release anointings, blessings, beliefs, finances, health, cures, or anything else? No.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1)

Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:10b-11)

To suppose that we have any power on our own is unbiblical.

Now, some might argue that these teachers are not false, that they are saying we are releasing power that God grants us. Not so again. We are His servants … His slaves. Any power in us is from the Holy Spirit. We submit to that power. We serve that power. We minister in that power. God decides when and where His power in us is released, and to what degree. We do not decide when or how to use His power and certainly NOT for our own ends, like to get a bigger house, or a better parking space.

While the false teachers tell you that you have power over things, power enough to release “into your situations”, the truth is actually the opposite. The weaker we are, the stronger we are. God shows His power through weakness. Paul wrote,

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Be aware of the word ‘release’ and how it is used. It isn’t always used in unbiblical contexts. But more and more often, it is.

Posted in false teachers, jentezen franklin, joseph prince, mark driscoll, rick warren, vultures

Rick Warren on the lineup for Hillsong Conference 2015.

A friend on Facebook posted this today:

“Mark Driscoll is appearing at Hillsong along with Rick Warren, Jentezen Franklin, and Joseph Prince. Are you still wondering if there is a problem?”

I wasn’t sure what he was referring to but a 1 minute search on Google brought up the Hillsong Sydney 2015 conference:

Source

Why yes, there is definitely a problem. Each of these men pictured above who lead churches have demonstrated non-orthodoxy either with their conduct and/or their theology.

But first let’s start with the venue, Hillsong Church.

Erin Benziger sums up the issue with Hillsong in this way:

Hillsong Church has been the subject of criticism not just for its seeker-sensitive, pragmatic methods of ministry, but also for its promotion of a form of the false Word Faith gospel. It is not unusual, in fact, for Hillsong’s massive conferences to feature prominent Word Faith leaders such as T.D. Jakes and Joel Osteen. Below can be heard a critique of Brian Houston teaching earlier this year on the text of Matthew 7:13–14. This clearly demonstrates Houston’s ability to twist God’s Word beyond recognition:

And after the colon above there is a video demonstrating non-orthodox interpretations of the Matthew text.

Hillsong has also been the focus of financial scrutiny and official investigation.

Hillsong teaches word faith doctrines, prosperity gospels, and more. The church itself is not a solid church in that it can be said they consistently handle scripture incorrectly and teach unorthodox, non-evangelical teachings.

Todd Friel of Wretched Radio said, Be Careful of Hillsong. But he also said that if he was extended an invitation to go, would he go? He said if he was assured he could preach anything he wanted, and after telling the Hillsong organizers what he planned to preach if they still wanted him to come, he would. Why? Because Hillsong people need the Gospel. So are the preachers listed for the 2015 lineup solid preachers going with an intent to share the Gospel to a lost and wandering herd of sheep? No. Given the track record and long-term pattern of Franklin, Prince, Warren, and Driscoll, we cannot give that benefit of the doubt. Let’s take a look.

Joseph Prince is just purely, out and out, a false teacher. (source)

Rick Warren is a pragmatist, indeed, the description under his photo above lists him first and foremost as “a global strategist.” Warren is driven by fads and leads his church that way, prays to false gods, and fails to give the Gospel either totally, or at least clearly.

The issues with Mark Driscoll are so numerous they’d be impossible to list here on a short form, or even to list them all in one blog post. What I find most egregious about Driscoll’s unregenerate life are his demon trials, spiritual abuse, pornographic visions, plagiarism, and fiscal secrecy. To name just a very, very few.

There are problems with what Jentezen Franklin teaches and also with his approach to pastoring. In addition there are issues with who he associates with.

I posted the above about the men Hillsong has invited to their conference to show that is not about a wayward word-faith church trying to correct its course by inviting good men to preach, it is about an unregenerate church inviting unregenerate men to unite their rebellious hearts and minds in darkness.

To this end, a series of scriptures came to mind that to me seem linked.

False Christians are proactive in their self-delusion. The seek out and purposely find false teachers who preach a message that appeals to their craven hearts.

The false Christians with itching ears heap up teachers to themselves so their itching ears can be scratched. (2 Timothy 4:3)

And the false teachers are not innocent bystanders either. They do what they do because they are greedy. (2 Pet. 2:14, 1 Tim. 6:5).

And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:3)

Therefore, seeing an opportunity for dishonest gain, the false teachers and false prophets seek out and gather the false Christians with itching ears who are rushing toward them.

They meet.

And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” (Luke 17:37)

Now, the Luke verse and its parallel in Matthew 24:28 is a difficult one to exactly interpret. The context is the Tribulation. Jesus is preaching the signs of the times and the coming of the Kingdom. It cannot be specifically applied to a situation of false Christians heaping up false teachers who in turn exploit the false Christians who are happy to buy their false products and listen to their false message. The Expositor’s Greek Testament says of the vultures verse, “If we connect it with Matthew 24:27 the idea will be that Messiah’s judicial function will be as universal as His appearance (Meyer and Weiss).” That seems to be the general meaning.

But what I picture in my mind when envisioning such a conference as Hillsong 2015, is a lot of dead people being picked over by vultures.

Sermon Bible Commentary explains the parallel Matthew 24:28 verse:

The Law of Divine Judgment.

I. When a wild beast falls in the desert, or a beast of burden on the highway, there is no stir in the heavens [skies] for a time. But, far above human ken, the vulture is floating poised on his wings; and looking downwards his eye soon distinguishes the motionless thing—for he hunts by an eyesight unequalled in power among all living things, and like a stone he drops through miles of air. Others floating in the same upper region, see their brother’s descent and know its meaning. One dark speck after another grows swiftly from the horizon, and in a few minutes fifty vultures are round the carrion. That illustrates—and with astonishing power and sharpness—for the disciples had often witnessed such a scene—the suddenness, the usefulness and the necessity of judgment. Inevitable, swift, unerring, as the vulture’s descent on the carcase is the judgment-coming of the Son of Man to corrupt communities and corrupted men.

II. From all this we now infer the law of judgment. It is this: Wherever there is entire moral corruption then there is final punishment; wherever there is partial corruption, there is remedial punishment. God in His capacity as Governor of the world, as Educator of mankind, is bound to destroy corruption. It is necessary that the vultures should devour the carcase, lest it pollute the air and breed a pestilence. It is necessary that corrupted nations should be blotted out, lest they infect the world with evil which may delay the whole progress of mankind. And our own sense of justice goes with the destruction. Nor, when we are wise, do we think that such justice shows want of love. We know that the weak man who shrinks from exacting deserved punishment is often the most cruel when his own interests are touched; and we can trust ourselves in the hour of our trouble best to One whose justice we are so sure of, that we know that if our trouble was caused by wrong-doing He would make us feel that wrongness before He would relieve the trouble. S. A. Brooke, The Spirit of the Christian Life, p. 57.

It is hard to say who is more alive and who is more dead, this ever descending cycle of false Christians who are dead being the provision for the false teachers to feed on them, or the false teachers selling what the dead Christians want. It is hard to say where the vulture begins and their food ends or where the food begins and the vulture ends.

In Hosea 13:1 Hosea prophesies that Ephraim (Israel) used to be alive and exalted, “but he incurred guilt through Baal and died.

In the New Testament we read of a similarly tragic situation.

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. (Revelation 3:1)

They look alive. But they are dead. They live, move, and breathe, but they are DEAD. The word dead in the Revelation verse is nekros, “unresponsive to life-giving influences (opportunities); inoperative to the things of God.”

So we see that an entire bunch of people can gather, sing praises to God, move, worship, wave hands, applaud approvingly, and be dead tot he things of God.

labeled for reuse, source

And what do vultures do, but feed on the dead.

A warning to us all:

Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16)

Posted in false doctrine, joseph prince

False doctrine is like John Prine’s Bruised Orange lyric

A friend of mine recently asked me how my summer went. I said god and asked her about hers. She is a lady with whom I speak about Jesus quite often. She replied that she loves her summers so she can listen to sermons and study what the person said in it. I asked who she listened to and she said she loves Joyce Meyer, and Joseph Prince. “I love them!” she said.

Joseph Prince is a false teacher.

Joyce Meyer is a false teacher.

I went away mournful. I am also perplexed. I often speak of Jesus in my daily life, whether at work, or church, or at the store. I often speak of false doctrine and false teachers, specifically on my blog and in general at church. Sometimes if a specific situation comes up, I make an appointment and lay out specific concerns to my pastors or elders, and step back to prayerfully allow them to do their leading and pastoring regarding what I’ve shared.

But outside of church, I find it difficult to approach people one-on-one when confronted with a statement such as the one I was confronted with last week.

False teaching is a serious, serious issue. It is not one where we can step back and simply say, “Well, they have most of their faith right. I’ll stay quiet.”

If I do that, I am being disobedient. We know the bible warns us again and again that false teachers will come (2 Timothy 4:3-4, 1 John 4:1, Matthew 7:15, Galatians 1:6-9 …). We are commanded to do certain things about false teachers and their false doctrine, such as warn, test, rebuke, beware, resist, avoid. (Romans 16:17-18, Colossians 2:8, 1 Timothy 5:20, 2 John 1:10). This is because false doctrine kills, perverts, confuses, deceives, exploits, and destroys. (2 Timothy 4:3-4, 1 Timothy 4:1, Jude 1:4, 2 Peter 2:1, 2 Corinthians 11:13-14, 2 Peter 2:3…). The end for these teachers is cursing, darkest hell, and destruction. (Galatians 1:6-9, Jude 1:13, 2 Peter 2:3).

Dr John MacArthur says of the importance of warning of error, firstly that it will cost the person a lot of money. False teachers exploit the unwary with greed. The unwary ones will get caught up in false teachers telling them that if they give money they will receive health or wealth or prosperity. It’s crass, but it is true that the false teachers say this. More unfortunately it’s true that the desperate believe it and send check after check.

But even more importantly, MacArthur explained,

“People caught up in error are cut off from God’s blessing. God blesses obedience to the truth. The truth is everything. The most important thing in the universe is divine truth. And these people who hold a bible in their hand but are under false teachers are never led to the knowledge of the truth that produces the blessing.”

Therefore, how can I remain silent when a precious lady tells me she spends her long summer days ingesting poison? I cannot. She is in danger. I will prayerfully seek wisdom and counsel from my Holy Spirit, and ask Him to guide me into an opportune moment to share the truth with her. I don’t know her from church, so It will take special maneuvering to come alongside her again, but I must bow to the weight of glory and seek a chance to share with her that the danger of the hidden reefs is just as killing as the observable reefs.

I am reminded of a haunting and a sad song by John Prine. His song Bruised Orange recounts a tragedy that occurred long ago when songwriter and singer Prine was young.

Blogger Chimesfreedom recounted  the episode that affected Prine so much.

“The John Prine website quotes Prine explaining the inspiration for the opening lines of the song one day as he was driving to do his job shoveling snow at a church. Turns out one of the altar boys on his way to the Catholic church was walking down the train tracks. God only knows where his mind was, but a local commuter train come from behind and they had to put him in bushel baskets – what was left. I saw a group of mothers standing near the accident, not knowing whose boys it was. When they finally identified the boy, the mother broke down, and the other mothers consoled her with a great sense of relief.

Wikimedia commons

The relevant lyrics go thus:

Like a long ago Sunday when I walked through the alley,
On a cold winter’s morning to a church house,
Just to shovel some snow.

I heard sirens on the train track howl naked gettin’ nuder,
An altar boy’s been hit by a local commuter,
Just from walking with his back turned
To the train that was coming so slow.

False doctrine is like that. You could be ambling mindlessly along the tracks, lost in your own thoughts, your own world, and though the train is coming so slowly, and you could have escaped it. The slow train inexorably bears down on you with just as much killing potential as if it was a bullet train coming out of nowhere. And indeed, if you stay on that track, though the train of false doctrine is coming slowly, it will still kill you. You will be dead.

False doctrine is a tragedy because it is avoidable. You can see it coming. You can get off the track. But if  you fail to heed the warning signals, you will be dead. If you are lost in your thoughts and no one warns you of the coming disaster, you will be dead. That is why it is important to warn people about it. If you had seen that young boy on a cold winter’s morning so long ago, ambling down the tracks, would you have said, “Well, surely he will turn around and see the train in time. I’ll stay quiet and hope for the best”? Of course not. It is the same with false doctrine.

Speak up. Warn.

Wikimedia Commons