Posted in beth moore, colton burpo, joel osteen, kim walker smith, taking God's name in vain, third commandment

The Third Commandment: ways to take God’s name in vain you might not have thought of

Our glorious Lord Jesus Christ left His glory in heaven and came down to us. (Philippians 2:5-8). This was because of His great love for man and that He desired to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10).

To that end, our precious Christ lived among us us, lived among sin while not sinning Himself. He taught, He healed, He exorcised, He performed miracles. He discipled, He interceded, He obeyed the Father’s will.

Jesus spent all of His ministry hours, when not praying and rarely sleeping enough, to teach us. That is doctrine.

The word “doctrine” comes from the Greek word “didaskolos,” and it basically means “teaching.” It is used many times in the New Testament. Doctrine is extremely important in Christianity. By it we know who God is, what He has done, what the Trinity is, the deity of Christ, His resurrection, salvation, justification, etc. Doctrine is what defines the who’s and what’s of Christianity. In fact, you can’t be saved without doctrine. Rev. Matt Slick,

He did all this because He loved us. But beyond that, Jesus did it because He loves the Father, He was obeying the Father. Jesus at all times and in all moments sought the glory of the Father. (John 7:18). God’s glory was primary in the redemption plan.

Jesus’ work was to glorify the Father on earth. (John 7:14).

Now, having the right view of God is of utmost importance, beginning with Who He is. We cannot give Him the glory He deserves if we have a terribly flawed view of Him. One of the most basic ways we know Him is by His Name.

God protects His name. It is the name filled with all authority, all holiness, and when manifested on earth to be seen by men, filled with glory. So God made a commandment for us to never misuse His name. In Exodus 20 God commanded,

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7)

There are two things I’d like to look at regarding the name of God and its use today.

Colton Burpo, the boy who ‘went to heaven’ & whose experience is the basis
for the book Heaven is For Real, irreverently describing “God” as “really big”
and “looks like the archangel Gabriel.” source

Modern Christianity has trivialized God to the point where many see Him as a distant boyfriend, a prosperous ATM machine, an entertaining miracle maker, or a heavenly hospital. Man’s view of God has always been flawed (and it always will be to some degree, even in true Christians while we’re on earth, because we’re still flawed with sin) but even at that, taking utmost care not to misuse God’s name should be a primary focus in Christian life. After all, it is the third commandment! It all begins with how we use His name.

Names have power, they have authority, they mean something. What if your boss habitually mispronounces your name, wouldn’t that irk you? What if the Bureau of Motor Vehicles misspelled your name, isn’t that annoying? Even more, a misspelled name may have legal implications. When a relative insists on shortening the name of your child from Michael to Mike or from Elizabeth to Betsy, don’t you correct him?

Incident occurred in 1991.
Above CC photo from 2009

If we as puny humans fuss over the spelling or pronunciation of our name, how do you think God feels about His name? His is the highest name! (Philippians 2:9). The only name! (Acts 4:12)

Right, Swaggart’s blasphemy is especially egregious because he used the Lord’s name to make Him complicit in covering up Swaggart’s adultery and fornication.

Many people regularly violate the third commandment by taking God’s name in vain. They use it in a swear, they say ‘OMG’, they use it to show their amazement over an extra large ice cream cone. Trivial.

But that is not only what it means not to take God’s name in vain. In our Sunday School lesson last week, written by JD Greear and Trevin Wax, there are other ways to take God’s name one may not have considered. This is the first point. Taking God’s name in vain does not begin and end with ‘OMG’. Not by far. In the lesson Mr Greear and Mr Wax narrow in and focus on three other ways to take God’s name in vain:

1. Using God’s name flippantly
2. Using God’s name untruthfully
3. Using God’s name hypocritically

Left, In the preface, Moore says while she was writing the book God wouldn’t let her eat breakfast. Also, if she had not written the book the “rocks in my yard would have cried out”. So she said,”I entrust this message entirely to the One who delivered it while I sat bug-eyed.” p. xi.

I’d like to speak to #1, using God’s name flippantly. In the lesson the men spoke to the above, the often spoken OMG or swearing that has God’s name in it. However the authors also said, “Perhaps the danger we as Christians must be careful of is not cursing but trivializing God’s name by speaking of Him on too-familiar terms.” They advise against a careless approach to speaking of God.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28-29).

“Too-familiar” terms. That is surely an issue in this day and age. The fear of the Lord in believers is a bygone notion. It shouldn’t be.

I will use a real-life example of something Beth Moore recently said to show that she uses God’s name in vain, because she uses His name flippantly.

At a recent conference for women, Moore ended it by a usual method she employs in her performance, a call-and-response. She often tells the women attending to repeat after her. What is asked to be repeated are not usually bible verses but creeds and mottoes Moore has invented. Here is an example from the Unwrap the Bible Conference,

Be confident this great day  That your God has chosen you

Please understand that this kind of message is often spoken at her conferences and in her teaching. It is not just one instance one time, but a pattern of presuming to speak for God.

If we unpack this and apply it to the prohibition not to take the Lord’s name in vain, how can we reconcile a female teacher presuming to know that 11,000 women in attendance have been chosen by God? And worse, to tell them so, in God’s name?! What Moore is actually saying is that she knows God’s thoughts and she knows His plans- for each of the 11,000 women of whom she was speaking this creed with God’s name in it. We cannot say such things, and we should not! This is taking the Lord’s name in vain.

But there is a worse problem. Yes it is very bad for Beth Moore or Kim Smith or Jimmy Swaggart or Colton Burpo or any person to speak of God on too-familiar terms, imputing thoughts to Him He didn’t have, and relating doctrines He didn’t teach. Those are serious breaches of God’s law.

But it is a sin for the hearers, too.

This is point #2. We know the bible says that false teachers will have a condemnation upon them. (Jude 1:4). For all teachers (true and false) who teach the word, they are judged more strictly. (James 3:1). Again, it relates to God’s holy name not being taken in vain. But the hearers are also judged!

There are two scriptures I have in mind to show you this. First we turn to the familiar verse I mention often, in Revelation 2:20. This is where the Lord has something against the people in the church at Thyatira: they tolerated the false prophetess Jezebel and by their inaction allowed her to seduce His servants. The sin of inaction is still a sin.

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. (James 4:17).

However we go even further. We read in Leviticus 24:11,13-16a the following-

and the Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the Name, and cursed. Then they brought him to Moses. … Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Bring out of the camp the one who cursed, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. And speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death.

Notice the distinction in verse 11, the Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the Name and he cursed the Name. In the Hebrew the word for blaspheme used in this verse means “to utter a curse against, curse.” You might argue that Beth Moore and other false teachers don’t outright curse against God. You’re right, they don’t. However look at the second charge made against the woman’s son. He cursed. The Hebrew word used in this case means “to trivialize” or to be slight or swift about the Name. To lighten it.

The chief lesson to be learned from this incident and from the law here given is very plain. It is the high criminality in God’s sight of all irreverent use of His holy name… [failure to act] cannot but operate most fatally by breaking down in the public conscience that profound reverence toward God, which is the most essential condition of the maintenance of all private and public morality. ~William Robertson Nicoll, Expositor’s Bible, 1888

Kim Smith of Jesus Culture describing her vision of seeing
God the Father at a table making a clay heart for Kim. source

When Moore or other false teachers teach, they often empty out God’s name by trivializing it. They purport to speak for God. They relate dreams and retell things that God supposedly told them. They make pronouncements about His thoughts and intentions. They are casual about His holy name.

Now look at the penalty. The person who cursed His name is stoned. But why did the hearers who heard the cursing have to lay hands on the man’s head? Because they were transferring their guilt from themselves to the blasphemer. In the case of the cursing His name, not only the one who speaks it is guilty, but the hearers are too.

James Burton Coffman in his commentary on the Leviticus 24 verse said,

God’s concern here was to remove a spot of deadly infection from the body of the Chosen People. Harford called it a “purgative” action. If not eradicated, a cancerous condition of the kind associated with profane cursing would indeed have destroyed the whole nation. Men are no longer much concerned about such things, but the growth of the cancer has already corrupted a major portion of our present society.

That was Jesus’ charge to the congregation at Thyatira, they tolerated false pronouncements purported to be said in His name by a prophetess teaching falsely. They did NOT purge it out. (I wonder what Jesus will say to the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention when He brings up Beth Moore’s false prophecies and erroneous teaching…and that not only did they tolerate them but LifeWay made money off them…)

It is my opinion that the seriousness of taking the Lord’s name in vain is one important reason “not many of you should seek to be teachers” (James 3:1). To teach falsely is not just to teach error mixed with truth. It is also to

1. Use God’s name flippantly (Example, Beth Moore)
2. Use God’s name untruthfully (Example, Kim Smith)
3. Use God’s name hypocritically (Example, Jimmy Swaggart)

In remembering the Hebrews 12 verse, acceptable worship means remembering who He is, no matter how loving we feel toward Him, and no matter how boldly we come to the throne, (Hebrews 4:16), we must fear Him by worshiping in reverence and awe.

Now of course I am not agitating to re-institute lex talionis, an eye for an eye, the law of retaliation. Nor am I wanting to see false teachers stoned. Jesus will repay. He is well aware of the damage done in His holy name and He will perfectly and justly recompense all for their deeds. (Isaiah 59:18, Romans 2:6). This essay is about the importance of His holy Name and the various ways we take it in vain. Read Leviticus 24:10-16, and read Deuteronomy 17:1-7 to see how seriously God takes it when an idolater mishandles anything about Himself, and the guilt that is upon the hearers too.

In Deuteronomy God charged the people with the task of inquiring diligently when they hear of an idolatrous situation, and if found guilty, the laying on of hands again to “purge the evil from among your midst.” (Deuteronomy 17:7).  And in the New Testament, Revelation 2:20, the church at Thyatira…”I have this against you, that you tolerate…”

God is adamant that His name be used in truthful and honorable ways. ~Greear, Wax “The Gospel Project for Adults”

Posted in discernment, experiencing God, henry blackaby, kim walker smith, rick warren

Roots: False doctrines have a genealogy. Where did the ‘fresh encounter’ approach to worship come from?

All false doctrines have a genealogy. They share a family history, as it were. That’s why Catholicism, not being a Christian religion, shares a common genealogy with Buddhism and Islam and is outside the Christianity of Jesus Christ. Mormonism shares more with Hinduism and Wicca than with worshiping Christ.

The reason all false doctrines and false religions have a common family identity and share similar genealogical traits is because they all come from the same father: the father of lies, Satan. (John 8:44)

I read an article this morning which struck me. It also reminded me of a similar article published in 2011. The article from today is published in World Magazine, by Anthony Bradley in the Religion section. It is called “The ‘new legalism‘: How the push to be ‘radical’ and ‘missional’ discourages ordinary people in ordinary places from doing ordinary things to the glory of God“. I thought it had good things to say, pertinent and needed things. For example,

I continue to be amazed by the number of youth and young adults who are stressed and burnt out from the regular shaming and feelings of inadequacy if they happen to not be doing something unique and special. Today’s millennial generation is being fed the message that if they don’t do something extraordinary in this life they are wasting their gifts and potential. The sad result is that many young adults feel ashamed if they “settle” into ordinary jobs, get married early and start families, live in small towns, or as 1 Thessalonians 4:11 says, “aspire to live quietly, and to mind [their] affairs, and to work with [their] hands.” For too many millennials their greatest fear in this life is being an ordinary person with a non-glamorous job, living in the suburbs, and having nothing spectacular to boast about. Here are a few thoughts on how we got here.

My thoughts on how we got here differ some from the excellent Mr Bradley. Mr Bradley isn’t the first person to wonder about the ordinary Christianity we are all called to exhibit. Here is the essay published in 2011 that his essay made me think of. It is by Tommy Clayton at Grace To You.

An Unremarkable Faith
Meet Larry … Larry devotes himself to his wife and family, lovingly shepherding them through every season of life with the Scriptures. He’s faithful to his job and fellow colleagues. He’s managed to share Christ with nearly every junior-high teacher at Oakwood Academy. And although they mock Larry behind his back, all the teachers respect him. It won’t shock you to know Larry pays his taxes and never misses an opportunity to serve his community. Larry’s life commends the gospel. He’s faithful, but he’s unremarkable. Or, is he? If you’re bored with Larry’s Christianity, it’s probably because you’ve been influenced by a very different idea of the Christian life. Larry’s not radical, or wild at heart—not in the sense of taking careless risks, jeopardizing the stability of his family, or pursuing a life of adventure. You could say Larry is quite content with his station in life, a station given him by God. He aspires to live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. Sound familiar? There’s a stubborn and influential voice within evangelicalism that seems to despise simple yet unremarkable faithfulness.”

Where did this false notion of a breathless and adrenaline-rushed Christianity come from? Why are we like this now? I have some ideas I’d like to share for your consideration. Let’s take a backward walk through time, from now back to 1990. We will trace the roots of a false doctrine, the experiential approach to learning who God is, rather than the scripture approach to learning who God is. How did we get from the quiet, plodding, ordinary Christian of the latter part of the last century and the early part of this, learning week by week about Jesus and His attributes in a male-led Sunday School setting or a preacher expositing the word from the pulpit, to the adrenaline-rushed, heart-thumping, wild, life-altering Christianity of conferences and mega-churches complete with strobes and ‘awesome’ ear-splitting praise bands encountering God? This is a blurb from a conference held this past March in South Africa.

2014 Fire Starter Gathering
“It is that time of year again to bring everyone together to celebrate the amazing things God is doing around the country and into Africa! This year’s conference is going to be nothing short of incredible and we want to see all of you there! It is our prayer and desire that each person who comes to J-bay for conference this year would not only have 3 action-packed days of surf, fun, and fellowship but would also have a real, meaningful, perhaps life-altering encounter with the living God who loves them more than they could ever imagine! In 1992 God gave us a vision and we saw him move like a fire along the coastline. It started and spread like a WILD FIRE catching and growing as it moved along. JESUS WAS A FIRE STARTER. It may have been small and intimate in the hearts of a few disciples but it caught and raged all over the world. Our Conference is a gathering of people from across the nation and our goal is to encounter Jesus the “Fire Starter” and to leave the conference ignited and empowered to be a fire starters of his wild fire.”

I guess it’s sexier to be a “fire starter” than a “perseverer”. (1 Timothy 4:16, Hebrews 10:36). It sounds like a funner Christianity to have action packed days by the sea than it is to live quietly minding our own business (1 Thessalonians 4:11). And yes, I meant to say ‘funner’, a kindergarten word for kindergarten Christianity.

The Louis Giglio “Passion: 268 Generation” conferences for college aged students-only are another example of an adrenaline rush, movement-based (as opposed to Gospel based), encounter oriented radical-in-its-approach type of conferences and emotions pumping all the while. This blogger summed it up, “Passion worship is very different from the biblical understanding of worship described above, for it is based in a culture of rock music and psychedelic lighting that produces a spirit of revelry.”

A spirit of revelry is quite different from worshiping in Spirit and in truth. Yet annually, and since 2008, internationally, tens of thousands of students at a time gather to pump their bodies to acoustically injurious rock ‘Christian’ music, and listen to contemplative, Gospel watered down speeches at Passion conferences. Cutting youths from the herd of the local church AND the family was a stroke of genius. (NO adults are allowed, except their one accompanying youth pastor. Not even parents.)

Whipping impressionable young people up into emotional frenzies over cultural and societal ills (not Gospel-ills) and stationing ATMs so they can donate to these causes makes them feel like they are doing something for the cause of Christ. As a matter of fact, the motto of Passion last year was “Do something.” Then they are told they “encountered God.”

The blogger is right: Passion Conference is a club atmosphere paving the way for drugs, ecstatic experience, and godlessness. When the Conference began in 1997, and I have not researched this, I am almost sure it wasn’t as blasphemous and godless as it is now. But the slide, it’s inexorable.

Kim Walker Smith of Jesus Culture, the “Christian” rock band who played at the Awakening conference in 2011, said she has encounters frequently with Jesus. In this one from which the quote was extracted, she was in the presence of Jesus for an extended time, “he” cuddled her on his lap, and they spoke face to face. Note that she says it isn’t normal, but she lives from one until the next one. If it happens frequently enough so that the next one always comes, then they are normal for her, no matter how much she denies.

This is not a normal thing for me to just have these encounters, but I have one and I just live off of that until the next one (laughs). ~Kim Smith

Speaking of 1997, or more specifically 1998, going back in time, we read Pastor Rick Warren’s thoughts on how he approaches worship at his church. It is eerily similar to Mrs Smith’s encounter to encounter with Jesus. The Baptist Press interviewed Warren in 1998, when Warren was riding high on his recently published Purpose Driven Church (1995). His quote typifies the encounter to encounter, surfing the waves of adrenaline approach to Christian life rather than persevering quietly, sacrificially, and secretly. The article is (tellingly) titled, “Rick Warren: Surfing skills critical to ‘catching waves’ of God’s activity

We’re just a church that tries to look for waves, and we ride them. And then we try to do it with balance. ~Rick Warren

Yoda would say “Do. Or do not. There is no try”. See, the problem with balancing on invisible surfboards and looking for waves is that it is easy to be fooled. It is easy to misinterpret what you are seeing. Ask any mariner on 2 AM watch looking for a 3 second light on a bobbing buoy, or any desert traveler looking for an oasis. Warren’s answer to church leading and worshiping should have been, “we stand on God’s word and live by it.”

Let’s get to the crux of the matter. In 1990, Henry Blackaby published his seminal “Experiencing God” book. There is much to commend the book and much that is biblical. There are some things that are not biblical. Given today’s standards of visions and encounters and Gumby Jesus’s and Hearing Voices and Prophetic Words and Charismatic outpourings, Blackaby’s Experiencing God seems tame. It is tame. But sin is crouching at the door, it desires to have us. (Genesis 4:7). Give satan an inch and he thinks he’s a ruler.

The sin in Blackaby’s approach was shifting from the all-sufficient word to a mix of the word and the personal encounter, then called “experience.” He advised worshipers to listen for God’s voice. This advice might not seem remarkable now, but back then, coming from a credible and respected conservative Southern Baptist, it opened the floodgates.

Blackaby said in his 1990 book, “You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.” Blackaby said “watch where God is at work and join Him (Chapter 6). “Once you know where He is working, you can adjust your life to join Him” (72).

Are there places God isn’t working? Psalm 139:7-8 says no. As far as the advice goes that we come to know God by experience, nothing could be further than the truth. We come to know God by His revelation to us. As least I don’t come to know God that way. I certainly don’t. And neither did Peter who had an encounter with Jesus as incarnated God, and said, don’t rely on experience but rely on the word. (2 Peter 1:19)

Oh, the polluted doctrinal water didn’t flood in to churches right away, weakening our resolve of sola scriptura, and leading us away from the solidity of the stance that scripture is sufficient. But one can see over time, how his crack in the dam weakened it. The dam being the strong tower of God’s word and His word alone. As the dam has let go in this new millennium and rushing waters roil over churches, we have Christian surfers, living off one vision to another, pumping fists and bodies at hormonal Passion revelries conferences, looking for the next missional thing to get ignited about and so we can be ready for a life-altering experience.

In addition to the floodgates of “experience” (encounters) reigning supreme over the word thanks to Blackaby’s study, we also have this, published by Stand To Reason. When one unhitches one’s self from the solidity of persuasion by Gospel and the confirmation of Who Christ is by His words, where does one go to seek confirmation? We look for something else to persuade us.

Our Culture Persuades and Is Persuaded Not by Reason, but by Advertising
I came across a post written last year by Alastair Roberts, and though it’s specifically about how Rob Bell (and other postmodern Christians) seek to persuade others, the insight he has into Rob Bell’s style applies to a great number of people in our culture, and not just in the area of religion:

The ad man doesn’t persuade his customer by making a carefully reasoned and developed argument, but by subtly deflecting objections, evoking feelings and impressions, and directing those feelings and harnessing those impressions in a way that serves his interests. Where the lawyer argues, the ad man massages….

If you listen for it, you’ll hear it—people using words as ideological tools to paint emotional images rather than to communicate objective truth, choosing those words according to their emotional connotations rather than their accurate representation of reality

Emotions drive encounters and encounters drive emotions and within that tight little circle, truth is squeezed out. There is no room for it.

So the question I opened with, ‘How did we get from the quiet, plodding, ordinary Christian of the latter part of the last century and the early part of this, learning week by week about Jesus and His attributes in a male-led Sunday School setting or from a preacher expositing the word from the pulpit, to the adrenaline-rushed, heart-thumping, wild, radical life-altering Christianity of conferences and mega-churches complete with strobes and ‘awesome’ ear-splitting praise bands all so they can encounter God? In my opinion … Henry Blackaby.

It doesn’t begin with him, certainly. False doctrines and lying approaches to the word of God go all the way back to the Garden. But the latest iteration of sin crouching at the door of ‘experience’ being more sure than the word began in my opinion in 1990 with a credible Baptist urging people to look for God and listen to Him and wander off into encounters and believe you’re getting closer to Him. Bible not needed. Just look for where God is working and surf on over there and join the adrenaline-rushing fun.

To all those seeking a “fresh encounter” with God, I ask you, WHEN DID HE GO STALE?!?! Your encounters, like Beth Moore’s Sabbath play date with Jesus where she and Him had a blast, are just that, fleshly experiences which may or may not be fruit bearing activities pleasing to God. It’s why we will have our experiences and activities placed on the reward scales and some of it will be burned as hay, wood, and stubble. If we could tell ahead of time if all our encounters and experiences are worthy of God and acceptable to Him, I guess we wouldn’t need a Bema seat judgment ceremony, would we?

That’s why the Word is more sure.


Further reading:

Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God—A Critique, (1999)

False Prophets and Lying Wonders

Coming Up: Following God’s Will (in which the Blackaby approach to Godly decision making is called the mystical approach)

Non Sola Scriptura: the Blackaby view of God’s will
In which Phil Johnson commented that “Blackaby has found a way to let Southern Baptists have Charismatic mysticism without glossolalia.”

Posted in discernment, false, gnostic, heresy, jesus culture, kim walker smith, passion 2013

Part 1- Discerning a Gnostic conference called "Passion 2013," Jesus Culture and Kim Walker-Smith

A major ‘Christian’ conference at the Georgia Dome was just concluded this week. It was called Passion 2013 and 60,000 youths attended.

Joining founder and leader Louie Giglio at the conference were the band Jesus Culture, Judah Smith, Chris Tomlin, Lecrae, Francis Chan, John Piper and Beth Moore, plus several other speakers and singers.

As with any large “movement”, or sellout venue that says it features Jesus as its centerpiece, we wish to rejoice. Our hearts want revival. We want to see many come to know Jesus to the salvation of their souls. We love to praise Him in large numbers. But being a discerning Berean, I know that the bible says that the end time will be rife with false movements, false Jesuses being proclaimed and that they will not endure sound doctrine and will heap up teachers to themselves who tell them what they want to hear. So where does Passion 2013 stand in terms of doctrinal purity, safe  absorption of its proclamations and general joy in corporate praise?

Sorely lacking.

The alert-meter is off the charts on this one and I am sad to say that from the many hours I’ve invested in listening to what came out of it I have more tears than applause. I will write a series of blog entries addressing some of the major speakers and singers doctrines. I do this so that we can be warned and so that we can begin a rescue operation toward those whom we know who attended or who are influenced by these people. I do this because I love the Jesus of the bible as He has revealed Himself- not as the one experienced by others in visions and signs. I do this because I love my brothers and sisters and do not want to see them stumble over this obstruction satan has put in their way.

Which Jesus was preached at Passion 2013? Let’s find out by looking at what its participants said at the conference and prior in other venues. So who are these people? Let’s begin by looking at a band called “Jesus Culture”

Source Do Not Be Surprised via Twitter/Giglio

In my first essay reacting to what was taught at Passion 2013, I want to take a look at Jesus Culture’s lead singer, Kim Walker-Smith. After that in subsequent entries I’ll look at Louie Giglio and Judah Smith before concluding.

Kim Walker-Smith [Notice her hyphenated name, and read Genesis 2:24] is a part of the Jesus Culture Band. She is part of a home church called Bethel Church in Redding CA. Smith is a worship leader and/or a “worship pastor” at that same church, which teaches heresies. On her church page she is listed as as “a passionate worship leader with an anointing to bring an entire generation into an encounter with God.” I’m impressed. The Apostles didn’t even have such an anointing.

At a conference called ‘Awakening 2011’ Smith shared with the audience a vision she said she had. It was an experience of cuddling with Jesus, and God was nearby too. She said her vision buoyed her and she lives off it, explaining, “I live off of the encounter … until the next one.” Yet the bible says “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4). This means we don’t live just in the flesh and for the flesh (having adrenaline rushed encounters) but we live by His word.

The problem that comes from living from encounter to encounter is three-fold: first, we live by His word as the bible commands, not by experiences. Second, human nature requires ever bigger rushes. The last one has to be topped. It is the Law of Diminishing returns for an adrenaline junkie. Adrenaline junkies seek encounters or experiences in which a high is produced by epinephrine released by the adrenal gland. It produces a fight-or-flight response (one which Ms Smith admits she felt during each of the encounters she described). The problem is that each ‘high’ has to be succeeded by one with more oomph in order to achieve the same effect. It seems like it would be an upward spiral but it is really a downward one. Third, what happens when the encounters stop? They do and they will. After each high, there is a low. What will sustain her faith then? If you live by the word, it will never pass away. (Matthew 24:35).

Here is a bit of what Mrs Smith said regarding her encounter with Jesus and God:

“This is not a normal thing for me, to have these encounters.” But then later she said “I live off of the encounter … until the next one.” We know from the bible that several righteous men encountered Jesus as He is glorified, but they are few. Few. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Paul, and John were lifted up and saw Him in heaven. Of those four, three were allowed to relate a small bit of what they saw and Paul was commanded not to speak of it at all. Peter saw a transfigured Christ on earth, Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus and Moses encountered God atop Mt Sinai.

In comparing her experience with the ones above from the bible, the two experiences are dramatically different. I’ll summarize what Mrs Walker-Smith has said in her video testimony. Then we will compare her experience to those who experienced God from the bible’s record:

In her vision, she said she saw Jesus and God behind Him. God beckoned for her to come closer. When she did, two questions popped into her mind that she wanted to ask Jesus. One was “How much do you love me, and the other was “What were you thinking when you created me?”

In answering her question as to how much Jesus loved her, Smith said he started stretching out his arms, and it looked like Stretch Armstrong, the superhero cartoon character “whose arms and legs could stretch out like spaghetti noodles. And He’s laughing hysterically.”

A person entering the presence of God and Jesus would become immediately insensate & insensible. But Mrs Smith remained conscious enough in her own flesh to ask Jesus to ‘tell me about me.’ Then she likens him to a cartoon character, and says he laughed hysterically. Hysterical laughter is out-of-control laughter, and Jesus is never out of control.

The bible tells us that if you were one of the FEW men to have seen heaven while still alive that what you see is unlawful to express. (2 Corinthians 12:4). But if directed to tell, the visionary must use many symbols and metaphors to try and get the point across because the scene is so incomprehensible. The writer uses exalted metaphors to convey the inexpressible beauty and holiness of the scene. The writers did not use everyday toys and cartoon characters to convey the scene, in no way is that appropriate. The metaphors themselves that John or Ezekiel used for example were ‘hair white like wool, eyes like a flame, feet like bronze’, (Revelation 1) ‘a brightness all around Him…like a bow in the sky.’ (Ezekiel 1:27-28).

After Daniel’s visions of the Ancient of Days, he became “distressed, alarmed and dismayed.” (Daniel 7:15). That sounds bad enough, but the Hebrew says the word alarmed means active suffering and piercing grief. (Strong’s). Yet in Mrs Smith’s visions she giggled like a schoolgirl and cuddled in Jesus’ arms while God roamed around nearby.

Mrs Smith said that she had wanted to ask Jesus two questions but in that first vision had only asked one. She continued in her sharing of her now second vision in which the unasked question was answered: “What were you thinking when you made me”. She said that a few months later she was watching the sun come up early in the morning. “I like to watch the sun come up, which is a miracle in itself … because I am not a morning person.” Oh wait, I thought she was going to praise the creator.

“Again, I felt the presence of the Lord, and I felt like He wanted me to ask that question. Jesus is like, ‘Please, please ask me that question.’ And again he said, ‘Please, please ask me that question.”

The scene she describes here is of a begging Jesus. It continues:

Smith said she’s now standing with Jesus. In front of her is God the father. Jesus’s got a table, and He reaches into His body and clutches his heart and rips a chunk off His heart and throws it on the table… he fashions her out of a clay or play-dough like substance, puts her into a ballerina music box where she begins dancing, and then Jesus begins shouting “who hooooo” while running around with his arms up, continually going around, “woo hoo!” in circles, running around a bunch of times. Smith said he looked like a jack in the box.

“Then I’m in the palm of the Father’s hand…and I see His heart and the outline of his heart and the outline is the chunk he ripped out and he slides me into His heart like a puzzle piece and it’s a perfect fit. Smith said Jesus told her, “I made you because you make me happy.”

A few days ago, I wrote about the Therapeutic Gospel. I noted how the Gnostic changes the emphasis of the Gospel from the work of Jesus to our own worth. I’d said:

The Therapeutic Gospel does something else that’s devastating. It leads us to believe that it is our worth that motivates God’s action to save us. The thinking is, Jesus came to save us because we are so valuable to God. … A good example comes from comparing two parables.
Pastor Wax compares the subtle shift in a counterfeit Gospel from being Christ-centered to man-centered, by comparing the parable of the sheep as they are presented in Luke and in the false Gospel of Thomas. Here is the Gospel of Luke:

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:4-7)

The other is from the non-canonical, false Gospel of Thomas.

“Jesus said, “The kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the ninety-nine sheep and looked for that one until he found it. When he had gone to such trouble, he said to the sheep, ‘I care for you more than the ninety-nine.'” (FALSE, NON-CANONICAL “Gospel of Thomas”)

What has happened here, said Pr. Wax, is that in the counterfeit Gnostic gospel the point of the parable in the counterfeit is about the worth of the sheep, instead of the work of the Shepherd.

Jesus did not create us because it made Him happy. He made humans so as to bring HIM glory. (Romans 11:36). Do you see the exact Gnostic emphasis that is present in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas is also in Smith’s vision? It was the worth of Kim Walker-Smith that caused Jesus to make her? And in so doing brought Jesus a measure of happiness he had not had before?

This is not possible. It does not line up with the scriptures and if it does not line up with scripture, it is false.

In looking at the biblical record of people who were lifted to heaven or saw Jesus glorified, we compare their reactions with Kim Walker-Smith’s. For example, Isaiah-

Isaiah said, “And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5)

“Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.” (Ezekiel 1:28b)

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.” (Revelation 1:17). The Greek word “dead” in that verse means literally ‘one that has breathed his last, lifeless‘.

The point is, when men encounter the Christ in all His glory, you become insensate with fear and dumb in the face of His holiness. Even the ones who encountered Him in human form prior to His appearing (Hagar, Jacob, for ex.) were relieved they did not drop down dead. After Hagar’s encounter with Him, she asked (in the Hebrew), “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” Of Jacob, it is written, “So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” (Genesis 32:30)

Just seeing His light, never mind His glorified holy body, caused Paul to fall straight to the ground (Acts 9:3). In Exodus 34:30 the people saw the shining visage of Moses of the glory of God reflected on his face and they were so afraid that Moses had to put a veil over it. The bible consistently records that the first and only reaction of these people who had direct and indirect encounters with God were that they were: a. terrified and b. struck dumb as if dead. So what are we to think of Mrs Smith’s encounter where she cuddled, talked about herself and learned that Jesus wasn’t happy before He made her?

It varies completely from all biblical records of anyone who directly or indirectly encountered the holiness of God. Therefore is it only logical to conclude that her visions are false.

We have become so inured to the notion of sin and by contrast His holiness, that we accept a ridiculous story such as Mrs Smith’s as inspiring or uplifting.

The problem with destructive heresies are that many are brought secretly. 2 Peter 2:1 says

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”

Mrs Smith isn’t saying outright that “I deny the Master.” That is not how false teachers work. Don’t expect the most subtle creature in the garden to cause his minions to outright deny the Master. How she does it is that in her vision description, she is denying the Master by telling us that we can expect encounters like these and that we live off them. She is denying the Master because He is the Word, not the experience– but she exalts the experience and not the Word. The word confirms the word, (2 Timothy 3:16) the experience does not confirm the word. (2 Peter 1:19). If in that verse Peter wouldn’t even use his experience to confirm a truth nor would Paul (2 Corinthians 12:6) then what are we to say of Mrs Smith? Everything she does and says implicitly and explicitly denies the sufficiency of Scripture- and that denies the Master.

Additionally, the heresies she holds in her heart are secret because of 2 Timothy 3:5. Outwardly the Jesus Culture songs appear to have a form of godliness via their lyrics, but they deny God’s power by being sung from a heart that does not rest on the knowledge of this same Jesus we know through His word. If you hadn’t googled about her and watched this testimony of her vision, you would think that the song I linked to above, “Where you go I’ll go” was good. Its outward form of godliness seems OK but inwardly there is a ravenous wolf waiting to spring. That wolf is the exaltation of personal experience as a validation of the word to the exclusion of the word itself by the person who wrote it and sings it. The filter of flesh that the song comes from has been polluted with leaven.

Jesus said, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ (Matthew 15:18)

In 2011 John MacArthur preached about the Modern Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. He was not referring specifically to Smith and Jesus Culture, and their songs but was in general preaching against the incorrect attribution of things of satan to the Spirit. There are too many false visions and signs plaguing the church today.

MacArthur said

“…and mostly this comes in the professing church from Pentecostals and Charismatics who feel they have free license to abuse the Holy Spirit and even blaspheme His holy name. And they do it constantly. How do they do it? By attributing to the Holy Spirit words that He didn’t say, deeds that He didn’t do, and experiences that He didn’t produce, attributing to the Holy Spirit that which is not the work of the Holy Spirit. Endless human experiences, emotional experiences, bizarre experiences and demonic experiences are said to come from the Holy Spirit…visions, revelations, voices from heaven, messages from the Spirit through transcendental means, dreams, speaking in tongues, prophecies, out of body experiences, trips to heaven, anointings, miracles. All false, all lies, all deceptions attributed falsely to the Holy Spirit.”

Satan is alive and well and the work of Satan is being attributed to the Holy Spirit, that is a serious blasphemy just as attributing to Satan the work of the Holy Spirit is a serious blasphemy.”

The tongue corrupts the whole person.

“The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:6)

Like any invasive species, the invasion is first undetectable (secretly brought in). For example, zebra mussels. The invasive species may attach to a large container ship which appears mighty and powerful but undetected the mussel colony grows and eventually the prop and the rudder will be frozen in a mass of mussels as solid as cement.

Before you know it, your pipe or prop is clogged and the water will not flow. If the living water does not flow, the machine or the organism it’s attached to dies.

Paul used the metaphor of gangrene, and Jesus used the example of leaven spoiling the whole loaf and the tares choking out the wheat. In all cases, the invading organism chokes off the life supply of the home organism and the home organism dies.

Are you getting my theme? Untreated false leaven brings death.

That is what accepting a song does that’s written from a heart that obviously does not understand who Jesus is. It may seem innocuous to the church body but it is in actuality brought by an invading organism bent on your destruction. It is not just a song like a tare is not just a tare.

The heartbreak is that people like the folks in Jesus Culture are probably not cackling vultures twirling their mustaches like Snidely Whiplash in back rooms and applauding their satanic success. They may not even know they are bringing destructive heresies. They are like the container ship that under its waterline had some zebra mussels clinging to it, unbenownst to them. “Human beings who pro­mote paganism, the occult, and various other ungodly and immoral movements and programs are but the dupes of Satan and his demons. They are trapped by their sins and weaknesses into unwittingly helping to fulfill his schemes.” (source)

But if they go too far down this path, extricating them will be a hard go. They will be trapped. Here is what you need to do, as do I:

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-3)

On a personal note, I found this entire exercise difficult. I watched hours of the conference at Passion, read reactions to it and  listened to interviews. It is hard to see so many of our children being drawn away. It physically hurts. My laptop is covered in tears. I take no glee in bringing this message out. All those youths and youth pastors and speakers and bands need rescuing. They need to be rescued, cared for back in the doctrinally sanitary hospital of their home church, but the sanitation of each home church is increasingly compromised these days. I fear for those kids and I mourn the blasphemies done to the Spirit when calling the devil’s work His work.

I look at the photo above of the 60,000 in attendance and I faint at the knowledge at how insidiously satan has infiltrated poisonous leaven into our churches via the youth. Each youth and youth pastor and person attending carries back to their home church (if they have one) a tiny zebra mussel nestled in their bilge, waiting to multiply and then choke the flow of water through the veins of the church.

I plan a few more blog entries reacting to the Passion 2013 conference. One will focus on Louie Giglio. Another on Judah Smith and also be a summary conclusion. Pray that eyes will be opened to the heresies and blasphemies being done to our precious Jesus and in the name of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is more powerful than satan and His Holy Spirit destroys strongholds! Pray, people!

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)


Part 2: Discerning a Gnostic conference called “Passion 2013,” Louie Giglio 
Part 3: Conclusion