There are so many subjects I have on deck to write and discuss. But today this subject bumped them all away and made it to the top of the list.
I know he is the kind of man who would be excessively embarrassed at having a blog entry devoted to him, even from an obscure woman in a lonely corner of the internet like myself. He is a humble man, and totally devoted to praising Jesus, all the time. But that is why I want to highlight this man and his ministry. That, and something that happened yesterday which has already blessed many people.
Regular readers of this blog know that I enjoy John MacArthur’s preaching tremendously. He is a grace-filled, steady, wise man of God, and he has been for 50 years. His over 3000 sermons are available for free, in audio or transcribed. His study bibles and commentaries are wonderful, his devotionals are helpful, his Radio Ministry wide-spread, his books are invariably full of wisdom, and his Master’s Seminary sow solidly doctrinal men of God into the world. I believe he is the Spurgeon of our day.
Speaking of Spurgeon, we all owe him a great debt. I frequently quote him on this blog. His exposition lines my heart, having read many of his sermons. I read at least a sermon, a sermon excerpt, or devotional of his every day. For months at a time, Spurgeon preached 12 sermons a week. You heard me. He preached at the royal courts of the Dutch monarchs and the Royals of England, and he preached to the homeless warming themselves in his boiler room. His sermons were printed one per week for over thirty years. He is called the Prince of Preachers and rightly so. You’ve undoubtedly heard of Spurgeon and will hear more about him in an upcoming blog entry here.
Regular readers also know I enjoy the sermons of Phil Johnson, Steve Lawson, Don Green, and especially S. Lewis Johnson and Martyn Lloyd Jones.
The key here is that MacArthur, Spurgeon, Phil Johnson, Steve Lawson, Don Green, S. Lewis Johnson, and Martyn Lloyd Jones are or were all expositors, preaching to one congregation they pastored verse-by-verse. These men are given double honor by me. Pastoring is hard, heartbreaking work. Expositional preaching is out of favor now. Long-term pastorates like the ones these men enjoy are nearly extinct.
“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” (1 Timothy 5:17)
But there are there preachers out there without regular pastorate. Paul Washer is an itinerant missionary. Tony Miano is a street preacher. Ray Comfort and Todd Friel are …well, lol, I don’t know what to call those fine men except faithful to be out among the people reaching many with the Gospel.
Justin Peters is a pastor without a church as far as I know, but he is also another of these faithful men of God being used in a mighty way. Pr. Peters has two seminary degrees and is ordained. He preaches on call, he fills pulpits, he leads teaching conferences, and he does apologetics. His niche is a discernment ministry focused on Word-Faith lies.
Pastor Peters is kind, compassionate, humble, gentle, sensitive to the grace of God, wise, and kind. I know I said kind twice. I want to highlight it.
Being in a discernment ministry for so many years, leading seminars on how to detect lies in false doctrine, means Pr Peters must be involved in negativity for long stretches. He studies the word, of course, intensively, but then he must go out and attend a revival, or a charismatic conference, or a prophetic outpouring, and be among false teachers and listen to lies, in order to be able to refute. It is a muddy, dirty, potentially defeating business.
Even if one maintains one’s nose above the muck, many discernment ministers tend to become snarky, or caustic and sarcastic, or just plain arrogant. When men fall into those discernment sins it’s not because they aren’t earnest and they are usually right, but the attitude infiltrating a discernment minister’s mind and heart can often become less than graceful. Sarcasm, snark, caustic comments, derision, contempt, and scorn often accompany discernment. I combat that myself all the time. It is born of a righteous anger, but it degenerates into something that sometimes can come out as less than righteous.
It is only by clinging severely to the grace of God that one can swim in such dark waters for so many years, and yet remain humble and filled with compassion, and still declare the beauty of the Gospel with clarity and simplicity, like Pr. Peters has.
His ministry not only teaches us in apologetics how and why the Word-Faith or other doctrines are false, and in so doing, teaches how to be discerning in general, but his very example is a testament to the ample ability the Holy Spirit has to enrich a ministry while protecting a soul.
What happened yesterday is an example of how these diligent men of God, especially the ones not in front of a congregation that are seen by many, go about their work declaring the word of the Lord. They protect the sheep. They confront sin and sinners in love and with hope and prayer they will repent.
Todd Bentley is a charismatic “preacher” known for being rough, looking rough, and speaking rough.
His “healing” services have included kicking a 4th stage cancer patient in the stomach, and kneeing an elderly woman. He is covered in tattoos, many of them obtained after his “conversion.” He preaches healing if you have enough faith- AND if you sow a seed into his ministry. He is a false preacher of God, employed firmly in satan’s camp. Yet he is big in the US and bigger overseas. Bentley is deceiving many. He brings shame and reproach onto Jesus’ name. Bentley made the mistake of preaching near where Justin Peters lives.
Peters, who has cerebral palsy and walks with a large crutch, or moves in a wheelchair, went with his friend Michael Miller to hear Bentley ‘preach’ in Tulsa. Peters is well familiar with charismatic events, attending many himself in search of healing when he was a youth, and attending as a mature Christian in order to observe and learn. He and Miller had asked for prayer prior to attending Bentley’s service. This was the prayer request on Peters’ Facebook ministry page, from Mike Miller:
Brothers and sisters in Christ, I would ask for your earnest prayers for Justin and I tomorrow. We need boldness to present the truth in love with precision, Divine encounters, wisdom and to put it frankly, we are in great need of every sort of grace. No details yet but the Lord knows where we are going, and He knows how much I appreciate your prayers! We definitely need them! More info later. Grace and peace, Mike
The response of the faithful to this precious pastor and his friend was huge, and thus bathed in prayer, the pair drove from Oklahoma City to Bentley’s Tulsa “Healing and Debt Cancellation Service.” I am not kidding about the title. The service was live streamed internationally, which turned out to be a blessing for Peters. Miller was also video recording Peters’ interaction. Peters is in the cammo cap.
There Miller and Peters sat for two and a half hours, listening, praying, seeking an opportunity to speak to Bentley and also on behalf of the unwittingly deluded congregation. There was music playing constantly, and Bentley was constantly talking. It was difficult to know when to speak. Yet Peters’ conscience would not let him remain silent. Pastor Peters recounted his experience on the JD Hall Show and it is archived at sermon audio- the link is below. I encourage you to listen. Hall for the most part simply lets Peters explain what happened before, during, and after the event.
Suddenly for some reason the music stopped. Peters knew this was the moment. He got up and said out loud, “I have a word.” Peters said that at Charismatic services when someone says they have a word they always stop what they are doing and eagerly listen to man’s word. However as proof is shown in a moment, they are not always so eager to listen to God’s word. Peters then recited Matthew 7:21-23.
““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
Bentley looked confused for a moment, Peters said later, and asked Peters, “Who…who is the worker of iniquity?” Peters looked Bentley in the eye and said,
There was a split second of shock that went through Bentley and the audience. As one biblically wise person on Peters Facebook page said, it was a moment like when Nathan the Prophet rebuked David the King in 2 Samuel 12:1-15. In verse 7, “Nathan said to David, “You are the man!“
In the next second, Bentley whirled, took the microphone from Peters, muscle men leaped in to physically remove Peters, and Bentley cued the music again. The muscle men attempted to remove Peters, who was not resisting, by arm, but he has crutches attached at his elbows and if you move his arm, he’ll fall. At one point Bentley moved in to take hold of Peters, but Peters said he did not want Bentley to touch him. Peters instinctively raised his hand a bit to stop the touch. It was then that Bentley said loudly “Don’t you hit me with your crutch!”
This is ironic given that Bentley is a large, burly man and Peters is weak and unsteady.
|Left, Peters with his crutch in his motorized scooter, Bentley on rt.|
Peters continued to preach as he was hustled up the aisle and out the door, reminding the assembled that Bentley is a divorced man, having abandoned his handicapped wife and children. Peters advised them they were being deceived by a wolf. Though Peters and Miller left immediately when told, the Bentley team still called the police on them. The blessing was that the event was live streamed as I mentioned. This means that Peters’ preaching of the Matthew verse and the ensuing activity was broadcast live around the world.
Here is Miller’s thank you for the prayers.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, thank you for your prayers. The Lord graciously gave brother Justin an opportunity to publicly and personally call a false teacher out on a live streaming broadcast in front of a congregation, and Justin gave the false prophet a true “word” from God reading Matthew 7:21-23.
Justin asked me to be discreet about this lest he receive any acclaim which should only go to the Lord. God is the one that made this public rebuke possible, and who protected us. Soli Deo Gloria. So I am not going to post the video or give details, but I did want to thank you for your prayers because this situation would not have occurred without the gracious provision of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of God’s people.
Yes, they did remove Justin from the premises under force, and they did call the cops on us, but no harm was done. We did get to testify to quite a few people about this false prophet and warn them, and we got to sow the true Gospel of Jesus Christ in this heretical church. Please pray that God will have mercy on these people and save them from a very dark deception. The ones we talked to were willingly ignorant and unwilling to listen to any truth for more than a few seconds. Grace and peace to you all. Sincerely in Christ, Mike
Changing gears just a bit, Peters said on JD Hall’s interview show that in Peters’ long career as a discernment minister, there are a few false teachers who he feels are directly possessed by satan. All false teachers are under satan’s influence, being lost, but a few are directly invaded in body. Yes, possession still happens, friends. Peters said that he feels Kenneth Copeland is so dark, that he is possessed by a demon, and also Bentley is so dark that he also has a demon. This was the main reason he did not want Bentley to touch him. Now think about this:
In Peters’ work, he must attend services in places which proclaim a false gospel, tell lies, grab for greed, and in a few cases, directly confront a demon-possessed person. These spiritual soldiers are the D-Day soldiers of Omaha Beach, in the mud, in the trenches, first off the boat. The face enemy fire first and directly. They often become casualties, but if one remains in Christ, in prayer, and submits their very ego, soul, strength, and mind to Christ, they are spared the bullets and make it to the woods.
|1944 D-Day invasion of Normandy|
Like our precious soldiers who went to Omaha Beach on D-Day, these spiritual soldiers do it for freedom. They do it because foremost the name of Jesus must be proclaimed and protected. But they do it for the hostages. The people filling the services like Bentley’s are in bondage to a false gospel, they have no hope. Wading in to such places, Peters and men like him (Miano, Friel, Comfort, Kirk) bring the light and hope of freedom.
The men at D-Day were attempting to gain back ground for the cause of freedom, and while noble in the extreme, it was a temporal endeavor. While it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about that day 70 years ago, and the soldiers’ sacrifices, pastors like Peters are attempting to gain back ground by gathering souls for Christ, an eternal endeavor.
Peters pleaded with Hall on the interview show never to ascribe any particular honor to him. He doesn’t want limelight. Peters said it was all for the glory of God, and done by the strength of the Spirit. This is true, and it is one reason why we love Pastor Justin Peters. But we also are advised in the bible to give double honor to our soldiers on the front lines: pastors-
“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” (1 Timothy 5:17)
When you pray for your pastor and deacons, please also pray for the pastors who don’t have a regular flock. These men minister to the lost, bewildered, and wandering via a discernment ministry, a street ministry, or a media ministry. Spiritual warfare is sometimes more evident and more palpable in those realms, on spiritual hamburger hills all over the globe. The charismatic prosperity healing service or the public street in a gay city is the Omaha Beach of Christ. Preaching there is like D-Day. Every time.
Please also give praise to the Holy Spirit who obviously has Peters well protected, and is growing him in Christ-likeness in leaps and bounds. This is an example of a gentle, grace-filled pastor who loves Jesus. Let’s cherish these men. The Lord certainly does.
Sermon audio: JD Hall interview with Justin Peters. 25 min.
Blog essay, review of Justin Peters/Todd Bentley incident
Photo of Peters in motorized scooter is from 2009 Shepherd’s Conference, pic of a participant with Peters here.