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Once Again I Missed It – My 8 Mistakes

I told the story of how the church I went to for 30 years “went emergent” and how we left. While I would like to say our family found a safe haven, I can’t. I guess things never work out that tidy.

After resigning our membership (really a token gesture I think) we tried out a few churches. I am not a big fan of church shopping. I don’t think we need to find a church “that feels right” or that “meets our needs”. Sure, personal preference does come in to play, but the final criteria – first last and always – should be if they are preaching the Word in accordance to what the Word is saying.

We started to go to a community church  which met in a local movie theater. I will go on record as saying I was very hesitant to try it. It is the church that my wife’s best friend and her husband went to after leaving our original church. I was aware of some particular views these two friends held, but I also knew they loved the Lord. Frankly I was afraid the church would be a bit too “touchy-feely” and emotional. There is nothing wrong with being emotional – but I am not comfortable with disingenuous or contrived emotion. You know the type I mean – they break into tears and praise the Lord because they found a parking space at a busy shopping mall or come to the “altar” every service in tears and on their knees because they have had a personal “emotional/spiritual” conviction or breakthrough every Sunday.

You know, I could very well be wrong about that. I could be just missing the boat on feeling that kind of deep intimacy. There could very well be people that feel that way and need to express either their thankfulness to Christ or their brokenness.  I guess I have been “around the block” and my observation is that many of these folks are like that always – they never seem to grow or show fruit, it is just one long series of emotional experiences. But lets just say that I could very well be wrong about that and if it really bothers you, pray for me.

However, I was surprised. While the music and general tone of the service was a bit what I expected, the preaching seemed good. I didn’t hear any emergent buzz words and it even seemed to me that the Pastor was going out of his way to warn about the way the Evangelical Church was going.

Mistake #1: I was so focused because of my anger and hurt at my last church that I too quickly viewed this church as being “safe”. I felt I had allies or at least people who were concerned about the same things I was.

The Pastor was and is a wonderful guy. He is a big southern guy, good looking with a ready wit and laugh. He was also a veteran of the Gulf War (I know it makes no sense, but that always seems to make me instantly respect someone). He also had a “biker conversion” type of testimony. I liked him immediately.

I thought “this time I am not going to make any mistakes”. I downloaded everyone of his sermons I could get my hands on and listened to them with an intent ear – looking for any signs of heresy. They all seemed good. He obviously had a more charismatic lean but I could deal with that as long as he was preaching “from the Word”. At the time I felt that one’s stance on those kinds of issues where really rather unimportant as long as they had the “main thing” down. After all, I had been around the block – I had been around many charismatics, my Mother operated as a “spirit filled” type of person. I didn’t have to agree with it all or at least say it was not for me, but it was just a matter of one’s personal bent, right? (I was wrong is this as we will see)

So, other than being mostly topical all the time, his sermons seemed good and not a hint of emergent theology.

Mistake #2: I figured I was able to make the assessment on my own as to what constituted preaching “from the Word” by just listening to it.

Mistake #3: I was so intent on listening for one type of problem, that I missed others.

The people at the church were so wonderful and kind. They were young and seemed normal. I did notice there weren’t a ton of older people. I figured it is because older folks might be a bit stodgy at going to church in a theater. The pastor was gregarious and his wife was sweet and fun. We knew at least one couple there and the church wanted us to get involved, which was wonderful since the our last church had become sort of “clique-ish”.

I did not care for the music. I had long ago resigned myself that the days of the old style worship had died so I guess I just needed to get on with my life. As I have stated many times before,  I do not believe that we should only use songs written by dead English guys prior to 1800. Nor does music have to satisfy one’s own musical tastes for it to be worship (because in that case, no church music matches my musical taste). I do believe the music needs to be biblical and done with reverence and the proper attitude.  However, I do not think that the particular “style” of music should be a reason to either go to, or leave, a church. At least here they didn’t have a 12 piece praise band that completely left the rest of the congregation out of the worship.

We continued to go there and quickly became friends with the Pastor, his wife, and several members. At this time, we just had our second child and they brought us food and all that. It was a bit of a bonding experience. I really liked the Pastor, we became friends. He paid attention to me and seemed to want my approval.

Mistake #4: I let my own ego and desire for friendship form a relationship prematurely.

I went about raving to my friends and family (who were still struggling in the last church) that this was the real thing. No emergent here! The Pastor is on guard against it – he preaches “from the Word”! We are all like a big family (many of us even went out to eat after service on Sunday) I was loving the community of it.

However, despite the “fun” and sense of belonging I had, I think I always knew something was just a bit amiss. When we were singing I often just sort of drifted off. I would stop singing and my wife would nudge me and admonish me that our son was watching and even if I didn’t like the music I was still supposed to sing.

At the Christmas Eve service this happened again and she got really mad at me. The problem was I couldn’t tell what I was singing. I couldn’t understand what the song was about. It had something about a tide coming in and the ocean rising – but I had no clue as to what I was supposed to be singing. We would sing “All of you is more than enough for all of me” and then the next song was a repetitious “We want more of you Jesus!” Exactly what was “more” or Jesus? The songs tended to be in that vain.

Oh well, I thought, music doesn’t matter. Its the preaching that counts, right? Well, yes, sort of. I found that it is the little things – the “underservice” of a church that really defines what is being promoted.

At one point, I met with the Pastor because of a little “set to” I had with my mother in law regarding a book she gave me. (you can read all about that in my first post). Pastor was kind and understanding and himself disavowed what he called “hypercharismatics”.  However, he did state that he was a charismatic and spoke in tongues – but assured me he did it in the “right” way. When I brought up how I felt it was hard to trust anyone anymore when it comes to spiritual truth I mentioned how even Joyce Meyer says stuff all the time that bothers me. He was quick to leap to her defense and said “I have a good brother who I broke fellowship with because he didn’t like Joyce Meyer.”

Whoa. I quickly shut up. Looking back, I see that I so wanted this man’s friendship and attention that I was not willing to risk offending him and having him “break fellowship” with me. He also said later in the conversation that he felt a prophet whose prophecies did not come true was not a false prophet.

Mistake #5: I put my own need for friendship above the truth. I would no longer be willing to speak the truth in love or question my Pastor for fear of losing his friendship.

Then it was the small things that started adding up. We would be at a meal and one of the folk would say “You know that God only saved Noah because he had the only pure human DNA left of the planet because of the Nephelim?” To be fair the Pastor did contradict him on that. But the guy was a leader of the church! This guy also stated as “fact” that Jesus was Nicodemus’ nephew and that Jesus had traveled to England, and that we are the lost tribe of Israel, and ideas of that nature. While it is fine is a congregant wants to have weird views – these kinds of ideas were being promoted by someone who was – for lack of a better term – and elder of the church!

Mistake #6: I failed to recognize that you can’t have a body that is practicing a “little bit” of bad theology.

Then there was the Alpha Course. I won’t go into it here, but it is the study put out by Mike Bickle and the International House of Prayer (IHOP) on the End Times. It has all sorts of lovely Latter Rain/Dominion/Third Wave sorts of ideas. The Pastor was promoting it in the church – it was the Sunday night study! In fact, that is how our friends met the Pastor through a previous study of the Alpha Course. He was going through the Alpha Course and was using parts of it for his sermons.

Red flags began to go up for me. The services were starting to get out of hand and chaotic. One service was just the repetition of one song while people stood up and gave “words from the Lord” type of testimonies. One lady quoted scripture – which was fine – but made a special point of saying “blessed are the Overcomers” and “words have power”. One youth got up and gave a prophetic dream. The Pastor began to ask each week for people to come down and be “baptized with the Holy Spirit”. He was always saying “I really feel the Holy Spirit here today” as if the Holy Spirit shows up to greater or lesser degrees at other times. The casual conversation before and after was laced with “getting into the Spirit” and “five-fold ministry” and talk of prophecies and spiritual warfare. If any of this doesn’t mean anything to you – research it. It is all Latter Rain/Dominion/Third Wave/Charismatic type of stuff.

I won’t go into everything I heard or saw. I will state that it wasn’t some sort of charismatic free-for-all. It was the little things that added up. Talk of the “new direction” which was charismatic. The worship in the service and indeed sermons were aimed primarily at the worship of the Holy Spirit. There seemed to be a high pre-occupation with the Holy Spirit. I heard less and less Jesus and Law and Gospel. It was a subtle shift. Some might even say I overreacted. Well fair enough – go ahead and say it.

I felt that things were starting to go down a bad road. Although I couldn’t point to one thing and say “Look! there it is” it was more a general understanding that the folk in the church wanted more spiritual experiences and all the “miracles” and stories I heard led me to believe they were willing to go down the Latter Rain path to get them. As much as I felt my last church became a club, this one was one as well. Only this club was all about daily walking in the supernatural, signs and wonders and spiritual experiences – whether they were real or not.

If one wishes to castigate me and say I was seeing a heretic behind every tree because of my previous experience I wouldn’t blame them. However, by this time I had done enough study of this type of theology that I could clearly recognize the signs. Eventually I became agitated every time I had to went to church. I felt like I had to keep my guard up all the time for fear that I would end up in the middle of something that was demonic. (yeah that sounds harsh – but tell me what it would be if someone suddenly started raving or “prophesying” in the middle of an emotionally charged service? – how do I protect my son from being exposed to that?) At one point during a service I told my son “you have to go to the bathroom” so I could take him out because I was so uncomfortable with a young “prophet” telling us about his dream.

Sunday night became a night for the church to get together to exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I never went to one, but I imagine it would have confirmed most of what I was feeling.

Oddly enough, it wasn’t the sermons that really bugged me, although they were beginning to get a bit “Holy Spirit Experience” heavy.

Mistake #7: Preaching “from the Word” is not the same as “Preaching God’s Word”. Preaching that has a heretical tinge can be worse than preaching that is patently false.

So what did I do? Did I stand up and tell them to stop? Did I meet with the Pastor and confront him with my concerns? Sadly, no. I also know enough about those involved in this kind of theology that I doubted very much that they would be swayed with reason or any of my “non Spirit-Filled” interpretations of Scripture. I was also very afraid that I would easily be convinced that my concerns were groundless because I didn’t want to lose their friendship – and so end up staying in a place I knew was not spiritually healthy.

Mistake #8: I didn’t speak the truth in love.

I am a bit ashamed of this and ask the Lord for his forgiveness. I pray that one day, Lord willing, I will be able to at least let them know why I could no longer be part of that church and that the Lord will equip me to speak effectively on the subject.

And here you probably thought I was a brave apologist confronting heresy and false doctrine at every turn.

Well, I told my wife that I was not comfortable with what was going on. I won’t lie, we argued on the subject. Part of the problem is that I am much better versed in the subject matter so when someone uses the term “Overcomers” or “five-fold ministry” it means something completely different (and dangerous) to me, while to her it is just another “Christian” term. She sees the individual elements as not adding up to much and frankly I see the “conspiracy” for lack of a better term.

We have moved on to a new church, but we remain friends with many from both previous churches. Did I repeat the mistakes from before? I’ll let you know.

Where Did My Church Go?

I think, like many others who address the “Emergent Church” phenomenon, I was pretty aware of what was going on “out there” with some churches and their slide into “purpose”, but totally missed it in my own church.

I have mentioned previously that I was saved at a young age – and at the time my family was going to a Lutheran church. It was a typical 70’s Lutheran church – heavy on flannel banners and light on gospel. It did not take long for my family to decide this wasn’t the place to be fed. So we went for several years to a non-denominational church (as it was called at the time) pastored by Stuart Brisco. It was a wonderful church, though it was almost 90 minutes away. Well the gas crunch (remember this is the 70’s) finally got to us and we began to go to a small church nearby that met in the upper rooms of a community center. When we started to go it was just the Pastor and his wife, two other families and us.

What a wonderful time. The Pastor taught from the Word and we sang hymns banged out on an old, out of tune upright. The church was a Christian and Missionary Alliance. Sunday school classes for the “youth” which was basically anyone from 4 yrs old to anyone who was single were held in the stairwell with us all sitting on the steps and having to move each time someone came up. I may wax nostalgic, but the teaching was sound and provided me with a very solid base for my faith.

Well, as happens, eventually the church grew enough to get a building – it was modest, but at the time but seemed like a palace. By this time I graduated high school and went off to college. The church continued to grow and pastors were added – all the usual things. Of course I would visit the church when I came to visit my parents and the teaching and preaching was still very sound. The pastor was very conservative – eschewing not only the occasional glace of wine but also dancing at weddings and playing cards. I have never known anyone so careful and cautious in my life – someone who would completely avoid anything that could even slightly be construed as a worldly pursuit. This made me feel quite comforted knowing that the Pastor took that much care.

My wife and I were eventually married at that church by the Pastor and returned to the area, and attendance, shortly thereafter. All was still well. The “kids” that I had spent time with in the stairwell were now parents of kids themselves and the Pastor was still preaching Law and Gospel.

I suppose like almost all churches of the mid-late 90’s there was a shift in music. Occasionally the standard piano was replaced by a guy with a guitar or other contemporary instruments. However, the content of the music was still biblically vital.

I would like to make the statement that I don’t think every good piece of worship music was created prior to 1940. I also do not think that God commands it be played on a piano or organ only. As long as the worship is conducted with respect and the content of worship espouses sound biblical doctrine – it doesn’t matter to me if it is played on a guitar or organ. I think that many folk do get hung up on the particular “style” or presentation of music and use it as a point of contention. However – and this is a big however – worship is important and as we will see is almost always the first to succumb to “relevance”.

It was shortly before re-joining the church (after moving back to the area) that they built a much bigger hall for the main services. The church was still being pastored by the same Senior Pastor, however now there were a few more pastors – an associate pastor (a man of advanced years and exceptional character), another associate pastor (who had previously been a missionary to the UK), and a youth pastor. There were the typical missionary conferences, AWANA groups, small groups, etc. that are part of a larger church body.

This was around 1997-1998. My wife and I became members ( a no-brainer really) and got involved in various groups and had lots and lots of friends in the church. The Senior Pastor was still preaching the Word.

It was about this time, as I recall it, that things started to get a bit off course. Of course the whole “purpose-driven” thing hadn’t really emerged (pardon the pun) yet, but we were starting to see changes.

There was a lot of emphasis on the business ends of things. I realize a larger church requires quite a bit of organization so that is to be expected. However, it did seem like there was more and more time and effort devoted to this kind of thing. Everyone loved the Senior Pastor and it did not seem really out of the ordinary that he pretty much controlled the whole thing – after all, in the end he was “responsible” for it, no?

Also, the music was increasingly changing. If social security is the “third rail” of politics, then music is the “third rail” of churches. The piano was now completely gone and each week it was a “praise band”. The hymnals were gone and worship was switched entirely to choruses displayed on a screen. We even had a “Pastor of Music and Worship”.

Again, I don’t really see anything “wrong” per se in worship choruses or praise bands – as long as the music is biblibally relevant and done with a reverent attitude.  However, I began to notice that it was changing. Each praise band seemed to compete with the other to see who could do a better job musically – who could move the crowd more emotionally. Some of the praises choruses where highly repetitious, confusing or just really really lame. The praise bands also seemed to put on a performance rather than lead the rest of us. I often felt like I was signing karaoke rather than worshiping.

In 2001 or so, my wife and I moved from the area for my work. We returned again about 3 years later. Things had gotten worse.

The church was thriving, but things seemed almost frenetic. There were so many programs and goings-on that it seemed like one could spend most of their waking time doing things. I got involved co-teaching a Sunday school class with one of the associate pastors (the missionary) and also got involved with the youth ministry. More and more unique things began to appear regularly – things like dramas and Easter walk-through tableau presentations. The music had turned into a small mini-concert at the beginning and end of each service. It was well done – but now I was no longer even signing karaoke – I was watching a performance. Each praise band had swelled in number of performers and the sole goal seemed to be to place the congregation into an emotional state.  I nearly cried aloud when one of the guitar players seemed to take great delight in doing the “white man’s overbite” and constantly lifting his leg and “rocking out” as it were.

The state of the youth program was even more shocking in some ways. The kids came, put on their christian faces, sat on the couches and whispered to each other – happy as long as they were left alone and could go to the latest “youth conference” or short term mission trip. Some were genuinely involved and fed, but I suspect the majority of them thought it was still “better than being in church”. The children’s program had slide into a poor attempt at entertaining the children instead of teaching them the essential Bible stories and precepts.

I thought to myself “Well, it seems a little ‘clubby’ to me, but I know the Pastor, I know how careful he is. He won’t let us get too far afield, besides, he is still teaching the Word.” Such was my trust that I thought we were still ok.

Then we hit a small bump in the road – well several small bumps. The women in charge of children’s ministries and her husband left the church. He had been involved in the youth group. For the record, it was not really related to the course of the church but rather to more “employment” based problems. They felt they got unfairly treated with regard to some vacation time, and the wife felt like the Senior Pastor was just running everything and there was no accountability. The husband was also asked to leave the youth ministry because of some rather unusual ideas he introduced to the kids.

Where they right? I don’t think it really matters. Asking the husband to leave the youth program was certainly the absolutely right thing to do. He was and is a very close friend of mine, but he has some potentially dangerous beliefs. As for the vacation thing – I don’t know. I rather suspect some breakdown of communication. The problem was that the wife is my wife’s best friend. My wife was quite angry, believed her friend absolutely and was acrimonious on her friend’s behalf.

It was also at this time that the youth pastor resigned. Well, here is the problem. It was presented as a resignation, but in fact he was asked to leave. It was very similar to when a White House adviser “resigns”. They are asked to do it, but they have no choice. Having worked with the youth pastor, I agreed. He was a very nice guy and a strong christian, but it takes more than that to be a pastor.

But the whole resignation vs firing thing took on the appearance of a scandal. We had never had one in that church before so I suppose folks just wanted to try it out. The elders, I think mistakenly, tried to take all the “blame” for the semantic slight of hand. I don’t think anyone did anything wrong, but some chose to have seen the Senior Pastor as having lied about the whole thing.

Does this have anything to do with the church going “Purpose-Driven”. Not really, but it is important in that this “incident” was the catalyst for my wife urging us to find another church. I kind of tended to side with church on this issue because I knew the people involved – but my wife was rather hurt by the whole thing on behalf of her friend.

So what was happening spiritually.

Well I mentioned the music and the drama and all that. Also, at this time we were involved in a small group. The group was “studying” Richard Foster’s book “Celebration of Discipline”. Who picked the book, I never found out. Did I care at the time? Not at all. I am not really a small group guy. If I did read it at all it was on the way to the study in the car (be honest many of you are the same.) I didn’t know who Richard Foster was, or what “Disciplines” were.

However, a strange thing happened at the study as it progressed. More and more of us kind of kept quite and tried to find something positive to say. It was as if each of us knew there was no sound spiritual teaching in that book, but tried to at least link it to something we knew was the truth. No one really got on board with what Foster was saying (I think partly because we had no idea what he was saying) but no one really wanted to come right out and say “What is this?”

It was finally when we got to a chapter on “Meditation” that the game was over. I had actually taken my time with this chapter. I found myself re-reading it and saying “Did he really just say that?”. Well, thank the Lord that it seems others had had enough as well. The tension broke and finally someone said “This guy is wrong, what is he trying to say?” It led to a lively discussion as we all tried to figure out how this had gotten to be the study material. The book was abandoned at that point but no one, not even me, made the connection with the whole “Emergent” movement.

Also, at one of the small group meetings, someone showed a DVD short called “Bullhorn”. It was a Nooma video from Rob Bell. I had never heard of Bell or Nooma. It is a short video contrasting someone who stands on the corner with a bullhorn giving out fire and brimstone and someone else who just talks to people. It claimed to have made no assertion as to which was “right” but it was pretty slanted. At the time I thought it was just sort of meaningless and didn’t care.

Another Bell video had been shown in the youth group. “Silence” was its name. No one had told me where it came from or why it was being shown. I just figured at the time it was from some youth program where they were trying to be hip. I didn’t think it was dangerous or put two and two together. I just thought it was one of those things that comes down the pipe – sort of like “Thief in the Night” did when I was younger.

The sermons didn’t suddenly go from Law and Gospel to just “loving your neighboor and respecting their cultural differences”. But they did start to get weak and confusing. I often had no idea was really was being said. They became entirely topical and I found I wasn’t learning from the Bible. The Senior Pastor was going on sabbatical and took a whole sermon just to tell us what he was going to do with the time. I do remember him saying he was going to take time to just “be silent”. I remember thinking it was a bit weird and off the point. I remember thinking it was as if the Pastor had reached some sort of weird spiritual “mid-life crisis”. It seemed like he was saying he had missed something and wanted to find it.

Life went on. The music got louder. The Missionary Pastor left and was replaced with another associate pastor who although a nice guy, seemed more like a school psychologist than a pastor. My wife kept bugging me to look at other churches because she didn’t like the Senior Pastor “because he had lied”. I am afraid it was a stressful time for me. On the one hand, I had been at this church (on and off) for nearly 30 years. I was good friends with a lot of the people. On the other hand, it seemed the church had a kind of ADD. New stuff, new programs, new direction was everywhere and in your face all the time. A new plan for the church to work on “Kingdom Building” was announced. I thought “well, at least its not Purpose-Driven”. I said that mostly because I couldn’t figure out what “Kingdom Building” was and the materials seemed to indicate it was to fight Purpose-Driven doctrine.

So, long story short. I missed it entirely. Yup, call me a fool. I missed it completely.

I was in denial because I loved the people and trusted the Pastor completely. I had said he was the most careful man I had ever met. How could he have fallen for this nonesense? Surely not him? “Sure, the music is out there, but the rest of it is ok.” Pastor is too careful to follow some fad. These were all the things I said to myself. Additionally, although I had known the people there for a long time, I didn’t have any intimate friends – so I was not hearing the undercurrent.

Well, we actually started looking for other churches and they were pretty bad. People began to leave the church and we would run into them at the other churches – it was weird. One church we went to for a few Sundays was only about a month behind (emergently) the church we had left. My wife and I fought a lot about it. I had no defense for staying and she had no argument for leaving other than her anger at what she perceives happened to her friend. In the end I figured that peace in our home was good goal as long as we found some other church that was teaching the Word.

How did I miss it? I don’t know. I know I was blinded by the comfort I had there. I know I was woefully uninformed at what other things were going on in the church that weren’t occuring on Sunday. Oddly enough, I knew quite a bit about the Emergent Church and felt that I could spot it easily. I knew all about Brian McLaran and Rick Warren and what they taught. I listened daily to a christian radio station that daily examines what is happening in “Christian” churches and warns against this apostate movement. I remember hearing the “24 Signs Your Church is Going Purpose Driven” and thinking “Thank the Lord that is not us!”. I was (and am) a big reader of Bob DeWaay, and Ken Silva.

I guess it points out to me that bad doctrine, deception, heresy, call it what you will, it NOT a matter of just people being unable to keep their church safe or of resisting the changes they see. It is not a matter of looking at what is happening and shaking our heads at how people could go for such nonesense. It isn’t at all as clear as I thought it was. It is deception – a big deception that is so easy to miss. It operates on a far more sinister level than I would have believed.

Looking back, it is so clear. And of course I still know and am in contact with people who still go there (and are on board it would seem with the changes – that is slightly awkward.) Things there have gotten really bad, I occasionally download and listen to sermons and they are directly from the mouth of Saddleback Church (a suburb of the  mouth of Hell.)

So what ended up happening.? We resigned our membership and received an awkward phone call from one of the new Elders that we had never met. He just wanted to make sure were were “being fed somewhere else”. He never asked what the issue was, or why we left.

It would be nice to say that I became much more discerning, that we found another church and remain there today. Yeah, that would be nice to say – but that is not what happened. The true story is not quite as neat. We went out of the Emergent frying pan and into the Holy Fire.

 

Patricia King (aka Patricia Coking) .  Patricia loves to take new age/occult ideas and merge them with biblical-sounding phrases.

Here are excerpts from her June 24th posting on the Elijah List. (That probably gives you a pretty good clue where this is going). It is from her article “Prayer Directives and Decrees: GREAT WISDOM, GREAT FAVOR, GREAT LIFE, GREAT WEALTH”

After stating “A transference is manifesting in this hour on behalf of the just. You can be part of receiving greater measures of grace in this hour to advance His Kingdom of righteousness and justice in the earth.” and pointing out that there are orphans and windows and such to be delivered, so goes on to reveal her “decrees”. My comments are in bold italic.

The following prayer strategy will help birth you into a new level of blessing. Lock in!

30 – 60 – 90 Day Prayer and Decree Strategy

1. Pray and decree for 30 minutes per day for 30, 60, or 90 days starting today.

2. There are six segments in the Prayer Directives (below) to pray and decree through for five minutes each.

3. Pray and decree for yourself, family, church, ministry or business every day.

4. Once a week, read through and meditate on all the Scripture Meditations and Promises listed below. Get them into your spirit.

5. Within the 30 days (as soon as possible) listen at least once to my two new teachings—1) Wisdom and Wealth That Takes Your Breath Away and 2) Live in the Blessing Zone. Let these messages become an internal reality within you.

6. Record/Journal any measurable results of increase.

Where exactly does it state in the Bible to have a “prayer strategy”. When the Disciples said “Lord how should we pray?” he didn’t say “Well here is a strategy”. Furthermore, where exactly do the repetitions fit in? Are we not command to not make vain repetitions .

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Matt 6:7

I am a little unclear of the biblical connection to “Get them into your spirit”. Perhaps it is somehow related to the two products she is trying to sell. Notice how her messages should become the “internal reality” (whatever that is) for you. “Don’t bother with the Word of God – just make my message your reality.”

How are we to measure “increase” – in fact, what is “increase”? Increase in wealth, increase in waistline, increase in what exactly?

Scripture Meditations and Promises for Wisdom, Favor, Life and Wealth

Read and meditate on these portions regularly and create a focus: The Book of Proverbs (especially the first 10 chapters); Isaiah 60 (entire chapter); 1 Kings 10 (entire chapter).

Key Scriptures: Proverbs 4:7; Proverbs 3:16; Proverbs 8:18

Wisdom is the principal thing (see Proverbs 4:7). When you have wisdom you have “great life” (in Wisdom’s right hand), and great wealth and great favor (in Wisdom’s left hand) (see Proverbs 3:16; Proverbs 8:18).

The following Scriptures contain all the elements of what we are believing for:

Proverbs 4:7 – “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” (KJV)

Proverbs 3:16 – “Long life is in her (Wisdom’s) right hand; in her (Wisdom’s) left hand are riches (wealth) and honor (abundance, glory, favor).” (NASB, amplification mine)

Proverbs 8:18 – “Riches (wealth) and honor (abundance, glory, favor) are with me (Wisdom), enduring wealth and righteousness.” (NASB, amplification mine)

I love the “amplification mine” bit. Let’s just slip something that is not in the verse and call it an “amplification”. Furthermore, the wisdom being spoken of in these verses is not abstract “wisdom” – but rather the wisdom of fearing the Lord and of following his commandments. The purpose of wisdom is not just to be wise, but so that one will avoid evil and sin.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all they that do his commandments; his praise endureth for ever. Psalms 111:10

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; and knowledge of the holy is understanding. Proverbs 9:10

Now we get on to her “Prayer Directives” – or rather her “system”.

Daily Prayer Directives

Pray and decree for five minutes a day into each directive, for a total of 30 minutes:

1. Ask for an increase of great wisdom to fill your life, family, ministry and business according to Proverbs 4:7; James 3:17-18; James 1:5.

Decree: In Jesus’ name, I decree that Jesus Christ has been made Wisdom unto me. Because I invited the Spirit of Christ’s wisdom to fill me to overflowing, I am enriched in all things. The Spirit of Wisdom fills my mind, heart, soul and body. The Spirit of Wisdom empowers me and gives me understanding each and every day. The increase of wisdom is great in my life. I am blessed with wisdom and understanding.

Wisdom guards my thoughts, my words and my ways. I listen for Wisdom to speak to me each day. My ear is attentive to Wisdom and I am obedient to Wisdom’s instruction. Wisdom gives me discretion and discernment in all my life’s choices. Wisdom inspires me and rules over my decisions in life. I love and cherish Wisdom. I eat and drink at Wisdom’s banqueting table. The Wisdom I walk in and exercise is heavenly wisdom that is pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering and without hypocrisy. The Wisdom that fills me daily produces the fruit of righteousness, peace and joy.

Once again, we see “if you do this for x number of days, for x amount of time”. This is not biblical – it is more like some sort of exercise plan (at best) or ritual (at worst). She also makes a subtle connection that wisdom (as she chooses to use it) will be of benefit you in a tangible (earthly rewarding) way as regards the success of your life, ministry and business.

Also, notice the slight of hand here. It starts out with Christ, but then becomes just “Wisdom”. It is “Wisdom” guarding thoughts, it is “Wisdom” speaking every day, you are to obey “Wisdom”. She has taken the biblical concept of wisdom – which is the fear of the LORD – and turned it into an abstract, anthropomorphic force. If you have ever dealt with new agers, especially those involved in Wicca and paganism, “wisdom” is seen as elemental type of force. She calls it the “Spirit of Christ’s wisdom” – notice how “Spirit” is used as something separate from Christ – as if it were one of Christ’s “powers” or something that Christ has access to – not Christ Himself.

2. Ask for Wisdom to fill your mouth with creative and righteous words, according to Proverbs 8:6-9, James 3.

Decree: In the name of Jesus Christ, I decree that the fruit of my mouth is righteous and blessed. Wisdom watches over and guards the words that I speak. Wisdom produces creative words within me that bring forth truth, life, and edification. Through Wisdom, I call forth those things that are not as though they are. With the power of Christ’s wisdom I command mountains to be removed. Like my Heavenly Father, I create with my words. Like Him, I say, “Let there be light,” and light and life and blessing are made manifest.

Through words of wisdom and faith I call forth blessing to come upon me and overtake me. Through words of wisdom and faith I create an awesome course of fruitfulness to walk in. I watch over my heart and mouth with all diligence, for with my heart I believe and with the words of my confession, it is sealed. Through the Blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony I overcome. The opening of my mouth produces right things, and the words of my mouth are seasoned with grace, love and truth. I speak noble things that bring honor and glory to my King. My heart and my mouth are filled with wisdom and therefore I am blessed. (Bold is mine)

Huge red flags should be going up at this point. “Like my Heavenly Father, I create with my words”, “Like Him, I say ‘Let there be light’ and the light and life and blessing are made manifest.” It seems I have heard this before.

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:5

Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 2 Thess 2:4

How you have fallen from heaven, O Lucifer son of the dawn. You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations. You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven. I will raise my throne above the stars of God. I will sit enthroned on the mount of the assembly, on the uttermost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the mountains. I will make myself like the Most High” Isaiah 14:12-14

Patricia is usurping the authority, power and position of God. I don’t care how one would try to dress it up or linguistically massage it – it is clear she is saying “I am like God”.  The Bible is perfectly clear that no one is like God! Notice that it is all about “I”.

3. Ask for the fear of the Lord (reverence, awe and attention to God) to fill you, for it is the beginning of wisdom. Psalms 19:9, 25:14, 33:18, 34:7, 103:17, 111:10; Proverbs 9:10, 14:26-27.

Decree: I fear (reverence, honor and give primary attention to) God with all my heart, mind, and strength because of Wisdom’s instruction. I grow in the fear of the Lord and therefore receive insights into His secrets and mysteries. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever, therefore I am filled with His purity. The angel of the Lord encamps around me because I fear the Lord. Angelic protection is fortified and increased in my life.

Because I love wisdom and the fear of God, the eye of the Lord is upon me to watch over me in all my ways. In the fear of the Lord I have strong confidence and my children have refuge. His fear is a fountain of life to me. I choose the fear of the Lord in all my ways because it is the beginning of wisdom. I am filled with the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord and therefore I grow in great wisdom, insight and understanding.

Well, here at least she makes an lame attempt at properly define wisdom as the fear of the LORD. However, it is quickly derailed. Notice it is at “Wisdom’s instruction”, as if wisdom where a third party player in all of this. Also she has to bring in “insights into His secrets and mysteries”, and “Angelic protection” – which are sort of the bread and butter of her “ministry.

4. Ask for increased favor with God and with man. Psalms 5:12, 45:12; Proverbs 3:4, 8:35, 11:27, 14:15.

Decree: I decree in Jesus’ name that I am blessed with the favor of the Lord. His favor is a shield and protection around me. I grow in favor every day with God and man. I am favored in everything I put my hands to and everywhere I go. The blessing of the Lord’s favor opens doors for me that no one can shut. I am blessed beyond measure because of the undeserved, unmerited favor of the Lord.

I am constantly filled with goodness, because the favor of the Lord blesses me. I have favor everywhere I go because I seek good and because I love wisdom. I am favored at home, in my church, in the work place, marketplace and everywhere I connect with people. The rich among the people entreat my favor. Those in authority favor me. I am favored in all my dealings because of the blessing of Christ over my life.

I do not recall anywhere in the Bible where we are exhorted to seek after increased favor with man. I think the Bible also clearly teaches that if we are to follow Christ, we will not have favor with man in any way – in fact, just the opposite! (doesn’t the Cross offend?).  Where she is going with all of this? We have favor with the rich and rulers because we “seek good” and “love wisdom”? What about seeking and loving Christ?

5. Ask for the blessing of the abundant life. John 10:10; Ephesians 1:3; 2 Peter 1:2-4; Proverbs 3:16.

Decree: Jesus came that I would have life and have it abundantly. I have a full and abundant life in Him. The Father has chosen gladly to give me His Kingdom, and all the blessings and promises in the Kingdom are mine in Christ Jesus. Every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places is mine. My life is great in Christ, for He has given me everything that pertains to life and to godliness. He has given to me His great, precious and magnificent promises so that by them I can partake of the Divine nature.

I enjoy a long, full life that is filled with every good thing. As my days are, so shall my strength be. Everything I put my hands to is filled with life. The words I speak are filled with life. Everything around me lives and prospers. Because I love Wisdom, I have the long, full life that is in her right hand.

The more abundant life spoken of in John is not “a long, full life that is filled with every good thing” – it is the eternal life that Christ paid for on the cross. (same for Eph and 2 Peter). Also, it seems to me when she says “Divine nature” she does not mean it in the 2 Peter sense (which is God’s righteousness and salvation from our sinful nature) but rather as the supernatural power of God – speaking life with just our words.

6. Ask for wealth. Proverbs 3:16, 8:18; Psalm 23:6; Genesis 1:28; Deuteronomy 8:18; Philippians 4:19.

Decree: I love Wisdom and therefore I am granted the wealth that is in her left hand. My God has given me the power to make wealth in order to establish His covenant. The blessing of wealth comes upon me and overtakes me. I am blessed with prosperity in all that I put my hands to. I am fruitful and I multiply. Goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life. I sow into good ground and reap 30 – 60 – 100 fold return, and am increased 1,000 fold more than I am now.

The same measures of wisdom and wealth that were granted Solomon are available to me in Christ, and even beyond what Solomon received, because Jesus has gone to the Father. With the blessing of wealth I care for the poor, the widows, the orphans and the destitute. I receive the transference of wealth and decree that the wealth of the wicked is stored up for me. The windows of Heaven are open over my life and the rain of God’s provision drenches me continuously. All my needs are met according to God’s riches in glory through Christ. I am blessed with great, ever-increasing wealth through the goodness and promises of God.

You knew it was coming right? Had to get that prosperity gospel in there. Others can make the point better than I can, but God does not promise prosperity and wealth! (By the way the “transference of wealth” line is a huge thing with Latter Rain folk.) It is true that all of our needs (spiritual) are met according to Christ – but then she has to append “ever-increasing wealth” on to it. Another example of doctrinal slight of hand.

So what are we to make of this mish-mash of new age ideas covered over with a thin (very thin) patina of biblical ideas? Well, if you have ever encountered any of Patrica King’s “teachings”, you now this is the rule and not the exception. She has taken the purpose of prayer (which is for God to work through the Holy Spirit in us to bring  us into His will) and turned it into a self-esteem boosting system for gaining wealth and power for ourselves. By saying these prayers we are forcing God to do our will. By the way, in case you are wondering, it won’t work.

The new age and its associated occult practices are all about manipulating forces, elements, and spirits to do our will. Despite any lip service to God or Jesus Christ with false humility – that is just what these “decrees” are supposed to do.  I don’t even get where she gets the concept that we can make “decrees” to God in the first place. Here is the subtle thing if you didn’t catch it. The “prayers” are not to God. She is “decreeing” something in the name of Jesus (quite incorrectly) to affect something else. She is sinfully attempting to misappropriate the power of God to manipulate “powers” to give her what she wants. This is quite similar to what new age and occult followers do.

What is missing? Simple – Law and Gospel. The Law exposes our sin and condemns us. The Gospel is the good news that Jesus died for our sins and that if we repent from our sins (Law) and believe and trust in Jesus, we will be saved (Gospel). The Gospel is not that we have supernatural powers to wield or that we have some impersonal force which will gain us wealth and favor with man.

Patricia King and her colleagues do not speak of sin, repentance or salvation. For them it is all about power, blessings, signs and wonders, and glory. But it is for themselves, not for God.

Patricia, you are not allowed to make stuff up and pass it off as God’s Word.

I Am Unable to Interpret Nonsense

I had stated in a previous post that Chuck Pierce was really into sound and so forth. Here is a recent example of one of his . . . I don’t know what to call it, it isn’t a sermon, it isn’t worship . . . maybe its some kind of really bad rave.

This video has it all! You got your seasons, your cycles, your army and a host of a whole lot of Third Wave jargon. I listened to this thing a few times and still can’t figure out what he was really trying to say. He keeps asking the people to listen, I think they might if he actually said anything.

The title is “The New Song Breaks the Old Cycle in Our Nation”. What exactly does that mean? These folks are constantly proclaiming the “new” and “God is now . . .” At some point they are going to have to produce. But then again, looking at these poor misguided sheep in the video with their hands raised (um for what exactly), maybe they won’t have to produce.

I would like to go point by point and compare what Chuck is saying here with what the Bible says. However he doesn’t say anything remotely resembling any kind of biblical teaching (or really any teaching of any kind). I heard a lot about armies, seasons, sounds and buffalo but since they were presented without any coherent order, context, or conclusion, it is hard to say exactly what his point was. Maybe that is the strategy – just baffle them till they follow you.

What I can say with some degree of certainty, is that this video shows something that is not Godly.

There is a rule in teaching sound biblical doctrine:

Don’t ignore what the Bible is saying just to make a pithy illustration.

Joyce Meyer’s column on the Charisma Magazine website of July 13 made just such a mistake. The topic was fear (I guess). Nice little words to encourage us in our little daily lives. Fair enough, if Joyce would like to be some sort of affirmation coach, go right ahead. The problem is, she used a scripture reference that had nothing to do with the topic. I have included some of the text, feel free to go ahead and read the whole column if you wish. I would also assert that “becoming serious about diet and exercise” is hardly a spiritual watershed moment.

Any time we step out to do something new, especially for God, we almost always—and almost immediately—face a negative circumstance that tries to discourage us or convince us we cannot do what God asks of us. Something will come up to tell us it is too hard, does not make sense, or will not work; or that we are not qualified to do it. The enemy uses such words and thoughts to discourage us, hoping fervently we will never accomplish what we set out to do.

Revelation 12:4 gives insight on how the devil tries to plant fear in us before we even get started: “And the dragon stationed himself in front of the woman who was about to be delivered [give birth], so that he might devour her child as soon as she brought it forth.”

The dragon (who represents Satan) had stationed himself in front of her so he could devour her newborn child. This scene represents a dynamic that often happens in our lives as believers. Every time God puts a fresh new idea in our hearts or gives us a dream, vision or new challenge for our lives, the enemy will be there to oppose us. I am not referring simply to the times we want to do “big” things for God; the enemy is not selective.

There are at least 8 references to “we” or “us” in the first paragraph . Nice works-based stuff here.

First of all WE don’t step out to do something new “especially for God”. God does the new work in us! We are a new creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

Secondly, what in the world is she doing talking about the dragon in Revelation 12 in relation to troubles we face when starting a new diet or changing careers? Here is the passage in context:

12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

12:14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

12:15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

12:16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Joyce was right on one thing, the dragon here is Satan, but beyond that she missed the point. In the passage, the child in verse 4 is NOT our ideas, our dreams, our efforts, our anything – it is Christ. The next verse tells us who it is.

12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

That is Jesus Christ! We can’t even claim that we are the women in the passage  – as Christians, we don’t even enter the passage until verse 17. I know perhaps someone will say “well she just meant it as a word picture, or illustration to make her point. She is not saying that this is what the passage is all about.” Of course, but you still cannot take a partial, non-related, verse of scripture and use it as a proof text for anything you want to say – she said it “illustrates a dynamic”. It doesn’t work like that, you can’t just use just any verse because it makes what you say sound kind of biblical.

What confuses me is that there are plenty of verses in the Bible she could have used that would have at least seemed to directly support her point. (Especially if you are willing to overlook who they were said to and in what context)

But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. Isaiah 43: 1-2

Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things. Joel 2:21

And if you really wanted to make a correct point, there are still many verses to use.

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Of course the problem would have been for Joyce that these verse all point to Jesus and not ourselves. It is not about what we do, or our attitude, it is all about Jesus.

She goes on to write:

When we receive Jesus as our Savior, that’s a new level. When we begin to move into a deeper walk with God or begin to pray bolder prayers, those are new levels. When we begin to give time, money and energy to God’s kingdom, we are moving to a new level.

God constantly calls us to new levels. Some seem big and important; others seem relatively small or insignificant. Whatever the case, when we reach a new level with God we face a new level of opposition from our enemy, the devil.

New levels? When we believe on Jesus for our salvation that is not a new level. We are completely transformed. We go from death to life. We become a completely new creation. We don’t reach a new level – that assumes that there is a continuum of salvation. “Well, you were partially saved at level 4, but since you received Jesus, you are now at level 5. When you start giving to the church you move up to level 6 and are really more saved. Wait till you reach level 12..then whoa buddy, watch out!” As for praying “bolder prayers”, what could be more bold than “Lord save me from my sins and eternal damnation”?

Our efforts at “giving” God our time, money, and energy have nothing to do with levels. This is works-based faith. Also, someone please show me in the Bible where God calls us to “new levels”, especially through our own efforts!

Here is another little slight of hand.

Along with opposition, however, comes opportunity (see 1 Cor. 16:9)—but God is always with us, and we have no need to fear. Some things may seem too great for us, but nothing is impossible with God. He is not surprised or frightened by anything.

What does the passage actually say?

5Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.

6And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go.

7For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.

8But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.

9For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
1 Corithians 16:5-9

Joyce again references a passage that at first glance might seem to support her point, but it does not. It is Paul doing the writing. He is speaking to to the church at Corinth about what he is doing. “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me . . .” [Italics mine]. Paul is speaking of himself, this is not a statement of doctrinal principal – it does not apply to all of us. Furthermore, Joyce has made a cause-effect relationship that is not there, and even has it backward. Paul states there is “opportunity” and there are many adversaries. He make no connection that because there is great opportunity there are many adversaries.  He certainly does not state that because there are adversaries there is therefore great opportunity.

She goes on to write:

If you are determined never to give up on your dream, then you have to take chances; you have to be courageous. When you face situations that threaten or intimidate you, you do not need to pray as much for the fear to go away as for boldness and courage so you can move ahead in spite of the fear. I can promise you, fear will not go away. It is not something you can get rid of, so you must learn to overcome it.

The spirit of fear will always try to keep you from going forward. The enemy has used fear for centuries to try to stop people, and he is not going to change his strategy now. But you can defeat fear; you are more than a conqueror through Him who loves us (see Rom. 8:37).

What do our dreams have to do with anything? God does not tell us to follow our dreams, He tells us to follow Him (Jesus). Again, notice it is what we do, not what Christ does through us. And we “can defeat fear”? Does Romans really say that?

34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:34-39

If you read the entire passage in context, it is not about us being able to conqueror defeat anything. It is about Christ making us free from the law of sin and death. He is the conqueror, we share in the victory – and not by anything we have done.

1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

We are more than conquerors in the sense of “all these things”  (mentioned previously in the chapter) which is the just punishment of the law of sin and death, and of our own fleshly nature through the victory of Christ.

If Joyce had wanted to make the point that we do not have a spirit of fear because of what Christ has done for us, great. But she entirely missed the point. She turned it around, put it back on what we do, and how we must react. She missed the point about what we should not be fearing and made into a trite little pep talk.

I have nothing personally against Joyce Meyer. I have serious issues with what she says and teaches. I won’t get into an ad hominem attack on her lifestyle, accent, hairstyle or what kind of toothpaste she uses. I know a lot of people really like and respect her. Many people clearly get a lot out of her teaching. However, I question just what they are getting out of it. God’s Word is not subjective – one cannot say “well it means this to me”, or “I got this out of it”.  God’s Word convicts us of our sin through the law so we may repent, and gives us the Gospel so that we may have the forgiveness of sins and be saved. To reduce it to pithy life sayings to help us feel better about ourselves and our circumstances is wrong. Perhaps deadly wrong.

Part IV

I had written this about year ago when I started really looking into this movement. Of course I have learned a lot since then, but these were my impressions at the time.

After taking a look at what all these folks had to say and write. I got a fair sense of what was involved in the Latter Rain/Third Wave/Dominion movement.

Although the nuances of doctrine vary a bit from named movement to named movement, the basic principles of this movement include:

  1. Creation is born out of violence and war between God and Satan
  2. Objects can have special powers
  3. Spoken word is inherently efficient (Positive Confession and Word/Faith varieties) both positive and negative
  4. Places and objects can manifest evil powers and influence
  5. Traumatic experiences (either in the life of an individual or his ancestral history) can generate “open doors” through which demons can take possession or gain significant influence over that person
  6. God created man as a warrior race to take back the earth
  7. Categories of demons (territorial spirits, middle-level spirits, and ground level spirits) exist and there is a hierarchy to them
  8. There is a new priesthood of “specialists” or “elite” Christians who have special, hidden knowledge to deal with demons.
  9. Most if not all sickness and misfortune are caused by spirits.
  10. The Christian’s fate is contingent on the demonic world
  11. “Powers” i.e. gifts of the spirit, special “anointing” etc. can be “imparted” to people through “super spiritual” people. Furthermore, gifts of the spirit can be taught and get better with practice (In fact, you can take courses to learn to be a prophet.)
  12. An emphasis on signs and wonders as affirmation of doing God’s will
  13. Prophecy is on an even level with scripture (They won’t say that, but that is how they operate) and is an every day occurrence
  14. Spiritual warfare is prominent and all consuming (Again, not what they would say, but listen to them, read their books, and look at their courses)
  15. A “restoration” of the offices of Apostle, Prophet, etc. Also, there are different categories of prophets (Seer Prophet, Mystic Prophet, Worship Prophet, etc)
  16. It is “Christians”, imbued with special powers who will ultimately take over the world and run it as a theocracy. There will be a “outpouring” or extreme end times revival which will create this “army”. Christians are the ones who will bring about the judgments of God. Many varieties don’t believe in a rapture or even a physical return of Jesus.

Contrast this with the Biblical view

  1. The universe was created good by a benevolent, loving God. The universe is ordered, predictable, and meaningful. It was created by design of a good God and not as the result of a primordial, violent conflict between good and evil. Evil exists, but was not created by God, is not as powerful as God, and ultimately was defeated by Jesus on the cross. Evil (and sickness and suffering and death) is the result of sin and a consequence of the fall – not always the result of direct demonic influence.
  2. Man is responsible for his actions
  3. Our fate is in the hands of God but also in our capacity to choose that which leads to life or death (accepting Jesus as Savior)
  4. Sin and the results of sin are the consequences of human choice. Sin affects our lives and leads to consequences, it does not, however, rob us of our ability to choose God (see Gen. 4:6-7)
  5. We do not discern what is true and false consulting some guru, relying on feelings, enacting some magical formula, or by relying on ours or others’ unverifiable “spiritual” experiences. Discerning the true from the false is the result of an intentional, conscious, and reasonable process of studying God’s word.
  6. The purpose of prayer is to communicate with God. Communicating with God is for the purpose of thanksgiving, comfort, supplication and submitting ourselves to God’s will, not for attacking the enemy. One pastor pointed out that we are spending more time talking to demons (spiritual warfare prayer) than we do to God.  Our response to difficulties is prayer to God, not rituals designed to “bind” or “limit” the work of evil spirits in our affairs (Phil. 4:4-8).
  7. Jesus paid the price on the cross, once and for all. When one becomes a believer they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit precludes any indwelling by any other spirit. We are freed from the bondage of death, demons, and sin. Jesus provided the victory and we are to live in victory.
  8. The Holy Spirit is a person and not a force to be wielded
  9. We have the wholly perfect word of God that is accessible to us. It is completed and we no longer have to rely on other people to mediate, explain or add to it.

Their view is that Satan is (as it relates to the earthly world) all powerful and we are fighting for our lives using the mystical power of God and the impersonal “force” of the Holy Spirit. We are in constant dire peril and seek our guidance from never ending prophecies and “words from the Lord”. The Biblical view is one of a fallen world where we have been redeemed (purchased and taken out of the marketplace) by Jesus and freed from death and bondage to sin and given his Word which is clear and complete.

All the words and actions of these guys provide a  “mythologization” of the universe. They have their own language and rituals, which while clothed in biblical terminology, is basically ritual magic and incantation. They call divination “prophecy”, spell casting is now “impartation” and “binding”, magic charms become “anointing oils” and jewelry, trances and hypnotism become “being drunk in the spirit” and “slain in the spirit”. What we are seeing today, in general, is an infiltration of mystical and occult practices (in the form of signs and wonders movements and the Emergent church movement) into Christianity. This happened at the beginning, happened for 1900 years and is happening now.

This is not an indictment of any spiritual gift, nor is it a statement of doctrine. I am not saying that there is never any prophecy or any of the other spiritual gifts, and I am not saying that there aren’t demons or a supernatural struggle. I am not saying people’s experiences are not real – but I question their source. I am also not judging or condemning people who have fallen for these deceptions, nor am I saying they aren’t really Christians. When a practice or doctrine is clearly non-biblical or when a “prophet” is wrong, we have clear biblical instruction on what to do.

As I explored the scriptures, I was struck for the first time just how much mention is made of false teaching, false prophets, false signs and wonders. It is clearly evident that the first century church struggled with this, and we continue to struggle with it now.

“1. But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” 2 Peter 2:1-3

So although I had been aware of what used to be called “hyper charismatics”, and was also quite aware of the “Emergent Church” stuff happening all over (in fact the church I had been going to for decades went emergent), this was really an eye opener to how pervasive and mainstream this kind of heresy had become. It was also evident that the theology and practices had moved from the simple “speaking in tongues” etc. type of controversy to wholesale apostate doctrine. No longer could we just say “well they believe that, but they still have the basics right” -they are spreading and advocating ANOTHER GOSPEL!

I had fallen down the rabbit hole. I found I was not alone. I found that the light of God’s Word shines even brighter for the darkness.

Third part of the my original first look into “Latter Rain/Dominion/New Apostolic Reformation”. Keep in mind I wrote this a year ago and have since learned much more.

Part III

In addition to just reading the book, “Ridding Your Home of Spiritual Darkness”, I took a look at the author – specifically Chuck D. Pierce. Pierce is a false prophet, promotes occult doctrine and is speaking ANOTHER GOSPEL (Galations 1:6-9). One can clearly see that based on this one book, but I thought it would be helpful to take a look at what he preaches elsewhere as well as the movement he is involved with. This is really where my eyes began to open.

Chuck D. Pierce

Chuck Pierce is VP of Global Harvest (Run by C. Peter Wagner) and also runs Glory of Zion Ministries. His is one of C. Peter Wanger’s “Recognized Apostles”  and (false) prophet. He nor any other of the new “apostles” meet the biblical requirements for an apostle. He was “anointed” and “imparted” by C. Peter Wagner, as well as given a Doctorate from Wagner Leadership Institute. Along with Robert Heidler, he runs the Issachar School which teaches such things as “Worship Sound and Movement”  which tells us how we can get in touch with “God’s vibrations” and how colors can heal, trees can talk, and how there is no sin, just “negative vibrations” and we are just energy and all this kind of garbage. Y@’s BLOG has a good article on this (also contains audio from McFatter “God Has a Sound Frequency – And Now You Can Get in Tune with It!”).  I also watched part of a “service” Issachar offers many different courses; almost all are on spiritual warfare and prophecy and other signs and wonders type activities.

Chuck Pierce and Robert Heidler are very into the “sound” and how we (along with the sun and stars) “resonate” with God and the “sound” will heal us and re-write our DNA. The service I watched was disgusting with a bedlam of sound, “worshiping” with the stars, weird native dancing, screaming, convulsions and a whole lot of other stuff I want to forget. The “doctrine” had nothing to do with Jesus. Such was the confusion and noise that I don’t even remember them saying the name of Jesus. However, they make a lot of “commanding words”. (This video was available on Youtube.com a little while ago – but has since been take down.)

Chuck Pierce is part of the “Apostolic Reformation”, which is the cadre of new “apostles” heavily influenced by the Latter Rain movement (now renamed a variety of names and flavors including Manifest Sons of God, Kingdom Now Theology, Positive Confession, Dominion, Five-Fold Ministry, Third Wave).

Pierce teaches ideas directly from the Kabbalah (an occult form of Jewish mysticism) with lots of astrology thrown in. He is big into “seasons” and Hebraic months and directly references astrological signs for each month. He espouses dream interpretation and in addition to his other magic charms on his website, he sells products relating to dream interpretation (8 books when I counted). He also urges people to buy his “specially designed” anointing oils (you need different oils for different things), candles, prayer tallits , intercessionary jewelry and more. (Not that other people don’t sell these magic charms, but this is disgusting).

Real time note: Just a few days ago, Pierce wrote a response to the charges that he and Heidler are teaching Kabbalah. It is – at best – a weak denial of the Kabbalah, that only rejects some Kabbalistic teaching. Here is a quote:

“There is some truth in the Kabbalah when it come to the names of God and the ancient mysteries connected to the Hebraic letters”.

Keep in mind that according to the Kabbalah, the “72 Names of God” are:

“…three-letter sequences composed of Hebrew letters that have the extraordinary power to overcome the laws of both mother and human nature…They are like conduits that transmit various blends of energy from the Light into our physical world.” – from Kabbalah.com

Back to my original investigation.

Chuck, in addition to being on the US Strategic Prayer Network as their “National Apostle” and being on the Executive board of International Coalition of Apostles, is a false prophet. (Now if one wishes to define a false apostle as an unsaved person deliberately misleading people, that is fine. But what do you call a prophet who is wrong? No prophet at all certainly).

Here is what Chuck said in his own words (speaking of the failure of certain prophecies to come about):

“We’ve made a lot of mistakes, there’s no excuse but we need to do better. And I wanna ask for forgiveness for immaturity and lack of accuracy. I wanna take governmental responsibility and ask you to forgive the inaccuracy of the office”  – Chuck Pierce, National School of Prophets, May 17, 2000.

He is a frequent poster to the Elijah List – a non-stop prophecy free for all. At least in the last little while he has not said anything specific enough to get himself in trouble. But fake fortune tellers make their living talking in generalities too. (It should be noted that the Elijah list promotes the heretical book “The Shack” as well).

We could go on and on looking at the weird and unbiblical doctrine of this guy, but I think something more telling is looking at the group and people he is involved with.

C. Peter Wagner

Wagner gave Pierce his “apostolic anointing” and his doctorate. He is one of the big players in the “Apostolic Reformation” and preaches and espouses Dominion (Kingdom Now) Theology. He is part of the Council of Apostolic Elders. His particular brand of apostasy he has called “Third Wave” (The current central figure of Third wave is John Wimber-pastor of Vinyard Christian Fellowship). Wagner was involved with the “Toronto Blessing” along with lots of other guys of similar bent who where either directly or indirectly involved (Rick Joyner, Randy Clark (Vineyard), Mike Bickle (IHOP), etc) the “Toronto Blessing” was kicked off by Rodney Howard-Browne (the “Laughing Revival Crusade”) and Clark (Vinyard).  Wanger was “anointed” and “imparted” by Howard-Browne.

To be fair to the subject, I listened to several of Wanger’s “sermons”. They are all about man’s dominion over the world (and oddly enough Satan’s dominion over the world – so it is at best confusing) and how God needs us to do the fighting and regain the earth, then Jesus will come when we win. He rarely, if ever mentions Jesus, salvation, justification, or grace. Wanger also teaches, subtlety, that we are all just “little gods” because everything reproduces its own kind (Creeflo Dollar came right out and said it! So did Mike Bickle, Ken Copeland and Joyce Meyer) Wagner’s teaching is all spiritual warfare and signs and wonders and US doing the work. Wanger and the rest of the “Apostolic Reformation” pundits believe in a “spiritual elite”, and “super Christians” who have access to hidden and secret knowledge of God. Basically they are Gnostics and mystics.

Wanger is so spiritual discerning and “apostolically aligned” that he,  Rick Joyner and a host of other new “apostles”,  “anointed” and “imparted” apostolic status and power to Todd Bently. This is not something I read, I have seen the videos. We all know what happened to Bently and the weird goings on at the Lakeland Outpouring including claims of the dead rising – of which they claim 13.

Others

Randy Clark, “impartation” guru, was a St. Louis Vineyard preacher and along with South African Rodney Howard-Browne (who “anointed” Clark) was the source of the “Toronto Blessing”. Vineyard later had big problems with the “Kansas City Prophets” who where invited in 1991 to join Vineyard. Clark has since left Vineyard and is pursuing his own “ministry” (although it is the same theology).

Pierce also is connected with Benny Hinn (who has also appeard with Chuck Pierce) and Mike Bickle of International House of Prayer (IHOP). The apostasy of IHOP and Hinn are legendary and should need no further explanation. What is interesting is Bickle is also a proponent of contemplative spirituality which makes a full circle to the Emergent Church movement.

Basically, all these guys (and gals) are involved in a movement which basically is mystical, not supported by scripture, and is based on experience and signs and wonders. It is an approach or theology which is increasingly characterized by use of magical and mystical experiences with a heavy dose of superstition.

In Part IV, I will take a look at what I had found (at the time) about Latter Rain, et al beliefs and practices.