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Posts Tagged ‘revival’

Spiritual Warfare In The Parable Of The Sower

Posted by Job on April 6, 2011

According to many popular spiritual warfare teachers, a major battlefield for spiritual warfare (binding and rebuking demons) and warfare prayer or directed prayer (praying against demons, their areas of influence and their activities) relates to evangelism and missions. These doctrines teach that there are powerful demons opposing the spread of the gospel by acting not just against comprehension and acceptance of this gospel of Jesus Christ in the minds of individuals, but that they keep entire regions, population groups, nations etc. in spiritual bondage. Sometimes it is through false religions and sinful practices, other times it may be government officials working to intimidate Christians, stop the building of churches, limit the distribution of Bibles, etc. There is a huge body of evangelism and missionary literature available that deals with this subject, and many large, respected Christian seminaries and Bible colleges deal with this issue in some fashion or another, including offering entire courses related to it, including how to stage and support successful evangelistic revivals. So it begs the question: how Biblical are the doctrines involved?

To answer, there does not seem to be a wealth of Bible texts that depicts the assumption of this scenario: that there is this huge swath of people that would receive the gospel and be converted if only demonic opposition were removed from the way. This is not to say, mind you, that these references are wholly nonexistent.

Revelation 2 and 3

Revelation 2 and 3 speaks of opposition to the churches in the way of false religious doctrines and persecution that may be influenced by demons. See the reference to the blasphemy of the “synagogue of Satan” as well as the “tribulation ten days” attacking Smyrna. Pergamos being located “even where Satan’s seat is” (a reference to the church’s proximity to a center of pagan emperor worship) and the martyrdom of Antipas, and accepted the false doctrines of Balaam and Balac (idolatry/sexual immorality) and the Nicolataines.

Thyatira adhered to the Jezebel doctrines (idolatry/sexual immorality) which is referred to as “the depths of Satan”. Philadelphia is being persecuted and withstood by another reference to “the synagogue of Satan.” However, no demonic persecution is apparent regarding Laodicea, Sardis or Ephesus. Instead, those churches – and presumably their evangelistic activities – were being hindered by love of the flesh and its works thereof, and this was particularly the case with Laodicea, who fell in love with money, prestige and power.

Also, even the churches that did have problems with demonic influences, it appears that in some cases those problems existed because what the evil influences offered appealed to the flesh – the fallen natures – of the church members, and the churches yielded to the temptation not so much of the evil spirits as of the flesh. This appears to particularly be a problem with Thyatira and Pergamos. By inviting demonic problems with their own carnality, those two churches were really no different from Laodicea, Sardis and Ephesus, in that the root cause of their problems was the carnality, not the evil spirits.

That is why Jesus Christ gives Thyatira and Pergamos the same remedy that He gives Laodicea, Sardis and Ephesus: repentance and return to true worship of Jesus Christ in holiness, sound doctrine and Godly fear. One should also note that regarding the two churches that did not provoke demonic persecution with their carnality or spiritual immaturity – Philadelphia and Smyrna – Jesus Christ does not tell them to respond to the demonic tormentors with spiritual warfare, but instead tells them to be faithful in the midst of trials by relying on Him and on His work, His promises and His faithfulness (see Revelation 3:8-10 and 2:10)!

So, regarding the demonic opposition that rises up against missionary work (and everything else), from what Jesus Christ told the churches concerning this opposition, we can take the position that His position is the same as that of the Holy Spirit speaking to and through Paul concerning his thorn in the flesh (a demon that tormented him) in 2 Corinthians 12:9’s “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Rather than going into spiritual warfare/deliverance over their oppression, the church was to heed the next verse’s admonition: “take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak , then am I strong.” So, rather than attempting to overcome this opposition with our own warfare tactics, we are to put our trust in the sovereignty and power of God to overcome them on our behalf for His glory. Our duty, then, is to be faithful to God by keeping His commandments.

Simon Magus

Another reference is that of Simon Magus in Acts 8-9. Using false religion akin to witchcraft and the occult, Simon Magus opposed the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ in Samaria. How was this demonic stronghold defeated? Not by spiritual warfare to bind it, or by directed prayer against it. Instead, Philip the evangelist simply kept preaching, and the Holy Spirit used his preaching to break down that stronghold Himself, and the Samaritans were converted. Demon spirits cannot withstand the power of God! Indeed, even Simon Magus believed the gospel! Though this Magus was not regenerated and went on to become a notorious opponent of the gospel and advocate of a gnostic syncretist system, even his form of belief – that lacked the power of Godliness – was evidence of the triumph of the sovereignty of God over against the works of both man and evil spirits.

The Whole Armour of God

Ephesians 6:10-18 is probably the most vital text to spiritual warfare/deliverance/directed prayer teachings. It reads:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand . 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

This passage may well seem to contain a treasure trove of spiritual warfare teachings, exhortations and methodology, especially if it is interpreted more spiritually than literally. Verse 11-12’s meaning, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places“, is impossible to dispute. However, the problem is that this passage is not quoted in its entirety when spiritual warfare teaches use it. So, consider verses 19 and 20, which complete the section and the thought.

And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Recall that Paul is in a Roman prison for preaching the gospel at the time that he wrote this epistle. Rather than being some text on spiritual warfare that fails to reveal any warfare methods or practices and is of a sort that exists nowhere else in the canon of scripture, Paul was merely exhorting the church to preach the gospel, to pray for the spread of the gospel, and to pray for him specifically that he would not succumb to his flesh by allowing the persecution that he was experiencing (in jail) to cause him to either stop preaching the gospel, or even worse, to start preaching it in a way or manner that would minimize offense and better his situation.

Paul did reveal the truth that evil spirits were ultimately behind the spread of the gospel and his imprisonment, and that these spirits were the ones motivating the religious and political leadership to oppose Christianity in general and him specifically. But Paul’s purpose of doing this was to prevent his followers from using secular or temporal methods (i.e. political maneuverings or intrigue) to get him out of jail (recall that from Acts that Festus would have released Paul to the Christians had he been bribed) or overcome opposition to the gospel, but to instead rely on God. And, through the use of a military metaphor to make his words memorable (just as Paul used athletic metaphors for the same reason), Paul stated that this reliance on God and His will, being strong in the Lord and in the power of His might in order to stand against this Babylon system, meant possessing or exhibiting truth, righteousness, faith, prayer, salvation, and the gospel of peace (or of Jesus Christ).

Now had Paul simply written “go and be truthful, righteous, faithful, exhibit evidence of your salvation, preach the gospel boldly, and pray for yourselves and me also”, it would not been nearly as memorable, or as effective in the ears of the original hearers. However, it also would not have been the subject of such curious interpretations and applications as it has been through the years. One problem is that so many spiritual warfare teachers take this text as justification for their binding/rebuking/casting out doctrines and practices while ignoring what the text actually commands, which is truth, righteousness, faith, exhibiting fruits of possessing the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A particularly great irony: Paul wrote this text specifically so that the church would not have temporal aspirations or use secular (or spiritual) means to get them, but instead to keep their eyes fixed on God and eternity. However, spiritual warfare teachers, particularly those in dominion theology, use this verse to mean that Christians should use spiritual warfare against demons that control government and religions for the purposes of asserting political, social and economic control over nations and ultimately the globe. So where the Holy Spirit spoke that text through Paul commanding Christians to be patient, faithful and reliant on God, this verse is being misapplied by men who misuse Christ’s Name while pursuing their own thirst for power.

The spiritual wickedness in high places will be overcome by Jesus Christ, and not by man, and yes man does include Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will overthrow Babylon, not the church taking authority, recovering the dominion that was given to Adam (for the dominion given to Adam transferred not to the church but to Jesus Christ!), overthrowing Babylon, and setting up its own rule in its place. Revelation does not depict the church defeating and overthrowing Babylon, but Jesus Christ returning to defeat Babylon! Recall that it will be given to the beast to make war against the saints and to overcome them (Revelation 13:7) and that Babylon will be filled with the blood of Christian martyrs. Only the return of Jesus Christ will save us from this. Evidence of this is how Paul did not apply this very same text used by spiritual warriors in their quest to take towns and nations for Christ in asking for his fellow Christians to so much as pray to get him out of jail! Instead, Paul ultimately humbly glorified Jesus Christ by dying the death of a martyr.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4

This text is explicit. “But if our gospel be hid , it is hid to them that are lost; In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”  This reminds us of Revelation 12:9, which says that Satan deceives the whole world concerning the truth of Jesus Christ. But what does 2 Corinthians 4 tell us to do about this sad fact? Not spiritual warfare to take on dominions, powers and principalities. Instead, there is merely a brief exhortation to confront this fact by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is curious that in the prior chapter, there is an apparent reference to the blindness of the Jews reminiscent of Romans 11. Both Romans 11 and 2 Corinthians 3 state that the ending of this blindness, the “lifting of the vail upon their hearts” as it is called in 2 Corinthians 3:11-18, will happen when God commands it. The King James Version text states that this will happen when Israel turns to the Lord, and Zechariah 12 supports this. Israel’s turning to God will not occur as a result of Christians binding and rebuking dominions and directing prayer towards them, but after the times of the Gentiles – as mentioned in Romans 11 – ceases. Just as the return of Israel from Babylonian captivity happened when the prophesied 70 years were completed, the coming of Israel to Jesus Christ will occur when the times of the Gentiles end, and this is a predetermined time known only by God the Father. Warfare prayers cannot open the eyes of the blind. Only the Holy Spirit can. The Holy Spirit does this in concert with the preaching of the gospel by drawing sinners, convicting them and opening the eyes of those Satan has blinded.

Parable of the Sower

This brings us to the parable of the sower of Mark 4:3-20, Matthew 13:3-23, and Luke 8:5-15. This parable is probably the best theological treatment of evangelism and missions in the Bible, and all of the apostolic teachings in the epistles, including Paul’s, merely expands on it, or enhances the Christology of it. Jesus Christ is the seed, for His gospel is the seed, and the legitimate gospel presents Jesus Christ Himself: it is Jesus Christ Himself through the reality of His existence, His teachings, His work on the cross and His resurrection from the dead that is being sowed into hearts. Also, Jesus Christ is the sower, for it is the church, Jesus Christ’s own body, that preaches the gospel. For brevity, Luke’s presentation will be given.

5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed , some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down , and the fowls of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up , it withered away , because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it , and choked it. 8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up , and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried , He that hath ears to hear , let him hear . 9 And his disciples asked him, saying , What might this parable be ? 10 And he said , Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see , and hearing they might not understand . 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear ; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved . 13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear , receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe , and in time of temptation fall away . 14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard , go forth , and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection . 15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Please note first of all that the gospel is not only or merely to be preached where the way has first been paved by spiritual warfare and directed prayer. Instead, the seed is sowed everywhere. The gospel must be taken wherever the Christian goes, and it should be preached for and to the glory of God in addition to the goal of converting sinners. It is not to be preached in some strategic, planned manner desired to produce the most or best results after the manner of some corporate marketing scheme or government program.

Quite the contrary, the sowing of the seed seems almost heedless or arbitrary. The sower is only concerned about sowing the seeds, and the sower then leaves the seeds to their own fate. The reason is that the job of the sower begins and ends with sowing the seeds. (Please note that we are speaking of evangelism only, not discipleship or fellowship.) Just as a human farmer planting corn or watermelon, he simply puts the seed into the ground and allows “nature” (not really!) to take over.

Sure, he may water it, fertilize it, and take actions to remove weeds, but none of those will make the seed grow. Only God (not “nature”) can make the seed grow! And the same as it is with evangelism. Directed warfare prayer does not convert people, only the Holy Spirit does. The only caveat is that for the seed to grow, it must first be planted, so for converts to be made, the gospel should be preached. So, efforts in binding, rebuking demons and praying against them should be redirected towards evangelism, whether personal or public.

Another consideration: of the four groups listed by Jesus Christ, which were the seeds that landed 1. on the wayside, 2. on stony ground, 3. among thorns and 4. in good soil, the works of Satan were only explicitly mentioned in one of those, the ones that landed on the wayside! Now Luke 8:13 does say that Satan does this in order to prevent people from being saved. But Matthew 13:19 states that this is made possible only because of the failure of the person to understand or comprehend the gospel! While this certainly reminds one of Hosea 4:6’s “many people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge”, the truth is that only the Holy Spirit gives one knowledge or comprehension of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:14 states that the natural man cannot perceive or understand spiritual things, and that includes the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, binding and rebuking the enemy and directed warfare prayer will not result in the effectual opening of the hearts of the gospel, because this will not happen in a heart where the Holy Spirit is not active to provide comprehension of that gospel!

Now what of the other two groups who are not saved, meaning those among the thorns and those on the stony ground? The failure of these groups are not attributable to evil spirits, but of human nature: the flesh. Those among the thorns do not persevere because they prefer the riches and cares of this world. They are akin to Demas and the aforementioned Simon Magus. While it is true that Satan is behind the Babylon system that tempts men with its illicit pleasures, but going into spiritual battle against that system is to no avail when the issue is not the Satanic availability of the system, but the failure of man to resist it. Again, without the work of the Holy Spirit, it is not so much that Satan that man cannot overcome, but rather his own flesh that Satan appeals to with his temptations: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It was these things that Satan appealed to in order to cause the fall of Adam, and it was also these things that Jesus Christ resisted during His time of temptation in the desert. So, it is not the presence of Satan but the absence of the Holy Spirit that is the key here, and that is something that warring against devils will not fix.

The same is true with the other group, the one that falls among thorns. Though Revelation and other areas of the Bible make it abundantly clear that Satan provokes and controls the persecution of those who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, the issue is those who yield to this persecution because of the weakness of the flesh. The parents of the man born blind refused to testify to the miracle of Jesus Christ worked on their own son because they feared being put out of the synagogues. The gospels refer to many others who believed in Jesus Christ but refused to testify of it because they feared the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Of those like unto them, Jesus Christ said that those who are ashamed of Him in this life will not be saved on judgment day!) The epistle to the Hebrews was written to warn Jewish Christians that they could not be saved if they abandoned the faith due to persecution, and Revelation 2-3 (indeed the entire epistle!) was written for the purposes of encouraging Christians to endure persecution to the very end.

Falling away due to the cares of the world and falling away due to persecution are two sides of the same coin. One is more concerned with pleasing the flesh than pleasing God, and the other is more concerned with preserving the flesh than preserving the relationship with God, and both are of Esau in that they mortgage their future inheritance for much lesser benefits in the present. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives Christians comprehension of the gospel so that Satan cannot deceive them with a lie (i.e. false Babylon religions including atheism), and the Holy Spirit is also the One who seals Christians so that they do not yield to the pressure on their flesh that the Babylon system exerts either through persecution or enticement. So, in all three cases, spiritual warfare and directed prayer will not overcome the lack of Holy Spirit involvement concerning an unbeliever. Doctrines otherwise are those which place the erstwhile spiritual warrior in the place of God.

More Workers In The Vineyard

Now Jesus Christ did tell us to pray on matters concerning evangelism and missions. However, just as Paul exhorted Christians to pray for the protection and the success of the missionaries and evangelists, Jesus Christ instructed us to pray for more missionaries. Matthew 9:36-28 reads “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted , and were scattered abroad , as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

Similarly Luke 10:2 reads “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into his harvest.” Now the prayer was not that the works and workers of Satan would be thwarted and overthrown so that people could be saved. Instead, the prayers were for more workers for the harvest! Why? The key term is “the Lord of the harvest.” YHWH is the Lord of the harvest, meaning that He is utterly sovereign over salvation of men.

The term translated “Lord” in this passage, kyrios, means (in the context that is most relevant here) “about which he has power of deciding.” Do not be deceived: the number of those who will be saved and the identity of those who will be saved is known by God, decreed by God, and is set forth by God from before the foundation of the world (Mat 25:34, Eph 1:4). Otherwise, in what sense could YHWH be the Lord of the harvest? In that case, YHWH could be manager of the harvest. Or CEO of the harvest. But YHWH could not truly be the Lord, the complete and total ruler, of it!

Consider an illustration. If you are selling a product, the manager or CEO can run the operation of manufacturing and marketing the product, but he does not have the power to choose who buys. Even if he breaks down and destroys opposition to the sale of his product by driving all competitors out of business and overcoming tariffs and regulations (the business equivalent of spiritual warfare evangelism) the consumer decides whether to buy or sell or not. Because the manager or CEO, despite all of his efforts and talents, still does not ultimately determine whether his product is bought or not (or by whom it is not) he is not the lord of the marketplace, only a manager or CEO in it. But God, in His sovereignty, is Lord of the harvest. He is Lord of evangelism. He is Lord of missions.

Thus, the number of those who will be saved, set forth from before the foundation of the world, will not be reduced by the plans of Satan, for God’s purposes shall come to pass. His Word shall not return null and void, but instead go forth and accomplish its purposes! Also, this number will not be enlarged by the prayers and warfare of the saints. We are but God’s servants, not little gods with dominion over salvation and those who hold the eternal fates of men in our limited, flawed sinful hands. So, our role is to pray that more Christians would obey God by taking on the duty of active evangelism and missions so that God will be glorified by more people, and so that there will be a further division of labor.

So, the Bible clearly teaches that spiritual warfare missions/evangelism is to no avail. Instead, we should do what the Bible actually tells us, which is to pray for the salvation of sinners, pray for more evangelists and to be evangelists ourselves. In this way we properly apply the Biblical evidence, obey God and glorify YHWH who is the Lord of His harvest.

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, how does this relate to you? It is simple: you must repent of your sins and believe in the deity, virgin birth, atoning death on the cross for sins, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, you will be one of the seeds that did not land on good soil, and therefore lost to an eternal punishment in the lake of fire. But be encouraged: Jesus Christ promised that none of those given to Him by God the Father would be lost. So, one must take on their responsibility of believing in and confessing the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to be saved in order to make their calling and election in Jesus Christ sure. Do this now! In order to do so, please click on the link below and:

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

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2 Chronicles 7:14 And Revelation 3:20 – How Heal Their Land Still Applies Today

Posted by Job on March 3, 2011

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Thus says 2 Chronicles 7:14. I know that a lot of Christians in America are distressed about a lot of the recent political and legal changes. Further, there is the belief that these changes are merely the result of cultural, social and religious trends that have been in the works for decades, if not longer. Christians see a longstanding effort by forces in government, education, media, activism, culture etc. working to infiltrate, subvert, undermine and destroy many of our longstanding values and institutions, with the result being a nation that has much more confusion and disorder, and is more hostile to those possessing a Christian worldview. The worst part for many is that decades of various organized countermeasures on the part of many Christians, including but not limited to the religious right, have failed, and this despite much effort being invested and many questionable moves – including alliances with nonbelievers and theological compromises – being made. Further, it appears as if the cultural and moral decay affecting the larger society is being reflected within many institutional church bodies themselves.

In light of these facts, one seeking for a solution may come to the conclusion that the answer is not for the church to turn outward to try to directly or overtly influence the larger community. Instead, relying on 2 Chronicles 7:14 and similar, perhaps instead the answer is to turn inward! Increase our prayer, fasting, church attendance, worship, evangelism, Bible reading and other forms of private and public piety. Reduce our sinful thoughts and actions. Purge questionable doctrines and practices from our midst, and separate from those who practice them. The belief is, then, that if we do this, then God will honor the promise given in 2 Chronicles 7:14 through a revival caused by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the result would be an improved spiritual, moral, religious, cultural, social, political etc. climate for the nation. Not a few Christians of great esteem assert that such precisely happened as a result of the “great awakening” revivals in this country, and yearn for a similar outpouring to come save us now.

Now I do not wish to debate the actual effectiveness on the larger society of the awakenings and similar revivals in other countries, other than to point out that there is some evidence that they definitely included some mixtures of bad with the good. Instead, the issue is that there is no scriptural basis for the idea that Christians can improve the larger society with increased fervor and fidelity to the faith. Not only should such a thing not be a goal in the first place – for the sole aim of Christianity is to worship, honor and serve Jesus Christ – but there is not even Biblical evidence to suggest that it has been promised to the church as a happy byproduct. Quite the contrary, various New Testament texts seem to indicate that increased sincerity, devotion and faithfulness to the church causes more rejection and persecution from the world, while compromise, carnality and worldliness causes less.

Realize the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 (and similar that can be found in such places as Deuteronomy) was given only to Old Testament Israel. This promise was only valid in the context that God made with Israel at Sinai. Israel was the only nation to be miraculously created by God Himself, and it was the only political entity that was meant to be governed by God’s special revelation. God Himself set up Israel’s government, religion, economy and a great deal of its culture. God also instituted a system where Israel’s people were accountable to their leaders, and Israel’s leaders (i.e. kings, judges, prophets, priests) were accountable to Him. As a result of this arrangement, blessings came to Israel when they generally (sort of) kept the covenant, and curses came to them when they did not. So, the context of 2 Chronicles 7:14 was that if Israel ever experienced curses due to their lack of faithfulness to the covenant – and these curses negatively effected the culture, economy, morals and security of Israel – that if they returned to the covenant, God would take the curses away, and such things as economic decline, moral decay, diseases, losing wars to enemies etc. would cease. In other words, the land would be healed from the covenant curses and their effects. And as we can see in the Old Testament record, Israel had a cycle of being at peace and prosperity when the people were led by righteous rulers who caused them to have some level of faithfulness to the covenant, and wars/famines/ruin when led by rulers who caused them to break the covenant with idolatry and other sinful practices.

But what was the case for Old Testament Israel does not apply to any nation ever since. Despite notions of “American exceptionalism” or “dominion theology” or other false doctrines, God never created another nation, and He never made another covenant of blessings and curses with another nation. Those who claimed such things were speaking their own words from their own authority, and not the words of God from the Holy Spirit, including the Bible that the Holy Spirit has inspired and preserved. Indeed, false ideas concerning God making new covenant nations with new covenant peoples are responsible for the worst crimes against humanity – and also against God – by Christians in history, including the tendency to see the nation as “the new Israel”, its inhabitants as “the new Jews”, and the native populations as “the new Hittites/Amorites/Ammonites/Edomites” etc. that were to be brutally subjugated and/or ethnically cleansed.

So, as tempting as it may be, the promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not applicable to the church, which is not old covenant Israel and is not governed by the terms, either the blessings or the curses, of that covenant. For that matter, neither is Israel, with their Sinai covenant long abrogated, with the ark that signified the covenant lost to history at the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon in 586 AD. Instead, the church is governed by the new covenant with better promises, the same covenant whose coming was prophesied by Jeremiah, who also declared the ending of the old conditional covenant due to Israel’s persistent failure to live up to its conditions.

So, one might ask, why is it in the Bible? How does it relate to us, other for historical purposes? What makes it useful to us today as Christians? An answer to this question can be found in Revelation 3:14-21, which deals with the church at Laodicea. And the context is mighty similar.  2 Chronicles 7:14 dealt with a situation where Israel had become unfaithful to God through broad abject failure to attain even a semblance of attempting to keep the Sinai covenant and therefore is in need of repentance and returning to faithfulness. Similarly, the Laodicean church is one that was veering into apostasy. Jesus Christ described their spiritual state as “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” and is threatening to “spue thee out of my mouth.”

So, what to do about this situation, when a Christian individual or a Christian assembly – be it a household or a church – reaches this desperate state of affairs with such dire consequences? That is when 2 Chronicles 7:14 is applicable! That is when the Christian assembly, the people called by the Name of Jesus Christ, should humble themselves, and pray, and seek the face of Jesus Christ, and turn from their wicked ways. When that happens, then will Jesus Christ hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. What is this land in question, if it is not a political entity like Israel? Well, in this covenant, God dwells in the hearts of His church. The bodies of Christians are temples of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells the Christian. Jesus Christ indwells the Holy Spirit. And God the Father indwells Jesus Christ. God in us, and God with us! So, the land, then, is US.

If a Christian backslides, or merely falls into spiritual coldness, or lapses into sin, if such a Christian returns to Jesus Christ in true repentance, Jesus Christ will heal that Christian’s heart. We know this not only from the promise given to the Laodicean church, but also from 1 John 1:9, which tells us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Further, we know from 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” and 1 John 1:10, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” that all of us become Laodiceans at some point.

One can also apply the doctrine of corporate solidarity, which essentially is that Christians are not lone wolves or islands but instead part of one universal body joined together into one unit, one bride, by the Holy Spirit, to extend this promise beyond merely individual Christians. Instead, an entire family or household, an entire church, or a large group of Christians drawing from and encompassing any number of churches can apply 2 Chronicles 7:14 and return to the Lord in repentance, with the result being God’s healing and new covenant blessings being poured out upon all who come together in the Name of Jesus Christ on one accord and humbly ask for restoration and healing by God’s mercy and grace.</span

We know this because it was what Jesus Christ told the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:18-19. “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Just as stated in 2 Chronicles 7:14, Jesus Christ urges and instructs His wayward covenant people to repent and be restored, and in this letter Jesus Christ is not speaking to an individual Christian, but through John to a corporate assembly, an entire church. The entire church is on the verge of apostasy, and Jesus Christ is letting them know that they can come back and be restored as a church, perhaps through a combination of individual prayer with intercession on the part of others who may be haughty or blinded. This allows the same “national” application of 2 Chronicles 7:14 to be applied in a broader or corporate sense to the church.

Consider Revelation 3:20. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Now this is often erroneously applied to evangelism, of Jesus Christ making the offer of salvation to sinners and awaiting their response. However, this is not consistent with what Jesus Christ says about evangelism and conversion in every other place, which is His elect hearing the call of His voice and coming to HIM. Saving grace is irresistible, so a mere man does not have the option of leaving the sovereign God, his Creator and the sustainer of his very existence, outside knocking at the door as if Jesus Christ is some jilted lover (or door to door salesman)!

Instead, that passage refers to a Christian’s making his calling and election sure by responding to the command of Jesus Christ to repent and return from his wicked ways. When the penitent backslider does so, then Jesus Christ returns and re-establishes the former state of communion with the former backslider and Himself, and the restoration process is consummated. A the mark of a legitimate Christian, one who is legitimately Christ’s sheep according to the decree of God the Father by the workings of God the Spirit, is that He will heed the command of Jesus Christ in Revelation 3:18-19, which results in the fulfillment of the prophecy and promise of Revelation 3:20. The result is Revelation 3:21, which is “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” This means that the Christians who heed this command to confess and repent of their sins – which is necessarily all actual Christians – will inherit eternal life. Such Christians will be changed, receive new incorruptible bodies, and will be glorified, conformed into the image of Jesus Christ, with no more flaws, death, illness, sickness, grief, trials, trouble, temptations or sin. When this happens, 2 Chronicles 7:14 will have reached its final fruition, and the land – the true Christendom, which is the elect in whom the Holy Spirit dwells – will be finally and eternally healed … New Jerusalem.

Stunningly, the greatest comforting promise was given to the church in Revelation 2-3 in the worst condition and received the sternest rebuke. Great is our God, and great is His grace, forgiveness, love and mercy from everlasting to everlasting! Please, partake of this promise today. Repent of your sins, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan

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Revival in China

Posted by Job on September 7, 2009

Where there is persecution, the church often grows!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Revival in China“, posted with vodpod

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Paul Washer On Revival

Posted by Job on May 21, 2009

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Sermon Accepting Jesus Christ From AW Tozer

Posted by Job on October 2, 2008

Courtesy of NaturalSystah.

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Third Wave Pentecostalism And Why Miracles And Signs Exist

Posted by Job on August 11, 2008

I cannot say that I am surprised, because he also endorsed the Pensacola and Brownsville revivals and the Toronto Airport Christian fellowship, but Sid Roth is fully aligned with the third wave pentecostal movement in his endorsement of Todd Bentley. See this link on his website. Yep, Sid Roth is yet another one of the prosperity/Word of Faith teachers that I used to watch religiously and send money to. I continued to support Roth even after I began to turn away from the likes of the Crouch family, T. D. Jakes, etc. because I did not see where any of the discernment or apologetics ministries had addressed him. Also, I must admit that I hesitated because I personally believed in Roth’s ministry and especially his powerful testimony because it was so similar to my own! But I have to follow God rather than man, and that includes the desires of my own heart! Looking below, it appears that Roth has been supporting Bentley ever since at least 2007, because the fellow has at least 16 articles authored by Bentley on his website.

Building Dreams and Visions, Part 1 (Bentley)

Building Dreams and Visions, Part 2 (Bentley)

Discerning the Call of God, Part 1 (Bentley)

Discerning the Call of God, Part 2 (Bentley)

Encounter With Heaven Part 1

Encounter With Heaven Part 2

Encounter With Heaven Part 3

Healing and God’s Sovereignty (Bentley)

Open Heavens, Part 1 (Bentley)

Open Heavens, Part 2 (Bentley

Reigning and Resurrection, Part 1 (Bentley)

Reigning and Resurrection, Part 2 (Bentley)

Restoring the Voice of Healing (Bentley)

The Gifts of Healing and Miracles

The Spirit of Infirmity, Part 1 (Bentley)

The Spirit of Infirmity, Part 2 (Bentley)

What is the third wave? Here is a fundamental Christian viewpoint:

1. Its History

In the early 1980s the Vineyard Christian Fellowship movement began with the ministry of John Wimber in California. He believed that people would become convinced of the genuineness of Christianity by seeing miraculous signs and wonders from God more than by being convinced doctrinally. He not only practiced this belief in the church he pastored, but he also teamed up with missions professor Peter Wagner to teach and encourage its practice in the Signs and Wonders class at Fuller Seminary. Others who emphasized these signs and wonders include Christian psychologist and speaker John White, former Dallas Seminary professor Jack Deere, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School faculty member Wayne Grudem. Support for this emphasis has also come from the ministries of such recognized Christian leaders as John Piper.

2. Distinctive Views

The movement’s supporters come from various evangelical backgrounds and do not necessarily want to be identified with traditional man-centered Pentecostal views. Some, in fact, have strong Calvinistic convictions. But all stress the presence of genuine signs and wonders from God today. Tongues-speaking is not emphasized as much as in the more traditional Pentecostal groups, but healings and especially the gift of prophecy are very prominent.

D. Other Contemporary Charismatic Emphases

Also present in more recent years are the ministries of several others who have a strongly charismatic approach and emphasis. These include those who emphasize a “health and wealth” gospel; the ministries of charismatic teachers such as Benny Hinn, Kenneth Hagin, and Kenneth Copeland; and the current ministries of Oral and Richard Roberts, John Arnott and the Toronto Blessing, Paul Cain and the Kansas City Prophets, and Rodney Howard-Browne and John Kilpatrick of the Brownsville Assembly of God Church and the Pensacola Outpouring Revival.

For more, please see George Houghton’s part 1 and part 2 on the topic of Pentecostalism in general. I am aware that some have accused me of being opposed to the supernatural, of miracles. To answer those charges, read my testimonies part 1 and part 2 of miraculous faith healing from asthma, addiction, and a lung infection that doctors could not cure, killed several other people around the same time (including the actress that played the bride in “Meet The Parents”), and had stopped my breathing (I was minutes away from dying people). Also search my archives and take notice of how LEGITIMATE faith healing, miracles, and deliverance from evil spirits is a major area of attention of mine (regrettably I have gotten away from those topics in these past months and need to get back into them). 

But I must say that I was motivated to finally deal with Sid Roth after seeing him promote a pastor who claims that during his worship services, angel feathers, gold dust, and precious jewels would appear out of thin air. The pastor was also selling a book – with companion DVD – claiming to have discovered in scripture the secret for unlocking the power of God in your life that he was using to bring forth these manifestations (it is humility). Let me first state that Christianity IS NOT a secret religion. It is based on revelation from the Bible that is freely available to all. People speaking of finding secrets and unlocking spiritual keys are actually practicing gnosticism, which is based on using gnosis (secret knowledge) to advance spiritually and attain salvation. Gnostics were syncretists who assimilated elements of virtually every religion and belief system of the time that suited them in order to create their own abominations. And no, the gnostics did not invent the notion of secret or magical spiritual keys or codes embedded in religious texts. That idea long predated them, coming from the ancient near east mystery religions and cults. Basically, gnosticism was a mixture of Christianity, Judaism, and western (especially Greek) mythology and philosophy, and who knows what else. So, the third wavers that are convinced that they are finding some new – or rediscovering some lost – way of reading the Bible and worshiping God through Jesus Christ under the Holy Spirit are actually just rehashing the same vile dark deceptions that John, Jude, Paul, etc. took up most of the New Testament contending against. So much of what we know about Christian doctrine and practice in the New Testament was not information volunteered at the author’s initiative, but rather came from an apostle writing an epistle to oppose some lie that people claiming to have secret knowledge or special revelation was passing around! 

But the primary issue that must be dealt with is the erroneous fascination of third wave pentecostals on signs and wonders: miracles and revelation. The reason is that it is BACKWARDS. This fascination is due to faithlessness by the alleged faithful. If you truly believe nothing else in the Bible but Genesis 1:1, the idea that God can work a miracle should be presupposed, basic, nothing to get excited over. Why? Because it is merely God changing something in the natural realm that He created in the first place … very often things that would change anyway without a miracle! Further, not everyone who witnesses a miracle responds with faith. Case in point: the Pharisees. Despite all that Jesus Christ did, they kept telling Him “OK, just do one more miracle or give us one more sign and THEN we will believe that you are the Messiah.” The Pharisees were simply the spiritual descendants of the children of Israel who refused to enter Canaan after seeing God work the greatest miracles that the world had ever seen to crush the greatest empire of the world AND miraculously sustain them with food and water AND the glory of God on Sinai AND the rock that followed them AND the pillar of fire by night/cloud by day that guided them. What was the problem with those Israelites? Well the least favorite book of this movement, the Book of Hebrews (which says that revelation was completed and ended with Jesus Christ in its opening verses … or maybe 1 Corinthians with its denunciations of confusion and disorder in the church are the least favorite!) it is FAITHLESSNESS. If the basis of your Christian doctrine and affiliation is miracles and signs, trust me, it is never going to be enough, because just like a glutton with a piece of pie or a fornicator and sex partners or a greedy man and dollar bills, you will never be satisfied, you will always seek JUST ONE MORE no matter how much you have already had! 

So, the FAITHFUL who know well and good that God can perform miracles on the natural order … we praise and glorify God over those things true, but those are not the things that we focus on, not the least because evil spirits can emulate those. Do not be offended! Evil spirits emulated several of the signs and wonders of YHWH in Egypt during their contest with Moses. People follow false religions for a reason! And the Bible itself says that the anti-Christ will deceive the whole world with his evil fantastic works, and that but for the grace of God even the very elect would be deceived by him also! 

So no, those who truly believe in God are not after by angel feathers, gold dust, and jewels popping up out of thin air! We are not after new visions, revelations, and secrets. Why? The reason is that those things, while impressive to behold, have no lasting value. They are not the things that the kingdom of heaven is built on. So what true believers love to see and hear about are CHANGED HEARTS as evidenced by CHANGED BEHAVIOR. Unbelievers hearing the gospel and getting saved. People confessing their sins and turning from them rather than using their works, church membership, background, or “anointing” to justify remaining in them. People overcoming the grief of losing a loved one. People forgiving those that have done them grievously wrong. The fearful becoming bold, the haters becoming lovers. THAT is what Christians should seek after and try to participate in. And those are what we Christians should be after. For it is a certainty that demons can motivate tongues and private prayer languages. That goes on in Hindu temples all the time! I have no doubt that a demon can cure – or at least temporarily alleviate – physical ailments. Were that not the case witch doctors, rootworkers, medicine men and women, etc. would go out of business tomorrow. The same with the diviners, necromancers, fortune tellers, etc. People have been seeking out mighty wonders, strange works, new revelations, etc. ever since man rejected the knowledge of God as Paul told us in Romans 1:18-32 for a reason! Not a few missionaries can relate dark spiritual happenings involving the demons that work through those false religions that would curl your hair even if you were bald! Check out “And The Word Came With Power” by missionary Jo Anne Shetler if you doubt. But an evil spirit cannot save someone’s soul or change their heart! So why put all the emphasis on the things that Satan can imitate while ignoring the things that he cannot? I don’t know about you, but while hearing testimonies about people delivered from asthma personally touch me because I was healed of the same, what I really love hearing about is testimonies of God delivering them from selfishness, hate, pride, lying, meanness, sloth, lust, and irresponsibility, for those character flaws and many more I had them, and let me tell you they were much more destructive to me and those around me than my asthma was! 

So then, why DO miracles and revelation occur? Why does God work them? Let me start with my own personal testimony and go from there: God healed my body as part of His plan to draw me to Him and save me from my sins. And that corresponds to the Biblical record. God was not some two bit Las Vegas entertainer performing tricks for the ooohs and aaahs of alcoholics, adulterers, and gamblers. Some say every miracle, every revelation, every prophecy regarded in the Bible played a part in salvation – redemption history, a rough English translation for the German term Heilsgeschichte, God’s plan to redeem mankind from His sin. Others take a broader view and say that it was part of God’s plan to reveal Himself to mankind, with the ultimate and final revelation being His Son Jesus Christ. So, God parting the Red Sea was a salvation – historic act to deliver Israel, His elect nation that He planned to use to be a light to all nations and use to incarnate Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ’s healing the Gentile woman’s daughter in Matthew 15:21-28 was an act of revealing both God’s love and mercy to mankind. Peter’s vision while on the tanner’s rooftop was God letting the Jews know that Jesus Christ came to bring salvation to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. You want to know about the importance of the floating axhead? Well try this link. Ultimately, God had a higher purpose for every miracle, every prophecy, every vision in the Bible. They were not done because people like to see visions. They were done to reveal Himself to sinful men living in a sinful world so that His chosen among them would turn to Him. 

The main thing to remember, third wave charismatics, is that the Bible makes it clear that everyone who works mighty works even in the Name of Jesus Christ will be saved. See Matthew 7:21-23! The Bible even makes it clear that everyone who receives a miracle in the Name of Jesus Christ will be saved! Remember the ten lepers! They all had faith to be healed by Jesus Christ. They were all healed by Jesus Christ. BUT ONLY ONE LEPER BOTHERED TO FALL AT THE FEET OF GOD AND GIVE HIM THANKS! Are you going to allege that a person who is not thankful for the work and person of Jesus Christ is going to be saved by Him? And let me tell you about the one … HE WAS A GENTILE! Let me tell you about the nine … THEY WERE JEWS! Do not misunderstand me, I am not going anti – Semite on you here. Just let me put it into the context. The Jews were in it for the miracle, the Gentile was in it for the God who worked the miracle! So, the Jews in it for the miracle in this story represent church folk who continually need to see signs and wonders to have some semblance of outward faith. In other words: THIRD WAVE CHARISMATICS AND ALL LIKE THEM WHO WILL ABANDON TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF SOUND DOCTRINE BASED ON THE BIBLE TO FOLLOW EMMA THE ANGEL AND SOME MAN WHO KICKS A STOMACH CANCER PATIENT IN THE GUT AND THE GUY DOES NOT EVEN GET HEALED! But Gentile in this story represents the person not in the church who repents and follows Jesus Christ not because they were looking for a miracle, but because they were seeking the God that works the miracle!

And guess what? At the beginning of the leper story, all ten were unsaved. Both groups were all in the same boat. But by the end of the story, only one group was saved, and the other group was unsaved. Can you guess based not on my words but on your knowledge of the Bible which group was saved and which group wasn’t? And after you do that, apply that Sunday school Bible story to your own life situation and ask yourself which group YOU are in!

Posted in abomination, Christianity, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, prosperity doctrine, Word of Faith | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments »

Todd Bentley’s Violent Revival A Windfall for God TV

Posted by Job on July 5, 2008

It is all about the money people! Please follow link: Todd Bentley’s Violent Revival A Windfall for God TV

Posted in abomination, Christianity, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Todd Bentley Caught On Tape Committing Assault

Posted by Job on July 2, 2008

Wholesale lifted from Independent Conservative.

Video of Todd Bentley Assaulting a Man.

by @ 1:58 am. Filed under Nuts on Parade

Some guy with tats and piercings all over beats some guy on stage and they claim it’s the “healing” power of God. This man talks about demons, when he’s the one who really is working in the demonic.

Check out this video.

(Hat tip Battle 4 Truth.)

And the Word of God says:

2 Corinthians 11:13-20 (New American Standard Bible) 

13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

16 Again I say, let no one think me foolish; but if you do, receive me even as foolish, so that I also may boast a little.

17 What I am saying, I am not saying as the Lord would, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting.

18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I will boast also.

19 For you, being so wise, tolerate the foolish gladly.

20 For you tolerate it if anyone enslaves you, anyone devours you, anyone takes advantage of you, anyone exalts himself, anyone hits you in the face.

This ungodly demonic mess Todd Bentley is doing is nothing new and it appears after nearly thousands of years nothing has been learned and people still run after these false apostles. Being beaten and devoured and still falsely calling it a move of God.


Related post:
 Todd Bentley, Doctrine of Demons Indeed!

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Todd Bentley Supporters Take Note: Contemplative Centering Prayer Advocates Finally Admit That Their Practice Is Not Biblical!

Posted by Job on June 18, 2008

Todd Bentley fans, Bentley along with his crew of “prophets” are heavily into the contemplative prayer scam and similar abominations. Here, Apprising Ministries informs you that the very people who started this fad rolling downhill into the lake of fire acknowledge that it is not supported in or derived from the Bible. 

ORIGIN OF CONTEMPLATIVE/CENTERING PRAYER

They did not destroy the peoples, As the LORD commanded them, But they mingled with the nations, And learned their practices, And served their idols, Which became a snare to them.(Psalm 136:34-36)

Contemplative Spirituality Was A Core Doctrine Of The Emerging Church

In the Apprising Ministries article Prayer Is News in the Southern Baptist Convention—But What Type of Prayer? we began to look once again at the growing acceptance of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism festering within the apostatizing Southern Baptist Convention. TheSlowly Becoming Catholic, an allegedly evangelical Protestant denomination, is hardly alone in their re-embrace of this neo-pagan mysticism that originally flowered within the apostate Roman Catholicism.

And as we watch this false version of Christian spirituality spreading apostasy throughout the American Christian Church it seems good to give you a working knowledge concerning just whereContemplative/Centering Prayer actually came from. We begin with the incontrovertible fact that emphasis on so-called “Christian” mystic traditions was a core doctrine of the theology of theEmerging Church from its inception.

As such the Emergent Church has proved to be a very fertile ground into which mystics like Living Spiritual Teacher Richard Foster could plant their neo-pagan spiritual elements of so-called spiritual formation that are actually absolutely hostile to the historic Christian faith. You also need to realize that this Gnostic mysticism with its warped spiritual practices is still very much an integral part of the theology of the Emerging Church.

Emerging Church Authorities Speak On So-Called “Christian” Mysticism

In an article from Christianity Astray Today called “The Emergent Mystique,” Emergent Guru Brian McLaren, a most prominent theologian within “Emergent, the emerging church network that he and several other church planters and pastors lead,” cites Dallas Willard and Richard Foster, with their emphasis on spiritual disciplines, “as key mentors for the emerging church” (“Online source) As a matter of fact the source link I’m using for this CT article actually comes from McLaren’s own website where he also provides a running commentary throughout.

In McLaren’s comments on the section of The Emergent Mystique concerning Willard and Foster, which I just quoted above, we read:

“He cites Dallas Willard and Richard Foster, with their emphasis on spiritual disciplines, as key mentors for the emerging church. None of these thinkers has any inclination to throw out the baby of truth with the bathwater of modernity.”

I’m grateful to Andy for including the preceding, because many people doubt this.(Online source)

Elsewhere on McLaren’s website a reader asks the Guru to tell him more about the subject of “Spiritual Formation,” which is simply another way to refer to this contemplative spirituality we’re discussing within this article:

The reason I am writing you is because I am trying to better understand what spiritual formation is…I think it is important to seek the wisdom of today’s leaders. I have heard a lot on this subject from people such as Richard Foster and Dallas Willard, but I was wondering what Spiritual Formation is to you. How would you define Spiritual Formation and what kind of importance would you place on it with the current generation? I appreciate your time.

A: I hope to do some writing on this subject in a year or two. In the meantime, I have deep appreciation for what my friend Dallas Willard is saying. He, and those he points to, are great guides.
(Online source)

And as evidenced by this answer to a reader’s question, McLaren also seems to have a deep appreciation for what the Roshi Richard Foster is doing for the “Christian mystical tradition” as well. Please also note below that in addition to Foster Emergent Spiritual Director McLaren recommends Tony Jones’ book Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life (SW) as a good resource on the subject of contemplative spirituality/mysticism as well:

In some of my readings, both of books authored by you and others, I have read about Christian mystics. Who are the predominant Christian mystic authors?

Answer: If you pick up Richard Foster’s “Celebration of Discipline” and his other work via Renovare, you’ll get a great exposure to the Christian mystical tradition. “The Spiritual Formation Workbook” is a great resource too. Tony Jones’ “The Sacred Way” is also a sturdy introduction to contemplative practices. (Online source )

Emergent Church Authorities Now Reveal Christ Didn’t Teach Contemplative/Centering Prayer

So now we have established Swami Richard Foster as a “key” mentor and source of authority in the Emergent Church on contemplative practices and the “Christian” mystic tradition. And we have also seen from a leading theologian in the Emerging Church that Tony Jones, the National Coordinator of Emergent Village (EV), is also to be considered a “sturdy” authority on this so-called “Christian” mysticism as well.

Foster writes about “The Discipline of Meditation” in his book Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, which is his classic dissertation on these so-called “spiritual disciplines.” Unfortunately Foster is guilty of using circular logic below when he laments:

Often there is a question as to whether meditation can be spoken of as Christian. Is it not the exclusive property of Eastern religions? Whenever I speak to a group on meditation as a classic Christian Discipline, there is the inevitable raising of eyebrows,… It is a sad commentary on the spiritual state of modern Christianity that meditation is a word so foreign to its ears. Meditation has always stood as a classical and central part of Christian devotion, a crucial preparation for and adjunct to the work of prayer. (14, 1978 ed.)

Don’t you find it odd that as Foster speaks to a “group” they are surprised how something that has allegedly “always stood as a classical and central part of Christian devotion” like meditation seems “so foreign” to “modern Christianity”. And how do we know that, “Meditation has always stood as a classical and central part of Christian devotion”? Answer: We don’t. This is because it hasn’t ever even been a part of the historic orthodox Christian faith.

In his own mind Foster believes meditation is “crucial” to prayer, so therefore it is. But without any proof from history he is simply begging the question when he states that, “Meditation has always stood as a classical and central part of Christian devotion.”. Yes, Foster does go on to say, “Meditation was certainly not foreign to the authors of Scripture.” It’s beyond the scope of this piece to go into this further, however, Foster then cites Genesis 24:63; Psalm 1:2; 63:6; and 198:148, which do use the word meditation in most translations of the Bible.

However, Foster is clearly forcing his own definition of this mind-emptying Eastern-style meditation into these verses because this type of meditation is absolutely unknown to orthodox Judaism. So where did this Contemplative/Centering Prayer aka “Christian” meditation actually come from? Let’s bring in Emergent anti-theologian and Emerging Church authority on “contemplative practices” Tony Jones.

In SW Jones gives us an accurate historical background concerning this spiritual discipline of meditation practiced by mystics and Quakers like the Richard Foster. In his chapter entitled “Centering Prayer” Jones tells us:

“Like the Jesus Prayer, Centering Prayer grew out of the reflections and writings of the Desert Fathers. John Cassian (c.360-c.430) came from the West and made a pilgrimage to the desert to learn the ways of contemplative prayer … Cassian was deeply influenced by his time in the desert, and he wrote his book The Conferencesabout his conversations with the Desert Fathers to acquaint Western Christians with their teachings. (70, emphasis mine)

We can see in the above that “the Jesus Prayer,” as well as “Centering Prayer,” actually arose through “the reflections and writings of the Desert Fathers.” And further we find out that this type of mystic meditation was unknown prior to these apostate Desert Fathers circa 4th century. One might also observe that Jones makes no mention whatsoever of this meditation being an Apostolic doctrine nor is there reference to Christ or His Apostles ever employing these practices themselves.

This is for good reason; the simple fact is that it wasn’t taught by Christ, it was never Apostolic doctrine in the New Testament and there is no evidence extant that the Master or His Apostles ever practiced this so-called Christian meditation. Please also note above that Jones equates “Centering Prayer” with “Contemplative Prayer.” And let me also bring to your attention that history shows John Cassian would go on in his own contemplative mysticism to develop the man-centered form of semi-pelagian theology at the root of the Emerging Church currently crippling contemporary Christianity in this nation (Online source).

Sadly, this warped and toxic teaching would then be metastasized into the mainstream of the evangelical community through Zondervan, a publisher of contemplative spirituality as well as a financial supporter of EV at their 2006 National Pastors Conference (NPC). You need to know that 2006 NPC was also sponsored by InterVarsity Press, also publishing contemplative mysticism and another financial supporter of EV. And it would be through 2006 NPC providing teachers of a counterfeit Christianity like Dan Kimball, Jones, and his own pastor Doug Pagitt, a legitimate forum that these Emergent Church leaders would then present this spurious type of contemplative spirituality/mysticism to your pastors and youth ministers.

 by Ken Silva, pastor-teacher at April 29, 2008 04:44 PM Copyright © 2008 by Ken Silva. All rights reserved.

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THE BIBLE SAYS THAT THIS TODD BENTLEY NONSENSE HAS BEEN GOING ON SINCE THE TIME OF MOSES!

Posted by Job on June 13, 2008

Signs and Wonders, Heresy, and Love for God

 

As I researched Todd Bentley and Bob Jones and the “Lakeland, Florida Revival” over the last several days  it soon became apparent that the supporters of this are completely convinced that there is a legitimate “outpouring” from the Holy Spirit going on. They are vocal. They are adamant. The number one reason that these people become apologists for Todd and this movement, that I have seen, is the sings and wonders performed on stage supposedly by the Holy Spirit through Todd.

They believe that since people are genuinely healed then this is undeniable verification that this is legitimate. I read dozens of comments on various blogs today in which an apologist for Todd would suddenly appear within the discussion proclaiming in a very sincere tone that all of those pointing out Todd’s inconsistencies and lack of Gospel focus and the speaking of heresy are wrong. Why? Because people are healed miraculously through him.

My brethren we are called to ask God for wisdom and look at all ministers and ministries with discernment given to us by Him. Now,  does the presence of signs and wonders prove that God is in something? Is it the marker that tells us all to declare that Todd Bentley is indeed a prophet of God? Please read the following article by John Piper in which he addresses this from The Word of God. – Mike Ratliff

Signs and Wonders, Heresy, and Love for God

By John Piper

March 26, 2008

Does God have designs for deceptive signs and wonders? Does he have purposes for heresies?

From the time of Moses to the end of history, this has been and will be an issue. Jesus promised that “false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). These are not little tricks. They are great signs and wonders. Great. But aimed to deceive.

Paul said that “the coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10). “Signs and wonders of falsehood” is a literal translation to show that the falseness of the signs and wonders is not that they aren’t real miracles, but that they lie about reality. They are real miracles, and they lead away from Christ.

Similarly, to the end of the history—especially at the end of history—false teaching and heresies will dog the church. “The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4.3-4).

At the other end of history, things have been this way from the time of Moses. And it is Moses who answers our two questions: Does God have designs for deceptive signs and wonders? Does he have purposes for heresies? Here’s the key passage:

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, “Let us go after other gods,” which you have not known, “and let us serve them, you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)

Notice five things:

First, Moses tells us that signs and wonders in the service of heresy really happen. They are not tricks. “If a prophet . . . gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass. . . .” They really do come to pass. It is not smoke and mirrors. These are supernatural, but not in the service of truth.

Second, some miracle workers aim to draw believers away from the true God. “If he says, ‘Let us go after other gods . . .’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet.” In other words, some heresies (“let us go after other gods”) are endorsed with miraculous signs and wonders.

Third, God has a design in these deceptive signs and wonders, and he has purposes for the heresies they support. He mentions one of these designs and purposes: “For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” When temptation happens from man, a test is happening from God. This is God’s design in the deceptive signs and heresies.

Fourth, love for God is what God is testing. “Your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Fifth, I conclude from this that the heart that loves God sees through miraculous deception. Love for God is not based mainly on miraculous power. It is based on seeing through miraculous power to true divine beauty. Therefore, love for God is a powerful protection against heresy, even when it comes with miraculous confirmation.

Understanding these five things from Deuteronomy 13:1-3 helps protect us from deceptive signs and wonders and from heresies. But understanding is not enough.Love for God is both the aim of God’s testing and the means by which his tests are passed. Understanding awakens us to our need to love him. But love for God sees through deceptive signs and wonders to the falsehood they support and flees to Christ.Love for God sees through the heresy and holds fast to him. May God deepen our love to him so that it has this kind of penetrating, protecting power.

© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

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Little Girl Knows Todd Bentley Is Demonic And Resists His Laying Hands On Her!

Posted by Job on June 10, 2008

And a child shall lead them. Courtesy of BlackReformingKid’s I Saw This and It Made Me Angry!

This should enough evidence that Bentley is not of God

HT: DefCon

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Todd Bentley: Jesus Christ To Make Personal Appearance In Lakeland

Posted by Job on June 9, 2008

Courtesy: Soli Deo Gloria by way of Endtimes Prophetic Words

Also see “Jesus, get off your throne and onto your knees!” Todd Bentley is in the house!

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Todd Bentley’s Fallen Angels

Posted by Job on June 7, 2008

From Soli Deo Gloria, wholesale lifted.

Angels We have Heard and Seen

Let Us Reason has posted another message pertaining to the outbreak of Angel teachings and sightings: Angels We have Heard and Seen

A number of religions were started by angels, Mormonism, Islam and it certainly looked like the genuine thing to the recipients. Without honestly testing the appearances of apparitions one is left to believe whatever they experience as being from God. In this current so called Revival that has expanded in Lakeland, we have testimony by participants of encountering angels. Not since the book “Angels on Assignment” by the Hunters has the church had such interest and pursued contact with angels. Its as if he is starting a new religion with scraps of Christianity in it.

 

Bentley’s ministry is concentrated on angelic visitations, encouraging others to do the same by teaching his own experiences of contact with the angels. This is a dangerous precedent, offering his (counterfeit) experiences to others. The reason one can say they are counterfeit is because Biblically they are foreign to how Scripture describes interaction with these beings. Because his is not a biblical teaching, it actually puts people in the unfortunate position of being visited by angels of light. Fallen angels who come to deliver new revelation and deceive by experience. Revelation from an audible voice, supernatural dreams or visions, communication of angels, all have to be tested by the Scripture as if your life depends on it, because it does.

Bentley claims to be visited in Dec. 2000 by an angel who said “I am a healing angel . . . You are going to take miracles, signs and wonders around the world.” “I was with William Branham.” The prophetic movement is said to be started by a woman angel named “Emma,” which the Bible certainly has nothing to say about. This same fallen angel is said to be working with Bentley.

Todd Bentley states: “Angelic Visitations: We know in scripture that angels are referred to as ministering spirits and messengers. Through out the bible we see numerous directions given, messages and intervention by angels. Why not today? Visitations Of the Lord: This is simply when Jesus visits his servants as when Moses and Elijah visited Jesus on the mountain. I know that the Lord comes to his people today. Yes if he came to the disciples for 4o days and 40 nights after his death and resurrection. He can make selected visits now and has.

Translations and transportations: I want to make a difference here between translations and transportations. Translations are when the spirit is when one goes in spirit but transportations are when the body, soul and spirit go.

Acts 8:39 39) And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

We also have Elijah the prophet in 2 Kings 2 and an example of Enoch be transported right into heaven. For Enoch walked with God and he was not.

“We can also only assume that is there is a third heaven, and then there must be a first and second heaven. In Gen 1:1 the bible declares: In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth. Heavens is plural, more than one heaven. The bible also says Jesus ascended to the highest heights of heaven. I would describe the first heaven as the natural realm. The second heaven is the realm where angelic and demonic activity takes place and is recorded in Eph 6. The third heaven is the realm where God dwells, the immediate presence of God or paradise. The third heaven is one of if not the highest level of revelation and prophetic experience. When we are taken into this place it is more than a vision where I know I was still in my home or church while I had it. When taken into the spirit or caught up, you know you are in another place and it is so real that when you are aware of your natural surroundings again. You find yourself like Paul “Whether or not I was in my Body or not I do not know”. He said that twice in a few verses. You will ask yourself did I really go? Or was it in the mind and its impact will never fade. I was taken into the spirit several times and quite I will feel my body be sucked up like a vacuum. I will immediately shake and feel myself hurled through space and time. I have even seen and felt myself leave the earth, travel through the stars and flash of bright light and I am somewhere. Did my physical body go? Never that I know but when I find myself aware of where I was before I went I know I was in another place. All my emotions are heighten and involved in a caught up experience and most times I feel my self go.” LINK

What’s the problem with what Bentley is saying? First of all he is taking a few rare instances in the Scripture and making it normative. Thus, his teaching of an open heaven, a bridge from earth to heaven and heaven to earth is open. Let’s look at each of his fallacious arguments separately.

Bentley- Moses and Elijah visited Jesus on the mountain. Yes, they were summoned by God. These two prophets are representative of all the prophets in the Old Testament and discussed the very purpose Jesus came to earth, all that prophets prophesied of- his death and resurrection. The Father and His glory were also there, and the Son showed His glory to his three closest disciples. There was a specific purpose for this to take place. This revelation is not repeated ever again to anyone. So why should we expect it to take place today again?

Bentley- “I know that the Lord comes to his people today. Yes if he came to the disciples for 4o days and 40 nights after his death and resurrection. He can make selected visits now and has”

Jesus before he ascended to heaven stayed 40 days to further train his apostles after his resurrection, teaching them the foundation that they would lay for the church. He did not come from heaven but was still on earth, so this is a non sequitur argument. After His ascension the Lord appeared one more time in glory to appoint the last apostle. Paul saw a light, he heard him speak from heaven but he did not see a human form. Paul says in 1 Cor.15:8 he is the last of all people to see the Lord. Jesus is at the right hand of the Father just as Steven saw him in a vision, until he returns for all the church at the same time. He is not making special trips to earth, especially to those who teach falsely about him. This false idea of Jesus visiting people includes a parade of people from the word faith teachings. It seems that Jesus always picks to visit those who have false, wacky doctrines. Kenneth Hagin, Jesse Duplantis, Roberts Lairdon, Benny Hinn, and Sung Myung Moon.

“We also have Elijah the prophet in 2 Kings 2 and an example of Enoch be transported right into heaven.” These two rare events are separated by thousands of years, and both happened to a prophets, one whom God used to write the Scripture. They never came back and wrote a book or toured telling their story. Bentley misapplies these events to be something that should be found in everyday Christianity.

Some cite that there were chariots of fire seen all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:15-17) so we can see the angels. This is true, but it was a one time event that never repeated itself again in Elisha’sj life nor any other prophet throughout the Old Testament. “And Elijah prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he might see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. (II Kings 6:17). So did Elisha pray every time to see angels? No. He never prayed this again. He is the only one who participated in this one of a kind revelation.

Our conclusion is that this is an unusual one time answer to Elijah’s prayer that the Bible records to give us all insight (by faith) that there is a real spiritual war going on around us. He did not have an experience with the angels but was allowed to see that they were more than the enemy, it gave him faith in God.

What about entertaining angels? Hebrews 13:1-2: “Let brotherly love continue Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”

This passage does not necessarily mean angels are constantly among us, for it can also be translated messengers, as in those who bring the gospel (the context is about caring for brethren). But if it does include angelic beings, it can in no way be used the way Bentley explains his supernatural adventures, for it implies that they do not make themselves known.

Bentley says “I’m releasing it back to where it all started in 1948 I’m releasing it back.” Y’know I told the lord why can’t I just move in healing and forget talking about all that other stuff, he said because Todd, you got to get the people to believe in the angel. I said, God why do I want the people to believe In the angel instead about getting the people to believe in Jesus, he said the people already believe in Jesus but the church doesn’t believe in the supernatural. The church has no problem believing in Jesus what we don’t believe in is the supernatural we don’t believe in angels, we don’t believe in the prophetic.” (source: HERE)

He calls himself an evangelist- to preach angels? And this is said by God! What apostle was ever taught this? Can you find this taught to the church? why is this strangely missing. This comment of 1948 is about the Latter Rain- new revelation . Maybe if the church was taught the Bible we would believe these things in their correct manner, which is not what Bentley is leading people into.

Jesus spoke a lot about angels at the end of the age Matthew 13:41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend (Mt.13:49; 16:27; 24:31, 25:31). The Bible also tells us in the end of the age it will be just as in the days of Noah. One of the more significant events taking place beside the increase of sinfulness which resulted in violence is an increase in angelic visitations (Gen.6).

For believers God does assign angels to guard us, protect us from harm, they stay invisible to us. There are only a few accounts in the New Testament of angels interacting with man. Contrary to the promoters of angelic appearances these creatures mostly work behind the scene fulfilling God’s divine will, not revealing themselves to us. In the Old Testament “The Angel of the Lord” gave revelation and visions or dreams to the prophets and Israel i.e Ezekiel. There are a few occurrences with Daniel that Gabriel the angel appeared and explained to him the details of the vision he had from the Lord (Dan.8:19; 10:6). Bentley’s experiences are neither biblical nor believable. There is no comparison. In fact Bentley refers to Rick Joyner’s book, The Final Quest where a story of angels has similarities but does not agree with the Bible at all. So he he has a variety of influences to form his ideas.

Branham believe the angel that came to him was THE Angel of the Lord from the Old Testament (whose name is Emma according to Bob Jones). “The Angel of The Lord stood right here before several hundred people. And now He’s doing something real supernatural now, too. So we’re just expecting great things” (The Revelation of the Seven Seals p.180).

In Hebrew “The Angel of the Lord,” is called Malach Yahweh (The messenger of Yahweh). These appearances in the Old Testament are called theophanies (God appearances). The term “the angel of the Lord” is an Old Testament reference to the pre-incarnate Christ, (the Son of God). This Angel is an ambassador who has God’s name attached to his title, as He is called the Lord himself. For example in Gen.22:1-16: “Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD” It is in Ex.3:2 this angels identity is clear when Moses encounters the Lord at the burning bush. “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and V.4: “And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And He said, Here am I. In v. 6 This angel identifies himself “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

God said, “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. “ Exodus 23:20 He is called the angel of God Exodus 14:19 the angel of his presence Isa. 63:6.

Much of the angelic appearances found in the Old Testament were to protect and fight for Israel, the Angel of the Lord camped around Israel (Psalms 34:7).

If you hear people say they are visited today by “The Angel of the Lord,” they are not. He was the pre-incarnate Jesus who came as a messenger from heaven (like an angel) in Old Testament times. In the New Testament he took up a body and this is why we do not see or hear of The Angel of the Lord in the New Testament any longer. The Angel of the Lord is not longer appearing; he hasn’t for nearly 2,000 years since Jesus took a human body. It seems that the angel Emma being referred to as “the Angel of the Lord” is a lying spirit.

In the Latter Rain movement Branham said He was visited by the Angel of the Lord. Paul Cain said “the Angel of the Lord” visited him for the first time when he was 8. There is a difference of an angel of the Lord and the Angel of the Lord.

Cindy Jacob’s spoke of her experience with The Angel of the Lord at the end of Dutch Sheets message, at the National School of the Prophetic, Colorado Springs, CO., on 1/29/99. “…The Angel of the Lord has come into our midst and he showed me a vision… (the same angel that came to me in 1984 and I saw the finger of God outline South America in fire)… and the Lord spoke to me. The same angel that appeared to a young prophet in Argentina in a 30 foot pillar of flame,” … I was in Columbia with Bill and Evelyn Hamon. Before I went to the platform, The Angel of the Lord came. I didn’t see him, but I heard him. He said, “I am here” …. I said, “Lord how will I know it is really The Angel of the Lord?” (We were in a stadium of about 14,000.) “To show you I am here, when you stand in front and raise your right hand every one will fall under the power.” I didn’t tell anyone and when I raised my right hand everyone fell under the power and then he stood in front of me and spoke to me of the revival in Columbia.”

This is her testing and proof a demonstration of sheer power, neglecting that the angel of the Lord is no longer valid. No apostle, no one in the New Testament saw The Angel of the Lord.

The mention of Angels is found over 200 times in the scripture. They are mentioned in almost every book of the Bible, 34 out of the 66 books and letters. 118 times in 18 books of the Old Testament 115 times in 15 books of the New Testament.

So in answer to Bentleys question “why not today?” God’s Holy Angels do not commonly show themselves and it is quite unusual even in the New Testament times. God used an angel to reveal to Zacharias, his child would be the forerunner to declare the Messiah is coming and reveal him to Israel. Mary and Joseph were given the news of the coming birth of Christ. But nowhere are we told to anticipate angels or pursue having an encounter with them. We are NOT told to look for angelic appearances or pray for them. Bentley’s teachings prove he has nearly no grasp on the meaning of Scripture and what it means in context. Those who experience messages contrary to the Bible by being visited by an Angel, we can safely consider are not angels from heaven, but angels of light which Paul warned are transformed fallen angels (demons) 2 Cor.11:14. God’s angels are not sent as teachers but messengers. They do not come to stay and teach but come and go quickly.

In Lk.1:11 the New Testament introduces us to an angelic visitation to Zechariah, he is told his wife would give birth to the forerunner of the Messiah, John. The reason we have angels appearing, it is with those directly associated to the Messiah or His ministry. These encounters are not always seen, and the experience is nothing like what Bentley describes.

In Luke (1:26-3 8) Gabriel appears to Mary with the news that she would conceive and give birth to a son and they have a conversation” and you are to give him the name Jesus.” Mary’s reaction was “How can this be? I am still a virgin”; the angel’s reply was “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason the holy child to be born will be called the Son of God.”

Notice he did not make her conceive, and the content of his message surrounded the Messiah. It is for this reason he appeared to her.

Angels are seen by shepherds in the field announcing the birth of the Messiah Lk.2:9. Mt.120 Joseph is warned in a dream to flee. Mt.2:19 Joseph again in a dream is told to have them come back from Egypt to Israel because its safe.

After Jesus was tempted by the Devil three times Matthew 4:11:“Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”

Bentley mentions the Jn.5 incident of a healing waters and angel many, many times. So it would be important to look at what he says and what the Bible teaches on this matter “Everywhere I have seen this angel the miracles continue after I leave and a healing well is established in that church and in that city. When that angel visits, we have another John 5 Pool of Bethesda experience as God releases His approval. That is why God repeatedly visits Jesus throughout His life to place His stamp of approval on every stage. After we start to examine this topic, it’s easy to see how important angels were throughout Scripture” (ANGELIC HOSTS by Revivalist Todd Bentley).

“First, I’m going to describe different angels and some experiences I have had with these beings. At times I’ve had visitations from a healing angel like the one which stirred the waters at the pool of Bethesda” (ibid.)

“Next, my spirit was quickened when I read about the angel in the Bible—John Chapter 5. The word says there was a pool called Bethesda (v. 2) and multitudes of lame, blind, sick would come there and at a certain time, an angel of the Lord would come down and stir the waters. Whoever could get into the pool first would be healed. I started to understand the angel described in John Chapter 5 was one of many thousands of angels that are in heaven that are called to bring healing, not just through ministries, but in cities and in nations. This revelation resonated within me and in January, 1999 I was taken into the heavens and saw over 100 healing pools. I thought of several famous healing evangelists and also the Toronto Blessing and the revival in Pensacola. So I said, “Lord what are you saying?” He said, “I am going to release angels” (DISCERNING THE CALL OF GOD by Revivalist Todd Bentley – [as edited by Kathy Thorne] Part 2 of 2).

“In one service I saw heaven open, it was like a hole tore open in the air and I saw a glory light like a pillar come out of this portal. Then I saw a 14-20 foot angel in the pulpit by the name of healing revival. At that time God spoke to me that this Angel was like the Angel (John 5: 1-4) that came down at a certain season to stir the waters of the pool of Bethesda.” (Todd Bentley Ministering Under An Open Heaven, Sep. 23, 2002 “http://www.etpv.org/2002/aohe.html).

In John 5:4-9: “For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.” V.6-9: “When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.”

This does not have any human interaction, the angel came and stirred the water and left, he did not speak to anyone. Jesus’ healing has absolutely nothing to do with the pool or the angel. He does not help the man in the pool but offers him healing directly. He sees he is desperate and has lost hope. He appeals to his apathetic will offering him the solution. We should take notice not everyone was healed, he is the only one healed. We can see Bentley has completed missed the meaning of the passage and put the emphasis on angels that heal instead of Jesus. For Jesus did not endorse the pool healings but instead offered to heal the man himself. Contrary to what Bentley claims, it is not the Lord that is saying this is the same angel at Bethseda, that He is going to release angels to heal or send angels of healing revival. Bentley’s point is clear as he has connected this with Toronto and Pensacola and the Healing Rooms.

There were very few appearances of angels in Jesus’ life. Lk.22:43 an angel was sent by God (not man) to strengthen Jesus in Gethsemane at his suffering.

Angels appear at the tomb to roll the stone away from the tomb Mt.28:2, 5. Mary saw two angels at the tomb Jn.20:12.

Only a few of the apostles had encountered angels and they were sent for specific reasons. In the ministry of the apostles we have in Acts 5:19; 6:15;12 “an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, three times. Acts 12:5-11 Peter was in prison, the church was praying for him V. 6 And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.”

Paul recounts “For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Acts 27:23-25

The angels give instruction, there are no long conversations Acts 8:2 “Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza”

The angels are sent to comfort and minister, to protect the saints (Hebrews 2:16), especially the apostles who were the leaders to the church in its infancy.

Acts 10:3-7: “an angel of God In a vision came to “Cornelius!” And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.” And when the angel who spoke to him had departed.”

As believers in Jesus we have the pattern in the New Testament and what Bentley teaches is far removed from this. Revelations by an angel were rarely given and it was to an apostle for specific reasons. In this case, it was to officially bring the gentiles into the Body of Christ. Acts 10:9-17 Peter goes the housetop to pray, V.10 He became hungry “he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house” They show up at the house where Peter is “Cornelius the centurion (Acts 10:22) as divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.” Peter had no contact with the angel, but Cornelius did. The Lord was speaking to Peter while the angel was arranging the meeting with Cornelius.

An angel judged Herod, because the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God” (Acts 12:22-23.) He was unseen.

In the book of Revelation the majority of angels are sent to do God’s judgments and are mostly behind the scene and are not visible nor do they visit men. John who is the last living apostle is given this vision and is able to see heaven as an angel is sent to him. Revelation 1:1-2 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants–things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.”

For the most part the angels are so astounding in appearance that those who see them tremble; they often begin their message with the words “Fear not” (Matt. 28:2-5).There are some angels you never want to meet, as the angelic war consummates at the end of the age “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9) there is a time coming when the devil and ALL his angels will be stuck on earth

1 Pt.3:22: “is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having made subject to Him.”

Angels are not subject to us but to Jesus who is OUR LORD. And we are subject to HIM.

Bentley says instead, “I’ll go and preach and have an incredible revival because I say, “God, let the harvest angels come with me. There are people who are going to inherit salvation. I don’t want the Devil and darkness to prevail over the crusade, so I release the angels right now. I loose them in heaven now in Jesus name.”(ANGELIC HOSTS by Revivalist Todd Bentley).

He is using what he thinks is his authority of binding and loosing which has absolutely nothing to do with this.

As we look over nearly all the incidents in the New Testament we find what Bentley describes as missing. There are just a few contacts with angelic beings and they have specific purposes at a specific time because Jesus was among the people.

To come in contact with angelic creatures has to be discerned for if they are not sent by God to have as mission as angels do, then they are fallen angels with the purpose to deceive.

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