Monday, July 28, 2008

Is Jesus Ever Enough?

If I could summarize the neo-apostolic /prophet movement in one simple concept, it's this:   For these people Jesus is just not enough.  Added to that I'd also say for these followers of Christ Scripture is not enough either.  

The "stars" of the Kansas City prophetic movement and the Toronto blessing "spiritual celebs", always have the same message year after year, decade after decade:  "What God has given us in the Bible is not enough. We have more information and revelation from the Lord and He has chosen to give it to us.  "Isn't that special?" says Dana Carvey's church lady.  

What are these so-called neo-apostles really saying?  God has deposited newer revelation with this one select group of people who are the new apostles of the present age. These so-called prophets would fit wonderfully with the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith and the originator of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy.  I'll tell you why. False prophets always start out the same, making the claim God has spoken to them and if you want to know the latest on the Lord's truth, you need to get the latest manifestation of truth through them.  The facts and the patterns are always the same; only the names have changed:  Todd Bentley and Che Ahn and others of their ilk.  

When will Christianity see through the false prophets  Satan keeps sending our way to waste our time,  distract us and get us off the main road of the biblical faith.  A friend of mine reminded me recently in an email that evangelical Christianity has been truncated. We are quick to quote from Ephesians 2:8-9:  "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. " We often stop with these words and Christianity becomes a lawn chair we rest in and allow the Spirit of God to shine His blessings down on us.  But verse 10 continues: For we are God's workmanship, created in Messiah Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."   Verse 10 kicks us out of the lawn chair and tells us we've been saved not only to receive grace from God but to give it to others.  The question every Christian needs to ask himself is this: Since I am saved by God's grace, how can I be serving Him and others - both believers and secular people.  Our task is not to be seeking miracles but to be a blessing to others. When are we going to grab on to this principle and digest it into our spiritual metabolism?

What I find fascinating is that these new prophets are quick to tell us  we are entering an "age of the revival".  Speak to the word "revival" to most Christians and you'll gather a crowd and bring in the dough.

And of course, these self-appointed new prophets are the ones" anointed" by God to bring in this great outpouring of the Spirit. Yet the Scriptures tell us there will be a great falling away before the end. (I Timothy 4:1: The Spirit clearly says that in the latter times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons). 

 Jesus wonders when He returns to earth, will He find any of His followers who have remained  faithful to Him remaining?  At the end of the age, according to Scriptures  false teachers will arise to tell people what they want to hear and will perform signs and wonders to deceive the elect of God.  It will become more difficult to remain a Christian and you will have to pay a greater price to name the name of Jesus and not be part of this "end times" crowd.

We already have seen men who preach strange doctrines and exhibit bizarre behavior having nothing to do with the Bible or Christianity:  Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and now Todd Bentley.  Beware of this man lest he lead you . . . and your church astray with signs and wonders and teachings that contradict the Bible. It's all part of Satan's plan to confuse God people.  

Currently, we have pastors who have erected mega- churches not based on God's word but based on messages which are essentially pop psychology.   We witness churches packed with 30,000 people like Joel Osteen's congregation in Houston, Texas, who has no Christian message of salvation through Jesus . . .  but a message of peace, prosperity and health.  Jesus is a an "add-on" to Osteen's message. Face it, Joel Osteen is not a man who preaches the truth of the New Testament.  If He preached the truth and said it is not God's will for everyone to succeed, be prosperous, be healed of their diseases and escape suffering, he'd lose  a big chunk of his members and most of all, money.  The prosperity crowd would just go looking for another Osteen somewhere else. Their not interested in Jesus but six easy-steps to financial success.

Osteen tickles the ears of his listeners.  When pinned to the wall in a recent interview by Larry King about whether he (Osteen) believes Jesus is the only way to salvation, Osteen buckled and wimped out and smoothly glided away from answering the question.   

 Excuse me for putting this problem in these terms but a lot of ministers have Spiritual ED (Erectile Dysfunction). They haven't got the stamina to "stand tall" for the truth of the Word of God but deliver limp messages from their pulpits.  I go from church to church and I hardly hear the Word anymore. God needs to send an outpouring of spiritual Viagra on these men, to get their spiritual libido back to teach the word.

Another issue brought up by the neo-apostles is that of the Kingdom Now theology.  I thought we were rid of this false doctrine back in the 1980's but here it is again.  Here's how this false teaching plays out:  if the church prays enough, shares the gospel, performs enough healings, slayings in the Spirit and continues to seek a higher spiritual dimension. we can bring the kingdom of God on earth.  Here we have a case of men who have overdosed on spiritual Viagra. Who do these men think they are?  Jesus never told us we have the power to bring the kingdom of God on earth. 

 Included in this brew of misguided  of spiritual leaders is Rod Parsley, a man who speaks in militaristic term about bringing the kingdom on earth and going after Muslims. I wonder if this man has spent too much time reading reading Hitler's Mein Kampf more than the Bible Luckily,  Presidential candidate John McCain distanced himself from this dangerous nut case and avoided a major scandal (which Barack Obama did not have the sense to do with Rev. Jeremiah Wright). Parsley's message is dangerous and damaging to the image of Christianity.

What is the secular person to think when he or she hears the battle cry for Christians to bring God's kingdom on earth?  Rod Parsley sounds like he's calling for holy jihad against secular society in the name of Jesus.  This man speaks a twisted, demented gospel message which must be exposed and rejected as false teaching. 

I pray for God to bring these men down and replace them with humble men of God, aware of their sin who just want to teach the Scriptures and are not off on any super-spiritual Levitra kick.  The sooner God gets rid of these people and gets them out of the pulpit, the better. These men have no business in the pulpit as they mishandle the word of God.  The truth must come out and let us stop being wimps before these loudmouth, ego-centric pastors. 

 What these men from the Kansas City movement and the Toronto blessing have done in deceiving 1000s is worse than physical adultery.  These men are guilty of adulterating the word of God to build their own kingdoms and power bases.   They are much worse than the sin of Ted Haggard but the church is afraid to confront these "little gods."  It's so much easier for the leaders of the church to admonish leaders who have committed fornication or adultery.  The evangelical body is allowing the leaven of false doctrine into the Church. Which concerned Jesus more?  Adultery or false prophets?  You know the answer. 

These false prophets speak about hastening the day of the Lord. No church or leader or any so-called prophet carries that kind of authority.  Read the parables of Christ that discuss how Christians are to behave in the last days  before His return.  He uses one concept over and over:  be vigilant, watchful, sober-minded. 

 Revival at that hands of these spiritual madmen is not going to hasten the day. It will only usher in a time of a great apostasy.  Hand -in-hand with this is the fate of Israel.  If more Jewish people accept Jesus as Messiah and Lord, perhaps the day of His coming will arrive sooner? Can you see these spiritual loons trying to bring Jewish people to the Lord at a greater speed and intensity to hasten the day of Jesus' return.

Look at John Hagee . . . this man has made friends with Israeli leaders in high places at the price of changing his theology . . no longer believing Jewish people need Jesus for salvation. What a messed up but gifted preacher John Hagee is . . another pastor John McCain quickly distanced himself from., 

Scriptures never tells us we are to hasten the day of Christ's return.  We are to watch, wait and be faithful. Only the Father knows the day or the hour when the Son of Man will come.  It's in the hands of the Father.  

There's so much work to do to clean up the Body of Christ and and sweep away the dirt of these false prophets once again slithering like snakes bringing this new wave of false spirituality into the Body.

Christians can only be prepared by sticking to what it says  in the Word of God and not be fooled by signs and wonders and dynamic persuasive speakers. Look at Rev. Jeremiah Wright, former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ . . a man who who screams in the pulpit and and preaches hatred for this country.  Would you be fooled by his dynamic presentation?  Is truth determined by oratory delivery or by content?   

Let us learn to be diligent as this next swell of false prophets starts to build and the wave of their deception breaks on the church.  Learn to swim and stay afloat and not be washed away in flood of their lies. 



PB Sumner said...

Louis, many thanks for your blunt & sharp views on the Holy Ghost movement. This explosive spread of Spiritanity is based on a misreading of NT teaching on the Spirit. Jesus said the Spirit would NOT have his own mind, but would be the voice of Jesus (Jn16:13-14). In Spiritanity, the H.G. runs the show, regardless of what Jesus said/says. In Acts, the "Holy Spirit" is the "Spirit of Jesus" (16:6-7) -- the presence of the resurrected Messiah. Today's H.G. is downloading "another Jesus . . . a different Spirit" into people (2C11:4).

Rob said...

You are right on, these are tough words but hasn't the time come to say them?

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GW said...

Looks like you need to do some spam cleaning here, Louis.

That said, good article. We live in the vicinity of Rod Parsley and we've never been able to stand listening to him.

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