The Downgrade Of Theology In The Modern Church

I have lost count in recent months how many times I have ventured onto Christian blogs and social media with the intent to engage in discussions of a doctrinal or theological nature, only to be met with not just intense resistance but outright hostility. I can sense that immediately everyone gets their backs up, ready to pounce on the guy who has the harebrained idea to discuss theology. I am even held up for prayers by the group for deliverance from my devilish reliance on “man-centered traditions.”

It seems every generation follows a set pattern: the younger generation grows up thinking itself to be infinitely wiser and more sensible than the generation that preceded it. Then as the current generation ages and gives way to the next, it realizes how much their ancestors really understood.

Growing up in the 60′s and 70′s I was thoroughly convinced that my generation was going to be a trailblazing paradigm of how to change a society. Looking back now, I see what little wisdom lay behind all of that, and how not respecting the work of those who have come before us is folly.

The same holds true for the church. The past tells a clear story of how whenever doctrine and teachings of God-gifted and inspired preachers and teachers of past times and previous generations have been marginalized, and something “new” brought in, the decline of that church was immediate and some never recover. This elevation of self and the moment and repudiation of the past has been dramatically harmful to the Christian church.

I find it never ceases to amaze me how few Christians, especially those who have set themselves up in some kind of discernment role in the church, have actually studied church history and Christian theology to any substantial degree. What would seem to be an obvious goldmine of treasures and figuratively an embarrassment of riches contained in the past generations of two thousand years of God’s church is left virtually untapped, or worse, disparaged and denigrated. The great spiritual discernment gifts God gave to scholars and preachers of the Word throughout the church age seem to hold little value to some of the church leaders in what are considered “progressive” ministries today.

Their generation, they think, will be so much more forward-thinking than their predecessors. They are so puffed up they actually believe they will bring to the forefront real truths about scripture that nobody ever thought of for two thousand years of church history. They will show us, they claim, how foolish it is to get our theology from “a bunch of dead guys,” as one person put it recently.

I am encountering more and more frequently those who scoff at theology in Christian discussion. It is like you have said a bad word, and frowns immediately appear, along with wrinkled  foreheads. Try it sometime when you are engaged with a Christian discussion group and see how quickly a distress signal reverberates that has a visible and tangible effect on the listeners. “Oh, no, not this this man-centered theology again!” I have recently interacted with Christian discernment groups on the internet who openly mock anyone who ventures forward in defense of theology. It doesn’t even matter which theology; these people condemn all interpretations of scripture ever penned by man. If these were actual brick and mortar churches, they would probably physically throw out the offending upholder of doctrine.

The Beginnings Of The Theology Downgrade

In London in the year 1887, Charles Spurgeon published the first of two articles entitled “The Down Grade” in his monthly magazine, The Sword and the Trowel. It was edited by his close friend Robert Shindler. Thus the famous Down Grade controversy started in England. As reported on spurgeon.org, Shindler closed his first article on the Down Grade with these words:

“These facts furnish a lesson for the present times, when, as in some cases, it is all too plainly apparent men are willing to forego the old for the sake of the new. . But commonly it is found in theology that that which is true is not new, and that which is new is not true.

Spurgeon had become alarmed at the strong trends in the church which were carrying it away from sound doctrines and theology which had been the strength of the church for generations and was carrying it to feelings and experiences and ‘new’ doctrines of people who were “strangers of the work of renewing grace.” 

In the same issue of Sword and Trowel Shindler tells of a chapel on High Street where Charles Darwin had been introduced to the blatant heresy of Socinianism. It turns out this was the same chapel that had previously flourished for years under the pastorship of Matthew Henry, a great theologian who wrote the famous commentary on the entire bible. Here was a church that had slipped from a doctrinal high road to the depths of heresy which denies the Trinity and the divinity of Christ.

The reasons for the current down grade of theology today can run the gamut from simple to complex, but basically can be traced back to a few root causes.

Avoid Controversy At All Costs?

Many people see controversy as something to be avoided in Christian discussion. Believing that having a strong position on a doctrinal issue is by its nature divisive, they think that it follows that Jesus would not approve of any strong beliefs being forwarded, lest another party be offended. I think the scriptural record shows that Jesus was much less concerned with people taking offense at his teachings, than he was with speaking the truth.

The idea itself that a Christian is never to offend anyone is not upheld when examined in light of scripture. The biblical guideline is to not be a “stumbling block” to one’s brother in Christ. In 2 Cor. 6:3 we have the text:

We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed

The Greek word for offense is “proskopen” meaning a difficulty or obstacle, or “stumbling block,” as Paul previously used the word in 1 Cor. 8:9.  If one stays true to the teaching of the gospel, it is in fact inevitable that someone will be offended! For the message of the cross is foolishness to some, as we are told in 1 Cor. 1:18,23.

The concern Jesus had for truth over feelings was demonstrated in how he dealt with the Pharisees. At one point the disciples had to come to Jesus and warn him that the Pharisees were getting offended by what he was saying. He continued to speak the truth. Very often those people who are not living in alignment with God’s truth will be offended.

Calvinist-Arminian Debate Cited As Reason To Abandon Theology

Much has been said about the controversial debates going on since the days of the Reformation between Calvinists and Arminians. Since the followers of Jacob Arminius introduced the Remonstrance in 1610, articles which were in disagreement with the teachings of the Dutch Reformed Church which held to the teachings of John Calvin, great debate has been going on in the church.. Much has been made about how destructive these differences have been, but I believe the net effect has been to generate a great increase in the searching of the scriptures by both sides. Just like the noble-minded Bereans of New Testament times, both sides have been spurred to diligently study the word to find what is the truth.

Which points of the Calvinists seem to stand up under scriptural scrutiny? And what points of the Arminian view hold up? I know in my personal experience, no single issue or debate has been more of a catalyst than this, for me to diligently bury myself in God’s word.

Essential doctrines such as the Atonement, Justification, Election, and Sanctification are the issues at stake. Even those with a neutral stance somewhere in the middle have been stimulated to go to the scriptures and check for themselves. To claim these are issues which simply should not be brought up, and worse, to excoriate and mock all who engage in discussion of them, is certainly not a healthy sign. The decline of interest in theology in a ministry has historically always been closely followed by a decline in efficacy of gospel preaching, with an attendant rise in interest in aberrant teachings foreign to the gospel.

What We Believe About God Is Our Theology

 “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Prov. 27:17

To claim complete independence from any attachment to theology is an inconsistent position for any believer to hold to. If one has no theology, one has no position on God and the revelation contained in his word. Every time we search the scriptures we hone our theology. The result should be an increase in exhortation, encouragement, teaching, admonishing, praying, and the sharing of God’s word.

Those clinging to the notion that controversy is always to be avoided in Christian circles, of course, see theological debates as a great tragedy and as shameful chapters in church history. These are the ones who think they are positioned as the “enlightened” generation who will lead the church out of the past dark ages of foolish reliance on “man-centered” doctrines coming from their clueless ancestors. They think they will lead the church into a shining new era where no man’s scholarship, preaching, or teaching will be acceptable. They look at this as some form of “cleansing” the church of its polluted humanistic views and positions.

The idea currently in vogue with some Christian discernment ministries is that all theological positions ever developed by men are by definition “man-centered” and as such are merely “traditions of men.” The implication is clear: that simply reading the scriptures, and avoiding like the plague any teaching or preaching of the gospel by men, is the way to keep your Christian walk pure and uncontaminated. But is this the Christian walk that is found in these very same scriptures?

Isn’t having no theology actually a theology in itself? If a Christian teacher or expositor has read the scriptures, and has become convinced that no man can accurately capture and exposit the teachings therein, has he not fallen into a trap of his own setting? Is this not eisegesis or “reading into” the word something that is not there? Is there anything in scripture which warns man not to develop a  methodology of coming to understand and teach its meaning to others? Does not this teacher’s eisegesis then become his theology, which he then passes down to those who sit under his teaching?

The great irony, of course, is that while teaching others not to listen to men, he breaks the same rule he is teaching. And sadly, this obvious truth is completely lost on those of the “new generation” of Christian thinkers, out to change the face of Christianity and lead it out of what is sadly deemed to be the ignorance and darkness of their forerunners.

Anyone who has read the scriptures with any degree of depth has already developed a theology. It is impossible not to. Whatever you get from studying the bible IS your theology. To denigrate all theologies while you yourself have a theology, reveals itself as a “do as I say, not as I do” hypocrisy.

Theology Really Does Matter

C.S. Lewis had the following to say about the importance of theology in his classic book “Mere Christianity”

……if a man has once looked at the Atlantic from the beach, and then goes and looks at a map of the Atlantic, he also will be turn­ing from some­thing real to some­thing less real: turn­ing from real waves to a bit of coloured paper. But here comes the point. The map is admit­tedly only coloured paper, but there are two things you have to remem­ber about it. In the first place, it is based on what hun­dreds and thou­sands of peo­ple have found out by sail­ing the real Atlantic. In that way it has behind it masses of expe­ri­ence just as real as the one you could have from the beach; only, while yours would be a sin­gle glimpse, the map fits all those dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ences together. In the sec­ond place, if you want to go any­where, the map is absolutely nec­es­sary. As long as you are con­tent with walks on the beach, your own glimpses are far more fun than look­ing at a map. But the map is going to be more use than walks on the beach if you want to get to America.

Now, The­ol­ogy is like the map. Merely learn­ing and think­ing about the Chris­t­ian doc­trines, if you stop there, is less real and less excit­ing than the sort of thing my friend got in the desert. Doc­trines are not God: they are only a kind of map. But that map is based on the expe­ri­ence of hun­dreds of peo­ple who really were in touch with God-experiences com­pared with which any thrills or pious feel­ings you and I are likely to get on our own are very ele­men­tary and very con­fused. And sec­ondly, if you want to get any fur­ther, you must use the map.

Here I think Lewis provides a helpful analogy in defense of theology: that we can look at scriptures and get the genuine thing, as in the person looking at the ocean from the beach, but in a map, while published on mere paper, is compiled through intense study and actual hands-on experience by actual sailors who have ridden the high seas for years. We get the chart as to how to navigate safely. This is how theology works. While no theology is perfect, just as no map is without imperfections, I will still take a map with me before embarking on a journey, instead of haughtily rejecting the work of the cartographers because it has been filtered through “human minds.” I earnestly desire to be aided by the wisdom, experience, and inspiration of those who have travelled the same route before me.

Is  Theology The “Redefinition” Of Scripture?

Some of those who would have us throw out all theology do so because they claim it “redefines” scripture. But to redefine something, you need a definition to start with. They think that they are bringing no interpretation themselves, and no definitions, simply lifting the text of scripture directly into their minds without the influence of anything they have ever read or heard, or have been taught. How sweet it must be to have such a virgin mind, a veritable “blank slate”, upon which no human influences have ever been allowed to trespass and pollute.

Take, for example, John 6 verse 28:

 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

A Calvinist will have the interpretation that this demonstrates the doctrine of perseverance of the saints, while someone else, either Arminian or of a different persuasion, might say it simply speaks of no one ELSE snatching them, but they still might lose salvation by their OWN undoing. The point is, both sides are applying themselves as good Bereans to come to an understanding of the text. Something without definition from the reader is something that is not understood at any level. An understanding of a thought or word which is not defined by the thinker of the thought or the reader of the word, is a frivolous  understanding. It would be nothing different than a file produced by a computerized text-to-speech program.

Doctrine Will Always Matter

The Apostles planted churches, and instructed them with what Jesus had taught them. They set down the doctrines in the churches. This was to be passed down from generation to generation. Nowhere were the churches allowed to put aside doctrine and improvise. Teaching has always been vital to church growth. Paul makes the importance of teaching clear: Rom. 6-17:

17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.

Here is Paul speaking of doctrine to which the followers had been ‘delivered’. He could have spoken about being delivered to Christ, or delivered to the gospel, which would have been quite true, but he chose to say “the doctrine to which you have been delivered.”

And Paul speaking to young Timothy, about the importance of doctrine:

1 Tim 4:6 If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.

Again on doctrine, and a warning that some will go against it:

Titus 1:9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine  and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

And Paul to Timothy, stressing the importance of always continuing in doctrine:

1 Tim. 4  16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

When Jesus had just 24 hours before he would be nailed to the cross, what did he choose to teach the disciples? The doctrine of the Trinity. The last four chapters of John, about twenty percent of his gospel, is devoted to the last day of the Lord before his death on the cross, teaching the doctrine of the Trinity.

Doctrine Must Be Balanced With Love

Paul was the consummate theologian, having been educated at the most prestigious rabbinical seminary of the times. But he knew the danger of relying too much on “head” and not enough on spirit. He knew that too much head knowledge tended to make man think more highly of himself than he ought to.

1 Cor 2:12-13  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

Apostolic Sign Gifts Continue, But Gift Of Discernment Has Ceased??

I find it ironic that many in the new anti-theology movement themselves believe human offices of Holy Spirit apostolic sign gifts of prophecy, healing, and tongues continue to be open and thriving today, just as they were on the day of Pentecost. But many of these same people believe no man is to be listened to when he uses the Holy Spirit gift of discernment in the teaching, preaching, or biblical scholarship of the Word of God. They believe these things to be “man-centered theology” and as such treat them like pagan traditions instead of giving them the reverence and attention they deserve as being equally as Spirit-endowed as any of the other gifts.

Are We To Believe the Prophets and Healers, But Not the Preachers?

Is someone who publishes a supposedly “thus sayeth the Lord” prophetic utterance on the Internet to be revered more highly than a preacher who stands up before a congregation and exposits passages from scripture? Or the theologian who writes a book on certain parts of the bible? What a tragic development that ordinary, simple, and down-to-earth theologians, preachers and teachers toiling to reach the lost with God’s word or to exposit passages in scripture at a level where their truth can be opened up to believers everywhere are mocked and ridiculed, while the haughty, headline-hunting “healers and prophets” are raised up to glorious heights by prideful man. Such is the result of our truly fallen nature to always choose the flashy and colorful over the humble, the simple, and the true. People like this will never truly agree with the authority of scripture. They will always be seeking something newer, and shinier, and better.

In 2 Timothy 4:2-4 we read about this trend:

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For 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.

Who Do You Believe: Neitzche or Packer?

Lest anyone be fooled by any of this belittling of theology so popular today, I present this sobering quotation from one who is rightly considered one of the most God-hating men who ever lived:

“Whatever a theologian regards as true must be false: there you have almost a criterion of truth………..”

Friedrich Neitzche

And compare that view of theology to that of Christian scholar J.I. Packer, who said:

“Theology is for the praise of God and the practice of Godliness…”

 

All blessings in Christ,

JD Ellis

 

 

Posted in False Prophecy | 12 Comments

Rick Wiles Promotes New “Prophecy” From Maurice Sklar

It is certainly true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. The ones in the Christian church who have contributed the most to the area of false prophecy and leading the children of God astray in the past couple of decades are the ones who continue today to be the Pied Pipers of falsehood, profanely issued in the holy name of our Lord. So it was not surprising when someone pointed out a new “prophecy” had been issued by prolific false prophet Dr. Maurice Sklar. And it just seemed to fall into place that the main showcase for his issue of this would be Rick Wiles’  Trunews radio program, which has been for almost 15 years now a source of some of the most outlandish and self-serving blather ever to be labeled “Christian.”

I will go through some of this one hour interview from the March 18th 2014 Trunews broadcast, as it provides a unique opportunity to highlight the deep errors of both men and how profound is the damage they do to the Christian faith. How deeply both these men offend and profane the Lord Jesus Christ, and bring a torrent of  disrespect down upon Christians everywhere. Here we will examine lie after lie, heaped upon self-exaltation after self-exaltation, with the end result being the glorification of no one but these two men themselves.

Maurice Sklar InterviewTrunews radio March 18th 2014

Interview of Maurice Sklar :

http://www.trunews.com/Audio/3_18_14_tuesday_trunews2.mp3

I will keep a timeline for reference to the interview in the commentary.

0.00 – 2:22 Mr. Wiles retells the story of how his ministry was “birthed” by a calling from the Holy Spirit in a vision while working for TBN Christian network. Now it is a topic in itself how TBN has conducted itself since its inception by the late Dr. Paul Crouch, but it is sufficient for these purposes to realize TBN has been the source of some of the most profane false prophets the church has ever seen. Their star program, with by far the highest viewership, is This Is Your Day with Benny Hinn. Anyone who doesn’t see a huge red flag here need not continue with this commentary as it will be a waste of your time.

2:39 – 3:00 The self-exaltation of the false teacher often comes out early in his message, and this is no exception. After boasting of his own spiritual experience at TBN, he boasts about one his daughter had. “That same night, my daughter was visited by Jesus Christ. She said it wasn’t a dream.” So if it wasn’t a dream, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared in the flesh at her bedside? (please note: this is not about whether these things occurred or not, it is about whether a true man of God would be boasting about them, or even speaking about them in any manner.) The Lord revealed to her he would speak to her about the last days in dreams and visions. Her mission, and that of her father, would be to warn the body of Christ of the dire consequences coming to America if the country did not repent.

3:45 “Early September 1998 I walked out the door of TBN……this radio program was birthed on one station in Dallas………I’ve been on radio ever since, retelling the story”. Lets examine what Mr. Wiles was actually telling us at this time of the birth of his new radio show with its calling “to reveal the word of God in warning the nation to repentance.”

While I don’t know of the existence of any actual recordings of his early shows, I think we can be sure of what his main topic was in the first 12 to 15 months of the show: the Y2K “doomsday event” that was going to shut down computers worldwide and cause a “global economic and technological meltdown.”

His book “Judgment Day 2000 – How the Coming Computer Crash Will Radically Change Your Life” was released in 1998. You can still sometimes find it on Amazon, and it provides a great glimpse into the mind of one of the most popular false prophets of our times. It demonstrates how showmanship, not the truth, has always been the guiding light behind this man and the key to his popularity. Not much time needs to be wasted on this book, but suffice it to say that at 323 pages, it is one of the most elaborately detailed false prophecies of all recorded history.

Some chapters in his 1998 book speak of conspiracy theories he still today brings up on the radio show. The invasion of Russian Spetznatz commandos, the solar tornadoes, meteor storms, embedded microchips, Russian nukes, health care crisis, financial collapse, its all just the same stuff being recycled 15 years later in the hope no one notices.

It is important to see this, because armed with this knowledge of how his ministry came to be, one can be prepared to see the pattern and recognize it today. Then perhaps we can all decide for ourselves if this is a man who gets his information from God or from some other source.

6:50 – start of interview with Dr. Sklar (Wiles fittingly begins with what has become mandatory in the repertoire of the false prophet today, the tedious reference to Joel Chapter 2 v. 28-32 and its “old men will dream dreams, and young men will see visions” as a proof text for modern day prophets. It is nothing of the sort, and as Peter himself explained in his famous sermon, this was  fulfilled on the day of Pentecost itself, saying “this is that” which was uttered through the prophet Joel.  Acts 2:16-21.)

8:00 (Sklar begins by stating that he doesn’t have many prophetic dreams. When the Lord speaks to him it is in the form of visions or words. (Of course, Dr. Sklar, we must not think of anything from you as a mere “dream.” We need to clothe this in much finer linen than that. We need to use language that conveys “flashy reality” and the word “dreams” doesn’t elevate your experience in quite the way you intend to elevate it, Dr. Sklar.)

Sklar begins to read his vision:

. ………This week I had a dream.  It was a terribly frightening dream.  In it, I saw a huge angel standing suspended in the air over New York harbor.  It looked so large that it covered the night sky.  His body was clad in golden armor as if he was going to war.  His face and entire being were so bright that I could not gaze up at him for long.  White beams of light seemed to radiate outward from him in all directions. He was standing over the Statue of Liberty. It was night, but I could hardly see the lights around him coming from New York City as he blazed so brightly with divine light……

Really? We’re going to down this tired road again about the Statue of Liberty destruction vision that started in 1954 with A.A. Allen’s false vision of Liberty destroyed? This has been copied almost word for word by everyone in the false prophecy club for many years, including self-professed “watchman” Nathan Leal.  Anyone familiar with Leal will instantly recognize this is a copy of his “staggering” Statue of Liberty vision, and that both are clearly copies of Allen’s vision.

None of this is to suggest that the Statue of Liberty will never be destroyed. Or that if its destruction eventually occurs, that these prophets will be vindicated. Its about the ministry of Christian preachers, and whether  the commission to preach Christ has been overruled and changed in today’s church to permit a gospel of self to be taught.

Nathan’s drunken Statue of Liberty vision is below: *** http://watchmanscry.com/prophecy_liberty_drunk.html

A variation on this theme where Liberty is decapitated is related by Leal here: http://watchmanscry.com/article_liberty.html

Readers can view A.A.Allen’s original 1954 prophecy here: http://www.miraclevalley.net/gpage6.html and decide whether they think that Allen’s descendants should be sent all royalties and profits gained by Maurice Sklar and Nathan Leal copying his “vision.”

Oh, but the defender of the false prophets will rush in now to declare “That’s because God’s anointed are all being shown the same thing by the Lord.” No. Its because evil minds bent on removing the church from gospel truth think alike.

Readers can see the full Maurice Sklar dream, prophecy, vision, whatever you want to call it, here: http://lit4ever.org/revivalforum/index.php?topic=29448.0

There is virtually nothing new here. basically a new twist, with not only the Statue of Liberty getting whacked, but some novel twists added for color and to gain attention and personal exaltation: instead of the nerve gas enveloping the nation as Allen saw, Sklar posits that “giant rocket missiles” will deliver nuclear explosions.  But of course, not before the mandatory earthquake that literally splits the continent in two.

Well, how can you have a more colorful prophetic vision than one with nuclear explosions happening at the same time as a giant earthquake! Guaranteed to draw attention and glory. But as we will see from the teachings of the apostle Paul, the attention and glory wanted by the author is attention to himself and glory to his  ministry, not the Lord Jesus Christ or the gospel.

No dates are set in Sklar’s prophecy, nor any prophecies being released today.  As we have said often here, no dates will used by false prophets anymore. They too learn from their mistakes. Undated means impossible to prove false.

We have already seen in the past how Dr. Sklar has explained why his previous dated prophetic visions didn’t come to pass: because enough people prayed and God stayed his hand of judgment against the nation. So that will once again be what we hear from Dr. Sklar in future, when none of this new word comes to pass. Along with the fact that no date was placed on this new word, it gives Sklar two insurance policies against ever having to own up to his deceit. And worse, to continue down this terrible course he has chosen of defaming the Lord.

49:10 Dr. Sklar again plays on a source of great pride to him that often comes up in his interviews and published works: the claim that some years ago he was lifted up to heaven. Golly, how we lesser mortals must gush and lift up Maurice because he is such a spiritually advanced man that these lofty experiences are reserved for him and other great Christians like Rick Wiles. We can only sigh in admiration of these outstanding spiritual achievements.

A.A. Allen’s “prophetic” vision has now celebrated its 60th anniversary this year without fulfillment.

Since Sklar’s prophecy is just a variation on previous false prophecies given by his ministry, Leal’s ministry, A.A. Allen’s ministry, and countless others, I’ll leave it to the reader to decide how much time to spend on the details, but in summary we heard in the interview about 50 minutes of nothing but experiences of these two men. Wiles with the lofty experiences of him and his family members, and Sklar with his high definition visions and his luxury-class trip to heaven. The focus was entirely on spiritual experiences and how God has lifted them up to lofty positions in his church, and how they are “humbly” carrying out their Godly assignments and missions.

About 5 to 7 minutes is tacked on at the end where Sklar and Wiles both speak clearly about Christ, the cross, and the ACTUAL gospel. All in line with what deceivers do, as they come as angels of light, not wearing horns. Of course there will be some real gospel tacked on at the end.

I would like to spend some time unpacking some remarkable things Paul taught the church at Corinth. I think it speaks volumes about what we see with many of these false internet ministries today, and fits perfectly with this rather typical Wiles interview we are dealing with which was given on this so-called Christian radio show.

Paul To the Church At Corinth: “Beware of the Super-Apostles”

In 2 Corinth. Chap. 11 Paul puts out a very powerful word to the church about those who were coming to destroy the work done by Paul in planting the church there, and the work of the real apostles. These false apostles came in the name of Christ, and said all the right things to be believed, but their focus in a subtle way took Paul’s beloved congregation at Corinth  away from the Lord and onto themselves.

I marvel at Paul’s use of biting sarcasm at many points in his letters to Corinth. He calls these false apostles “super apostles.” (2 Cor. 11:5, 2 Cor. 12:11)

These false apostles use their spiritual experiences, or at least their versions of these events, to boast and lift themselves up. These super apostles in the apostolic age would go into the church as soon as Paul left, and undo what truth had been laid down, and replace it with error.  Nowhere more than at Corinth did this happen. There are many parallels to be seen between the church at Corinth and the modern day church’s lifting up of signs and wonders. As we will see clearly from Paul, this was not minor error that needed just a superficial adjustment, it was core error that was threatening to take the church away from Christ.

In 2 Cor. Chap. 11 verses. 7 to 15 Paul is outlining the contrast between the true apostles and the false apostles, who had come in claiming to be of Christ but who were not. The contrast Paul makes between the true and false apostles is to show that the true apostles were grounded in three things: truth, love, and humility. A true apostle will be humble to the point of being self-effacing. Just look at a teacher’s life. As John MacArthur points out:

Just look when you’re assessing whether someone is a true or a false teacher.  Do you see humility or do you see pride?  Do you see a person sacrificing his life to give away the truth with only regard for service to others?  Or do you see one who is building an empire, building an estate, becoming rich, one who is parading his…his authority, one who is always right, one who demands that we bow before him, one who wants almost to be worshiped and adored?  Those are the questions. *

When I read Paul’s letter to Corinth, and apply these standards here, I see clearly who is being lifted up by these men, and its not Christ. It is themselves. Please refer to my previous article on Maurice Sklar, where he describes his “visit to heaven” in revealing detail. Since he brought it up again, I guess it means he wants us to have another look at it. Some excerpts of his journey to heaven:

……….. we reached a flat plateau overlooking what looked like the Swiss or Bavarian Alps.  It was covered with perfectly manicured grass.  We were standing in front of a golden gate that had filigree work all over it.  Over the top was my name:  “Maury Sklar” engraved in that same kind of stone/glass/gold on a rectangular plate.  It was covered with precious stones and shimmered and glittered in the late afternoon sun.  I was in awe!……..

…………….To one side, there was a vault-like door, and in it were dozens of great stringed instruments.  Some had been made for me, and one place was open, where the Lord had promised me that He would make a violin for me and I could watch, after I get there to heaven!…………..

……………..He seemed like a Man now, though I knew He was the LORD.  He said to me, “Maury, I want you to see the Great Hall of the Crowns.”  Suddenly, we were at a large castle of some sort.  It looked like Buckingham Palace, Versailles, and the Taj Mahal all at the same time.  (I know that sounds strange, but that is what it looked like to me.)  I was stunned at the majesty of this building……………

……………..The angel quietly spoke in my ear.  This is a concert in your honor.  The composer, Gustav Mahler is here in heaven.  He has composed a symphony for you.  Then the Lord came out on stage and conducted!  As he entered, the whole audience bowed in worship and reverenced His Presence.  Then, when the music started, I went into a realm of ecstasy that I cannot describe in words.  But the music was like a living movie or a vision.  I listened and I saw many good things that I had done to love people on earth…………………….

The readers can safely decide for themselves who is being lifted up here. Is this not the same phenomenon Paul was dealing with in the church in Corinth and the invasion of the super apostles? The lifting up of one’s spiritual experiences, the exaltation of self, the boasting, all of these things are from the enemy Satan. These false teachers are not just misguided people with error in their doctrine, they are agents of the devil. Paul is saying that they are more than just gifted windbags, they are emissaries of Satan.

Paul didn’t pull any punches in speaking out about these types, because he knew how dangerous they are. When a man is full of himself, there is little room for the spirit of God to dwell in him.

13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. …..2 Cor. 11:13-15

Paul doesn’t care about being politically correct, and fears not to offend the sensibilities of those listening. Imagine the impact this had on those false teachers when his letters were read in the church. We need to emulate Paul, in that we need to take a stand against demonic influences taking hold in the church today. So many today recognize the error, but are so daunted by the possibility of being called a blasphemer of the Holy Spirit, they look the other way.  The signs and wonder movement has made such inroads and gained so much territory and influence in the church in the past 100 years, that they are to an alarming extent able to control and prevent any serious opposition from forming against them and their movement.

If you speak out, realize that you will be called out as one who spreads disunity among the flock. You will be called a person with a “vendetta” against God’s anointed. Even those who normally have good discernment skills will say you are denying the “power” of the Holy Spirit. But lets use Paul as our guide in these matters: he refused to boast about his spiritual experiences, but instead happily boasted of his weaknesses.

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 2 Cor. 11:20

But Paul was very glad to speak of his weaknesses. He knew the folly of boasting of one’s deeds and experiences after seeing the resurrected Lord. He is free in telling all he is a former blasphemer, a persecutor, a murderer, an enemy of Jesus Christ.  What Paul doesn’t want to do is boast about his credentials. And he could have easily done so. But instead, in verses 22 to 29, Paul tells of his hardships endured. Shipwrecks, lashings, hunger, thirst, cold, exposure, toil, hardship. Even being let down in a basket to escape Damascus. Paul is saying “I will boast of those things which show my weakness.”

Paul “Boasts”,  So That Corinth Will See the Error of Boasting

 

I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 2 Cor. Chapter 12 v.1-6

In further exhibition of his ability to use emphatic language that really “bites” and impacts the listener, here Paul is actually “boasting” in order to compare righteous boasting for the glory of God, to the destructive boasting of the false teachers about their spiritual experiences.

Of all the men there, Paul had the most reason to boast of his spiritual experiences. He had actually been lifted up to heaven. He amazingly describes this in the third person. Its only by verse 7 that we realize he is referring to himself and his experience! He refuses to give detail, not even saying if it was in body or spirit when he was lifted up! Contrast this to modern day accounts of “trips to heaven” and the intricate detail we are given by those who would exalt themselves in the telling of these things.

Another sharp contrast between Paul and what today’s false teachers do. Paul’s lifting up to heaven had  occurred fourteen years before. Can a modern day “prophet” or “apostle” not even speak a word about an experience like this for fourteen years? And even then, Paul was very reluctantly speaking of it to hammer home a point to a church that was losing the gospel of Christ to the visions and signs.

On top of this is the fact that there is serious doubt about the truthfulness of modern stories of trips to heaven, but that’s another topic altogether. Paul simply closes the book on what must have been a truly wondrous event, by saying he heard things “which man must not utter”. (2 Cor. 12:5) No lifting up of self here, no prideful bragging about “look what God did for me.” Quite the opposite: ……. “we must not speak of such things. “

………..if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me.

Paul really had good reason to boast, and it would have been entirely truthful if he had done so, but he underlines the point that we are not to raise up our experiences high onto lofty places, lest no man then exalt the man and the experience. What a lesson for today’s false teachers. Then Paul in my view really makes an emphatic statement by telling that he would rather boast about the thorn sent to him:

v. 7-10 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Three times the great Apostle Paul prayed that God would remove the thorn, and God did not relent. What a blow to the gospel of “name it and claim it!” What a blow to the word faith healers like Benny Hinn! Who had more faith than Paul, who had seen the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus? The idea that God’s GRACE is sufficient really grinds in the ears of the false teachers.

The end result: Paul glorified God in taking the suffering as God’s way of preventing him from becoming boastful! Today’s false teachers do exactly the opposite: they use spiritual experiences in order that they may be exalted by their fellow church members! In this personal uplifting, church members are steered away from Jesus Christ, and onto doctrines of man.

The church at Corinth was so much like today’s church. Common distinguishing markers were infatuation with the spiritual gifts, and esteeming one another by the measure of each other’s spiritual experiences. Paul saw so much disorder at Corinth he had to implement rules about orderly conduct. (1 Cor. 14:33)

Paul had to step in and make rules to tame the unruly and unholy desire to make the gifts the center of the church. He ruled that only two, and at most three, should speak in tongues at a service. Only one could speak at a time. Another must always interpret what is spoken in a manner intelligible to the members. (1 Cor. 14:27-28)

How this rule is openly flaunted by churches today! Any church, and by extension, any internet ministry, that conducts itself in a chaotic manner is to be avoided. Jumping from one story line to another is one example of discord and confusion we see with many of the news/gospel programs on the air today. Fifty minutes of human experience mixed with 5 minutes of gospel, and a Christian label attached to it, is standard fare, and lapped up like milk by the followers, when it is actually spiritual poison. These are things that are sewn from the seeds of Satan’s attack on the modern day church, and as demonic influences they have made huge inroads and scored big successes.

Since the closing of the Canon of scripture, Satan has been focusing his schemes on ways to steer men away from the gospel, because only by doing so can he claim victory. Satan is totally comfortable with today’s Christian “visions and dreams” ministries. Satan wins every time he can steal an hour of a person’s time by having them listen to man-centered doctrine concerning trivia such as visions of earthquakes, tsunamis, suitcase nukes, nephilim, Obama’s communist leanings, or whatever the soup-de-jour of the Rick Wiles-Steve Quayle-Nathan Leal gang happens to be on any given day.

How powerfully Paul puts this to the church in Cor. 11 verses 3 and 4.

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

Here Paul is talking about some men who had come into the church, supposedly  possessing a higher authority, a higher pedigree, a higher experience. They were preaching another gospel, another Jesus, another spirit. Here we see Satan at work, leading the church away from her steadfast devotion to Christ. These were people who sounded like apostles, and seemed to say all the right things, but were actually leading people astray.

“And You Put Up With It Readily Enough”

And with his biting sarcasm, Paul drills home the point by saying “and you put up with it readily enough.” 

So many today think that Pentecost and the early days of the church was a time where the “outpouring” of the Holy Spirit had caused such an emotional stir that it lent an air and attitude of wide openness and permissiveness in points of doctrine. That it was a time when “anything goes” and “just let the spirit lead you where it will” were the guiding affections. Quite the opposite was true. The doctrine of the church was set, in the person and work of Christ, as expounded by the apostles. Nowhere was it acceptable to adapt the Christian faith to go in any direction that the believer “felt led.”

The way the foundations of the church were laid down it was never intended to be a free-for-all where anyone who claimed to have the spirit could just say whatever he wanted to.

41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Acts 2

But soon the “super apostles” led the church away from its foundational roots because of a fascination with gifts and personal power. The false apostles hated Paul because they hated the message he brought of humility and suffering for the gospel. “We’re a power Jesus” they cried. There was little place in this boasting, super Christian mentality for the suffering of the cross. They had this other gospel, this new way of relating to God, and a magnetic and alluring wonder-worker fervor had settled in through the satanic false teachers. And thus, they had little tolerance for Paul’s message of “strength in weakness,” thinking it foolishness.

In reading these remarkable verses, we see in Corinth they were already breaking away from the gospel of the cross, and setting up this new regime which was far from Christ-centered. It was man-centered and focused on the evaluation of each man in the church according to the perceived value of his spiritual gifts and experiences, and the elevation of each to that particular level of supposed spiritual attainment.

One commentator has put it this way: “Any Corinthian with a spark of humanity, not to say Christian conviction, left in him must have blushed to see held up before him the picture of himself in his conceited self-importance and the picture of Paul and his apostolic colleagues, the despised, scorned, suffering, but undaunted servants of Christ, the church, and mankind.”

Lest anyone be deceived by the false apostles, the deceitful workers, Paul points out the folly of following anyone but Christ:

for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? 1 Cor. 3:3-4

For the foundation of faith cannot be laid on the shifting sands of human experiences, but must be laid upon the bedrock of the gospel of Jesus Christ, once for all delivered to the saints:

12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 1 Cor. 3:12-13

Today we see the extreme evolution of these early church errors into a prideful signs, wonders, healing, and tongues mania which is responsible for turning more souls away from Christ and the Word of God than even Satan himself could have dreamed for. The showboats with the flashiest tales of signs and wonders still rule.

And as in Corinth, we put up with it readily enough.

 

All blessings in Christ,

JD Ellis

 

* John MacArthur – Grace To You Ministry…. “Marks of a False Apostle.”

 

 

 

 

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Strange Fire Conference Set To Confront Biblically the “God Told Me” Syndrome

Leviticus 10

1 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. 2  And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.

Grace To You Ministries recently announced the gathering of evangelicals October 16-18 2013 to speak out against the damage being done for many decades in the church by those who have shamefully misrepresented the true work of the Holy Spirit and turned it into a chaotic world of dreams, visions, false prophecy, false healings, being slain in the spirit, holy laughter, and all kinds of unbiblical practices.

http://www.tmstrangefire.org/

In the words of John MacArthur of the host church:

The Lord calls His people to honor Him, to treat Him as holy. Leviticus 10 pictures the consequences of not doing so—of offering to Him strange fire.

For the last hundred years, the charismatic movement has been offering a strange fire of sorts to the third Person of the Godhead—the Holy Spirit. And evangelical churches have chosen to be silent or indifferent on the matter.     This hasn’t served the church or the Spirit of the church with honor.

So what should be our response?

Strange Fire is a conference that will set forth what the Bible really says about the Holy Spirit, and how that squares with the charismatic movement.  We’re going to address in a biblical, straightforward manner what many today see as a peripheral issue. On the contrary, your view of the Holy Spirit influences your relationship with God, your personal holiness, and your commitment to the church and evangelism.

The conference is already sold-out completely, so we see the real hunger in much of the church today to know what God’s word really tells us about his revelation and the true works of the Holy Spirit in contrast to these strange manifestations seen in many ministries today.

Already the naysayers are out in force, denouncing both MacArthur and the conference as an attempt to “quell the spirit.” But is standing up for scripture as the inspired word of God himself, and his sufficient, inerrant, and complete revelation quelling anything?

Charisma magazine, one of the flagship vehicles of the charismatic movement, ran an article by Michael Brown, challenging MacArthur’s conference:

…….And it is only fair to ask whether Pastor MacArthur, in his rightful zeal to correct excesses or errors in the charismatic movement—what he calls “strange fire”—is also guilty of rejecting the true fire. Does he embrace the glorious things the Holy Spirit is doing worldwide, resulting in the salvation of tens of millions of souls, or does he write them off as the result of emotionalism and deception?

In a textbook “straw man” argument, he builds up a clearly erroneous case of MacArthur denying that the Holy Spirit works today, only to shoot it down in flames. He fails to mention that not one of the tens of millions of souls referred to actually received salvation by listening to a modern day prophet give new extra-biblical revelation from God, nor by being blown over backwards by a puff of air blown at him by a minister, nor by any form of being “slain in the spirit”, engaging in “holy laughter”, speaking in tongues, or barking like a dog. Not one. Every single one of the tens of millions if they indeed received salvation, did so through the authentic work of the Holy Spirit, which is convicting us of our sin and need for a savior, and opening our hearts to hear the truth contained in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is clearly obfuscating the truth to claim the issue is whether or not the Holy Spirit is active today. Jesus told us clearly he left us with the Spirit, so who doubts that? The issue is whether Christian ministers have the authority and the credentials to use the Holy Spirit to meet the ends they have chosen for their ministries, often for financial gain, based on a foundation of manifestations which come from human experience, emotion, and thought processes. These manifestations are not confirmable by, or even related to, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and thus they meet the criteria set down by God’s word to be false prophecy.

Since prophecy is said in scripture  (1 Cor. 12) to be proclaiming the truth of God, anything that falsely proclaims what God is doing or saying today is a form of false prophecy. Claiming God is bringing healing through a ministry when such healing is not taking place is falsely proclaiming God. Passing on a dream to a congregation which is labeled to be from God when it is not is another form of false proclamation, which is false prophecy. And how did God view false prophecy in the Old Testament? Death was ordained. Death was the punishment because it is such a serious offence. It remains a serious offence in the New Testament. There is no indication God has softened his approach to false prophets in the current age.

The Work of the Holy Spirit

The Bible is the only guide needed to know what are the true works of the Holy Spirit. We need not rely on any man to show us how the Spirit works, and in fact it can be dangerous to do so. Despite the charismatic and Pentecostal claims that the Spirit’s work today is to bring signs and wonders to whoever calls out for such manifestations, scripture tells us something quite different.

Ephesians 2:1-6

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

Clearly Paul is telling the church at Ephesus that it is the Holy Spirit who works in us to bring about our spiritual rebirth from the death state brought about by our transgressions. This is the truly awesome, mighty work of the Spirit, which causes us as Christians to stand in awe and worship of our Creator, that such a wondrous transformation could take place. Does it glorify God to reduce this mighty work to the petty and trivial workings that the charismatics claim for him? Are these glorious works of the Spirit to be downgraded to such a degree that they become nothing more than commentaries on current news events and idle, mostly undated, and therefore unverifiable predictions about the secular future for a certain nation?

Romans 8:12

Sanctification

 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ  is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.  11 And  if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.  12 Therefore,  brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13  For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

The Spirit who lives in  us is the resurrection power – the same power that raised Jesus from death raises us from spiritual death in our sins to a new life in Christ. Is this not far beyond the power we see claimed by some of the doom and gloom ministies today, who teach that the true power of the Holy Spirit is a working to impart dreams and visions about what the American government or the New World Order is plotting against us? Is it not the true work of the Spirit far beyond the power claimed by a “healing” ministry to lay hands in an apostolic fashion and declare a person to be physically healed without any apostolic authority or credentials at all?

Healings and predictions of the future are not works of the Holy Spirit today. The Gospel of Jesus Christ and its teachings concerning the eternal destiny of the soul is depicted in the bible to be the proper Christian focus, greatly overshadowing in importance concerns about physical afflictions of the body, or what degree of safety and comfort lies in the future for the people of a nation. (Matt. 10:28) Even Paul could not heal his own affliction nor that of his friend Trophimus at Miletus. (2 Tim. 4:20). Sufferings in the world have a divine purpose. We can safely leave all worries about these physical things in the hands of the Father, who knows our every need and will furnish us with every good thing completely, without any plotting, second guessing, or intervention on our part.

Where Are the Signs?

The first thing we need to ask any modern day signs and wonders ministries is for them to show their credentials, that they are truly agents of God’s word. These credentials come in the form of miracles. This was always historically the case with true apostles or prophets. To the prophet or watchman ask: where are your signs, to tell me you actually hear from God?

Popular internet watchman Nathan Leal recently was asked how any of his followers could determine if he was actually hearing from God. The reply was that after each prophetic dream he has, he goes into his prayer closet and asks God for confirmation of that dream. This is a kind of circular reasoning being used here. If he was mistaken about God giving him a prophecy in his dream, wouldn’t he likely also be mistaken about God giving his blessing of the dream in confirmation? Is any kind of confirmation required in prophecy? Is God required to repeat himself when giving revelation? Wouldn’t it be abundantly clear the first time if you had heard from God? If God speaks a word to you, and your first reaction is to question whether it was actually the Lord speaking, I would think that would not be something which should be preached about to the congregation next week.

Misleading Claims of Fulfillment

He went on to state that his confirmation also lies in the fact that his prophetic messages come to pass. As one example, he stated that he had a prophetic dream that pensions were going to be stolen by the U.S. government. His confirmation? The financial crisis in Cypress. For another proof, he said the Lord gave him information in 2009 about a coming drought, and that this was fulfilled “in the past 2 years.” Another prophecy came to him in 2008, about the “poisoning of the waters.” Of course, his ministry claims that the Gulf Oil Spill fulfilled that. Is it suspicious that some of his proofs are clearly unfulfilled, and that others either were received in an untimely fashion or are so general and lacking in detail that they amount to little more than word games? Yes it is. Stage magicians do feats of mental magic using this same kind of word play which creates the illusion of having foretold a future event.

To further buttress his conviction that there is new revelation being given today by God, he claims:

“There is too much track record now of individuals throughout time who have been shown things by God. Mary and Joseph – Jesus himself as an infant was saved in a dream. We can go on and on about that” *

So if Mary and Joseph, the worldly guardians of the infant Jesus, got a prophetic dream, we should too. The pomposity of this escapes many who should be more discerning. Some Christian ministers act like little kids showing off, like the little boy at the local swimming pool constantly engaging in newer and louder, more energetic activities as if pleading to whoever will listen “Look at me! Look at me!” Far more often a work of the Holy Spirit appears over a period of time as an ongoing function which is progressive. Its not “Look! Here it is! Bam!!! It came to me last night! I can’t wait to reveal this game-changing news!”

The point is, even if the healing ministries were actually healing, of which we have zero verifiable evidence, and even if the self-appointed watchmen and prophets were actually giving verifiable information which came to pass, which is undeniably not the case, would not the main mission of the Christian minister in this age remain the same as it has historically been: to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in its pure, unadulterated form? Would not the sanctification and regeneration of the new person in Christ be the Spirit’s work, and the leading of the unregenerate mind to see the truth contained in God’s word and become part of the flock of Christ?

It is astounding how many Christian ministries today make predictive prophetic foretelling the main core and foundation of their ministry. In O.T. times, the foretelling function of prophecy was at best a very small part of the prophet’s overall ministry. True prophets were very active preachers, and active students of scripture. Their life’s work amounted to much more than just the relatively small body of work of their prophetic writing recorded in scripture. For example, when Jonah was in Nineveh he wasn’t just echoing over and over the warning that the city had 40 days to repent. He went about as all prophets did, preaching about the Lord of heaven and earth, the fall of man, repentance, faith, and trust in God’s promises.

Modern Day Prophecies – How They Do the Evil Work of Weakening Scripture

Belief in modern day prophecy always has the effect of weakening the authority and influence of scripture in the lives of Christians. John MacArthur has rightly said “Whenever personal prophecy has been stressed, scripture is weakened.”

We see this happening so clearly with ministries of the internet prophets and this new breed who prefer to be called “watchmen.” Every week they bring us a new story line, usually concerning American politics, which is presented to be the Lord’s latest word. The intense reaction by all of the seer’s followers to each “new revelation” from God can be tracked on various internet forums, chat rooms, and discussion groups. The buzz is euphoric as the excitement electrifies the followers in their wild enthusiasm to discuss what God has supposedly told the prophet in his dreams and visions. This is highly reminiscent of the same kind of euphoric buzz generated at neo-Pentecostal signs-and-wonder revival meetings.

But the greater glory of God, the end game of every true Christian, surely takes a back seat today to the sensual experience of being told what the future will hold in America. (Oddly, the vast majority of “new revelation” said to be sent out by the Holy Spirit concerns the USA. Other countries are seldom if ever mentioned, other than Israel.) Lets face it – preaching about what the future holds is felt by these ministers to be a flashier, more hip thing to do than preaching the Gospel.

Whenever God Speaks We Need To Write It Down

But if we look at present day prophets, we see a contradiction which is hard to get around. If indeed God reveals new information, then surely most would prefer to focus on this new, up-to-date data than to settle for what God was saying 2000 years ago. Surely, the modern prophets will tell you, scripture as it was written by the apostles will not satisfy the hunger of your souls to get words from God that are truly revelant and updated to reflect the grave present concerns God has concerning perils enveloping this world.

If God is indeed still giving revelation to prophets today, wouldn’t every word need to be carefully recorded for all time in a new book of scripture, or appended to our existing bibles? Surely it cannot be said that there are different levels of authority when God speaks. I don’t think there’s room for any gray areas in respect to whether its God speaking or some other spirit giving the revelation.

In the same interview Mr. Leal disclosed that there are many more revelations he has received from God which he has not disclosed and has kept to himself. So God is telling Mr. Leal certain things which are only for the prophet’s personal edification, and not for the rest of us to hear? Or is he doing this because he thinks it will give him a position on the cutting edge of prophetic revelation, knowing things about God which no one else knows ?

Scripture Receives A Downgrade

This downgrade of scripture can be see in the following excerpts from an interview given recently by this same modern day Christian “watchman” concerning prophetic revelation today in relation to what is written in scripture:

“…………..So its up to us to be able to see, to be able to dissect, to see under the layers that are on the printed page.

We have to fight the regular philosophies of some men. They are not able to see some of the hidden truths in scripture. The people who do not rely on listening to the Holy Spirit speak to them, there’re going to be limited in the amount of knowledge, teaching, and training that they can obtain when they’re reading the bible.

In order to come to the scriptures and leave with our appetites satisfied, it entails, it requires that the Holy Spirit plays a role with us while we’re reading, while we’re studying, because the Holy Spirit helps us to see below the layers.” *

The Holy Spirit illumines our minds to see the truth contained in the inspired writings of the 66 books, but there are no mystery layers of understanding that require special revelation whispered to the reader’s ear about what the message is. The bible is not a secret code book and the Holy Spirit is not a decoder. One does not need modern day prophetic revelation from the Spirit to understand the bible, but the Spirit will guide us in prayerful and diligent study to come to its truth.

Even the most atheistic and heretical scholars understand the bible, they just reject its truth. If prophetic revelation was required for biblical understanding, then only modern day prophets could understand the bible. So in this scenario, the false prophet’s followers would be dependent upon him not only to hear what God is saying in these days through the prophet’s dreams and visions, but his poor disciples would also need their prophet to tell them what God has already said in the past through scripture! Surely a comfortable position for the false prophet, but a very dangerous thing for the followers.

It is a testament to the great amount of apostasy which has crept into Christian ministries today but also to the general lack of even basic scriptural discernment being applied, that this man could hold sway over a large audience of Christian believers. Certainly this illustrates the great need in the church today for gatherings like the upcoming Strange Fire Conference. It is an example of extreme gall for a Christian minister to announce to his congregation that he receives new revelation in his dreams from the Holy Spirit, and that these messages received through dreams and the “still small voice” in our heads are required in order for any of us to understand “the deep mysteries” of the bible. If we don’t listen to that still, small voice in our heads and in particular the still, small voice in their heads, the false prophets teach, we’ll be overwhelmed and lost in reading the scriptures.

When we read scripture, we marvel at the great providence and divine guidance which protected and preserved these words which are God-breathed and were handed down to the inspired writers to be our guide for all time by an all-knowing Creator. What God moved the writers to record in scripture was produced in the form of literature which requires simply the normal rules of reading. It is foolishness in the extreme to think God left scripture with a missing ingredient which he now needs us to have to understand what he said. No dream or vision interpretation is required to fill in any missing pieces in scripture. Scripture comes with a “no modern day prophet required” guarantee. What we add to the formula is faith, prayer, and a serious, studious approach to learning its truths.

Here in the claims that new revelation is being delivered by God today we have the grievous, heretical teaching that scripture is lacking in the kind of breadth and substance needed to be our sole guide and instruction book for today. Man is always striving for newer, more up to date things, the latest model car, the newest electronic device. And this is unfortunately true with scripture as well. The modern world, with all its inherent deceit and conspiracies, real or imagined, brings to the fore false prophets who convince us we need something more up to date and relevant. We simply won’t make it through the coming judgment of America, these false prophets tells us, only with the word of God contained in the bible. We need to tune into what God is saying today.

Christians with a strong scriptural foundation and a true respect and love for the awesome power of the word of God will have no trouble seeing through this delusion, but how many new in the faith will get taken off the path of scripture by teachings like this? How many souls will be put at risk by telling them the bible is weak and deficient, and to have true power the word of God given once and for all to the saints must be supplemented by the modern day dreams and visions of men and the thoughts inside their heads?

We need only to look at Jude Chapter 1 to see the folly contained in the teachings of the modern day prophets:

Jude 1

3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. 4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

8 Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties.

Clearly, scripture itself tells us of its own sufficiency, and it does this in so many places. There wouldn’t be space to list the numerous verses which speak clearly of the sufficiency of the word, but this passage from Paul’s exhortation to his young student Timothy is an example:

2 Tim. 3:16-17

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

“Equipped for every good work.” That covers it all. If this is so, and our Christian faith hinges upon this truth, then we must reject any teaching which tells us otherwise. If its a good work you are doing, the scriptures have you covered. If its an evil work you do, to involve others you have to take their shield of protection away from them by undermining their trust in God’s word. Then, when the flock is in a defenseless state, you can prey on them, even convincing them that your words are the words of God. And then these false teachers have their flocks exactly where they want them to be: totally dependent on hearing their voices in order to know what God is saying about the past, present, and future.

I have debated doctrinal issues with Christians who are convinced that these new revelations from God are genuine and important to listen to, and fully support these “God told me” ministries. When I hold up scripture which speaks against their position, they often reply in this manner: “oh, not to worry, I have the Holy Spirit in me to point out any error I may come across.”  Sadly, as Dr. MacArthur points out, these are not minor, peripheral issues we are dealing with, but it is falsehood that strikes at the very core of our faith, with countless thousands of souls at stake.

This underlines the need for evangelicals to gather together as one and affirm allegiance over and against all demonic powers, and that we hold up scripture to be the inerrant, all-sufficient word of God, which stands until the end of time as God’s true and complete revelation to us.

It is truly encouraging to see the great amount of interest in the Strange Fire Conference. God bless Pastor MacArthur and the speakers in attendance, who include the following:

Dr. R.C. Sproul, Conrad Mbewe, Dr. Steven J. Lawson, Tom Pennington, Phil Johnson, Nathan Busenitz, Justin Peters, Todd Friel, Joni Eareckson Tada.

It would be wonderful to see some momentum come out of this conference, and hopefully, God willing, this can lead many out of the wilderness of these ungodly ministries and into the saving grace of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

All blessings in Christ,

JD Ellis

*all quotes from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkVSZOJU7iI  Hagman and Hagman broadcast May 2nd, 2013 2:05 to 2:09 time marks.

Posted in False Prophecy | Tagged , , , , | 50 Comments

The Cambridge Declaration – Why Every Ministry Should Implement It

In response to the mass abandonment of Christ-centered apologetics in the church in modern times, the Cambridge Declaration was issued in 1996 by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It was a direct response to the declining state of the Evangelical movement in America.

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals came to be formed a year after David F. Wells authored a book called No Place for Truth or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? in 1993. The book was critically acclaimed by a number of important Evangelical leaders. In 1994 a number of these leaders came together at a conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts out of which the Cambridge Declaration was issued.

Two of the principle players involved were James Montgomery Boice and Michael S. Horton.  The list of those gathered included some notable Evangelical leaders: R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, John Piper, Albert Mohler, Alistair Begg, and many others. The reasons for issuing the Declaration were the following: (ref. Wikipedia – Cambridge Declaration)

  • The culture of the modern world (as represented by Postmodernism) is changing the message that the church preaches.
  • The erosion of Christian doctrine within the modern church, including the lack of Expository Preaching.
  • The increasing influence of Relativism within the church, which has led to an environment where “truth” is subjectively determined, and where church leaders aim to preach only “positive” messages.
  • The increasing focus upon man, rather than God, within the church.
  • An increasing focus on man’s ability to respond to God’s grace, rather than a focus upon God’s ability to save man.
  • A focus on the quantitative and measurable aspects of church growth (which thus links Christian ministry with outward success) rather than the qualitative and spiritual aspects of Biblical ministry.

In a call for a return to historical Evangelicalism, and the truths once proclaimed at the time of the Protestant Reformation, the Cambridge Delaration focused on the five solas which articulate historic Christian truth:

Sola Scriptura: The Erosion of Authority

Excerpts:

……………….Scripture alone is the inerrant rule of the church’s life, but the evangelical church today has separated Scripture from its authoritative function. In practice, the church is guided, far too often, by the culture. Therapeutic technique, marketing strategies, and the beat of the entertainment world often have far more to say about what the church wants, how it functions and what it offers, than does the Word of God.

…………………Scripture must take us beyond our perceived needs to our real needs and liberate us from seeing ourselves through the seductive images, cliches, promises and priorities of mass culture. It is only in the light of God’s truth that we understand ourselves aright and see God’s provision for our need. The Bible, therefore, must be taught and preached in the church. Sermons must be expositions of the Bible and its teachings, not expressions of the preacher’s opinions or the ideas of the age. We must settle for nothing less than what God has given.

……………………The work of the Holy Spirit in personal experience cannot be disengaged from Scripture. The Spirit does not speak in ways that are independent of Scripture. Apart from Scripture we would never have known of God’s grace in Christ. The biblical Word, rather than spiritual experience, is the test of truth.

Thesis One: Sola Scriptura

We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.

We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.

Note the key part of this provision: that the Holy Spirit does not speak in ways that are independent of scripture. How clearly we see these kinds of errors in so many churches today, and even more so in the numerous internet ministries which have sprouted up. How quickly could we all see through the fear-mongering false prophets of the internet with this understanding. All the blather spouted by the likes of the internet fear mongers about the Holy Spirit coming to their “specially annointed” prophetic ministries, and passing on information completely outside the realm of what God has revealed to us in scripture, would be exposed for what it is.

No more would we have to see many of our brothers and sisters in Christ get caught up in the snares and traps set by those who would have us believe they receive extra-biblical revelation in their dreams and visions. No more would we be held captive to the daily and weekly broadcasts telling us how much we need to listen to their pronouncements to find out those things God supposedly wants us to know, but somehow left out of his holy scriptures. We would stand as one and renounce the ministers who call themselves Christian, and speak what they tell us is “new revelation.”

Anyone who tells you he had a personal experience that God gave him in order for you to receive revelation or knowledge can be discounted as false and against what the Bible teaches. Following this thesis of the Declaration would give a big “thumbs up” to God’s revelation in the scriptures, and a resounding “thumbs down” to the masquerade of human revelation.  It could shut down the heretical dream and vision ministers overnight, and lead them to earn an honest, biblically-based living, refocusing on Christ, and turning the spotlight away from themselves and their relentless pursuit of sensationalism.

Solus Christus: The Erosion of Christ-Centered Faith

Excerpt:

……………As evangelical faith becomes secularized, its interests have been blurred with those of the culture. The result is a loss of absolute values, permissive individualism, and a substitution of wholeness for holiness, recovery for repentance, intuition for truth, feeling for belief, chance for providence, and immediate gratification for enduring hope.

Thesis Two: Solus Christus

We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.

We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ’s substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.

Here we see the issue of calling for people to “make a decision” to be saved, without any preaching of the gospel. Often this calling comes after a presentation of some sorts which appeals heavily to the emotions, but says little or nothing about the gospel and does not preach the Atonement. How many ministers talk at length about the doom and calamity to come, inflaming our emotions and fears, without actually saying a word about the gospel? With this filter in place, we can know right away when we are hearing the gospel of man being preached. It is faith in Christ and his work that a true minister will preach, not how to prepare for the next disaster, or worse, attempting to pass on to us on behalf of God the details about where or how that disaster will strike.

Next time any of us are tempted to think of people like the doomsayers of the internet as ministers of the Christian faith, we need pause to reflect whether they are preaching the gospel, or merely whipping up an emotional stir in us. The emotions are a very unreliable guide as to whether we are hearing truth. The wildly emotional rantings of the false teachers are very foreign to how the Holy Spirit actually works in our lives.  

This is also relevant to the emotional displays often put forward by neo-Pentecostal preachers and churches, where a fevor pitch is incited, and the implication is made that this indicates the presence of the Spirit. Tongues speaking and prophecy are then given high credentials as people are swept up in the frenzy, convinced that their state of delirium confirms the action of the Spirit.

Sola Gratia: The Erosion of the Gospel

Excerpt:

…………….Unwarranted confidence in human ability is a product of fallen human nature. This false confidence now fills the evangelical world; from the self-esteem gospel, to the health and wealth gospel, from those who have transformed the gospel into a product to be sold and sinners into consumers who want to buy, to others who treat Christian faith as being true simply because it works. This silences the doctrine of justification regardless of the official commitments of our churches.

………………..God’s grace in Christ is not merely necessary but is the sole efficient cause of salvation. We confess that human beings are born spiritually dead and are incapable even of cooperating with regenerating grace.

Thesis Three: Sola Gratia

We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God’s wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.

We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature.

In this statement we see that no manner of human manipulative technique can lead anyone to faith, as these techniques are from unregenerated man. Again, as in the examples of Charismatic and Pentecostal churches, and the wild, flamboyant internet ministries of the Rick Wiles-Nathan Leal-Steve Quayle paradigm, we observe that the Holy Spirit simply cannot be summoned through controversy or sensationalism. No amount of internet marketing and grandstanding can lead anyone to salvation.

So many ministries today treat faith as a commodity to be promoted, marketed, and sold. We have all listened to these hour long internet broadcasts which focus on everything from how evil the secular government is, to the latest government conspiracy, and if we just send in our donations, they will be able to continue to channel this badly-needed information to Christians everywhere. When not one word of the gospel has been preached, can we still call this a “Christian” broadcast or ministry? 

 Sola Fide: The Erosion of the Chief Article

Excerpt:

………….Justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. This is the article by which the church stands or falls. Today this article is often ignored, distorted or sometimes even denied by leaders, scholars and pastors who claim to be evangelical.

……………Many in the church growth movement believe that sociological understanding of those in the pew is as important to the success of the gospel as is the biblical truth which is proclaimed. As a result, theological convictions are frequently divorced from the work of the ministry. The marketing orientation in many churches takes this even further, erasing the distinction between the biblical Word and the world, robbing Christ’s cross of its offense, and reducing Christian faith to the principles and methods which bring success to secular corporations.

………………There is no basis for our acceptance before God except in Christ’s saving work, not in our patriotism, churchly devotion or moral decency. The gospel declares what God has done for us in Christ. It is not about what we can do to reach him.

Thesis Four: Sola Fide

We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God’s perfect justice.

We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ’s righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.

Teaching that the gospel is about our moral decency “as a nation”, or our “patriotism” is a perversion of the true gospel. Speculations about presumed future judgments from God upon the nation is not preaching the gospel. A great deal of what we hear on the average Christian internet broadcast falls under this category - little more than a conspiracy-laced brand of neo-patriotism masked as modern day Christianity.

The righteousness imputed to us is what justifies, not the feeble human attempts to gain some appearance of righteous behavior by political moralizing or attempting to reach a Christian moral high ground through condemnation of our political leaders or systems. How many of the internet preacher/gurus today try to turn this government-baiting into their own form of religion?

Soli Deo Gloria: The Erosion of God-Centered Worship

Excerpt:

………………Wherever in the church biblical authority has been lost, Christ has been displaced, the gospel has been distorted, or faith has been perverted, it has always been for one reason: our interests have displaced God’s and we are doing his work in our way. The loss of God’s centrality in the life of today’s church is common and lamentable. It is this loss that allows us to transform worship into entertainment, gospel preaching into marketing, believing into technique, being good into feeling good about ourselves, and faithfulness into being successful. As a result, God, Christ and the Bible have come to mean too little to us and rest too inconsequentially upon us.

……………….God does not exist to satisfy human ambitions, cravings, the appetite for consumption, or our own private spiritual interests. We must focus on God in our worship, rather than the satisfaction of our personal needs. God is sovereign in worship; we are not. Our concern must be for God’s kingdom, not our own empires, popularity or success.

Thesis Five: Soli Deo Gloria

We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God’s glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone.

We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self-fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.

If a ministry is centered around its own success, popularity, and fulfillment, and teaching these things to others, then God’s interests are being displaced by our own worldly ambitions. The false preachers are always exhorting their listeners to help them expand their empires, and this is said to be “for the Kingdom.” But can we afford to blur the distinction between true gospel preaching and what amounts to little more than self-promotion and marketing techniques?

I recall not long ago one of the internet ministers insisted that the Kingdom of God would be greatly glorified and expanded if his listeners would send him financial support so that he could build a “state of the art 24-hour Christian broadcasting network.” Here we see his own spiritual interests expressed in the human appetite for personal consumption and cravings to satisfy human ambition, replacing God’s interests. We must not try to do God’s work our own way. We must not allow worship to be transformed into entertainment, and preaching into marketing. We cannot build secular kingdoms that have any lasting impact because they are built on worldly ambition.

We will end with the closing comments of the Cambridge Declaration, which powerfully sum up the call for a return to historical evangelicalism. Since the church has travelled even further adrift in the time since the passing of this declaration in 1996, all concerned ministers should have a serious look at implementing the provisions contained herein.

A Call To Repentance and Reformation

The faithfulness of the evangelical church in the past contrasts sharply with its unfaithfulness in the present. Earlier in this century, evangelical churches sustained a remarkable missionary endeavor, and built many religious institutions to serve the cause of biblical truth and Christ’s kingdom. That was a time when Christian behavior and expectations were markedly different from those in the culture. Today they often are not. The evangelical world today is losing its biblical fidelity, moral compass and missionary zeal.

We repent of our worldliness. We have been influenced by the “gospels” of our secular culture, which are no gospels. We have weakened the church by our own lack of serious repentance, our blindness to the sins in ourselves which we see so clearly in others, and our inexcusable failure to adequately tell others about God’s saving work in Jesus Christ.

We also earnestly call back erring professing evangelicals who have deviated from God’s Word in the matters discussed in this Declaration. This includes those who declare that there is hope of eternal life apart from explicit faith in Jesus Christ, who claim that those who reject Christ in this life will be annihilated rather than endure the just judgment of God through eternal suffering, or who claim that evangelicals and Roman Catholics are one in Jesus Christ even where the biblical doctrine of justification is not believed.

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals asks all Christians to give consideration to implementing this Declaration in the church’s worship, ministry, policies, life and evangelism.

For Christ’s sake. Amen.

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals Executive Council (1996):

Dr. John Armstrong
The Rev. Alistair Begg
Dr. James M. Boice
Dr. W. Robert Godfrey
Dr. John D. Hannah
Dr. Michael S. Horton
Mrs. Rosemary Jensen
Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
Dr. Robert M. Norris
Dr. R.C. Sproul
Dr. Gene Edward Veith
Dr. David Wells
Dr. Luder Whitlock
Dr. J.A.O. Preus, III

All blessings in Christ

JD Ellis

Posted in Doctrinal Issues | 23 Comments

When Dreams Overtake Scripture In Authority : Neo-Pentecostalism and Its Dangerous Effects

This week I saw the lamentable new article posted by Nathan Leal of Watchmans Cry, called “Alert Warning Number 6 – A Prophetic Dream” dated March 8, 2013. http://watchmanscry.com/article_alert_6.html

It brings to the fore a very sad state of affairs in the church today. It marks out new territory in the rapid expansion and spread of apostasy, especially in online Christian ministries.

Vast numbers of Christians are rushing to accept this form of so-called “revelation from God” which is spreading like wildfire through Christian internet ministries and forums. It is nothing more than human dreams, elevated through false scriptural interpretation to be authoritative words from God.

Lets look at the newest “revelation” from the veteran self-styled  “watchman” of the internet, Nathan Leal. We will look at how the whole foundation for human dreams as revelation is erroneous at its very core, and expose the real reason why people like Leal do what they do. And as we shall see, their motive falls far short from being an altruistic desire for the upmost spiritual good in the lives of their followers. We shall also look at how the rise of neo-Pentecostalism since 1950 has severly damaged scriptural authority and put the focus in many ministries on human experience as the guiding light in their sense of spirituality.

In “Alert Warning Number 6″ we hear something that sounds very familiar. It seems on February 19 of this year Nathan had a dream of the destruction of an American city. (Wasn’t it just mid-2011 when he released his dream about the destruction of Spokane? ) He goes on to tell of seeing missles in the air near Seattle, and then explosions, and provides maps pinpointing locations.

The first thing he makes clear is the following, written in bold letters near the beginning of the dream account: The Timing of The Following Dream Is Unknown. OK, so he has built in the traditional modern day prophet’s escape clause – if it doesn’t happen, nobody can call him on it, because not enough time has passed. Then the supporters will cite something from the Old Testament that shows a prophecy that took 400 years to come to pass as an example. But if God called it an “alert warning”, wouldn’t that indicate something on the reasonably-near time horizon? Or would God reveal something in a confusing way, calling Nathan to issue an immediate “alert” and even bringing up the spectre of relocating Christian families to safer locations in the country, for something that was years, decades or centuries from occuring?

In the lead-up to his dream, Nathan explains how he had been “seeking God about matters at hand.” He writes “I had been asking Him to show me the things to come.” Now its important if we are to accept this dream as revelation from God that we look at how the information came to him. We must know if the methodology employed conforms to Scripture. We know from God’s Word itself that the spirit of everything must be tested for conformity to the will of God. Anything not confirmed by scripture must be rejected.  If Nathan Leal is a true teacher, he will have no objections to the people testing the spirit of his prophetic dream.

Is there anything in the Bible about prophecy being a gift that is granted to those who ask for it? I guess one could cite that Jesus said to ask for anything from the Father in his name, and it shall be granted, but would this apply to new revelation from the Father? I think that it is very demeaning to Christianity to pass on this idea that our faith is comprised of such a shallow foundation that it is nothing more substantial or structured than simply random individuals asking God in their prayer closets for some new revelation that can then be held up alongside scripture as authoritative.

Is there any example of a biblical prophet being given a prophecy simply because he asked for one?

2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Doesn’t this clearly spell out that prophecy comes from a movement of the Holy Spirit, not by pulling a string on God like a puppeteer manipulates a marionette? The true prophets of God always wrote as they were moved, or carried along, by the Holy Spirit. Thus the modern day prophets put the cart before the horse, by declaring that they initiate the prophetic process by tugging on God’s prophetic dream string, and obediently God plays along by moving in the requested direction.

The second book of Peter has even more to say about how prophetic revelation comes to the prophet:

2 Peter 1:19(a)  We have also a more sure word of prophecy;……

2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

So its clear that no prophecy can have any kind of human interpretation. Just as a little leaven spoils the whole loaf, no human thoughts can be interspersed or injected into the revelation. Do we find any kind of human interpretation in the Watchman’s “Dream Alert Number 6″? This is what the prophet Leal has to say about how God gives him the information:

After a moment of waiting, I again looked out of the window and saw the flash dissipating. As it started fading I said, “That was an EMP!”

Notice God didn’t tell him. He, Nathan, determined intellectually that it was an E.M.P. type of explosion.

After I had this dream, I wondered if the flying objects were nuclear missiles or meteors…….

Was the first one a meteor? And was the second one that exploded in the air a “Tactical EMP Missile” of some sort?

If they were meteors, why would they attack two military bases? And could a meteor cause an EMP?

I saw the anti-missiles try to respond but miss. I do not understand why they missed!

One thing I have learned about prophetic dreams. They are just glimpses, partial images. They are never a complete picture. We only “know in part” and “prophesy in part.”

But folks, I do know this, God did tell me to share this dream.

So here he’s telling us that God is putting him in a situation where he was told to “share” this dream with brethren in the church but is forced by God to add his own speculations and musings as to what the imagery means. Did God ever give prophecy in this manner in the past? Real prophecy is always one hundred percent accurate, and one hundred percent clear. To imply less, is to deny the sovereignty and power of God himself. God is not going to “tease” someone with blurry, out-of-focus images and force the prophet to fill in the gaps. We are told it is sin to mix in human interpretation to divine revelation, so why would God encourage this?

Here we have that man-centered focus of false prophecy today that tells us God wants so much to deliver a clear message but struggles without success to get his words and images through to the man. This is the pride of man on display to teach this. The biblical precedent is much different. When Ananias was prophetically told to go find Paul he was given clearly the street name, the particular house, and that he should ask for Saul of Tarsis. In fact there are no biblical prophecies where the man was left to fill in the details because they had been lacking in God’s message. When God delivers a message, he is not dependant on the receptive abilities of man in any way.    

And to quote “we only know in part, and prophesy in part” (1 Cor. 13:9) as his biblical reference to support the notion that God gives hazy, unclear revelation? This verse needs to be read with the next verse, 1 Cor.:13:10, which states: but when the perfect comes, the imperfect disappears. This is not telling us that prophecy is imperfect. How could something from God be imperfect? These passages are stating that when the “perfect” comes prophecy will not be needed anymore. And the error of the focus on modern day prophecy as a gift of seeing into the future is also exposed, rather than supported, by these verses.

Bible study website Gotquestions.org explains it this way:

Prophecy does not mean forecasting or telling the future. The gift of prophecy in its true biblical definition means simply “speaking forth,” or “proclaiming publicly” to which the connotation of prediction was added sometime in the Middle Ages. Since the completion of Scripture, prophecy has not been a means of new revelation, but is limited to proclaiming what has already been revealed in the written Word. 
 
In Cor. 13:11 Paul states:
 “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” 
 
Paul is describing that when the full revelation comes, the partial revelations of the childish state will be done away with. The word translated as “perfect” is used again in Cor. 14:20 where it is translated “men”. The idea again is maturity contrasted with childish ways: 
“Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature”

 

Notwithstanding that 1 Cor. 13:9-11 says nothing about prophecy being hazy, hard to interpret, or incomplete, Mr. Leal can provide stunningly detailed maps pinpointing exact or nearly exact impact points of the explosions.

The Mission of Naval Base Kitsap is to serve as the home base for the Navy’s fleet throughout West Puget Sound and to provide base operating services, including support for both surface ships and Fleet Ballistic.

In my dream the explosion in the air occurred over this base!!!

And this……….

In my dream, in the other area North of Bremerton, I saw an explosion in the air.

The area in the image below was under the explosion! It turns out that it is also a military base, a substantial one!

So which is it, Mr. Leal? Were your images blurry on some things, and razor sharp on others? Why such clarity with pinpoint locations of the targets on the maps you drew for us, but hazy about such things as the general nature of the coming attacks?

Confirmation For the Prophecy?

Internet prophetic types like to provide”confirmation” for their messages, to put it beyond doubt that the information is sent from heaven. What is the most common kind of confirmation? Believe it or not, if someone else has a similar dream, they count this as confirmation. Below his “Alert Warning” article on the Watchmans Cry website, is the following:

Comment from an email that brings confirmation to Nathan’s Dream:

Received Friday – March 9, 2013

Nathan,

I just received an email regarding your dream, Alert Warning #6 – “I Saw an American City Attacked! – Destruction from the Sky!” and I was floored considering I had a very similar dream back on 5 September 2012. (184 days ago)

The email received by Nathan Leal goes on to describe a similar dream of missles over the Puget Sound area. So the idea here is that the more people dream the same kind of thing, the more likely it is from God. I’d like to know the chapters and verses which support that assumption. The human element of “committeeship” in evaluation of each other’s prophecies is doomed to failure. We have already noted in 2 Peter 2:21 that no prophecy is of private interpretation.

Confirmation seems to come from further misinterpretation of scripture as well.  Looking at the watchman’s forum, prophecy discussion groups supporting this prophecy as well as the dreams and visions of other people are punctuated with references to Joel 2:28 and its reference found in Acts 2. I have had Joel 2:28 presented to me as proof of the validity of all kinds of charismatic high jinks over the years, but lets have a closer look.

Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.

In this verse of the Old Testament, Joel is prophesying of a future date when the Holy Spirit shall descend on a group of people, and all signs and wonders shall break forth. This was fulfilled on Pentecost, when the apostles gathered with Peter and the others in the upper room. This was the first day of the church of Jesus Christ. To signify to all the world the power and significance of this day the Holy Spirit descended in tongues of fire, and those present began to speak in tongues and prophesy. One can imagine the glory of this moment! To demonstrate this was the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, Peter quoted the words of Joel from scripture and this was recorded in Acts 2:16-18.  This movement of the Spirit was so powerful that 3,000 souls came to salvation that very day!

But nothing in this passage in Acts 2 speaks of a continued outpouring of the Spirit in this form of signs and wonders throughout the current church age. The signs and wonders served a particular purpose on the day of Pentecost: to declare to all observers that this truly was a movement of God and this was truly the inauguration of the church of Jesus Christ.

Because God did something in a certain way in the past, we cannot force his hand to repeat the act in future. God in past spoke through a donkey and a burning bush, but are we to look to these things today for revelation? Pentecost was not meant to be a repeatable event. It was a one time only, glorious event which commemorated the beginning of the church of Jesus Christ. We in the church today would do well to stop trying to counterfeit the signs and wonders given to the apostles alone as authentication of their ground-breaking work in laying down the foundations of the early church.

The neo-Pentecostal  movement is largely responsible for so many in the modern day church taking this passage to mean that we can recreate the wonders of Pentecost anytime we want, even as we dream! The human experience is what is valued most highly in the Pentecostal experience. It is almost as if we can rise above the need for scripture, replacing doctrine with the heady rush of personal experience. The “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”, a kind of higher, second Holy spirit event in the life of a Christian, is taught as something not only to be desired but actually required to be complete as a Christian. This is doctrinal error, as the Holy Spirit comes to help us through the entire process of regeneration and leads us in the progressing and growing of our sanctification. There is never an issue of having to receive the Holy Spirit at another time in a different way.

The Pentecostal doctrines concerning speaking in tongues, healing, and prophecy today are taught as the norms of the Christian experience, and those lacking in the daily exhibition of these gifts are looked upon as unfulfilled in their Christian walk. A complete discussion of the errors of modern Pentecostalism are beyond the purview of this discussion. I recommend “A Theology of the Holy Spirit” by Frederick Dale Bruner as the classic text for understanding the numerous biblical errors the church has been led into since the great surge in the worldwide Pentecostal movement of the last 60 to 70 years.

The Damage Done By the False Prophet

Now what will be the tangible effects of the release of this prophecy? Just as with the 2011 prophecy of the devestation of the city of Spokane, the collateral damage upon God-fearing Christians will be tremendous. In both Spokane and Seattle, believers who don’t have a stong biblical foundation and who follow this ministry will be wondering whether to relocate. Indeed, relocation is brought up in the prophecy itself:

For those of you who might live in the Seattle area, you may be wondering, “What to do?”

I asked God about that. He said, “Those that need to move away, are being shown what to do.”

In other words, if you are asking Him, He will tell you what to do.

So Mr.Leal passes on these messages with great detail from God about the coming destruction of your cities, but when the topic of whether you should move comes up, he shrugs his shoulders and more or less says “Don’t ask me. That’s between you and God.”

And what would relocation mean for the average Christian family? For starters, the breadwinners in each family would almost certainly be required to quit their jobs, unless a miraculous job transfer opportunity opened up. All children of school age would be pulled from their schools and out of the lives of their friends, possibly forever. Houses would need to be sold, often in bad sellers markets. A thousand details would need attention to, such as finding new doctors and medical care in the new locations, new homes to live in, enrolment in new schools, moving expenses, etc., not to even mention finding a suitable new church, not always an easy task.

To make an informed decision, maybe you should look to the prophet himself, and see what he’s doing with his newly acquired information. Nathan Leal continues to live in Priest River, Idaho. On the map this looks like less than an hour’s drive from Spokane. Has he relocated? Ummmmm………. no. Well then, perhaps that’s your cue. Maybe residents of Spokane and Seattle should consider holding off on moving until you see the prophet pull up stakes.

I think the smart money is on him staying put, so I’m pretty sure we’ll hear him courageously announce himself to be under the shield of God’s divine protection, and how he will bravely carry on at his current location. We lesser mortals, we get a shrug of the shoulders and are told to “ask God.” While I’m one hundred percent behind the idea of leaning on God’s protection in all situations, if God tells me “I will destroy a city near where you live”, I don’t think I would have the gall to test God in a show of defiance and make him move missles out of my path to demonstrate his mercy. I would consider my plate full in the mercy shown to me through the warning in the first place, and it would never occur to me put God to the test to see if the information is true, especially with the lives of my family at stake.

The Prophet’s Motivation

All of this brings me to the thought that possibly Mr. Leal remains  to a substantial degree unconvinced of the authenticity of his own prophetic dreams. The only two other possibilities are both nearly unthinkable: (1) the purpose of his release of this dream being to make a name for himself for personal gain. (2) that he is not thinking clearly with full use of his mental faculties.

Is there any reason to think he does this kind of thing for notoriety? In the interest of investigative journalism, I mention the following note near the bottom of the Alert Warning dream, right next to a ‘DONATE’ link:

In the very near future we will be renting a larger facility to accommodate more people. Stay tuned. Our goal is to record the live messages from our meetings and post them online so that we can share the sermons with you.

We are in the process of trying to acquire the sound, recording and visual equipment to accomplish this. If you would like to donate to help make this happen, we appreciate any and all gifts.

In the Old Testament God supernaturally provided for his true prophets and messengers. But I guess he feels that part of the prophetic working doesn’t carry on to the present day. Are we to believe that God continues to provide prophetic revelation today, but he just doesn’t support his prophets anymore?

How Some Christians Respond To the Prophet

To get an idea what response he is getting from his revelation, here are a few random comments being posted about the Alert Warning dream on his forum: http://www.watchmanscry.com/forum/index.php

Nathan, He is using you to awaken those that belong to Him.

(My note: No, God uses the Holy Spirit to do that, not modern day prophets.)

Thank you for your message and your time, Nathan. As I was reading your message. The bright light that went away. At first I thought it was the moon. Now I am thinking of a dream I had a few months ago.

……not exactly like you Nathan but I had been seeing (the white color type filmy scene) “flashes” but as visions…not dreams. It is possible it is related to this. And there are times that I have seen flashes of red/orange/yellow like fire but they are only flashes.

(My note: Modern day prophecy is certainly addictive. Everyone wants to get in on the excitement. Again, the human thirst for experience stands out, to the detriment of doctrine and understanding.)

Wow Nathan. You really went above and beyond with the description, the pictures, and the immense detail.

(My note: But I thought Nathan was citing scripture to show how modern day prophecy is hindered by inaccurate visions and lack of detail?)

Seattle was also one of the cities Henry Gruver saw attacked by a missle in his vision.

(My note: Here we have vision meeting dream to provide confirmation.)

In the final analysis, what should matter most to those believers who are on a true biblical Christian walk is what praises and glorifies God, and how to get rid of the baggage that is carried that does not glorify him, or worse, brings dishonor to his name.

As the Christian forums buzz with chatter about what Nathan has dreamed, the church edges closer and closer to a dangerous precipice, and the widely and wildly misunderstood “charismatic” gifts overtake scripture in popularity if not outright authority. If we in the church don’t quickly shed our Reality TV mentality, and tame our fascination with attempting to unfold the future for God, experience will continue to trump doctrine to the peril of many souls.

Is competing in a incessant contest of one-upmanship with other brethren in the church about the different degrees and varieties of prophetic dreaming and visionary experiences an individual has had, and comparing those experiences to those of others in the body, really the best show of glory and praise the church today has to offer our Lord and gracious Savior? Then it would appear that rumors of the great decline of the church in the interval since the glorious luminescence of the Protestant Reformation are sadly true.

All blessings in Christ,

JD Ellis

Posted in False Prophecy | Tagged , , , , , , | 21 Comments

The Catholic Church and the Socialist Agenda

As a former Catholic, I am appalled at what I am learning in my examination of the history of the Roman church over the past centuries. It is becoming clearer to me why so many of the theologians who came out of the Protestant Reformation believed that the antichrist spoken of in the book of Revelation is actually the Papacy itself.

Not only is there a long history of persecution of Christians, including burning “heretics” at the stake, the Inquisition, and countless atrocities over the centuries, but even today the Vatican itself continues to attack biblical principles in a manner that is truly frightening.

Please take the time to listen to this Youtube, and I am certain you will be as shocked as I was. William Mencarow and Richard Bennett are very credible, down-to-earth Christians, and both are former Catholics. William is a current Reformation Church pastor, while Richard is a former Catholic priest. They are not conspiracy theorists, modern-day prophets, or anything of the kind. They are conservative Reformed theologians from whom I have benefitted greatly in my understanding of church history as it relates to biblical truth.

In this video, you will see in the words of the Vatican itself, how the agenda of the Catholic Church is to move all nations toward becoming socialist states which would make Marx and Lenin proud.

Posted in Doctrinal Issues | 24 Comments

Maurice Sklar Strikes the Mother Lode In False Prophecy

The wave of false prophets that has swarmed over the internet for the past decade or so has produced some very prolific practitioners, but probably none more so than Dr. Maurice Sklar.

His prophetic  messages pop up everywhere on Christian forums. It would seem at first glance that the Lord speaks to this man very often, on very many topics.  But on a closer look, we can see that its not always, or even mostly, or possibly even at all the Lord who is speaking to him.

Every once in a while, there comes along the pike a false prophecy that is so astounding in its depth of detail and degree of falsehood that it literally takes my breath away. One such prophecy that has made the rounds for the last few years on many forums and websites is the spectacular “Preparation of the Bride” prophecy issued November 24th, 2005, by none other than Dr. Sklar. 

http://www.mauricesklar.com/Teachings/Preparation_of_the_Bride/preparation_of_the_bride.html

Dr. Sklar is an accomplised musician. To get an idea of Dr. Sklar’s prophetic ministry, it is helpful to read a list of crusades and meetings he has ministered at, either musically or otherwise participating.  Among the names that jump out are:

Kenneth Hagin, Jr., Kenneth Copeland, Che Ahn, Benny Hinn, Rod Parsley,…. you get the idea.  A roll call of some of the most apostate of the current apostasy in the church today.

You might remember Che Ahn as the one who made the truly memorable statement to Todd Bentley back in 2008,  during the height of the Lakeland false revival in Florida that year, “I must decrease that you might increase.” Need we say anymore about someone who would quote John the Baptist’s reference to Christ, in referring to Todd Bentley?

Benny Hinn needs no introduction. His truly heretical antics have made a mockery of the faith for decades. Rod Parsley is the one who last year asked his followers to send in one million dollars in donations to “ward off satanic attacks.” Kenneth Copeland is a false teacher who for decades has been using the “word of faith” and “name it and claim it” false prosperity gospel to grow personally rich.

What are some of the “prophetic words” Dr. Sklar has issued over the years? This whopper of a failed prophetic word that we will focus on, issued in 2005, stands out as one of the most fantastic failures of any prophecy I have ever seen, and it will be revealing to dissect this message to learn from it.

Details of the 2005 “Preparation of the Bride” prophecy

Since it is so long, I will take cut it down into pieces and snippets, and from that a big picture will eventually emerge. Here we go, into a wonderland of prophetic mystery, all incredibly ascribed to be the words of the Lord God Almighty Himself:

“New York City will receive 3 major judgments before the end of 2008. Each one will be more devastating than the last. One will shake the entire financial world and cripple the once invincible financial power of America. Millions will lose everything in a moment. It will make the crash of the stock market in 1929 look like a little thing in comparison. America will no longer be the financial leader of the world. Another judgment will destroy a major stadium during a sports event. Yet another explosion will destroy nearly an entire Borough of New York. But for the sake of the Jewish people in New York, I will supernaturally spare them. After this, I will cause the largest aliyah (return) of My people (the Jewish people) from New York (and other regions throughout the developed world to Israel) in all of history. But only after the entire financial system that they are dependant on collapses will they all return to the land that I have promised them.”

Is it just me, or are other people of the Christian faith just as shocked as I am that someone could put these words in the Lord’s mouth, and be totally unrepentant about it afterward?

Enough people repented, so the Lord changed his mind!

This disclaimer is added on somewhere in the middle of the lengthy prophetic word:

This is but a fraction of what is soon to come IF there is not repentance and turning back to Me.

This is the new “out” for the false prophet that is so popular these days. When what the Lord supposedly tells them fails completely to come to pass, it was because of repentance on the part of the people. Did anyone notice a great wave of repentance that swept over New York City between 2005 and 2008?

What Biblical reference point do we have to get an idea of how much repentance is required for God to withhold His hand of judgment? When we look at the story of Jonah and his prophetic warning to the city of Nineveh, we see that every single person in the city, right down to the cattle in the fields, wore sackcloth and ashes.

When God issues a prophecy with conditions attached, it is clearly stated within the prophecy itself. God doesn’t leave us guessing.  The Nineveh warning was issued by God in a clearly conditional manner, with the condition being stated by God Himself. When you see a prophet tack on  a disclaimer, or allow a disclaimer to be tacked on, to his prophecy that “it may not occur if enough people repent”, this is a red flag we should be aware of.

Lets look further into it. Earlier in this same 2005 prophecy, there is this to say about the year 2007:

 There shall be 5 terrorist attacks that will hit America in ever increasing destruction upon the major cities. Before the end of 2007, a nuclear “dirty bomb” will blow up in a major city in the south of America.

The false prophecies continue:

There will follow two more judgments one in a major city of Europe and one in the Arab nations in the middle east before the end of this year.  (2005)

Followed by:

Tokyo, Japan. Hong Kong, China. Johannesburg, South Africa. Calcutta, India. Sidney, Australia. Chicago, Illinois. Los Angeles, California. Paris, France and many other cities will experience major catastrophies in the next five years. (Editor’s note: meaning: by 2010). Millions upon millions will perish.

It takes one’s breath away to ponder how anyone with any fear of the Lord at all, even at the most basic level, could still be issuing prophetic words today, after such a colossal failure. Its seems as if he doesn’t even break stride, failure after failure, not even considering the consequences of dishonoring the word of the Lord in this manner. We have been clearly warned in scripture against doing this.

The prophetic words keep coming, all of this indicated to occur within the 2005 to 2009 time frame:

I will shake California in a warning, and then there shall finally come the earthquake that I have mercifully withheld for so many years. Millions shall perish in the ensuing floods and the west coast of America shall be removed and fall into the ocean.

Note: Dr. Sklar continues to this day to base his ministry in Victorville, California, the same West Coast area God supposedly told him would fall into the ocean.

And this:

Boston shall experience a major attack upon a great school that once preached My gospel in ages past but has left the faith of their fathers never to return again. It will never be rebuilt again.

And still more rings out:

The aids epidemic will devastate the population in Africa to half of its’ present size in the next 4 years.

Wait a minute here. African population cut in half by 2009?

And this:

North Korea will launch a sudden nuclear attack and then be completely destroyed. Only the prayers of South Korea can stop it.

Note: The North Korea nuclear attack didn’t occur. So in order to support this prophecy the theory that South Korea repented sufficiently needs to be quickly called onto the playing field to plug this leak in the prophecy.

The “Taking Billy Graham home”  Story Line

But for me, the real sucker punch in this whole prophecy was the assertion that God was revealing to the seer that He was going “to take Billy Graham and Oral Roberts home.”  Well, lets see, Oral Roberts did die four years after the prophecy, at the age of 91. Can we call this a prophecy that someone 87 would die within 4 years?

And about Billy Graham. Lets have a closer look at what Dr. Sklar has been passing on to us, supposedly from God, about Rev. Graham’s fate, in the time since this 2005 word. This is where the tale takes a definite turn for the worse, if that is even possible. In my research, I began to see that Dr. Sklar has been prophetically declaring the imminent passing of Reverand Graham for many, many years.

In recent times, Dr. Sklar has claimed God told him he is “taking Billy Graham home” on the following occasions, with the title and date of the prophetic word in bold:

November 24, 2005 “Preparation of the Bride” as noted above.

June 4, 2009 The Coming Threats To the United States of America http://www.mauricesklar.com/Teachings/The_Coming_Threats/the_coming_threats.html

July 13, 2010  The Restrainer http://www.mauricesklar.com/Teachings/The_Retrainer/the_retrainer.html

December 1, 2011 “The Lord Says

http://www.mauricesklar.com/Teachings/Prophecy/prophecy.html

“The Lord Says” prophecy was released a day after Billy Graham was admitted to hospital in serious condition with pneumonia. Here the Lord is clearly quoted as telling Dr. Sklar that Rev. Graham’s passing will occur SOON.

August 16, 2012  The Red Horse of War http://www.injesus.com/messages/content/414964

The Red Horse of War prophecy was released 3 days after Billy Graham was admitted to hospital with bronchitis.

So you see, basically every year, Dr. Sklar issues a prophetic word saying God told him Billy Graham will pass away, or at least to “watch” for his passing. In the case of two of these prophetic utterances, Reverend Graham had been admitted to hospital just before the issuance of the prophecy.

But when I looked a little further into this prophecy, I found this “death of Oral Roberts and Billy Graham” prophecy was not new. It actually originated from the mouth of none other than Benny Hinn. In an old broadcast recently reshown on TBN, Hinn stated:

“The Lord said to me in ’89…sorry, yeah, ’89. He said when Oral Roberts and Billy Graham go home will be the key—it will be the sign—of the beginning of the greatest revival on earth. Oral is home. Billy is about to go home. And when he does, I am telling the whole church, get ready.”

So when one checks further back to what he actually said in 1989, it was the following, in a string of New Years Eve prophecies Benny Hinn recorded at his Florida church, Orlando Christian Center:

The Lord also says that, Two of his great giants will die in the mid-90′s. They’ve held the torch of revival for the last forty years, these two. One of them has been to this church, and the other has not. One will die suddenly while asleep. And the other will die of sickness. And as both giants die, which will be in the mid-90′s, I will shake this world with a last revival. Their death will be the closing pages of this move.

I think a few things are clear here:

(1) God knows exactly when Billy Graham will pass from his mortal body.

(2) While God works in mysterious ways, He doesn’t work in confusing or incongruous ways. For God to reveal to Dr. Sklar, or Benny Hinn, anything about the mortal passing of Rev. Graham would be surprising enough, but to be confusing about the timing seems even more out of character for the Almighty God we know about through His Word.

(3) Neither Dr. Sklar, nor Benny Hinn years before him, were actually receiving heavenly bulletins about the medical condition of Rev.Graham. Billy Graham continues to live. God is the only one who knows the timing of his, or anyone else’s, passing.

How can any thinking, scripturally knowledgeable, and God fearing Christian come to any other conclusion than that this is an abomination to claim to fellow Christians that God speaks to them in this manner?

Other Prophetic Visions From Dr. Sklar

You might think, well, the prophet was just having a bad day when he issued this message. I don’t think the Lord was having a hard time getting through to him, or was unclear. So perhaps his prophetic radar in some way wasn’t functioning that day. Thus to be fair, lets take a look at some of the other teachings this person has issued over the years. Some examples are the following:

The Vision of Heaven (Aug. 4th, 2010)

http://www.mauricesklar.com/Teachings/A_Vision_of_Heaven/a_vision_of_heaven.html

On Wednesday, August 4th, 2010, at about 10:30 AM, an angel came into my bedroom, I had just awakened. He said to me, “I am sent from the Lord to bring you to heaven. You must now come with me. Take my hand.” So I did. Suddenly, I was in the spirit realm. We ascended out through the ceiling of my home and shot up into the air like a rocket.

What follows is a vividly detailed description of heaven itself.

Soon I saw a large white tent “city” of sorts………It had twelve tent pavilions; each with a white cone that went up at
least ten stories high. On top of each “cone” was a flag that the
angel said was a flag for each of the twelve tribes of Israel……….As we entered into the tent of Benjamin, I saw many tables that were at least a hundred feet long. Each was lavishly set with gold cutlery, crystal goblets and plates that looked like they were made out of mother-of-pearl.

He then goes on to describe entering a heavenly concert hall:

The angel quietly spoke in my ear. This is a concert in your honor.
The composer, Gustav Mahler is here in heaven. He has composed a symphony for you. Then the Lord came out on stage and conducted! ……Then, when the music started, I went into a realm of ecstasy that I cannot describe in words…… But the music was like a living movie or a vision…… I listened and I saw many good things that I had done to love people on earth.

There is some biblical precedent for people getting glimpses of heaven. Elijah and Enoch were both taken up to heaven directly without tasting death. But they never returned to tell anyone what it was like. Lazarus never spoke much later on about what he had seen in the four days before he was resurrected.

The detail of Dr. Sklar’s visit to heaven is stunning in comparison with the scarce information we get from Scripture of what heaven is like. John the Apostle was the only one in the Bible who provided anything close to the kind of detail about heaven provided by Dr. Sklar, and that detail comes through visions related in the book of Revelation.  It seems that Dr. Sklar has the advantage over John, in that his imagery comes from an actual visitation, not a dream or vision.

(…….at about 10:30 AM, an angel came into my bedroom, I had just awakened.)

Fishing With William Branham 

http://www.mauricesklar.com/Teachings/Recent_Vision/recent_vision.html

A remarkable vision Dr. Sklar says he was given to release to us is this tale of a fishing trip where he encountered the deceased William Branham. Branham appeared beside him in a small fishing boat. He asked Maurice to release 25 of his “lost sermons” that contained an important message for the present times. This vision really has to be read to do it justice.

William Branham was a man who lived about half a century ago, who was kind of a forerunner for numerous false doctrines that took firm grip on the church in later years. His teaching was a bizarre combination of Word Faith, Manifest Sons of God, and Serpent Seed, all rolled into one. He denied basic Christian doctrine such as the Trinity.

Branham explained, “…not one place in the Bible is trinity ever mentioned…It’s Catholic error and you Protestants bow to it” (Conduct, Order, Doctrine, Q and A, p. 182).

See http://letusreason.org/Latrain4.htm for a complete discussion of the errors of William Branham.

Dr. Sklar’s Defense of the failed “Preparation of the Bride” Prophecy

 Years later, Dr. Sklar issued the following statement concerning the complete and abject failure of the 2005 prophecy:

http://www.mauricesklar.com/Teachings/Coming_Shakings_/coming_shakings_.html

Well, much to my surprise, it went all around the world. Many thousands of intercessors began to pray, and I am now convinced that God held these calamities back in His mercy so that we would have more time to get the Gospel out to the nations (especially here in America!).

Here he invokes the “repentance clause” we came across above. These internet prophets convince us it wasn’t their failure, it was God changing His mind. According to this logic, there are no failed prophecies, just a whole lot of cases where God withholds the judgment spoken of. And even more amazingly, Christians who should be exercising more discernment just accept it.  

Then he pauses, to add that he “could have just missed it”, only to quickly revert back to :

I am now more and more convinced that I really DID have a genuine visitation from the Holy Spirit and God’s mercy did indeed intervene and held these calamities back, praise His Holy Name

Is he talking about a message from God here or is this a debate he is having in his own mind about whether it was God speaking? If you are not crystal clear on whether it is God speaking or not, you are not getting revelation from God. The word of God is never ambiguous. The Lord will never experience problems making things clear to us. Obviously, prophecy was never intended to be a “hit or miss”proposition. 

This is so typical of the modern day internet prophets. They think its OK if they “win a few, lose a few.” Even if they “win” none, and “lose” them all, its all good to them. It shows you how they bring a “game” mentality to something as deadly serious as revelation from the Lord Almighty. It all sells, it all attracts popularity and attention to their ministries, which is what its all about for them.

Evaluation of the 2005 “Preparation of the Bride” prophecy.

In the final analysis, for the 2005 “Preparation of the Bride” prophecy of Maurice Sklar to be considered seriously as a genuine word from the Lord, so much of our Biblical understanding of the Lord and His ways would have to be suspended or done away with altogether. It is impossible to draw any other conclusion  than that the words are from a human mind, and represented as words from God.

Maurice Sklar sees nothing wrong in piggybacking on a prophecy by Benny Hinn which has failed for 23 consecutive years, and hardwiring it into a mishmash of failed utterances in 2005, only to see it fail for another 7 straight years. He pridefully puts the name of God on all this, and without even a moment’s hesitation, continues to issue prophetic utterances today.

This is actually a very sad story of a man, who in every other way appears to be a very decent, likable, and well-meaning individual. He has for some unknown reason decided to elevate himself to an office of spokesman for God without God’s calling to do so. He is forsaking all of the numerous biblical warnings against doing this, as if  he believes he has received some special permission to bypass God’s written instructions. What is the result? The false glorification and uplifting of his own ego in terms of his person, his ministry, and his career, through counterfeiting the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Could the Bible be any clearer about how seriously this grieves the Lord?

And what harm does this do when people falsely speak for God? The New Testament, as well as the Old Testament, speak clearly about the danger of false prophecy. When people in the church become focused on what a false prophet is claiming God said, they are diverted from the real truth contained in the Bible.

I recall last year when many of the false prophets of the internet spun tales about how comet Elenin was going to be a spectacular, monumental event with great significance for all Christians. Many thousands of believers were totally enraptured for months, caught up in discussions, forum posts, tweets, and blogs with daily updates of the progress of this comet. How much could have been done to further the commission of spreading the Gospel if the same number of man-hours of effort had instead gone into evangelization and bringing Christ to the lost, or simply soaking in the glory of God’s word?

All these internet seers, watchmen, prophets, or whatever they insist on being called, are charming, and tell an interesting tale. They are personable, and know how to keep their audiences interested. But whatever takes our focus off of Christ and puts it onto the things of the world and the things of men, is of the darkness. Remember that scripture tells us that the spirit of darkness comes dressed as an angel of light. It is our job as ambassadors of Christ to have the discernment to know when Satan is using someone to deceive us and take us away from the light of the world that is Jesus Christ.

The word of God Almighty is the most precious thing imaginable. It is worth more than all our gold and every material thing. We in the body of Christ should not allow it to be trampled on and belittled. We wouldn’t allow anyone to edit or change our Bible. Why should this kind of brazen misrepresentation of God’s revelation to us be excused?

All blessings in Christ,

JD Ellis

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