Final Gnostic Assault From Within
|By Bill Randles|
The church is undergoing perhaps her final assault from within, as she has been beset with a new wave of Gnostics who have entered in. T
By Bill Randles
(Author of the new release, War Against the Saints)
I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. (1 John 2:21)
The church is undergoing perhaps her final assault from within, as she has been beset with a new wave of Gnostics who have entered in.
What is Gnosticism? One definition of Gnosticism states:
“What is Gnosticism? One definition of Gnosticism states: Gnosticism was built on Greek philosophy that taught matter was evil and the Spirit was good. . . . So-called “Christian Gnostics” said since matter was evil, God could not really incarnate in a human body; He only appeared in human form and only appeared to suffer, but basically, it was an illusion. . . .
Prior to Christianity, the Gnostics taught that man is composed of body, soul, and spirit. The body and the soul are man’s earthly existence and were considered evil. Enclosed in man’s soul is the spirit, a divine substance of man. This “spirit” was asleep and ignorant and needed to be awakened. It could only be liberated by a special knowledge that would be later called “illumination.”1
The apostle Paul saw that Gnostic influences were coming into the church, and he addressed them in his epistles (Colossians 2:8-23, 1 Timothy 1:4, 2 Timothy 2:16-19, and Titus 1:10-16).
Gnostics (“knowing ones”) redefined the knowledge of God (i.e., what it means to know and communicate with God). They were elitists who sought “deeper knowledge” than that which is revealed in God’s Word. Gnostics despised doctrine, dismissing it as mere head knowledge.
They held forth a view of “salvation” which was, in fact, merely a self-realization rather than the rescue from sin and judgment through the blood of Jesus (which the Bible says is the only means of atoning for sin).
Gnostics believed that self-realization wasn’t for every Christian but only available to elite Christians who are let in on the secret knowledge (the so-called “secrets of the kingdom” available only to the initiated). The same attacks are presently being launched as dogma also. The “dry, dusty doctrines of another day” are being jettisoned by the “new” Gnostics of today who eagerly covet “new revelation” or “present truth.”
Gnostics influenced me early in my walk with Jesus. I was given a pack of Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin teachings and entered into the “deep revelations” of the Word Faith heresy. I learned such “revelations” as the following: the believer is just as much an incarnation as Jesus was, faith is a force, and we all can learn to use the laws of faith to get what we need. (If this were true, we wouldn’t need God; we would simply learn the laws of faith and control it like the force. )
The deepest, darkest core of the Gnostic teaching was that we believers are in “God’s class of being.” In other words, “we are little gods” who just don’t realize it yet.
According to the modern Gnostics, Jesus Himself was a man of faith upon whom the Holy Spirit came. He knew all of the laws of faith, which was why He could die on the Cross. Anyone could do so if he or she had the same “revelation knowledge” as Jesus.
Kenneth Copeland, the Word Faith preacher, is certainly one of today’s Gnostics. Here is a sampling of some of his teachings:
Every prophet that walked the face of the earth under the Abrahamic covenant could have paid the price if it were a physical death only. When He said “It is finished” on that cross, He was not speaking of the plan of redemption. The plan of redemption had just begun; there were still three days and three nights to be gone through.2
The Spirit of God spoke to me and He said, “Son, realize this. Now follow me in this and don’t let your tradition trip you up.” He said, “Think this way—a twice-born man whipped Satan in his own domain.” And I threw my Bible down . . . like that. I said, “What?” He said, “A born-again man defeated Satan, the firstborn of many brethren defeated him.” He said, “You are the very image, the very copy of that one.” I said, “Goodness, gracious sakes alive!” And I began to see what had gone on in there, and I said, “Well now you don’t mean, you couldn’t dare mean, that I could have done the same thing?” He said, “Oh yeah, if you’d had the knowledge of the Word of God that He did, you could have done the same thing, ’cause you’re a reborn man too.”3
What blasphemy! A whole generation of Christians has been swept away and corrupted on the deepest level by accepting this man’s unbiblical teachings.
John Wimber was a Quaker who came into the charismatic movement. He eventually taught a famous course at Fuller Seminary, MC510 “Signs, Wonders, and Church Growth,” which launched a “signs and wonders” movement that spread Gnostic teachings throughout the Earth. Eventually, this movement became the Vineyard Fellowship.
Of interest is that Wimber taught that a “paradigm shift” in thinking was necessary to bring the church into “power evangelism.” In my book, Weighed and Found Wanting, I explain:
Wimber, Kraft, White and Williams, as well as many other Third Wave teachers, have been calling for a “paradigm shift” for some time now . . . A paradigm shift is a total exchange of your world view! . . . What is the shift? It is from a primarily Western, rational, logical, objective point of view to an Eastern, subjective, experiential paradigm. Haven’t we been subtly taught over the years that the Western mind set is cold, calculated, rational, based on just the observable facts? On the other hand, allegedly, the Eastern is mystical, from the heart, and based on experience?
Wimber teaches, “We must remember always that the Bible was written in the Middle East, not with rational assumption, that we bring to it as we try to understand it, but with an experiential assumption.”4 I interpret him to be saying that the Bible is not so much an objective book, but a subjective one. Not so much for understanding God mentally, but for experiencing Him intimately.
In another tape, Wimber explains: “You tell someone from the Far or Middle East that cotton only grows in warm semi-arid climates. England is cold and wet. [Ask them] Does cotton grow in England? The answer you’ll get is, ‘I don’t know, I haven’t been to England.’” Or, “I can’t say unless I’ve been there, (experience).”5 This is the new paradigm, a down playing of doctrine or “head knowledge” in favour of mystical experience. Another variation of this is, “God is bigger than His written word,” translated, God wants to bring you into experiences that aren’t in the limits of scripture. Just knowing God “doctrinally” is not sufficient, you now must have self-authenticating experiences. All of these attitudes are the end result of the New Paradigm. This is the shift from primarily objective to subjective thinking in our approach to truth.6
Perhaps the premier proponent of Gnosticism in the evangelical and charismatic church these days is Bill Johnson, the senior pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California. Johnson’s church is the current version of the Toronto Airport Vineyard and Brownsville Assembly of God pilgrimage sites where people influenced by Gnosticism come to “experience” God.
Through Bethel and most notably through their worship team (a popular rock band called “Jesus Culture”), Bethel reaches hundreds of thousands with its Gnostic message of anti-doctrinal, experience-based, New Age-emulating “power” evangelism.
*I believe Bethel literally represents the final stages of the apostasy, the slide into the occult which I wrote about in the revised version of my book, Beware the New Prophets.
Here is an example of this redefinition of Christianity and the knowledge of God in occult terms promoted by Gnostics such as those associated with Bethel. An article in The Christian Post titled “Bethel Responds to Christian Tarot Cards Controversy” reported that Bethel “was accused of working with a Melbourne, Australia-based group known as Christalignment, which claims to have worked with many churches in that country to do such readings.”7 According to the article, Bethel denied using “Christian tarot cards.” The article stated:
Bethel admitted the leaders of Christalignment, Ken and Jenny Hodge, are connected with several of their church members as the Hodges are the parents to church evangelist Ben Fitzgerald, and said the church leaders “have a value for what they are seeking to accomplish.”
“They (Christalignment) stand in agreement with the Scriptures that all occult practices (like tarot cards) have no place in the Kingdom and should not be used,” Bethel said in a statement.
Christ Alignment staff describe themselves as “trained spiritual consultants,” and say on their website that they “draw from the same divine energy of the Christ spirit.”8
Christ Alignment staff further stated that,
We practice a form of supernatural healing that flows from the universal presence of the Christ. We draw from the same divine energy of the Christ spirit, as ancient followers did and operate only out of the third heaven realm to gain insight and revelation.9
Satan has seduced large segments of the professing church into Gnosticism and the occult. Like King Saul in the last desperate hours of his life, some have gone into darkness seeking power and a “word” of comfort, having already rejected the true Word of God.
- Mike Oppenheimer, “What is Gnosticism?” (Let Us Reason Ministries, http://www.letusreason.org/Current48.htm).
- Kenneth Copeland, “What Satan Saw on the Day of Pentecost,” audiotape #BCC-19, side 1.
- Kenneth Copeland, “Substitution and Identification,” 1989, tape #00-0202, side 2.
- F.V. Scott, “John Wimber and the Vineyard Ministries” (Passport magazine), p. 19.
- John Wimber, “Ministering in England” Audio Tape (Media Spotlight Report); John Goodwin, “Testing the Fruit of the Vineyard” (Media Spotlight Report, 1990).
- Bill Randles, Weighed and Found Wanting: Putting the Toronto Blessing in Context (St. Matthews Publishing, 1995), p. 81.
- Anugrah Kumar, “Bethel Church Responds to ‘Christian Tarot Cards’ Controversy” (Christian Post, January 6, 2018; https://www.christianpost.com/news/bethel-church-responds-christian-tarot-cards-controversy-212796.
“Spiritual Formation” Teachers Rick Warren and Ruth Haley Barton
|GC2 Conference on Mental Health Includes “Spiritual Formation” Teachers Rick Warren and Ruth Haley Barton|
|On December 12, 2019, Christianity Today posted an article by “new” Christianity pastor Ed Stetzer, giving a recap of the GC2 Summit that took place on December 6th. The article, titled “Lies Pastors Believe, Part One,” states:|
Two months of planning for our GC2 Summit on Facing Hard Truths & Challenges in Pastoral Ministry couldn’t have prepared us for what we saw God do this past Friday. Over 400 leaders joined us in person and nearly 80 livestreamed in from all over the world to hear pastors and counselors talk about leadership, burnout, and mental health. If you were unable to join us, you can purchase the full day’s recordings through the GC2 website. They will be available until January 10, 2020.
The messages from leaders such as Rick Warren, Derwin Gray, Ruth Hayley Barton, Drew Hyun, David Wang, Philip Ryken, Margaret Diddams, and others reflected the most important messages pastors need to hear today.
With at least three of the nine speakers being strong advocates for Spiritual Formation (a synonym for “contemplative spirituality”)—Rick Warren, Ruth Haley Barton, and David Wang (a pastor of Spiritual Formation)—it is clear that organizers of GC2 believe Spiritual Formation is a crucial element of “the most important messages pastors need to hear today.”
Spiritual Formation is the entry point for bringing New Age meditation into the church as Lighthouse Trails has time and again documented. The GC2 is yet another example of how Spiritual Formation has become saturated in today’s evangelical church. In fact, it is so integrated now that it’s difficult to find many lines of distinction. Ruth Haley Barton and Rick Warren illustrate this perfectly.
Both Barton and Warren have been long-time activists for contemplative spirituality (i.e., Spiritual Formation). Rick Warren began endorsing it with his first book The Purpose Driven Church saying that the movement has a valid message to the church (p. 126) and continued promoting it in The Purpose Driven Life. Ruth Haley Barton, after training at the highly New Age panentheistic Shalem Center in Washington, DC many years ago, moved into Willow Creek to work with John Ortberg. Together the two created the Spiritual Formation/Contemplative Prayer curriculum for Willow Creek. Today, Barton runs The Transforming Center, a contemplative outreach that trains thousands of pastors in Spiritual Formation.
The GC2 Summit (which was a conference for pastors and church leaders) focused primarily on “burnout,” “mental illness,” and pastoral care and was at least in part to be a remembrance of Rick Warren’s son who passed away in 2013 from suicide. We cannot even imagine the suffering a family would go through from such a loss, and we would not wish that on anyone is this world. We also recognize that the incidence of suicide by young people has reached epidemic proportions. People are looking for answers understandably. Unfortunately, as with the issue of racism that we recently wrote about, the church is looking to the world (and to the New Age) for its answers.
It was no accident or coincidence that GC2 organizers brought in to the discussion of mental health issues prolific Spiritual Formation teachers. They obviously believe that Spiritual Formation is a major part of the answer to mental illness and pastoral burn out. But as we have shown for nearly 18 years, Spiritual Formation, contemplative and centering prayer, lectio divina, Yoga, mindfulness meditation, energy healing, and other New Age-based esoteric experiences and practices will not bring lasting relief for those in mental anguish. Quite the contrary as even secular studies are now showing (see links below).
If your church or someone you know is involved with any of the practices mentioned above, first bring yourself up to speed on understanding these issues; then, pray and do what you can to help others who are caught up into something that is very spiritually (and mentally) dangerous. Remind them that the Lord and His Word are what will bring true peace of mind, comfort, and rest for our souls. The world, and worldly carnal practices, cannot give these things.
The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (1 Peter 5:10)
Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. (Jeremiah 17:14)
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
The Occult Source And Influence On Latter Rain/ Manifest Sons Of God/ Manchild Doctrine-
NEW AGE PARALLELS
However inconsistent it may be with the Word of God, Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God eschatology agrees on every point with the New Age Movement’s anticipation of the exaltation of mankind to godhood and the establishment of a New World Order. The following appraisal of Latter Rain theology by New Age Unity pastor, Rev. Earnest Ramsey was cited in Constance Cumbey’s book, A Planned Deception, The Staging of a New Age Messiah,
“Rev. Ernest Ramsey, an associate pastor at Unity’s Kansas City’s Founder’s Church, Unity on the Plaza, is an enthusiastic follower of the Alice Bailey and Benjamin Creme teachings. In his Research Report #2, he tells of something he was led to by a spirit guide – what he terms ‘Neo-Pentecostalism.’ An aberrant branch of Pentecostalism, this is more commonly known as the ‘Manifest Sons of God.’ That movement is also referred to as ‘Sonship’ or ‘Overcomers.’ Ramsey concludes based on even less evidence than I have personally collected that this is part of the New Age Movement.
“Ramsey’s work for his organization, ‘Synthesis Fellowship,’ first came to my attention in early 1983. His major report, entitled “An Evolutionary Basis For The Reappearance of the Christ and his Executives, the Masters of Wisdom” was inspired by Benjamin Creme’s appearance and speech at Unity on the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. . . The most interesting section of Ramsey’s report dealt with ‘Neo-Pentecostalism.’ Ramsey spent a semester at one of the Neo-Pentecostal or Manifest Sons of God seminaries (in upstate New York). . . Already familiar with the Alice Bailey writings, he was amazed to see that there was a branch of Pentecostalism that embraced the same teachings — albeit using sometimes different terminology.
“Like those seeking the ‘Age of Aquarius’ these people too were seeking a ‘New Age.’ Like the other New Agers, these people taught that ‘The Christ’ was an anointing – not necessarily one man. They taught that Jesus was a pattern son who was to be a sign of something even greater to come – the ‘Manifestation of the Sons of God.’ They too believed the earth was to be cleansed of evil. And chillingly like the other New Agers, they believed they were to be ‘God’s’ instruments to do such cleansing. The New Agers believed they were gods. The Manifest Sons of God likewise taught that if one accepted their ‘new revelation’ that they themselves would actually become Christ at the time of the unveiling or manifestation of the Sons of God.”(10)
Occult Infiltration Agenda-Highly Successful
Other prominent New Age leaders have openly expressed the intention of their movement to infiltrate the Christian Church in order to introduce their esoteric teachings and to “draw away disciples after themselves.” In The Unfinished Animal: The Aquarian Frontier and the Evolution of Consciousness, Theodore Rosak revealed that, “Charismatic congregations in main-line churches are entry points into the Aquarian frontier.”(11) Alice Bailey, Theosophist and mother of the modern New Age Movement, revealed an ingenious plan in her 1957 volume, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy. Cabalist agents would infiltrate the Christian Church to modify its message, while adapting it as a vehicle for the Universal Religion of the 21st Century.
“…The church movement, like all else, is but a temporary expedient and serves but a transient resting place for the evolving life. Eventually, there will appear the Church Universal, and its definite outlines will appear towards the close of this century… This Church will be nurtured into activity by the Christ and His disciples when the outpouring of the Christ principle, the TRUE second Coming has been accomplished… the Christian church in its many branches can serve as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplished… the church as a teaching factor should take the great basic doctrines and (shattering the old forms in which they are expressed and held) show their true and inner spiritual significance. The prime work of the church is to teach, and teach ceaselessly, preserving the outer appearance in order to reach the many who are accustomed to church usages. Teachers must be trained; Bible knowledge must be spread; the sacraments must be mystically interpreted, and the power of the church to heal must be demonstrated.”(12) (Italics added)
Red Flags of Deception
The following is a list of ‘Red Flags’ that are symptoms of deception in a person or group. In developing this list, I was concerned, not so much with addressing specific doctrines, but in identifying characteristics that are symptomatic of deception. I started writing this list when I noticed the many similarities between the Walk and the prophetic movement gaining momentum in Vineyard/Charismatic circles. These characteristics of deception predominate in Charismatic/Vineyard groups and in the Walk.
- Spiritual elitism. This is the root of many delusions. Any kind of elitist belief is a certain indication of deception. Elitism is the belief that God has given a certain group special revelation/power/anointing that other Christian groups or previous generations have not entered into. They are on the spiritual cutting-edge, rising to spiritual levels not attained by other groups. It’s often dressed up as “Joel’s Army”, “Gideon’s Army”, and Elijah Companies of super anointed end-time warriors. Elitism is seen today in the ‘this-is-the-greatest-generation-ever’ kind of preaching we often hear. It can be found in the need to search out so-called ‘deeper’ truths and discover new, hidden mystical insights.
- A tendency to marginalize the written Word. Watch out for any talk that plays down devotion to Scripture, such as “God is bigger than the Bible” or “God is doing a new thing, so put away your Bibles.” Marginalizing the written Word can take many forms:
- a) Ignoring the Word. Neglecting private Bible study in daily life is a strong symptom of deception.
- b) Disregarding the Word. A careless attitude towards obedience. I’ve seen examples of this in wild revival meetings in which people mockingly quote the verse, “Let all things be done decently and in order”, while they enjoy a good laugh over their disorderly and drunken behavior. Any teaching that plays down our requirement to be doers of the Word is a sure sign of delusion.
- c) Deceived groups that marginalize the Word are often those who have an emphasis on prophecy. Beware of any emphasis on the revelatory, prophetic word, especially where there is a sidelining of the written Word. We are not to despise prophecy, but the real meat of the Word that nourishes the saints and builds them up in the faith is the written Word of God, not the prophetic. Teaching that would make Christians dependant on prophets or apostles for ‘current’ truth effectively marginalizes the Word of God.
- d) “Fools despise knowledge.” Any kind of talk that does not give the Word the high regard it is due, effectively marginalizes the Word and is a sure sign that deception is at work in the group. As the Word says, “Choose my instruction instead of silver.” Love it more than anything else.
- Prayerlessness in private. Neglect of privateprayer time, alone with God, is a strong indication of deception. If it is prevalent across a church or movement, it indicates deception is taking hold of that group. Please note that deceived people will often continue to attend and even enjoy public church functions, especially when there is good sound, light or music – but private quite time loses its appeal.
- Disdain for Berean spirited searching of the scriptures. Any kind of anti-Berean, anti-discernment teaching that discourages people from questioning what is going on or being taught is a sure sign of deception. If you ever hear the leadership of your church group say anything along the lines of “put away your Bibles”, or “don’t worry about being deceived”, then head for the exit as fast as you can.
- An inability to separate Godly criticism of their words from personal attack. Equating ‘Berean’ (Acts 17:11) activity with criticism. Such leaders may often talk about the ‘Jezebel spirit’ and the ‘accuser of the brethren’ and warn people about moving in a fault finding or critical spirit. What they are driving at is that if you question what is going on, or challenge what is being taught, you are being critical and run the risk of incurring the Lord’s disfavor.
- Lack of accountability. One common trait among the new wave of apostles and prophets rising to prominence these days is that they do not like to be held accountable for their teachings and failed prophecies. Any criticism of their teachings and prophetic utterances is taken as an attack against their ministry.
- Discernment primarily the prerogative of leadership. A tendency to see discernment as a special gift or anointing not available to everyone to the same degree, or that increases with higher spiritual office. The ‘higher’ you are on the prophetic ladder, the more discerning you are. Since leaders supposedly have better discernment as per their higher office, followers tend to trust the opinions of their leaders over their own, since the ‘apostle’ or prophet must have better understanding anyway due to their higher standing in the spiritual ranks. Believers are not encouraged to trust their own discernment, or are encouraged only so long as it agrees with the overall word as set forth by the leaders. Discernment among the ranks becomes little more than a faculty (an inner witness of the spirit) that confirms what the Apostle or Prophet is saying.
- Any form of Mystery Religion. A mystery religion is a religion that has successive levels of knowledge and ‘deeper’ truths, which are not necessarily available to all, at least not at first. Those in higher levels will know things not revealed, nor available, to lower levels. A new ‘believer’ comes in on the ground floor, and then progresses up through successive levels of spiritual understanding and empowerment as he is introduced to the ‘deeper’ truths.
- Heightened interest with spiritual levels and rankings. Higher ‘spiritual’ rank is equated with greater closeness to God. Gifts and callings are typically ranked, and those higher in rank are seen as closer to God in some practical way, such as hearing from God more frequently and being more privy to God’s inner secrets. Those on higher spiritual levels have a privileged access to God that is not available to those holding lesser callings. As a result of their higher standing or special calling, God visits them more often and they receive greater mystical experiences than the rest.
- Heightened interest in dreams, visions, new revelations and novel insights. This may not necessarily be explicitly stated in their Creed, and they may claim to believe the Bible as the Word of God. But in actual practice dreams, visions and revelations are the preferred stock-in-trade over sound Bible teaching and exposition of the basics.
- An increase in subjectivity. Looking for subjective impressions, personal ‘prophetic’ words and ‘revelation’ for guidance and direction. Seeking the mystical ‘inner voice’ as guide over the written Word. You can be sure that if a person is seeking new personal ‘words’, it is because they are not in the Word, and serious deception cannot be long avoided.
- Detractors dismissed as having inferior vision. They see themselves as being in tune with God, and anyone who is also in tune with the Divine will agree with them. Detractors are obviously not in tune with God and have inferior vision. This sets up a very neat circular reasoning that is almost impossible to get past. It is a defensiveness which is very difficult to penetrate, because they are convinced that detractors don’t have the same level of anointing or discernment as they have. As they see it, if detractors did have the same level of anointing, they’d be in agreement. They dismiss any criticism of their teaching or conduct as bitterness, jealousy or fault finding, while they themselves feel they have very sharp spiritual perception. People are truly discerning only as long as they support their movement.
- Dismissive attitude towards detractors. Detractors given derogatory labels, such as ‘religious’, ‘old order’, ‘old wineskins’, or ‘Pharisees’. Detractors denounced as not being able to ‘handle it’, or they have a ‘Jezebel spirit’, or a ‘spirit of criticism’. They are ‘accusers of the brethren’, that sort of thing. Threats of God’s judgment on detractors and critics are a sure sign of a cultic mindset and delusion.
- A ‘get-on-board-or-else’ mentality. A fear that you’ll miss God’s new move and be left behind if you don’t join up. God is doing a new thing and if you do not go along with it, regardless of how long you’ve been faithfully serving God over the years, God will pass you by and you’ll get left in the dust.
- New thingism. God is doing a ‘new thing’ and you’d better get with it. There is now a further requirement if you want to remain a first class Christian and in God’s highest favour, which is to be a part of the new thing represented by the group. If you don’t come along, you run the risk of God passing you by.
- A special anointing. A certain person or group has been anointed by God to introduce something to the rest of the Body. God has given it to them, and other believers can come to them to ‘get it.’
- A priesthood. Placing a person or group in an exalted status with God, so that they become special intermediaries, is a sure sign of delusion. False movements and false religions invariable try to interject some kind of priesthood between the believer and God. This is seen whenever a person or group claims to have received something from God that can be received from their hands. They become an intermediary between you and Jesus Christ if you want more of God, and people are encouraged to go to the ‘anointed’ of the Lord to get it.
We see this today in certain revival circles where it is necessary to get more from God at the hands of a specially chosen vessel. Worship leaders have ‘an anointing’ to lead us into the presence of God. Prophets and apostles have a privileged access to receive things from God that the rest of the church needs. False religion always reverts to some form of human priesthood.
- “Don’t think about it, just jump in” type of teaching that encourages people to throw caution to the wind. Encouraging followers not to worry or think things through, that God won’t allow them to be deceived. Just jump in before it’s too late or you may miss the boat.
- Glorification of the vessel. An excessive focus on the ‘anointed’ person of God.
- Old Testament ‘typed’ anointing. (A ‘Phineas’ anointing. The mantle of Elijah, etc.)
- An excited interest in peripheral subjects not central to the gospel. A de-emphasis on the central themes of the gospel. They claim to agree with the gospel, but the bulk of their teaching, writing and prophetic messages show a greater interest in peripheral topics, novel insights and new revelation.
- May talk unity, but bring division along lines of gender, age, race or nationality.
- Watch out for leaders who love to surround themselves with minions who affirm their special anointing.
- More interest in breaking through to new levels and remaking the church along new lines rather than reaching the lost with the good news of Jesus Christ.
- False spirits love to show off and love center stage. They love to parade their subjective impressions and experiences up front for others to see. Publicly sharing highly subjective impressions and insights that cannot be proved or disproved one way or the other is a real “Red Flag”.
- Conference chasing. Running from place to place to meet God. Any emphasis on experiencing God corporately more than privately is a symptom of delusion. Whenever people need to go to a conference or certain location to receive a ‘fresh’ touch, something is very wrong.
There is a whole generation of believers now who are bored with ‘quiet time’ alone with God, who don’t know how to meet God in the prayer closet, and can only meet with God and experience Him in public settings that provide the right mood and atmosphere, usually involving the right music. The reason so many are chasing God at conferences is because they are not in the Word and prayer at home.
- The ‘anointed’ leader has a privileged access, a hot relationship, with God that the rest have yet to attain. They get angelic visitations, dramatic visions and prophetic insights, and they publish ‘prophetic bulletins’ to keep others abreast with what God is doing. Because the apostles and prophets are in such a privileged position of receiving the latest hot word from God, the rest are reduced to second hand status, anxiously awaiting the latest prophetic bulletin. Watch for groups that tend to place emphasis on the leaders anointing or relationship with God. This results in Christians running to conferences for a ‘fresh touch’ from those who seem to have ‘it’.
- The Holy Spirit is seen more as coming to bring an experience rather than a greater understanding of the Scripture.
- A tendency to distinguish between people who accept their movement as a true move of God and those who don’t.
- Beware of any dichotomy between the Spirit and the mind. Any anti-intellectual position, such as the belief held in many charismatic circles today that exercising the mind will hinder the Holy Spirit, is a real indication of deception. Deceivers like to parrot phrases like: “God will offend the mind to reveal the heart.” This cute little mantra often repeated in certain revival groups sounds very spiritual, but is very false. A careful reading of the Word tells us the truth: God will inform the mind to convince the heart. Jesus often did offend the Pharisee’s – by telling them the truth! The Holy Spirit leads people to Christ by shining the light of God’s Word into their minds and convicting them of its truth.
The Destroyed Foundations – The Word
by Don Clasen
The Kingdom Gospel Messenger,
Vol.8, No.4, August 1996
“I consider it [the Latter Rain revival] to be one of the most important events in the history of God’s restorative plans. It’s the least understood, but has had profound effect on many of the present ministries involved in what God is doing today. The Word of the Lord that came out of that revival continues to reverberate and influence Christians world-wide. It seems like the streams that flowed out from that divine encounter–Restoration, Sonship, Kingdom Now, Life, and Immortality messages–these have remained on the fringes of the mainstream Church. However, many leaders have been profoundly influenced by this revival but have not endorsed it, nor have made explicit reference to it, because of the controversies and misunderstandings of what God actually did during those times.” – Paul Van Elst in a letter to Richard Riss, Feb. 1995
As the Latter Rain Movement spread out from its beginning in North Battleford, it began to coalesce into a loose movement of independent churches and ministries with varying degrees of relationship with one another. Some of the more influential centers that were identified with it beyond the “Sharon brethren” were Elim Bible Institute and Assemblies out of Lima, New York; Bethesda Missionary Temple in Detroit with Mrs. Myrtle Beall; Portland Bible Temple in Oregon; Peniel Bible Institute in Argentina, and many other places.
Among the more influential persons to emerge from these circles over the years were Ern Baxter who ministered extensively with William Branham from 1947 to 1953 and later became part of the “Ft. Lauderdale Five” Shepherding experiment of the 1970’s; Bob Mumford out of Elim and John Poole, both of which were also part of the Ft. Lauderdale Christian Growth Ministries; J. Preston Eby of El Paso; Bill Britton of Springfield, Missouri; Bill Hamon of Port Washington, Florida; David Ebaugh in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Winston Nunes in Toronto; Kevin Connor who has written some profound books on Old Testament typology; Ralph Mahoney of World MAP; and many, many others too numerous to mention.
As was said in part one of this series, the period immediately following World War II was a time of broad-based revival across the spectrum of the Body of Christ around the world, with the movement that became known as the “New Order of the Latter Rain” being just one stream among many enjoying this season. In light of this, it is instructive to note that no less stalwart a promoter of Latter Rain doctrines than Bill Britton admitted that a sovereign move of the Spirit hit the Assemblies of God’s Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri in the fall of 1948.1
I say this is instructive because the Latter Rain movement tended to see the Pentecostals out of which they came, to be backslidden and of the “Old Order” of things. In fact, as the movement turned more and more inward, all denominations came to be seen as “Babylon”. This development reflected a view that, on the one hand, “jumped the gun” as regards what indeed will yet become the ultimate nature of the denominational system (“Mystery Babylon”), while on the other hand, does not understand that belonging to a sect of Christianity does not mean one is necessarily sectarian.2
Nevertheless, within the atmosphere of this grace being poured out upon many, it seems there must have been an assumption that somehow the blessing of God they were enjoying was therefore a sign of Divine approval upon everything they were doing, including the doctrines they were developing. The Pentecostals, however did not agree, and since it was taking root in many denominational Pentecostal churches as well as independent ones, it did not take long before friction and controversy began to erupt. Less than two years after the North Battleford outbreak, the 1949 General Council of the Assemblies of God passed a resolution officially disapproving of these new doctrines. It identified six of their biggest objections at that point:
1. The overemphasis relative to imparting, identifying, bestowing or confirming of gifts by the laying on of hands and prophecy.
2. The erroneous teaching that the Church is built on the foundation of present-day apostles and prophets.
3. The extreme teaching as advocated by the “New Order” regarding the confession of sin to man and deliverance as practiced, which claims prerogatives to human agency which belong only to Christ.
4. The erroneous teaching concerning the impartation of the gifts of languages as special equipment for missionary service.
5. The extreme and unscriptural practice of imparting personal leadings by the means of gifts of utterance.
6. Such other wrestings and distortions of Scripture interpretations which are in opposition to teachings and practices generally accepted among us.3
At that council, the venerated Stanley Frodsham, one of the pioneers of Pentecost and the Assemblies in 1916 and the editor of their magazine The Pentecostal Evangel, resigned to join the Latter Rain circles. The fact that this sort of thing had happened at all explains why the ten denominations of the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America feared the Latter Rain Movement was going to literally split the Pentecostals in two.
In another censure thereafter, the Assemblies of God, fairly or otherwise, singled out Winston Nunes as representative of the Latter Rain doctrines, even though Nunes taught a more radical idea than most that saints this side of the Second Coming “can experience the resurrection body in this life.”4 Nevertheless, developments such as this indicate the directions some were beginning to take.
>Daryl here. An interesting side note: Winston Nunes was Benny Hinn’s mentor -early 70’s
That Was Then, This Is Now…
What this direction was is not easy to summarize, for we are talking here about an incredibly diverse collection of teachers and doctrines that varied much in content and emphasis. It seems however that two broad categories emerged, one of a very radical bent that is little more than outright New Ageism now, and another more representative of the current status and trends.
The New Age movement is basically a return to the ancient paganisms that every people group of the earth have somewhere in their past. It believes that what we Christians call the creation is itself God, and therefore we human beings are a “part of God” too. Since God then has become depersonalized, spiritual attainment is no longer a matter of the pursuit of a right relationship with a Person by means of truth or doctrine, (and from that an accurate discernment in our experiential walk with Him). Rather, it is the pursuit of experiences per se and esoteric knowledge, from which the seeker will experience and know oneness with “God”.
These mystical experiences are achieved by the pursuit of altered states of consciousness through means as varied as drugs, sex, yoga, dancing, chanting, music, fasting, frenzied emotion, epileptic fits and the like. The “enlightenment” is attained by means of esoteric gnosis or occultic (“hidden”) “knowledge” whereby the initiate walks an ever-ascending path to deeper and deeper levels of “truth” akin to that which was promised by the serpent in the Garden whereby “your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:4).
These New Age beliefs have been translated by some into a “Christian” form whereby terms and concepts found in the Bible are redefined to take on New Age content. Prominent in this sort of trend have been people like Barbara Marx Hubbard, the Catholic theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, psychologist M. Scott Peck, Presbyterian Bruce Larson, and many others. In this scheme of things, Jesus Christ is not God incarnate but a high level adept who, through “revelation knowledge”, attained to the “Christ principle” or “Christ anointing”. So likewise, since there’s a little spark of God in everyone, we too can follow in Jesus’ steps and attain to the same “God consciousness”.
Within the Latter Rain logic that the Church is Christ’s Body and that during the Manifestation of the Sons era, believers will experience a corporate “spiritual Second Coming” in them, this radical version simply goes a step further and states that all believers are God. LR teachers like Irene Lindsay and Al Henderson have stated as much.5 Norman Grubb, biographer of his famous missionary father-in-law C.T. Studd, left his position as a stalwart of Evangelicalism to form Union Life, and is now teaching that, “If everything is He [sic] in one form or another, negative or positive, then there is nothing in the universe but He…Nothing but God exists.”6
A similar kind of thinking can be found within the Faith Movement wherein Kenneth Copeland, Frederick Price, Casey Treat and many others speak of the Christian as “a little god” who, by means of “revelation knowledge”, can learn to control life’s circumstances to one’s advantage. This is pure metaphysics, and ironically a far cry from the Biblical concept of faith as, for an example, trust in a God who sometimes leads us into circumstances we would not ordinarily want, and then delivers us in what time and way seems good to Him.
That this radical version of Latter Rain teachings was capable of going so far as into outright cultism is illustrated by the story of John Robert Stevens and his network of churches called, “The Walk”. Stevens, a Pentecostal pastor who was in his early days “mighty in the Scriptures”, nonetheless had some serious traits that did him in. One was a predilection to want to hear anything “new”, no matter what, nor from whom. He seemed to be always looking for “new revelation”. Another was his fiercely independent spirit.
>Daryl here. Winston Nunes also laid hands on John Robert Stevenson
Then, by his own admission, Stevens in 1950 disobeyed the Lord’s warning for him not to get involved with the Latter Rain. Instead he allowed Winston Nunes to lay hands on him, changing his life forever but in the wrong direction. Stevens developed his network of some 94 churches thereafter by teaching his people that he was not just an Apostle, but the Apostle of the Kingdom who would break through into the ultimate revelation “in the heavenlies”, leading his flock into it with him. Basing his views on such a subjective foundation, it is not surprising to find that he eventually got into the occultic practices of spiritualism, reading auras, astral projection, psychic warfare, hypnosis and what amounted to “white witchcraft” (but witchcraft all the same).7 Stevens and The Walk are to this day universally considered among researchers to be a cult.
An affinity of the Latter Rain people with the later Word of Faith movement was also founded in other similar or mutually-held concepts as we shall see. But the contact may have been established almost from the beginning. For the Latter Rain people, like most Pentecostals of their day, felt particularly drawn to the great healing revival of the late 1940’s and early 50’s wherein many evangelists–(now Word of Faith teachers) such as Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn and others–got their start, and wherein some cross-pollination may have already begun to take place..
But with their being ostracized from the Pentecostal denominational churches, many Latter Rain teachers were forced to keep a low profile, develop their “revelations” and doctrines, and wait for a better atmosphere to work within. It is this reality that may have contributed to the practice among some to remain coy about what they believe, as the quote at the beginning put it, “because of the controversies and misunderstandings” surrounding them.
This “better atmosphere” came about with the inception of the Charismatic Movement in the 1950’s. The Charismatic Renewal was the attempt to bring Pentecost to the mainline churches, since the mainline churches would not come to Pentecost. The resulting blessing was mixed however, because with the ministry of the Holy Ghost came the need to accommodate everyone and their beliefs. The outcome was a much greater emphasis on “unity”, but not a unity based on the pursuit or discussion of truth as on downplaying truth so as not to offend anyone.
This however, suited the Latter Rain teachers just fine, because it provided a setting wherein new and novel “third-party” theologies could respectably fill the doctrinal vacuum, and if the Latter Rain doctrines were anything, they were certainly new and novel. In fact, this situation was so tailor-made to their purposes that Bill Hamon, a leader in the development of Latter Rain prophets, entitled a chapter in his book “The Eternal Church”: “The Charismatic Movement–An Expansion of the Latter Rain Movement”.8
The Charismatic Ecumenical Renewal provided them many things:
(1) A Body of Christ out of which they could form the Manchild Company;
(2) The opportunity to create a “paradigm shift” in the Church away from theology to experience to prepare the people to receive the revelatory leadership of the coming Apostles and Prophets;
(3) the opportunity to offer a false unity based upon submission to these ecclesiastical authorities, and
(4), the opportunity at the same time to come out smelling like roses, appearing as real heroes for “peace and unity”, even while they await to fill the vacuum with their own divisive doctrines.
THE QUANTUM WORLDVIEW
Chuck Missler also promotes other unbiblical ideas more akin to Eastern mysticism than to orthodox Christianity. Consider this material excerpted from a book Missler wrote entitled, Cosmic Codes – Hidden Messages From the Edge of Eternity, Chapter 23:
Quantum Teleporting, Part 2: Our Holographic Universe
There seems to be evidence to suggest that our world and everything in it are only ghostly images, projections from a level of reality so beyond our own that the real reality is literally beyond both space and time. The main architect of this astonishing idea includes one of the world’s most eminent thinkers: University of London physicist David Bohm, a protégé of Einstein’s and one of the world’s most respected quantum physicists…. One of Bohm’s most startling suggestions is that the tangible reality of our everyday lives is really kind of an illusion, like a holographic image…. Bohm calls this deeper level of reality the implicate (“enfolded”) order and he refers to our level of existence the explicate (unfolded) order. [emphasis/italics mine]
…[Karl] Pribram mused that the answer might lie in the realm of gestalt psychology, a theory that maintains that what we perceive “out there” is the same as—isomorphic with—brain processes. Suddenly he blurted out, “maybe the world is a hologram!” …Were the members of the audience holograms? …Soon afterward, he spent a week with his son, a physicist, discussing his idea and searching for possible answers in physics. His son mentioned that David Bohm, a protégé of Einstein’s, had been thinking along the same lines…, Pribram read copies of Bohm’s key papers urging a new order in physics. Bohm was describing a holographic universe. What appears to be a stable, tangible, visible, audible world, said Bohm, is an illusion…. What we normally see is the explicate, or unfolded order of things, rather like watching a movie. But there is an underlying order that is father to this second-generation reality. He called the other order implicate, or enfolded. [italics in original, bold mine]
In discussing occult author Lola Davis, Christian researcher Constance Cumbey, author of A Planned Deception, connected the “Holography Theory of the Universe” to the New World Religion. Cumbey states:
In 1980 she [Davis] wrote her first book to date called Toward a World Religion for the New Age. The book was successful in New Age circles. Lucis Trust [formerly Lucifer Publishing, ed.] itself undersaw its distribution. One can count on one hand the number of authors other than Alice and Foster Bailey that Lucis Trust has so honored. Lola Davis believes and evidently Lucis Trust concurs that holographic phenomena will be a very important part of the ‘New World Religion.’ Her book gives that topic nearly half a chapter. [bold, italics mine]
In a technical article written by Noel Huntley, PhD, “A Holographic Universe?,” he connects holographic theory to fractal (quantum) theory:
…by taking a small part of our universe that it (the small part) in itself is holographic… this small part reflects the same characteristics as other parts of the universe, ranging up to the whole…. This is what holographic means: the whole is reflected in any part or subpart…. In holistic systems, all parts are in resonance or coherence, which quantum regenerates the whole…. We are familiar with the philosophical statement, ‘As above, so below’ which is based on the axiom of Hermeticism, ‘What is here is everywhere; What is not here is nowhere’. This again is the holographic property…. Leading physicist David Bohm stresses quantum interconnectedness and unbroken wholeness…. Science writer Fritjof Capra speaks of the universe as a hologram, in which each part determines the whole…. The fractal nature of the world is well established. We know that fractals are self-similar patterns on different dimensional scales. This is clearly a property of the holograph… consciousness could be analysed in terms of fractals, tying in with our other approach of relating consciousness to the learning pattern and in turn with its holographic character. Thus consciousness and freewill are inherently holographic…. The universe is holographic fractally (as opposed to infinitely holographic), for example, the levels, planet, solar system, galaxy, are fractal levels similar to the relationship of wrist, elbow, and shoulder…. What is this holographic background? It would be the true nature of unity. Unity, beyond spacetime, must be intrinsically holographic…. [emphasis mine]
The connections here should be obvious. Quantum spirituality is the very deception that Warren B. Smith warns about in A Wonderful Deception:
It seems clear to me that quantum physics, the “new” biology, and the “new” math of fractal geometry are being used to provide a seemingly scientific basis for “proving” the “as above, so below” contention that God is “in” everything. We are being asked to believe that all of creation is an interconnected quantum field of energy and “oneness” that is “God.”
https://carolynandloren.com/resources-ecw/book/ – Exposing Witchcraft In the Church
New Age Laughter Will Unite With ‘church’
Those who know anything about brainwashing techniques and the ability to induce altered states of consciousness in mass meetings will recognize that, often, these techniques are utilized in hyper-charismatic services.
Dick Sutphen, a professional hypnotist, conducts seminars on persuasion and brainwashing techniques. His purpose is not to teach his listeners how to subvert other’s minds, but to educate on how government, the military, cults, and religious groups utilize certain techniques to induce control and gain converts to their particular causes.
He points out that many who use these techniques are not necessarily aware that they are using them. They may well have learned them from watching others use them successfully. In any case, the bottom line is control; the intent may be perfectly altruistic, it may be beneficial in the mind of the controller. But the fact remains that people are being controlled, often with the belief that the Holy Spirit is doing a work in them.
Sutphen is not a believer in Christ. In fact, he is anti-Christ and a New Ager. But his logic and knowledge cannot be argued with. This is because he is not addressing the Faith or holy laughter; he is addressing a subject that he knows: brainwashing.
Sutphen believe that religion is valid, but that manipulation in the name of God is not:
“So, to begin, I want to state the most basic of all facts about brainwashing: IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF MAN, NO ONE HAS EVER BEEN BRAINWASHED AND REALIZED, OR BELIEVED, THAT HE HAD BEEN BRAINWASHED. Those who have been brainwashed will usually passionately defend their manipulators, claiming they have simply been ‘shown the light,’ or have been transformed in miraculous ways” (Sutphen undated transcript, ‘The Battle for Your Mind: Persuasion and Brainwashing Techniques Being Used on the Public Today,” p. 1). (Emphasis Sutphen’s.)
Sutphen gives an example of how manipulators set their marks up. The first step is to give information that the listeners will agree with. This gets them in the frame of mind to trust the speaker. Once trust has been instilled, they are open to suggestion:
“… Assume for a moment that you are watching a politician give a speech. First, he might generate what is called a ‘YES SET.’ These are statements that will cause listeners to agree; they might even unknowingly nod their heads in agreement. Next come the TRUISMS. These are usually facts that could be debated but, once the politician has his audience agree, the odds are in the politician’s favor that the audience wont stop to think for themselves, thus continuing to agree. Last comes the SUGGESTION. This is what the politician wants you to do and, since you have been agreeing all along, you could be persuaded to accept the suggestion” (Sutphen, p. 10). (Emphasis Sutphen’s.)
In the same manner, false teachers will preach from God’s Word, sharing obvious truths. That’s phase one — the “yes set.” As well they will share what may be considered deep insights — ideas that are debatable but not necessarily untrue. These are the “truisms.” Then comes the suggestion. It is generally toward the end of the evening — sometimes after two or three hours or more — that the false teaching or inducement toward activity will be implemented. This is exactly what one witnesses in the holy laughter movement, not to mention the charismatic movement (particularly the word-faith movement) in general.
Sutphen points out that different entities may use different techniques — the military may use some techniques that the government, dealing with civilians, may not use. Religionists and cultists will use still other techniques. Most techniques involve taking the subjects through stages or phases of conversion. Says Sutphen:
“With the progression through each phase, the degree of conversion becomes more effective and complete. The ways to achieve conversion are many and varied, but the usual first step in religious or political brainwashing is to work on the emotions of an individual or group until they reach an abnormal level of anger, fear, excitement, or nervous tension. The progressive result of this mental condition is to impair judgment and increase suggestibility. The more this condition can be maintained or intensified, the more it compounds. Once catharsis, or the first brain phase, is reached, the complete mental takeover becomes easier. Existing mental programming can be replaced with new patterns of thinking and behavior” (Sutphen, p. 3).
Most people who attend the hyper-charismatic meetings that result in pandemonium and out-of-order behavior are normal, everyday folks. They may be professional people and hold responsible jobs. Many are normally “dignified” or “reserved.” But they come with a sense of expectancy to receive something from the touch of the preacher — something they are inclined to believe they can’t receive from God on their own. They believe that God has placed a special anointing on the preacher, probably because they have been induced with a clergy-laity mentality that is the norm for most churches. Because they are so normal — even possessing a reserved personality — they can’t believe that they can be brainwashed or manipulated. But the manner in which excitement and fervor builds in some meetings catches them off guard. They are susceptible to suggestion — even the suggestion that they have been healed. To not be healed often generates feelings of guilt, an emotion that is easily exploited by the preacher. About alleged spiritual healing, Sutphen states:
“For some, the healing may be permanent. For many, it will last four days to a week, which is, incidentally, how long a hypnotic suggestion given to a somnambulistic subject will usually last. Even if the healing doesn’t last, if they come back every week, the power of suggestion may continually override the problem — or sometimes, sadly, it can mask a physical problem which could prove to be very detrimental to the individual in the long run. I’m not saying that legitimate healings do not take place. They do. Maybe the individual was ready to let go of the negativity that caused the problem in the first place; maybe it was the work of God. Yet I contend that it can be explained with existing knowledge of brain/mind function” (Sutphen, pp. 4-5).
Sorry to say, Sutphen is correct in his assessment. New Agers testify of healings by laying on of hands, too. And the scenarios are all to common among those who claim to have healing ministries in the Church: Short-term healings; people neglecting proper health care because they believe they’ve been healed when they haven’t been; even death from diseases whose symptoms disappeared. The preacher will tell those whose healings didn’t last that it was because they “let go” of the healing. They didn’t have enough faith to maintain it.
The difference between God’s work and the work of the flesh is that God’s work will always be validated by His written Word. And God doesn’t play games with us. If He heals us by His sovereign will, we will be healed, period.
TOWARD THE NEW AGE?
What we are witnessing in new evangelicalism and the charismatic movement is a subjective approach to God’s Word. If something seems to work, it is accepted even if it cannot be validated by Scripture. Since it cannot be validated, it is assumed to be a new work of God. Those who reject it on the basis of its unbiblical or extra-Biblical character are regarded as faithless when, in fact, they are faithless toward the subjective religious philosophy of the “new thing” — not toward God.
This subjectivity is necessary if Satan is going to meld humanity into a one-world religion. As the masses open themselves up to beliefs and practices that are not validated by Scripture, they leave themselves open to deception of the highest order, often presented in the name of Jesus.
The first step toward melding Christians into the New Age religion is not dissimilar to brianwashing techniques. The “yes set” is to get us to agree that all denominations share a common belief system. This is the motivating force behind the ecumenical movement sponsored by the Vatican and the major players in new evangelicalism and the charismatic movement.
The “truisms” will be that we also share common beliefs and values with aberrant Christian cults and monotheistic religions such as cabalistic Judaism and Islam.
The “suggestion” will be that we have a common spiritual bond with all of mankind. This suggestion will be implemented through the observation of signs and wonders construed to be of God. And if God can honor the faith of non-Christians, who are we to dissent from unity with them?
Anyone who thinks he is above falling into this snare is hopelessly naive. In fact, he is an excellent candidate for deception.
It is not merely coincidental that holy laughter has found its place among the mystically inclined whose beliefs lean toward New Age philosophy. Leanne Payne, a disciple of inner healing guru, the late Agnes Sanford, has also indulged in holy laughter. (Her experience is recorded in Karen Mains’s book Lonely No More.) Payne blends New Age mysticism, Jungian psychology, and Christian philosophy. Her ministry team is headed primarily by women who share this integrationist methodology. To Payne, all sin is linked to lack of self-acceptance and failure to recognize God’s affirmation of oneself. Of course, this is a simple explanation of her more involved theology.
*Is it merely coincidental that her disciple, Karen Mains, wrote of this holy laughter experience in 1993, essentially the same time Rodney Howard-Browne’s notoriety and the Toronto blessing began? And is it merely coincidental that a phenomenon similar to holy laughter is found in the New Age movement is exactly at the same time?
*Hubbard New Age ‘Laughter’ Will Transcend All Barriers To Unity
*Barbara Marx Hubbard is the founder of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution, and a leader at the frontier of social and spiritual change for the New Age. At the same time holy laughter began to ripple through the churches, she wrote as one channeling the thoughts of God. The instruction given was to expect planetary transformation and a quantum leap in evolutionary personal transformation through uncontrollable joy. This uncontrollable joy of which Hubbard speaks will transcend all barriers to unity. False signs and wonders will likewise break down those barriers to unity (Mk. 13:22).
We can expect the holy laughter people to defend their practices as being of God, while these other practices are counterfeits. But holy laughter as we know it today came lately. All attempts to link it to Scripture or early revival history are without merit. Its real precedent is coincidental to New Age philosophy. Does God mimic something Satan originates? Or is He taken off guard by Satan? I think not. Else He would be guilty of causing confusion among His people. And God is not the author of confusion. (1 Cor. 14:33).
What is transpiring in the Church is similar to what is transpiring in the world. In conditioning men’s minds to accept a globalist mentality, the New Age change agents call for unity in diversity with no judgment — no concern for what others believe or practice. If it doesn’t fit for us, well, we just have a different truth. Let’s just focus on our common objectives.
But we’re not dealing with one human philosophy vs. another human philosophy. We’re dealing with all of man’s philosophies vs. God’s Word. The world’s rules don’t apply here. This worldly assessment of truth is behind criticism of those who expose error in the Body of Christ; just because we don’t understand it, we shouldn’t be critical of it; it doesn’t matter if it cannot be supported by Scripture; God may be doing a new thing we don’t understand; we just don’t have the same truth that the popular preacher has.
This can be intimidating to those who don’t know Scripture. But those who do know Scripture have a responsibility to expose those who are in error. And it doesn’t matter if they are 99.99% correct in their teachings. If the .01% error is sufficient to lead someone astray, it must be challenged.
Paradigm Shift Into Totally Different New Age Christianity- Bringing Spiritual Civil War!
Christianity is undergoing a paradigm shift of major proportions — a shift from faith to feelings; from fact to fantasy; and from reason to esoteric revelation. Leaders of this Counterfeit Revival, such as Rodney Howard-Browne and John Arnott, have peppered their preaching and practice with fabrications, fantasies, and frauds, seemingly unaware of the profound consequences. Many of the followers who at first flooded into Counterfeit Revival “power centers” have become disillusioned and have now slipped through the cracks into the kingdom of the cults.
John the Apostle warned, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). This warning is particularly relevant today, as Christianity is undergoing a paradigm shift of major proportions — a shift from faith to feelings; from fact to fantasy; and from reason to esoteric revelation. This paradigm shift is what I call the Counterfeit Revival.
Prophets of the Counterfeit Revival claim that a bloody civil war is going to polarize the entire Christian community. On one side will be those who embrace new revelations. On the other will be those who obstinately cling to reason. One “prophet” went so far as to say, “God is going to renovate the entire understanding of what Christianity is in the nations of the Earth….In twenty years there will be a totally different understanding of Christianity as we know it.”1 1Mike Bickle Overview of Corporate Long Term Vision (n.p.), 5 January 1986; audiotape.