False MovementsA Guide to False Movements
The Word-Faith Movement has its deepest roots in both the Latter Rain Movement (which came out of the Assemblies of God in 1948) and the ministry/teachings of William Branham and E.W. Kenyon. In many ways, its’ basic philosophy is most easily defined as a “mind science” type cult. By that we mean it teaches there are universal laws which God has put into place. Those laws are available and useful to anyone who wishes to “tap into” those laws. Man thus supposedly takes and plays the role of God who has supposedly created and subjected even himself to those same laws. This is idolatry!
Some of the specific false teachings in the movement are seen in the following:
Over-Realized Eschatological Kingdom – We can supposedly have the fullness of God’s future kingdom in our present situation without Jesus Christ. The initial “dominion” teachings have evolved into this familiar defined system: Kingdom Now Theology
Extra-Spiritual Class of Remnant Believers – Only those initiated with these “believers” get to experience the benefits of that present kingdom.
1. Manifest Sons of God
2. New Breed
3. Joel’s Army
Gnostic Belief Structure – Only those baptized by the fire/spirit have the spiritual anointing and wisdom and insight to participate in this movement because they are the ones to really see what the Bible is saying. A “gnosis” or special knowing is necessary. (Not to strictly be equated with 1st -3rd century Gnosticism, but there are certain similarities).
1. Revelation Knowledge
2. Positive Confession
3. Name-It and Claim-It
4. Prosperity Theology
Super-Spiritual Class of Leaders – Only those with “extra-special anointing” get to be the leaders of this new apostolic breed. (Just like Adam and Jesus were “special”).
1. Adam as God-Incarnate
2. Born-Again Jesus
3. Super-Apostles/God’s Anointed
Dualistic Theology – They have a belief structure which undercuts the sovereign nature of the God of the Scriptures. This leads to placing the adherents into an on-going false spiritual struggle between the God of the Bible and Satan with the “believer” critically involved in the “present middle” with and for the actual success of the former against the later. We see this especially played out in their false spiritual warfare teachings. Their gnostic belief structure takes them to this dualistic thinking as well.
If you are a part of this pseudo-Christian cult get out as fast as you can. Repent and trust the Lord Jesus Christ of the Holy Scriptures as your Lord and Savior. Maybe you already have done that and have inadvertently been caught up in this movement. Repent. Ask God for wisdom on what to do and how to expose the false doctrines and help others out of this movement.
Who are preachers and teachers who have their roots in the modern word-faith movement and/or can be considered at some point historically supportive of their teachings and/or teachers?
Ernest Angley, John Bevere, Markus Bishop, Juanita Bynum, Charles Capps, Morris Cerullo, Mark Charonna, Paul Yonggi (David) Cho, Kim Clement, Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, Paul & Jan Crouch, Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, John Hagee, Kenneth Hagin, Norvel Hayes, Marilyn Hickey, Benny Hinn, Rodney Howard-Browne, Larry Huch, T.D. Jakes, Bishop Eddie L. Long, Clarence McClendon, Joyce Meyer, Myles Munroe, Steve Munsey, Mike Murdock, Joel Osteen, Rod Parsley, Peter Popoff, Frederick K.C. Price, Joseph Prince, Oral Roberts, Jerry Savelle, R.W. Shambach, Robert Schuller, Karl Strader, Robert Tilton, Paula White, Ed Young
The Church-Growth Movement has at least three distinguishing unbiblical malfunctions:
1. Its pragmatic approach to the work of the ministry. The bottom line for the “success” of a particular ministry or spiritual growth is – “Does it work?” By work, we mean, does it “bring in people” and not, is it the “work of God” i.e. is it faithful to Scripture. Because the pragmatism takes precedence, any “means” of doing ministry becomes valid. The problem becomes “unto what are we appealing” in those who are “unsaved” with some of the “gimmick” approaches to “outreach” and “growth.” It is extremely easy to appeal to the “unregenerate” nature of a non-Christian. It is EASY!!! It will almost always garnish “success.” But, is it true Christ-like growth? No. Unholy techniques do not produce holy people. The reality is this pragmatism goes beyond the normal “wise decision making” stewardships that God gives to us and instead employs whatever “means” to gain defined “outward” results.
2. Success measured by non-Biblical and worldly benchmarks. The pastor becomes more like a CEO than a shepherd of God’s flock. Growth based in a business model and felt-needs of the people become idols. The church member is no longer a servant/worshiper of the real Lord Jesus Christ in accordance with Scripture and is treated as a consumer with church as their entertainment.
3. The conjoining with the “world” for intended outreach to that world is simply a follow-through dynamic of the false premises in 1 & 2. This is why people like “Bono” can be invited to Willow Creek Church’s Annual Leadership Conference in the summer of 2006. Let’s reach-out and learn about leadership from the world, just like Jesus taught us??? In this context, the social-gospel ultimately takes priority over the true gospel. Outreach and in-reach become a fog and truth is laid to waste! The Unity of Compromise and Mixture win out over Truth. “Deeds rather than Creeds” becomes the new “motto/gospel”.
The end result of embracing the Church-Growth Movement is quite obviously:
Worldliness, Delusion and Ecumenism that will ultimately translate into The Harlot Church of Revelation 17. Unfortunately, more and more churches are embracing the various aspects of the Church Growth Movement and this spells disaster for true gospel growth.
The Signs & Wonders Movement
Those who did not live through the days of the Signs & Wonders Movement probably do not realize the effect that it had upon many churches and denominations. It would seem that some of the theology of the movement was addressed by many leaders within the church at the time and that theology was outwardly rejected by many. On the other hand, some methodologies and practices of the movement were implemented within the framework of many churches.
The change in teachings and thought were subtle but very real. This is especially true of what it brought in relation to worship in many churches. Some believe the worship it brought was and is “spiritual” in its’ scope. Others, including myself, believe that much of it was rooted, not only in the sensational, but in the mystical and sensual. The bad “theology” showed its’ roots, therefore, the fruit should have been suspect. It is a bad idea to not pay attention to bad theology and especially methodologies that have as their roots bad theology.
New Apostolic Reformation
There is a common name in referencing the Church Growth Movement and the Signs & Wonders Movement. That name is C. Peter Wagner. It is he that gives the leadership to the New Apostolic Reformation. Much of the bad theology and extra-biblical methodology of both the CGM and S&W movements is incorporated into the NAR. And it has several elements of the Latter Rain/Word-Faith Movement as well, especially in reference to the teachings on spiritual warfare and manifest-sons theology. It especially emphasizes the authority of new apostles and prophets in establishing the “Kingdom of God” upon the earth. By that we mean the “taking over” of all areas of life in this fallen evil world through various spiritual techniques.
But the Kingdom of God is not a technique. It is a person, Jesus Christ the King, who has brought salvation to His people and will bring His Kingdom when He comes on the clouds of heaven at the end of this present evil age. It is His present and personal reign and rule over His own. He is now the sovereign Lord, at the right hand of God His Father. He is never any more or less in charge! Until then, we preach the gospel, make disciples, and bear good fruit/works in accordance with the gospel. There are no apostolic commands in the Word like those addressed as truth in this kind of Dominion Theology thinking. Because this movement will impose itself upon churches and institutions, we may well experience its’ influence whether we like it or not.
The Emergent (Emerging) Church started as a response/reaction to the institutionalization and pragmatism of “evangelicalism” at the end of the last millennium and the beginning of the new. It was fairly quickly exposed, by those outside of it, as a new kind of post-modern liberalism with a faulty emphasis on a kind of liberation/kingdom theology as advanced by men like Brian McLaren in “The Secret Message of Jesus.” The lack of influence has not diminished, nor will the leaders fade away, even though it has purposely failed to “define” itself internally. That lack of definition, for the emergent, is a badge of honor. And, for the emergent, “clarity” is, evidently, the unpardonable sin. It soon began to steer its’ course into a mystical/contemplative journey.
A list of those involved or associated with those in this movement either currently or historically would include: Phyllis Tickle, Tony Campolo, Brian McLaren, Shane Clairborne, Tony Jones, Diana Butler Bass, Alan Jones, Carl McColman, Doug Pagitt, Jay Bakker, Richard Rohr, Leonard Sweet, Jim Wallis, Rob Bell, Dan Kimball, Spencer Burke.
Understanding this deception might be easier than you think. It is rather simple at its’ core. It is displacing the sole mediation of Jesus Christ and the gifts of grace that are presented to us in the Scripture because the believer has ALREADY come to know Him, who is THE WAY, in the gospel. It is replacing that reality with TECHNIQUES that, sometimes, even sound rather Biblical – but they have taken us away from the foundation of Jesus Christ – and put us on a mystical journey. The entrance gate: a universal call to “constantly enter and embrace” the unknown/journey/way versus the call to repent and trust Jesus Christ, because the door has been opened from heaven to man in His Person and finished work at Calvary. And because the Lord Jesus Christ of the Scripture is displaced – it is deadly.
Warning: Evangelicalism is being immersed, right now, into spiritual formation and contemplative and the mysticism associated with such. It is associated within a broad spectrum of various denominations. It is often preceded by sensual/feel-good worship that has invaded many of the evangelical churches. So don’t be taken aback but don’t be passive. If you know or are involved with any of the leaders within evangelicalism or you see these practices begin to occur in your church; pray, talk with the leaders, bring them good materials to make your case, request that they see the danger and repent and God will help you from there.
Christo-Panentheism, Apostasy & You
Because of the Word of God and the illumination of the Holy Spirit – we can determine the false teaching that has been brought into the visible church through these various movements we have discussed up to this point. We have been able to put a nice little “bow” on the movements by categorizing them and defining the false doctrines they espouse.
But, the devil we see isn’t as seductive as the devil we don’t see. Herein is much of the problem within the “new evangelicalism” of America and beyond. That is because false teachings and false teachers continue to remain within what would seem to be otherwise sound churches – at least in their doctrinal statements on paper. The visible church is quickly being led astray by faulty theology and unbiblical practices. These teachings can be at times very subtle but none the less quite contrary to the Christian worldview of the Holy Scriptures. If it is pre-determined that we won’t or are unwilling to “discern” quite deadly teachings and respond – our course has already been determined for us. “Mixture” is the name of the game for the devil. He knows God hates it – so he introduces it any chance he can get. And, as we will see in some of the instances in this section, “Christians” are willing to “fellowship” and lead others into “fellowship” with known heretics. If the devil can mix it and stir it up – he can use it for his own toxic purposes.
Sometimes the main instrument that leads us astray is fallen human emotion. The enemy of our souls is very knowledgeable about its’ power upon us. He will use it against us. So, the “river of God” may move my feet and set my heart to singing, but did anybody bother to mention that no human being can take a mystical/sensual/emotional plunge into “God’s kingdom” through some “experience-based” thinking or worship and instead must repent and trust Jesus Christ as He is preached in the gospel? If you do not bother to discern the difference – the lie will nail you. We warned this was happening years ago in our churches as the signs and wonders movement invaded most churches and denominations. If you didn’t resist it, you did fall prey to it. Now, much “worship” in churches is nothing more than idolatrous entertainment and sensual experience.
1. The Christ of God is found in and through His creation.
2. The transcendence and holiness of the Biblical God is muted.
3. God can be found at work within all religions unto salvation.
4. The Father of Jesus Christ loves us through the creation rather than only through His Son Jesus Christ in His blood-bought redemption at His cross.
5. Knowing this “Christ” is rooted in personal experience and a mystical/emotional/sensual entrance and journey of wonder and internal enlightenment by various means, not the least of which is ones’ own imaginings.
6. “Salvation” is viewed as His story “becoming” our story versus the story of His salvation via the Biblical doctrine of regeneration.
They might say, “Please don’t distract me from my ‘happy-go-round’ worship experience with actual truth.” The sad fact is that the visible church is now being deluged in a “baptism of spirits.” You know this is true because much of the visible church is now being taken from sound doctrine to lies (most often disguised as “fake light”) which are the teachings of the demons behind these lies and/or the liars themselves. It is happening now. Don’t let anyone fool you. EVERYONE has doctrine – it is a matter of whether it is true or false and whether they actually take the truth seriously enough to actually believe/obey it. There is NO such animal as ignoring doctrine! We either obey true teachings or we obey false teachings. A very sad fact is that there are now “super-star” shepherds who can “mouth” truth and all the while provide for their and your disobedience of 2 John 9-11:
9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. NASB
The current deception goes undetected because the mysticism and paganism come behind the mask of “Christo-Panentheism.” It can use Biblical sounding language to get its’ foothold. We live in days of incredible apostasy. Maybe “The” Apostasy if “The” Antichrist is being revealed in the midst of it. Time will tell. In the meantime…
….Come out of her, my people… (Rev. 18:4)
The Three-Legged Stool from the Book of Revelation – Written 1900 Years Ago
1. State/Economic Control – First Beast (Antichrist) & Second Beast False Prophet
1 And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. 2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. 3 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; 4 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” 5 There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.” Revelation 13:1-8 NASB
“16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the freemen and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.” Revelation 13:16-18 NASB
2. Business/Corporate Exaltation – Babylon the Great, the Strong City
“9 And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, 10 standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’11 “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes anymore— 12 cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood and every article of ivory and every article made from very costly wood and bronze and iron and marble,13 and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves and human lives. 14 The fruit you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them. 15 The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, 16 saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls; 17 for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!’ And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, 18 and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘ What city is like the great city?’ 19 And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘ Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’ 20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.” Revelation 18:9-20 NASB
3. Faith Based/Church/Social Deception – The Great Harlot/Woman Who Rides the Beast
“1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.” 3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, 5 and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” 6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly. 7 And the angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns…. 18 The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.” Revelation 17:1-7, 18 NASB