The Mike Bickle and IHOP Cornucopia of False Teaching, Bridal Weirdness and 24/7 Confusion

Mike Bickle's multi-million dollar "International House of Prayer" is an outgrowth of the heretical "Latter Rain" movement that began in 1948,  even though IHOP has only been an official organization since 1999. Before IHOP, there was the "Kansas City Prophets" which basically turned into IHOP. Here's a brief overview of the Latter Rain Movement and how it leads to IHOP: Latter Rain: The Spawning of Apostasy

Mike Bickle is a passionate and convincing speaker who has built a world-wide ministry based on something that seems like a great idea: 24 hour a day prayer and worship. Underneath this simple idea of praying and worshipping are a number of unorthodox, strange and unbiblical teachings. His entire ministry is built upon convincing stories of miraculous prophetic words that God supposedly gave men like Bob Jones and Paul Cain (two very influential but discredited false prophets). Some are now claiming that IHOP has become a full-fledged cult that separates young people from their families and creates zombie-like adherents. If you Google "IHOP cult" you will find many blogs written by former IHOP students and staff that are now warning others about the troubling experiences they had. And experience is what IHOP is all about. The Bible takes a back seat to the exciting and ever-changing "prophetic words" that keep IHOP followers coming back for more, but ultimately leaves them confused, hurt and, many times, angry. Of course, like any gigantic organization there are a wide variety of opinions about IHOP and there are many Christians involved that sincerely believe they are serving God. Instead of focusing on individual opinions & experiences, the links below are largely addressing the flawed teaching that comes from Mike Bickle and IHOP; this is not intended as a personal attack on the many people involved. 

The following articles are written by a number of Christians from many different denominational and theological backgrounds. These various writers don't agree on every aspect of Christian doctrine, but they do all agree that Mike Bickle and IHOP's false teachings should not be ignored. 

The Dangers of the International House of Prayer by CARM

Mike Bickle and the International House of Prayer-The Latter Rain Redivivus by Critical Issues Commentary

What is the International House of Prayer (IHOP)? by Got Questions

Multiple Articles about Mike Bickle and IHOP by Berean Research

Multiple Articles about Mike Bickle and IHOP by Deception in the Church

Bickle's Bible Botching by Spirit of Error

Is Mike Bickle Biblical? by Holy Bible Prophecy

The 2nd Coming of the "Presence" (5 Part Series) by Herescope

Mike Bickle and IHOP Resource Page (Many links/articles) by Beyond Grace

Bill Johnson, IHOP, & Ancient Heresy Reborn (Interview with Bob DeWaay) by Echo Zoe Radio

The Over-Sexualization of Christ and the Heretical Bridal Paradigm by 828 Ministries

The Perfect Storm of Apostasy – An Introduction to The Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators by Lighthouse Trails Research

The Fatal Flaws of the Renewal (Part 1) by Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely

IHOP "Explain" Their Concept of the House of Prayer from the Bible by Churchwatch Central

The Apostolic and Prophetic Movement by Keith Gibson

Mike Bickle Quotes from the Zedekiah List

Chris Rosebrough Reviews Mike Bickle's Sermon "Blow the Trumpet in Zion" by Churchwatch Central

Forerunner Eschatology: Mike Bickle’s End-Time Teaching and the International House of Prayer by CRI

Bill Johnson & Mike Bickle's Mutual Admiration Society by Spirit of Error

Why I Believe IHOP is a Cult by Gospel Masquerade

“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”— Galatians 1:6-9
“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
“Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”— 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12

“And yet some people actually imagine that the revelation in God’s Word is not enough to meet our needs. They think that God from time to time carries on an actual conversation with them, chatting with them, satisfying their doubts, testifying to His love for them, promising them support and blessings. As a result, their emotions soar; they are full of bubbling joy that is mixed with self-confidence and a high opinion of themselves. The foundation for these feelings, however, does not lie within the Bible itself, but instead rests on the sudden creations of their imaginations. These people are clearly deluded. God’s Word is for all of us and each of us; He does not need to give particular messages to particular people.” -Jonathan Edwards

Mike Bickle probably doesn't want you to know what his friends did at The Charismatic Day of Infamy

Mike Bickle is a key player in The New Apostolic Reformation

Here is some Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know! 

For further reading and research: 

Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs

Here's a great article to help you be more discerning and less gullible:

Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs

CCM Song Critique: "Through Your Eyes" by Britt Nicole

Here's another CCM Song Critique by Jorge Rodriguez at Faithful Stewardship. Please, please, please keep in mind that these articles are examining the meaning and theology of the lyrics-NOT critiquing the intentions or sincerity of the songwriters/performers:

"Through Your Eyes" by Britt Nicole at Faithful Stewardship Blog

 

A note from Steve:

The problem with the lyrics in this song is similar to the problem expressed in this Todd White video critique:  Todd White Flips the Gospel Upside Down. While we all agree that people shouldn't live in a state of shame, the answer to that shame is to receive the Gospel in Word and Sacrament, not convince ourselves that we're actually much better, or more beautiful than we think we are. Jesus died on the cross to rescue us from sin and death; that's what He did in spite of our sin-not because we're so valuable or "beautiful inside." If you're exhausted from trying to feel better about yourself by "remembering your true identity" or (worse) by mustering up the ability to live without sin (for just a little while) I suggest that your theology is wrong and it has actually burdened you with another work for you to accomplish. Perhaps the Gospel is even better (and more simple) than you thought!

Here are a few more articles that might give you clarity on this topic:

Not Feeling It-The Gospel For Everyone Else

A "Personal Relationship With Christ"-Burden or Biblical?

Michael Brown: More Proof He's Part of the (So-Called) New Apostolic Reformation

Dr. Michael Brown is a very smart man. He knows exactly what the New Apostolic Reformation is but, like fellow NARpostle Bill Johnson, he wants everyone to believe he's not really a part of the NAR. Instead, he wants us to believe it's a fictional movement that was invented by its critics (that's why he calls it the "so-called" NAR). In the following article, he is clearly shown to be a key player in the NAR:

Further Evidence of Michael Brown’s Ties With the NAR by Churchwatch Central

The Word of Faith Cornucopia of False Doctrine

Kenneth Hagin ("DAD" Hagin)

Kenneth Hagin ("DAD" Hagin)

The Word of Faith movement is the predecessor to the New Apostolic Reformation and the two movements share a lot of overlapping beliefs. The Word of Faith (WOF) movement developed in the 1940's & 50's under the teachings of E.W. Kenyon, Kenneth Hagin (who plagiarized Kenyon), Oral Roberts, A.A. Allen, T.L. OsbornWilliam Branham and others. Like the NAR, the WOF never had an official leader or official statement of beliefs, so it is difficult to determine exactly when it started or exactly what it taught. And like today's New Apostolic Reformation it has been a "moving target" that could morph and rearrange itself in order to avoid critical analysis. The WOF emphasis on guaranteed physical healing & prosperity and the "power of our words/positive confession" teachings are largely being continued by many NAR teachers. Perhaps the most prominent WOF teacher still active today is Kenneth Copeland, who learned directly from Kenneth Hagin and studied at (the then newly formed) Oral Roberts University in the 1960's. It could also be argued that Joel Osteen is the most prominent WOF teacher active today, since the core of most of his teaching is WOF doctrine. Joyce Meyer is another extremely popular WOF teacher (See article: Is Joyce Meyer Word of Faith?).  

In a nutshell, there is little practical difference between the older heretical teachings of Kenneth Hagin and Oral Roberts and the newer "Super Pastors" like Bill Johnson and Brian Houston; it's more a difference in style, approach & emphasis. False teachers are always dressing up their bad doctrine with new catch-phrases and new "direct revelations from God," but the resulting beliefs end up directing our attention away from the finished work of Christ and focusing on ourselves and the teachings of men.

If you want to understand all the false doctrine in today's "Pop Evangelical" churches (especially the New Apostolic Reformation), you really need to research the Word of Faith movement that brought us to where we are today. Here are a number of articles that will shed light on this important topic:  

What's Wrong with the Word of Faith Movement (Part One)

What's Wrong with the Word of Faith Movement (Part Two)

Word of Faith Movement (with many links) from Berean Research

Word-Faith Movement Profile by Watchman Fellowship

WOF Sacred Cow #1: Jesus Was Very Wealthy by Discernment Ministries International

WOF Sacred Cow #2: Jesus Ministered Only As a Man by Discernment Ministries International

WOF Sacred Cow #3: Jesus Died Spiritually by Discernment Ministries International

WOF Sacred Cow #4: The Laws of Faith & Confession by Discernment Ministries International

WOF Sacred Cow #5: It Is God's Will To Always Heal by Discernment Ministries International

Physical Healing and the Atonement-Is it Always God's Will to Heal Now?

10 Ways the Word of Faith Movement Went Wrong (Written by a Charismatic pastor who still somehow loves the WOF teachers he studied)

Compilation of Word Faith articles from Deception in the Church

The Demotion of Christ & Exaltation of Man by Discernment Ministries International

Justin Peters has some of the best lectures on the history & teachings of the Word of Faith movement; here is one of his many YouTube videos:

 

This video (3 hours long), produced by Keith Thompson of Reformed Apologetics Ministries, documents the errors and origins of Word of Faith teachings:

A New Years Thank You Note from The Evangelical Industrial Complex

 

We would like to take a moment and thank the untold millions of Christians out there for their unwavering and mindless commitment to our Christian celebrities, perky conference speakers and megalomaniac pastors. Thank you so much for refusing to take your head out of the Evangelical sand over the past year! 

 

Because of you and your unquestioning support, we can continue to invent new catch-phrases and slogans every few years in order to sell more conference tickets, books and worthless merchandise. Our marketing people are working tirelessly behind the scenes to invent yet another profitable product disguised as "Christian literature." But let's not stop here, there's still plenty more we can do.

Working together, here's just some of what we can accomplish in the New Year:

  • We can continue to crank out motivational speech mediocrity with mega-church appeal; with all the theological depth of a one-day-only, self-help workshop run by teenage shopping mall food court attendants.
  • We can transform the transcendent and Holy God (who spoke the entire Universe into existence) into your personal assistant, life coach and dream interpreter. He doesn't mind at all!
  • We can normalize heterodoxy and heresy, and turn sound doctrine into the exception-not the rule. Remember, we determine orthodoxy; your job is to happily go along with us. You're AWESOME!
  • We can give lip service to the Bible while continuing to ignore much of what it actually says. Better yet, we can take a half verse and slap it on a coffee mug and it'll sell!

(By the way, 74.87% of our gross sales come from good old reliable Jeremiah 29:11. In this business we call it "the verse that pays." We could probably sell dirty sox if they had Jeremiah 29:11 printed on them!)

 

  • We can give lip service to those great pioneers of the faith (Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Whitefield, Wesley, etc.) while continuing to ignore much of what they actually said. Heck, nobody buys their crusty old books anyway!
  • We can continue to prop up and defend our growing staff of professional hype-monsters, marketing hacks and bloviating young egomaniacs with pastoral visions of grandeur. "Is he a pastor or is he a rock star?" As long as he can move product, who cares!!

 

  • We can continue to produce and market pulsating soft-rock musical drivel with a convincing level of polished sincerity. Moms and dads, do you think that these fresh-faced young musicians are the kind of people that should be dating your sons and daughters? You do? Good! That's all we need to sell more units and increase royalties!! 
  • In order to continually provide you with "Positive and Encouraging Music That's Safe for Your Family" we have a long list of theologically vapid, yet attractive hipster musicians waiting in the wings; ready to replace the next Christian superstar who wanders into sexual indiscretion, biblical confusion or bad pitch problems. You're welcome.

 

Thanks again for all of your support! Lets make this year even better than market analysis is currently predicting!

(By the way, if anyone has another runaway best-seller like The Prayer of Jabez, The Shack, Jesus Calling or maybe even a slightly provocative exercise DVD, please contact us so that we can buy the copyrights and send you appropriate compensation. Thank you, The Legal Team.) 

Absolutely Frightening 3 Minute Video: What "Christians" Believe

This quick little video shows how self-professing "Christians" in America have got almost everything WRONG:

See The State of Theology for more detailed information about what people currently believe.

Further reading:

The Gigantic Problem Beneath the Really Big Problem

Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know

What We Believe

Does God Really Need Rock Bands? 3 Worship Team Dropouts Talk About It

All 3 of these guys used to play in the worship band but now they all go to a liturgical church and worship out of a hymnal. Steve Kozar talks with his son, Andrew, and their good friend John Wiedenbeck, in this very funny, interesting and (probably) offensive episode of The Messed Up Church Podcast. Find out what changed their minds:

Andrew Kozar (left); Steven Kozar (center); John Wiedenbeck (right)

Andrew Kozar (left); Steven Kozar (center); John Wiedenbeck (right)


Just for fun, here's an old photo of John & Andrew when they were about 15 years old and Steve (the slightly irresponsible Dad) brought them to a Steve Vai concert:

Todd White Flips the Gospel Upside Down

A recent YouTube clip from Todd White on TBN has become popular. In this clip, he makes some staggeringly bad statements about the very core of Christian doctrine: the meaning and purpose of the cross of Christ (he made the exact same comments earlier in the year). Like many of the New Apostolic Reformation teachers, Todd White tells stories and invents analogies to replace the true teachings of the Bible. For instance, White tells people that you wouldn't spend $150,00 for a $3,000 car. So if someone pays $150,00 for a car it must really be worth that much. He then says that since God paid a very high price on the cross we must be very valuable, as opposed to being guilty as sinners. It could just as easily be said that Jesus had to die on the cross because of how bad our sin is; the "high price" of the cross shows us how terrible our situation was before Jesus paid our debt. (Here's a shorter edited version of the video, that focuses on the worst comments in his talk).

It only takes a little skepticism and a quick look at God's Word to see how demonic this teaching actually is. If we are so valuable, as White tells us, why did Jesus have to die on the cross? Why was Jesus punished in our place? Todd White's teaching is very confusing, but it really appeals to our selfish nature. It makes no sense to die on the cross just to show people how valuable they are. There has to be a reason why Jesus was punished in our place. Otherwise, why didn't Jesus simply tell us how valuable we are and encourage us to continue doing all the wonderful things we were doing? He could've just sent us a fruit basket or given us a pat on the back, instead of dying a horrible death on the cross. John the Baptist said (about Jesus): "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" According to Todd White, John the Baptist should've said something like: "Behold, the Lamb of God who comes to tell you how valuable you are! You're doing great, now just remember your true identity!!"

  • The Bible says we are sinners who deserve God's wrath, but our sin is removed because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross in our place.
  • Todd White says we are really valuable, but the problem is, we just don't understand our value; we don't "know our true identity." So Jesus paid a really high price to convince us of our value. 

Instead of focusing on God's gracious free gift of salvation, which was given in spite of our sin, Todd White flips the Gospel upside down and says that Jesus had to pay a high price to get us back, because we are so valuable. Although White mentions our sin, it starts to sound as if we deserve God's salvation because we're so valuable. It almost seems as if White thinks we shouldn't be in awe of the amazing grace that God bestowed upon us, instead, we should puff ourselves up with the fact that God paid such a high price for us. This is a completely false gospel.

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
— Galatians 1: 6-9

 

Here's a very helpful little When We Understand The Text video on this topic:

For a little more detail on this topic, listen to Chris Rosebrough on this episode of Fighting for the Faith (at 53 minutes into the show): Benny Hinn Partners with Chuck Pierce?

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.
— 2 Timothy 4: 3-4
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we now have been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
— Romans 5: 8-9
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
— Isaiah 53: 5
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
— 1 John 2: 2
But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
— Ephesians 2: 13
And you, who once were hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him...
— Colossians 1: 21-22
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast
— Ephesians 2: 1-9

Here's another article about the same Todd White video:

NARcissist Todd White: Jesus Saved Us Because We Are "So Valuable" 

Here's another important article concerning the false teachings of Todd White:

Todd White- How to Read Your(self into the) Bible

Here's a very insightful article about preaching the true Gospel:

The Demise of Gospel Preaching in the Modern Evangelical Church

Todd White is part of the New Apostolic Reformation: The New Apostolic Reformation Cornucopia of False Doctrine, Dominionism, Charismania and Deception

For those who think it's mean, judgmental and unloving to criticize Todd White (or any other popular teacher) here's something just for you: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.

If you're having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend Todd White, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Here's an article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

Finally, here's a funny satirical article that touches on this topic: Woman Unsure Why She Needs Jesus After Preacher Spends 30 Minutes telling Her How Amazing She Is

10 Signs a Church May Be Trying Too Hard to Be Hipster

Here's a thought-provoking article from former Evangelical worship leader, Miguel Ruiz:

10 Signs a Church May Be Trying Too Hard to Be Hipster

 

Here's another article with some similar (and interesting) points from Methodist writer, Jonathan Aigner:

13 Reasons I Never Joined the Contemporary Worship Movement 

 

Here's another article from Miguel from earlier in the year:

Confessions of a Former Worship Leader

The Dr. Michael Brown Checklist of Manipulation

Dr. Michael Brown is an enigma.  Sometimes he says some really good things that all Bible-believing Christians can agree with (and we gladly recognize that), but other times he goes out on a limb in support of the most extreme New Apostolic Reformation teachers, pastors and leaders. For some reason, he has become a very convincing apologist and "front man" for obvious false teachers like Bill Johnson, Heidi Baker, Rick Joyner, Lance Wallnau and even Benny Hinn.

Here's a list of things that Dr. Brown often says and does in order to garner support for his New Apostolic Reformation friends (the "NARpostles"): 

  • Always use a moderate and reassuring tone while making extreme assertions and contradictory statements. Make it sound like you're the most reasonable & intelligent person in any discussion.
  • When confronted with clear and obvious false teaching, end the discussion. "I'm going to cut you off, to be fair to the other callers" or "we're almost out of time" or "if you continue asking these questions I will have to block you" are all good examples of how to end the discussion.
  • Enable & promote NAR false teachers who claim to "love the Lord," especially if their ministries are very large. False and un-Biblical teachings are acceptable when being taught by those who claim to "love the Lord" and are hyper-charismatics like Dr. Brown.
  • Pretend to consider opposing views while actually misrepresenting and/or ignoring them.
  • Put all serious bloggers who challenge you on the same level as teenagers eating Doritos in their parents basement. (Btw, the vast majority of "discernment bloggers" are not anonymous.)

 

  • Do not use primary source documents that would quickly and decisively display the heretical beliefs of your fellow NAR friends; instead, pretend that you're too busy to do any research. For example, instead of admitting that you refuse to review just one or two sermons from Bill Johnson, say that you just can't take the time to listen to hundreds of hours of sermons. Continually reinforce the notion that you're a world-class expert on a topic that you cannot possibly do any research on. This is where your moderate and reassuring tone will really pay off.  
  • Pretend to be holding NARpostles accountable, while not actually curbing any NAR false teaching.
  • Uphold C. Peter Wagner as a great man of God who should be respected and trusted, while simultaneously overlooking all of his published writings; writings that clearly portray his bizarre and heretical beliefs. Ignore the fact that this "great man of God" is the very person who named the New Apostolic Reformation and defined it's characteristics; meanwhile, you can imply that the NAR isn't even a real thing. 
  • Claim to believe in Sola Scriptura ("Scripture Alone") while you vigorously defend the never-ending (and non-sensical) extra-Biblical revelations from your NARpostle friends. Don't try to explain how these two things can co-exist, because they can't. Instead, tell lots of convincing stories about what God told you or someone you know. Refer to the good old days at the Brownsville Revival, where all sorts of weird and disturbing manifestations took place, but tell everyone how wonderful it was. You must constantly assert this belief anyway you can since you can't defend it from the Bible. Again, a moderate and reassuring tone will help you retain listeners, as you continually make contradictory assertions. 

 

For a more detailed analysis of Michael Brown (and his recent radio show about the New Apostolic Reformation), check out this discussion between Chris Rosebrough, Amy Spreeman and Steven Kozar on Fighting For The Faith: Mutiny Against Dr. Michael Brown

Here's an article from Assemblies of God Minister Anthony Wade: Why Dr. Brown Has No Credibility


For those who think it's mean, judgmental and un-loving to criticize Dr. Michael Brown (or any other teacher, pastor or leader) here's something just for you: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.

If you're having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend Dr. Michael Brown, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Finally, here's an article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

Mishel McCumber: Delivered from the Luciferian Gospel of Rick Joyner

 

 

 

In part one of this fascinating & eye-opening series, Steve Kozar interviews Mishel McCumber about her deliverance from the "Luciferian Gospel" of Rick Joyner & Morningstar Ministries:

For Further research:


Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz Biffs It on Oprah's SuperSoul Sunday

Super Pastor Carl Lentz, from Hillsong New York, was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and presented a confusing version of Christianity that uses some Biblical words, but ultimately had too much in common with Oprah's prominent New Age beliefs, rather than actual Christianity. You can view the entire video here.

It would have been great if Pastor Lentz would have clearly proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ; people in Oprah's audience really need to hear it: the Gospel of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. But he didn't. He really appeared like someone attempting to say Christian things that wouldn't offend non-Christians. He also proved himself incapable of disagreement with Oprah-even going so far as to agree with her when she said the Holy Spirit is "a thing, a power, a force," or "divine energy." Lentz agreed and told her "that's exactly what it is: a divine energy." Huh??

Interestingly, just a few weeks ago a major survey was released that showed how a large segment of the Christian population in America believes things that are totally heretical (like the Holy Spirit is a power or force). Carl Lentz proclaimed some of those very same things in this interview. Maybe he was really nervous and forgot what he was saying, but he repeated his murky version of Christianity throughout the entire interview-often getting close to the Gospel without ever proclaiming it. 

In the video below, we've taken clips from this interview to highlight where Lentz biffs it. You may want to find out where he mimics the uninformed Christians in the State of Theology survey.   

Clip 1. His first confused attempt at explaining the "Gospel." Sort of. Kind of. I guess.

Clip 2. Oprah asks him "Do you believe only Christians can be in relationship with God?" His answer comes immediately: "No." Although his response could have been much better, I will cut him a little slack, because this is a tricky question that Oprah seems to be using to test him, or even trap him. Because she never defined what she meant by "relationship with God" I'm not going to make too big of a deal out of this (plus, his response gets even worse). He is obviously very sensitive to the charge that Christians are judgmental and narrow-minded, and he seems to be over-compensating. He then goes on to give a pretty incoherent explanation of Jesus's very clear words "I am the way, the truth and the life..." (without quoting the rest of the verse: "No one comes to the Father but by Me.") He ventures into universalist territory and says "That's what this whole Gospel is based on-it's love..." He seems to be trying to explain something like the Law and the Gospel, but it comes out confusing and contradictory.

Clip 3. This is so unclear that after repeated listening it's still confusing... Let's just move on to the next one.

Clip 4. Here is where Pastor Lentz really jumps the shark. He is the poster boy of hip, trendy pastors and he preaches at the most hip and trendy church on earth: Hillsong New York City. But he actually says that they are teaching the ancient faith and it doesn't need to be hip and trendy. Here's a proposal for Pastor Lentz: remove your rock band, the lighting crew, the dancers, the sound crew, discontinue the slick marketing videos, and start using Hymnals (with good theology). Stop dressing like an attention-starved rock star. Then ask all the celebrities to stay away for a while (so they can be catechized privately). After you've done that, see if your church continues to grow. I dare you. Let's be honest: Hillsong New York City is an entertaining spectacle and you know it. 

Clip 5. Oprah asks him "For you, who is Jesus?" This starts off very clear: "He's God." But then he gives a cluster of incomplete phrases like "He's the answer, He's the sacrifice, He's the atonement, He's the way in..." He's the answer to what? He's the sacrifice for what? He's the atonement for what? He's the way in to what? His comments almost appear as a response to all the "critical Christians" who think he should be more Biblical and traditional. Yes, these are Christian words from the Bible, but he's leaving out the full equation. He could have easily completed his thoughts and said something like: "Jesus is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. He came to earth as a baby in the miraculous virgin birth, which we celebrate at Christmas, and He was crucified on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, but He rose from the dead, which we celebrate at Easter. And He's coming again to judge the living and the dead." 

Clip 6. Oprah cuts him off and inserts her New Age version of faith-which turns Jesus into a mere moral example: "Jesus came to show the way, this is how you do it." Lentz simply agrees with her. Come on Carl, you know this stuff; Jesus came because we can't follow Him good enough; we need a Savior to save us from our sin, not a just moral example to remind us of our sin.

Clip 7. Here's the bizarre Holy Spirit section, where Pastor Lentz repeats the common heresy that the Holy Spirit is a force or energy-not the third Person of the Trinity.

Clip 8. Here's where Lentz gives his hip, cool and utterly wrong explanation of Christianity. He says "because of Jesus you have the right to put your hand up and totally start a new cycle. That, to me, is the essence of what we're trying to do." What is he talking about? A load of laundry?? Lentz says he's "trying to get people to allow God to do what only God can do." This is a pretend God. The true and Living God, revealed by Scripture, spoke the whole universe into existence, and He doesn't need our permission to do anything.

Clip 9. Here Pastor Carl Lentz totally twists God's Word by repeating the idea that "Be still and know that I am God" is about me and my own personal happy place. This verse (Psalm 46:10) is not about your own personal happy place. Read it in context. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

 

Charles Finney 1792-1875

Charles Finney 1792-1875

Clip 10. Lentz tells Oprah that starting a "relationship with Jesus" (a phrase that doesn't exist in the Bible) is all about us making a decision and making a commitment, it has nothing to do with God choosing us. It's all up to us. Charles Finney would be proud of this little Pelagian.

 

Clip 11. Finally, Oprah asks him "Success is?" Lentz says "Seeing other people thrive. That's, for me, I couldn't think of a more successful life than being able to look back and say people's lives were better because they crossed my path." This is what any motivational speaker or leadership guru would say (including Brian Houston). If heaven is real, and if hell is real, why would any pastor not mention his concern for the souls of mankind as his primary goal? Why does Pastor Carl Lentz seem only concerned with the temporal well-being of people, instead of their eternal destination? 

The Gospel is, by definition, exclusionary (see article: Why is Christianity so closed-minded and exclusive?). In John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." To his credit, Carl Lentz actually quoted (half of) this verse twice during this interview. But the unbelieving listener would have been given the distinct impression that failing to follow Jesus would only result in a less than ideal life. And besides that, Oprah has established the belief that all religions are, at best, essentially the same, so not choosing Jesus simply leaves open a thousand other spiritual options. This is Oprah Winfrey's show, after all; she is not going to allow the true Gospel (the one she rejected many years ago) to make an appearance while she's in charge. That appears to be why she had Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz as a guest. Maybe Oprah saw Lentz as no real threat? In the end, he and Oprah made everyone comfortable with "whatever works for them."

  

As an interesting side note, Bobbie Houston made the following over-the-top comment on Instagram; it really appears like she made a preemptive strike against the criticism that Pastor Lentz brought upon himself:

Read Bud Ahleim's article about it here: Bobbie Houston: If You Hate Hillsong, You Hate God


Here's a LOT more information about Brian Houston (Carl Lentz's mentor and senior Pastor) and his Hillsong church: "The Brian Houston & Hillsong Cornucopia of False Doctrine,  Abuse, Obfuscation & Money Generation"

For those of you who think it's mean and unloving to criticize Hillsong, Carl Lentz (or any other popular teacher) here's a list of Bible verses to consider: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.

If you're having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend Carl Lentz or Hillsong, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Finally, here's an important article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

Joyce Meyer Breaks Missouri Law With False Claims to an Earned Degree?

Joyce Meyer teaches heretical "Word of Faith" doctrine; that's nothing new. But she also appears to be violating Missouri law by claiming to have an earned Ph.D. from "Life Christian University" in Florida. LCU has given these honorary degrees to other WOF teachers like Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Benny Hinn and Rodney Howard Brown; as well as fraudulent historian David Barton

Here's an important article from Warren Throckmorton (with links to more articles) about the deception being advanced by Meyer and LCU: Evangelist Joyce Meyer Claims Earned Ph.D. from Life Christian University, Missouri Law Forbids Use of False and Misleading Degrees


For those who think it's mean, judgmental and unloving to criticize Joyce Meyer (or any other popular teacher) here's something just for you: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.

If you're having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend Meyer, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Finally, here's an article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

There's Power in Our Words? Name It and Claim It??

Related to the Code Orange "revival," here are two great videos from When We Understand The Text:

Be sure to check out the latest Fighting for the Faith programs that give detailed explanations of the blatant false teaching and Bible twisting that took place at the recent Code Orange Revival.

CCM Song Critique: "Magnify" by We Are Messengers

Here's another CCM Song Critique by Jorge Rodriguez at Faithful Stewardship. Please keep in mind that these articles will be examining the meaning and theology of the lyrics-NOT critiquing the intentions or sincerity of the songwriters:

Today we’ll be taking a look at “Magnify” by We Are Messengers which currently sits at #20 on 20TheCountdownMagazine.

Musically, the song is quite nice. Emotionally impactful. The singer has a great voice. Lyrically, the song is missing one major ingredient, the Bible. God’s Written Word. The revelation of Christ to His Church. This sort of Bible-less Christianity is the result of American Christianity having been infected by gnostic mysticism. To rescue this song, the listener needs to already know where to look to see Christ. Not in our emotions (not even the positive ones), not in nature (though it declares His Glory), but in the Word of God. As we read Scripture, we rely on God the Holy Spirit to open up our eyes to the Truth that is there, in plain sight. Let’s take a look at the Official Music Video and then the Lyrics.

Official Music Video

Lyrics (via Air1)

Verse 1
I’ve been trying to make sense of the sorrow that I feel
Holding on for life to the only thing that’s real
I’ve only scratched the surface, I’ve barely had a taste
But just a glimpse draws my heart to change
And one sight of you lays my sin to waste
I don’t need to see everything just more of you

(chorus)
Take it all, take it all away
Magnify no other name
Open up, open up my eyes
To you

Take it all, take it all away
Magnify no other name
Open up, open up my eyes
To you

Verse 2
My sight is incomplete and I’ve made you look small
I’ve been staring at my problems for way too long
Re-align where my hope is set, until you’re all that’s left
But just a glimpse draws my heart to change
And one sight of you lays my sin to waste
I don’t need to see everything just more of you

(chorus)
Take it all, take it all away
Magnify no other name
Open up, open up my eyes
To you

Take it all, take it all away
Magnify no other name
Open up, open up my eyes
To you

Bridge
Oh God be greater, than the worries in my life
Be stronger, than the weakness in my mind
Be louder, let your Glory come alive
Be magnified

Oh God be greater, than the worries in my life
Be stronger, than the weakness in my mind
Be louder, let your Glory come alive
Be magnified

(chorus)
Take it all, take it all away
Magnify no other name
Open up, open up my eyes
To you, to you

Take it all, take it all away
Magnify no other name
Open up, open up my eyes
To you, to you

Publishing: © 2015 Dayspring Music, LLC (BMI) / So Essential Tunes, Not Just Another Song Publishing (SESAC) (All rights on behalf of So Essential Tunes and Not Just Another Song Publishing adm. by Essential Music Publishing LLC) Produced by Jonathan Smith & Casey Brown
Writer(s): Darren Mulligan/Casey Brown/Jonathan Smith

 

Discussion

The problem being presented in the song is real. We, sinners, are distracted by our temptation to sin. To worry. To despair. It’s a very real problem that is addressed in Scripture. Let’s look at what Christ taught.

Matthew 6:25-33 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

What does it mean to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? It means to seek Christ and Him crucified for your sin, repent and be forgiven in His Name. The righteousness of God is the forgiveness He gives to you in exchange for your sin. This is by faith alone in Christ’s finished work on the cross. When our flesh tempts us to earn our own righteousness by some kind of law-keeping,  that’s when the anxiety, fear, and condemnation sets in. Such is the concern we see the Apostle Paul having for the Galatians who were misled back into works-based righteousness by submitting to the Law of circumcision. Paul isn’t only concerned about this unnecessary surgical act, but in the return to Mosaic Law-keeping rather than faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 5:1-12   | Christ Has Set Us Free

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!

These are extremely strong words from Paul, because this is a serious issue.

But, Jorge, what does this have to do with the song? Good question. This is only the first point I want to drive home, that Scripture teaches us to look to Christ and His kingdom rather than ourselves, our good works, our provisions… because to look to anything else is to be severed from Christ. If we’re giving this song its best construction, we have to view the over arching appeal of the song to be anchored in this truth. So, this is a strength in the concept of the song, that we are to be focused on Christ, not our circumstances, emotions, fears, or our own good works (or utter lack thereof).

The problem with the song is in its offered solution. It suggests that we are somehow supposed to see Christ directly. There is absolutely no mention of finding Him in His Word. The video doesn’t suggest it in any way, nor does it even suggest finding Christ among fellow believers gathered around the Preaching of God’s Word (definition of the Church). This is a giant hole in the theology of this song. To presume to see God apart from where He has revealed Himself is to engage in Mysticism. There is a bit of gnosticism rumbling in the background of this American ideology that is currently driving this closed-Bible Christianity, or even anti-Bible preaching of Andy Stanley.

It is important that we counter and guard against this gnostic mysticism. God has revealed Himself to us. Let’s examine this in steps. God the Father has revealed Himself fully in God the Son, Jesus.

John 14:1-9 | I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?'"

We don’t see Jesus in the flesh today, for He is in Heaven at the Right Hand of the Father. He will return. His Promise is sure. What we have is Christ fully revealed to us in Scripture. To make this case, I’d like to first pull a very clear teaching of Christ to His disciples, one from Luke’s account of the sending out of the Apostles, and another from John’s account of the night He was betrayed.

Luke 10:16 “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

John 13:20 "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

And where do we find the teaching of those whom Jesus sent? In the New Testament. Most of the Epistles were written by the Apostles themselves, and the others contain their teaching. Receive their teaching and you receive Christ. Receive Christ and you receive God the Father. How do we receive this? By the work of the Holy Spirit in preserving God’s Word, drawing us, granting us Faith, and delivering the forgiveness and the Righteousness of God (Jesus Christ) to us. He saves us by Grace through Faith.

Romans 10:17 "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."

The flip side of this is that if we reject the teaching of Christ’s Apostles we reject Christ and God the Father. Sidenote: There are no living Apostles. Only charlatans and blasphemers claiming a level of authority they weren’t given, making promises in the name of God that He doesn’t make, twisting scripture to gather disciples unto themselves. These are the same as those against whom Paul was writing to the Galatians. 

Is it wrong to want to see Christ? Absolutely not. We all long to see Him return in the way He has promised in His Word.

Acts 1:10-11 "And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.'”

But to attempt to reach around where Christ has told us to find Him (In His Word and in the teaching of His Apostles) is to repeat the error of Thomas.

John 20:28-31 "Thomas answered him, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to him, 'Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.' Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name."

So this is the great error of this song. The attempt to skip right over the Scriptures and to demand to see Christ directly. Those singing the song haven’t seen Him directly, yet they present this as the goal or solution to the problem being presented in the song.

Conclusion

On its own, the song lyric fails to present the Gospel in any meaningful way. However, if we reshape the arch of the song to have all points leading to the Scriptures as the sole solution to the problems presented, we can rescue most of the themes in this song. I’m happy that this song can be rescued, but frustrated that it relies solely on the listener’s solid theology to rescue.

Hebrews 13:20-21 "Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will,working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

 

The Andy Stanley Cornucopia of False Teaching, Fast Talking & Postmodern Ambiguity

Andy Stanley is one of America's top pastors; he is probably one of the top three most influential pastors in the U.S.A. today. Unlike many of the more blatantly heretical pastors that are critiqued on Pirate Christian Media, Stanley has a very mainstream reputation and following. Most Evangelical Christians can't even imagine that he might be leading them astray because much of what he says sounds pretty good; it sounds pretty "normal." He is seen as a pastor who is simply taking traditional, Biblical Christianity into the future by re-packaging it and re-interpreting it for non-Christians. Because Stanley works hard to appeal to a postmodern audience, much of what he says can be interpreted multiple ways, so there is much disagreement about his teaching and what he "actually means." This kind of confusion is not good.

  • On one hand, he says that "it's next to impossible to defend the entire Bible," and says that "the Bible is not the foundation of our faith;" but he later tells his audience how he loves the Bible and reads it every day. The North Point website states "We believe the Bible is without error."

  • He claims that pastors should "take the focus off the Bible on put it on the resurrection," but we know about the resurrection because it's written about in the Bible. Stanley seems incapable of simply saying that the Bible is God's Word and it's historically dependable. 

  • He repeatedly claims that the early church had no Bible at all until well into the third century, even though that is historically incoherent and dishonest. The early church had the separate books of the Bible before they were bound together in one volume.  

  • He invented something he calls "the temple model" and claims that all false religions (including the Old Testament Jewish religion established by God) had a "sacred text," a "sacred space" and a "sacred man." He claims that these three things need to be eliminated, because he thinks that Jesus taught this (even though Jesus never actually taught this). Incidentally, he is still the senior pastor (sacred man) of North Point Church (sacred space) who makes frequent reference to the Bible (sacred text). He has veered towards eliminating the Bible, though... 

 

What is Andy Stanley very clear about? He seems to have tremendous confidence in his own ability to convince everyone of whatever he currently believes is important. He appears to have much more confidence in himself than the Word of God. Judging by the infrequent use of Scripture in his sermons and his willingness to erode confidence in the Bible, it really seems like Andy Stanley is happy to be the focal point of his church. Although he claims to be directing attention to Jesus, it's impossible to know which Jesus he's talking about, because without the objective Word of God as the reference, he ends up making himself the authority over who Jesus really is and what Jesus really taught. 

If the following articles, podcasts and videos are any indication, a substantial case can be made that Andy Stanley is doing more than just explaining the "faith once handing down to the saints" to a new generation. There is troubling evidence that Stanley is trying to change the meaning, definition and purpose of the Church itself.

 

These articles are from different Christians from various theological and denominational backgrounds (although there are a lot of Baptists), but they all have concerns about the un-Biblical, confusing and sometimes dangerous teachings coming from Andy Stanley: 

"The Bible Says So" Is Enough: A Response to Andy Stanley by Gabe Hughes

3 Nagging Problems with Andy Stanley's Approach to the Bible by Jared C. Wilson

Andy Stanley's Approach to the Virgin Birth by Gerald Harris

For the Bible Tells Me So: Biblical Authority Denied… Again by Albert Mohler

Is the Bible Foundational to Christianity? Engaging with Andy Stanley by Michael Kruger

Andy Stanley's Relentless Attacks on Christianity and Covering His Tracks (with links to more articles) by Jeff Maples

Andy Stanley’s Statements about the Bible are not Cutting Edge-They’re Old Liberalism by David Prince

The Always Ambiguous Andy Stanley by Will Sanders

These Words Shall Be on Your Heart by Gabe Hughes

Andy Stanley's Dishonest, Deceptive, and Dangerous Teaching by Philip Lee

"Love the Way You Turn Me On!" at North Point Church in the Museum of Idolatry

Andy Stanley was really right ... and really wrong by Michael Brown

Andy Stanley and the "NEW Hermeneutic" by John Barber

Andy Stanley and the "New" Christianity's "Bibliolatry" by Lighthouse Trails Research

Andy Stanley, Megachurches, and the Bullying of Christ’s Bride by Nate Pickowicz

On the Road to Emmaus: A Response to Andy Stanley's Sermon "The Bible Told Me So" by Rustin Umstattd

Problems at Andy Stanley's North Point Church?(With links to more content) by Christine Pack

Andy Stanley: You’re Not Smart Enough If You’re Not In “One of Our Churches” (Doubling Down on Unnecessary Scripture) by Bud Ahlheim

Deep and Wide book review by Gary Gilley

Andy Stanley’s Apology, and Some Mega-questions for the Megachurch by Jonathan Aigner

SBC Conference: “Get The Spotlight Off The Bible" by Bud Ahlheim

Andy Stanley Trashes Expository Preaching; Calls it “Easy” and “Cheating” by J.D. Hall

Andy Stanley-We Can't Arrive at the Empty Tomb Without the Bible by Josh Buice

Andy Stanley, do you really want Christians to keep Christ out of business? by Bryan Fischer

Andy Stanley Clarifies -Stop Praying for Local Church Revival and Get Busy by David Prince

Superstar Mega-church Preacher Man Andy Stanley: Scripture Can’t Be Defended by Bud Ahlheim

The Care and Feeding of God's Flock by Phil Johnson

Andy Stanley’s Troubling New Sermon by Alexander Griswold

Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism? by Albert Mohler

Andy Did It Again by Todd Pruitt

Andy Stanley’s Troubling Rules on Love, Sex, and Dating by Chelsen Vicari

True Stories from the Messed Up Church: Andy Stanley's North Point Church

Russell Moore, Andy Stanley Our Evangelical Pope? Red Grace Media Podcast

Many Fighting for the Faith Episodes Featuring Andy Stanley by Chris Rosebrough

Here's a YouTube video from James White, who does an extended review of Any Stanley's recent "Who Needs God" series (more Andy Stanley reviews are on his "Alpha & Omega Ministries" channel).

“Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit.”
Clement of Rome

“Read again and again the divine Scriptures; nay, let the Holy Book never be out of your hands. Learn, that you may teach.” Jerome

“We must surrender ourselves to the authority of Holy Scripture, for it can neither mislead nor be misled.”   Augustine

“Whom God intends to destroy, He gives them leave to play with Scripture.” Martin Luther

“Scripture is the Holy Spirit’s school where everything we need to know is taught and where nothing is taught that is unnecessary.” John Calvin

“And yet some people actually imagine that the revelation in God’s Word is not enough to meet our needs. They think that God from time to time carries on an actual conversation with them, chatting with them, satisfying their doubts, testifying to His love for them, promising them support and blessings. As a result, their emotions soar; they are full of bubbling joy that is mixed with self-confidence and a high opinion of themselves. The foundation for these feelings, however, does not lie within the Bible itself, but instead rests on the sudden creations of their imaginations. These people are clearly deluded. God’s Word is for all of us and each of us; He does not need to give particular messages to particular people.” Jonathan Edwards

“Indeed, since the entirety of Scripture is the Word of the Lord, no testimony could possibly be better, more certain or more efficacious. For if God, who cannot lie, has spoken something in His own Scripture, which is itself the mirror of His will, then it is true.” John Wycliffe

“Try all things by the written word, and let all bow down before it. You are in danger of [fanaticism] every hour, if you depart ever so little from Scripture; yea, or from the plain, literal meaning of an text, taken in connection with the context.” John Wesley

“Let us receive nothing, believe nothing, follow nothing which is not in the Bible, nor can be proved by the Bible.” J.C. Ryle

“If we once get above our Bibles and cease making the written Word of God our sole rule as to faith and practice, we shall too lie open to all manner of delusion and be in great danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience.”  George Whitfield

“The Bible is the Word of God in such a way that when the Bible speaks, God speaks.” B.B. Warfield

"If there be anything in the church to which you belong which is contrary to the inspired Word, leave that church." Charles Spurgeon

“There is not better book with which to defend the Bible than the Bible itself.”  D.L. Moody

"Christianity is founded upon the Bible. It bases upon the Bible both its thinking and its life." J. Gresham Machen

“We must stress that the basis for our faith is neither experience nor emotion but truth as God has given it in verbalized, propositional form in the Scripture and which we first apprehend with our minds.”  Francis Schaeffer

“There is no substitute for submission to Scripture. Your spiritual health depends on placing the utmost value on the Word of God and obeying it with an eager heart.”  John MacArthur

Our spiritual maturity will never exceed our knowledge of the Bible.”  Albert Mohler

Submission to the Scriptures is submission to God. Rebellion against the Scriptures is rebellion against God.”  Kevin DeYoung

"The idea of sola Scriptura is that there is only one written source of divine revelation, which can never be placed on a parallel status with confessional statements, creeds, or the traditions of the church. Scripture alone has the authority to bind the conscience precisely because only Scripture is the written revelation of almighty God." R. C. Sproul  

“The inerrancy of Holy Scripture is the watershed theological issue in the church today–as it has been in every generation since the rise of modern secularism and rationalistic biblical criticism. Every single denomination, theological seminary, and Christian college that has departed from it has begun an inexorable decline and loss of biblical witness. The saving gospel itself cannot be sustained apart from a trustworthy Scripture. Any other position displays appalling naïveté and ignorance of the history of the modern church both in Europe and in America.”  John Warwick Montgomery

"The teacher does well to keep this truth in mind. In our day it has become the fashion to say, 'We believe in a Person (meaning Jesus Christ), not in a Book.' Let us not be taken in by such a remark. We know Jesus only as he is made known by the Book, the Bible. True faith in him is created by the Holy Spirit only through the Book. In most cases, the above reasoning is used to COVER UP AN ATTEMPT TO FASHION A DIFFERENT JESUS AND A DIFFERENT 'FAITH' - BOTH MORE TO ONE'S OWN LIKING."  Werner Franzmann  

 

"It is next to impossible to defend the entire Bible." Andy Stanley


For those who think it's mean, judgmental and un-loving to criticize Andy Stanley/North Point Church (or any other popular teacher/church) here's something just for you: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.

If you're having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend this man's ideas, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Here's a very extensive documentary exposing the problems with the "Seeker-Friendly" church model: Church of Tares: Purpose Driven, Seeker Sensitive

Finally, here's an article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

Jennifer LeClaire Gets Discernment 100% WRONG!

The following is Jennifer LeClaire's recent blog post called "When Believers Crucify Each Other in the Name of Discernment," which she posted the morning after our Fighting for the Faith episode called Discerning Discernment aired. That's probably just a coincidence, but in any event, LeClaire gives a textbook example of how to take discernment that's based on the Bible and turn it into a mystical exercise that only finds truth within oneself. Oh, and she has lots of stuff to promote and sell, too.

 

I have reprinted her article exactly as she published it (advertising links and all), and I will make comments in bold/parenthesis. Here we go...

 

"Discernment is ever so vital in this hour, but discernment can turn into a critical spirit if it's not bound by love on both sides of the river banks (notice what's missing? The Bible. Of course we should speak the truth in love, but we also need truth that's bigger than us). Indeed, whether you have a discerning heart or the gift of discerning of spirits, there's always the danger of tapping into a faultfinding flow when you should be making intercession (So, instead of "tapping into a faultfinding flow" you should "make intercession..." Hmmm, how about: you should make sense??).

At Awakening House of Prayer—or when I travel as a conference speaker—I discern many things out of order in people's lives. I recognize the spirit of rejection from a mile away and fear from even farther. I can see pride, poor attitudes and people imprisoned to any number of fleshly appetites or demon powers. I've discovered it's easier to grumble and complain about people who behave wrongly than it is to hit my knees with a prayer burden and cry out to God for their freedom. But it's not righteous, so I guard my heart from a critical spirit. (Jennifer "sees things" like a psychic, but she guards her own heart from having a critical spirit when she peers deep into your soul from over a mile away... Wow!) 

Listen to Jennifer's podcast on criticism versus a prophetic spirit.

My spiritual father, Ken Malone, once told me, "People who walk in a high level of discernment need to walk in a higher level of humility. We all have issues and we don't need people to point them out. Those who feel compelled to point out other peoples' flaws constantly are elevating themselves and walking in pride. We need to strengthen people, not criticize and rebuke them as they struggle to gain freedom. There is a fine line between discernment and fault-finding. With discernment, we must walk in a high level of integrity so we don't abuse the gift by always pointing out faults. We must temper our discernment with grace." (Here she makes it clear that discernment has NOTHING to do with upholding God's written Word-it's all about having a mystical gift that requires one to have great humility and integrity. We know that Jennifer has this great humility and integrity... because she tells us about it. Also, she defines discernment as having the ability to see people's flaws-NOT the ability to compare doctrine to God's Word.)

What Discernment Is

Discernment is "the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure," also "an act of perceiving or discerning something," according to Merriam-Webster. Discerning means "able to see and understand people, things or situations clearly and intelligently." 

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The Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words reveals that the Greek words for "discern," "discerner" and "discernment" come from several words. Anakrino means "to distinguish, or separate out so as to investigate by looking throughout objects or particulars," hence it signifies "to examine, scrutinize, question, to hold a preliminary judicial examination preceding the trial proper." Diakrino signifies "to separate, discriminate;" then, "to learn by discriminating, to determine, decide." Dokiamazo signifies "to test, prove, scrutinize;" so as "to decide."

Hebrews 4:12 tells us the Word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. We need to let the Lord deal with the hearts of people. He will bring people into your life, at times, so you can discern the spirits and help them break free—not so you can judge their hearts and avoid them like the plague because you have convinced yourself they can't be helped. I've seen too many prophetic people with critical spirits who seek to crucify the very ones God has sent them to help deliver. (So the potential problem with LeClaire's psychic version of discernment is that you'll be tempted to avoid and/or judge people once you see into their hearts like she does. Again, she never mentions the idea that discernment actually involves comparing someone's beliefs to Scripture.)

What Discernment Is Not

John tells us to test the spirits to see if they are from God (1 John 4:1). But some with discernment test hearts to see if they are from God, which is not godly. Nobody knows what's really in someone else's heart except God Himself. Judging someone's heart is dangerous. 

Presuming someone has a bad spirit based on a checklist and not direct revelation from God grieves the Lord. (But discernment isn't about whether or not someone has a "bad spirit;" and we should trust God's Word instead of direct revelations.) And even if they do have a bad spirit, we need to separate the principality from the personality, as it were. We need to love the people and hate the demons that hold them in bondage. We need to wage prophetic warfare against the devils! (This is so incoherent that I'm just going move on to the next point-don't judge me!)

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Remember what I said previously: Discernment is not a feeling. Discernment is a knowing. If you have a feeling, don't act until the feeling is a knowing. (This is, perhaps, the most horribly subjective thing anyone has ever said in the name of Christ. Can anyone tell the exact difference between a "feeling" and a "knowing?" Nope. Again, NO mention of the Bible as the Truth that we can confidently hold to.) Your emotions will betray your discernment. Likewise, a haughty heart will betray your discernment. A bitter and critical spirit will betray your discernment. You need to see people by the spirit, not by your soul. (No Jennifer, we need to see people through Scripture: we are ALL sinners in need of salvation, we ALL need to have our sins forgiven. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He does not want us to go around peering into each others hearts to determine what particular demon has them in some particular bondage at the moment. This is a bizarre and confusing doctrine that has nothing to do with discernment.)

Beware the critical spirit that masks as discernment. There's a difference between a prophetic spirit and a critical spirit. A critical spirit is not looking for a solution. It just wants to criticize. This comes many times from spiritual pride. A critical spirit finds faults.

A prophetic spirit is filled with hope and redemption because this is the true heart of the Father. A critical spirit shows no hope, or little hope, of redemption. A critical spirit harps on people and creates a gang mentality, looking for agreement from others.

Determine in your heart today to ask God to give you more discernment—and to root any critical spirits out of your heart so He can use you to help set the captives free!" (This is pure bondage, folks. If the only way to know truth is by "determining something in our hearts," than there will always be a million different and conflicting versions of truth. God has given us His Word as Truth. It is outside of us and unchanging; it does not depend on our subjective feelings. God's Truth does not require the magic beans and psychic insights of false prophets who sell conference tickets, books and "prophetic schools" to make lots of money. We can know God's truth by reading God's Word. This is so much better than trying the 900 different techniques that false teachers like Jennifer LeClaire are constantly promoting and selling.)


I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
— Galatians 1: 6-9
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
— Galatians 5: 1
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
— John 8: 36
“Currently, anyone who insists that pure doctrine is a very important matter is immediately suspected of not having the right Christian spirit. The very term ‘pure doctrine’ is considered taboo and is outlawed. If anyone holds fast to pure teaching and attempts to fight against any false doctrine, he is put down as a heartless and unloving fanatic. The era in which we live is what the apostle refers to when he says of false teachers that they are ‘always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.’ The spirit of our time is the same as in the era of Pilate, to whom the Lord had testified that He was the King of Truth in a kingdom of truth and who sneered, ‘What is truth?’

To hate pure doctrine is to hate the truth, for pure doctrine is nothing but the pure Word of God-plain and simple. When people hate pure doctrine, that is proof that we are living in a terribly miserable era. ”

— C. F. W. Walther "Law & Gospel-How to Read and Apply the Bible" Written in 1878

And yet some people actually imagine that the revelation in God’s Word is not enough to meet our needs. They think that God from time to time carries on an actual conversation with them, chatting with them, satisfying their doubts, testifying to His love for them, promising them support and blessings. As a result, their emotions soar; they are full of bubbling joy that is mixed with self-confidence and a high opinion of themselves. The foundation for these feelings, however, does not lie within the Bible itself, but instead rests on the sudden creations of their imaginations. These people are clearly deluded. God’s Word is for all of us and each of us; He does not need to give particular messages to particular people.
— Jonathan Edwards written in the 1700's