‘Eat the meat and spit out the bones’: A proper response to NAR teaching?

Holly Pivec, October 15th, 2018

Original Post: http://www.spiritoferror.org/2018/10/eat-the-meat-and-spit-out-the-bones-a-proper-response-to-nar-teaching/8131

“Eat the meat and spit out the bones” is a common refrain in NAR. Typically, it means that if you hear a teacher give a questionable teaching — something that you don’t understand or that seems off somehow — ignore that particular teaching. But don’t stop listening to his other teachings.
Bill Johnson, one of the movement’s most influential “apostles,” delivered an entire sermon promoting this idea. It’s titled “Don’t Eat the Bones.” In context, Johnson is speaking about men, including the “prophet” William Branham and the “healing evangelist” Todd Bentley, who claimed to operate in miraculous power and led major revivals. Yet they fell into heresy or sinful lifestyles. Critics of NAR have argued that the heretical teachings and immoral lifestyles of these men — and of other influential NAR prophets, such as Bob Jones and Paul Cain — raise the question of whether these individuals actually may have been false prophets. Their unsavory behavior challenges the validity of the revivals led by them — or so the critics say.
But Johnson argues that it’s a mistake to write off these “prophets” and the “moves of God” they pioneered, or their other teachings, simply because of their failures. He prays that Christians will be able to discern how God sometimes works through “unusual tools,” including individuals with lifestyles of secret, hidden sin. He states:
You can’t tell me you’re hungry and have me give you a chicken and say, ‘I’m not gonna eat it because there’s bones in it.’ Learn to eat meat and throw out the bones. (00:30:25)
So what’s wrong with this popular refrain? I can think of at least two problems.
It’s not biblical
The idea of eating fish, and spitting out the bones, certainly sounds reasonable when the subject is dinner. But when it comes to responding to false teaching, this maxim doesn’t have the support of Scripture. For example, the apostle Paul told the Romans to “watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned” and to “Keep away from them” (Romans 16:17). In light of those serious warnings, can you imagine Paul telling the Romans, “Don’t worry about false teaching, guys; just eat the meat and spit out the bones”? Sound teaching matters.
Character matters, too. Jesus warned his disciples to watch out for false prophets. He said the way they could be identified is by their “bad fruit” — that is, by their sinful lifestyles (Matthew 7:15-20).
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
In other words, Jesus says, “Watch out for bad fruit. It’s a sure sign of a false prophet.” And what would that bad fruit consist of, according to Scripture? It manifests itself in bad character. Sexual immorality and idolatry are specifically associated with the false prophetess Jezebel at the church in Thyatira (Revelation 2:20). Paul describes the false prophet Bar-Jesus as being a “child of the devil,” an “enemy of everything that is right,” and “full of all kinds of deceit and trickery” (Acts 13:10). Old Testament false prophets were characterized by greed (Micah 3:5, 11; 2 Peter 2:15) and drunkenness (Isaiah 28:7-8).
It’s a faulty metaphor
Second, fish dinner is not an appropriate metaphor. When eating fish, you can easily pick out the bones and there’s no real danger. But the metaphor implies a simplicity of division and a lack of danger that may not be present when listeners are absorbing teaching. The meat is easy to swallow, and the bones are obviously inedible. In the case of chicken or fish, they’re easy to separate. And their presence does not taint the entire fish. That’s not always the case with teaching, however, especially when the person teaching is held in a position of extraordinary authority and claims to possess supernatural power. Who are these average Christians to question Healing Evangelist Bentley or Prophet Branham? If Bentley says it’s all fish, you’d better eat up or you’ll be missing out on the move of God. Swallow it whole or get left behind.
Instead, another metaphor may be more apt. What if, instead of eating fish, you were drinking a milkshake and it had been laced with poison? In that case, it would be ridiculous to advise someone to just “Drink the milkshake and spit out the poison.” Such a task would be impossible. The poison couldn’t be separated out. It would contaminate the entire milkshake. In a similar way, dangerous teachings and immoral lifestyles–even when mixed with some good teachings–are so corrupting that following a teacher who engages in them is too risky.
What Matters to Johnson
When listening to Johnson’s sermon, one may get the impression that, for him, the bottom line isn’t orthodoxy vs. heresy. The line is not godliness vs. immorality. The issue for Johnson appears to boil down to one word: power. If a person has the supernatural goods — that is to say, if they work miracles — then they obviously have a special anointing from the Holy Spirit that trumps any concerns about other, false teachings or about an immoral lifestyle.
But again, this doesn’t match Scripture. Jesus gave multiple warnings about “evildoers” and “false prophets” who would appear to work mighty miracles (Matthew 7:21-23; 24:24). Their miracles would be so convincing that even God’s elect would be in danger of being deceived by them.
So instead of “eating the meat and spitting out the bones,” followers of Christ would do better to heed the apostle Peter’s words and “crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2).
Holly Pivec is the co-author of A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement and God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement. She has a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University.

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Bethel faith healer, Beni Johnson, seeks medical treatment for cancer.

ChurchWatch Central

From the Pulpit & Pen blog, an update on cancer sufferer Beni Johnson, wife of Bill Johnson – both senior pastors of Bethel Church, Redding.

P&P News Division writes:

We should pray for healing to come to faith-healer, Beni Johnson, who has recently announced having cancer. Beni is the wife of Bill Johnson, with whom she serves as co-lead pastor of Bethel Church.

Bethel Church in Redding California famously has their School of the Supernatural, where they practice simony and for an exchange of money, claim to impart and teach the apostolic gift of miraculous healing. Several times in the last year, Bethel has had high-profile opportunities to demonstrate something supernatural by performing miraculous signs and wonders over tragedies, but have thus far been able. First, their Jesus Culture worship band CEO’s child was desperately sick and dying in the hospital. After Bethel leaders decreed and declared his healing…

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Does a Christian who commits suicide go to Heaven?

(Spoiler Alert:  Suicide is NOT the unforgivable sin.)
God’s Strong Safety Net: Does a Christian who commits suicide go to Heaven? (500 words)


by Clint Archer

August 6, 2018

This 500 words or less “Hope it helps” series is meant to supply quick and simple answers to questions folks in my church frequently ask. This topic requires a longer, probing, empathetic, and pastoral discussion.
Thankfully, there is a deep and helpful treatment of this very issue on this blog. Josiah Grauman explores the issue with compassion and theological depth in his article from November 15, 2013: Considering Suicide.
But this particular question was asked by a new believer who had come out of Catholicism (where it is taught that the ‘cardinal sin’ of suicide can never be forgiven) and was trying to understand the theology of perseverance of the saints, and assurance of salvation, as it pertains to the case of suicide.
So, if you are curious about the topic and would be satisfied with a superficial treatment in less than 500 words, here it is…

How is it that a Christian who commits suicide can be saved?
Let’s make sure we understand salvation and what it means to be a Christian.
A Christian is a person who trusts in Jesus for salvation, worships him, and commits to obey him. Your salvation is secured by what Jesus did on the cross. If you trust in his work on your behalf, then no sin can ever undo his atonement, or cancel his forgiveness, or make him stop loving and saving you.
Not even the sin of suicide.
Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, … nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Is a certain type of death able to separate you from Christ? No.
Put another way: Is suicide something in all creation? Yes.
So can suicide rob a true believer of his/her salvation? No.
There is no weakness in God’s safety net.

That being said…
The way you and your loved ones have assurance of your salvation is by seeing fruit of repentance in your life.
1 John 2:3-4 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him…
Because suicide is a breaking of a commandment to not kill, how can you be sure you have come to know him if you don’t keep the commandments?
The finality of suicide means there is no place to show repentance.
So you don’t lose your salvation, but you lose your assurance.
“Oh,” you say, “I don’t care if I lose my assurance, because I’ll be dead.” Well, if you aren’t sure of your salvation…don’t die! That goes for everyone. If you are not 100% sure of your salvation: you are not ready to die. So get on it.
How can you be sure you are saved?
By trusting in Jesus’ perfect life offered on the cross as a substitute for your sin; and seeing how that faith saves you from your desire to sin, including saving you from the desire to kill yourself.
Another important theological fact to understand is that your sins are not paid for weekly in a re-sacrifice of Christ (as Catholicism teaches), but all your sins were paid for and forgiven in 33AD on the cross.
Col 2:13-14 …God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
So, to summarize:
A true believer’s salvation is secure from everything Satan and self can do to them. True believers can know they’re saved by seeing in their life growth of the fruit of repentance and a deepening desire to please their Savior. The tragedy is that those left behind are left with little assurance of the fate of their deceased loved one.
Hope that helps.
[Just a reminder that this post is not intended to help a person who is struggling with thoughts of suicide; if that is you or someone you know, please make contact with a pastor who can be directly involved in the specific case.]

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Why There is No Such Thing as the Gift of Tongues

by Eric Davis

August 2, 2018


From time to time pastors are asked about a phenomenon common to Christianity in the past one hundred years called “the gift of tongues.” The phrase generally refers to a spectrum of experiences, ranging from a supposed private, non-earthly prayer language spoken between the believer and God enabled by the Holy Spirit, to an angelic, non-earthly prayer language by the believer in prayer and worship, to an ecstatic non-earthly utterance enabled by the Spirit spontaneously in the believer in private and/or public worship.
Understandably, the phenomenon has created much excitement and inquiry since its rise in the early 1900’s. Professing Christians who experience it often testify to things such as the encouraging feeling it brings, comfort in the Christian life, and joy. Notwithstanding these, and many other experiences, God’s people must evaluate all things claimed to be of God by proper interpretation of Scripture. When done so, it becomes apparent that this phenomenon cannot be justified from the word of God. Having said that, Scripture does teach that there existed a miraculous gift of languages during the foundational, apostolic era of the New Testament church. As clear from Scripture, this was the miraculous ability to speak an unlearned language that is known by others on earth for the purpose of exalting Christ and building up others, while pronouncing judgment on Israel. This was a critical gift for laying the foundation of the church, and, as such, has ceased. However, phenomena as previously mentioned and beyond the biblical gift of languages cannot be justified from Scripture. Briefly, here are eleven reasons why there is no gift of tongues.

The meaning of the word “tongues.”
“Tongues” is an unfortunate rendering of the Greek word γλῶσσα. The word refers either to the tongue organ or spoken human languages understood by other people groups on Earth. Thus, references both in Acts and 1 Corinthians 12-14 refer, not to a private prayer phenomena, but a gift of languages, involving human earthly languages.
The definition of New Testament spiritual gifts.
In 1 Corinthians 12-14, the gift of “tongues,” or “languages,” is referred to as a spiritual gift. There, the apostle Paul teaches that a spiritual gift is an enabling of the Holy Spirit given to regenerate individuals to exalt the lordship of Christ, serve the common good of others, to be used in love for others’ edification, and exercised in an orderly manner. Therefore, the idea of an individualized, private communing contradicts the meaning of New Testament spiritual gifts and renders a gift of tongues as unsubstantiated from Scripture.
The transitional nature of redemptive history in the first century.
Tragically, Israel had spurned Yahweh for centuries, culminating in the rejection of her Messiah. Consequently, God judged Israel in faithfulness to his word and covenant warnings. In part, this judgment involved setting Israel aside for the sake of the church. God would no longer center his redemptive plan on the ethnic nation of Israel, but a spiritual nation; the church. Acts records this glorious transition, as the Spirit empowered believers to make disciples from and among all nations. The idea of an individualized private prayer language contradicts the redemptive historical purpose of the gift of languages in the transitional time of Acts.
In a very vivid way, the God of the nations showed with the gift of languages that one need not immerse themselves in Israeli ethnicity to enter his favor. Believers need no not speak Hebrew and become a Jewish proselyte. Instead, God miraculously enabled people to speak the languages of the nations in order to speak the good news of Christ to the nations. Thus, the transitional nature of salvation history in the first century forbids the idea that this gift was a private prayer language. In no way is it a private phenomenon, but a corporate marvel for the nations and in judgment of Israel (cf. 1 Cor. 14:21).
Jesus’ teaching on prayer in Matthew 6:7.
In Matthew 6:7, Jesus teaches Christians how to pray:
“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words” (Matt 6:7).
The word translated “meaningless repetition,” is from the Greek verb, battalogeo. Similar to the TDNT (1:597), A.T. Robertson comments that the word carries the idea of “stammerers who repeat the words,” “babbling or chattering,” “empty repetition.” John Nolland says it’s the idea of the repetition of either intelligible or unintelligible sounds in order to multiply effectiveness (Osborne, Matthew, 226). Many commentators agree that the prefix, “batta,” is onomatopoetic. In other words, the prefix sounds similar to the thing it describes; prayers sounding something like, “batta, batta, batta.” Being onomatopoetic does not mean that the word exhaustively covers everything which it describes, but the general idea.
Christ forbids praying this way for two reasons. First, because it is characteristic of Gentiles (Matt 6:7). Praying in a way that piles up language, or non-language, unintelligible, or babbling sounds is prayer characteristic of those who do not know God. Second, our heavenly Father already knows what we need before we think to pray about it, thus we need not pray or worship in a non-earthly linguistic, unintelligible way (Matt 6:8). Therefore, Christian prayer must consist of simple, earthly languages to our God.
The context of 1 Corinthians 14.
Proponents of the gift of tongues often refer to 1 Corinthians 14 to support their position. In that chapter, the apostle Paul corrects the chaotic frenzy which characterized Corinthian church gatherings. The purpose of the chapter was not to give details on the practice of non-language utterances and trances (whether private or public practice), but just the opposite: intelligibility and orderliness must characterize Christian worship gatherings.
Paul is correcting error with respect to what a spiritual gift is and how things ought to operate in the corporate gathering. In the Corinthian congregation there appears to have been a frenzy surrounding this spiritual gift.
The Corinthians seemed to be erring by: 1) using the spiritual gift of languages in a disorderly, unedifying fashion, with no translation happening and 2) were engaging in the popular Greek pagan practice of non-language ecstatic frenzied utterances which were meaningless noises. Though it may have delivered a spiritual high, a feeling of elevated spirituality, and a feeling of superiority in the culture and above others, Paul rebukes them because it was disorderly and absent of edification. He will argue for intelligibility and order in the worship service, since that is the prerequisite to edification, which is the goal of gathering (1 Cor 14:12, 40). Thus, 1 Corinthians 14 does not validate the practice of a tongues phenomenon.
The similarities between Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14.
It is often proposed that Acts 2 speaks of a gift involving earthly languages, but 1 Corinthians 14 speaks of a different kind of phenomenon, thus, justifying a personal gift of tongues. But this understanding of the two passages will not do. Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14 both use the same Greek word, γλῶσσα, which means “languages.” First Corinthians 14:10-11 and 21 all refer to earthly foreign languages. Further, in both Acts and 1 Corinthians 14, the gift of languages is said to have served as judgment upon Israel, demonstrating that God was now working through an ethnically mixed church. Consequently, Scripture does not teach that there exists a heavenly prayer language/utterance enabled by the Spirit on the grounds that Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14 teach different phenomenon.
The meaning of “tongues of angels” in 1 Corinthians 13:1.
Some proponents of the gift of tongues teach that 1 Corinthians 13:1 suggests that there exists a heavenly or angelic language enabled by the Holy Spirit. However, the passage is a use of hyperbolic extremes.
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 13:1-2).
To remove mountains, know all mysteries, have all knowledge, and possess all faith are not possible. We are not omniscient nor omnipotent. More to the point of the passage, the purpose is to teach that even the greatest manifestation of a spiritual gift is worthless without love. Even more, the passage teaches that gifts are to be used in love towards others, while expressing the eternal nature of love and temporal nature of spiritual gifts. So, “tongues of angels,” better rendered, “languages of angels,” is hyperbole to serve the point.
Further, it should be noted that throughout history, when angels spoke, they did so in intelligible earthly languages without the need of an interpretive gift (e.g. Gen. 19:2, Jos. 5:14, Isa. 6:3, Luke 2:30-33, Rev. 21:9). Of all the times angels spoke, not once did they do so in ecstatic utterances. Therefore, there is no such thing as a gift of tongues which is a heavenly/angelic language.
God’s provision of 66 books containing intelligible words by the work of the Holy Spirit.
The existence of the Bible is an utterly extraordinary thing. By God’s doing, we have the pure, eternal words of the Creator and Redeemer. The Bible is pure and special revelation from God. Without intending to insult anyone’s intelligence, the Bible is a book of words. The words are human words; words of earthly language. The Bible is not a book of unintelligible words which require a special endowment to comprehend. What does that say about God? And what does that say about God’s desire for our fellowship with him? It involves simple, intelligible words featured in earthly languages.
Furthermore, the Bible is the work of the Holy Spirit. He carried men in profound acts of providence to perform a great work. The result is 66 books of logical, orderly earthly language. Since the Bible is the pure word of God, it’s safe to conclude that there exists no higher form of communication with God than that which is based upon his word. There exists no spiritually superior form of interaction or communication that that which is observed in the word of God. And, in all of the prayers, praises, letters, psalms, and books of the Bible, we observe common earthly language. There is nothing more profound or spiritual than the language of the Psalms or Jesus’ intelligible prayers in John 17 or the Garden of Gethsemane, for example.
If someone desires to pray and speak lofty, spiritual words to God, we have the Psalms, for example, which contain profound expressions of worship. On top of that, every single word in the 150 Psalms was inspired in an intelligible language by the Holy Spirit (normal intelligibility, with noun-verb-object, structure). Furthermore, when we observe the prayers of Scripture (e.g. 1 Kings 8, John 17), in every instance, whether Christ or others, individuals are praying in normal, human intelligibility.
The existence and content of the Bible teach us that the most profound expressions of worship to God are to be done in God-given, human languages with normal intelligibility.
The biblical scenes of Heaven.
At times, advocates of the tongues phenomenon suggest that the practice is a higher, more spiritual, or superior experience. Believers who do not seek or experience it are missing out or settling for less.

One way to evaluate the claim is to observe the biblical scenes of heaven. What type of communication do we observe in heaven? What type of worship? Fellowship? Praise? Certainly, a God as great as ours would showcase the highest forms of communication, worship, and praise in his holy word. And, as heaven is the place of glorified, perfected individuals, we could expect the most superior, spiritual phenomena. What do we observe?
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, we are given several glimpses of Heaven. There are things like singing, speaking to the Lord, worship, adoration, and lament. In each scene, they are speaking intelligible language and not ecstatic chances are private prayer language (e.g. Rev. 4:8, 11; 5:5, 9-10, 12-14; 6:6, 10; 15:3-4; 16:7; 18:2-4; 19:1-6). Not once are individuals experiencing a phenomenon similar to that of tongues.
Pagan religious practice.
As Jesus taught in Matthew 6:7, non-linguistic utterances are characteristic of pagan religious practice. In fact, even today, tongues-type phenomena is quite common in false religion.
For example, the type of repetitive prayer phenomenon prohibited by Jesus is common in Buddhist prayer wheels, the Roman Catholic practice of prayer candles, Ave Maria’s and Pater Nosters, and prayers of the Rosary. Tongues phenomena was common in ancient Greek culture (partly what the apostle Paul corrects in 1 Corinthians 12-14). At various points in Phaedrus, for example, Socrates praises the idea of ecstatic mania. A form of non-language, ecstatic prayer was reported to have been practiced through out-of-their-mind, ecstatic oraclers at Delphi and Dodona. (http://sparks.eserver.org/books/plato-phaedrus.pdf, 7). Many more examples could be cited of ancient and contemporary pagan practice.
The predominant position of the church.
Up until the early 1900s, the church did not adhere to the contemporary position of tongues. A large number of sound Christian scholars held to a language interpretation, dating back several centuries: John Chrysostom (4th century), Augustine (4th), Theodoret of Cyrus (5th), Martin Luther (16th), John Calvin (16th), John Owen (17th), Thomas Watson (17th), Matthew Henry (17-18th), John Gill (18th), Jonathan Edwards (18th), David Brainerd (18th), R.C. Sproul, Ian Hamilton, and Iaian Murray (contemporary).
Some of these points are sufficient on their own to demonstrate that the contemporary tongues phenomenon cannot be substantiated from Scripture. Taken together, we conclude that the “gift of tongues” was the foundational-era gift of languages. This was the miraculous ability to speak an unlearned earthly language for the purpose of exalting Christ and building up others. It served as a loud statement at the birth and foundational time of the church to declare that God’s plan of redemption is no longer restricted to one nation, but all nations, while proclaiming God’s judgment on Israel. This gift ceased with the apostolic era in the first century as the NT church foundation was established.
The question is frequently asked, “Then what is this tongues phenomena which many Christians claim to experience?” I do not know. What we do know, however, is that one cannot justify the experience from Scripture, and, therefore, the practice must not be sought, practiced, or propagated by Christians.

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The hidden pitfall of Bill Johnson’s ‘Red-Letter Revival

By Holly Pivec

Yesterday I read chapter 8 of Bill Johnson’s book Hosting the Presence: Unveiling Heaven’s Agenda. In this chapter, titled “Red-Letter Revival,” Johnson teaches that Jesus is the standard for people to follow — his words, his life, and his ministry. And Jesus’ primary mission, writes Johnson, was to reveal God the Father by doing only what he saw the Father doing.
Thus, our primary mission also should be to do only what we see the Father doing. Johnson goes so far as to suggest that perhaps bracelets should be changed from having the letters “WWJD” (“What would Jesus do?”) to “WIFD” (“What is the Father doing?).
To some, Johnson’s admonition — to seek what the Father is doing in the world and then do the same — may come across as biblical, inspiring, even revolutionary. Yet as pious as his mandate may sound, it contains a dangerous pitfall that can lead well-meaning Christians astray. I’ll summarize the three ways Johnson says he seeks to discover what the Father is doing. Then I’ll point out the danger of adhering to Johnson’s practice.
Johnson’s ways for discovering what the Father is doing
Here are ways Johnson teaches people to know what the Father is doing.
Direct word: Johnson says that sometimes “Jesus heard directly from the Father about what He wanted Jesus to do in a particular situation” (page 142, Kindle edition). He says that those direct words came during Jesus’ long nights in prayer, but also from the Holy Spirit who revealed direction to him in the moment. He suggests that we, too, can learn to hear directly from God in the many ways he speaks to us.
Seeing faith in another: Johnson says that “Jesus didn’t always seem to know what to do ahead of time, but got His direction by seeing faith in another person” (142). He gives the example of Jesus’ healing of the centurion’s servant in response to the centurion’s great faith (Matt. 8:13). He suggests that we can see how the Holy Spirit is at work in other people’s lives to receive cues for what we should be doing.
Using our own faith: Johnson says that “often we are unclear as to the specific will of God in a situation” (143). He says that, “in these situations, it is possible to find the will of God through our own faith as we respond to the revealed will of God in His Word” (143). How can we do this? He suggests that we respond to slight impressions we may have or ideas of what God might be doing. Responding in faith to these spiritual hunches can help us discover what the Father is doing.
The perils of a life in pursuit of Red-Letter Revival
Many issues could be raised with Johnson’s proposal, including the fact that Jesus, as the Son of God, has a unique relationship with the Father. What is entailed in that unique relationship can’t be emulated by us. But the pitfall I address here is Johnson’s teaching that believers ought to regularly pursue direction from outside of Scripture — from subjective impressions experienced by ourselves and others rather than the objective Word of God.
What we perceive as a “direct word” from God, and as directions given to us through impressions, are unreliable at best, and harmful to ourselves and others at worst. A life of chaos and confusion will inevitably follow those who follow their own imaginations. Scripture gives multiple warnings about the risks for self-deception when following our own hearts, including warnings that “the heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9) and “there is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).
Doing only what the Father does may sound like an admirable agenda for one’s life. Yet seeking moment-by-moment direction through direct words and impressions is not taught in Scripture, which contains all the instruction we need for a life of effective ministry (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Seeking direction in the subjective manner proposed by Johnson takes us away from the clear and trustworthy words of Scripture.
Contra Johnson, the prophet Isaiah urged his followers to resist those who urged them to look outside of Scripture for direction. In their case, they were being advised to seek direction through occult practices. But he said, “Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn” (Isaiah 8:20). In other words, Isaiah told them to look for direction in Scripture — the tried and true — rather than the new and undependable.
By suggesting that people should ask, “What is the Father doing?” Johnson has switched the focus from looking to Scripture to following subjective intuitions. That’s a dangerous path to tread.
Holly Pivec is the co-author of A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement and God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement. She has a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University.

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Tell Jimmy Carter About the Damage of Homosexuality

By Linda Harvey

July 26, 2018


Vicious attacks on Christians? People losing their jobs and businesses? Kids being corrupted? Church communities in total disarray?

What’s not to like about the “LGBTQ” movement in America?

Oh, but Jimmy Carter thinks “gay marriage” doesn’t damage anyone.

Jimmy Carter talks like he spent the last two decades in New Zealand. Maybe he did, mentally. He is clueless and so, so wrong about homosexuality which, far from being a victimless sin, is the progenitor of virulent pathologies that are poisoning our culture.

The homosexuality/gender rebellion movement, behaviors and identities are toxic. If we didn’t know this forty years ago when “gay rights” was in its infancy (and Carter was president), we certainly have ample evidence now.

Carter said in a recent interview, “I think Jesus would encourage any… love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else, and I don’t see that gay marriage damages anyone else.”

What Jesus is Carter talking about? Not our beloved Savior whose life, teachings, death and resurrection are revealed in Scripture. The authentic Jesus was explicit that marriage involves one man and one woman (Matthew 19: 4-6 and Mark 10:5-9), and even that a man leaves “his father and mother” to join with a wife, not a “father and father.”

The true Christ is the Son eternally existent with the Father and Holy Spirit. He’s the Good Shepherd, our Creator (John 1, Colossians 1) as well as the giver of law, the administrator of justice, and our merciful Savior.

Jesus was present in the Old Testament as Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed (Genesis 19). And it was not because of issues over “hospitality” (a favorite spin of biblical contortionists).

Here are three reasons why every American Christian needs to speak loudly and vigorously to contend against the unhinged “LGBTQ” movement:

1. Homosexuality among adults, including “gay marriage,” leads pretty quickly to approval of sex in childrenincluding pedophilia.When homosexuality is embraced even as “marriage” by the culture at large, it also becomes the new norm for adults to foist on children, grounded in a belief that some are born this way, despite the lack of evidence to support this revolutionary notion.

And as opportunity presents, too many children are then molested by adults either physically or mentally, as kids are urged to consult explicit “gay” web sites, pornography in general, to try masturbation, and to ruminate (anxiously, in most cases) about whether they are one of those “born that way” people.

The result for kids is a mental and medical mess.

Welcoming homosexual and gender confused identities among children predictably results in more who experiment with anatomically high-risk sexual conduct. As revealed in two recent nationwide surveys by the Centers for Disease Control, homosexual practices and identities are rising among youth. Over 15% of American high schoolers now believe they are “gay, lesbian, bisexual or unsure.” And along with these de-stabilizing identities comes earlier and more experimental sexual conduct, more substance abuse and higher levels of other reckless behavior compared to heterosexually-identifying peers.

So the door is opened to affirmation of “LGBTQ” lifestyles in our schools and it’s a nightmare. Right now, hundreds of communities are fighting “inclusive” pornographic sex education as homosexual activists ally with Planned Parenthood to bring the perversion of homosexual practices into the classroom in graphic detail. Oral, anal and vaginal sex are equalized and presented as normal to many seventh graders, with penis models used for condom demonstrations. Kids are given the address of the nearest abortion clinic and told they can get contraception, STD testing and abortions without parental knowledge.

And homosexually active boys are taught they can receive a shot – PrEP– to help prevent HIV. All of this is available to the average 13-year-old, who is also encouraged to view porn on his smart phone and use hook-up apps for promiscuous liaisons.

And so here come pedophilia activist groups clamoring to be added to the “LGBTQ” coalition as “P”. Why are we surprised? They want to be the latest “sexual minority” group, calling themselves “minor attracted persons (MAP)”and demanding rights because they claim (falsely) they were born that way.

If children can be sexual with each other at younger and younger ages, why not with adults? Why not lower the age of consent, a fond dream of “gay rights” activism for forty years? And with pregnancy not an issue, perhaps Jimmy Carter thinks there’s “no harm.” This is the argument and it’s not just coming– it’s here.

Yet early sexualization of children is highly correlated with diminished well-being and even lifetime pathologies.

America has permitted the efforts of generously-funded adult groups with depraved agendas, like GLSEN and HRC, who specifically target kids, bypassing parents, to promote “support” and “safety” for homosexual and cross-gender expression. Their messages vilify people of faith and all previous moral norms. Impressionable kids are saying yes and being lured into sexual minority hell—literally.

Some good news is that the GOP is taking actionand demanding parental rights in sexuality education. Hopefully, this will bring accountability to local schools. But it will only be effective if parents themselves stand up to protect their children.

2. The “LGBTQ” agenda is hatred, not “inclusion.”Ask people like Jack Phillips from Lakewood, CO or the Klein family in Gresham, OR or the Benham brothers in North Carolina, or Barronelle Stutzman in Washington state, if they believe homosexual rights are all about “tolerance.” Phillips prevailed at the U.S. Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission,but would he go through this again? Did this protracted and unneeded lawsuit have to happen?

No. It should have been an easy conversation in the bakery where reasonable people agreed to disagree and respect each other’s beliefs. But too many homosexuals are proving over and over they are either uncontrollably spiteful or easily manipulated by those who are. Any opposition must be squashed and the dissenters must be made to pay.

Right now, the punishment is loss of employment, customers, and business viability.

How soon before it devolves into pointless bloodshed?

The victims of targeted, deliberate hate campaigns and lawsuits are being publicly shamed and professionally punished, even though they uphold man/woman marriage as affirmed by Christ in Matthew 19 and throughout Scripture. They are modern-day heroes, but if you listen to “gay” media or visit Democratic Party sites, these folks are evil “haters.”

How can Carter say there is no harm here? Is he a liar like the activists he defends, or is he just embarrassingly ignorant for a former Commander-in-Chief?

3. Church congregations are splintering over distortions and deceptions about homosexual attractions and gender confusion.There is no support in Scripture for males having sexual relations with other males, or for pairs of females in such liaisons. There is no support for gender “change.” Instead, the Bible teaches about God’s design of humans as male and female and the beauty of sexuality reserved for God-ordained male/female marriage.

And it outlines by contrast very specific condemnation of homosexual acts as disordered and deeply rebellious (Genesis 19:4-13; Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13; Deuteronomy 22:5 and 23:17-18; 1 Kings 15:9-13; Matthew 19:4-6: Mark 10: 5-9; Romans 1: 24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 2 Peter 2:6-10).

Support for homosexuality within Christian circles is a total fraud. These lies only proliferate in a climate where many self-labeled believers have little depth in Scripture and are thus easily deceived.

Or they are willing to trade the truth of God for the satisfaction of the flesh.

But God is not mocked and those who go with the culture on this (swayed by friends, family members, corrupt ministers and celebrities) will have to answer to Him for the damage they enabled, and the children who were sexually corrupted because adults offered “support” for perversion and no warnings. They will have to explain the neglect of those who never come to a saving faith in the true Jesus because they hear only about a false Christ who is an idol of personal, fleshly sin, not the eternal God of unchanging truth.

Oh, Lord help us!

Because no help is coming from the likes of leaders like Jimmy Carter.

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Exposing NARpostles Wagner, Cain, Pierce, Jacobs, Hamon, Sheets, Joyner, Fletcher, Bickle, Laffoon, Wentroble & Haggard.


ChurchWatch Central

Back in 1999, Steve Shultz of The Elijah List promoted an event that had New Apostolic Reformation Apostles and Prophets heavily advocating their doomsday cult movement. Apostles included, C. Peter Wagner, Paul Cain, Chuck Pierce, Cindy Jacobs, Bill Hamon, Dutch Sheets, Rick Joyner, Kingsley Fletcher, Mike Bickle, Jim Laffoon, Barbara Wentroble and Ted Haggard.

Shultz published what he called “Eyewitness Reports”. Accessing three articles, we highlight how all of these Apostles are fully aware of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), what they were involved in and what they were to advocate as leading NAR Apostles and Prophets. 

It is important to observe that ‘Anita’ (in part 3) noted Wagner openly talking about the New Apostolic Reformation and apostolic governance. NAR Apostle Dutch Sheets also attempted to recruit people at this event to “volunteer for God’s Army’, threatening them that if they refused to volunteer that God will draft…

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Moore of Babylon – can we get an amen?

ChurchWatch Central

The Moore of Babylon? It’s not uncommon these days to use ‘click bait’ titles to grab the attention of the reading audience – however is this article title a warning of things to come? As the title suggests, the topic is Beth Moore (and her fellow NARpostles). We explore the possibility that her ministry is closely aligned with ‘the whore of Babylon, a world system controlled by the Antichrist during the last days before Jesus’ return’?

Revelation 17 goes into great detail about this evil system, a system that has been historically identified as Catholicism (and it’s interesting to note the links between the New Apostolic Reformation and the NARismatic members of the Catholic Church).

To begin, we point our readers to a 2017 Charisma Magazine article written by J. Lee Grady promoting Beth Moore.

How Beth Moore Is Calling Down Pentecostal Fire

The New Apostolic Reformation and the MCU:

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This article by CRN managing editor Marsha West was published October 20, 2014.

Bill Johnson is no stranger to controversy.  For one thing, he claims to be an apostle, as in the unique position held by the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ.  He was given this high honor by [the late] C. Peter Wagner who holds many titles himself, including president of Global Harvest Ministries, chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute, convening apostle of the New Apostolic Roundtable, and my personal favorite: presiding apostle of International Coalition of Apostles (ICA).  So for the purpose of this article I’ll refer to presiding apostle C. Peter Wagner as PA Peter. What’s important to know about this man is that he’s sort of like the pope of the “new apostolic-prophetic movement” [prior to his death].

Here’s ICA’s definition of a modern day apostle:

An apostle is a Christian leader gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church.

What role does a so-called apostle play?  There are a couple of tasks, says PA Peter.  First, apostles are to “set things in order” and “they’re to assure that the body of Christ is operating on the basis of sound, biblical doctrine.”

Sound biblical doctrine my Aunt Fanny!

PA Peter and his self-proclaimed apostles and prophets are false teachers. These men and women (yes, there are women apostles) are well aware that accusations of heresy have been leveled against them by a large number of highly regarded orthodox Bible scholars. Yet they continue the pretense.

In this two part series you’ll discover that the new apostolic-prophetic movement has taken many twists and turns over the years and why those of us involved in online discernment believe that this movement is a clear and present danger to the Body of Christ; thus, we will continue to warn the brethren about them.  (Acts 20:31)

Now, keep in mind that the men and women involved in this movement sincerely believe that they’re in the same league as the Old Testament prophets and our Lord’s hand-picked disciples who later became the Twelve Apostles.  NAR leaders have convinced people that the office of apostleship is not reserved for a select few, as the Bible clearly teaches.  They’ve convinced a large number of their followers that Christ is once again choosing apostles and prophets to preside over His Church.  Got Questions’ has this warning: 

Those claiming the office of apostle seek authority equal to, or at least rivaling, the authority of the original twelve apostles. There is absolutely no biblical evidence to support such an understanding of the role of apostle today. This would fit with the New Testament’s warning against false apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13).

So – if it’s true that Christ is giving authority to a select few apostles and prophets, why would He choose individuals who possess questionable character?  I’ll have more on this in a moment.

Suffice it to say C. Peter Wagner and Bill Johnson believe that the Lord has given them the authority to rule over the Church.  If it’s also true that the so-called apostles are called by Christ to form a government to control the Church and that they will hold Church leaders accountable then who, pray tell, will hold them accountable?

Itching Ears

Without getting too far afield, since the new apostolic-prophetic movement’s inception it has been referred to in a number of different ways, i.e. Dominionism…Latter Rain…Joel’s Army…Manifest[ed] Sons of God…Kingdom Now…Charismatic Renewal…Positive Confession and a few others.  Its current handle, New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), was coined by PA Peter in the 1990s.  He “reinvigorated the Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God false prophecies about a great endtime revival accompanied by signs and wonders.”  As I said, NAR leaders teach that God is restoring the lost offices of church governance – and they are His chosen ones to bring it to fruition!

Do not be surprised:

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

In Paul’s final warning to the Church he never suggested that believers embrace new movements.  On the contrary. Paul warned that they would not listen to the truth.  Commentator Matthew Poole clarifies: 

Having itching ears; for their ears itch, and they must have those that will scratch them. The disease of lust in their souls brings forth an itch in their ears, that they will have a mind to hear only such as will by scratching please them. 

Shall they heap to themselves teachers, will be finding out teachers, not according to God’s, but to their own hearts; and there will be plenty of them to be found, they shall heap them up, choosing them without any judgment, regarding nothing but whether they will not be smart upon their lusts. (emphasis in original)

Paul’s message throughout his entire letter was that the church must “follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me” (1:13); “guard the good deposit entrusted to you (1:14); “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2:2).

Unity Over Doctrine

Now to “apostle” Bill Johnson.  Bethel Redding’s leadership holds to the theology of the Word of Faith (WoF) movement.  WoF doctrine teaches the occult belief that:

He [God] framed the world with His words. You can’t build without substance. He took words — faith-Filled words were God’s substance. Here, essentially, is what God did. God filled His words with faith. He used His words as containers to hold His faith and contain that spiritual force and transport it out there into the vast darkness by saying ‘Light be!’ That’s the way God transported His faith causing creation and transformation. (Source)

One word: unscriptural

BC also has its roots in the early1980s movement dubbed by PA Peter the Third Wave (TW).

Following is an excerpt from Apologetics Index.  What they’ve laid out here should help prevent people from getting drawn into TW:

[D]istinctives of the Third Wave movement include — but are not limited to — the following:

▪ The baptism with the Holy Spirit is identified with conversion. This is unlike other Pentecostal movements, in which the baptism with the Spirit is either a separate and/or a recurring experience.

▪ the belief that the spiritual gifts are valid for today; that Christians can ask for, receive and learn how to use these spiritual gifts (and become better at using them with practice.

▪ the belief that the primary use of the spiritual gifts is for ministry in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit – both to bless and heal those inside the church and to minister to those outside the church (“Power Evangelism.”). This ministry includes healing the sick, casting out demons, prophesying, etcetera.

▪ active promotion of unity — sometimes at any cost (e.g. the Toronto Blessing Movement ‘s acceptance of certain Word-Faith teachers. “Unity over doctrine

▪ the belief that people, Christians included, can be possessed (or ‘demonized’ — or ‘oppressed,’ something seen as a lesser form of possession) by evil spirits with or without their consent

▪ the belief that objects or places can project evil influence and act as conduits for demonic oppression

▪ the belief that traumatic events, either in our lives or in our ancestral past, can make us particularly vulnerable to demonic influence, possession or oppression

▪ the belief that some Christians — using appropriate spiritual gifts — can identify and cast out demonic spirits

▪ a general acceptance of Kingdom Now theology, which has led to the practice of so-called ‘Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare‘ or SLSW — an unbiblical concept in which Christians identify (through ‘spiritual mapping‘) and then target (with SLSW) ‘Territorial Spirits.’ (all links are AI’s)  (Source)

WoF and TW leaders are false teachers.  (You’ll find the names of these and other false teachers here.)   Over the years self-proclaimed apostles and prophets have managed to coax undiscerning individuals to involve themselves in some of the strangest physical manifestations imaginable.  Those who participate in church services where “signs and wonders” take place like to blame their crude behavior on the Holy Spirit.  Now, try to imagine giants of the faith such as John, Peter, James or even Paul “drunk in the spirit,” crawling on all fours barking like a dog, clucking like a chicken, jerking and twitching, rolling on the floor, laughing themselves into a convulsive state.  People involved in NAR have done these things in the past and continue this behavior to this day.  When I think about it, it really wouldn’t surprise me to witness Apostle Bill on all fours, nose in the air, howling like a wolf.  But I digress.

Two Super Apostles Restore A Fraud

During the alleged Lakeland Outpouring aka Lakeland Revival in Florida, a story hit the news that put NAR evangelist Todd Bentley in a bad light.  It was revealed that the rock-star evangelist was in an adulterous relationship with a female intern – and suddenly all hell broke loose.  In my column “We have had enough of false prophets” I scrutinized the NAR’s leaders and pointed out that Apostle Bill,

calls those who exposed Todd Bentley as a false prophet “sharks.” He also says:

“I’ll never blame the opponents [sharks] of this outpouring for Todd’s choices [sin].  However, it had a greater effect on the outcome than any of his critics will likely own up to in this lifetime. History proves this.”

(More on the Bentley brouhaha here, here and here.)

Apostle Bill and fellow apostate – oops! — apostle-prophet Rick Joyner decided to involve themselves in Bentley’s “restoration process.”  Just so you’ll know, Rick Joyner’s the founder and Executive Director of MorningStar Publications and Ministries and promotes the “new breed” of apostles and prophets.

Both Bill Johnson and Rick Joyner, who are seasoned apostle-prophets, claim to hold the title “Super-Apostle” and/or “Super-Prophet” which is comparable to holding the high office of cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church.  Chew on that for a moment, brethren.  As an aside I should mention that some “Super-Apostles” have been accused of using cultic mind control techniques on those they prey upon.

Listen to Apostle Rick pontificate about how he sees himself:

Even though I have not been able to go to journalism school, or even Bible school, in many ways I would not trade my education for anyone’s. Like Paul, I can say that what I received I did not receive from men.

Are we supposed to believe him?  And why would we?

Now, back to Bentley.  Bringing this man under submission took place following his divorce and after marrying the Proverbs 7 woman who, by the way, wasn’t the only woman he had an extra marital affair with.  Apostle Bill was well aware that the fraud-evangelist was involved in a prior dalliance.  Both “Super-Apostles” knew that he was drunk during his Lakeland stage act, yet they returned him to ministry anyway.  But, then, no one has ever accused NAR leaders of doing much of anything by The Book.

Todd Bentley is no more qualified for ministry than is disgraced televangelist/prosperity preacher Jim Bakker, who was incarcerated for fleecing the flock (fraud).  After his release from prison, what did Bakker do?  Still craving attention, he returned to public ministry.

So – how should churches handle a person in a leadership role when he/she brings shame on the Name of our Lord Jesus?  I addressed this topic in Does the Bible Really Say We’re Not to Judge?

The way in which to handle the sin of adultery biblically is for the church hierarchy to apply an appropriate level of discipline necessary to bring the person to true repentance.  Church leaders who have a “moral failing” must publicly repent of his/her sin against God.  They then must seek spiritual guidance and accountability and move out of the spotlight altogether.  Once the person is restored, he/she is encouraged to serve the Lord behind the scenes.  Sadly, this hasn’t been the case with Todd Bentley. Why? Because self-appointed Super Apostles Bill and Rick found it in their hearts—not in the Bible—to return the man to public ministry.

I’ll close this with a plea from a genuine apostle:

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (Romans 16:17-18)

Part 2 


Strange Fire Conference Q&A—Phil Johnson interviews John MacArthur

Peter Wagner launches WLI Seattle, Sonrise Chapel, Feb. 3, 2008–Around 54:00 into the session, Wagner responds to a question during the Q&A. He tells the audience that when the Holy Spirit stopped revealing things through the written Word, He kept on revealing new things to us through the “Rhema Word.” He claims that the Holy Spirit still speaks to us today by giving us information that you cannot find in the 66 books of the Bible, info that the Bible doesn’t address, but it’s not contradictory.

NAR “Apostle C. Peter Wagner teaching its key doctrine of Dominionism

Todd Friel of Wretched Radio/TV on Bill Johnson — 2:14 min.

Why I Must Speak Out Against the NAR and Bethel Church—Tony Miano, host of Cross Encounters radio, discusses, among other things, the music of BC’s music team Jesus Culture (more below). Listen to Tony tell of his Twitter chat with Beni Johnson, Bill’s pastorette wife.

Bill Johnson…scroll down—Apologetics Index

New Apostolic Reformation/Dominionism —On Solid Rock Resources

Bethel Church’s Music & Entertainment:

Jesus Culture of Bethel Church and Practicing Raising the Dead

The “Jesus Culture” – a petri dish for growing young new heretics?

Watch And Weep: 

Gold dust rains at Bethel service

Bethel Church Dance

Bethel Church children’s director and “trips to heaven, with kids”

Creative Miracles at Bethel

Bethel Church Dance

Kundalini Spirit at Redding

School of Worship – Prophetic Song

Copyright by Marsha West, 2014.  All rights reserved

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