10 WAYS FALSE TEACHERS ENSNARE PEOPLE

By Rick Becker   29 March 2018

The greatest threat to the church are not those who oppose the gospel, but those who distort it.  Many in the visible church are fearful that the growth of other religions, godless governments, and the ongoing calamities of this world pose a threat to the church.  These serve to distract from the greatest threat which comes from within – false teachers.  Jesus described them as ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing –  they look like sheep but feed on sheep.  How do these false teachers manage to captivate and deceive millions within the visible church?

 

1. They are Established in the visible church.

The false teachers that present a very real and present danger are not those living on some isolated plot of land with a few hundred followers.  To the contrary, they are the ones revered in the industrial evangelical complex with thousands of followers.  Disguised as apostles of Christ, they speak of revival, fill stadiums, operate in signs and wonders, and claim to have new revelations for the body of Christ. Their books dominate the shelves of christian bookstores, and their conferences and courses flood the market. They are on GOD TV, TBN, and the Sid Roth show.  In his epistle, Jude exhorted the saints to “earnestly contend for the faith” because “certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” Jude 4

Paul forewarned the elders at Ephesus that false teachers would come from within:
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;  and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 
 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.” Acts 20:29-31

Many new or undiscerning believers are led to believe that these false teachers are the anointed ones, the ones who “hear from God.”  The humble preachers who faithfully exposit God’s word are ignored in favour of the celebrity teachers who motivate, entertain, and promise something new.  The enemy of the church lurks within it’s pastures!

2.  They Exploit weakness. 

Paul warned Timothy that in the “the last days” there will be false teachers who prey on the weak:For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,  always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth”
2 Timothy 3:6-7
False teachers prey on the sinful desires and passions of the women mentioned in this example.  They prey on those oppressed by their sins, perhaps giving them a solution not offered in scripture or alternatively, justifying their sins  The result is that these women never arrived at a “knowledge of the truth.”  In our generation, millions of men and women  sign up for the latest “christian” course on offer by well know teachers or ministries, yet never come to know the truth.  Unbeknownst to them, their weaknesses are being exploited by teachers who are peddling myths and doctrines of demons.
The parable of the sower reveals that two things “choked the word” that was sown among thorns: “As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” Matthew 13:22
These two things are likewise two weaknesses that false teachers exploit – the cares and the pleasures of this world.  False teachers teachers prey on those looking for an increase in wealth – the pleasures of this world.  Teaching for shameful gain, they offer formulas such as seed faith giving and tithing in order to achieve prosperity.  False teachers prey on those in desperate circumstances such as relationship and health issues – the cares of this world.  False teachers also prey on passionate youth eager to be great in the kingdom of God.  Like James and John they covet a distinguished position in the kingdom on earth, yet have no understanding of the kingdom of God or the cup of sufferings true believers will endure.  The subtlety of pride deceives those who are determined to be part of a new breed of anointed revivalists that will leave a legacy.  These naive youth are taught that all can prophesy, perform miracles, and the end result is a journey into mysticism, vain imaginations and even the occult.  They have been deceived into believing they can rule and reign in this present world by false teachers.
 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 16:18

3. They Entice people

These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.  For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.  They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves  of corruption.” 2 Peter 2: 17-19

Their messages are appealing because they offer what the flesh desires, and justify it with scripture.  The top priorities of the world include wealth and health and this is exactly what false teachers offer.  The gospel they market is nothing short of a dream destiny manual and a means of self motivation.  The old nature is extolled instead of being exterminated.  False teachers tell their audiences they are awesome, inherently good, worthy, and deserve the best that life has to offer.  False teachers make you feel like you deserve a crown, whereas the true gospel leads us to a cross.  False teachers will never tell you about the cost of following Christ, but merely what you will gain.  By gain, they are not referring to redemption or knowing Christ, but taking dominion and  guaranteed health and wealth. In other words, they will tell you that the kingdom of God is of this world.  The sobering words of A W Tozer ring hollow on the ears of those who are professional ear ticklers and their audiences:  “The whole purpose of God in redemption is to make us holy and to restore us to the image of God. To accomplish this, He disengages us from earthly ambitions and draws us away from the cheap and unworthy prizes that worldly men set their hearts upon.”

Three areas that we are tempted in are recorded in 1 John 2: 15-17:Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

The devil used these three areas to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, and in two instances the devil justified his temptation with scripture.  This is what false teachers do –  use scripture, out of context, in order to entice and flatter their followers.

4. They Eisegete texts

You may have been in a bible study when the question is asked: “What does that verse mean to you?”  The proper question should be “What was the original meaning that the author intended?”  Exegesis is the result of applying hermeneutical principles to the text in order to establish the true meaning.  Factors such as the type of literature (historical narrative, wisdom, law, apocalyptic etc), the context, and the difference between the law and the gospel are crucial when interpreting scripture.  False teachers employ eisegesis instead of exegesis. This means that instead of rightly dividing the word and drawing out the proper meaning, they ignore the historical context and original meaning of the text.  Instead, they impose their meaning into the text.

Another faulty method of interpretation is narcigesis.  Eisegesis imposes a faulty meaning into the text, whereas narcigesis places you in the text. In other words, its all about you.  In some cases people are actually encouraged to insert their own names into a text.  You become David, and Goliath your problem etc. This self centered approach makes the gospel about you – not Christ.  By modifying the gospel, false teachers are able to deceive those who accept teachings without making any attempt to emulate the Bereans and search “the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”
To give credence to their teachings, false teachers use scripture, but it is in fact an abuse of scripture due to their faulty interpretations. The visible church is in such a bad state that not only do false teachers abuse scripture, they ignore it altogether.  It is common to have meetings that exclude scripture and the gospel, and the focus instead is on signs and stories.

5. They are Eloquent

False teachers are good speakers.  They captivate their audience through eloquent speech.
For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.”  2 peter 2:18
They use high sounding words and exaggeration to fool their listeners.  These words however are meaningless, devoid of the knowledge of the truth.  Suave False teachers will mesmerize their followers with stories, testimonies and new revelations. 

Paul lacked oratorical skill, unlike the false apostles who were skilled speakers: Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.  Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.” 2 Corinthians 11:5-6
Some in Corinth had described Paul as someone who had a weak “bodily presence” and having “speech of no account” 2 Corinthians 10:10
Paul was the exact opposite of the teachers that flaunt their appearance and oratory skills on stages and behind pulpits today.  Paul relied on the word of God to have it’s effect.  When the word of God is rightly divided, believers are able to grow in their knowledge what of scripture actually teaches, and in the knowledge of God.  Smooth talkers abound in the visible church, but despite their eloquence and fanciful stories they proclaim “another Jesus” and their followers receive a “different spirit” and a “different gospel.” (2 Corinthians 11:4)

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

6. They Elevate themselves

With “loud boasts of folly” they present their new teachings and tell you of their encounters with God.  Their new revelations are touted as “messages for the body of Christ” as that the “Lord gave them” the word.  They describe themselves in their promotional materials as “sought after speakers” and remind you of how many books they have sold.  They make sure you know about the charity work they are involved in, and what great humanitarians they are.  Jude 16 describes them as being: “grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.”   While claiming to be anointed, their actual condition resembles the church in Laodicea: “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:17
False teachers are self centered individuals, they take credit due to others, commend themselves, compare themselves with others, and boast in themselves (2 Corinthians 10:12-18)  This is how they elevate themselves, creating a successful persona that is merely a facade for a ravenous wolf.  A new adulterous priesthood take trips to heaven, receive direct revelations from God, and function as God’s mouthpiece for lesser creatures who have not been allowed access into the heavenlies.  Naturally, the keys to access the heavenly realms false teachers supposedly frequent can be obtained by purchasing their latest course.

7. They promote Experiential Christianity

We are not always going to sense the presence of Christ within us.  As emotional beings, we are susceptible to place more emphasis on the subejctive, and neglect the objective.  Experience has replaced reason, and the result is a generation of of people who would rather soak in subjective feelings and their own imaginations than study the word of God.  The word of God is our objective source of truth, so when feelings and manifestations take precedence over the word of God we are left with relative truth.  Chasing after signs and mantles, lying on graves of the deceased to soak up anointings, running after prophets to receive impartations, and being incapacitated by the “power of God” are some of the ingredients of an experiential based Christianity.  False teachers want it to appear as if God is present in their meetings in order to justify their ministries. To this cause, they go to great lengths by preparing their venues.  Trending worship songs, lights, smoke machines and other modern technologies are utilized in order to create the right atmosphere.  Signs and wonders are advertised, and they key word “revival” is thrown in for extra effect.  Which leads us to the next point: 

8. They create Expectation

 Peter describes false teachers as “waterless springs and mists driven by a storm”
2 Peter 2:17. Jude describes them as:  “hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted;  wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.” Jude 12-13
False teachers create a false hope by offering health, wealth, intimacy with God and the ability to walk as Jesus did on the earth in signs and wonders.  It is this expectation, or hope that keeps people coming back for more. “There is more” – they shout from their stages and from their positions of power, but the more never comes.  Like clouds without water, these false teachers cannot deliver what they promise.  When those who are deceived do not receive what they hoped for, they shipwreck their faith or embark on a journey without end.  They have to attend the next revival meeting to experience holy laughter or be slain in the spirit, they need a word from the next prophet, they need to do the next course etc.  When results are not forthcoming, don’t expect a false teacher to take the blame.  The problem will be your sin, your lack of faith, the fact that you don’t tithe, you lack commitment to the church etc.

9. They Entertain

 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
That time is now.  The visible church at large is a business, and members are consumers demanding a product that suits their passions.  Entertainment is used to attract and keep people in many churches.  Large churches that entertain goats are viewed as successful; smaller churches that feed the sheep are deemed as failures and in need of church growth strategies.  The true Gospel that offends the natural man, has been replaced by a false gospel that excites the natural man.  

“A German philosopher many years ago said something to the effect that the more a man has in his own heart, the less he will require from the outside; excessive need for support from without is proof of the bankruptcy of the inner man” – A W Tozer

Entertainment is a vital cog in the machinery of the post modern church.  Hedonists are at ease in a church that stimulates the senses and stifles the word of God.  Sermons are based on movies, there are props on stage, hip “worship leaders”, special effects, and celebrity speakers are brought in to satisfy consumers. The early church flourished under this model – “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” Acts 2:42.
These four elements don’t attract the majority of people that constitute the visible church today – carnal people and false converts.  There is nothing entertaining about carrying a cross and dying to self.  The reverence of God has been replaced with a blatant flippancy that has reduced God to our partner who wants us to be happy, not holy.

“Many churches these days have become little more than poor theaters where fifth-rate “producers” peddle their shoddy wares with the full approval of evangelical leaders who can even quote a holy text in defense of their delinquency. And hardly a man dares raise his voice against it.” A W Tozer

10. They Excuse their moral failures

The biblical qualifications to be a teacher or pastor basically covers two areas – the life of the individual, the doctrine of the individual.

False teachers can therefore be recognized by their failure in these two areas.  Teachers must be able to rightly divide the word of God. They  must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it  Titus 1:9
False teachers have swerved from the truth, and distorted the gospel. ” There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” 2 Peter 3:16
Those who are captivated by these false teachers have failed to compare the teachings on offer to what the word of God really teaches.

The second way to identify a false teacher is by examining their lives.  Scripture is clear regarding what is required. (1 Peter 5:1-4; 1 Timothy 3: 1-13; Titus 1:5-9)  Some of the requirements listed include: humility, not teaching for shameful gain (greed) not domineering, above reproach, self controlled, family life in order and mature in the faith.
False teachers are masters at disguising their moral flaws and indiscretions.  The sad part is that in today’s society, some of these attributes that actually disqualify a person from church leadership, are openly flaunted.  This makes it easy for false teachers to excuse their moral failures as they follow the pattern of this world.  Carnal people are only too happy to hear how awesome they are, how great they will become, and what a legacy they will leave.  They want to hear this from someone who is seen to have “arrived.”  Humility, brokenness, transparency and contentment with God’s will,  can only serve to sabotage the false teachers image as a confident and successful individual.   False teachers teach for “shameful gain”and they are motivated by greed.
“And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.” 2 Peter 2:3
They excuse their greed by preaching the prosperity gospel, a false gospel that will never take hold unless the one preaching it is actually prospering.  Mansions, Jets, expensive cars, watches, expensive clothes and jewelry are justified because God wants to prosper his children.

Barely a month goes by without some well known teacher’s indiscretions brought to light.  Abusing church funds for self promotion or pleasures, controlling and abusing members, and of course having an affair with someone are common.  Guilty pastors simply lie low for a while without neglecting to blame others and shame their spouses or the one’s they betrayed.  Within a few months they have a new wife, or have moved to another city, and it’s business as usual.  Endorsements from fellow false teachers and a re-commissioning by an apostolic or prophetic team ensure the wolf is kitted out in a new sheepskin.

The false shepherds of today are similar to the rulers of Israel that Ezekiel rebuked:Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?  You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep.  The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.  So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered;   they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.”
Ezekiel 34:2-6

Invalid reasons for staying in a church you know teaches false doctrine

By Rick Becker   22 March 2018

When the scales of deception are removed from their eyes, many find themselves in a dilemma.  They realise that the church that they love, attend, and where they were possibly even saved, teaches false doctrine.  False doctrines such as word of faith, the prosperity gospel, dominion theology and of course the unhealthy mixture of all three found in the New Apostolic Reformation are working their leaven in the visible church.  Furthermore, accompanying these false doctrines are false practices and manifestations.  Individuals are torn in two.  Should they leave? or should they stay and attempt to navigate the spiritual minefield that  they find themselves in?  This post looks at invalid reasons that some use to justify their refusal to walk away from a poisoned well.

If you are not familiar with the false doctrines mentioned above, here are some examples of people and ministries that teach them: Bethel church (Bill Johnson & Kris Vallotton), Hillsong (Brian & Bobbie Houston, Carl Lentz), Randy Clark, Lance Wallnau, Todd Bentley, Georgian Banov, Heidi Baker, Joyce Meyer, John & Lisa Bevere, Christine Caine, Rick Joyner, Patricia King, Cindy Jacobs, Chuck Pierce, Craig Groeschel, Rick Warren, Paula White, T D Jakes, Steven Furtick, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Todd White, Beth Moore, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, Mike Bickle, Ann Voskamp, and many more. In South Africa – CRC churches (At Boshoff) Breakthru Life church (John Crumpton), Rivers church (André Olivier) River ministries (Andre Roebert) Oasis Christian Church (Sarel van der Merwe) Christian Family Church (Theo Wolmarans) and many more.  If your church uses material from any of these folk or promotes them in anyway, you should be concerned! 

The following  reasons are not legitimate reasons to stay in a church that teaches false doctrine:

1.  I’ll simply ignore the bad teaching – eat the meat and spit out the bones

To put it another way – don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  There is no biblical mandate for this argument.  Those who teach contrary to the gospel need to be marked and avoided, not marked and ignored. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them Romans 16:17
In his letter to Timothy, Paul explains that someone approved by God “rightly divides the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)  He then gives an example, of two teachers who did not rightly divide God’s word: Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.” (vs 18)
Finally, Paul tells us what our response should be: “But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” (vs 19)

By sitting under a pastor who twists the word of God, you are submitting yourself to someone God has disqualified and submitting yourself to someone who is responsible for damaging the faith of their followers.  You pastor should in fact be the one rebuking those who teach false doctrine. He  must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it  Titus 1:9

The church at Thyatira was rebuked fortolerating that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants..” Revelation 2:20.
We must avoid the irreverent babble of those who distort the word of God to suit their own carnal appetites. False teachers need to be silenced, not supported:For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.  They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach” Titus 1:10-11
A ravenous wolf has nothing to offer you:  they come to steal, kill and destroy.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking the situation is static in the sense that the current level of false doctrine will remain constant.  It begins with singing Hillsong or Jesus Culture songs, and before you can say “heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss” your pastor will be introducing the doctrines of Hillsong and Bethel.
Soon your leaders will find it necessary to attend a Bethel or Hillsong conference, and then new materials and courses such as sozo or a school of supernatural ministry will be introduced.  You will probably observe new terminology coming from your pulpit, as new teachings come with some catch phrases.  These words, for example, accompany NAR teachings: “shift, alignment, presence, atmosphere, impartation, acceleration”

God’s word is ignored or twisted beyond it’s original meaning, resulting in progressive error:while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom  you learned it  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.   All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God  may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:13-17

2.  I’ll just stay and be a witness

That may work for a short while, but at some point you are going to be accused of “sowing division” and your “rebellious spirit” will be dealt with by your leaders.  Your first port of call in any case should be your leaders.  A meeting with them, explaining your concerns, will quickly determine whether your discernment is appreciated.  There were no undercover believers in the early church; they broke away from the various sects and teachings of the pharisees.  If you want to be a testimony then you need to leave and have no fellowship with darkness.  Those who are interested in truth, will come and ask you for the reasons you left and that will be your opportunity to present the truth.  

3.  I have family members in the church; if I leave I will offend them

This is a difficult case, but one that Jesus warned about: Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.  For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”  Luke 12:51-53
You have the advantage of spending time with your family members and giving your reasons for leaving.  I realise there may be some complications, but ultimately your leaving may be the catalyst for their eyes to be opened.  You may offend them if you leave, but you won’t be offending God.  What is offensive, and indeed unloving, is to stay silent when doctrines that may shipwreck the faith of your family members are not addressed.

You have a duty to warn your family and friends.  They should not feel at ease among enemies of the cross.  “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.  Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.”
Acts 20:29-31

4.  I stand to lose too much

The opposite is true; you stand to lose much by participating in any ministry that has swerved from the truth, and is deceiving people. Many are heavily invested in their churches.  Apart from the possible loss of friendships that are dear, there are other factors that may come into play. A church I attended had a “business directory” for church members.  We were encouraged to support the businesses of church members, nothing wrong with that.  Some may however find themselves in a situation where their business is largely dependent on the support of fellow church members, or even the church itself.  The choice then is simple – God or mammon. The same God who leads us out of deception, will provide for our needs and make a way when disaster seems imminent.  Your spiritual welfare must be prioritized above any earthly concern.  You can never lose when you obey the word of God.

5.  Despite some bad doctrine God still moves

We need to clarify what “God still moves” actually means.  By this argument, people are usually referring to signs and wonders, testimonies from people in the church, or perhaps their own experience.  I’m sure you have heard  similar expressions such as these: “the presence of the Lord was so strong during the service” or “there was such a powerful anointing during the meeting and Holy Spirit was present.”  When subjective experiences take precedence over the word of God, we are dealing with mysticism, not biblical Christianity.  People falling over backwards, gold dust appearing during services, rain falling during a prayer meeting, fire tunnels, goosebumps during worship, and even signs and wonders are not evidence of God moving.  These last days will include many signs and wonders, but they won’t be a result of God moving, but of deception:
 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,  in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
2 Thessalonians 2:9-11

In another scenario, people may actually have been saved or even healed in the church they now realise teaches false doctrine. Perhaps the church started off well, but gradually succumbed to the ear tickling doctrines of demons, or perhaps the church has always been rooted in NAR and other false teachings. Be thankful God is his mercy and grace has saved or healed you in spite of people, not because of them. God saved you, God healed you, be faithful to God!  

6.  I will be without a spiritual covering

You have not been under a spiritual covering in the first place.  The “spiritual covering” that false teachers offer is nothing but a means to manipulate and control their followers.  There is no mutual submission to one another in their vocabulary.  False teachers serve their own appetites, and to get what they want, they will dominate if they have to. True shepherds lead by example with pure motives: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;  not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock”
1 Peter 5:2-3

We are still experiencing the influence of the heavy shepherding movement of the seventies and eighties, and the fear instilled in many due to “covering” teaching remains.  Those who experienced this will know what I’m talking about.  In some cases leaders had such control over those under their authority, that they had the power to determine who your spouse should be, where to live, and what work to do.  If the leaders did not “have peace” or managed to find a scripture in Jeremiah for example (wrest out of context) contradicting your choice, you had little option but to submit to them.

Teachers like John Bevere, are still promoting this aberrant doctrine.  This is a long quote (from one of our previous blogs) but worth repeating: “Another book by Bevere – Under Cover, promotes a pyramid model or hierarchical leadership structure in the church, the very thing Jesus and Peter warned about.  It’s an abusive pastor’s dream reference book, as Bevere basically equates submitting to your pastor with submitting to God.  A far more appropriate title would have been “The Untouchables Manual For Ultimate Manipulation Of Sheep.”  Based on faulty exegesis of Romans 13 which applies to civil authority not church authority, Bevere exalts church authority to a level condemned in scripture itself.  Bevere believes that if we oppose God’s delegated authority, we oppose God Himself.  The consequences are severe: “Not only does it place us under the judgment of God, but it grants legal access to demonic powers. If we want to remain obedient to God and ,we have but one choice when it comes to delegated authority – submission and obedience.” p88
And it gets worse: “Our provision as well as protection could be blocked or even cut off as we disconnect ourselves from the Source of true life”

In a conversation with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit said to Bevere:  “John, if I intended for every believer to get all his information, wisdom, and direction only from prayer and communion with Me, then I’d never have instituted authority in the church. I placed authorities in the church with the full intent that My children could not get all they needed just from their prayer life. They would have to learn to recognise and hear My voice through their leaders as well. p147

God did place leaders in the church; not to dominate people but to instruct them through rightly dividing the word of truth, and setting an example through servanthood.  Furthermore, we are commanded to test all things. The Bereans were commended for comparing Paul’s teaching with scripture (Acts 17:11)   Bevere makes no distinction between leadership under the old covenant with that of the new.  His frequent use of old testament authority examples are out of context and he comes to this shocking conclusion: “..when God places His authority on a person, no matter his private or personal behaviour, we may still receive if we look beyond it and honour him as sent from God” p116
This is in clear contradiction to scripture: “appoint elders in every town as I directed you –  if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.  For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.  He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Titus 1:5-9

According to Bevere’s teaching, if your pastor is a drunkard, abuses people in his congregation and teaches false doctrine, your job is to submit: “To resist delegated authority is to resist God’s authority. We should not take upon ourselves the pressure to discern beforehand whether leaders are right or not. Nor should we judge after the fact. This is not our burden, but God’s. He alone knows and can change hearts as He so desires.” p147″

The same teachers that want you to be accountable, are accountable to no one. They live in comfort, concoct a new revelation at will, and have established themselves as an intermediary between God and their followers.  Our head is Christ, and he has given his body gifts in the form of pastors and teachers to mature us in the faith.  These leaders need certain qualifications according to scripture.  Their lives need to be an example, and they need to rightly divide the word of truth (life and doctrine).  Jesus Christ is your covering, and while we need to be in fellowship, remain accountable and submit to one another, leaving a church that teaches false doctrine is being obedient to your head – Christ.

7.  I play a valuable role in the church

All the more reason for you to leave, especially if you are in leadership.  You may be the secretary, lead the worship, teach a bible study group, or as in my case even be one of the pastors.  You might think you will let people down, and the thought of leaving can cause a sense of guilt and betrayal.  This is when you need to step back, and examine the situation in the light of God’s word as well as from an eternal perspective.  When you leave a church that teaches false doctrine, you are playing a valuable role!  Your actions alone will be a powerful testimony.  You have made a stand for the faith and you are refusing to betray the word of God.  Rather be guilty in the eyes of carnal men and women, than stand before God and give an account for compromise.  Your choice  is between: contending for the faith, or remaining content with a distortion of the faith.

8.   There is no alternative nearby

This is a reality for some, and it’s not just a problem for those leaving a particular church.  People live in isolated areas all over the world and others live in communities with hardly any believers.  Using the “no alternative” argument to remain in a church that teaches false doctrine is choosing to support a false teacher.  At times, we are simply not aware of any alternative churches because we are still looking for a denomination or movement that we are familiar with.  It may take a while to find a fellowship with good sound expository teaching and a body of believers that will encourage you in the faith. God has not forsaken you;  you have forsaken false teaching.  Keep that in mind if you find yourself in limbo as far as finding a fellowship is concerned.  Many people I speak to in South Africa, have unfortunately at some point come under the spell of Bethel church.  Even though they are in a church, Bill Johnson has been teaching them. You know what I’m getting at:  modern technology.  There are literally thousands of good online resources at our disposal.  Not having a home church is not the same thing as not growing in your faith.  Study the word of God, pray, and if possible find fellowship with others who may be in the same predicament: “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25

In conclusion, if you know that your church is teaching false doctrine (NAR, word of faith, prosperity gospel, seeker sensitive and other forms of false doctrine) there is no valid reason to stay.  If your church has started introducing these doctrines and promotes any of the teachers mentioned,  you should set up a meeting with your pastor.  Be prepared and make sure you are able to articulate your concerns.  Prayer is part of preparation.  You are not going in to attack an individual, but are going to test their teachings. You should mention specific teachings that you find to be contradictory to the word of God, and give examples.  A pastor worth their weight in salt will want to hear what you have to say.  As an overseer they should be concerned for you, and as a teacher of God’s word, they should be only too happy to let God’s word in context be the arbitrator.  If they ignore your concerns, they will in all probability begin the slippery slope that leads to delusion.

Flee from pastors and churches that do not preach the gospel.  You have nothing in common with an enemy of the cross.  You have no business fellowshipping with those who are “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

Come out from among them and contend earnestly for the faith!  Resist, rebuke and run from those who distort the faith.

 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel –  not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble 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 the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8-9

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 invalid arguments in defense of false teachers

By Rick Becker  8 March 2018

Scripture warns us that in the last days some will depart from the faith, and be deceived by evil spirits and teachings of demons. Those who teach false doctrines are not on the fringes of christianity, they are in the center in the form of the Evangelical Industrial Complex.  Bethel, Hillsong and other NAR “churches” have infested the visible church like gangrene.  Those who are saved from this deception, try to warn their friends and family still caught up in the quagmire of celebrity teachers and false doctrines.  When we warn them of the precarious position they are in, they usually resort to arguments we are all familiar with. This post deals with some of those questions.

 

Do you know them personally ?

It is not necessary to know figures such as Brian Houston or Bill Johnson personally to test their teachings.  Those of us who come out of these churches know what it takes to work your way up the hierarchical structure in order to “get to know them personally.”  Have they taken the time to get to know the people whose faith has been shipwrecked due to their teachings?  Do they care that their sponsored posts reach millions of naive and biblically illiterate people?  Not content with shepherding their own congregations,  these hirelings spread their doctrines with impunity.  They are not contributing to the body of Christ, but building their own empire.

Their teachings are in print, on social media, in the public domain and therefore open to public scrutiny.  It is their teachings we examine and compare to the word of God – as instructed in scripture.  If the apostle Paul’s teachings were compared to scripture, why give modern day apostles a pass?
“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so”
Acts 17:11

 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1-2

Have you approached them directly ?

Many will cite Matthew 18:15-18 as justification of a direct and private approach to dealing with false teachers: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.  Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
In context, the issue is between two believers in a congregation. False teachers are not “your brother” – they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Their messages are public, and their sin is against the whole body of Christ.  There is no need to bring any witnesses to the table when it comes to false teachers, their own witness in the form of their teachings, condemn them.  This passage is instructive regarding church discipline, not how to deal with false teachers.  Incidentally, this is the same passage many use to justify the teaching of binding and loosing Satan.  Once again, that is an unbiblical concept as the text is dealing with church discipline among believers, not spiritual warfare.

If you are fortunate enough to be one of those rare cases where a celebrity prophet or apostle takes time to meet a concerned stranger, use your opportunity wisely.  Attempting to reach them via social media and email is usually a fruitless endeavour.  Most of these well known leaders have a team that manage their correspondence; the chances that you will actually get a direct reply from the teacher concerned is highly unlikely.  Many of these ministries have a culture of ignoring any outsiders who ask questions – legitimate questions.  They refuse to entertain what they deem as attacks on their ministry.

Why don’t you just pray for them ?

Jesus didn’t pray for the pharisees, he rebuked them openly.  When Peter compromised the truth of the gospel, Paul didn’t cover up the issue and offer a silent prayer for Peter:  But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned” Galatians 2:11
We don’t ignore false teachings in the body of Christ.  When Paul wrote to Timothy warning him of those who have departed from the faith due to false teachings, he instructed Timothy to point out the errors : “If you put these things before the brothers,  you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed”
Paul is clear regarding those who bring a different gospel: “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 1:8-9


Why do you have to mention names ?

Because of this:
holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,  among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme” 1 Timothy 1 :19-20

“You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.” 2 Timothy 1:15

“For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica” 2 Timothy 4:10

Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.”
2 Timothy 4:14-15

But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,  and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.” 2 Timothy 2: 16-18
False teachers are like Hymanaeus and Philetus, they swerve from the truth by misinterpreting the word of God and teaching false doctrine.  By naming those who teach false doctrine, people can be on their guard against them and stop contributing to their empires.  We mark and avoid those who teach a different doctrine (Romans 16:17)

Their ministry has fruits !

By “fruits” most defenders of false teachers often mean that the teacher they are defending  engages in charitable works, has a large following, operates in signs and wonders, and lives an exemplary life. There is however a “fruit” that is never mentioned, as we will see shortly.  Let us firstly look at the points that these defenders of false teachers  may raise:

a) Charitable works – John and Lisa Bevere’s ministry helps rescue human trafficking victims, Heidi Baker builds orphanages in Mozambique, Christine Caine founded an anti-human trafficking organization dedicated to abolishing injustice in the 21st century.  These are commendable social justice works, but are not necessarily fruits that point to a sound ministry or even true believers.  There are cults and other religions engaged in social justice projects; that does not mean their works are evidence of sound doctrine.

b)  Large following – We are living in the time when “people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” 2 Timothy 4:3   Ear ticklers have large followings: if numbers alone are a “good fruit” then Islam must be the right religion.  Thousands of Facebook and Twitter followers, book sales, sold out conferences, prosperity and being a sought after speaker are not an indication that someone is a true servant of God.

c)  Signs and wonders –  Right after Jesus tells us we will recognize false prophets by their fruits, he said this:  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Matthew 7:21-23

Many justify Bethel church on the basis of their “signs and wonders.”  Firstly, most of their signs are fake. Glory clouds, gold dust and kundalini manifestations do not qualify as biblical signs. Secondly, the odd person who may have received true physical healing at Bethel, is a result of God’s sovereign grace and will;  it is not a fruit that justifies Bethel’s ministry.

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.” Mark 13:22

d)  Lives an exemplary life –  While we can judge by outward appearances, things are not always what they seem.  Many revered leaders in the visible church were found to have feet of clay when they fell from their positions due to extra marital affairs, financial irregularities or other moral failings that disqualified them from the ministry.  For years these leaders were thought to have had good fruits, yet the real (evil) gift they had was in covering up their sin.

What about teachers who are not involved in sin that disqualifies them from ministry?  Do their moral fruits ensure that they qualify to be teachers of God’s word?
There must be moral and spiritual good fruits in the lives of teachers, as scripture details their qualifications (1 Timothy 3; 1 Peter 5:1-4)  But there is more, good character alone does not qualify someone to teach in the church.
Paul instructed Timothy as follows: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
1 Timothy 4:16

The passage in Paul’s letter to Titus lists the qualifications for elders:
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you – if anyone is above reproach,
the husband of one wife,  and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.
 For an overseer,  as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.  He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
Titus 1:5-9
Notice that among the qualifications (which may surely be described as good fruit) Paul includes the ability to teach sound doctrine.  Paul goes a step further; not only is teaching sound doctrine a good fruit, rebuking those who contradict it is also a good fruit!

Further on in Matthew, Jesus shed more light on this topic of bad fruit when he confronted the false teachers of his day: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.  You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.  I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Matthew 12:33-37

So while a false teacher may cover their moral failures or greed, their teachings cannot be hidden, and are a sure way to test whether they are indeed false teachers.  False teachers use words to deceive.  If we judge their words by comparing what they teach to scripture, we will know their fruits are bad.
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.  And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.  And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
2 Peter 2:1-3

Their teachings have helped me !

How have they helped?  Have they taught you to identify in the sufferings of Christ?Have they taught you to die to self? Have they taught you to consider all things rubbish compared to the knowledge of Christ?  Have they taught you to relinquish your ambitions and surrender to God’s calling?  Have they taught you to be content in all things? Have they taught you to carry the burdens of others and forgive your enemies? False teachers are masters at disguising their destructive heresies. They will use biblical terminology and quote scripture. They will make you feel good about yourself and the amazing destiny that God has in store for you.  They may have taught you some biblical truth, but even a broken clock is right twice a day.  Fruit does not grow overnight, and It can take years before false teachings begin destroying the life of an individual.   

Who are you to judge ?

Most defenders of false teachers will quote the words of Jesus “don’t judge” but ignore the context: “ “Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?   Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”  Matthew 7:1-5
In other words, hypocritical or self righteous judgement is a sin.   Very often when we judge others, we are guilty of the same sin or even worse.  What has this verse got to do with exposing false doctrines and those who teach them – absolutely nothing!  Jesus exercised righteous judgement by calling out sin and rebuking false teachers.  The epistles are replete with examples of judging sin, church discipline, and exposing false doctrine.  The person accusing you of exercising discernment is in fact judging you!
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
John 7:24

You are sowing division in the body of Christ !

There certainly are people who create division in the church: “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions” Romans 16:17
Who are these people? Are they the one’s calling for discernment to be exercised in the church?  Are they the ones who warn others of false teachers who are leading many astray?  The verse continues: 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

Those who cause divisions are people who have departed from sound doctrine.  The celebrity apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation would have you believe that it’s those who call for discernment and expose their false teachings that are causing division.  They would have you believe that it’s those with a “religious spirit” that refuse to participate in their meetings, purchase their materials, or accept their latest revelation that are causing division.  The truth is that false teachers are the ones causing division,and need to be marked and avoided.  Teaching “different doctrines” is the cause of division:
If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness,  he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,  and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.  But godliness with contentment is great gain” 1 Timothy 6:3-5

Unity in the body of Christ is not when: John Bevere tours with Bethel music, Lou Engle and friends fill a stadium, Todd White partners with Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn teaches at Bethel,  Kris Vallotton meets with the Pope. That is called false unity in the visible church!
You cannot separate true unity from maturity, and fullness in Christ.  Those who are united in truth, will be the ones who reject the false doctrines of Benny Hinn, John Bevere, Beth Moore, Todd White, Kenneth Copeland, Bethel, Hillsong and other word of faith, prosperity and NAR teachers.

“until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,  to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,  so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
Ephesians 4:13-14

What have you done for the Lord ?

Red herring alert!  That question has nothing to do with examining the doctrine of their favourite teacher. They are asking that question based on the assumption that their teacher has actually “done something for the Lord.”  We have pointed out that the good fruits they take pride in, are really not good fruits at all. Leave your works in the hands of God:  let Him be the judge, and let Him have the glory.  Respond by explaining what God has done for you, and how the truth has set you free. Remind them that boasting is sin.  False teachers love to boast: they quote statistics and project a successful ministry.  Paul was the opposite: “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness” 2 Corinthians 11:30

So you think your theology is perfect

No, not one of us will enter heaven and find out we had perfect theology.  While there are non essentials of the faith we can agree to disagree over, there are essentials of the faith that cannot be compromised –  such as believing in the bodily resurrection of Christ.  However, there are also teachings classified as non essentials, that are harmful, and can lead to greater deception, bondage, and ultimately destruction.  For example, a teaching on “hearing the voice of God” may seem harmless, but when that teaching goes outside of how God speaks in scripture, there is a problem.  It is common in New Apostolic Reformation circles for God to speak through the reading on your odometer, a movie, a double yolk egg, a road runner, popcorn and other bizarre sources.  Doing a course on “inner healing” hardly seems to be an issue that is essential to the faith, but do some research on the devastating effects a Bethel Sozo course has had on individuals. Many other teachings such as: generational curses, the prosperity gospel, tithing, word of faith and kingdom now theology have caused unnecessary damage and confusion in the church.

We should not brand all teachers who teach some form of false doctrine as heretics and apostates. Some are, others are perhaps misguided in areas, not qualified to teach due to the fact that they are unable to “rightly divide the word of God.”  It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two.  Let God be the judge of their salvation, and let us compare their teachings to the word of God.  When speaking to those who follow  false teachers, focus on the actual teachings, and not the teacher concerned.  If they are open to reason, then you have an opportunity to present truth.  Pray for those caught up in deception, and if the opportunity arises, this should be our response: correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,  and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
2 Timothy 2:25-26

“Test all things; hold fast what is good”
1 Thessalonians 5:21

 

 

MANTLES & DOUBLE PORTIONS

By Rick Becker   1 March 2018

Mere hours after the passing of Billy Graham,  New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) apostles and prophets were gleefully salivating at the prospect of receiving yet another mantle.  Mantles, double portions, impartations and downloads are sought after commodities in the NAR.  Followers of these NAR false teachers lap up their nonsensical notions and teachings with delight, hoping to be the recipient of yet another anointing or mantle.  We are supposedly on the brink of the final great awakening, a worldwide revival, and these mantles supposedly help achieve that goal.  NAR disciples want a piece of the action so to speak, and like Simon the sorcerer they ask “Give me this power also..”  Do the scriptures teach that there will be a world wide revival in these last days?  Do the scriptures teach that we need mantles and double portions?

The word of God teaches a great falling away will take place just prior to Christ’s return: “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first”  2 Thessalonians 2:3.
There will be no revival that the NAR anticipate; instead there will be a departure from the faith, and mass deception in the visible church. 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

Ask yourself if this is the picture Bill Johnson & co paint of the last days:
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,  always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.  Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.  But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.” 2 Timothy 3:1-8

Ironically, this passage describing the last days not only refutes the claims of the NAR – that a revival will take place where literal nations will be discipled,  but actually describes those who oppose the truth.  Jannes and Jambres were Pharaoh’s magicians, and they were instructed by Pharaoh to perform the same miracle that Aaron performed: “Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron,  “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’ ”So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent.  Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.”  Exodus 7:8-12

Like Jannes and Jambres, there is a new breed today intent on copying true miracles.  Their “secret arts” include destiny readings, glory clouds, leg stretching, gold dust, and other signs that make you wonder.  This new breed attend NAR supernatural schools of ministry where they are taught how to perform miracles and chase after mantles.  I find it strange that they are selective in what they teach their students.  They train all students to prophesy, speak in tongues, heal the sick, chase out sermons, but ignore two signs that are included in the great commission: ” And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17 – 18

They have opposed the truth and neglected sound doctrine. They will indeed perform signs and wonders, and sadly many will discover that their supernatural endeavors were a sign of their deception, not salvation:On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:22-23

Apostasy and deception in the visible church and not revival, is what we are witnessing today.  The voices in the NAR crying out for revival and making claims of a final harvest of a billion souls for Christ,  are by and large merely adding false converts to the visible church.

Well known voices in the NAR and Charismania such as the now deceased Kim Clement,  Lou Engle and Benny Hinn  have made this claim that we are on the verge of a new move, a final great awakening.  The sign of course being Billy Graham’s death, and the subsequent release of a new mantle.  Naturally the up and coming “revivalists” and prophets of the NAR need to echo and confirm this word.  God apparently told Hinn in 1989 that the deaths of Oral Roberts and Billy Graham would be the sign of the beginning of the greatest revival on earth.  Lesser prophets Ben Fitzgerald and Lana Vawser received this revelation two years ago:
Ben Fitzgerald, son of Ken and Jenny Hodge of the now infamous Christalignment said  “God told me very clearly, nearly two years ago, that when Billy goes home the Lord will pour out the spirit of evangelism…don’t you want the legacy that Billy Graham has had, I want that legacy on my life”

Lana Vawser :”I knew this day would come and I knew the significance in the earth that this day would hold. I knew this would be the day that I would release this prophetic word that two years ago, over the span of two months, the Lord took me into encounters and dreams regarding what would be heralded and released on the earth beginning with the passing of Billy Graham.”

Vawser then recounts a dream she had of Billy Graham, and then writes:
“At the end of this dream, a prophetic decree was made. This was the decree:“When Billy Graham dies a DOUBLE PORTION of the Elisha anointing will be released upon the earth!!!”
“This decree heralded a time coming to the earth of great increase of signs, wonders and miracles unlike anything we have ever seen. The decree established such a branding over this new era that the signs, wonders and miracles that would accompany the proclamation of the Word of God, would be UNPRECEDENTED. A significant shift, a time of a greater increase of the mantle of evangelism being released onto the earth.”

South African Lindey Ann Hopley, a product of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, repeated the claim that “when Oral Roberts and Billy Graham pass away it will be the sign of the great third awakening that’s going to sweep the world“.  She then goes on to release the mantle of Bill Graham as well as an awakening.

Christine Beadsworth wrote on Z3 News – End time news before it happens:
“When He Dies, It Will Come -The transference of Billy to Heaven has marked the trigger point for the final season of rich harvest to begin…For those who have prepared the soil of their hearts and nurtured the seed sown in it, we are entering the season of hundred-fold increase, of radical and sudden change, of the fire of God being deposited and shut up in your bones, propelling you into the harvest field. Are you willing, waiting one? Will you go where He sends you daily? Heaven has a download for you and the graduation of Billy Graham has clocked us over into the chapter when the scrolls of Heaven are about to be imparted in a fiery downloadPosition yourself for encounter and impartation to equip you to possess your allotted portion of inheritance in Christ. Dense darkness is about to cover the earth but His glory will rise upon you. Billy Graham’s baton is available to the whosoever!”

While some NAR prophets are hoping for full stadiums and larger crusades, Beadsworth heard the opposite: “From what I am hearing, this new season of evangelism will be totally different from the last. Many are preparing stadiums for mass salvation, and looking for the next big ‘man of power for the hour’, but I believe the greatest move of the Spirit of God in this area of evangelism will be one on one, the true Church released to operate in the power of the resurrected Christ to bring in the harvest!”

Michael Koulianos of Jesus Image: “Today I felt a holy fear of God as I heard of Billy Graham’s passing. I spoke with Lou Engle and pastor Benny Hinn early this morning. They were in full agreement. I’ve preached to much larger crowds than this crowd today, but I felt the weight of the moment at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry today. I couldn’t help sense that one or more of these young people would hear the invitation from Heaven to fully surrender their lives to Jesus. We believe the mantle of Billy Graham and Oral Roberts is being released on a company of people who’ve been in hiding…all alone with Jesus. They’ve learned to host Him and kill lions and bears in secret. There has never been a more holy time to give our “full yes” to the Lamb of God.”

Not to be outdone, another voice from the charismaniac swamp is Charlie Shamp.  Shamp reminds us to not be offended when Jesus appears to us in a “different form” after Jesus appeared to him while in a trance – in the form of a Lamb.  He goes on to say that God had spoken to him regarding Billy Graham’s death, and that his mantle would drop this year. The mantle of that ministry would be passed to the “wild ones”“the radical revival culture”  The video on his facebook page where he shares this revelation is entitled: “Prophet Charlie Shamp accurately prophesies the death of Evanglist Billy Graham on January 13, 2018 while in Charlotte, North Carolina.We pray that this generation takes ahold of this prophetic word and many young Evanglist’s arise around the world with a double portion mantle for Evangelism!”

Does it take a prophet to know that an ill 99 year old will shortly pass away?

We should expect signs and wonders in the last days, possibly through many in this new breed but not from the source they imagine.  This new breed have a veneer of humility and outward righteousness, but many want to be the next great miracle worker.  Their personal destiny and legacy overshadow the cause of Christ. Their methodology and teachings contradict scripture because they don’t have a love for truth.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,  and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,  that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

What do the scriptures teach regarding mantles, and is that how God operates today?

The NAR look to the old testament to justify their claim that God gives mantles. Prophets in the old testament wore cloaks, or “mantles.”  This mantle was an outward sign of God’s calling. When the prophet Elijah called Elisha, he “threw his mantle on him.”  This prophetic act indicated that Elisha was called to the office of a prophet. Towards the end of Elijah’s ministry, just prior to being caught up to heaven, Elisha asked Elijah: “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” 2 Kings 2:9
When Elijah was caught up in a chariot of fire, his mantle fell, and Elisha picked it up, and struck the waters of the Jordan.  The waters parted, as they had earlier when Elijah struck the water. When some sons of the prophets from Jericho saw Elisha, they said “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.”

To see whether mantles and double portions are still available, we need to examine the new testament, as this is the covenant we fall under and describes God’s operations in this dispensation.  False teachers have the habit of taking a descriptive text to justify their current teachings and methodology.  In other words what was described, is not always prescribed or applicable to us.  Every believer has received a spiritual gift from God: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:  whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11

These gifts, help us to build one another up in the body of Christ and spread the gospel. There are instructions in scripture regarding our gifts. We should for examples: not neglect them, use them to serve others, and stir ourselves up in our gifts.

Elisha performed his first miracle shortly after picking up the mantle: “Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over” 2 Kings 2:14  The mantle was not only an indication of a calling, but also a sign that the Holy Spirit had anointed the person who was called.  This anointing was often accompanied not only by accurate prophetic words, but signs and wonders.  This is ultimately what the new breed are after – signs and wonders.  NAR proponents argue that the mere preaching of the gospel is insufficient; what we need according to them is power evangelism and prophetic evangelism.  The irony is that their prophetic evangelism and power evangelism usually leaves out the message of the gospel.  Instead of the gospel being presented, people receive an “interpretation” of what the tattoo on their arm means, or they are the recipient of the old leg stretching trick or receive a “destiny reading.”  That’s about as far as their signs and wonders go.  You will never find this new wild breed of revivalists empty a ward for the terminally ill at your local hospital.

Under the new covenant, believers have received the Holy Spirit. Under the old covenant, the Holy Spirit would come upon God’s chosen vessel to fulfill a task and then leave. Under the new covenant, the Holy Spirit dwells within all believers, and never leaves: “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.   But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.   If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus  from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:6-11

 “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:13

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever” John 14:16

” There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call –  one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-6

Scripture does exhort us to be filled with the Spirit.  We are instructed to surrender to the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  We should immerse ourselves in the word of God, not quench or grieve the Holy Spirit.  If we do the latter, we cannot expect the the fullness of the Spirit to operate in and through us, despite the fact that He still dwells within.  The NAR & co are always looking for something to fall from heaven: a mantle, an anointing or an impartation.  Scripture teaches that we have already received an anointing: “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him” 1 John 2:27

Under the new covenant, God has already supplied to every believer what they need:
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” 2 Peter 1:3
What believers need is not some new addition from the heavenlies, but a greater surrender within.  Instead of chasing after the callings of others (rarely legitimate callings when it comes to those whom the NAR admire) we should be content with our gifts and calling.  It is clear that the new testament does not teach that mantles are available or necessary for believers.

Now we must ask the question: are some believers graced with a double portion?
Once again, we need to find the answer in the new testament, because as we observed, the Holy Spirit has now been given to all believers and dwells within.
A “double portion” in the old testament refers to a double blessing, conferred upon the firstborn, a chosen vessel, or the nation of Israel.  In Elisha’s case, the fruits of  double portion included performing twice as many listed miracles as that of Elijah.  Scripture is clear regarding spiritual gifts for believers – God “apportions to each one individually as he wills.” 1 Corinthians 12:11

Scripture never instructs us to align or position ourselves in order to receive an anointing that a deceased person carried.  Scripture does not teach us that we can get by with half or single portions, but double portions are what really gets the job done.

It’s not a case of seeking from above what you lack; it’s a case of realizing what has already been given in and through Christ:do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,  that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,  having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.” 
Ephesians 1:16-20

There is nothing wrong with a desire to see souls come into the kingdom of God.  There is nothing wrong with an urgency to spread the gospel.  The problem is when our motivation, methodology, or actual message is a departure from what scripture teaches.
When we focus on our legacy – our motivation is wrong
When we think the right atmosphere, mantles, double portions, hordes of people, manifestations and signs etc are needed to spread the gospel or a sign of revival – our methodology is wrong.
When we teach a gospel that promises a great destiny in terms of earthly comfort; a gospel that helps fulfill our personal ambitions and dreams – this message is wrong.

There is no rest in the finished work of the cross when it comes to the New Apostolic Reformation.  To use their own phrase – “there’s more.”  In their world, what Christ has done on the cross is insufficient.  Scripture is insufficient.  The focus shifts from what Christ has done, to what we must do – a man centered theology! 

There is always a need to chase after something: a new mantle, anointing, impartation or revelation.  The “more” always lies outside of the believer in whom Christ dwells.  Naturally this is good news for the apostles and prophets in the movement, as they are the ones with the latest scoop on what God is doing.  They have a new course, new revelation, new mantle on offer.  They point to God for the “more” but have positioned themselves as the playmaker – the essential cog in the whole process.  The result being that they climb the NAR food chain, and watch their income climb at the same time.
The good news is that there is no need for us to chase after mantles and double portions.  Those who do, have fallen for myths and ear tickling doctrines that oppose the truth.