By Rick Becker 25 January 2018
In order to make the gospel more palatable, many are resorting to crafty means in order to attract the lost. One of the means employed is going “under cover” at various events. This new breed of revivalists and evangelists don’t rely on the gospel, but so called “encounters with God.” Words of knowledge and healings are utilized in order to win the lost. This covert evangelism involves:
• an absence of the gospel
• using terminology that does not offend
• supposed supernatural encounters
• cards, colours and stones to facilitate messages from God
..In other words – “another gospel”
A host of articles have recently exposed the unbiblical evangelistic tools and shenanigans of Bethel and Christalignment. Going undercover at psychic fairs and the use of “destiny cards” to offer readings, or as they would argue – words of knowledge, are part of their evangelistic strategy.
In stark contrast to the methodology of Christalignment and Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry Students, the Apostle Paul refused to disguise the truth:
“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing“ 2 Corinthians 4:1-3
Clandestine operations were probably employed by the false teachers in Corinth. Paul was making it clear that the gospel does not need to be disguised or tampered with in order to be effective.
John Gill commentary: “not walking in craftiness; they used no sly and artful methods to please men, to gain applause from them, or make merchandise of them; they did not lie in wait to deceive, watching an opportunity to work upon credulous and incautious minds; they did not, by good words and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple; nor put on different forms, or make different appearances, in order to suit themselves to the different tempers and tastes of men, as did the false apostles: not handling the word of God deceitfully. They did not corrupt it with human doctrines, or mix and blend it with philosophy, and vain deceit; they did not wrest the Scriptures to serve any carnal or worldly purpose; nor did they accommodate them to the lusts and passions of men; or conceal any part of truth“
Those who tamper with God’s word or employ deceit when presenting it are doing so in order to please man or gratify themselves in some manner: “But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others” 2 Thess 2:2-6
Bethel came out in defense of Christalignment (not surprising since Theresa Dedmon of Bethel came up with the brand “Destiny Cards”) In their statement, they made this point: “The Hodges are attempting to contextualize the Gospel and bring people to the realization that God is looking for them and loves them no matter where they are – just like the apostle Paul often did. In Acts 17:22-34, Paul spoke to a group of religious people who didn’t yet know God and lived in a city full of altars, idols, and various religions. In that moment, Paul referred to a single altar in their city that had an inscription to the “unknown god,” and he used this familiar object (something they understood and valued) as a starting point to connect them with the God of all creation. He wasn’t worried that they would get a wrong idea (like that God is merely one of many gods or that idols are appropriate) because he would soon be introducing them to the true God.”
When contextualizing leads to compromise, the gospel is polluted. In Acts 17 Paul did not attempt to blend in with the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers; in fact the reason he was taken to the Areopagus was because his message was different : “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection” Notice that Paul was not ashamed to name Jesus, whereas the new breed of crafty evangelists prefer terms such as spirit of creation, high spirit, Christ spirit etc. Paul’s reference to the “unknown god” cannot be compared to going undercover and changing biblical terminology in an attempt to smuggle Jesus in at a later stage.
The irony is that Bethel and Theresa Dedmon use this passage to justify Christalignment’s contextualization of the Gospel – which includes the use of Destiny Cards. Dedmon writes: “Destiny Cards” are not tarot cards. They do, however, have a similar look that attracts people who are searching for a “reading”. There is no way one can justify creating something that looks similar to a demonic tool in order to “attract” people searching for a “reading.”
Dedmon gets it dead wrong once again when she writes in the same article: “Jesus always spoke in parables that communicated the message in creative ways in which people could relate and receive.” Parables and Destiny Cards are not comparable. Jesus did not use parables in order for people to relate and receive; in fact most could not relate and never received anything. Paul put it this way: “ But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing” 2 Corinthians 4:3
Parables actually hid the truth from those who had hardened hearts: “ Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” Matthew 13:10-13
Did Paul offer any “third heaven encounters with God” at the Areopagus? did he use any gimmicks? did he have any words of knowledge for the philosophers? did he perform any signs and wonders? No – he preached the gospel: “ Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:29-31
The Gospel is explicit concerning the destiny of all people – unless they repent, they will face the wrath of God on judgement day. Instead of warning people, crafty evangelists simply flatter the lost.
Since our article, Christalignment contacted us, and attempted to defend their methodology. They wrote:
“we don’t do tarot. We hate it.”
“We are not fortune telling or practising divination.”
“We do not offer card readings. The card part of a destiny reading is the smallest. The encounter with God is the largest.”
What they are doing is nevertheless deceitful. While they may not view the encounters they lead their clients into as deceptive, closer scrutiny will reveal that they are not presenting the gospel in sincerity, if at all. Furthermore, we cannot guarantee anyone an “encounter with God” or produce words of knowledge on demand for clients. This means that any “vision” or “word of knowledge” received can only have two sources – the imagination or the demonic.
• They also claim that their website is for “non Christians only.” In their eyes, this presumably justifies their vague terminology and association with festivals such as Rainbow Serpent, Queer Expo, Sexpo and others. They describe themselves as “trained spiritual consultants, gifted in various modalities…trained in destiny reading… trained as intuitive readers.”
At their Spirit Life Meditation classes, their “presenters” are described as “seers” and “healers” who offer “releasing imaginative encounters using the third heaven realm..third heaven encounters…deep rest therapy..intuitive colour therapy…revelatory meditations of third heaven realm..healing from negative energies/cleansing.”
Does this sound like the gospel? Why not be straightforward and boldly proclaim the gospel as Paul did: “but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” 1 Corinthians 1:23. Matthew Henry commented on this verse: “The message of Christ, plainly delivered, ever has been a sure touchstone by which men may learn what road they are travelling.” The gospel will cause repentance, or further hardening of hearts to those who are perishing – either way it is effective! In an effort to remove the stumbling block, crafty evangelists remove the gospel.
• They claim they that do not “offer card readings” but “destiny readings.” At the time of this writing, their webpage describes their services as follows: “The Christalignment team use at least 5 different types of cards in Destiny Readings. These are not necessary for an intuitive reader, as we are all hearing from the third heaven realm, but greatly enhance the reading. We believe they are more predictive and higher than most cards, and can address a current life question that you may have.”
• In their correspondence with us, they attempted to defend their usage of cards: “The disciples did not do card readings. But neither was TV or Facebook. You are taking everything from our website. I just told you they are destiny readings. Cards are not important. One set of cards has psalms on it. They bless people. It is the word of God. But they are not predictive in any way. However word of knowledge which is what Jesus used is in scripture.” – Advancement in technology is not an excuse to change the message of the gospel. Naturally we took everything from their website; that’s surely the best way to avoid confusion and half truths. What does cause confusion is operating under pretense. Christalignment boasts that their cards are “more predictive” and “higher than most cards” on their website, yet in their correspondence with us claim that “cards are not important” and “are not predictive.”
What they claim on their page is therefore misleading; it’s false advertising, it’s a lie.
One set of cards does have psalms on it. The rest are “Destiny cards” “Animal cards” and “Colour cards”. Their description of “Colour cards:
“Colour cards can be used in several different ways. Team member Nan uses them to enhance her reading with coloured agate stones. Colours have had an important role to play spirituality in history and have significant meanings in the dream state. As they are imbued with meaning and power, these readings can really change lives and give comfort and hope.” – Scripture makes no mention of how valuable a tool an agate stone is when presenting the gospel. Colours may be symbolic, but only the new age teaches that they are imbued with “power”
It will be beneficial at this point to discuss “words of knowledge” as this has become a popular practice in NAR circles. Christalignment claim that their cards are not predictive, but note that Jesus used words of knowledge. Have they noticed that Jesus never used cards to help him with “words of knowledge.” The New Apostolic Reformation teach that Jesus came to model life for believers. Whatever Jesus did, we can emulate and even improve, however Jesus knew what was in the heart of man because he was God. Contrary to scripture which clearly states that the gospel is the power of God at work, saving those who believe, crafty evangelists believe that signs and wonders are the power that opens people’s eyes to the gospel. The lost therefore depend on the miracle working power of the crafty evangelist to believe. “Words of knowledge” have become a favourite tool for the new breed of NAR evangelists. Smartphone false prophet Shawn Bolz (the “christian” version of the psychic John Edwards) Todd White, BSSM students and others supposedly operate in this gift. Usually it goes something like this:
“Does the date 3 March mean anything to you?”
“I’m getting “Elm street” – do you know this address?”
“Do you have a family member by the name of Edward”
“The Lord says he is about to bring a shift in your business”
“You have lower back pain”
“The Lord has given me the meaning of the tattoo on your wrist”
“God is about to release supernatural favour on your endeavours”
Now lets compare that to the “words of knowledge” Jesus had when interacting with people:
“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man“ John 2:23-25 – this passage contradicts the strategy of Christalignment, BSSM students and the new breed of revivalists who rely on so called signs and wonders to reach the lost.
“After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me…It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him.” John 13:21;26-27 – not exactly “calling out the gold in others” – a phrase used by Theresa Dedmon when describing her reason for creating Destiny Cards.
“Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.” John 4:16-19
The issue here was not the 5 previous husbands, as she may have been married to them legitimately (perhaps some died) but she was not married to her current partner. Jesus made her aware of her current sinful state. In her eyes, Jesus was no longer simply a Jew, but a prophet – not because he tickled her ears with a “destiny reading” but because she could not hide her sin. Albert Barnes commentary on this interaction:
” Significantly, the confrontation of her own sinful conscience was the occasion of Jesus’ rising so abruptly in her estimation. Only a few minutes earlier, she had recognized him only as “a Jew,” who she had every right to suppose hated and despised her; but now she hailed him as a prophet. The more deeply conscious any person is of his sins, the higher Jesus rises in his sight. The woman did not deny or offer excuses or explanations, but let the implications of her sinful life stand naked and unadorned in his holy presence.”
Supernatural knowledge in the early church:
“But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him” Acts 5:1-6 – a far cry from the usual “words of knowledge” witnessed in Charismatic circles today.
As you can see, even continuationists must admit that supernatural knowledge in the scripture is far removed from what is practiced in Charismania. Furthermore, words of knowledge were not used as a means to call out the good in sinners, or reveal a dream destiny. What then was the gift of the word of wisdom and word of knowledge that Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12? Paul lists them, but does not describe them; that is why it is easy for some to construct their own meaning and practice. We believe both the word of wisdom and word of knowledge are primarily to do with the gospel – not your street address, personal decisions, dream destiny, business goals. Consider the following passage concerning wisdom:
“Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” – these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:6-10
“ And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him” 2 Peter 3:15
And this passage which mentions both knowledge and wisdom:
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.“ Colossians 2:1-3
Keep in mind the early church did not have the full canon of scripture. When Paul preached to the Jews in Thessalonica, we read that he “reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” All Paul had was the Old Testament, and the gospel is concealed in the Old Testament, Paul simply revealed it to them. This is why the role of the gifts were unique in the early church: prophecy, the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge were able to reveal what had been concealed in the Old Testament.
Christalignment claim that they “use the name of Jesus” and “preach the gospel” yet none of the testimonies they post, reveal repentant sinners grateful to have been saved by the grace of God. The testimonies revolve around feelings and experiences such as “connecting with the high spirit” and “emotional healings, people feeling lighter and happier”
This client experienced a “flood of colour..channeling and flooding through me..clearing my headache…residual energy just clearing it…I saw this light in the form of an elephant head..the eyes were just kinda like a space I guess, and it was just like staring through me, and the light was going through from him through to me, then like a cycle, colour after colour..I’ve never seen like a spirit animal or anything in that kind of realm”
At the end, mention is made of “Christ spirit” and “high spirit.” Was the elephant head perhaps an image of Ganesha, a deity in the Hindu pantheon? Colour was doing the healing? Spirit animals in another realm interacting with people? Christalignment use animal cards and colour cards, and this is what manifested for the client; they are simply channeling these demonic images or visions. Clearly, Christalignment are not worried when their clients get a wrong idea of who God is.
This client “saw a beautiful being that looked like Merlin, and he came forth and offered me a gift, and I took that gift and it made me feel absolutely beautiful and special” The Christalignment staff member who conducted the reading goes on to explain how the gift was special because it came from royalty, as the being wore a purple robe. The gift was a round golden ball with something like a crucifix on top.
Merlin was a fictional character, created by the writer Geoffrey of Monmouth. Merlin first appeared in Geoffrey’s work “The History of Kings of Britain” in 1136AD. The interesting thing about Merlin, is that he was the son of the devil, yet at the same time the servant of God. (“Merlin” was the wizard in in the stories of Camelot)
The team at Christalignment had no qualms with a fictional character, born as a son of the devil appearing to their client.
On their facebook page, Christalignment share the results of their activity at the Midsumma LGBTQ festival:
“A really brilliant day in at Melbourne’s biggest LGBTQ festival – Midsumma. We had queues all day of hungry people wanting to know if there is any hope for their problems, for their lives. The team were brilliant and most clients were having knock out encounters with the Spirit of Truth.
It is always a shock and so stunning to see just how much The Spirit loves people who are out there, alternative, different. On Sunday this resulted in several stunning instant physical healings and many successful cleansings from entities.
Our first client for the morning was a male transvestite prostitute who “ just wanted to die” and wanted to know how soon he could die. He came to us last year too. He left feeling lighter, free.
It was brilliant to catch up with two well known celebrity transvestites who knew us from last year’s Queer Expo. Immediately they wanted to hug us, take photos and just talk. We really felt the Spirit on that meeting.
One boy was afraid a psychic had made a spirit enter him but after chatting he confided that he was just so lonely. We were able to break all that right off. He went away so happy.” – source
Do any of these testimonies point to Jesus Christ? You be the judge. Beware of any methodology that contradicts scripture.
“He who does not hate the false does not love the true; and he to whom it is all the same whether it be God’s word or man’s, is himself unrenewed at heart.”
C H Spurgeon