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The letter from the pastors wife, I have heard that argument before. The problem that we face nowadays is a geat mixing of truth and error. For example, it is true that if you sow sparingly you will reap sparingly. Now that truth was taken by wolves and a great horror was created, called the prosperity gospel. The apostle Paul told us that he did not cease to warn the saints , night and day, for three years, about ravenous wolves that would come in and scatter the flock. And so, we should be as wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. The Apostle Paul also stood up to the "Judaizers," and plainly called them "fale brethern." So the letter from the pastors wife does not really pass the mustard :) She did not really make a strong case. I think it would be a sad day for discernment if we are comparing Todd Bentley to King David, which I think she may have been arguing?One more thing, true shephards care deeply about the sheep. Shepherds will be held responsible for how they cared for the sheep. If the argument is to be, "Oh well, if these guys are really wolves in sheeps clothing then God will reveal it but up till then we will accept anything whether it is Biblical or not because we are not their judges," then that is a scandelous argument to be made by a "shepherd." ............Frank
| 2010/1/23 16:25|
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Good word appolus. Zac Poonen expands this thought and more in the article "Counterfeit Revival:"
Jesus and the apostles repeatedly warned that the last days would be characterized by widespread deception and a multitude of false prophets (Matt.24:3-5,11,24; 1 Tim.4:1) - and we have seen plenty of them in the last few decades.
Why are millions of Christians deceived by these false prophets and these counterfeit "revivals"? And why are so many preachers falling prey to immorality and greed?
Here are what I see to be some of the main causes:
1. Most Christians today are not aware of what the New Testament teaches, because they have not studied it carefully; and so they follow the teachings of their leaders and not the teachings of the New Testament.
2. Miracles (supernatural gifts) have become more important to them than their character (a supernatural life).
3. Material wealth has become more important to them than spiritual wealth.
4. They are unable to distinguish between soulish frenzy or psychological manipulation, and the genuine moving of the Holy Spirit; the cause again is ignorance of the New Testament.
5. They are unable to distinguish between psychosomatic healing (healing that comes by right attitudes of the mind), and supernatural healing in Jesus' Name.
6. Emotional excitement and strange physical manifestations have become more important to them than the inward joy of the Lord.
7. For the leaders, their ministry to people has become more important than their inner walk with God.
8. The approval of men has become more important to these leaders than the approval of God.
9. The number of people attending the meetings has become more important to these leaders than whether those people are totally committed to Christ.
10. Building their personal kingdoms and their financial empires has become more important to these leaders than building a local church and making themselves servants in that local church (Jeremiah 6:13).
All this is the VERY OPPOSITE of what Jesus taught. The opposite of Christ is called the "anti-Christ" in the New Testament. If Christians do not see this clearly, then when the Antichrist turns up on the world's stage, with his false signs and wonders (2 Thess.2:3-10), they too will blindly accept him. To be led by the Spirit of Christ is to have the very opposite spirit to that mentioned in the points above.
Here is a paraphrase of Jesus' words in Matthew 7:13-27 (read in the context of Matthew Chapters 5 to 7):
"Both the gate and the way to ETERNAL LIFE are very narrow - as I have just described (Matt. 5 to 7). But false prophets will come along and tell you that the gate and way are not narrow but easy and broad. Beware of them. You will be able to identify them easily by observing the fruit of their character: Do they live a life free from anger, free from lusting after women, free from the love of money and free from anxiously seeking after material wealth (as worldly people seek)? Do they preach against these things as I have done here? (Matt.5:21-32 and 6:24-34). These false prophets may exercise many supernatural gifts and do miracles and actually heal people in My Name, but I will still send them all to hell in the final day, because they did not know Me (as THE HOLY ONE) and they did not give up sin in their private lives (Matt.7:21-23). So if you want to build a church on a rock that will never shake or fall in time or eternity, be careful to do all that I have just spoken to you (Matt. 5 to 7) and teach your people to do all that I have commanded you too. Then I will be with you always and My authority will always back you (Matt.28:20, 18). But if you only hear what I say and don't do it, then what you build may look like a large and impressive church to men, but it will surely crumble and fall one day (Matt.7:25)."
How then shall we build an unshakeable church in these last days?
1. We must live the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5 to 7) and preach it constantly.
2. We must live in the new-covenant and not in the old-covenant. For this, we must know the difference between the two covenants clearly (2 Cor.3:6). We must also preach the new covenant.
When preachers fall into serious sin today, they justify themselves by (and find their comfort in) the examples of Old Testament saints who also fell into sin. And then they re-commence their ministry after a period of silence. They quote the examples of David who committed adultery, and Elijah who got depressed, and they say "But God still used them"! But they won't quote the example of Paul who lived in victory and purity until the end of his life.
What these preachers (and most Christians) have not seen is that the Old Testament saints are NOT our examples today. We have been given much more in this age of grace - and "to whom more is given, more is required" (Luke 12:48). Jesus is the Mediator of a NEW covenant and HE is our Example and the Author of our faith today - not David or Elijah. The distinction between the Old Testament saints (listed in Hebrews 11) and Jesus, is made very clear in Hebrews 12:1-4. But very few live in the reality of this. Very few have seen that "God has provided something BETTER for us" in the new covenant (Heb.11:40).
Any of us can fall in the way that many preachers have fallen, if we are not watchful and alert - for Satan is a cunning enemy. Our safety lies in obeying New Testament teaching exactly and in submitting to godly leadership. (And by "godly" leadership, I mean those who do not have even one of the wrong values listed in the ten points I mentioned earlier). If we learn from the mistakes of others, we can avoid making the same mistakes ourselves.
So let us keep our faces in the dust before the Lord at all times - for it is there that we will receive Divine revelation, as John did (Rev.1:17). If we humble ourselves, we will receive grace to be overcomers (1 Pet.5:5). And when the Holy Spirit shows us the truth in God's Word and the truth about ourselves, let us be totally honest and "love the truth, so as to be saved" from all sin. That way we will be protected by God Himself from all deception (2 Thess. 2:10,11). Amen.
| 2010/1/25 1:12||Profile|
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DECEPTION THROUGH FALSE SIGNS AND WONDERS
by Zac Poonen
There is a lot of deception in Christendom these days through false signs and wonders just as Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:24, and as Paul did in 2 Thessalonians 2:9.
Paul also warned us in 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 about the nature of this deception: It is being deceived by another Jesus, another spirit and another gospel.
"Another Jesus" who does not ask anyone to take up his cross and to die to his self-life daily.
"Another spirit" who gives people thrills and exciting feelings but does not give them power to be holy.
"Another gospel" that requires no repentance and that caters to peoples earthly needs but does not deliver them from sin (which is the root-cause of ALL their problems).
Thus people are being made twofold the children of hell (Matt.23:15).
To escape deception, we must look at Jesus and see how todays preachers compare with Him.
1. Do they have the same primary objective?
The very FIRST promise in the New Testament is "Jesus - He will save His people from their sins" (Matt.1:21). This is the main purpose with which Jesus came to earth. So a truly Spirit-led ministry will seek to free people from sinning. Everything else including healing and miracles and prophecy will be secondary.
2. Do they have the same attitude?
We are commanded in Scripture: Let this attitude be in you which was in Christ Jesus (Phil.2:5). We should therefore compare the attitude of every preacher with that of Jesus. We should ask ourselves these questions about every preacher we hear:
(i) Is he a humble man - as Jesus was?
(ii) Does he lead people to freedom from sin and genuine holiness as Jesus did?
(iii) Does he ask people to give money to him or to his ministry? Jesus never did.
(iv) Can ordinary, poor people contact him easily as they could contact Jesus?
For further confirmation, we could ask these questions as well:
(a) Does he lead people to Christ and not to himself?
(b) Are his children God-fearing?
(c) Has he built at least one godly church?
(d) Are his main co-workers godly men?
3. Do they have the same approach to healing?
In the Gospels, we do not read of Jesus preaching even one sermon on how to receive miracles or healing. But He actually healed thousands of people.
In Acts of the Apostles, we do not read of the apostles preaching even one sermon on how to receive miracles or healing. But they actually healed many people. (The 21 epistles in the New Testament also make no mention of physical healing at all except for one passage in James 5:14,15, where it is the elder who is urged to have faith and not the sick person!)
But what we find today (especially over Christian TV) is the exact opposite of this: We hear hundreds of sermons on miracles and healings but we hardly ever see any genuine, miraculous healings. Most of the so-called healings shown over TV have proven to be fakes or unsubstantiated by independent sources.
Jesus and the apostles did however speak a lot about being free from sin. But we hardly ever hear a sermon today (over TV or from church pulpits) on how to be free from sins like anger, lusting after women and the love of money (as Jesus preached in Matthew chapters 5 and 6).
In Scripture, there is a name for anything that is the opposite of what Christ did: anti-Christ. Today, this spirit of antichrist has spread widely in evangelical Christendom. This is one proof that Satan has penetrated Christendom deeply with deception.
Why does God allow deceivers among His people?
In Deuteronomy 13:1-3, we are told why God allows such deceivers to move freely among His people:
If a prophet arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, `Let us go after other gods and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
God allows false prophets to do real signs and wonders and to prophesy things that come true, in order to test His children to see whether they love Him or the gods that the false prophets invite them to follow. Two of the main gods that false prophets invite Christians to follow these days are the gods of money and entertainment.
Money. People are urged to seek for wealth and health by giving money to the preachers ministry. Peter however rebuked the magician Simon when he tried to give Peter money in order to purchase Gods gifts (Acts 8:18-23).
Entertainment. Churches have become places of entertainment where worldly music styles and other worldly programs are promoted to attract people. Thus Satan (the ruler of this world system) has succeeded in making Christians worldly-minded and ineffective for God.
Millions of Christians follow the teachings of these false prophets today because such teachings satisfy their fleshly lusts. Thus these false gods have become the idols that Christians worship in most churches today.
He who has ears to hear let him hear.
| 2010/1/25 1:25||Profile|
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Concerning the letter from the Pator's wife I would have a couple of questions. Was there any monetary reimbursement for those who were deceived in Lakeland and is Bentley still standing by all of his extra-biblical tales of having a meeting with the apostle Paul in a cabin and being transported to heaven by a 'portal/pillar of fire' and being gutted by heavenly beings (angels/'guys in white coats') who took out his organs and sowed boxes of 'character attributes' and truth into him. If he hasn't, then he hasn't repented of his deception and un-biblical teachings. David's repentence was documented to have been genuine and David 'heard' the prophet Nathan's rebuke.
Here's a sample of one of Bentley's tales. Does he stand by it today... now?? If so then he hasn't truly repented. If you study this in the light of 2 Peter 2:3 and other scriptures concerning false prophets and conterfeit signs and wonders then it should become clear as to what we are seeing. Those who are deceived will not scrutinize but justify by twisting scripture to fit what they want to hear. The proof is in the pudding. It breaks my heart that such blatant mockery of God and His Word seems to be so flippantly dismissed by so many especially when it's all in black and white for us to see.
| 2010/1/25 7:53|