Impartation, Anointing, and Manifestation

Original source: http://www.spiritwatch.org/fireimpart.htm

In this brief article, we hope to bring some perspective on what is being called “impartation”, “anointing” and “manifestation” that is said to be at the heart of the revivalism of the Charismatic and Pentecostal “River” movements. As you will see, this is not a “formal” paper in that everything is footnoted. This article is simply a product of what we have read and studied regarding the practices and teachings of the “revivals” that once burned brightly at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, the Brownsville Assembly of God, and other so-called “power” centers where “the River of God” supposedly flows today. At the conclusion of the article is listed the sources that were consulted that contained full documentation.

Impartation

The experiences of Toronto and Brownsville are called “impartations” or “manifestations.” These type of emotions or experiences have appeared in the past revivals, but usually are rejected by the leaders and revivalists as being disruptive due to their carnal or Satanic origins. Such experiences come forth among Pentecostal and Charismatic believers since they are imparted out of reaction to an excited religious environment rather than generated as a response to God through an inward spiritual life already internally present. They are external and are physically manifested in human behavior, rather than proceeding from the spiritual fruit in the heart and mind of the believer. This is a clear distinction easily and quickly lost in the heat of a charged moment around crowded altars and under the exhortation of earnest, fiery ministers.

The teaching of impartation is based upon the popular belief that certain “special” people have a “special ability” to “impart” the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the gift of tongues as well as other gifts, and special endowments of power to others. Such an assertion then opens the door for a blanket legitimizing of the strange and often bizarre religious exercises found in Pentecostal and Charismatic meetings where “the River” is said to be “flowing.”  “God will offend the mind to reveal the heart” is a common phrase used by the proponents of impartation, found across the Pentecostal and Charismatic worlds from one end of the earth to another, to justify the surreal and often completely carnal nature of these supposedly inspired “manifestations.”

These “manifestations” are meant to be behind virtually every physically displayed action observed in these “River” meetings. They include – but are not limited to – shaking, weeping, speaking in tongues, being “slain by the Spirit” as well as barking like dogs, roaring like wild beasts and women giving “birth to the Spirit” through “labor pains” in which they endure contractions, screams of agony and even the soiling of their clothing. Such “offense” is said to be a divine manifestation of God’s Spirit He uses to “expose” some hidden spiritual deficit among those not manifesting the same way.

The idea is that modern “fivefold” prophets and teachers can dispense spiritual gifts to believers at will is a very serious misinterpretation of Scripture. The apostle Paul’s exhortation to Timothy is often used to substantiate this teaching: “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Tim. 1:6). The gift that Timothy had is stated to be a “gift of God” that, according to popular belief among Pentecostals and Charismatics, is an irrefutably clear reference to the special spiritual giftings mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 which involve gifts of tongues, interpretation, miracles and prophecy, among others. This, for many, is a “Holy Ghost blank check” meant to be gateway to the “deep things of God” all are to receive from the hosts of the “five fold ministry” all around today. 

Several serious questions arise about this from Scripture itself. What about what Paul wrote in Romans 1:11: “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong–” According to the great Christian exegete W.E. Vine, the Greek word translated “impart” is metadidomi (meaning “to give a share”), a compound word (meta, “with”; give, didomai) that is distinct from “giving”:

The apostle Paul speaks of “sharing” some spiritual gift with Christians at Rome, (Rom.1:11), “that I may impart,” and exhorts those who minister in things temporal, to do so as “sharing,” and that generously (12:8). In 1 Thess. 2:8 he speaks of himself and his fellow missionaries as having been well pleased to impart to the converts both God’s gospel and their own souls (i. e., so “sharing” those with them as to spend themselves and spend out their lives for them).(1)

That Paul passionately wanted to share a gift said to be “spiritual” is not in dispute. It is the precise nature of what this gift he wanted to “impart” that is far from settled. Leon Morris, another Christian Biblical scholar, illuminates further this in his commentary on Romans 1:11:

In this place spiritual can do no more than add emphasis, for the idea is already there in the noun. Gift renders charisma, the word normally used of the special gifts imparted by the Holy Spirit (such as those discussed in 1 Corinthians 12; cf, also Romans 12:6ff.), gifts of healings, miracles, speaking with tongues, prophecy, teaching, and so on. But the word may also be used in a wider and more general sense of the gift God makes to every believer (Romans 5:15; 1 Peter 4:10). .. There is no reason to think that Paul has the special gifts in mind here, and the indefinite form of the expression favors the more general concept. .. The term is used here in the more general sense of anything that builds up the spiritual life. Paul wanted the Roman Christians to be strengthened in the faith as a result of the gift God would give them through his ministry. (2, emphasis ours)

Both Vine and Morris agree that the verse is not teaching an impartation of spiritual “sign” gifts as laid out in 1 Corinthians 12, but that the “impartation” Paul wanted to pass along to the Roman church was the sharing of God’s spiritual grace in His life that would encourage or strengthen them all together in the unity of the Spirit as members of the Body of Christ (“to the end that ye may be established: that is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith of you and me” – Romans 1:11-12). The laying on of hands referred to by Paul merely symbolized the recognition of their shared faith and comfort derived from God’s graces bestowed upon them. So Paul had been gifted by the Spirit with ability to encourage and strengthen, and he shared these gifts with others. The verses did not teach that any person could go around to donate the spiritual “sign” gifts to whomever he or she pleases.

God’s sovereign direction alone determines the bestowal of such giftings. Such a thought may upset those who crave the chance to invoke a divine authority they do not have, but it’s what Scripture says. The Holy Spirit is the one who imparts gifts “according to his will” (Heb. 2:4)…as He determines. This is another important point lost upon far too many Pentecostals and Charismatics who boldly lay claim to having an “anointing” for “impartation.” They either have forgotten – or worse, may never have fully read, much less understood – the apostolic instruction of Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:11, after he lists these same giftings:

“All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.”

In Paul’s first letter to Timothy he reminded him, “Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you” (1 Tim. 4:14). Here, Timothy was reminded not to ignore the gift that was given by God and affirmed by those in spiritual authority and responsibility. The prophetic utterances were not supernatural pronouncements designed to dispense and activate spiritual gifts at a prophet’s summoning. Rather, they were words of encouragement and exhortation confirming Timothy’s giftedness and his call to ministry.

The laying on of hands was not a magical or superstitious rite that gave a person special power. It expressed the idea of being set apart by the entire church for a special task. The laying on hands signifies the gracious act whereby the work of the Holy Spirit – His calling and empowerment – is acknowledged:

Acts 6:6 “They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.”

Acts 8:17 “Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 13:2-4 “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.”

Without pushing the comparison too far, the idea that special believers can impart spiritual gifts parallels pagan shamanism more than it does Christianity. In shamanism special gifts and abilities, including, inner mystical revelation of secret knowledge  are transmitted to friends or disciples through initiation, ritual and meditation. In Christianity, God the Holy Spirit distributes gifts to each believer: it is important again to review what the Bible says on this:

1 Cor. 12:11 “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives (diaireo; distributes) them to each one, just as he determines.” (NIV);

“But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally (idios; one’s own; by implication, private or separate; is also translated “acquaintance”) as he will (boulomai; “to wish, to will deliberately”) (KJV).

The Holy Spirit who resides within knows us intimately and bestows us with the gifts He feels we need to have. We personally don’t see the “line them up and slap them on the head in order to receive something from the Spirit” approach promoted through this verse (Click the link to see a Real Video glimpse of this). However it hasn’t stopped too many people from blindly and naively jumping on many a Full Gospel bandwagon in churches around the world to “receive from God.”

This practice and others associated with the Latter Rain movement was officially condemned by the General Council of the Assemblies of God in 1949 held in Seattle. The resolution adopted disapproved of the following practices of the Latter Rain. Six errors were specified:

  • The overemphasis relative to imparting, identifying, bestowing, or confirming of gifts by the laying on of hands and prophecy.
  • The erroneous teaching that the Church is built on the foundation of present-day apostles and prophets.
  • The extreme teaching as advocated by the “New Order,” regarding the confession of sin to man and deliverance as practiced, which claims prerogatives to human agency which belongs only to Christ.
  • The erroneous teaching concerning the impartation of the gift of languages as special equipment for missionary service.
  • The extreme and unscriptural practice of imparting or imposing personal leadings by the means of the gifts of utterance.
  • Such other wrestings and distortions of scripture interpretations which are in opposition to teachings and practices generally accepted among us. (3)

Assemblies of God pastor Ron Stringfellow quoted another earlier pastoral letter delivered by his movement’s leadership in another online article:

In a letter from the Executive Presbytery of the Assemblies of God (April 20, 1949) this observation was given. They are still valid today

“The true test of any movement is whether or not it will stand up under the light of the Word of God. We cannot depend alone upon the testimony of spiritual blessing, which many claim to have received under the ‘new order.’ When the ‘Jesus Only’ issue swept over the country in the years 1914-1917, there was constant testimony that this was a revelation from God accompanied by great spiritual blessing. The movement was judged, however, not on testimony of spiritual blessings, but on its adherence to the Scriptures. When it was found that its claims did not conform to sound doctrine, its message was rejected. Dire calamities were predicted upon all who failed to ‘walk in the light’ of that ‘revelation,’ but all predictions failed of fulfillment. We have heard similar predictions for failure to accept the ‘new order’ teaching, which we regret exceedingly.” (3)

This Assemblies’ precedent of Christian discernment had to be recalled, cited and lamentably expanded upon considerably in the recent 2001 Assemblies of God position paper on endtime revival (click to download a PDF document file of the paper). It went on to rightly observe that the questionable teachings on impartation, manifestations and a supposedly divinely ordained call for “apostles” and “prophets” were alive and well in contemporary times. And the paper also reminded readers that this excess was rooted in the Latter Rain “revival” among Pentecostals of the late 1940’s and that its’ elements of extremism were spread to the four winds of global Christian culture by the interdenominational shepherding movement that sprang up among the Charismatics of the 1970’s. Hidden in plain sight, this spiritual scourge continues almost unabated to this day.

Despite the concept’s popularity and widespread influence in Christian circles everywhere, the truth must still be sounded out squarely: nowhere in Scripture do you find the Holy Spirit, a Divine Being, dissected in parts and distributed to people or places. This is foreign to our Christian faith. He can only enter your life as a Person and He does at the moment you are truly converted or born again. He is either in your heart and life or He is not.

Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

In light of these Scriptures one must ask:

1. Where does the real power come from? Without, from a impartation “received” or from within, from the residing person of the Holy Spirit?

2. Can someone arbitarily “impart” a blessing, a gift, a manifestation to someone else?

Anointing

There are many examples today that demonstrate how much imbalanced and unbiblical teaching exists that confuse and even blind Christians to Scriptural truth on the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. Such confusion only contributes to the ignorance of Pentecostal and Charismatic believers, when laboring under the excitement of revivalism, are led into false teaching out of good intentions. 

One glaring instance is found in the book entitled “The Anointing” written by Benny Hinn. He states that the believer lives at three different levels of “the anointing”. We are first saved (in a visitation of the Spirit called the “leper’s anointing), then we are baptized in the Spirit (through an enduement of spiritual power called the “priestly anointing”). He goes on to state that these two levels of “anointing” are necessary to seek and possibly receive a special third level called the “kingly anointing, the most powerful of them all” which “lifts a person to a place of high authority with God .. the most difficult to receive.” (4) On a TBN broadcast, Hinn speaks of visiting the grave sites of Kathryn Kuhlman and Aimee Semple McPherson, where he has felt “a terrific anointing” lingering over their remains (5), an “anointing” that even healed the sick brought to the graveside.  

He then defends these eerie practices by using the account of Elisha’s bones raising the dead. But the plain understanding of the Elisha account shows this was simply the manner that authenticated the fulfillment of God’s promise for him to have received the “double portion.” That in and of itself was unique, not normative. Nowhere else in Scripture do you read of anyone else receiving a “double portion.” Neither Christ or the apostles taught much less advocated seeking  “levels” of spiritual anointing, so Hinn’s teaching is clearly not Biblical. That doesn’t keep so many others from replicating unscriptural claims about alleged planes of spiritual power to climb ladder like in spiritual progression. 

The word “anoint” means to authorize, or set apart, a person for a particular work or service (Isa. 61:1). The anointed person belonged to God in a special sense. The phrases, “the Lord’s anointed,” “God’s anointed,” “My anointed,” “Your anointed,” or “His anointed” are used of Saul (1 Sam. 26:9, 11), David (2 Sam. 22:51), and Solomon (2 Chron. 6:42). Priests, kings, and prophets were anointed. Oil was poured on the head of the person being anointed (Ex. 29:7). Kings were set apart through the ritual of anointing, which was performed by a prophet who acted in God’s power and authority (1 Sam. 15:1). The Old Testament also records two instances of the anointing of a prophet (1 Kin. 19:16; Isa. 61:1).

The Lord Jesus Christ is known as the Messiah, which literally means “anointed one.” This  description is found in the Psalms of the Old Testament which prophesies the coming of Christ and in the preaching of the apostle Peter in the Book of Acts. In the New Testament, all who are Christ’s disciples are said to be anointed; they are God’s very own, set apart and commissioned for service (2 Cor. 1:21). In the New Testament, anointing was frequently used in connection with healing. Jesus’ disciples anointed the sick (Mark 6:13), and James instructed the elders of the church to anoint the sick with oil (James 5:14). This anointing was for the purpose of healing. The Holy Spirit’s activities in a believer’s life are pictured in terms associated with anointing.

Anointing in the New Testament also refers to the anointing of the Holy Spirit, which brings understanding (1 John 2:20 “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.” “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit – just as it has taught you, remain in him.”(v. 27). This anointing is not only for kings, priests, and prophets; it is for everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. A physical anointing with a substance such as oil, myrrh, or balsam could be implied in these references, but the primary references are to the spiritual anointing of the Holy Spirit that anoints and sets apart a person’s heart and mind with the love, truth and missional call of God to ministry.

Colossians 2:9-10 “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness (pleroo; “to fill” in the passive voice; “to be made full” is translated “complete” in the King James Version) in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”

The word “fullness” literally means to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish, satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction). All that is necessary to secure salvation and Christian living is found in Jesus Christ. There is a completion, or a filling up, in Him, so as to leave nothing wanting.

In light of these Scriptures one must ask: 

If in Christ, we have been given filled completely, why be anointed with the prayer “More, Lord” or “Fill, fill, fill”?

Manifestation Of The Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:7-11  “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.”

The word “manifestation” comes from the original Greek word phanerosis and appears only two times in the New Testament; here and in 2 Corinthians 4:2, where Paul uses it to sharply contrast spiritual deception with a “setting forth (of) the truth plainly”. In context, the word in this chapter deals with “spiritual gifts” that are revealed by the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians for the purpose of building up the church and reaching the lost. The list of spiritual gifts in (8-10) includes wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. Similar lists appear in Ephesians 4:7-13 and Romans 12:3-8. The gifts are a manifestation, a disclosure of the Spirit’s activity in their midst. The emphasis is not on the individual gifted but on the Spirit who is at work. This is clearly what the late but great Pentecostal preacher and expositor Donald Gee had in mind when, writing of the giftings of the Spirit of God and referring to 1 Corinthians 12:7, he wrote that

.. it is easy to form an exaggerated conception of the place of the supernatural in the experience of the early Christians, and many have done this. Examination will prove that, generally speaking, the miracles had some definite connection with the preaching of the gospel, either to attract or to authenticate as “signs,” in this way fulfilling the promise of the Lord that He would confirm the word in this manner. .. There is an intimate connection between the supernatural gifts of the Spirit and the initial baptism with the Holy Spirit. They constituted one of the accepted results of that blessing in the corporate life and activity of the assemblies .. The very phrase “manifestation of the Spirit” makes this clear (1 Corinthians 12:7). The Greek word is phanerosis, a shining forth. The nine gifts .. are examples of the different ways in which the indwelling Spirit might reveal himself through believers. It is the light shining through the lantern. (6)

The purpose of the manifestation of the Spirit of God, therefore, is for the common good of Christian mission around the world – the building up of the Christian community of faith and Spirit-empowered outreach to the unbelieving as the primary means for confirming the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite the apologists for River revivalist excess, such manifestations are not primarily for the benefit of individual believers to use in indulging their cravings for a spiritual high that props up tottering faith – or shores up authoritarian lust for power. They are signs of a divine instrumentality of the Spirit working among human vessels to advance His truth that is both exciting and simultaneously convicting:

There must have been a wonderfully, comforting, but sometimes also a terribly searching light in those early Christian assemblies as the Master used the gifts of the Spirit under His own loving yet faithful control. A wealth of insight is contained in just one verse where Paul says on this subject, “Thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth” (1 Corinthians 14:25).  (7)

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul writes about how the work of the Spirit is fleshed-out: 

16 “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. 19 The acts of sinful nature are obvious: sexual immortality, impurity, and debauchery, 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16-25).

We believe the following verses speak of an over-all purpose of the Spirit’s work in our lives:  

17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:17-18).

In light of those verses, one must ask:

1. Are the “manifestations” seen in these movements (being slain in the Spirit, jerking, laughing, roaring, etc.) a “manifestation” of the Spirit? Can they be attributed to something else rather than the Spirit?

2. Are these above “manifestations” more for the individual than for the “common good”?

3. How do these “manifestations” transform a believer into the likeness of Christ?

4. Where does the “fruit of the Spirit” apply?

A Closing Thought

The following statement by D. Martin Lloyd-Jones is from his book entitled Revival

“The need we say is the need of an outpouring of the Spirit of God. But, clearly, by definition, the Spirit of God can only be outpoured on and can only honor His own truth. The Holy Spirit cannot honor a lie. He cannot honor a negation of truth…So if we want the blessing of the Holy Spirit, clearly, we must make sure that our position conforms to His truth.”

If D. Martin Lloyd-Jones’ statement is correct (and we have no reason to refute it), then I have a difficult time endorsing movements that have their basis in unbiblical teaching (impartation/anointing) and practices (the “manifestations”). We are called upon by the proponents of these movements to “judge the fruit.” 

If the seed was bad, then the fruit must be as well.


ENDNOTES


(1) Vine, W.E. An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Barbour, 1952) p. 149

(2) Morris, Leon. The Epistle To The Romans. (Eerdmans, 1988) p. 60 

(3) This 1949 Assemblies Of God statement was cited from William Menzies’ book Anointed To Serve (Gospel Publishing House, 1971)

(4) Hinn, Benny. The Anointing (Thomas Nelson, 1997), pp. 89, 90, 94. 

(5) Benny Hinn’s admission in a 1991 sermon at his Orlando church entitled “Double Portion Anointing” is the source of this documented claim that he frequents the graves of Kathryn Kuhlman and Aimee Semple MacPherson to top up his “anointing” tank. It is perhaps one of the most surreal and troubling statements he has made (and he’s made a fair share of strange ones over the years). It smacks of a magical and detestable superstition that smacks of the foul sin of necromancy. See chapter 15 of The Confusing World Of Benny Hinn (Morris, 1999), a compilation of research articles by Personal Freedom Outreach on Hinn’s controversial teachings.

(6) Gee, Donald. Concerning Spiritual Gifts (Radiant, 1980), p. 15. This is by far the most balanced treatment on spiritual giftings written from a classical Pentecostal perspective, well worth the effort to obtain HERE

(7) ibid, p. 15

Scriptural Healing and Counterfeit Phenomenon

A couple who are on my email list sent me and some others the following request (followed by my answer):

Here is what I would like to see explained.  Healings (and other signs and wonders) which were performed by Jesus, and then by His apostles:  What place do they have NOW in the Christian church?  In church history, when did the mass healings stop?  As we know, they have been resurrected during the past (??) years by men such as Benny Hinn, and many others, who have turned out to be charlatans and frauds.  The “revivals” in Florida, in which some people barked like a dog, and in Brownsville, TX – I believe they both turned out to be false. And now Dan Bohi in the COTN.  I don’t know how our leadership views him.  So – how are we to judge what is authentic and of God, and what is not of God?  I know that all MUST be based on the truth of God’s word.  And the Word of God does teach healing.  But obviously this has been skewed and abused.  Answers??  I have become very cautious because of so many voices out there, and yet do not want to quench anything that is genuinely of God.

My Answer:

I am more familiar with the first people you referenced but know very little about Dan Bohi (although I have heard his dad sing several times as a song evangelist) mainly because I have not been paying much attention about him one way or the other.  I am aware of some of the criticism about him but have not verified it personally, so will not discuss him.

Actually, I only know of the other matters by way of cursory observation and have learned enough to say I want no part in any of it.  What I have seen is quite foreign to biblical evangelism and revival and is akin to demon possession, if not actually demon possession.  I try to stay away from that stuff.  A few times I got inadvertently closer to some of it than I was comfortable with and got away as quickly as I could.

Your question, “When did mass healings stop?” is easy enough to answer.  It never began, at least it never existed in the form you see it in through these people you mention.  There were divine healings in the ministries of the Apostles and Paul, as well as those Jesus performed.  Sometimes they included numbers of people but could never be rightly called mass healings.  Each time they occurred, they always pointed to the gospel message and never took “center stage.”  When they did occur, their purpose was always the gospel of grace, not some “gospel” of healing. 

Gifts of healing continued in a general sense, but were no more prominent than were any other gift of the Spirit and were always individual and low-key as it concerned the gift.  That is how it is today—and the gospel of Jesus is to save the world, not heal everyone, not make everyone rich, and certainly not to amaze people with wonders.

I have made a moderate study of some of the so-called charismatic movements and have discovered in some of them the actual presence of demon activity.  One charismatic leader, Andrew Strom, has spent a lot of effort exposing some of the extremes of the kundalini activities.  Three of his You Tube’s are:

False Spirits Invade The Church- Pt 1

False Spirits Invade The Church- Pt 2

False Spirits Invade The Church- Pt 3

The “Kundalini Awakening” is a bizarre expression of Yoga from Hinduism.  You might start to get the connection from that into the postmodern/new age emergent movement that is quieter but no less evil.  Interestingly, “kundalini” means “coiled” and many people are thrust into unbelievable bodily distortions when under demonic control.  Reiki is part of that element.  It is of Japanese origin and supposedly involves palm healing or hands on healing whereby practitioners believe that they are transferring universal energy (have you watched Benny Hinn lately?).

One of the best hidden things is the high level of demon activities among civilized people.  They are as gross as a culture will tolerate but can be just as effective in civilized disguise.  Their sole objective is to undermine the Lord Jesus Christ and His work.  That means they will mislead as many as who will pay attention to them and those who will be careless about prayer that prevails.  Prayer warfare is the best approach in dealing with this error.

John Henderson (Dr. Gran Pa)

Leonard Sweet New Ager? You Decide

Leonard Sweet is our topic today in a post by Tim Wirth.  When you go on Leonard’s website, he still sells his New Age-ish book Quantum Spirituality, even though in his “Response to Critics” downloadable pdf, he says he made it available as a free download.  He says, “Would I write the same book today? No.”  I would suggest that if there are serious problems in that book, and there are, that Dr. Sweet reject it completely and stop selling it.  In reading his response, he does not renounce, and has not yet done so, any of his teachings from Quantum Spirituality and several other books.  Quote from Quantum Spirituality, as an example:

A surprisingly central feature of all the world’s religions is the language of light in communicating the divine and symbolizing the union of the human with the divine: Muhammed’s light-filled cave, Moses’ burning bush, Paul’s blinding light, Fox’s “inner light,” Krishna’s Lord of Light, Bohme’s light-filled cobbler shop, Plotinus’ fire experiences, Bodhisattvas with the flow of Kundalini’s fire erupting from their fontanelles, and so on.” P. 235

Leonard Sweet is scheduled to be in revival services along with Dr. Nina Gunter, former General Superintendent, at the Tennessee District Camp Meetings, May 29-June 3, 2012.  This confirms to me again that he is a fixture within the Nazarene denomination, although he is not Nazarene himself, and no one in serious leadership position has any problem with Sweet, who is favorable to the emergent church ideology (despite his protest), and is at best what he has been described as a New Age sympathizer.  Documented reports at the end of this post demonstrate that to be the case.  See also my post from January, “Leonard Sweet Continues Promoting Mystical Heresy.

Leonard Sweet New Ager? You Decide
(by Tim Wirth)

“The Bible does not offer a plan or a blueprint for living. The “good news” was not a new set of laws, or a new set of ethical injunctions, or a new and better PLAN. The “good news” was the story of a person’s life, as reflected in The Apostle’s Creed. The Mystery of Faith proclaims this narrative: “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.” The meaning of Christianity does not come from allegiance to complex theological doctrines, but a passionate love for a way of living in the world that revolves around following Jesus, who taught that love is what makes life a success . . . not wealth or health or anything else: but love. And God is love.”  Leonard Sweet

The above shows characteristic of all of these recent emerging convergences, a MANIFESTO accompanies the agenda being promoted jointly by Sweet and [Frank] Viola. It is called “A Magna Carta for Restoring the Supremacy of Jesus Christ a.k.a. A Jesus Manifesto for the 21st Century Church.” This Manifesto does not hearken back to the written Word of God in order to follow Jesus or His teachings. Instead it speaks of “implantation and impartation” and “incarnation.” This is based on imaging, imagining, visualization, meditation, and following a “Presence,” even using the term “cosmic Christ.”[14] The document also makes this amazing statement – an example of psycho-spiritual biblical revisionism:
This book and Manifesto was not written in Leonard’s past where he can just try to explain it away; rather it was written and then published in June 2010.

Leonard Sweet offers in an answer to his critics that he is somehow misunderstood.  Len states on his website:

“I wrote a book 20 years ago called Quantum Spirituality, and a few years ago made it available as a free download on my website. Back when “New Age” was a movement, I was inspired by the brilliance of the Apostle Paul in evangelizing pagans, to show how even New Agers, like atheists or other non-Christian groups, could be evangelized for orthodox Christianity if only we learn how to speak to them. For example, the recovery movement language of “higher power” or “higher consciousness” can be turned into “Christ consciousness.” Instead of “New Age,” we might adopt and adapt the “New Light” language of Charles G. Finney, the founder of modern urban revivalism and the leader of the Second Great Awakening, who called his followers “New Light” evangelists because they used new methods like altar calls and hymns to bring early 19th century Americans to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Would I write the same book today? No. Would I say some things differently? Yes. I started working on the book in my late 20s. I hope I’m older and wiser now. But this was the first book to examine the challenges confronting Christianity as it entered into the uncharted waters of a new postGutenberg, postChristian, postmodern culture, and I quoted and referenced New Age thinkers who seemed to “get” this cultural transition better than the church did while I outlined avenues of approach to their minds and hearts.”

Yet the book is still offered on his website so at no point do I see that Len disagrees or repents of what he states in Quantum Spirituality. So I would have to say that Len agrees with what he wrote but disagrees with the conclusions others including myself came to.
Actually on Sweet’s site it lists this book as already called “a spirituality classic,” Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Apologetic is the book that launched what today is called “postmodern publishing” as well as Len’s ministry to postmodern culture. A book written in a circle, the reader is invited to begin anywhere, stop anytime, and end wherever. This was Len’s “coming out” book as a postmodern disciple after his 1987 knockdown, drag-out Damascus Road encounter with God, who (as he describes it) “knocked me off my high academic horse and said, ‘Sweet, are you going to get a mission for the world you wish you had or the world that’s actually out there.” So its obvious Sweet does not disagree with the writing or conclusions he came to.

Here are some thoughts, then you decide:

While some Len Sweet defenders have argued that Sweets hybrid post modern “New Light” apologetic simply flies right over the heads of “old light” fundamentalist types, the facts tell a much different story. Sweet is trying to transform biblical Christianity into a quantum/postmodern/New Light/New age/ New Spirituality.
Without apology Sweet writes that he is part of a “New Light Movement” and he describes those he especially admires as “New Light Leaders.” Len lists New Age leaders Willis Harman, Matthew Fox (who the Catholic church kicked out as a heretic) and M. Scot Peck.
Now some of my detractors would not consider the above either new age or non Christian even though all have played leading roles in the building of today’s New Age/New Spirituality movement. How then can these men be Sweet’s role models and heroes?
A self professing Christian leader should be warning the church about these New Light leaders not holding them up.
Willis Harmon (1918-1997) was a social scientist/futurist with the Stanford Research Institute where he started a futures research program. Later he was President of the New Age Institute on Noetic Sciences and well connected to many fellow new age leaders.

In the late 70’s a group of Evangelical leaders openly met with Willis Harman. These Christian leaders were exploring new and alternate views of the future. Disregarding the prophetic teachings of scripture they were looking for a more optimistic and hopeful view of the future other than the one plainly stated in the Bible, probably hoping to turn God and His Word into their image instead of the other way around. Discernment Research group reports “These consultations on the future represent the first publicly disclosed occasions where Evangelicals and New Agers met together to discuss and address common ground.

But the Bible teaches us in Eph 5:11 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them”

Another one of Sweet’s “personal role models” and “heroes” is Episcopalian priest Matthew Fox. Fox is a former Catholic priest who was excommunicated from the Catholic Church for openly professing the heretical teachings of Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard Chardin (and other new age teachers), who is frequently referred to as the father of the new age movement.
Fox teaches that all creation is the Cosmic Christ.  Sweet not only hails Matthew Fox as one of his spiritual “heroes” but he also describes Pierre Teilhard de Chardin as “Twentieth century Christianity’s major voice.”

Sweet lays bare his postmodern/quantum/New Age/New Spirituality “apologetic” by writing:

“Quantum Spirituality bonds us to all creation as well as to other members of the human family. New Light pastors are what Arthur Peacocke calls”priest of creation -earth ministers who can relate the realm of nature to God, who can help nurture a brother-sister relationship with the living organism called Planet Earth. This entails a radical doctrine of embodiment of God in the very substance of creation.”

(my comment-this doctrine is not based in scripture but in Sweet’s own mind). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (1974) identifies the difference between pantheism and pan-entheism: Pantheism is the belief or theory that God and the universe are identical”; panentheism is “the belief that the Being of God includes and penetrates the whole universe, so that every part exists in Him, but.. that His being is more than, and is not exhausted by, the Universe.” New Light spirituality does more than settle for the created order, as many forms of New Age pantheism do. But a spirituality that is in some way entheistic (whether pan or trns), that does not extend to the spirit matter of the cosmos, is not Christian. A quantum spirituality can no way define God out of existence.
This panenthestic God-in-everything teaching by Leonard Sweet is the foundational teaching of the New Age/New Spirituality.

M. Scott Peck, another one of Sweet/s heroes in A Different Drum, states even though he saw himself as a Christian he believes that salvation of the world lies in community, not so much as accepting Jesus Christ as ones Lord and Savior.
Peck writes “In and through community lies the salvation of the world.  The human race stands at the brink of self annihilation.  I’m scared for my own skin. I’m even more scared for the skin of my children. And I’m scared for your skins. I want to save my skin.  I need you, and me, for salvation. We must come into community with each other. We need each other. If human kind is to survive, the matter of changing the rules is not optional”

We can never forsake unity for the sake of sound doctrine.  Sound doctrine will always divide sheep from goats.
And of course this is exactly what Jesus did not do-nor did His disciples. They died living by God’s Word and God’s rules rather than trying to change those rules to save their own skin.
Sweet’s buddy and friend Brian McLaren has been talking about a new kind of Christian and everything must change.
The Bible describes this new kind of Christian in Rev. 17.
Go back to the opening statement-The Bible does not offer a plan or a blueprint for living.

I ask you do you really need to read any further?

Some thoughts and information were taken from my friend and brother in the Lord Warren Smith in a book called “A Wonderful Deception.”  For more information on the new age infiltration of the church I would suggest you purchase the book.

Tim Wirth, (original source: http://simplyagape.blogspot.com/2012/04/leonard-sweet-new-ager-you-decide.html

Additional Resources:

 

http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/leonardsweetquotes.html

http://apprising.org/2010/03/29/emerging-church-theologian-leonard-sweet-to-speak-at-pastor-skip-heitzig%E2%80%99s-calvary-chapel-church/

Lord, Did We Not Do Many Wonderful Things In Your Name?

(By John Henderson)

Matthew 7:21-23” “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” “…I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works” (Revelation 2:23b).

I shared through email an article by Terry Ivy[1] in which he discussed the failure of churches that focus largely on programs at the expense of conversions, as evangelical believers understand conversions.  He was not decrying programs as such but the fact that vigorous conversions were conspicuously missing and all that was left were programs and events.

It has become a sickness of the soul of the church and these activities seem to be all they have left that makes them think of real church.  It is their substitution for commitment to the call of Jesus to go into the world and win souls, then nourish them in the things of Christ.  It is their abandonment of the New Testament Church principle of adding to the church daily such as will be saved.

In fact, when they say they want to return to the practices of the early church that is not the early church they mean.  They never go back past AD 200, but rather dawdle about in the budding heresies of the centuries after that, seeking to resurrect those old errors, many of which even the modern Catholic Church is abandoning.  They eagerly run after their accommodating teachers, “having itching ears,”[2] and miss the call of God altogether.

They must somehow know that deep inside, but choose rather to close the eyes and ears of their spiritual understanding against the Spirit’s warnings and arrive at a place where they actually think they are serving Christ. Once fully self-deceived, they move forward in haughty self-reliance all the way to the Judgment Bar of Christ.  Even then, they still think they have served the Lord until the Lord Himself has to tell them differently.  What an irreversible tragedy!

If you read the entire account in Matthew, you will see there were two groups.  One group, the saved, was so focused on loving the Lord that they completely overlooked the value of their service to Him.  The lost group was so focused on their “service” to Him that they completely overlooked loving Him.  Both groups called Him Lord, but He was Lord only of those who had “lost” themselves only to find it again in Him.  The other group only saw themselves as pushing self to the front for Him to notice and lost it all in the end.

One of my active email recipients on the west coast, a Nazarene who often responds in significant ways, wrote me the following about the Terry Ivy blog:

“Again, these ‘things’ in themselves are not wrong or even sin. But on the other hand, anything that pre-empts, distracts, plays on one’s feelings, and especially ‘mixes in’ with the Gospel needs to be evaluated…Believers continually seem to be coming up with all kinds of ways and means to entertain….instead of coming up with prayer meetings and focusing all the messages in the church on the saving grace and the price Christ paid for me on the cross. Anything at all in life and especially in the church can become a stumbling block, discount, discredit and demean the Gospel – therefore; it should compel us to judge all in light of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. The cross is no longer held in high esteem when all these ‘things’ come into the church. Anytime these venues are used to ‘draw’ people, I always notice that the simple clear message of the Gospel which compels sinners to come to the cross, becomes diluted and often not even mentioned.

That same person then followed with a response to my question that has become the topic of this article:

Yes, very possibly this could pertain to the verse, ‘Lord, did we not do many wonderful things in your name?’ but…unfortunately due to the fact that the doors have been opened to the enemy – this verse is lost on those being entertained.”

Another Nazarene correspondent in the eastern U.S., responding to the same Ivy article, sent me this message:

“I believe this was also true in the (earlier) days (my childhood years) in the COTN[3].  There was spirited singing, and solid preaching, and that was about it.  We went out ‘calling’ and witnessing – and that’s what brought people in.  Strong preaching, always ending in an either/or – heaven or hell –  confrontation, resulted in real conversions at the altar (mourner’s bench) – and many times it took more than the 2 or 3 minutes it takes to pray the ‘sinner’s prayer’.  And the church grew.”

I am not a pessimist.  Although I know there is to be a great falling away just prior to Christ’s Second Coming and that many will be led astray, I also believe that Jesus will not be coming for a Church hunkering down from the world’s attacks.  He will be coming for a busy Church, a Church that is attending to its mission while keeping an eye on the sky.

Luke 12:37-38: “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.”


[1] Terry Ivy. ReThinking Church, Part 5 – Biblical Conversions (http://blogs.christianpost.com/guest-views/rethinking-church-part-5-biblical-conversions-9823/).

[2] Having an itching in regard to hearing things that glut their own carnal desires “because they have an insatiable curiosity to hear new things” (from 2 Timothy 4:3, NET).  For this reason, they will not tolerate sound doctrine.

[3] COTN is a common abbreviation for Church of the Nazarene

Just Who Is Dividing The Church?

“It is better to be divided by truth than united in error.”
 “It’s better to be hated for telling the truth than loved for telling a lie.”
“It’s better to know the truth and to stand alone than it is to be wrong with a multitude.”
“It’s better to speak truth that hurts and then helps than falsehood that comforts and then kills.”
“It’s better to ultimately succeed with the truth than to temporarily succeed with a lie.”

Yes, peace and unity are very high in my hierarchy of values. But in my value system, “Truth trumps peace and unity.” You see, in the long run, there will be no lasting peace and unity without truth. How grateful I am for grace and forgiveness. But in my value system, if there is a conflict, “Truth trumps even grace and forgiveness.” For without truth there is no grace or forgiveness.  (Mrs. Joyce Rogers, wife of the late Adrian Rogers)

Over the last few years, the Concerned Nazarenes group has come under criticism from its opposition within the church.  Typical descriptions include “unChristlike behavior”, “causing division”, “dividing the church”, “who are you to judge?”, or the unscriptural “you should never judge” admonition.  Those of us who believe in exercising biblical discernment need not fear any Scriptural refutation of our concerns, because there is none.  The response is either false accusations and misused Scripture references such as Matthew 7:1 to say we should not judge, or Psalm 46:10 to justify contemplative spirituality practices; or no response at all.

When we explain how prayer labyrinths, ashes to the forehead, and lectio divina are unbiblical; the opposition says we are causing division.

When we speak out against ecumenism and the embracing of Roman Catholic mystical practices and state the biblical reasons why; they say we are causing division.

When we point out the false teachings and doctrinally-challenged theology of Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Leonard Sweet and others… they say we are causing division.

When we expose a Nazarene pastor (Gabriel Salguerro) for promoting an ungodly “spirituality” festival, we are met with silence because they cannot defend that type of behavior… or we are called dividers.

Recently, I posted on our Facebook Group page a request for anyone who might be able to help translate articles into Portuguese and/or Spanish.  About a month later, the following was posted publicly on the Facebook page of Rev. John Brickley, an ordained elder in the church and a NazNet member, who apparently sent out the same message to a list of Portuguese-speaking Nazarenes.  Below is the English translation of his message:

“To all my friends in the Church of the Nazarene (Lusafona). Recently a group called Concerned Nazarenes asked for help to translate their material into Portuguese. This group already has done much harm to the Church of the Nazarene here in the United States.  Churches have been divided because of them, and many good leaders including Presidents of Universities and the Seminary, some District Superintendents, and also Generals were attacked by name by this group. Even If some of you agree with SOME of the concerns of this group, they act in a manner which is dividing the Church. So I’m warning you not to help this group or with the translation or with the propagation of their material. I am praying constantly for you all and I know God has great things for the Church of the Nazarene (Lusafona).” God Bless, Your Brother John  (my emphasis in bold)

This is another typical example of the kind of attacks that we should expect more and more in the future, for anyone who dares to continue to expose the truth of what is happening in our denomination as well as many others.  Rev. Brickley, who has posted this type of invective publicly before, is not an exception.  He exemplifies what is standard procedure for even some ordained elders in the church, and for those who support and promote the emergent church movement, contemplative spirituality and other dangerous ideologies.

These Are The Ones Who Claim To Be Understanding and Loving?

There were the attacks that came from Trevecca President Dan Boone that lacked any biblical defense  (See here) Dr. Boone is also an ordained elder who wrote a book called A Charitable Discourse, and then ironically in the very book he wrote uncharitably equated fundamental, Bible believing Christians to Muslim jihadists!  He also said this in response to some of our exchanges:

“Religious fundamentalism is one of the hot topics in the world today and this website has given me the best model, other than Islamic fundamentalism, to demonstrate to students how religious fundamentalism works.”

“I am most likely viewing these websites for the last time and would urge all thinking Christians to join me in the exit. Maybe we can stun them with our silence. In the meantime, I am working on a book called “A Charitable Discourse on the Things that Divide Us”. I’ll discuss Jihad in the church.”


So much for practicing what you preach.  Note that if you don’t agree with Dr. Boone, you are not a “thinking Christian.”  Yet he has received much praise for a book that attacks Christian fundamentalists.

And remember the more recent diatribe written by the Rev. Kevin Ulmet in Holiness Today, where he used a few dozen nasty ways of describing those of us who dare to criticize what is happening, and leaves out any biblical defense of his position.  I don’t know what was more shameful: his article, or the many Nazarenes who complimented him on such a fine, “Christlike” and loving piece.  It really was simply another attack piece without biblical foundation, yet he was praised for it.  Some of his “best” loving descriptions included:

“driven by categorization, guilt-by-association”;  “gotcha” tactics that more represent radical politics than anything remotely biblical, Christian, or certainly holiness”;  “Internet rumormongers”; “Salem-witch-hunt”; “Inquisition-type atmosphere”; “Our presidents…  are under direct and often slanderous attacks from various sources”;  “full of self-righteous piety”; “great derision and mistrust in the scurrilous E-mail exchanges”; “mistrust and gossip”; “no regard whatsoever to biblical conflict resolution principles”; “inflaming the emotions of the faithful”; “unjustly and manipulatively ratcheted up by the fully-aware bloggers”; “special-interest-political-action-group thinking”.

And then there were the personal attacks from Olivet theology head, Dr. Carl Leth.  (Responding to Dr. Leth’s Open Letter) He wrote a critique which also followed the Dan Boone method of claiming love and concern for us, but which devolved into yet again the same pattern: baseless attacks with no Scriptural foundation.  When you view the many comments of those who praised his article, it is astounding how people can be blind to Dr. Leth’s baseless and un-Christlike accusations.  As we proved with objective facts in our response, Dr. Leth was either horribly ignorant of the facts, or he deliberately ignored the facts and made false accusations about me as well as the folks at Lighthouse Trails Research.

Then there are the many colleagues of Mr. Brickley over at NazNet.  There are those such as Dennis Bratcher, former professor at Point Loma, who has in the past said some very nasty comments about me and Tim Wirth and anyone else who challenges his version of the truth.  There is the kindly sounding Professor, Dr. Tom Oord, who has expressed a disdain for fundamentalists in some of his writings.  However, even as he has avoided direct vicious attacks on us, he nonetheless exhibited a strange tolerance for one of his Facebook friends, who wrote the following during a discussion of Rev. Ulmet’s article and the Concerned Nazarenes:

 “Pray for what? Insight as to WWJD? Victory over the Enemies of the Church? Assimilation? If so, who is to be assimilated? What’s up with ‘personal sameness’? With Jesus? I am curious. How do you determine if/when that occurs? Do you offer the same advice to the CN’s? What if they don’t listen? What if the opponents to the CN’s don’t listen? Please explain, as I do not, given human nature, see your ‘solution’ .  I abhor strife and violence, but sometimes it boils down to the simple fact that some people just need killing … figuratively if not literally.”

It is amazing that Dr. Oord did not call out this man for making such a hateful and threatening statement on his Facebook page.  It is ironic as well, because Dr. Oord loves to write and talk about love, and has a blog called For the Love of Wisdom, and The Wisdom of Love.  Apparently he has no problem allowing this kind of comment to go unchallenged.

These are just a few examples.  I could go on, about those who brought false accusations against Pastor Joe Staniforth for simply preaching against emergent ideology, leading to his dismissal from his pastoral duties and missionary service.  I could go on about the General Superintendent who dismissed me out of hand in an email to Dr. Boone, after he realized I was not budging easily from my position.  All these attacks serve to illustrate that these people will go to great lengths to protect their turf, at the same time pretending to be the understanding and loving ones.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

They Will Go After Anyone

The NazNetters, and the emergent Nazarenes who claim that they are part of a  so-called “big tent” denomination, will go after anyone.  I recall the disrespectful comments they dished out when a well respected District Superintendent dared to write and speak out against emergent ideology and radical liberalism in the church.  Just as they attacked his integrity for refuting their ideology, so they will someday even go after a General Superintendent who might speak out and stand up for biblical truth in the church.  They don’t care, because their sole interest is to protect the turf that they are trying to permanently claim as theirs, and theirs alone.

To those who are working hard to defend the truth and expose the lies, you have not seen the worst of it yet.  You need to prepare for even worst in the future, and the worst will continue to come from within, from the wolves inside the church.  Do not be afraid of them, do not give an inch to them, do not be intimated by them.  Just keep calling them out for what they are doing to the church of God.  Regardless of the consequences, your obedience to Christ is not an option.

To those who are in the company of Rev. Brickley, Dr. Leth, Dr. Boone, Dr. Oord, Rev. Ulmet, and others who are attempting to silence us by their false accusations of dividing the church:

1. There is a division that is good.   Jesus Christ mentioned it.  He said that He has come to divide with a sword.  He will separate the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats.  There will not be a “big tent.”  The way is narrow that leads to life, but the path of destruction is wide and looks very comfortable and full of those who love “conversation.”

2. The division that is happening in the church is coming naturally, because what you teach and promote throughout the denomination is causing many Nazarenes to react to your unscriptural teachings, and they are calling you out on it.

There Are Two Things We MUST Do

The Scriptures clearly teach us that we are to be discerning, and to defend the faith once given to the saints.  Paul says in Galatians 1 that if anyone else preaches another Gospel, let him be accursed.  We are to be Bereans, and question our very own pastors or leaders if necessary when we hear strange doctrines and “new” ways of “experiencing” God.  It is not hateful to do that; it is because of love that we ought to do that, for their own sake, and especially for the sake of Jesus Christ and obedience to Him.

But Jesus also commands us to love our enemies.  There are enemies of the Cross within the church, and yet, we are to love them, and to pray for them.  And so we will.  To those reading this who have been misled by false teachings, we will lovingly and prayerfully reach out to you and show you what God’s word says and help bring you back to the truth.  To the ones who are deliberately misleading other Christians, we will not be so gentle with you, because false teachers will not be given a free pass.  We will call you out for what you are doing against God’s word.  We will reprove and rebuke, but we will also pray for you, and we still love you.

But the Lord is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.  Jer. 20:11

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;  but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.  1 Peter 4:12-14, 16