Are Evangelical Continuationists The Same As Mormon Continuationists?

The leadership of the Mormon church recently changed their policy regarding parents of gay children.

Children of parents who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender may now be blessed as infants and baptized in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without First Presidency approval, President Dallin H. Oaks announced Thursday morning, April 4.

In addition, the Church will no longer characterize same-gender marriage by a Church member as “apostasy” for purposes of Church discipline, although it is still considered “a serious transgression.”

The policy was changed by a divine revelation as God supposedly guided the leadership,

the changes reflect the continuing revelation that has been a part of the modern Church since the Restoration.

“These policy changes come after an extended period of counseling with our brethren in the Quorum the Twelve Apostles after fervent, united prayer to understand the will of the Lord,” wrote President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors in the First Presidency, President Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring, in the statement.

Note the words, continuing revelation. Al Mohler then discussed that policy change on his Briefing podcast and stated in a tweet,

Mohler is dead wrong about that difference. While certainly the polytheistic pseudo-Christianity of the Mormon church is radically different from historic, orthodox Christianity, when it comes to continuationism, the leadership of the Mormon church receiving direct, divine revelation is really no different than evangelicals claiming they receive direct, personal revelations. In response to Mohler’s tweet, I stated,

Unsurprisingly, there were a number of naysayers who sternly disagreed with my comment. One individual wrote in response that it is absolutely untrue that any continuationist would equate his or her gift of prophecy with Scripture. Another opined that every SBC pastor he has known insists God spoke to them by “calling” them to the ministry. Still another person echoed that every pastor received a divine revelation from God to pastor the church where he currently serves. One guy was upset that I would slander the good name and reputation of Beth Moore who regularly shares in her sermons how God tells her stuff.

The common misconception among average Christians is that the gift of prophesy is very much active in today’s church. The gift is meant to be a divinely encouraging word to other believers, rather than some new divinely given revelation. Usually it is equated with preaching by a pastor or a teacher. Additionally, any stirring or prompting of believers to some spiritual duty is God “speaking” to them, but that speaking is never equated to new revelation.

But that misconception demonstrates a profound ignorance of theological categories and a sloppy application of biblical terminology. It really stems from a deficient understanding of what prophesy was in the Old and New Testaments and the role prophets and apostles played when exercising the use of the gift of prophesy.

New Testament professor, F. David Farnell, provides a basic working understanding of the gift of prophesying. He writes,

In general terms, prophesying in the Old and New Testament may be defined as
the supernatural, Spirit-given communication of God’s will and word to God’s people. The prophetic gift is always a supernatural gift. It is not merely heightened human insight, nor can it be equated with today’s preaching in the pulpit. TMS Journal, Fall 2014.

There are a couple of important highlights from that citation. First, the gift of prophesy must be distinguished from preaching. One of my more persistent Twitter detractors was vehement that prophesy is the same as preaching from a pulpit. But throughout Scripture, preaching is proclaiming the Word of God already revealed through prophets and apostles who wrote it down and is now available for all to read.

A second highlight is that prophesy is a divine, supernatural, Spirit-given communication of God’s will and word to His people. Again, throughout Scripture, both the OT and NT, those individuals anointed with the prophetic utterance were granted a divine revelation. That revelation was either inscripturated into the 66 books of our Bible or spoken to God’s redeemed people as a word of exhortation or direction. Never was prophesy meant to convey vague, whimsical musing that grant some person the ability to ascertain God’s otherwise secretive will his or her personal life.

As much as Christians will swear that their Spirit induced declarations are not direct, authoritative revelation from God, certainly not the kind that the Mormon leadership would receive, they most definitely speak as if they are. Regardless of what Al Mohler may think, the “God told me” or the “Spirit led me” rhetoric is found in practically every corner of evangelicalism. From ultra-fundamentalist Chick tracts (see for example his Reverend Wonderful tract in which the bold Christian receives divine direction to evangelize a celebrity ecumenist preacher) to the daily nonsensical superstitious soothsaying peddled at the Charisma Mag and Elijah List websites as spirit-filled Christianity. An even more recent illustration comes from Mike Lindell, the My Pillow salesman, who spoke at CPAC 2019 about how he knew God had miraculously appointed Donald Trump to be president. In fact, the first words out of his mouth was him telling the audience that God had given him the speech he was about to deliver at three in the morning. 

This continuationist view of prophecy is not contained merely among fringe internet ministries or charismatic denominations like the Assemblies of God or the New Apostolic Reformation, but also among traditionally non-charismatic groups like the Southern Baptists. The members of the SBC have been indoctrinated to think in the way of the Mormon prophets by such teachers like Henry Blackaby and his Experience God books. Blackaby teaches that Christians should expect the same divine direction that the Old and New Testament people experienced. The only way Christians can have a genuine relationship (experience) with God is if He is allowed to direct our everyday lives with specific details that are not particularly revealed in Scripture. In other words, by divine, personal revelations. An excellent review of Blackaby’s experiencing God view was written up by Dan Phillips and can be found here, Part 1 and here, Part 2.

Lifeway-made celebrity, Beth Moore, is probably the most prominent public example of an SBC personality who claims to have a direct conduit to God who channels divine revelation to her on a frequent basis. She is notorious for her infamous “hair brush” story, in which she claims God told her to brush the hair of a disheveled stranger as she waited for a plane at an airport. In the preface of her book, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, Moore writes the following,

Moore is clearly saying that the book was a message given to her directly by God, for if she had not obeyed and written it down, the rocks in her yard would have cried out. Now, she does give herself an out in the following paragraph when she writes that she is not saying her book is divine revelation. But if the message was assigned to her by God, even delivering it to her while she sat bug-eyed at what she read, and if she had not written it down the rocks would have cried out, how can that book be anything else BUT a divinely given revelation?

Contrary to what Al Mohler tweeted regarding Mormons and Evangelicals, while they may be divergent religions, both groups are identical when it comes to their acceptance of the gift of prophesy and continuing revelation. Evangelicals may soften the severity of what they are believing by tacking on the disclaimer, “I’m not saying my message is on the level with Scripture,” but if they are saying God is revealing a special message or some aspect of His will to a person, how could it not be of the same authority as Scripture? Either the message is infallibly coming from God or it is not. That there are great swaths of pew sitting Christians who can’t tell the difference is troubling. Even more concerning are those who believe those personal revelations are valid and blast against anyone who would question their legitimacy.

Continuationism is not a non-essential doctrinal issue [3]

babypreacherI’ve been laying out my case as to how I believe continuationism is not a non-essential, second-tier doctrinal issue.

As I explained in two previous posts on this subject, see HERE and HERE, continuationism is a disastrous doctrine both in the church and with individuals because it has massive influence upon the way people think about God and practice their Christianity. The majority of the time, their faith and practice is sub-biblical, if at all, and out right frightening and pagan.

In the first post, I explained how that if the Holy Spirit is manifesting Himself among the continuationist believers he will not lead continuationist pastors and their people to embrace theological heresy. With the second post, I pointed out how numerous continuatiionist leaders, preachers, and conference speakers are known for telling grandiose, urban legend-like stories about spiritual encounters they allegedly had with God, angels, traveling to heaven, healing people, and other tales of fantastic spiritual adventure. As remarkable as they may be, those tales are never truly verifiable and the only conclusion one can draw is that the person telling it is lying.

I wanted to end my overview with considering a third area that I believe demonstrates that continuationism is not just a harmless and acceptable secondary, non-essential doctrinal issue.

Disturbing manifestations and bizarre worship practices

etterMy mother’s side of my family was raised in rural Arkansas. They had first-hand experience with the classic Pentecostal church.

I remember the stories my aunts and uncles told me about their visits with Pentecostals. My grandmother, for instance, remembered well Maria Buela Woodworth-Etter, who was a traveling Pentecostal evangelist lady. Maria was a pioneer in shaping a lot of the spiritual chicanery that is passed off as Holy Ghost anointing we see so much of on TBN and in other charismatic venues.

My relatives were spooked by what they had seen with Pentecostals. One aunt told me how she had been invited by a friend to a local “revival” service when she was a teen. After a lengthy singing time and a guy yelling at people for an hour, the service climaxed with the entire group screeching, hollering, rolling on the ground, doing the tongue babbling thing (my aunt’s description), and eventually pouring out into the field where everyone was rolling and barking like animals. The scene, as she described it, “scared her slap to death.” I’d be scared, too.

She was told that the nightmare clown show she witnessed was what really happens when “God’s Spirit moves on the people!”

Outlandish manifestations are ubiquitous among continuationist churches. All a person has to do to see what I mean is search Youtube, and in a matter of a few clicks, you will see videos of continuationists gone wild; or mad, depending upon how you think about it.

What I find to be truly troubling about those scenes is that continuationists will insist it is a genuine move of the Spirit. Moreover, if anyone were to offer criticism or challenge the biblical precedent for such behavior, that person is waved off as quenching the Spirit or some such nonsense. Yet that criticism is well earned. Why should people believe such oddball happenings are God moving? Why would the Holy Spirit lead Christians to behave in such an embarrassing, degrading fashion? How exactly does that behavior testify to God’s anointing or His presence?

For instance, why is a woman violently shaking her head as she allegedly “prophesies” said to be “filled with the Spirit” or have “the anointing?”

Seriously, why is that even Christian? Especially given the fact that genuine works of the Spirit include sobriety and self-control?  Yet such manifestations are witnessed in continuationist services all over the place. You can see further examples of what I mean HERE 

What about worship services themselves? Many times the behavior displayed is indistinguishable from pagan occultism. Consider an example from Perry Stone’s, Omega Center International church in Cleveland (look at the landing page when you hit their website! You tell me: Worship service or Coachella rock concert?) I won’t embed the video, but you can watch HERE.

The video shows a crude mock-up of the Ark of the Covenant that has been constructed and is brought into the worship center where members begin gyrating and bouncing around it as if at a pagan feast. The troubling aspect to that entire spectacle is how the church members carry on as if their participation flitting around a cheap idol is completely acceptable to God. And the leadership encourages it!

Now I’d imagine that they would justify their idol worship by saying the Israelites danced before the ark. But must we point out the obvious that a lame replica is not the same as the real thing? And the folks at OCI are not Israelites in the wilderness.

What about the so-called baptism of the Spirit and speaking in tongues? Throughout church history, “tongue speaking” has accompanied the rising of nearly every fringe, heterodox splinter group and pseudo-Christian cult that has reared its ugly head. The sensible Christians recognized the babblings of “tongues” as an indicator that the folks were wackos, so such groups like the Montanists, Shakers, and Mormons, were always marked out and avoided.

However, con-artist revivalist preacher, Charles Parham, mainstreamed tongues among early, 20th century Pentecostals. Originally, it was believed those speaking in “tongues” were speaking real, genuine human languages, like Japanese, or Spanish, or Canadian. But when folks began to realize there was nothing supernatural whatsoever with their tongues, and that they were speaking nonsensical gibberish, tongue speaking enthusiasts did what the homosexual revisionist do now with the Bible to make it confirm sodomy: they changed the definition of words and verses. So the word “tongues,” which was understood as meaning human languages, was redefined to meaning ecstatic speech, or Holy Spirit anointed repetitive gibberish.

Continuationists insist the gift of tongues must be practiced according to the regulations Paul outlines in 1 Corinthians 14, but rarely, if at all, does any practicing tongue speaker abide by those rules as witnessed in this video HERE, and HERE (fast forward to about the 1:30 mark), and HERE.

The most disturbing element to the bizarre behavior found in continuationist circles is what I would bluntly label the spiritual abuse of children. Kids, as young as 2 years old, are regularly encouraged to repeat and mimic the euphoric buffoonery they witness from adults.

One of the more notorious is Kanon Tipton, the original baby preacher. You can see him in his inaugural video here,

Now I don’t know about other parents out there, but if my toddler was to waddle up on the platform during a church service, pick up a live microphone, and start shouting incomprehensible baby talk, I would sheepishly say “sorry” to all present and hurry to seize him before he damaged the sound system. It is only in the halls of a continuationist church that a 2 year old is elevated and enshrined as the “world’s youngest preacher” who has the “anointing of God” all over him. HERE is another video when he is 5 years old. His little cartoon Bible case is just precious, right?

And that Kanon kid isn’t a rare exception. Search Youtube and you can find dozens of little kid preaching videos originating from Assembly of God, Pentecostal, and other continuationist churches.

But child spiritual abuse doesn’t end there. The real bad stuff can be seen in this video HERE as well as in this one HERE. If you really want to see wild continuationist youth, do a search on Bethel Redding, but I digress.

Three things struck me after watching those. First, it is just creepy how the adults are psychologically conditioning those kids to react to any verbal cues or behaviors from the adults leading a crusade. Secondly, that if what those videos show is a common occurrence among continuationist churches, the falling over, seizure fits, and gibberish are all learned. In other words, they are not spontaneous works of the Holy Spirit. And third, it looks as though churches from all over the world train their kids in such a manner. Churches from anywhere like India, to Latin America, and Africa bring their little kids together and teach them how to be a charismatic. It is not strictly an American phenomenon as a commenter suggested under one of my other posts in this series.

Drawing this all to a conclusion, after surveying my examples, I hope folks can see why I don’t believe continuationist ideas is a non-essential issue that we can debate vigorously with each other, but shouldn’t divide over. All of those astonishing examples are not found in a smattering of continuationist churches that remain in relative obscurity off a beaten path. They represent a grotesque spirituality that is endemic to the entire global community of those praciticing continuationist theology.

Holy Fraud

miraclesarerealSo I had a critic link me to some web forum comments he made against my posts I’ve been writing exposing the spiritual shamanism of continuationism. I wanted to offer up some responses to various, selected thoughts.

My challenger writes,

Fraud predominates in continuationism, yet Pentecostalism testifies overall being among most committed to holiness and basic doctrines and evangelicalism…

I am glad that my anonymous reviewer begrudgingly acknowledges my thesis. I can understand how awkward it can be to favor a particular theological tradition, yet have to embarrassingly admit that position is for the most part, whacked.

It’s like that one cousin who is just a “hold my beer,” fireworks and gasoline propelled dirt bike stunt away from receiving a Darwin award. “You mean that guy who almost burned his house down with the lighter fluid and the pumpkins? Yeah, he’s my cousin.” The same is with continuationists. “Oh yeah, I believe God does spectacular signs and wonders all the time. Oh, but I don’t believe Christians take trips to heaven or see gianormous angels. That’s the crazy continuationists!”

flamegunMoving along,

…and are more unified in basic beliefs than basically cessationist denominations, and in which liberalism and “sterility” is more likely to be the reality.

I have to wonder what basic beliefs continuationists – in the case provided, Pentecostals – are all essentially unified around? You have all sorts of stripes and flavors of Pentecostals, Assembly of God’s, and other Holiness style groups. If what is meant is that they all affirm Jesus as savior, sure, they are unified. But they are just as equally unified around the idea of the Holy Spirit manifesting unusual paranormal phenomena. Would my antagonist not agree to that? The very name PENTECOSTAL implies the adherents would believe such things.

The rampant fraud in continuationism is inexcusable, as is the liberalism and overall spiritual deadness among those who claim to be Protestant and deny the perpetuity of personal supernatural gifts…

Ah yes, the old “Protestant worship is nothing but boring, dead orthodoxy” argument. Michael Brown threw out this cliche all throughout his Authentic Fire book. He’d write how he would much rather attend a service with pew jumping, running around the building, chandelier-swinging worshipers, than a stuffy, reading from a hymnal, standing still worship service.

Sober-minded worship is hardly a sign of “dead orthodoxy.” When a church sings out hymns that tell of the glory and power of the awesome God we serve, that is true worship in my mind. The running around the building and swinging from the chandelier service is not spirit-filled, but utter flesh-driven foolishness that mocks Christ.

Moving along,

Missing between the extremes is an objective examination of the issue of whether personal supernatural gifts are available today, which I believe Scripture supports, but not the aberrations.

The word “supernatural” has to be defined. I, as a non-continuationist, believe in the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. Of course I define the concept of “supernatural” and identify spiritual gifts much differently than continuationists. For instance, I believe teachers, preachers, evangelists would be spiritual gifts to the church (Eph.4:8-12), as well as individuals who are blessed financially and are moved to give generously to God’s people (Rom.12:6-16). And certainly, eternal salvation is God’s ultimate gift (Rom.6:23).

Continuationists dismissively wave off my definition of supernatural. Those examples are the non-spectacular kind of gifts and don’t really count.

But honest question here: How exactly would the aberrations my contender notes be identified from the genuine Holy Spirit given signs and wonders gifts?

What is often the norm witnessed and observed among continuationists would never qualify as the supernatural gifts defined in the New Testament. Tongues are wild, cacophonous free for alls, so-called healings are extremely questionable, even outright lame, and the amazing urban legend like stories that often abound among the congregations are unverifiable hearsay. The same goes for stuff Keener supposedly documents in his two big volumes on miracles.

Moving along,

What is needed is more genuine evidences of the resurrection power of Christ, not only in the profound transformative effects of true regeneration, but in other miracles (which have strong testimonies thanks to be God), including via personal spiritual gifts.

Yes. Those two evidences would certainly help the cause of the continuationist claims of extraordinary supernatural gifts in the church. In fact, seeing that the marks of true regeneration are tragically absent in the personal character of  many of the continuationist preachers that dominate the internet and “Christian” TV, I would think that would be the priority.

But as I have written elsewhere, continuationists also have a signs and wonders problem. I don’t consider neck pain, bad backs, and ankle strengthening to be rather spectacular. Restoring the scarred flesh of an Iraqi war veteran’s severely burned arms or a paraplegic’s severed spine to full functionality like Jesus and the apostles did, however, is a radically different story.

My challenger then provided a series of statistics believed to be positive for continuationists. Allow me to respond to a select few,

Only 10 percent of adults in Pentecostal churches do not identify as born-again or evangelical. 

I am not entirely sure why that is important to the case of solid Pentecostals. If a person reads the linked article, he will see that the general thrust was a positive report on evangelicals in general. Evangelicals, unlike mainstream, more liberal denominations, are not hemorrhaging members, and in fact are gaining in numbers. That was an odd mention of a statistic for his argument.

73% (highest) of Pentecostal/Foursquare believers strongly affirm that Christ was sinless on earth, with CatholicsLutherans and Methodists being tied at 33%, and the lowest being among Episcopalians with just 28% 

So… what exactly? I imagine we could poll a whole lot of the same Catholics, Lutherans, and Methodists, and they’d affirm the Trinity, or even the Resurrection.

What that statistic doesn’t tell us is that those same 73% of Pentecostals will also more than likely affirm the false doctrines of “sinless perfection” or “entire sanctification,” the idea that Christians can be fully sinless here on earth, and that a newly baptized believer will speak in tongues. Both of those teachings are erroneous and have messed up the lives of countless believers who have appropriated them for their lives.

Bible Reading: the highest was 75%, by those going to a Pentecostal/Foursquare church who reported they had read the Bible during the past week (besides at church), while the lowest was among Catholics at 23% –

Again: so, what? It is one thing to read the Bible. It is entirely another thing to understand it, believe it, interpret it properly, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, apply the theology and doctrine to one’s life. Pentecostals may read the Bible a lot, but that doesn’t mean anything if what is found in the Bible has no profound or lasting impact on people’s lives. It is my experience that those same Pentecostals, even though they may read the Bible more than those Catholics, have about the same level of depth in understanding the Bible as those same Catholics. Simply put, there is a reason why continuationist/charismatic/Pentecostal churches are scandal plagued.


16% of the country’s white Protestant congregations are Pentecostal, compared to 65% of the Protestant churches dominated by African-Americans [black churches make up about 6% of evangelicals].

I don’t necessarily see that 65% of African-American churches are Pentecostal as a good thing. The reason I say that, and at risk of being swarmed by BLM sympathizers, is the terrible dysfunction found in the black community. Those same Pentecostal African-Americans swear allegiance to a political party that stands vehemently opposed to the holiness their Pentecostal denomination allegedly teaches. You cannot possibly claim to be a person committed to holiness and reading the Bible and remain beholden to a political party that openly advocates wicked sin like abortion, the most of which take place in African-American communities.

76% say they have experienced or witnessed a divine healing, and 70% of those from the Global South say they have witnessed the devil or evil spirits being driven out.

Okay. Let us say 76% have experienced or witnessed a divine healing and another 70% witnessed exorcisms of some sort. Going back to a few things my antagonist acknowledged, if fraud is rampant among Pentecostals, how exactly do we determine if those are fraudulent accounts or genuine? That 76% is a rather impressively large figure, but if what is being affirmed is that fraud is rampant among Pentecostals, even my challenger would have to say that figure is a bit skewed, maybe even wildly exaggerated.

But that leads me to a larger question. Going back to the opening statement, if rampant fraud predominates continuationism, how can they be committed to holiness? The very fact that continuationist are willing to perpetrate fraud from the pulpits and believe the fraud while sitting in the pews, strikes at the heart of what it means to be holy.

If there truly was a commitment to holiness among Pentecostals, charismatics, and the wide tent of continuationism, self-appointed con artist prophets and preachers would not be prowling the earth promoting their spiritual fraud and devouring men’s souls, and the congregations would not be willingly lapping up the spiritual fraud that is fed to them.

Continuationism is not a non-essential doctrinal issue [2]


I have taken up explaining why I believe continuationism is not a non-essential doctrinal issue. My previous post introduced my basic thoughts on the matter, but just a quick recap:

Contrary to what is generally agreed upon among garden variety Evangelicals and Christian denominations, I don’t believe continuationism, or charismaticism, or even Pentecostalism for that matter, is merely a quirky, but otherwise acceptable tradition of Christianity. I believe the otherworldly claims of the paranormal, coupled with the bizarre, aberrant behavior inherent with continuationism, are detrimental to core doctrines of Christianity, most significantly, the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

I think we can all agree that if there are any beliefs, doctrines, or even peculiar worship practices that claim to come directly from God via the Holy Spirit, those things are certainly essential, and can hardly be considered non-essential. They strike, as it were, at the very center of what Christians believe about God, especially the ministry of the Holy Spirit. That is definitely essential.

One clarifying point is in order. As soon as we invoke the idea of “essential” vs. “non-essential” the notion of a person’s salvation comes to mind. Am I saying that if one is a continuationist, he believes false doctrine that is outside the defining bounds of the Christian faith? Put another way, can a person be a Christian and adhere to continuationist views? Why yes, I believe a person can hold to continuationist views and be saved. But that hardly means that continuationism in itself is far from being erroneous or a primary issue.

During a twitter exchange where I was fleshing out my thoughts on the matter with some detractors, a friend of mine, David Kjos, asked the question, “Must error be immediately damning to be a primary issue? If cessationism is secondary, isn’t Sola Scriptura also?”

A right thinking Christian would immediately recognize the importance of his question. If the opposite of cessationism, that being continuationism, is a secondary, non-essential doctrine that has no direct bearing on one’s saving faith, then Sola Scriptura would fall into the secondary, non-essential category as well.

But the right thinking Christian would also recognize and affirm that what is believed and taught concerning the authority of Scripture in the Church, that being Sola Scriptura, is not just a non-essential doctrine for Christians, but it is one that is primary. While one is saved if they do not believe upon Sola Scriptura, rejecting all that the doctrine entails regarding the authority of Scripture will lead to all sorts of gross error.

So too with continuationism. It is enough of a primary doctrine that the pursuit and practice of it by Christians easily leads to major theological error both in the teaching of Scripture, as well as the life of the Christian.

My attempt here is to document my claim that continuationism strikes at the heart of our doctrine of God. I am particularly concerned that the practice and behavior of continuationists can be blasphemous, attributing works to the Holy Spirit that are certainly contrary to His character as revealed in Scripture, and in some cases making the Holy Spirit out to be a liar. My last post pointed to some doctrinal compromise and I argued that the Holy Spirit will never, ever at any time, direct believers to compromise with unbelievers or those promoting a false Gospel.

With this I want to hit on a second major point,

Lies and Tall Tales. I could make this topic an ongoing series all it’s own, because tall tales of supernatural adventure are ubiquitous throughout all of continuationism.

Ever since I became aware of Pentecostals and charismatics back as a youngin’ in Missouri, I came to recognize that the speakers on the radio would tell some of the most amazingly fantastic stories of supernatural abilities and encounters. Such things as healings, visits to heaven, visits with Jesus in their bathroom, visits with angels, and extraordinary powers, like mind-reading, commanding evil spirits, or seeing into the future.

The way the testimonies were presented, such experiences should be a frequent occurrence for the average, spirit-filled believer. Every Christian should be having visits with Jesus or trips to heaven on a regular basis. I, as a young churched teen was not having such experiences, so I often wondered if God really loved me.

And those kind of stories were not relegated to the fever swamps of your typical continuationist churches like the Assemblies of God or Pentecostal denominations.

When I was in college, my Southern Baptist church had an evangelist named Sam Cathy come to lead a series of “revival meetings” for a week. Every night he would regale us with his supernatural exploits. He apparently had the ability (in Christ, of course) to command evil spirits. He could tell them to levitate furniture and force them to tell him all of their top secret plans for evil doing (in Christ, of course). He was like an evangelistic superhero rescuing wayward, demon-possessed sinners and Christians from lives of disastrous consequence.

For instance, Cathy recounted how he was counseling a young pastor struggling with sexual issues. As he talked with the man, his “devil senses” began tingling, and he immediately recognized the pastor was demon-possessed. He then commanded the demon to tell him who he was. The devil, unable to overcome the controlling powers of the evangelist, was forced to speak.

According to Cathy, an Exorcist moment began taking place as a scary voice started speaking from the man. The devil told Cathy how “they” (meaning he and his devil buddies) set up homosexual encounters for this guy with other men and their plan was to elevate him to the office of president of the SBC and then expose a homosexual scandal around him so the SBC could be brought down. Thankfully, God raised up Cathy, Jedi master evangelist, to use his spirit powers to drive the devil out of the man, thus saving his soul and delivering the SBC from future embarrassment.

This was long before Ergun Caner, but I digress.

devilLooking back now, I believe Cathy was a liar; he made up those stories out of thin air. At best, he seriously embellished, but that is still lying. But he is not a rare exception. Just visit Charisma News Online or the Elijah List  or Sid Roth’s TV program to see what I mean. And again, those are the mainstream of continuationists. They are hardly the fringe.

Let me begin with highlighting a couple we would all acknowledge are crazy ones.

First. Back when I was reviewing Michael Brown’s book, under my review of the fourth chapter, I linked to a video of self-appointed apostolic prophetess, Cindy Jacobs, claiming that she miraculously fed a church of 3,000 people with three loaves of stale bread that were found in the church pantry. She further stated that her and her ministry were given a large sum of donation money for a service she conducted. When they took the money to the bank, what they deposited had miraculously increased in value from the amount they originally took in and counted at the church.

Watch the video below to hear her make those claims from her own mouth.

Now, I do have to point out that the video was uploaded by Rightwing Watch, the barking a the moon, crackpot lefty group. In spite of their overt bias against right wingers, the video does not appear to be altered in any way. Jacobs is telling her audience that she fed a church gathering of 3,000 people in the same way Jesus fed 5,000.

I think she has reached stratospheric levels of lying. The immediate questions I have raised in my mind, where is that church she performed the miracle? and surely, out of 3,000 folks, are there any who would come forward to verify her story?

Second. Bethel Church in Redding, California, is swiftly becoming for crazy charismatic stuff, what Roswell, NM is for UFO believers. I might add, Soul damning crazy charismatic stuff, but that’s for another post. Watch the following video and listen to Kevin Dedmon from Bethel Redding, bobbing in a Kundalini style, tell how his son and his friends walked on water and walked through walls just like Jesus,

What I find even more troubling than him recounting what I believe to be an entirely embellished story of his son and his buddies jumping in the swimming pool, is that he would actually make an entire church full of people believe it.

But Jacobs and Dedmon are the extreme, correct? The fringe. Again, those kind of tall tales and Herculean spiritual feats can be found everywhere among continuationists.

But let’s consider an example from a source closer to the more “sound and balanced” continuationists.

In an article responding to the Strange Fire conference, John Piper, recounts the following story,

“A lawyer one time prophesied over me when my wife was pregnant and said: ‘Your fourth child is going to be a girl, and your wife is going to die in childbirth.’ And that lawyer with tears told me that she was sorry she had to tell me that. So I went home and I got down on my knees and I said, ‘Lord, I am trying to do what you said here in 1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21. And frankly, I despise what that woman just said.’ It proved out that my fourth child was a son, and I knew as soon as he came out that that prophecy was not true, and so I stopped having any misgivings about my wife’s life. She is still with me now thirty years later. That’s the sort of thing that makes you despise prophecy.” [Piper Addresses Strange Fire and Charismatic Chaos]

If I may be so bold, I think that lawyer friend of Piper’s is a liar, too. If she is not a liar, she was woefully deceived by her own flights of fancy to the point she wanted to inject herself into Piper’s life and family in some fashion. It’s kind of creepy in a way. If that is the case, she should be sharply rebuked and told to keep her mouth shut.

But what is truly tragic is that for months, Piper had to bear under the emotional weight of a false prophecy. He genuinely entertained the soothsaying of this woman telling him she had a Word from God that was quietly upending his life. Even still, one has to wonder about why a pastor, considered to be a champion of the Reformed faith, would allow himself to be manipulated by such superstitious whimsy.

The problem I see with all of those tall tales and urban legends of epic spiritual adventure is two-fold.

First, what does this say about continuationism producing a theological matrix that empowers countless teachers, preachers, evangelists, and self-appointed prophets to stand in front of churches with thousands of attendees and brazenly fabricate falsehoods with impunity and no sense of guilt?

Second, what does it reveal about the countless thousands of continuationists who willing drink in their lying tales without the least bit of question? A work of the Holy Spirit is that Christians develop a sense of discernment. That can hardly be said of these individuals.

The Holy Spirit is not involved with anointing and promoting liars, and what spiritual danger is at hand with those who willfully believe the lies calling them from God?

I have one more point for next time.

Continuationism is not a non-essential doctrinal issue


I am becoming convinced more and more every day that continuationism is not just a non-essential doctrinal issue for Christians.

My thinking about this started shortly after the Strange Fire conference as I engaged continuationist critics on social media. They denounced the conference with such fervent descriptions as hateful, divisive, painting with a broad brush, throwing all the faithful Pentecostal/charismatic people from around the world under a heresy bus.

The strongest antagonist to the conference, Michael Brown, even wrote a 400 plus page book responding to the various talks and lectures presented at Strange Fire. My friend Lyndon and I wrote up a lengthy, chapter-by-chapter review of his book that can be read HERE, if anyone is interested.

Their primary claim was to say the Strange Fire participants wrongly attributed the bizarre, wild-eyed antics and paranormal stories witnessed at a typical health and wealth style mega-church, to faithful continuationists who never display any of that ridiculous conduct or claim any of those types of otherworldly experiences. The wacky high jinks seen on so-called Christian TV like TBN or Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural!” program are not the norm, but are fringy and embarrassing. They hardly represent genuine, enthusiastic charismatic worship and belief.

Yet, in spite of their assertions of false accusations, what I was observing from the charismatic world provided an overwhelming contrary conclusion. The insistence by those pure and clean continuationists that true continuationism is not marked with the outlandish faux-testimonies of miraculous healings, visits to heaven, and pronouncements of fake prophecies, really had to make me wonder about their credibility. Certainly they couldn’t be that blind.

In fact, with what I was seeing, the TBN and Sid Roth style charismatic continuationists are the standard majority, whereas the ‘balanced,” sober-minded continuationists were the true fringe. Their view of continuationism has practically zero influence upon the vast body of charismatic believers. And that vast body is pretty vast, like say in the hundreds of millions world-wide.

If a person just does a simple search on the best selling charismatic books, he will find that all of them are written by the health and wealth continuationists. Just take a look at the material sold at Bethel Redding’s bookstore. It is all goof-ball charismatics like Derek Prince, Rick Joyner, Joyce Meyer, Randy Clark, and C. Peter Wagner. I don’t see anything representing the balanced, non-crack-pot continuationist. Say for instance, Wayne Grudem, or even Michael Brown.

Now. I understand that when I claim continuationism is not a non-essential, secondary issue that I am making a rather bold charge. I even had some respected friends push back against what I am stating; but I am prepared to back up what I mean.

When I write that continuationism is not a non-essential, secondary doctrinal matter, I am obviously saying continuationism has a direct and detrimental influence upon essential Christian doctrine, or those essential, core doctrines being what defines Christian orthodoxy and practice. I was asked by my detractors to provide some examples, and I believe I can.

I want to aim my focus upon what I believe to be the most significant, and that is how continuationism maligns the doctrine of God, specifically the work of the Holy Spirit. While I certainly affirm a robust belief in the work of the Holy Spirit in acts of providence and individual salvation, continuationist conduct and claims of the supernatural attributed to the Holy Spirit are often blasphemous, or lead to the blasphemous. I’d like to demonstrate what I mean in a series of posts highlighting what I believe are key areas. I’ll begin with this post considering the first one,

Theological Compromise. I think we would all agree that one of the major works of the the Holy Spirit is to lead God’s people in spiritual truth. In fact, in John 16:13, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth. His ministry will be to speak authoritatively for the Father and the Son and He will glorify our Lord.

Thus, if the Holy Spirit was truly at work among God’s people like a number of continuationists claim, then He would not be leading the church into compromising with gross, doctrinal error. Any person equating the proclamation of gross, doctrinal error as a move of the Holy Spirit would be blaspheming the Holy Spirit, would that person not?

Cases in point:

Check out this picture:

copelandHere we have, from left to right, John and Carol Arnott of Catch the Fire ministries, Brian Stiller of World Evangelical Alliance, Kenneth “X-men weather controller” Copeland, an antichrist, Thomas Schrrmacher, another guy from the World Evangelical Alliance, Geoff Tunniclife, a peace activist, again with the World Evangelical Alliance, James and Betty Robinson of Life Today ministries, and the now eternally judged, Bishop Tony Palmer.

Back during the summer of 2014, that writhing nest of spiritual asps, met together to discuss joint efforts in unifying Catholics and “evangelicals”®™ for the purpose of working together. James Robinson gushingly stated after the meet up, “This meeting was a miracle…. This is something God has done. God wants his arms around the world. And he wants Christians to put his arms around the world by working together.” [Charisma News Online 7/7/2014].

I happen to believe God had absolutely nothing to do with it at all, because I happen to believe the Holy Spirit does not affirm heresy. To say the Holy Spirit does is blasphemy.

Both sides teach a false gospel. And while Catholics and those pseudo-evangelical grifters have a canyon’s wide divergent views of what is “the gospel,” each of their “gospels” are built upon the foundation of false doctrine that does not save anyone.

The only thing that brought them together is their continuationist views of the Spirit. The pope, and those useful idiots meeting with him, represent the largest world-wide collection of continuationists. While the pope believes Mary is a co-redemptrix with Jesus, and Copeland thinks Jesus wants Christians living in emperor decadence, both sides affirm the on-going supernatural work of the Spirit either in forms of continued revelation, visions and dreams, and even miraculous healings. Is anyone beginning to see how continuationism is not just a non-essential doctrine?

“Oh, Fred,” someone may say, “Kenneth Copeland is hardly a representative of true continuationism. Everyone agrees with you that he and his lunatic wife are goofy.” Okay, let’s consider a second picture,

louengleHere we see Lou Engle, founder of the now defunct The Call ministries on his knees, kissing the feet of Matteo Calisi at the Azusa Now event held at the LA Colosseum. Calisi has been an active leader for years in Italy attempting to unify Catholics with Italian Pentecostals, as well as Pentecostals worldwide. The common factor for him? Why it’s the continuationist views of the Holy Spirit shared mutually between Pentecostals/charismatics and Roman Catholics.

In a 2014 interview with ZENIT, the online equivalent of Charisma News, but for Catholics and minus the howling mad crazy, Calisi explains in the interview the significance of the pope visiting with a group of Pentecostal evangelicals in Italy,

The Bishop of Rome is perfectly aware of the urgency to search for unity between the Catholic Church and the Pentecostal Evangelical Churches. More than half a billion Christians adhere to the Pentecostal Movement, which is the second Christian confession soon after the Catholic Church for its large numbers. The Pentecostal Movement is the fastest growing movement in the whole history of the Christian Church, there is no other precedent. A movement born from the Holy Spirit without human founders, so little known by specialists and ecumenists especially here in Italy, which had an astonishing growth in the past century from 0 to 600 million participants. [ZENIT 8/7/2014] (emphasis mine).

Engle invited Roman Catholics to the Azusa Now event because he wanted to bring all the followers of Christ together for the “purpose of unity, miracles, healing, and the proclamation of the gospel.” [CT 4/11/2016]. In other words, continuationism. Calisi was quoted as saying that the doctrinal divide between Catholics and evangelicals®™ is sinful and that Jesus doesn’t care about our doctrinal difference. I may be going out on a limb here, but I happen to believe with sound conviction that Jesus does care about individuals who venerate Mary and the saints to the point they pray to them. Put another way, Jesus hates idolatry.

Again, someone is gonna say, “Fred, Fred, Fred. We are continuationists and we agree with you that Lou Engle is a wack-a-doodle. How can you possibly say continuationism has anything to do with this?”

Look. The folks of this conference is specifically meeting together under the guise of a mutual, charismatic fraternity. They are laying aside key, theological talking points, talking points that mark the difference between biblical truth and soul damning error, for the very purpose of promoting their fraternity.

Moreover, check out this header photo from Engle’s now deactivated website,


Look at that massive throng of young people packed into a stadium at one of their prayer rally things. Thousands of other people all across the nation where Engle does his shtick will hear him say that doctrinal division from Catholics is sinful, and we need to love one another as brothers and sister in Christ in spite of any theological or doctrinal difference.

Those young people go away thinking there is nothing wrong with Catholicism because they have a shared experience with the Catholic in the Holy Spirit. I can even imagine them thinking, “Oh, Catholics have visions and dreams and visits from Mary and the saints just like charismatic leaders say they have with dead charismatics (as I wrote about HERE) and frequent visits to heaven (as I wrote about HERE). The conclusion then is that there is nothing particularly wrong about the theology of Catholicism. Everyone loves Jesus, experiences the Holy Spirit, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that the Holy Spirit does not affirm heresy and to say He does is blasphemy! Hence, I see continuationism as touching right in the middle of core doctrinal truths about who God is and the ministry of the third person of the Trinity.

I’ll pick up with some more here soon.

About that lying “prophet” that rebuked John MacArthur

prophetIf you run in my social media circles, you know that Sunday, August 16th, a self-appoint, spiritual narcissist, by the name of John O’Neill, jumped up on the platform at Grace Community Church when John MacArthur was greeting the congregation and telling about his summer. I was so totally bummed that I was out of town and had to miss it.

Once he got on the platform, the prophetic crusader loudly shouted for John MacArthur to repent from his cessationist views. He himself was proof that cessationism is heresy, because He was a living prophet of God! or some such nonsense before security dragged him away.

Now we are in LA. We have our share of wack-a-doodles visiting our church. There are epic stories. From the guy brandishing a spear in John’s office to Mark Driscoll crashing a conference. There has always been times when folks are protesting out in front of our church, or wandering about the campus causing scenes in a Sunday school class, and on occasion, attempting to commandeer the pulpit. So the stunt our prophet crank pulled isn’t too unusual.

However, in our day and age, when lone wackos have shot people, including members of a church, what O’Neill did sort of put folks on edge. Being clad all in black and wearing a backpack also didn’t help convey his prophetic message to the congregation, either. Hence the reason there was all this nervous laughing from the audience after John made a crack about Scotland with an attempt to ease the tension in the worship center. His stunt displayed an woeful lack of self-awareness and overall discernment.

In spite of what really amounted to an embarrassingly stupid thing to do, in the last week or so, there have been genuine people defending this guy, likening him to a 21st century version of Jeremiah crying out against the religious establishment.

The first odd ball article came from a confused woman who praised the faux prophet for doing what he did and even suggesting it was the only way someone as big time as MacArthur could ever hear the truth about his heretical views of cessationism.

I say confused and odd ball, because last year the same lady rebuked the Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll protesters as ones disobeying the Word of God for attacking a pastor. They needed to heed Scripture’s admonition to touch not the Lord’s anointed. Disconnection much.

Then, Michael Brown chimed in with an editorial for Charisma News Online that wondered if God really sent a prophet to John MacArthur to tell him the truth and confront him for his divisive rhetoric against charismatics.

It’s amazingly unbelievable. But par for the course from charismatic lunacy that masquerades as “filled with the spirit.”

I happen to personally know John O’Neill wasn’t a prophet, because God’s prophets do not lie or misrepresent their true intentions and that is exactly what he did.

You see, I met him back in early June and had an extended conversation with him.

It was on a Sunday evening. The children’s ministries were hosting a plaza fellowship for the families of Grace Church. My wife and I were popping popcorn when he came strolling along with his backpack. We started chatting and immediately recognized he was Scottish. I asked if he was here to go to seminary. He said no; but that he was an open air preacher who had come to LA to evangelize. I asked if he knew about our church. He said yes he did, and get this, he told me HE LIKED JOHN MACARTHUR AND APPRECIATED HIS MINISTRY!

What was that? Yep, he emphatically stated he liked our pastor and his preaching ministry.

We spoke for nearly 30 minutes. Though I got weird vibes off him because he talked about God calling or telling him thus and such, never once did he mention anything about cessationism or that John was teaching heresy for saying the apostolic sign gifts had ceased.

In fact, he hung around Grace Church for the summer attending on Sundays. A lot of friends also met him and they never once had a conversation with him about cessationism or the sign gifts. Tony Miano, who does real street preaching, also went on visitation with him. He also didn’t hear any negatives against MacArthur when they were together.

But then on the 16th, when John returns from his summer sabbatical, he jumps up on stage and goes unhinged.

The guy was a deceptive liar, especially if he believed John MacArthur taught heresy. There are no double-minded prophets. A true prophet of God doesn’t ingratiate himself to a friendly church, telling everyone he likes the pastor in order to wait like a Trojan Horse that opens up to spring a trap. That is a lying spirit that does such things.

My take. I think he miscalculated his visit. He wasn’t expecting John to be gone so long during the summer. From what I understand, O’Neill’s visa ended the Tuesday following, so he barely made it.

Whatever the case, I know one thing for sure out of all this. John Oneill’s enabling cheerleaders again displays how sober-minded discernment is totally absent within charismatic circles. Makes me wonder if God has given them over to a deceiving spirit.

History and Doctrine of the Renewal Movement

renewalMy pal, Lyndon Unger, recently had the opportunity to present a series of lectures on the renewal/Pentecostal/charismatic movement. The entire conference, which had speakers addressing a wide range of subjects, is available on line to download,

2015 Last Days Bible Conference

Lyndon’s specific lectures were,

The History of the Charismatic Movement

The Heresies of the Charismatic Movement

A Biblical Understanding of Tongues, Healings, and Prophecies

A Biblical Understanding of Words, Faith and Prosperity

Suicide Solution

I wrote this up several years ago when Earth Day was becoming a social media phenomenon. Still relevant and timely.


A group calling itself the Optimum Population Trust claims humanity is having way too many babies.

All the extra children are badly ruining the carbon offset of our planet and hence having an impact upon global warming.

The math is simple: More babies = higher CO2 levels = higher global temperatures = more displaced polar bears floating around on itty-bitty icebergs.

The solution to this problem offered by the OPT is for people to stop having babies. If you must have a baby, maybe one is okay; possibly two, but certainly not three.

My family, by the way, has already broken the quota.

The fine folks of the Sea Shepherd Society also believe humanity has become a disease of sorts upon mother earth. Like a raging flesh eating staph infection or an Ebola outbreak, the presence of all these people is causing the earth to break out into a fever.

I must say I believe this is a disturbing ideology, but I see such suicidal tendencies as a logical conclusion to radical, secular humanism. When a worldview places the material world in higher value over human life so that one is willing to deprive him or herself of the blessing of children, and their own existence, nihilistic atheism has reached its end game. The final step is to ask for volunteers to sacrifice themselves for the earth by committing mass euthanasia. If none are prepared to come forward, and this environmental death cult were to have governmental power, they could always extinguish any extra children by force.

I didn’t know environmentalists were so down on kids.

Soylent Green is People!

In truth, an environmentally friendly, child-free world is becoming a reality. This suicidal humanism has already taken firm root in the hearts and minds of Europeans and is slowly doing the job suggested by the Optimum Population Trust. In a society totally abandoned to cradle-to-grave welfare, living carefree lives, working no more than 28 hours a week, attending nude beaches during that paid, month long, mandatory vacation, having children around can really cramp your style.

Couples are having no more than one child as it is. If the trend continues, Western Europe will have bred itself out within 40 to 50 years. That mindset is growing here in the good old U.S. of A. as well, particularly in the finger waging from our university elite. So, Americans are slowly coming up from behind and closing in our European kin.

I believe the environmental global warming scare is the secular atheists pagan religion.

The physical earth is the god worshiped. It is a god that can be proven, because it is a tangible object men can physically witness and test.

Evolution is the religion used to explain this god, how it birthed life and takes care of its creatures. Occasionally, the god acts displeased and displays its fury against the sinful creatures by means of storms, floods, and famine.

However, specific, often self-appointed holy men or prophets, say for example Al Gore, claim to have special knowledge about how the god has been sinned against. The only thing that will appease the god is a sacrifice of some sort. In this case, the appeasement is a radical change in our standard and way of living, including the sacrifice of a the third child if necessary.

But this god is capricious and fickle and certainly unpredictable when it comes to issues of morality. Why should I even obey it in the manner the Optimum evangelists preach? If suicide is the only viable solution to appease this god, I think I will enjoy the love and laughter of my extra kids and take my chances.

Dead Charismatics Appearing in Dreams and Visions

witchThe Bible records strong words against those who practice necromancy, or what would be defined as communicating with the dead, particularly with the intent on foreseeing the future.  For instance,

Leviticus 20:27 states, A man or a woman who is a medium, or who has familiar spirits, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones. Their blood shall be upon them.

A medium was a necromancer, an individual who was believed to have the ability to communicate with dead people so as to glean “revelation” about the afterlife, or even the future.

Deuteronomy 18:9-12 lists mediums, along with spiritists, soothsayers, and those who “call up the dead,” or those who would also be necromancers, as being abominations unto the Lord. No one in Israel was to have any dealings with them.

The classic biblical account of communicating with the dead comes from 1 Samuel 28. A rebellious and paranoid king Saul secretly visits the witch of Endor and asks her to conjure up the dead prophet Samuel so he can inquire of him what he should do about the imminent battle with the Philistines. He had judgment pronounced upon him, instead.

Yet, in spite of those stern warnings, modern day charismatic leaders will often enthusiastically recount their personal communications with deceased charismatic personalities.

The latest example that stirred my interest to research this topic a bit was Creflo Dollar telling how he was visited in a dream by the late Myles Monroe, who died in a plane crash with his wife and seven other associates while traveling to the Bahamas. According to Dollar, Monroe came to him in a dream three days after his funeral and told him he was leading his own homecoming to glory. After reading of Dollar’s account seeing the dead Monroe in a dream vision, I did a few searches and found an alarming number of testimonies told by various charismatic leaders about how they will visit with dead charismatic leaders who will impart some message to them.

It is important to note that the living charismatics don’t perform some spiritualistic ritual to conjure up a dead saint. In other words, they are not intentionally visiting mediums or witches to communicate with the dead, nor are they preforming a seance. Typically, their testimonies are similar to Dollar’s regarding his visit with Monroe. They involve having the dead charismatic leaders appear in visions or dreams in which they impart some message. Hence, because they see those deceased individuals in dreams or visions without any attempt on their part to communicate with the dead, the living charismatics don’t consider their experience to be occultic.

HinnOne of the more famous stories of visitations with dead charismatics is given by flamboyant televangelist, Benny Hinn. He told an audience in 1997 of how the spirit of the late televangelist, Kathryn Kuhlman, came to him early before his own ministry became well known in the form of a night vision.  She led him through a number of rooms where sick people were being healed. She tells Hinn to “do it!” that is, heal the sick, and then leads him to the Lord Himself who also shows Hinn sick people being healed and calls him to “do it.”

Now folks will say, “I expect Benny Hinn to tell some story like that, he tells that kind of stuff all the time.” Granted, that is true; but there are a number of lesser known charismatic leaders and teachers who tell of their visits from dead charismatics.

Self-proclaimed prophet and founder of Eagle View Ministries, Bobby Conner, claims the late Bob Jones, who was removed from his ministry in the early 90’s due to a sexual misconduct scandal, was revealed in a dream he had by the Holy Spirit.

Conner says of the experience,

bobjones“The Holy Spirit said, “You have a visitor.” Thinking someone was at the door, I am about to open the door. However, the Holy Spirit said, “Your visitor is at the window.” Turning to look at my windows, suddenly with a flash of light appearing just outside my window, striding down what appeared to be translucent, pearl-colored stairs, was Bob Jones. He had the most winsome, warm smile and looked absolutely wonderful. However, in the dream I was completely aware that Bob had passed and gone to Heaven on February 14, 2014.

Bob simply stepped into my study. I did not need to open the window, he just walked right in. His appearance was incredible: He was firm and fit, and he was dressed in a wonderful, soft, beautiful, elegant, white robe past his waist down below his knees, like a long shirt. His hair was extremely white and glistening. I was amazed at his skin: It was without blemish, white and soft, and his smile was truly radiant and beautiful. His eyes were bigger than normal and extremely clear, sparkling like that of an excited child.”

President of Encounters Network, James Goll, tells of how when he was ministering in Brazil, he was taken in a dream to Southern California to what he describes as the “womb of the Church.” In his vision, he was carried to an auditorium in Pasadena where he saw the deceased John Wimber shouting “Come Again Holy Spirit!” and knocking over terrified people. Goll further claims that looking upon all the commotion Wimber was causing was another dead charismatic leader, prophetess Jill Austin, who laughed and said, “I told you he was coming” and then a great cloud of other dead charismatic leaders, like Aimee Simple McPherson, was seen.

David E. Taylor, founder of Joshua Media Ministries International, who claims he has had many personal visits from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, was once taken to heaven during one of those visits, and was shown around heaven. While he was there walking around with Jesus, he was allowed to talk with a number of charismatic luminaries like Kathryn Kuhlman and Smith Wigglesworth.

Steven Springer, who is the self-appointed leader of the Global Presence Ministries, writes how he once had a dream where he encountered Billy Graham (who must’ve been astral projecting, because he wasn’t dead at the time), sitting at a desk with the portraits of John Wesley, Charles Finney, and Philip the Evangelist from Acts 8 behind him on the wall. Billy got up from his desk to lead Springer out to see five barns, and the portraits of the three men came to life and followed out with them.

Prosperity preacher, Kenneth Hagin allegedly visited two different men. Paul Keith Davis, who founded WhiteDove Ministries, claims Hagin visited him in a vision in which he came and sat down at a table with him to discuss the current state of the church and the need for faithful, truth-telling ministries. Jesse Shamp, tells how in a dream he had, he walks into a house where Hagin sat on a couch in a green suit. He laid hands on Shamp and prayed for him.

Pastor Perry Stone, whose Cleveland church was recently seen in a video performing some bizarro worship ritual around a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, interviewed his late father, Fred Stone. He tells how the ghost of a charismatic friend of his by the name of Al Collins, visited him. Fred’s inner man was taken to the edge of the universe and took a trip to heaven.

ghostThose are just a smattering of charismatic teachers and preachers who testify of extravagant dreams involving, not only dead charismatic leaders imparting to them special prophecies, but also trips to heaven, and visits by angels, and in some cases, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I imagine a number of charismatic/Pentecostal individuals will read my report and complain that I am highlighting relatively unknown, fringe individuals associated with the New Apostolic Reformation. But I believe their “fringiness” can easily be contested.

Just click over to the websites of any of those individuals I listed and read their event calendar. Nearly all of them are scheduled to participate in major charismatic conferences both here in the U.S. and internationally. Additionally, if one were to click over to Charisma Online, the website of Charisma magazine, and do a search for “dreams” or “interpreting dreams” or even “visions,” there a number of articles, a few written by some of the “ministers” I name here, exhorting readers to consider how God is revealing special plans in your own dreams.

Folks may charge me with pointing out fringe elements, but the fact of the matter is, the idea that God can and will speak to Christians through their dreams is believed to be a standard, spiritual experience within charismatic and Pentecostal circles.  While it may be true that level headed continuationists are rightly embarrassed that charismatic leaders will excitedly retell churches about their encounters with departed charismatic personalities, if you promote the belief that the Holy Spirit speaks in dreams to Christians, as outlandish as they may sound, who is to say they are not from God?

I am reminded of the words of the prophet Jeremiah,

 25 “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My name, saying,`I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’
26 “How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart,
27 “who try to make My people forget My name by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot My name for Baal. (Jeremiah 23:25-27)


The Hounds of Discernment

uglydogLyndon and I are preparing our chapter reviews of Michael Brown’s Authentic Fire for a possible ebook of our own. The material will be updated a bit and greatly expanded, particularly Lyndon’s stuff. Not sure when it will be available. We have both finished our principle reedit of our posts, and we just recently exchanged our chapters with each other. I am working through Lyndon’s material, offering my insights and suggestions.

One of Michael Brown’s complaints he levels in his book against cessationists is their meanness and vitriol they express when they go after what they perceive is heresy. That attitude is really witnessed among those cessationists who run online “discernment” ministries. I don’t necessarily disagree with Dr. Brown on that point. So-called discernment ministries can be downright nasty at times.

As I was reviewing one of Lyndon’s chapters yesterday, I came across this wonderful rant he offered in response to Dr. Brown’s complaint. I thought it was well stated and worth bringing out for others to consider.


The “conspicuous lack of love” manifest in cessationist circles is something that I both recognize and condemn openly.  I have, and do, urge cessationists to never hound anyone on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media (especially if you’ve never had previous contact with them at all).  Some cessationists are absolutely shameful jerks (and far too frequently are even socially handicapped) and that should not be the case.

What’s more, there’s the “discernment ministry” folks out there who somehow think that it’s the business of a person without any sort of biblical office to “call out” heretics on the internet.   Calling for the repentance of random strangers when they don’t know them, aren’t in any of their circles of contact, and aren’t holding any sort of biblical office (namely, an elder in a church) reveals a profound lack of discernment.

What’s worse is that, in my experience, the “discernment ministry” folks (often the most aggressive of the cessationists) who like to hop on social media or their own websites and “call out” random or infamous charismatics tend to respond to criticism far worse than the charismatics they go after.  When those “discernment ministry” folks are faced with something stupid or sinful that they do, they’re frequently violently resistant to correction and attack those who attempt to confront their foolishness/sin.

Yet, they somehow expect people who likely get wheelbarrows of hate mail (i.e. any popular personality in Christendom) to somehow read a few tweets from a random agitator, and then overthrow what’s likely decades of tradition/commitment to a theological position, and repent.  Even worse, more than a few of the “discernment ministry” folks appear to think their duty is done as long as they’ve pointed to any unbiblical idea that someone has ever been associated with and demanded repentance.  Once heretics have been informed of their error, the “discernment ministry” folks appear to feel like their job is done.  In case I’ve been unclear, too many “discernment ministry” folks do far more harm than good.  On this point, I agree with Michael Brown and wish I had the power to teach a cabal of specific individuals some basic social etiquette.

Discernment is one of the things that they claim to have, but more often than not it’s simply a neurotic fascination with people who are in theological error.  It may seem obvious, but 1 Pet. 5:2 is a commission strictly given to the elders in 1 Pet. 5:1.  Titus 1:9 is a directive given to the overseers who are mentioned in Titus 1:7.  1 Tim. 6:20 is a command specifically addressed to Timothy, as is the command in 2 Tim. 1:14 and 2:2 (and basically all the other go-to texts that “discernment ministry” folks use to justify their existence).  More often than not, the passages that do directly apply to them (i.e. Titus. 2:3-5) are being habitually and systematically disobeyed.