Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials
Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials
STRANGE THINGS IN NEW ORLEANS - THE LATTER DAY RAIN IS ACTUALLY A FLOOD OF APOSTASY!
AN EYE-WITNESS REPORT ON THE NORTH AMERICAN CONGRESS ON THE HOLY SPIRIT & WORLD EVANGELIZATION JULY 22-26, 1987, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
By David W. Cloud
Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.wayoflife.org
This special double-issue of O TIMOTHY is a report on the North American Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization, the large charismatic conference held in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A., July 22-26, 1987. I had the opportunity to attend this conference with press credentials, and I feel a great urgency to report about the things I saw and heard. It is essential that every Christian be thoroughly settled in his own heart and mind about the charismatic movement. Unquestionably the fastest growing movement within Christendom, the new Pentecostalism claims to be a great revival movement from God. Every Christian must therefore make a decision, and especially is this true for Christian leaders.
Is this movement of God? Is it what it claims to be--a latter-day revival rain upon the earth? Or is it another form of the apostasy of these last hours?
A close look at the massive conference in New Orleans should settle this question, because it represented the mainstream of the charismatic movement at this hour. Roughly 150 of the most influential leaders of the movement participated--John Wimber, Jane Hansen, Vinson Synan, James Robison, Bob Mumford, Kenneth Copeland, Carl Richardson, David Mainse, Michael Harper, Michael Scanlan, Marilyn Hickey, Peter Hocken, Charles and Frances Hunter ("the Happy Hunters"), Anne Gimenez, Oral Roberts' son, Richard, James Brown, Reinhard Bonnke, Demos Shakarian, and at least one hundred more.
The books that were sold there are the most popular ones in the movement. The more than 200 organizations that participated in the exhibition area represent some of the most popular and influential within the Pentecostalism--Youth with a Mission, Oral Roberts University, Dayspring International, Full Gospel Business Men International, Strang Communications Company (publishers of Charisma magazine), Women's Aglow Fellowship, to name but a few.
Most of the "renewal (charismatic) movements" within the various denominations were also there--Baptist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Catholic, Mennonite, Presbyterian & Reformed, Churches of Christ, United Church of Christ, United Methodist, Wesleyan-Holiness. Each of these groups held separate morning sessions during the conference.
No one can say that this conference represented only some extreme part of the charismatic movement. Though there are some charismatics who would not agree with some of the things that went on at this conference, these would be in the minority. For the most part, this conference and all that went on there, IS THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT OF THE 1980s!
If you are in fellowship with the charismatic movement, you are in fellowship with these people, with these activities. The spirit that energized the conference in New Orleans in July, is the very same spirit that energizes charismatic activity throughout the world, in every charismatic house fellowship, every charismatic church. While I didn't see a spirit in New Orleans, I saw the fingerprints of a spirit. I saw the fruit of a spirit. And I invite you to examine these fingerprints with me and compare them with the fingerprints of the Holy Spirit in inspired Scripture.
CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT HAS BLOSSMED DURING MY CHRISTIAN LIFE
I am amazed by the way the charismatic movement continues to sweep the world. The movement is blossoming throughout every denomination, in every country. The largest churches in the world now are charismatic. The most rapidly growing Christian movement is the charismatic movement. According to The World Christian Encyclopedia, 1982 edition, as of 1980 there were 100 million people in the world who claimed to belong to the charismatic-Pentecostal movement (In The Latter Days, Vinson Synan, Servant Books, 1984, page 18).
Though it is impossible to cite global figures such as these with preciseness, the author of this particular encyclopedia, David Barrett, has made the most thorough research of Christianity that has ever been made. He spent 10 years visiting 212 countries to gather facts for his encyclopedia (New Orleans '87 General Congress Handbook, page 16). Regardless of the exact figures, no one in Christian work today would deny that the charismatic movement is experiencing explosive growth.
I find it interesting that the neo-Pentecostal, or charismatic movement, as it has come to be called, has actually experienced its most outright, unbridled ecumenical tendencies during the years since I was saved in 1973. It has been during the past fourteen years that the charismatic movement has grown by leaps and bounds within the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant denominations, and various evangelical groups. Though the modern Pentecostal movement is traced by its leaders to the breaking out of "tongues-speaking" phenomena at the turn of the century at a small Bible school in Topeka, Kansas, and to a series of meetings in a mission in Los Angeles, California (Azusa Street), it was only six years before my conversion that the charismatic movement began to be experienced within the Catholic Church.
It is claimed that charismatic experiences within Catholicism occurred first in February 1967, at Duquesne University in Pittsburg, then quickly spread to Notre Dame University and other Catholic institutions. Charismatic cells were established in Catholic parishes, and the movement grew--gradually at first, then with great momentum. It was in the early 1970s that the Jesus People movement swept America and parts of Europe, a charismatic movement among young people, a movement largely outside of organized churches. It was also in the early 1970s that Christian rock and folk music began to be popular among these young people. They played it in their coffee houses and sang it in their house cells, and then this new Contemporary Christian Music, as it came to be called, worked its way into mainstream denominations.
The charismatic movement grew by leaps and bounds in the Catholic Church in the 1970s. In January 1974, one thousand Catholic charismatics met for a conference in Washington, D.C. In May 1975, ten thousand Catholic charismatics gathered at the Vatican in Rome and received blessing from the pope. In 1977, a massive charismatic meeting was held in Kansas City with a Roman Catholic at its head! Many of the 45,000 in attendance were practicing Catholics. Thus the blossoming of the charismatic movement into a full-fledged ecumenical movement with a strong Catholic population has occurred during the 14 years of my Christian life.
The charismatic movement is sweeping through Asia and forms one of the most serious challenges to our missionary work and that of other fundamentalist preachers. For this reason I desired to attend the North American Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization in New Orleans, July 22-26, 1987. This would be the largest conference of this type in this decade, the largest since the 1977 meeting in Kansas City. Since the people we serve through church planting and the printed page are being influenced by this powerful movement, I wanted to see firsthand what is happening within the charismatic movement so I could sound an alarm that is not based on secondhand information.
Through a wonderful series of events, things worked out so that I could attend this conference with press credentials through the Fundamental Evangelistic Association (FEA) and Foundation magazine. I attended the conference with Dennis Costella of F.E.A. and had the privilege of learning how to do firsthand reporting from a very experienced brother in Christ.
Let me share with you the amazing things that I observed.
NORTH AMERICAN CONGRESS ON THE HOLY SPIRIT & WORLD EVANGELIZATION NEW ORLEANS, JULY 22-26, 1987
WHO SPONSORED THIS MEETING AND WHAT IS THEIR GOAL?
The Congress was sponsored by a group called the North American Renewal Service Committee (NARSC) which was formed after the charismatic meeting in Kansas City in 1977. At New Orleans '87, a Pentecostal was the Chairman (Vinson Synan) and a Roman Catholic was the Director (David F. Sklorenko, Sr.). The steering committee was composed of men and women representing 40 denominations, ministries and fellowships, including Baptist, Protestant, Non-denominational, and Roman Catholic.
A Birthday Present for Jesus
The written goal of the NARSC is "to be able to present to Jesus Christ an absolute majority of the world population as Christians on his 2,000th birthday." (New Orleans '87 Handbook, Page 13) It is interesting that this is the same goal as that of the Roman Catholic Evangelization 2000. At New Orleans it became obvious that plans had already been laid by the Catholics and non-Catholic charismatics to join hands toward this goal.
This shows, of course, that a large majority of charismatics have come to the point of accepting Roman Catholic charismatics as born again Christians, even when they point to their baptism and sacraments as the beginning of their salvation. Tom Forrest is the head of the Roman Catholic Evangelization 2000, and in a book he edited entitled Be Holy, he gives the following clear testimony of his belief in sacramental salvation:
"[The charismatic experience] is not a second baptism, some new sacramental grace, but rather the renewing of those sacramental graces of Baptism, Confirmation and priestly Ordination that have already made the Holy Spirit present within us" (page 59).
"This river [of the Holy Spirit and salvation] began its flow with our Baptism, and then again with the grace of our Confirmation. This was our first "renewal" in the Holy Spirit, these sacraments of initiation making us new creatures, new sons of God” (page 32).
"We are talking about the baptismal innocence restored to us by Christ, and offered in all the sacraments" (page 25).
The Roman Catholic Church's false doctrine of salvation hasn't changed, and the Roman Catholic leaders within the charismatic movement continue to base their salvation on the vain hope of baptism, the mass, confession (to a priest), prayers to Mary and "the saints," and the other sacraments. Yes, they speak of faith in Christ and salvation through His grace, but they do not mean by this what the apostles meant when they preached the Gospel.
Roman Catholics-- even charismatic Catholics-- believe that Christ died on the cross to win salvation, and that this salvation has been given into the hands of the [Catholic] church to be administered to men. Therefore, men are actually saved, according to Catholic theology, through faith in Christ PLUS the church.
This is why, when Catholic charismatics are giving messages, at times it will sound as if they are speaking of the true gospel of eternal, free, secure salvation through faith in Christ's blood alone without admixture of sacraments and works. But at other times they will sound forth the false gospel of salvation through the sacraments. With such a mixed-up gospel, it is not difficult for the clever Catholic leaders to sound thoroughly evangelical when they desire to do so. They can speak of salvation through grace and really mean what they are saying. The problem is that they define this differently than the Bible does!
Salvation by grace to a traditional Catholic is salvation achieved through the grace administered to men through the sacraments--baptism, mass, etc. This confusion lies in the fact that the Catholic gospel is a false MIXTURE of faith plus works, law plus grace, Christ plus sacraments, just as the statement from the book edited by Tom Forrest indicates in plain words. And having read dozens of books by Catholic charismatic leaders, I know that this is what they are teaching. The so-called Catholic charismatic renewal is nothing other than a renewal of love for traditional Catholicism, including the pope, the mass, Mary as Queen of Heaven, the rosary, the saints and the "one, holy Catholic church."
And yet the Bible condemns the Catholic sacramental gospel in no uncertain terms:
"But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they" (Acts 15:11).
"So much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed FROM FAITH TO FAITH: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:15-17).
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even THE RIGHT EOUSNESS OF GOD WHICH IS BY FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST UNTO ALL AND UPON ALL THEM THAT BELIEVE” (Romans 3:21-22).
“Being justified FREELY BY HIS GRACE THROUGH THE REDEMPTION THAT IS IN CHRIST. ... Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:24, 28).
“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works” (Romans 4:3-6).
“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more works” (Romans 11:6).
This is the one true gospel, and there is no room in it whatsoever for the Catholic sacraments. We are saved entirely apart from any church sacraments or works or ordinances, entirely through Christ's blood atonement, entirely through faith alone by grace alone, entirely, wholly, completely, eternally, certainly!
What does the Bible say about an attempt to intermingle works with the Grace of Christ?
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8-9).
Note that it is not only the false gospel which is accursed, but it is "him" who preaches it as well. "Let HIM be accursed." Few today will believe God's Word about this matter, but I trust that you, dear reader, will not follow the crowd but will believe God and the words of the Holy Spirit. Any Roman Catholic priest that preaches the traditional Catholic gospel is accursed of God as is the false gospel that he preaches.
For multitudes of professing born again Christians to join hands with those preaching a sacramental gospel in order to "evangelize" the world is utter confusion. Utter confusion. And this is exactly what the charismatic movement is. If it was not clear before now, the North American Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization should leave no doubt in the that this is the truth.
WHO WAS THERE?
At the last press conference of the Congress on Saturday, July 25th, the figures given for those who actually registered were approaching 35, 000, and Synan said that he felt that it would reach that number counting the walk-in registrants for the last evening. At one press conference it was noted that a worker at the Superdome estimated there were 40, 000 in at least one of the evening General Sessions. Of the registrants, the press was told that 50% were Roman Catholic, the next highest percentage group were non-denominational, while Episcopalians formed the third largest group, and the Lutherans the fourth largest.
There is no doubt that the meeting was massive. More than 200 colleges, fellowships, publishers and distributors of religious products and services had advertising space in the huge exhibition hall. One hundred and eight workshops filled the three afternoons of the Congress. Even though these same workshops, for the most part, were given all three afternoons at different time slots, allowing the registrants to visit as many as possible, it was obviously impossible to visit more than several of these. The evening General Sessions lasted from 6:30 p.m. until 10:00. The meeting didn't end at 10:00 p.m., though, for the General Sessions were followed each night by the "afterglows" (during which great numbers sought to be "baptized in the Holy Spirit," or sought healing, tongues, etc.) and counseling sessions which could last often until midnight. There were 25 speakers for the four evening General Sessions, not counting special music, long "worship times," the offerings, prophecies and other activities. One thing can be said for these charismatics: they love their meetings! Can you imagine what the average non-charismatic Westerner would think of a four and a half hour meeting every night for four nights in a row, not to speak of all-day meetings beginning at 9 a.m. and lasting until 5 p.m. the same days!
While the Congress was in progress, a separate meeting was held for young people. It was called Youth Explosion '87 and it was estimated that 5,000 young people were in attendance. A bank of large speakers were set up on both sides of the stage and the youth were fed a relentless diet of rock music, interspersed with entertaining sermons and testimonies by athletes, musicians, Miss Georgia 1987 and youth workers. Sheila Walsh and Russ Taff, two of the top Christian rock musicians, were there and sang with accompanying hard rock music as loud as that played at some secular rock concerts.
I will one final about the size of the meeting. With more than 100 speakers delivering workshops, 25 speakers in the evening sessions, approximately 200 exhibitors and hundreds of books for sale, plus a separate massive youth conference in progress during the Congress, it was impossible to cover all of the HERESY fostered at this Congress. Keep in mind as you read this report that this meeting was not just a group of extremist charismatics, but represented the mainstream of the charismatic movement. Not all of the big charismatic leaders were present, but many of them were. And what we will share should be enough to convince any Bible believer that this conference and the movement it represents is not on the Bible track. But believe me, the half will not have been told!
THE OPENING EVENING OF THE CONGRESS
The first night, Wednesday, July 22nd, Vinson Synan was introduced by Roman Catholic layman Kevin M. Ranaghan, chairman of the 1977 Kansas City Conference. They hugged, and Ranaghan said, "Isn't it a wonderful thing for a Catholic to introduce a Pentecostal!" They then hugged again. Ranaghan said Synan has brought together 32-35 streams of Christianity. Synan said there "are 242 million Christians baptized in the Holy Ghost... There is a call to bring Jesus Christ to all nations of the world in our time... The vision God has given is to give Jesus a gift of the majority of the world as Christians... we're praying this Superdome will be a new upper room so the day will come when the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as water covers the seas."
BILLY GRAHAM SENDS HIS BLESSING
That first night Billy Graham sent greetings and blessings to the Congress via a video clip that was introduced with much fanfare and shown on the large screens on both sides of the Superdome. A press release gave the text of Graham's address:
"Greetings in the name of the Lord! I would love to be with you today in your great conference. But I am unable to do so because we are involved in a crusade here in Denver, Colorado, which involves really the whole state of Colorado. I rejoice with you at the goals of your North American Congress on the Holy Spirit and World Evangelization. And I thank God for the vital role that your movement is having in bringing about a spiritual awakening in this country. Today it is encouraging to see the Holy Spirit moving in His church across North America and in other parts of the world toward the goal of bringing others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. My prayers are with you that your congress will be greatly blessed of God and used by the Holy Spirit to further the Good News of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May God bless you all!!!" (Press release)
Note that Billy Graham's blessing was upon this conference and all of the strange, unscriptural things that went on there.
After watching and hearing Graham's video clip, Catholic Ranaghan led the conference in a prayer for Graham's crusade going on in Colorado. Ranaghan spoke in "tongues" as he led the prayer for Graham's conference over the Superdome PA system, and the huge Superdome was filled with the strange sound of thousands praying in tongues, the first time that would happen during the conference, but certainly not the last! Graham's open approval of the conference was very pleasing to the leaders. Synan referred to Graham's message during the Saturday afternoon press conference, saying, "Billy Graham's office said he wanted to come just to be refreshed. We feel that is a breakthrough."
We learned that the pope was behind the meeting, as well. Tom Forrest, the speaker for the final General Session, said that John Paul II was behind the conference wholeheartedly. Forrest should know since his offices are in Rome across from the Vatican and he is the head of Evangelization 2000 and works directly under the pope's supervision.
Bob Weiner, who also led the Youth Explosion '87, said that a prophecy in 1979 indicated that "more people are going to be saved in the 1980s than all the people saved in the history of the world." This was one of the many indications of the confidence charismatics are placing in prophecies and continuing revelations. He led the crowd in an amazingly confusing time of "holy shouting" which he said would "bring holiness, healing, forgiveness." Thus the auditorium of the Superdome was filled for a few moments with 35,000 voices lifted in "holy shouting." It could only be described as mass confusion, yet the Bible says God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). Weiner said he was taking authority over all fear and used Jeremiah's call, paraphrasing from Jeremiah chapter one and applying it to those present in the meeting.
Weiner also said, "We are going to be changed and be a part of the body of Christ without spot or wrinkle... The Holy Ghost is coming upon us tonight... that through that holiness, that power of the Spirit, we WILL evangelize the world." This statement by Weiner about those present being the body of Christ, the people of God, Christian saints, etc., established the attitude that would be taken by all the speakers. It was taken for granted that the Congress registrants were the people of God, in spite of the fact that at least 50% were Roman Catholic and a large percentage of the others were from a sacramental-type background whereby salvation is supposedly achieved through a PROCESS, beginning at baptism and being nurtured through the sacraments of the church.
Statements were made such as "You are sons of God, daughters of God, children of the king," and, “Let's exercise our authority as a priesthood of believers to pray for these leaders" (Carl Richardson). Prophecies also were spoken as if those present were saved. One illustrates the tone of all of them: "My children, ten years ago I brought you together... above all I brought you together to be one." You can see that all were treated as born again people, as true children of God. This assumption on the part of the speakers and Congress leaders that those present were saved became confusing, to say the least, when on Friday night at least half of the people stood, indicating that they wanted to be saved! We will say more about this.
One of the singers for the first evening, a fourth generation Pentecostal, said, "Thank you for opening your spirits up to us." This is one of the most serious errors of the charismatic movement. God warns against spiritual deception and therefore commands us to "be sober.” This command which is repeated often in the New Testament is a command to be in full control of one's mind, to be on guard at all times against deception. Those who release control of their minds and facilities are disobeying God and are opening themselves to spiritual delusion. One of the key teachings of the charismatic movement is that in order to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the experience of tongues, the individual must release control of his mind and tongue and "let go and let God." This is clearly contrary to the command of God.
Dorothy Ranaghan, a Roman Catholic, also spoke Wednesday evening. She said that she hopes to lead her children "to the fullness of salvation." Note the Catholic idea of growing into salvation, of salvation as a process. This was taught and implied often during the Congress and openly promoted in many of the books that were for sale. In those books salvation was called a "process," "a continual redemption," "an adherence to a program of life." Let me quote from a booklet that I purchased at the official conference sales area:
"This kingdom and this salvation... are available to every human being as grace and mercy, and yet at the same time each individual must gain them... through toil and suffering, through a life lived according to the Gospel, through abnegation and the cross, through the spirit of the beatitudes” (Pope John Paul VI, On Evangelization in the Modern World, a message given in Rome, December 8, 1975, pages 6-7).
This is heresy. The Christian does not grow into salvation or earn salvation through holding out in the sacraments and through faithful service, as the Roman Catholic church teaches. We have full, eternal, secure salvation the very moment we place our faith upon the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement on the Cross of Calvary.
Mrs. Ranaghan referred to Francis Xavier as a great example of evangelistic zeal and self-sacrifice, but those who know the real history of Xavier know that he was a traditional Catholic missionary who preached the cursed false sacramental gospel of Rome and crossed the seas to make converts that would become twofold the children of hell than he was, as Jesus said to the Pharisees of His day (Matthew 6).
Ranaghan challenged the 35,000 charismatics that "we need to touch up our halos," then explained about halos in Roman Catholic iconology (idolatry) and spoke reverently of Catholic "saints.” This is the first in what would become a steady stream of Catholic error which was promoted at the conference. Apostate Catholic teaching was everywhere. It was in the bookstores, in the workshops such as the one on "Mary and Pentecost," it was in the Catholic masses which were held in the main floor of the Superdome each morning, it was in the General Sessions in the evening, concluding with the final message being delivered by a Roman Catholic leader Tom Forrest.
BAPTIST PASTOR E. V. HILL
The main message of the first night was brought by the Baptist preacher, E.V. Hill. Hill certainly makes the rounds in Christian circles! He preaches in some fundamentalist churches. He has preached for Jerry Falwell, for the Southwide Baptist Fellowship. Yet he is an ecumenist who is comfortable being on the committee of the National Council of Churches in America, the American arm of the exceedingly liberal World Council. And now we see him in the midst of one of the most ecumenical charismatic meetings.
Now consider this. E.V. Hill sat for about two and a half hours before he actually got up to speak. What did he see and hear. He listened to the loud babble of tongues during the "worship" times, and the unspeakably confusing time of "holy shouting." He heard rock music as loud as at a secular rock concert, watched the dancing girls of the "drama" teams, heard prophecies that were delivered in the first person as from Jesus Christ Himself, heard a female Roman Catholic preach about growing in salvation and halos and icons and St. Xavier, watched Catholic Kevin Ranaghan and Pentecostal Vinson Synan hug each other twice and speak of how wonderful it is for Catholics and Pentecostals finally to get together. For more than two hours Hill looked out over a crowd of 35,000, half of which were Catholics. After this experience, E.V. Hill walked up to the podium and said what? What should a man say after experiencing such things, a man who claims to be a Bible-believer, a man who speaks in fundamentalist Baptist churches? If he were a prophet of God, he would have plenty to say and it wouldn't have been music to the ears of those creating this doctrinal confusion! But what did he say? Hill stood for a moment, calmly looking around, then said, "WOW! If you're not on fire by now, your wood is wet! If your bell isn't ringing, your clapper is broken!"
My friends, I must admit that my wood was wet and my clapper was broken that night! If it wasn't for the fact that I was there with a likeminded friend and was there to make a report, I don't think I would have stayed longer than that first night. Without the fellowship we had together in the Lord during the week, and the prayers together, I don't think I could have! Even though we sat in the press section, we stood out like sore thumbs. Some said they were praying for us and some asked what was wrong with us. When everyone was standing, we were sitting; when the crowd was laughing, we were frowning; when they were serious, we were smiling; when they were singing, we were quiet; when they were quiet, we were talking. It was very difficult to be two oddballs among 35, 000 VERY enthusiastic charismatic ecumenists. We did not meet any other people attending that were not in basic sympathy with what was happening, including the members of the press. This is because the only reason a true Bible-believer would attend such a meeting would be to report on it and expose it as the dangerous thing that it is. There is no true fellowship between light and darkness.
After E.V. Hill's clever little remarks at the beginning of his message he proceeded to preach a standard, entertaining message about the two aspects of salvation: justification and sanctification. It was a message about the difference between the Christian's standing and his state, his position and his practice. He spoke of being covered with the blood of Christ and saved forever through that blood. Then he placed a handkerchief over the microphone and said that God looked at him like that. God didn't see E.V. Hill, but saw the covering, the blood of Christ. Then he cautiously peaked under the handkerchief which was still hanging over the microphone and said that even though this fact of standing was true, there was the little problem of his walk and practice, and that is a different story. Of course everyone laughed. Hill said, "I'm not what I should be, but, thank God, I'm not what I used to be. I'm getting better! I'm getting better!" Then he said, "Somebody say Amen. You've got to tell these white folks when to say Amen!" Hill is always entertaining.
All of this would have been acceptable preaching had it not been in the context of the mixed multitude Hill was preaching to. Why didn't he make things very, very clear? Why didn't he make it clear that he was saying that Catholicism teaches a false gospel and that the Catholics need to learn the truths he was speaking and get saved and come out of the mess of Romanism? Why didn't he have a word to say about the false unity which that mixed multitude was practicing? Why didn't he have a word of warning about the countless errors represented by that crowd? Why did he not turn to the special section of Catholic priests and have a few clear words for them, the kind of words that Jesus had for the false teachers of His day (Matthew 23)!
I am saying that what E.V. Hill preached that opening night of Congress '87 was correct. There was nothing wrong doctrinally with his message. IT WAS WHAT HE FAILED TO SAY that revealed the man's compromising, self-serving, ecumenical heart. The man preached in the face of at least 15,000 Roman Catholics and said not one word about the errors of Catholicism by which so many countless multitudes have perished in eternal hell, and had not one word to say about God's command to separate from error. He said he was thrilled by what he saw and heard that fearful night. What a sad, sad testimony.
MORNING MASS IN THE SUPERDOME
More than half of the conference attendees were present for the Roman Catholic mass that was held each morning of the congress from Thursday until Sunday in the Superdome. It began with charismatic renewal music--contemporary folk and rock, then three priests walked in, one holding a Bible over his head and another with his hands held high in the air. The session leader of the one mass we observed was Hal Cohen and the officiating priest, Dennis Phaneuf. Cohen began by lifting his hands, then spoke of the saving waters and renewing of baptism. He said, "Let us praise God through the eucharist," then babbled in "tongues," and said "glory to Jesus." The crowd then sang "Lord, pour on us the Spirit of the Lord."
The homily was delivered in a fairly dynamic way. Phaneuf said, "We would be amazed to see how much we agree on our faith and on our reality." He cleverly and deceptively referred to E.V. Hill's statement the night before on position vs. condition, and said, "We are called to holiness, not to gain God's love, but because he has covered us by his blood." That sounded good and true, but the sad fact is that he was saying this right before the abominable mass in which he would claim to consecrate the bread and wine so that it would actually become Jesus Christ and he, the Catholic priest, would then re-sacrifice Christ upon the Roman altar and the people would then receive Jesus afresh. Roman Catholics believe that they receive Jesus many times, not just once for all. They believe they receive Him when they are baptized, then again when they are confirmed, then daily as they receive the mass and the other Catholic sacraments. Thus when Phaneuf said that Catholics are covered by Christ's blood, he did not mean that the Catholic can know and rejoice in the fact that he has eternal salvation and security in Christ, but merely that the Catholic is covered by Christ's blood as long as he continues faithful in the sacraments of his church. There was a great deal of deception at this conference, especially on the part of the Catholic leaders. They would use Bible terminology and leave their listeners with the idea that they believed sound Bible doctrine, whereas they were merely taking terms familiar with Pentecostals and evangelicals and inserting into those terms their own heretical beliefs.
The priest giving the homily prior to the mass then preached on four areas of holiness: 1) Honesty, 2) Chastity, 3) Love, and 4) Whole value in the religion of our Lord. In the last point he was speaking of having a balance, of courage and meekness, etc. He said we should look to the saints such as Bernadette, St. Teresa. Then setting the tone for the overwhelming Mariolatry which was promoted at New Orleans '87, the priest said, "The greatest model is Mary." He concluded by saying, "As we seek to evangelize the world as one Christian body, we must remember God has called us to holiness."
The reference to "one Christian body" is highly significant. The Bible never speaks of a one Christian body composed of true Christians and false, of sound churches and heretical. Of course, the "one body" this priest was speaking of is none other than the Roman Catholic Church itself. It still claims to be the fullness of the body of Christ, and even though non-Catholics are now accepted as separated brethren, note that they are indeed "separated" brethren. Separated from what? Separated from the one true Christian body, the Roman Catholic Church, to which they must be rejoined if they are to experience the fullness of life with Christ. The call still goes out for non-Catholics to be joined to the "head of the church." Christ? No, the pope of Rome, the Vicar of Christ!
The mass in New Orleans was traditional except for the contemporary musical interludes, the tongues, and the prophecies. The priest held up a large host and proclaimed, "This is the body of the Lord," then held up a cup of wine, saying, "the blood of our Lord." Priests then marched to positions around the Superdome and stationed themselves with the consecrated wafers and distributed them to the people as they were guided out row by row by the ushers. The priest near us was saying as he handed the host to the people, "The body of Christ; the body of Christ; the body of Christ." During a lull in the line, I asked him if that wafer is the body of Christ. He answered, "Yes, this is the body and blood of our Lord." Meanwhile the other priests were drinking of a yellow, strongly alcoholic wine from cups that had been filled from a pitcher. After and during the mass, prophecies were given. The first was by a woman; the second by a man. The man said, "You have my real body; you have my real blood... Come out of your castles... My people will you open up to me so... I can place within you a steadfast spirit, spiritual life, love, holiness? My beloved, will you answer my call?... for I am here and I am waiting."
Was Jesus Christ really prophesying through this Roman Catholic? Was Jesus actually confirming that the wafers and wine that were being consecrated by the Roman priest were truly His real body and real blood? No, it was false blasphemy. It was so openly blasphemous, in fact, that I experienced "chill bumps." It was frightening to listen to something so obviously of the devil. Much of the charismatic experience is merely an outwork of the flesh, but something as blasphemous as this was nothing less than demonic.
As the priests were gathering the unused wafers, I asked one what they would do with them., He said they would put them "locked and sealed" in a "tabernacle" of a RC church in the city and later they will be distributed in hospitals and to those who cannot get out. Of course, according to Catholic theology, each of those consecrated wafers was Jesus Christ himself, and Catholics kneel before the “tabernacles” that contain the wafers and pray to them as if they are Jesus. They pray to the wafers, confess sins to the wafers, worship the wafers, and oftentimes carry the wafers in processions, just as the heathen carry around their idols in the little temples. This is gross and foolish idolatry.
The mass was closed by having the people stand and sing "Crown Him With Many Crowns." How deceptive to close such a unscriptural event by such a blessed hymn.
I hope our readers see the significance of the Roman Catholic mass at the heart of a charismatic meeting. There is nothing in Christianity more blasphemous and false than the Catholic mass. And for 150 of the most popular charismatic leaders and 35,000 charismatic Christians to accept the mass, allowing it to be performed in their midst, is incontrovertible evidence of the apostasy of the movement itself. As we will mention later in the report, Pentecostal Congress Chairman, Vinson Synan, invited the people to attend the mass Sunday morning and said it was a most beautiful experience. It is time for Christians to awaken out of their sleep and see the charismatic movement for what it is--a way of error which is leading deeper and deeper into apostasy and closer and closer toward Rome, the very seat of apostasy.
Many prophecies were given during the Congress, some supposedly spontaneously during the workshops and denominational meetings, while those given during the general sessions in the superdome in the evenings were controlled and scheduled. Following are quotes from a few of these prophecies. Note that they were spoken in the first person as if God were truly speaking through that person to those present. It should be noted that many present treated these supposed prophecies from Christ in a very light manner, to say the least. As the prophecies were given over the loudspeakers, large numbers of people would be purchasing food at the snackbars, going to the bathrooms, conversing with one another, reading books, etc.
If the prophecies were actually coming from Christ, one would think that those who love Him would hang on every word. In fact, if this is really Christ speaking afresh through the lips of those present, it would seem that the prophecies should be transcribed, printed, published far and wide with the declaration--"This is Christ speaking today! These are new words from Heaven!"
But no. Actually I believe those present knew in their hearts what we knew from the Scriptures--these supposed prophecies were not the actual voice of Christ, but were the thoughts of man. Woe be unto those, though, who spoke such things in the name of Christ as if from Christ, thus adding to the words of the prophecy of the Book which God has indeed given and completed (Revelation 22:18,19). Following are examples of the prophecies that were given all during the Congress. These are transcribed directly from the cassette tape recordings.
"My children, ten years ago I brought you together... again I have brought you together. Above all I brought you together to be one... that those who are depressed and lost... that the power of my spirit will reach through you... that all men will come to know me as Lord" (Friday night, July 24).
"You have my real body; you have my real blood... Come out of your castles... My people will you open up to me so... I can place within you a steadfast spirit, spiritual life, love, holiness? My beloved, will you answer my call?... for I am here and I am waiting" (Prophecy by a man during the Roman Catholic mass Thursday morning, July 23rd).
"What did you come for? Did you come to be healed? Did you come to hear a great and mighty anointed speaker? Did you come to see manifestations of my Spirit? I say to you that you will, but that isn't why I brought you. I brought you here because I intend to provide you with my power. I intend to provide you again with my commission, because I have a plan for each one of you. Now listen to me, each one of you. I know you're here. I know where you come from. I know who you are, and I am going to use you... I'm going to change your mind. Are you ready to be changed? Open your hearts to the changing power of my Holy Spirit and you will be different and I will be able to use you. I ask you again. Look around, and what do you see? You see brothers in the Lord. You see sisters in the Lord, and you look at empty seats. I don't see empty seats. I see all my hosts; I see all the powers of the heavenly hosts filling this place. Those seats are not empty, saith the Lord. My heavenly hosts are here" (Prophecy given the first night of the conference).
"I am the Lord Jesus Christ... I am the one who stands among the seven lampstands... I am the Lord. I am the Lord of the body... Look to me and I will feed you... guide you... Those who do not know me, I tell you I am Jesus your Savior... renounce your sin and turn to me" (Prophecy given by Catholic or Episcopal priest in Superdome).
"You and I, we both know, that I alone will be the only one who can remove the obstacles that afflict you at this moment. Once more, my children, allow me to refresh you in my love and in my mercy. Surrender to me, my loved ones. I am waiting patiently. Surrender to me. I love you, my children. I want to refresh you. I love you, my children. You are the loved ones of my heart; I love you. Surrender to me; allow me to refresh you. I love you, my children" (Prophecy given after Thursday morning mass by a Roman Catholic woman to the Catholic meeting which was continuing in the Superdome).
"At this time I am pouring out my sanctifying grace upon your hearts, so purify your love for me. I call you to yield anew to the holiness of my spirit in you at this moment. Your love for me and for others must be pure" (Another prophecy given by a Roman Catholic, this time a man, during the Catholic meetings following the mass in the Superdome Thursday morning, July 23).
Were these prophecies of God? On Friday night half of this group indicated they were not saved. God is not going to speak in the first person to such a mixed multitude as if they are all born again people. God is speaking today and He is speaking very plainly, but He is speaking through the Bible. The Scripture is perfect, and it is complete. It claims to be able to make the man of God "perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:17). What need do we have of something else if that which we already have is perfect and able to make us complete? The last chapter of the Bible closes with a serious warning that God’s book of prophecy is not to be added to or subtracted from. This warning is ignored by those who stand today and claim to speak revelation in the name of the Lord.
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER CHARISMATIC PASTOR ABOUT PROPHECIES
My own feelings about the prophecies in New Orleans are described by a former Pentecostal named Neil Babcox. He served as pastor of a Pentecostal church in Illinois until leaving the movement. Consider the testimony of this man who once gave such prophecies himself and believed in such things:
"Prophetic messages were quite common at our church. In fact, whenever we assembled to worship, spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy, were foremost in our minds. Even though we followed no prescribed liturgy, there was an unwritten order of worship that always included the opportunity for one to prophesy according to the proportion of his faith (Romans 12:6)...
"Our prophecies seldom if ever predicted the future. Instead they took the form of fervent exhortations or simple words of comfort. Generally they consisted of various biblical phrases and fragments pieced together like a patchwork quilt. Often they focused upon such themes as the imminent return of Christ or God's forgiving love. Most of the time the prophecies were spoken in the first person as if God Himself were addressing us, but occasionally the phrase 'thus saith the Lord' was used even as it was by the prophets of the Bible...
"There was something distinctly romantic about the notion of prophesying. There you are standing in succession to the prophets of the Bible. Samuel and Elijah saw your day coming and were glad. True, your lips are unclean, but they have been touched by a live coal from off the altar. Like Isaiah, you have heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' And you responded, 'Here am I. Send me!'...
"Yes, it was all very romantic. But gradually, what had started as a romantic venture, an idealistic quest for spiritual gifts, was slowly, imperceptibly changing. Into what, I wasn't sure. ALL I KNEW WAS THAT THE EXCITEMENT AND ROMANCE OF PROPHESYING WAS TURNING INTO AN UNEASY SENSE THAT THE PROPHECIES I HEARD, INCLUDING MY OWN, WERE HARDLY WORTHY OF THE NAME. THE IDEA THAT THEY WERE THE WORDS OF THE LIVING GOD WAS BEGINNING TO SEEM PAINFULLY LUDICROUS. Would the romance now become a comedy of errors, or a tragedy, perhaps? At any rate, one thing was certain: this burden of the prophets was becoming a crushing, onerous weight. And I couldn't help wondering if the weight which I was carrying was not the burden of the Lord at all, but some foreign yoke of bondage...
"IN MY CASE THERE WERE FOUR SIMPLE WORDS THAT PLAYED A DECISIVE ROLE IN CHANGING MY HEART: THUS SAITH THE LORD. To me, these were most unsettling words. And the more I comprehended their meaning, the more I understood what the prophets meant when they spoke them and what the Holy Spirit meant when He inspired them, the more unsettling they became...
"'Thus saith the Lord.' WHAT ABUSES I HAD SEEN OF THOSE WORDS! WHAT BITTER FRUIT I HAD SEEN BORN BY MEN AND WOMEN SPEAKING THESE WORDS! I have seen people married on the basis of guidance received from personal prophecies only to be divorced a week later because of a terrible scandal. Many lives have been harmed by such prophetic guidance. What actions, what conduct, have been countenanced by a 'thus saith the Lord'...
"The moment of truth came when I HEARD A PROPHECY SPOKEN AT A CHARISMATIC CHURCH I WAS VISITING. I WAS SITTING IN THE CHURCH TRYING TO WORSHIP GOD WHILE DREADING THE APPROACH OF THAT OBLIGATORY MOMENT OF SILENCE WHICH SIGNALED THAT A PROPHECY WAS ABOUT TO BE SPOKEN. THE SILENCE CAME, AND SOON IT WAS BROKEN BY A BOLD AND COMMANDING 'THUS SAITH THE LORD!'
"Those words triggered an immediate reaction. Conviction, like water rising against a dam, began to fill my soul. 'Listen my people...' [the prophesy commenced] Until finally, the dam burst: 'THIS IS NOT MY GOD,' I CRIED WITHIN MY HEART. 'THIS IS NOT MY LORD!" (Babcox, A Search for Charismatic Reality - One Man's Pilgrimage, pp. 46-59; formerly pastor of the Pentecostalist Word of Life Church, Carbondale, Illinois).
What Babcox cried out in his heart that night was exactly what I thought as I heard the prophecies in New Orleans. This is NOT my Lord and my God speaking! It is NOT the Holy Spirit, but a false spirit. These are hard words to those caught up in this movement, but this is a discernment based on the teaching of the Word of God and the fruit of the charismatic movement and should not be taken lightly by anyone.
Multitudes of strange happenings and statements occurred during the days of the Congress in New Orleans, far too many to consider in one report, but the following examples should give you an idea of what was going on.
Jamie Buckingham, on Thursday night, July 23rd, said, "Anti-aircraft angels are with us tonight." That's a new one, huh?
GOD IS DOING HIS THING
Pepe Alonso, who led the second general session Friday night, said, "God is doing his thing; praise God!" This illustrates the general tone of disrespect that was evidenced by a great number of the speakers toward God and Jesus Christ. The disrespect I am speaking of is seen in the "Honk if you love Jesus" bumper stickers whereby the name of Jesus is drug through the mud and grit of the highways and brought down to the level of another catchy phrase word. It is also seen in the "Give Jesus a Hand" thing which is popular in many charismatic circles. "Let's give Jesus a hand," the leader says, and everybody claps.
JESUS CHRIST AND PETE FOUNTAIN APPLAUDED
Disrespect toward the high and holy name of Jesus Christ was brought to new lows at this conference. The city of New Orleans, famous for the wicked Mardi Gras festival and its immoral French Quarters and jazz bands, hired the most famous jazz clarinetist in the world, Pete Fountain, with his band, to play a special concert for the charismatics attending the conference. The concert was held beside the Mississippi River at a special area near the River Walk, a commercial mall that has been built along the river. The concert area was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with charismatics (you could tell by their Congress badges and the dove pins that many of them wore) and Pete Fountain and his band were introduced by Vinson Synan and David Sklorenko, Congress Chairman and Director.
You must understand that Pete Fountain and his band do not claim to be Christians. They are jazz entertainers who spend their evenings in sleazy night clubs and bars. Fountain's record album jackets picture him in bars with indecently clothed nightclub singers, and the hard lines and alcoholic puffiness of the faces of the jazz artists who were with Fountain testified to the worldly lives that they live.
It's sad that a strong witness of the saving power of Jesus Christ could not have been given to these men by a congress on evangelism, but rather than proclaim to Fountain that his sin is taking him to hell and that he needs to be saved, many hundreds of charismatic Christians endured the July Louisiana heat to sway and dance to his music. Synan, in introducing this jazz band, had the charismatics "give Pete a hand," and the thousands of people clapped enthusiastically for Pete. I suppose Synan felt he shouldn't leave Jesus out, so he then said, "Now let's give Jesus a hand," and another wild time of clapping and shouting arose from the charismatic crowd.
Pete Fountain and Jesus Christ should not be introduced together and saluted together! Jesus Christ is the Lord of glory; Pete Fountain is a lost sinner. I am certain that charismatics would take strong exception to what I am saying, but we can discern a thread of degradation of Jesus Christ running throughout the movement. This scene in New Orleans with charismatics giving a hand to an unsaved jazz musician is clear evidence. And if someone objects that this incidence cannot be used to characterize an entire movement, I would remind you that New Orleans '87 was representative of the mainstream of the charismatic movement today.
HOLY ROLLERS STILL ROLLING
There were many strange things at the Congress labeled with the term "holy." Conference speakers spoke of "holy hilarity," "holy thunder," "holy clapping," "holy shouting." The only thing they left out was "holy smoke," and I suppose you could say there was some of that, too, since some of the charismatic ushers were smoking cigarettes! Such strange activities are the kind of things that have given Pentecostals the label "holy rollers." Even as I was growing up as a boy, the Assemblies of God in my home town had this label and reputation--and for good reason. Their meetings were wild! Today, that same church in Lakeland, Florida, which was small when I was a boy, is the largest church in the state of Florida, has its own radio station and television broadcast. And its building and grounds are so lovely that people come for guided tours. The pastor, Karl Strader, was one of the speakers at New Orleans.
But to return to the Pentecostals being known as "holy rollers," there is a historical reason for this. The charismatic movement arose as wildfire from the true revivals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though many were being born again and grounded in sound doctrine, others merely desired to seek physical thrills and excitement, and the devil is always ready to give people false experiences. In doing this he keeps these from coming to the truth, and others are confused by the strange happenings. Thus in the midst of true revival, whereby multitudes were finding Christ and truth, others were experiencing "hallelujah earthquakes, dancing in the spirit, falling out 'under the power,' and catching the 'holy laugh'" (In the Latter Days, Vinson Synan, page 45). Thus we see the same strange spirit which controlled the "holy rollers" of the turn of the century, dominates the more sophisticated charismatics of the latter part of the century. The "hallelujah earthquake" and "holy laugh" has moved from the ragged tent and sawdust floor to multi-million dollar buildings, but the spirit is the same.
THE DEVIL CAN'T UNDERSTAND TONGUES
To continue our theme of strange things at the Congress, we would mention Carl Richardson's testimony. During his message Friday evening, July 24, he said, "This afternoon I sought the Holy Spirit as I never had before and there came a sudden onrush on my heart and I spoke in tongues... that is one language the devil cannot understand. It is the secret language of the Holy Spirit."
Where does the Bible say that the devil cannot understand tongues? What new revelation is this? The confusion within the charismatic movement that surrounds tongues speaking is simply amazing. Some teach that tongues will always accompany the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Others teach that tongues speaking is not the evidence of Spirit Baptism, but is something that the believer needs for private worship and prayer. Some teach that tongues speaking is a language, while others teach that it is not necessarily a language. Most teach that the individual must seek tongues, but some, like James Robison, teach that tongues are not to be sought. During his message on Friday morning, Robison said, "Let me tell you something, I just bless God my wife never sought tongues. I've got to be honest and say I'd be ashamed of her if she had. My wife sought Jesus. But one day God released tongues." Most charismatics allow tongues in the congregation without interpretation, while some require that any tongues given in the assembly must be interpreted. Then there are the private revelations about tongues, such as Richardson saying that the devil cannot understand them. There are strange doctrines like this throughout the charismatic movement because of the acceptance of visions, dreams, prophecies and private revelations apart from the Bible.
JESUS LOOKING OUT OF BONNKE'S EYES
Speaking of strange charismatic preachers, it would not be right to leave out Rienhard Bonnke, a German evangelist who holds large tent meetings in Africa. As the main speaker on Friday evening, he said, "I'm just going to let fly in Jesus' name." He did, too. It was the wildest SHOW and ENTERTAINMENT I have seen in a long time. At one point in his message he asked, "Do you enjoy my preaching?" Then he humbly said, "I enjoy it, too." Bonnke told of a time in Africa when he needed a new organ and he and his music minister went to a music store.
"And my colleague and I walked in a certain music shop. Then, because it was lunchtime, I suppose, the white salesman was there standing in the door, leaning against the wall just smoking a cigarette, you know. In Germany we call these cigarettes 'the devil's macaronis.'... We just looked through the shop... and when I was right at the back of the shop looking at one organ, all of the sudden that face stood in front of me, but this time completely different. He was as white as a sheet. He was shaking. He looked with big eyes into my eyes and he said to me, 'Sir, I can see Jesus in your eyes!' Now I don't know what happened to me; maybe I also turned pale, but to make a long story short, we had revival in the music shop.
“And when I left that shop rejoicing, I was still puzzled. I remember walking out and I said to myself, 'This is impossible; how can a total stranger come up to me and say I can see Jesus in your eyes? This is impossible.' It just didn't figure. How can this be? And then the Holy Spirit came and he said to me, 'No problem. Jesus lives in your heart and sometimes he likes to look out of the windows. [laughter, clapping] Hallelujah! hallelujah! And when Jesus looked out of my windows, that man happened to look into my windows, and he got the fright of his life. Hallelujah!"
Revival because a man sees something weird in Bonnke's eyes? These are strange, strange things.
HEAD OF DISUNITY GOING TO BE CUT OFF
Rick Olson, speaking to the Youth Explosion '87 crowd of young people, said they need to become "Holy Spirit terrorists." Then Bob Weiner, in giving a review of the Youth Explosion during the final evening's general session, Saturday, July 25th, said that in 1977 (at the Kansas City congress) they had knocked down the giant of disharmony and disunity in the body of Christ, but they had failed to cut off its head, but now through the influence of the 1987 Congress they were going to finish the decapitation. The crowds roared and stomped their approval. So we have the foreview of Holy Spirit terrorists running around cutting off the head of all "disunity and disharmony in the body of Christ." That refers to destroying all causes of separation among professing Christians, of course, and is fair warning of what these charismatic/ecumenical zealots think about fundamentalist separatists!
EMOTION WRENCHING EXPERIENCES
Immediately after some of the loudest rock music I have ever heard, music that shook the massive Superdome, Jamie Buckingham, on Thursday night, had the people stand IN COMPLETE SILENCE and said, "Let that word go out across the nation tonight that we are one." From horrendously loud "Christian" rock amplified over the Superdome PA system to complete silence. What emotion wrenching experiences!
SATAN'S POWER OVER AMERICA CANCELED
Kenneth Copeland on Thursday night, said, "We are the Holy Ghost family of the Almighty. We are equipped, not equipped for failure. We are the people who elected the last two presidents... Satan is about to be removed from human contact. And you, my brothers and sisters, are the power-packed instruments God is going to use."
He then had the crowd SHOUT (while holding hands) "spirit of destruction, come down... we cancel your authority in the name of Jesus by His blood. This nation shall be saved. Do you believe that? Shout Hallelujah!"
Where does the Bible say that Christians can remove Satan from human contact and cancel his authority over a nation by merely shouting in unison at a large meeting? This is more strangeness. For this present time the Bible says that the devil is "the god of this world," who is blinding the eyes of those that will not believe the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4). Satan is said to be the "prince of the power of the air, THE SPIRIT THAT NOW WORKETH in the children of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2). Satan will not be cast down or bound until Christ returns (Revelation 19:11 - 20:4). Copeland's idea of taking "authority" over the devil" was foolishness. The devil was just as free after the shouting and the "binding" quieted down as he was before Copeland cranked it up.
THE POPE THE FINEST REPRESENTATIVE OF MORALITY IN THE WORLD
Speaking of strange statements, James Robison on Friday morning said, "I tell you what, one of the finest moral representatives of morality in this earth right now is the pope. People who know it really believe he is a born again man."
My, my, how blind and foolish can a man become! If the charismatic experience causes men to become as spiritually blind as this, it obviously is not of the Spirit of Truth. The pope bears titles such as "His Holiness," "The Vicar of Christ," "Holy Father," and other names which can only be claimed by the Almighty Triune God Himself. Pope John Paul II brought together leaders from most of the world's heathen religions in Assisi and had them pray with him for peace in the world--praying to the god of fire, to the god of the big thumb, to the god Allah, to the gods Shiva and Ram and the other pantheon of Hindu gods, to the gods of the rivers and sky and trees! John Paul II is so infatuated with the false Mary of Catholicism that he visits her shrines in each country he visits and has embroidered on his garments words in Latin which mean "Totally yours, Mary." John Paul II, in speaking to the World Council of Church leaders in 1986, said that "we have been incorporated into Christ through our baptism and thus we are already one in baptism." There has never been a saved pope or a moral pope!
There were strange sights and sounds everywhere one turned at New Orleans '87! In my mind's eye I see again the Roman Catholic priest in his floor-length black robe, walking around the Exhibition area carrying a bag with "Jews for Jesus" written on it in large letters. Again I can hear Miss Georgia 1987, Marlesa Ball, giving her testimony about how that she "glorified the Lord" by singing "Amazing Grace" at the Miss Georgia and Miss America beauty pageant and of how she had influenced the judges for Jesus. Yes, I'm sure that the judges were thinking all about Jesus when they were looking at this attractive young woman in her bathing suit!
Again I see 5,000 young people being bombarded with ear-splitting rock music as Miss Georgia 1987, Russ Taff, Sheila Walsh, and others rocked out for Jesus.
I see Roman Catholic priests with their hands uplifted, muttering in tongues, giving prophecies, falling "slain in the Spirit."
I see nuns in their habits with hands raised, saying with the same repetition they are accustomed to in praying the Rosary: "Thank you, Jesus' thank you, Jesus' thank you, Jesus; praise you, Jesus; praise you, Jesus; thank you, Jesus."
THE HANDICAPPED SECTIONS
I recall the large section on the main floor of the Superdome set apart for those in wheelchairs, and the section for the deaf where an interpreter was provided to sign the messages, and the section roped off for other kinds of handicapped people. Why is this significant? It is significant because the majority of charismatic teachers believe the doctrine that healing--physical healing--is in the atonement and is the possession of every believer that will exercise faith and trust God for the healing. This is what they teach. James Robison referred to this in his message Friday morning: "I believe it is possible to live in health... I think it is possible because Christ did it. And since Christ is our example--and not even Paul--but Christ in us the hope of the glory of God manifest in us, I think it is possible."
Why, even the "Happy Hunters" were there conducting their "Healing Explosion" seminar each afternoon!
These charismatic leaders also believe in the power of the prayers of multitudes such as were gathered in New Orleans that week. Why, then, with all of that faith, and all of those charismatic leaders, and supposedly all of that power concentrated in one place--why did only one of the people in the wheelchair section even claim healing? And maybe two or three others from the other handicapped sections? Perhaps four out of two hundred or more? And even that one that got out of the wheelchair and claimed a healing had to be helped up the few steps to the speaker's platform after Bonnke preached. It was a pitiful sight, and if there was some sort of healing involved, it certainly was not total. Consider the message of the one they called "the big gun," Rienhard Bonnke, who preached Friday night on the theme "Signs and Wonders." The entire thrust of this message was that many would be healed and set free that very night. It didn't happen. He had proclaimed,
"When the gospel preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, it becomes an event... the gospel with signs and wonders. It is a proclamation of the signs and wonders... Throw those crutches down... Tonight, an alcoholic will be set free... Turning the key, turning the key. The miraculous gospel. By preaching it we are setting up the right conditions for the Holy Spirit to move. He is moving here, moving here... The wind is blowing... you will have no benefit until the day you hoist your sail. Hoist your sail; hoist your sail... Hold onto your hat; you will lose it otherwise. Tonight the Lord will blow into your sail. Say amen. Hallelujah! Let's close our eyes. You will be set free now. You will... In the name of Jesus I command you to be set free and receive the Holy Ghost."
Yet when the claims, and the hallelujahs, and the commands that those present be set free and released from every problem--when all the noise and hoopla was over and quiet fell over the Superdome again--those in wheelchairs were still in their wheelchairs; the deaf continued to live in their quiet worlds; the handicapped section was as large as it was when the meetings began. So many went away deeply disappointed after having been worked into a frenzy of trying to have faith to be healed.
I am saying there is something very strange here, and not only strange but cruel.
STACKS OF CATHOLIC BOOKS
I remember how shocked I was when I first visited the book sales area and saw table after table after table of traditional Catholic materials. There were titles such as--
What Happened at Fatima?
Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents
Queen of Peace: Echo of the Eternal Word (written by one of the priests in the parish of Medjugorje where Mary supposedly has been visiting six young people since 1981)
Is the Virgin Mary Appearing At Medjugorje?
John Paul II Speaks to Religious (Book 1, Book 2, Book 3)
Mary at My Side
Pray the Rosary
Experiencing Jesus: Scripture, the Witness of Saints and Mystics, and a Life of Prayer
Contemplating Jesus by priest Robert Faricy
Be Holy: God's First Call to Priests Today
Healing Principles by priest Michael Scanlan
Receiving the Promise: the Spirit's Work of Conversion by priest Thomas Veinandy
On Evangelization in the Modern World by Pope Paul VI
Baptism in the Holy Spirit by priest Francis Martin
These were just a few of the Catholic titles.
We would note here that David Sklorenko, Congress Director, said in a press conference that the books such as those above were approved by the congress workers.
“I think if I could just answer one thing, to the book store and to the exhibit area--in fact anybody that has anything to do with the Congress--we've asked them to sign that unity statement. We want them to really prayerfully read that and if they're going to exhibit here, we wanted them to come only if they can accept the statement. All the books that are in the bookstore are all--to the best that we can do it--reviewed to make sure they're not in any way offensive to the other denominations. In fact, if one is found, we immediately will take it off and not sell the book if anybody finds it offensive.”
The books I mentioned and many others equally heretical were there throughout the conference and were still there on Saturday afternoon when Sklorenko gave the testimony we have quoted. It appears, then, that none of the 35,000 registrants and 150 or so speakers found these offensive.
Again I look back in my mind's eye to the rosary beads that Dennis Costella showed me one afternoon. He had been given them at one of the exhibition booths. And of the things promoted at those booths, the official Congress handbook says this: "No exhibits or entertainment will be permitted in the display area without the written authorization of the North American Renewal Service Committee" (New Orleans '87 General Congress Handbook, Page 76).
For those not familiar with Catholicism, rosary beads are used to pray a series of prayers to Mary. There are 53 small beads on the rosary, six larger beads, a cross and a medallion of Mary. Thus if one prays the full rosary, he will pray 53 prayers to Mary--the same repetitious prayer called the "Hail Mary". Following are the two prayers to Mary that are commonly used when praying the Rosary:
The Hail Mary
"Hail Mary, full of grace! the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus, Holy Mary, Mother of God, PRAY FOR US SINNERS NOW AND AT THE HOUR OF OUR DEATH. Amen."
The Hail! Holy Queen
"Hail! HOLY QUEEN, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. TURN THEN, O MUST GRACIOUS ADVOCATE, YOUR EYES OF MERCY TOWARD US; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement! O loving! O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ."
As the individual prays the rosary and comes to the large beads, he is supposed to say the prayer, "Our Father which art in heaven..." and also meditate upon the "15 mysteries of the rosary." These "mysteries" begin with Mary hearing from the angel that she would be the mother of Jesus, and end with the Catholic heresies about Mary being taken into heaven and crowned as Queen by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Do you understand this? According to Catholic teaching, and according to the meditations of the rosary, Mary was crowned Queen of Heaven by the Triune God! This is utter blasphemy and folly, yet it is a central Catholic dogma which is taught in Catholic catechisms throughout the world.
The previous prayers are taken from a booklet on the rosary that I purchased from the official book tables at the New Orleans conference. Entitled Pray the Rosary, the book is a sanctioned Catholic publication with the imprimatur of Cardinal Francis Spellman, who was Archbishop of New York. "Imprimatur" is a Latin word meaning "let it be printed," and is the official stamp of approval on all authorized Roman Catholic books. The book was copyrighted in 1973, so it is a post-Vatican II publication. These things clearly show the deep heresy of the rosary and of Catholicism itself.
And we would emphasize that when we are talking about the mass, the sacraments, the papacy, the Roman priesthood and prayers to Mary, we are not talking about peripheral matters. These are central to salvation and the Christian faith. Many times at the conference in New Orleans--at press conferences, in interviews, during private discussions with participants--we were charged with focusing on non-essential issues when attempting to discuss the Catholic doctrine of the mass, sacraments and the things mentioned above. This is not the case. Rome teaches that there is salvation in these things; Rome teaches that the pope and the priests stand in the stead of Christ and actually become Christ at the mass. These, my friends, are not light matters.
PENTECOSTAL VINSON SYNAN CALLS THE MASS A BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE
I recall the repulsion that I experienced in observing the Catholic charismatic mass one morning for the purpose of this report. The experience was utterly unscriptural and demonic. Merely to observe the mass is a spiritual battle against the demonic forces present, the demons that have led the Catholic Church into these "doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy 4:1). Yet Pentecostal Congress Chairman Vinson Synan stood on the platform the final night of the meeting and said, "If you want to see something beautiful, come see a spirit-filled Catholic mass." He was referring to the final mass of the Congress which was to be held the following Sunday morning in the Superdome. This shows that Synan is not merely biting his tongue about Catholic heresies in order to promote unity; he truly appreciates and loves these apostate things! These Pentecostals and Catholics truly are one in the spirit--but it is not the Holy Spirit.
DECEPTION AND TRICKS IN TAKING THE OFFERINGS
Charles Green, in introducing the offering Thursday evening, said that God had impressed him that the offering should be $200,000 that evening and that he met a man in the parade that morning who told him he was praying God would give $200,000 that night so he "knew it was from the Lord." He then said, "I believe I am authorized to ask this of you tonight... I ask every leader here to have faith and believe and have authority to write a check for $100 for this conference... even if that ministry of yours is in desperate need, plant a seed... and since the number 8 is the number of the new covenant, I am asking each individual to give $8--every human being here... to make a covenant commitment to this congress... give $8. Husbands and wives make your checks out for $16."
That's not the way the Holy Spirit led Paul to raise money in the first churches!
Each night of the conference the taking of the offering was led by some clever individual. On Friday night an episcopal layman with the Full Gospel Business Men International took the offering. He said that "Every nickel received tonight is going to lead someone to Jesus. All is going to world evangelization... your money is going to bring some child in Africa... some old lady to Jesus because you have given. We need to get as much as $500,000 to get what we need for this place." The truth was that the offering was going to meet the expenses of that very conference and not for world evangelism. This was a deception, because the people were told that their gifts were going to world evangelism so people could be saved, but actually they were for New Orleans Congress. It was only at the press conference the next day that we learned that the Friday offering was indeed for the Congress, and that the conference expenses of one and one-half million dollars had finally been met. Saturday's offering went to the expenses of holding more conferences in the future, yet the people were left with the idea that the money would be used directly in evangelism. Bob Weiner took the offering the last night of the conference and said, "I want to challenge every person to give at least $20. This is ALL going to world evangelism. Write an IOU to Jesus and put your name and address and make a pledge. Put your zip code and get that amount in within the next 30 to 60 days."
HALF OF THE REGISTRANTS STOOD TO BE SAVED, BUT CONGRESS LEADERS SAID THERE WASN'T TIME TO EXPLAIN THE GOSPEL CLEARLY!
Of all the strange things at this conference, perhaps the strangest was the thing that happened on Friday night, July 24. It was the third night of the meeting, and by then the people not only had attended seven hours of evening sessions, but 12 hours of morning and afternoon sessions, as well. Each evening had a different theme, and the one for Friday was "Signs and Wonders." I can't testify that there were any signs, but there were definitely some wonders!
As we have said, throughout the conference the people were referred to as Christians, saints, children of God, and other terms which would indicate that all present were saved. For instance, Carl Richardson, one of the six speakers on Friday evening, said "You are sons of God, daughters of God, children of the king." He made no qualifications to that statement, even though he knew he was speaking to a mixed multitude. The prophecies, too, were spoken in the first person, as if Jesus Christ himself was speaking, and invariably they would contain statements like this: "My children, I love you. My children, I have purchased you." The 35,000 registrants were considered to be the children of God. Perhaps it was this attitude and presumption on the part of the speakers that resulted in the Gospel not being clearly preached. Or perhaps it was because there were so many different gospels present that the leaders had decided to tread cautiously so no one would be offended. Whatever the reason, it is a fact that the Gospel was not plainly explained by the speakers, not in the general sessions or in any of the workshops that I attended. Rienhard Bonnke's message Friday night is an example. Bonnke said it is impossible to put the Gospel in a nutshell. The exact words were, "Gospel in a nutshell; you must be nuts! The universe is too small to contain the Gospel."
Bonnke is partly right and partly wrong, but when dealing with Bible doctrine, a mixture of truth and error equals error just as certainly as a mixture of poison and pure water equals poison. It is true that the Gospel, in all of its great truths and implications is greater than anyone can comprehend. But this does not mean the Gospel cannot be put in a nutshell, in a summarized form so that people can understand it and thereby be saved. Jesus put the gospel in a nutshell in John 3:16. The Apostle Paul put the Gospel in a nutshell in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4! But since Bonnke does not believe the Gospel can be summarized this way, I suppose this is why, in the midst of all his ranting and telling of strange stories, he didn't actually get around to preaching the Gospel message clearly and simply.
He said, "I am an evangelist and I preach the ABC's of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." Actually, though, he only referred to the Gospel, and didn't explain what it is. Yes, he said Jesus is the Savior, but that is not a clear presentation of the Gospel. In the midst of the confusion of Christianity today, that statement can mean practically anything! Yes, he said, "I don't want to be in the business of renovation... [man] needs regeneration through the blood of Jesus Christ." But that still is not a plain presentation of the Gospel. What would that statement mean to the average man today? Nothing, because the average man knows nothing about the Bible or who Christ is or what Christ did or what sin is or any of the basic truths of the Gospel. Such statements are not preaching the gospel, but referring to it and are not sufficient if we want people to understand and be saved.
Men must have the Gospel explained to them in a clear manner whereby they can understand it before they can be saved by it. This is why God sent the evangelist Philip into the desert to meet the Ethiopian eunuch, who was reading Isaiah 53 while riding in his chariot. What would Bonnke's statement about regeneration through the blood of Christ mean in the understanding of the average Roman Catholic present that night? It would mean that because of Christ's death on the cross, grace can be received through baptism and confirmation and the sacraments of the church! This is what the booklet by Pope Paul VI says, a booklet that I purchased at the conference:
"The Church is the depository of the Good News... the sources of grace and of God's loving kindness, the path of salvation--all these things have been entrusted to her." (Pope Paul VI, On Evangelization in the Modern World, Page 10
Bonnke did not plainly preach that Jesus Christ came to this earth as the virgin-born Son of God, lived a sinless life, died on the cross to make atonement for our sins through his death and blood, rose from the dead after three days, and today, as the glorified and ascended Lord, offers eternal salvation to those who call upon His name in repentance and faith. That is the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-6; Romans 1-3), but it was not preached.
When Bonnke finished his sermon, he asked for those who felt they needed to be saved to stand, and half of the congregation stood! He seemed surprised and said that he wanted everyone to understand exactly what he was asking. He emphasized that he was asking those to stand who wanted to become Christians, who wanted to be born again, to be saved. The fifteen thousand or more people continued to stand. He then led them in a simple sinner's prayer, and while he was going through it, even people sitting near us who weren't standing repeated the sinner's prayer.
The next day at the press conference with Vinson Synan and David Sklorenko, Dennis Costella of the Fundamental Evangelistic Association asked about the confusion that seemed to surround the issue of salvation at the conference. Following is the strange answer that Synan gave:
COSTELLA: "In the plenary sessions during the first part of the week, the speakers and all of the officients, everybody has been referring to the congress and the participants continually as being believers, as Christians, the saints, and so forth, you know. Why did, it seemed to me at least, nearly half the congregation last night stand to receive Christ as their Savior and to be born again? Was this response surprising to the leadership of this conference? And not only those who were standing but many of those that were still seated were praying the sinners prayer. I don't understand this."
SYNAN: "It would be surprising to the Protestants here who understand the language of evangelicalism and the altar call tradition. I think the Catholics, and PROBABLY THE MAJORITY WHO WERE STANDING WERE CATHOLICS, WHO WOULD SEE THIS AS A KIND OF A RENEWAL OF THEIR BAPTISMAL VOWS, OR RECEIVING JESUS TONIGHT LIKE [THEY] DO EVERY SUNDAY...
COSTELLA: "Can I follow up a little bit on that? Well then, wouldn't it seem that something as major as the definition of the gospel itself and what effects or what brings about the conversion of a lost soul to where they are saved, if there is that much difference and misunderstanding among Catholics and Protestants at this congress, wouldn't it be crucial to, not just a workshop but a plenary session to speak definitively as to what the gospel message is so that there isn't this confusion?"
SYNAN: "Well, you know, it took me 52 years to come to my understanding of what Pentecostal theology is. And it probably took Dave [Sklorenko, Roman Catholic Director of the Congress] 48 years to understand what his is. We can't in one night get a crystal clear understanding on the part of everyone, because we come from different traditions."...
COSTELLA: "But the congress won't speak to this seemingly contradiction or misunderstanding to try to clarify that?"
SYNAN: "WELL, WE DON'T HAVE TIME TO DO THAT."
Isn't that amazing! Synan confused the simple preaching of the Gospel and salvation with coming to a full doctrinal understanding of Bible truth, then said that they didn't have time to speak to the misunderstanding and confusion that was obviously present in the minds of a great many of those in attendance. It was a conference on world evangelization, but they didn't have time to speak clearly to the Gospel. The 35,000 people were being exhorted again and again to go forth and evangelize the world, but at least half of them didn't have a clear understanding in their own minds about their own salvation. What confusion! Synan was probably correct in his assessment that most of those standing were Catholics. That is because the Roman Catholic Church doesn't teach that a person can know for sure that he has eternal salvation. The Catholic Church does not teach that the person can know for sure that he is saved. This is made clear in the book Catholic and Christian, written by Alan Schreck, a professor at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, a center for Catholic charismatic activity and a school that had a booth at the Exhibition at New Orleans '87. This book, which was for sale at the Congress, states:
"The Catholic Church has always taught that no one can know with absolute certainty in this life whether he or she will be saved" (page 33).
It is Rome's false gospel that created much of the confusion at this charismatic conference about personal salvation. Catholics need to have the true gospel preached to them. With their false gospel and uncertainly of personal salvation they are not fitted for evangelizing the world!
CHRISTIANS ARE TO BE ANGELS OF LIGHT
Of the many strange things at the conference in New Orleans, one of the strangest was a statement made by Catholic priest Tom Forrest in his sermon the final night. He referred to 2 Corinthians 11:14 and said, "We must be angels of light." Those words are taken from the tape recording of his sermon. And Forrest did not say this extemporaneously; he was speaking from a prepared text. In this we see the gross ignorance of the Bible among Catholic leaders. 2 Corinthians 11:14 is speaking of the devil and false teachers!
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
I, for one, will not shout hallelujah when a Catholic priest says we must be angels of light! Yet many of the charismatic crowd did. It is as if Forrest's mask of pretended piety fell off for one moment, and he revealed his own identity. Roman Catholic priests are indeed angels of light in the sense of 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. They are ministers of the devil transformed into the ministers of righteousness so as to deceive the people. But note the fearful end of such: "whose end shall be according to their works."
The strangest part in all of this is not the fact that a Catholic priest misquoted Scripture. The strangest part was the response of the thousands of charismatics who were listening to Forrest' message, including hundreds of charismatic leaders, some of whom were sitting on the speaker's platform during this message. There was no indication that anyone noticed or cared about the frightful misquote that Forrest had made. Quite the contrary. By the response to his statement, there was the clear impression that these charismatics were willing and eager to become "angels of light"!
There were other many strange things at the North American Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization, which is why we have named this report, "Strange Things in New Orleans."
SPIRIT BAPTISM AND SLAYING IN THE SPIRIT
Each night after the general sessions were finished at approximately 10 p. m., the people were invited to go to one of four different areas of the Superdome, according to their felt needs. One area was reserved for those who desired to have counseling about salvation; another area was reserved for those who wanted prayer for physical healing; and yet another of the four areas was for those who desired "the baptism of the Holy Spirit." Because the Superdome is so large, and because it is round and therefore difficult to explain the location of a particular area or room, the four counseling sections were identified by four workers who would be positioned at the proper places around the building holding large flags of four different colors. Those desiring counseling about salvation were to follow the red flag; those desiring the baptism of the Spirit, the white flag; and so on.
As the final messages of the evenings were brought to a close, the people would leave their places all over the auditorium to make their way toward the various flags. For a while the groups would grow larger as they congregated around the flag-bearers, then the flag-bearers would begin to move away from the main floor while the people would follow along behind in streams, winding their way up through the levels of that massive complex then out of sight of the main floor as they followed the flag around the corners and into the maze of hallways toward the appointed rooms.
The scene reminded me of the story of the pied piper and how he charmed the children of a village, leading them away to an uncertain destiny through his merry attitude, false promises and the hypnotic flute playing. The charismatics are following a piper, but he is not who they think he is, and he is not who he claims to be. Yet they follow him because they are enchanted by his “signs and wonders” and promises, his radiant smile; they follow him to an uncertain future.
On Friday night the theme of the evening meetings was "signs and wonders," and after the conclusion of Rienhard Bonnke's message, Dennis Costella and I made our way to the rooms that were assigned to those who wanted the charismatic spirit baptism. More strange things awaited us there. I knew about spirit-slaying and had seen photos of this before, but that night was the first time I witnessed it with my own eyes.
First, though, the people were supposedly baptized in the Holy Spirit. Since charismatic leaders have loosed themselves from the finality of the Bible and believe in continued revelation today through prophecies, tongues, visions and voices, there is little oneness of doctrinal belief among them, even in the experiences and teachings peculiar to the charismatic movement itself--tongues, spirit-baptism, words of knowledge, and such.
The doctrinal situation among charismatics is similar to that which existed in Israel during the era of the Judges--"In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). This was the reason the period of the Judges was so confusing and strange, and it is the reason why the charismatic movement is so strange. Each one is doing and believing that which seems right in his own eyes, following his eyes, his feelings, his heart, his private revelations or the revelations given to other charismatics--rather than being grounded in the eternally settled Word of God, the Scriptures.
Observing this confusion in New Orleans made me praise God afresh for the blessed Holy Bible. It's so wonderful not to be tossed about on the sea of supposed continued revelation! Call me narrow-minded, if you will. Call me closed-minded to new things. I care not. I have the perfect, settled, complete Word of God, the "faith which was ONCE DELIVERED unto the saints,” and I rejoice daily in it.
This applies to the doctrine of spirit baptism. Practically every charismatic leader has his own idea of what this is and how and when it is attained. The man who led the spirit baptism group on the Friday evening of the Congress had the people repeat some things after him, then had them attempt to mutter in a "heavenly prayer language," and finally he pronounced the group to have been baptized in the Spirit! I will share with you some of his exact words as I have transcribed them from the tape recording:
"Christian means 'an anointed one.'... Jesus is going to absolutely saturate you, cover you over. The Holy Spirit is going to come upon you tonight. Now, if you are a Christian, you already have the Holy Spirit... Paul says you cannot call Jesus Lord except by the Holy Spirit. So you can't be a Christian unless you have the indwelling Holy Spirit. But in the Bible--and I'm not going to go through all of this tonight; this is an hour and a half teaching--but just take my word for it; you go home and read it. Wherever God empowers His people for action, for service, He always says the Holy Spirit came upon them...
"Now if Jesus Christ needed to be led by the Holy Spirit, if the Lord of lords and the King of kings needed the power of the Holy Spirit, don't you think we do? Amen? Now how do you get this? How do you receive this? Well, you heard Carl [Richardson] to night. He said, 'How do you get it? You ask.' And he read from Luke 11 where Jesus is teaching on prayer. And he said, "I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives." Whether you feel anything, whether you get slain in the spirit, whether anything else happens to you, it doesn't make any difference because when you ask, you receive. Alright? "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?" It's available to all of those who ask.
"Now, I'm going to pray for you. And then I'm going to ask you to go through a little prayer with me. And what we're going to do, I always like to make certain that people know Jesus, so we are going to pray a little prayer of receiving Jesus and commitment to him. And then we're going to pray a prayer of cleansing, where we ask God to take away any evil in our lives. I want you to know what we're going to do in advance so you are not surprised. And then we're going to ask God to fill us with his Holy Spirit, to anoint us with Holy Spirit and power, to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and give us His gifts.
"Now, after we have prayed that prayer, then I am going to let you hear me pray in my heavenly language. Now this is not the same thing as speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues is something that the person would do in the congregation. A person might stand up and receive a message from God and speak in a heavenly language so the entire congregation could hear it, but that must be interpreted. You all remember Paul made this statement, ‘Does everybody speak in tongues?’ The answer is obvious that everybody does not. But he says in Ephesians 6:18, ‘Pray with all petitions and pray, at all times in the Spirit.’ Everybody can have a heavenly language. Now the purpose of that heavenly language is for you to be in direct contact with God by the Holy Spirit. Now what it means is that you can become edified. Your spirit is built up. Sometimes when I don't know what to pray, I'll pray in my heavenly language."
After this, the group leader proceeded to do as he had promised. He led the crowd of two hundred or so people in a simple sinner's prayer, and then he had them pray that all evil and demonic things would be cast out of their lives, and finally he led them in requesting that God would give them His Holy Spirit. When the praying was completed, the group leader began babbling in his "heavenly language" which was nothing more than the repetition of several sounds, something that could have been learned and imitated with a little practice, and he urged the people to put their heads back, relax, release control of their tongues and begin to mutter with their tongues--but not to form words and sentences--and to believe that God would take control of their tongues and give them, too, a heavenly prayer language. I walked around as this was going on, and stood beside many of the people in different parts of the large room. Not once did I hear anything more than the pitiful, stuttering attempts of these gullible people to imitate the babbling of their leader. Certainly this man, the leader, knew that he was not speaking in any sort of miraculous language.
I felt deep sorrow in my heart for these people, who apparently desired something real, but were being led by deceived men into error and confusion. I recalled the words of the prophets about the false teachers in Israel's apostasy prior to the destruction of Jerusalem. They were described as blind guides and dumb dogs! How terrible it would be to hire a guide to lead you through dangerous territory and find that he is blind! How useless would be a watchdog that cannot bark!
TRUE LANGUAGES OR STRANGE BABBLINGS?
What about these tongues? Were any languages being spoken in "tongues" in New Orleans? According to Frank Bartleman, early Pentecostal leader, A.B. Simpson said: "We are to witness before the Lord's return real missionary 'tongues' like those of Pentecost, through which the heathen world shall hear in their own language 'the wonderful works of God,' and this perhaps on a scale of whose vastness we have scarcely dreamed, thousands of missionaries going forth in one last mighty crusade from a united body of believers at home to bear swift witness of the crucified and coming Lord to all nations” (Azusa Street, Logos International, page 66).
In the early days of the Pentecostal movement, the leaders claimed that the new "tongues" were real earthly languages. In fact, some of the early Pentecostals went to other countries, thinking that upon arrival they would be able to speak to the people of those nations in their own native languages through "tongues." They returned bitterly disappointed!
"Alfred G. Garr and his wife went to the Far East with the conviction that they could preach the gospel in 'the Indian and Chinese languages.' Lucy Farrow went to Africa and returned after seven months during which she was alleged to have preached to the natives in their own 'Kru language.' The German pastor and analyst Oskar Pfister reported the case of a Pentecostal... 'Simon,' who had planned to go to China using tongues for preaching. Numerous other Pentecostal missionaries went abroad believing they had the miraculous ability to speak in the languages of those to whom they were sent.
"These Pentecostal claims were well known at the time. S.C. Todd of the Bible Missionary Society investigated eighteen Pentecostals who went to Japan, China, and India 'expecting to preach to the natives in those countries in their own tongue,' and found that by their own admission 'in no single instance have [they] been able to do so.' As these and other missionaries returned in disappointment and failure, Pentecostals were compelled to rethink their original view of speaking in tongues” (Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism by Robert Mapes Anderson, quoted in Seminar On Pentecostalism by Wilson Ewin, page 40).
The conclusion reached by most charismatic leaders is that their "tongues" are not earthly languages, but heavenly languages, and that is the term we heard frequently in New Orleans. But the charismatics do believe definitely that the "tongues" are languages. James Robison, in his message on Thursday morning of the conference, said,
"As a matter of fact you can pray in tongues and not pray in the Spirit. Most tongues speaking and praying I hear is not in the Spirit. It's in the flesh. It's accommodating, because so much pressure was heaped on people to conform that they finally give in and begin imitating each other. They don't have a language of the Spirit; they've got tragedy. There's no power; there's no energy; there's no life; there's just a bunch of gibberish! It's very sad."
At the press conference on Saturday, I referred to this statement in questioning Vinson Synan about the tongues that were being spoken at the conference, and I asked Synan and Sklorenko if they "believed that much of the unintelligible noises which are being made by the people could be human induced?" This touched a sore spot, and one of those sitting in the press area actually got angry about my statement and said that he did not believe Robison said such a thing. A female member of the press agreed. They were wrong, but I had not yet transcribed Robison's message from the tape and could not therefore produce the exact quote, only the fact that in general he stated that much tongues speaking is gibberish. After these two individuals calmed down somewhat, Synan then challenged me to prove that the tongues at the conference were not real languages, saying,
“If I hear a guy from India speaking Hindi, to me that's unintelligible babbling. It may be a perfectly good language. And how do you know, or how does anyone know, what language these people may be speaking in? I mean, can you prove that?”
The answer to Synan's challenge is not difficult. In our church in Asia there are at least ten different mother tongues among the members of the church. When we travel to various countries of Asia, we hear countless different languages. I only understand one of those languages, yet when I hear others, I recognize immediately that a real language is being spoken, even though I don’t understand the meaning. You can hear the many different words; even a small child has a vocabulary of hundreds of different words in his own language. I hear the precise intonation; the sentence and thought structure as phrases, clauses and sentences are started and stopped; I hear the punctuation, sometimes the simple declaration, sometimes a question, sometimes an exclamation. Every language is composed of these familiar characteristics.
The "tongues" that were spoken at New Orleans '87 were not languages. They were not earthly languages, nor heavenly languages, nor languages of any sort. They were unintelligible mutterings; they were repetitious silliness. But throughout the entire Congress, after hearing countless babblings that were supposed to be the gift of tongues or some heavenly language, not once did I hear a real language. And this includes the "tongues" that were spoken by the leaders and speakers of the conference, many of which I have on cassette tape. If these were languages, they were baby "languages"! I say this because there was never anything more to them than the gooing and gibbering of an infant. I do not say this to be mean; it is simply the truth, my friends.
SLAYING IN THE SPIRIT AND OTHER STRANGE PHENOMENA FROM AZUSA STREET, 1906, TO NEW ORLEANS, 1987
"Falling under the power" has been a phenomenon in the Pentecostal movement since its origin at the turn of the twentieth century, beginning at a little mission on Azusa Street in Los Angeles and spreading from there throughout the world. The leaders of the charismatic movement trace their roots back to Azusa Street. Vinson Synan, Congress chairman, wrote the introduction to the book, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost. Synan's Introduction begins:
"Few events have affected modern church history as greatly as the famous Azusa Street revival of 1906-1909, which ushered into being the worldwide twentieth-century Pentecostal renewal. From this single revival has issued a movement which by 1980 numbers over 50,000,000 classical Pentecostals in uncounted churches and missions in practically every nation of the world. In addition to these Pentecostals, there are untold numbers of charismatics in every denomination who can trace at least part of their spiritual heritage to the Azusa Street meeting" (page ix).
That strange "revival" in Los Angeles is considered so important in the eyes of the leaders of today's charismatic movement that it was announced in the AD2000 periodical that "donations are being solicited to restore the house at 216 N. Bonnie Brae, Los Angeles, that played a significant role in the development of Pentecostalism in the United States. It was there, in
1906, that the famous revival began that soon moved to the Azusa Street facility because the Bonnie Brae house was too small to accommodate the crowds. The Azusa Street building no longer stands. Send your tax deductible donations to Pentecostal Heritage..." (AD2000, Volume 1, Number 6, July 22-26, 1987, p. 8).
The things that happened at the mission on Azusa Street in the early 1900s are happening today in the charismatic movement of the 1980s. This backs up the claim by charismatic leaders such as Vinson Synan that the "spirit of Azusa Street" is the spirit that energizes them today. Consider some excerpts from an eyewitness report of the things that happened at Azusa street:
"Someone would finally get up anointed for the message. All seemed to recognize this and gave way. It might be a child, a woman, or a man...
"Someone might be speaking. Suddenly the Spirit would fall upon the congregation... Men would fall all over the house, like the slain in battle... The scene often resembled a forest of fallen trees...
"Presumptuous men would sometimes come among us. Especially preachers... The breath would be taken from them. Their minds would wander, their brains reel. Things would turn black before their eyes...
"Brother Ansel Post, a Baptist preacher, was sitting on a chair in the middle of the floor one evening in the meeting. Suddenly the Spirit fell upon him. He sprang from his chair, began to praise God in a loud voice in 'tongues,' and ran all over the place...
"... a young lady of refinement was prostrate on the floor for hours, while at times the most heavenly singing would issue from her lips...
"There is much 'slaying power' manifest... Strong men lie for hours under the mighty power of God, cut down like grass" (Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, an eyewitness account by Frank Bartleman, a leader in the 1907 Azusa Street visitation, introduction by Vinson Synan, Logos International, 1980, pages 59- 64).
These are strange things--things that did not happen in the New Testament churches of the first century that were under the leadership of the Lord's apostles. These things are things caused by a spirit other than the Holy Spirit. But these very things happened in New Orleans and are happening at other charismatic meetings across the world. At the spirit baptism meeting on Friday night that I have already described, the leader proclaimed the people "Spirit baptized." He told them that they had been baptized in the Spirit, and if doubts came later, to cast those doubts away and to believe that they were Spirit baptized because of their prayers that night. By that time, conference workers had arranged themselves across the front of the room and the leader had the people form lines in front of each of the 20 or so workers so they could be prayed for and hands could be laid on them.
This is when the people began to fall backward and lie on the floor, sometimes for only a few seconds, sometimes for several minutes. Some appeared to lose consciousness, to swoon or faint; others merely lay down and got right back up, while still others appeared to fake their "slaying." Some did not fall down at all, but many did. "Slain in the spirit." "Falling under the power." What spirit? What power?
Only three times in the New Testament do we find people falling down because of a spiritual power. First, some were made to fall by demonic powers (Matthew 17:15). Second, the men who came to capture Jesus fell down when Jesus spoke to them in the garden of Gethsemene: "As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground" (John 18:6). Third, Saul, the persecutor of Christians, fell down when the glorified Jesus Christ appeared to him on the road to Damascus. "And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" (Acts 9:4).
Note that all of these were unbelievers! They were unsaved. Nowhere in the New Testament do we read of believers falling down unconscious because of the power of the Holy Spirit. Spirit slaying is a demonic or a hypnotic practice.
CHRISTIAN JEWS PARTICIPATE IN THIS CHARISMATIC CONFERENCE
One of the surprises of the conference was to see the participation of some of the most influential Christian Jewish evangelistic groups. Jews for Jesus was there, together with Christian Ministry Among Jewish People, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, Messianic Jewish Conference, CMJ/USA (Christian Ministry Among Jewish People), Jewish New Testament Publications, Messianic Vision (Mishpochah), Messianic Jewish Perspective.
Moishe Rosen, Sid , and Bob Mendelsohn gave workshops. Rosen's was entitled, "Celebrating Our Unity," Roth's was "Signs and Wonders for Jewish Evangelization," and Mendelsohn's "How-to's of Jewish Evangelization." In addition the Messianic Jewish Christian groups held meetings each morning. Some of the speakers were David Stern, Mark Kinzer, Ray Gannon, David Chernoff, Dan Juster, and Art Katz.
SURPRISES AT THE EXHIBITION AREA
The Exhibition Hall used by New Orleans '87 was massive. According to AD2000, March-April, 1987, "The Convention Center is located in the heart of Congress activities and provides the ideal location for the exhibits. First housing the Louisiana Exhibit of the 1984 World's Fair, the 350,000 square-foot exhibit hall is one of the largest in the United States."
Though the Congress did not utilize the entire hall, approximately 200 ministries, organizations, schools, publications and charismatic communities were present with booths and displays. We are going to give a full listing of these as they appeared in the Congress handbook. As you read over this list, it is very important to keep in mind this fact: every participating organization, as well as every individual speaker at the conference was required to subscribe to the North American Renewal Service Committee's "Statement of Policy." David Sklorenko, Congress Director, said at the Saturday press conference:
"I think if I could just answer one thing, to the book store and to the exhibit area--in fact anybody that has anything to do with the Congress--we've asked them to sign that unity statement. We want them to really prayerfully read that and if they're going to exhibit here, we wanted them to come only if they can accept the statement."
This unity statement referred to by Sklorenko was written by a Roman Catholic, Kevin Ranaghan, who was the chairman of the 1977 charismatic conference in Kansas City (AD2000, February 1987, page 2), and though we reprinted the entire Statement of Faith in another section of this report I want to repeat a couple of key portions here. As you read these quotations, remember that each participant of the New Orleans '87 agreed to these things:
"We accept one another as brothers and sisters in our one Lord, Jesus Christ. We acknowledge one another as members of His body, the Church. We honor the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit in one another's lives.
"We will work together as brothers and sisters...
"... we will try to express our agreements in ways which are acceptable to all.
"... We acknowledge our real differences in a spirit of brotherly love and mutual understanding. We will respect one another's convictions in these matters. Without minimizing the very real theological differences that exist among Christians, we will strive to treat such areas of disagreement respectfully and with sensitivity to one another's churches, traditions and constituencies.
"Among our churches, denominations, groups and ministries, there may have been times of tension, opposition and conflict. We wish to put these times behind us, by the grace of God. In view of the call we all have from the Lord to enter into this relationship for common work, we want to express our mutual personal respect and our respect for one another's ministries..."
It is impossible to obey God's command to expose and separate from error, and at the same time to obey this Statement of Policy. Roman Catholic groups and ministries were there with their multitudes of errors; some of the speakers were theological liberals, such as Edmond Browning, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal church, who spoke in the Episcopal renewal meetings on Thursday morning. The Church of God of Prophecy was represented, with their doctrine that only those who have spoken in tongues have salvation. The Disciples of Christ and Churches of Christ were there with their doctrine of baptismal regeneration. Books were being sold which were literally filled with the grossest form of heresy--such as Be Holy edited by Tom Forrest, head of Evangelization 2000. This book contains addresses delivered before the 6, 000 priests who gathered at the Vatican in Rome October 5-9, 1984, for the Worldwide Retreat for Priests.
QUOTES FROM BE HOLY, EDITED BY TOM FORREST, HEAD OF EVANGELIZATION 2000 AND SPEAKER AT NEW ORLEANS CONGRESS '87
"A daily highlight was the Holy Hour in St. Peter's. Tourists were utterly amazed to enter the basilica and see thousands of priests kneeling in silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. When a magnificent icon of Mary [picture of Mary] was brought in procession to the Audience Hall after Bishop D'Souza's talk [D'Souza is a bishop in India, and spoke on 'Christ's Gift of His Blessed Mother'], something happened that no one could have planned. The priests began to wave a greeting toward the icon, many using their handkerchiefs. Suddenly tears were the eyes of thousands. As several expressed it afterward, 'Our mother paid us a visit'" (Tom Forrest, Be Holy, page 5).
Pope is "Holy Father"
"... the concluding Papal Mass in the basilica was of course the most impressive. The procession of priests and bishops from the Audience Hall to St. Peter's took almost an hour to pass a given point. When all the lights of the basilica went on... Pope John Paul II entered down the center aisle... [four priests] presented him with a 'Commitment to Holiness' signed by all 6,000 priests... the 85-year-old priest, who carried this document to the pope, indicated that he wanted to speak... When the priest was given the microphone, his words simply were, 'Holy Father, we love you'" (Tom Forrest, Be Holy, page 6).
This was in direct disobedience to Christ's command to "call no father on the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven" (Matthew 23:9). The pope and Catholic priests are claiming a title for themselves which belongs to God Almighty alone and this is no light matter.
Blasphemous Power and Position Claimed by Catholic Priests
"... [Catholic priests] have in their care everything sacred and belonging to God" (Salvador Carillo Alday, Be Holy, page 14).
"When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, the Father [said] 'You are my son; this day I have begotten you' (Acts 13:33). From the day of their ordination, the Father looks down on priests in the very same way" (Alday, Be Holy, page 14).
"Nothing is more accurate than to say that the priest is called to be another Christ, an alter Christus" (Alday, Be Holy, page 15).
"During the first of these moments [of the mass], the priest becomes 'a living instrument' of the Holy Spirit, elevated by him to a level nothing short of divine. This produces an unheard-of effect: the true, real and substantial changing of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ himself. At this moment, Jesus, the spotless Lamb, is so identified with his holy priest that he uses the priest's own lips to say, 'This is my body; this is my blood.'... This is why... the celebration of the Eucharist is the pinnacle of our configuration with Christ” (Alday, Be Holy, page 16).
"I remember the time a few years back, when the president of Yeman asked us to send some of our sisters to his country. I told him that this was difficult because for so many years no chapel was allowed in Yemen for saying a public mass, and no one was allowed to function there publicly as a priest. I explained that I wanted to give them sisters, but the trouble was that, without a priest, without Jesus going with them, our sisters couldn't go anywhere. It seems that the president of Yemen had some kind of a consultation, and the answer that came back to us was, 'Yes, you can send a priest with the sisters!' I was so struck with the thought that only when the priest is there can we have our altar and our tabernacle and our Jesus. Only the priest can put Jesus there for us... Jesus wants to go there, but we cannot bring him unless you first give him to us. This is why I love priests so much. We could never be what we are and do the things we do without you priests who first bring Jesus to us" (Mother Teresa, Be Holy, pages 109, 111).
Salvation and Holy Spirit Received Many Times, Beginning at Baptism
"This river [of salvation and receiving the Holy Spirit] began its flow with our Baptism, and then again with the grace of our Confirmation. This was our first 'renewal' in the Holy Spirit, these sacraments of initiation making us new creatures... The Spirit was called down again when we began to move toward the priesthood and were ordained deacons. The words used by the bishop in my own time were 'Receive the Holy Spirit to give you strength for facing the powers of darkness.'... Again, when I was ordained a priest, the bishop said to me: 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive men's sins, they are forgiven them'" (Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens, Be Holy, page 32).
Suenens was one of the principal architects of the Second Vatican Council, serving on all four of its major committees. Commemorating this, his image can be found in one of the bronze doors of the Basilica of St. Peter. As archbishop of Malines-Brussels, he played an active role in the earliest days of the Catholic charismatic renewal. He was instructed by Pope Paul VI to oversee the charismatic movement in the Roman Catholic Church, a commission which has been renewed by John Paul II. In 1976 he was awarded the Templeton Prize for Religion. Suenens was 80 years old when he spoke at the Worldwide Retreat for Priests in 1984.
"... [the charismatic experience] is not a second baptism, some new sacramental grace, but rather the renewing of those sacramental graces of Baptism, Confirmation, and priestly Ordination that have already made the Holy Spirit present within us" (Suenens, Be Holy, page 59).
Cross, Mass and Mary Give Success in Spiritual Life
"Monsignor Louis Parisot, the holy missionary bishop who ordained me a priest, lies buried today in Berlin, the land of my birth. On his tombstone are carved the three simple words, 'Crux, Hostia, Virgo.' We took these words from what we found written on the last pages of his diary: 'The Cross, the Host, the Virgin, these are everything needed for success in the spiritual life'" (Bernadin Cardinal Gantine, Be Holy, page 54).
Prayers of the Dead
"St. Therese of the Child Jesus... declared that she wanted to spend her paradise praying for the church and for priests. May these prayers of hers, united to those of Mary, the compassionate Virgin and heavenly Mother of all priests, win for us the joy of being authentic disciples of Christ crucified” (Bernadin Cardinal Gantin, Be Holy, page 54,55).
The False Catholic Mary
"On this feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, I would like to end by asking Mary, Queen of the Apostles, to pray for all of us so that we might share her own courage and strength in saying yes to the Holy Spirit" (Suenens, Be Holy, page 64).
"The messenger God sends us is Mary... Mary is actually the finest gift he could have given us. She 'surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth,' and by grace has been 'exalted above all angels and men to a place second only to her Son'... She is the masterpiece of all God's creatures, the purest temple of the Holy Spirit, the model of all virtue, perfection among the redeemed" (Bishop Valerian D'Souza of Poona, India, Be Holy, page 66).
"She does intercede and is always available as a special channel of God's grace and love... While thanking God with Mary, we should also be thanking Mary herself... Do we need this gift of Jesus called Mary? ... some in the church are saying we do not, that we should always go directly to Jesus himself. They claim that Vatican II downplayed devotion to Mary... [contrariwise] It placed Mary squarely within the church by treating her in the 'Dogmatic Constitution on the Church' as 'Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and the Church.'... If we claim that we can and should go to Jesus without Mary, we are arrogantly telling God, that, even through he needed Mary to bring us Jesus, we do not need her at all in order to go to Jesus!" (Bishop D'Souza , Be Holy, pages 67,68).
"... we treasure and honor Mary in recognition of her exalted position both in heaven and on earth" (D'Souza, Be Holy, page 69).
"So let us ask the help of our Lady! She is a Mother full of grace, full of God, full of Jesus. Let us ask her to be our Mother, guiding us and protecting us... It is true that we are already being helped by our tremendous devotion to Mary. She is our patroness and our Mother, and she is always leading us to Jesus. She has shown us so many beautiful ways of bringing Jesus into the hearts even of Hindus and Moslems and Buddhists by bringing her presence and her love into their lives" (Mother Teresa, Be Holy, page 75).
"Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ and Mother of all who share his priestly character and ministry, we come to you as sons coming to their mother. We ask your prayers... We ask your maternal protection... We ask your love... We ask your blessing... we wish to proclaim our devotion to you... Immaculate [sinless] Virgin Mary... Mary, Tower of Ivory... Mary, Seat of Wisdom... Mary, Mother of Mercy... Mary, Queen of Peace... We offer ourselves as your companions in the quest for universal justice and peace... Mary, Mother of Sorrows... Mary, Gate of Heaven, help us win Paradise..." ("Act of Entrustment to Mary, Mother of All Priests) (Be Holy, page pages 75-77).
Receiving Jesus from the Hands of a Priest
"One day she [a girl working in Calcutta] came, putting her arms around me, and saying, 'I have found Jesus.' When I asked her... 'And just what were you doing when you found him?' I asked. She answered that after 15 years she had finally gone to confession, and received Holy Communion from the hands of a priest. Her face was changed, and she was smiling. She was a different person because that priest had given her Jesus..." (Mother Teresa, Be Holy, page 74).
Catholic Tradition on Same Par as Holy Scripture
"The Church has always regarded, and continues to regard the Scriptures, TAKEN TOGETHER WITH SACRED TRADITION, as the supreme rule of her faith... more and more Catholics are coming to new and deeper appreciation of the Bible... Scripture is to be read and understood in the light of the church's living tradition. This ecclesial principle sees the Scriptures as placed by God in the protective hands of the church, and therefore to be studied and interpreted in a way that harmonizes with the centuries-old traditions of the church" (Salvador Carrillo Alday, Be Holy, pages 85, 86, 88).
Confession to a Catholic Priest
"In remote places, our sisters often prepare hundreds of children to go to confession" (Mother Teresa, Be Holy, page 111).
Idolatrous "Sacred Heart of Jesus" and Rosary Make Good Homes
"We must bring Jesus back into these homes by consecrating them to his Sacred Heart, by bringing prayer into the people's lives, and teaching them to say the Rosary. Priests always used to do this before, and they have to start doing these things again, so that these families can have peace and joy and holiness through their consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus... This is one of the reasons you are called 'another Christ’" (Mother Teresa, Be Holy, page 112).
All People are God's Children
"So it is not just a question of who is rich and who is poor. All are God's children, and our brothers and sisters. Whether their poverty is material or of the heart, we must bring them the presence of Jesus by touching them with love. Let us also help them by bringing Mary into their lives, and by staying faithful to saying her Rosary ourselves. Then you will have peace and joy and happiness, and God will be within you. And that is holiness!" (Mother Teresa, Be Holy, pages 113,114).
The above excerpts from Be Holy are merely a few of the heretical teachings that were contained in books sold at the conference and taught during the workshops. It would be utterly impossible to obey God's clear commands to identify, expose, rebuke, and separate from error, and at the same time fulfill the requirements of the Congress' Statement of Policy. Yet all of the following exhibitors signed the Statement:
American Bible Society
American Church Lists
Artist For Christ - Judi LaBelle
Bibles for the World
Bibles to China
California Theological Seminary
Catholic Evangelization Training Center
Change the World Ministries
Charisma in Missions
Charles Simpson Ministries
Christ for the Nations
Christian Believers United
Christian Calendar Newsletter
Christian Equippers, International
Christian Publishing Services
Commercial Builders of Kansas
Community Video Services
Coppinger & Affiliates
Couple to Couple League
David Livingstone Foundation
Dayspring International (Producers of the "Jesus" Film)
Don Basham's Insights
Earl Paulk Ministries
Edwin Louis Cole Ministries
Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary
Every Home for Christ International
Fellowship of Companies for Christ
Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Fraternity of Priests
Friends of Denmark
Fuller Theological Seminary
Grace World Outreach Church
Human Life Center
Images of the Cross
Independent Assemblies of God
Integrity's Hosanna! Music
Intercessors for America
International Bible College
International Lutheran Renewal
J. M. Stewart Corporation
Jews for Jesus
Kids for Christ International
Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization
Light for Living Ministries
Maranatha Christian Ministries
Naples Research Counseling Center
National Leadership Conference
National Organization of Episcopals for Life
Network of Christian Ministries
New England & World Missions
New Generation Ministry
New Heaven/New Earth
North Central Bible College
One in the Spirit Tours
Oral Roberts University
Phil Barfoot Music Company
Phillips Publishing Company
Reel to Real Ministries
Reinhard Bonnke Ministries
Scripture in Song
Scripture Press Publications
Selah Music Ministries
Southern California College
St. Paul's Center for Renewal
Star Praise Ministries
Strang Communications Company (Publishers of CHARISMA)
Synergy Structural Systems
Truth Will Set You Free
U. S. Center for World Mission
Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations
United Church of Christ/Fellowship of Charismatic Christians
United Methodist Renewal Services
Women's Aglow Fellowship
Word Among Us
Wycliffe Bible Translators
Youth with a Mission
Zondervan Publishing House
Zwemer Institute of Muslim Studies
It is not surprising that such traditional charismatic groups as FGBMI, Women's Aglow, and Youth with a Mission were willing to sign the Congress Statement of Policy, because these have always agreed to disobey God's commands about doctrinal purity and separation from error. Some of the groups mentioned above, though, are ones that are not in the mainstream of the charismatic movement and some of our readers might support them, not knowing that they have thrown doctrinal purity to the wind.
SHOULD WE FEAR BEING DECEIVED?
While our attention is on the booths in the exhibition area of the Congress, I want to mention a conversation I had with one of the workers in that area. His name was Keith and he was with one of the charismatic non-denominational communities. After discussing the gospel and how a person is saved, I shared a little of my own testimony with Keith. He told me his own testimony, and it sounded Scriptural, so I asked him how he could be comfortable in the midst of so much apostasy and false doctrine--such as the morning masses, the Catholic books and teachings, etc. His answer to this was enlightening. He said, "David, can't you look around and see all the great things God is doing here?" I told him that the main thing I could see as I looked around was error! He then said this, "David, your problem is that you are filled with the fear of being deceived. You are too afraid of being deceived. You need to relax and trust God more, and open your eyes and see what He is doing."
Should we fear being deceived? Or should we take Keith's advice? There are three Bible reasons I know that Keith's advice is not right, and therefore I refuse to follow it:
1. We must fear being deceived because we cannot trust our natural faculties--our feelings, our hearts, our eyes.
The Bible says of the heart of man: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it" (Jeremiah 17:9). Thus we cannot trust the thoughts or feelings of our hearts. The Bible also warns, "There is a way which SEEMETH RIGHT UNTO A MAN, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12). Thus we cannot trust our feelings as to whether something is right or wrong. We judge things by our own thinking as Keith was urging me to do. It is so easy to be deceived if we depend upon our own thinking, our own eyes, our own feelings.
Judas lived and labored with the other apostles for three years, and all of that time he was a deceiver and a false Christian. Yet none of the apostles knew this. They were deceived about him. Great multitudes sought after Jesus, desiring to listen to His sermons and wanting to make Him their king (John 6:2, 15). But shortly, those same people turned from Christ and "walked no more with him" (John 6:66). Jesus knew that the multitudes did not truly believe on Him even though it appeared that they did (John 2:23-25; 6:60-64). Ezekiel was warned by God that many of the Israelites who came to hear him preach, and who seemed to love his preaching, were not sincere. "And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not" (Ezekiel 33:31-32). If we had seen the people sitting before Ezekiel hearing his words, we would have thought that they loved God. But they didn't, and the only way we know that they didn't was because of God’s revelation. The Word of God exposed the deception there.
At New Orleans there was indeed a show of piety. There were Bibles, smiles, hugs, hands raised, hallelujahs, singing about Jesus. And yet half indicated that they did not know if they were saved or not and more than half attended the mass, and the rest were blind to the utter apostasy around them. We must fear being deceived, because it is so easy to be deceived. I do not trust my eyes, my feelings, my heart. I trust only in the revelation of the Word of God as it shines light on the religious world today. And the Word of God says the meeting in New Orleans was apostasy, not revival.
2. We must fear being deceived because the hour is exceedingly deceptive.
Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24 of the hours just preceding His return and warned that a characteristic of the last hours will be theological apostasy. It will be an hour of deep spiritual deception, of false miracles, of error so subtle that even the truly born again people of God will find it difficult to detect the truth from the error.
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you...And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many... For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matthew 24:4, 11, 24).
In light of Jesus’ warning about these last hours of the church age, I would be foolish if I were not fearful of being deceived.
3. We must fear being deceived because miracles are not evidence of the hand of God at work.
The Bible warns that the devil does miracles, and that the end of the age will be characterized by a great display of miracles--false miracles by which multitudes will be deceived. We have already quoted one prophecy of this--that of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24. But there are similar prophecies in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:5-11; 2 Timothy 3:8; Revelation 13:11-14.
The emphasis at the conference in New Orleans was signs and wonders, power evangelism, miracle evangelism. There were many things that went on there, some of which we have described in this report, which some would call miracles--prophecies, possibly a few healings, babblings called "tongues," and the speakers referred to miracles happening all around the world through the ministries of charismatic preachers.
But when the light of the Bible is shined upon the charismatic movement it is shown to be in error. Thus we must not be misled by the miracles. I repeat, I do not trust my eyes, my feelings, my heart. I trust only in the revelation of the Word of God as it shines light on the religious world today. And the Word of God says the meeting in New Orleans and the charismatic movement it represented is apostasy not revival.
No, Keith, your advice is wrong. It is good and wise to fear being deceived.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
NOT RAPTURE, BUT KINGDOM BUILDING
One thing that came across loud and clear at the conference in New Orleans is that these charismatics, for the most part, are not looking for the imminent (any moment) return of Christ, but are seeking to build the kingdom of God right now. The emphasis was on "kingdom building," "kingdom theology," "kingdom evangelism," "kingdom work."
To my knowledge none of the speakers preached that Jesus could come at any moment and that we must be ready. Of course, this could have been mentioned in some of the workshops or meetings that I did not attend, since obviously it was not possible to listen to every message. But there is no question that in the preaching in the general sessions in the evenings and in the workshops that I did attend, the overwhelming emphasis was kingdom theology.
Some did say Jesus is coming soon and that we need to be busy, but there was not the preaching of the imminency of His coming. All seemed to take for granted that there is going to be more years before Christ returns. The emphasis was on a decade of evangelism and revival between 1990 to the year 2000, and all eyes were turned toward this decade. Yet the Bible promises no decade of evangelism and revival prior to the return of Christ. The continual warning in the New Testament is to watch at all times, to be ready:
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Matthew 24:42).
"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 24:44).
"Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 25:13).
"But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief... Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober" (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4, 6).
"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light" (Romans 13:11, 12).
Many of the speakers at the conference in New Orleans, though, spoke as if this great decade of evangelism is going to result in Jesus' return. Many said that Jesus is not going to return until all of the "Christians" (meaning Catholic and every type) come together in unity for world evangelism. For example, Roman Catholic priest Tom Forrest said:
"Light has to come together in our churches and between our churches... We have to learn to really work together. Let's make this congress our witness to the whole Christian world... in how to be united in proclaiming the Lord Jesus Christ... how to cross denominational lines... the light of Christ must shine because first it began to shine in us... We are here... because the Holy Spirit has told us that we must join our lights together so the world may see. Our lamps must come together and we must shine like a city on a mountaintop... Let's stop the fighting. We've got a devil to fight. What are we fighting each other for... Let's stop fooling around. Let's stop the kid's stuff and go out... and brothers and sisters, let's do it together."
At this point during Forrest's message on Saturday night, the final message of the Congress, the crowd went wild with approval, stomping, shouting, speaking in tongues, clapping, laughing.
It was apparent that few, if any, understood that Forrest was calling for rebellion toward the Word of God. He was calling for true Christians to come together with false, for true churches to come together with apostate ones to supposedly "evangelize" the world. He was calling for a decade of evangelism during which Christians will not be concerned for sound doctrine and will not obey God's commands to separate from error. He was calling for rebellion, and the vast majority of the 35, 000 present, including the hundreds of leaders, gave their wild approval. And observe that Forrest, in calling for a great decade of evangelism, mentions nothing about the imminent return of Christ. This is because he does not believe in such a thing and is not himself looking for it.
Bob Weiner, in his message Saturday night, also preached a kingdom theology in calling for a decade of evangelism. He said, "We're going out until America is saved and every nation filled with the Holy Ghost." Of course the Bible does not say this is going to happen before Christ's return. It says the very opposite. Yet this charismatic "kingdom theology" proclaims a false hope and false goal for Christians.
Michael Scanlan, a Roman Catholic priest who is president of the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, was a speaker at the conference. His books Healing Principle and Appointment with God were on sale in the book sales area. In Healing Principles on pages 34 and 35 Scanlan describes his belief in the strange and false visions that are being allegedly experienced by six young people in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia. These young people have been seeing supposed visions of Mary since 1981 and receiving messages from her. In one of the 10 keys of prayer that Scanlan gives in his book, he says,
"The children asked Mary at Medjugorje whether they should pray to her or to Jesus. She said, 'Pray to Jesus; I can't do anything for you of myself. BUT IF YOU ASK ME, I'LL PRAY WITH YOU AND FOR YOU.' Mary is established as an intercessor. Have Mary pray with you. Ask her. She wants your healing... During Holy Week the students had heard that last year those of us in the Servants of Christ the King, the community that is connected with University Chapel, had gone on a three-day bread and water fast IN RESPONSE TO THE MESSAGE FROM MEDJUGORJE TO FAST FOR THE CONVERSION OF THE WORLD AND FOR PEACE... three hundred and sixty students out of a little over four hundred students that were on campus during Holy Week signed up for a three-day bread and water fast" (Scanlan, Healing Principles: Ten Basic Keys to Successful Prayer, Servant Books, 1987, pages 34, 35).
Thus Scanlan, believing the visions of Medjugorje, is calling Christians to fast and pray for the conversion of the world and for world peace. As we have seen from the Bible verses quoted above, God does not promise such a thing--just the opposite! "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:3). The message of Medjugorje is helping promote the false kingdom theology of Roman Catholicism and the charismatic movement, and a false hope for a world peace which cannot possibly brought about through Christian prayer and labor.
On the opening night of the Congress, Roman Catholic Kevin Ranaghan, who was the leader of the large charismatic conference in Kansas City in 1977, said, "We're praying this Superdome will be a new upper room so the day will come when the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as water covers the seas."
Ranaghan is referring to prophecy of Isaiah 11:9, but this prophecy is speaking of conditions in the earth after the return of Christ. Consider the context:
"... and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked... The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fattling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatric' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious... And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."
The passage obviously is speaking of conditions in the earth after the return of Christ. I would not advise anyone today to allow their children to play with snakes! This illustrates how the Roman Catholic Church and the charismatics misinterpret Scripture. Passages that apply to the rebuilding of Israel and the second coming of Christ are wrongly applied to the church age. This is how kingdom theology was developed. It is a misapplication of Bible prophecy.
I will give one more example of kingdom theology and of the error that it is causing in the minds of people. On the afternoon of Friday, July 24th, 1987, in the Main Exhibition Area of the North American Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization, I interviewed Al Caperno who works with Century Marketing. We were standing at the Century Marketing booth, and the thing that had caught my attention was a sign on the booth wall containing this quote by Bob Mumford: "Century marketing is a corporation made up of men and women who desire to see the kingdom of God established in the earth. My relationship with these people has shown me that they are men and women of integrity."
Following are excerpts from a tape-recorded conversation I had with Mr. Caperno.
CLOUD: "Bob Mumford has said [here I read from the sign on the wall of the exhibition booth, as quoted above]. Do you believe then that what you're doing can establish the kingdom of God on the earth?"
CAPERNO: "Definitely. I believe the kingdom of God is like the government of God. God wants His people to take dominion over the earth. What we are doing in our jobs is trying to take dominion."
CLOUD: "So do you believe there is going to come a literal return of Christ to establish a literal kingdom on the earth?"
CAPERNO: "My eschatology in that is pretty loose. I pretty much believe God wants me to live for today and take dominion today. I pretty much leave the future up to him... Bob [Mumford] has come to our plant a couple of times and spoken to our employees. We have 145 employees."
Here is an example of another prominent charismatic leader, Bob Mumford, promoting kingdom theology and recommending a "Christian" business which believes that it is building the kingdom of God in the world today through its marketing activities.
Beware of kingdom theology. Christians are not building the kingdom of God in the world today, and nothing has to be done prior to the return of Christ. He could come at any moment. We are warned to watch at all times, for when least expected Christ will return. There will not be peace in the world when Christ comes, but confusion. There will not be worldwide revival when he returns, but apostasy. We are to be busy carrying on the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20; we are to work, and to watch for Christ's coming as we work. We are not to presume that we have another decade. We are not to try to create a false unity among every sort of Christian, but to hold fast to sound doctrine and separate from error until the end. America is not going to be saved; the nations are not going to be filled with the Holy Spirit; the world is not going to be covered with the knowledge of God--not until Christ returns following the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24; Isaiah 11-13).
DESPISING BIBLICAL SEPARATION AND DOCTRINAL WALLS ONE OF THE ROOT PROBLEMS
"To despise" means to look down upon, to consider insignificant. It can also mean to hate, to dislike. Both definitions are true when considering the attitude of the modern charismatic movement toward Bible doctrine in general. To say that the charismatic leaders, as a rule, are treating Bible doctrine as insignificant is a terrific understatement. They are treating it so insignificantly that one can only say that doctrine is a despicable thing in the eyes of these men.
One of the key themes of the North American Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization was the destruction of all doctrinal walls which hinder the coming together of every group of Christians for world "evangelism." There were countless individual references to the "heresy of biblical separation," and we will share some of these with our readers. But it should be pointed out that the North American Renewal Service Committee (NARSC) has a written Statement of Policy that is one of the most blatant attacks on the Biblical commands to respect the doctrines of the New Testament faith that you will find anywhere. Even the World Council of Churches could learn some tricks from this clever Statement of Policy--which actually should be named Statement of Forced Unity. It should not be surprising that this Statement was written by a Roman Catholic, Kevin Ranaghan, who was the chairman of the charismatic conference in Kansas City in 1977 and continues to be a leader on the NARSC.
Since every participant, every speaker and every exhibitor in the Exhibition Hall at New Orleans '87 had to subscribe to this Statement, and since it is so significant and will continue to have wide influence in the days to come, we will quote it in full. Please read this carefully in light of Scripture. After the statement, we will print just a few of the many commands of God about Bible doctrine. Every one of these commands are ignored and disobeyed by the following Statement and by everyone who subscribes to this Statement.
NORTH AMERICAN RENEWAL SERVICE COMMITTEE STATEMENT OF POLICY PROVIDES A PATTERN FOR WORKING TOGETHER
"We, the members of The North American Renewal Service Committee, acknowledge that our purpose in coming together and in working together is to serve our Lord Jesus Christ and to further his plan in the world. We believe that he has called us into this relationship so that he might lead us by the power of his Spirit to contribute to the work of world evangelization. BECAUSE WE HAVE COME TOGETHER FROM SO MANY DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS WE WANT TO STATE PUBLICLY AS WELL AS TO EACH OTHER THE TERMS OF OUR RELATIONSHIP.
"WE ARE CHRISTIANS. We acknowledge Jesus Christ as true God and true Man, to be our Lord and Savior. We seek to live as his followers by his grace and by the power of his Holy Spirit. We seek to live in obedience to his word. We are committed to biblical righteousness in our behavior and to growth in holiness in our spiritual lives. We believe that the Lord Jesus has given his followers the gift of the Holy Spirit and that he sends them as he himself was sent, to proclaim the good news of salvation to all humankind.
"We are members of many different Christian churches, denominations, bodies and ministries. We acknowledge that our coming together is a work of the Spirit which is unusual, and which needs to be safeguarded. Disunity in the church is an historic and present-day reality that challenges all Christians to work for authentic solutions. Aware of this, we want to relate to one another and conduct our work in a way that promotes Christian unity, with honesty and integrity.
"WE ACCEPT EACH OTHER AS BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN OUR ONE LORD, JESUS CHRIST. WE ACKNOWLEDGE EACH OTHER AS MEMBERS OF HIS BODY, THE CHURCH. We honor the Holy Spirit in each other's lives.
"WE WILL WORK TOGETHER AS BROTHERS AND SISTERS. We will seek to relate to each other in humility, to develop mutual trust, fellowship and affection. We will uphold each other in prayer.
"We, and the churches, denominations, groups, and ministries to which we personally belong, agree on many matters of faith and practice. Sometimes this agreement is plainly evident. Sometimes it is obscured by differences in theological vocabulary, discipline or pastoral practice. We will labor to give expression to our agreement. We will respect and be sensitive to the different ways in which we express the same truths. Without compromise to our convictions, we will try to express our agreements in ways which are acceptable to all.
"WE, AND THE CHURCHES, DENOMINATIONS, GROUPS, AND MINISTRIES to which we personally belong, disagree on other matters of faith and practice. Resolving such difficulties is the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church. As we face such disagreement, our hope is in the Lord. We look forward to the day when we will be of one mind and heart. We acknowledge our real differences in a spirit of brotherly love and mutual understanding. WE WILL RESPECT EACH OTHER'S CONVICTIONS IN THESE MATTERS. Without minimizing the very real theological differences that exist among Christians, WE WILL STRIVE TO TREAT SUCH AREAS OF DISAGREEMENT RESPECTFULLY AND WITH SENSITIVITY to each other's churches, traditions, and constituencies.
"Among our churches, denominations, groups, and ministries, there may have been times of tension, opposition and conflict. We wish to put these times behind us by the grace of God. In view of the call we all believe we have from the Lord to enter into this relationship for common work, we want to express our mutual personal respect and our respect for one another's ministries. We will speak well of one another and support each other whenever possible. Should we find it necessary to disagree, we will do so without a contentious spirit, but in a loving manner that seeks to edify and that is OPEN TO LEARNING FROM ONE ANOTHER.
"WE, THE MEMBERS OF THE NARSC, commit ourselves to this expression of our relationship, and by God's grace we live by it. FURTHERMORE, WE ASK ALL THOSE WHOM WE INVITE TO MINISTER, SPEAK, PERFORM, OR OTHERWISE COLLABORATE AT THE CONGRESSES WHICH WE SPONSOR, TO ENTER INTO THIS SAME RELATIONSHIP WITH US (AD2000, February 1987, pages 2-3).
If some of our readers are thinking that this is a good Statement, I would challenge you to contrast the attitude toward doctrine as reflected in this Statement of Policy with the things God says in His Word about doctrine:
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT DOCTRINE
1. The Bible is given to teach doctrine.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable FOR DOCTRINE, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).
The very first usage of the Scriptures, according to this verse, is FOR DOCTRINE. The Bible is given to teach men doctrine, and that doctrine is not to be ignored, slighted, or discarded for the sake of unity. Sound Bible doctrine is not to be looked upon as some legalistic barrier to fellowship, but as something which God has given and His people are to respect. We are to worship God in Spirit and in TRUTH. God is not worshipped apart from truth, which is sound Bible doctrine. Bible doctrine does cause divisions, but this is the will of God. Bible doctrine is supposed to divide between those who accept the truth and those who don’t. Those who refuse to make doctrine important are ignoring what the Bible says. According to the Bible, sound doctrine is more important than unity. In fact, there is no true spiritual unity apart from unity in sound doctrine. Any other so-called unity is a man-made unity such as the rebellious unity created by the men who were building the tower of Babel. They were building a marvelous unity--but ignoring the commandments of God--and God hated it.
2. We are saved through doctrine.
"But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you" (Romans 6:17).
"... God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
Here we see that our salvation depends upon hearing and believing the right DOCTRINE. It is a matter of salvation; it is that important. How different this is to the attitude displayed in the Statement of Policy signed by the participants of the North American Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization. The Statement of Policy acknowledges that the NARSC is made up of members of many different churches, denominations, bodies and ministries. It is obvious that among these are different doctrines about salvation, such as the difference between what a Baptist church traditionally teaches about salvation and what the Roman Catholic Church teaches. It is impossible, then, to say "We accept each other as brothers and sisters in our one Lord, Jesus Christ. We acknowledge each other as members of his body, the Church. We honor the Holy Spirit in each other's lives." The Bible says that only those who believe the right doctrine about salvation are truly born again, only those who believe the truth.
The tremendous confusion about personal salvation which was demonstrated at the New Orleans '87 Congress shows how utterly foolish it is to subscribe to such a Statement of Policy. I refer to the third night of the conference when half of the roughly 35,000 registrants stood, indicating that they wanted to be saved and to receive Christ!
The false sacramental gospels of the Catholic, Episcopal, and Lutheran churches were to blame for this, and it is blind faith and folly to sign a Statement whereby I accept as brothers and sisters in Christ those who believe a false gospel of sacramentalism. Men are saved through sound doctrine, and it matters not if they praise God, shout hallelujah or write books about loving Jesus--if their doctrine of salvation is in error they are not saved.
3. We abide in Christ through doctrine.
"But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and EVEN AS IT HATH TAUGHT YOU, YE SHALL ABIDE IN HIM" (1 John 2:27).
4. We are rewarded according to our fidelity to doctrine.
"Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not THIS DOCTRINE, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 8-11).
In light of this passage, it is not too much to say that all who subscribe to the NARSC Statement of Policy will lose whatever rewards they might have wrought because of their refusal to separate from those walking in deep error. You say how can it be? How can it not be when charismatics so blatantly ignore these commands and fellowship and delight in the abominable mass and work with priests, bishops, and popes regardless of the blasphemous claims that they make. Just the fact that most charismatic leaders call Roman Catholic priests "fathers," and the pope "His Holiness," when Jesus expressly forbade such things, is evidence that they will lose whatever rewards they might have wrought, if they are actually saved.
5. We are commanded to fight for doctrine.
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3).
How contrary this is to the Statement of Policy which says, "Without minimizing the very real theological differences that exist among Christians, we will strive to treat such areas of disagreement respectfully and with sensitivity to each other's churches, traditions, and constituencies... Should we find it necessary to disagree, we will do so without a contentious spirit, but in a loving manner that seeks to edify and that is open to learning from one another."
My friends, the Lord Jesus Christ did not practice the principles of this Statement of Policy during His earthly ministry! Have you ever read Matthew 23 in which we see Christ rebuking the false teachers of his day publicly and scathingly? Was He edifying the Pharisees and Saducees in that scene? Was he open to learn from those who were disagreeing with Him? Do not argue that since it was Jesus it is not an example for us. One of the repetitious cries of the charismatic movement is that we must follow Jesus--not Paul--but Jesus. O.K. Let's follow Jesus by imitating His example in Matthew 23!
And how can we possibly learn from one another and edify one another while working in the midst of a multitude so mixed and confused, a multitude in which the theological differences are so great that some are true Christians and some are false, some are teaching sound doctrine and some heresy? The commandment in Jude is very strong. EARNESTLY CONTEND for the faith once delivered to the saints! That is a call to fight, a call to arms, not a plea for sensitivity and respect. Jesus warned that there would many false teachers (Matthew 24:11, 24), many wolves in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7). The charismatic/ecumenical movement is full of them. Just how respectful and sensitive are we supposed to be toward wolves!
6. Doctrine is the basis of separation.
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which caused divisions and offences CONTRARY TO THE DOCTRINE WHICH YE HAVE LEARNED; and avoid them" (Romans 16:17).
When I find someone whose doctrine is in error, God forbids me to work with and fellowship with that one. God forbids it! Why can't those who profess to have the special fullness of the Holy Spirit today understand these simple words which were inspired by the Holy Spirit? The Statement of Policy says that in spite of the doctrinal differences, in spite of the doctrinal error (someone has to be wrong if there are mutually exclusive doctrinal views), "We will work together... We will seek to relate to each other..."
God repeatedly says that His people are to separate, avoid, come apart from, turn away from those who are teaching error.
Some of the many verses which contain this command are Romans 16:17; Ephesians 5:11; Galatians 2:4-5; 5:9-12; Philippians 4:18-21; Colossians 2:4-8; 2 Timothy 2:14-22; 2 Timothy 3:5; Hebrews 13:12-14; 2 Peter 2-3; 2 John 10-11; and Revelation 18:4.
With these commands of separation before us, how could we possibly subscribe to the unbiblical idea that "disunity in the church is an historic and present-day reality that challenges all Christians to work for authentic solutions"?
There is no hint in this Statement of Policy that many of the roots of the disunity among Christians are doctrinal differences and it is God's express will that where there are doctrinal differences there is not to be unity.
7. Doctrine determines whether we are ashamed or approved before God.
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).
8. Doctrine is a fruit of the Spirit.
"For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness AND TRUTH" (Ephesians 5:9).
On the afternoon of July 23, 1987, the second day of the conference in New Orleans, Dennis Costella of the Fundamental Evangelistic Association had an interview with William J. Beatty, vice-chairman of the North American Renewal Service Committee. The final question that Costella asked was, "What would you as a charismatic Catholic say to those who say this [charismatic ecumenism] just isn't according to the Word of God?"
"Well, I would say what Scripture says. The thing that you have to look at is the fruit. Is the fruit of this the work of the Spirit, which is love, peace, joy, you know, kindness, gentleness, so on, which is the personality of Jesus. Do we see that growing in the individual Christian caught up in this move of God and in those who gather, or do we see the flip side, which is enmity, bickering, strife, jealously, you know, the other side. If the fruit is good, then maybe the tree is good... The popes, one by one, they've all said this is a gift for the church and for the world. Our bishops, nation by nation the bishops have come out with encouraging pastoral letters, saying... we believe this is of God."
This is an answer that is given frequently by those who try to defend the mountain of doctrinal error within the charismatic/ecumenical movement. "Look at the fruit,” they say. What they fail to mention is that a fruit of the Spirit is TRUTH! He is the Spirit of Truth. And in Ephesians 5:9 we are told without question that the fruit of the Spirit is truth. It is possible to counterfeit a certain kind of personality. It is possible to appear to be gentle and loving and kind. Some who appear to be very gentle and loving and Spirit-filled, can become awfully angry and lose control of themselves when the subject of "separation" comes up! And there are Buddhists and Hindus and atheists who demonstrate what some would call the fruit of the Spirit in their gentle personalities and daily dealings with men. Consider how many Christians today think the Hindu Mahatma Gandhi was a true saint of God. The Buddhist god-king, the Dalai Lama, appears to have the fruit of the spirit in his personality and dealings with men, but these are lost followers of heathen religions and certainly they do not have the Holy Spirit.
There is a human, sometimes even a demonic counterfeit in these areas. The devil appears as an angel of light and his ministers as the ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11). False teachers are described as wolves in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7). If they have the sheep's clothing, that means outwardly they appear to be of God, referring to the personality, the good works, the appearance. Jesus prophesied that the false teachers of the last hours would be so subtle in their working, so powerful in the miracles they would perform, that "insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matthew 24:24). The average Christian today is so gullible that he can easily be led astray by a dynamic, charismatic personality, regardless of how much error the man behind that personality is teaching. An example is Norman Vinson Peale, who was a liberal and taught a false gospel, but great numbers of true believers think he is a wonderful man of God because of his dynamic personality and his teaching on popular positive thinking. The same is true for Robert Schuller.
Another example is Billy Graham. The man's personality is winsome and there is an unusual drawing power about him--so much so that he has become practically a god to great numbers of Christians in the world, and most do not care that the man is not walking according to the Word of God. In fact they will not allow a word--not a word--to be spoken against him.
This attitude toward Graham is not normal. There is something here that is extraordinary; something uncanny. Consider this: people fret against their own pastors, against their sports and matinee heroes, against their most beloved political leaders, against even their parents and spouses, but they won't say a word against Billy Graham. And this is true not only for Christians but even for non-Christians. Graham wins popularity contests in surveys which are taken of the general populace!
Why? Jesus Christ did not win such popularity and does not have such popularity until this very day. People who will use Christ's name in vain, will not allow anything to be said derogatory about Graham or Peale or Schuller or Rick Warren or James Dobson.
Part of this is Graham's personality. Part is his positive-only philosophy whereby he knows how to please men. People like a religious leader who will not make them uncomfortable. But this doesn't explain the whole picture. Many men have winsome personalities and preach positive messages, but Graham is practically in a field of his own in popularity.
No man is above reproach. Even Peter was rebuked by Paul-- sternly and publicly (Galatians 2). This protective attitude that so many have toward Graham and other popular leaders, then, is entirely unreasonable. If you are one who has such an attitude, I urge you to examine your motive in this. No man is above reproach if he is error. And if the man is a public figure and his error is therefore leading great numbers of people astray, the warning about him must be equally public. Otherwise those who need to hear the warning will not.
We have seen at the beginning of this study that Graham is right in the center of this charismatic confusion in that he has put his blessing and stamp of approval upon it. This action needs to be seen as the evil thing that it is. Few men hold as much sway over as many people as Graham. Thus when he puts his stamp of approval on something that is false, how great is the damage that results! There should be in the heart of every faithful Christian a righteousness indignation against such compromise.
To return to the subject at hand, though, while it is possible for a spiritual personality to be counterfeited, and for miracles to be counterfeited, it is impossible for sound doctrine to be counterfeited. The doctrine is either sound, or it is in error. It is true that a man can hold to sound doctrine and not be right with God, but it is impossible for a man to hold to false doctrine and be right with God.
The personalities of some of the charismatic leaders and followers are indeed pleasant, and there is no question that some good works have resulted, but where is the zeal for truth that the Spirit of Truth always creates in the hearts of those He fills? When Beatty speaks of the fruit of the Spirit, he mentions in the same context the popes and the bishops. How preposterous, to suggest that the Roman popes and bishops know a true work of God when they see it! They wouldn't recognize the work of God if they met it face to face on the street!
Doctrine is vitally important and where there are doctrinal differences there should be walls and barriers to protect the true from the false, and to obey God. One would think, in listening to charismatic leaders, that God has abandoned the wall-building business. One example of this was in Robert Mumford's message on Thursday night of the conference. He said,
"We must go past... A DOCTRINAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT... How many understand that the goal of this conference is unity in the Spirit. Unity in the Spirit means we must come out of our religious ghetto." He spoke disparagingly of a doctrinal barrier causing us to draw a line to limit fellowship with other believers and said we must cross that line. "BEFORE I AM A CATHOLIC OR PROTESTANT, I AM A CHRISTIAN. IF YOU OFFER GOD A SACRIFICE OF UNITY IT WILL COST YOU... What they all don't understand (referring to non-charismatics) is that the Lord is doing something in the body of Christ... IT CANNOT HAPPEN UNLESS WE ARE WILLING TO FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHERS WHO HAVE HAD THE SAME SPIRIT."
Mumford speaks of crossing out the doctrinal barriers.
Catholic priest Tom Forrest, in his message the final night of the conference said, "We are here... because the Holy Spirit has told us we must join our lights together so the world may see... Let's stop fighting. We've got a devil to fight. What are we fighting each other for... Let's stop fooling around. Let's stop the kid's stuff and go out... and brothers and sisters, let's do it together!"
Vinson Synan during the last press conference said, "We have agreed to disagree."
Carl Richardson, who was one of the speakers in the general sessions of the conference, advertises his ministry thusly: "God has called him to build bridges, not barriers."
It would seem, then, that God has abandoned the wall-building business and now is strictly involved in smashing doctrinal barriers, but such is definitely not the case. The Lord’s apostles built walls of separation and rebuke and exposure to protect the first churches, and this same command and practice comes down to us through the New Testament Scriptures. Contrary to what many are saying, God is still very much in the wall-building business. The Bible says so! And when the Bible speaks clearly on a matter, that matter is settled--whether you or I believe it or not!
THE BIBLE'S COMMAND TO MARK, RESIST, REPROVE AND SEPARATE FROM ERROR
Following are but a few of the verses in the New Testament epistles which require that Christians and the churches build walls of separation toward error. We are called to build bridges toward the truth and walls toward error. To make blanket statements such as the charismatic movement does about being called to build bridges, not barriers, is nothing less than rebellion toward the Word of God. Those who are promoting this rebellion will regret it. I urge those of you who read this that you not be deceived by the false unity, by the false ecumenism of the charismatic movement. Listen, rather, to the sure voice of Holy Scripture. And don't skip over or merely skim this section of Bible verses; it's the most important part of the report!
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" (Romans 16:17).
"Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners" (1 Corinthians 15:33).
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Ephesians 5:11).
"And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage; to whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you" (Galatians 2:4, 5).
"A little leaven leaventh the whole lump. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be... I would they were even cut off which trouble you" (Galatians 5:9, 10, 12).
"For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:18-20).
"And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Colossians 2:4-8).
"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us" (2 Thessalonians 3:6).
"But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred; and overthrow the faith of some... But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared for every good work" (2 Timothy 2:16-20).
"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power therefore: from such turn away" (2 Timothy 3:5).
"Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake" (Titus 1:9- 11).
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction... Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness" (2 Peter 2-3).
"We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us [the apostles, the writers of Scripture]; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error" (1 John 4:6).
"Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 8-11).
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3).
"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Revelation 18:4).
With these verses we will end the report. God has spoken. Christians who desire to obey God must identify ("mark"), expose, rebuke, contend against, and separate from error. Those who participated in New Orleans '87 disobeyed these Scriptures. They did not exercise these commands in reference to the abominable Catholic mass that was held each morning; toward the priests of Rome who stood and spoke; toward the baptismal regeneration groups that were present; toward the books filled with false teaching about Mary; toward the heretical teachings and practices pertaining to spiritual gifts; toward women speaking to and taking authority over men.
God has spoken. We do not have to await some new word through prophecy or tongues, visions or voices. We need merely to obey that which has been given by the Holy Spirit. The North American Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization, sadly, did not obey this settled Word, the "faith once delivered unto the saints."
Congress Chairman Vinson Synan stated this attitude of rebellion at the Saturday press conference:
[Unidentified press]: "Have you been able within this experience to sort of formulate the basics of what this mass of people can agree on as far as a message, or is it more simply shared charismatic experience?"
Synan: "The nature of the conference here is experience. It's not a theological conference. It's not a time to dissect doctrines and discuss ecumenical differences. I think the statement of unity [Statement of Policy] is as far as you can possibly go with 35,000 people from 40 different denominations and ministries. It's just a very practical thing. You cannot force uniformity...
"WE HAVE AGREED TO DISAGREE ON MANY THINGS. And we're not going to try to resolve all those questions here [about the mass and traditional Catholic heresies]. In five hundred years the best theologians have not been able to do so. You can't do it in a four-day congress... And we know that we cannot resolve all these questions, and we've agreed to disagree.
Though this might sound very pious to some, it is rebellion to the Word of God.
The previous material is from O Timothy magazine, Volume 4, Issue 8-9, 1987. Unless otherwise noted, the articles are written by David Cloud. Permission is granted to use this material for free distribution with proper accreditation, but not for resale. Way of Life Literature holds all rights to this material. O Timothy is a monthly magazine that was founded in 1984. Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, email@example.com, http://www.wayoflife.org.
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