In the 1970s, he was a fiery Southern Baptist evangelist, preaching boldly against the theological liberalism that had permeated his denomination and urgently needed to be rooted out. But during a spiritual crisis in 1982, and at the urging of his wife, he allowed a charismatic preacher named Milton Green to minister to him.
Green said Robison was “the most demonized man I ever met,” and Robison claims that his deliverance was like a giant claw being removed from his brain, but it appears that this was a matter of a misguided man misdiagnosing fleshly sins such as anger and lust, which is what Robison complained of, as “demons” (Gal. 5:16-23). The solution to a situation in which a man trusts in Jesus Christ as His Lord and Saviour but struggles with the flesh is not to cast out demons but to deal with confession of sin and other aspects of how to walk in the Spirit.
Instead, Green rebuked the devil and laid hands on Robison.
I don’t know, of course, what James Robison’s actual spiritual problem was at that time, and I don’t know what happened to him in that strange encounter, but I do know that as a consequence of his experience he turned away from reproving sin and false teaching and made a radical turn to the unscriptural ecumenical philosophy. His message began to focus on non-judgmentalism and “unity,” and he started developing close relationships with the most heretical of charismatic preachers, such as David Yonggi Cho, Paul Crouch, and Oral Roberts.
In the Jan.-Feb. 1986, issue of his magazine, Days of Restoration, Robison said: “There are going to be MIRACLES, SIGNS AND WONDERS surpassing anything seen even in New Testament times. Multitudes will begin to come to Christ, as the real Jesus is lifted up. EVERY TRUE DISCIPLE WILL BE DOING THE KIND OF WORKS JESUS DID.”
Robison even apologized for his part in the struggle between conservative Bible believers and theological liberals in the Southern Baptist Convention. He visited liberal Baylor University and apologized in person to the leaders (when he should rather have rebuked them for giving the wicked doctrine of evolution and other heresies a home in this Baptist institution).
The new “undemonized” James Robison began to speak in sympathetic terms in regard to the Roman Catholic Church and to develop relationships with “evangelical” and “renewal” Catholics. At New Orleans ’87, which was attended by roughly twenty thousand Roman Catholics, Robison made this strange statement in his message on “Restoration”:
“I tell you what, all the critical Protestants standing around knocking Catholics, you’d better watch it! God’ll run right by you, pick up the whole Catholic movement, and wrap them up in Jesus and just love them, and strip everything that is wrong there, and make them an expression to the whole earth. He may be doing it right now. I tell you what, one of the finest moral representatives of morality in this earth right now is the pope. People who know him really believe he is a born-again man.”
I was sitting only a few feet away from Robison when he said this, and I transcribed it later directly from my own tape recording and published it in O Timothy magazine. It was one of the first things Robison said in his sermon that day. For a man to say that the pope, who devoted himself exclusively to Mary, is a fine example of morality and that he might be saved, and for a man to say that Bible believers should not judge the Roman Catholic Church is evidence of a great spiritual blindness and is plain and fearful disobedience to the Scriptures.
Robison participated in the Washington for Jesus rally on April 28, 1988. Wilson Ewin described this meeting in The Spirit of Pentecostal-Charismatic Unity:
“It was a masterpiece of non-Catholic Pentecostal and Catholic Charismatic coordination. The bright stars of the electronic church such as Pat Robertson (Christian Broadcasting Network), Rex Humbard (Cathedral of Tomorrow), Dr. Robert Schuller, James Robison and Jim Bakker (P.T.L.), shared speaking time with Roman Catholic priests John Bertolucci, John Randall and Michael Scanlon. Co-chairmen of the huge enterprise included Ben Armstrong (Executive Director, National Religious Broadcasters), Pat Boone (entertainer), Dr. Herbert Bowdoin (United Methodist Hour), Nicky Cruz, David du Plessis (‘Mr. Pentecost’), Dr. Edgar Johnson (General Secretary of the Church of the Nazarene), Dan Malachuk (Publisher, Logos Journal), Demos Shakarian (President F.G.B.M.F.I.), Dr. Thomas Zimmerman (General Superintendent, Assemblies of God), and many others.”
In 1988, Benny Hinn announced on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) that James Robison, Marilyn Hickey, and Paul and Jan Crouch had all agreed to have an audition with the Pope (Bold Truth, October 10, 1988). Hinn said: “Something is happening in the Catholic Church today that is really of God” (Calvary Contender, Dec. 1, 1988).
In his telecast on February 19, 1989, Robison used the woman of John chapter 4 to say it does not matter where (in which church) we worship. He said, “I can have fellowship with everybody!” (Calvary Contender, March 1, 1989).
In his blog in May 2014, Robison called for unity with Roman Catholics based on Jesus’ prayer in John 17.
“I believe in the importance of unity among those who know Christ, who profess to be ‘Christians’. ... [Jesus] wanted us to develop spiritual maturity through the power of truth, not to be divided by it, beat up or bludgeoned with it. His Word divides light from darkness, and good from evil, but it should not divide the family. Too often when Christians disagree, they immediately go their separate ways failing to recognize that we all ‘at this time see through a glass darkly.’ Protestants and Catholics have theological differences which are not likely to be settled until the future kingdom that is to come, but any realistic hope for theological correction will come only when we share truth with one another in a spirit of undeniable love and concern. ...
“I believe there is an important spiritual awakening beginning in the hearts of those truly committed to Christ in the Protestant and Catholic communities. Is it possible that Pope Francis may prove to be an answer not only to the prayers of Catholics, but also those known as Protestants? ...
“Yesterday I had the privilege of joining with Jack Hayford and Tom Phillips, Vice President of Billy Graham Library, and spoke in Virginia as part of a meeting hosted by concerned Catholic laymen and priests who are longing for people to come to know Christ, love Him, and love one another while reaching out to those who suffer. Also on the program was Fr. Cantalamessa who holds the title ‘Preacher to the Papal Household.’ Before our meeting, he spoke to Regent University students and proclaimed justification by faith through Christ and the grace of God essential for both salvation and life. He closed his message asking the student body to sing with him ‘Amazing Grace.’ It was an amazing moment. ...
“You will have the opportunity of hearing a personal word from Pope Francis on LIFE Today on Monday, May 5, on major networks around the world” (“Pope Francis on Life Today,” James Robison A Weekly Commentary, May 2, 2014).
This statement is frightful because of James Robison’s ignorance about Roman Catholicism and the way he misuses Scripture. It reflects a deep level of spiritual deception.
First, John 17 is not a commandment that believers are to keep; it is a prayer that the Son of God prayed to the Father, and it was answered! It is not a prayer for ecumenical unity; it is a prayer for the supernatural unity of true believers who receive and keep God’s Word (John 17:6, 8). It is not a prayer for “unity in diversity,” but for unity in truth.
Second, God’s Word does instruct believers to divide over truth and sound doctrine. We are to hold it fast (2 Timothy 1:13), fight for it (Jude 3), and separate over it (Romans 16:17; 2 Tim. 3:5).
Third, Pope Francis prays to a false christ (the consecrated wafer of the mass) and venerates Mary as the Queen of Heaven, among a multitude of other heresies. There is no biblical basis for which to receive him as a true saint.
Fourth, If priest Cantalamessa really believes that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone by Christ alone, he must renounce the Roman Catholic Church for teaching in its most formal catechisms and councils that salvation is by grace plus the works of the sacraments. According to Rome’s gospel, salvation is a process and one can never know in this life if he has done enough to “merit” salvation. Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Encyclopedia says, “Justification in the Catholic Tradition comes about by means of faith in Christ, AND in a life of good works lived in response to God's invitation to believe. ... That works are clearly required in the New Testament for union with Christ is seen in the many parables such as the Good Samaritan, Lazarus and Dives, and others”. The New Catholic Catechism says, “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation” (NCC, 1129).
(For extensive documentation of Rome’s gospel of grace plus sacraments, see “How Rome Denies Salvation by Grace Alone,” www.wayoflife.org.)
In July 2014, James Robison and his wife, Betty, joined seven other charismatics at the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis. Members of the party included Kenneth Copeland and John and Carol Arnott. James gave the pope a “high five” when he talked about the need for people to “have a personal relationship with Jesus.”
Most recently, Robison recommended the movie The Shack, which promotes a non-judgmental female God, universalism, and many other rank heresies.
I don’t know what happened to James Robison in 1982, but I do know that the Spirit of truth will not exalt the pope or speak of Rome as if it were a true “church”!
This case saddens me very much, because the former James Robison’s bold Bible preaching was effective and needed. It was helping the Southern Baptist Convention turn from theological liberalism, and it was helping the unsaved. His preaching encouraged me as a young Christian, and my boss at a print shop in Lakeland, Florida, got saved at a James Robison crusade in 1977 or 1978, just before we went to the mission field.
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