If you are looking for my examination of the uncut Cultures of Revolution video, click on this link to go to the MAVI MARMARA report.
Finally, it feels like summer and I don't have to run the heater in my basement suite. It is so lovely to be warm all the time. What started off as a bright, sunny spring cooled down to overcast or rainy skies day after day, but that's Vancouver for you. It makes for beautiful, lush, green trees and grass, but it is nice to get back into sandals and not have to wear a coat or sweater when I go out.
I did not do anything on Canada Day because I did not have my grandsons with me. Other years, I have taken them to Fort Langley and we have had loads of fun. This year, Heather wanted the kids on the weekend, so I just stayed home and wrote, but on July 4th, I went on a fun visit with some friends across the border to Birch Bay to join our American neighbours in their Independence Day celebrations. We had a lovely dinner at Jeff's Mayr's place, which is just a short walk from the beach, then watched a spectacular sunset before heading over to the Inn at Semiahmoo to see the fireworks.
It was a great drive over there. I enjoyed seeing the crowds of Americans on the beach setting off fireworks; they seemed so jolly and happy. I love the way Americans are enthusiastic about their heritage. They sang some of their patriotic songs during the Grand Finale. I hummed along because I didn't know all the words, and then someone in the crowd started up Amazing Grace. My friends and I sang along with that.
We loved the healthier spiritual atmosphere just across the border. I am not saying that Americans have it all together spiritually; they sure don't, but it is a notch better than where I live.
I was so glad to go to the US again, after not having been there for a long, long time. I used to go there frequently when I had a car. Birch Bay is still charmingly rural, just like it was when I went there with my family when I was a child. I have many happy memories of picnicking on the beach and playing in the sparkling water under sunny skies.
God is still answering my prayer to help me cast down my idols and tear down my high places. When I first prayed that prayer a few years back, I thought I had only a few idols, but then suddenly my eyes were opened and a whole forest of them came toppling down. I did not think that I had any people idols, but ministers whom I thought I highly esteemed only for their works' sake got knocked off their pedestals when God led me to read a book about subliminals. I have written about subliminals elsewhere on my website.
To my shock, I realized that they were embedded in Christian videos and storybooks for children; there were more subs in the Christian material than in the secular books that I looked at. I wondered why Christian leaders did not speak on this topic to warn Christians about what is being slipped past them. Did they not know? How could they have so much discernment in other areas, but not know about this? When God spoke to my heart, saying, "Take a closer look at their works," I went on the Internet to do some research. Someone with a really pure heart would have automatically known there was something wrong with those books, videos, and TV programs, even if they knew nothing about embeds, but my heroes did not have pure hearts.
I found out a lot about my former heroes through books and the Internet. One might say that you can't trust what others say, because they could be mistaken or it could be lies. Well, I have been a Christian for a long time, and have heard with my own ears from the lips of those ministers on their radio programs (and in their books) a lot of the things that they are criticized for. Also, evidence was documented. I think I have a pretty good handle on being able to figure out what could be an exaggeration and what is a valid criticism.
This month, a lot more of my idols have toppled; men and women whose teaching I have listened to and generally agreed with, whose lifestyles I more or less ignored, feeling it was none of my business, as I didn't know them personally. But the Bible tells us that we need to look at the fruit, and to beware of wolves in sheep's clothing. We are supposed to watch and listen carefully to what is going on around us, and see how people's lives, as well as their teachings, line up with what God teaches us in His Word.
I can no longer ignore the lavish lifestyles of ministers who are taking contributions that were sacrificed to their ministry, with the expectation that it would be used to spread the Gospel, and has been spent instead on mansions and other luxuries for themselves. Frequently, the contributors live at a level far below that of the people who run those ministries.
One might argue that those people have donated their money from a wrong motive, out of greed, expecting to see a multiplication of money roll back into their bank accounts. Yes, it does sound like that, when people who have donated money into those ministries defend the ministers' spending, saying that they don't judge them for it, as a minister of the Gospel ought to be compensated for their hard work and sacrifices, and God wants to prosper them. Behind that, I hear the message, "And I want to be prospered like that, too, so I am giving into their ministry in the expectation of having my own mansion and luxury car someday."
Yes, this is a wrong motive, fueled by a spirit that deceives people into thinking that they can obligate God into dumping loads of money on them by giving offerings. There is some Scriptural basis for expecting a return on what we donate to ministry, as the Bible says that those who sow sparingly will reap sparingly, but rather than this being a faith expectation, it can be a matter of manipulation. The contributors really did not want to make a donation, but they did it because they wanted what they hoped to get back.
For some, the intent is to spend the money on living the high life, but for a great many, it is a desperate attempt to escape financial hardship, particularly if they have no retirement savings. They responded to ministers who got them revved up with their rhetoric. The people who are playing on the givers' greed or need and are fleecing them probably think that they are justified in taking advantage of impure motives, but God still holds them accountable to do what is right with the offerings that come into their ministry, regardless of the spirit in which they were given.
If a person wants to live in luxury, it should not be at the expense of people who give donations for ministry. We know from the Bible that people can be godly, even if they are rich, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and King David. If one feels that they have to live in a mansion and drive an expensive car, then they should go into business. How they spend their earnings, then, is their own prerogative. But if they are ministers and are taking money from others for their ministry, then it is everybody's business.
We need to have a care, though, that we don't make assumptions about people. Just because a person looks like they spend loads of money on what they wear, it is not necessarily so. They might have bagged a bargain at a thrift store or their outfit might have been donated to them, paid for with private earnings. I have a beaded East Indian costume that probably sold for hundreds of dollars when it was new, but I picked it up at Value Village for only $17.00, including tax! Hallelujah!
And a friend who I met at work gave me a mink coat. Another Hallelujah! I was joking around one day and said that I would like a mink coat, if someone wanted to give me one (not knowing that she had one), so she gave it to me. I was just fantasizing and didn't think that she had the ability to bless me with one. After all, she and her husband lived at that time in a little mobile home and when we ran into each other, it was in Value Village.
The timing was so neat. We had that conversation two weeks before my birthday and Mary brought the coat over the following week; she did not know that my birthday was coming up. God is pretty awesome, eh? An elderly lady in Toronto gave it to her, but Mary was reluctant to wear it. She is in ministry and probably was afraid that people would assume that their donations were spent on that mink coat. It was made way back in the 1930's, so it was not worth selling, as it was not likely to look good for much longer. It has a worn spot on it, but it is in a place where one can wear a brooch. I have enjoyed wearing it. When it gets too shabby–looking, I will probably pass it on to the grandkids so they can pretend that they are pioneers.
If anyone is interested in helping to support my friends' ministry, they can find out more about it at LIGHT OF THE WORLD MINISTRIES. Their mission is to Haiti and they help with orphan relief. Ross and Mary have been tested for many years with serious illnesses and financial challenges, but they are still hanging in there and doing what they can to help others. They sure could use your prayers, even if you can't assist their ministry through donations.
If a person has a reasonable budget for clothes, and they are able to get much more value for their money, then good for them. A person in ministry who receives donations, though, should keep their receipts to prove that they are not squandering money. Businesses and ministries should be operated in such a way as if they are expecting Revenue Canada or the IRS to swoop down on them at any moment to do an audit.
People who have sacrificed to support a ministry have a right to know how funds are being spent, and other people want to know, too, how money they might want to donate would be spent. Also, people who have no intention of supporting the ministry have a right to know if it's a scam, or if it is authentic, because they might or might not be touched by the Gospel message of those ministries, depending on the character of the preachers. Nobody can reasonably expect a minister of the Gospel to be perfect, but they have a right to expect them to have a high level of character.
If a person wants to live luxuriously while preaching the Gospel, then ideally they should have businesses or private investments that they live off of and support their ministry out of, instead of taking money from others for their ministry. That way, nobody can rightfully criticize them. Instead they are to be admired for contributing their time to preach the Gospel at their own expense, even if they live in a mansion and have a private jet.
I just can't see how a person who lives in a mansion can justify taking money for their ministry from someone who lives in a pokey, little apartment, gets around on buses, and can't afford to eat meat more than once or twice a week, especially if it was money that was donated to the ministry that paid for the mansion.
My mind is boggled by reports of mansions, Rolls Royces and other luxury cars, lavish churches and ministry offices, cosmetic surgery, private jets with gold–plated interiors (how many souls could have been saved with those funds?), men dumping their wives of many years (and dumping the raising of the children on those wives) to marry younger women, and on and on. Man! Some of my heroes sure have disappointed me. I wonder if there is any big name in ministry from years gone by who has not disgraced themselves somehow.
I have heard fancy church buildings and ministry offices defended on the basis that it glorifies God to sink a lot of money into producing a high quality, artistically beautiful edifice. God deserves the best, eh? Actually, what glorifies God and really, really, really makes Him happy is saved souls and changed lives. He is quite willing to trade the bells and whistles for saved souls and changed lives.
Money is better spent in printing tracts and Bibles, supplying poor ministers with vehicles to get them around to remote villages, building orphanages and places of refuge for others in desperate need, helping people to have access to safe water to drink, relief for persecuted Christians who are denied jobs because they are Christians (such as in Israel), and various other gifts of help that improve the lives of the desperately poor, given to them along with the message of the Gospel.
Are big church buildings needed? The apostles never had any. People met in homes and were networked across the city. In smaller groups, they got more involved in each others' lives and developed close relationships. Large groups gathered in fields or amphitheatres or barns.
Generally speaking, rich people are not attracted to meetings that take place in utilitarian surroundings. Most Americans and Canadians are rich, compared to the majority of people in Third World countries. We have safe water to drink and it is pumped into our homes, a roof over our heads that does not leak, clean rooms that are free from cockroaches and other annoying insects, indoor bathrooms, the use of electricity, a comfy bed to sleep in, lots of food, lots of clothes, we can go to school from Grade 1 to 12, if we have to take a bus, it usually isn't too crowded (and we don't have share the bus with pigs and chickens), and nearly everybody has a TV, which supplies constant entertainment (if they want it). Our expectations have been raised so high through materialism that we place too much importance on what church buildings look like and how comfortable the chairs are.
Rich people who truly want a clean heart, strong character, a meaningful life, and assurance of Heaven when they die, don't care about what a church building looks like, as long as it doesn't have anything unholy or unhealthy in it.
There were not many rich people who wanted to follow Yehoshua, but rich people visited Him at night in His camp for private conferences, and those who were bolder left their beautiful, comfy homes and became part of His entourage, sharing the difficulties of living in campsites. They went to where the light was shining; they were interested in the eternal, not the temporal.
If we have to build a church building, costs should be kept down, without compromising on safety. The aim should be to construct something that is functional, rather than lavish. What is wrong with having a plain cement floor? We really don't need to have carpet. Adequate heating and cooling and bathrooms are necessary, but not impressive architecture and stained glass windows. That kind of stuff is more in line with gratifying the pastors' ego, so that he can feel like he is a success because he has a swanky office and church. It also is deemed necessary by those who regard church as a social club, rather than a place to meet for laying hold of the Kingdom of God.
When facilities and equipment are too fancy, they generate anxiety about possible theft or damage. I had a friend who asked a pastor for help to get some furniture that had been offered to her, on the condition that she could arrange for transportation. She was quite poor and the furniture was very nice. The pastor told her he could not transport the furniture in the church's van because the van might get scratched. She did not get the furniture. My friend and her husband tended to be loners who were wary of others; they did not have any other resources than the church that the wife attended.
When I visited them a few years later, the family was still using plastic lawn chairs at their table, and they had hardly any furniture. Though their apartment was small, it looked almost empty. Being fobbed off with that feeble excuse about possible scratches on the van contributed to my friend straying further and further away from church to find dishonest, unwholesome means to get her needs met. She had a lot of New Age ideas and was not a genuine Christian, but if the Church had behaved towards her like it ought to, she might have gotten genuinely saved back then.
The best church I ever went to was a little one in an old building. It was called Westminster Tabernacle and the pastor was Les Pritchard, who has gone to his reward. When the leaders prayed about improving the church, God told them that the Church is the people, not the building, so they should just concentrate on building up the people and leave the building as it was.
Among the most interesting church meetings that I ever attended was when that church hosted a Creationist named Glen McLean. We met in a school gymnasium for larger assemblies. I sat on a hard chair in that gym and, though my rear end got sore, the lectures were so interesting that I would have gladly sat there for another hour. I could not have cared less that the meetings were held in a gym.
I confess that when I started reading complaints about abuses in ministry, I, too, was luridly fascinated by Jan Crouch's pink hair. I had never seen it before as I do not watch TV. Not only are her wigs pink, but they are also HUGE! I have never seen such an oddity, except for maybe on a clown. Her hair is the talk of blogs everywhere, and the make–up, too. There is truth in what people say about how she looks like a female impersonator.
She has the right to dress how she pleases, as long as it is not obscene, but people who donate to that ministry also have the right to ask, "Is the money I give to that ministry paying for her make–up and wigs?" Considering how much make–up she uses, it is likely a considerable expense. And those wigs probably aren't cheap, though they look frightful. They have been compared to cotton candy, road kill, and someone commented that it looked like she was wearing a pink poodle on her head, but I think it looks more like a llasa apso.
I am not intending to be catty about this; Jan's pink wig really does look like a llasa apso lying on her head and I really do have a point to make. I am all for a person expressing their individuality, but when they look like a fruitcake, they undermine their credibility and cast a bad reflection on the Lord.
Well, okay, John the Baptist must have looked like quite a sight, too, with his long, braided hair and rough, camel skin clothes, but his appearance was an expression of consecration to the Lord, rather than a demonstration of excess. Everybody in his culture understood about the hair, as he was a Nazarite from his mother's womb, but he was criticized by some for the rough clothing. However, nobody could accuse John of being in ministry for the money, and that was a major reason why so many people paid serious attention to what he had to say.
Jan Crouch gets people really stirred up because she lives high on the hog, but asks poor people to give up some of their grocery money to support TBN. What do those initials really stand for? Totally Blatant Nonsense? As for her appearance, that poor woman is like someone with anorexia. She can't see herself objectively. If she wore a silver or blonde wig about 1/4 the size, and tamed down the eye make–up, she would probably be quite attractive–looking, while still expressing her penchant to look like a Hollywood starlet from the 1960's, and be taken a little more seriously. Not much, as long as she continues to live in outrageous luxury on ministry money, but if she looked more like a real person instead of a caricature, people might not be so distracted (in a negative way) by her appearance.
The more I read about financial excesses and manipulative money grabbing, the better I felt about a letter I wrote several months ago to a young woman in ministry about her manipulative way of getting people to donate money to her ministry, and other controlling behaviour. These were things I personally witnessed and, though I liked her and appreciated the anointing in her ministry, the abuses vexed me to the point that I felt like I would burst if I didn't say something to her. I don't think that she was greedy; I think that she was just worried about paying her bills at the hotel and feeding her adopted children.
She had all sorts of gimmicky things that she employed as prophetic signs or points of contact for faith, and each new thing she came up with made me feel wearier and wearier. I thought, "God can't bless me if I don't carry that thing around?" It reminded me of how my teen–aged uncles used to carry a lucky rabbit foot. They were heathens and didn't know any better than to subscribe to superstitions, but as Christians, we should trust in what Yehoshua did for us to set us free from such things.
Then there were the promises that God was going to do such and such for anyone who gave a $300.00 offering, or some other figure that had some type of prophetic significance. I know that the numbers in the Bible have significance, but we have to be careful to not get so caught up in it that we cross the line over into numerology, which is satanic. I don't see how the amount of money one gives to a ministry has any bearing on what God will do in return, unless it is an amount that God has spoken to one personally to give. Saying that if one gives $23.11 a month because it corresponds to a verse in the Bible, or a gift of $1000.00, will result in one's children turning to the Lord, or financial prosperity, or a healing, is extortion, it is chicanery, it insults the Lord, and it amounts to preaching "another gospel". It says that what Yehoshua suffered for us to win our liberty was not enough, though just before He died on the cross He said, "It is finished."
I could feel some anointing in that woman's ministry, and I went to her meetings week after week because I was hungry for the reality of God's power, but I got worn down with the shenanigans and eventually too annoyed to attend her meetings anymore. It bothered me that I did not hear hardly anything about Yehoshua. There was not much teaching at all, and the little that she offered was rather shallow. A third of her monologue was about how God performed miracles through her in other meetings that she had been in. This was interesting and I didn't mind listening to it.
What bothered me, besides how much she talked about money and the methods she used to get people to make donations, was how she also used a lot of time to grouch about the criticisms being levelled at her ministry, and how she came close many times to giving up, but she girded up her loins to carry on. Good. So just get on with it, okay? Anytime someone starts talking in a meeting about how they are criticized, the anointing dwindles and I start to feel restless because I feel that my valuable time is being disrespected and wasted. That is not what revival meetings are for; they are supposed to edify and build faith in the Lord. If a person is troubled about criticism, then maybe they should have a meeting with some other people to determine if the critics have legitimate complaints, and pray together about it.
The woman's father came along to join the meetings and shortly after that, I figured enough was enough. I am impressed that a lot of people have been saved through his ministry, but something about his gimlet eyes unnerved me as he sat there looking over the sheep. Their glow and the avid expression on his face made him seem somewhat maniacal, rather than turned on for God. It looked like he was sizing us up, but what for? To gauge our spiritual maturity? Was he waiting on the Lord to give him a prophetic word about various people? Or to figure out how much we could be controlled and fleeced? He gave some encouraging prophetic words, but I still felt uneasy about this man.
I was appalled at the arrogant way he scornfully put down little, "two–bit" pastors who had smaller ministries, letting them know that he was a big honcho in his circles and had nothing but contempt for their criticism of his ministry, on the basis that he was leading a lot more people to salvation and performing more miracles than what they were. Humble, he was not. Even if people don't operate in miracles or do as much for the Kingdom of God as others, it does not necessarily mean that they are mentally deficient and totally devoid of discernment. A person's criticisms can still be valid and deserving of being taken seriously.
It is important to keep in mind that before Yehoshua performed any miracles, God spoke from Heaven and said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." God established at the very start of Yehoshua's ministry that the fruit of the Spirit matters more to Him than the gifts of the Spirit, though it is important to learn to operate in the gifts of the Spirit. Even if a person has never performed a single miracle, God can be very happy with them, and even happier with them than with those who perform legitimate miracles through His power, if that person has better character than the miracle worker.
Spiritual power is not necessarily a stamp of God's approval or a reliable gauge of character and intelligence. Simon Magus had spiritual power, but it was not from God, and he sure didn't have integrity. There have been many people whom God has chosen to operate through who were not what one would consider brainy or holy. They might have a lot of faith in some areas and be good at operating in legitimate miracles, but hopeless at handling finances or bad at controlling their impulses. There are some, like William Branham, who had anointing to pray for the sick, but not to teach. Beyond his specialties, which were salvation and healing, he was not good at rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
Some of Branham's visions and teaching were influenced by a spirit of misogyny. Seeing as he was raised in the backwoods by a hillbilly mother who was only fifteen when he was born, he probably got smacked around on the head a lot when he was a kid, was more deeply wounded than usual because he was more sensitive than other personality types, and his bitterness over injustice and insult at the hands of a woman contaminated his perceptions. He even went so far as to slander and insult our mother Eve, erroneously teaching that she had sexual relations with a snake.
There is absolutely nothing in the Bible to support such an accusation of sexual perversion against Eve, but rather the Bible contradicts it. The Bible indicates that sin did not instantly burst into full–blown depravity, but was gradual, until God had to destroy the antediluvian world because it had become so evil. I am certain that the devil fed some visions and "revelations" to William Branham, enabled by Branham's grudge against abusive women in his life to deceive him.
I was creeped out by how that girl's father kept referring to his daughter by her ministry title of Prophetess, to reinforce the idea that she should be submitted to and not questioned or criticized. I have expounded my views on that subject under RELIGIOUS TITLES. The daughter was into that strategy, too, referring to her guitarist as Minister ________, rather than just referring to him by his name or as Brother _________. It was a little sop for his ego.
On the father's website, if you want to send an email, the button says "Submit!" Um, why the exclamation mark? Maybe they think it expresses enthusiasm, but it comes across as controlling and demanding. In fact, why do any of those buttons on the Internet say "Submit"? Why don't they just say "Send"? That would be much more respectful.
Another thing that bothered me about her father was his report of a meeting that I attended when he sent out a newsletter, building it up, declaring that it had been a huge outpouring of God's Spirit, saying he had never seen the Lord move so mightily before. I thought, "What? You were impressed with that? It was okay, but it wasn't what you are saying it was." It was just a spiritual warm–up, stronger than what I sensed in the church I attended, but I hoped it would reach a higher level. His daughter had talked about some really impressive miracles that she's had in other meetings; I would think that those meetings topped these meetings. In the many meetings I attended, there were not any astounding miracles happening that were backed up with confirming medical reports. As the saying goes, her father was speaking evangelastically, stretching the truth.
I thought of how disappointed people would be if they travelled any distance to attend these "heavily anointed" meetings, and had to spend 1/3 of the time listening to that girl "prophesy" about the blessings God was going to pour out to those who gave such–and–such an amount, another 1/3 of the time listening to her gripe about how she was being criticized, and 1/3 of the time listening to the great ways that God had used her in the past. After reading her Dad's newsletter, I wondered if those stories had been exaggerated, too. If a person who is in ministry is a genuine Christian, then they have to stop this nonsense. God did not call them into ministry so that they could take advantage of His people.
Having a high level of faith that results in miracles is not the plumb line that God uses when He puts His seal of approval on people. 1 Corinthians 13 says that if we have faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, we are nothing but empty, discordant noise makers. It is how loving we are that indicates how full of God we are. It is not love that takes funds meant for ministry and uses them for extravagance. It is not love that compels a person to try to control others to take advantage of their weaknesses. It is self–centredness.
I emailed a minister I know who idolizes a famous minister who lives in a mansion; he calls him Papa ___________, as he has been a mentor to him. I asked him what he thought of how that man lives in luxury at the expense of poor people, and I also challenged him about that business of calling him Papa, when the Bible says we are not to call spiritual leaders "Father", or other titles, because it leads to unwholesome control.
There was no reply to my email, but he made a comment to someone else about his emails. He said he doesn't let himself get sidetracked by trivial stuff. I don't think that this is trivial stuff. The Bible says to ponder the path at our feet. If we don't think about what is right and wrong in ministry, and set our course to do what is right, then we are likely to get off course somewhere further down the line. What I was wanting to know by sending him that email, is if he was likely to follow in his mentor's footsteps.
Right now he seems humble and harmless, but what will he be like if he achieves fame and is entrusted with fortune? Is he carrying the seeds of disaster in his soul because he does not discern the chaff in his hero's life? How far do I want to get involved in the ministry of someone who might be a narcissist, seeing as he credulously admires a narcissist? Is he hiding his real nature, until he feels more secure about showing people what he really is? I am not going to write him off because he didn't answer my email and apparently thinks that my inquiry is trivial, but the red flags that were raised by his comments about his mentor got a little brighter.
As I read those reports about the mansions that people in ministry are living in, at the expense of people who live on pensions and social assistance, I thought about Yehoshua striding into the Temple, overturning the tables of the money changers, and driving the animals out with a scourge. God has said in the book of Malachi that He is going to suddenly come to His Temple and cleanse it. It is ironic that in the very book that preachers use to fleece the sheep, telling them that they are cursed if they don't tithe and give offerings into the "storehouse" (meaning their ministry), contains a warning that Yehoshua's patience is going to come to an end with their greed (or unbelief that He will meet their needs) and manipulation.
Might not He also have some things to say on Judgment Day to those ministers who are drawing salaries in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in some cases, even more than a million dollars a year, about how He was hungry, and they did not feed Him, and naked, but they did not clothe Him? They might protest that they did give some money to charity, but I am not talking about giving token amounts to charitable projects for the sake of window dressing, to reassure contributers that their money is being put to good use. I am talking about the rest of the money that was supposed to be invested in those kind of projects, but got spent on oversized salaries and squandered on status symbols and misused in other ways.
One ministry, that had promised to always have some kind of disaster relief in place, was criticized for it taking them a whole month to get to Haiti to help out there, and then the help was not of the quantity that contributers to the ministry had a right to expect. People were dying of starvation, injuries, and illness, women and children were being raped by thugs because they had no homes or protection, and the people at the head of this ministry live a very wealthy lifestyle. It is wrong, wrong, wrong.
I do not think that anybody has any business being in ministry that is supported by donations, if they are not willing to live a middle–class lifestyle and work out of offices that have been furnished at modest prices. To go beyond that invites reproach on the Gospel. If a person feels that they have to live above that, then let them live off their earnings from tapes and books, but not from tithes and/or offerings. It is not the best solution, but it is better than taking money from poor people to gratify their expensive tastes.
This is a pretty good blog that I have found. It details various errors that are taught by ministers whose work I have admired. I still admire the good stuff that they teach, but I am glad that someone got me thinking more about their teaching; I am glad that my thinking is getting straightened out more. Yehoshua is the only one who thinks totally straight, and I want to have the mind of Christ. The person who does most of the writing on this blog it is not vulgar in her criticisms, and I really appreciate that.
I read something on a blog once that absolutely shocked me. The person sneeringly described a certain manifestation, in one of Todd Bentley's meetings, that he thought was obscene, but only a person with an obscene mind would have viewed it that way. I was amazed at how self–righteous that person was, considering themselves to be a discerning Christian, when what was coming out of their mouth was demonic and defiling. If a person is going to point out error, they should do it in a rational, tasteful way.
Interestingly, that filthy criticism ridiculed a person whom Todd prayed for who probably received a genuine healing. She was a young mother who had been in a desperate situation because of kidney illness. She had three little girls who were about to be taken away by the state because she was too sick to look after them. I rejoiced to hear her testimony of how all her pain left after Todd prayed for her. For the first time, she was able to hold her youngest child in her arms. And there she stood, holding the little girl in her arms! It is no wonder that satan was really angry about that healing.
The person on the blog I read now has a lot of valid insights, but one of the things I cannot agree with is criticism of faith preachers because they have physical afflictions. This is sometimes offered as "proof" that they are fakes, such as Kathryn Kuhlman because she died of heart problems. No, no, no. Elisha was a highly anointed and holy man of God, but he suffered illness and died from it. Was his anointing fake? Not at all; even after his death, he had so much anointing that when a dead man was dumped in his grave and his body hit Elisha's bones, the dead man sprang back to life. I think that this is what Benny Hinn is thinking of when he visits Kathryn Kuhlman's grave.
People who move in healing also are criticized for having loved ones who die of disease, supposedly proving that they are fakes. Ezekiel was a holy man of God, and his beloved wife died of disease, but not for any sin of hers or his. It is hard enough for a person who has seen God perform many miracles of healing to watch their loved ones die, in spite of all their prayers. Regardless of things about them that one does not approve of, it is cruel to ridicule their powerlessness to prevent the death of a loved one, or to alleviate the suffering of those that they love, and their confusion over why their loved one died.
I know that the person who runs the blog is also wrong in thinking that real miracles do not occur in some of the ministries that she targeted. She was very much against Benny Hinn, but I have met a woman whose child was born with cerebral palsey; doctors expected that he would never walk and they said he was mentally retarded. She put her little boy's hand against the TV screen one day when Benny was preaching, and that afternoon the child crawled for the first time, and he learned to walk. He still has some physical challenges and learning disabilies, but he is able to learn far better than the doctors expected and he was healed of cerebral palsey. There were many people praying for the child since his birth, but God chose to use Benny's anointing in the final prayer that brought forth the manifestation of Isaac's healing.
The blogger was wrong about Kathryn Kuhlman, too, declaring that she had no proof that people were really healed in her meetings. That statement is really off the wall. She may not have had doctor's letters from everyone who was healed through her ministry, but there were doctor's letters and x-rays and files from a good many of them.
Also, a lady in a church I attended for many years testified of being healed at one of Kathryn's meetings. Marge suffered from a disease that totally incapacitated her and there was no cure for it. She had no muscle strength at all, to the extent that the skin beneath her brows flopped over her eyes. She was totally restored and ran a restaurant business with her husband, whom she outlived after a long and happy marriage.
When I heard her tell her story about how she was healed in one of Kathryn's meetings, Marge Shogan was in her eighties and the caretaker for the apartment building that she lived in. One of the other ladies in the group that was chatting with her that day asked her if she thought about getting married again. Marge replied, "If I do, it will have to be to someone who is younger because a man my age would not be able to keep up to me."
Hallelujah! God does all things well! I praise Him for what He did for Marge. What a wonderful thing it was that she had a long, productive, and happy life, instead of being a strain on her family. I am also happy about the money they saved by not having to pay for medical expenses to accommodate that disease any longer. Yay Yehoshua! It was not Kathryn Kuhlman who healed Marge; it as the Anointed Lord Yehoshua. Kathryn was merely a conduit for His power. We have to be careful in our zeal for authentification, that we don't make unjust allegations against a person that they are lying, and thereby rob God of His glory.
If we are going to say that someone was not healed, then just as we expect others to prove that people they prayed for were sick and got healed, we should present proof that they were not sick in the first place, or that they did not get healed. It is not good enough to assume that because some were not actually healed, that nobody else really got healed either.
Nor should we assume that because someone who has a medical degree denies that a miracle happened, they are telling the truth. Degrees do not attest to integrity; they only indicate that someone has taken medical training and passed their exams. There are doctors and nurses who secretly are satanists and consider it legitimate to lie when it suits them, and some who are much more benign, but do not want to submit their life to the Lord, and therefore refuse to concede that there is any value in putting one's trust in Yehoshua.
If I have doubts about whether someone is telling the truth about the miracles in their ministry, but can't prove that they are lying, I just leave it with the Lord. If the miracles really did not happen, God will deal with them about their lying. As for giving into their ministry, I prefer to listen to what the Lord speaks to my heart to give in regards to whom, and when, and how much, rather than base my giving on what I think is happening in their ministry or their personal life. God might want me to give money to someone who is behaving irresponsible or like a skunk because He wants to show them mercy. I can't say that I feel enthusiastic about that, and it is not my general practice to give money to people who are irresponsible or nasty, but I am willing to allow the possibility that God might tell me to do it.
I read the testimony of a pastor whom the Lord prompted to give some money to a man who was an alcoholic. He was appalled at the man's irresponsibility, but he obeyed … grudgingly. When he gave the money to the man, he sneeringly told him that he did not think he deserved it, but he was doing it so he could feed his children. The man was shamed, but he was desperate, so he took the money. Some time later, the pastor made a mistake, just a little mistake, but people came down really heavy on him for it. He was rebuked in front of a room full of people. The shaming kept dragging on and on. He asked the Lord why He was letting people be so mean to him.
The Lord reminded him of how he spoke to that man when he gave him money. The pastor admitted that his attitude and manner had been wrong, but he thought that he was being punished too hard. God told him that He held him more accountable because he was more knowledgeable and mature than that other man.
I guess it was similar to how Moses was supposed to gently speak to the rock in the wilderness to bring forth water, but he struck it in a fit of temper and reviled the Israelites for the spiritual immaturity, which caused them to harden their hearts against the Lord, instead of being as softened towards Him as what they otherwise would have been. I think that in the face of gentleness in that particular situation, the conviction of the Holy Ghost regarding their unbelief and murmuring would have made a deeper impact. Does not the Bible say that the goodness of God leads to repentance?
I noticed that the blogger tended to get carried away about Todd Bentley's second wife, too. Okay, so she should not have not gotten involved with a married man, and she should not have married him, but the blogger insisted that Shonna is Todd's real wife and Jessa is not. Well, legally, Jessa is now his wife and nothing is gained by refusing to acknowledge that. Shonna probably doesn't want to have him back anyway, so let it go about how she is his real wife.
Shonna has grounds to get remarried, and I hope she finds a good guy who will appreciate her and be an excellent father to her children, and it would be icing on the cake if he is smarter and better–looking than Todd. He might not be as anointed as Todd, and therefore not be famous, but Shonna is not likely to miss that; she knows first hand that fame is a pain. At this point in her life, it is probably more important to her that her children have a happy home life with a father who is truly there for them. Let's all pray that God will bless her and the kids really big time.
When Todd is ready to recognize that he made a big mistake and repents of what he did, God is ready to forgive him, and I hope that he ends up having a good marriage with Jessa. It gives me no pleasure to think of a bad situation becoming worse, just so that he will get his comeuppance. It sure is cheek, though, that he threw God's gift of a wife back in His face. And bitter irony that, after what Shonna went through before she relented about marrying him, just dreading the idea of it when Todd blurted out that God said she was going to marry him, she ended up getting dumped.
If anyone was so controlling or gauche as to tell me that God said I was going to marry him, I think that I'd tell him to take a hike, and if he didn't leave me alone, I would get a restraining order put on him. Or maybe I wouldn't; we never really know what we will do until we are actually faced with the situation, but it sure would make alarm bells, rather than wedding bells, go off in my head. Maybe Shonna should have run far and fast when Todd prophesied their marriage, but, man, he had that vision by the fireplace and a beautiful poem came to him that he sang or recited on their wedding day. What is a person supposed to make of all that? Well, at least three precious, little children came out of the marriage and Shonna likely learned some good things, in spite of the bad stuff.
I don't think that Todd Bentley has been a fake from the word go, as some people seem to think. He used to be a total mess, but for a while there, he really was vastly improved over what he used to be. He wasn't doing drugs and living on the street. I heard him preach and was impressed with how lucid he was. He talked really fast when he preached because his time was limited, but I had no trouble keeping up with understanding what he was saying.
There wasn't all that razzle dazzle that he displayed at Lakeland, and he wasn't covered in those hideous tattoos that do not do a single thing to enhance his looks or convince rational people of his spirituality, even if they have Scriptural themes. If he wants to be reminded of godly truths, then he should have written them on pieces of paper and stuck them on his walls and in his car, rather than defacing his body like that. What gave glory to God was when Todd stopped looking like a scruff and showed by how he dressed that he had some respect for himself, but then he went back to looking like he lives on the streets. Even worse, he now looks like a biker more than ever, which is a step down, not a step up. Bikers have a reputation for being lawless. Is their style something that Christians should emulate?
It probably was when he slipped back into drinking that his thinking got messed up. Proverbs 20:1 tells us that too much wine (beer is in the same category) scrambles the brain and makes fools of people. How much is too much? Probably more than one glass in a day, and if you think that you have to have a drink every day, you've got a problem. We are supposed to find our rest in God, rather than require wine to unwind. From what I can tell, after one glass of wine or bottle of beer, a person goes from being merely relaxed by the alcohol to starting to get giddy in their brain, even if they can mask it from others for a while longer. I think that if one has safe water to drink, they are better off leaving alcohol alone, except if they need it to sterilize things. If you don't ingest alcohol at all, you won't ever become an alcoholic, unless you are one already.
When I saw Todd in person several years ago, I was impressed with his easy–going self–confidence and ability to not let people engage him in praying extra for them when he sat at his book table. He had already prayed for people; now he was tired and needed to rest, but he was able to guard his boundaries without being obnoxious about it. I thought it was quite a skill that he had developed, considering how insecure he had been before he turned to the Lord. I saw the grace of God at work in his life. It was pure delight to me that the guy who probably smashed my car window when I stayed with some friends in Maple Ridge (a rampage prior to his salvation, that he referred to in his autobiography, intersected with the time and location of this incident) was turning into such a comparatively rational, responsible, respectable person.
The problem is that somewhere along the line, Todd turned away from the Lord; not that he was a fake all along. His fame and popularity went to his head. He veered off into carnality, such as that business about the tattoos, wanting to look like a tough guy, but he put a spiritual spin on it to justify it. He stopped being grateful to his wife for marrying him when he did not have much to commend him, and possibly got to thinking that he was now too good for her. His adultery proves that he is not as wonderful as he thought he was, though a lot of people were helped in miraculous ways through his ministry. As for his teaching, some of it is quite good; it isn't all wrong.
We need to separate the wheat from the chaff in everyone's teaching, measuring it against the Word of God, because nobody has got everything right. We should not assume that because some things are wrong, that it is like drinking juice that has been poisoned. It could just be a wheat and chaff issue. If someone's teaching is at least 75% wheat, and I am not already familiar with what they are saying, I consider it worthwhile to sift through to gain more knowledge.
A lot of ministers start off well, but many of those who become famous fall into pride. In the Bible, we read of King Uzziah, who became so successful that he got to thinking that he was the whole show. He intruded into something that was outside of his authority. As a result, he was struck with leprosy and had to live separate from others from then on.
Interesting thing, though, the most godly man in the land, Isaiah, continued to love him, and was deeply grieved when he died. I am also reminded of Samuel who prayed and cried over Saul, until God told him to stop crying about him and just move on. Samuel rebuked Saul, when Saul had it coming, but he did not despise him, which strongly contrasts with the attitude I generally see from people who are critical of errors made by spiritual leaders who actually are anointed, though they are disobeying God in some important areas of their lives. It broke Samuel's heart to see Saul fall. Saul was a jerk and Samuel had to go into hiding to protect himself from being killed, but Samuel did not at any time delight in Saul's downfall and crow in triumph over his failings as proof at how discerning he was. He just dried his tears and got on with the business of being supportive of Saul's replacement.
I have reconsidered some things from reading the blogs, and I thank God that they have helped me to be more discerning, but I don't agree with how the bloggers seem to think that many of the ministers should be utterly rejected, and their anointing be considered totally false. Saul turned out to be a jerk, but he also won some very important victories. It was Saul who broke the back of the Amalekite empire that tyrannized North Africa and parts of Europe and Asia. He fought back the Philistines who were tyrannizing the Israelites; he won many victories over them. Though he succumbed to pride and greed, Saul was far from being useless to the Kingdom of God, even after his fall.
David recognized that Saul's anointing was still there and that he was a benefit to Israel. He was not blind to his faults, he did not shrink from stating the facts, and he took measures to protect himself from Saul's jealousy, but he did not try to take from Saul what God had given to him. He waited for God to deal with Saul and pass the crown on to him. In the meantime, he did what he could to be a help to Israel.
The Bible should always be our guide. The Bible says to try the spirits, to see if they are of God. Anyone who does not confess that Yehoshua of Nazareth is God come to Earth in the flesh is of the spirit of antichrist. I have read a lot about how what goes on in various, charismatic ministries is a false anointing, but so many of those ministers teach that Yehoshua is God come to Earth in the flesh, that He was born of a virgin, that He lived a sinless life, that He suffered and died on a cross to pay for our salvation, and that He rose triumphantly from the grave and is now seated on the right hand of the Father. That is what it means that the Anointed Lord Yehoshua is come in the flesh. We should always clarify this when we test a spirit, so that the person knows exactly what we are asking, and also to satisfy ourselves that the person is not saying yes to a phrase that is meaningless to them.
Some of these ministers' prophecies are off, but they are not deliberately trying to deceive. Possibly, they have seen visions that were meant to warn of what satan was trying to make happen, but could be reversed or delayed through prayer, and was not meant to be shared as a prophecy, but as a prayer request.
Then there is the issue of bizarre manifestations that provoke the person experiencing them to an irreverent attitude towards God. I think that what is happening is that sometimes false anointings are being manifested right alongside of the genuine anointing. I don't believe that the whole thing is false. We are all trying to feel our way along in becoming accurate in prophetic gifts and discerning of spirits. We need to have patience with each other, to pray for each other that we get more skillful in our giftings, instead of condemning others when they miss it. When the spirit is manifesting, is when we are supposed to test it.
The reason for this is that the person may be a genuine Christian and will acknowledge this at other times, but at the moment, they might be operating under a false anointing. If it is from the Holy Spirit, even if it is upon them so heavily that they can't talk, they will at least nod their head or make it known in some other unmistakable way that they believe this is of the Lord. They will not be offended by the question and they will want to reassure you.
Why should we take offense at someone wanting to reassure themselves that we are operating in the Spirit of God? They have a right to know. If God sent an angel to us with a message, the angel would not be offended at us asking if they acknowledge that Yehoshua is God made flesh, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, paid the penalty for our sins on the cross, rose from the dead, and is seated on the right hand of the Father. If that angel is of the Lord, they will say, "Yes, this is all true," and then give you the biggest smile of approval for having obeyed the Word of God about testing the spirit.
If it is not of the Lord, a person will not give you an affirmative answer. In their mind, they are likely to think, "How dare they question my salvation? How dare they question whether I am genuine or not? This question does not deserve an answer!" So they won't answer at all, or they will spew some vitriole at you, or they will say something, but it will not unmistakably confirm that they believe that Yehoshua has come in the flesh.
Some time later, they may come up to you and give you an affirmative reply to the question, when they have rethought their attitude, but all that will confirm is their theology, not the spirit that they were operating in at the moment that they were asked the question. You might explain to them then that you need them to tell you that when they are under that anointing, so that you can discern the anointing. It will be interesting to see what happens the next time an anointing comes upon them and you put that question to them again.
I think it is interesting how people respond when their salvation is questioned. I had a friend who told me about how someone doubted her salvation and asked her to pray the sinner's prayer with them. She said that she went along with it, but she was deeply hurt by that person's doubt. She said she felt totally disrespected that she was asked to pray the sinner's prayer when she was already a Christian.
I think she truly believed that she was a Christian, when she told me this, but I found out some things about her later that showed me that she was not a Christian and never had been. I had not heard from her for a long time, so I googled her name and wow! All sorts of stuff came up on the Internet about how she had been leading men on, making them think that she was interested in them so that she could receive gifts and money. I also found a site she created for herself a few years back where she claimed that she believed in reincarnation. There is no way that anybody who believes in reincarnation is a Christian. The Bible tells us plainly that it is appointed unto men once to die, and then after that the Judgement.
It sure gave me some interesting things to chew on as I pondered all of our conversations in the past. Everything now made sense. I knew that the Lord had wanted me to be her friend and be kind to her, because He wanted to woo her and persuade her to trust Him as her Saviour and let Him be her Lord. I do not believe that she came into my church with a deliberate intention to deceive. She was deceived herself. She ended up telling me that she and her boyfriend believed everything the right way, that they were real Christians, and the rest of us were deceived. I read some of the lyrics of songs that her boyfriend, whom she later married, wrote, and they were anything but Christian. They were vulgar, filthy songs full of rebellion. I also read his blogs and concluded that even if I had not come across his songs, his blogs were enough to convince me that he was not a genuine Christian. There was a strong spirit of antichrist operating through him.
I concluded that my friend must have said something that related to occult beliefs when she was talking to the woman who asked her to pray the sinner's prayer. She complained to me about it to forestall me from questioning the sincerity of her conversion. She gained my sympathy about being misunderstood. When I read her website, I realized that, though we talked about some controversial issues sometimes, she deliberately concealed some of her beliefs from me that she knew would indicate that she really was not a Christian. Well, we live and learn.
It sure seems to be a real mess that we are dealing with in these last days, regarding this business of finding out which is a false anointing and which is real, but the Lord has not left us without the means to deal with it. It finally dawned on me what we are supposed to do. When a person is manifesting an anointing, we are supposed to ask them there and then if they believe that Yehoshua of Nazareth is God come to Earth in the flesh, conceived by a virgin, that He lived a sinless life, paid the penalty for our sins on the cross, rose from the dead, and is now seated on the right hand of the Father.
I had a little adventure in discernment one Sunday, when I was walking by a church on my way to attend another church. I decided to stop in on this church instead, as it is charismatic. That day I was wearing my hair down, a black top, and a long, black skirt that had a bright floral design on it. Ahead of me, I saw two scruffy guys who were setting out signs in the parking lot; they looked like they had just tumbled out of a bar.
I guess they thought my long, black hair and the long skirt I wore looked sinister because as I passed by, one of them commented to the other, "Methinks we have witches among us." It sounded like something right out of the Salem witch trails that sent many innocent people to their deaths. I thought it was really ironic that I was being judged as evil, immediately after the Lord opened my eyes to discern deception way more than ever before.
My eyes grew even wider as I stood in that church and noticed the witchcraft going on in it. There were two metal posts near the front of the church, supporting the ceiling. I saw occult symbols that pertain to sun worship on them, that many Christians think are Christian symbols because they have absorbed Catholic traditions. It reminded me of the stakes that Jacob set before his flocks when the animals were mating so that the offspring would acquire the attributes he wanted them to have. Those people were looking at those symbols, without realizing what they meant, and they were bringing them into bondage.
The music consisted of a lot of rock and roll, which is in line with the witchcraft practice of utilizing various chords to evoke emotional responses. Secular critics have commented on the hypnotic style of much of the music that is played in charismatic churches, and they attribute the fervor of the congregants to the music, resulting in mass hypnosis. I think that they have a good point and we should pay closer attention to this criticism. I danced to some of the music that day, because I wanted to praise the Lord, and that was all that they offered, but I am more inclined these days to just sit still when hypnotic music is played, or to leave the room and go out of earshot until the song is finished.
There were a lot of people in that church who looked like they had come off the streets, and were determined to continue to dress in a way that they thought was cool, even if it looked slovenly and shouted rebellion. It is ludicrous that so many young people, and older people who are desperately trying to hang on to their youth, but their obvious aging makes them look ridiculous in youthful fashions, think that they are radical for Jesus, but they are too scared to dress in a way that might be criticized as not "cool". Who would think critically of the way they are dressed, or be so unimpressed that they would not give it any thought at all? Headbangers? Punks? Goths? How are they going to have guts when they really need them, if they don't have the guts to ignore what they think addled people might be thinking about them because of how they are dressed?
I watched a woman lay a dead branch on the platform and it horrified me. I thought, "What is she doing? Obviously, she thinks that is a prophetic sign, and she means well, but it is sowing death into the church!" Later in the service, the woman spoke about how the church had experienced so many deaths in a short time, one right after the other (I think she said there were six of them), and how all the trees that they had planted in the parking lot had died.
She said she put the dead branch there as a symbol that she was believing that God would resurrect the church. Maybe she should have put a dead plant in a pot on the stage as her symbol, because branches that have no roots don't live again. The Bible says that every branch that does not bear fruit is cut off and thrown in the fire. I thought to myself, "No wonder there has been so much death in this church; it is full of witchcraft!" The people did not have discernment.
I could see all this, but the people in the church apparently could not. I think that they instantly marked me as a threat because I was a stranger, and an attractive–looking stranger (I was quite slim at that time and it was a number of years ago), who might possibly be a witch who had deliberately entered their church to try to seduce. I was sitting way off to the side, but one of the pastors came and sat directly in front of me, kind of sideways, so he could keep an eye on me and prevent any possible trouble from breaking out.
Well, maybe I should take it as a compliment on my looks that they thought I might have some success in enticing others to stray, but it makes me laugh. I have hardly even dated anyone in the last 20+ years, and when married men tried to get too friendly with me, I kept my distance from them afterwards. As for disrupting the service, I have never done so before, nor did I have any intention of doing it that day.
I sensed a very heavy spirit of control in the church. I never went back there again, but not because I was not accepted. I have gone to plenty of churches where people were not particularly friendly, but persevered because the preaching was good. This church was dying. It's numbers may have been growing because it appealed to the flesh, but it was in bad shape spiritually, and did not seem like it was willing to be corrected. It worshipped culture rather than Christ.
Because so many of the preachers who are criticized for making mistakes when they prophesy confess that Yehoshua is come in the flesh, I think that there must be something to the claim that when people mess up when they prophesy, it is because they are still growing in their gift. Just because a person makes some serious mistakes, it does not mean that they are not genuine Christians or genuine prophets of God. Paul the Apostle was furious with the Apostle Peter and other mighty men of God who watered down the Gospel after listening to Judaizers, and he stated that they were preaching another Gospel. They listened to him and got back on track.
There are many, many pastors and teachers who are genuine Christians, but preach "another gospel", taking the Scriptures out of context about tithing, but they still do the Body of Christ a lot of good. It is hoped that they will eventually see their error, change their message to match the Bible more closely, and thereby become much more effective than what they already are.
I also keep thinking back to how the disciples rebuked a man who was casting out demons in Yehoshua's Name, because he wasn't part of their group. Yehoshua told them to not forbid him to minister to people. He said that nobody who does a miracle in His Name can lightly speak evil of Him, and that he who is not against Yehoshua and His Disciples, and what they were teaching, are actually for them, even if they did not belong to their clique.
And Paul said that he knew that some people had the wrong motives for preaching the Gospel, but he rejoiced that, regardless, the Gospel was being preached and people were getting saved through those ministries. Let's be thankful that ministers who have come under criticism in our times do some genuine good, even though they fall into sin sometimes and/or are in error about some things that they teach. Those may not be the ministries that we want to support financially, but let's still give them credit where it is due and not make them out to be worse than what they are.
If ministries and churches have to be above reproach before we can have respect for any of them, then we are in bad shape, especially here in North America. I don't know of a church who is doing church like it was done in the Apostles' day. They all look messed up to me, but, amazingly, God does use what goes on in them to help people come to know Him and grow in His grace.
I don't know any minister, or even just a regular Christian, who does everything right, but God does work through them, even ones who have some really serious problems. Case in point is the guy who led me to the Lord; he ended up going to prison on a very serious charge, and his life was far from being a good Christian testimony even in his earlier days when I met him, but I got saved through what he told me about what the Bible says.
It sure is astounding what one can learn from those blogs. I recommend the END TIMES PROHETIC WORDS blog to help increase discernment, though the administrator's opinions and visions are not infallible. One guy that I looked up on that blog isn't a Christian at all. He actually promotes the mark of the Beast, saying that the 666 has been misunderstood and brings prosperity. His teaching falls outside of wheat/chaff type of teaching and should not be given any consideration at all, even if he ever says anything that makes sense. This is a poisoned juice situation, but with far more poison than juice.
Then there is this other guy on the list at the right of the page, someone I never heard of before, who talks crudely about sex when he preaches. His name is Mark Driscoll. I listened to the video that was given as a sample, and had to agree that he uses inappropriate language. His teaching appeals to carnal, immature people, but not everything he said was wrong.
He certainly was right when he said that sex is supposed to be reserved for marriage, but I have to disagree with his belief that anything is all right between a husband and wife, as long as they both agree to it. Yeah, right. If a guy harps on his wife long enough, like Delilah did to Samson, he might be able to persuade her to exchange her healthier ideas for his sick ones. Sometimes wives give in to get their husbands to stop whining. Mental abuse then becomes sexual abuse.
I listened to another of the man's videos, and it was actually a really good message that seemed to be supportive of women, but I could not reconcile his good message with the degrading beliefs that he has towards women in other respects. He stated that if a wife is doing something with her husband that she thinks is dirty, the husband probably likes it. It was evident that he encourages wives to "be dirty" in the bedroom.
A wife is supposed to help her husband develop character in all aspects of his life; not help him remain coarse and immature in his sexuality by catering to base and worldly lusts. Ultimately, sex is supposed to reflect the intimacy that God wants with us on a spiritual level. God is not a pervert. He does not seek to degrade us, but to elevate us. If sexual intimacy does not encourage nobility of soul, then it is not totally fulfilling its purpose.
Good role modelling for the activities of a husband and his wife in the bedroom is presented in the Song of Solomon. It demonstrates an aesthetic and respectful appreciation for one another's bodies. It promotes sensitivity and courtship within marriage, instead of taking each other for granted and letting sex become routine. It is a fine blend of romance and passion, rather than raw, crude, and gritty.
Indeed, a wife's body is not her own, but her husband's, and the husband's body is not his own, but his wife's. Husbands and wives are commanded to not defraud each other, but if a husband demands sex of his wife when he has not courted her beforehand (and I am NOT referring to foreplay, but to showing an interest in her as a person, rather than a plaything), he is defrauding her. She is going to feel cheated if he demands sex when she is not emotionally ready for the encounter.
If a husband expects his wife to do something that degrades her, he is defrauding her, cheating her out of her sense of self–worth. If a husband demands sex of his wife when she is tired or ill, he is defrauding her. I had a friend whose husband insisted on having sex every day, even when she was ill and in pain. It drove her up the wall that he constantly expected sex every day of the week. Even his studly friends who were professional athletes were shocked when they found out that he got it every day. It was not the case with them and they did not regard it as a reasonable expectation to put upon their wives. My friend is no longer married to that man; she divorced him and then found someone who treats her with more respect and consideration.
Mark Driscoll says that his church encourages people to have sex with their spouses and a lot of it. If people are having a lot of sex, doesn't it cut into time that they should spend paying attention to their children and also investing in ministry? And what if the wife has a job outside of the home? How does housework ever get done, in that case? And how can they get enough sleep when they are holding down jobs, taking care of children, doing their housework and yardwork, cooking meals, maintaining contact with family and friends, spending time in prayer and reading the Bible, AND getting A LOT of sex?
I had a husband who wanted to have a lot of sex. At first, I liked it, but I did not accomplish much when I was married to him; it takes up a lot of time to get undressed and dressed several times a day. Eventually, I felt really frustrated about his galloping testerone. Too much is just as bad as not getting enough from your partner. What was going on here anyway? Did he think he was competing in a Sexual Olympics?
I felt myself getting more and more annoyed by his idea that adequate sex was three times a day, every day, the same as his meals, and the suspicion that he did not think that I was enough of a woman for him because it wasn't happening as often as he wanted it to. It was the kind of woman I wished to be when I was in my teens and tried to live up to in my twenties, but I outgrew that fantasy. He cured me of it. It was like dancing to a tune that was just too fast for me.
I was too depressed to have any ambition when I was married to my ex–husband, but after he left me to go galloping after other fillies, I reflected on what life had been like with him and thought about what I wanted to do with my future. I doubted that when I got to Heaven and God asked me, "Lanny, what did you do with your life?" and I answered, "Well, I had a lot of sex," that He was going to tell me, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." More likely it would be, "You ninny! Is that all you cared about?" Everything in life should be in balance. A lot of sex means excess, an immature self–centredness, not a sensible and godly ordering of priorities and reasonable expectations.
Mark Driscoll has not only polluted the bedroom; he has also polluted the Bible, so the Song of Solomon currently does not have the impact on him that it was designed to have on Christians. He interprets the gentle, romantic picture of a man cuddling and kissing his sweetheart, and her enjoying the sweet, apple scent of his mouth as he kisses her, as a metaphor for oral sex!
The Song of Solomon is supposed to be interpreted on two levels; the relationship between a married couple, and the relationship between Christ and His Church. If sitting under the husband's shade with great delight and finding his fruit sweet to one's taste is supposed to represent oral sex, then what does that say about intimacy with Yehoshua? What blasphemy!
The fruit of Christ is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self control – not sensuality or anything that degrades a person. Fruit refers to the outcome of intimacy, not parts of someone's anatomy. In the sense of an intimate relationship with a husband, I think it refers to how the husband treats his wife because he loves her and feels honoured that she trusts him enough to marry him, demonstrated by sensitivity to her needs and wants, protectiveness, provision, noble stuff like that, not to how he can take advantage of her emotional or financial dependency on him.
Interestingly, in a book about deliverance from demons, Derek Prince relates how he and his team cast a demon of perversion out of a married woman who had taken up an interest in performing oral sex on her husband. It manifested by flicking her tongue rapidly. It did not surprise me at all that Derek Prince discerned that as motivated by a demon. The very first time I ever heard of oral sex was when I read one of Harold Robbins' dirty books when I was in my teens. Driscoll's interpretation of the Song of Solomon is so vile that I don't think I want to pursue that topic any further.
Mark Driscoll is not someone whom I would trust to be my pastor, nor should any other woman who has healthy self–respect. I think that men in his church would also be better off looking for a church with a pastor who is more emotionally mature and better grounded in the Word of God.
It is no wonder his church is called Mars Hill. I mean, really, what kind of name is that for a Christian church, just because it was a place mentioned in the Bible? It was a place were pagans gathered. Like Mars, Mark projects (in my opinion) a controlling, chauvinistic, violent (violence flavours his speech) spirit, and like Mars Hill of old, it is a place where people gather to get their ears tickled. His vulgarity is apparently perceived by Mars Hillians as "cutting edge", but I know that it is not the cutting edge of what the Holy Spirit is doing. How can I confidently say this is not of God? Because He is the Holy Spirit.
It is true that Yehoshua is not the bland and boring person that many people suppose He was when He walked the Earth 2000 years ago, nor is He effeminate. Mark Driscoll avows that Yehoshua was a construction worker. This is how he justifies his crude, redneck style of preaching. He says that people have gotten the idea about Yehoshua being a "fairy in the sky" because of seeing Him portrayed with long hair and wearing a dress.
Even before I was saved, I never thought of Yehoshua as being anything but brave; not at all weak and effeminate, particularly since men trying to be women was something that Yehoshua strongly condemned. I did not know Him or even believe that He existed, but I knew that the Bible did not portray Him as a weakling. We don't have to talk crude to convince people that Yehoshua was not a sissy; we just need to teach them what the Word says about Him. I think that Mark Driscoll makes these irreverent statements to try to be funny and to shock people; not because he really feels that they are necessary to developing a true understanding of the Lord's character.
The Bible tells us that Yehoshua was a carpenter; He was a craftsman. Maybe He built houses sometimes, but most of the time, He probably worked out of a shop next to his parent's home, making furniture. The modern concept of a construction worker conveys the idea that Yehoshua was a yokel who whistled at girls when they walked by, burped, passed gas indiscriminately, told (or at least laughed) at coarse jokes, swore when He accidentally hit His finger with a hammer, sometimes came to blows with other men, and swilled beer after work. It is evident by how Mark Driscoll preaches that this is how he imagines Yehoshua. I am sure, however, that if Yehoshua was a construction worker, He was an example of manly dignity and was courteous to everybody. He stood out; He did not blend in, because He was not just one of the guys. He was a man above all other men, a prince in the finest sense of the word.
John the Baptist was His cousin and knew Him prior to His baptism in the Jordan. John was raised in a high class, very dignified home, and Yehoshua said that of all the prophets that ever were, John the Baptist was the best. He raised John above Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, King David, Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah (who, by the way, was not a sissy, as Mark Driscoll implied in one of his sermons), Hosea, … every prophet of God, named in the Bible and not named, who lived before John was born. If John was the best of the best, then he was no coarse–mannered redneck.
He was like a prince, but when Yehoshua came to John to be baptized, how did John respond? He was astounded that Yehoshua intended to submit to him so that he could baptize Him. He declared that rather Yehoshua should baptize him because He had a higher level of holiness. This is the testimony of a man who was related to Yehoshua and knew Him personally. I prefer to rely on John the Baptist's testimony, rather than Mark Driscoll's immature concept of Yehoshua.
It really offends me how Mark Driscoll speaks of Yehoshua irreverently. He raises snickers when he asks the question as to whether Yehoshua went to the potty, and replies that of course He did, but since He did everything perfectly, He didn't get the seat wet. Sharing the inconvenience of normal body functions is an important way that Yehoshua identified with us. If He hadn't, we would have doubted that He really understands us and empathizes with the unlovely aspects of our lives. We can say that, though, without turning it into a joke that demeans our Lord.
Mark Driscoll also alleges that Yehoshua had to endure wedgies, like any other guy who has a lot of brothers. I seriously doubt that Yehoshua experienced anything of the sort. First of all, He was the oldest of all His brothers, and He was the head of His home after Joseph died. His brothers very likely always looked up to Him. As for how He treated them, I can't fathom Yehoshua picking on someone, even to tease them in fun.
Yehoshua was perfect; He never behaved in an infantile manner to anyone, nor did His dignity invite any kind of familiarity. We see how adroitly He handled the Samaritan woman when she tried to get familiar with Him through her flirting, picking up on a conversation with Him right away, though it went against custom, and trying to disguise the fact that she had a boyfriend so that He would think she was available for a sexual relationship with Him. He just ignored all that stupid behaviour and cut right to the heart of the matter; she was a sinner and she needed to be saved, and the man she was living with needed to be saved, too.
Mark Driscoll might have a legitimate calling to be a pastor, but I don't think that this man is learned enough in the Scriptures and mature enough as a Christian to be trusted with that position, yet. He is the only pastor in my experience that I have ever thought that about. No, wait a minute. I can think of one other person who has a lot of issues that he probably should get resolved before he pastors a church, but even that guy is way ahead of this one. It is kind of scary to think of how he is likely to confirm some perverted ideas and overbearing behaviours in the men in his church, and groom the women to think that they are not much more than just boy toys who help out with Sunday School classes and potlucks.
In spite of his good message that I listened to, I have no interest in listening to any more of Mark Driscoll's messages. Though there is some actual wheat, his vulgarities and sexually perverse ideas are defiling. In this case it is not so much a matter of separating wheat from chaff as it is separating wheat from chaff AND dung. Clean it up, Mark, before you offer it to others. He had some good things to say, but separating the wheat in this case, would be like trying to retrieve bread that has been tossed into a cesspool. I'd rather look elsewhere for spiritual nourishment, thanks.
If a person is full of the Holy Ghost, they would not agree with this preacher's teaching about sex. He might come across to some as having wisdom, but as the Bible says in James 3:15, "This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish." Mark Driscoll is crude when he speaks about sex, even to the point of being blasphemous when he quotes Scripture out of context to make a joke about masturbation. He attributes the joke as originating from someone else, but I guess he thought it was too funny to not share with others. I am not against interjecting some humour when teaching, but this goes too far.
Jude 1:17 – 19 says, "But, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit." Mr. Driscoll appears to be so insecure about his masculinity that he goes overboard on the macho, and so bloated with ego that he does not realize that some of his views about sex and his manner of speech is unwholesome.
He reminds me of what I was like when I was in my teens and thought that using profanity was "cool". Later when I was backslidden, I fell back into that perverse mindset. Sometimes I shake my head when I think about the stupid ideas I held and that I shared with others when I was backslidden; I was so bloated with ego that I thought those ideas were brilliant. I recall the appalled looks I got from unbelievers when I expressed dippy ideas that were contrary to sound, Christian values, and when I talked about Yehoshua on one hand, but also used swear words when I spoke on other topics. I cringe when I think of what a bad witness I was.
Like I had to, Mark Driscoll needs to repent. He needs to seek the Lord with all his heart because, right now, he is leading people astray. When the Bible says that the marriage bed is undefiled, it means that a husband and wife can enjoy sexual intimacies without guilt, but it does NOT mean that anything goes. Activities that undercut a person from the noble calling that God designed for men and women in His scheme of creation are degrading, even if they are done in the marriage bed.
Personally, I don't think that sex is a topic that should be addressed in detail publicly, particularly in a mixed group, even if it is drawing in the crowds for this guy. While the preacher is going on about these matters, eyes are likely to stray around the room and start thinking inappropriate thoughts about those of the opposite gender. Also there is likely to be a big struggle to control one's facial expressions to pretend that one is not embarrassed or excited by the topic. The subject is better handled when it is put in a book or on a website (using appropriate rather than vulgar terms), so that it can be read and pondered in private. I have written a series called TAMING THE UNICORN that deals with the topic of lust. It is a lot more in line with what the Bible teaches about sex and phrased much more appropriately than what Mark Driscoll is passing off as the Bread of Life.
I went to a website for Christian women with a very active sex drive (a Mars Hill recommendation that supplied a link on their blog) and read some of the blog, that men (who were reportedly Christian) were contributing to, as well. I read just enough to figure out what is going on, so that I can judge if it is worth reading any further. If it is too disgusting, I don't want to defile my mind with it. I could not believe that this man, who purports to be a Christian, condones anal sex. I went to the site to make sure of my facts about what He approves of before I ventured to criticize him for such an atrocious recommendation.
A lot of the women on this blog were nuts. If they are serious about being Christians, then some of them need deliverance. Some bloggers tried to interject rational and Biblical sense into the topic, but they seemed like voices crying in a wilderness of silly women who were being carried away by filthy lusts. Right now they might be doing those things with only their husbands, but when women are that geared to sensuality, their contentment with only one man is likely to be temporary.
Enough of that subject. I found a very good article about NARCISSISTIC CHURCH LEADERS and it supplies a link to the Charismania blog, which has a lot of valuable input. I recommend that you check the article out, and if you realize that this is the kind of person you have a for a pastor, then maybe you should find another church. It will probably save you a lot of frustration and grief.
Copyright © 2010, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on July 10, 2010
Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.