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.
The grey drizzle of November in Vancouver is here, but it has been interspersed with some sunny days, which are very much appreciated. On Labour Day, I witnessed some very interesting weather, which I could not help feel is in some way a prophetic sign, though I am not sure what it means. It was pretty exciting to see, at any rate.
I went to the local library on Labour Day to use their Internet connection. The library was closed, but the foyer of the community centre can still pick up its Internet signal. I had just sat down inside the centre when it started to hail outside with an awful racket. A group of men stood inside by the front doors and looked in amazement at how it was pelting down and knocking the leaves off a maple tree that is planted in front of the library. The hail then stopped and a great wind came along. It lifted up the leaves and whirled them about in the street. We don't usually have such dramatic displays in our Vancouver weather.
I read Scott Holtz's reports from Israel from time to time, and he is always on about how God uses Israel's rains and floods as prophetic signs, so I figure when I see things like this, it could mean something. Those maple leaves could very well represent Canadians, and seeing as they were dead, though still hanging on the tree, it could be referring to Canadians who are spiritually dead, and are about to experience judgment.
I do believe that it is coming, but I am not at all eager for it. When judgment comes to Canada, it is going to hurt a lot of innocent, little children, who aren't guilty of the things that have brought it on. Besides that, though unsaved people are sinners, in spite of their sins, many of them have their good points. Some Christians think that there is something wrong with people if they aren't so indignant about sin that they don't welcome judgment. I hate sin, but I know that God is always grieved when He has to judge a person or a nation.
I listened to Henry Gruver recently, having downloaded from YouTube a radio interview with Stephen Quayle about Henry's vision of a Russian attack on America. Henry makes a really important point that there will be an invasion of America (and probably Canada, too) before the nations come against Israel to invade it. It's right there in the Bible in Ezekiel 38 where God pronounces judgment on Gog, the demonic prince of Russia. It says that he will think an evil thought, and Henry points out that it is evil to contemplate invading a country to plunder it.
Verses 11 – 13 says, "And you shall say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn your hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say to you, Are you come to take a spoil? have you gathered your company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?"
Henry points out that when Russia invades Israel, it will not go up. Up for Russia is north, and when it invades America, the shock troops are likely to pass over the Arctic Circle. This will probably be by submarine. He points out that Israel has lots of bars and gates in its cities, but America's cities are unwalled, and that America and Canada are populated with people who have come out of many nations, and that they have cattle. There are lots of cattle in the Chilcotin, in Alberta, and in many states in the US, and hardly none in Israel. I might also add that desolate places that are now inhabited fits the description of Alaska, which the US bought from the Czar of Russia for about seven or eight million dollars, because he considered it a snowy waste of little value, not knowing of its rich, natural resources.
The young lions of Tarshish are countries that were once part of the British Empire. I always thought that this verse meant Canada and America will stick up for Israel when it was invaded, and accuse its invaders of wanting its riches, but I think that Henry is right that it is about our own lands that we will be making this inquiry. I can only hope that when this prophecy is fulfilled, it will be due to being persecuted because our general population turned to doing good, including standing up for Israel, rather than as a judgment because our nations have become so wicked that Heaven has decided to bear with us no longer. If we suffer for doing good, there will be mercy in the judgment, but if for doing evil, then there will be unimaginable misery.
Either way, seeing as it was predicted in the Bible, the nvasion of our countries will undoubtedly come to pass. Christians had better quit playing games with their heads, kidding themselves that God won't let it happen, and get ready for it. Jesus said in His Word to GO into all the nations to preach the Gospel. Take it seriously and leave the comfortable life the moment God says NOW, before it is no longer something that we can do of our own free will. I read a prophecy many years ago in 1977, of a coming invasion, and it was a reproof from the Lord that we had disobeyed His call to go into all the world, so now we would go forth as slaves to preach the Gospel.
I was a baby Christian back then and it scared me when I read that prophecy, but I didn't take it seriously enough. Many years have passed, and the fulfillment of that prophecy is almost on our doorstep. I now wish that I had used the last forty years to prepare better, that I had not frittered away time, but at least I did not totally waste it. I have read and studied the Bible more than the average Christian, to lay it up in my heart, but what about those who haven't been doing that, or who are come fairly recently to the Lord? Make it a priority from now on to get into the Bible and lay it up in your heart. You don't know what you are going to have to face, but you are going to need the Lord's help to deal with it and be faithful to Him unto death; He reveals His mind in His Word.
There is an indication in Henry Gruver's vision that Christians in some parts of the US will wake up and stop compromising with the world. He said that God supernaturally intervened to turn the enemy back in various areas of attack, though they managed to gain footholds in some parts of the US.
This month brought a change into my life. After twelve years of laying low, not volunteering to do anything of particular importance in church, I sort of got kicked out of another church. Twelve years ago, I was kicked out of a church I loved, one that I had been a member of for thirteen years, because I challenged its pet sacred cow, the tithe doctrine. It was the senior pastor's cash cow; his message on tithing garnered him invitations from all over the world to preach on it. You can get more details on this in my TO TITHE OR NOT TO TITHE page.
Back then, I started going to a church in Ladner after getting the boot. It was a church that I had been attending a lot for several months, in addition to regular services in my home church, because there was a great outpouring of the Spirit there at the time. The pastor of the Ladner church had well–known speakers from all over coming to minister there. One of them was from Texas and had spoken at the other church, as well. When I went up for prayer, he had a word of knowledge about me hiding from leadership. I thought, "Yeah, well, if you knew how leadership has treated me, you wouldn't blame me for hiding from them, and I ain't comin' out!" I was quite content to stay in the background and keep quiet, except for when I praised the Lord in dance, but the Lord tricked me into speaking to the pastor about some things that he needed to hear.
That happened a few Sundays later. When the pastor was preaching, he said that the Lord had given him a revelation during the night about the hidden manna, which is mentioned in Revelation. I got quite excited because I knew that pastor, though he isn't terribly brainy or a good speaker, can really hear from God sometimes. I was all geared up to hear his revelation, but I think he must have gotten sidetracked because he started talking about money, and I don't think that the hidden manna relates to money at all.
There was a wedding at the end of the service, and then a reception. During the reception, drawn by my curiosity about what God had said to the pastor the night before, I approached him and said that I think that the hidden manna isn't about money, but rather about revelation from God. He heard the word money, and assumed that I wanted to argue with him about tithing. He and his wife and the associate pastor and I had met once before to discuss my views on this, and I had agreed to not talk about tithing to anyone in his flock, or to visitors on the church property, in order to be allowed to attend that church.
It wasn't too much of a burden to keep my mouth shut, except for one occasion where a visiting pastor from Ontario talked about how he was going to start kicking non–tithers out of his church. He said that tithes are the dues that Christians are supposed to pay for the privilege of going to church, likening them to health club fees. This guy had some serious issues with arrogance and control; I already knew it was pointless to try to talk sense to him. When the "offering" (more like extortion money) was taken up while a jolly tune was played, a lady giddily asked me if I had paid my dues, yet. I had to keep my mouth clamped shut to refrain from answering, "Jesus paid my dues for me on the cross." There! I said it. It's finally out! I don't want to put myself through that again.
When I approached my pastor about the hidden manna, I hadn't even been thinking about tithing. I was surprised to see him become irate. His face went red as he ranted on and on to me about my views on tithing and my attitude towards pastors. I, on the other hand, felt calm and replied quietly to his allegations. People walked by and stared at him and then at me, probably marvelling at the contrast and wondering why I wasn't upset that the pastor was talking to me like that.
Actually, I thought this confrontation was quite a hoot. Months of attending his church and receiving ministry from him and his wife, as well as from his guest speakers, had built up an anointing in me, and one of his guest speakers had prophesied that God was going to do something contrary to my quiet ways, that He was going to give me boldness, and some people would not like me, but it was alright because God was cutting me off from a fear of not being liked. Hallelujah! It was working!
The pastor's rant didn't end until he got so frustrated that he tried to put a curse on me, telling me that I was going to get in trouble the way I was going. He knew better than that. He knew what I did the last time a pastor told me this, because I told him what I did before when that was said to me, and why. When all the pastors had ganged up on me in his office, and he scolded me for how I responded to my former pastor who had tried to intimidate me with Malachi 3, I pointed out to him that when the apostle Peter spoke out of his flesh to Jesus, Jesus rebuked him by saying, "Get behind me, satan!" The pastor of the Ladner church said, "Well, you're not Jesus." Meaning that I had no right to speak to church leaders like that. I replied firmly, "I don't care who it is, I'm not going to let anyone put a curse on me." He had nothing to say to that, because he would not let anyone put a curse on him either, no matter what their spiritual rank is.
He also didn't let spiritual rank stop him from leaving his church and starting his own church, though his pastor didn't want him to. I am not saying that is was wrong for him to do that. Sometimes it has to be done, if God is calling one to do so, particularly if their pastor is doing things that are seriously contrary to the Holy Bible.
Even knowing better, now at the wedding reception he was trying to put a curse on me because I didn't fall in line with his misconceptions of what he thinks is due to spiritual leaders. I said, "On the basis of Galatians 6:16, I have only one thing to say to that … " I then turned my head, so that he wouldn't get splattered, and I blew a raspberry. His eyes nearly popped out of his head with rage, but before he could do anything further that would give him a stroke, his wife finally rescued him, telling him that she had waited long enough and it was time for them to leave.
That pastor was hot–tempered and sometimes did foolish stuff, but he is basically a good guy. He still let me go to his church, even after having lost that round. And if I wanted to say something about tithing to a guest speaker, he always let me talk to them when I asked for permission. Eventually, after I gave my car to my son for his birthday, I stopped going there. It was a long way from where I lived and took a lot of time to get there on a bus. The great anointing that had been there was ebbing away, so I did not think that it was worth my while to go that church anymore.
I tried out different churches, including a Baptist one and a Mennonite church. There were good things to be said for both churches, and I enjoyed the people whom I met there. If the tithe issue hadn't come up, alienating me from my Pentecostal pastors, I probably never would have gone to churches that don't move in the gifts of the Spirit, so the situation had an enriching element to it. Eventually, though, I got to missing the blessing of the gift of prophecy and words of knowledge. I started going back to charismatic churches.
Most of the time, I didn't say anything to the pastors about my views on tithing, but even when I did, the attitude was gracious. One pastor said that he felt that we are obliged to tithe, but he didn't believe that God would not bless me if I didn't tithe. In spite of him saying that, I did not go to him for any needs, leaving him free to help people who tithed to his church. There was a pastor in another church who always prayed for me when I brought my family's needs to him. He never brought it up with me that I didn't tithe, or even do much in the way of offerings in his church. He just prayed and it helped my various situations a lot.
I talked about my views to a few of the people in his church. I didn't push my views, but if the topic of tithing came up, I said what I think of that doctrine. One time when I was out with a group of people at a restaurant, one of men put me on the spot and said, "So, Lanny, why don't you believe in tithing?" They all looked at me, waiting for my answer. I explained my views, which none of them agreed with, but they weren't argumentative. When I was done speaking, the guy who brought up the subject laughed and said, "And when we are finished here, we're all going to burn Lanny at the stake." We all laughed; the issue wasn't a big deal with them. My friend didn't agree with me, but he accepted that I am different.
When his wife asked me one time, "Lanny, why don't you join the church?" and I started to make a reply, quoting Scripture, she laughed and put up her hands to stop me, and walked away. She knew that I have strong convictions and don't balk at explaining the basis for them. When she introduced me to others, she always commented that I am a woman of God. Maybe she did that because she is a really nice person, but whatever. She is also an honourable lady, the children's pastor in that church, and I don't think that she would say that, if she didn't mean it. She recognizes that, in spite of disagreeing with my views about tithing, I love the Lord.
It was a good church, but I wanted to see more of the power of God, and to get activated more in moving in the power of God. There are so many poor people who need healing, and I hate to feel helpless when I know that Yehoshua still heals, and can move through me, too, if I will simply believe in His Word. I've struggled with unbelief, though.
Andrew Wommack explains pretty accurately what it is that prevents a lot of Christians who believe in the gifts of the Spirit from operating more freely in them. He says, "It isn't doubt. You don't doubt that God can do it." This is true. God made the Universe. How hard can it be for Him to heal someone of cancer, or to make someone's amputated leg grow back, when He has created millions and billions of stars and planets? Andrew says, "You just doubt that God will do it for you, because you don't feel worthy."
He goes on to comment on the irony of some prostitute or drunkard coming off the street and hearing for the first time that God loves them and wants to heal them, and they receive their healing in an instant, whereas Christians are likely to remember that ten years ago, they missed a Wednesday night Bible study, and so they think that they aren't worthy to receive such a great blessing from God, or that God won't use them in a mighty way to minister to others.
Is this because Christians have a more tender conscience? Andrew says it is because, somewhere along the way, we have picked up the idea that we need to please God before He will do anything for us, instead of realizing that Yehoshua has already done all that needs to be done to please God, and it is because of His righteousness being credited to our account when we receive Him as our Saviour that makes us worthy to receive His blessings. Conscience plays into it, the devil loads on some condemnation, and we think that we have to earn God's blessings, which is impossible.
Andrew Wommack's TV videos are a feast for my soul, which I download onto my laptop from the Internet and listen to back to back offline. Seeing as the Bible says it is evil to have a heart of unbelief, I figure that it is imperative to listen to this good teaching a lot to get rid of my unbelief. Andrew teaches how fasting also helps, but I have trouble with that, so I do what I can do for the moment. I have downloaded all eleven years of his videos and am more than halfway now through the ones he made in 2003. Many of the sermons are repeats, but they are worth listening to again and again, to scrub the antichrist programming out of my mind and change my hardened heart.
One of the things Andrew jokes about is "do–overs", like kids will say when they are playing and make a mistake, "Times X, do over." This week I felt like the past 25 years of my life was a mistake and I needed a "do–over."
What brought it on was a situation with the little church in Surrey that I had been attending. Jeff Mayr, the pastor, needed some volunteers for Secretary and Treasurer in order to form a new society that will satisfy the requirements of Canadian tax law, so his church can get charitable status. He has been looking for a church secretary for quite some time, but I have refrained from offering my services because I figured he would prefer one who agrees with all his views and tithes to his church. I was also concerned about volunteer secretarial work cutting into my writing time.
The society Secretary does not have to be the one who performs the normal tasks of a church secretary. I waited to see who was going to volunteer, but there were no takers. I figured that was silly; this thing has to go forward. There were people in that room who said that they believed in this ministry and his vision, but nobody was saying anything, so I offered to be the Secretary. Jeff seemed to like the idea, but then the feathers hit the fan.
There are things about Jeff Mayr's meetings that I really like, and some things that I don't care for, but they aren't big issues. We will never find a church that does everything the way we think it should. People aren't perfect; they make mistakes, and sometimes we are the ones who are mistaken, though we might not realize it. I got a lot of good out of the meetings, regardless of its flaws.
From time to time, the tithe issue came up. I disagreed with Jeff's teaching on this, so I emailed him, sending him a link to my tithe essay. He read some of it, but figured that he had heard all these arguments before and supposed he already knew the rest of what I was going to say, so he did not read it to the end. He continued to teach it the way he considers correct, and I didn't contradict him in the Bible study, feeling that would not be appropriate, but when he raised the issue during fellowship one time, kind of pushing his views, I pushed back and told him that the reason he did not see the sense of my arguments is because, for whatever reason, God hasn't shown him the truth about it, yet. He rolled his eyes, but said nothing further. By and by, he softened his stance on the issue and got more diplomatic about addressing it.
There is a lady in the fellowship to whom I told my views on this subject. She decided when the Secretary business came up, to take me to task about tithing, saying that she thinks it is inappropriate for me to express my views on the subject, if I want to be a part of that fellowship, as they go against what Jeff teaches. She said insistently that everything that Jeff teaches is right. This lady really doesn't believe that Jeff is right about everything. She has agreed with me in times past that Jeff needed to change some things, and one time when we agreed about a certain matter in prayer, we saw the change come about only a few days later. I think she said that to win some points with him. I hate that kind of thing.
I vigorously contradicted her, saying that was ridiculous. I said, "All pastors make errors in their teaching because they are only human! He isn't a god!" (Actually, only God Himself is perfect; gods, which the Bible identifies as devils and humans who are in rebellion against God, are very much mistaken about a lot of things.) Jeff handled my assertion about his frailty quite graciously. He knew that there is no denying the truth of what I said, so he didn't even try. He stayed calm throughout the whole discussion.
I think that this lady who raised the tithing issue has a bee in her bonnet because she doesn't agree with some of the things that I have put on my website, and would like to see me remove the whole site from the Internet. That is the impression I get. When I discussed it with her before, she refused to say if she liked anything about it. When she read my essay on tithing, she was flippant about it, saying that she only believes what the Bible says, and doesn't care what Gary Pifer has to say about tithing. I explained to her that I kept mentioning his name because I don't want to plagiarize, but he was saying what the Bible says. He was also pointing out what the Bible doesn't say. She didn't care. She stuck to her point, though it was a very weak one. I can't possibly respect someone's opinion on my writing when they haven't given it a fair shake.
She accused me of trying to create division and undermining Jeff by speaking to other people in the church about my views on tithing. I tried to explain that I don't talk to everybody about it, but I kept getting interrupted. Part of it was my own fault because when I said, for example, that I don't mention it to baby Christians, I happened to name a person who was in the room. That person got really upset because, unknown to me, he had gotten saved seven years ago. He is a young man and I had assumed that his conversion was of recent origin. Later, in an email, I explained to Jeff as follows:
When it (tithing) comes up, such as when people remark that tithing is the way to go (because God doesn't bless us otherwise), I usually don't let it pass, but it doesn't come up all that often.
I don't like to talk about tithing to new believers because I figure that they might get into a snit about the church's leaders, and run off, ending up not going to church at all. Even if they learn some things wrong, they are bound to learn a lot more that is right, if they stay in church.
Also, if I sense that a person is stingy and looking for an excuse to not give in the offering, when they have the means to do so, I don't bother trying to enlighten them about the tithe issue. I just let them work it out for themselves.
I have spoken about tithing in years past to people who are strapped for money, and feel guilty about not tithing, because they don't need to feel guilty about it. I have mentioned it to unbelievers, too, so that they know that if they were to become Christians, they don't have to give money to the church, unless they are willing to do so. A lot of unbelievers have the impression that pastors are after people's money and are afraid of coming under their control.
Considering the impression they have from the media that Christian preachers are money grabbers, I want unbelievers to know that they can come to God without feeling that they have to tithe to a church, even if the pastor tries to lay a guilt trip on them out of Malachi 3. After they come to the Lord, they will learn about giving offerings, and I leave it up to God to supply the "want to" in their hearts.
During the meeting, Jeff explained his views on tithing a bit better, clarifying that he does not believe that God will not bless people, if they don't tithe. He said that he thinks that ten percent is a good place to start in one's giving, but he encourages people that, if they don't feel that they can afford it, to at least give one percent of their income, or even just anything. So far, so good. He blew it for me, though, when he said that, if a person wants to formally become a member of his church, they will be required to tithe to it.
I figured, "Fine. I won't become a member. I never intended to anyway. I will just hang around until he requires people to sign on a dotted line or make a verbal covenant before he will allow them to do anything significant in this church." I don't believe in formal church memberships and making covenants and signing commitments regarding spiritual matters. I agree with Roger Sapp's views on this issue, which he goes into on his essay entitled, MAKE NO COVENANT. I believe that it is an attempt on the part of leaders to control people that they try to nail them down in this way, instead of trusting God to move on people to do the things that need to be done.
Years ago, I made a promise to God that I would work in the nursery twice a month, as an extra person, and I stuck to that faithfully. When I went into the nursery, I took notice of which baby was the most disruptive, and I concentrated my attention on that one. Usually, they were just tired and needed a nap, so I took them away from the well–meaning people who were shaking rattles in their faces (making them feel crankier), and went off to the other room where I rocked and sang them to sleep. This helped preserve the nerves of the regular workers, who were able to handle the rest of the kids when they didn't have to look after the cranky one.
The woman in charge of the nursery was having trouble finding regular workers for the nursery. She wanted me to sign a paper, making a commitment to be one of the regular workers, so she could put me on her schedule. As one who had dealt directly with God about this, not even being asked by this lady before then to work in the nursery, I was there twice as often as the regular workers. She didn't know when she had it good. If I agreed to what she wanted, she would stop looking so hard for regular people, and I was going to end up in a room full of squalling kids, with no extra person to take care of the most troublesome one who was stirring up all the rest.
I asked the Lord what I should do. He told me to let it go, so I did. Because I would not sign her paper, the woman in charge of the nursery no longer let me come in as an extra helper. I think she considered my refusal to sign on the dotted line as evidence of not being "submitted to authority." Church leaders need to get off of that ego trip about their authority. Church is not a corporation and it is not the army; it's a family, and in a family, brothers and sisters aren't required to make all sorts of formal declarations and sign on dotted lines. We are supposed to pray and trust God to meet our need for helpers.
God can do it without putting the screws on anyone. One time I walked into the kitchen at church and saw packages of food sitting all over the counters and table. I asked the lady who was there what was going on. She said that she and her daughter were cooking for a pastors' conference that week. Since I wasn't working at the time, I volunteered to be their kitchen help. She exclaimed, "Oh, thank you! We have asked everybody, and nobody wanted to help, not even the deacons!" I replied, "That's because I was supposed to help."
They hadn't asked everybody, as they hadn't asked me. As I don't like to cook, I would be an unlikely candidate to ask. I didn't even know this conference was happening, but when I found out, God put it in my heart to help. I figured that chopping vegetables and washing the dishes is the easy part. I didn't have to bear the responsibility for the food tasting good. God can work His way around inside a person's head and heart to get them to do the things He wants them to do.
It was a real blessing in many ways to help in the kitchen. The thing that stands out the most to me, though, is something I overheard when I was sitting out in the hallway, listening in on the teaching. One of the guest speakers was cautioning the pastors against flying around all over the place to confer with other leaders or to minister, when what they needed to achieve could be accomplished with a letter or a phone call. He said that all the travelling was wasting a lot of time and their congregation's money.
That sure made sense to me. Why fly to other cities, taking time away from one's family, if God really isn't in it? Sometimes those trips are nothing more than ego trips. It makes people feel important to travel to far places, because the average person can't afford to do it, as they don't have an expense account or people donating money to them for trip expenses.
I decided then and there that I will never travel unless I am sure that God is in it. I really have to know that I am meant to be there, if I go to some hot country where, without God's supernatural intervention, it would be very difficult to endure the heat; or the cold, on the other end of the spectrum. Even comfortable travelling to modern cities in temperate climates can get a person in a lot of trouble, if God does not mean for them to be there, never mind the grime and crime in troubled places. If I go somewhere and run into problems, I want to know for sure that I am in God's will.
Besides the tithe issue, there are other things on my website that Jeff doesn't agree with. He said that he very much appreciated some of my insights that I have shared there, but there are some things that he considers weird. He didn't specify, but it could simply be a matter of him not having as much knowledge on some subjects as what I have, so they don't make sense to him. He said that if I am going to be a part of his church, I can't express disagreement with any of his teaching to other people. Maybe he will change his mind about that, but that is what he said a couple of weeks ago.
Jeff is pretty new to being a pastor. I think that Spirit Life is the first church he has pastored. Pastors are supposed to encourage initiative and creativity in ministry; not stifle it. I don't think that he is very sure how to go about doing this, though he wants to train others to be leaders. Setting a rule that members of his church can't contradict his teaching is probably something that he didn't think through, but is rather a solution he reached for on the spur of the moment because he was suddenly confronted with a situation that he was not prepared to handle.
If a person is going about teaching something contrary to the Bible, they certainly should be corrected, but pastors need to take a very close look to see if the person really is contradicting the Bible, and give them references from the Bible that are appropriate (in context with the whole Bible), to show them their errors. No pastor has ever offered me anything of real substance to demonstrate that I am mistaken in my views on tithing. They have shown a lot of bluster, attempted psychological intimidation, banned the Bible study that changed my mind about tithing, threatened to expel from the church anyone who distributed it, launched some attacks on what they suppose my character to be, and quoted Scriptures out of context. Jeff is one of the more gracious of my challengers, but he has never taken the time to give me a solid answer that shows me I am wrong in asserting that tithing should ALWAYS be voluntary, and NEVER mandatory, under ANY circumstances.
I agree with about 80% of his teaching, so I rarely have anything to say that is contrary to what he teaches. Most of the things I disagree with aren't worth the trouble to waste my breath on because they are so minor. I sent Jeff a link to an article on spiritual authority in the church, a study that goes into the original Greek, which shows that spiritual leaders aren't authorized to make demands, but rather are supposed to lead by persuading people with sensible reasons, and if they can't do that, back off and let members of their congregation have convictions and interpretations of Scripture that differ from their own.
Iron sharpens iron; people shouldn't throw away a good sword because they sometimes clash with them. When people disagree with us, and have good grounds for doing so, it sharpens up our thinking, making it more rational. A proper understanding of spiritual authority by both the pastor and the congregation regulates leaders, so that leaders don't become narcissistic, but rather examine their requests and rules to ensure that they are rational and reasonable. Here is the article on SUBMISSION TO SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY.
The idea behind the lady's complaint seems to be that, in order to achieve the aims of Jeff's ministry, we all have to be in agreement. I said that the unity that the Bible teaches us to have is unity with the mind of Christ, not with error. That's something that a lot of Christians don't seem to get. They know that God's power flows best when there is unity, but they think that they have to sacrifice their conscience for unity. Well, maybe not themselves, but others in the group who don't agree with their views have to sacrifice THEIR conscience in order to be in unity with what the majority of the people want. This is actually Group Think and Mind Control, not the mind of Christ. I concede that unity is a wonderful thing, but if the unity required is unity with only one person's ideas, who brooks no disagreement, then their insistence on unity is nothing more than a control device.
Otto Koning, a former missionary to Papua New Guinea, had a wonderful way of bringing people into unity for prayer. He used persuasion, not insistence. Otto was visiting a church where someone popped into the prayer meeting and asked the people there to pray for a certain man, who was dying of cancer, that he would be healed. Someone piped up and said (in summary), "We can't pray for him to be healed because it is against his will. I visited him recently and he said that he just wants to go Home to be with the Lord. He wants to die quickly because he is in so much pain. He has made arrangements for his funeral and he hopes that God will use it to bring people to the Lord."
Some of the people at the prayer meeting thought it would be more glorifying to the Lord for people to get saved, than for the man to be healed, particularly since he was sixty years old and they figured that was a good, long life. The pastor said that those who wanted to pray for a miracle could go to another room to pray, and those who wanted to pray what the man himself wanted could stay there and pray. Otto figured that this would be baffling for God to figure out how to answer, seeing as all the people were good folks with sincere hearts, though differing ideas as to what should be done. He pointed out to the pastor that they should be in unity about what to pray. The pastor quickly handed the meeting over to him, as he was anxious to get out of having to sort out the problem.
Otto went to the front of the church and said that he had encountered a similar situation on the mission field. He told of a big, outgoing tribesman named Awo who was very helpful, and Otto asked his wife to join with him in prayer for Awo's salvation, thinking that he would make a good pastor. She replied that God would probably pass him over and choose some little, crippled guy instead, but she prayed anyway.
When Otto went home on furlough, he distributed Awo's picture to scores of intercessors to pray for his salvation. One of the intercessors phoned him a few weeks later and said that they didn't have to pray anymore, because God had told her that it was all taken care of, and to just trust Him now.
When Otto returned to New Guinea, he figured that for sure Awo would receive Jesus as his Saviour, but Awo just shrugged his shoulders and showed absolutely no interest. The other tribesmen informed Otto that this guy acted like a Christian only when he was around him, but he was a wild man when he was out in the jungle. Shortly after that, the tribe was afflicted with meningitis and the man died. Otto was devastated because he'd had such hopes for him. Awo tried witchcraft to get healed and had died screaming in terror of the demons who came to take him to the fire.
For three weeks, Otto was confused about this man's refusal to get saved, but then he learned that this man's brother, Sudabe, had become a Christian. Sudabe died in the jungle, but the men reported that he had come back from the dead for a short time, and told them about having seen Heaven and some of the people they knew, who had become Christians before they died. Sudabe urged the others to believe the missionary and serve God, and then died with a smile on his face. A lot of people came to the Lord through his testimony.
Otto was surprised. Sudabe had heard him preach, but he did not know that this quiet man had become a Christian. He had never prayed for him, and when he asked his wife if she had prayed for him, she said that it had not occurred to her. Otto puzzled about this, but then he figured out that when all those prayers went to Heaven for Awo, God must have said, "No, Awo doesn't want me, but his brother Sudabe does. I will take all these prayers and let them help Sudabe come to salvation."
It made me so happy to think that none of my prayers go to waste, even if they are misdirected. Otto made the point that we can pray for big stuff, or something better, leaving whatever it is that is better up to God to decide, after he saw how God had a better idea than what he had prayed for. This idea was applied to the situation with the man who had cancer. They all agreed that God could heal the man, so they might as well ask for that, but to also tell God that, if He wanted to do something greater, such as if it would be more glorifying to Him to let the man die and save a lot of people at his funeral, then for Him to go ahead. One man got excited and encouraged the people that they were going to see a miracle, or a bigger miracle.
A year later, Otto came back to that church and asked what had happened. He was told that the man who had played the piano for the service was the man they had prayed for. God had healed him. Then Otto realized that God had decided to have it both ways. He isn't limited to only one thing or the other. He could heal the man, and later on when he died, get a lot of his friends and relatives saved. Problem solved.
There should be room for discussion about how to pray for a need. Unity was achieved in this case, not by dictating, but through reasoning, and everybody ended up satisfied, not just those who thought that they should pray for a healing, or those who thought that they should pray that the man died quickly to put him out of his pain.
Unity should not be tyranny. It should be harmony, not harm–on–me unless I comply, and it should consist of sincere love between brethren, not a phony show of affection, appreciation, and solidarity among themselves for newcomers and outsiders. I have noticed that quite a number of churches fall into that trap, and they are full of frustrated, restless souls who force themselves to pretend a level of respect for leadership and each other that they don't actually feel, because they think that it is the good, Christian thing to do, but God says that He desires truth in the inward parts. That doesn't mean that if we feel ugly towards others that we should just let it all hang out. It means that we should recognize that we are having a problem with someone, and try to get it straightened out. Sometimes it isn't the other person's fault, so we shouldn't bother them, but rather admit to God that we need Him to take over for us to love that other person.
Since I have to live with my conscience, and know the perils of ignoring it, I realized that I had to part ways with Jeff and his group, though Jeff did not act repulsive because I disagreed with him on some things. I believe that God called him to Surrey to start a ministry there, and he seems to have compassion for the street people who gravitate to the Whalley area. He is very gentle with a young woman with mental problems who attends his meetings. She has multiple personalities due to sexual abuse when she was a child, and he understands that the personalities are all a part of her, that they are not demons, though demons hide in those personalities. When he prays for her, he speaks to all the splinters of her personality, inviting them to trust Jesus. His approach with her is so sweet and wise.
He also has the guts to deal with the problems of one of his converts who was groomed from childhood to be a witch, and was considered to be a very important witch in this area. Interestingly, I met this lady in the other church I attended, before she was saved. I could tell by the look in her eyes that she had mental problems, but I sure didn't know that she was a witch, never mind a heavy–duty one. This lady had schizophrenia, which God is healing her of, and she lived on the street. God has done wonderful things for this woman, and I believe that He is going to do much more and use her mightily to build His Kingdom.
There are people who are angry that this woman has become a Christian, and they have tried to put curses on her. When Jeff was praying for her, God showed Him a sword with coloured feathers attached to it. He didn't know what that meant, but they soon found out. Back east, nine people who were angry with this woman's defection to the Kingdom of God, and had been casting spells in her direction, each had a dream within the space of an hour and a half. It was the same dream. They dreamed of a sword that was thrust into the ground in front of them, and it had coloured feathers attached to it. They wondered among themselves what the dream meant.
They went to the man who is chief over several of their tribes to interpret the dream for them. He recognized the meaning of the colours of the feathers on the sword and told them that they had gone too far in using black magic, that "Mother Earth" was angry with them. He said that the sword meant that this woman belonged to her God, and He would be angry if they interfered with her any further. He told them that they might have to leave the land.
He also decided to evict from the reservation a Jehovah's Witness, as well as a group of Pentecostals who were just playing church, and get some genuine, Holy Ghost–filled Pentecostals on the reservation instead. I am guessing that he has discerned that it will propitiate God, if he does that. Praise the Lord! Let it be done in Yehoshua's Name!"
I pray that Jeff succeeds in doing what the Lord has commissioned him to do, but I think it was a good thing to get out of his group and spend more time at home. When I was going to his church, I attended meetings three or four times a week. Spending more evenings at home gave me time to watch some videos that I downloaded off of YouTube, and they are what led me to think that I needed a "Do–over" of the last 25 years.
It started with taking notice of Luke 17:21. It says, "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." I also considered Mark 13:21 - 22 that says, "And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect."
The verses in Mark don't refer only to a false Messiah; they also refer to a false anointing. We hear a lot about how the anointing is flowing at meetings here and meetings there, and people run hither and thither to get more of the anointing. I've done it. But it seems that the Lord is saying, "Just sit still and wait on me, for the anointing you need is inside of you, because you have opened your heart to me and I now live in your spirit." That doesn't mean that we don't need prophets and other leaders to minister to us, to impart spiritual gifts and encourage us, but it does mean that we don't have to run all over the place, looking for the anointing.
It also means that, in the process of running around looking for the anointing, we can run into something that is not the genuine article. Sometimes the anointing can be faked with technology. One of the videos I watched showed a famous evangelist praying for people in his meetings, and supposedly operating in a word of knowledge. What he did not know was that a reporter had taken a scanning device into his meeting, that picked up messages to the evangelist from his wife. He had a wireless hearing device in his ear, and she fed him information from prayer request cards that had been filled out before the meeting by various people in the auditorium.
It was sad to watch unsuspecting people rejoicing over receiving "words from the Lord". After the reporter aired his findings on TV, the evangelist declared bankruptcy and quit the ministry. This was back in the 1980's, but I am sure that I watched his program a few times since then. It was still being aired, by why, if there were no people manning telephones to reply to inquiries and receive donations? I recalled how I had felt compelled to watch those programs because I was hungry for God and wanted more of His anointing. It's galling to realize that what was on that show was fake.
Well, the Bible does say in Matthew 24:24, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." This verse does not mean that the elect are never deceived. Everybody, no matter who they are, are deceived at one time or another about various things. We grow in our understanding as we grow in the Lord. This verse means that God will not allow His elect to continue to be deceived. Sooner or later, they will figure it out, if they don't spot it right away. I think that God lets us be deceived sometimes so that we will have more compassion for those who are deceived, instead of considering ourselves superior to them.
If a person thinks that they can never be deceived, they are already deceived, and they stand in danger of getting drastically sucked in by really bad stuff. They might not get sucked into a cult, but they can be blinded by their arrogance and self–righteousness, and subscribe to a false doctrine. Pride goes before a fall.
One of the ways that people become undeceived is that they become willing to listen to others with an honest and open mind, when it is warranted. There are some reports that are so exaggerated that they are worthless, and some where the attitude of the reporter is so self–righteous and condemning that it is defiling. By the grace of God, I found some reports that had enough facts in them to make them worth watching, though there was some exaggeration and self–righteousness.
One of the series that I watched was produced by a man from Australia. He showed a lot of clips of various famous ministers, slowing them down so that viewers could hear the ministers slipping praises and summons to satan into their sermons and prayers. I don't know if I can accept this as evidence, as it is possible through technology to insert sound bites. Also, I really couldn't make out some of the things that this Australian said that the preachers were saying, and in one instance, where he said that one of the preachers said the word "satan", the man actually said, "see." At least, that is what it sounded like to me.
The Australian brother also gave some examples of backmasking, but I can't say that I was very impressed with that either. He has an issue with a song from the Pensacola or Brownsville revival, where a young girl was given a beautiful song about running to the Mercy Seat. He dismisses the beauty of the song and Biblical content of the words because he says that when he has ministered deliverance to people, sometimes demons have caused the person being delivered to sing beautiful worship songs to the Lord, as a distraction, to prevent him from continuing with the deliverance. That puzzles me.
Maybe God gave those people a song in the "night," to encourage their hearts in the midst of their darkness. Getting delivered from demons can sometimes be very traumatic, if the people ministering don't have the faith to do it quickly like Yehoshua did. It takes a lot of patience to bear with people who don't really know what they are doing and drag it out, putting one through all sorts of convulsions. To endure this for several hours, and sometimes coming back for more sessions of deliverance, a person has to be very serious about getting free, unless a show of commitment to strenuous deliverance sessions is just a demonic ruse to get people to waste their time, as well as to confuse Christians about what they have to do to get people delivered.
Maybe that Australian brother knows what he is talking about and it really was a demon who gave those people their beautiful songs. I don't know. I don't have any experience in casting out demons that qualifies me to say much about it, other than just quietly laying hands on people and praying about things that have troubled them. They didn't manifest anything, except for one of my nephews, who developed a fever and headache when I prayed for him to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, after he prayed to receive Jesus as his Saviour when he was a little boy. This is probably because his parents let him play with toys that looked like demons and he needed deliverance. I had to stop praying for him because his parents were not in a position to be more discerning about what they let their kids play with, listen to, read, or watch on TV, and he did not yet want to let go of those things. If other people whom I prayed for felt better or worse after I prayed for their emotional problems, they have never said, but I think that satan has been messing with Christians to make them think that deliverance is a more complicated matter than what it has to be.
Roger Sapp has excellent articles on CURSES and CASTING OUT EVIL SPIRITS that help clarify this topic. ANDREW WOMMACK also teaches about it as a simple process that doesn't have to take very long. I don't know in which videos he talks about this, but it will do a lot of good to look for it in his TV Archives. He was led on a merry dance until he figured out what he was doing wrong.
Keep in mind also that light displaces darkness. Reading the Bible a lot, with a tender heart, not to find fault in it, but to renew one's mind, gets rid of a lot of bad junk. I am sure that when I slowed myself down by neatly copying the Bible out by hand, so that I could meditate on it more deeply, it straightened me out a lot. Many times the Lord has set me free from hang–ups, just by bringing a verse of Scripture to my mind. Psalms 107:20 says, "He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions." Praise the Lord for His goodness, and His wonderful works!
Satan was the worship leader of Heaven before he turned away from God, but can he still compose songs that glorify God? Can he stand to do it, even for the sake of tripping up Christians somehow? Certainly, worship leaders can have all sorts of terrible, hidden sins, but are they operating under a false anointing when they bring forth a song that praises God? Maybe they can do it because there are still some parts of them that are not totally given over to satan, and God gives them those songs to woo them into complete surrender to His love.
I heard a woman worship leader confess that, while writing all sorts of wonderful songs and going around the country to lead worship, she was living a double–life. From the time she was a little girl, she had put on an act for the public, travelling with her family to minister in churches. But she had been terribly wounded as a child. When she was only five years old, she was raped by a group of boys. Her family didn't know. She carried this secret inside her for years, feeling worthless, until God healed her heart, and that helped her behave more like a Christian ought to.
One can point out that fine sacred music has been composed by men who really didn't even know God, but I don't think that means that there is no spiritual merit in their music. Though God prefers for it to be voluntary, He can make anyone praise Him, and I can't help but think that when that happens, something good happens in the spiritual realm, even if the heart of the composer or performer is wrong. I think that it is more powerful when a song is composed or performed by someone whose heart is right with God. There is a big difference between a secular group singing Amazing Grace because it highlights their vocal ability, and someone who loves God and sings it to highlight God's grace.
I know that sometimes songs are written that pretend to praise God, but are really written to laud satan. This will become apparent when the man of sin is revealed, and songs will be sung to him that Christians are accustomed to sing with Jesus in mind. That's something to think about while singing favourite carols when celebrating Christmas, which has its roots in Babylon and is three months off from the real date of Yehoshua's birth.
Anyway, in this song about the Mercy Seat, the Australian brother showed how when it is played backwards, the word "satan" comes up, and that it is pronounced in the correct way to say it in Hebrew, which is say–ton. I thought, "Well, what is she singing when the song is played forwards?" I reckon that she is saying, "Not as,". Does that mean that Christian songs can never have the words "not" and "as" side by side? I know that satanists play around with backmasking, but offering this song as proof of a false anointing sounds too flimsy to me. Until something more substantial arises, I think that we should just let that little girl have the joy of offering her song to God and not offend one who might be what Jesus described as "one of His little ones who believe in Him."
The thing that got my attention on the Australian brother's videos was the hand signals. He had clips of Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and Jesse Duplantis making the devil's horns. When I saw Jesse Duplantis doing it, I thought, "Oh no! Not Jesse, too!" The devil's horns is where the index finger and little finger are pointed out, while the other fingers are held back. A lot of politicians who say they are Christians make those hand signals, too, though they sometimes insist that it is just the Texas Longhorns sign that they are making. There sure are a lot of celebrities who root for the Texas Longhorns, including satanic, heavy metal rock stars during their music videos. Why would those politicians root for the Longhorns, though, when they aren't attending one of their games?
In the case of these preachers, they were not waving to anyone, as politicians tend to do. They were inserting those signals to summon demons while they were preaching, and also while praying for people who had come to the altar. There is nothing natural about that hand signal. It is natural to point the index finger, but not the two outside fingers. That takes a little bit of effort. Watching that video gave me a more robust understanding of the Scripture that says to lift holy hands to the Lord, without wrath or doubting. I knew that it means to attend upon the Lord in worship with a pure heart, not holding grudges against others, but I didn't realize that some people actually do magic with their hands while leading church services.
I've seen Pat Robertson posing on the cover of a magazine, making the lion's paw, which is another occult hand signal. The Bible says in Proverbs 6:12 – 15, "A naughty person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth. He winks with his eyes, he speaks with his feet, he teaches with his fingers; Fraud is in his heart, he devises mischief continually; he sows discord. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy."
Some of the testimonies on Pat's show bless me, and I know that some people genuinely get healed through his ministry, but I feel wary of him because of he seems to be in cahoots with, or sometimes under the control of, occult puppeteers. Even if the photographer instructed him to hold his hand that way, and he was unaware that it had any significance, there are other things he does that offend discerning Christians.
That is no reason to give up on him, though. Christian leaders need a lot of protection, so we should continue to pray for those who look like frauds, in case they are being subjected to worse temptations than we can imagine, such as torture and death threats, or threats to loved ones. One never knows until they are subjected to the same degree of temptation if they would do better, or worse, than the objects of their criticism.
These verses in Proverbs refer not only to criminals working together to set up a con or commit a robbery, but also to signals practiced by secret societies to identify themselves to each other, and to indicate what they need from their fellow initiates, without the people around them knowing what is going on. Benny Hinn undoubtedly knows what the pronged fingers mean. In one of the clips, an assistant makes the devil's horns over a woman they are praying for. Benny switched his microphone from his right hand to his left, so that his right hand was free to push the assistant's hand out of the way, as he was aware that it would be seen on camera.
He was also shown to make exaggerated claims about the healings he features in his videos. He gave out that only confirmed healings were presented for his videos, and one of them showed a woman with polio getting healed. The reporter who interviewed him dropped a bomb on him; it was a set–up. The woman did not have polio; the reporter had sent her there. The woman had not given Benny a doctor's report confirming that she'd had polio, or that she was now healed. He wondered why Benny, if he was tuned in to God, had not picked up on the fact that the woman really did not have polio. Benny didn't have an answer for that.
Then there was this other video where Benny Hinn explained to his congregation why he took Paula White to Rome with him last year. Whether or not he had an affair with her, I leave that to others to sort out. His explanation, which he thought made everything all right, floored me. He and Paula went there to give money to the Vatican! Now there's a can of worms! He said that their money was donated to preserve Michaelangelo's works of art. He pompously strutted about, going on about how he was a patron of the arts, while his choir members' faces in the background made an interesting study.
Some nodded their heads in agreement, as if it is all quite kosher for someone who purports to be a man of God to donate a large sum of money to a church with a track record like the Vatican's. Others kept all expression from their faces, and I wondered if they were starting to wake up and would get out of the Benny Hinn mess. Aside from the issue of what kind of church maintains statues of Greek and Roman gods, doesn't Benny ever stop to think about what Michaelangelo painted and sculpted?
Where in Heaven do little angels cavort about in the nude? Not in Heaven, but most certainly in the myths about Eros, also known as Stupid, oops, I mean Cupid. And how likely is it that David went out to meet Goliath without wearing a stitch of clothing? Michaelangelo was reported to be a homosexual, which would give him ample opportunity to make a study of naked males. His paintings and sculptures do not glorify God; they glorify the flesh and the pride of Man; this is the type of art that Benny patronizes.
Aren't there ungodly billionaires who want to impress people about what wonderful philanthropists they are, who can toss money in that direction? Leave the preservation of the Vatican's works of satan's art to them, and have some pity on poor Christians in Africa, Benny, who don't have enough food to feed themselves and their families, and who live in dark, damp huts that don't keep out the rain very well and are a risk to their health. That's the sort of thing that would make glad the heart of God.
I don't keep up very much with what Paula White is doing, but donating money to the Vatican lost some points with me. I've read other stuff on the Internet about her that I don't know what to make of. When people say that she stayed at the same hotel as Benny, and that they "probably" shared a hotel room, and "probably" shared a bed, that's just gossip. Unless we have absolute proof of adultery, we should keep our mouths shut. If people share a hotel room, it makes it more likely that they will sleep together, but it isn't always the case.
When I was a baby Christian, I went on a holiday with my ex–husband before we married. We shared a motel suite in Salmon Arm for one night, because we didn't know anyone there whom we could stay with. We slept in different rooms, and we behaved ourselves far better than at any other time. Normally, we smooched heavy and cuddled close; but nothing more than that. I no longer believe that hot kissing is appropriate for engaged or dating couples, that it should be reserved for after the wedding.
We watched a movie starring Lawrence Harvey as a guy who was having an affair with a rich man's wife and conspired with her to kill her husband. He hired someone to sneak into her house and put an earwig in her husband's ear, on the premise that earwigs can't back up, and it would burrow into his brain and kill him.
Lawrence should not have stayed over at his mistress's home that night. The assassin made a mistake when he was skulking around in the dark and put the earwig in the Lawrence's ear instead. He ended up being in agony for several weeks, but he recovered. The doctor said that it was a miracle, but there was some bad news. The earwig was a female and had laid thousands of eggs in his brain. Huh.
When the movie was over, my fianceé gave me a short good–night kiss before I went to my own room; we didn't want to start any fires that we couldn't put out. Before I went to bed, I placidly shook out all my clothes that I'd unpacked and put them back into my suitcase, locked it up, and stuffed toilet paper in my ears, so that I could sleep without anxiety. There were a lot earwigs in that place, crawling up the door and whatnot.
When we got to Edmonton, we discovered that my mother was going to Winnipeg the next morning on a business trip. She would be away for several days. It didn't make any difference to my fianceé and me. We were going to get married and wanted our wedding night to be special. We slept in separate rooms and totally behaved ourselves. I think that my mother had her doubts about that. She got back early in the morning a few days later and tiptoed upstairs to see what she would find. I think it blew her away to discover we were sound asleep in separate beds. She was pretty proud of me that day, I think.
I don't think that we should have gone on a holiday together, without a chaperone, because the the Bible says to avoid the appearance of evil. There were people who thought we were sinning, though they found out different. The lady who ran that motel in Salmon Arm was really nosy. She walked into our suite to snoop on us, but was amazed to see that both beds had been slept in, and wondered if we'd had a fight. I explained that we were only engaged and didn't intend to sleep together until we married, but we should have avoided giving people a good basis for suspicion.
Paula was criticized for not mentioning to her congregation that she had gone to Rome with Benny when she talked about what she did on her vacation. She just talked about going to the beach and getting the sand in her toes. Well, unless she really didn't go anywhere near a beach, she didn't lie. I don't like what she went to Rome for, but she didn't lie. She just didn't tell all. If she didn't have an affair with Benny, why would she mention him and get people stirred up, giving them suspicions that they were sleeping together?
Another thing that one of the videos picked at was how she dresses when she preached. I saw a caption that said she wore "Daisy Dukes" on the platform. I thought, "This I gotta see. I can't believe that someone would wear teeny, little shorts in the pulpit." What the person called "Daisy Dukes" was a pair of tailored shorts paired with dark tights. Paula has the figure for that kind of outfit, but she wasn't sashaying around up there flaunting her body. Get a life, whoever you are that made a big deal out of that.
I don't know. Maybe the guy who complained figured that he can't look at a woman wearing that kind of outfit without thinking a lot about sex. He should probably ask someone to deliver him from a demon of lust. I used to wear that sort of thing when I was slim; it's comfy to wear baggy shorts and warm tights. I feel sorry for Paula White being criticized for that shorts outfit because there was nothing "Daisy Duke" about it. If people are sincere about warning other Christians about wolves in sheep's clothing, then they should stick to facts and not exaggerate. And if a remark about their character can't be proved, then it shouldn't be said.
I do think, however, that the Body of Christ needs to be informed about significant errors because the Bible does say to beware of deceivers. And let me tell you, when someone has come under criticism and yells that they hope all those "heretic hunters" go to Hell, it sure sounds like the howling of a wolf who has had his sheeps' hide tugged away. Even if the accusations are unjust, is that the response of someone who loves Jesus and wants to help Him rescue souls from the flames of Hell?
There are things that Paula has done that I don't approve of, such as dating a married man. I did this as a baby Christian; the man who led me to the Lord was still married to his wife. She was living with another man, and, in retrospect, I can't entirely blame her for not wanting to stay married to her husband. He had some serious problems, but I was really dysfunctional back then, so I was attracted to him. I could have saved myself a lot of heartache, if I had steered clear of him and listened instead to the girls at high school who tried to witness to me.
One report says that Paula White dated her husband for two years, when he was still married to another woman. Maybe his marriage was over and he and his former wife were still working out the details of their divorce. Whether he was justified in divorcing his wife, I don't know, but let's just say for argument that she wanted to leave him for another man and he had a Biblical basis to divorce her. To avoid scandal, he shouldn't have dated other women until he was legally free to do so.
If Paula had been smarter, she would waited until then, too, to avoid bringing reproach on herself. If she wanted to get to know him better before then, she should have been careful to see him only when others were around, and to not pair off with him. Better yet, if he was still married, she should have stayed clear, so as to not hinder any possiblity of reconciliation between him and his wife. She was pretty young, though, when she did that, wasn't she? I think that the report said she was 21 when she started dating Randy. Most of us were airheads when we were young. It's more of a disgrace to be like that when we are in our thirties and older.
I will say this for Paula, though: a number of years ago, I heard her give the best interpretation I have ever heard of what the Bible means when it says that David had a heart after God. She brought more clarity to it than I have ever heard anyone else preach on the subject. She said that having a heart after God meant that David was always pursuing God, crying, "God, I need you! I can't do this without you! I want you! I want to do what You want me to!" David loved God's holiness and he wanted to be good. He was humble enough to know that he couldn't do what is right without God helping him. He got complacent in his position as king for a while and forgot to seek after the Lord, but when God caught him up short about the matter of Bathsheba and Uriah, he repented quickly and got back on track.
I don't agree with lavish lifestyles that are supported by money given for ministry, and kowtowing to the head of the Catholic church makes Benny Hinn very, very suspect, but I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt that he really is a man of God who is caught up in something that he wants to get out of, and doesn't know how. Then I saw those videos where he is flashing the devil's horns. Even now, I can't say that he is a total fraud. Yup, the evidence is there that he channels for the devil, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he is totally sold out to satan. Or any of the others who were in that video, but they could be well on their way to the point of no return where God decides He has given them enough chances. A person doesn't have to be totally sold out to the devil to go to Hell. They just have to delay genuine repentance of their sins to the point where it is insulting to the Holy Ghost.
Some people are groomed from infancy in witchcraft, like that lady in Jeff's church was, but not all are groomed to be open about it. Sometimes whole families are groomed to present themselves as squeaky–clean Christians, and some are selected to develop a career as a Christian minister because a lot of people tend to trust Christian ministers, even if they are not Christians themselves. Part of the reason for this is to lead nominal Christians further astray, as well as to deceive genuinely born–again Christians for a while. Also, they are appointed, at some later date, to create a scandal that will discredit Christians and deter people from taking the Gospel seriously.
Satanists are militant against Christians and their master has all sorts of tricks in his bag to take billions of souls down into Hell where they will be tormented forever. One trick is to convince people that he doesn't exist, and another is to do evil things under the banner of Christianity to discredit it, like he did with the Crusades. Have you ever noticed how often people who are stupid (or willfully pretend to be stupid) bring up the Crusades as a reason to invalidate all Christians, without carefully looking into whether or not the people who participated in those atrocities match the Biblical definition of what a Christian is? People have no defence against an enemy that they do not believe exists, and the one refuge they have is denied them, if trusting Jesus as their Saviour can be made to look like a trap.
Some people are raised to think that evil is good and good is evil, but many of them are also taught what Christians consider to be good, so that they can dupe them, as well as present a good facade to the general public and thereby gain influence and power. Somewhere along the way, some of these people learn to truly discern between good and evil. When they make a public confession of faith in Jesus as their Saviour, it is possible that some of them eventually really mean it, but being scrutinized and controlled by satanists is a nasty situation. For these believers, unless God supernaturally protects them, making a complete break from satanism could cost them their lives.
Not everybody has the courage to face martyrdom in the beginning of their walk with the Lord. Some of these hand signals and other things that they do for the cult might just be an attempt to convince their handlers that they are on board with the satanic agenda, while trying to work up their courage to go all the way with God. It could also be that they have demons that they are not yet delivered from, but will be eventually. I think that it may also be that some ministers are bitter against the Lord because He has let them suffer in ways that the public doesn't know about, which they cannot reveal, and they still have to resolve that with Him, though some parts of their personality truly love Him.
Moses went through terrible stuff like that, beginning when he was a child, after he was placed in Pharoah's court. The Bible says that he was learned in all the ways of the Egyptians. Under the tutelage of the evil priests of the Egyptian Mysteries, he was probably subjected to horrible abuse, which is part of the training in that religion for high positions in the government, as well as taught as a little boy how to torture people. Egyptian noblemen were groomed to place the power of the state, and allegiance to Lucifer, above all else. Moses backed out of making the final step that would have totally sold him out to the devil, choosing to suffer with God's people instead. Before then, he was a fake, presenting himself as an admirable person to his troops and the nation, but engaging in various crimes in the precincts of the temples to satisfy the people who controlled him. Look how he turned out in the end, though. God can deliver ANYBODY from spiritual bondage, if they truly want to belong to Him.
The Bible says in James 3:10, "Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be." It happens when Christians are carnal, operating out of the flesh. Should we judge these ministers for operating out of their flesh? How do we know if they started off as just regular people before they went into ministry, or if they were terribly traumatized as children in ways that ordinary people can't imagine, set up as ministers, and have had a lot farther to come than the rest of us in developing faith in God?
The Bible really means what it says about not judging others. God is the only one who is truly capable of doing a good job of it. He knows absolutely everything about those ministers' lives and what is in their hearts. Certainly we can judge their doctrine, comparing it to what the Bible says, and we can judge their fruit, to determine how mature they are in the Lord, or if they belong to the Lord at all, and we can learn to discern between a true anointing and a false anointing, but it is wrong to condemn people, and to dismiss absolutely everything they have got to say, because some of it is off. Everybody is off, in some way. Nobody understands the Bible perfectly.
Mind you, it is a good thing to avoid listening to people whose teachings are mostly poison, and to look for those who preach the purest form of the Gospel that is available. That is why I like to listen to Andrew Wommack so much. I would not dismiss everything Benny Hinn has to say, but I've got only so many hours in a day; I would rather listen to better teachers than him, whose lives are more in line with how the Bible says a Christian should behave.
If people have the basics right, that Jesus is God manifest in the flesh, that He was born of a virgin of the lineage of King David, that He lived a sinless life and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and that He rose victorious from the grave, they might be a genuine Christian, for Jesus said that no man can do a miracle in His Name, and lightly speak evil of Him. This means that, if they do miracles in His Name, though some might be rejected when they stand before the Lord for judgment, they are currently being wooed by the spirit of God to coax them into worshipping Him truly and yielding themselves completely to Him. We might discover that people whom we thought were fakes, at some point, received Jesus as their Saviour for real, and showed love and courage on His behalf in ways that we might never know of until the day when all things are revealed.
This doesn't excuse the extravagant lifestyles that are financed by offerings to their ministry, or the stupid or arrogant things that some them say, or their sexual indiscretions, or drug addictions, etc. Use good sense and don't give offerings to those ministries. Get so tuned in to God that you can clearly hear Him direct where to invest your offerings in His Kingdom. Ask Him to help you cast down your idols, as they tend to get in the way of hearing Him clearly. Don't set people up on pedestals and consider practically everything they do as justifiable, even when common sense tells you that it can't be.
One of the things that I have noticed about some people who are very committed to tithing, is that they justify big salaries and mansions for their favourite, big–name preachers. I suspect that they hope that by tithing, God will be obligated to give them a big, showy ministry and make them wealthy, so that they can live like that, too.
Yearning for fame and wealth is so stupid. The price of gaining fame and possessing wealth is often more than what most people are aware of. It isn't only just hard work involved. Achieving fame and/or wealth means being a target for evil people who don't want you to be influential or wealthy, if you don't go along with their agenda, and only the supernatural power of God can ensure one's personal safety, as well as the safety of loved ones. Sometimes God lets the enemy afflict His beloved, to demonstrate the justice of His sentence of death on satan and his angels, because of what they will do to holy people, when they are permitted to do what they want. He certainly let the Apostle Paul suffer, and it all worked together for his good, as well as to bring many people to salvation.
I am not saying that having fame and wealth is wrong. It is yearning for it that is wrong, but believing God for it in order to accomplish His destiny for our lives, and availing oneself of opportunities that God leads us into, are a different matter. The Holy Bible says that the blessing of the Lord makes rich, and adds no sorrow to it. Just make sure that what is being offered doesn't have strings attached that defile the soul; that it really is coming from the hand of the Lord.
I thought of the things I have been involved in over the last 25 years, which I can now see were error. I am not saying that all the ministers I admired ministered a false anointing. Some may have had a pure anointing, and some could have had a mixed anointing. I sure am glad, though, that I did not have a tendency to manifest strange stuff as much as many of the other people in meetings that I have attended. Most of the time, I didn't fall over when I was prayed for, or even feel anything, but I accepted by faith that God had blessed me somehow. I think He really did. I think that God sees what is in the heart, and He answers accordingly, even if the minister is a total fake.
I am not bothered by people falling down when they encounter the Spirit of God; there is precedent for that in the Bible, as in the case of Daniel. I have fallen to the floor by the power of God, not needing anyone to catch me, and sometimes I went along with falling down, with a catcher to lower me to the floor, because I felt very relaxed and wanted to spend some time basking in that rest. Other times, though, the preacher pressed on my forehead because he wanted me to fall to the floor to make him look good, like he was totally operating in the Holy Ghost. That annoyed me, so I stayed on my feet. And sometimes I stayed on my feet, even when people didn't try to pull that trick, because it was not necessary to fall.
I have seen people behave in charismatic meetings in ways that are really curious, such as a man barking like a dog. Actually, that is just plain weird. At the time, wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt, I figured that he was putting himself in the place of being a guard dog, but I mused on it later, as it seemed to me that the man wasn't very discerning about some things that were obvious to me as being out of order, and he was too critical of ministers who have a genuine anointing on them. I can't imagine Jesus or any of His twelve disciples barking like a dog during a church service, except Judas.
I watched Marjoe Gortner's exposé about how he was forced as a child to remember Scriptures, so he could pose as a child evangelist prodigy and rake in money for his parents. I felt so sorry for him being twisted that way when he was a helpless, little child, and how cynical he became about Christianity. He had the Bible, though, and its light was there for him anytime he chose to see it, regardless of how the people around him behaved. He could have cried out to God to help him have a genuine relationship with Him. By the end of his film, Marjoe was making a mockery of the things he learned about being a preacher, howling like a dog to release his excess high spirits. I was reminded of the Scripture in Revelation 22:15 that says, "For without (outside of Heaven) are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie."
Marjoe's exposé was a lie because he portrayed Christians as complete fools, due to some of them being taken in by him. There are plenty of other Christians who would sensed something was wrong with him, if they had been exposed to him. There are some whom he sucked in who would have become more discerning eventually, and withdrawn from attending his meetings. His story about Christians and their gullibility, and the duplicity of some evangelists, is not the whole story. All evangelists are not fakes. There are even charismatic evangelists who truly love God and live holy, moderate lives. All Christians are not suckers. The Bible tells us that, in the end, those who truly belong to Him are the only ones who will not sell out to the Antichrist.
If it is a sin to to let oneself be conned, even if it is only temporary, it is a much greater sin to take money from people under false pretences, and a greater sin still to not return it to them, or put the money into ministries that meet the requirements of the people whom it was taken from. I never heard a word on that show about Marjoe making restitution. He just chuckled when he counted up the money he obtained by fraud, and made fun of the people whom he fooled, playing to the desires of those who want to justify not yielding their lives to God.
Back in the 1970's when I first learned of Marjoe, I wouldn't pray for him, believing him to have committed the unforgiveable sin – blasphemy of the Holy Ghost. When watching his video, I reconsidered. Blasphemy of the Holy Ghost requires one to believe that God exists, that the Bible is true, that Jesus of Nazareth is the true Messiah and only Saviour, and to defy Him beyond redemption by ascribing His miracles to being the work of demons when you know very well that it isn't so. A child who has been so strenuously groomed for corruption, having his head held under water to force him to memorize Scripture so that he can deceive people into giving money to his parents, is very prone to being cynical about God and the Bible, refusing to believe that He even exists. I think that God takes pity on people who have been deliberately groomed from childhood to be evil, and gives them longer to repent than what most people would think is warranted, if they do not know their background.
This is the sort of thing that God was talking about in the book of Revelation, where He talks about that woman Jezebel, who taught His servants to commit fornication. What she was doing was very wicked, but God said that He gave her space to repent. This woman was Helen, the consort of Simon the Sorcerer, whom we read about in Acts 8. She was a sacred prostitute whom he picked up in Tyre, after seeing her on the roof of a house when he entered the city. Helen was very beautiful, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She served Succoth–Benoth, whose priestesses worked out of little booths, selling their bodies to bring money into her temple. Helen was probably sexually abused when she was a little girl, groomed from childhood to be a sex slave. God knows, He cares, and He reaches out to save and heal, if people will receive His salvation and healing.
I reconsidered what the leaders I trusted said about how people who were blessed in former moves of God sometimes fight the new move of God because they don't understand it; it isn't like what happened before. There is some truth to this, but maybe the people whom we thought were religious had more discernment than what we gave them credit for. If, based on what I read in the Bible, I can't imagine Jesus, or the Apostle Paul, engaging in certain behaviours, such as laughing and laughing when someone is preaching, then it probably isn't from God, even if it feels good.
I recalled the many times when I wished I had the means to go to various meetings where it was said that the anointing was really flowing, and then thanked the Lord that I didn't have the money back then. I might have gotten into a big mess. That doesn't mean that I will never go to meetings where great miracles are reputed to happen, but I don't think that I want to go to one unless I specifically hear from God that I am supposed to go there.
I wondered if I had wasted my time with the churches I have attended in the last 25 years, because some of the things I thought were so good were false, and the famous ministers that the leaders admired were way off base in various ways, but God said to my heart, "No, you learned a lot of good things, in spite of the errors."
I also wondered if perhaps that lady who doesn't think that I should have a website is right, as it can be a hindrance to presenting myself as someone who has it all together, but then I listened to a video series about the Great Delusion of the End Times, and the host said the very same thing that is a big part of my reason for having my website on the Internet. Jesus said that he who loses his life for His sake shall find it, and he who tries to save his life will lose it.
It isn't easy to post controversial stuff. It isn't fun to be criticized. But even if everybody isn't blessed by what I have put on my website, it is worth it for the sake of the people who are encouraged by seeing how the Lord has helped me deal with difficult things in life, who are provoked to think more deeply about the Bible by seeing how much I get into trying to visualize the stories in it, and who appreciate the insights into His Word that God has given me.
As that man said, Christians have to keep in mind the fact that we are just passing through, that Earth is not our real home. The purpose of life is not to win the acclaim of the Pharisees. It is to do God's will. That lady doesn't think that I am doing God's will, that I am teaching error. She is so certain that her views on tithing are the correct views. I used to be certain that tithing is mandatory, but I found out that I was wrong. It isn't one of the vital doctrines of the Church, necessary for salvation. It is something that Christians should be tolerant of, instead of trying to suppress a differing view, if they cannot convince a person through Scripture that they are in error.
There are some who consider it bad form to say anything negative about other Christians, that this hinders people from coming to the Lord, because it does not demonstrate love for one another. Loving others does not mean being smarmily insincere, pretending that they never did anything bad. Jesus said to love one another the way He has loved us, and by our love one for another, the world would know that we are His disciples.
God loved David, and He told us how David committed adultery with another man's wife, and had the man murdered. He loved Samson, and told us of how Samson messed up big time because he associated with the wrong people and gave rein to his lust. He loved Peter, and had it told of how Peter betrayed Him, and how He forgave Peter, and how Peter went on become a mighty man of God, though he still messed up sometimes after that. Paul told about how Peter behaved like a coward in regards to the Gentiles when the Judaizers blew into town because he was afraid of their criticism, and how he bawled him out for it. Jesus had it told about how childish and obtuse His disciples were sometimes, and how He taught them to serve one another, instead of trying to compete with each other. Obviously, telling about mistakes that others have made is not a sin, if the motive is right (and only God is fully equipped to accurately judge motives).
I think that trying to put a good face on Christianity, pretending that Christians don't hurt each other, is very counter–productive to reaching others for Christ, and works against helping them heal from the wounds that life has dealt them. People are fed up enough as it is with Christians behaving like fakes, pretending that they have it all together, and then it pops out that they are actually a mess, though not as big a mess as they were before they came to know the Lord.
Presenting a phony front of perfection tends to make people with serious problems feel hopeless, as they wonder why they are so messed up and can't seem to get it together like those successful, joyful Christians can. It is also a huge shock, if they decide to go to church, to discover that Christians aren't what they made themselves out to be. Some people are drawn to the Lord by people being transparent with them, and warning them of what they might have to face from other believers, but assuring them that knowing Jesus and having His character reproduced in us makes it all worthwhile.
Being honest and forthright doesn't mean that we have to spew everything that ticks us off or that hurt us in the past. There are things that I haven't told about my ex–husband that deeply offended me, as I figured that it wouldn't help anything. Also, there are some things about him that are nobody else's business. Some people know who this guy is, and they don't have to know absolutely everything that he ever did that was wrong. When sharing things about him, I considered if he would be able to deal with people knowing those things about him, if he turned back to the Lord, or if telling those things about him would forever turn him away from God. I think that, deep down, he yearns for God and loves Him enough that he will not let his chagrin stand in the way of making things right with Him and continuing on in His path, and that getting honest about where he blew it in life will help him be excellent in the ministry that God ordained for him.
In spite of Biblical precedent for speaking of mistakes that others have made, I seriously considered something that Joan Hunter said on one of Sid Roth's programs, about how she prays for people that God will erase bad memories, and He does it. She says that she doesn't read people's stories about abuse that they suffered, as it would remind her of things that her ex–husband did to her that God has helped her to forgive and forget, and she doesn't want to remember again. That is certainly a legitimate reason to refrain from reading about other people's struggles, but the accounting of my struggles with betrayal are for people who have not yet arrived at that point, who are still fighting their way through the labyrinth, to make sense of why it happened, learn how they can avoid repeating those bad experiences, and to find some redemptive purpose in the negative things that happened to them.
Also, I don't want to forget how gentle God was with me when my husband left me, how He helped me through the nervous breakdown that resulted because of how I depressed I became over my husband's rejection, and how He opened the Bible to me in a fresh, new way during that experience, using those revelations to help me recover. I learned to laugh at satan during that time, to not take his threats so seriously. I was released to write poetry. After I recovered, I learned to stand up to bullying. I learned about mistakes that I had made. I don't want to forget. There were diamonds in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, bright dewdrops of mercy that shone all around me. Forgiving doesn't always mean forgetting. For those of us who have been abused, it means that we stop hating, or don't even get into it when someone mistreats us.
After seeing those videos of major evangelists flashing the devil's horns, I have become more skeptical than what I already was, but it is not a bad thing to be skeptical. The Bible tells us to beware of wolves in sheep's clothing, so honest skepticism is healthy. It is skepticism for the sake of being a deliberate pain in the butt, or to guard one's comfort zone, that are poisons to one's soul, as well as cynicism, self–righteousness, and a judgmental spirit.
I noticed at the end of one of the set of videos that I watched, the person who produced it invited viewers to join his group, and he seemed to lay on a heavy guilt trip about it, implying that if you are a genuine Christian, you would join with his group. It sounded to me like what the Bible says about how some attempt to draw followers away after themselves. I can be a genuine Christian without joining his group. I appreciate the information he shared, but I don't like it when people try to manipulate me into joining a group. They might be trying to take advantage of a bad situation for selfish purposes, if they stoop to putting guilt trips on people to get them to join them.
I don't know anymore where to recommend new believers to go to church. All churches have problems, and I am much more aware of how mangled they are than what I was when I first got saved. Who knows if the person can handle the problems that are in one church, but will be shipwrecked by the problems in another? If new believers get involved in a cult, I try to steer them away from it, but as to where they ought to go to church, all I can say is to pray about it, get to know the Bible really well so you can clearly discern God's voice, and wait on the Lord's leading. Lead people to Jesus; not to a church. Make disciples for JESUS, not for a church leader. Let Jesus tell folks where to go to church for fellowship and participate in ministry.
I will be visiting a Korean church soon. A few days after I realized I could not go to Jeff's church, unless he changes his rule about not voicing disagreement with anything he teaches, or prohibiting teaching things that he disagrees with and doesn't give a solid, Biblical base for his disagreement, I pondered the possibilty of attending an Asian church, instead of going back to my previous one, which is attended by a lot of Africans. Maybe it was time to experience an Asian church. Well, actually, years ago, I went one time to a Japanese church and they were very gracious, sending someone to sit next to me and interpret. It was so sweet. But I didn't want to put people to the bother of having to interpret for me.
Anyway, a few days after I had that thought about possibly attending a Chinese church, as I came off of the Skytrain, I heard a group of Korean Christians singing songs of praise to God at the station. It was so anointed that my heart felt like bursting and it brought tears to my eyes. I took one of the bulletins that a lady was handing out and was happy to see that they have an English service. It must have been the Lord that I heard them. I had intended to go to my sister's earlier that Saturday, but I was running late. If I had gone earlier, the group from the Korean church might not have been there. It will be so interesting to see if the anointing in their church is as strong as it was that Saturday afternoon at the Skytrain.
In closing, here is a link to THE PINEAPPLE STORY, as told by Otto Koning, who served as a missionary in Papua New Guinea among head–hunters and cannibals. I heard it years ago and it is hilarious! The story also has some very important spiritual principles in it. Otto's dry wit and his transparency about his failings helps make his story easy to remember and those principles easier to receive. Enjoy!
Copyright © 2011, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on December 7, 2011
Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.