Saturday, May 31, 2008

Todd Bentley - Vibrating in the Spirit

Whatever the spirit is, it sure isn't God! More like 40 proof!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Joel Osteen's Calling?: It Isn't Repentance!

In the Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) yesterday Joel Osteen was interviewed by James D. Davis. During the interview he was asked:

Q. When a preacher reaches prominence, people often ask if he's the next Billy Graham. Do you think you have a shot at it?

A. I don't think about it much. I like to be inspired by Dr. Graham. He's been a hero and a mentor and a friend to me. But we have different races to run. He fulfilled his calling.

Q. What's your own calling?

A. It's the same in a sense: leading people to Christ. But he brings them to repentance, and mine is more focused on hope and encouragement.
And that is one of the main problems with Joel Osteen's teachings. Osteen runs a church. Thousands consider Lakewood to be their home church. Even more watching on TV look to him for their spiritual nourishment.

But what does he offer them? Or rather, what doesn't he offer them? The message of repentance. The message that they are sinners in need of a Savior.

Does he offer them the Gospel? Not really. He says that in every service and broadcast he "gives people an opportunity to receive Christ."

But why would I want to receive Christ? To live a better life? To live my best life now? There are lots of other ways to live a good life too! That isn't the Gospel. The Law and Gospel consist of the fact that I am a sinner doomed to an eternity in hell - except for the fact that Jesus Christ died on a cross for my sins. If all I'm doing is accepting Christ to live a better life I've missed the message of the Gospel.

Now, if Lakewood Church was my church where would I turn to hear the real Gospel? Should I run to another church to hear the message and then run back to Osteen's church so I could feel good? - or doesn't Osteen think a message of repentance is important enough that he needs to teach it?


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Todd Wilken - Jeff Schwarz - THEY'RE BACK!!!

Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz are coming back to haunt LCMS leaders. Click Here for details.


Is Grassley Picking on Pentecostals?

The Dallas News reports:

North Texas' Copeland sees bias in televangelist inquiry
12:00 AM CDT on Monday, May 26, 2008
Jacqueline L. Salmon, The Washington Post

North Texas preacher Kenneth Copeland is leading a counterattack against the U.S. senator who is investigating alleged lavish spending by six high-profile televangelists.

Some of Mr. Copeland's backers question whether Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, is biased against the Pentecostal televangelists because of his Baptist faith.

Mr. Copeland, a subject of the investigation, recently launched a Web site called

He said the senator's investigation is "aimed at publicly questioning the religious beliefs of the targeted churches, their ministers, and their members while ignoring televangelists of other denominations."

Is Grassley really targeting Pentecostals? Or is it more likely that Word of Faith teachers tend to come from that background? I don't see a single person named in Grassley's investigation that isn't a Word Faith teacher, and certainly not all Pentecostals are Word Faith. I think this is simply an attempt to get all Pentecostals behind him, Word Faith or not.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Revitalizing Non-Lutheran Lutheran Churches

Great article on Revitalizing Lutheran Congregations That Are No Longer Lutheran.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Heresy Hiatus

I'll be in Fort Wayne, Indiana next week so I won't be posting for a few days.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Danger of Not Speaking Out

Recently two women named Holly and Sharon have been taking issue with the fact that I speak out against what's going on in Lakeland, Florida with Todd Bentley's revival. They would prefer that I just pray for these leaders and not speak out - in fact they say I'm much like the Pharisees who killed Jesus - which, of course, makes them just as judgmental as they claim I am. People like them will tell people to point to the fruit of these people. They forget that some of that fruit that teachers are supposed to produce is correct doctrine.

Two thousand years ago Holly and Sharon would have had to admonish Paul for publicly exposed Hymenaeus and Alexander. Paul said "Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme. (1 Tim. 1:18-20).

Paul even dared to speak out against Peter! "When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, 'You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?'" (Gal. 2:11-14)

The trouble with the American church today is that it is experience-oriented - feeling supersede Scripture - and if an experience is happening in the church then it must be of God. Word and sacrament are no longer enough for this generation.

Back in 2006 I posted the message below. I think it's worth posting again.

Matthew 7:15-20: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

“I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:29-31).

Those engaged in apologetics often get criticized for always attacking other "Christians" who are just trying to bring people to Jesus Christ. "Do you always have to spend so much time attacking others?" Well, let me answer that with a question: How much time should a shepherd spend weeding the wolves out of his flock? How much time should someone spend heeding the warnings of Scripture that there are wolves right IN the church body? Maybe once a year, and let the wolves roam freely the rest of the year? Or should we constantly be on our guard?

Here is an example from the London Telegraph of how modern-day Christianity is reported:

There were only a few empty seats in Earls Court arena on Thursday night, almost all 10,000 places were taken....On the stage in front of them was a short, orange-looking man with a fat tie and a big grin. "Hallelujah," said Dr Morris Cerullo, prosperity preacher and "harvester of souls". "Oh Hallelujah. I'm just so glad to be here."

On the stage behind Cerullo stood several other of America's most determined money-raising evangelists, nodding their heads in approval: Pastor Benny Hinn, an Israeli, who heals believers by blowing on them; Dr Mike Murdock, a crooner, who sings amongst other things about the beauty of money. All of them with their own trademark way of persuading a congregation to part with cash, and all over here on a hunch that bewildered, binge-drinking Britain might finally have become as open to their message as the American Midwest.

"Oh-ba-ba-ba-ba" said Morris, looking at his watch as his congregation wrote out their cheques and credit card details: up to £250,000. It could have been funny, and on television, in another country, it sometimes is. But close up, the hybrid of Christianity and investment banking seemed to me less of a joke than a threat: if you don't give, Cerullo implied, God won't love you, and if he doesn't love you, he'll keep you poor. Worldly success is a measure of divine approval; after all, he points out, look at me.

Cerullo even ba-ba's like a sheep!! What an impression to leave with the non-Christian of Jesus Christ. Is there anyone out there that DOESN'T see a problem with this brand of Christianity?

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Willow Creek Abandoning Seeker Sensitive - Sort of?

It's about time. From Christianity Today:

Willow Creek's 'Huge Shift'
Influential megachurch moves away from seeker-sensitive services.

After modeling a seeker-sensitive approach to church growth for three decades, Willow Creek Community Church now plans to gear its weekend services toward mature believers seeking to grow in their faith.

The change comes on the heels of an ongoing four-year research effort first made public late last summer in Reveal: Where Are You?, a book coauthored by executive pastor Greg Hawkins. Hawkins said during an annual student ministries conference in April that Willow Creek would also replace its midweek services with classes on theology and the Bible.

Whether more changes are in store for the suburban Chicago megachurch isn't clear. Hawkins declined CT's interview request, and senior pastor Bill Hybels was unavailable for comment.

Since 1975, Willow Creek has avoided conventional church approaches, using its Sunday services to reach the unchurched through polished music, multimedia, and sermons referencing popular culture and other familiar themes. The church's leadership believed the approach would attract people searching for answers, bring them into a relationship with Christ, and then capitalize on their contagious fervor to evangelize others.

But the analysis in Reveal, which surveyed congregants at Willow Creek and six other churches, suggested that evangelistic impact was greater from those who self-reported as "close to Christ" or "Christ-centered" than from new church attendees. In addition, a quarter of the "close to Christ" and "Christcentered" crowd described themselves as spiritually "stalled" or "dissatisfied" with the role of the church in their spiritual growth. Even more alarming to Willow Creek: About a quarter of the "stalled" segment and 63 percent of the "dissatisfied" segment contemplated leaving the church.

...Greg Pritchard, author of Willow Creek Seeker Services, told CT the church "sporadically has recognized it was not teaching a robust enough biblical theology and needed to turn the ship around.

"It is a huge shift," Pritchard said of the church's planned changes to its services. "But they're still using the same marketing methodology. Willow appears to be selecting a new target audience with new felt needs, but it is still a target audience. Can they change? Yes, but it will take more than just shifting their target audience."

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Look Out For Lakeland (and Heresy Hunters)

Charisma''s Lee Grady is expressing some concerns about the Lakeland Revival with Todd Bentley. Here is an excerpt (click here):

I’m a cheerleader for the charismatic movement, so I rejoiced when I heard the news about revivalist Todd Bentley’s extended visit to Ignited Church. It was thrilling to hear the reports of miracles and to watch the crowd grow until a stadium was required to hold everyone. When I visited a service on April 15, I was blessed by Heather Clark’s music and the audience’s exuberant worship. And I laughed with everyone else as I watched Bentley shout his trademarked “Bam! Bam! Bam!” as he prayed for the sick and flailed his tattooed arms over the crowd. Hey, Jesus didn’t pray for people according to the Pharisees’ rulebook, so I’m open to unconventional methods.

But I would be dishonest if I told you that I wholeheartedly embraced what I saw in Lakeland. Something disturbed me, but I kept my mouth shut for three weeks while I prayed, got counsel from respected ministry leaders and searched my heart to make sure I was not harboring a religious spirit. The last thing we need today is more mean-spirited heresy hunters blasting other Christians. I am not a heresy hunter, and I support what is happening in Lakeland because I know God uses imperfect people (like me and you) to reach others for Jesus. At the same time, I believe my questions are honest and my concerns are real.

...Yet I fear another message is also being preached subtly in Lakeland—a message that cult-watchers would describe as a spiritual counterfeit. Bentley is one of several charismatic ministers who have emphasized angels in the last several years. He has taught about angels who bring financial breakthroughs or revelations, and he sometimes refers to an angel named Emma who supposedly played a role in initiating a prophetic movement in Kansas City in the 1980s. Bentley describes Emma as a woman in a flowing white dress who floats a few feet off the floor.

...When the Holy Spirit’s power comes on people they may feel weak or even fall. The Spirit’s power can also cause people to tremble, shake, laugh or cry. Such manifestations are biblical and we should leave room for them. But where do we draw the line between legitimate experience and fanatical excess? The apostle Paul had to deal with outrageous charismatic manifestations in the Corinthian church. People were acting like raving lunatics—and turning the church in to a free-for-all of unbridled ecstatic behavior. Paul called for discipline and order, and he reminded early Christians that “the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets” (1 Cor. 14:32). In other words, Paul was saying that no one under the influence of the Holy Spirit should act out of control. In many recent charismatic revivals, ministers have allowed people to behave like epileptics on stage—and they have attributed their attention-getting antics to the Holy Spirit. We may think it’s all in fun (you know, we’re just “acting crazy” for God) but we should be more concerned that such behavior feeds carnality and grieves the Spirit.

...Some of the language used during the Lakeland Revival has created an almost sideshow atmosphere. People are invited to “Come and get some.” Miracles are supposedly “popping like popcorn.” Organizers tout it as the greatest revival in history. Such brash statements cheapen what the Holy Spirit is doing—and they do a disservice to our brothers and sisters who are experiencing New Testament-style revival in countries such as Iran, China and India. We have a long way to go before we experience their level of revival. Let’s stay humble and broken before the Lord.
It appears that Grady thinks that heresy hunters are, by definition, mean-spirited people who speaking out against error. However, using the word "cult-watchers" is okay. Since he's expressing concern I guess he isn't a heresy hunter, but a cult-watcher. If he wants to call people who expose error heresy hunters, fine, but at least he's expressing concern about this movement regardless of what label he wants use. Certainly took him long enough to recognize what the rest of us knew immediately, though.

Incidentally, I call my blog Heresy Hunter for two reasons - one, the obvious twist on my name, and secondly, the fact that anyone who criticizes the teachings of the Word Faith teachers is automatically labeled a heresy hunter.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Strang On Lakeland Revival

Charisma's Steven Strang has weighed in on the so-called revival taking place with Todd Bentley in Lakeland, Florida. He writes, in part:

The latest outbreak of revival is apparently in Lakeland, Florida. It started with meetings with Todd Bentley on April 2 at Ignited Church pastored by my long-time friend Steve Strader....That was also the church where Rodney Howard Browne's ministry really took off in the United States with extended meetings back in the early 90's.

...Before I attended on Monday I was also beginning to get critical emails about the revival, expressing cautions, etc.

As I've covered the move of the Holy Spirit for the last three decades, I know that anytime there is a genuine move of God, it is guaranteed that certain people will automatically oppose it. These people oppose any move of God that is beyond their own religious experience. The sad thing is that some times they will have some valid criticisms that people like me tend to discount because they are so negative.

Some people also question Todd Bentley's past. He has quite a "testimony" that actually was first reported in Charisma several years ago. But there are those who feel that a person who is less than perfect can't really be used by God. Actually I believe that the Bible teaches that "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise" (1 Corinthians 1:27, NIV).

Also, at one of the meetings recently Paul Cain was given a place on the platform. Unfortunately Paul Cain has disqualified himself from ministry due to various sins in his life he has confessed to including drunkenness and homosexuality. Other ministers have worked to restore him, but we are told that the restoration process has not continued.

...When I was asked later on to describe the service I heard myself saying rather extemporaneously that the first part of the service with worship reminded me of the worship at the Brownsville revival and Todd's style of ministry reminded me of a "Benny Hinn with tattoos." A couple people I've said that to have found it rather funny and have also found it a helpful word picture.

It's too early to really tell the long-term effect of this revival. My report today is neither criticism nor an affirmation. I have not had an opportunity to research any of the miracles or even to talk personally with Todd Bentley. Much of what I know has come from Steve Strader (whom I have known a long time and who I trust).
Yes, "certain people" do criticize these "revivals." They've seen the Toronto Blessing - in my case I went to many of the meetings to see what was going on. They've seen the Brownsville Revival. They've also seen the devastation that results in the lives of disillusioned Christians who rely on experiences for their spiritual food rather than on the Word of God.

If Strang wants to take out of context the passage that God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, then I could give him a list of some very strange cults that God must be using today to confound the wise. Is that his measure of truth? Does he think allowing Paul Cain to speak at this "revival" shows discernment on the part of the leaders at Lakeland? His history is very well known in those circles.

No, give me the Word of God. Give me Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Give me His presence in Word and Sacrament. That's what He left us, not foolish experiences like we see in these revivals.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Holy Spirit Breakout: - Morning Star Fellowship

Rick Joyner's MorningStar Fellowship Church in Fort Mill, SC in April. And they really think this is the work of the Holy Spirit??? I guess they didn't learn from the Toronto Blessing and Brownsville "revivals."

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Todd Bentley Encounters With Angels

More of Todd Bentley's claims. Colossians 2:18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19 He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow."


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Todd Bentley - Jesus With the Bambi Eyes!

Bentley is involved in a "revival" in Lakeland, Florida. The first person you'll see is prophetess Patricia King who introduces Bentley. Talk about an unsettling video!

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