Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hank Speaks Out on Newsweek Cover Story & Editorial attacking the authority of the Bible!

The recent edition of Newsweek claims:

"Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side."

Hank Hanegraaff: I spoke about this last week but due to its tremendous significance I would like to again address the issue of the recent Newsweek article on homosexuality and marriage. We talked about this issue in depth on the December 15th, 2008 edition of the Bible Answer Man with Joe Dallas. You can access the archive of this off our Website at, by clicking on Today’s Broadcast on the left side.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the cover artwork for the recent issue of Newsweek, it’s singularly devoted to the Bible. What you see is a black Bible on a stark white cover with a multi colored ribbon coming out of it. While the cover shows the Bible, the contents undermine the Bible.

John Meacham in From The Editor’s Desk says, “No matter what one thinks about gay rights—for, against or somewhere in between —this conservative resort to biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism. Given the history of the making of the Scriptures and the millennia of critical attention scholars and others have given to the stories and injunctions that come to us in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament, to argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt—it is unserious, and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition.” Meacham goes on to further argue that sexual orientation in not a choice but intrinsic to a person’s makeup, that Biblical passages that condemn homosexuality with equal veracity forbid particular haircuts, and that Christians use the Bible to justify and perpetuate slavery.

Religion Editor of Newsweek Lisa Miller is equally dogmatic. She says the Bible endorses slavery and provides conceptual shelter for anti-Semites.

In truth the Bible roundly denounces slavery as sin. The New Testament goes as far as to put slave trades in the category as murderers, adulterers, perverts and liars (1 Timothy 1:9-10). While the Bible as a whole recognizes the reality of slavery, it never promotes the practices of slavery. It was the application of Biblical principles that ultimately led to the overthrow of slavery not only in ancient Israel but in the United States of America as well. Israel’s liberation from slavery in Egypt was a model for the liberation of slaves in general. In American many today are waking up to the liberating truth that all people are created by God with innate equality.

Lisa Miller’s assertion that Bible provides conceptual shelter for anti-Semites is just as outrageous. As is obvious to any unbiased person from a scholar to a school child the New Testament is anything but Anti-Semitic. Jesus, the twelve apostles, and Paul were all Jewish. In fact, Christians proudly refer to their heritage as the Judeo-Christian tradition. In the book of Hebrews, Christians are reminded of Jews from David to Daniel who are members of the Hall of Fame of Faith. Christian children grow up with Jews as their hero’s. From their mother’s knee to Sunday school class children are treated to Old Testament stories of great Jewish men and women of faith from Moses to Mary, from Ezekiel to Esther. The Bible goes to great lengths to underscore the fact that when it comes to faith there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile and that Jewish people through the generations are no more responsible for Christ’s death than anyone else.

Miller and Meacham I think owe the world an apology for perpetuating an idiosyncratic form of fundamentalism that foments bigotry and hatred by entertaining the absurd notion that the Bible provides conceptual shelter for anti-Semitism. It’s about time we put the record straight. It’s about time that we learn that truth is under siege. Because it is under siege we have to equip an army of people with supplies so that they can answer these kinds of outrages.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jonestown and Why God Allows Evil

On 11/18/1978, 30 years ago, 909 men, women and children committed mass suicide at the hands of Jim Jones. In his day he was a run-of-the-mill
Word of Faith teacher, and he duped thousands of people into thinking he was a god who had the power to heal. Every now and then I think it’s good to go back and listen to the voices of those who deceived people yesteryear so that we will not be deceived today. Here is Jim Jones in his own words:

“His leg was healed instantaneously because he saw me as God, God, God, God,
God, God, God!!!"

“When I say I’m God then I feel fruit well up within
my soul and I see it well up in you and I see the sick healed, and the blind
see, and the dead raised.”

“If we can’t live in peace, then let’s die in

“We didn’t commit suicide. We committed an act of revolutionary
suicide protesting the conditions of an inhumane world.”

With statements like these, why does God allow bad things to happen to so many people? This is question is asked over and over again. At first blush, it may seem that there are as many responses as there are religions. In reality, however, there are only three basic answers: pantheism, philosophical naturalism, and theism. Pantheism denies the existence of good and evil because in this view god is all and all is god. Philosophical naturalism supposes that everything is a function of random processes, thus there is no such thing as good and evil. Theism alone has a relevant response — and only Christian theism can answer the question satisfactorily.

Christian theism acknowledges that God created the potential for evil because God created humans with freedom of choice. And then human beings actualized that evil through their choices. The fact that God created the potential for evil by granting us freedom of choice ultimately will lead to the best of all possible worlds—-a world in which “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). Those who choose Christ will be redeemed from evil by his goodness and will forever be able not to sin.

Christian theism has the answers and we need to be able to be equipped to give those answers to a lost and searching world. For more information on evil please see our website at

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Heart of Christmas

Each year during Christmas I communicate the truth concerning Christ’s coming in flesh. This year I want to do something vastly different. I want to take the truths of Christmas and turn them into a Christmas tradition.As such, I did something I have wanted to do for years! I put pen to paper and produced The Heart of Christmas: A Twenty-five Day Devotional so that, just as you prepare your home for Christmas, you will likewise prepare your heart.

Let me point your attention to one of these devotionals. It’s the December 4th entry entitled, A Pagan Festival? The Scripture reading is from Colossians 2:16-17, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” I say in the devotional,

As we continue our journey to the heart of Christmas, let’s pause for a moment to consider a common concern raised each year regarding the validity of celebrating Christ’s coming­­­---namely that when Christmas was originally instituted, December 25th was a pagan festival commemorating the birthday of a false god.

In response we should first acknowledge that this is substantially true. As noted by Dr. Paul Maier, eminent professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University, “The Romans of the time not only celebrated their Saturnalia festival at the close of December, but they also thought that December 25 marked the date of the winter solstice (instead of December 21), when they observed the pagan feast of Sol Invictus, the Unconquerable Sun, which was just in the act of turning about to aim northward once again.”

While this is indeed a historical fact, what if frequently overlooked is the reason the early Christian church chose December 25th as their day of celebration. The purpose was not to Christianize a time of pagan revelry, but to establish a rival celebration. As such, Christmas (Christ Mass) was designed as a spiritually edifying holiday (holy day) on which to proclaim the supremacy of the Son of God over the superstitions concerning such gods as Saturn, the god of agriculture and Sol Invictus, the unconquerable sun god.

While the world has but forgotten the Greco-Roman gods of antiquity, they are annually reminded that two thousand years ago Christ, the hope of humanity, invaded time and space. But as Christians we perceive an ever greater reality. Each year as we celebrate the First Advent of Christ we are simultaneously reminded of the Second Advent in which the old order of things will pass away and Christ our Lord will put all things to right. As the prophet Zechariah put it, “Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.” (2:10-11).

If you cannot celebrate this, pray tell, what can you celebrate?

So, should we celebrate Christmas on December 25th? The answer is a resounding yes we should, we’ve taken a pagan festival and we have made Christ the prince of that day. There is an additional reading from Acts 17; and questions that take the information and impress it on your mind and then there are those wonderful carols. In this case for December 4th, it’s Angels From the Realms of Glory.

So often in our churches, we get pap and dribble and we never really focus on the words
Angels, from the realms of glory, wing your flight o’er all the earth,
Ye, who sang creation’s story; now proclaim Messiah’s birth:
Come and worship, Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the new born King.

The Heart of Christmas: A Twenty-five Day Devotional is a small token of my deep appreciation for your support of a ministry that has brought the Christ of Christmas into the hearts of people around the globe. This is only available through the ministry of CRI and quantities are limited, please log unto our website or call us at 1-888-700-0274.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Intelligent Design

Having just had Election Day, many people wonder if their vote matters. Consider this; judicial activism has given the Intelligent Design movement a really tough row to hoe.

Richard Dawkins, professor of public understanding of science at Oxford and arguably the best known Darwinist on the planet, says those who do not believe in evolution or philosophical naturalism are “ignorant or stupid” or he’s gone as far as to say they are “insane.”

But in place of that kind of rhetoric, those emotional stereotypes, Intelligent Design proponents actually propose reason and empirical science. We recently had Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez on talking about the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, and if you watch that movie the one thing you see over and over again is that those who hold to Intelligent design are in fact very thoughtful and reasonable. The philosophical naturalists like Richard Dawkins look like their rabid.

Intelligent Design proponents are simply willing to follow scientific evidence wherever the evidence may lead. They neither presuppose nor preclude supernatural explanations for the phenomenon that they encounter in an information rich universe. As such, the Intelligent Design community rightly, in my view, practices open minded science.

They begin with the common scientific principle that Intelligent Design is detectable wherever there is specified, organized complexity. In other words, wherever there is information. When this is applied to information rich DNA or irreducible complex biochemical systems or that the earth is perfectly situated in the Milky Way galaxy for both life and scientific discovery, the existence of an Intelligent Designer is the most plausible explanation.

Although its conclusions are not worldview neutral, the Intelligent Design proponents lend no more support to Christian theism than Darwinian evolution lends to atheism. So the appropriateness of Intelligent Design for public education ought to be judged on the basis of the theories explanatory power not on its metaphysical implications.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Homosexual Marriage

I was reading an article in Newsweek titled “Will My Marriage Last?” David Jefferson of Newsweek writes “On Tuesday, Californians will head to the polls. How millions of strangers cast their votes will affect the most intimate parts of my life.” He goes on to say, “I got married on Saturday. I'm just hoping it lasts through next week. Few newlyweds enter a marriage with such low expectations (except for maybe Britney Spears, whose 2004 Vegas quickie was annulled after two days). But my new spouse, Jeff Bechtloff, and I are gay men living in California. And like thousands of couples who've tied the knot since the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage this spring, we rushed to get wed before voters could decide on Nov. 4 whether or not we should.”
He goes on to say, “It's difficult to explain how it feels now, as Jeff and I face the possibility that our marriage could lose its validity come next Tuesday. The absurdity of having the most personal aspect of your life determined by a ballot proposition is best summed up by the slogan on a T-Shirt I saw a gay man wearing this month: CAN I VOTE ON YOUR MARRIAGE? Proposition 8 would change the state Constitution to stipulate "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
A few paragraphs later, David Jefferson writes, “Look, I'm a realist. ‘All men are created equal’ may be the cornerstone of what we call “liberty,” but it has taken a couple of centuries for the American populace to digest the meaning of those words, and I suspect it will take centuries more. When my mother was born, women didn't have the right to vote. When my sister was born, ‘separate but equal’ was the law in the South. When I was born, blacks and whites couldn't marry in several states.”
What I would like to point out here is the need for discernment because David Jefferson of Newsweek has just created a slight of mind. He has cleverly changed the argument from an argument regarding identity. He is right it’s wrong to be sexist and it is wrong to be racist but he has taken that argument which has to do with identity and used it as an argument for a behavioral lifestyle. So he’s confusing identity and behavior. In other words, he has cleverly made a category mistake.
This is once again my way to tell you how critical it is for us to exercise discernment skills. To see arguments for what there are. Are they cogent? Are they clear? Are they concise? Are they correct? Or are these arguments slight of hand and slight of mind?
We need to learn discernment skills so that we can use our well-reasoned answer as an opportunity to share the truth. Not truth that stifles, not truth that paints or caricatures God as a cosmic kill joy. But the kind of truth by which God places parameters around our life so that our joy may be complete.
The problem today is a lot of people want to be God. They want to be the final court of arbitration. They want to decide what sin is and what sin is not. They want to decide which behaviors are ok are which behaviors are not ok. But we have a Creator and an owner’s manual. And we say He, not I, is the final court of arbitration.
Even if I don’t agree, I bow the knee, I submit to the one who spoke and the limitless galaxies leaped into existence because He is a far more brilliant intellect than I. We don’t want to do that, we want to say, “Has God said?” and then make the rules of the game ourselves and determine right or wrong not based on a final court of arbitration but on the size and scope and strength of the latest lobby group.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Religulous with Bill Maher

I just got back from China and realized again the value of always being able to give an answer, a reason, for the hope that lies within you. I got off the plane and the first thing I started hearing about was Religulous, a movie starring Bill Maher, as he interviews people with the purpose of, as he told Larry King the other day, harpooning the whale of religion once and for all. Religion to him is what is poisoning our society and that whale has to be harpooned. He brings up all kinds of reasons why Christianity is no longer tenable in an age of Scientific Enlightenment. It is dead according to him.

In fact, according to him religious ideas such as the virgin birth of Jesus Christ are merely barrowed from ancient pagan mystery religions, such as Krishna of India, Mithras of Greece, and Horus of Egypt. Well, is that true? Did Christianity borrow from ancient pagan mystery religions? Is Bill Maher correct?

The truth of the matter is this; Krishna was not born of a virgin. Krishna was born according to that mythology to a mother who had seven previous sons, hardly a virgin. Mithras was born of a rock, well maybe the rock was a virgin, and we got to give Maher the benefit of the doubt. In terms of Horus, Isis is said to have had intercourse with Osiris after he had been cut into fourteen pieces and his reproductive organs were swallowed by a fish; again, hardly a virgin birth account like the virgin birth account in Scripture.

While it is currently popular to suggest that the gospel writers borrowed the virgin birth motif from pagan mythology, the facts simply say otherwise. Stories of gods having sexual intercourse with women, such as the sun god Apollo becoming a snake and impregnated the mother of Augustus Caesar, hardly parallel the virgin birth account. Moreover, given the strict Monotheistic view of the New Testament authors it should stretch credulity beyond the breaking point to suppose they borrowed from pagan mythology; especially mythologies extolling the sexual exploits of pagan gods.

It has become all too common for people to buy into what has been well described as a unique brand of fundamentalism. A brand of fundamentalism that values rhetoric and emotional stereotypes over reason and evidential substance. Those who suppose that the virgin birth is mythology would be well served to consider defensible argument rather than uncritically swallowing dogmatic assertions. Dogmatic assertions are exactly what you get in Religulous, not defensible arguments.

Fetus Fatigue

A brand new issue of the Christian Research Journal is now out and there is a particular article I’m excited about in this issue written by Douglas Groothuis, a professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary and frequent contributor to the Christian Research Journal. He did a viewpoint article titled, Recovering from Fetus Fatigue.

He says that millions of evangelicals, especially young evangelicals, are experiencing fetus fatigue. They’re tired of the abortion issue taking center stage, so they’re moving to newer, hipper things such as AIDS in Africa, the environment, and cool tattoos. Abortion has been legal now since 1973 —before they were born—so it’s the old guard that get worked up about the millions of abortions that have taken place over the years, to wit the idea of fetus fatigue.

That Barack Obama and the entire Democratic Party are pro-choice is a secondary concern to them. After all, these young people reason that Obama could not do much damage concerning abortion. They may be thinking, “No he wouldn’t enact Pro-Life policies but he says he wants abortions to decrease.” In the midst of such causal sentiment Groothuis says, “I’m compelled to say in no uncertain terms ‘For God’s sake evangelicals, if that word has any meaning today, please wake up and consider the acres of tiny bloody corpses that you cannot see.’”

Yes, the Christian vision is holistic and we should endeavor to restore shalom to the whole of this beleaguered planet under the lordship of Jesus Christ, and that includes helping Africa, preserving the environment, combating human trafficking and much, much more. The leading domestic moral issue however, continues to be the value of helpless unborn human life. Since Roe V Wade over 1 million unborn human beings have been killed through abortion each and every year. That puts the total well over 35 million.

The Russian, Marxist, totalitarian Joseph Stalin said “One death is a tragedy, a million dead is just a statistic.” Too many evangelicals are Stalinists on abortion since the numbers apparently mean nothing to them. Things have declined to the point where bumper stickers say, “Don’t like abortion; then don’t have one.” How about “Don’t like slavery; don’t have one.” The two cases are exactly parallel, if slavery is not a private issue then neither is abortion. Since they both involve questions of the value of human lives. Again, Groothius says, “For God’s sake evangelicals wake up; remember the least, the last, the lost, the millions of unborn human beings whose lives hang in the balance. This is not the only issue of moral significance but it is a titanic issue that cannot be ignored. Rouse yourself to recover from fetus fatigue. God is watching and waiting even as the blood of the innocent unborn cry’s out from the ground.”

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Economy and Our Response

When I was watching the news on Monday September 29, 2008, I heard a lot of people pray, “heaven help us” as they watched the DOW JONES Industrial tank with the largest single drop in history at 777 points. I think we ought to pray “Your will be done” because when we do we are recognizing the sovereignty of God over every aspect of our daily lives.

In effect we’re saying, “Thank God, this world, this economy is not under my control, it’s under His.” It’s a way of saying we would be in deep trouble if God gave us everything for which we asked. The fact is we just don’t know what’s best for us. We only see a snapshot in time. God sees the entire panoply thus His perspective is far superior to ours. To pray “Your will be done” is daily recognition that our wills must be submitted to His will.

One of the most comforting thoughts that can penetrate a human mind yielded to the will of God is that He who has created us also knows what’s best for us. So if we walk according to His will rather than trying to command Him to our wills, we will have as He promised not a panacea, but peace in the midst of the storm. There’s great peace in knowing that the one who taught us to pray “Your will be done” has every single detail of our lives, including the stock market and the financial crisis, under His control.

To pray “Your will be done” then, is a daily recognition that God is not going to spare us from trial or tribulation but He will use the fiery furnace to purge impurities from our lives. Ultimately that was the message of the book of Job. Job endured more tragedy in a single day than most people will experience in the stock market. Yet, in his darkest hour Job uttered words of faith, “thou He slay me yet will I trust in Him.” (Job 13:15).

Child of God, the hope is not in the stock market but in a new heaven and new earth wherein righteousness dwells. A lot of people today are putting their eye on the wrong ball when it comes to the faith game. Faith is only as good as the object in whom it is placed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Evolution of the Eye

In his landmark publication The Origins of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin avowed that “to suppose the eye with all of its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberrations could have been formed by natural selection seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree possible.” Darwin went on to label this dilemma as the problem of organs of extreme perfection and complication.

Let’s consider what Darwin was talking about. Think for a moment about the incredible complexity of the human eye. It consists of a ball with a lens on one side and a light sensitive retina that’s made of rods and cones inside the other. The lens itself has a sturdy protective covering; it’s called a cornea, and sits over the iris designed to protect the eye for excessive light. The eye contains a fantastic watery substance that is replaced every four hours. Tear glands continuously flush the outside clean. In addition an eyelid sweeps secretions over the cornea to keep it moist. Of course there are also the eyelids or the eyelashes that protect the eye from dust.

Well, it’s one thing to stretch credulity by suggesting that the complexities of the eye evolved by chance; it’s quite another to surmise that the eye could have evolved in concert with a myriad of other coordinated functions. Here’s a case in point, you have extraordinarily tuned muscles that surround the eye for precision motility and shape the lens for the function of focus. Not only this, but consider the fact that as you look around their are a vast number of impulses that are traveling from your eyes through millions of nerve fibers that transmit information to a complex computing center in your brain, which is called the visual cortex. Linking the visual information from your eyes to motor centers in the brain is absolutely critical in creating a vast number of bodily functions that are axiomatic to the process of daily living.

With this coordinated development of the eye in synergistic fashion, the isolated developments would not only be meaningless they would be counterproductive. Well, what’s happened? We no longer live in Charles Darwin’s 19th century science; we live in an age of scientific enlightenment. What Darwin once thought to be relatively simple actually involved staggeringly complicated biochemical processes that demand explanation. Evolution simply cannot account for this inexplicable Lilliputian world of complexity.

Bill Maher on Bible Interpretation

For more than a decade popular TV personality Bill Maher, who makes regular appearances on Larry King Live, has made a cottage industry out of ridiculing religion. To him it’s just plain Religulous, as in ridiculous. He has previously said, “I believed all this stuff when I was young. I believed there was a virgin birth, I believed a man lived inside of a whale, and I believed that the Earth was 5,000 years old. But then something very important happened to me – I graduated the sixth grade.” He’s also dogmatically pontificated that the Bible is written in parables and “it’s the idiots today who take it literally.”[1]

Maher’s problem is elementary he misconstrues the literal principle of biblical interpretation. That’s why he comes up with a 5,000 year old world. To interpret the Bible literally is of course to interpret it as literature. Simply put that means we’re to interpret the Word of God as we would other forms of communication in it’s most obvious and natural sense. Even a cursory reading reveals that Scripture is a treasury that is replete with a wide variety of literary styles. It has poetry, proverbs, psalms, historical narratives, didactic epistles, apocalyptic revelations and so forth. Therefore to dogmatically assert, as Maher does that the Bible was written in parables and that those who read it literally are idiots, is at best an idiosyncratic form of fundamentalism from the left. At worst it is a serious misunderstanding of the literal principle of Biblical interpretation.

The Bible of course does contain parables and that should be obvious to anyone who has graduated the sixth grade, but it is not entirely parabolic. If Maher had read the Bible with an open mind and had paid attention to genre, grammar, and context he would have recognized that his faith was placed in his own dogmatic assertions, rather in reasonable and defensible arguments.

Unlike Maher we should have those reasonable and defensible arguments so that we can give an answer to everyone who asks. We should be able to do this with gentleness, firmness, as well as with respect. We need to be able to firmly answer those who are making a mockery of the Christian faith, particularly fundamentalists on the left like Bill Maher. They are so fond of making dogmatic assertions and getting away with it on Larry King Live on a regular basis and in the process they are ship wrecking the faith of many as a result. It is because many just don’t have the answers to the questions because they assume there are no answers.

[1] Bill Maher Preaches Anti-Religion ( Accessed 9/16/08.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Theistic Evolution

Under the banner of Theistic evolution, a growing number of Christians maintain that God used evolution as His method for creation. That, in my estimation, is the worst of all possibilities. It is one thing to believe in evolution; it is quite another to blame God for it.

Not only is Theistic evolution a contradiction in terms, kind of like talking about flaming snowflakes, it’s also the cruelest the most inefficient system for creation one can imagine. Jacques Monod put it this way:

“[Natural] selection is the blindest, and most cruel way of evolving a new species…The struggle for life and elimination of the weakest is a horrible process, against which our whole modern ethic revolts…I am surprised that a Christian would defend the idea that this is process which God more or less set up in order to have evolution.”
The bottom line is this: an omnipotent, omniscient God does not have to painfully plod through millions of mistakes, misfits, and mutations in order to have fellowship with humans. He can create humans; indeed, He created humans in a microsecond.

If theistic evolution is true, Genesis is at best an allegory and at worse a farce. If Genesis is an allegory or a farce, the rest of the Bible becomes irrelevant. If Adam did not eat the forbidden fruit and thereby fall into a life of perpetual sin terminated by death, there is no need for the second Adam; there is no need for redemption. In other words, if you compromise the first part of Scripture, if you allegorize the first eleven chapters of Genesis, the rest of the Bible become irrelevant and meaningless. Ideas have consequences. We must always think about the consequences and that is part and parcel of learning to think biblically or Christianly.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Word of Faith Movement/Christianity in Crisis - 21st Century

It’s hard to believe that it’s been fifteen years since Christianity in Crisis was published way back in 1993. My prayer then was that it would be used by God as a wake up call to the body of Christ. I have to tell you though, that I was totally unprepared for the response I got to that book. On the one hand, I could have never imagined that this book would be recognized at the Christian Book Sellers convention in Atlanta that year as the number one best selling Christian hardback book in the country. Nor could I have imagined that it would receive the Gold Medallion book award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. On the other hand, I was largely unprepared for the ferociousness of the pushback on the part of prosperity preachers. Indeed those who were plunging Christianity into crisis proved to be willing to do and say virtually anything to silence opposition.

Because of my stance on the Word of Faith tenants as I outlined in my book, I experienced censorship on Christian television and churches that once welcomed my preaching shut me out. Even more insidious was the disinformation campaign that was lodged by faith teachers and their surrogates. I’ve often said, “If I had known in advance what I was going to face as a result of writing Christianity in Crisis, I would have not had the courage to continue the project.” Now when I’ve said that some think that was an expression of cowardliness, but what I was trying to say was that God often leads us through trials step by step, because if we are able to see what lie ahead in terms of suffering and slander even our steely determination and fiercest resolve would prove inadequate. In other words, God gives us the grace we need when we need it and often not a moment before.

While the financial cost of taking stand this stand has been staggering by all counts, the spiritual reward in terms of transformed lives was well worth the effort.

Since the publication of Christianity in Crisis, hosts of new prosperity teachers have continued plunging Christianity into an ever deepening crisis. In the late twentieth century, Word of Faith teachers like Kenneth Hagin and Benny Hinn were at the fore front. In the early twenty-first century they are being overshadowed by a new breed of prosperity preachers like Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, John Hagee, Rod Parsley, Todd Bentley and a whole host of others who are being increasingly viewed ironically enough as though they are mainstream. Paula White, for example, is lauded by Donald Trump as “an amazing women” with “a significant message.” T.D. Jakes is lauded by Barack Obama and was trumpeted by Time as perhaps “the next Billy Graham.”

This is why I decided to launch a major new release; I’ve titled Christianity in Crisis - 21st Century. I’m convinced that if occult sources like The Secret pose the greatest threat from without, the deadliest doctrines disseminated now by a new crop of prosperity preachers pose the greatest threat to authentic Christianity from within. To avert this crisis we need a paradigm shift of major proportions. A shift from perceiving God as a means to an end to the recognition God is the end. While change must come, it’s not going to come easily. Those who are dispensing spiritual cyanide by the mega dose occupy powerful platforms within the evangelical Christian church. They control vast resources and they stand to lose multiplied millions of dollars if their exposed. No doubt what I will face this time around will make the original release of Christianity in Crisis pale by comparison but I’m absolutely convinced this new volume needs to be published.

Long ago, I memorized the words of Abraham Lincoln ­--- remember Lincoln stood against the tide of slavery and in the midst of persecution --- he said, “I desire to so conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end when I come to lay down the reins of power I’ve lost every other friend on earth. I shall at least have one friend left and that friend shall be deep down inside of me. I am not bound to win but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed but I am bound to live up to the light that I have.” As Lincoln, arguably the greatest of the American presidents, understood our goal should never be to be popular or prosperous or have a larger platform, but rather to live according to the truth so that at the end Christ can say well done thou good and faithful servant.

I’m willing to stand against this rising tide of error and deception but frankly it’s tough to stand alone. Just knowing that people are standing with me in this battle is more of an encouragement than you will ever know. In fact, quite frankly that’s why I’m asking you for your prayers right now.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Zeitgeist - The Movie

Just a couple of days ago I was asked by my son Paul Stephen about Zeitgeist the movie. Zeitgeist means the spirit of the times. He had watched this movie on the internet and was very troubled. He wanted to get some type of explanation for what was going on, so he asked me would I watch it with him and comment on it. Then shortly after that, I got a manuscript that someone had written on Zeitgeist and wanted my endorsement for it. So I’m interested in this subject because it really, in part, addresses a tired old canard that keeps coming up over and over again ad nauseum ad infinitum­­---this being that Christianity was influenced by pagan mystery religions.

Well is that true? The answer is no, it’s a myth, it’s widely circulated but it’s a myth nonetheless. Purveyors of this myth employ biblical language and then go to great lengths in order to concoct commonalities.

Take for example this alleged similarity between Christianity and the cult of Isis. The god Osiris is supposedly murdered by his brother and then buried in the Nile. The goddess Isis recovers the cadaver only to lose it once again to her brother-in-law who cuts the body into fourteen pieces and then scatters the parts around the globe. After finding the parts, Isis then baptizes each piece in the Nile River and Osiris is resurrected.

The alleged similarities as well as the terminology that is used to communicate the similarities are obviously exaggerated. Parallels between the “resurrection” of Osiris and the real resurrection of Jesus Christ are an obvious stretch. Sadly, for the mystery religion that’s about as good as it gets. Other parallels that are typically cited by liberal scholars are even more far fetched.

Liberals also have the chronology wrong. Most mystery religions flourished after the closing of the canon of Scripture. Thus it would be far more accurate and circumspect to say that the mystery religions were influenced by Christianity, rather than the other way around.

Furthermore, the mystery religions reduced reality to a personal experience of enlightenment. Through secret ceremonies people involved experienced an esoteric transformation of their consciousness that would lead them to believe that they were entering into some higher realm of reality. While followers of Christ were committed to essential Christian doctrine, these devotees of the mystery religions endlessly worked themselves into altered states of consciousness because they were committed to the belief that experience is a far better teacher than words. In fact the reason mystery religions are so named is that they directly involve secret esoteric practices and initiation rights. So far from being rooted in history and evidence they reveled in hype and emotionalism.

One final point needs to be made, the mystery religions were syncretistic in that adherents not only worshipped various pagan deities but also frequently embraced aspects of competing mystery religions while continuing to worship within their own cultic constructs. Not so with Christianity, converts to Christ singularly placed their faith in the one who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to Father expect through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)

Well, was Christianity influenced by ancient pagan mystery religions? The answer is obviously no and the fact that this myth, this tired old canard is being circulated in respectable communities and also on the internet where a lie travels half way around the world before truth has a chance to put its boots on, should not alarm anyone. You should simply look to the right places to get the right facts. We will have a full review of Zeitgeist in the near future through the Bible Answer Man and, in the meantime please check out the following articles.

Was the New Testament Influenced by Pagan Religions? By Ronald Nash (

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sarah Palin and Abortion

I’ve been watching the presidential debates, the interactions, the dialogues, and the conventions. I’m particularly interested in Sarah Palin and how she is being savaged by the media elite. People like Gloria Steinem as a feminist who says the only similarity between Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin is a chromosome. The media is particular savage about the view that Sarah Palin evidently has with respect to abortion. They think this is back woodsy, that this folksy, that this is the kind of thing held by a moose hunter, someone who is not educated. I think exactly the opposite is true.

One of the issues that have been brought up over and over again in regards to abortion is, “Should abortion be permitted in the case of rape or incest?” Well I think this is often used as an emotional appeal that is designed to deflect serious consideration of the pro-life position. How can anyone deny a hurting women safe medical care and freedom from the terror of rape or incest by forcing her to maintain a pregnancy resulting from the cruel and criminal invasion of her body?

The emotion of the argument often precludes serious examination of its merits. So you have media elites who get emotional over this and certainly this is an emotional issue but you have to think about these things rationally and clearly, not just on the basis of your emotion. I think that this is precisely what Sarah Palin is doing.

First, it is important to note that the incidents of pregnancy as a result of rape are rare with studies estimating that approximately one percent to four point seven percent result in pregnancy. So lobbying for abortion on the basis of rape or incest is like lobbying for the removal of red lights because you might have to run one in order to rescue someone who is about to commit suicide. Even if we had legislation restricting abortions for all reasons other rape or incest we would save the vast majority of the some two million pre-born babies who die annually in the United States through abortion.

Furthermore, one does not to obviate the real pain of rape or incest by compounding it with the murder of an innocent pre-born child. As Sarah Palin well knows and clearly articulates two wrongs don’t make a right. The very thing that makes rape evil also makes abortion evil. In both cases an innocent human being is brutally dehumanized.

Finally, let me make the point that Sarah Palin would make and she is an articulate spokesperson for life. The real question should be, “Is abortion the murder of an innocent human being?” That’s the question we should be asking. It is Gloria Steinem who is still living in the backwaters of 19th century science, not Sarah Palin. If in fact abortion is the murder of an innocent human being abortion should be avoided at all costs. In an age of scientific enlightenment we now know that the embryo even at its earliest stages fulfills the criteria needed to establish the existence of biological life. It has metabolism, development, the ability to react to stimuli, and cell reproduction. We know then that a zygote is a living human being and not only does it have these features as it were but it is demonstrated to be distinct by a distinct genetic code. We also know that human personhood does not depend on size, location or level of dependence. For those scientific reasons, abortion should be avoided even in cases of rape or incest.

So it turns out the media elite living in cultural Mecca’s are not quite as sophisticated as Sarah Palin who lives in Alaska. Maybe Sarah Palin has had more time to interact with the scientific literature. Therefore, she is not relying on emotion and rhetoric but on reason and empirical science. Now I know there are a lot of guys out there who want to marginalize Sarah Palin because she’s a women but Gloria Steinem has no excuse. She should just get out her science book and spend an hour reading instead of blowviating all over the news print. It’s disgusting quite frankly and I think it’s about time that we spoke out against people who are no longer committed to reason and evidential substance.

Bill Maher

An example of always being ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within us with gentleness and respect ( 1 Peter 3:15) comes from a recent clip of Bill Maher from his new movie Religulous. There is a conversation between Bill Maher and the Jesus actor at the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, FL, Maher’s contention is that Jesus is ridiculous or as Maher tries to convey pun intended that’s He’s Religulous. This was on the August 19, 2008 edition of Larry King Live:

Bill Maher : "Having no other gods before you, that's not moral. There's nothing moral about that. It's just -- it's just something a jealous God would do."
Jesus actor : "It does say that our God is a jealous God."
Bill Maher : "But your God is jealous? That seems so un-godlike that God would have such a petty human emotion."
Jesus actor : "He's also..."
Bill Maher : "I know people who have gotten over jealousy, let alone God."
Jesus actor : "There's two sides of the coin. He's a just God, and He's also a merciful God. He casts down our sins..."
Bill Maher : "He spends the first five books wiping out people."
Jesus actor : (laughter) "That's what he chose to do. His ways are higher than ours, Bill."
Bill Maher : "Maybe your thinking should be higher."
Jesus actor : "That's a good point."
Is the Messiah Religulous? Or is Maher just another benighted fundamentalist on the left?

Well to begin with contrary to Maher’s shallow thinking, there is such a thing as sanctified jealously. For example, jealousy is the proper response of a wife when her trust has been violated through infidelity. When an exclusive covenant relationship is dishonored sanctified jealousy as a passionate zeal that fights to restore a holy union is the high point of virtue.

Just as there is sanctified jealously, of course there is also sinful jealously. In this sense jealously is painfully coveting another’s advantages. This is why the apostle Paul lists jealously as an act of the sinful nature. (Gal 5:20).

Just as God personifies sanctified jealously so too those who reflect the character of God should be zealous for the things of God. The Bible is replete with heroes like Elijah, David and Paul whose jealousy for God’s glory motivated their self-sacrifice and their radical reform. The quintessential example is found in the incarnate Christ who exercised the epitome of sanctified jealously by overturning the tables of the money changers in the temple (Mt 21:12)

In Maher’s world God should allow His creatures to do anything they want, anytime they want to do it. That’s because in Maher’s world there’s no such thing as right and wrong, but then of course Maher’s world is simply the figment of his own imagination. The only thing Religulous about jealously is to suggest that it is merely a petty human emotion.

Unlike Maher, who is a master at making dogmatic assertions, followers of the Master should master the art of using even the Religulous assertions of Bill Maher as opportunities for communicating truth. This is another example of man who is communicating an idiosyncratic form of fundamentalism from the left to make assertions and another warning to all Christians that we should be ready to take these assertions and use them as opportunities.

Having a lot of kids, I’m well aware of the fact that kids are constantly being bombarded with these kinds of assertions to undermine their faith. Is it effective? Absolutely! My kids came to me this past weekend asking me questions, I had to have an answer so that they would not only be reinforced in their faith but they could use the answer as an opportunity to help someone else who is shaken by these kinds of assertions.

Bill Maher and a whole new brand of village atheists are seeking to undermine the gospel and we better be ready to give an answer and if were not we are AWOL. We are those who have been called to be ambassadors for Christ but unfortunately often times we are secret agents who never blow our cover before the unregenerate world.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Problem of Evil

I was reading recently the early edition of USA Today in which Michael Novak writes in "The Forum" about the problem of evil. "How could a good God let unthinkable suffering torment our world?" It's an age-old question that goes to the very root of who we are and who we aspire to be. Novak points out that The New Yorker, of all magazines, gave a good number of pages early last month to a quite brilliant book reviewer, James Wood, for a long essay on why he could no longer be a Christian. "Stories like his," says Novak, "are widespread. They usually cite the natural evils that too often crash upon humans — in China a stupefying earthquake, in Burma a cyclone, elsewhere tsunami, or tornado, disease, flood, or cruel slow-working famine. They then add the evils that humans inflict upon other humans" and diseases, accidents.

It raise the question that I answer in Bible Answer Book, Volume 1 of why God would allow bad things to happen to good people. This is the most common question that Christians are asked to answer on shows like Larry King Live.

At first blush it seems as though there are as many responses as religions. In reality, there are only three basic answers: pantheism, philosophical naturalism - pantheism denies the existence of good and evil, because in this view God is all and all is God. Philosophical naturalism, the worldview undergirding evolution, supposes that everything is a function of random processes, thus there is no such thing as good and evil. So you have those to responses. And there's one other - theism. Only theism has a relevant response and only Christian theism has an answer that is satisfactory.

Christian theism acknowledges that God created the potential for evil because God created humans with freedom of choice. We choose to love, to hate, to do good or to do evil. The record of history bears eloquent testimony to the fact that humans, of their own free will, have actualized the reality of evil through such choices. Without choice love is meaningless. God is neither a cosmic rapist who forces his love on people, nor a cosmic puppeteer who forces people to love him. Instead, God, the personification of love, grants us the freedom of choice. Without such freedom, we would be little more than preprogrammed robots.

The fact that God created the potential for evil by granting us freedom of choice ultimately will lead to the best of all possible worlds - a world in which "there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain." Those who choose Christ will be redeemed from evil by his goodness and will forever be able not to sin.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Emergent Church

The cover story of our newest issue of the Christian Research Journal is titled Navigating the Emerging Church Highway and this is one of the most chilling articles that I’ve come across in the entirety of my Christian ministry.

It is absolutely chilling to read what some of the liberal emergent church leaders like Rob Bell are saying. Bell says, “This is not just the same old message with new methods. We’re rediscovering Christianity.” Brian McLaren echoes this sentiment and says, “I don’t think we’ve got the gospel right yet. What does it meant to be ‘saved’…I don’t think the liberals have it right. But I don’t think we have it right either. None of us have arrived at orthodoxy. “

Many other chilling things in this new article, including this notion by Rob Bell, again one of the liberal emergent church leaders, he speculates that if “Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing” that we would not lose any significant part of our faith because it more about how we live. To be fair, Bell does not overtly deny the virgin conception of Jesus, but he does deny that it is of any notable theological importance.

What’s the alternative, if this is not significant you’re saying that infallible Scriptures are not significant, that it wouldn’t be a big deal if Mark was mythologizing a little bit. It wouldn’t be a big deal if we discovered that Mary was a sexually sinful woman who conceived Jesus illegitimately. But that is the conclusion, but it gets so much worse you have to read the article to believe it.

I you would like to know more about this topic and the Christian Research Journal see our website

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Global Warming

One of the critical issues of concern at the Christian Research Institute and the Bible Answer Man broadcast is discernment. Put another way my concern is that Christians have the discernment skills to separate wheat from chaff, heat from light. In that vein I put together a new booklet on global warming not just to give you my perspective but to provide you with a basis for rightly thinking for yourself about issues like this.

It’s crucial to learn to ask the right questions and then to learn to ask the right questions in the right sequence. We need to also carefully consider the cost if we have our eyes on the wrong ball. We must also be mindful, that whether or not global warming is the catastrophe it is popularity characterized as being, we are called as Christians to be stewards of God’s creation.

What I attempt to do in this booklet titled, How Should You Think About Global Warming?, is to boil global warming down to its irreducible minimum. In other words I’ve chiseled my impromptu answers on global warming until only the gem emerges. Additionally, the booklet provides you with an interview that I did with Dr. Jay W. Richards on the Bible Answer Man broadcast regarding global warming.

So it’s my prayer that when you’ve finished reading the global warming booklet you’ll be able to cut through the fog and clearly understand the essence of a highly controversial and politicized issue. My point is not just global warming; it’s to give you discernment skills in general. As I said I want you to be to cut between wheat and chaff, heat and light.

This issue is even more prevalent in light of the fact that the two candidates running for president of the United States have made some pretty significant statements about global warming.

Barack Obama on August 4, 2008 at Lansing, Michigan in what was billed as A Bold New National Goal on Energy Efficiency said, “We’ve heard talk about curbing the use of fossil fuels in state of the union address since the oil embargo of 1973. Back then we imported about a third of our oil, now we import more than half. Back then global warming was a theory of a few scientists. Now it’s a fact that is melting our glaciers and setting of dangerous weather patterns as we speak.”

John McCain was even stronger when on May 12, 2008 at Vestas Training Facility, for wind power in Portland, OR he said, “Among environmental dangers, it’s surely the most serious of all, whether we call it climate change or global warming, in the end we all left with the same set of facts.”

Former Vice-President Al Gore is equally emphatic in his view; he says that global warming is the single greatest threat facing our planet. Ellen Goodman of The Boston Globe puts global warming deniers on part with Holocaust deniers. Prominent Baptist pastor Oliver “Buzz” Thomas has gone as far as to castigate spiritual leaders for failing to urge followers to have smaller families in light of this global catastrophe. Says Thomas, “We must stop having so many children. Clergy should consider voicing the difficult truth that having more than two children during such a time is selfish. Dare we day sinful?”

Well as I’ve mentioned I have 12 kids now so I guess according Oliver” Buzz” Thomas, I’m in a lot of trouble so as this global warming rhetoric continues to boil over, what should we as Christians do?

Well as I mentioned earlier we need to be so familiar with how to think about these issues that we can discern between wheat and chaff and heat and light.

To equip yourself with this information you can obtain this new booklet by going unto our website at or by calling us at 888-7000-CRI and supporting this ministry and allowing us to continue to equipping people to have discernment skills they need now more than ever.

Saddleback Compassion Forum

The weekend of August 16th 2008 was historic when Rick Warren of Saddleback Church facilitated a discussion with both Barack Obama and John McCain. I thought Rick Warren did a brilliant job of facilitating that discussion and really asking questions that a lot of people deeply care about.

For example, Rick Warren asked about abortion. In fact when he was talking to McCain he said that “he as a pastor had to deal with abortion all the time from various angles, the pain, the decisions, and forty million abortions since Roe v Wade. Some people who believe that life begins at conception believe that this was holocaust for many people.” Then Warren asked McCain this question, “What point is a baby entitled to human rights?” McCain answered in just five words “At the moment of conception”.

Now Barack Obama was asked the exact same question and had an entirely different answer.

Rick Warren: “Let's deal with abortion; 40 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. As a pastor, I have to deal with this all of the time, all of the pain and all of the conflicts. I know this is a very complex issue. Forty million abortions, at what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?”Barack Obama: “Well, you know, I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.”

Now I have to admit that it was a very humble answer to the question or maybe it was a dodge. It certainly should not be above the pay grade of someone running for the president of the United States of America, the most powerful leader in the free world.

In fact, it should not be above the pay grade of any Christian sitting in the pew. We should know the answer to that question because it has been solved both theologically and scientifically. Dr. Hymie Gordon, professor of medical genetics and a physician at the prestigious Mayo Clinic, best summarized the perspective of science when he said, "I think we can now also say that the question of the beginning of life when life begins is no longer a question for theological or philosophical dispute. It is an established scientific fact. Theologians and philosophers may go on to debate the meaning of life or purpose of life, but it is an established fact that all life, including human life, begins at the moment of conception."

The living baby in the mother’s womb is a human being because this child is the product of human parents and has a totally distinct human genetic code. In other words, we can say that abortion terminates the life of a human being and that this is established by science. The zygote fulfills the criteria needed to establish existence of biological life, metabolism, development; the ability to react to stimuli, and cell reproduction; abortion terminates that zygote.

Dr. Matthew Roth, a principal research associate at Harvard said, "It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception, when egg and sperm join to form the zygote, and this developing human always is a member of our species in all stages of its life."

French geneticist Jerome L. LeJeune also gave a similar sentiment in a sworn statement to the United States Senate sub-committee: "To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion. The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence."

Since science has demonstrated that a pre-born child is human and since all human beings have transcendent value it follows that taking the life of an innocent human being through abortion is unthinkable, especially in this age of scientific enlightenment! While an embryo does not have a fully developed personality it does have full personhood from the moment of conception. You didn’t come from an adolescent you once were an adolescent, likewise you didn’t come from an embryo you once were an embryo.

Moreover, if Obama is unsure when a life obtains human rights, he should err on the side of caution. In other words on the side of life, lest he risk the horrendous reality of violating another human being’s rights.

We are talking here about life and death issues and indeed Rick Warren was right we have experienced a holocaust in our midst. Children are the most defenseless among us and we ought to protect them in all stages of their lives.

For more information on this topic please see my Bible Answer Book Volume 1 and Volume 2 and the following articles I wrote on abortion.
Annihilating Abortion Arguments (
Is the Pro-Life Position Unfair?? (
A Biblical View of Abortion (

Monday, August 18, 2008

Benny Hinn/Kenneth Copeland/Todd Bentley

I get a lot of letters that come across my desk and some of them are letters from people who are just plain angry. Why are they angry? They don’t like what I’m saying about some of their favorite teachers. I recently got a letter from a man named William who wrote “I heard you once again distraught over the Benny Hinn’s, Kenneth Copeland’s, and now there Todd Bentley on the scene. I’ve heard your disapproval but scripturally I haven’t heard you disprove anyone or any of their practices.” Anyone who has listened to the Bible Answer Man or read my books knows this isn’t the case but William continues on, “the Scripture says no one can call Jesus Lord except by the Spirit of God. Does Benny Hinn, Ken Copeland and all the other’s you call counterfeit revivalists call Jesus Lord?”

Well I would answer William yes they do. The question is what do they mean? No one can say Jesus is Lord rightly, by biblical standards, except by the Holy Spirit. In fact that’s precisely why Jesus Christ can say “Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”(Matt 7:22-23 NIV). What’s important for William or anyone asking that question is to learn to read scripture in light of Scripture, so that they do not falsely interpret the Word of God.

Of course William goes on to say many other things. He asks, “What are these Counterfeit Revivalists motives regarding such things as healing the sick?” The question that I’ve addressed before on the Bible Answer Man, in my book Counterfeit Revival and in my pamphlet Aping the Practices of Pagan Spirituality is do they really heal the sick or do they merely pretend to heal the sick? The answer is healing is conspicuous by its absence in the ministries of men like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Todd Bentley and a host of others.

By the way, when someone like William asks about calling Jesus Christ Lord and by whose spirit do they call Jesus Lord; I would say the real question is who do they say Jesus is in the first place? The answer to that question is unfortunately they say Jesus Christ is satanic at the very point of His atonement on the cross. Now if that is true Jesus Christ could not have paid for our sins. Biblically Jesus is the unblemished lamb upon whom the sins of the world were placed. He is the sin bearer but He certainly is not a satanic being. To do what the faith teachers do, relegate Jesus to hell where He purchases our redemption in the cauldron of hell in a fight with Satan is simply unthinkable and certainly unbiblical. To then become the first born again man. Born from satanic to divine, this is contrary to scripture. It is contrary to the creeds of the historic Christian faith. It is contrary to reasoning. It is consistent with the kinds of things you hear in the Kingdom of the Cults.

When are we going to come to the place where we recognize that if we’re going to say that Mormons have a different Jesus because they say that Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer or the Jehovah Witnesses because they say Jesus was created as the archangel Michael or the New Ager’s because they say Jesus is an avatar or a messenger; when are we going to realize that if the Kingdom of the Cults have a different Jesus and Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn and Todd Bentley and a host of other pretenders have a different Jesus as well? If we don’t call it as it is, we ought to apologize to the kingdom of the Cults.

To say that Jesus didn’t claim to be God as Kenneth Copeland and Paul Crouch do is simply unthinkable. Yet that is precisely what they do over and over again. On the March 24th, 1989 broadcast of Praise the Lord on the Trinity Broadcasting Network there was the following conversation:

Ken Copeland: “We're still questioning what was said about that prophecy. That prophecy never mentioned the Son of God. Never said anything about the Son of God.”
Paul Crouch: “What did it say?”
Ken Copeland: “It said "I did not claim to be God." That's all it said.”
Paul Crouch: “In other words, in so many words, you're right. No where in the New Testament did He literally get up…”
Ken Copeland: “Preach and claim that He was God”.
Paul Crouch: “… and say "I am God" did He? Now I stand corrected.”
Here you have an inane conversation going on what is supposedly Christian television about whether Jesus Christ claimed to be God or not. You have Ken Copeland and Paul Crouch here saying that Jesus never claimed to be God but Jesus did claim to be the unique Son of God. As a result the Jewish leaders tried to kill Him because they said in calling God His own Father Jesus was making Himself equal with God. In fact in John 8 Jesus went so far as to use the very words but which God reveled Himself to Moses from the burning bush. To the Jews this was the epitome of blasphemy for they knew in doing so Jesus was clearly claiming to be God. On another occasion Jesus explicitly told the Jews”I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) and again they picked up stones to stone him but Jesus said to them “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” and the Jews replied, “We are not stoning you for any of these but for blasphemy because you a mere man claim to be God.” Of course there are many other examples that could be given through which Jesus demonstrated and claimed to be God. So to say that Jesus didn’t claim to be God is expressing an unfathomable ignorance about Jesus and about Scripture. We’re not just talking about anyone here, we’re talking about the man who, along with his wife, founded the largest Christian television broadcasting network in the history of the human race, and they can’t get it with respect to essential Christian doctrine.
Now when I speak out on this I get all these letters denouncing me for speaking out. Someone needs to sound the alarm. In fact this is proof positive that the body of Christ needs to become so familiar with the genuine article that when counterfeits loom on the horizon they will know it instantaneously. The sad thing about the letter I read and I only read portions of it, I didn’t read the parts where he gets quite strong in his denunciations and uses some pretty strong language, but this letter is indicative of the fact that people like William are simply unfamiliar with the Bible and therefore do not understand where their favorite teachers depart from orthodox Christianity. A lot of people want to be cavalier about this and say, “Live and let live!” These men are not blurring the line of demarcation between the kingdom of Christ and the Kingdom of the Cults they are obliterating that line. Never forget that the essentials of the Christian faith are the very doctrines for which the martyrs spilled their blood. We may be cavalier about these things today but they were not. They were willing to defend them to the point of shedding their own blood. For more information on the deity of Christ please see Bible Answer Book Volume 1.

Liberation Theology

A couple of words about Liberation theology. A lot of people have been asking about Liberation theology because of Dr. Jeremiah Wright, who was Barack Obama's pastor. Jeremiah Wright was incredibly influenced by Liberation theologian James Cone, who defined sin as not primarily a religious impurity, but rather "it's the social, political and economic oppression of the poor. It's the denial of humanity as a neighbor through unjust political and economic arrangements." Further, this notion that the Bible is not an infallible witness but only a source pointing to the reality of God, particularly within the social context of the experience of God liberating Blacks. Black and White here are not so much references to skin pigmentation as to relationship between oppressed and oppressor, with the Blacks being oppressed regardless of what their skin color is and the Whites being the oppressors. In that sense Jesus was a Black man struggling for liberation in His world and sin is anything that opposes the liberation of the oppressed, and of course salvation is the rising up of the oppressed against the oppressor by any means necessary.

Now, the problem here is that Jeremiah Wright is communicating this Liberation theology, which is directly opposed to biblical theology, but in hysterical manners, and that was picked up by the media and they played this clip of him talking about the HIV virus being something that was invented by the government and it was a way of committing genocide against people of color.

Obviously this is hysterical and ridiculous, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. They've played it but they were not realizing that there's a theology under the iceberg and that theology is not Christian theology. This is a theology that has obviously very much impacted Barack Obama.

Certainly people in Wright's heritage have been oppressed, but Wright himself is anything but oppressed. Rather than redefining sin and redemption in terms of socioeconomic class struggle, as pastors and church leaders we should concentrate on spiritual reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ, because when that happens we have reconciliation with one another as well. So if we want to have class reunification as opposed to class struggle it comes by the change that takes place in the human heart, because when your heart is changed you do not see people as Black and White or as superior and inferior. You see people as people. At the foot of the cross there is no distinction and in Christian theology there is no Black or White, there is no Jew or Greek, there is no slave or free, there is no male or female. We are one in Christ. We are plain old human beings and we have complete equality in a biblical worldview.

So I say again that the problem you have is that the notion being communicated is a theology that doesn't help harmonize the class struggle but actually accentuates it, particularly when you use these kinds of shrill comments which have no basis in reality such that you start believing that the government has some kind of oppressive force that's using HIV to oppress people. This is nonsense and, unfortunately, it's nonsense being communicated to a huge congregation and being bought into by literally hundreds of thousands of people.

I find it interesting that today you have people like Chris Matthews who are singing the praises of Obama. In fact he said "I've never seen anything like this. This is bigger than Kennedy. Obama comes along and seems to have the answers. This is the New Testament." Now, whether Obama has the answers or not, what his political realities and the future will be or not is not mine to determine. What I should point out, though, is what I've pointed out, and that is Black Liberation theology or Liberation theology in general as codified by Dr. Jeremiah Wright - and he's not alone. He's just one of many - is not the solution to the problem of the oppressed and the oppressor. The solution is found in Jesus Christ, and we should be communicating that with power and passion, not turning the New Testament on its head, but communicating real New Testament theology as communicated in essence by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

True Faith

What is true faith? Joni Eareckson Tada, who is a quadriplegic, learned that true faith does not necessarily equip you to arise from a wheelchair, but true faith equips you to use adversity as a means of bringing people into the kingdom of God. She said that she was constructing with an eye towards eternity. She's one of my heroes of the faith and she has exhorted me through her ministry and her personal life to do so as well. She says that every day we have the opportunity to roll up our spiritual sleeves and apply our spiritual energies towards building something that lasts. In our lives it will last. In the lives of others it will last.

"We will bring to the Judgment Seat of Christ all that we are and all that we have done. One look from the Lord," says Joni, "will scrutinize the quality of what we've built and selfish service will be consumed in a fiery flash. Although it's true that no child of God will be scolded, some will walk away scalded from the heat. Their only reward will be eternal salvation.

"This is sobering. I can't help but see myself coming away a little singed on the edges," writes Joni. "Don't get me wrong. I believe I will bask in God's approval for my service on earth, but pride and impure motives have probably sullied a lot of it. Burnt away will be those times I gave the Gospel out of puffed-up pride. Up in flames will go any service I performed for performance sake. Reduced to charcoal will be manipulative behavior and lies-dressed-up-like-truth.

"But, hey, even if a lot of people survive the judgment seat by the skin of their teeth, keeping only their crown of salvation, that's plenty of cause for rejoicing. Look at all the people who trusted Christ in their deathbed with barely time to say yes to Jesus, let alone build anything for eternity. Think of being snatched from the jaws of hell seconds before one dies. Such joy would be hard to beat.

"One look from the Lord will consume worthless service. But it will illuminate God-honoring service. Like gold and precious stones, pure service will easily survive the test. It is this for which we shall be commended....I want to put to death every selfish motive and prideful pretense so that when the Lord's eyes scan my service, what I have built will stand the test. I want to be careful how I build, and realize that every smile, prayer, or ounce of muscle or money sacrificed is a golden girder, brick, or two-by-four. I want everything I do here to be an eternal investment, a way of building something bright and beautiful there. That's how much things down here count."

"And no one will be left out. Each will receive his reward."

Friday, August 8, 2008

Being Prepared to Give an Answer

A common mistake that Christians make is to suppose that someone, by your apologetic or by your well-reasoned answer, be talked into the Kingdom of God. The motivation might be sincere but the consequences are often devastating. No matter how eloquent you may or may not be, you can't change anyone else's heart. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. Thus, while it's your responsibility to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, it is ultimately God who changes the heart.

The problem is not that people cannot believe - it's that they will not believe. In other words, it is often not a matter of the mind. It is a matter of the will. As Jesus Christ explained, "This is the verdict. Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates light and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed." This is Jesus talking.

The Christian faith is reasonable, but as Jesus Christ made clear, reason alone will not compel a person to embrace our Lord. I'm utterly convinced that if we're prepared to give an answer God will bring into our paths those whose hearts He has prepared. So it's our responsibility to prepare ourselves to be the most effective tools in the hands of almighty God. That's what we're doing - preparing. We're getting ready to give an answer. Then pray that the Holy Spirit will use our answer as the means through which He transforms a life for time and for eternity.

We often, in our thrill-oriented society. We're looking for the next experience. You want a real experience as a Christian? Try learning how to give a defense of the faith and then see God use your well-reasoned answer as a springboard or an opportunity to communicate the Gospel and see a son or daughter of Adam come into the Kingdom. Let me tell you, there is no more wonderful experience than that. You will be exhilarated. What you thought was a duty will become a delight.

All too often the Christian church has missed the experience because they're looking for experience in all the wrong places. They go to Pensacola or to Toronto or now to Lakeland, Florida, and I hear about barking in the Spirit or laughing in the Spirit or the gold dust revival. God is etching crosses on gold teeth today. And people buy into it and wait in line for it and they get all jazzed up and all worked up, and a week later they are more depressed than ever before because they bought into something that over-promised and under-performed.

But if you get back to basics and get into the Word of God and get the Word of God into you - now that takes some work, but there is a reward. There's a real payoff. It will enhance your witnessing, your prayer life, your counseling, your relationship with mother and father, with husband and wife, with siblings and with friends.

Try it sometime. Try becoming an equipped Christian. Your life will be revolutionized, a foretaste of what will happen when you cross the veil into eternity and meet the person that God brought into your path, and you were able to share the Gospel or provide it for ministries like this that did so, and realize that you had a part in that process, and then hear Jesus say this to you: "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Monday, August 4, 2008

Barack Obama's Twisting of the Scriptures

From the time that Barack Obama burst upon our collective consciousness he has demonstrated more than a passing interest in biblical theology. On the one hand I've been taken by his eloquence and his willingness to speak forthrightly about his personal religious convictions. In fact he well said that "the majority of great reformers in American history were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their causes. So to say that men and women should not inject their personal morality into public policy debates is a practical absurdity." And I think that's well said. It's correct.

On the other hand, I am very troubled by Obama's twisting of the biblical text. It's one thing to openly take issue with the Bible. It's quite another to overtly mischaracterize the message of the Bible. In his "Call to Renewal," a keynote address to religious leaders, he made at least three such mischaracterizations. He said:
"Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with
Leviticus, which suggests slavery is okay and that eating shellfish is an
abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy which suggests stoning your child
if he strays from the faith."

Well, to begin with, in that clip Obama said that Leviticus suggests slavery is okay. In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth. Far from extolling the virtues of slavery, the Bible clearly and categorically denounces slavery as sin. I've written about that in detail in Bible Answer Book, Volume 1.

His second mischaracterization is far more subtle. While he's right in suggesting that Leviticus characterizes the eating of shellfish as an abomination, he is wrong in isolating this injunction from its biblical context. If he had an adequate appreciation of the rich tradition of biblical Judaism I think he would have been far more restrained in his characterization and I dealt with that subject in principle in an article that appeared in the Christian Research Journal called "President Bartlett's Fallacious Diatribe." It was an article I wrote on the television show West Wing.

His third mischaracterization is perhaps the most egregious and easy to dismiss because nowhere does Deuteronomy suggest stoning your child if he strays from the faith. You will not find that anywhere in Scripture. It is a clear mischaracterization of what the biblical text actually says.

To begin with the son in question is not an adolescent guilty of nothing more than slamming doors. The son described by Moses in the Book of Deuteronomy is old enough to be morally culpable of extravagantly wicked behavior. It's the kind of behavior that threatens the health and safety of the entire community.

The parent's desire in the context of this passage to spare their own son serves as a built-in buffer against an unwarranted or frivolous enforcement of the law. Likewise, ratification by the elders precludes a precipitous judgment on the part of the parents. Thus, the standard of evidence prescribed by the Mosaic Law exceeds that of modern jurisprudence. For Obama to claim the moral high ground over the Scriptures is the height of hypocrisy. For over three decades Western society has sanctioned the systematic slaughter of children, guilty of nothing more than being unwanted. Worse still, Obama did not have the moral conviction to vote for the civil rights of the partially born child.

Mischaracterization serves a purpose, though. it reminds us that we should learn to read the Bible for all it's worth. If we genuinely believe that God has spoken the attendant question for all of us should be "What has God said?" I think in our society if we can counter these kinds of objections we can use them as springboards or opportunities to lead people to Christ. If we can't, these kinds of objections which are circulated on popular television shows and on the internet are leading people away from the faith. If you heard me the other day, a man called up and asked me questions like this because his son was now walking away from the faith because he didn't think there were credible answers to questions like this. It is incumbent upon Christians to always be ready to give an answer, to do it with gentleness and with respect, but to do it. Don't let the question remain unanswered as though the historic Christian faith doesn't have a credible answer. It's why I answer questions on the Bible Answer Man broadcast and why I wrote the Bible Answer Books. We want people to be able to counter these kinds of mischaracterizations, whether they come from the highest realms of political leadership or a person in a grocery store. We need to know that the Christian faith is not for obscurantists who lost their brain somewhere in the narthex of the church. The Christian faith stands the test of time. It's credible, it's reliable, it's defensible and ultimately it is the way to have a relationship with the living Lord of the universe.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dangers of Todd Bentley Theology

I was just talking to a friend of mine, Gerry James, who once was a Mr. California who, as a long drive champion, he's quite a physical specimen. We've been friends for a long time. He told me that he had just returned from a Todd Bentley healing extravaganza in Lakeland.

He said that he had gone to lend moral support to his sister Angela, who had taken what little she had and arranged for a long trip from Michigan to Florida. This was at great financial cost to her. She did it because like thousands of others she was just plain desperate. The Christian grapevine, from Charisma to God TV has certainly provided the hype. "Thousands have experienced miraculous healings. Some are even being raised from the dead." And so with faith and expectation she loaded up her wheelchaired daughter and headed off to Lakeland. For two and a half hours she sang and swayed along with thousands of desperate people. And then came the testimonies.

A visiting speaker, Dr. Malone, elevated expectations with stories of dramatic healings. He said that that hundreds of Hindus who had poured into his meetings in India had been miraculously healed. In fact, he described the palpable sounds of hundreds of tumors exploding. He talked about the exuberant shouts of the lame as they walked away from their crutches and the cries of paraplegics who were leaving their wheelchairs behind. He said that in sharp contrast to the healings of the Hindus, none of the Muslims in the meeting experienced the miraculous. That is, he said, until a Muslim woman stepped forward and surrendered her child to the Christians on stage. While still in a quandary over why God had healed the Hindus and not the Muslims, the Spirit of the Almighty God allegedly spoke to Malone and demanded that the child be thrown to the ground. Incredibly, says Malone, the child was healed in mid-air and subsequently the Muslims in the meeting experienced miraculous healings - every one of them.

Of course these kinds of stories elevated expectations to fever pitch, and so with tears streaming down her face Angela wheeled the most precious of her possessions towards the stage. This was her moment. This was the culmination of all her hopes and dreams. Within moments the paralysis of her daughter would be but a distant memory.

Suddenly, however, an agony beyond the burden that she carried in her heart for all these years cascaded down upon her and in that moment her dreams were dashed. You see, an usher blocked her entrance to the stage, saying that only the healed had entry to the healer. Angela ended up leaving dejected and discouraged.

Ironically, Gerry's son Taylor, who suffers from epilepsy, left feeling that he had experienced the miraculous. Had Taylor been interviewed that very moment he would have testified to complete and total healing. Gerry, however, left in a quandary. He said that the healer was a fraud. He risked damaging the faith of his son. If he threw away his meds his son would experience a grand mal seizure.

I was thinking about that experience when I got a letter from a lady who said:

"I catch your show every now and then on the air. I know you love God and are committed to serving Him, but I've noticed that you come against other Christian teachers on your show. Mr. Hanegraaff, a house divided against itself cannot stand. God sent many different types of preachers into the world who have different styles and different audiences. Not everyone is going to use your approach. You give sound bites of other preachers' sermons, and they may be off a little bit and erroneous. As smart as you are, I find it frustrating that you don't see that you're causing more harm than good. As long as the other preachers pass the "Jesus is Lord" test I wish you would trust the Holy Spirit to take care of the rest. He doesn't need any help, sir! Don't you get it? When we all get to heaven we'll see who really had the anointing and who really was led by the Spirit to do what. Until then, love covers a multitude of sins."

This is by a lady named Heather. So on the one hand I have Gerry talking about the experience he had at one of the Todd Bentley events, the aftermath of discouragement and dejection, not knowing if God loves you or if you had enough faith. On the other hand, I have a lady named Heather who tells me I should butt out. I'm bringing more harm than good by bringing these things up on the air.

This raises the question: Should Christians judge the teachings of their leaders?

Not only is judging permissible - it is a responsibility. Nobody's teachings are above sound judgment. Especially those who have influence and power. Biblically, authority and accountability go hand in hand. The greater the responsibility, the greater the accountability. The precedent for making right judgments comes from the Bible. In the Old Testament the Israelites were commanded to practice sound judgment. They were told to thoroughly test the teachings of their leaders. In the New Testament the Apostle Paul commands the Thessalonians to test all things and to hold fast to that which is good. Paul lauds the Bereans for doing just that, for testing his teachings.

While our Lord cautioned followers not to judge self-righteously, He also counseled them to make judgments based on right standards, and in the contest of oft-quoted commands by Jesus such as "Judge not or you too will be judged," Jesus also exhorted us to judge false prophets whose teachings and whose behavior lead people to abject misery. Thus, while we're commanded not to judge hypocritically, we are, nevertheless, called to judge.

Common sense should be sufficient to alert us to the importance of making public as well as private judgments regarding false doctrine. Remember the infamous Tylenol scare in 1982? Public warnings were issued by the media as well as by the medical community regarding the physical danger of ingesting Tylenol capsules that had been laced with cyanide. I think this is an apt illustration because spiritual cyanide is being dispensed within the Christian community, and therefore we are duty-bound to warn the public. We have a biblical precedent for this. Paul publicly rebuked Hymenaeus and Philetus for teaching which was false and was spreading like gangrene. Today we are in much the same condition.

We have the gangrene of Todd Bentley spreading like a plague, and we have Charisma Magazine, God TV and God knows what other media outlets hyping these guys to the extreme. And essentially, just like Heather, they're saying "Look, let's just see if this turns out to be a wonderful move of God and let's not judge!" Well, my friends, if no one sounds the alarm there are going to continue to be thousands and thousands - dare I say millions - of disillusioned people that don't know what to believe or who to trust. People like my friend Gerry. People like his sister Angela. Their kids. Sometime in the future I'm going to tell you the story of William Dembski. He's one of the brightest guys on the planet. He just experienced the same thing. You want to cry when you think about it.

These people end up thinking God doesn't care for them, they don't know what to believe or who to trust. Many of them are shipwrecked in their faith. This is a gangrene, a cancer, a distortion of truth in our midst, and it needs to be called out for what it is because people are losing their ability to discern. A lot of you reading this blog right now are rational and coherent, but after three hours of singing one song over and over again, or a few lyrics, you are in an altered state of consciousness, you're willing to believe virtually anything that enters your mind, no matter how mundane or outlandish.

Well, if nobody else is willing to say it - and I don't care how many Heathers stop supporting this ministry - I'm going to continue saying what I'm saying. Todd Bentley is a spiritual fraud. He's communicating spiritual cyanide by the megadose. His messages are merely stories. They're the figment of his own fertile imagination. When he talks about tens of resurrections from the dead he doesn't give you any details. Why no details? Why wouldn't he give us any kind of indication who these people are? For example, according to Bentley one man, unembalmed, was dead for 48 hours in a coffin. When the family gathered around it in a funeral home the man knocked from inside the coffin and asked to be let out. Conspicuous by their absence, however, are names, death certificates, addresses, phone numbers and eyewitness testimony. Imagine if this is how we testified to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We would be, as Peter put it, communicating cleverly invented stories. But Peter said "No, we didn't. We told you the truth. We looked at Him we saw Him, we touched Him, we handled Him. We know He's the Word of Life." They gave evidence. Bentley does not.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Comfort of Christ's Resurrection

I was thinking today about Tim Russert from NBC's "Meet the Press," a guy in the prime of his life, at the top of the mountain, and suddenly at age 58 - and this really hits home for me - found dead in his office in the midst of his work.

How do you deal with that if you're an atheist looking at the death of a guy in the prime of his life? Atheists believe that death is the cessation of being. So in their view humans are merely bodies and brains. But from the perspective of logic we can demonstrate that the mind is not identical to the brain. We can prove that the mind and brain have different properties, as I do in my book Resurrection.

Not only so, but if human beings were merely material they couldn't be held accountable this year for a crime they committed last year because physical identity changes over time. Every day we lose multiplied millions of microscopic particles. In fact every seven years virtually every part of our material anatomy changes. Therefore, from a purely material perspective the person who previously committed a crime is presently not the same person. Of course a criminal that attempts to use that kind of reasoning as a defense wouldn't get very far. From an intuitive perspective we recognize the sameness of soul that establishes personal identity over time.

If I am merely material there is another problem - my choices are merely a function of factors like genetic makeup and brain chemistry. So my decisions are really not free. They're fatalistically determined.

The implications of these kinds of notions are profound. In a worldview that embraces fatalistic determinism I cannot be held morally accountable for my actions because reward and punishment make sense only if we have freedom of the will.

There is, however, and even more profound and persuasive argument demonstrating the reality of life beyond the grave. That argument flows from the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through His resurrection Christ not only demonstrated that He does not stand in a line of peers like Abraham or Buddha or Confucius, but also provided compelling evidence for life after death.

Christianity doesn't come along at a time of bereavement and give us some clever cliché or some peaceful way to come to terms with death. What it does, however, is it gives us something far greater: a way to overcome death through the power of Christ's resurrection. We can live today lives of peace and serenity in a world in which we know our tomorrows are not promised for one reason, and one reason alone, and that is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because He lives we know that we too shall live.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Todd Bentley and the Branham Anointing

One of the newest prosperity preachers to hit the big-time is the well-tattooed biker, Todd Bentley. His website, as the leader of the "Lakeland Revival" claims that God has released an increase of the healing anointing into Todd's life to the point where the blind see, the deaf hear, and growths dissolve as Jesus still heals every sickness and disease.

Bentley says that two months after being saved the heavens opened like a bright flash and a white dove materialized out of thin air and flew across the lake to a nearby tree. "Although it was a single dove it sounded like the flapping wings of ten thousand doves. The noise filled the sky and rumbled in my spirit. The sound of ripping, rushing. The mighty wind filled my ears. As a result I'd received not only tongues, but also an imbuement of power from on high for miracles and for signs and for wonders."

Well, the power residing in Todd Bentley is so potent that "when people visited me at my home they'd get zapped by in invisible electric force field in whatever room I was in, and then they'd bounce back." One day as he was merely walking in to his kitchen a visiting friend cried out "Your face is glowing." I guess he was kind of like Moses on the Mount. Predictably, his friend suddenly went down under the power. Like his friend, Bentley does what is called "marinating and pickling in the Holy Spirit." That has led to some amazing encounters with the netherworld. Not only did the tree of life once appear in his living room, but Bentley says "angels also started to appear during my 'soaking times.' They'd come into my bedroom as pillars of shimmering light moving to and fro."

Once he had a twenty foot tall angel in his apartment. On another occasion the presence of an angel knocked him out of his body and he had to wonder "How am I going to get back in my body?" Then he later discovered that he had his own angel. God Himself said "This is your angel, the angel from John 5. Everywhere you go the angel goes. I want you to be part of taking healing revival to the nations. I don't want you to be just having this gift of healing. I want you to be part of what has been prophesied in breaking through and seeing the fulfillment of the ultimate healing revival."

Bentley now says that even warlocks approach him in different services and describe his angel, and people say "Todd, there's an angel that follows you and I believe it's the angel and anointing that was with William Branham." I think that's pretty hilarious on the one hand while it's sad because, unfortunately, William Branham was a false teacher and Todd Bentley claims that the anointing and the mantle and the angel of William Branham are now his! Incredible! This in full view of the fact that William Branham denied the Trinity, fancied himself as the end time angel to the church of Laodicea, and prophesied that by 1977 all denominations would be consumed by the World Council of Churches under the control of the Roman Catholics, the rapture would take place, and the world would be destroyed. Supposedly this is all done now, but mystically he has the angel, the mantle and the anointing of William Branham.

He also claims the anointing of many other counterfeit revivalists. Che Ahn, for example, said "I must decrease so that you can increase."
Todd, I'm just so humbled because of what you went through, all of us have gone
through. When I think of John Arnott being rejected by his brothers in 1995. I
remember I was kicked out of two movements. But it was all part of the
preparation, the breaking for the anointing....and He's prepared you for such a
time as this. There's a Branham anointing on you. There's a double portion of
it. The Lord is raising you up. I feel like I want to just say that I must
decrease, you must increase.

I was watching a YouTube in which I saw Bentley kick a man in the gut with his knee in order to heal him of stage 4 colon cancer. When the man bent over in obvious pain from the assault, Bentley said "I had to be obedience to the Lord, sir, but I believe that colon cancer is coming right out of your body now. Now you're probably feeling a little more pain" - of course he was. He just got kicked in the gut, a guy with cancer - "but we're dealing with cancer. Sometimes it's a spirit and we're going to draw that out."

Like a host of Faith teachers before him, Bentley claims all kinds of resurrections from the dead and yet gives no details whatsoever. For Bentley the devil is in the details, and he has none.

You can hear him saying not only that angels appear to him, but Jesus Christ appears to him. He is an absolute false prophet, but unfortunately the world is falling for his ruse. If people want to know how to distinguish between counterfeit and genuine revival they need to get my book Counterfeit Revival. They'll discover that, unfortunately today people are looking for God in all the wrong places. They're going to hear in Lakeland all kinds of things, from people being resurrected from the dead - not true, no details, no descriptions - to supposedly people being pickled and marinated in the Spirit, which is the new vib. In fact, they're going to hear about vibrating in the Spirit now. This guy is an absolute phony. Unfortunately people are falling for his ruse.