THE BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT (part 5)
We are not for one moment suggesting that all Charismatics are reprobate. God’s elect come from every tribe and nation, from every walk of life, and have been brought out of various groups espousing doctrinal darkness and there may well be many who are currently in the Charismatic movement who will one day hear, understand and believe the true Gospel and come away from her smothering embrace. What we are saying is that the Bible clearly shows that there will be many who will call Him Lord in the Day of Judgement whom He never knew. And these people were involved with signs and the casting out of demons! Some will say, ‘Yes, but they must be the J.W.’s or some cult like them’, no, these people called on the name of Jesus and addressed Him as Lord. They believed they were Christians! The Bible commands God’s people to flee from error; from Babylon, and every true Christian will do so. Why would any Christian willingly remain in the midst of error, especially when God has commanded that we flee it? Scripture teaches: "Cease...to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge" (Prov. 19:27). How could any person born again of God’s Spirit, whose eyes have been opened to the true Gospel, remain a believer in a false gospel and continue to sit under its preaching, surrounded by false signs and lying wonders? Many who have seen the counterfeit in the Charismatic movement, remain within its walls with the excuse that they feel they can best help those who are still deceived by remaining a part of the movement. They may well be doing this with good intentions and a noble purpose, but they are defying the biblical command to "‘...come out from among them, and be ye separate,’ saith the Lord..." (2Cor. 6:17). Others remain in the Charismatic movement with the excuse, ‘Where am I supposed to go, and if I do leave where am I supposed to fellowship? All my friends are here'. These excuses fly directly in the face of the biblical commandment to flee error and that contained in the above verse from 2 Corinthians. People who offer such excuses place themselves before God. They speak as if God were not able to lead them to a sound group of believers, or that they will suffer if they split from a group to which they have become attached. The issue is not, ‘Where will I fellowship, where will I go?’, but ‘Believe the Gospel, separate from error and assemble with God’s true people!’
A final word on tongues. Mark 16:15-18 is a passage wherein we find Jesus addressing the apostles. In this portion of scripture, Jesus tells the eleven that they shall speak with new tongues (v.17). The Charismatic is very fond of this verse and uses it with authority to defend his belief that every Christian has a biblical directive to speak in tongues. We will not, as so many others do, allow ourselves to become caught up in an exposition of this passage from Mark. Along with such verses as 1Corinthians 14:39, where Paul commanded that the Corinthians not forbid to speak in tongues, Mark 16:17 is used in a false sense because it is presumed that what is practised today is the biblical gift of languages. No it is not! and this author challenges anyone to prove that the babble of today is the great gift of tongues as demonstrated in the Bible.
Regardless of the scriptures he may quote, the Charismatic is required to prove that what he has is in fact the tongues of the Bible. One cannot just quote a scripture under the presumption that what one believes to be tongues is that same tongues mentioned in the Bible. This would be like believing that people of differing religious persuasions are all talking of the true Jesus when they speak of the jesus they follow. The Mormon is not speaking of the same jesus the J.W is, and the J.W. is not speaking of the same jesus the Roman Catholic is, and the Roman Catholic is not speaking of the same jesus whom the Seventh-Day Adventists advocate, and none of these, including the Charismatics, are speaking of THE Jesus whom God testifies to in His Gospel. Incidentally, Jesus went on in Mark 16 to say that several other signs would follow the apostles, not only tongues. These verses are conveniently ignored by most. Verse 18 for instance talks about taking up serpents and drinking deadly poison. Why aren’t the Charismatics as zealous about these verses as they are about tongues? Why aren’t serpents and strychnine present at every Charismatic service? Robert Gromacki, in his outstanding book, ‘The Modern Tongues Movement’, concludes: "These signs (in Mark 16:17,18), are not found in the other accounts of the great commission (Matt. 28:18-20; Lk. 24:46-49; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8). Since they are not all found in the experience of the early Church, this passage should not be set forth as the intended pattern for this age. Also, it is not right for the modern tongues movement to select one of these signs and to emphasize it as the sign of Spirit-filled living apart from the other four. It is either all five or none at all. That is what the passage teaches" (p.78).
SLAYING IN THE SPIRIT - If ever there was a sign that shows the Charismatic movement is not of God, this is it. The slaying in the spirit is believed to be the Holy Spirit’s presence on a person, causing/forcing them to fall backwards, often unconscious and at times against their will. In more recent times, people have been shaking uncontrollably after being ‘slain’ and laughing or crying uncontrollably. Others roar like lions, bark like dogs or slither along the floor like snakes! Remarkably, these same manifestations, once believed by Charismatics to be the evidence of demonic possession, are now believed to be prompted by the Holy Spirit! For many, the main issue concerning the ‘slaying’ has become: is it real or not? ‘If its real then it must be of God', is the perilous line of reasoning that many Charismatics follow. This author does not deny that in many instances the ‘slaying’ is very real. My question is: who or what is causing it?
Needless to say, there is no Scriptural backing for such a mad display of ecstatic religious fanaticism, a fact that many Charismatic leaders affirm. One remarked that even though there was no biblical precedent for the slaying phenomena, ‘One must go by experiences sometimes’. We see from such a foolhardy and irresponsible comment as this, that though this practice cannot be attested to by Scripture, we are to believe it is of God simply because it has happened to people who claim to love God. This is, to say the least, a very dangerous principle to live by, for it not only paves the way for all sorts of erroneous doctrines, including false gospels, but is a gateway to the demonic. We are expected, then, to believe that men who say they are of God are of God simply because they say they are, and to believe that the Holy Spirit is responsible for the ‘slaying’ simply because it is real. How are we to test this experience? By listening to testimonies of those who have experienced it? If so, our faith becomes one that is based on subjective experiences, or on the word of others, rather than on the revealed Word of God, in which case the doors are flung open to any and every experience and as long as it is done in a ‘christian’ environment, all is well and it must be of God. This kind of illogical thinking has wrecked the lives of many a soul, for it provides an open doorway for Satan to come in as an angel of light. The Lord Jesus Christ said that it was a wise man who built his house upon rock. That Rock is Jesus Christ, the Word of God (Matt. 7:24,25). Only a fool would build his house upon the sands of experience. Proverbs 14:15 says, "The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going."
Convulsions, fainting spells, uncontrollable rantings and ravings and the like, are common occurrences throughout the world wherever there is religious fanaticism, whether it be pagan, cultic, or even in professing christian churches. Yet many, particularly those who have experienced the slaying, hastily disagree with the above comments because they have experienced great peace and comfort during their slain state. They believe they have been drawn closer to God by such an experience, little knowing that the god they have been drawn closer to is a counterfeit! They remain as ignorant as ever of the true Gospel and therefore do not know the God of the Gospel, and so remain open to counterfeit gods and their openly non-biblical experiences such as the slaying. The ‘peace’ and ‘spiritual ecstasy’ experienced by those ‘slain in the spirit’ does not, however, alter the fact of its non-scriptural origin or deny the many horrendous experiences people have endured whilst being in the slain state, or as a consequence of it. Testimonies are not to be relied upon. Testimonies, more often than not, have no tangible evidence to prove their veracity. The strength behind testimonies is the willingness of the hearers to believe them. If we are to go by the ‘positive’ testimonies of others, including those who have experienced the ‘slaying’, then we must with equal zeal and credulity listen to those who have disturbing things to say about their negative experiences with the ‘slaying’, as well as to those who say they experienced great peace because of it. All that will result will be confusion. Reliance and a real trust based solely upon the Scriptures will bless and comfort and make one clear as to what is of God and what is not. Experience only validates itself. It often has nothing to substantiate it other than perceived results, which can be influenced by the mind‘s often desperate willingness to believe that ‘something of God’ has happened. Interestingly, many who have experienced the ‘slaying’ have told of a feeling of weightlessness or floating, which is identical to the testimonies given by many who have undergone hypnosis. Others have felt a heaviness or great weight upon them, which is also what many hypnotized people have experienced. "Tingling in the hands was one of the most commonly experienced sensations during one of (John) Wimber’s meetings with 52 percent of the total sample experiencing it. One who experienced the Toronto Blessing in England reported: ‘I fell over and the Holy Spirit came through my feet like a tingling electric current and up my body to my chest, where I felt resistance.’ During some exercises in autohypnosis, hand tingling was also one of the most commonly experienced sensations with 72 percent experiencing tingling in their hands" (‘The Toronto Blessing and Slaying in the Spirit, The Telling Wonder’, p. 18). Many have experienced the feeling of an electric current passing through their bodies whilst being slain in the spirit. This phenomena is precisely that which is experienced by those involved with the occult, as well as those involved with Hinduism and the Kundalini force, and some whilst indulging in illicit drugs such as marijuana and the like. The following is just a sample of what ‘slain’ people have experienced: "Very strong ‘electric current’ through arms, with fingers turning in...Electricity feeling over head...Electric shock during the presence of the Holy Spirit, envelopes of ‘energy’?—difficult to describe. Cone of power/energy descended on me. Aura of tremendous power around lower arms and hands, electricity in legs. Force field coming over me like rain running down from head to toe. It was like something out of Star Wars". (‘Healing: Fiction, Fantasy or Fact? p. 187); "As she lay there she was aware continuously of energy passing through her body" (‘Overcome By the Spirit, p. 40).
One man offers his comments as to why the ‘slaying’, and other such experiences, is one which has no Scriptural basis: "...there is nothing in the Bible to lead us to regard these bodily affections as the legitimate effects of religious feeling. No such results followed the preaching of Christ or His apostles. We hear no general outcries, faintings, convulsions or ravings (except in those possessed by demons) in the assemblies which they addressed....Their authority is directly opposed to all such disorders. They direct that all things should be done decently and in order. They teach us that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, in all the churches of the saints (1 Cor. 14:33,40). These passages have particular reference to the manner of conducting public worship (cf. Psa. 2:11). They forbid everything which is inconsistent with order, solemnity and devout attention. It is evident that loud outcries and convulsions are inconsistent with these things...They cannot come from God for He is not the author of confusion". Another makes the following striking observation: "It is worth remembering that in the Bible it is only God’s enemies who fall backwards when confronted with His naked spiritual power (e.g., Jn. 18:6; cf. Isa. 28:13); whereas the Lord’s true people always fall forwards on their faces in awestruck adoration and worship (e.g., Gen. 17:3; Josh 5:14; Ezek. 1:28; 44:4; Matt. 7:5,6; Rev. 7:11; 11:16)".
Even two of the Charismatic movement’s biggest supporters are against the slaying. Cardinal Leon Joseph Seunens, former archbishop of Brussels-Malines, has stated that "The slaying is the work of an alien force" (‘Resting in the Spirit’, back cover). David Du Plessis, the representative of the Pentecostal churches at Vatican Council II, beseeched Roman Catholics to avoid the mistake made by the Pentecostals in the past, and not to introduce the ‘falling phenomenon’, which had given them "NOTHING BUT TROUBLE!!" (‘Resting in the Spirit’, p.32). It is interesting to note that the prince of Arminianism, John Wesley, saw the slaying occur often in his so-called revival meetings, wrongly interpreting it as something of God. Arminianism, upon which the Charismatic movement is founded, teaches the very popular, but nonetheless false, gospel that Christ died for everyone and that man is not dead in sin to the point he cannot choose God by his free will. "John Wesley’s Journal tells of people who during his preaching ‘were struck to the ground and lay there groaning’ (Knox, 1950 citing Wesley’s Journal, p. 118). The Methodist circuit-rider Peter Cartwright’s preaching was also accompanied by listeners falling under the power. Similar results accompanied George Whitefield’s preaching and are attested to in the writings of Jonathan Edwards as well (ibid., 526, 529, 530). Charles G. Finney’s Autobiography recounts episodes in which people could not move or speak, in one instance for sixteen hours (Wessel, 1977, reprint, p. 58)." It must be pointed out that the preaching of both the Methodists and Charles Finney were Arminian and strongly opposed to the Gospel of the Bible. Also, Whitefield was a tolerant Calvinist claiming to believe the so-called Calvinist doctrine and yet insisting, like Spurgeon, that those who believed the Arminian gospel, whose doctrines are diametrically opposed to those of the Bible, were also saved. Many in the Charismatic movement, in an effort to show that the slaying occurring in their meetings is a Christian experience, often refer to the meetings of several respected mainline Protestant leaders of the past where the same phenomena occurred. What they fail to realise is that the men they so eagerly refer to were not preachers of the Gospel and so they, too, were deceived by something which was not of God at all. These instances are merely further evidence of how false and demonic signs attend the preaching of false gospels and never the true.
The ‘Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements’ also admits that the ‘slaying’ is not biblical. It says that "The source of the experience can be a purely human response to autosuggestion, group peer pressure or simply a desire to experience the phenomenon" (p.789). The writers go on to say, "It is equally unquestionable that there is no biblical evidence for the experience as normative in Christian life" (p. 791). Though denouncing the practice, the writers of this dictionary are irresponsible in their failure to address those who have felt a very real force pressing on their chests or heads, forcing them to fall backwards. If this is not the Holy Spirit, which it patently is not, then it must be demonic. There are, of course, many instances where people allow themselves to fall for whatever reason, but there are others where a very real pressure is felt pushing them backwards, and people who did not really want to experience the phenomenon but who, against their will, fell to the ground nonetheless, some even suffering injury in the process. My friends, the ‘slaying in the spirit’ is not a biblical practice, and it has never been accompanied by the preaching of the true Gospel. It has always accompanied the teachings of men who knew not the Gospel of God, but who promoted a counterfeit in His name. It is not found in the pages of the Bible, yet there are many who trust in it as an experience from God simply because they claim to love God and because the experience is real. I have seen the smiling faces and heard the high praises from people who have experienced this phenomenon, but none of this outward display of conviction is any proof that the experience is of God, for many people in other religions have experienced the same thing. The common denominator of the Charismatic movement and others who experience the ‘slaying’ is that none of these groups teach the Gospel of God. Charismatics have made the fatal mistake of trusting both in their own hearts and the words of others who come to them and say, ‘Experience this, for it is of God'.
EXAMINE YOURSELVES AND SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES
We have clearly shown the reader what the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is and what it most definitely is not. Charismatics must break free from the shackles of fear that hold them in a vice-like grip to the erroneous teachings and counterfeit practices they have been led into. The Bible encourages God’s people to not blindly believe and follow, but to TEST, believe only the truth and follow!! The genuine truth-seeker has nothing to fear from the truth. The genuine truth-seeker will welcome truth, and scorn error and all falsehood that would dare present itself to him as truth. He will not seek, nor want, to defend error, or the teachers of it, but will flee from it. The genuine truth-seeker who is caught up in error may be somewhat hesitant at first to test those whom he follows, but his hesitancy and apprehension will dissolve if he receives the grace of God and prays for guidance and help from Him. NOW is the time to make sure that what you believe is exactly what God is saying in His Word. NOW is the time to make sure that the practices you are involved in are in complete harmony with what went on in the New Testament.
Many today are quick to boldly declare their love for the truth and willingness to examine what they believe and practice, because they are so convinced that what they hold to as truth is truth. They are totally unprepared for the real truth, for they do not expect to find out that they have been believing in lies and that they are not saved because they have been given a false gospel to believe, and many, when they do, abruptly cease their studies or discussion with those who seek to share the truth with them for FEAR. Upon discovering that they may well have been deceived up to this point in their lives, and realising that should they accept these things they would have to admit they had never been Christians but wholly deceived by a false gospel, many quickly pack everything away and try to carry on as if nothing has happened. Many are just simply not prepared to admit that they have been wrong and that they have wasted years of their lives in a false gospel. Mumbling some sort of excuse to themselves, they return to their improper understanding of the Scriptures and enjoy the ‘peace’ this brings them. They find comfort in joining with others who continue in their own ignorance of the truth, and dare not share their findings with them at the risk of being seen as an oddball, but consciously choose to forget what they have learned. They ignore both the historical facts and the Scriptures, which shine God’s Light upon their false beliefs, because of an often pride-induced fear resident within them that stubbornly refuses to accept the possibility, not to mention the implications, ramifications and accompanying embarrassment and humiliation, that they have been deceived. One such person, a Charismatic, said upon having seen for himself that certain information provided to him concerning the gross errors of the Charismatic movement, was undeniable, that ‘I cannot deny what this evidence is saying but I cannot accept it, for I would then have to admit that for the past three years I have been deceived'. Can you imagine thinking this way and can you see the bondage such a person is in? To be ignorant is one thing, but to be willingly ignorant in the face of undeniable fact is the domain of the most ardent of fools.
This author was once like this. Browsing through a local ‘Christian’ bookstore I came across a book on spiritual deception which I proceeded to skim through. I came across a section which was talking about the Faith movement. Upon realising that the book was pointing out the dangerous errors of Kenneth Copeland, I quickly closed the book and carried on as normal. I did not want to know what was said against Copeland, nor did I want to examine any of it. I did not want my little religious life upset and wrecked by, what I later learned was, the truth, because I enjoyed Copeland’s preaching and collecting his tapes. But thanks be to God and His marvellous grace, His Light shone upon me when I was not seeking Him because I believed I truly had the true God. Merely because I did not consider myself to be in bondage, did not make me a free man. The worst kind of bondage is when the bound person does not believe themselves to be bound, but free. Deceived people don’t struggle against that which has bound them, they sit back comfortably in its arms. After a couple more years of Copelandism, God made me willing to examine closely the erroneous teachings of Kenneth Copeland and the Faith movement and examine them in light of the Scriptures to see if the man I was following, and the gospel he was preaching, and the gifts he was claiming, were in fact Christian. I had been in bondage to Roman Catholicism and the Faith movement and tolerant Calvinism for over 15 years but have been made free by the Incarnate and written Word of God!! I have been made free by the Holy Spirit, Who has led and guided me into the truth of God’s one and only Gospel, the only Gospel that saves! And I now see clearly that I was never saved whilst believing the false gospels of those I once followed. What loss have I suffered, now that I have gained the truth? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!! I share in the apostle’s thoughts: "...I count all things but loss (no profit) for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Phil. 3:8,9).
One of the biggest obstacles that keeps people from examining themselves and acknowledging the truth and the fact that they have been deceived, is CHANGE! They are afraid of the change in their lives that would follow the necessary abandonment of the teachings and practices of their friends and church. ‘Where will I go? What will I do? Where will I find fellowship? What will my family say? What will my friends say?’ These are words of fear. People who are not prepared to face up to and accept the cost they must pay if they want to follow Jesus cannot be among God’s chosen. Christ says it this way, "He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me" (Matt. 10:37,38). When truth comes it will make you free, and the truly regenerate man will never regret his acknowledgement and acceptance of the truth of God. This love of the truth is far greater than anything fear can come up with to try and intimidate a person. To love, believe and obey the true Gospel, is to truly know, love and obey God (see 2 Thess. 1:8) and no Christian has ever been without it, or regretted the ‘loss’ of all that preceded it.
Now, it’s one thing to say you are willing to test and to have tested, but the question is: Have you tested correctly? Do you know how to test correctly? What have you used to test your experiences and gospel by? Have you used the proper objective method via the Scriptures, or have you simply gone by your feelings and listened to the preaching or writings of men who hold to those lies? Many say they have tested their experiences, but all they have done is look at the same scriptures in the same way they have been doing for years and prayed, ‘Lord, if this is not of you please take it away'. Listen my friend, don’t try to play games with God. God has given His Holy and unerring Word and provided us with a mind with which to think, and He expects us to use our minds and the Scriptures in conjunction with prayer so that we might discover what is right and what is wrong. Things aren’t just going to drop down from heaven. Signs aren’t miraculously going to appear before us saying, ‘this is not of God.’ One must search and study and apply oneself (see Prov. 2:1-5 cf. 2 Tim. 2:15). So many people are fooled by their own heart, which Jeremiah 17:9 tells us "...is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?", when they pray this way. So many think they are sincere when they pray such a ‘noble’ prayer when in reality, all they are doing is merely using this ‘plea for guidance’ and ‘openness to correction’ to confirm what they want and are content with. They are playing games with their eternal futures and are no seekers of God. Others test by Scripture but use the Bible incorrectly, taking texts out of their contexts and ending up with pretexts. They read into the Scriptures what they were never meant to say. They listen to tapes or check up on the Bible references used by their leaders and seem to gain comfort merely in the fact that those scriptures exist, interpreting the existence of the scriptures quoted as some sort of guarantee that what they have been taught about them is the truth, or merely in the fact that those they listen to or read encourage them to test what they are saying. ‘Don’t just believe it ‘cause I said it', is proof enough for some people that what a man is preaching must be the truth.
After having their error pointed out and being provided with a biblical definition of a scripture, those who have no real answer often respond by saying, ‘But that’s just your interpretation' (please see my book 'That's Just Your Opinion'). This really is not the most spiritually mature statement one could make, for in resorting to it one could just as easily be accused of the same thing. The person who implies that what someone believes and teaches is merely an interpretation that originates within the person and is not necessarily the truth, must also accept the possibility that what they believe is likewise a mere interpretation. Neither can then say with any confidence that what they have is the truth, for this line of reasoning renders everyone’s beliefs and teachings mere interpretations of what the real truth is. Obviously, the Lord God would not have left His people in such a ridiculous mess as to live their lives never knowing, and it never being possible to have, a proper understanding of what He is saying in the Bible, of never knowing what the true and saving Gospel is. How then would the Holy Spirit be able to lead His people to the truth if none of them were able to discern it? And how could God’s people be encouraged to test everything and hold fast to that which is good if all we had to go on was mere interpretation? If we are to test, there must be a Standard by which a thing can be tested and identified as either truth or error. The Bible’s teachings are knowable and after a thorough and proper searching of the Scriptures and comparing scripture with scripture, we can then teach with authority on what God has revealed to us in His Word. It is true, the Bible says that, "...Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man (the natural or unregenerate man, see 1 Cor. 2:14), the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. BUT GOD HATH revealed them UNTO US (His people) by His Spirit..." (1 Cor. 2:9,10). God has and does reveal His truth to His people and they have and shall all see, understand and believe the same truth, the same Gospel, for they have all been given the same faith and therefore are all of the same mind, the mind of Christ (see 1 Cor. 2:16). It is only those who have not been given the love of the truth, who have not embraced the truth, who do not recognize it as the Word of God but as mere opinions of men (see 1 Thess. 2:13; cf. Jn. 10:26,27).
The big test is to study the Bible in the correct and proper manner. Find Scripturally based books that point out the errors of the Charismatic movement and have courage enough to discover why. Then test it all by searching the Scriptures, all the while asking God to show you the truth. Above all else learn what the true Gospel is. Learn what the Gospel that Paul taught is and live and judge by that Gospel alone. DON’T judge by appearance or a person’s reputation, DON’T judge by your experiences or those of others, DON’T judge by your good intentions, honesty or zeal, DON’T judge by the sincerity and conviction of others but only judge by the written Word of God, the Truth of God, the Gospel of God!! Belief of the Gospel of Christ is of paramount importance for without the Gospel no man is saved or can be saved (2 Jn. 9; Mk. 16:16). The short cut out of the Charismatic movement and any other false christian organization, is to hear and believe the Gospel for all counterfeit christian groups are recognized and identified as such by the false gospels they promote. Know that if any bring a gospel that differs in any way from God’s only Gospel it is evidence that they are accursed and that their gospels cannot save (see Gal. 1:8,9). God has written His Word so that His people would not remain in darkness nor be confused by the doctrines of demons and other liars. He has written His Word so that His people, His elect, would be free from the world’s lies and from the Devil’s lies and all false gospels and all uncertainty, and that they might know the truth and all abide in that truth. The people of God are all sanctified "...of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto He called you by our GOSPEL..." (2 Thess. 2:13,14).
A FINAL WORD...
There will be many Charismatics who read this book, or should I say partially read it, who will throw it away as just so much rubbish. These people, I am afraid, will never come out of their error. They are loyal to it. They are devoted and committed to a false gospel and are abandoned to the experiences which are part and parcel of it. They are clinging to what has become an idol, a flesh-energized religion of sometimes demonic experiences which, in their spiritual stupor, they believe are signs from God and to which they are as addicted as the alcoholic is to his drink and the drug user to his needle. It is not Christianity, no matter how loudly or how often they profess Jesus as Lord.
But there will be some, I pray, who will heed the warnings of this book. They will see that what they have been involved in is not of God, but a strong deception that is leading many into contact with the demonic counterfeits of the true gifts of the Holy Spirit as found in the Bible. They will see what the true Gospel is, what the true God is really like, and what it means to be a true Christian, not merely a professing one. The very nature of the counterfeit is to resemble the genuine as closely as possible in appearance. But no matter how good the counterfeit may be, when examined in detail, it becomes clear—as long as one knows what the genuine looks like—to all that it is a worthless imitation. Think about what the Charismatic movement is asking you to believe. You are being told that the biblical gifts are still in operation today yet, as we have shown, they are not identical to them! SIMILAR IS NOT THE SAME. So what we are left with is something DIFFERENT to that which is described for us in the Bible, yet claimed to be one and the same thing!!!! If this is not a perfect description of what a counterfeit is, I give up! I am afraid that Hitler was right when he said, ‘The bigger the lie the more people will believe it'.
Today, many have become involved with the ‘Toronto Blessing’. Charismatic churches are mixed in their opinions of this satanic mess. The American A.O.G. churches have officially rejected this ‘laughter’ movement as not being of God. Here in Australia, however, the A.O.G. movement has welcomed the Toronto phenomenon with open arms as ‘a wonderful move of God’ and its leader, Rodney Howard-Browne, has preached several times at the Paradise A.O.G. Church in South Australia which was once headed by former A.O.G. Australia leader, Andrew Evans. Now, either we have the American A.O.G. churches calling something of the Holy Spirit ‘satanic’; or we have the Australian A.O.G. calling something that is satanic ‘of God’. It is a tangled mess, a confused mess, and the blind leaders of the Charismatic movement, who say they are so familiar with the authentic, cannot agree as to whether something as bizarre and patently unbiblical as the laughter movement, is of God or not! And the sad reality is that so many are trusting in these men and clinging to their every word as if there was no Bible, as if we were back in the Dark Ages when the Bible was hidden away in monasteries! Pay attention to the Word of God, dear people, and trust only in it and not the fallible leaders of today. Believe in and judge by the one and only Gospel by which God saves and trust in what God has written, not in the experiences that many have welcomed as the new authority.
The very great need in these last days is to search the Scriptures. To adhere to the words of God in the Bible like never before. To stand steadfast in the Word of God regardless of the number of false signs and lying wonders and testimonies which are occurring in our day in support of false gospels. Regardless of how many people approach us with glowing reports that they have experienced the Holy Spirit and how wonderfully their lives have improved and how at peace they are, and how we need what they have. If you are a born-again Christian, you have experienced, and are continually experiencing, the Holy Spirit by walking in the Spirit, obeying His Word and living in harmony with the truth. We pray that the following words, written long ago but perhaps never more relevant, will echo in the minds of all who have read this book: "If seduction and darkness were again to begin through the wrath and decree of God (as will happen after our days, it is to be feared), and the Devil were to begin to perform signs through some false prophet and perhaps cure a sick person, you would no doubt see the mob press to espouse the cause in such a way that no preaching or warning would be of any avail...FOR IN THOSE WHO HAVE NO LOVE FOR THE TRUTH, THE DEVIL WILL BE POWERFUL AND STRONG....If, then, these teachings (of a false prophet) contradict the chief doctrine and article of Christ, we should accord them neither attention nor acceptance though it were to snow miracles daily".
The apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:15 that if Christ were not risen, he, and the other proponents of the Gospel, would be found "...false witnesses of God..." Christ, of course, is risen and Paul is a true witness of God, and God receives glory when the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are rightly proclaimed. But when false signs and lying wonders and half truths, by way of prophecy, are attributed to God, this does not bring glory to Him at all, and all our good intentions and well-meaning sincerity can never change that. You cannot attribute to God what is not of Him and expect God to be pleased that His name has been so slandered and associated with error. What you must understand, dear reader, is that God cannot and does not receive glory merely because we attribute to Him something which we think is of Him, when in fact it is not. God cannot even be worshipped in a way that is unbiblical but which we believe will bring honor upon His name and be pleasing to Him (see Lev. 10:1,2). Sincerity does not justify the means. We must believe the Gospel God has authored and we must worship God the way He has commanded — in Spirit and in Truth: "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him" (Jn. 4:23). We must believe His Gospel, and no other, if we are to rightly consider ourselves saved and worshippers of the true God.
As was mentioned earlier, the Lord Jesus will speak to such false witnesses of Christ in that Great Day which is to come. In one of the most shocking passages of Scripture, Matthew 7:21-23 reveals a people who had come from years of what they perceived to be genuine prophesying, the casting out of demons and the performance of many wondrous works, all in His name, only to hear the dreaded words "...I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity" (v. 23). Those who are not known of Christ are those who have not the Spirit of Christ: "...Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" (Rom. 8:9). Isn’t it interesting that a movement such as the Charismatic movement, which prides itself on having an intimate relationship with God’s Holy Spirit, in reality have not the Spirit of Christ for they have not the doctrine of Christ. Now, if you are deceived, no matter how wonderful your intentions, you cannot but deceive others. You may well be sincere but you will be sincerely wrong in what you preach and advocate. The deceived do not know they are deceived. The deceived are like those who cannot discern the words in a book because they have it right up against their face. What they need to do is take a step back away from the book so that they may be able to discern properly and with an unobstructed view what the book is actually all about.
The wolves that Jesus prophesied would come would not say, ‘Cursed be God’, but ‘Praise His name’, and ‘Hallelujah’, and ‘Glory to the Lord Jesus Christ’. They would not come speaking in the name of Satan, but in the name of Jesus. They would not call their gospels false gospels but the true Gospel. The counterfeit gods of false christianity would not be called by any name other than Jesus and God. What better way to get the lies of Satan accepted in the churches of professing christendom than to utter them in the name of Jesus. The ministers of Satan would come clothed as sheep and present themselves as ministers of righteousness proclaiming the name of Jesus with signs following (2 Cor. 11:13-15). But the signs that these people spoke of in Matthew 7:22 were not true signs, for if that had been the case, they would have truly been Christ’s people and He would have known them and owned them as such. If they were true signs done in the power of the Holy Spirit, it would have been a case of the Holy Spirit working through people whom Christ never knew! But no. The Holy Spirit was not the spirit behind the signs and wonders of those in Matthew 7 for the Lord Jesus Christ did not know them. They never were His people and neither were their false signs and lying wonders of God. False signs attend false gospels and honor only a false god.
God Almighty does not attend the words of men or demons, but only His own pure unadulterated Word. The Lord God does not associate Himself with the works of darkness, with pathetic counterfeits of His true signs, prophecies, miracles or Gospel. God is pure, there is no darkness in Him, and He certainly would not lend His Hand to a movement that holds to these counterfeit signs and promotes a false gospel, which identifies another christ and not the Son of God, and is leading people into a miry ecumenical pit.
The Bible is the standard by which we are able to distinguish truth from error. Many today naively believe that if it feels good, that if they are experiencing virtually anything that is strange and out of the ordinary and which they have no control over, then it must be of God. In fact the stranger, the merrier. The less control they have, the more spiritual they believe themselves to be. The stranger the experience, the more spiritual the experience. The more confusion and disorder there is the more convinced they are in the Holy Spirit’s presence! For many, the ‘proof’ that it is God behind the experience is their failure to understand or make any sense of it, coupled with their sincerity in the matter and in their desire for ‘God’ and ‘God’ only, as well as their clean moral lifestyle. Do you see the dilemma these people are in? They have become slaves to experience and must follow wherever experience takes them, no matter how strange and unbiblical, no matter how weird the doctrines and no matter how different the experiences are to those of the Bible. All is explained away with the quaint expression ‘God is doing a new work in our midst’. They are pragmatists. The pragmatist holds to the concept, whether he is aware of it or not, that truth consists, not in correspondence with the facts, but in successful coherence with experience. They have entered the world of the mystical where experience is all that is required to validate experience and justify belief; a world where the rules are made up as one goes along; a world where there is no room for the scripture which warns that Satan is transformed into an angel of light and that his ministers appear as ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14). There is no room for testing the spirits in this world, as the Scriptures say. As far as they are concerned, it is time for experiences and all you need be equipped with for protection is a love for God and a sincerity of heart and then all you will experience will be of Him. Such people have failed to realise that there is a ‘beautiful side’ to evil. A side which is far more dangerous than obvious evil for this evil finds its way easily into the lives of the unwary and gullible because it comes packaged in very attractive wrapping. However, Charismatic pastor, Chuck Smith, does see the problem clearly but not clearly enough: "One of the greatest weaknesses of the Charismatic movement is its lack of sound biblical teaching. There seems to be an undue preoccupation with experience, which is often placed above the Word. As a consequence charismatics have become a fertile field for strange and unscriptural doctrines proliferating through their ranks" (‘Charisma Vs. Charismania’, p. 127). No matter how beautiful the house may be, its quality material and A-1 construction will not amount to a hill of beans if it is built upon a foundation of sand.
This book has sounded the warning bell loud and clear. It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that what he believes and perceives to be of God is in fact of God, and not some devilishly clever counterfeit. And the primary thing a person claiming to be a Christian needs to do is to examine the gospel he holds to and see if it is the true and only Gospel of God. For if it is not, the Scriptures state clearly that such a person is not of God, that such a person is not currently in a saved state. This is not said to make us sit and wallow in misery but to WAKE US UP and turn us to the truth and that we might abandon all that has preceded it in our lives. Christ said that those who believe the Gospel "...shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mk. 16:16). The fact that Satan is transformed into an angel of light providing false signs and lying wonders and that his ministers, who appear as sheep but inwardly are ravening wolves, are those who teach and promote false gospels, cannot be denied. This fact is one that is all but ignored in these last days. Members of Charismatic groups, and those professing christians who are so busy in ministries committed to exposing their false and demonic experiences, have missed the most vital of all issues: What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Everyone just presumes everyone else is a Christian, despite what doctrine they believe! The Bible not only warns of false ministers, false teachers, and false prophets and false brethren, etc., but it sounds a very clear warning when it talks of another spirit, another christ, and another gospel (see 2 Cor. 11:4). This other spirit is one which energizes and provides accompanying false signs to other gospels that speak of and promote another christ, and not the Christ of the Gospel of God. We do well to read the Scriptures fully and take heed of its warnings and implications. Those who bring with them false gospels are the servants of deception and death, "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ, and no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (2 Cor. 11:13-15)
The true Gospel of God is the only means by which a person is saved. No matter how many experiences one believes one has had, no matter how many wonderful works one claims to have performed, no matter how many demons one believes one has cast out, none are saved who have not the authentic God-authored Gospel. None can have a true trusting in the true Christ before one has heard, understood, and believed, the only Gospel of Christ: "That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In Whom ye also trusted, AFTER that YE HEARD the Word of Truth, THE GOSPEL OF YOUR SALVATION: in Whom also AFTER that YE BELIEVED, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise" (Eph. 1:12,13). The true Christian is born of the Gospel of God. It is this Gospel, and this Gospel only, that is the Seed of God and no other: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God...And this is the word which BY THE GOSPEL is preached unto you" (1 Pet. 1:23,25). For detailed teaching on the Gospel that must be believed if any are to be saved, please see my other writings. What follows is a brief definition of God’s only Gospel.
It is of vital importance to note that no person is saved who believes not the Gospel of God. No person is saved who believes that one can be saved believing any other gospel other than God’s Gospel. And, no person is saved who claims to believe the true Gospel but who insists they, or anyone else, were saved whilst believing another gospel.
The true Gospel of God’s grace gives all the glory for salvation to God, leaving no room for a man to boast in anything he has done in order to get saved or stay saved. It is not a complicated message. It is not a message that is difficult to understand. It is a plain and simple message. Man is dead in sin and cannot come to God in and of himself (Matt. 19:25,26; Rom. 3:10,11; 5:12; Eph. 2:1,12); no man by nature understands God and therefore does not, and cannot, seek the true God; without God man has no hope. This teaching is the launching pad for grace. It introduces people to grace and the fact that no part of salvation is conditioned on anything else but grace. Salvation is not by the will of man but the will of God according to His grace and mercy. God chose a people for Himself before the foundation of the world, not based on anything they did or would do, but upon His will, wisdom and grace and according to His purpose (Eph. 1:3-6; 2 Tim. 1:9); salvation is according to the election of grace and not by the works of man (Rom. 11:5; Gal. 2:16); Christ Jesus was sent to the earth to establish a perfect righteousness by obeying the law, and dying, as the Representative of, and a Substitute for, those people God had chosen and entrusted to Christ’s care (Jn. 10:27,28; 17:2,3; Eph. 5:25); their sins had to be atoned for and would be charged to Him and His Righteousness to them, thus making them wholly acceptable unto God (2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 5:2); these people would all be taught of God and made willing in the day of His power to love and believe the same Gospel—GOD’S ONLY GOSPEL—and be saved, for this is the will of God and none of them will ever perish (Jn. 10:26-29). This, in a nutshell, is the Gospel of God. Of course, there are several truths about Christ, such as His virgin birth and His resurrection and the fact that the Triune God is the Creator of all things, that must also be believed in. Belief in any other gospel will not, cannot and never has saved anybody.