Strange Fire Conference
Let’s go to the Lord in a word of prayer, then we’ll begin.
Our Father, we do thank You for this time and we pray that Your Holy Spirit who is always active, always present, always working will guide us into the truth of Your Word. Sanctify us in the truth of Your Word. And, Lord, as we look at these issues today, somewhat controversial, quote/unquote, somewhat confusing, very confusing for many people, we pray that Your Spirit will illumine the truth of Your Word to us and that we would live our lives accordingly and be equipped to speak Your truth in love to others so that they may do that as well. These things we ask in the name of Christ, for His sake. Amen.
It’s good to be with you once again. I thank you very much for coming. And what we will be doing in this session is we’ll be looking at some of the more dramatic, some of the more spectacular things of the Word/Faith Movement and the gist of this, the direction we’ll be looking at how these practices that we’ll be looking at, the abuse of tongues, the practice of divine revelation knowledge, the claims of people who say they’ve been to heaven, how these things divorce people from their reliance upon the sufficient Word of God. And at the end of our time, we’ll be looking a little bit at physical healing. This seminar is about seven hours in length, I’m trying to condense it down to two. Yesterday’s session and today, so we’ll be just hitting a few of the high points and we’ll be going very quickly through this, but if you would like the full seminar, they do have my DVDs entitled “Clouds Without Water” in the bookstore, those are available for you. And so…let’s begin.
Now, this may be a little bit anticlimactic because this has already been discussed somewhat. But for those who may be tuning in on the Internet and haven’t been here at the conference, which theological group does the following: heretic jerking and shaking, uncontrollable laughter, being slain in the Spirit, they prophesy and they speak in tongues. Of course, most people would think of Charismatics/Word of Faith, it’s actually Hindus. Hindus do all of these things as well and has already been mentioned in this conference, you can look at video clips of Hindus practicing this thing known as Kundalani(?), it’s a subset, a little discipline within Hinduism. You can look at clips of Hindu Kundalani, and look of clips of professing Charismatic Christians and they are absolutely indistinguishable. You cannot tell the difference, the exact same kind of behavior. And so that should give us really a lot of pause before we start to say, “Oh, well so-and-so is speaking in tongues, or so-and-so is being slain in the Spirit, that’s a sign of God’s hand on that person, that’s a sign of spirituality.” Absolutely not. There may be a spirit at work, but it is not the Holy Spirit…it is not the Holy Spirit.
Watch this video clip from quote/unquote “Apostle Guillermo Maldonado.”
CLIP: And I can give you a list. Faith has been supplanted by reason. Today we don’t do anything unless we understand it. When…if you go to the Scripture, every act or miracle of God, it cannot be explained. That’s what supernatural means. Something that cannot be explained, it’s beyond your head, it’s beyond your reason. If you want to receive your miracle now, you need to disconnect your head. And your reason has its place. I’m not saying you’re stupid, we have to be stupid. That’s not what I’m saying, but you can't get into the supernatural, you cannot move in the supernatural by the reason.
JUSTIN: You cannot move in the supernatural by your reason. If you want to be spiritual, if you want to move in the supernatural, you’ve got to disengage your head. Is that what the Bible tells us to do? Absolutely not. Acts chapter 17:11, the Bereans says they were considered more noble than those in Thessalonica because they received the Word with all readiness of mind, searching the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. The Word of God never enjoins us to disengage our minds when it comes to the things of God.
Quite the opposite. We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind. We are to study to show ourselves approved unto God. But there is a very palpable undercurrent of anti-intellectualism, a theological intellectualism within the Word of Faith/Charismatic Movement. This is very pervasive. Doctrine and theology have become bad words. And that is prevalent not only in the Charismatic Word of Faith Movement, it is also prevalent in most evangelical churches tragically. Most people have come to the point where they say, “Well I don’t need doctrine. I don’t need theology. I just love Jesus. That is a foolish statement. That is a foolish statement.
If we love Jesus as much as we profess to love Him, then don’t you think we would want to get to know Him? And the only way to get to know Him is by knowing Him in His Word. We’re to study the Word of God. And when our knowledge of God is deepened, our love for God is deepened.
By the way, I have this word “apostle” in quotes for a reason. There are no more apostles. Not with a capital A, the office of the Apostle has been closed. There are Twelve Apostles, Revelation 21:14, the twelve foundation stones in the New Jerusalem on which were inscribed of the names of the Twelve Apostles. So no more Apostles today. Thank you very much for applying but the quota has already been filled.
Briefly I want us to look at the gift of tongues. The gift of tongues. Of course, there is a debate within Christianity as to whether or not these gifts are still in operation. Obviously as you might imagine, my position is that from a cessationist position. And let me reiterate something because a lot of people think if you’re a cessationist, that means that you don’t believe in any of the spiritual gifts.
That’s not cessationism. Beth Moore thinks that’s cessationism as she has defined it. But that’s not cessationism. Cessationism is not the belief that all of the spiritual gifts have ceased, only that the apostolic gifts have ceased…tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy in the sense of foretelling the future, and healing. Those gifts are no longer in operation. The gifts of mercy, the gifts of teaching, the gifts of exhortation, administration, all of those gifts very much still in effect. But we have a few here…I have a few items here dealing with the gift of tongues. Just kind of in a general nature, we’re going to blow through these real quickly. But just some parameters for this gift.
Number one, as we’ve already looked, tongues are not unique to Christianity. They’re not unique to Christianity. So the fact that pagans can speak in tongues and do it just as convincingly as any professing Charismatic Christian is proof positive that just because someone is speaking in tongues, it’s not necessarily an indication that that person is getting that ability from God. Pagans do it too. So not at all an indication of God’s hand on that person.
Tongues can be practiced in an ignorant, ungodly way. This is what was going on in the church in Corinth. The church in Corinth was an absolute mess. And they had this rampant abuse of the spiritual gifts. They were abusing the gifts in every imaginable way, in an unimaginable morality going on in that church and Paul was writing to correct this. Paul was writing to correct this. Tongues can be practiced in an ungodly way, it can be done in such a way that it brings attention to the person speaking in tongues, rather than glorifying Christ, rather than edifying the church. That’s what was going on in the church at Corinth.
Also, if it’s done in public in corporate worship, an interpreter must always be present and he must always interpret. And so if you’re in a church and there’s a group of people speaking in tongues all at once, and no one is interpreting, that’s well outside of biblical parameters. That’s not of God. Paul says it must be done by two or at the most three, each in turn and one must always interpret. And if that’s not what’s going on, then that is outside of biblical parameters, it is not of God. And, of course, we argue that that gift has ceased anyway, no longer in operation.
Also, it is false that all believers should speak in tongues. Some churches teach that if you are saved, your salvation will be evidenced by you speaking in tongues. And if you don’t speak in tongues, well then you must not be saved. But that is patently unbiblical. The Apostle Paul asks a series of rhetorical questions. He says, “All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not teach, do they? All do not speak in tongues, do they? And clearly the implied answer to these rhetorical questions is no…no they don’t.
We can no more say that every Christian should speak in tongues than we could say that every Christian should have the gift of teaching, or every Christian should have the gift of mercy. Every Christian does not have every spiritual gift. The Holy Spirit distributes the gifts among the body as He wills to do so, 1 Corinthians chapter 12. So this is patently unbiblical. And also, tongues were for a sign of judgment. Tongues were for a sign of judgment. This is something I think the vast, vast majority of people miss. Tongues were for a sign of judgment. There’s only one place in the New Testament that gives us an actual reason, a function for the gift of tongues, and that’s in 1 Corinthians 14:20 through 22. And the Apostle Paul says, “Tongues were for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers.”
Now what did Paul mean by that? Was Paul indicating that when a lost person sees you speaking in tongues, they’ll be so impressed by that ability that they will just have to come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord? Not at all…not at all. And we know that because right here Paul directly quotes Isaiah chapter 28. Well what’s going on in Isaiah chapter 28? Judgment…judgment. One of the signs that God was bringing judgment on His people is that one day the Jews, Hebrews, would look up and in their midst would be a group of people speaking a foreign language. Not unintelligible gibberish but a foreign language, Babylonian, Syrian, what have you. And when they saw that, that was a sign that oh, oh, God’s about to bring the hammer down. God’s bringing judgment. And this is what Paul quotes when he gives us a reason, a function for the gift of tongues. And that’s what was happening in the book of Acts. Acts chapter 2, when the Holy Spirit fell the Day of Pentecost, and these men began to speak in foreign languages, that was a sign that God was bringing judgment on unbelieving Israel because Israel had rejected Jesus as their Messiah. They crucified Him. And so as a sign of judgment, God was showing that when these men began to speak in other languages, that was God’s indication, the sign that His salvific gaze, if you will, His gaze of salvation was shifting away from the Jews to the Gentiles. And even to this day, Israel remains under the judgment of God. Not in a militaristic sense, not in a political sense, I’m not saying we should not support Israel, we absolutely should, but in a salvific sense.
To this day, God is doing the vast majority of His saving work not among Jews, among Gentiles. Now one day God’s salvific gaze will return to Israel. Romans chapter 11, He will return to Israel, but for right now in a salvific sense, Israel is under the judgment of God.
And also, tongues were known languages. We’ve made this point repeatedly, tongues were not unintelligible gibberish. It was known languages.
Now to give you a little illustration of how this would have looked in the early church, let’s kind of transport ourselves back about two thousand years, almost, and let’s say we’re at Grace Community Church in Jerusalem. Okay? To kind of illustrate what this would have looked like, now there’s not only a gift of tongues, or languages, there’s also a gift of interpretation of languages. And the way this would have looked to illustrate…Barney…Barney, I just met Barney. All right. The way this would have looked, Barney would stand up, if the Holy Spirit gave Barney the gift of languages, all of a sudden Barney would be able to speak and say, I’m going out on a limb here and say that you don’t know Swahili. Okay. So Barney would start speaking fluid Swahili, even though that’s a language he doesn’t know. Now let’s say I had the gift of interpretation of tongues, then immediately I could translate what Barney said in Swahili even though I don’t know Swahili either. And then Barney would sit down. And then Kevin would stand up and Kevin, all of a sudden the Holy Spirit gave Kevin the gift of tongues and let’s say Kevin started speaking in fluent Farsi, don’t know Farsi. Okay, so he’s speaking in Farsi fluently even though he does not know that language. And then I, if I had the gift of interpretation, tongues, I could translate what Kevin said in Farsi even though I don’t know Farsi either. Okay? And then Kevin would sit down.
And that’s how it would have looked. Is that what we see today in the modern Charismatic Movement? Not even close, not even remotely, not remotely. But yet, let me show you what is mainstream in the Charismatic Movement today, this is a video clip of Sid Rolfe(?) on TBN, this is from just this past December, watch this as Sid Rolfe attempts to teach the live studio audience how to speak in tongues.
VIDEO CLIP: And if you’ve never prayed in tongues, if you follow my instructions, the anointing is here to do the rest. I can’t do it for you. But I can tell you how to pray in supernatural languages. So you start speaking like little baby words and say them as fast as you humanly can when I begin to pray. And the supernatural will become natural as you take a step, Peter, of faith. Raise your hands to a holy God and begin to pray in a language you’ve never been instructed. (Gibberish)… If you don’t move your tongue and speak no one else will do any… (gibberish)… I know you don't know what to say. Make little non-sense syllables up. They’re not non-sense, but they’re the first words coming out of your spirit… (gibberish)… Do it faster, I said faster, I said faster… You can do it faster than that. If I had a gun in your ribs you’d do it faster… (Gibberish)… God is operating in supernatural inlets right now, pastor. Deaf ears are being opened right now in Jesus' name. Backs are being healed, ribs. Carpal tunnel, you're healed. Fingers, in Jesus' name, right now… (Gibberish)… This is normal. Let the whole world be normal!
JUSTIN: You can do it faster than that, if I had a gun in your ribs you could do it faster. Can’t you just see the Apostle Paul saying something like this? Do it faster, faster, if I had a dagger in your side you could do it faster than that. Does that even remotely look like what we just saw illustrated? Does that even remotely look like what we see in the book of Acts? Absolutely not. This is pagan. This is the flesh. You know, and Sid Rolfe, he’s not even any good at it. (Laughter) I’ve seen a lot of people put a lot more convincing display of tongues than that. He’s not even any good at it. That is so far outside of biblical parameters.
We do not see the biblical gift of languages being exercised today for a lot of reasons. For a lot of reasons. Number one, the function of the gift has already been fulfilled. There’s no longer a need for it. Those gifts have ceased. After we get past about the year A.D. 58 chronologically in the New Testament, no more tongues, no more interpretation of tongues, no more physical healing. Those gifts just seem to fade out of operation, even while many of the apostles were still alive.
I want us now to look at heavenly encounters. It almost seems like if you want to make it into big time Christianity today, it really helps if you’ve been to heaven at least once. Jesse Duplantis is a man who claims that he’s been to heaven. He wrote a book entitled Close Encounters of the God Kind. This is what really put Jesse Duplantis on the map. He claims that in 1988 he was in Southeastern Arkansas and he was in a hotel room and he just felt burdened of the Lord to pray. And so he got down on his knees, just confused by what the Lord was doing. He said, “Lord, what?” and right at that moment, Jesse says he was sucked up out of his room, found himself on a cable car, no less, traveling through space and time at a phenomenal rate of speed and there was a blond-haired angel on the cable car traveling along with him and when the cable car finally came to a stop, the doors opened and Jesse steps out into heaven. And Jesse goes on to tell you about everything that he saw, everything that he heard while he was in heaven.
Now, going through this quickly, the first real concrete clue that we have that something here is not right with Jesse’s strip to heaven is what the angel on the cable car told him. The angel said, “You have an appointment with the great God Jehovah.” This is our first concrete clue, something’s not right.
Dear Friends, Jehovah is not God’s name. God’s name is not Jehovah, His name is Yahweh, YHWH, ancient Hebrew had no vowels, all consonants. And so, the ancient name for God, the Hebraic name for God is YHWH the English equivalent of that.
Now what happened about the year 1520, there was a scholar by the name of Peter Galatin(?) and Galatin took the consonants of YHWH and then he took another name for God, the name Adonai and he took the vowels of Adonai, this word Adonai, it means ruler, it means one who is in control, and basically what Galatin did was he took the consonants of YHWH, the vowels of Adonai and he smushed them together. Okay? And when he smushed them together, this is what he got. The Y in YHWH drops down, as does the A in Adonai. The H in YHWH drops down, the O in Adonai, the W in YHWH, the final A in Adonai and then the final H and you have the name Yahowa(?) and I’ll give you three guesses and two of them don’t count as to what the English equivalent of Yahowa is…Jehovah. So the name Jehovah did not even exist until 500 years ago. Jehovah is not God’s name. Next time a Jehovah’s Witness knocks on your door you might like to share this information with them, they might find it very interesting. Jehovah is not God’s name.
Now is it a sin to call God Jehovah? I don’t know, it’s not a sin but maybe it’s time we get on a first-name basis with the creator of the universe, His name is Yahweh. The point though of the matter is this, is that an angel would have known better…an angel would have known better. An angel would never have said you have an appointment with Jehovah. If anything, assuming you can get pass the whole cable car deal, he would have said, “You have an appointment with Yahweh. So an angel would have known better, but Jesse Duplantis apparently did not, gives himself away.
Going to heaven is a rather lucrative business. This is Jesse Duplantis parsonage. My wife and I drove past it earlier this year and took a picture down into Strahan(?) Louisiana, 35,000 square feet…not 35 hundred, 35 thousand square foot parsonage. But to be fair, only thirty-two thousand of those square feet are actual living space, the other three thousand square feet, that’s his garage. So.
Nothing wrong, dear ones, with having material wealth if you’ve worked hard for it and God’s blessed you to keep some of the fruits of your labors, that’s fine. But when your wealth is gained off of distorting the gospel, when your wealth is gained off of exploiting the poor and the sick and the desperate and the widows, there’s a lot wrong with that. It’s not just the Charismatics that say they’ve been to heaven, some of them are Baptists. Don Piper, author of Ninety Minutes in Heaven, Don Piper is a Baptist preacher and he had a car accident in 1989 in Southeast Texas, horrific car accident, no doubt about it, but he said upon impact he died and he went and he spent an hour and a half in heaven. And Don Piper talks about all the people that he saw in heaven, but…he saw his great grandfather, or his grandfather, he saw his great grandmother Haddie, he describes what they look like in their physical bodies which is problematic, actually, because the people in heaven right now don’t yet actually have their glorified bodies. So that’s a problem.
But he talks about all these people. His high-school buddy that he saw who died at an early age. But of all the people that he saw in heaven, there’s one person he said he did not see on page 33 of his book, he said, “I did not see God. I saw an aluminous glow that might have indicated His divine presence. (Laughter)…True enough.
So, of all the people that he saw, claimed to see, he says he did not see God. This book came out in the year 2004. Let me show you a video clip from Don Piper from 2011, it seems as though his story has changed just a little bit.
VIDEO CLIP: Drinking that in and absorbing how great the mansions were. And then I began to look up to the gate and I could see this kind of pinnacle in the middle of the city, it’s kind of the hill high and lifted up. There’s a river flowing down the side of this…well it’s the river of life and it’s coming down the side of this mountain, or hill, if you will, and at the top of that is the brightest light I’ve ever seen, and I know who that is, it’s the Lord high and lifted up. This is His city.
JUSTIN: Now wait a minute. It says in his book he did not see God. Not only did he not see God, he did not even see aluminous glow that would have indicated where He was. But now he did see God way down there on top of the hill, he said, that was the brightest light I’d ever seen and I knew who that was, it was the Lord high and lifted up. Which is it? Which is it?
The title of your book is Ninety Minutes in Heaven and you can’t remember whether or not you saw God? I’ll be the first to admit that I’m bad with names and faces. I am. I admit it. I’m bad. I embarrass myself a lot of times regularly with how bad I am in recalling people’s names and sometimes faces. But as bad as I am, I would have to think that if I was taken to heaven, there’s probably one person whom I would never forget meeting and that would be God. He’s a liar. He’s a liar. This book has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of six million copies, all in Christian bookstores. And I can’t tell you how many people have seen my presentation on this, “O but, Justin, I bought this book in Lifeway. I bought this in Lifeway Christian bookstores, the largest Christian bookstore retailer in the world, connected to the Southern Baptist Convention. Surely you can trust that.”
You know, one of the most dangerous places for a Christian to go, Christian bookstores. You’d be safer on a SWAT team. Do they sell some good stuff? Sure, sure. Does Lifeway sell some good stuff? Sure. But they sell a lot of garbage and they sell it because it makes money. Now I’ve talked to them at Lifeway, I’ve written an article on this, extensive…doesn’t matter to them.
Seen this book, Colton(?) Burpo(?), Heaven is for Real, story of this little four-year-old kid that says he went to heaven. Honestly, dear ones, I kind of take offense at the title of the book. I don’t need a four-year-old kid to tell me heaven is for real, the Bible already tells me that. So got it, thanks anyway.
I’ve got video clips of this kid. This is made up. And the sad thing is, is this little kid’s…well he’s not a little kid anymore, he’s fourteen years old now…but his father is a pastor, made up story…made up story, none of it’s true.
Dear ones, think about this. In the New Testament there were only three men who were allowed a glimpse into heaven…only three. Stephen, right before he was stoned, Acts chapter 7, right before he was stoned had a very brief glimpse into heaven, saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father, and then he was stoned. He wasn’t really having his best life now, was he?
John, the Apostle John, author of the book of Revelation, by far the most detailed account we have of heaven, by far. But John was writing inspired, authoritative Scripture and so that’s on a level all of its own. And then the only other one is the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians chapter 12, the Apostle Paul, Paul writes, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago, whether in the body, I don’t know, or out of the body, I don’t know, God knows such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man whether in the body or apart from the body, I do not know, God knows, was caught up into paradise and heard inexpressible words which man is not permitted to speak.”
The Apostle Paul was speaking of himself. And he referred to himself in the third person because that is how humbled he was about what he had experienced. He didn’t even want to talk about this in the first place, but his apostolic authority was being questioned and so basically to paraphrase he was writing to the Corinthians, he was saying, “Okay, you question my apostolic authority? I know a man.” He didn’t want to talk about it at all. But notice, what do we know about what the Apostle Paul saw and heard while he was in heaven? Nothing. We have no idea of what he saw, no idea of what he heard. Why? Because he said he heard words that are inexpressible that man is not permitted to speak.
Contrast that level of humility with Jesse Duplantis, Colton Burpo, Roberts Lee(?) Arden(?), Mary Baxter, the list goes on and on and on. People claim they’ve been to heaven. Some people claim they’ve been to heaven.
Dear ones, if the Apostle Paul, the man who wrote roughly a third of the New Testament, was not allowed to tell us what he saw and heard in heaven, I seriously doubt that any other yahoo would be allowed to do so, especially when these people make careers out of it. Don Piper, that’s his career now. The Burpos, that’s their career, they’re making a movie off of Colton Burpo’s story…making a movie out of it. Quite the difference, is it not? By the way, this book has not been as popular, but somewhat popular, Alex Malarky(?) now don’t…I know what your…please don’t…please, please don’t. Please don’t…please don’t. The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven., Alex was a little boy in a vehicle with his father and they had a horrific car accident, and Alex was left paralyzed and now is almost completely helpless, physically. Will never recover, will never get any better. This happened to Alex when he was six-years-old. Alex is now 15, I believe, 14-15 years old. What’s interesting about this book, it wasn’t written by Alex, it was written by his father, Kevin Malarky. Kevin has made this story up. You know how I know that? Because Phil Johnson and I have spoken with Beth Malarky, Alex’s mother. And this story is not even true.
Alex, the boy, pleaded with his pastor, when this book was coming out and becoming very popular pleaded with his pastor, lying in his hospital bed, mind you, “You’ve got to tell your church the truth about the book. It’s not true.” But Kevin makes money, he’s exploiting his paralyzed son. It’s not even true. It doesn’t keep quote/unquote Christian bookstores from selling it. Never ever, ever believe anyone who says they’ve been to heaven and they want to tell you about it, because all of these accounts, all of them, all of these accounts give us supposed details about heaven that is not in the Bible. Okay? And by the way, the details that they give us of heaven in all these different accounts, they contradict one another so logically they cannot all be true. You know, Colton Burpo says that everybody in heaven has wings. And Jesus moves up and down like an elevator. And the Holy Spirit is blue, you know, is he, a Smurf, you know. I mean, they give us details about heaven that are not in the Bible.
Now in theory, in theory, if these people have really been to heaven and they come back and they give us details about heaven that are true, accurate, things that they have seen and they report them accurately to us then in theory, whatever they tell us about heaven should be just as authoritative as any verse in that book. So we should add that to Scripture. If Jesus really does move up and down like an elevator, if the Holy Spirit really is blue, if people really do have wings, then…then we should add that to this book. There’s only one problem with that. This book says, “Do not add to this book.” And then we have to ask the question, “Well what about all the people who died before they had a chance to read Ninety Minutes in Heaven? Before they had a chance to read heaven is for real, did they have insufficient revelation of heaven? Well I guess they did because you see now we’ve got more information about heaven than all the people who died before they had a chance to read these books. Aren’t we privileged?
Do you see the problem we’re having here? Open canon of Scripture. And nowadays when people want to learn about heaven, where do they go? Do they go here? No. They go pick up Ninety Minutes in Heaven, they watch Close Encounters of the God Kind, they read Heaven is for Real. They don’t go to the Bible, that’s too hard.
Dear friends, anything that divorces people from their reliance upon the Word of God is not the work of the author of the Word of God. Anything that diverts our attention away from Scripture is not coming from the author of Scripture. It’s coming from the enemy. Are these people being used by Satan? You better believe they are. You better believe it.
We’ve gotten to the point where the Bible is just no longer enough. Many of us have got to the point where we feel like God needs us…God needs us. Watch this from Kenneth Copeland.
COPELAND: People that get all upset at preachers who preach prosperity never have taken the time to pray and see if God wanted them to prosper financially for some reason or another. God needs you saved. He needs you full of the Holy Ghost. He needs you well and He needs you strong, and He needs you rich.
JUSTIN: Dear ones, God loves us but make no mistake about it, God does not need us. (Applause) We need Him. And any man who is preaching a gospel that says that God needs us is preaching a different gospel…a different gospel. And to tag on to something that I said yesterday in the panel Q&A, God doesn’t need us, doesn’t need Southern Baptist Convention or any other denomination, He doesn’t need these things. God does not need TBN. He does not need Daystar. He does not need the inspirational network. It’s time for the good guys to stop associating with the bad guys, it’s time for (applause)….
Not long ago, David Jeremiah, good preacher, goes on the set of TBN. It’s one thing to have your own self-contained program on TBN, that’s one thing. But to go on the set of TBN with Paul Crouch and fellowship with him, break metaphorical bread with him. He praised Paul Crouch, praised TBN, raised money for TBN. And TBN, and Daystar, and all these, they are the tip of the spear in exporting this theological poison to the rest of the world. And as Conrad said this morning, this is becoming the face of Christianity in most of the world. What are the good guys doing, going and raising money for this? They are giving these men legitimacy, a sense of legitimacy that they do not have on their own. Paul Crouch, Matt Crouch, Paul’s son, loves to have the quote/unquote good guys on there, it gives them legitimacy. I’m sick of the Good Ole Boy network.
I want us to look at something that’s very dangerous, Jesus Calling, Jesus Calling. Have you heard about this book? Written by Sarah Young. We’re transitioning now to a topic entitled “Divine Revelation Knowledge.” How does God speak to us today? And, of course, all of the prosperity preachers, Word of Faith, New Apostolic Reformation, they claim that God speaks to them all the time. And some people will recognize the error of that, some people. But there’s a softer version of this that flies in under a lot of people’s radar and Jesus Calling is flying under a lot of ladies’ radars right now, and men too, but especially the ladies.
Why am I so worked up about this book? Sarah Young, this is…by the way, 2012, number two best-selling book of any genre, not just Christian, any genre. Huge. What makes this so dangerous? Well, let me show you some excerpts from the introduction of her book. This is not normal devotional book.
Sarah Young writes, “During 1992 I began reading God Calling, a devotional book by two anonymous listeners. These women practice waiting quietly in God’s presence, pencils and papers in hand, recording the messages they receive from Him.” This was her inspiration, reading this book God Calling, written by these two anonymous female mystics. They claim to tune in just to the right frequency, they tune in to God’s frequency and God began speaking to them and they were writing down what He said. Does that sound familiar what happened about two thousand years ago with the Apostles? Sarah Young says, “I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more.” You see, the Bible was just no longer enough. The Bible wasn’t enough.
In theory, theologically conservative evangelical Christians, whatever that term means nowadays, but in theory we have won the battle over the inerrancy of God’s Word. But where the battle is raging today is over the sufficiency of God’s Word. And you know what? We’re losing that battle…big time.
Sarah Young says, “I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believed He was saying.” “Houston, we have a problem.” So Sarah Young tuned in, she got to just the right frequency and Jesus began calling Sarah Young. And with pen in hand, writing down what He said. Dear Ones, if that is indeed what is happening, then Sarah Young is writing Scripture. She’s writing Scripture and when you read this devotional book, and it is light years ahead of any other devotional book on the market, I mean light years ahead. It’s written in the first person for Jesus. “I, Jesus, will do these things. I am such-and-such, I know this.” Writes in the first person for Jesus. When you read it, it’s a very warm, fuzzy, emotional effeminate Jesus. Ladies are eaten up with this. There’s a shocking lack of discernment in the church today, shocking lack of discernment.
Now, bear with me, watch this video clip. A lot of supposed mainstream evangelicals today are claiming that God speaks to them. Watch this from Beth Moore.
MOORE: What God began to say to me about five years ago—and I’m telling you it sent me on such a trek with Him that my head is still whirling over it. He began to say to me, “I’m going to tell you something right now, Beth, and, boy, you write this one down, and you say it as often as I give you utterance to say it. My bride is paralyzed by unbelief. My bride is paralyzed by unbelief.”
JUSTIN: I’m not sure what happened to the video there. Beth Moore also claims that God speaks to her and even going so far as saying, “Now Beth, you write this down.” Dear friends, that is profoundly dangerous, it’s profoundly dangerous. All these people going around saying God spoke to me, let me tell you what He had to say. God spoke to me and told me to tell you that you need to do this. You need to do such-and-such. “Pastor, God spoke to me and he told me our church needs to go this way.”
Is God speaking to people like that today? How does God speak to us? Well, through His Word. Let’s go to the text, Hebrews chapter 1:1 and 2. You all are ahead of the curve here. Hebrews 1:1 and 2, “God after He spoke long ago to the fathers and the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” The writer of Hebrews says that in the old days, God spoke in many different ways. Indeed He did. God spoke to Elijah through a storm and thunder…I mean, excuse me…to Moses through a storm and thunder up on the mountain. God spoke to Elijah through a still small voice which, by the way, was not some inner impression, still a voice.
In Numbers chapter 22, God even made a donkey talk. So God did indeed speak in many different portions, and in many different ways. But in these last days, says the writer of Hebrews, God has spoken to us in His Son.
Friends, Jesus is the final speaking of God…the final speaking of God. Everything that God has to say to us, He has said in His Son Jesus Christ. And we have a perfect, inerrant, infallible, all-sufficient record of that in His Word. Jesus is the final speaking of God.
Now, am I saying that God does not speak to us anymore? No, that’s not at all what I’m saying. God does speak to us today, right here. This is how God speaks to us. Can God give us, you know, to hear people say, “Well, God gave me a burden for so-and-so, can God do that?” Sure He can. But as Dr. MacArthur said a day or two ago, “We’re not aware of when that’s happening, but can God do it? Sure. Can He bring people to our mind? Sure, absolutely. Can He…can He guide our steps? Absolutely. Yes He does these things. Yes He convicts the lost of sin, righteousness and judgment. Yes He guides us as believers. Believers are led by the Holy Spirit of God. Proverbs 3:5 and 6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him. He will direct your paths.”
How does God do that? I don’t have the foggiest idea. I just know He does. He spoke the universe into existence, I think He can direct our paths. So yes, we as Christians are led by God’s Holy Spirit in His sovereign will. We are led by a Spirit.
But what I am saying is this, when people say God spoke to me and said, quote: “Da-to-da-to-da,” you’ve entered some very deep waters. If God is speaking that way today in a direct quotable sense, outside of Scripture, then whatever God is saying should be just as authoritative as any verse in God’s Word. It should carry the same authority.
Dear friends, God cannot speak less authoritatively on one occasion than He does on another. If God is speaking, God is speaking. God cannot speak in the Bible and really, really, really mean it. But when He speaks to us today outside of the Bible, you know, in this supposed still small voice, or whatever, He still means it but He doesn’t mean it as much as He meant it here.
How does that work? If God is speaking, God is speaking. If God is speaking today outside of Scripture, then what we’ve got is an open canon of Scripture. The Word of God is not sufficient. Open canon of Scripture, I don’t know how you avoid it. There is no avoiding it. God’s Word is not enough. That’s where the battle is being called today.
Dear ones, if you want to hear God speak to you, there’s one way I can guarantee you that you will hear God speak, read your Bible. If you want to hear God speak to you audibly, read it out loud. (Laughter & applause) I promise you…I promise you, you’ll hear Him speak.
Well how do I know God’s will for my life? If God doesn’t speak, how do I know God’s will for my life. Here’s how you know God’s will for your life. Read and study the Word of God, obey it. Pray for wisdom. You may want to ask for godly counsel. There’s wisdom in a multitude of counsel, godly counsel. There’s wisdom in a multitude of counsel. Men, go to some godly men you trust, ask their counsel. Ladies, go to some godly ladies you trust, ask their counsel. Look at the opportunities before you, make a wise decision, do whatever you want to do. Do whatever you want to do. You don’t have to have this mystical experience. You won’t find that modeled in Scripture. You won’t find that modeled in Scripture. The Word of God is sufficient.
I want us now to transition to physical healing and we’ll spend the remainder of our time looking at this, physical healing. This is another way that the faith preachers, Charismatics really manipulate people and get them to…they begin to divorce people from their alliance upon God’s Word. They do it in the other sense, in the other areas that we’ve already looked at, drawing people’s attention away from the sufficient Word of God. They do it with healing as well.
The prosperity preachers teach that it is always God’s will to be healed, always. Now why do they teach that? They teach that because of their little gods doctrine that we looked at yesterday, the faith preachers teach that if you are a Christian, you are in fact a little god because you’re a God, you should not be poor, should not be sick. This from Joseph Prince, Joseph Prince says, “You are destined to reign in life. You are called by God to be a success, to enjoy wealth, to enjoy health, to enjoy a life of victory. When you reign in life, you reign over sin, over poverty, over every curse and over every sickness and disease. The Christian should never be sick, or if you do get sick, physical healing is guaranteed as long as you have enough faith…as long as you have enough faith.
Watch this from Jan Crouch.
JAN: One day I was in my prayer garden and I was just, I just said, “Jesus, I just thank You, I just thank You that You are the greatest healer, You are the greatest everything. And I thank You, thank You, thank You.” And He said to me, “No, Jan, thank you for receiving My gift.”
Now I know it’s a little difficult to take anything seriously who comes from someone who looks like that. You were all thinking it. You know, and the Bible has…the Bible has some parameters for how women are to dress and adorn themselves, men as well, by the way. That ain't it. But, dear friends, Jan Crouch had cancer and she claims that Jesus healed her of her cancer. In actuality she had treatment for that cancer and she had surgery for it. She claims that Jesus healed her and she was thanking Him. He said, “No, Jan, thank you.” The very notion that Jesus would thank us for anything. Friends, Jesus owes us nothing. We owe Him everything. And this cannot be said from someone who knows Jesus. She does not know the Jesus of the Bible. She may know a Jesus that she has created after her own image, but she does not know the Jesus of the Bible.
These people are not Christians. You cannot be indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God and teach such jaw-dropping heresies that are rampant, rampant in the Word of Faith Movement. Well, if it is always God’s will to be healed, and a person prays for healing, but that healing does not come, then the question, of course, is whose fault is it? It’s always God’s will to be healed, and you pray for healing but you’re not healed…who bears the blame for that?
Well, let’s let Kenneth Copeland answer that question.
COPELAND: Well, I don’t understand why God healed them and He won’t heal me. Could it be by some stretch of the imagination, O probably not, but could it be that it’s your fault and not God’s? Oh yeah. Say it, “Oh yeah.”
JUSTIN: Lest there be any doubt as to what they teach, if it is always God’s will to be healed and a person prays for that healing, but the healing does not come, then, dear ones, there’s only one person who could bear the blame because it cannot be God’s fault because He is perfect. The only other one then to whom to look is one whose sick. It’s his fault, it’s her fault, they don’t have enough faith. They haven’t sown a big enough seed into the ministry so they can reap a harvest. Maybe they’re not saved.
They actually teach that, you know. If you’re persistently sick, and you haven’t been healed, they teach that, you may not be saved. Of course foundational to their teaching that healing is always God’s will, is their assertion that physical healing is provided for in the atonement. And there’s a lot we could say about this but just briefly let’s go to their go-to text, Isaiah 53:4 and 5, let’s look at verse 5. “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastise of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed.” So this is their go-to text. “By stripes we are healed.”
Well, this is true. We are healed via the atonement, but what kind of healing is in view here? He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The primary context of Isaiah 53 is not talking about physical healing. It’s talking about spiritual healing, not healing from sickness and disease, healing from sin. In fact, read Isaiah 53 beginning in about midway through chapter 52, the whole thing is talking about transgression, sin, iniquity…not healing from sickness and disease.
But, what is the answer to the question? Is physical healing provided for in the atonement? Yes…yes it is. Dear ones, the reason that we get sick in the grand scheme of things is because of the Fall. The reason I have cerebral palsy, the reason many of you are wearing eye glasses, the reason people get cancer, they have multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, in the grand scheme of things, that is a direct result of the Fall. We live in a fallen world.
When Jesus came and died on the cross, He paid for our sins, He also paid for all of the consequences of those sins, one of which is sickness and disease. So yes, physical healing is provided for in the atonement. But here’s where the faith preachers get it very, very wrong. Not all of the benefits of the atonement are promised to be fully realized this side of heaven. Okay? Not all the benefits of the atonement are promised to be fully realized this side of heaven. Some of the benefits of Jesus’ atonement we will not realize until the other side of heaven. And healing from sickness and disease is one of those benefits.
To give you an illustration of this, a glorified body is also provided for in the atonement. Raise your hand if you’ve got your glorified body. No? Why not? It’s provided for in the atonement. It’s not promised to be realized here.
Dear ones, when we die and go to heaven, we’re not taking our sickness with us…no cancer, no arthritis, no multiple sclerosis, we’re not going to take our sickness and disease with us. But, dear ones, to be real honest, when you stop and think about it, dear ones, when we die and go to heaven, I’m not real sure it’s even going to cross our minds that we no longer have our sickness and disease. We will be in the presence of Christ. We’ll be able to worship Christ fully,, fellowship with Christ fully. Praise Him for all of eternity. We’ll be in the presence of Christ, He is the joy and the glory of heaven. He is what makes heaven heaven. Heaven is not about having a big family reunion. Heaven is not about no longer being sick. I’m not sure it’s even going to cross our minds. We’re in the presence of the King of Kings. He is what makes heaven heaven. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
What of the biblical record, can we look through the Bible and find examples of people who were faithful servants of God and yet did not walk in perfect health? Absolutely. Trophimus was left sick at Miletus. Epaphroditus, sick to the point of death. The Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach in his frequent ailments. Now I find that very interesting. Notice that the Apostle Paul did not write to Timothy and say, “Ah, Timothy, go see a faith healer. Be sure you sow a seed into his ministry so you can reap a harvest. Take a little wine for your stomach and your frequent illness.” Notice that when Paul was with Trophimus, in 2 Timothy, Paul left him sick. Paul was with Trophimus and he left him sick. That happened about the year A.D. 65, A.D. 66. Back up about ten or twelve years, the year A.D. 54, what was going on in the year A.D. 54? The advance of Acts chapter 19 we’re going on, what’s happening in Acts chapter 19? Extraordinary miracles of healing being wrought at the hands of the Apostles, the Apostle Paul. So much so that handkerchiefs and aprons were being taken from the Apostle Paul, delivered to sick people at distances, God was healing the sick remotely through these handkerchiefs and aprons, distances, extraordinary miracles of healing, year A.D. 54.
A.D. 64, Paul writing to Timothy, no handkerchiefs and aprons for Timothy, no handkerchiefs and aprons for Trophimus, no healing. What changed? Could it be that even in that ten-year span that the apostolic gift of healing had already faded out of operation? Interesting.
Now, am I saying that God does not heal people today? Absolutely not. That’s not at all what I’m saying. God does still physically heal people today, but only when it is His sovereign will to do so. Can He do it? Yes. Does He do it? Yes. Is it the rule? No, it’s not. It’s much more the exception. But when He wills to do it, He does. But you know what? When God does that, He doesn’t do it just for the comfort of the individual who’s sick. He does it to glorify Himself and further His purposes. He is not doing it through Benny Hinn. He’s not doing it through Pastor Chris in Africa. He’s not doing it through Reinhardt Bunkie. There is not a person alive today who has the apostolic gift of healing…not one. There’s not a person alive who has the gift of healing as what we see from the Apostles, Peter and Paul, nobody. The Apostles seemingly could go up to people and heal people at will with confidence, knowing that that person was going to be healed. Show me that person today. I want to see him. And if that person does exist, why is he not in the hospitals? Why is he not clearing out St. Jude? (applause)
According to the faith preachers, if you want to receive your healing, one of the things you must do, show me the money. Watch this from Rod Parsley. Rod Parsley wants you to sow a fifty-four dollar and seventeen cents seed into his ministry. Why $54 and 17 cents? Well based off of Isaiah 54:17, of course.
PARSLEY: There’s a battle raging and it’s raging right now, a fierce all-out attack against you, against everything of great value in your life. But my dear, dear friend, your Commander in Chief has full supremacy, absolute authority and He’s decreed and declared that no weapon formed against you shall prosper. On this broadcast you’re about to discover how to receive for yourself His miraculous anointing of provision and protection. Stay right where you are, I’m Rod Parsley.
PARSLEY: And I’m going to take you at your word, I’m going to stand up in faith and I’m going to sow an Isaiah 54:17 seed of 54 dollars and seventeen cents. Let’s go to the phone, do it right now, go to the phone right now, this is a moment of faith that may never ever, ever be repeated again. But God is saying, if you’re hearing this word, take hold of it, cease this moment, claim. This word right now is your own word and say, “God, that’s me, that’s my family. That’s my business. That’s my ministry. That’s my church. God, those are my children, that’s my marriage, so I feel the adversary releasing his stranglehold on you. Are you going to your phone, 54 dollars and 17 cents? Are you going to your phone right now?
JUSTIN: This…this, what you just saw, what you just saw is not on the fringe this is standard fare on TBN…standard fare on Daystar. Standard fare on the Inspiration network. And again, I ask the question, why are the good guys associating with the bad guys?
But Rod Parsley says, “Are you going to your phone? Are you going to your phone right now?” You know why they have this tangible sense of urgency for you to go to your phone? Because right now there’s a special anointing, don’t miss this anointing right now, go to your phone right now. They want you to hurry up and go to your phone because they know if you actually stop and think about the sheer absurdity of what it is that they’re teaching, you might not go to your phone.
But let’s be fair. Let’s look at this, Isaiah 54:17. “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper.” Wow! It does say it. Every tongue that accuses you in judgment, you will condemn.” This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me, declares the Lord.” Well it does say that. Well…oh a couple of things, one, 54.17, why does that work in dollars, 54 dollars and 17 cents. But, you know, that wouldn’t work in Uganda, 54 shillings. You know why it wouldn’t work in Uganda with 54 shillings? Cause 54 shillings would barely buy you a stick of bubble gum. It seems to work in America though. But 54.17, dear friends, there is nothing inspired by the chapter divisions and the verse numbers. There’s nothing inspired about 54-17. The content is inspired. The chapter divisions and the verse numbers are not. They’re just put there by man just to help us look things up more easily in the Bible. Nothing inspired about 54-17.
Well what about this no weapon that is formed against you will prosper? It says this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord. Well aren’t we servants of the Lord? Yeah. So no weapon that is formed against us will prosper, right? That depends. It seems to me that the weapon that was formed to lop off the head of the Apostle Paul, that weapon seemed to prosper. The nails that attached Peter to the cross, those weapons seem to prosper. They attached our Lord to the cross, those weapons seemed to prosper.
Well what does this mean? Well, think of it this way. It’s kind of like the atonement. Is this a promise for us? Yes. When will it be realized? Maybe not here. Is a glorified body provided for in the atonement? Yes. Will it be realized here? No. Is it true that no weapon that is formed against a servant of God will prosper in the eschaton. That is true. In the eschaton. Absolutely, when God brings all things to their appointed in, it is true. No weapon that is formed against God nor His people will prosper. God wins. That is true. But this is taking that out of context, way out of context.
By the way, verse 17 is the last verse of Isaiah chapter 54. You know what Isaiah chapter 55 verse says? Now why don’t we sow a 55 dollar and one cent seed into Rod Parsley’s ministry, that would be more money. That would be, what? Eighty-four cents more money in a 54-17 seat, right? So why not Isaiah 5:1? Well this is why. “Everyone who thirst come to the waters. You who have no money, come, buy and eat, come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” That’s why he doesn’t want you to look at Isaiah 55 verse 1. He’s a charlatan. He’s a charlatan. He’s an American version of a witch doctor. So is Benny Hinn, so is Kenneth Copeland, so is Jesse Duplantis, all these prosperity preachers, they are charlatans. Their most egregious offence is that they distort the gospel. That’s their first offense. But to heap on top of that, they exploit the poor and the sick and the desperate and the widows.
If you have heard Dr. MacArthur’s sermon on the widow’s mite, very good, if you haven’t, by the way. It’s entitled “Abusing the Poor,” and basically the thesis is that this widow was not to be commended. You know, she wasn’t doing a good thing. This widow was being exploited by a false religious system. That’s what was happening with the widow’s mite. This widow was being exploited. And to show you that the same thing that was going on two thousand years ago is going on today. Watch this video clip, short clip from Mike Murdock, Mike Murdock, watch this.
MURDOCK: There is a widow who is watching Daystar, watching us right now, and you’re sitting there and your thoughts are, “Wow, I wish I was young again and I wish I had a business. But I’m on a fixed income and I don’t know where I would get the $58.00.” That’s what makes it faith. That’s what makes it faith.
JUSTIN: If you didn’t hear the first part, Murdock said, “There is a widow watching me right now, doesn’t know…fixed income, doesn’t know where she’s going to get the $58.00. That’s what makes it faith.”
The same thing that was going on two thousand years ago was going on today. These people are charlatans and it’s about time we stand up and draw a line in the sand, it’s about time we call out the wolves for what they are and it’s about time we start…we stop fraternizing with the wolves. (Applause)
Dear ones, I want to close with this. As I said, I do believe that God is still physically heals people today when it is His sovereign will to do so. But it is not always God’s will to be healed. We saw from Scripture, and there’s many other examples we could cite. There are many people in the Bible who are faithful servants of God, loved Him, and yet they were not healed. Paul himself, Galatians chapter 4, had a bodily illness. Not the thorn in the flesh, Galatians chapter 4. It’s a matter of physical record that not everyone who loved God, served Him in perfect health. But God does heal and so if you are sick, if you have a loved one who is sick, there is nothing at all wrong with praying that God would heal you or your sick loved one. There’s nothing at all wrong with that. But, dear ones, sometimes God is most glorified in us when we suffer. Sometimes He is most glorified in us when we suffer. If God does not bring healing, rest assured knowing that this is His sovereign will for your life and He will use that to sanctify you, to sanctify me, to conform us more to the image of His Son. He will sanctify us through that and ultimately He will glorify Himself, He will glorify Himself. God sometimes is most glorified when a watching world looks at a sick believer or a persecuted believer. When the lost world looks at suffering Christians, and yet they remain faithful to Christ, they still glorify Christ, they still tell others about Christ. God’s glorified in that. God is glorified. His grace is sufficient. His cross is sufficient. Let’s close in a word of prayer.
Father, we know that You’re loving cause Your Word tells us that. We know that You are merciful because You have demonstrated Your mercy toward us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Father, it would be wonderful if all we had to do was to preach the gospel, if we could…we resonate with what Jude said, that he wished he could just write about Him, common salvation, if we had nothing to do but to go out and preach the gospel. Lord, there are wolves among us, there have been wolves among us, among the church from almost day one. They remain here today. Lord, may we be equipped to speak Your truth with confidence, speak Your truth in love, and may we care enough about people to tell them the truth, ultimately may we care enough about You, care enough about Your name, Your Word to represent you rightly to a watching world, in our words and our conduct. We pray these things in Christ’s name. Amen.