What You Won't Find In A Christian Bookstore

Continued from Part 2

AzusaNow-WheelchairLadyThe person I told you about at the beginning of all this that shared the glowing testimony about their experience at the Azusa Now conference also told me that lots of people were miraculously healed. In fact, this person said they had a video of a healing they witnessed with their own eyes. I was eager to see it. In the video, a person in a wheelchair was receiving a mass of “Toronto Blessing” style prayer… Then, at one point, two large men gathered on either side of her (each taking an arm) and lifted her up and began to walk with her. As she walked (with the constant aid of these two men who never left her side), the crowd was cheering that the woman was healed. They walked with her and then all the way back to her wheelchair where they helped her sit back down in the chair. The woman then lifted her arms and was crying praise to God and everyone was cheering in joyous celebration that God had performed an awesome healing… But I did not witness any healing at all. As I mentioned, the woman never stood on her own two feet. In fact, you could see that her legs remained twisted and weak. She never cast off her wheelchair, she wasn’t ejected from it, she didn’t even get up on her own without help; she returned to it and left in it! YET, the crowd (and even the woman herself) was cheering that a miracle had occurred! Astounding!

I’ve observed this same thing in the days when I attended conferences affiliated with the Toronto Blessing movement. The guest preacher would tell hype stories about all the miracles he had performed in the past and observed… ALWAYS that happened at the last conference… Not the current one he was speaking at. I know this was routine because, at the time, I attended a ton of these conferences and never once saw any of the things these guys gave testimony of. One guy actually said that he had raised HUNDREDS of people from the dead. This kind of testimony stirred up the crowd with massive amounts of excitement and people were thronging the altars for prayer… Yet the only “miracles” witnessed were people being “slain in the Spirit” as the terminology goes. No radical healings, no confirmed miracles, nothing that would be viewed as “supernatural” in the least, yet the people cheered with as much excitement as if they were seeing elephants walking on water. After the conference people were telling testimonies to their friends about all the healings and miracles… but I noticed they were mostly just reiterating the stories the preacher had told, blended with the testimony of so many people getting prayer and “falling under the power”.

SlainInTheSpirit

At one conference (many actually) I was asked to help catch people during prayer (as getting “slain in the spirit” was a regular occurrence at these events). I never much liked catching people and always felt that if something like that was genuine, no catcher would be necessary because God wouldn’t allow them to get hurt… Anyway, I was standing behind this lady and she was bending and swaying all over the place and then, all of the sudden, without any warning she just hit the ground with a thud. I didn’t have time to catch her. As soon as she hit the floor, she opened her eyes, grabbed my arm, and pulled me right down to where she could tell me to my face, “You’re not doing a very good job of catching! I hurt my back. You need to pay more attention young man.” To my own amazement, I spoke up and I replied, “Maybe you need to stop faking manifestations because if you really fell under the power, you wouldn’t even be talking to me right now and your back would be fine.”

It still amazes me the things that sometimes pass for “evidence” of the power of God at work. What about the lasting fruit of a changed life? Look, I’m not offended at the notion that when God does something powerful in someone’s life there might be a physical manifestation. I’ve had times in prayer when God’s presence caused me to weep and even laugh with joy. In fact, when I was teenager (long before any “Toronto” thing came along) I remember occasions in my own bedroom where I’d be worshiping the Lord in song (either listening to an album or while playing my guitar) and I sense His presence with me and I’d just lie back on my bed and laugh and smile because I was so happy to be saved and know Jesus. It wasn’t an out-of-control, shake around the room, drunk-like manifestation… it was just genuine laughter (a simple response of joy). I don’t even know that I would label it (something so ridiculous as “Holy Laughter”) because it wasn’t a “supernatural phenomenon”, it was just a young guy who loved Jesus, happy to know the Lord.

I remember during the Toronto movement (or “renewal” movement as we called it), they’d often use terms saying that the power of God was falling all over the place and everyone listening got just as excited as though they were witnesses to actual miracles, even though no apparent miracles occurred. This now strikes me as obvious total delusion! These people are perceiving a movement full of signs and wonders, but they are lying signs and wonders. When I used to read about lying signs and wonders in the Bible I thought, “how could you really lie about a sign and wonder? After all, people can see it happen… It seems it would be easy to tell if something was phony.” But now I’m watching it happen before my eyes; NOTHING supernatural happens and people are going nuts as though they’d just seen pigs fly before their very eyes.

TheLyingProphet-SatanSpeaksIn fact, often times (as I have investigated things) the so-called prophets that speak at these conventions are actually lying. They actually tell people things that happened at their last conference, but if you go and watch the video of their last conference (as I have done on occasion), none of those things happened at all! They were flat out lying to people to produce a response. They continually speak error. They twist the Scriptures. They give false testimony. They ignore their failed prophecies and convince people that they are spiritual elites among the body of Christ who stand on equal authority with the Apostles of Scripture. It’s stunning to behold, but even more stunning that so many people actually buy into this without question.

I have to say that, in spite of my amazement at some of the things people buy into, I do understand how some people feel because I used to be one of those people in the pews who bought into a lot of this junk… It’s really hard to sit in a service and listen to a guy on the stage who seems so excited about the power of God and he’s telling all these wild stories that appear to be about giving glory to God. The last thing you want to do in a moment like that is presume this guy, who is talking about Jesus with such excitement, might be lying through his teeth to you (to everyone), especially when your own heart wants to believe God for whatever He has. Humans are often drawn to the sensational and the truth is, we are spiritual creatures. God has put eternity in our hearts so, to a certain extent, I think it’s natural that we crave the supernatural. We’ve all read the stories of Jesus healing the sick, casting out devils, and raising the dead and we know that some of His miracles were pretty radical, so something in our hearts wants to believe. That much is good. I’m sure there are a lot of folks that genuinely embrace these things because they don’t want to resist the Holy Spirit. The problem is, they often don’t really know the Holy Spirit very well (they’ve been churchified to the extreme and plugged their heart full of religious substitutes and errant mindsets) and they actually often resist Him (when He works in those non-sensational ways that require kneeling at the cross)… so they believe a lie. I can tell you from experience, it can be very hard for a person who thinks they have been the biggest fan of God’s supernatural sideshow to then acknowledge their own sin, repent of it, and go the other way.

While some have been preaching that apostasy is soon coming, I believe it is already here now. In fact, it has been present for a long time already. Even the apostles of the New Testament era stated that the spirit of anti-Christ was already at work then (1 John 4:3)! So there is nothing new under the sun, but the days do seem to be growing darker. The delusion continues to spread all throughout churchianity. Thankfully, God is waking His saints up in many places and calling them out unto Himself. I pray that many more will awake as the days advance. The enemy of our souls is a master of deception and uses so much convincing rhetoric and emotionalism to deceive people, but he is not greater than our Lord. So many people I’ve seen that acknowledge the apostasy going on in the world today, sometimes talk like there is no hope. They act like the devil is competition for God. Folks, the devil is nothing compared to our King and Master, Jesus Christ! NOTHING! Everything that must play out on the timetable of history in preparation for the return of the Lord will play out, and I don’t pretend to understand all of that right now. But I trust Jesus! I know He cares for His own! I know He will give His own the strength to endure through hardship and even persecution. I know He will yet work miracles (true miracles) and He will save people as they humble their hearts in repentance and turn to Him. I believe God will use anyone that has a willing heart and this gives me reason to rejoice, even though the days are dark.

wolf_in_sheeps_clothingLots of false prophets may be foretelling that a great end times revival is at hand or even upon us now, even though the Bible rather predicts apostasy widespread in the last days. They intend to sweep many into delusions like this ecumenical, emergent, new-age revival and they will twist every Scripture possible to achieve it. They may appear to be ministers of righteousness but they are the subjects of Satan! They are wolves in sheep’s clothing! We must be watchful and wise. At the same time, the truth also is that though there is apostasy and the days may be growing dark, God is still God and able to deliver any who call on the name of the Lord! This is reason for great hope even in the midst of dark days. The Lord is good and His mercy endures forever! Keep in mind that God has told us long ago, even in the Scriptures, that these things would happen. That means God is not being caught by surprise! He has given us the means whereby we can discern truth from error.

When I read some of the things many of these leaders in this modern “revival” movement are saying, I see that God has already warned us that there would be those who say these things. I am reminded of guys like Rick Joyner who has basically elevated himself to a higher position that even Paul the apostle of Jesus. In Joyner’s books he actually states that Paul failed his course and so the task is being left to new super apostles who are greater than the prophets and apostles of the New Testament era. In fact, these men not only elevate themselves a super apostles, but they elevate their words as being higher than Scripture! But remember, there is nothing new under the sun and Scripture warns us of such things.

2 Corinthians 11:12-15 – But I will continue doing what I have always done. This will undercut those who are looking for an opportunity to boast that their work is just like ours. These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.

As you read through the rest of that passage above, you find that Paul is grieved over how the people he has been pointing to Christ are putting up with these false preachers and their false gospel. Something worthy of mention is what Paul points to in contrast to these self-appointed religious leaders… This shows the character of a true Christ follower and a true leader whose only concern is to make genuine disciples of Jesus, not themselves:

2 Corinthians 11:28-31 – Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches (the people of God). Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger? If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am. God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, who is worthy of eternal praise, knows I am not lying.

In the next chapter, Paul continued to mention that he also had a remarkable experience the defied human explanation… but he would not speak of it. Contrast Paul’s words to the many in today’s so-called “revival” movement that love to boast about their alleged trips to heaven and how that makes them worthy of elevation…

2 Corinthians 12:5-10 – That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Where is this attitude among today’s super apostles? I tell you it does not exist! And that is just one more massive test to demonstrate with clarity that these men are not apostles of Jesus at all. They are frauds and liars… even workers of Satan!

Until God removes His people from this planet (and, no, I am not getting into the prediction of rapture events here), God will lead us, teach us, equip us, inspire us, infuse us with strength and joy, encourage us, and motivate us to action! He will work powerfully through us by His Holy Spirit as we yield to Him and listen for His voice and obey. It is important to set our minds on this NOW! It is vital that we let Him deal with us now, working in our lives to expel whatever displeases Him and whatever roadblocks we may have allowed in our path toward maturity. I am convinced that God wants to make us wise and cunning against the attacks of the devil. I am convinced He wants to show us what it means to know Him so close that we never lack for understanding and never have to walk in fear. Hard times may come, and they do come and they will come, but those who know Him will endure and thrive through it all… and for His glory! I believe God can use any of us as His beloved vessels. I am the least qualified, the least deserving, and just like many of you I don’t always understand what my next step should be. Walking these things out is not always as easy as writing about them, but I am writing from a position of honesty and conviction. I believe what I am saying. I have experienced God at work in these areas of my life. I have a distance yet to travel, but God is allowing me to see what He’s doing in many areas and that gives me great encouragement. I know that God hasn’t awoken me to see these things just so that I can see or complain about them. Ultimately I hope to encourage others to get close to Jesus so that the enemy will not be able to distract them from the truth.

God bless you guys! I have a lot more I was going to share, but I feel like I need to just leave it right there. I’ll save the rest for another post on another day.

 
 

See also:
Azusa Now Apostasy Now – Part 1
Azusa Now Apostasy Now – Part 2

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7 Responses to Azusa Now Apostasy Now (Part 3)

  • My brother, thank you for exposing those charlatans and all the trickery they use to fool people! As well as the ignorance that compounds the idiocy of some people who would rather trust those hirelings than the Lord Himself. Stay strong in the Lord, my brother.

       1 likes

  • Amen, and thank you for all of this.

       0 likes

  • Thank you so much for this. In part 2 you wrote: ‘If you, like me, are one that had gotten used to the convenience of many other religious voices telling you what “God was saying” for so long, then it’s going to take some time to re-learn how to listen and hear His voice again FOR REAL! Many of us spent years feeding a habit of the old way of thinking and doing. It would be foolish to think things will transform overnight. Of course, God can work miracles, but often times learning to wait and listen and to recognize His voice isn’t something He just flips the switch for us instantaneously. When we’ve trained ourselves to consistently listen to just about every voice except purely His, we need to invest time in the nurture of our relationship with Him alone.’

    I met the Lord 31 years ago. What you describe above, is now exactly where I’m at, after being in the System for 22 years. 99% of the time I listened to the opinion of others, and now, even though I left the system completely 9 years ago, I still have to unlearn so much rubbish. I’ve been led into an impossible situation which religious people, old friends in church, and even family members would tell me is not of God at all, and it is bringing me to the point of complete abandonment of all I know; everything I have ever been told by the System and my own upbringing. It’s terrifying. All I want is to know His Presence and to hear His voice. Nothing else matters.

       1 likes

  • That was great! Thanks for putting those thoughts together. I literally packed up my family and left my church this past Sun. upon the return of my Senior Pastor who participated in the Azusa Now! I grew up Catholic…just seeing Lou bow down after the priest bowed to him was enough for me, especially after seeing my very pastor standing behind him a bit later along with everyone else who has spoken from the pulpit where I attended for the last 3 years! The bowing down became the line in the sand for me brother. Now, with nose in the Word may the Lord renew my mind!! It’s definitely the Charismatic ecumenical movement in its fullness now. The Titanic has hit the iceberg!

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  • Thanks for sharing that! I know exactly what you mean. Sadly, few people that come to this place in their lives are willing to acknowledge that they don’t know how to hear the Lord as well as they thought. I know for me, I thought I was a pretty wise guy (spiritually speaking). I mean, I was hatched in church, raised by Christian parents who loved Jesus, and always part of the program. When I left, I felt the agony of the “silence”… I think the devil catches a lot of people right here too… They are eager to hear some voice of direction and in anxiousness they latch on to whichever voice is willing to “speak into their situation”. For me, at first, I didn’t wait… I started looking for a different church. That didn’t do the trick… so I started considering starting my own church thing… God shut me down there… I started reading books by authors I thought might know something about this new walk outside the church system… Some of them were good. Some not so much. The more I started to pour out my heart to Jesus, the sharper my discernment started to get and the Scriptures became more fulfilling to read than ever before… and God also helped me discern when I was reading something good and when I wasn’t (speaking of non-biblical authors). That doesn’t mean I didn’t still struggle sometimes. In fact, I still struggle sometimes. God continues to teach me how to listen and how to walk. I haven’t figured this all out yet, but I am now loving the journey because I’m discovering what it really means to walk with my Lord and have a relationship with Him like I didn’t know before. It’s not that I didn’t have one entirely before. I’m sure you could say the same thing… But I am so thankful that He is leading us onward.

    So many of the religious clowns that are out and about today seem to avoid the cross of Jesus. They don’t like to talk much about repentance or humbling ourselves before the Lord. And people don’t like to wait long. They want a spiritual fix right now. They want to understand everything right now. But it’s good to wait. It’s good to pray. It’s good to trust that God will speak if we are faithful to listen until we hear Him speak. Too many today aren’t willing to pay the price tags necessary for relationship. Sometimes I struggle with paying them too. But just like any relationship that’s worth while, it takes time and trust and patience and love. And sometimes we do a little more crawling than walking. But God is good! He will speak to us. He will open doors for us. He will work healing and deliverance and freedom and He will teach us to discern what is true, how to love, and even how to connect with others. I sometimes wish there was an easy quick-step guide, but I don’t know of one. Well, except for the Bible… but the answers don’t always seem to come quick for me. I have to seek them out and wait on God, but I know if I ask He hears and He will respond. I know that His Spirit will speak Truth to my heart always. Be encouraged my friend!!! God has many wonderful things ahead for you! Probably some challenges too, but that’s okay. He’ll walk with you all the way!

    You know, I have to say, I heard a really cool line the other day – actually from that new movie “God’s Not Dead 2”. At one point in the story, the lead character (who played the role of a school teacher) was discouraged because she felt she couldn’t hear God’s voice and she was feeling like He was distant. Why was He so quiet during her moment of trial? Her father said something to the effect of, “I would think that, being a teacher, you’d understand that the Teacher is always silent during the test.” I loved that line. There’s a real truth there I think. Sometimes when I’m going through it and God seems to be sitting this one out, there is a deeper knowing in my heart that He is still right there with me and this is training mode fully engaged. More and more I find myself sparking a little smile when the crap starts to hit the fan because I know the devil wouldn’t likely be bothering with me if I wasn’t on the right path and God always seems to have something for me through the experience. Sometimes it’s a simple as just trusting that He will come through when everything looks like there is no natural hope. I love this! In days past, these were “run to the pastor” and “attend a conference” moments (like putting the pacifier in my mouth). Church so often tends to rob people of the joy of the journey with Christ (by proposing to “do it for them” in six easy steps). But what could be better than growing in the ability to hear Him speak to us and lead us personally? How many people are going to stand before Jesus one day and He’ll say, “I never KNEW you”? I want to know Him and to be known by Him. I know there’s no short cuts, but I know He desires relationship even more than I do so if I seek Him, He will respond. We have such an awesome God!!! Blessings! 🙂

       3 likes

  • Thank you so much for your reply, Dave. That was a great line – ‘The teacher is always silent during the test’.
    What I’m also learning is that I have a wrong picture of the Bible. I never consciously saw it as a rule book, but it boils down to the fact that it’s easier to trust something I can read, than Someone I can’t audibly hear. So while I didn’t see the OT as a rule book, I unconsciously ended up seeing the NT as a rule book, and now the Lord has presented me with the challenge of my present situation in which He has initiated something so crazy (I have independent confirmations from others) which those whose approval I used to seek, would say was not of Him, because they would say it contradicts what the Bible says, and I am afraid of doing the wrong thing. I’m afraid for two reasons: 1. I don’t want to displease the Lord. 2. If I’m wrong, it will cause great pain to those I love. Yet, it seems to me that Jesus was frequently doing things which seemed to contradict what the OT said, and even in the OT the Spirit of the Lord told people to do things which contradicted the written Law of Moses. If I have learned anything, it is that the Lord often seems to do things differently with different people, and one can’t go by one’s past experience in new situations. It boils down to the relationship we have with Him and if we’re truly hearing Him or not.

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  • I was slain in the Spirit once at a Healing & Revival meeting. It’s really easy to do!

    Step 1: Dim the lights…dimmer!
    Step 2: Crank the worship music…louder!
    Step 3: Encourage your audience to shout to the Lord, preferably in tongues
    Step 3: Grasp your victim’s head and loudly speak in tongues into their ear. Ideally, you should have someone shouting into the other ear
    Step 4: When you are sure your victim is in a complete state of distraction very gently push their head backwards — don’t hurry this step! Do it slowly so they don’t notice they are being pushed
    Step 5: allow your victim to completely lose their balance and fall into the loving arms of a volunteer. Place a tiny pillow under their head and drape a tiny blanket over their torso.
    Step 6: Pass the plate

       2 likes

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