Swamp Dog, "Renouncing Error and Embracing Truth", © JerichoFalling.net (03 November 2016)
Rarely are we privileged to read of how our work affects the lives of others, but here is just such a case. I am delighted to be able to share this article by a long-time listener to TMR, C. C. Wilkinson, a dentist from Florida, who was deeply affected by our recent interview with Mike Hopkins of Flight the Lies Radio. I don't need to say much more, because the article explains itself, but I will just pause to thank "Swamp Dog" for his very kind words, and for his integrity in choosing the spiritual hard road.
Two months ago I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, “The Mind Renewed” with Julian Charles, a wonderful British Christian (who was instrumental in my becoming a “Christian Conspiracy Theorist” – but that’s another story for another day.) In that episode he interviewed a young man, Mike Hopkins (of Fight the Lies Radio Network), who had begun his Christian life in a church which became enmeshed with the Hebrew Roots Movement and the so-called New Apostolic Reformation. Michael and his wife eventually left their church because they became aware of some serious errors in teaching and abuses in practice.
When I began listening to that program, I lasted for about ten minutes and turned it off. I was at that moment involved in the same thing in my church at the time. While his experience was overwhelmingly negative, mine was mostly positive. So I tuned out.
But it had its effect on me, and began to work quietly like a good antibiotic, and two weeks later I listened to the entire interview. And I was floored. I had to admit that the teaching I was under was dangerous and in error, even though I loved the pastors and the people of that church. They were warm, generous, and genuine. I sensed no “spirit of control” in that congregation.
I had been more or less involved since 1995 with what some would call “The Toronto Blessing”; by that I mean following Randy Clark’s ministry team model, where hands aren’t lain on the people being prayed for, but many are “slain in the spirit” and find refreshing and perhaps experience what they consider to be the work of God during their “carpet time”. I found it a positive experience, and did not immediately perceive anything was unscriptural. I came to believe that this was a new paradigm for the church, that it was a submitting to God’s Spirit, that it was “intimacy with God”. However, I had a “sheltered experience” in the sense that I did not see some of the more egregious demonstrations and workings of this way of ministry. And I dismissed anyone who complained about the “Holy Laughter” stuff as just “heresy hunters” with not enough to do with their time.
What got me really thinking after listening to Mike Hopkins was that he confessed that after being prayed for at such meetings he began to have impure thoughts. That hit me between the eyes. Suddenly, a fact that I had suppressed was under the spotlight – even though I had associated my “experiences” with the Holy Spirit of God, after I became involved I became much more subject myself to impure and lustful thoughts. To top it off, one of the three local ministers leading the “Melbourne (Florida) Renewal” for two years fell into adultery and resigned as a pastor; another local minister much involved with the Renewal confessed to me that he had fallen to a “one night stand” in part as a reaction to his own wife’s not approving of the Renewal and its strange manifestations.
What was going on here? Now to really blow my mind, Mike Hopkins’ story led me to seek out what had happened in the nearby “Lakeland (Florida) Revival” of about the same time, when Todd Bentley fell from grace in an adulterous affair with one of his ministry team members, leaving behind a disabled Christian wife and three children. Just two days before a gathering of “Apostles” from the New Apostolic Reformation (Che Ahn, John Arnott, Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, C. Peter Wagner, and others – all former heroes of mine) had laid hands on Bentley and proclaimed him to be “the One” to lead the next world revival. He was to be anointed to do great things. Multiple prophecies were given. Yet none of these “prophets” received a word that Bentley was cheating on his Christian wife.
Here is a link of some of their prophecies: (YouTube – Prophecies over Todd Bentley).
These were the leaders I had followed. I had read their books, listened to their tapes, been to their conferences. They were supposed to hear from God. One way or another, all of them completely missed it.
I doubt a New Testament or and Old Testament prophet would have missed Bentley’s true situation.
But not only were these prophets wrong, Bentley had engaged in some violent and very dangerous behavior in his meetings. He didn’t just push people down (slain in the spirit) or hit people in the face with a jacket (Benny Hinn), he claims the Holy Spirit told him to kick and old lady in the face with his combat boot, to tackle an elderly oriental gentleman, to punch or kick the legs out from under others. I don’t know what kind of spirit was telling him to do such things, but it simply was not the Holy Spirit of God. The man was deceived and possibly possessed.
I also viewed a number of excellent teachings on YouTube about these matters and the Hebrew Roots movement (more on this in a later post) from Sandy Simpson and Jacob Prasch, both outstanding teachers and students of the Scriptures and excellent Christian doctrine.
So, despite my earlier support for such things, I have renounced them. I have gone back and acknowledged that the New Testament doesn’t give any examples of such things in the churches led by Paul or Peter or James, that they didn’t have angel feathers or gold dust falling in their meetings, and that they didn’t go lay on the graves of the prophets of the Old Testament as if to absorb the dead prophet’s anointing, as Bill Johnson’s ministry people have done.
The Word of God is sufficient. Yes, we have experiences, yes, I believe the supernatural gifts have not ceased – there simply is not a Scripture-based argument that they have. But the Word is primary, and in it God has given us what we need for growth and correction and instruction. Any dream or vision or prophecy that is legitimate cannot depart from or contradict the Word of God in any way, or it is false.
I have a lot of work ahead of me – I need to firmly re-establish myself in the Word of God and sound doctrine. I need to find a good, biblically-centered body of believers to belong to, where the Word is handled appropriately. I need now to speak out against great error in the Church, warning other Christians.
That is what Jericho Falling is about, what it has become. I won’t claim the mantle of watchman. Many more mature believers perhaps deserve that title, but that is what this site is now about. This is a “Watchman” site. I pray that over time that will be born out.
I do appreciate any and all comments, even dissenting ones. I’m happy to discuss my beliefs and views.
The Spirit and the Bride say come! Amen.