Casting Out Demons, Miracles and the Real Test for a Prophet

The Exorcism Can Christians cast out demons, prophesy and perform miracles in Jesus’ name? Yes. Can false prophets cast out demons, prophesy and perform miracles in Jesus’ name? Yes.

Since the Bible teaches both these realities, we can’t automatically assume that someone who does a supernatural feat in the name of Jesus is from God.

The only sure test we have for these people is their teaching. What teachings accompany their ministries? Are they sound teachings that come from the Bible? Or are they unbiblical teachings that have another source?

The Bible gives us this test in Deuteronomy 13:1-5, where it says that if a prophet gives an accurate prophecy or performs a miracle, but he encourages his followers to worship another God, then he is a false prophet. The apostle John tells us that there are many false prophets, so we must test their teachings (1 John 4:1-3). We are also told in Matthew 7:21-23 that many people will not enter heaven — even though they called Jesus “Lord” and cast out demons, prophesied and performed many miracles in Jesus’ name. In Revelation 13:11-15 and 19:20, we are told that, in the end times, the False Prophet will perform mighty miracles that will deceive many people into following the Antichrist.

Chuck Pierce headshot So, now, let’s apply this test to some of the “prophets” in the apostolic-prophetic movement. How about Chuck Pierce (pictured here)? I chose him because he is a key player in movement. Pierce is the vice president of Global Harvest Ministries in Colorado Springs, Colo. (C. Peter Wagner’s organization), and he’s the president of Glory of Zion International Ministries in Denton, Texas (both are apostolic-prophetic ministries). He’s also on the executive boards of the International Coalition of Apostles (a network for apostles) and the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders (a network for prophets).

Pierce claims to be a prophet. According to his Glory of Zion Web site, he is “known for his accurate prophetic gifting which helps direct nations, cities, churches and individuals in understanding the times and seasons we live in.” The book Understanding the Fivefold Ministry (Charisma House, 2005) — endorsed by Jack Hayford — holds up Pierce as a true prophet of God and states that he accurately prophesied Saddam Hussein’s capture a week before he was captured.

Right now, we won’t focus on the fact that Pierce, himself, has admitted that he has given inaccurate prophecies in the past (which would disqualify him as a true prophet of God, according to Deuteronomy 18:20-22). Instead, we will focus on his teachings. When we do, we will discover that his ministry is built on the promotion of teachings that have no basis in the Bible and that contradict the Bible. Let’s briefly consider some of those teachings.

First, let’s look at his ministry’s doctrinal statement on his Web site. Notice how it doesn’t even address essential Christian teachings, like the Trinity and Jesus’ death and resurrection. Of course — from this sparse doctrinal statement — we can’t conclude that he doesn’t believe in these essential doctrines. But we can see that he doesn’t seem to emphasize them. One may rightly wonder why doctrines that are so crucial aren’t included here?

Side note: I am sometimes contacted by people who want to know if so-and-so is a false prophet. The first thing I often do when researching Christian teachers is look at their ministries’ doctrinal statements. If they don’t affirm essential Christian doctrines, then there may be cause for concern. However, even if their doctrinal statements are orthodox, that doesn’t necessarily mean the teachers are. I’ve found that many false teachers have orthodox doctrinal statements, but what they teach at their conferences and write in their books is anything but orthodox.

Now, let’s go to a second step in evaluating Chuck Pierce’s claim to be a prophet. Let’s look at his writings. In his book The Future War of the Church (Regal Books, 2001), Pierce claims God gave him a vision of the end times that shows that God is establishing a new government for the church. This government is led by apostles (with great authority) and prophets (with new revelation). Their goal is to form an end-times army to establish God’s kingdom on earth before Christ returns. Pierce compares the current church to a prison that Christians need to be freed from (and the church leaders, by implication, are compared to prison wards). He says, soon, all church leaders will have to submit to these new apostles and prophets.

Pierce’s teachings are consistent with those of the apostolic-prophetic movement and the Latter Rain movement of the 1940s (which was declared heretical by most evangelicals). In his book, Pierce directly ties his teachings to the apostolic-prophetic movement, stating on page 35: “I have come to believe that this new Church structure, the Church of the Future, is what C. Peter Wagner has termed the New Apostolic Reformation” (another name for the movement). Interestingly, this book is endorsed on the back cover by Ted Haggard, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals — yet, Haggard denied any involvement in the movement during a 2005 radio interview aired on “Issues, Etc.” in St. Louis, Mo. Listen to the interview here (at the end of the interview). Windows Media Version or MP3 audio

Yet, nowhere in the Bible do we see a great end-times army led by apostles and prophets with unquestioned authority and new revelation. In fact, we are warned about false teachers who seek to take the place of the original apostles and lord it over us (Galatians 4:17). We are also told to test all teachings by comparing them to the teachings of the original prophets and apostles as recorded in the Bible (2 Peter 1:19, 3:2 and 2 Timothy 1:13, 3:14-17). If their teachings deviate, then we are told to reject them. We are also told that Scripture contains everything we need to lead the Christian life (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Furthermore, the Bible teaches in Revelation (and in other prophetic passages) that Christ must return to earth to establish His kingdom Himself. Christians won’t establish it before He returns.

All Pierce’s teachings add up to significant departures from orthodox Christianity. Yet, Pierce has dedicated his ministry to them. Similarly to the founders of Christian cults — like Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism — Pierce argues that Scripture is not sufficient for us, but that we need new doctrinal revelation from new prophets (like himself) for victory in these last days.

So, if Pierce gives a prophecy that is fulfilled, then does that make him a true prophet? No.

Other people who claim to be prophets — or miracle workers or whatever — can be tested in the same way.

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9 Responses to Casting Out Demons, Miracles and the Real Test for a Prophet

  1. Jody says:

    Thought I would mention that those who prefer to straddle the main stream of society are now calling their acts of prophesying “vision casting”.

    ~~~~
    “I know my leadership style.
    I am a big-picture, vision-casting leader. . . .
    There is nothing inherently right or wrong about being a vision-casting leader.
    It is simply the way God wired me.”
    enrichmentjournal.ag.org/…astors.cfm
    ~~~~

    ~~~~
    ‘The best of the evangelical tradition is that you don’t plan your way forward — you prophecy your way forward,’ the theologian Leonard Sweet says.
    ‘Rick’s prophesying his way forward.’
    (Malcolm Gladwell, “The Cellular Church,” 9/12/05)
    ~~~~

    http://herescope.blogspot.com/2005/10/rick-warren-vision-casting.html

  2. EscMatrix says:

    39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

    40 For he that is not against us is on our part.

    This is the Word of God, not my opinion.

    EscMatrix

  3. Bud Millington says:

    A note: The author uses Deuteronomy 13:1-5 as prooftext of the qualificiations of a prophet; and I don’t have a problem with that on the surface.

    My complaint is this: Here we go again…the evangelical church insists the “Old Testament has been done away with” yet whenever it’s convenient to quote the Old Testament to prove a point…suddenly that one small aspect of the Old Testament is valid. How convenient.

    But then someone says, “If you are going to quote the Old Testament, then it ‘s ALL valid…” and immediately the hue and cry goes up, “No…the Old Testament’s been done away with…except this one small part that benifits me at this exact moment…like demanding people pay tithes to my ministry even though it’s part of the Old Testament which my ministry says has been done away with.”

    Hello. Is money really more important to us than Truth? But I digress.

    If you use the Old Testament as a proof text you are saying it is valid. But if you teach and preach it’s been done away with, then it is NOT valid, and you cannot in intellectual honesty use it as a proof text.

    I personally am really tired of the evangelical Christian church pulling this deceitful sleight of hand.

    Honestly.

  4. David says:

    EscMatrix: Your opinion defends man not The Lord, please read a bible and stand up for the Lord.

  5. Jody says:

    ~~~~
    39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

    40 For he that is not against us is on our part.

    This is the Word of God, not my opinion.

    EscMatrix
    ~~~~~

    So is this….

    ~~~~

    Mat 7:21
    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.

    Mat 7:22
    Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works?

    Mat 7:23
    And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    ~~~~

    So…do the scriptures contradict themselves ?

    Of course not….

    Many surely will and are doing things in Christs name…..and “many” as the above warning points out….are commiting acts of iniquity and proclaiming it is of the Lord….they are commiting acts of lawlessness.

    This is not Gods will….its their own.
    They are not abiding in Christ …thus He knew them not.

    Joh 15:10
    If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love;

    even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

    The Lords prayer for those who abide in Him and keep His commands….

    Joh 17:17
    Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth.
    Joh 17:18
    As thou didst send me into the world, even so sent I them into the world.
    Joh 17:19
    And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
    Joh 17:20
    Neither for these only do I pray…… but for them also that believe on me through their word;
    Joh 17:21
    that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us:

    that the world may believe that thou didst send me.

  6. Josh says:

    wait… is the bud millington above, the same one that predicted disaster on the east coast in a dream… the 90 days for 90 days thing?????

  7. Cheryl Leigh says:

    I am pleased to see such great dialogue by people that have a good handle on the Word and Christian doctrine. All the Bible is valid for today (“All scripture in inspired and suitable for doctrine, correction and instruction in righteousness.” 2 Tim. 3:16). To be able to rightly divide the word is the challenge, and by the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, we shall do it. Since the gift of Prophet is listed in NT Ephesians 4:11 we accept that ministry, remembering ‘…for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’ Rev. 19: 10b.

  8. Aaron says:

    Chuck Pierce has since updated his doctrinal statement on his website to finally include fundamental elements of Christian doctrine such as at least the mention of Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection.

    If you are interested in seeing what Pierce’s site used to say about what he believed, you can see former versions of the page at:

    http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.glory-of-zion.org/doctrinestatement.htm

    If you notice when this article was written and up through at least August 2007. The statement of “What We Believe” did not include the words Jesus, Christ, Cross, Resurrection, Sin, Forgiveness, or Redemption.

    If the CROSS of CHRIST is not the first thing you think when asked what you believe, I do not know how you can reconcile what you believe with the Word of God that has stood as TRUTH for over 2000 years. Particularly, in the first chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul is advising the Church in Corinth who is dealing with a seemingly similar division within the church. Those who were baptized by different “Apostles” (Paul, Apollos, Cephas) were fighting about quarrels of “human wisdom”. And Paul responds: “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (1 Cor 1:17; ESV)

    I cannot think of a more indicting critique of Pierce’s teachings than without centering his theology on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he empties the power of the cross of Christ.

    Paul goes on to say, “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1:22-24)

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