‘Apostle’ Joyner Meets Apostle Paul

This is my third post examining Rick Joyner’s teachings in his popular book The Final Quest, which records a series of visions Joyner claims God gave him. In this post, I will look at a conversation Joyner — who claims to be a modern “apostle” and “prophet” — records between himself and the apostle Paul during a trip Joyner claims to have taken to heaven. The conversation should raise several red flags, which I will point out below.

But, first, I need to point out that Christians should view conversations with dead people with suspicion since the Bible forbids “necromancy” (the practice of communicating with dead people). Deuteronomy 18:10-11 and Isaiah 8:19-20 So, the very premise of Joyner’s book — which records his conversations with several dead Christians — should raise a legitimate question of whether he is guilty of practicing necromancy or not. That issue aside, I will now raise other concerns about the specific content of the conversation Joyner claims he had with the apostle Paul.

I’ll start with some background. Joyner says he is walking through heaven when he runs into Paul seated on a throne. Joyner tells Paul that he is honored to meet him. But Paul tells Joyner that the honor is his since Joyner is one of the soldiers in the “last battle” (the last-days battle between God and Satan). Then Paul confesses to Joyner that he didn’t accomplish all God wanted him to do during his time on earth, saying, “I fell short of all that I was called to do” (see pages 131-133 of Joyner’s book). Paul then adds:

“By the grace of God I was able to finish my course, but I still did not walk in all that I was called to do. I fell short of the highest purposes that I could have walked in. … I had been given so much to understand, and I walked in so little of it” (page 132).

Red Flag 1: Joyner claims Paul confessed that he failed to complete his apostolic ministry.
I think Joyner is really going out on a limb to say that the apostle Paul confessed that he had fallen short of God’s call on his life. The Bible — including Paul’s own writings — gives no indication of this. Quite the opposite, at the end of his ministry Paul wrote: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Since the Bible gives no indication that Paul fell short, apparently Joyner expects us to take his word on this — based only on his alleged conversation with Paul.

Red Flag 2: Joyner twists Paul’s words.
Joyner also says that Paul claimed — at the end of his life — to be “the greatest of sinners” (pages 132-133).

Paul did, of course, call himself the chief of sinners in 1 Timothy 1:15, but he wasn’t referring to his present status at the end of his life. If one reads that verse in context, it’s clear that Paul was referring to the time before he was saved, when he was guilty of persecuting Christians and blaspheming Christ. Read the context here: 1 Timothy 1:12-16. Yet, Joyner claims that Paul was speaking about the present, not past. Joyner says:

“I was being honest when I wrote near the end of my life that I was the greatest of sinners. I was not saying that I had been the greatest of sinners, but that I was the greatest of sinners then” (page 132).

I don’t understand why Joyner would twist Paul’s words like this — whether he does it intentionally or whether Joyner really doesn’t know how to read the Bible in context.

Red Flag 3: Joyner claims Paul confessed to being prideful.
Joyner claims Paul told him that, as an apostle, he started off being prideful, but grew humble (page 133). Joyner says Paul pointed to his own New Testament writings as evidence of this transition from pride to humility — saying that, at the start of Paul’s ministry, he claimed to be equal to the most eminent apostles, then Paul claimed that he was the least of the apostles, then he claimed to be the least of the saints and then, finally, he claimed to be the greatest of sinners.

But Joyner quotes these four verses out of context. When Paul said he was equal to the most eminent apostles in 2 Corinthians 11:5, he was defending himself against false apostles who were challenging his apostleship. When Paul said he was the least of the apostles in 1 Corinthians 15:9, he was saying that, apart from God’s grace, he didn’t deserve to be an apostle because of his former role persecuting Christians. When Paul said he was the least of the saints in Ephesians 3:8, he was again acknowledging his former life of persecuting Christians. And when he said he was the greatest of sinners in 1 Timothy 1:15, he was referring also to the time before he was saved. Each of these statements was referring to different things. So, Joyner’s claim that Paul was admitting to pride — based on these verses — is off-base.

Not only does Joyner quote these verses out of context, but he also has his biblical timeline wrong. 2 Corinthians was written after 1 Corinthians, which means Paul said he was the least of the apostles before he said he was equal to the eminent apostles — not after — disproving Joyner’s claim that these verses indicate a progression in Paul’s humility.

Red Flag 4: Joyner claims Paul told him that Paul’s teachings aren’t part of the church’s foundation.
Joyner says Paul told him that many Christians are distorting Paul’s letters in the New Testament by misusing his teachings as part of the doctrinal foundation of the church. Only the Gospels (Mathew, Mark, Luke and John) can be used as the doctrinal foundation, according to Joyner, because the Gospels are based directly on the teachings of Christ. Joyner quotes Paul saying, “His [Jesus’] words are the foundation. I have only built upon them by elaborating on His words. The greatest wisdom, and the most powerful truths, are His words, not mine” (page 134).

In Joyner’s vision, Paul does admit that his words are Scripture and are true. But he downplays their authority below that of the Gospels. This is bizarre to me, as Joyner seems to be suggesting that the parts of the Bible written by Paul are less important or authoritative than the Gospels. Yet, there is no biblical basis for this. Paul’s teachings are Scripture, so they are equal to all the Bible’s other teachings. I don’t know why Joyner would want to downplay Paul’s teachings as he does.

Red Flag 5: Joyner claims Paul equates his New Testament writings with Joyner’s writing.
Toward the close of Joyner’s conversation with Paul, Paul tells Joyner, “Even in this conversation I can only confirm what I have already written, but you still have much writing to do” (page 135). First, I want to point out that Paul does much more in Joyner’s vision than simply confirm what Paul already wrote in Scripture. Paul tells Joyner many things outside of Scripture. So this statement isn’t true. Second, Paul seems to equate his New Testament writings with Joyner’s writing of The Final Quest. So, in effect, Paul is putting Joyner’s book on the level of Scripture.

Last Thought
I believe all these red flags should cause Christians to question Joyner’s claim to be a “prophet” and “apostle.”

22 Responses to ‘Apostle’ Joyner Meets Apostle Paul

  1. Justin says:

    First off I will be clear, I am as concerned about this teaching of Joyners as much as you are, Holly, however…

    There is a vast difference between having a vision or dream (as Joyner claims) then channeling spirits through some sort of occultic means. I can’t recall any cases in Scripture were anyone had a vision where they spoke to dead saints not even in John’s Revelation. So yes Joyner is teaching and claiming some dangerous stuff but there is no need so exaggerate this case by implying he channels spirits.

  2. mark nowak says:

    justin, there isnt a “vast difference” between channeling a false spirit, and seeking visions from them. the result is the same, deception. rob, why dont you post on the Prophecy Club for us? mark

  3. Kevin says:

    It appears to me that Joyner is attempting to lay the foundation for his own cultic following.

  4. Lafe Tolliver says:


    When you use the Bible as a template to test the spirits and to test the
    statements of those professing to be apostles or prophets, Rick Joyner
    falls way short of the mark.
    I do not see whay any Bible read Christian will and would fall for Joyner’s
    There are too many Joyner’s runnning loose in Christiandom spreading
    their nonsense as being divine or infallible.
    Flee from them and rebuke their babble.
    Christians let too many “nut” cases inside the Church with their nonsense
    and “dreams” and we sit up and take it all in without a grain of salt.
    Enough is enough. Put on your “Berean Hats” and take no prisoners
    and give no comfort to such lies and distortions.


  6. mark nowak says:

    well put elizabeth !!!!

  7. georgiana says:

    Elizabeth has the right of it. The only way to discern between truth and falsehood is to have the Word of God as your standard of absolute truth; the only way to have that standard of absolute truth is to be much in the Word and time alone with the Lord, receiving His guidance and inspiration from the Word – there is no shortcut to that. You have to just sit down and do it! But the natural man would rather to anything BUT that! One of the scariest scriptures in the whole Bible is the one from Thessalonians – that “because they did not have a love of the truth………..God gave them over to strong delusion that they might believe a lie”. (I don’t have my Bible here, so I may not have quoted exactly) We need to consistently ask God for a love of the truth that we might not believe a lie. If you love truth, you will not desire to believe a lie, but the natural man loves a lie, and desires to beleve it. The love of the truth is a gift from God Himself; it is not something that we can rustle up. How dreadful to think that when one stood before God at the end of one’s life, you found out that you had been believing lying delusions. And how dangerous for our time here on earth, when there are so many, many dreadful deceits and lying delusions going on in the so-called Body of Christ. Pray for a LOVE OF THE TRUTH.

  8. Dirk says:

    I am NOT saying I agree with Joyner. I think that there are several items we do need to be careful of.

    However, Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah. The BIBLE even says this. So by your OWN words, Jesus has also committed necromancy.

    Be very careful about what you call a sin and what you are claiming is wrong. I am sure you will have your excuse for this, but Moses did die and Jesus did speak with him. That is NO DIFFERENT than what Joyner claims about Paul.

    Let us judge a righteous judgment.

    a bondslave in CHrist Jesus, Dirk

  9. Gary says:

    Dirk — you don’t see a difference between Jesus (God in the flesh) and Rick Joyner? Is this really the same thing? God can talk to anyone at any time…. can Rick?

    Rick Joyner can make all the claims he wants, but it becomes a question of credibility. He departs from and perverts scripture whenever it’s convenient for him. He goes to extremes to build his own pride-filled image and take the glory. No one ordained by God would do that, so his fruit doesn’t pass muster.

    The bottom line: This man is a money changer, a false prophet and a liar. He has been given every opportunity according to Mathew 18 for repentance and correction, but has refused to turn from his wicked ways.

    The remnant of true believers can easily see Rick Joyner for what he is… an anti-christ. It’s those without a solid base in scripture; those with itching ears; those given over to strong delusion; who will listen to this man’s lies. We pray the eyes of all those taken in by this man be opened to the truth.

    God Be With You All,

  10. mark nowak says:

    dirk, the difference is Yashua was with the Father at the begining of creation. He can access all of creation. we are fallen, and do not have that liberty. He is unlimited, we are limited

  11. (bs.) says:


    Access all of creation?? He CREATED all of creation! LOL, great reply, bro!

    I assess scripture and base that as my “control” to test against and I’d have to agree (based wholly on this blogs multiple postings on the author and his book) that he is a false prophet and apostle. Its a shame – for his sake: But even one false testimony breaks his claim – and there are multiple.

    Blessings in Christ.


  12. rahabsplace says:

    Let’s look at some of this.

    Red Flag Number 1
    The reference comes from Philippians 3:12 where Paul says that at that point in his life, which was 3 years before his death, he had not apprehended that which Christ had apprehended him for. Why is it hard to believe that Paul was given such an outstanding revelation of the Lord and His purposes for Paul that Paul just might not have been able to do it all? In Timothy Paul says that he had finished the course and knew that it was his time to depart. He had done all he would be able to do. I think that most of us will find that we didn’t get it all because scripture clearly teaches that as long as we are in this life, we only see in part. We see through a glass darkly. Paul is just one of us. He was no different than any Christian alive today.

    Red Flag #2
    Paul clearly says I AM THE CHIEF OF SINNERS in Timothy, not I was. The Greek behind this is very clear. It is a present tense statement.

    The point here is that the closer you grow to the Lord, the more clearly you see your sin and your need for grace. There is nothing twisting about this statement from Joyner. The longer Paul served the Lord, the more clearly he understood the grace that he walked in. He clearly understood that all our righteousness is as filthy rags and that there is no one righteous. His statement is a beautiful declaration of his dependence on the grace of God to sustain him.

    Red Flag #3
    I don’t have the book in front of me, so I cannot track his progression, but I thought he pulled the allusion to being equal to the greatest apostle out of Galatians, not 2 Corinthians. Galatians was the first epistle written according to many scholars.

    Again, why do you have a problem with the fact that Paul had to grow like the rest of us to? He didn’t come out of his blindness a fully mature Christian.

    Red Flag #4
    Paul clearly says that he built on the chief cornerstone which was Jesus and that no other foundation other than Christ could be laid. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.

    Paul’s epistles dealt mostly with problems in the churches he oversaw and had relationship with. He did say that his judgment was his and not the Lord’s on occasion. Paul also was seeking to help the church find its way in a specific culture that no longer exists. Not everything that Paul taught was timeless truth the way the Gospels are.

    Red Flag #5
    If you had a chance to talk to Paul, wouldn’t you be like, “What did you mean by this?” or “Was this timeless or were you dealing with a specific situation?” And “What really happened when you got out of prison the first time?” I know I would. But to receive those answers in a vision would be adding to scripture and the Lord doesn’t tend to do that, now does He?

    I don’t think Rick was implying that his writing are anywhere near scripture. If you read the next book, The Call, he crashes and burns rather spectacularly in this vision and winds up under judgment.

    The things that I took way from this book that really made an impact on me is that if you do not anchor yourself in the word of God, you can fall from any level in this life.

    Another thing was that the biblical authors are just guys like the rest of us who had an extraordinary encounter with a supernatural God. Paul was not better than any Christian alive today. Neither was Peter, James or John. Peter was just as capable of missing the mark after the Lord’s resurrection as he was before. What that means is that they were not a separate class of Christian than us, but they were normal Christians that we need to be like.

    The epistles are elaborating on what Jesus taught. The words of Jesus always trump anything written by the apostles. What Jesus said and did is our pattern. Paul said follow me AS I FOLLOW CHRIST. Jesus is the pattern, not Paul

    Oh, and just for good measure, if Joyner is guilty of necromancy, then so is Jesus. Moses was quite dead when he appeared to Jesus, Peter, James and John. You can argue it was okay for Jesus, but for Peter, James and John it would have been forbidden. One of the keys to necromancy is that you initiate the contact. If the Lord gives you the vision, then it isn’t necromancy.

  13. I read the Final Quest several times and can speak about it with good authroity, I have to say that the artical “Apostle’ Joyner Meets Apostle Paul” is very poor in its analysis, I feel that the author barly even read the book, maybe just skimmed it to find some negative things. Many of his critiques in this article again Joyner, can be disproved if he would have just turned a few pages over. This critique is a Joke, the authro needs to read the book without the intention to slander. You can read the book and hear the MP3 at Spiritlessons,com

  14. Nicolle says:

    Amen! there are too many Joyners here…people who add or take away from the bible. the bible doesn’t contradict itself. it is us who contradict. true apostolics believe in Acts 2:38(and peter said repent and be baptised in the name of jesus christ for the remission of sins and you shall recieve the gift of the holy ghost). people take away for the benefit of themselves, simply because they don’t want to follow what the bible says.

  15. pam says:

    Moses and Elijah were taken up to heaven they were not considered to have died. big difference between dying and being taken up to heaven.

  16. Riles says:

    Pam, this i from Deuteronomy 34:
    5 And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said. 6 He buried him [b] in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is. 7 Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. 8 The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.

    I too read The Final Quest and found it to be more nonsense from one of the false apostles.

  17. Richard says:

    I read the quest when it just came out and it is erroneous,but the reasons you state of possible necromancy is extreme and comes across as unfair,How would you explain The lord Jesus Christ talking to Moses and Elijah.

  18. karn says:

    the people who wrote the bible are human beings who were inspired by the Holy Spirit,whats the difference between them and the christians who are filled with the Holy Spirit today? so what i am asking is,why cant we speak out what we hear God saying to ask through the Holy Spirit
    God Bless

  19. ed blaize says:

    while i have disagreed with you on other issues with other men, i think i have to agre with you on this one, Joyner did not speak to paul, paul is dead, and the bible is clear that we cannot speak to the dead, we would be speaking to a deceiving spirit in that case. and i wish as you did in this case, in other cases please list text from the books of these guys so we can see for ourselves what you are calling false doctrine. i too do disagree with the whole “control” network being set up in the church today, in the name of a “covering”, my bible says that Yeshua the Christ is my covering. so i have a big problem with that particular part of this movement, however, its not only this movement doing it, its most churches in America today because most churches have turned into big businesses and they dont want their flock giving their money elsewhere. my bible says when we go out to minister not to take money or an extra coat, just go. and because of other sctriptures im led to believe that the reason for this is because we are to trust in the Lord for our provision. i do have to say this though, i do not believe most of the apostle/ prophet movement is giving new doctrine, only shedding light on forgotten or overlooked doctrines contained in the bible. no one i know in their right mind would listen to a prophet if they said to do something the bible speaks against, prophesy is for the “edifying of the saints” and for correction usually. i have seen it misused, but usually these people fall for a time while God brings them into correction.

  20. A. Divine says:

    In following suit to the “prophet” Joseph Smith or Muhammed. This Joyner is a fraud.

    He would discredit Paul’s message because it is chiefly one of GRACE. As a student of Sociology of religion and lead researcher for cultic studies at my college, I can attest that the basis for these cults is the disintegration of the foundtion of Grace. Paul’s preachings were groundbreaking that we did not have to earn our salvation- that it was a gift. With that principle cults lose their mind control. Another key element of cultic practice is a leader claiming to have sectret “revelations” from God. Ones which openly discredit his Holy Word should be denounced at once. These Joyners and the likes are using dime-store psychology to sell their merchandise. This is not of God. It insults my intelligence to even have to comment on this. I can’t believe that one would fall for this nonsense.

  21. Marsha P. says:

    Men like Joyner, who grasp at authority and seek dominion over others, are dangerous, tyrannical, and self-delusional. Not someone upon whom I would waste my money, my time, and my walk with God.

    • dmc says:

      Absolutely right sister, Rick Joyner is more akin to Joseph Smith than any other religious figure. I hate what they teach.

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