Naming Names

March 19, 2007

There’s a common view among Christians that it’s wrong to publicly criticize the teachings of other professing Christians.

People who hold this view cite Matthew 18:15-17. They believe this Bible passage teaches that anyone who has concerns about someone else’s teachings should go to that person privately.

They sincerely believe this is what the passage teaches. In fact, some people have recently warned me that my blog is a violation of this command because it identifies people who are bringing false teaching into the church.

But they don’t realize that this passage is being used out of context. It doesn’t refer to addressing false teaching. It refers to addressing someone’s private sin. This can be seen in the larger context, which includes a discussion, immediately after this passage, of forgiving those who sin against us. Also, this passages deals, specifically, with church discipline — the manner of dealing with those who sin in a local church.

The Biblical Principle for Addressing Sin

Here’s what the Bible teaches about addressing sin in the church:

• A private rebuke is given for private sin. Matthew 18:15-17

• A public rebuke is given for public sin. (See the apostle Paul’s public rebuke of the apostle Peter’s false teaching in Galatians 2:11-14. Also, see the apostle Paul’s public rebuke of a man who was flagrantly sleeping with his stepmother with his church’s knowledge in 1 Corinthians 5:1-13. Paul didn’t confront this man privately. In fact, he had never even met this man, as shown in 1 Corinthians 5:1, when he refers to a report he heard about the man’s sin. Yet, Paul confronted this public sin publicly because the sin effected the whole Corinthian church.)

Teachers who bring false doctrines into the church must be confronted publicly because their teachings are public. They write books, speak at conferences and appear on television programs promoting their teachings to thousands of people. Because they have public influence, they must be held to public scrutiny. If people go to them privately, then — in the meantime — thousands of people can be misled by their harmful teachings.

Teachers should expect — and even welcome — criticism of their teachings. The Bible warns them in James 3:1 that they are held to high standards because of their influence and will face stricter judgment from God than other Christians. They should be open to correction.

But, many times the false teachers, themselves, are the ones who teach their followers the misapplication of Matthew 18:15-17. They use this as an effective technique to silence criticism.

What the Bible Teaches About Dealing With False Teaching in the Church

Here are some of the things the Bible teaches, specifically, about dealing with false teaching. (My seminary professor, Kevin Lewis, provided the list below.)

• Name Names: In 2 Timothy, the apostle Paul identifies false teachers in the church, by name, four times. 2 Tim. 1:15, 2:17, 3:8, 4:14

• Warn the church publicly what the false teachers are teaching. 2 Timothy 2:16-18

• Silence the false teachers. (This means that church leaders shouldn’t allow people to teach false teaching in their churches.) Titus 1:10-11

• Refute the false teachers. Titus 1:9

• Do not give false teachers a platform or otherwise support them in their ministries. 2 John 1:10-11

Degrees of Error

I should point out that not all doctrinal error is of equal kind. There are many issues that Christians can genuinely disagree on.

But there are also false teachings that are so serious they must be exposed and refuted. Some of the teachings of the apostolic-prophetic movement are of this second kind. These include the teachings that: (1) modern “apostles” and “prophets” give the church new doctrines that are not found in the Bible, (2) all Christians must submit to modern “apostles” and “prophets,” (3) modern “apostles” and “prophets’” enemies include Christians who reject their authority; (4) that modern “apostles” and “prophets” will lead physical warfare against their enemies, making the entire earth submit to them, (5) under the leadership of modern “apostles” and “prophets,” Christians will become sinless and superhuman, eventually attaining deity (the “manifest sons of God” doctrine).

Many of the leaders in the apostolic-prophetic movement teach these things. Of course, many of their followers don’t realize that yet. That’s why I started this blog — to alert people.

To learn more about tactics that false teachers use to silence criticism, read the book Twisted Scriptures: Breaking Free From Churches That Abuse (Zondervan) by Mary Alice Chrnalogar. This opened my eyes to many of the methods of control that teachers use.


Bill Hamon’s Dangerous Doctrines

March 13, 2007

Bill and Evelyn Hamon You may never have heard of Bishop Bill Hamon, but you should know who he is. This man (pictured here with his wife, Evelyn) is one of the most influential “prophets” in the apostolic-prophetic movement, which has entered many charismatic churches — the fastest-growing churches in the world according to church growth researchers.

Hamon’s also one of the most influential charismatics in general — attending the invitation-only “Charismatic Leaders Council,” sponsored by Strang Communications (publisher of Charisma magazine), Jan. 15-16, in Lake Mary, Florida. Yet, Hamon’s teachings are some of the most unorthodox teachings in the church today.

Hamon’s Teachings
Hamon teaches that Christ can’t return to earth until Christians form a “militant” army — under the leadership of modern apostles and prophets — that will physically subdue the earth and start to establish God’s kingdom in the earth’s governments. Hamon compares this army to the Crusaders, who he describes as the church’s only bright lights during the Dark Ages.

Apostles. Prophets and the Coming Moves of GodGod’s end-times army will achieve victory, in part, by striking God’s enemies with blindness and calling down natural disasters on them — causing entire nations to convert to Christ, according to Hamon. The apostles and prophets will be so powerful that Christians who come into their presence with sin in their lives will be struck dead. All members of the army will become sinless and extremely powerful — as they become more and more enlightened through new doctrines given by the apostles and prophets — finally attaining their own immortality (this is Hamon’s unorthodox take on the rapture). See these teachings in Hamon’s book Apostles, Prophets and the Coming Moves of God (pictured here).

Hamon’s Influence in the Apostolic-Prophetic Movement
C. Peter Wagner The apostolic-prophetic movement’s most prominent leader may be C. Peter Wagner (pictured here). Yet, Wagner admits that he got many of his views from Hamon, calling Hamon one of his “closest prophetic colleagues” and confessing his great admiration for Hamon (see page 11 of Wagner’s book Changing Church and the foreword Wagner wrote to Hamon’s book Apostles, Prophets and the Coming Moves of God).

Many in the apostolic-prophetic movement regard Hamon as one of the most influential “prophets” today, and those who’ve endorsed his books include Oral Roberts, Tommy Tenney, Cindy Jacobs, Emanuele Cannistraci, David Cannistraci, Earl Paulk and Ed Silvoso.

Background on Bill Hamon
Prophets and Personal Prophecy As the founder and bishop of Christian International Ministries Network based in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, Hamon oversees over 600 churches in 19 countries (see the list here), and he’s authored several books that have been influential in the apostolic-prophetic movement, including Prophets and Personal Prophecy (pictured here). He conducts popular seminars that teach people how to prophesy. (I attended one at the Azusa Street Centennial in Los Angeles last April, and the line of people went out the door. His questionable methods for “activating” people into prophetic gifting are topics for another post.) He also founded Christian International School of Theology, from where he earned his own two degrees: a bachelor of theology and a master of theology. According to his Web site, he also was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree in 1973 from an unnamed “national university,” which was when he assumed the title “Dr. Hamon.”

Hamon also serves on the faculty of the Wagner Leadership Institute, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Prophet-Apostle Hamon
In addition to the titles “Bishop” and “Doctor,” Hamon calls himself “Prophet-Apostle.” In fact, he believes God has chosen him to restore doctrines that the church lost through the ages and to reveal new doctrines and final assignments.

Many of Hamon’s doctrines can’t be found in the Bible — but this doesn’t concern Hamon, who teaches that modern “apostles” and “prophets” give the church new doctrines that supplement those given by the original apostles and prophets. In Apostles, Prophets and the Coming Moves of God, Hamon says:

“He [Paul] also reveals that this anointing for divine revelation was not just given to the prophets of old but has now been equally given to Christ’s Holy Apostles and Prophets in His Church” (page 140).

This teaching — that new doctrines are needed to supplement Scripture — is a mark of the cults of Christianity, like Mormonism. In contrast, Protestants believe that Christians get their teachings from the Bible alone, which God revealed through the original prophets and apostles.

Hamon’s New Doctrines vs. the Bible
While Hamon claims that his new doctrines supplement Scripture, they also contradict it. The revelations given by the apostle John in the biblical book of Revelation, for example, teach that the judgments against the wicked will be brought by God, not Christians, and that the rapture will be God’s means of sparing Christians from the effects of those judgments, not a means of attaining their own immortality.

‘Manifest Sons of God’ Doctrine
Hamon’s teachings are consistent with the heretical “manifest sons of God doctrine,” which teaches that a breed of super-Christians will arise and subdue the earth. Another common strain of this doctrine is that Christians are gods, whose divinity will be revealed — or using King James Language — be manifested. Read more about this doctrine here.

Supporters of this doctrine misapply the biblical teaching about the church being Christ’s body, using it to argue that the church actually becomes part of God. (See pages 266-267 of Hamon’s book Apostles, Prophets and the Coming Moves of God, where he seems to be misusing this teaching this way.) Also, in his books, Hamon capitalizes the words “Church” and “Bride” to show the church’s “union with Deity through Jesus Christ,” according to an explanatory note. Statements like these, which appear throughout Hamon’s materials, make it appear he is teaching that the church actually becomes part of God.

Of course, 2 Peter 1:4 does teach that we “participate in the divine nature,” but this refers to the Holy Spirit who indwells us, enabling us — as the passage goes on to state — to “escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” It does not teach that our nature actually becomes divine. The teaching that human beings can become divine is the same lie that Satan told Eve in the Garden of Eden.

In light of these troubling teachings, Hamon’s influence on so many Christians today disturbs me. I plan to read more of his writings and discuss more of his teachings in future posts.


Should Christians Experience the Supernatural?

March 6, 2007

Charisma cover, Feb. 2007 The February 2007 issue of Charisma magazine (pictured here) featured an article by Patricia King, titled “Living in the Throne Room. King (a “prophet” in the apostolic-prophetic movement and founder of Extreme Prophetic Television in Canada) argues that supernatural experiences — like seeing the Lord on His throne, being visited by angels, or being transported from one geographical location to another by the Holy Spirit — should be a “normal part of a believer’s experience.”

This, of course, is a big claim. If such experiences should be a normal part of the Christian’s life, then many of us — myself included — are falling far short. Yet, this teaching is common in the apostolic-prophetic movement. So, I think it’s important to consider it. After reading King’s article, I found at least five key errors in her reasoning.

Error 1: She equates these types of experiences with God’s love

Patricia King headshot The first major error King (pictured here) makes is she claims that these types of supernatural experiences should be ours because God loves us.

She starts off this argument with a correct statement. She says that an intimate relationship with God, like a marriage relationship, should include experience of His love for us. I agree. In the Bible, we see that God’s people not only had sound doctrinal knowledge about Him, but they also had a loving relationship with Him. King David’s psalms express great depth of feeling and experience with God. Unfortunately, some Christians today stress the importance of doctrine, but they undervalue the roles of experience and emotions in our relationship with God.

So, King starts off correct. But then she makes a huge logical leap. She argues that experiencing God’s love includes experiencing the wonders of the heavenly realm, here and now — including God’s throne, angels and golden streets. She says that because God loves us, “we have been invited to discover and partake of it all.”

But King can’t support this teaching from Scripture. True, the church is called the “bride of Christ.” But we’re currently betrothed to Christ. The marriage — though certain — won’t take place until He returns for us and takes us to our new home with Him in heaven. Until then, we can’t expect to experience the wonders of our heavenly home.

I’m afraid many Christians may be burdened in their relationship to God because of King’s mistaken teaching. When they don’t have the supernatural experiences she speaks of, then they may feel disheartened that God doesn’t love them or that they’re not pleasing Him. But, nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christians should expect to see heavenly scenes or experience such overtly supernatural occurences during their earthly lives.

Error 2: Her main biblical support is a passage that she quotes out of its context

In her article, King says: “Not only are we to seek Jesus, but we are to actually seek the things of the kingdom — the things of the unseen realm” (emphasis hers). To make her point, she quotes Colossians 3:1-2, where Paul urges the Colossians to “set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

King’s argument hinges on this Scripture passage. But, when you read it carefully, in context, you may see that the “things above” do not refer to angels or throne room scenes. In fact, far from it — just six verses before this verse — Paul warns the Colossians about false teachers who were promoting angel worship and who were claiming to be spiritually superior because of visions they received. Colossians 2:18

The “things above” that Paul told Christians to focus on are the truths that (1) we have died to our old sinful nature, and (2) we have been resurrected to new life with Christ, which will be fully revealed at Christ’s second coming. As a result of these truths, we should no longer engage in the sinful things listed in verses 5-9, but we should do the holy things listed in verses 12 through chapter 4 verse 6.

So, the passage does not tell Christians to seek supernatural encounters — as King claims it does.

Error 3: These types of supernatural experiences were never sought in the Bible

King also fails to recognize that, in the Bible, God’s people never sought after these types of supernatural experiences.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t think of one instance where we have an indication that the prophets, apostles or evangelists sought out the amazing, otherworldly experiences they had. Instead, these experiences happened to them when they least expected it. Phillip was suddenly visited by an angel who told him where to go. Phillip didn’t seem to know that he was being directed to the right place at the right time to share the gospel with an Ethiopian eunuch. As soon as he finished baptizing the eunuch, Phillip found himself whisked away to another location. The angels who visited Abraham, Mary and the apostle John all showed up — seemingly unexpected. And the list goes on.

Error 4: These types of experiences weren’t typical in the Bible

King also misrepresents these types of supernatural experiences as normal occurrences in the Bible.

Yes, there are many miracles in the Bible. Yet, for the patriarchs, prophets and apostles who experienced them, they weren’t typical occurrences in their lives. Whenever Paul spoke of his Damascus Road encounter with God, for example, he always spoke of it with amazement. He didn’t treat it like it was no big deal — just another, run-of-the-mill supernatural experience.

Error 5: Supernatural experiences aren’t always from God

King, rightly, warns her readers that not all supernatural experiences are from God. Her article includes a 2/3-page sidebar, titled “Avoiding Spiritual Pitfalls,” that seeks to warn people of dangers they might encounter in the “invisible realm.” It’s good that she warns her readers of the reality of such dangers and advises them to test all their spiritual encounters by the Bible.

Although these warnings are great, I’m afraid King isn’t heeding them herself. Her Extreme Prophetic Web site and television program promote troubling “prophets” like Todd Bentley. Bentley claims to have supernatural encounters all the time. He says: “Never more than a few days go by that I don’t encounter third heaven and some kind of prophetic experience — at times it happens daily for months. Supernatural experiences have become part of daily Christianity for me.”

But one of the angels that Bentley claims visits him is an angel that was associated with William Branham’s healing ministry, according to Bentley. See Bentley’s report of the “angelic” visits here. This should concern Christians because Branham — a “prophet” in the Latter Rain movement — taught many false and heretical doctrines. See this source for more information. These false teachings include:

• Claiming that he was the angel in Revelation 3:14 and 10:7
• Claiming he was Elijah, who would precede Christ’s return
• Denying the Trinity and calling it a satanic doctrine
• Teaching that Eve had sexual intercourse with the serpent, producing human beings who are destined for hell, which is only a temporal place. But those who receive God’s seed (Branham’s teaching) are the “Bride of Christ”
• Saying that anyone who was a member of any denomination had taken the “mark of the beast”

• Giving a number of false prophecies about the end of the world
• Teaching that the Word of God had been given in two other forms besides the Bible: the zodiac and the Egyptian pyramids
• Some of his followers thought he was God or had been virgin born and, when he died in 1965, they believed he would be resurrected.
• Many of Branham’s critics believe he genuinely had a supernatural gift of healing, but that it wasn’t from God since he promoted heretical teachings

Bentley claims that, whenever Branham’s angel shows up at one of Bentley’s meetings, he gets a supernatural ability in his left hand to diagnose people’s sicknesses, and he also gets correct words of knowledge about details from their lives — just as Branham claimed. In the same article I linked to above, Bentley also talks about another troublesome “angel” named Emma, who I will address in a future post.

How can King claim to practice discernment in the spiritual realm, yet promote “prophets” like Bentley? This should alarm King’s followers.

Important Qualification
So, should we experience the supernatural regularly? My quick answer is “yes.” This may surprise you, given my above response to King’s article. But, it’s all in how you classify the supernatural. If, by supernatural, one means that we should talk with angels and take trips to heaven, then the answer — according to the biblical evidence — is no.

Yet, the Christian life is a supernatural life. First, our new birth is a major miracle — through it, we are convicted of and washed of our sins, we receive eternal life, and we are indwelled by God’s Holy Spirit who starts the work of conforming us to Christ’s image. After this initial miracle, our lives as Christians should continue to be characterized by the supernatural. Here are many types of supernatural works that Christians should consistently seek and see in their daily lives:

• Love for others, including our enemies 1 John 4:7-21
• Fruit of the Spirit, including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control Galatians 5:22-23
• Conviction of sin in our lives John 16:8-9
• Gifts of the Spirit 1 Corinthians 14:1
• Assurance of our salvation by God’s Holy Spirit Romans 8:16
• Comfort from the Holy Spirit and direction to truth John 14:15-18
• Inner strength from the Holy Spirit Ephesians 3:16
• Guidance from the Holy Spirit Acts 16:6-7
• Power from God for effective ministry Acts 1:8, Ephesians 3:20, John 15
• Boldness in evangelism Ephesians 6:19-20
• Answered prayers (when they are according to God’s will) John 15:16, 16: 23-24


Readying the Bride of Christ

February 26, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream. I want to share it with readers because I hope it will give insight into my reasons for starting this blog.

I’ve been told that some readers of this blog — members of apostolic-prophetic churches — have been really offended by things I’ve written. This has troubled me because my goal isn’t to offend my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I haven’t updated my blog in the past couple weeks because I wanted to take some time to pray and think about how I can more lovingly and clearly present my concerns about the apostolic-prophetic movement without turning people off. I thought the best way to do that might be to share my dream.

My Dream
Bride I dreamt it was my wedding day. I was busy doing other things when, suddenly, I realized I hadn’t given myself enough time to get dressed for the ceremony.

The guests were gathered inside the church, and the groom was waiting for me at the front. Then, I could hear the piano music start to play. I panicked. I knew that after just a few songs, it would be my cue to walk down the aisle. But I wasn’t even in my wedding dress yet.

I looked down at the street clothes I had on and wondered if I could get by wearing them during the ceremony. But I knew I couldn’t do that: my groom was dressed in a tuxedo. So, I quickly put on my wedding dress. But, it was heavily wrinkled and looked shabby. I hadn’t bothered to have it steam cleaned beforehand.

Then, I looked down at my feet and realized I had forgotten to bring my fancy shoes. I would have to go barefoot. I hoped my long dress would cover my feet so no one would see them.

When I looked in the mirror, I saw my hair wasn’t fixed and my makeup wasn’t on. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew my groom would be hurt to find out that I didn’t value our relationship enough to make myself look beautiful for him on our important day. I had put other things before him.

When I woke from the dream, I was sweating and my heart was racing. My own wedding, two years ago, made the dream seem even more personal and relevant to me. As I lay there thinking about the dream, I realized it had biblical symbolism.

Biblical Symbols of Marriage
We, the church, are called the “bride of Christ.” God’s intimate relationship to His people is described — in both the Old and New Testaments — in terms of a marriage (examples: Isaiah 54:5-7; Hosea 2:19; Matthew 22:2-14; Ephesians 5:25-27, 32; Revelation 19:6-9). When Jesus returns for His bride, we will celebrate a great wedding feast with Him (Revelation 19:9).

The Groom expects that His bride will be spiritually ready for Him when He returns. Being ready includes:

• Being dressed in bright, clean, fine linen (which represents good deeds) Revelations 19:6-8

• Having no blemishes or wrinkles (being without sin) Ephesians 5:25-27

• Being a pure virgin (being doctrinally pure) who is devoted to Christ 2 Corinthians 11:2-4. The Bible compares the teachings of false prophets to spiritual adultery (Jeremiah 23:13-14).

• Having oil (representing the Holy Spirit) in our lamps, like the five wise virgins who were waiting for the bridegroom in Matthew 25:1-14

Even though this gets away from bridal imagery, all Christians are supposed to put on the full armor of God that is listed in Ephesians 6, which — as in my dream — includes shoes (shoes represent sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with others, according to this passage).

How The Dream Relates to My Blog
When Jesus returns for His bride, it’s going to be too late to get ready for Him — as it was for me in my dream. I can’t forget the panic I felt. Yet, that feeling will be much more intense if we Christians aren’t ready for our Divine Groom. We must get ready now.

This symbolism motivates my ministry. I have great love for the body of Christ and want all Christians to be ready when Christ returns for us. I have a special desire to see the church be spiritually pure when He returns for us, which, I believe, may be soon. (See fulfilledprophecy.com for more on this.)

But false teachings sneak into the church and, sadly, even good Christians can be seduced by them. Paul told the churches in Galatia that he was shocked to see that they were embracing false teachings (Galatians 1:6-7). And even the apostle Peter began promoting false teaching until he was confronted by the apostle Paul (Galatians 2:11-17). If Peter — Christ’s chosen leader of the early church — could be temporarily deceived by false teaching, then no Christian is immune from it — not you or me. So, all of us need to watch our doctrine closely, as Paul instructed his young disciple Timothy (1 Timothy 4:16). I frequently pray that God will keep me from believing wrong beliefs about Him and the world.

That’s the goal of my blog: to help Christians guard against serious doctrinal error that can hurt their relationships with Christ. Please don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying that members of apostolic-prophetic churches aren’t Christians. Quite the opposite: many of them are sincere, committed, beautiful, loving Christians. I’m also not saying that apostolic-prophetic churches are the only ones with doctrinal error. Sadly, there are a lot of false teachings in the church.

The reasons I focus on this particular doctrinal error are because so few people are addressing it and because this movement is growing so quickly. It’s been embraced in many charismatic churches, which are the fastest-growing churches in the world, according to church growth researchers, like David Barrett.

C. Peter Wagner headshot Many of the Christians who attend apostolic-prophetic churches don’t know that some of the teachings are the same teachings of the Latter Rain Movement of the 1940s — a movement that the majority of Christians, back then, rejected as seriously errant. The “apostolic-prophetic movement” and “New Apostolic Reformation” are simply new names given to these old teachings. Don’t take my word for it: some of the most prominent leaders in the apostolic-prophetic movement, like C. Peter Wagner (pictured here), openly admit that their teachings are the same old Latter Rain teachings. (See Wagner’s 2004 book, Changing Church, published by Regal Books.)

One of these teachings is that all Christians must submit to modern apostles and prophets who have unquestioned authority and the ability to give new doctrine to the church that can’t be found in the Bible.

Of course, not all Christians who attend apostolic-prophetic churches accept this teaching. In fact, I believe that many members of apostolic-prophetic churches would strongly oppose it. But, some of the most prominent leaders in this movement, like Wagner, do promote this teaching. And Wagner’s teachings are entering many apostolic-prophetic churches — though the teachings aren’t always detected.

This is my concern. I hope my blog will raise awareness about such teachings so they won’t mislead people.

My Heart
Please — if I’ve offended you with my blog — I hope you’ll see that this isn’t my intention. Let’s discuss these issues together, and show me if I’m off base somewhere or if I’m ungracious. As Paul warns, I can have all knowledge in the world — including all doctrinal knowledge (which I certainly don’t have) — but, without love, I’m just making a lot noise. I don’t want to be a noisemaker.

I think my post called “Holly’s Top 7 Prophecies for 2007” was especially offensive to some readers. I meant to use humor to highlight some of the movement’s errors. Perhaps my poking fun was unkind and, if it was, I’m sorry.

Some of the comments posted by readers of my blog, sadly, have resorted to unkind personal attacks and judgments against people in apostolic-prophetic churches. I don’t support such comments and I’ve even deleted some that, I felt, crossed a line.

Yet, as long as the comments are civil, I rarely delete them — whether they’re made by people who oppose or support the apostolic-prophetic movement. That’s because I want this blog to be a place where people from all sides can come together and discuss these important issues.

I know that some people will perceive all criticism as unloving, no matter how gently it is given. But my prayer is that — in sharing my concerns about this movement — my love for Christ’s body will be apparent.

(* Photo of bride was taken by David Ball)


Why God’s People Are Being Destroyed

February 5, 2007

“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard modern “apostles” and “prophets” quote this verse in reference to their own teachings.

They claim Christians are being destroyed because they don’t embrace the “apostles’” and “prophets’” teachings. See an example here (from Jill Austin, founder of “Master Potter Ministries” in Laguna Hills, Calif.).

Kenneth Copeland I also heard this verse used the other night on Kenneth Copeland’s (pictured here) television program, “Believer’s Voice of Victory,” that aired on Daystar network. Don Colbert, a guest on Copeland’s show, was explaining the importance of eating all-natural foods. Colbert said that Christians are being destroyed (having health problems) because they don’t know the health risks of processed foods. Watch the Feb. 1 program here.

Using this verse to refer to healthy foods is ridiculous. And so is using it to refer to modern-day “apostles” and “prophets.” Yet, when a verse is ripped out of its context, it can be used to support any teaching.

Hosea 4:6 In Context
When we look at this verse in context, we see what specific “lack of knowledge” is being referred to. It wasn’t knowledge about modern-day “apostles” and “prophets” or about unhealthy foods. It was knowledge of God’s law (i.e., His Word). This is made clear in the latter part of the same verse.

The reason God’s people didn’t know His Word — according to the surrounding verses — is because the religious leaders (the priests and “prophets”) weren’t teaching it to them. See Hosea 4:4-9.

Today’s ‘Bible’ Teachers
Sound familiar? It should. Many of today’s religious leaders are busy teaching anything besides God’s Word. Of course, they claim their teachings are based on Scripture, and they hold and wave their Bibles — like Copeland does in his photo above — but that doesn’t mean they’re teaching the Bible. The verses they cite are often used out of context and, thus, have nothing to do with their teachings.

The real reason God’s people are destroyed today — as in Hosea’s time — is because they don’t know God’s Word. Thus, they are seduced into false and idolatrous beliefs. This breaks God’s heart, which is the point of the book of Hosea — to show how much God loves His wayward people and wants them to be faithful to Him.

On my blog, I try to show that the teachings of the apostolic-prophetic movement are based on Scriptures used out of context, like the teaching about Joel’s Army, which I wrote about in an earlier post. Read it here.

In fact, all false, heretical and cultic teachings are based on Scriptures that are misinterpreted and used out of context. That’s why it’s important for every Christian to know how to correctly interpret the Bible, especially those who teach the Bible. 2 Timothy 2:15 says that someone who teaches the Bible must know how to correctly handle it.

Correctly Interpreting the Bible
Bible scholars use a big, fancy word to refer to the study of biblical interpretation: “hermeneutics” (pronounced, in English, like “her men new ticks”). Don’t let that word scare you away: the principles aren’t too hard to learn. It’s a shame that they are usually taught only in seminaries or Bible colleges. They should be taught in all churches, Bible studies and Sunday school classes — even to children.

But, sadly, they’re not. As a result, many Christians don’t know God’s Word and are being led into the erroneous teachings of the apostolic-prophetic movement and other unbiblical movements.

Recommended Resources
Here are some resources to help you learn basic principles of Bible interpretation.

Book
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart: This classic book is used in many seminaries, but it’s written for laypeople to understand. See it at Amazon.com.

Web Site
Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: This Web page offers a brief overview of the principles.


Holly’s Top 7 Prophecies for 2007

January 18, 2007

Since the “prophets” in the apostolic-prophetic movement have been releasing their predictions for the new year, I thought I’d share mine before January’s over.

But, first, remember that none of these predictions has to happen this year, or next year, or the year after — or ever — to qualify as true prophecies. Many factors that could hinder their occurrence include — but are not limited to — the following: prayer, fasting, maybe I misheard what God said, maybe you misheard what I said, maybe you misheard what I misheard God said, maybe God wasn’t clear with what He said, maybe God changed his mind, maybe enough seed offerings didn’t come in, maybe you didn’t really believe the prophecies, maybe I didn’t really believe them, maybe demonic spirits intercepted them mid-air, and maybe the prophecies really did happen but you didn’t see them — and, for that matter, nobody did — because their fulfillments had to be seen with “spiritual” eyes.

Keeping those in mind, here are my top seven prophecies for 2007 (Note, seven is a prophetically significant number. That’s because 2007 is the year of sevens … the year of the seven-fold portion. Everything you send me — in cash or Starbucks coffee cards — will be returned to you seven-fold.*)

The Top 7

1. Many “prophets” will arise and give vague, abstract, nebulous prophecies that could mean anything and be interpreted anyway.

2. Many of these “prophets” will explain away their failed prophecies with ludicrous explanations that will be accepted by many of their followers.

3. “Prophets” will “predict” the past with retroactive prophecies.

4. “Prophets” will prophesy a “transference of wealth” — to themselves.

5. Surprising changes will occur: people will move, switch jobs, politics will shift — oops, Patricia King already covered this one (see last post).

6. Many “prophets” will claim to be attacked by demonically motivated Christians who — for some unknown, but diabolical reason — oppose the “prophets’” heresies, scams in the name of God, and false prophecies. The “prophets” will accuse these Christians of being “Pharisees,” “Jezebels” and having a “religious spirit” (a tactic to silence criticism).

7. As a sign that all these things shall come to pass, there will be clouds in the sky, birds in the air, Wal-Marts in more cities — and many other extremely rare and unusual occurrences.

Footnote 1: The seven-fold blessing is a joke, although cash and Starbucks cards are nice! Just kidding again.

Footnote 2: Please don’t misunderstand the intent of this satire. I’m not mocking prophecy, but the misuses of it. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 warns us not to mock prophecy (which is stifling the Holy Spirit), but to test all prophecies — holding onto the good ones and staying away from the bad ones, which are described as “evil.”


King’s ‘Extremely Prophetic’ Directives for 2007

January 2, 2007

Patricia King headshot Patricia King — host of the television program “Extreme Prophetic with Patricia King” — just released her “Seven Prophetic Directives for 2007” through the Elijah List. Read the directives here. I want to point out that not one “prophecy” in the entire list predicts anything that doesn’t happen every year. So, how can King be considered a prophet?

Directive No. 1, for example, states that in 2007 God is looking for Christians who will invest their talents wisely and bear fruit for the kingdom. My response is: when isn’t God looking for this? He wants this from all Christians, in every year of church history.

Directive No. 2 predicts that there will be a lot of changes in 2007 — including political changes, people moving to new locations, getting new jobs, and switching their college majors. Again, these predictions are laughable. When don’t these things happen?

The funniest of her predictions for 2007 is that people will start finding change (coins) in unique places, like on the ground in front of them and in drawers. She says these finds will confirm her prediction of coming changes. So, now every time people find change, should they see it as a prophetic sign? King also predicts the appearances of butterflies and unusual weather patterns. Again, when don’t we see butterflies and unusual weather patterns?

Directive No. 4 predicts catastrophes and, in response to these catastrophes, Christians reaching out to the victims with compassion ministry and prayer. Again, which year hasn’t the world had catastrophes, and when haven’t Christians responded in compassion and prayer?

Directive No. 6 predicts that biblical teachings will be challenged. But some Christians will rise up to defend those teachings — facing persecution. I know I’m sounding like a broken record, but when hasn’t this happened? (Not to mention that King and her fellow “prophets” are challenging many biblical teachings with their teachings about apostles and prophets.)

These directives aren’t “extremely prophetic” — in fact, they’re not even slightly prophetic — despite the name of King’s ministry. Visit King’s Extreme Prophetic Web site here.


Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare

December 23, 2006

Spiritual Warfare

Have you heard of “strategic-level spiritual warfare?”

This practice — which is popular in the apostolic-prophetic movement — often involves going to the highest place in a city or nation, like a mountain top, and trying to bind “territorial spirits,” the high-ranking demons that rule over specific geographical regions. The idea is that — if their demonic grip is broken — then the people who live in that region will respond en masse to the gospel, and they will be freed of sinful strongholds, like witchcraft, lust and greed.

Many churches and missions agencies have eagerly adopted strategic-level warfare, believing it’s the key to fulfilling the Great Commission (especially in regions that are hostile to the gospel). These Christians take part in showy ceremonies, where they seek to directly confront territorial spirits by name.

Operation Queen’s Palace
C. Peter Wagner headshot In October 1999, for example, C. Peter Wagner (pictured here) — the main advocate of this practice — led a group to Ephesus, Turkey, for “Operation Queen’s Palace” — to confront a spirit he identified as the “Queen of Heaven” (supposedly a strong spirit that was blocking the gospel in that region). They engaged in what is called “aggressive prayer warfare,” commanding the spirit’s power to be broken. This trip has now become a prototype for other ministries.

The reason this type of spiritual warfare is called “strategic” is because it doesn’t attempt to cast demons out of just individual people — which Wagner calls “ground-level warfare” — but entire nations.

Spiritual Warfare is Biblical
Don’t be mistaken: I believe spiritual warfare is biblical, and all Christians must engage in it with seriousness. According to Ephesians 6:10-18, we are in battle against “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” We must never forget this because Satan is like a “roaring lion” that is seeking to catch us off guard and devour us. See 1 Peter 5:8. We must be aware of his schemes against us. See 2 Corinthians 2:11.

The Bible also teaches that there are angels (both good and bad) with varying degrees of authority. For example, Michael is called an “archangel” who has command over other angels (Rev. 12:7) and is one of the “chief princes” and a prince of Israel (Dan. 10:13, 21). Other Scripture passages hint at the existence of a hierarchy within the angelic world. See Romans 8:38-39, Ephesians 6:12 and Colossians 1:16.

In 1 Corinthians 2:6, 8, there is reference to the “rulers of this age” who caused Christ’s crucifixion (perhaps high-ranking demonic forces).

All these passages seem to teach that there are angels who have greater authority than other angels. These angels would seemingly include territorial spirits, whose existence, I believe, is also supported by the Bible. In Daniel 10, for example, we learn that there are a “Prince of Persia” and a “Prince of Greece” — apparently, territorial spirits who were opposing God’s work in those empires.

So, the question isn’t: should we engage in spiritual warfare? As Christians, we all must. The real question is: how should we engage in it? Should we seek to combat territorial spirits, as leaders in the apostolic-prophetic movement urge us to do? Or have we been given other strategies? (More on this below.)

Strategic-Level Warfare is Unbiblical
The problems with strategic-level warfare are that Scripture does not support it, and it may actually be dangerous. At the very least, Christians may be involved in a practice that diverts their focus from fruitful, Spirit-empowered ministry to powerless ritual. At the worst, they may be opening themselves up to harmful spiritual attack. I will explain why.

What the Bible Says About Spiritual Warfare But, first, Christians should know that even Wagner admits that much of this practice comes from sources outside of Scripture. For example, in his book — ironically titled What the Bible Says About Spiritual Warfare (pictured here) — Wagner argues that it’s important to know the name of a territorial spirit to cast it out. He believes that, when we know the name of a spirit, then we have more authority over it.

Of course, the Bible doesn’t teach this — something Wagner readily admits. But he doesn’t care. Why? Because people who have experience dealing with demons have found that it’s important to know their names, according to Wagner. So, he has developed his doctrine from experience (and human wisdom), instead of God’s Word. And, of course, strategic-level warfare includes identifying the names of territorial spirits.

Wagner also struggles to come up with an example of strategic-level warfare in the Bible. In fact, he has to rely on a story that doesn’t come from the Bible — a story about when the apostle John reportedly went to the temple in Ephesus and prayed against the goddess Diana. John reportedly said:

“Oh God … at whose name every idol takes flight and every demon and every unclean power: now let the demon that is here take flight at thy name.”

According to the story, Diana’s altar then split into pieces.

Yet, even Wagner’s non-biblical example has problems. For starters, John’s prayer was directed to God — John didn’t directly speak to, or confront, Diana. So, this doesn’t even qualify as strategic-level warfare. Also, of course, this story doesn’t come from Scripture, so we shouldn’t build our doctrine or practice around it, as Wagner has done.

Spiritual Warfare Is Ignored
Unfortunately, biblical teachings on spiritual warfare are neglected in many evangelical churches — especially non-charismatic churches. Because of this, a vacuum has been created that has been filled by unbiblical teachings. Many Christians who see the reality of spiritual warfare in the Bible — and who may have even experienced it in their own lives — are hungry for teaching on it. Because they can’t find this teaching in other churches, they are drawn to churches that promote strategic-level warfare.

United States Global Apostolic Prayer Network
US Global Apostolic Prayer Network

Wagner created the United States Global Apostolic Prayer Network to promote strategic-level warfare on behalf of the United States. Under the leadership of Chuck Pierce and Cindy Jacobs, this network has appointed “state apostolic coordinators” who direct strategic-level warfare in each state. Through this network, many churches have been brought into strategic-level warfare. Read more about the network here, and find out the names of the apostolic coordinators for each state.

Spiritual Mapping
Many ministries also use “spiritual mapping” to aid their strategic-level warfare. This practice involves mapping out the demonic activities in geographical regions, including the names of the ruling territorial spirits and types of strongholds. (Note: not all people who practice spiritual mapping support strategic-level warfare. Some Christians just find it helpful to identify the religious and spiritual influences in a region to aid their evangelism efforts, but they don’t seek to identify or bind territorial spirits.)

Links to the Apostolic-Prophetic Movement
Although many churches and ministries have embraced strategic-level warfare, they may not know how these practices relate to the apostolic-prophetic movement. According to the movement’s leaders, strategic-level warfare will work only if it is practiced under the direction of modern “apostles” (like Wagner) and “prophets” (like Cindy Jacobs). Why? Because only “prophets” are able to receive the divine revelation needed to defeat the territorial spirits (including their names). And only “apostles” have the God-given authority to bind the territorial spirits.

The average, everyday Christian doesn’t have this authority, according to these leaders. This is why they teach that all Christians must submit to the modern “apostles” and “prophets.” They believe that once the entire church is under their rule, then they will lead it — like an army — in defeating demonic principalities and establishing God’s kingdom on earth.

Strategic-level warfare also relates to the apostolic-prophetic movement in its emphasis on national revivals. According to the movement’s leaders, binding territorial spirits will result in the Christianization of the world and the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth — before Christ returns.

This contradicts the “premillennial” view of the end-times, which argues that nations will grow more evil and hostile toward God — even accepting the rule of the antichrist — until Christ returns and establishes His kingdom Himself. Yet, interestingly, many people who are part of the apostolic-prophetic movement still hold a premillennial view of the end times, without realizing that these views are contradictory. (More on this in a future post.)

Perhaps if more Christians realized the agenda of this movement’s leaders — an agenda to bring all Christians under their rule — then they wouldn’t so readily embrace this practice. They also may reject it if they realized that it requires a very different view of the end times than they hold to.

No Biblical Support
Of course, advocates of strategic-level warfare claim that the Bible supports the practice. But a careful reading of the passages they cite — in context — shows they don’t.

The Bible does support the concept of territorial spirits, as I mentioned above. But it never encourages God’s people to directly confront territorial spirits or interact with them in any way. In fact, we have no biblical record of God’s people — be they apostles, prophets or ordinary Christians — ever confronting a territorial spirit or seeking to bind one. Jesus, himself, never sought to bind a territorial spirit in his earthly ministry.

Let’s look at Daniel 10, the passage most often used to support strategic-level warfare. In this passage, we learn of a heavenly struggle that was going on behind the scenes, involving the archangel Michael and the Princes of Persia and Greece. Notice, however, that Daniel never directly challenged the Prince of Persia or Prince of Greece. In fact, he seemingly never even knew the Prince of Persia had hindered his prayers until after his divine visitor told him this information. So, Daniel certainly wasn’t engaging in strategic-level warfare against the Prince of Persia, as advocates of the practice claim.

Other passages used to support the practice also fail. Just because the Bible teaches the existence of territorial spirits doesn’t mean that we, Christians, have the mandate or authority to directly confront them.

Our biblical authority seems to be limited to casting out demons from individuals — what Jesus gave the Seventy the authority to do in Luke 10. Note: the Seventy weren’t attempting to bind territorial spirits in the cities they visited, but were focusing on delivering individual people from demons.

Biblical Evangelism
Rather than binding territorial spirits, the early Christians’ method of evangelism was proclaiming the gospel — along with prayer and reliance on the Holy Spirit. This method may not seem as glamorous as spiritual warfare ceremonies (it’s certainly harder work!). But it’s the model we are given in the Bible.

Of course, if we are concerned about territorial spirits in a region, then we can always ask God to hinder their influence. But we haven’t been given the authority to command a demon to leave a city or region. As long as sin is present in a region, Satan has legal claim there.

Dangers of Strategic-Level Warfare
Not only don’t we have examples of strategic-level warfare in Scripture — we actually may be warned against it. In 2 Peter 2:10-12 and Jude 1:8-10, we learn of people who speak abusively against angelic forces — something even powerful good angels (including the archangel Michael) don’t dare do. People who directly rebuke high-ranking spirits are messing with dangerous things that are outside their realm of knowledge. These passages should serve as a sobering warning against confronting territorial spirits.

Could it be that Christians who practice strategic-level warfare, unknowingly, may be opening themselves up to powerful demonic attack as they venture outside their God-given sphere of authority?

Biblical Spiritual Warfare
So, how should Christians wage spiritual warfare? In Ephesians 6:10-18, we are told how: by putting on all the spiritual armor God has given us, including living in truth, righteousness, sharing the gospel, having faith in God, receiving salvation, knowing the Word of God (the Bible) and constant prayer. In the Lord’s Prayer, we are told to pray that God will deliver us from Satan. See Matthew 6:13.

We must draw near to God because, when we do, Satan will flee (James 4:7). If we are filled with the Holy Spirit (meaning that we are submitting to His control in all areas of our lives), then there won’t be room for Satan to operate in our lives.

We must stay alert to Satan’s schemes. One of his most powerful and common tactics is deception. Satan is called the “father of lies” (John 8:44). He attempts to blind unbelievers to the truth of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4) and to get Christians to accept demonically inspired false teachings (1 Timothy 4:1). So, our main offensive strategy is to expose Satan’s lies by presenting the truth of God’s Word to believers and unbelievers, alike.

Recommended Reading
3 Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare For a great overview of what the Bible teaches about spiritual warfare, I recommend Clinton Arnold’s book, 3 Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare (published by Baker). It has an in-depth critique of strategic-level spiritual warfare. See it at Amazon.com.


Why People Join This Movement

December 4, 2006

Puzzle PieceWhen I tell Christians about the teachings of the apostolic-prophetic movement, they often ask me, “Why do people join this movement?”

Good question. When you bring the movement’s teachings together, you get a bizarre worldview that has no basis in Scripture. Yet, the thing is: Very few people in the apostolic-prophetic movement have brought all the teachings together. They’ve embraced a teaching here and another one there, but they don’t realize that all the teachings — like puzzle pieces — fit together. And the picture that emerges would, I believe, rightly concern many of them.

Many true, sincere Christians are caught up in this movement, but don’t know what they’re caught up in. That’s because many apostolic-prophetic churches don’t provide full disclosure of their teachings. In fact, they often have standard evangelical statements of faith. See, for example, the statement of beliefs for Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, Calif.

Ché Ahn Headshot From this statement, it appears that Harvest Rock Church is a typical charismatic church. What you’re not told is that the church is enmeshed in the apostolic-prophetic movement — teaching that all Christians must submit to new apostles and prophets, who have unquestioned authority and the ability to give new teachings that aren’t found in Scripture. The pastor/“apostle,” Che´Ahn (pictured here), is a key player in the movement. Ahn is a member of C. Peter Wagner’s “International Coalition of Apostles,” (see the membership list here), and he gives sermons that promote the movement’s troublesome teachings. Ahn also brings in the movement’s “prophets,” like Todd Bentley and Kim Clement, to speak to his congregation. See the lineup of “prophets” at the church’s next conference. In fact, Harvest Rock Church even has its own in-house “prophet,” Lou Engle, who is another key player in the movement.

Yet, I’d venture to guess that many people attending Harvest Rock Church don’t even know — really know — what the apostolic-prophetic movement is. They don’t know that when they joined this church, they joined a movement that many cult researchers consider one of the most erroneous sects in the church today. They don’t know that the movement’s teachings are the same as the Latter Rain Movement of the late 1940s that was condemned as heretical by most Christians — something the movement’s leaders freely admit. Learn about the Latter Rain Movement here.

What they do know is they like the church’s focus on teachings that are often neglected by other evangelical churches, like spiritual warfare. A vacuum has been created in the Church that apostolic-prophetic churches fill. But sadly, the way spiritual warfare is taught in this movement is unbiblical. (More on this in my next post.) In brief, in this movement spiritual warfare must be conducted under the direction of the “apostles” and “prophets,” who alone have the authority and divine strategies needed to defeat demonic principalities. Yet, many people in the movement don’t make the connection between the teachings about spiritual warfare and the teachings about “apostles” and “prophets.”

Many people have been immersed in this movement — perhaps they were even raised in it. So, they can’t see how drastically its teachings depart from historic, orthodox Christianity. In their minds, the teachings are Christian.

Other Christians are so weak in their knowledge of the Bible and Christian doctrine that they can’t spot deviations from orthodox Christianity. That makes them susceptible to aberrational movements, like this one. Sadly, the evangelical church, as a whole, has so downplayed the importance of doctrine that many Christians fall into this camp.


The ACPE’s ‘Fortune Cookie Prophecies’ for 2007

November 27, 2006

Fortune Cookie

On Nov. 1, the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders (ACPE) released their “Word of the Lord for 2007” through the Elijah List. Each year, this group of 33 “prophets” meets to determine what God is saying to the Church for the new year. I want to point out some observations about this latest “Word.”

1. Note that the list of “prophets” in this council includes Steve Shultz, Chuck Pierce and Kim Clement — three people I’ve recently written about. Clement has a long list of false prophecies, and all three of them teach the unbiblical doctrines of the apostolic-prophetic movement (read past posts for more information). I plan to discuss the council’s other “prophets” in future posts.

C. Peter Wagner headshot
2. The council is headed by C. Peter Wagner (pictured here), perhaps the leading proponent of the apostolic-prophetic movement (he calls it the “New Apostolic Reformation”). Wagner teaches that all Christians must submit to the new apostles and prophets. Those who resist are motivated by a high-ranking demonic principality, according to Wagner. He also admits that this movement has the same teachings as the Latter Rain movement of the late 1940s that was deemed heretical by most Christians. (See his books Churchquake! and Changing Church.)

3. The introduction to this “Word of the Lord” has lots of caveats — more than I’ve seen in previous years. Perhaps critics of the movement are having an effect. However, keep in mind a couple of things. First, many of these “prophets” teach that they have the office of prophet and, thus, have the same authority as prophets like Elijah and Jeremiah. So, although they seem to be downplaying their role here, they are elevating it in many of their books and other teaching materials. Also, notice that when you add up all the caveats, you’ll find that not one of the prophecies actually has to come to pass for the prophecies to be accurate, according to these “prophets.” (Read the introduction to see what I mean.) Furthermore, when you read all the prophecies, you’ll see that not one is specific enough to actually be proven true of false. They are so vague and nebulous that many things could be pointed to as their fulfillments. That’s why I call them “fortune cookie prophecies.” Consider prophecy No. 1, for example: “Finishing of a building cycle. Time for new building strategies to be released.” What does this mean? What would it look like if fulfilled? Anything could be made to fit this.

4. Notice prophecy No. 2: “Finishing of the five-fold ministry restored. Apostolic and Prophetic moving together.” The doctrine of “fivefold ministry” is the crux of the apostolic-prophetic movement. It’s based on Ephesians 4:11-13, which — according to the movement’s leaders — teaches that there are five ongoing, governmental offices in the church: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. They teach that apostles and prophets (the highest offices) have been missing since the first century, making the church ineffective. According to the ACPE, these two offices will finish being restored this year. Once all Christians submit to the new apostles and prophets, the church will have power like never before, according to the movement. (Note: Some Christians who believe in the doctrine of “fivefold ministry” don’t view apostles and prophets the same way as leaders in this movement do. They sometimes call missionaries and effective church leaders “apostles,” and they call people with the New Testament gift of prophecy “prophets.” I will talk about this more in future posts.)

5. Prophecy No. 6 has to do with the “transference of wealth.” According to leaders in the movement, God is going to transfer the world’s wealth from the wicked to the righteous (specifically, the apostles). The wealth will be redistributed under the guidance of the apostles. This will give the Church the resources it needs to establish God’s kingdom on earth. The problem is, this teaching has no basis in Scripture. It’s based on new revelation given by new “prophets,” like members of the ACPE. It’s also based on Scripture verses yanked out of context, like Isaiah 60:5 and 11, which speak of the time after Christ’s return.

Chuck Pierce headshot
6. Note, also, that the “prophets” tells us that 2007 is “The Year of the Clash of the Swords.” “Prophet” Chuck Pierce (pictured here) has prophesied that the Church is currently in a “seven-year war cycle” and that 2007 is the year of the sword. (I wrote about this two posts back.) Where did Pierce get this from? Certainly, not from the Bible. But the fact that the ACPE makes this a major portion of their “Word of the Lord for 2007” shows the weight they give to Pierce’s prophecies that have no biblical basis.

7. I think this warning is humorous: “Watch for the trap of fornication and adultery, and beware of seducing spirits.” Since when did we need a special word to warn us of the lure of sexual immorality? There’s a reason prostitution is called the world’s oldest profession. Of course, we should always beware of seducing spirits.

8. Whatever happened to all the prophecies made in the “Word of the Lord for 2006?” Read it here. I haven’t seen any follow up but, then again, those predictions also were vague, so almost anything could be made to fit them. There are lots of similarities with the “Word of the Lord for 2007,” like predictions of moves of God on university campuses.

These are just quick thoughts about the “Word.” Let me know yours.