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Prophet James Goll’s ‘revealing’ interpretation of Luke 7:44

James Goll 2The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) prophet James Goll gave a teaching about Luke 7:44  that was very revealing — but not in the way he intended.

James Goll is the founder of God Encounters Ministries and author of more than 40 books, including The Seer. He’s also one of the most influential prophets in NAR. He spoke on a panel with me earlier this month at the annual conference of the Religion News Association in Nashville, Tennessee.

Goll’s revealing teaching was featured on GODTV, as part of a Women on the Frontlines conference in Phoenix, Arizona, organized by Patricia King. It can be viewed here. In brief, Goll teaches that Luke 7:44 is a key revelation about the foundation of the church given by Jesus to one of his 12 disciples, Simon Peter, who would later become a key leader in the church. What is this key revelation given by Jesus to Simon Peter? It’s that women should be given leadership roles in the church, including roles as preachers, pastors, and apostles. But there are some big problems with Goll’s interpretation of Luke 7:44. Here are two.

Problem No. 1

Goll’s interpretation of Luke 7:44 is terribly out of context. This verse has nothing to do with the church or leadership roles within it, as can be seen when one simply reads the surrounding text (Luke 7:36-50). It’s about Jesus forgiving sins.

The question of whether women should have leadership roles in the church is another discussion to be had, based on other passages of Scripture. But this particular verse has nothing to do with that question.

It’s curious that Goll would give an interpretation of Scripture that pays no regard to the context since he, himself, tells others that paying attention to the context is important. Here are his own words, found in Chapter 5 of his book The Seer:

“Search for proper exegesis and scriptural context. One of the most important issues concerning wisdom is our interpretation of Scriptures—or proper exegesis. Many times, ‘prophetically gifted’ people seem predominantly to take a type of loose symbolic interpretation of the Scriptures. Although there are different schools and methodologies of interpretation, we should look for the historical context from which the Scripture is speaking.”

Given his own advice, how could Goll come to such an odd interpretation of this verse? Only through the NAR practice of “prophetic illumination.” Prophetic illumination occurs when God gives a prophet supernatural insight into the correct interpretation and application of a specific passage of Scripture. It’s like a light going on—suddenly the church, through a prophet, develops an understanding of a specific verse that it did not have prior to that time. At least that’s what NAR prophets claim they’ve been given the authority to do.

In other words, we’re expected to just accept Goll’s interpretation because he claims to be a prophet.

Problem No. 2

If you thought Problem No. 1 is a big problem — and it is — wait until you see Problem No. 2. Goll’s interpretation of Luke 7:44 is based on his understanding that Jesus was addressing Simon Peter, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. But–get this–Goll has the wrong Simon! The Simon mentioned in Luke 7:44 is a different Simon–not the fisherman turned disciple, but rather a Pharisee who invited Jesus to have a meal at his home. Yet Goll’s interpretation of the verse–as being about church leadership–hinges on his understanding that Jesus was addressing the future church leader Simon Peter. Since Jesus was addressing a different individual, Goll’s interpretation falls apart.

These problems in Goll’s interpretation explain why I think his teaching about Luke 7:44 is so revealing. It’s reveals a woeful lack of ability to properly interpret Scripture. More importantly it raises a sobering question, would a true prophet of God interpret Scripture so poorly?


Holly Pivec is the co-author of A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement and God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement. She has a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University.

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19 Responses to “Prophet James Goll’s ‘revealing’ interpretation of Luke 7:44”

  1. Diana Lesperance Says:

    Wow. What a manipulative show appealing to silly women who are “ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7)

  2. Arnold Smith Says:

    Manipulating the scriptures is what the NAR is all about. They rely on people to elevate them so high as to not trust that they can understand scripture themselves.

    Another thing I caught Bill Johnson do was to use Hebrew/Greek word studies and tell you something means something in the original language that it really doesn’t. I checked it out once and found Bill was lying about the original meaning. I can’t remember the exact teaching but I only mention this for everybody to be aware and do their own research of the original language teachings because that is another area they use to deceive.


  3. Donald Bate Says:

    I haven’t read any of his 40 (forty!!) books, but after reading this article I have no desire to look at even one of them. What happened to simple, child-like faith by putting Jesus’ Teachings into practice? Is that not sufficient? Why do we need “prophets” like James Goll to mangle the Lord’s words? Indeed, Jesus said that unless we humble ourselves like little children, we can even enter His Kingdom! HUGE sigh, at this whole NAR deception.

  4. Donald Bate Says:

    I haven’t read any of his 40 (forty!!) books, but after reading this article I have no desire to look at even one of them. What happened to simple, child-like faith by putting Jesus’ Teachings into practice? Is that not sufficient? Why do we need “prophets” like James Goll to mangle the Lord’s words? Indeed, Jesus said that unless we humble ourselves like little children, we can NOT even enter His Kingdom! HUGE sigh, at this whole NAR deception.

  5. Bill (cycleguy) Says:

    Just another example of Scripture twisting in order to “support” a false teacher’s faulty view of the inerrant Word. Turns my stomach to think so many will take his words and “run with them.”

  6. Tia Marlier Says:

    Thank you for exposing this, Holly! As a former NAR adherent, I’ve experienced firsthand the damage from years of being assured the words of NAR “prophets” were the most current and true “revelation” from God. It’s not surprising what they pass off as truth, but this is really hitting bottom, even for them! If anything, it’s just plain sloppy. Praying that what WILL be revealed is their falsehood so that many are kept from misleading and error-filled teaching. 

    So happy to see all you’re doing (including the panel in Nashville) to speak the truth in love about this dangerous movement! Thank you for all you do.

    I hope you’ll consider doing an in-depth investigation of Bethel Music – they are infiltrating all kinds of unsuspecting denominations because of the high quality and pervasive exposure & availability of their worship music (through Christian radio), which is full of bad theology and subtly spreads their errant message.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    If we had good prophets, wouldn’t they try turning the hearts of people back to God by revealing the spirit of error?

  8. Jeff Says:

    If the word a teacher is handling is as sharp as a butter knife, it’s not the word of God.

  9. Jane Says:

    James Goll’s “interpretations” not only show that he’s a false prophet/teacher/preacher, but also that he’s an unbeliever, because God does not want women to be preachers….. “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”  (1 Timothy 2:11,12).

    Mr. Goll would be well-advised to just start taking God at his Word.  And he should probably be encouraged to find another line of work.

  10. Donald Bate Says:

    Jane. As with James Goll, Paul also was very erroneous. I am glad that 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is not something Jesus taught. I am most appreciative of Holly’s willingness to teach on this website, I have learnt much, and I am glad that SHE (yes.. she is a woman!) has NOT remained silent. In light of who will be judging us all on the Day of the Lord (that’s Jesus, not Paul or anyone else), we would all do well to follow and obey Jesus’ Teachings only.

  11. Martin Says:

    James Goll’s interpretation is surely very sloppy. However, to say that allowing women to teach, preach or have authority over the congregation qualifies a person to be labeled an unbeliever is downright wrong. Many, many believers who have extensively searched he scriptures hold to an non-gender profiling of leadership in the church.

    We should not fear asking questions of Scripture, whether OT or NT. The greater teaching of Scripture is a matter of grace fulfilling law. Men who are in positions of authority can choose to bestow and share their authority with females. It is not an abandonment of their own authority nor a repudiation of Scripture, but rather the sharing of authority in the spirit of grace with spiritually mature and qualified women. We cannot shackle the Holy Spirit with laws. Grace is the ‘meat’ pf the kingdom of God. Law is the ‘milk’ of immaturity.

  12. Steve Says:

    Wow Donald Bate… if Paul was in error, can you tell us why is your final authority on all things theological?

  13. David Alligood Says:


    I’m not able to locate the video anymore. Can anyone help? Or do you suppose it was removed from public view?

  14. Holly Says:

    David, it looks like the link was changed on the GodTV site. I updated it.

  15. RebeccaLynn Dikeman Says:

    I am so thankful you do what you do! Keep up the great work. You are a blessing!

  16. Holly Says:

    Thanks for your encouraging words, RebeccaLynn!

  17. Marilyn Says:

    May I ask a few questions? Firstly, is it biblical to put down a man of God down publicly even among pre-believers for some minor errors he has made in Scriptures. Does this error caused you to denounce Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and cause you to dab into the occult, or practise homosexuality and stumble you already? Does not the Bible teaches us to judge all prophecies and test all spirits too whenever a prophet prophesy. What is your motive for publicly shaming a man of God, who can be a grandfather to most of you already? Is not God the one to judge His prophet? Does blowing out someone else candle makes your candle burn brighter? Who is the person who has never make any wrong references before in his teaching or preaching journey, please take the first stone and throw.
    Even if he does make an error,does this error a basic doctrinal error that leads you to a different gospel as preached by Paul? Did not the Bible teaches us that he who considers himself spiritual should correct that person who is in error in love too. For without love, one is considered like an empty gong even though one can prophesy accurately. God sees the heart more than your outward performance and appearance. Putting one another down like this would only allow Satan to outwit us and not moving in love and unity too. Let us take the speck in our eyes first before taking it out of someone else eyes. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in His ways to solve problem and not in the ways of the world, causing strife and disharmony or offenses in the Body of Christ.

  18. Mo Says:

    A public minister who teaches false doctrine is to be marked. The New Testament gives this example over and over. Marilyn’s rant using scripture in James Goll’s defense is typical of the NAR people. As always it is scripture taken out of it’s appropriate context.

  19. Jean M Shobe Says:

    A woman is held in high esteem by Jesus as a greater sinner who has been forgiven of much and in this by Faith she has received salvation even as Abraham did and so many of the old testament saints. This woman is the star of the show in these verses. The fact that James Goll picked up on the woman being the main character here is worth noting. Yes, the point is forgiveness with sub plots of male superiority and a woman’s submission to serve. Bring your heads up from the sand to get some air. A forum to point out errors without approaching the offender first is itself the greater sinner making your repentance a greater forgiveness. Look for men and women pointing to a new messiah or some one preaching “come to me, I can help you” like a child molester does.
    Holy Spirit can take us so many places with one set of scriptures and you want to beat a man down who allows Holy Spirit to lift up women in service.

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