< Browse > Home / Bill Johnson/Bethel Church, Che Ahn, Michael Brown, Modern 'Apostles' & 'Prophets' and Their Promoters, My Books, Rick Joyner, Size and Influence of the NAR / Blog article: A reply to Michael Brown’s ‘Appeal for Holly Pivec and Prof. Doug Geivett to Separate Yourselves From the Hyper-Critics’

A reply to Michael Brown’s ‘Appeal for Holly Pivec and Prof. Doug Geivett to Separate Yourselves From the Hyper-Critics’

Last week, Michael Brown wrote an open letter to myself and my co-author Doug Geivett, urging us to separate ourselves from “hyper-critics” of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and inviting us to join him, on air, for more discussions about NAR. Here’s our reply to him, published today by the Christian Post.

—–

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.

  • No Related Post
Follow Discussion

27 Responses to “A reply to Michael Brown’s ‘Appeal for Holly Pivec and Prof. Doug Geivett to Separate Yourselves From the Hyper-Critics’”

  1. Paula Southworth Says:

    Your response is excellent. Hopefully he’s going to answer your questions about the NAR. And the gentlemen you’ve mentioned.

  2. Bruce Cooper Says:

    Well done Doug and Holly! Strongly agree with your decision. Grace and blessings!

  3. Lance Wonders Says:

    Holly, well done. I have used your textbook in a Bible college class we teach regarding the New Apostolic Reformation. We have also used Michael Brown’s “Authentic Fire” book, as a fair and solid critique of John MacArthur’s sloppy views about the charismatic renewal. Overall, it is wrong for us to insist on taking the most extreme examples that we can find and then act as though all those who stand within a given “movement” adhere to those extremes. I find that it has most often been in the area of eschatology that NAR folk become the most “creative” (especially Bill Hamon, who — in my view — is the worst of the “extreme” teachers, though very, very few really have followed him, other than Peter Wagner…who of course has now gone on to be with the Lord). Those who self-identify as “apostles” usually err — or outright sin — when they claim to have authoritative insight about HOW the Church supposedly is going to “triumph” at the end of the age. But honestly, they are no more “dogmatic” — or potentially “heretical”? — than some Calvinists or Dispensationalists can be when they drift away from Scripture itself and claim to know “the mind of God” about election, infant baptism, the rapture, the identity of the Anti-Christ, etc. So the Golden Rule applies here: we need to insist on Truth as best we can determine it, but also accept one another in Christ on the basis of the Cross and not on the basis of how each measures up to our own theological “grid”. I hope that for the most part both you and Michael could agree on that? Pentecost blessings — Lance Wonders

  4. Grace Brooks Says:

    Holly, It also would be nice if Brown read your book himself! And perhaps he should take out the log in his own eye before urging you to separate yourselves from “hyper-critics” and do this by separating himself from those who preach another Gospel and lead others into spiritual adultery.

    Sorry Lance, this is not just an issue of differing over non-essentials. These so called apostles and prophets proclaim many heretical teachings–claiming that they got them from the mouth of God, an angel or a dead saint. Jesus never urged us to be unified with those who have departed from the truth of Scripture, but instead tells us to test teaching and beware of false teachers,false prophets and false apostles. We are to separate ourselves from them!! (Mt.7; 2 Cor.6:14-18; Rom.16:17)

  5. Lance Wonders Says:

    Grace, I do not agree with your all-or-nothing attitude. A very few extreme teachers teach heretical things based on the sources you are claiming. But since Billy Graham opened the door to networks led by apostles and prophets at Lausanne in 1974, the number of so-called “NAR” churches are now as many in number as world-wide Roman Catholicism is. Most are Christ-centered and Bible-based in their faith. Most major in major things and not in minor things. I have heard Calvinists reject Arminians with the same sort of arguments as you are using — “we can’t afford to pollute the Faith! ‘Be ye separate’!!!!” And Dispensationalists often do the same thing to post-tribbers who love Christ, love Israel, and are hesitant to identify what political party the Anti-Christ will likely come from. In my book, we generally owe people the benefit of the doubt, UNTIL they reject the real Jesus and the real Cross and Resurrection. THEN we “build a wall” to keep the heresies out. Otherwise, we could be setting OURSELVES up to be “rejected” on the last day, by quenching any charity in our own hearts towards people who –like us — were seeing as in a mirror dimly, and were therefore walking by faith and not by a claimed-to-be-perfectly-clear “sight” ( I Cor. 12:13, 2 Cor. 5:7). Michael Brown was indeed careless in trying to assess a book without reading it cover to cover. Holly’s book does deserve that proper and careful treatment — in my opinion, it is the best of its kind out there. But Michael, though mistaken this time around, and who needs to backtrack and do his homework on this one, is also one of the best charismatic writers alive today, very balanced and (normally!) very biblical, fair, and accurate. Have you yourself read his critique of John MacArthur? If not, you should. There are no “logs” — really, not any “splinters” either! — in that book. In my view, the best of all worlds would be served if Holly and Michael could co-write a book covering their agreements (which are many!!!) and less-than-super-critical differences. We need more of that, and less stone-throwing or all-or-nothing judgments one way or the other.

  6. Grace Brooks Says:

    Lance, It is interesting that you already decided that I do not have grounds for my “all or nothing” attitude without knowing what heresies that I am speaking of.

    As it is, I have not read MacArthur nor Brown on the subject. But I have read Bill Johnson, Beni Johnson, Mike Bickle, Mark Virkler, Peter Wagner, Rick Joyner, Bob Jones, Jack Deere, Benny Hinn and William Branham and I know too many people who are looking up to these men to learn from and are being lead astray.

    There is much in Scripture which tells us what to do as far as testing teachers, prophets and apostles and their teaching. In this process, I had to do much repenting myself along the way. It was a grueling difficult and heartbreaking process. I didn’t want to come to the conclusions that I came to. But the Scriptures made it clear to me(us) one step at a time. And until you can convince me from Scripture on each of the particular heresies that we found in this circle of people, I have to do what the Scriptures tell me to do with these people–and that is turn away from them and expose their teaching as what it is–false teaching. Otherwise I will be held responsible for the souls of those who I know who think that I associate with and endorse these people or their teachings.

    Jesus, nor Peter, Paul, nor Jude did not mince words when addressing false teaching and false teachers. They were downright harsh, narrow minded and divisive!! (But for all the right reasons.)

  7. Grace Brooks Says:

    Please forgive the grammar on the last paragraph. I pushed send too soon! I hope you catch my meaning regardless..

  8. Lance Wonders Says:

    Grace, you seemed to me to be more “moderate” this time, I found that helpful. Mark Virkler in his earlier teaching about “hearing God” was both dangerous and wrong — but I’m not aware of people calling him an “apostle”. Branham most charismatics admit was indeed a heretic — he held to a Oneness view of the Trinity, thought the healings he saw in his ministry came from an angel instead of from the true Holy Spirit, and a cult group up in Canada thinks he was the last-days “Elijah” come back to earth. But he pre-dates the NAR debate by a coupe of generations. Bob Jones I knew personally. He admitted he was only about 60% accurate, and was used by others more than he sought fame or fortune for himself, He was a very simple man — more of a “seer” than a “prophet”. He made some real errors in judgment — and paid the price for them. But one of his later prophecies about avoiding the “Fallacy of Presumption” actually seemed to be a call to NOT BECOME A PART OF PETER WAGNER AND CHUCK PIERCE’S “NAR” super-train, which he predicted would derail itself and plunge those deliberately “on board” with it into a soon-coming abyss. Instead, he called for doing the hard work of keeping to the “basics” of the “hand-car” of apostolic faith — the NT faith — and loved to echo Jesus’ and Paul’s words about the supremacy of love (John 15, I Corinthians 13). He was not “dogmatic” about his prophecies, but only shared what he thought God was showing him, and totally was willing to subject himself to discernment by others. Benny Hinn is a healer, not a teacher. And certainly not an “apostle”! Jack Deere repented of thinking Paul Cain and Bob Jones were the Two Witnesses almost 30 years ago now; likewise he long ago abandoned his temporary views on “Joel’s Army”. You admit you have had to repent of, and change your own mind about, various views over time; shouldn’t we be charitable and allow these brothers in the Lord to change as well??? Bill Johnson is an extremist, but does not directly espouse the false teaching about Jesus being “annihilated” in hell as “sin for us” any longer, he distanced himself from that over time as he ceased to be in close networking with the Word of Faith movement and its teachings. I see him also as a healer and teacher, but not as an “apostle”. Even Rick Joyner is much more of a “prophetic teacher” of sorts than an “apostle” (though some would argue otherwise). I did not at all agree with the easy way he “restored” Todd Bentley after the Lakeland Revival fiasco in 2008: I hope he is open to critiques I have sent him about his series on Revelation, but I do not know: he has not yet answered what was sent to him. Wagner I pushed colleagues to openly rebuke at times: people WITHIN the NAR network. I don’t know Beni Johnson, but you missed Brian Simmons on your list — he seems to me to be a dangerous charlatan, however “sincere”, and I am very glad Holly has exposed him. Mike Bickle is a post-trib pre-millennialist whose views very much overlap those of Evangelical theologian and Bible scholar George Eldon Ladd. He gets himself in trouble with the “saints sharing in judgment of Babylon” theme in some of his writing. But his ministry has been more helpful than harmful, overall, in ways that have often blessed the broader Body around the world, and not just “NAR” type churches or ministries. I have to cut this short now, or Holly won’t print it!!! But please do see that it is not an “all-or-nothing” proposition on how we are to relate to even “errant” brothers and sisters in the Lord. — Thanks for listening and continuing to pray for them. — Brother Lance Wonders

  9. Grace Brooks Says:

    Lance, I appreciate your desire to be a peacemaker. I also seek to be a peacemaker and am grieved if these efforts fail. But it takes both sides to make the effort. Every person is precious but not every opinion is safe.

    In your efforts to anticipate what my objections might be, I was reminded that we should make sure we understand what the other person believes before disagreeing with them. And also that it makes a great deal of difference what criteria for testing that a person uses in discerning godly character and Biblicaly sound teaching.

    Just so you know, I am not a “cessationist” in the way many define the term. Neither am I a “continuist” in the way many define it. I do not believe that the true gift of prophesy is what most charismatics think it is.

    Since God has allowed Tares to be sown amongst the Wheat and considering the number of times we are told to be on the alert for false prophets and to test teaching–We must depend on God’s word for how to do this, because that is one of the reasons that He gave it to us.

    For us, it came down to recognizing what was the ultimate authority in individuals lives. This can be known by:

    1) How a person determines truth.
    2) Whether they obey their own stated principles.
    3) Whether they obey God when a clear directive is made in Scripture.
    4) If they are willing to forsake a doctrine (be humble and repent) if their doctrine/practice is found to be based on out of context verses– ignoring the intended meaning and ignoring other passages of Scripture which give further insight to the meaning of a given passage.

    There are other specific issues that relate to all of the people I mentioned (and yes there are more people that could be listed) which we found to be heretical and spiritually hazardous.

    As harsh as it sounds: simple verbal confession does not make a person a brother. I do hope that you are though!!! Believe it or not, I do pray for these people and especially for the lambs who are following their teaching.

    Grace

  10. Delkin Says:

    Hey Holly, in this article, you said this quote:

    “At this point we think it would be more fruitful to concentrate on interaction with key New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) figures that we identify in our book, including especially Bill Johnson, Ché Ahn, and Rick Joyner.”

    Just an observation, but Dr. Brown actually could be a bridge that would bring all of you together. I’d speculate that he could probably bring you, Doug, and a key “NAR” figure to a round-table type talk. I’d imagine something like this would be fruitful dialog for both sides. I’m sure they would appreciate the opportunity to respond to criticism while you would get the chance to make sure you fully understand their position.

    I believe that more dialog is generally better in conflict resolution so I’m hoping you and Doug will consider continuing the conversation with your critics.

  11. dean Says:

    Grace said: esus never urged us to be unified with those who have departed from the truth of Scripture, but instead tells us to test teaching and beware of false teachers,false prophets and false apostles. We are to separate ourselves from them!!

    Dean replys: very well said….glad to see your eyes are open…

  12. dean Says:

    Lance said: Benny Hinn is a healer…

    Dean replys: benny hinn has NEVER healed anyone… he is a farce.

  13. dean Says:

    Benny hinn says : I believe the anointing has lingered over Aimee’s body. I know this may be shocking to you. … And I’m going to take David [Palmquist] and Kent [Mattox] and Sheryl [Palmquist] this week. They’re gonna come with me. You—you—you gonna feel the anointing at Aimee’s tomb.

    Dean says:so hinn gets his anointing from the dead….. what more needs to be said…..

  14. Lance Wonders Says:

    Humans pretending to be omniscient does not help this mutual search for God’s truth to get anywhere. Venting makes a person feel better, maybe, but never proves a point to anyone else. When a person enters into a relationship with Jesus Christ, they begin with baggage — all of us do — including ego, inadequate theology, sins that still need to be recognized and repented of, bad habits, etc. We are born again in a moment, but full conversion of life, mind, and conscience take a lifetime. Some people in NAR are genuine Christians who ardently love God, but are stuck in a religious subculture that skews their behaviors, expectations, and efforts at serving the God they see as desiring those things. Over time, if they remain true to the Word, whatever falsehoods are present get exposed and can be reformed. But just blasting people who are wrestling with error is neither helpful nor loving nor godly. We need to walk them out of their error, so then they can help their own colleagues find a better expression of the truth and overthrow the warped understandings of God’s Word. (And that is the case for ALL of us!)

  15. Grace Brooks Says:

    Lance, who exactly are you characterizing as “venting” or “blasting”?

    A blog is meant for discussing topics. This happens to be a blog that is helping to make people aware of the “spirit of error” as it manifests in the heterodox doctrine of the NAR. So people will discuss the errors that are found in it.

    Many of the people who come to this site have encountered people and churches where these doctrinal errors occur. It is usually a relationally painful experience which requires people to sort through a lot of subtle deception–murky waters indeed–in order to find the truth.

    I think it would be safe to say that many of us were some of those “genuine Christians who ardently love God, but (were) stuck in a religious subculture that skews..”. It may have even been someone’s hard but true correction which helped us escape. None of us are saying that we are perfect or “omniscient” but we must call attention to the error that we have found in order to clear our heads from what is false and to warn others of the doctrines of demons (like rocks just below the waves) which shipwreck faith.

    After emerging from a social situation where everyone else is telling you that what is evil is good and what is good is evil..it is VERY refreshing to hear someone else affirm truth plainly. And this blog is a great venue for that.

    If you look at the example of Jesus, you will see that He did not mince words. But He surely was speaking truth in love–even when it was spoken with strong (even divisive) language. It is sad that when a person speaks the truth in love, they are not always treated with love in return. In fact it usually offends others. And we were warned by Jesus that this would be so.

    John 15:20-21 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.”

    P.S. Did you see my response to you on the previous string?
    Sincerely and kindly meant,
    Grace

  16. Lance Wonders Says:

    I wasn’t referring to you, Grace, I was referring to “Dean” who says “benny hinn NEVER healed anyone — he is a farce”. How should a person characterize such a comment? Has “Dean” been at every single Benny Hinn ministry venue, and interviewed every single person who has claimed to have found healing from the Lord through his ministry? If not, how can he just flippantly say that Hinn is a “farce” when “Dean” really has no way to know one way or the other? Scripture itself warns, “You must not dishonor God or curse any of your rulers…You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong…never…charge anyone falsely with evil…Do not deceive or cheat one another…Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people…Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” (Exodus 22:28; 23:2,7; Leviticus 19:11,16,18). We have no right to set God’s ethics aside just because we are writing in a blog, and can be semi-anonymous as a result. The Lord still expects us to be honest, fair, loving, and accountable in what we say about one another. Yes? Amen? — Brother Lance

  17. Grace Brooks Says:

    Lance, One of the reasons that I asked you if you read my previous comments to you is because I wondered if you seriously considered the points that I was making about testing for false prophets?

    Having spent a fair amount of prayerful time and effort examining the teachings of specific people that I mentioned (Benny Hinn being one) and according to the teaching of Scripture, he along with the others fit the criteria of false prophets because of their heretical doctrines and practices. This is a sad conclusion, but unless they repent this is where they stand according to God’s word.

    For this reason (among other reasons), they are not the God ordained rulers referred to in Exodus, whom we are to give honor to. Nor are they the “one another” whom Jesus calls us to be unified with.

    Apart from examining Hinn’s teaching and practices in the light of God’s word, you may find it enlightening to read the sensitive insider’s account of Hinn’s Nephew, Costi Hinn, who was being groomed to join his uncle’s “healing ministry” before he discovered the serious error of Benny Hinn’s (and others) teaching/practice. It is called, “Defining Deception: Freeing the Church from the Mystical Miracle Movement”.

    Jesus said in Matthew 7:15-27, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.

    21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

    24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

    Jesus called false prophets “ravenous wolves”, not rulers who we need to honor. And the fruit which we are to test for, has more to do with whether their lives show the fruit of obedience to Jesus’ words, not whether or not they perform amazing signs and wonders.

    In 2nd Peter 2, God says an awful lot about how He feels about false prophets and teachers:

    “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

    Do keep reading to the end of this chapter for even more explicit harsh characterization written for our instruction. Note that it is much harsher than what Dean wrote. God expressed this letter to us so that we would understand the true characteristics and motivations of a false prophet/false teacher so that we would not be naive and be devoured by them!

    It is good to be a peace maker, but if you persist in trying to talk Christians into being unified with false teachers and false prophets you will end up working with the schemes of the Enemy against the Church and I am sure that this is not what you want to do. So please, Lance avail yourself to the multiple tests that God has provided for you in His word and let Him show you the truth about the teachings and practices of the people in this movement. Please take the time to make sure that you are not in a treacherous house built on sand. We all must do this.

    Yours truly, Grace

  18. Lance Wonders Says:

    Benny Hinn is not attempting to be a teacher or a prophet, so how is it appropriate to label him a FALSE teacher or prophet? If you pray for me and I am not healed, does that make you a false healer? The Holy Spirit uses imperfect vessels. I don’t see the fruitfulness of continuing to belabor this point: are you just trying to justify your own past actions of separating yourself from imperfect brethren, or are you open to proper reconciliation with those who need better teaching from those of us who are so gifted? I am seeking to be the latter, and am encouraging you to do the same. There is enough hatred and suspicion in the Body already, we do not need any more of it, regardless of our motives. The Accuser of the Brethren does not need our help to do his work of dividing us still further from one another. Speak the truth in love, and let the Lord Himself make use of those Spirit-enabled efforts instead. Correcting bad teaching or bad behavior does not require breaking off whole portions of the Body of Christ in order to do so.

  19. Delkin Says:

    Hey Grace Brooks,

    Earlier, you said this regarding Benny Hinn: “he along with the others fit the criteria of false prophets because of their heretical doctrines and practices”

    Throughout the entire Bible, false teachers and prophets seem to be known by their fruit first and then their doctrine second. If they promote sensuality and/or deny the core tenants of the Gospel, then they are likely “false prophets”. Accuracy of theology, while definitely important, doesn’t seem to be the main thing the Bible considers when it calls someone “false”.

    Here’s relevant passages with a parenthetical summary of what made the prophet / teacher “false”. Note – the vast majority of verses point at the fruit of promoting sin and creating false doctrines to whitewash transgressions. The only heretical teaching called out by name is denying the Gospel.

    – (Know them by their fruit) 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? – Matthew 7:15-16

    – (Denying the Gospel of Jesus Christ, promoting sensuality) 1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. – 2 Peter 2:1-2

    – (Commit adultery, walk in lies, strengthen evildoers) 9 Concerning the prophets: My heart is broken within me; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the LORD and because of his holy words. 10 For the land is full of adulterers; because of the curse the land mourns, and the pastures of the wilderness are dried up. Their course is evil, and their might is not right. 11 “Both prophet and priest are ungodly; even in my house I have found their evil, declares the LORD. 12 Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery paths in the darkness, into which they shall be driven and fall, for I will bring disaster upon them in the year of their punishment, declares the LORD. 13 In the prophets of Samaria I saw an unsavory thing: they prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray. 14 But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his evil; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.” – Jeremiah 23:9-14

    – (Do not expose sin) Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen for you oracles that are false and misleading. – Lamentations 2:14

    – (Whitewash sin and go along with sin) 9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord GOD. 10 Precisely because they have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when the people build a wall, these prophets smear it with whitewash, – Ezekiel 13:9-10

    – (Whitewash sin) And her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken. – Ezekiel 22:28

    I don’t agree with some of his practices. I don’t agree with some of his teaching. He may even be deceived in some of his teachings. But calling him a “false prophet” is a pretty big accusation given how Scripture overwhelmingly describes it.

  20. Delkin Says:

    Hey Lance Wonders,

    Just a little “FYI” from having interacted with the anti-“NAR” folks for a while.

    In general, most of the people I’ve spoken with who are against the “NAR” use a layered-conclusion approach of argument. They basically start with a questionable assumption and then quickly pile on conclusions to try and make the initial position unassailable.

    Throw in a scary-sounding verse that would only apply if the initial conclusion were unquestionably true and personally attack those who disagree with you for good measure. If you really want to go for the kill, hint that those who disagree with you aren’t saved or are “demon-possessed”.

    For example, notice the approach of the person you’re interacting with:

    – Opening assumption: Benny Hinn is a false prophet

    – Therefore: he’s a ravenous wolf as condemned by Jesus

    – Therefore: we should avoid unity with him

    – Personal attack/warning: make sure that you are not in a treacherous house built on sand

    The entire argument collapses if the first statement is false. And notice how little critical evaluation is given to the first statement. It is assumed to be true by the person who presented it without carefully establishing the fact.

    I wish this was more the exception than the norm, but it’s not. Here’s the same thing played out on this website:

    http://www.spiritoferror.org/2018/01/why-bill-johnson-says-the-bible-is-not-enough/7702

    – Opening assumption: “One of the core beliefs at Bethel…is the need for new revelation from God, which is in contrast to the so-called old revelation of the Bible.”

    – Therefore: “New revelation…includes…new interpretations of Scripture…It also includes what Johnson calls ‘new revelation of Jesus.'”

    – Therefore: “Bethel’s teachings about the need for new revelation inevitably shift the focus away from the written Word of God in Scripture”

    – Therefore: “But, clearly, Bethel leaders disagree that the Bible is enough.”

    The problem of course is that the opening assumption is false and displays a lack of understanding of the position of charismatics regarding “revelation”. Also note that the assumption is carefully framed in such a way as to make it sound like “new revelation” cannot coexist with a written “sufficient” Bible.

    If the first assumption is wrong, then the entire attack collapses. Also note that all further “evidence” provided is basically just a priori reasoning of fitting the facts to the theory. And for good measure, the personal attack comes in the image for the article.

    And on and on we could go: Faulty assumption -> Hasty conclusion -> Personal attack

    Anyway, just a heads up that what you’re experiencing in your back and forth is the general vibe you’ll encounter if you talk to many of the anti-“NAR” crowd.

  21. Holly Says:

    Delkin, you misrepresented the point I made in my article about Bethel’s teachings on new revelation. I simply stated that new revelation is seen as essential, according to Bill Johnson’s teachings. That statement is backed by the direct quotations I provide in the article. And, to define what exactly he means by “new revelation,” I also provided direct quotations from him. The artwork is not a personal attack being used in lieu of reasoned argumentation, but is an illustration of the point I made in my article.

  22. Delkin Says:

    “I simply stated that new revelation is seen as essential, according to Bill Johnson’s teachings.”

    Hey Holly, the problem I have is this – you haven’t once defined “new revelation” but have basically juxtaposed it against Scripture as though this “new revelation” is in conflict with it. It’s basically making your readers “fill in the blanks” by framing it in such a way that the only logical conclusion is heresy. I mean, you even fed the conclusion by saying, “clearly, Bethel leaders disagree that the Bible is enough”. But you never answer the question: enough for what? The reader is left to fill in the blanks with whatever thoughts come to their mind.

    Everything Johnson said is understood by most of his audience as classic biblical revelation in the form of prophecy and guidance from God coupled with an understanding of Acts 2:17 as a last days “outpouring of the Spirit”. This view is so mainline that it’s even shared by people like Sam Storms – basically a Baptist writer for the Gospel Coalition and Bible scholar.

    “Delkin, you misrepresented the point I made in my article about Bethel’s teachings on new revelation.”

    With all due respect, you are misrepresenting what Bethel believes and teaches through ambiguity and leading your audience to assume the worst about their beliefs. Here is a simple, straightforward article written by a careful Bible scholar. This is how most of us charismatics interpret what Johnson is saying:

    http://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/why-nt-prophecy-does-not-result-in–scripture-quality–revelatory-words–a-response-to-the-most-frequently-cited-cessationist-argument-against-the-contemporary-validity-of-spiritual-gifts-

    Here’s a quote straight from it:

    “Scripture never claims to supply us with all possible information necessary to make every conceivable decision. For example, Scripture may tell us to preach the gospel to all people, but it does not tell a new missionary in 2013 that God desires his service in Albania rather than Australia. The potential for God speaking beyond Scripture, whether for guidance, exhortation, encouragement, or conviction of sin, poses no threat to the sufficiency that Scripture claims for itself.”

    See it? We need ongoing, new revelation. There is zero conflict with Scripture…

  23. Holly Says:

    Delkin, I provided direct quotations from Bill Johnson saying what he means by new revelation. The quote you provided is not from Johnson, but from someone else. The types of new revelation Johnson describes, in his own words, are very different from what Sam Storms describes in the quote you provided.

  24. Delkin Says:

    Hey Holly – thank you for getting back to me. I really do appreciate you allowing people to comment on your blog. Not many websites that call out teachers by name actually do this – it’s very appreciated!

    “The types of new revelation Johnson describes, in his own words, are very different from what Sam Storms describes in the quote you provided.”

    How are they different?

    You haven’t given a definition of revelation that I can see. It’s left undefined and imprecise allowing anyone to supply their own meaning. And yet, you are accusing him of pursuing “new revelation” – something completely undefined but clearly said to be in conflict with the closed Canon of Scripture. By not providing a definition, this seems like an argument from ambiguity.

    Here, this is how Bethel defines prophecy:

    https://www.bethel.com/content/uploads/2018/03/BLN_Information_Packet-2.pdf

    “The Bible is the source of infallible truth and authority by which we judge all insight and prophetic revelation”

    “Scripture calls us to earnestly desire the gift of prophecy, which is to speak on God’s behalf to strengthen, encourage, and comfort people. We desire to say what the Father is saying to help people grow in their identity and discover their God-given purpose and value”

    “Prophecy is not one-way communication. It involves two people hearing from God: the one who gives the prophetic word and the one who receives it. With the Holy Spirit, Scripture and our community, we judge the spirit and accuracy of the words we give and receive. Holding on to what is good, we let go of what is not.”

    “The Bible is the ultimate, authoritative revelation unlike any other; nothing will be added to it. Therefore, prophesy should never contradict properly interpreted Scripture.”

    And here’s BSSM:

    http://bssm.net/schoolplanting/2016/05/10/staff-resources-pick-prophetic-training/

    “prophecy is the actual speaking forth of words given by the Spirit of God for strengthening, encouraging, and comforting others.”

    And here’s Storm’s definition…if anything, it almost sounds more “new revelation” like than Bethel. And yet, he’s a mainstream continuationist Bible scholar citing other well-known scholars in his research:

    http://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/prophets-and-prophecy

    “all prophecy is based on a revelation…the sort of divine disclosure or unveiling in which the Spirit makes known something previously hidden…Prophecy is the human report of a divine revelation…Prophecy…is always based on a spontaneous revelation.”

    And here’s a direct challenge to the statement that, “Bethel’s teachings about the need for new revelation inevitably shift the focus away from the written Word of God in Scripture”.

    This is straight from Bethel and Johnson:

    http://bssm.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/BSSM1-Syllabus-2017-18.pdf

    “The Bible is the primary, authoritative guide to the faith & practice of Christianity. All supernatural and natural experience must be measured by the Truth as revealed in God’s Word. God is still speaking but everything we now hear must be consistent with what He has spoken. We cannot lead properly, or in a healthy, holy manner in the Christian community if we don’t know how to understand the Word.”

    http://bssm.net/schoolplanting/2017/03/21/how-to-help-students-fall-in-love-with-the-word/

    “One of the most important things you can do as a school leader is help your students develop a passion and love for the Word of God! The Bible is the source of absolute truth; it is a light that guides us through even the darkest times. Helping your students love the Word is a gift that will keep giving to them for their rest of their lives.”

    https://www.bethel.com/content/uploads/2018/03/BLN_Information_Packet-2.pdf

    “The Bible is the source of infallible truth and authority by which we judge all insight and prophetic revelation.”

    And here’s from When Heaven Invades Earth:

    “The Bible is the absolute Word of God. It reveals God; the obvious, the unexplainable, the mysterious, and sometimes offensive. It all reveals the greatness of our God. Yet it does not contain Him. God is bigger than His book.”

    “The Bible is the Word of God, and His voice will always be confirmed by Scripture.”

    The very people who supposedly believe that the Bible just isn’t enough literally have said:

    – “The Bible is the source of absolute truth”

    – “The Bible is the primary, authoritative guide to the faith & practice of Christianity”

    – “We cannot lead properly, or in a healthy, holy manner in the Christian community if we don’t know how to understand the Word.”

    The very people who supposedly believe that new revelation will “shift the focus away from the written Word of God in Scripture” have said:

    – “The Bible is the source of infallible truth and authority by which we judge all insight and prophetic revelation”

  25. Grace Brooks Says:

    Dear Lance and Delkin,

    First of all Lance,

    I am sorry that you interpret my thoughts and beliefs as “hatred”. I was trying to encourage you to find out what God has to say about these issues in the Bible, as opposed to relying on what people have taught you or what you have experienced in your life and have judged as good and right.

    I used strong language, because I am concerned about people, and Jesus uses strong language when He encountered these issues as well. The consequences are great.

    But to you Lance, and Delkin,

    I think the authority that you and I are relying on in order to define what a false prophet and false teacher is, is different.

    Both of you are right, that to determine that someone is a false prophet /teacher is a serious thing, but it does not follow that that determination should not be made. Especially when we are told multiple times in Scripture to keep our eyes open, test every teaching with this exact purpose in mind. (Just ask for passages if you want them.)

    There is much taught about in the whole Bible that gives quite a bit of detail and none of it should be ignored.

    Delkin wrote this: “Throughout the entire Bible, false teachers and prophets seem to be known by their fruit first and then their doctrine second. If they promote sensuality and/or deny the core tenants of the Gospel, then they are likely “false prophets”. Accuracy of theology, while definitely important, doesn’t seem to be the main thing the Bible considers when it calls someone “false”.”

    Delkin defines “fruit” from Matthew 7 differently than Jesus does.

    I quoted a large consecutive chunk of Matthew 7 above, which was all part of a single teaching that Jesus gave, using different metaphors and illustrations. Verse 24 begins with “Therefore” which means that the reasons or causes of the point He is about to make was given in the line given previously to what “fruit” Jesus was warning us to look out for:

    “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

    We must pay attention to what Jesus is saying here, and obey these words.

    If that looks like too much emphasis on doctrine versus whatever definition of “fruit” you have personally developed yourself, then– your argument is not with me.

    Go back and prayerfully read the whole section where the text indicates the beginning of the topic/thought, to the end. God originated language to communicate ideas naturally. Snatching verses from here and there to support our own ideas gets us nowhere but deceived because we get an artificial meaning.

    Delkin, I would like to know which passages of Scripture you are basing the beliefs that you expressed in the paragraph of yours that I quote here. That way I can know whether I am mistaken or not.

    Specifically, in your mind, what does it mean to “deny the core tenants of the Gospel”?
    And what is the “sensuality” which a false prophet/teacher would promote?

    Grace

  26. Grace Brooks Says:

    Lance and Delkin,
    P.S.
    I should have emphasized the main point that “paying attention to Jesus’s words and obedience” are earmarks (FRUIT) of a godly teacher and prophet. But the opposite are earmarks (FRUIT) of false teachers and false prophets. “A tree is known by its fruit!”
    Grace

  27. Delkin Says:

    Hey Grace, thanks for writing back to me. Here’s my comments to your points.

    You said: “Delkin defines “fruit” from Matthew 7 differently than Jesus does.”

    Nowhere in this passage does Jesus explicitly define fruit. However, as shown in all of the Scriptures above, fruit of false prophets is almost always considered to be character worked out through actions and time (not a teaching even though teaching certainly is important). Here is the commentary from the ESV Study Bible (and its collection of scholars) on this passage:

    “Maintaining the earlier balance of not judging (vv. 1–5) yet not being naively accepting (v. 6), Jesus teaches his disciples that they must be wisely discerning when professed prophets come into their midst. The life of the prophet and the results of his influence on others are the fruits that will indicate whether or not his message is consistent with the kingdom life of righteousness.”

    I agree with these scholars – look at the fruit of someone’s life because their message isn’t the most important or indicative thing. Doctrine is definitely important, but the only specific doctrine linked to false prophets in the entire Bible that I can find is denying Jesus – I’ve never seen Benny even hint at this. Most passages regarding false prophets say that they whitewash sins of their followers by spinning false visions and claiming revelation from God that allows them to do this…Jim Jones did this, Benny Hinn has not.

    I mean think through other “fruits” in Scripture. The fruit of the Spirit isn’t doctrine and holding right beliefs – it’s demonstrated character. That’s how Scripture uses the word “fruit” – demonstrated character.

    You said: “Delkin, I would like to know which passages of Scripture you are basing the beliefs that you expressed in the paragraph of yours that I quote here. That way I can know whether I am mistaken or not.”

    I’m basing my belief on every verse in the Bible I can find that is specifically calling prophets who teach and/or lead as “false”. I’m trying to figure out what God calls a false prophet. Most every verse above links falseness with promoting sin (like worshipping demons kind of stuff) and acting like God’s cool with it.

    I would encourage you to read the Old Testament passages I gave above and then consider Jesus’ words in light of what his audience would understand a false prophet to be (one who whitewashes sin and acts like God told them it’s perfectly fine).

    You said: “Specifically, in your mind, what does it mean to “deny the core tenants of the Gospel”?
    And what is the “sensuality” which a false prophet/teacher would promote?”

    Look at the example Peter gave. This is the only specified teaching in the entire Bible I can find linked directly to false prophets. It is denying Christ – in the context it appears to be denying something like Jesus paying for their sins or being Lord of their life. Furthermore this is in line with the Old Testament passages – cover sins with false prophecies rather than repent.

    Scripture gives plenty of examples of false prophets pointing people to sexual immorality, idolatry, worshiping demons, not seeking God and that sort of thing.

    There are a few things that raise my eyebrows regarding Hinn and his ministry – but I think we go beyond the bounds of Scripture by labeling him as a false prophet.

    Thank you for the thoughtful dialog!

Leave a Reply

* Please read my Comment Policy