God is NOT pleased with Tele-Evangelism!
In various dreams, the Spirit of God has conveyed sore displeasure at the way
tele-evangelists are milking God’s people, and NOT preparing them as the Bride.
A God-fearing correspondent sent me the account of a dream she had been given by the Spirit. It was startling and unsettling – a warning that it’s easy to put out the fire of God!
Significantly, the dream was given to her on 17th September 2004, the night of the Feast of Trumpets. That momentous festival depicts the coming of Christ. In our small booklet The Coming of Christ I explain that the most significant coming for the Church at this time is not the Parousia (Grk), or Rapture, or Second Coming to rule the world. It’s a rather invisible and intangible thing that too many dismiss or quickly forget.
It’s His coming to turn up the heat in our lives – to ignite the fires of His Spirit in our hearts – and to those who reject this prompt, a devouring fire of judgement that follows in its wake.
Here is her account of that dream from God:
House on Fire!
I was a student at school. We all (my class) were in the upper room. There were many of us. Then a fire alarm sounded. We did not see any fire, but most of the students hastily left the room. Only a few students remained in the class room, including myself. I don’t know what kept the others, but I was looking for my books. I was going from desk to desk looking for my books and could not find them.
Suddenly a fire began coming through the ceiling. One of the male students started putting it out. I noticed another place where the fire began coming through the wall in front of me and ran to fight that fire. I began beating the tongues of fire with something I had in my hands.
Then I noticed that the tongues of flame I had been fighting were only forerunners of a very powerful ball of fire that was cutting through the wall. The same thing was happening at other places in the room. It was a very bright white flame resembling that of the welding rod. It could not be extinguished. So I stopped trying.
There was no fear, no feeling of danger. However, I cannot say that I or anyone else of those who remained in the room had any idea of what was going on.
Meaning of the Dream
The school building represents the Church, and we are all students of the Word of God.
The upper room and the fire coming through are meant to draw a parallel with the account in Acts 2. It symbolizes the work of ‘Elijah’ – the purifying fire of God’s Spirit. God has already been pouring out of His Spirit in very many places.
The fire alarm sounded. This symbolises the alarm sounded by the prophets: a warning that the Bride must get ready and put on all the garments of righteousness Jesus is presenting to her (also part of the prophets’ message). Otherwise, judgement will fall, and the Tribulation will engulf the ones who want to continue sleeping (Matt 25). More is explained in our booklet The Ten Virgins.
Most of the students hastily left the room. Sadly, the majority of the Church gets scared and runs from ‘new’ truth. They don’t want it, so they leave. They reject the prophet God sends.
Even among those who don’t leave and reject the prophet’s ‘alarm’, there is somnolence. – lack of spiritual awareness. This dear lady humbly admitted: “To my shame and reproach I must say that not one of us who did not run away were understanding what was going on. I was depicted being too busy with looking for my books (intellectual knowledge?)”
This could be an allegory of anything that can distract us. Of particular danger are people trapped by church dogma, holding complacently to what their church teaches, or those who get their ‘food’ from tele-evangelists’ programmes, subtly ‘losing the plot’.
Others were also ‘doing their own thing’, and later, when the fire began coming through, we were trying to put the fire out!
The dream is a wake-up call and a warning for all to stop being busy with what you are preoccupied with, and listen to God, paying attention to His Spirit and to His prophets (2 Chron 20:20) whose work is accompanied by white hot fire!
What is this white hot fire? It is the greatest, most intense purifying and miraculous power of God. It fell from the sky when Elijah ministered on Carmel (1 Ki 18:38). It followed his words:
Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God… and I am Your servant (1), and that I have done all these things at Your Word (2). Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again (3). (1 Ki 18:36,37.)
Notice the three purposes of the white hot fire:
1) To confirm the office of the prophet.
2) To confirm the accuracy of what ‘he’ says.
3) To turn people’s hearts back in obedience to the whole will of God. Then revival can follow.
Kassahun Ayele, a prophet in Ethiopia, was given this dream recently about what is coming:
26th Aug. 2004. K. Intense lightning!
I saw the sky torn in half by the most powerful lightning. The earth shook violently. It seemed as though we were suspended in the air with nothing under our feet.
God is raising the dead to confirm who are His true servants for His end-time ‘Elijah’ work of restoration. This is part of the white hot fire.
When 50 people arise at ‘our call’, after having been dead for YEARS, God is pouring out His white hot fire to give a last warning message to people in this age. Time is short! It’s time to heed the prophets!
The sign of the dead being raised is to confirm that He has appointed me and my wife as prophets – because few take any notice, and even fewer heed what we have said and written to bring the people of God into God’s will. Restoring Truth to those who lack it is highest on God’s list of priorities. The Bride must be ready. The call is going out – the Midnight Cry. She must accept and wear all the clothes of righteousness He gives her. (See Rev 19:7,8.)
Pure Truth and True Prophets Are Rejected!
But people don’t want these things! They don’t want to hear ‘our’ message or to change their lives to accept the truths we propound in ‘our’ literature. And the tele-evangelists know it. They don’t sound an alarm. Instead they pander to what appeals to their audiences. Ratings matter more to them than repentance.
God is furious at all this marketing and merchandising of the Gospel! To Him it’s despicable!
In other articles I have exposed some of the charlatans and the devious way they operate. One is The Deceit and Cunning of Don Stewart in Newsletter 24. He is only one of many, contriving clever schemes to get hold of money. These fraudsters use various ploys to impress people that they are God’s servants – when most of them are not! Once they have gained your trust, they then subject you to their clever manipulative rhetoric, to prise open your purse or wallet and extract finance from you. They give various promises comprised of half truths and lies.
These can go as far as the Catholic Church did in the Middle Ages with its pernicious Indulgences. Gullible people would part with money to buy their way out of purgatory (that doesn’t exist), or to buy their dead relatives out of it, and to expiate their sins. Such promises were utter blasphemy as popes played God!
What charismatic fraudsters are doing today is little different. Using all sorts of gimmicks such as pictures of Christ that seem to ‘wink’ at you, pieces of cloth or paper supposedly ‘anointed’ with healing power, and other such demonic lies about why you need to give them your money to receive healing or supernatural power, they are making a very good living for themselves. It is utterly despicable! God hates it!
Here is some of what He says about it:
22nd Sept. 2004. M. Religious fraudsters!
In this dream, a man was fundraising. He persuaded people to sign a small amount of money to him. I saw the counterfoil of one person’s donation which was made with a credit card. The person needed to hold onto it as proof of the amount they had donated. But, after he had gained their confidence, through cunning deception and clever persuasion, the man (he was a preacher) managed to get hold of this slip of paper, combine it with his copy and change the small figure to a much larger one, of several hundreds or thousands of pounds. It was wicked! He took advantage of trusting people!
Meaning: This is a picture, in allegory maybe, of how many preachers are intent on raising funds, but are ripping the people off – ‘fleecing the sheep’ for their own selfish ends. They don’t care for the people as they should – as it is also portrayed prophetically in Jeremiah 23.
Jeremiah lamented about this travesty:
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord (Jer 23:1).
You may think that is entirely inappropriate in this context. But God doesn’t. He pointed me to Jeremiah 23, and I wondered why at first.
That chapter exposes the wrong motives of ‘prophets’ – those who represent God before the people – and their wrong agenda, which is aimed at getting money without truly providing for donors.
Later God said more in other dreams. At the same time He also moved someone in the US to send me a video and audiotape of some recent programmes of one tele-evangelist. When the packet came I felt God’s anger rise up within.
This man is Sid Roth, a very fluent, engaging speaker, who produces radio programmes called Messianic Vision, and It’s Supernatural! programmes for TV. Humanly, I like him. He’s a great guy, and I have a lot of respect for him. Intellectually sharp, capable and intelligent, he is very professional in his presentation and zealous for his subject. Lest some might misunderstand my negative comments which follow, I have no animosity towards him.
But what he is doing – like so many other evangelists, prophets or preachers – is unfortunately leading people into a dead end, a trap that leaves them spiritually short-changed and deformed.
Three dreams illustrated what God is saying:
30th Sept. 2004. H. Dangers of Tele-Evangelism.
I saw a small tree in a pot [depicts the tele- evangelist]. A person tried to cosy up to the tree and find comfort in the pot. The person had a turban on their head [symbolic of man-dominated religion] and became sleepy. Their face was covered with black spots [symbol of demonic influence and faults].
Meaning: The tree in this dream represented Sid Roth and his TV programme which this particular person had seen and sent us a video of. The turban is a symbol of the empty religious ritualism one sees with ‘holy men’ in eastern religion. It points to the fact that Sid Roth is elevated and lifted up as a ‘guru’ by this viewer. A psychological elevation has taken place in this individual’s mind, to the point that Sid even occludes Jesus in this person’s personal life.
When a man, whom you look up to, stands between you and Jesus, the closer the man is to you the more Jesus can be occluded or eclipsed from your view. Herein is the problem. A very subtle transfer of loyalties takes place, and various problems result, indicated by the demonic influences illustrated by black facial spots.
The dream conveyed one other point. The soil in the pot was spent – it no longer had sufficient nutrients to support further growth.
Now here is another dream which God gave:
1st Oct. 2004. M. Rescuing the empty video boxes.
Empty video boxes and cassette tape boxes were dangling precariously from a window ledge. They were on a small tray with nothing to hold them in place. They could have fallen off at any moment, and plummeted to the ground. I was leaning out of a window higher up [spiritual significance], trying to reach down to this small tray to rescue them. I had to be very careful. I was aware that if I wasn’t careful, the boxes could have fallen down and it would have been impossible then to recover them. I was trying to bring them into the safety of this upper floor room where I was.
Meaning: The dream came in the wake of a video which someone sent us of 3 programmes of a US tele-evangelist. As good as his messages were, there is an unseen danger. People get trapped by the entertaining, impressive things they hear, to the point that some rely upon the man and his TV prog instead of on Christ. Their lives then become an empty shell, like the video box. The spiritual substance which they need is not there, because they are relying upon someone else more than on Jesus.
Helena had a dream two days later about things for this person’s benefit.
3rd Oct. 2004. H. Deformed Plants.
I saw people chopping tops off plants to make salad. These plants looked deformed and were left under the table. They were stunted because their tops had been removed and it caused them to develop a main side shoot. I took notice of one plant which had a side shoot. It was neglected.
Meaning: The dream is about the person who sent us the video of Sid Roth, and also about the effect of the tele-evangelists’ marketing approach. It deters people from reaching directly upward to God (more about this later). Instead of looking completely and directly to Him, they ‘grow’ laterally, deflected by the man’s influence.
God is also revealing here something little noticed about the way tele-evangelists operate. In order to keep their programmes going, they require large finance. This is raised by appealing to audience preference. By making appealing, captivating productions, ratings are maintained, and so is the financial response.
But that approach harms viewers. Controversial and unpopular subjects are passed over in favour of ones with immediate appeal. This leads to deformed ‘plants’, which represent spiritually malnourished people.
The above three dreams illustrate the problem. At the root of all that transpires is the preacher’s agenda. It is based upon money considerations, popularity and acceptance in the eyes of viewers.
All this is at variance with the true prophet’s agenda. His lot is the opposite – rejection, lack of popularity and consequently lack of finance.
Thus, you end up with a spiritually deformed Church. People are deprived of hearing what God has to say through His main prophets for this time.
“Oh that’s not true,” you might object, “Sid Roth brings on true prophets, and you get to hear what they have to say.”
Only if what they say is convincing, appealing, and bolsters his position. He might bring on some of the ‘prophesying prophets’ – the ones gifted to be able to utter long or articulate prophecies. But the ‘functional prophets’ – the ones who have a function to warn the Church of where it is missing the mark of God’s holiness – they won’t be there, because their message is unpopular and would damage ratings.
Hence, the true ‘Elijah’ prophet is rejected and the pure truth he brings is not received. That’s why God will raise the dead to make His voice heard. His own arm will bring salvation (Is 59:18) because men stand in the way of what He wants to do.
Another dream reviewed in Blessing or Curse? under Everyone’s Busy With Their Own Agenda, reveals the root of the problem, as the title says.
When a true prophet is shut out – because evangelists follow their own agenda, not God’s – God’s ‘Elijah’ work is hindered. People are deprived of knowing what is on the top of God’s priority list.
Assessing the Damage
2nd Oct. 2004. M. Repairing and re-building the walls.
This dream featured some walls, like inner partitions in rooms, made of lightweight blocks. These walls were badly built and needed seeing to. I set about to do the necessary repairs. One part of a wall near a doorway was so flimsy, the blocks were so thin and weren’t tied in to the main wall and would have fallen away in due course with the comings and goings through the door. I ‘keyed’ in this section of loose blocks into the wall, so that they could stand firmly.
I also noticed one really huge block, between four and six feet long, composed of at least three blocks joined together as one. I was amazed to see such a huge block and wondered how it could be built into the wall!
Meaning: To do with repairing and rebuilding the walls of the Church with proper teaching. God’s people need true doctrine restoring, so that they can stand strong in days to come. The flimsy thin blocks represent the spiritual state of many believers. They need strengthening by tying them in through fellowship, which is firstly with Jesus (1 Jn 1:3), and secondarily with others who have the Holy Spirit.
The large block represents the tele-evangelist. Such people have become oversized and out of proportion in God’s scheme of things. They’re not easy to fit into God’s wall. They have become too big.
There are a number of problems spawned by the slick marketing of tele-evangelism. We have touched on some of them briefly. Let’s take another look, and then address what can be done to rescue believers from harm, so they can stand firmly on their own.
The Money Motive
The tele-evangelist’s approach is to impress his audience, to captivate them with the material he presents, so that he can ‘hook’ them.
Slick advertising and marketing techniques are used as in worldly TV presentation to hold audience interest. Once gained, the audience is channeled towards purchasing various products. These are marked up quite substantially, to ensure enough profit so that the programme can continue. It is a very expensive operation!
In Sid Roth’s media presentations – and many other evangelists adopt a similar approach – ‘heavy’ Bible teaching is avoided. Often it is completely omitted. But where a few ministries tackle such things, it is left for the follow-up books, tapes and videos that viewers must buy. Thus deprived of depth of teaching on air, if they want to progress spiritually, they have to buy this teaching.
Can you imagine Jesus telling His audience that He’s not going to teach them unless they pay up front for His messages? It’s unthinkable! Only those who could afford it would have been privy to truth. In fact, it was the poor who were most receptive to His message (Matt 11:5) and it still is today.
However, with his highly priced teaching aids, the tele-evangelist is effectively denying spiritual meat to the poor. Only those who can pay up can learn the fulness of the Gospel. This is an affront to Jesus! And the result is stunted ‘plants’, UNDER the table, as the dream portrayed it.
Compare that with Psalm 23:5 where God’s truth is laid out on the table in the presence of one’s enemies. The table is the place of spiritual impartation, where you can partake of God’s spiritual food. “In the presence of enemies” means that God makes His truth accessible to evil people as well as to the good. Isn’t that the way it is in the Church, where the evil ones – hypocrites – co-exist with the righteous?
Another major problem is that the evangelist is elevated, causing people to look up to him and follow him. He actually, subtly, surreptitiously, takes the place of Christ. So instead of the ‘plants’, which he is meant to nourish, growing vertically by him pointing believers to God, they become deformed by lateral growth, and depend upon him instead of directly upon God – because he has taken God’s place.
Many people will think that I’m completely overstating it here! I’m not. That’s what God reveals, but it is hard to perceive just what has taken place. This transition is so subtle many won’t see it. And most won’t want to see it!
But it doesn’t alter facts. Consider one instance. I’ll take that of Sid Roth, since he is the most recent one which I have seen (but most other charismatic tele-evangelists operate the same way).
In one TV presentation, Sid’s guest speaker is a man who has been through much suffering in his life, later delivered by the power of the Spirit, and is now highly anointed by God. Sid asks him to pray for the people, which he is only too glad to do. But Sid adds that the anointing is ‘transferable’, and implies that viewers can ‘catch’ the same gifts through the prayer that Sid and his guest are making available there and then.
Do you see the subtle transition?
No longer is the gift directly from Above, but it is transmitted to you through the human mediators on your TV screen. In fact, he implies more – that you need such a prayer to receive it. You don’t.
You don’t need them to pray for you, or to impart anything to you from God. God will give you whatever you need directly as you lift your faith to Him, submit to Him (not to the man on your screen), and lay down your life to God (not to the man on TV). God is the Giver of all good gifts.
The man on the screen is meant to teach you in such a way that he encourages you to be dependent upon God – not upon him. However, the converse is occurring!
These men have even set themselves up as intermediaries, through whom you have to come to God if you want to receive answers to your prayers. Of course, they wouldn’t say that in so many words. It’s a subtle thing that most don’t perceive. But it’s happened. The established charismatic tradition in their prayer of agreement (see p 7) is one example. You don’t need any man’s agreement to receive from God. You just need to do God’s will. That was Elijah’s ‘secret’ to answered prayer. If you don’t believe me read it for yourself in James 5:16-20.
Relying Upon The Man
We have met various individuals who get a ‘fix’ or a ‘buzz’ out of attending evangelists’ meetings when they ‘come to town’, and who live from one meeting to the next, relying upon the meeting for their spiritual stability or to get ‘high’. This isn’t dependence upon Christ. It’s dependence upon men.
One ‘highly spiritual’ woman whom we knew, fell away and denied her faith when her little world fell apart. God took away her husband, her income and her ambitions that were centred on this megaevangelism stuff. When that happened, she lost faith in God. That’s because her faith was not really in God. It was in men and the marketing machine that these men had established and kept well oiled.
This dear lady had visited with us. While in our home she received visions in our cellar about many wonderful things God would do there – miracles, healings, prophesying and other signs and wonders.
On another occasion, she was moved by the Spirit to intercede on our behalf. As she did so in tongues, God spoke to her about our ministry. He took her to Isaiah 61, and said that this was for us.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn… and they shall rebuild the old ruins… (Is 61:1-3, 4).
Of course, we know that the main fulfilment of that text was in Jesus, who quoted it in His home town of Nazareth. But God told this lady that it applied to us. Why would He say such a thing? Because she was ‘hooked’ on this deceptive megaevangelism of the big stage names, and was following men. God wanted to deliver her so that she could accept more of His truths.
We presented the truth about Christmas to her that it is not a Christian festival. But she liked it and refused to give it up at first. Also she was not aware of the identity of Israel, but we were able to pass on that information to her, so that OT prophecies made more sense to her, being an American and knowing where her ancestors originally came from.
We also tried to present other basic truths to her such as that of the Sabbath, which is not Sunday nor an ethereal ‘rest in Christ’. But it all proved too much. She preferred the fun and frolicking she could enjoy at the big stage events where men like Benny Hinn could perform and preach. THAT, she felt, was real Christianity! It felt good. It lifted her up. It gave her a ‘buzz’.
Sadly, it led to her downfall. There’s nothing more important than Truth and obeying it. Where God is restoring more of His Truth, that is where you should be, regardless of how few others are there! Because that is where Jesus has placed His name.
But, isn’t it true that people follow, not what God says, but what they want, what they like, what appeals to their ‘flesh’? And that is the very subtle deception in much of the tele-evangelism that looks so impressive, where accounts of miracles are related, where guests tell stories of the wonderful things God has done in their lives, and where they give promises to the audience that God will do equal wonders for them… which inevitably leads on to buying their products so that you can receive the miracles God has awaiting you.
It’s true that God has miracles awaiting His people, as they turn to Him. But it’s deceitful, cunning and dishonest to imply – albeit ever so subtly – that you need the man on your screen to pray for you, and that you need to pay him to receive your miracle.
What’s the difference between that and a Catholic Indulgence? Little! Both are blasphemies. It’s just that one is more discreet than the other.
Mega-evangelists on TV have taken Christ’s place, and have subtly usurped Jesus’ prerogatives. This is a blasphemy. It severely damages people.
We explain in the book God’s Church – Whose Authority? about the universal priesthood of the believer. Every Christian is called to be guided directly by Jesus and to represent Him (1 Pet 2:5,9).
You don’t need a man to ‘officiate’ over you. The function of the evangelist and teacher is to win souls for Christ and to teach converts how to follow Him. The evangelist is not to set himself up as a guru. He should not cause his listeners to become dependent upon him. He should not be motivated by money considerations or ratings:
Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets (Luke 6:26).
Who Should Be Dispensing Gifts?
As merely one example of what so many evangelists do, Sid Roth encourages viewers to expect to receive whatever spiritual gifts the guest speaker has who is on the show.
That’s not right or appropriate. God gives gifts – they are HIS, not ours – as HE deems people should receive (1 Cor 12:11). While it is not wrong to desire gifts for the common good – and certainly prophecy is to be much desired for the upbuilding of the local church – it is not right to give the impression to new believers that they can have any gift they ask for (1 Cor 12:27-29). When they don’t receive all they want, they will become disillusioned and could lose confidence in God.
I remember about 12 years ago, attending some meetings of a man with a miracle ministry. He had a very demonstrable gift. You read of it as a gift of working miracles in 1 Corinthians 12:10 and 29.
He would preach – he was a good talker, and liked to do so – and afterwards he would invite people to come forward if they needed a miracle from God. Invariably, God would ‘do the business’. Some amazing things happened. Bent spines were straightened out, short legs lengthened, and any number of other miracles happened.
The danger in all this was unseen to most. As wonderful as it all was, this man didn’t want any more truth. He was satisfied with the power, and so were many of those who attended his meetings. That’s probably why most of them went.
One night God gave Helena a dream about him and his ministry. God portrayed him living in a metallic house. It was a big house with high windows but they were very small and let little light in. The house (representative of his ministry) was an edifice. Outside, his washing line was so high that he would have needed a ladder to hang his washing out.
All these allegories depicted the lack of truth (little light entering through the small windows), the impractical nature of his ministry (the height of the windows and that of the washing line), and the showiness of it all (the metallic house which had become an edifice).
People like that don’t change. They don’t want more of God. They’re self-satisfied with what they’ve got. They don’t want His righteousness so much as His power. And that is rooted in self and pride.
With such an emphasis on supernatural power it’s no wonder that many people flock to such ministers for their entertainment value. The trouble is that’s not the road into the Kingdom of God even though God makes the road available to them, and even though He grants them such unusual powers.
The power is two-edged like the Word. It is given to deliver but also to delude. It delivers the needy from physical oppression, to bring them to Christ. But it also deludes the disobedient. It deludes them that everything’s OK. “We’ve got God’s power so everything’s OK. He is with us.”
Compare that with 2 Thessalonians 2 where we are warned of the devastating effects of supernatural power to delude those who don’t want to obey God fully:
…with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thes 2:10-12).
It’s a stark warning!
Wherever truth is relegated to second place in importance, behind supernatural power, apostasy is just around the corner.
Power is fine so long as it plays second fiddle to the restoration of Truth and the righteousness that God wants to establish through it. But there is subtle deception in its ascendancy. When power takes centre stage above the primary work of Elijah, which is to restore truth and bring people to repentance and into harmony with God’s revealed truths, something’s gone awry. Satan has managed to deflect evangelists from their primary objective. They end up pleasing people, and people end up following after the ones that please them, just as the Corinthians fell prey to (1 Cor 1:12).
Paul would have much to criticise if he were here today!
Where’s The Emphasis On Suffering?
One aspect in Paul’s ministry stands out above many others – that of how much he suffered.
The catalogue of what he endured for Christ is listed in 2 Corinthians 11:22-33.
- His life was a physical struggle; he had to graft and endure.
- He was beaten with stripes (scourged with a whip) several times. To receive 39 stripes on the bare back could kill a man! It tore flesh off bones.
- He was imprisoned more than once.
- He constantly faced death (1 Cor 15:30).
- Three times he was beaten with rods. Rods could break bones!
- Once he was stoned, and was left for dead.
- Three times he was shipwrecked.
- At one time he was in the water for 36 hours.
- He had constant journeys to make, along which he was in danger of being robbed, beaten and killed.
- Threats were from his own countrymen as well as strangers. He had enemies everywhere.
- He had to face the threat of false brethren.
- And he continually carried the burdens of the churches, so he could add to his list:
- Cold and hunger.
- Lack of provision from the churches.
- Rejection and being misunderstood.
It’s quite a catalogue of trouble. Yet he called such things “light and momentary afflictions” (2 Cor 4:17). In fact, he said much more. He said that such afflictions achieve for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (same verse). That strongly suggests that sufferings or afflictions, trials and tests, are a primary key to our eternal future.
Other apostles supported this truism, too:
Therefore, since Christ suffered in His body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude (1 Pet 4:1, NIV). Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps (1 Pet 2:21, NIV).
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds (Jas 1:2, NIV).
Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator (1 Pet 4:19).
It’s not a popular message today, though. Tele-evangelists don’t want to turn their hearers off with such a theme. They want to preach smooth things, nice things, pleasant things, uplifting things, encouraging things. The trouble is, only telling half the truth is tantamount to telling lies. No wonder Isaiah’s prophecy included the word DECEIT!
This is a rebellious people, lying children. Children who will not hear the law of the Lord; who say to the seers, “Do not see”, and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (Is 30:9,10).
No wonder the Church is adrift in a sea of error and uncertainty! The result of such unbalanced teaching is to “turn aside from the path” (Is 30:11a) and to “cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us” (Is 30:11b). They have effectively said to the prophets “Get out of the way!” (Ibid.) “Clear off! Shut up. Get out of here!”
We have received that response from all the churches to whom we have gone with God’s Word! And Spirit-led ministries are among them. They only want to be Spirit-led as far as it pleases them!
Is it any wonder the Great Tribulation will catch many off guard?! A great falling away is coming!
One of the things the Spirit said to me was that whenever a man handles the Word of God, he defiles it. We have more preachers today, with more variants of the truth than ever!
Isaiah prophesied of this scene:
All tables are full of vomit and filth (Is 28:8).
He said “No place is clean!”
Not a very commendable situation! Why?
It’s understandable in the Spirit-dead churches where self-will and tradition replace surrender and true worship. But in charismatic churches? How could they be under such condemnation?!
It’s because of the preoccupation with power. And an emphasis that has ditched the truth about affliction that every Christian must face in the course of his duty. Read on:
They… have erred through wine, and through intoxicating drink are out of the way (Is 28:7).
Wine can be a symbol for deception, as in Revelation. But it is also symbolic of miraculous power.
Some years ago, God gave Helena a dream of Morris Cerullo drunk on power. There, God equated that metaphor with the power He had given him, but which had gone to his head. Morris was driving some horses, charging along, but drunk. Sadly, many people follow him and regard him as a prophet (which he is not, he is an evangelist), and gullibly swallow his errors. (For more on this international evangelist, read Dreams From God About Morris Cerullo.)
The ‘Prayer of Agreement’
In charismatic circles, one of Jesus’ most misused promises is this:
If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven (Matt 18:19).
Charismatic ministries send out letters encouraging supporters to donate finance, and at the same time, to send in written prayer requests on reply coupons. The evangelist later prays over them (often in a public ceremony on TV), ostensibly ‘agreeing’ with every request. The outcome is, supposedly, that God answers the requests.
This is all a farce! How can the evangelist possibly agree with thousands of prayer requests he has not had time to read? And, if he hasn’t read them – and therefore can’t know whether he agrees with them – his ‘prayer’ is merely for show, a vain performance! What if some requests are blatantly unbiblical? Should he be saying ‘Amen’ to what he should never sanction or agree with? Would he be held accountable in the Day of Judgement for these words if they are not righteous?
To anyone with any sense, this practice of praying over a mountain of thousands of written prayer requests is dishonest as well as farcical.
More seriously, what if the prayer request offer is a clever ruse to persuade the respondent to part with money? Like the Catholic Church did regarding ‘indulgences’? As explained earlier, popes would claim that they could rescind penalties for sin upon payment. They had a ‘price list’ for various sins. The worse the sin was considered to be, the greater the price of the indulgence. The practice was outrageously blasphemous.
Even if the TV evangelist has no deliberate ploy to extract money from people, there is still a hidden agenda, subtly implied. It is one which links the giving of money to the promise of answering people’s prayers.
Jesus was talking, in context, about internal disciplinary matters in the congregation, to restore harmony in order to be sanctified. Where two had previously fallen out after one had sinned against another, unity could be restored by following the procedure Jesus advised, and if necessary by presenting the facts before the whole church (Matt 18:15-17). In such a situation, where people can be reconciled and forgiveness shared, the prayer of agreement in the church finalises the reconciliation, which Jesus assures He will honour in heaven, even if only two people pray. Thus, the whole assembly is protected from satanic attack that can enter through disharmony.
Remember Jesus’ words:
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained (Jn 20:23).
The prayer of agreement concerns spiritual discipline, not getting what you want from God.
Here is a list of the main points regarding what is wrong with tele-evangelism:
1. God is sick and tired of religion which has a hold on people. People can be held (captivated and impressed) by the slick presentation and glossy marketing. People are more easily impressed by the performers they can see than ones they can’t see.
2. This psychological hold keeps these folks in kindergarten where they are either spiritually repressed or they can’t think for themselves.
3. Ministers end up being cult leaders who manipulate – even dominate – susceptible minds
4. They stand in the place of Christ. (Even though they may be ‘Spirit-led’ and even though miracles occur on their programmes.) They prevent Jesus coming through more fully into people’s lives because they have taken His place. It occurs ever so subtly, and not usually deliberately.
5. They fleece the sheep of money.
6. They receive (subtle) worship from them.
7. God is angry at such churches or ministries.
8. Most Christians will be engulfed in the Great Tribulation because of such spiritual travesties.
9. The spiritual is overlooked at the expense of the physical. The man who impresses, who is a ‘charismatic’ personality, who has the large outreach or large visible entourage, is the one whom people look up to. The outside prophet, who is the ‘lone ranger’, is the one who is discounted and ignored because he’s seemingly alone and ‘unsuccessful’.
Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement (Jn 7:24). &
Malcolm B Heap