Tom: This is our second session dealing with a series of DVDs, the title being Wide Is the Gate, and this series was produced by Caryl Matrisciana. She is the producer, director, and writer of the series - researcher par excellence, I’ll tell you - and a number of people…interviews in this documentary, absolutely terrific. And as I mentioned last week, one of my favorite documentaries by Caryl (and she’s done a number of them), but Yoga Uncoiled, because of the pervasiveness of yoga within the church, folks - within the church, let alone the world! This is a documentary that I haven’t seen any better at all.
So, Caryl, welcome back to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Caryl: Thank you so much, Tom! I love being your guest, I love The Berean Call ministry, and I’m so happy to be back again!
Tom: Now, Caryl, we covered a lot of territory about Volume I and Volume II of Wide is the Gate, but I really want to focus on Volume III, which I had the opportunity to look at this week. Now, we mentioned last week there are a number of different topics, but the common trait of all those is the errors. They foster the grand scheme of Satan - we mentioned this last week - which is to undermine the Word of God. They all - that is, the errors that you’ve pointed out and that you’ve addressed, and along with many that you’ve interviewed - reflect, “Yea, hath God said…?” Taking God’s Word, creating doubt. But then we also know in Genesis:3:1-4, right in there, that Satan comes out then, the adversary comes out, and denies - rejects what God has said: “You will not surely die.” But we do know “the wages of sin is death.” It’s clear, and Eve bought it.
Now, what we’re going to talk about in this half-hour is some of the elements, because Satan’s schemes - they all have this central idea of undermining the Word of God, but it plays itself out in many diverse ways. Caryl, is that the way you see it?
Caryl: Oh, absolutely. And I think - I’m so grateful for the Lord giving us the title of Wide Is the Gate. It was actually taken from Matthew:24:24 that Jesus said that, “Enter through the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.” And I think this is a most important thing, that even though we can nail certain issues and try and nail them, this gate is a very, very wide gate. This emerging new Christianity, which is what Volume I, II, and III is all about, is a new type of Christianity which many of these leaders actually boast about: that this is a New Reformed Apostolic movement, or the New Reformation, or the New Signs and Wonders Movement…whatever it’s called, it’s all about this emerging new Christianity.
So in Wide Is the Gate, we’ve actually, if you can believe it - it’s 335 minutes! It’s a seven-part series on two discs that got longer and longer, and as the church became more - or as our research became more intricate, we had to push it into seven parts. And the first episode, which is about over an hour, is about the Holy Spirit, the authentic work of God versus the counterfeit, and of course the authentic work of God began at Pentecost 2,000 years ago at the birth of the church. And there have been many, many counterfeits that have come out, but the greatest one probably started in the 1900s with the Azusa Street Revival in California - that was about 1905 - where the leader there claimed these new prophetic gifts, these new signs and wonders, and had a very, very large following which eventually turned into this hyper-charismatic, Pentecostal movement that we see today. So from those early beginnings where this fellow, Bill Harmon, had this ability to heal, so he said, we got this explosion in the ‘90s, ‘80s, where this new movement was birthed, the New Apostolic Reformation…
Tom: Caryl, can I - let me jump in between those two dates that you gave. I’m thinking about Saskatchewan in the 1940s, and a person named William Branham, which…what came out of that, as you well know, and it’s - some of your speakers address this in the documentary, Caryl - what I’m thinking about here is it began the development of the Latter Rain, Manifest Sons of God Movement, pretty much under the guiding light, so-called, of William Branham. If you’re looking for a false prophet, a false teacher, an occultist, William Branham not only would be one of the biggest names, but he was the most influential, influencing people like Oral Roberts and Rodney Howard Brown, the Bethel group, the…
Caryl: Benny Hinn.
Tom: Yeah, the Kansas City Prophets…
Caryl: The Latter Rain movement began in about the 1940s, continued to the 1960s, and in this Volume III we sort of give the history of how this developed. Now, William Branham began this thing commonly known as the Fivefold Ministry, and he based that on a teaching very, very loosely mentioned in Ephesians:4:11-13. So I think one of the things, Tom, that I found very difficult with Volume III was that they do use the Bible, but it’s…their doctrines supersede the authority of the Holy Scriptures, so they get these prophetic revelations and insights from what they call the “Holy Spirit,” or “voices of God,” or “God said.” And if you don’t know Scripture, then you can’t test them, and they very much couch - a lot of these prophets couch themselves by saying, “Don’t have a Jezebel spirit. Don’t test us as Jezebel tested the prophets. Don’t test us, because our revelations are above Scripture.” Now, those are my words, but as our documentary points out, a lot of these teachers say that.
So the Fivefold Ministry from Ephesians 4 said that God himself descended and ascended above the heavens, and He “gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors, and some as teachers.” Now, this was for the equipping of the saints for the work of service and the building up of the body of Christ.
Caryl: But these new apostles now have deemed themselves to be restoring the office of apostle and the office of prophet, and they say that this is a new restoration, that what happened in the church in the old days is now being restored in these last days by the Holy Spirit, and they have come as ministers for this new bride of Christ that is being prepared to meet the Bridegroom.
Caryl: So that is basically their new dogma.
Tom: And as you said, Caryl, you can’t challenge it, because they are speaking what they call the rhema as opposed to the logos, which is the written word. Wait a minute, folks - those terms are interchangeable throughout Scripture, so…
The other thing about it is (going back to William Branham) people were mesmerized by this guy. Supposedly he could do these things that seemed to be miraculous, but when you look at his doctrine, his teaching - things like Eve had sexual intercourse with the serpent - you find his prophecies were false, and so on. So if this is the man, if this is what he believes, it’s stunning to me how people could give credit to somebody who was so contrary to the Word of God, let alone his ideas of…
“New, new,” you keep using that word, Caryl. It’s the New Apostolic… Folks, when you hear…
Caryl: Well…that’s their words, their words.
Tom: Right. But when you hear the word “new,” folks, you better step back a couple of paces, because we have the Word of God.
Caryl: Yeah, because, you see, what this is doing, once again, exactly what Satan did in the Garden of Eden: “Surely God hasn’t said…” So there’s new revelation, there’s new messages from heaven, these new visitations to the third heaven, as all those prophets and apostles claim that they get this new power that they have to inject into their new followers.
But since the 1940s, I think the scary thing…well, even since 1905, since the Azusa Street Revival - and then, of course, we go on to William Branham’s revival of the Latter Rain Movement - these new prophets today…honestly, these new doctrines, new dogmas, are being written, honestly, on a daily basis, Tom! Our research was so huge, because these teachings and practices are coming in, you know, with thousands a year – these “new revelations,” supposedly…
Tom: And we can see a trend going from, I mean, really bad to really - worse. We’re talking about Saskatchewan, we’re talking about, then, later, the Toronto Airport Vineyard, then we’re talking about Pensacola, then Lakeland, and you visited Lakeland, so you know - I mean, you know what all these are about. But seriously, how do you go from something that seemingly is of the Spirit to a guy in Lakeland who’s tattooed and doing “Holy Spirit headbutts” and knees in the groin? I mean, you know, as bad as Benny Hinn is - and he’s really bad, okay - but still, you would think people would recognize, you know, in a Todd Bentley, something so ludicrous. But you’ve been there, you’ve seen his…
Caryl: I think the procession has been really interesting, because from that very first “prophetic movement” beginning, so to speak, in the ‘80s, we got this whole Kansas City fellowship, this Kansas City revival of Kansas City Prophets in the 1980s. Bill Harmon, who you have mentioned as part of the Latter Rain Movement, he actually sponsored the first National Prophets Conference whereabout 700 people attended, and he began this list out of that which is today called the “Elijah List,” an email newsletter publishing hundreds of these new prophecies and new apostles and new prophets - who, by the way, they elect! These people elect them. So today - well, actually, I think - if I recall, I mentioned [that] in 1999 in Singapore, a group of these apostles gathered. I think there were about 500 of them, and it was called the International Coalition of Apostles, the ICA, and these apostles nominated new apostles today. And then, of course, C. Peter Wagner was asked to be the New Apostolic Reformation’s founder.
So what we try and explain in Volume III is, “Is there such a thing as ‘new apostles?’ What does the Scripture say about apostles?” Apostles were those who saw Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist, who were part of His ministry, who saw Him crucified, or after His ascension; they were all part of that foundation of the church that, when Jesus Christ resurrected, He came back to Jerusalem for 40 days and taught these hundreds of Jews about the Scriptures fulfilled to them, because these are going to be the people. If they waited in Jerusalem 50 days after the Passover, there was a feast called the Feast of First Fruits, and that was when Pentecost was going to come to these Jews that had been taught by Jesus. These apostles and prophets were going to be filled with the Holy Spirit coming in tongues of fire on their head, never again to happen in that type of way ever again. That was the birth of the church, and those apostles saw Jesus ascending, and that’s what made an apostle. So for today’s “apostles” in the 1990s to say that they can now become apostles that have been given this office, and that it’s through their works that they are able to have these revelations and insights and give themselves this incredible authority, that was never in evidence within the pages of Scripture that…. They say that they’re responsible to bring the mantle of those first apostles and reveal them to today’s church. So we explain all of that.
Tom, there’s Episode 2, which is “The Gift of the Holy Spirit,” teaching what is the church, is the official tongues, the official prophecies, what were “dreams and visions coming” as Peter explained it from the prophecy of Joel, and what is happening today with the gifts of the counterfeit unholy spirit.
And in Episode 3, we focus in on the Fivefold Ministry and explain what are biblical apostles and prophets, and what is happening today.
Episode 4 was about music, which is really an amazing vehicle power, if you will; it’s a substitute for true worship, and we explain the power of this technique for changing altered states of consciousness.
Episode 5 we’ve got the “God Chasers and Mystery Schools.” If you can believe it, there are actually schools today being - these prophets who are setting themselves up as ministers of God that are teaching occult practices, Tom, that I practiced within the New Age…
Caryl: …when I was involved in some of my occultism. These schools are actually teaching the - “mystery schools,” they call them - these occult teachings of impartation by the laying on of hands: that you can pass on power and laying on of hands; you can pass on mantles. So we explain what the biblical laying on of hands was, what that was and what’s happening today.
And then Episode 6 is “The Mystical Divine Within,” the lying signs and wonders. Of course, within Hinduism and yoga, we were taught it was our ignorance that separated from God, that God was really within us. We’re not sinners as the Bible teaches, but we’re just ignorant of our divinity, and this has now come into the church. When we have got hundreds of apostles and prophets teaching that we are part of the divine nature, that God is within us, and that we can be little gods, so to speak, and Benny Hinn and others teach this.
And then Episode 7, which is basically almost an hour and a half, is all about the power of the little gods in the end times: what is this end time battle all about? We’ve got thousands of young children - well, young youth! I mean, young men and women even in their 20s and early 30s that are being taught to be a militant bride for God. And this is, of course, all part of the evolution of mankind: that mankind is going to get better and better and better, and that these Christians are being trained to be in the Tribulation in the last days, which…I was taught as a New Ager that we were going to bring a better earth, we were going to make the earth better through the Environmental Movement, or through our mass concentration and meditation and super-consciousness, and plugging into the great power above us. Now all of this is coming into the church, and I think this was the most shocking video for me to make, Volume III: to see the merging of the New Age, the old occultism, the horrible powers and principalities - demonic powers - that I had as a New Ager and an occultist now being in the church, and we actually show these teachings from these various ministries.
Tom: Caryl, what I want to do with the time we have left - I think we have about seven minutes - but I’m going to call out an issue or two, and I want you to address it briefly. I’ll mention some things about it. For example, within the context of the New Apostolic Reformation - yeah, now we have the “new prophets,” so called, the new apostles, and so on - but they have a theology, and they have an eschatology. They have a game plan, the main one being Dominion Theology. Describe that briefly for us.
Caryl: Yeah, Dominion Theology, or Kingdom Now, is basically saying that we are the “manifest sons of God,” and that we are going to bring about the kingdom of God here on earth in order to usher in the soon coming of Jesus Christ. So the sooner that we can all get together as a militant bride, work together in social justice programs - I know these things are different, and we explain it in Volume III that social justice, whether it comes from the evangelical church or Catholicism, that teaches us a unity through ecumenical blending with all religions and denominations. All of it is basically to bring the kingdom of God on earth.
Tom: Right, it’s a works-salvation in various forms.
Caryl, the one episode that I thought, “This episode alone is worth the price of the video,” Volume III, and that was the episode on music and youth. Folks, you’ve got to see this, especially in this day in which - I attend and speak at many conferences, and I would say the number of young people who attend the conferences, prophecy conferences - terrific speakers, but very biblical - biblical Christian speakers, okay? The percentages of young people in their 20s, early 30s, might…maybe get up to as much as 15 percent.
On the other hand, when there’s music involved - you know, we have Jesus Culture, we have Hillsong United - when they’re at a conference…well, I’m thinking about the Georgia Dome: 65 thousand young people when Jesus Culture, which is out of Redding, California - out of Bethel, Bill Johnson’s church - not only do they have literally thousands of young people, but their music has an eschatology. They believe - and you could check it out: go to their website – you can find that they’re laying out what they believe, and that is that they are Kingdom Dominionists - that through their music, through young people, through so-called Joel’s Army, we’re going to take over the world.
Caryl: Which is all part of the Spiritual Warfare Movement that was growing in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and now, of course, is within the Manifest Sons of God or the New Apostolic Reformation Movement.
And by the way, this contemporary music movement is all part of the NAR, or the New Apostolic Reformation. It comes out of Mike Bickle’s IHOP Movement, or the International House of Prayer Movement. Hillsong is all part of NAR, the apostles, the Fivefold Ministry. So I think when I get these again, dozens and dozens of letters, as I’m sure you do, where people are asking about these various different ministries. If we give it the - over the covering of calling it the New Apostolic Reformation, the covering - the parent company is that we have to get kids into an altered state of consciousness, whether it’s through these songs and this contemporary Christian music ministry, which is all very loudly singing to “reign on earth; bring down His kingdom on earth today.” It’s all part of what is above to be below, which is part of the Kingdom Now theology.
But yeah, we had two former members that explained this so well: Maureen Petty and Kim Ferris, who are both former Vineyard Movement followers, or Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer, Bill Johnson’s Bethel Movement…
Caryl: …we’ve got former members who just talk about the way that they were seduced through music into worshipping a different spirit, a different god, a different Jesus, and how both their lives got so destroyed, because they truly believed they were born-again Christians. They truly believed they were Christians, loved the Word of God, but they went in for the experience more - for the impartations, the laying on of hands, the falling on the floor, the jerking, the singing - they went in for all the sensationalism much more than reading the Word, and it wasn’t until they both came back to the Word of God that they were set free through repentance.
Tom: Caryl, if you would, I’d like you to tell our listeners about your experience at Lakeland. Now, the reason I’m asking this is because when people, whether it’s on TBN or wherever it might be, and they’re watching people like Benny Hinn, they’re watching people like Rodney Howard Brown, and they’re thinking, “Well, are they acting? Is this something that’s just psychological, or what…?” There’s definitely a group dynamic here, okay, an influence, a mesmerism, as it were. But there’s also a power. Describe your time when you were researching Todd Bentley and Lakeland.
Caryl: Well, actually, Tom, I never went to Lakeland, Florida. Todd Bentley himself came to Los Angeles, California.
Tom: Oh, okay.
Caryl: And he was invited here by the NAR, various different pastors and apostles and prophets, to speak to thousands of kids, but the whole purpose was to initiate 500 pastors with an impartation, a special blessing and a special “power burst,” as it was called, from Todd Bentley - the fresh fire to come down on these pastors who were invited from Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, all around the world. And I did speak to several of them, but the most shocking thing was that out of the huge crowd of thousands and thousands and thousands, Todd Bentley then led 500 of us - I went with a pastor and pastor’s wife: in fact, Johanna Michaelsen and her husband, who is a pastor - and we went to the special invitation, and watched 500 pastors (and in some cases their wives) just being thrown to the ground by the power of Todd Bentley as he imparted his manifest station through either blowing on their foreheads, putting his hand way up, I mean, and sometimes just walking past. I remember the power as he walked by me: I felt like I don’t know how many horses kicked me in my stomach, and I doubled up with the pain of sort of being somehow punched. And he didn’t touch me; I mean, he just walked by me, and I wasn’t there for the impartation or the laying on of hands or anything. I went as a research spectator, but we were covered in prayer by many church-going people, and it was an experience that was very, very, very shocking for Johanna and myself and her husband, who’s a pastor of this church and…
Caryl: …it was very scary to watch that pastors actually came for this unbiblical “anointing,” as they called it, so they could take it back to their churches all over the world.
Tom: Caryl, the reason I had you mention that is because sometimes when I’m at conferences and addressing audiences, I ask them, “Did they ever turn on TBN or the God Channel or any…and see these individuals performing?” And you know, I see them nodding their head “yes.”
And I said, “Well, when the camera draws back, there are literally thousands of people buying into this, and many of them are believers, brothers and sisters in Christ.” So the reason I bring that up is that, number one, I want them to know that there is a power there - whether it’s psychological, cathartic on some part, or demonic on the part of others, it is real, and these brothers and sisters in Christ need our prayers, because they are being seduced, and it’s only the Lord that can turn them back from that.
My guest has been Caryl Matrisciana. She’s the producer, director, and writer of the series - fantastic series - Wide Is the Gate. I would encourage you…Gary will give the website, how you can get a hold of it. You can get a hold of it through The Berean Call, as well, this series. And, Caryl, again, thank you for being with us, and we’re going to pray for you. You’re in a tough, tough area. You’re in a frontline situation there, and we’re going to continue to hold you up in prayer, and that’s my encouragement to all who are listening.