Perfect storm defined: a mixture of seemingly varied events that converge together creating a greater magnitude of devastation.
I remember as though it were yesterday a conversation I had with Dave Hunt not too long after he had moved to Bend, Oregon. He wanted me to move to Bend also that we might continue communicating with those who had responded favorably to the book I’d had the privilege of co-authoring with him, The Seduction of Christianity. That book and many of his later books, articles, and sermons gave insights into most of the things that would prove to be portents of the developing apostasy that we see moving ahead at overwhelming speed and in wide circulation today.
In our 25 years of ministering through The Berean Call, we have extensively covered various aspects of the apostasy. Although some of the highly promoted deviations from Scripture have had their heyday and then appeared to have faded, in fact they have simply undergone alterations, changed players, assimilated other heresies, adjusted to the times, and become more devious, i.e., hidden in plain sight. One example of this is the Word/Faith Movement (W/FM). The popular leaders of days past included Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin, Sr., Charles Capps, David (formerly Paul) Yonggi Cho, and Gloria and Kenneth Copeland. The Copelands are still around, along with their followers, and are promoting the same false teaching, but the W/FM has expanded to the Faith Healing Movement, the Prosperity Teachings, the Positive Confession Movement, and the Inner Healing Movement, all of which have been raised to a new level of sophistication as major tactics of the Adversary. These perversions of the Word of God originated when Satan deceived Eve in Genesis:3:1 with his words, “Yea, hath God said…?” Questioning and then repudiating what God has declared has been Satan’s strategy from the beginning and will continue until he is thrown into the Lake of Fire.
That Deceiver and Father of Lies has also employed a host of seemingly diverse deceptions that are nevertheless connected. The Word/Faith teachings are not merely a perversion of biblical faith, but they are of late gleaned from the mind science cults, with concepts that go back to Hinduism and other Eastern mystical religions. The teachings of this movement are found within Transcendentalism and New Thought, as well as the writings of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science and Helena Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society brought Eastern spiritual beliefs into mainstream America.
E. W. Kenyon (1867-1948) is said to be the father of the Word/Faith Movement. Many of his teachings were the product of his New England education at The Emerson School of Oratory, a hot bed of Transcendental philosophy. Some authors, such as Thoreau, gleaned beliefs from the Bhagavad-Gita, the Vedas, and other sacred Hindu texts. Kenyon’s writings and preaching were a mixture of religious science, godhood for humanity, and the Scriptures, all of which became foundational to the myriad of W/FM-connected offerings.
The relationship to Eastern mysticism is irrefutable. Hinduism, Buddhism, and other Eastern religions teach that the physical world is maya, an illusion, and thus can be manipulated by various techniques: thinking (meditation, mind power), speaking (mantras), and imagery (visualization). The supreme deity of Hinduism is an impersonal god—a spiritual energy of which everything consists. That energy force is positive and negative (yin and yang) and can be controlled by the gods, i.e., all humans. Self-realization—to realize one’s own godhood—is the goal of yoga.
Even a cursory review of the Word/Faith teachings reveals its clear connection to pagan and occult origins. Terms such as positive confession, faith as a power, negative thinking, speaking forth healing, commanding wealth, visualizing what’s being prayed for, realizing that humans are gods under God, and the like, abound in this movement that has corrupted the biblical doctrine of faith for millions. The latest development among W/FM adherents is the New Apostolic Reformation agenda, which claims to produce new Apostles and Prophets who will take over the world and turn it into a paradise, setting up Christ’s kingdom before He can return from heaven. They will minister in power as gods.
These heresies are being taught to the upcoming generation of Christian youth at schools connected with Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri, and Bill Johnson’s Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California, and their worldwide satellites.
Also related to the beliefs of the Word/Faith Movement is the teaching of Positive Mental Attitude and Possibility Thinking brought into the church primarily by Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller and advanced by “Christian” business organizations such as Amway and Mary Kay Cosmetics. Among Peale’s numerous false teachings is his endorsement of occult visualization as a biblical prayer technique; Schuller championed the building of one’s self-esteem (as presented in his book Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, which was sent out to 250,000 pastors) as the primary objective of his psychologized gospel. Peale was instrumental in ushering in psychology as a means of counseling in the church, which then paved the way for the practitioners of so-called Christian psychology, whose major therapeutic methodology is the unbiblical doctrine of self-love.
As I move on to psychology, I hope you are seeing the links between the beliefs and practices that I’ve mentioned thus far. All these things have been documented in the books, articles, videos, radio programs, and talks that Dave and I have presented over the years and are archived on TBC’s website. What then of psychology? An editor for Psychology Today declared that Eastern mysticism would come to the West through the teachings of psychology. Although there are more than 50 different fields of psychology, together they pale in influence when compared to psychotherapy or psychological counseling. Though posing as science, secular researchers tell us that the methods used in psychotherapy are little different from those used by shamans and witch doctors (who are mediators between man and the spirit realm). Psychology’s spirit connection is most blatant in the field of transpersonal psychology, also known as spiritual psychotherapy. Its relationship to Eastern mysticism is undeniable. Yoga meditation, which has overtaken the West since the 1970s, has been incorporated into psychotherapeutic programs such as MindUp and Mindfulness and touted as a cure-all for life’s various problems. It is claimed that these programs are especially helpful for children.
The answers to life’s questions, we are told, are found by looking within, delving into the subconscious where the true self is found. Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung taught that it is in the subconscious where everything that has happened in one’s life resides, and those events psychically determine every aspect of that life. It is the supposed workings of the subconscious that offer a pseudo-scientific explanation for what Hindu yogis have taught for thousands of years as karma and reincarnation.
Psychology’s salvation for humanity is rooted in “self,” and its self-actualization concept is the same as the self-realization belief of Hinduism. Both have the ultimate goal of the deification of humans and the worship of self. This should come as no surprise for the biblical Christian, because the Bible tells us that self-delusion began with Lucifer in heaven, and he brought it to earth in his deception of Eve (Isaiah:14:12-14; Genesis:3:1-5). Furthermore, Scripture tells us that the demonically possessed Antichrist will “sit in the temple of God, [showing] himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians:2:4). That’s the Lie.
“The Lie” takes on many forms, some far less obvious than what’s been described. Yet they can all be recognized by asking this simple question: Does what is being presented involve man displacing God by endeavoring to save himself, whether by fixing his temporal issues or securing his eternal destiny? Whatever contributes to those objectives is a form of “works salvation,” i.e., man playing God. Every religious belief system (including atheism) other than biblical Christianity is an attempt made by humanity to save itself without the help of the true and living God. Saving mankind is something that only Jesus Christ can do. Scripture calls humanity’s rebellious attempt at salvation the broad way that leads to destruction, which, tragically, many will follow (Matthew:7:13).
The lie of godhood is found in some form in all that has been noted above and in much more than this brief article can cover. It’s important, however, to have given some details to prove the Satanic connection between these numerous diverse movements. Why? Because they will converge in these last days prior to the Lord’s return for His bride and will be firmly established after the church is removed. At present, cries for unity and oneness abound, declaring that we are all connected. Their mutual beliefs and practices are components that will come together forming the perfect storm of godlessness—the religion of the Antichrist.
If the church will be removed in the Rapture (which it will!), why should we be concerned about a religion that will come together after believers are removed? First of all, the religion of the Antichrist doesn’t pop up overnight. It’s been in the works since Satan deceived Eve in the Garden. Secondly, Jesus gave the answer to His disciples when they asked about the End Times. He characterized those times by saying, “Take heed that no man deceive you” (Matthew:24:4-5). That deception about which He warned His disciples has two consequences: 1) It hinders the lost from turning to the Lord, and 2) It prevents believers from being fruitful and productive. Regarding the latter, all believers have been saved unto (not by) good works, and, in the Lord’s words, we are to “bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John:15:8).
So it would seem that diverting or wrecking a believer’s good works is Satan’s only effective stratagem against the Lord’s bride. This ploy is found in some “Christian” agendas that have duped believers into supporting programs that, in fact, contribute to setting up Christ’s kingdom before the King himself returns. A number of very influential yet diverse programs today are attempting to do that very thing in the camps of the Kingdom Dominionists, the Amillennialists, and the Ecumenists. The Bible’s timeline of events to come clearly reveals that the kingdom that will emerge following the Rapture of the church is the kingdom of the Antichrist, and thus all believers who are presently caught up in those unbiblical programs today are unwittingly and unfruitfully serving the cause of the Adversary.
It is hoped that everyone reading this is aware that conditions in the world and especially in the church have changed dramatically over the last two decades. The warnings presented in the book of Acts, in 1 & 2 Timothy, Jude, 1 & 2 Peter, and the first three chapters of Revelation, have been blatantly manifested. Verses that prophesy “when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?”; “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…and they shall turn away their ears from the truth…”; “in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves…”; “grievous wolves shall enter in among you…Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Luke:18:8; 2 Timothy:4:3-4; 2 Timothy:3:1-2; Acts:20:29-30). In my four decades as a believer involved in observing, speaking, and writing about issues that have adversely affected the body of Christ, those verses, among so many more that could be given, seem like understatements—a high tide compared to the spiritually dark tsunami we are presently experiencing. Could a revival forestall the flood? That’s not impossible with God, but there is neither any hint of collective repentance in the world or in the church nor is there prophetic scripture to support such a hope. Therefore the apostasy will continue unabated.
How then should we deal with it? We at The Berean Call see our function as workers in a rescue operation, praying that our materials reach those “who [have] ears to hear….if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth” (Mark:7:16; 2 Timothy:2:25). We want to get information regarding discernment issues to our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially encouraging one another to hold up to the light of God’s Word what they are being taught. As for those in leadership positions, we want to support them as they deal with specific erroneous doctrines and practices, influential false teachers, and extra-biblical trends and agendas that can enter into a fellowship. Our heart is with Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesian elders: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts:20:28).
To this end we have developed a new “Topics” section on our website that features 25-plus years of archived resource materials. It may be accessed at www.thebereancall.org. Just click on “Topics” at the top of the page. There you’ll find a list of subjects with which we have dealt over the years, along with links to newsletters, Q&As, radio programs, and more, for each topic.
If you don’t have access to our website, we haven’t forgotten you! In July we plan to release our first printed “Topics” booklets. They will contain much of the same information presented on our website in an abbreviated but comprehensive format. Booklets on Mysticism, Hebrew Roots, and the Emerging Church are in the works now and, the Lord willing, will be followed by a host of other subjects. We want these inexpensive little booklets to be a great resource for those who seek information, enabling them to quickly get up to speed on a specific issue, or to share with someone else. We’re hopeful that we can become more effective in our desire to assist the body of Christ, especially those who have been called to be shepherds and are ministering to the Lord’s sheep. We covet your prayers for this endeavor. TBC