More about the Conference: https://www.thebereancall.org/conference
More about Mike Oppenheimer: https://www.thebereancall.org/content/mike-oppenheimer
Free eBook: https://davehunt.org
Download our app: https://www.thebereancall.org/app
Follow us on Social Media: https://www.thebereancall.org/social
Mike Oppenheimer: I want to thank the Lord and The Berean Call for allowing me to address the body of Christ. Let me begin by asking: What is the unity the Bible speaks of for the church? How do we produce and keep this unity? We are to be salt and light, we're to give the gospel, biblical answers to the world which is in darkness. That is our outreach. But what about our in-reach? What about those inside the church, those being influenced by unbiblical doctrines, which is the main problem in the church in the last days?
For the church to be effective in both our outreach and in-reach, our unity is most important. What if someone’s teaching contrary to what the Scripture says? We are to love them. This love involves us speaking the truth to them using the sword of the Word like a surgeon, not like a warrior in war.
Jesus prayed for the oneness of the church. In John 17 he states, “I have given them the words which you have given me, and they have received them. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world, but for those who you have given me, for they are yours.”
In verse 20, Jesus prays, “For those who will believe in me through their word,” meaning are repeating His message of Jesus proclaiming the word of truth, giving our testimony.
Jesus has already made us one, united by His Spirit. As each person believes the gospel, the truth, they become part of the body called the church.
This is not unity which ignores doctrinal differences for the sake of enlarged church gatherings. This has been an ongoing problem with the seeker-friendly and purpose-driven church models.
Now, in between these verses, in John:17:15 He prays, “Not that we be taken out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth.”
In Ephesians:5:26, Paul explains that as his church we are sanctified and cleansed with the washing of the word, which is to be done daily. Our faith is dependent and nourished on His Word. The word of truth is essential to having genuine unity.
This is why the Son of God was incarnated. Scripture says for this cause he was born: “I have come into the world that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” But to others who do not believe, he said, “But because I tell you the truth, you do not believe me.”
Paul said something similar to the Galatian church as they were adding law to grace: “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”
The bible is no ordinary book. It does not just contain the words of God, it is the Word of God, today and forever.
The modern ecumenical crowd downplays and ignores the Word of God for the sake of a wider way that incorporates the lowest common denominator to have a visible unity. They are willing to make alliances with those who have another Jesus, another gospel, or none at all. The unity of the Bible speaks of our spiritual unity based on the truth, the Word. Ecumenists are willing to take teachings and practices from outside the Bible and synthesize them. Some call it “rethinking Christianity.”
Truth is mentioned over a hundred times in the New Testament, six times in Ephesians. Ephesians:1:13: “We trusted after we heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Speaking the truth in love…may grow up in all things unto him who is the head, Christ. We are to be taught by him as the truth is in Jesus. We are to speak the truth with our neighbor. We are to walk as children of light, for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.”
Chapter 4 begins, “Bearing with one another in love, we endeavor to keep this unity of the Spirit.”
In verse 3: “We are one body, one spirit, and we maintain what we have already received from the Spirit of truth.”
Verse 14 states, “This prevents us from no longer being children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine.”
Satan has begun his assault on mankind with a lie. His strategy has always been to misrepresent, misinterpret, corrupt our trust in the Word ofIod. iIn these last days he has his emissaries visibly at work, accepted inside churches by those who do not exercise discernment by the Word. We are to be Bereans. His assault does not ever stay the same. It always escalates, grows just as Jesus spoke about leaven.
Now, three scriptures that stand out for our safety—1 Timothy:4:16: “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”
Romans:16:17: “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned and avoid them.”
First Timothy 6:3: “If anyone teaches otherwise, it does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. And to the doctrine which accords with godliness they have pride. They argue, knowing nothing. It comes from a corrupt mind who is destitute of the truth, supposes that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.”
Separation from what is false is a necessity for keeping the truth. It is for our protection and safety, but to do this, the false must be identified.
There is a spirit of truth and there is a spirit of error, and they are opposed to each other. False teaching removes the church from the true unity that we have received and are to maintain by the Word. Bringing division in its place, especially on the nature of God, the nature of man, and all kinds of other subjects.
Mark 4, in the parable of the sower, it is the soils that stop the seed from growing. To quickly summarize each, the seed that fell by the wayside (those who hear and do not understand it), the birds of the air came and devoured it. The birds of the air are depicted as the enemy. The second had no depth of soil nor root to produce growth. The third was among those thorns preventing it from bringing forth a crop. It was the fourth that was put in good soil that had various yields of fruit.
Jesus says this parable is the key to all the parables. Matthew 13 states, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.”
The good ground are those who hear the Word, accept it, and understand it, and they bear fruit in various facets.
All through Scripture we are told to get understanding. Our Christian living consists of prayer, yielding to the Holy Spirit's power, and our understanding is key to living the Word.
The main preventative is to keep from error in understanding the Word.
The words “understand” and “understanding” are found 270 times in Scripture. Praying for understanding is found 12 times in Psalms and over 30 times in Proverbs, and is said over 30 times by Jesus himself.
Psalm:119:104 says, “Through your precepts I get understanding. Therefore I hate every false way.”
Psalm:119:130: “The entrance of your words gives light. It gives understanding to the simple.”
Proverbs:2:2-5: “Incline your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding. Yes, if you cry out for discernment and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver and search for her as hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”
Proverbs:4:5: “Get wisdom, get understanding. Do not forget or turn away from the words of my mouth.”
Using these scriptures as our basis, let's go on a journey together examining what has taken place in the church over the last 25 to 30 years to the present.
We have watched the Word-Faith Movement led by Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, and so many others on TV introduce a metaphysical unbiblical teaching of faith that has permeated a large portion of the church: that you are little gods; that you have what you speak into existence, which is an occult concept.
Richard Foster, a Quaker minister into mysticism and experiences, pioneered and popularized other spiritual practices found in Eastern religions to be practiced in the church. He acquainted himself with medieval mystic monks, which he referred to as “masters of the interior life.” Foster said, “We should be all without shame and enroll as apprentices in a school of contemplative prayer,” which is not real prayer, but stilling the mind like in Eastern meditation. He introduced imagination, visualization, dream work, centering, and breathing for one's spiritual growth. He cites these as Christian mystical traditions, but they are not found in the Scripture.
The 1978 original edition of Foster's book Celebration of Discipline, he said, “We of the New Age can risk going against the tide.” I was in the New Age and became a Christian, and I was removed from it.
He says that “Imagination opens the door to faith.” Genuine faith, according to the Bible, is trusting in God's Word. Imagination has absolutely nothing to do with it.
He stated, “The inner world of meditation is most easily entered through the door of imagination, that Christian meditation is an attempt to empty the mind in order to fill it.” In contemplative prayer, he explained, “We must be willing to go down into recreating silences into the inner world of contemplation. The writings of the masters of meditation beckon us to be pioneers in the frontier of the spirit.” But this is not the same Holy Spirit Jesus gave to learn His Word.
He said, “In the silent contemplation of God, we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm.” Foster says that this inner reality of the spiritual world is available to all who are willing to search for it, including non-Christians. This is called mysticism.
Jim Gaul, who is part of the New Apostolic Reformation on the Council of Prophetic Elders, president of Encounters Network, he gives thanks to the lord for the writings of Richard Foster, as do so many others who have been influenced by his non-biblical practices. This includes John Wimber of the Vineyard churches, Peter Wagner (who began the New Apostolic Movement), Eugene Peterson, who wrote the Message Bible…the list is long.
Foster opens the door to introducing foreign spiritual practices into the church. The most amazing thing is that some people, even pastors, do not recognize what they're getting involved with by reading and practicing Foster's works.
As churches continue to practice this journey inward to the spirit, they have made the shift to New Age mysticism, forfeiting true Bible teaching.
As the new century began, the acceptance of error was escalating. Bruce Wilkinson wrote the book The Prayer of Jabez,based on the key prayer that Wilkinson said he prayed for over 30 years since 1970. Found in 1 Chronicles:4:9, Jabez's mother called him Jabez, saying, “Because I bear him with sorrow.” Jabez is a descendant of Judah. He was an honorable man. His name means “sorrowful” because of the painful birth. Jabez cried out to God for protection from evil and asked for blessing.
In his preface in his book, Wilkinson writes, “I want to teach you how to pray a daring prayer that God always answers. It is brief, one sentence with four parts, and tucked away in the Bible. But I believe it contains the key to a life of extraordinary favor with God. This petition has radically changed what I expect from God and what I experience every day by his power. In fact, thousands of believers who are applying its truths are seeing miracles happen on a regular basis.”
While he encouraged prayer, his application of this obscure prayer from the Old Testament was a false interpretation. Three things he stated in his best-selling book: “It is a prayer God always answers.” Always! Wow, that's incredible! “This prayer contains the key to a life of extraordinary favor with God.” Watch out for those who claim they have the keys and access to God.
Three: “That people are seeing miracles happen on a regular basis from praying it.” And of course, he said that it would increase…bring increase into your life. Well, there is no such thing as a certain prayer always answered, or God's will is not involved. No one prayer contains the key to a life of extraordinary favor with God.
Now, there is no proof that Jabez prayed it every day, nor do we see Jesus or the apostles doing that. The promise of everyday miracles was ear tickling. The whole thing I would classify as word-faith. This revelation from an academic was the beginning of a massive downward slide.
Rick Warren became the next popular influencer on the modern church who opened the door to other religious teachings and practices, proving to be an undiscerning ecumenist. His church growth movement was not based on evangelism or discipleship. He forged new type of unity with those who would normally be at odds, so we can make a greater difference in the world and change society.
Rick Warren: To my brother, Islamic brother here from Italy, I would say I'm not really interested in interfaith dialogue. I'm interested in interfaith projects. We got enough talk.
When I'm out working on trying to stop AIDS, I'll work with an atheist. I'll work with a gay person. I'll work with somebody who totally disagrees with me. If they want to work on an issue, fine! Why? We're building a bridge!
We will never solve any of the major problems of the world until you involve houses of faith—mosques, temples, synagogues, churches, and so forth. There are 600,000 Buddhists in the world. There are 800,000 Hindus in the world. There are over a billion Muslims, couple billion Christians. Most of the world has some kind of faith. And if you say only secularists can do humanitarian care, you've ruled out most of the world.
You see, there's 600 million Buddhists in the world, there are 800 million Hindus in the world, there are a billion Muslims in the world, but there are 2.3 billion Christians in the world. If you take people of faith out of the equation, you've ruled out 5/6ths of the world. So we have to mobilize this faith…these faith groups to do…take work together on these issues that that have been unsolvable.
If you remove people of faith (and when I talk about people of faith I'm talking about all of the faiths that we have in the world), the actual number of secularists is quite small outside of Europe and Manhattan. Most people have some kind of faith.
Mike: This kind of ecumenical interfaith tolerance has caused many to compromise the truth. Warren even called the Pope Francis “our pope,” whose church has said the Holy Spirit is found at work in other religions, as well.
When you seek to purposely find agreement, overlooking what is contrary in the Word, you will find yourself disagreeing with the Word. Those not willing to have the true unity of the Spirit will adopt a manmade unity and reject the doctrine of Christ.
Warren stated that we could find truth in other religions. He has. There's truth in every religion. “I, Christians, believe there's truth in every religion. We just believe there's just one Savior.” No, Christians do not believe that there is truth in every religion. Other religions have different gods.
Warren goes on to say, “We believe we can learn truth from…I believe I have learned a lot of truth from different religions, because they all have a portion of the truth. I just believe there's one Savior.”
Apart from this last sentence, this is not biblical Christianity, that is Rosicrucianism. If there is truth in every religion, what other religion did Jesus quote from? None of them. Warren says he knows there are followers of Christ in other religions because they believe in Him.
This is exactly what the Bible warned would happen in the last days. It's called “mystery Babylon,” which is prophecy, which Warren does not like to teach.
This new spirituality Warren spoke of is also mentioned by Leonard Sweet in his book Quantum Spirituality, who speaks of “new Christians” and “new Light Leaders.” He states that one can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the “flickers of the sacred” in the followers of Yahweh, Kali, or Krishna.
Piggybacking on all this, the Emergent Church Movement surfaced and opened the door further as they adopted ancient spiritual teachings and practices of monks and other religions. Using labyrinths, chanting, centering, contemplative prayer (a movement that Richard Foster would be approving of), they integrated other religious practices and brought the church further into interfaith.
From the beginning, other religious beliefs have always tried to merge with Christianity. Gnosticism and mysticism are two of these earliest ones. Today some have adopted the axiom, “Never let a religious idea go to waste,” even if it's the very opposite of the Scripture.
During this time period, the Spiritual Warfare Movement was growing and gaining popularity. Ana Mendez, an appointed general in Peter Wagner's New Apostolic Army, headed up Operation Ice Castle. A prayer team was to be sent to scale Mount Everest. Peter Wagner stated, “God spoke to us,” now consider what he's saying here, that “God spoke to us that he was going to release judgment upon the iniquity and over the false religious systems of the world. He said that he was going to bring down the foundations of Mystery Babylon, the great mother of harlots.” They said climbing Everest was one of the most important exploits of the Holy Spirit sent to the church to do. Mendez was supposed to climb to the top of Everest, but she didn't. She and her spiritual warfare cohorts traveled to Mount Everest to destroy “Babylon the Great.” Her display was fantasy spiritual warfare. It is one of the most bizarre exercises ever seen, more like what pagans did to capture other gods.
Woman: The revelation began to come over us clear as a mountain stream. God was in the process of revealing to us the location of the throne of Satan on earth—the precise place of the government of the Babylonian structure that control the false religions of the world. We're about to go out to cut the throat of the great beast. We are living here in very important days in history. The entire warfare team is here, and is preparing for the great battle.
Man: Because it is the hour designated by the Holy Spirit for the fall of the beast, of the dragon with seven heads who sits on the mountains and influences the nations of the earth. It is the hour for the fall of Babylon the great, the great prostitute, mother of all the abominations of the earth, and the fall of the dragon. In the name of Jesus, we declare that this act is firm, that it is valid, and that nothing can annul it.
As I have said before, I thrust the dagger deep into the ground, deep so that the wound in your throat and in your neck will be firm and powerful. As the Lord said in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as a prophet sent by God to the nations, I release now the Word and I proclaim: It is done. The beast and the dragon are wounded in the name of Jesus, Son of the living God.
Satan, here is a sword that God has placed within my hands, and I will strike you so hard by the Spirit that you will know, that you will know, that you will know that your kingdom is fallen. Now I prophesy that the beast receives his blow.
Now by Jehovah, by Jesus, by Jehovah, by Jesus, by Jehovah, by Jesus—Satan, be destroyed. Amen. Fall now! Your kingdom has fallen! I prophesy that your kingdom has fallen.
Woman: Because Satan and his peace have fallen. Babylon the great harlot has been captured! The great prostitute has fallen!
Mike: They claimed to destroy false religion and prophesied revival over the whole world. The beast and Satan had fallen. Babylon had fallen. Has anything changed? No, in fact, it's gotten worse.
It is perplexing that people can actually believe these kinds of unbiblical interpretation and spirit stories, but it's quite easy to do when you depart the Word.
Here in Hawaii, Daniel Kikawa wrote a book proposing that a group of Israelites broke away from their wilderness journey to the Promised Land and continued on their journey to Hawaii. He claimed that they knew God before the missionaries got here from the gospel in the stars. Kikawa said he used the most accurate legends available. He then Christianized them. The myths were treated as having equality, important truth, as the Word of God.
Now, this would not have been significant as an influence, except that he gained access to one of the world's largest missionary organizations, YWAM. Then-presiding president John Dawson accepted and promoted him, saying, “Daniel Kikawa and the Hawaiians are showing us the way.” His way was a new methodology that we should cease representing Jesus as the Son of the foreign God of a foreign people (meaning Israel), and his way is we should instead introduce Jesus as the son of their creator god. This means the gods of each culture are the father, and that Jesus is the son of all the nation's gods, making them all the God of the Bible.
Now YWAM’s spiritual openness was seen by its founder Lauren Cunningham along with Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade when, back in 1975, they developed a teaching called the Seven Mountain Teaching, a “kingdom now” concept that has recently been popularized of how the church can take control over the world. But this dominion that will will only be seen when the Messiah returns to earth. The church cannot do this.
Bringing us up to today, Andrew Wommack, a word-faith teacher that majors on the promise of healing, teaches that Satan was originally on this earth in the Garden of Eden as Lucifer. He was God's number one angel sent to earth to be a blessing to Adam and Eve. He was an angelic being sent to be their protector, to minister to them and serve them. He was there on a divine mission, still in his perfect state.
Now think of what he's saying: that Satan was sent by God as an unfallen angel into the Garden to bless and protect Adam and Eve. Is that what is written? No, he fell in heaven before he even tempted Eve on earth.
A popular academic Michael Heiser, using the pagan Ugarit writings which are of the ancient pagan myths from the Canaanites to interpret the Scripture, he teaches God is the head of a pantheon of elohim, of gods, a divine council of gods that existed before creation. He says the creature in the Garden that tempted eve is not Satan but the serpent who was at elohim, a god who was part of the divine council headquartered in the Garden of Eden.
Heiser claims that Satan in the Book of Job is not evil. He is a member in good standing among God's council who acts like a prosecuting attorney, doing the job God assigned to him. He teaches that later on, the Jewish writings adopted Satan as a proper name for the serpent figure in Genesis 3. However, the Scripture, which is the truth, in Revelation:12:9 and 22 identifies the serpent as the same being who is the devil who is also Satan, as did Jesus in the New Testament.
An ad for Joe Kovacs’ new book on several Amazon best-selling lists asks, “Has the divine code finally been cracked?” Called Reaching God Speed: Unlocking the Secret Broadcast Revealing the Mystery of Everything, Kovacs says, “The Creator is voicing additional messages on the spirit level that has come to life when we listen at God speed, the allegory level above and beyond human speed. Unlocking the Secret Broadcast Revealing the Mystery of Everything, hundreds of ancient mysteries and prophecies are instantly unsealed as the master key that unlocks the mystery of everything is now in your hands,” meaning his book is the key that will unlock and reveal the mystery of everything.
This “God speed” is done by allegory, revisioning the meaning of words and the phrases in the world using gnostic and mystical concepts. This he calls “reaching the spirit level.”
He claims hidden Bible messages are embedded in countless hit songs, but the writers are clueless of the divine messages that they're carrying for God. Artists and bands like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Madonna, The Who, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Dire Straits, numerous others—I'm not sure if he even excludes anyone—are all getting these messages.
An example is the song “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith. He says it’s declaring the same message stated by God: “This is the way, walk in it,” quoting Isaiah:30:21. Now go look at the lyrics of this song and see if it means what Kovacs claims. And what about songs like “Walk Like an Egyptian,” or others? Another song is “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin. He says it's titled because it's literally and figuratively the pathway to ascend to God's dwelling place, Kovacs asserts, instructing us in how we can join “him” if we listen very hard, as in listening to our Father in heaven.
Is this what the song “Stairway to Heaven” is about? The lyrics are, “And she's buying a stairway to heaven. The piper will lead us, the piper is calling you to join him.” Who's the piper? Led Zeppelin was deep into the occult, so much so that Jimmy Page bought the castle owned by the most infamous satanist of our modern time, Aleister Crowley. What this means is that these musicians are under the influence, doing automatic writing for God, channeling. Kovacs even states, “There's an untold yet quite significant reason rock music is even called by that name. Just ask yourself, Who's the rock according to Scripture?” Well, rock music is not called this after Jesus, and to say this is to obfuscate its origin.
Well, Kovacs believes that God's presence is in everything, that Scriptures are the unseen template for everything that happens in life. His concept is like a God consciousness permeating all things, which is pantheistic.
He claims God is broadcasting on all frequencies. Hidden messages from God are found in the movies and commercials as well as songs. For example, “I've fallen and I can't get up!” He says it's actually broadcasting the important message that we as human beings have all fallen away from God by our sinful behavior, and that we need God's help to get up and spiritually stand with Him. Well, the Bible says that all fallen short of the glory of God, not fallen down and can't get up. He is spiritualizing words from the world to be Bible verses and meanings.
He also states that many people have a strong desire to learn hidden truths about God, but that is what the occult is about. Deuteronomy:29:29 tells us, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, and what is revealed belongs unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Notice what is revealed is for us to obey the Word.
To claim secular music, Hollywood movies, or commercials have hidden truth from God as he describes is not only irreconcilable with God's Word, but as a form of catachresis.
Recently a new Bible translation was made by Brian Simmons who is a mystic and Latter Rain adherent and he is promoted by the New Apostolic Reformation. Simeon's Latter Rain teaching tells us we are Christ, the Word. The Second Coming is our unveiling. That we are even included in the Trinity.
Now, he was interviewed on Sid Roth’s It’s Supernatural program, and he is asked, “So where did you come up with the words ‘Passion Translation’?” Simmons said that years ago he saw an angel named Passion in the church meeting, and the lord spoke to him and said that the angel will be with your ministry. Well, this is just like Todd Bentley's angel, who's just like William Branham's angel—not a good repeat.
Simmons, like so many others claims that the Lord made a personal visit to him. He breathed on him to help him translate the Aramaic language, which he did not know. He describes it as “downloads coming instantly, like I got a chip put inside of me.” He calls it a “spirit of revelation.”
Simmons claimed that Jesus came and took him to a library in heaven where he was allowed to have two books. But up there in heaven he desired a third book, a brand new chapter of John's gospel, John 22. Sid Roth, who's interviewing him, who will believe just about anything that sounds extremely supernatural, is told by Simmons that he thought of stealing it.
Brian Simmons: I was actually asleep, and I was taken out of my body and I was brought into this immense library room. I loved being there, and the Lord came up to me and he said, “Brian, I have brought you here to let you take any two books you want.” And I’m just walking around, but it didn't take long before I saw a book that I knew I was to have. And then soon I saw another book I knew I was to have. But you'll never want me back on the show when I tell you what happened then.
Sid Roth: What?
Brian: Well, I have to tell you the truth: I saw a third book, and I knew the lord told me I could only take two, and in heaven whatever you think is put out over the loudspeaker. Everyone hears it. Your thoughts are broadcasted. So here's what I hear coming out of the loudspeaker, and it's my own thoughts: How can I steal this book? And then I said, “Oh, no! I'm shoplifting on God!” I felt so ashamed that I…but I knew if I could take this book, there was this book so…if I could just take this book back with me to the natural realm, it would trigger awakening in all the nations of the earth. It would bring the…it would make the name of Jesus famous in the world. But Jesus came to me and said, “Brian, I cannot let you take this book.” And he looked at me in the eyes with love that melted me, and he said, “You are not ready for that book.” Then he promised, “But I will bring you back one day, and I will give you that book.”
Sid: What was the title?
Brian: Written on the cover of the book was John 22.
Sid: But there's only 21 chapters in John! What's this 22?
Brian: Well, John 22—go back to John:14:12 and you'll see that there is a greater works generation. “The works that I do, you will do even greater works than these.” I believe the John 22 generation will be a people that do the greater works of Jesus. They will not add to the Scripture and that's a sealed book, but it is a book that is unfolding. And the works of Jesus will be replicated by an entire generation of people that believe fully in the power of God.
Mike: So Jesus was telling him he's not ready for this word of God by John. The problem is that John did not write John 22. This is a religious lie. Of course, Simmons and others get away with this imaginary experiential story among the naïve, an untrained and scriptural truth.
Simmons is telling us we could take things from heaven to earth, and he checked out two books from the library that were apparently new revelation. And he did all this without a library card! Like so many others who claimed to go to heaven—Kat Kerr, Jesse Duplantis, Bob Jones, so many others have false […] stories.
Only two apostles, Paul and John, went to heaven. Paul said it was illegal for him to speak what he saw. Later, John was allowed to write the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ, closing the canon of Scripture.
Speaking of revelation in heaven, we have Bill Johnson of Bethel Church, who is the first official hybrid new age church, that for years has taught of open portals that you can decide when to visit heaven. You could pull down body parts from a store room if you need one. Call on angels to do your bidding. All unbiblical teachings.
In fact, Johnson incorporates nearly every false teaching that has been around in the church for the last 30 years. They have “spirit soaking,” which came from the Vineyard, “grave soaking” to get the anointing like Benny Hinn did at Kathryine Kuhlman’s grave, manifestations of gold dust, feathers, gems falling, a pairing of angel orbs, spirit travel, glory clouds, Holy Spirit winds, spiritual drunkenness, unholy laughter, and if that's not strong enough, you can toke the Holy Ghost. There's also contemplative prayer and meditation practices from the study of mystics and yoga and visualization practices. He has intensified word faith teachings, teaching prophetic art and healing from dancing and communion, with prophetic reading of tattoos, and this is only a short list of their unbiblical practices.
Woman: We are community. We are yoga. And we are Jesus.
Woman 2: I am holy yoga.
Woman 3: I am holy yoga.
Woman 4: I am holy yoga.
Woman 5: I am holy yoga.
Woman 6: That we're just living in the freedom of the spirit where Paul says everything is permissible, but not everything beneficial. So we get to this space where we're disciplined by the nuances of the spirit, but in the interior part of your being that you don't go for moralistic living, but you breathe into the power of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to shift and change. As Job says, it's the breath in a man, the Spirit of the Almighty, that gives us our understanding.
Mike: Bill Johnson also has a wrong Christology, teaching as many do these days that Jesus did His miracles as an anointed man, as not being God.
One of the spiritual mentors of Bethel's church is William Branham, the main promoter of the false Latter Rain teachings. He taught that Jesus became God at his baptism. Johnson teaches Jesus emptied Himself of His divinity as man. So the anointing was needed because He did all His miracles as a man, not as God. And Johnson is going to do the same as a man. How? He tells us that every born-again believer has the DNA of Christ, that we can all do what Jesus did. DNA is a human quality that has nothing to do with Him being the Son of God.
How far away can one get from the Word? My last example is Doug Addison, who claims to give interpretive prophecy on anyone's tattoos, Christianizing the messages of the tattoo. He teaches others to do this, as well.
Doug Addison: I actually have been hearing God all my life, but didn't know it. I knew things. I'd have dreams, and then I went out and started practicing dream interpretation, and use the prophetic gifts to reach people that are way outside the church. And I get a word of knowledge for them.
Dreams are my preferred method of hearing from God, because here's what I found out: is God will give us a dream and often we don't quite understand it. But, you know, if the revelation came from him and it went in our spirit, it's still going to play its way out in our life. So I call it “revelation with no obligation,” and I love that kind of revelation.
Well, I've gone out and interpreted literally tens of thousands of dreams, and I've noticed the same ones over and over. I do dream interpretation for evangelism, and I've been doing it well over 10 years.
I've trained thousands of dream and prophetic teams that go all over the world, sharing God's love in some of the most unusual places. And I’ve noticed this: is that people everywhere have tattoos. Did you know that over a billion people on earth have tattoos or piercings?
I was on an outreach over eight years ago and I did my first tattoo interpretation. And, boy, it was an amazing response! And since then I’ve studied it thoroughly. I've also interpreted thousands of tattoos and I’ve trained hundreds of people to do it. And I know this might sound controversial to some people, but yet some others are saying, “Wow, it's about time someone did this!” Right?
But what I want to offer is the ability to recognize the prophetic meaning behind…of course we're going to use the Holy Spirit as our guide. There's this significance in the placement on where they put it on the body, whether they know it or not.
Okay, and so it's there, right?
Doug: But even more is probably some things that he didn't do. That's why you're updating it.
Man: Probably, yeah.
Doug: There were some things that you're going to fulfill that he didn't. And notice it's over your heart, and I just thought it was really interesting that you got…we’ve got a flower here…
Doug: …and the star and then the two guns right, and the birds singing? Well, you know, I really think the star right over your heart says that you're going to be the star of your generational line. You know, you're going to fulfill some things that many people couldn't do in your family.
Woman: It says, “peace and love.”
Doug: It says peace and love in Tamil?
Woman: Yeah, because the war just ended and I got it right after the war ended, because the reason…
Doug: Wow, so really it was a commemoration that the war ended in peace and love. Now here's what I find interesting is this is the hand, you know, you said you're going to get married?
Doug: Well, that's where you put your finger, right? Your wedding finger.
Woman: Oh, right! I never even thought about that!
Doug: And so that…look at that: there's a vein. There's actually something that runs all the way to your heart. And so it really tells you, whether you realize it or not, you were saying it about your country, but what you are all about is peace and love, and that you're a peacemaker everywhere you go
Woman: Aww, that’s nice!
Mike: So many teach false interpretations or new revelation that ends up replacing the Word. What do all these popular teachers have in common? Not tradition, but addition. They're all adding to the Word. By incorporating mysticism, Gnosticism, occult, and pagan teachings, these other spiritual beliefs are combined into Christianity, replacing the Bible as its authority.
Now, I have presented a short snapshot—maybe mug shot—of these false teachings the church has been contending with up to the present. These men's influence, whether they are alive or deceased, like William Branham, become a legacy of falsehood to those afterwards. Our spiritual unity is to adhere to what is written, not to what is not written.
We are to protect the unity we have received. We maintain it by keeping the Word, the unity of the Spirit who inspired the Word.
First timothy 4:1: “The Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” The Spirit himself is telling us of an influence of demonic teaching countering God's inspired truth. A time when error and heresy have intruded in the church that can result in a departure from the faith for many. Why? “Because they will not tolerate sound doctrine. By their own desires through itching ears they will gather for themselves teachers that will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to myths.”
We get ourselves in trouble when we do not heed the word and we start to replace it with other practices. Proverbs:30:6 tells us, “Do not add to his words, lest you be rebuked and found a liar.” Paul admonishes us in the New Testament, “Do not go beyond what is written.”
True unity does not come easy in the last days we live in. We're going to have to take a stand. We can't stop all this from taking place. It's been going on since the church's inception, but now it is escalated far worse than in the beginning.
The Bible warns of a counterfeit unity forming in the last days that is not of God, and it will end up being under the false Christ.
Truth is probably the most mentioned concept in the Bible. Our God is called a God of truth. Psalm 43 says, “Send out your light and your truth. Let them lead me.”
First Samuel 12: “Only fear the Lord and serve him in truth with all your heart.”
Why are people being misled? One reason is because they do not have the belt of truth on. Psalm 91 says, “His truth shall be your shield and your buckler.” Ephesians:6:14: “Stand therefore having girded your waist with truth.”
As darkness deepens upon the world, churches should become brighter, stronger. We only become weaker when there is a lack of teaching of the Word accurately. In this void, new revelation, adding to the word, and bad interpretation replace the truth. Let us discern what is foreign to Scripture and walk by the truth. Let us be bold and courageous in these last days. Psalm:27:14 states, “Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart. Wait on the Lord.” Until He comes, may God's grace be with all of you as you do His work.