The Bible suggests the Middle East is the epicenter of the world. Recent events in Israel and related to Israel should have everyone's attention. I'm not a dreamer believing all eyes are on that region, but I am hopeful that a remnant is paying attention. Here's why.
1) On February 20, Israeli President Shimon Peres chose hard-line Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new Israeli government, ending days of speculation and giving Netanyahu six weeks to put together a ruling coalition.
2) Netanyahu might have little choice but to forge a coalition with nationalist and religious parties opposed to peacekeeping with the Palestinians and Israel's other Arab neighbors.
3) This could set Israel on a collision course with the U.S., the Jewish state's top international patron. Additionally, President Obama has vowed to make Mideast peace a top priority. His first call in the Oval Office was to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
4) Even deeper wounds will be the result if Netanyahu keeps his pledge to topple the Hamas government in Gaza. He is correct when he says Israel halted the Gaza offensive too soon. This will further enrage the world that has sympathy for the devil, Hamas, which wishes Israel be wiped off the map. Worldwide anti-Semitism is growing so fast that some compare parts of Europe to Germany in the 1930s.
5) On February 14, the Obama administration announced that it would be sending a delegation to Geneva to participate in planning the United Nation's so-called Durban II conference scheduled for late April. This sent shock waves through Jerusalem as these meetings are anti-Israel hate-fests. The Durban II conference was announced in the summer of 2007. Its stated purpose is to review the implementation of the declaration adopted at the United Nation's anti-Israel hate fest that took place in Durban, South Africa, the week before the September 11, 2001, attacks on America. This is a serious mistake America and the Obama administration are making.
6) We are seeing the beginnings of Zechariah 12:3--all nations, including America, turning on God's land and people.
7) The conclusion can be made that some Israelis are sick of the antics of the Left in Israel. Her retreat in recent wars only allows her enemies to re-arm and plan further conflict without end.
8) It is now clear that the Obama administration will not make an effort to take out Iran's nukes, which are a danger to the entire world. It is up to Israel and Israel alone. The rest of the world is looking the other way, in denial, or hoping a group hug and "negotiations" with the Mullahs and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will make this nightmare go away. And when Israel does the world a favor by taking out some nuclear facilities, she will be excoriated around the world. Netanyahu is the man to take action. None of the doves in Israeli leadership in recent years would.
9) The Jews ignored the warnings of a previous Hitler in the 1930s and six million died. They are not going to sit and ignore the threats of the new Hitler in Iran. This may be the single reason why Israel's right-of-center leaders got the nod in the February 10 election.
10) Israeli politics is complicated. Political parties on the Left are threatening to throw a monkey wrench in all of this and they could.
The world is in turmoil now and particularly almost every nation's economy. This, too, throws out a welcome mat that says let's make Israel the scapegoat. The devil makes all nations think this is such fun! But "He who watches Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps" (Psalm 121:3). And the same God watches over you and neither slumbers nor sleeps.
America is changing at break-neck speed and many of the changes are not helpful! While Americans were eager for "change," it is doubtful they anticipated the loss of free speech.
So let me explain the unfair "Fairness Doctrine." My radio program, Understanding the Times , is in the target range.
The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) met last weekend in Memphis and according to President Frank Wright, experienced an ominous shroud cast by the issue of the "Fairness Doctrine." They intend to fight this issue as much as that is possible. However, they may not even be given the opportunity to fight it as they would wish.
In an article posted online by Human Events on February 6, they write, "Christian broadcasters say they will be targeted once President Obama's appointees gain control of the Federal Communications Commission."
Warren Kelley, president of Point of View, the first Christian talk show to go on the air via satellite 37 years ago, states, "The Left Wing will immediately start filing complaints, and it will in short order shut Christian broadcasting down." He concludes, "I think it will so limit what they say that, in essence, they will cease to be Christian broadcasters."
NRB President Wright says that he expects Christian broadcasters to be hit hard because of the doctrine's requirement for so-called "balance."
Human Events has information that the Christian talk giant of Salem Communications may be the first targeted. Please note that I air on many Salem stations including Minneapolis/St. Paul, Seattle, and Portland.
Salem's national talk show host Janet Parshall states, "What we want to do is tell the message of Jesus. What the 'Fairness Doctrine' would have us do is give equal time to Buddha, Allah and (Scientologist) L. Ron Hubbard."
NRB President Wright backs that up by saying, "If an opposing view must be found for every matter of controversy, Christian broadcasters could find themselves in the unenviable and untenable position of seeking out other religious viewpoints, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, or atheist, to counter what ministers of the gospel say on air."
The process would work this way: A Muslim group such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) or a homosexual rights group such as the ACLU, would file a complaint with the FCC because Understanding the Times radio failed to provide the proper contrasting view. The FCC would be empowered to force the station to present the other side of the story or lose its license. Many stations would opt to cancel the show to avoid the controversy and legal expense.
One of last Saturday's radio guests on Understanding the Times is Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission. Tune in on my Radio Archives to hear Gary explain this process. It does not require any vote in Congress. It just requires the new head of the FCC to sign a paper and the "Fairness Doctrine" is law again, having been abolished by President Reagan in the early 1980s.
As it looks now, this policy will only apply to Christian and conservative talk radio, not the print media or TV. They already lean left and conservatives will not be given the same opportunity to be a balance in those arenas. Nor would they be given an opportunity to speak on liberal talk radio such as Air America.
Christian radio upsets the Left because it opposes same-sex marriage, abortion, teen pregnancy, strict teaching of evolution, and the liberal secular movement. Thus, we are targeted even before Rush Limbaugh who actually sways elections.
While President Obama was vague on this issue during the campaign, he is no longer! The White House Web site on its technology agenda page states that the president plans to "encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum."
George Orwell's 1984 may have been 25 years early but the world it envisions has arrived. Welcome to the new America. God has allowed a strong delusion to take over this nation. Hopefully Christians on their knees can lessen the damage.
There is a story in II Samuel 8 where we see Israel demanding a king. God was not sufficient for them, so they asked for a "real king." They got an evil one -- Saul.
America has been in a similar mood. We want a "king" to solve our many problems starting with the economy. So Israel said to Samuel, "Now appoint a king to lead us such as all the other nations have" (II Samuel 8:5). But all the other nations had pagan kings.
God lamented to Samuel and said, "Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."
Two years ago came a charismatic man named Barack Obama who was engulfed in a cult-like atmosphere. Some actually called him "the messiah." Shrines were built to him. A Web site said, "Obama is god." There has been a messianic fervor, adoration and a worship-like atmosphere surrounding him. At some rallies people fainted at the sight of him. Young children recorded on YouTube sang songs to him stating he would change the world.
The intrigue with this man is global. Newsweek magazine had a headline recently titled, "The World Hopes for its First President." Imagine, a world president! Newsweek states, "In country after country, polls show a record-high fascination with the outcome of the U.S. elections."
Newsweek basically said "The international audience really cared less about John McCain, Sarah Palin, or Joe Biden. Somewhere along the road to the White House, Obama became the world's candidate."
Even for those with proper eschatology this sounds alarming. But on the positive side, a barometer as to how late the hour is has been revealed. Newsweek continues, "Obama is a 21st century man with whom the whole world can identify."
In Obama's speech in Berlin, Obama said that we are allcitizens of the world! Talk about a message on globalism. Will he establish the one-world system?
America longs for a king to take care of us. We demanded change and change we will get! There are YouTube clips of people jumping for joy that Obama will take care of them. As one says, "Obama will pay my mortgage and buy my gas." The entitlement mentality reigns and it is cross-cultural.
As Jack Kinsella says in his recent Omega Intelligence Digest, "In October capitalism passed away after a long illness." He is right. Socialism now is very appealing and being implemented in America. The government is buying up many industries and turning them over to a new Socialist president!
None of the candidates who ran in "Campaign 2008" can save us! Only the Lord God of Israel can do that! But as in Samuel's day, God is not good enough for America. Thus, I believe He has allowed "strong delusion" to filter across the nation and around the world. It says in Isaiah 66:4, "I will choose their delusions." Thus, all has happened for a reason. God removes kings and establishes kings for His own purposes. (Daniel 2:21)
Here's what we do know for sure. In spite of troubling and even perilous times, the Bible still has all the answers, the Holy Spirit is still active, God will still inhabit the praises of His people, there will still be room at the cross, Jesus will still save the lost, and Jesus will still return to the holy city of Jerusalem to establish perfect government: A Theocracy for 1000 years.
"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end...."(Isaiah 9:6-7).
I received an interesting e-mail today from a pastor and would like to build on it. The e-mail reads, "Your ministry has been a wealth of information during my sermon series preparation on the 'death of discernment.' There is so much to cover. I liken it to our recent trip to New York. We saw 50 major landmarks and we only scratched the surface."
The pastor continues, "There is no way I can cover all the deception issues in a sermon series in less than three years. What would you consider to be the top ten issues on this topic?"
It will take him three years! Is it really that bad? It may be. And I'm glad I can add to a good pastor's sermon material!
The Bible prophesies that the church of the last days will be characterized by apostasy. Paul said that the Antichrist will not be revealed until "the apostasy comes first" (II Thess. 2:3). Jesus prophesied that "many will fall away" and "most people's love will grow cold" (Matthew 24:10, 12).
Dr. David Reagan, one of our "Understanding the Times 2008" speakers, asks, "How have we reached this crisis point in the church? It is rooted in the German School of Higher Criticism which invaded this country big-time in the 1920s. According to the 'scientific approach' of this school of skeptics, the Bible is not the revealed Word of God. Rather, it is man's search for God, and therefore it is filled with myth, legend, and superstition.
"Today this viewpoint dominates the seminaries in America. The Bible is studied not to be believed and obeyed but to be analyzed, dissected, and criticized. The result is that the Scriptures have lost their authority."
The pastor who e-mailed me asked for the top ten areas of deception. The possibilities are legion. When we have voices out there like Brian McLaren stating that "everything must change" -- in his book by that title -- the old ways of doing church are mocked along with sound theology. The invasion of these post-moderns is alarming.
Writer and researcher Berit Kjos says, "Infiltration and deception have been tools of conspirators through the ages, and the church has been a primary target! After all, God warns us that 'the whole world is under the sway of the evil one' (I John 5:19). One of his most effective schemes is to redefine God's Word and divert Christians from His unchanging truth to man's shifting ideals."
The world and church have let Oprah Winfrey shape the culture with her me-centered gospel. Her "New Age" terminology is viewed by many believers as "Christian." Throw in Emergent theology and its post-modern message that emphasizes feelings over doctrine. Add to the mix the push for unity today and we have a freight train on the move and out of control. The conclusion is that "felt needs" trump everything. Oh, and don't forget the "seeker movement" message of "gospel lite" so that Christians today can hardly find the true gospel anywhere.
Biblical Christianity never became outdated even if Emergent leader Brian McLaren implies that it has. Biblical truth will continue to be scorned by those who consider themselves to be intellectual (I Cor. 1:20), and it will likely be rejected by those who seek the praise of man over the praise of God (John 12:42, 43). But the Spirit of God is always at work in the hearts of men, giving life to human spirits by the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:19).
Will you contend for the faith today as we are asked to do in Jude 3? It will cost you something. You will lose loved ones. You will be tempted to cave in and keep quiet. You will feel very alone. I know these things because endless e-mails from the four corners of the earth come into this office. If everyone who felt alone would get together, I promise you we wouldn't feel alone! We would fill many football stadiums.
The pastor mentioned above closed off with a good word: "Don't spend too much time focusing on the deception, but on the truth." But may I add, don't stop being a "watchman" or "contender for the faith."
So don't despair and do plan on a great reward for standing up for truth rather than the razzle-dazzle gimmicks that tell us we can get closer to God if we walk the labyrinth or practice centering prayer. He's living inside of us. How much closer can He be to us than living within us?
Following a four-day conference last week at Yale University, Christian and Muslim leaders from around the world announced the first step of the "Common Word" exchange drafted last November. A joint statement was affirmed in their support of religious freedom and further interfaith dialogue based on their common love for God and neighbor.
But something is very wrong with this picture.
Over 140 conference participants unanimously approved a cooperative statement that signaled a "new beginning of collaboration between Christians and Muslims" where stronger assertions of faith would be required. So the statement began by affirming the "unity and absoluteness of God" and God's merciful love as central to both religions.
Wait a minute! Allah has merciful love? And Allah is central to both Christianity and Islam? Isn't it devotion to Allah that causes people to strap explosives onto themselves and blow innocent people to shreds? And seems he also encourages some of his followers to cut off heads of the innocent?
In attendance and in agreement, sadly, were both the head of the National Association of Evangelicals and the World Evangelical Alliance. Those two organizations represent most evangelicals in America. But both faiths pledged to spend one week a year sharing the good aspects about the other's faith. Our pulpits are already lacking in sound gospel preaching! Now we must take one week each year to learn that Islam might really be "a religion of peace?" And that Christians and Muslims worship the same God?
The Lord's Day is just that: A day to worship and learn about the God of the Bible, not to hear about the positive nature of Islam or any other faith. It's tough enough that many reading this are laboring in churches that have forsaken the Bible for "new ways of doing church." We have leftists and Emergent Church leaders praised in our pulpits, and now once a year we will have Islam praised in our pulpits-and I am speaking of "evangelical" pulpits since the heads of the evangelical world signed on to this.
Don't these evangelical leaders know that deception is part and parcel of the Muslim religion when they deal with "infidels"? Do they really think American mosques are going to start heralding Christianity once a year and really mean it? Don't they know that many American mosques-certainly not all-are the breeding ground for calling for the destruction of America and its takeover by Islam?
I have to conclude that the primary goal here is ecumenical unity. The second goal is to get Christians to see Islam in a positive light. Sharing the gospel with Muslims is not part of the agenda with this interfaith effort, even though thousands of Muslims are turning to Christ today. If this element were a part of the plan, it would be less egregious. I ask, "Where is the outrage toward the evangelical leaders who are promoting this agenda?"
It has long been the standard of congregations who are a part of the National Council of Churches to promote ecumenical unity and praise false religions. Now that so-called evangelical organizations are doing same, is there a dime's worth of difference between them?
Forgive my cynicism but I think the Muslims are laughing all the way to Mecca.
Many have asked me to comment on William P. Young's ragingly popular book, The Shack. Is this work of fiction really Christian? It is called by some as one of Christianity's most influential books. One prominent endorser says it will "leave you craving for God."
Yet people I respect highly, including Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Seminary, calls it "undiluted heresy." He maintains there is no way it can seriously address the issues of Christian faith.
Here is the scenario in brief. Remember, this fiction plot is going to transform lives! A man by the name of "Mack" has a daughter murdered and he slips into a depression. He gets a message that he is supposed to meet God in the shack. Entering the shack, he is in the company of the Trinity, but now it gets weird and hard to believe anyone could be deceived by this piece of work.
In the shack he learns that God is "Papa" but is really an African-American female. Thankfully, Jesus is a Jewish man, but the Holy Spirit is another female figure of Asian descent. So much for Trinitarian theology! So Christianity has been misconstrued and has been revised. Talk about minimizing the Divine!
On page 110 Jesus says that He is perhaps not the way, truth, and life, but the BEST way to relate to the Father and Holy Spirit. Papa God, the African-American female, says she has many followers of many religions in different lands. This is not Orthodox Christianity, yet millions of Christian readers claim it is! Discernment has taken a summer vacation or perhaps a permanent vacation.
Mack asks "Papa" God, the female, about God's wrath. The answer is that she doesn't punish people for sin; rather she wants to cure sin. No mention of repentance, the shed blood, and all the things the new "seeker" environment wants to leave out in the church parking lot.
Former "New Ager" Warren Smith says, "The Shack is being described as a Christian novel and is currently ranked number one on the New York Times best-seller list for paperback fiction. Many believers are buying multiple copies and giving them to friends and family. The Shack reads as a true story but is obviously allegorical fiction. The book conveys postmodern spiritual ideas and teachings that challenge biblical Christianity - all in the name of 'God' and 'Jesus' and the 'Holy Spirit.' Author William P. Young's alternative presentation of traditional Christianity has both inspired and outraged his many readers. All the while his book continues to fly off the shelves of local bookstores."
Smith, who has been on my radio program many times denouncing Oprah Winfrey's deception, goes on to say, "I was drawn into the 'New Age Movement' years ago by books and lectures containing parabolic stories that were not unlike The Shack. They felt spiritually uplifting as they tackled tough issues and talked about God's love and forgiveness. They seemed to provide me with what I spiritually needed as they gave me much-needed hope and promise. Building on the credibility they achieved through their inspirational and emotive writings, my 'New Age' authors and teachers would then go on to tell me that God was in everyone and everything.
"I discovered that author William P. Young does exactly the same thing in The Shack. He moves through his very engaging and emotional story to eventually present this same 'New Age' teaching that God is 'in' everything." As writer and researcher Berit Kjos concludes, "Yet countless pastors and church leaders are delighting in its message. By ignoring (or redefining) sin and guilt, they embrace an inclusive but counterfeit 'Christianity' that draws crowds but distorts the Bible. Discounting Satan as well, they weaken God's warnings about deception. No wonder His armor for today's spiritual war became an early victim of this spreading assault on truth."
So The Shack opens in the context of tragedy. Four years have passed since the cruel murder of Missy, Mack's precious six-year-old daughter. Enveloped in grief, he receives a strange invitation. "I've missed you," it says. "I'll be at the shack next weekend if you want to get together. Papa." What could it mean?
Doubtful, but drawn to the meeting, Mack heads for the Oregon wilderness and finds the dilapidated old shack. "God" miraculously transforms it into a cozy cottage, and Mack meets his supposed maker.
No, it doesn't get any stranger but sadly, it doesn't get more popular with Christians who miss the point that The Shack is intended to bring about a new definition of the Christian faith.
As Albert Mohler says, "This is totally seductive and subversive, but readers, even believers, don't seem to mind."
I thank God for all of those who are speaking out today over outrageous issues like this one. I am reminded about the many false things promoted today written in 2 Timothy 3:16: "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived."
This is a last days' reference and if you don't think we're in them (the last days), I'll sell you a beach vacation to Minnesota in January.
I quote my good friend and ministry colleague Jim Hutchens of "The Jerusalem Connection International" when he says, "The veiled anti-Israel action by the Presbyterian Church USA is nothing less than blatant anti-Semitism." I also agree with him. So what is the issue?
As I write truthful but unpleasant comments about the Presbyterian Church, I know many Presbyterian readers of this do not agree with their church leadership. But, at the recent "Presbyterian Church USA" annual meeting, a number of Presbyterian leaders pled passionately for "a declaration of solidarity with the Palestinian Arabs." The appeal included "a recommendation to adopt a series of anti-Israel measures, including proposals for divestment and for backing a suspension of American military aid to the Jewish state." In essence they called for Presbyterians to side with the Palestinians and take serious shots at the Israelis.
"The situation in Palestine is dire. The call from our Palestinian brothers and sisters has fallen on deaf ears," a Presbyterian minister, Reverend William McGarvey of San Francisco, said. "The American Christian church has largely watched this catastrophe continue as if we did not care."
Some Presbyterian leaders spoke out against the anti-Israel proposals and offered alternatives calling for a "nonpartisan" approach to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. But a Palestinian religious leader attending this annual meeting said, "I urge you to get your hands dirty, to take sides."
Six senators who are Presbyterians urged the church not to endorse the proposal to cut off defense help to Israel. "We are adamantly opposed to the call for the U.S. government to temporarily suspend military aid to Israel," Senators Kyl of Arizona, Bond of Missouri, DeMint of South Carolina, Carper of Delaware, Shelby of Alabama, and Inhofe of Oklahoma wrote. "We ask that you take no action that would make a case for moral equivalency between the Israeli military, which is fighting to keep Israel safe, and Palestinian terrorists, who seek to destroy it."
A former American negotiator in the Middle East, Dennis Ross, also warned against taking the Palestinian side in the long-running dispute. "If your church is going to adopt a position that is one-sided in favor of the Palestinians, it takes no account of what the Israelis have done," Mr. Ross said in a videotaped message to delegates. "I find the resolution on divestment from companies doing business with Israel and the others who criticize Israel to be divorced from reality. They don't take into account the price the Israelis have paid or the concessions they made or the many times the Israelis in negotiations have been prepared to go very far and not found responsiveness on the other side."
With these men weighing in with truth, doesn't this all sound just a bit delusional?
So, in a sense, whether any bill passes this year or next, the Presbyterian Church USA has declared war on our only ally in the Middle East. This is what happens when denominations hold to Replacement Theology; that is, that the Church is now Israel. The Church has replaced Israel in all New Testament references. It remains a mystery to me how they deal with Romans 9 - 11.
But the Presbyterian Church USA and others who think like they do miss the most important point. It is not Israel making the Palestinians miserable; it is the Palestinian leadership and the United Nations who keep them in bondage so they can be political pawns.
Also, it is difficult to find a more neglected story than the relative satisfaction of Palestinian Arabs living in Israel -- about 20% of the population in Israel -- as revealed by a recent Harvard study. Researchers asked Palestinian Arabs if they would rather live in Israel than any other country in the world. Dream away, folks. You can fantasize that they said they would rather be in Dubai or the U.K. or the U.S. But nearly 80% said they like Israel best. These are Arabs living in Israel who are under Israeli rule, not corrupt Palestinian rule.
Arabs in Israel are not subject to compulsory military service though they may volunteer to serve in the military and some do. So we have some Arabs living in Israel serving in Israel's military while the Presbyterian Church USA suggests America suspend all military aid to Israel!? Have I fallen into Alice's Wonderland or has the Presbyterian Church USA fallen down the hole? Where's the Mad Hatter?
This issue will not die. Other denominations are following suit and making similar proposals at annual meetings. In the past there have usually been enough in high church leadership to denounce these proposals, but it is my belief that will not always be the case.
Is it any wonder that the church today is in a mess? All Mainline Protestant denominations hold to Replacement Theology. I am not saying all Mainline Protestants hold to the proposals stated above. But Mainline Protestants and Catholics today almost universally adhere to the false teaching that the Church today is the new Israel. A remnant in these categories would disagree with this theology.
The Bible says, "I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spoke, they did not hear: But they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not" (Isa. 66:4). So it begs the question: Did God send them this delusion because in their hearts they just have serious issues and are blind to the truth about Israel's miraculous rebirth? The Bible indicates that when one remains firm in a lie and rejects the truth, they will become blinded. (2 Thess. 2:11)
The desire to harm a nation that is a friend and ally and a nation that remains God's Chosen People, makes little sense in the natural.
I am writing the "inconvenient truth" today. I have been blitzed with e-mails about the Todd Bentley "revival" in Florida. Before you fall for his stories and "signs and wonders," please allow me to make some comments. I realize this will not be received well by many.
This is a Charismatic happening called the "third wave." The "first wave" was Toronto, and it fizzled out. The "second wave" was Pensacola, and it had the same fate. Now Bentley has brought in the "third wave," and folks are coming from around the world for the "anointing." Even the Charisma Magazine editor Lee Grady, says, sounding a warning, "My inbox has been full of messages from Charismatic leaders who are concerned about everything from Bentley's tattoos and body piercings to his claim that he once interviewed the apostle Paul in Heaven. When I called for scrutiny of some aspects of the Lakeland Revival, I was labeled a Pharisee and a 'religious policeman.' I had suddenly become the enemy."
Who is Todd Bentley? He is an ex-Satanist, a pierced and tattooed signs and wonders guy, and a man who gets messages from angels, particularly one named Emma. He does not open the Bible and preach. When he is "under the anointing" he can cause tumors to explode,' he says. The Holy Spirit told him to kick a lady in the face with his biker boot so he did so. If he tries to deal with someone he thinks might be demonized, he gets nothing short of violent, virtually choking a man he is trying to exorcise. He also gets violent when he use "the word 'bam.'
As Mike Oppenheimer from Let us Reason says, "Instead of people getting saved, they are getting lost by listening to a man's experiences of the supernatural that are unbiblical and untrue."
Oppenheimer continues, "This revival has all the spiritual sensations and activities of the other revivals combined: Roaring, groaning, burning sensations in the body, head, and stomach; shaking, jerking, spiritual drunkenness and uncontrollable laughter and then some new manifestations. People have their eyes rolled back in the back of their heads. There are reports of women gyrating and pulsating like they've been ravaged from behind by some unseen force. Holy or un-holy may still be debated by some but to those of us who are knowledgeable of the previous "revivals" and the power of the occult, the jury is in. The source is not the God of the Bible. This may disturb some but if they will use their Bible, pray, and think it through, they will gain discernment and spiritual understanding."
The shakes, jerks, twitching, frozen stillness, laughter, animal sounds, and more have all been standard in other "revivals." The Florida Revival is nothing new but it is preying on young and new believers who do not know their Bibles. It is also preying on the desperate: Sick people who can find no medical help.
Critic Jacob Prasch says, "The crowds following Bentley are seen being overcome by ugly spirits of drunkenness and stupor. It reflects the faulty theology of those in 'the river' movement popularized by the so-called 'Toronto Blessing.' Song lyrics reflect Kingdom-Now visions of the church taking over all the elements of society and setting up a kingdom on earth before the Lord returns which the Bible contradicts."
Todd himself talks about the mad chaos totally uncharacteristic of God. He says, "During a visitation, the pastor's wife got totally whacked by the Holy Ghost. She began running around barking like a dog or squawking like a chicken as a powerful prophetic spirit came on her."
The research site "Lighthouse Trails Research Project?" reports that, "The following information will show Bentley's spiritual resonance with a man named Sundar Singh (1829-1929). At one point in Bentley's ministry, he had a vision of Sundar Singh. This vision influenced Bentley. According to the biographer of Singh, Singh spent much of his life in deep trance-like states communicating with spiritual beings. Through this he saw the "glories" of the spirit world. He combined East and West in his meditative disciplines. He had long hours of meditation and days of silence."
Bentley talks about himself being possessed by demons, undergoing a deliverance, his past Satanic worship, his mother levitating, and demons writing 666 on his cupboard in his kitchen.
It is hard to tell the difference between the words of Bentley and those of Satan! Todd says: "You see, I want to be fruitful; I want to be far above. I want to be a conqueror; I want to be a mountain of strength; I want to be greatness. You know, we like that word greatness. Well, he who dwells in the secret place of the Most High automatically comes into everything that the Almighty is. It happens." Sounds like Isaiah 14:12-14 to me.
Angelology plays a large role here. He talks to an angel named Emma and he says, "So when I need a financial breakthrough, I don't just pray and ask God for my financial breakthrough. I go into intercession and become a partner with the angels by petitioning the Father for the angels that are assigned to getting me money: 'Father, give me the angels in heaven right now that are assigned to get me money and wealth. And let those angels be released on my behalf. Let them go into the four corners of the earth and gather me money."
As reported by Jacob Prasch, "Bentley refers to his angel as 'the angel of the Lord' and also waits upon Emma for the signs and wonders to manifest. However, according to Bible scholars, the term 'the angel of the Lord' is an Old Testament reference to the pre-incarnate Christ, also called a Theophany. It seems that Emma is really overstepping her bounds to be referred to as 'the angel of the Lord." She is most likely a demon.
Bentley and his close friend, the exposed false prophet Paul Cain, look to disgraced-prophet, William Branham. Pentecostal pastor Bill Randles says, "The only problem was Branham's teaching. He had a few quirks, such as his belief that the doctrine of the Trinity was of the devil, his belief that the zodiac was as valid as the Word of God, and his unfortunate belief that he was the angel of the Church of Laodicea! When he died in a head-on auto crash in 1965, his followers were so obsessed with his 'works of power,' they delayed burying him for several months, hoping that he would be resurrected the following Easter! He was that GREAT!"
We are warned in the Bible that the devil will "transform himself into an angel of light," and that in the last days will come "lying signs and wonders" that will deceive, if possible, the very elect" (II Thess. 2:9). Doesn't the Bible tell us that the devil is capable of the supposed "miracles" at the Bentley meetings? Tragically, many pastors are having 'hands laid on them to receive this Florida anointing' and further spread this chaos.
So what started April 2, 2008, at Ignited Church in Lakeland, Florida, is now spreading everywhere. With today's death of discernment, guys like Bentley flourish and prosper. We are in a season of weak gospel-preaching as well. This longing for the signs and wonders of one man is but paving the way for the "man of sin," the "lawless one," the Antichrist. What many believe is the anointing of the Holy Spirit is really nothing but "kundalini power" which in sanskrit means coiled as a snake. You can watch Todd exercising that power at the above link. You can learn much more in Caryl Matrisciana's brilliant film, "Yoga Uncoiled" as well as her film "Supernatural Powers" which deals with God's angels and fallen angels. You can also learn more about "kundalini power" at this link.
It says in II Timothy 3 that in the last days evil will wax worse and worse with men seducing, deceiving, and being deceived. Todd Bentley is a deceiver who is himself deceived. He will likely stand before the Lord some day and say, "But Lord, I did this all in Your Name." But he is exercising serpent-power, not Holy Spirit power.
Pray for Todd and the legions following him and believing every word out of his mouth. Pray that their eyes would be opened before they are further spiritually damaged. We are not trying to demonize Todd; rather, we hope to protect some sheep, which our pastors should be doing but many are not.
The miracle of miracles spanning millenia and overlapping all the way to May of 2008 is overlooked by most people. It is the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948. It is the most significant and inconceivable event in history. Yet the geopolitical gurus around the world would never admit that.
This event was orchestrated by God, but what is that to an unbelieving world? He states, "For thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a peculiar people unto Himself, above all nations of the earth" (Deuteronomy 14:2). Because God is a covenant keeper, not just a covenant maker, He did not do away with that covenant when Israel failed her assignment to be a godly people and a light to the world. One day she will do that.
God's "blueprint" is in Ezekiel 37 -- those old "dry bones." God takes Ezekiel to a valley overlooking old, dry bones that start to move and join together! God says to the shocked prophet, "Can these bones live?" Ezekiel is too stunned to say anything but, "God, only you know because this is too bizarre for me!" How would you like to see dead bones walking?! So God reveals the mystery by saying, "These bones represent the whole house of Israel." He goes on to say a scattered people will be restored in every sense of the word. That's the outline written thousands of years ago. It took awhile to be sure, but then it seems God is never in a hurry!
Even 100 years ago the land looked like a moonscape. Many pioneers perished in the malarial swamp lands or desert heat. And they loved the land back to life! Many were secular Jews doing the "Zionist thing" -- nonetheless, they had it in their hearts to "go home." Bit by bit they turned the area into a "blossoming rose" (Isaiah 35:1). They removed sand, dirt and swamps, by hand if necessary. Few non-Jews could believe it. But, she showed her might against Arab protest in a bitter War of Independence after she became a nation in 1948.
God calls the land of Israel, "My land" in Leviticus 25. About the size of New Jersey, she has become "the mouse that roared." When huge military arsenals come against her, they fail to move her off the land God has given her. God is still at work! All that has been or is yet to be accomplished will be done in accordance with His design or purpose.
Zechariah 14 says that some day the whole world will curse this tiny nation, and that Jerusalem will spark Armageddon. As an Israeli Knesset member said recently in The Jerusalem Post, "We find ourselves in a situation where even if we sneeze, people might concede that it is legal, but we would still be told it is provocative."
Mark Twain said over 100 years ago, "All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but they remain. What is the secret of their immortality?" The key is to remember that God is a covenant keeper. God will not allow His precious "promised land" to fall into the hands of the wicked. And His chosen people's eyes will not be blinded forever.
And so kings, pharaohs, fuhrers, Moslem extremists, the united European Economic Community, the United Nations, and the U.S. State Department have all tried to put an end to her either militarily or diplomatically, fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 12:3. Her most bitter enemies in the Moslem world chant the chorus of Psalm 83:4: "Come and let us wipe them [Israel] out as a nation that the name of Israel be remembered no more." I say to the mullahs and terrorists, "Dream on. You don't stand a chance!"
She was 60 years young May 8 on the Jewish calendar and May 14 on the secular calendar. Ravaged by the Roman Empire 2000 years ago she has been revived and restored as a nation as predicted in Ezekiel 37. But over those 2,000 years she was shunned, persecuted, expelled, gassed, and shuffled from country to country. To this day she is surrounded by nations sworn by their charters and oaths to destroy her while these enemies pose for pictures signing "peace treaties." It is the biggest lie of the 21st century; that is, that a Palestinian State will bring about world peace.
I leave you with just one question: If Israel were an unimportant development without any biblical or prophetic significance (a position that is gaining considerable credibility within the church these days), why would Satan be spending so much time creating confusion, deception, and conflict within both the church and the world today regarding it? If you believe that, would you at least acknowledge that she is our only ally in a crazy part of the world that would like to take over the world!
But remember, "He who keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps" (Psalm 121). And He who watches over you neither slumbers nor sleeps either.
Linda Harvey writes in World Net Daily that Christian churches should have caught on to the quasi-Christianity of Jim Wallis and Sojourners by now. Unfortunately, a "Social Justice Revival" came to her church recently. But sadly, the gospel was hard to find on the podium.
The election year faith posturing could not have been more transparent, yet many young attendees were misled to believe that this might be authentic "revived" Christianity.
She states, "What was on the menu? Perhaps how religion can prop up left-wing priorities like race divisiveness, perpetual poverty, and America-bashing as the important issues 'real' believers should care about, rather than fighting homosexual marriage and abortion."
Wallis states in his new book The Great Awakening that the right is obsessed with fighting abortion laws and stopping "gay rights." Both are way too divisive and not nearly as important as programs for the poor, climate change, and giving away American sovereignty, preferably to illegal immigrants. The Christian right does not care about the poor and many other social issues, according to Jim Wallis.
Wallis, his associate Tony Campolo, and many others who emphasize the social gospel are sadly now called "evangelicals" or "progressive evangelicals." These advocates for social justice go beyond the antics of the religious left and suggest that the kingdom of God on earth will come about through big government. They stress the "red letters of the Bible," and are often called "red letter Christians."
They would advocate some of the following:
- Christians are too war-like when we should love our enemies.
- Universal health care should be provided by the government.
- The U.S. should pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and address the real problem of terrorism by creating a Palestinian state and addressing the root cause, poverty.
- Christians should be offering sanctuary to all illegal aliens.
- The U.S. should cut the military budget and expand wealth-redistribution programs.
In other words, since such concepts and issues are the red letters of Jesus brought into the 21st century, "red letter Christians" have just about made Jesus a socialist. Jesus also said that we must be born again (John 3:7) but you likely won't ever hear this crowd talk about that.
Apparently at Harvey's church, money, guaranteed jobs, and worldly goods better be part of the package or else Jesus can just pack up and go right back to Israel - whoops, I mean "Palestine." So the pastor of the church and Wallis suggest that the church today has "failed." Harvey states, "Well, next time there's a Katrina or a tsunami, we conservative Christians might want to boycott the relief efforts, stay home from mission trips, and let's just see if the deficit is made up from the 'social justice left' or, perhaps, a coming Democratic administration's expanded social programs."
While Wallis gets standing ovations on college campuses including my alma mater, Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, there are many who join me in saying that the religious left doesn't frame my priorities, my gospel, or my vote.
Jesus' perspective pervades the entire Bible, not just the red letters. There is nothing in the red letters that is at odds with the rest of the Bible. There is no contradiction between the red letters and the black letters -- but not to "red letter Christians."
When one of these men visits your church, would you ask them about spreading the good news of sacrifice, repentance, forgiveness of sins, spiritual renewal, and rebirth? Ask them to tone down the news of redistributing the wealth, faith in government, the gospel of global warming, and moral relativism.