POMEGRANATE SNAKE OIL
Anointing Oil "My Life Will Profit" $12.99 3/4 oz. Roll-on Anointing Oil
When we discuss the marketing hype, hoopla and shenanigans of the New Apostolic Reformation on this blog we occasionally refer to it as "snake oil." Sadly, many people must be succumbing to the marketing of oils like these described above. It isn't about buying pomegranate oil. It's really about the false doctrines that promise prosperity or special powers if one purchases the oils. And, because it is oil, people are led to think they are getting a greater measure of the Holy Spirit.
Isn't the New Apostolic Reformation being marketed this same way? Promising new accelerated growth, a new power to change the world, higher quality leaders, gain and increase, and success? If you buy the formula, you get the results?
James Rutz in his book Megashift declares that if you buy into the ideas in his book (which is just his "name brand" for the same old New Apostolic Reformation doctrines, methods, plan and agenda) you will get 1) a new identity, 2) a new kind of empowerment, 3) a new "ownership" mentality, 4) a new freedom, 5) a new understanding of the gospel, 6) you can be a member of a team, and 7) you'll gain a new maturity (p. 103).
Wow! With promises like that who wouldn't want to buy in to this new-style, bigger, better, mega-version gospel! But buyer beware. . . . is it authentic Christianity?
Wikipedia cites an interesting history of this term "snake oil":
Snake oil is a traditional Chinese medicine used to treat joint pain. However, the most common usage of the words is as a derogatory term for compounds offered as medicines which implies that they are fake, fraudulent, or ineffective. The expression is also applied metaphorically to any product with exaggerated marketing but questionable or unverifiable quality. . . .
The snake oil peddler became a stock character in Western movies: a travelling "doctor" with dubious credentials, selling some medicine (such as snake oil) with boisterous marketing hype, often supported by pseudo-scientific evidence, typically bogus. To enhance sales, an accomplice in the crowd (a "shill") would often "attest" the value of the product in an effort to provoke buying enthusiasm. The "doctor" would prudently leave town before his customers realized that they had been cheated. . . .
For an interesting history lesson read the full post. Apparently there may be some medical and historical reasons to believe that the original Chinese snake oil from the Chinese water snake actually worked:
Snake oil originally came from China, where it is called shéyóu. . . . There, it was used as a remedy for inflammation and pain in rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, and other similar conditions. Snake oil is still used as a pain reliever in China. Fats and oils from snakes are higher in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) than other sources, so snake oil was actually a plausible remedy for joint pain as these are thought to have inflammation-reducing properties.
The article gives a detailed analysis of the chemical composition of the Chinese water snake oil. This is then compared to "Stanley's" snake oil, tested by the U.S. government in 1917, which was found to contain mineral oil, beef fat, red pepper, turpentine and camphor. There is an interesting note that says that this fake snake oil could have worked "somewhat as intended" because it was "similar in composition to modern-day capsaicin-based liniments."
So! Even the fake products might have worked "somewhat as intended." Isn't this true also of the razzle-dazzle of the New Apostolic Reformation? We know from Scripture that in the last days there will be many signs and wonders, but we are warned about deception (2 Thess. 2:9, e.g.). The soulish psycho-social methods these leaders employ to entice and persuade their customers' passions do indeed work on people -- especially folks who aren't grounded in God's Word. And, sadly, it especially preys on people who are looking for a deeper faith. Why would you buy Chuck Pierce's "Pomegranate Snake Oil" unless you were hoping it would help you spiritually?
There is a particularly relevant quote at the bottom of the Wikipedia post:
19th century snake oil peddlers and apothecarians seldom had any serious knowledge of chemistry or pharmacology. It is likely that they did not understand the action mechanism of the Chinese product, or even know its functional ingredient.
Isn't this just like the modern-day spiritual "snake oil salesmen," who have added all sorts of foreign ingredients, accouterments and gadgets onto the simplicity of the Gospel? Is is possible these leaders don't even know its "functional ingredient," Jesus Christ? Is it possible that they do "not understand the action mechanism" of the real thing -- the Word of God -- and are, as a result, manufacturing a synthetic snake oil gospel?
It sure seems that way. And although their counterfeit formulas for miracles, financial success, empowerment -- you name it -- may work, in part, simply because they are based on the depravity of our nature or the seduction of our senses, it isn't the same as the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in the inner man.
"For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; . . .
"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." (1 Thessalonians 1:5a; 2:13)