Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Imagine That!

The Problem with "Sanctified Imaginations"



There has to be a MANIFESTATION of your IMAGE – your prophetic word. What has God shown you about yourself that is NOT manifesting yet? Write it down.
(Kim Clement, The Elijah List, 10/12/12)

God created us in His divine image, so we possess the power to create. The decisions we make, the places we go, the things we say create images in our subconscious. First, we think a thought; then we rehearse it until it begins to formulate an image. Finally, our words speak things into existence and our actions set dynamics into motion. We are to present and display the Kingdom of God that dwells within us, releasing it in powerful demonstrations. We are not called to simply exist, but to be conduits that manifest a flow of God's presence and power onto every scene and into every circumstance.
(Barbara Breathitt, TheElijahList, 12/2/12)




Imagination is the ability of the human mind to create mental images and sensations that do not come from the the five senses. Consequently It is not surprising that self proclaimed prophets claim visions and dreams that have their source in their vivid and well trained human imaginations. Currently The Elijah List on the Internet presents thousands upon thousands of these mental pictures, suggesting that these pictures have their origin in God. But these imaginary words and pictures on Elijah List have a very short shelf life. They are posted and soon forgotten as new more appealing prophetic images replace them. In fact many of these prophesies can easily be demonstrated as contradictory. Here is an example of an Elijah List article titled "Creative Imagination and the Ingenious Truth":

Nothing exists in the natural realm until we are able to connect through observation, and the words we speak paint a positive or a negative picture in the mind's eye. "The mind's eye can be defined as: the human ability for visual perception, imagination, visualization, and memory. In other words, the mind's eye is one's ability to see things with the mind. Because many dreams are symbolic mysteries, God's guidance is necessary to uncover their hidden meanings. God intended that we get to know Him better through this process of discovering the meaning of our dreams. Our image center is a vehicle that the Holy Spirit can access if we are open to Him. The Holy Spirit will give us dreams in the night or streams of thought during the day to bring revelation and direction to our lives."...

When positive verbal seeds are planted in a soul, they grow the fruit of productive images in the imagination....

...Spoken words produce our future. When a constructive future is presented, agree with it. Liberate your inspired imagination to take it to a higher level. Observe the powerful picture as it is formed. When the vision is complete, allow it to imprint on your heart. Once it is imprinted on your heart, it becomes part of your spiritual DNA. This visual roadmap will lead you to destiny. (Barbara Breathitt, TheElijahList, 12/2/12)


Prior to the fall of Jerusalem (587 BC) the true biblical prophet Jeremiah complained that the false prophets of his day uttered false prophecies that he identifies as products of the human imagination. “They [false prophets] speak visions of their own minds,  not from the mouth of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:16, ESV). Jeremiah further states: “Behold, I am against these who prophesy lying dreams declares the Lord and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness , when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23: 32, ESV).

Imagination is intoxicating. It is seductive. It can easily become addictive. It can also easily be tied to idolatry. This is one reason why God's word warns that there is such a thing as “the imagination of an evil heart” that can lead one astray. (Jeremiah 18:12). You imagine what you desire. You will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will

Well do I remember visiting the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City 50 years ago. The tour guide presented his pitch for Mormonism. His total point was that God did not stop giving revelation with the first century apostles. This tour guide suggested that in the Latter Days God further revealed himself to Joseph Smith. It was a plea for “continuing revelation.” Just a few weeks ago I had a conversation with two Mormon missionaries. Their planned appeal was still the same. Their question to me was “has God ever spoken to you?” If I had said yes their retort would have been simply that God also spoke to Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith's account of his original vision is that of God the Father and Jesus the Son simultaneously appearing in human flesh with a further revelation for Latter Day Saints. Surely this was an imaginary experience, pure and simple. 

It turns out that it is imagination that is the engine of false revelation. Imagination becomes the stage for continuing revelation.

So It is not surprising that prophetic imagination is alive and well today. In fact without doubt there are many more false imagination prophecies today than existed in Jeremiah's time. Todd Bentley, who himself practices false prophecy, actually admitted recently that imagination is the key to prophecy when he stated that: “90% or more of all visions and revelations happen in the eye of our hearts, in our imagination.” (Lakeland Revival Blogspot). Bentley also stated: “The first thing you must do is sanctify your imagination” (Identity Network, "Open Heavens," Todd Bentley) 

So I decided to pursue  the term “sanctified imagination” in a Google search. I found that “sanctified imagination” has become a specific in-house term used repeatedly on the Internet by imaginary prophets today. Craig Kinsley, writing on The Elijah List states: “When we set our sanctified imagination on God, his will is made known to us and the imagination is the place where God most often speaks to us. We often call that our 'sanctified imagination'...  The  place we often begin to see in the realm of the spirit is our imagination. The place where we day dream.” ("Sanctifying the Imagination," May 7, 2006)

Beni Johnson, Bill Johnson's wife from Bethel Church, Redding CA, apparently has a vivid imagination with which she claims to see angels frolicking on a hillside. Bentley and seer prophet Bob Jones of Kansas City Prophets fame are well known for their  many purported trips to the third heaven. Bentley states: “If we want to see in the spirit, we must use the powerful key of sanctified imagination to unlock visions and dreams.... I have helped bring so many people into the heavenly realm by teaching them to look with their spiritual eye and stop asking, 'Where is it? Where is the angel? Where? I don't see him – where?' We have to begin to see with our 'third eye' the eye on the inside, in our imagination.” (Manna, "Living Under An Open Heaven," Todd Bentley, bold added)

Mark Batterson, seeker-sensitive pastor, has apparently also  discovered the imagination. He states: “I think He [God] wants us to live 'out of imagination.' I am convinced that our potential lies in a 'sanctified imagination.'” ("Sanctified Imaginations," May 5, 2005, bold in original)

In the prophetic movement today the professionals have designated certain imaginary prophets as “seer” prophets. These seer prophets attest to seeing things and the things they see in their imagination is played out upon the stage of their trained imaginations. These imaginations become better trained with repeated imaginary episodes. Seer prophet Bob Jones boasts of many imaginary trips into the heavenlies every night. Apparently Jones' ability to see with his imagination failed him when he counseled a woman in Kansas City some years ago and asked her to disrobe to enable him to receive special revelation for her. He was sidelined to a backstage ministry for a time before being quickly restored. Currently he retains his lofty status as a seer prophet. Recently I viewed him on the the Internet (YouTube) as he attended the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry graduation at the Bethel church in Redding CA. Graduating students lined up to have a prophetic encounter with Jones ,the seer prophet of renown, and bowed before him to honor him and perchance receive words of prophecy. Jones, and the myriads of others claiming these imaginary revelations, are totally dependent on their human imaginations, self generated in their human brains.

These mental images become highly sought after as revelations from God. For those who are addicted to these imaginary revelations, these imaginations become for them and their followers supposed revelations directly from God. These imaginary revelations of course fit well into the current postmodern worldview so prevalent in modern culture. As Pastor Ken Silva has warned, "The whole Word Faith idea of positive confession aka 'name it and claim it' is rooted in the idea that the material world is largely illusion and that our spoken words actually have creative spiritual power over it." ("Joel Osteen Declares Human Words Have Creative Power," 9/18/12, Apprising.org

In the occult world, this type of imagination is sometimes known as "The Third Eye," as illustrated by the graphic image at the top of this page. Note what it says on Wikipedia:

The third eye (also known as the inner eye) is a mystical and esoteric concept referring to a speculative invisible eye which provides perception beyond ordinary sight. In certain dharmic spiritual traditions such as Hinduism, the third eye refers to the ajna, or brow, chakra. In Theosophy it is related to the pineal gland. The third eye refers to the gate that leads to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. In New Age spirituality, the third eye often symbolizes a state of enlightenment or the evocation of mental images having deeply personal spiritual or psychological significance. The third eye is often associated with religious visions,clairvoyance, the ability to observe chakras and auras, precognition, and out-of-body experiences. People who are claimed to have the capacity to utilize their third eyes are sometimes known as seers.
 
All of this is further enhanced as Hollywood produces a continual stream of fantasy movies. This only enhances an increasing appetite for fantasy and myth. And our youth  are devouring it. Current fantasy movies are the hot the topic of conversation among our youth today. Just take the time to overhear their conversations and you will agree. Our Christian youth get totally animated rehearsing the plots of the latest fantasy movies. It is something they pursue with reckless abandon. Hollywood  knows this only too well. The Hollywood producers appeal to the youth because they know they have a waiting audience. Our youth workers chime in attempting to take these imaginary fantasies and tie them loosely to biblical concepts. But then it is that these fantasies and imaginations become a sort of surrogate world view for thousands of our Christian  young people. Our Christian young people then are set up for the latest imaginary prophets and what they are claiming. This becomes familiar normal operating procedure. The Scripture then becomes sublimated to fantasy. Without planning it, their faith becomes in part an imaginary world view. The imaginary prophets have a ready-made waiting audience already predisposed to the imaginary realm.

Berit Kjos describes it well:

“The invasion of monsters began decades ago, and it quickly transformed the world of entertainment. With little resistance, an army of cute-ugly creatures swept into toy stores, television and movies. They now adorn children’s clothes, bedding, wallpaper, lunchboxes and books. And many have pushed their way into children’s hearts on the backs of seductive myths that mold their thoughts and manipulate their imagination.Some of these monsters are crude and cool like Stitch, Shrek and the serpentine aliens of Men in Black. Others appear wise and honorable like Yoda in Star Wars. But the creatures that win the prize for thrills and chills are the dark and deadly ones like Darth Maul, Tolkien’s Orcs and the ominous aliens in Signs.

"They all serve a set of strategic social and spiritual goals: They entertain. They shift a person’s attention from the real world to a more titillating realm created by those who write the myths and steer the imagination. They tempt Christian fans to re-imagine both God and themselves in the new context – thus bending the old realities to fit the new myths. They desensitize their fans to mystical images and symbols of evil. And they stir a craving for more intense excitement of the same kind.

"Eventually the real world of nature, families, work and Biblical truth becomes too boring to be enjoyed. Who cares about truth and facts when myths and fantasies seem far more exiting?” (Cited by Herescope)

In conclusion, Herescope wrote several months ago:

The Christian, more so than other individual, is called upon by Scripture to have a restrained imagination. The Bible calls this being “sober minded.” (Titus 2:6) In fact, being “sober” is directly connected to being on “watch” in the last days, the end times as described in the Bible alone without any fantasy or mythology added to it:
  • Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thess 5:6)
  • But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. (1 Peter 4:7)
  • Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (1 Peter 1:13)
  • Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Peter 5:8)

Given these verses, it seems even more important for Christians who have an interest in the last days to be well-grounded in reality, in the truth of Scripture, and to be “sober minded,” and not to live in a fantasy world made up of a mixture of myths.  Yet we live in an era when mystical imageries, imaginations and fantasies are coming into the church like a flood.