Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dumping Sola Scriptura

“In the actual practices of the Evangelical community in North America, there is an over-commitment to Scripture in a way that is false, irrational, and harmful to the cause of Christ. . . . And it has produced a mean-spiritedness among the over-committed that is a grotesque and often ignorant distortion of discipleship unto the Lord Jesus.

[The problem is] "the idea that the Bible is the sole source of knowledge of God, morality, and a host of related important items. Accordingly, the Bible is taken to be the sole authority for faith and practice.”
J.P.Moreland quoted in "Postcard from San Diego:
Fighting 'Bibliolatry' at the Evangelical Theological Society,"
by Ted Olsen, Christianity Today, 11/14/07.

When evangelical leaders talk about a Second Reformation, they mean reversing the tenets of the First Reformation. A stunning example of this occurred recently when evangelical professor J.P. Moreland blasted "over-commitment to the Bible" and neglect of "work on broad cultural themes." If this is the current state of apologetics in the evangelical world, then grievous times have arrived.

Perhaps this lack of commitment to Scripture alone, i.e., Sola Scriptura, explains the recent activities of Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, Leith Anderson, Emergents, and a host of Fuller Theological Seminary leaders, who could all sign on to a common faith document with Moslem leaders (see previous post). There is a terrible omission in this so-called Christian worldview.

Below, Anton Bosch has some pertinent comments about this rather blatant shift in focus.

Overcommitted to the Bible?

At a recent conference, the most popular paper resulted in four times as many people crowding into the room than it was designed to hold. The title of this provocative lecture was “How Evangelicals became overcommitted to the Bible and what can be done about it.”*

The speaker said that in “the actual practices of the Evangelical community in North America, there is an over-commitment to Scripture in a way that is false, irrational and harmful to the cause of Christ.” He claimed that this over commitment has produced a mean-spirited and grotesque distortion of Christianity. He also said that the problem was with “the idea that the Bible is the sole source of knowledge of God, morality, and a host of important items.” I will not bore you any further with the rest of his mindless ramblings.

So what?, I hear you say, “this is what you can expect from atheists, liberal theologians and other unbelievers.” The problem is that these ideas were proposed at a meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society by no-one less than J.P. Moreland , a well-known Evangelical theologian and professor at Talbot School of Theology, which describes itself as “a conservative, evangelical seminary”!

If this is what it means to be Evangelical, then I am not one of those.

First, we need to confirm that the Bible is indeed the sole source of knowledge about God. Nothing about God can be discovered through any other means than through His Word. Not only is the Bible the sole source of knowledge about God, but it is also the sole source of knowledge of morality (right and wrong) and of every important matter that affects mankind. For generations believers and churches have confirmed that the Bible is the only authoritative and infallible rule of faith, practice, doctrine and daily living. Or in the words of the Reformers: “Sola Scriptura” (only Scripture).

The sad fact is that Moreland was simply verbalizing what most “Christians” think. Even though they won’t admit to it, the majority of “Christians” believe science rather than the Bible. They trust their experience rather than the Scriptures and their traditions over the Word of God. Most believe that common sense is equal to Bible truth. Psychology is seen as more relevant than the Word of God and the television is more true (and exciting) than the Book. Worst of all, they believe their preachers even when they contradict the Bible.

Next we need to ask the question: “Are Evangelicals indeed overcommitted to the Bible?” The answer is an emphatic NO! The reality is that the vast majority of Christians do not really believe the Bible and they are not even moderately committed to it, let alone over-committed to it. And before we speak in general terms, let’s think about ourselves. The reality is that if you and I really believed that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God, we would live very different lives and be very different people. Here is some evidence:

  • The Bible says that “for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). If we really believed that, every one of us would not say half the things we do say.
  • The Bible teaches that unbelievers will be condemned to an eternity in Hell (Revelation 20:14-15). If we really believed that, we would be spending much more time on our knees in prayer. And we would be pleading with people to make right with God with a sincerity and conviction that would convince many that we actually believed what we were saying.
  • The Bible teaches that Jesus is coming soon and at a time when we least expect Him (1Thessalonians 5:2-3). Yet the vast majority of “Christians” live as though He is never coming back.
  • The Bible reveals that God knows and sees everything all the time and yet we act as though God does not know or see what we do in secret and that He is unaware of our deceit, lies and hypocrisy.

In the same way we can examine countless Scriptures and see that very very few of us actually, really believe the Bible and are committed, not just to read it but to live it. Very few Christians believe that the Bible is God’s Word – the word God has spoken. Most believe that it only contains some words about God, mixed with some suggestions for a happy life.

No, the Bible is God speaking to mankind. It has no less authority than the ten words God Himself scribed into the two tablets of stone on Mount Sinai. He has not changed His mind about His Word and it will be the standard against which every life and action will be judged. Whenever we open the pages of the Book we should do so with reverence and awe – they are God’s eternal words.

We don’t need less commitment to the Bible we need more – a lot more. We need a fresh reverence, love and respect for the Bible. It should not be the basis of speculation and debate but rather of obedience and practice. We need preachers who will unreservedly commit to the Bible, the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible. We need men who will “preach the word” (2Timothy 4:2) without fear or favor. We need Christians who are humble enough to believe God’s Word, no matter what others say or think. And we need churches that are committed to actually expect their members to live according to the Bible. In short – we need to get back to the Bible.

Heretics like Moreland should be excommunicated publicly. Schools, and the products of the schools, that harbor such unbelievers should be shunned. Churches should not accept preachers that have studied under such men or in such seminaries.

In case you think that is radical, then hear what Paul said: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).

The Truth:

“Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” (1Corinthians 1:20-21).

*The paper was delivered at The 59th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society held November 14-16, 2007 at San Diego, California. The full text can be read at:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Rethinking P.E.A.C.E. - Loving God and Neighbor Together

Is this the "Emergent Moment"?
Is this this tipping point, the time for us to really have an impact on the future of the church? It sure seems so. The interest continues to build, and the pressures continue to mount. The cries of "Heresy!" continue to come from one side of us, as we push into some new theological territory.
--Tony Jones, "The Emergent Moment," Emergent Village, letter 11/8/07

Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, Leith Anderson, Jim Wallis, and other evangelical leaders have signed onto a common ground document to work with Muslims for world peace. This fact sheds considerable light on the potential agenda of Robert Schuller's upcoming Rethink Conference. And it may explain Rick Warren's strange foray into Syria last year.

For the world's major religions to find "common ground" or "reconciliation" with one another requires a substantial rethinking on the part of evangelical Christians. And finding "common ground" requires building consensus: i.e., syncretism and ecumenism.

The background for this breaking story is summarized here. Last weekend (November 18th) a statement was run in the New York Times, bringing this common ground document to the attention of the public at large. A November 18th press release about this event can be found at the Yale Divinity School's Center for Faith & Culture, which has masterminded this effort to promote reconciliation between faiths "in all spheres of life." It reads in part:


NEW HAVEN, CT—Nearly 300 prominent Christians representing a broad spectrum of theological perspectives have endorsed Loving God and Neighbor Together — a document calling for Christian and Muslim leaders "at every level" to carry forward "the earnest work of determining how God would have us fulfill the requirement that we love God and one another."

The statement. . . was initially released by four Yale Divinity School scholars in mid-October in response to the widely publicized open letter to the Christian community from 138 Muslim leaders,
A Common Word Between Us and You. In that letter, Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals pointed to love of God and love of neighbor as shared principles that can serve as a solid foundation for peace and understanding. . . .

Loving God and Neighbor
says, "A Common Word Between Us and You identifies some core common ground between Christianity and Islam which lies at the heart of our respective faiths as well as at the heart of the most ancient Abrahamic faith, Judaism. Jesus Christ's call to love God and neighbor was rooted in the divine revelation to the people of Israel embodied in the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18). We receive the open letter as a Muslim hand of conviviality and cooperation extended to Christians worldwide. In this response we extend our own Christian hand in return, so that together with all other human beings we may live in peace and justice as we seek to love God and our neighbors."

A copy of this groundbreaking "Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to 'A Common Word Between Us and You'" document can be found here. The signers of this document agree that "the future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians" based on the idea of "love" and "brotherhood." But this love, peace and brotherhood involves reshaping communities and nations.

The Task Before Us

“Let this common ground” – the dual common ground of love of God and of neighbor – “be the basis of all future interfaith dialogue between us,” your courageous letter urges. Indeed, in the generosity with which the letter is written you embody what you call for. We most heartily agree. Abandoning all “hatred and strife,” we must engage in interfaith dialogue as those who seek each other’s good, for the one God unceasingly seeks our good. Indeed, together with you we believe that we need to move beyond “a polite ecumenical dialogue between selected religious leaders” and work diligently together to reshape relations between our communities and our nations so that they genuinely reflect our common love for God and for one another.

The document to which these Christian leaders are responding, "A Common Word Between Us and You," was an open letter from leaders of the Muslim faith to leaders of the Christian faith, calling for world peace and common ground. The document explains that:

Between Us and You

Finding common ground between Muslims and Christians is not simply a matter for polite ecumenical dialogue between selected religious leaders. Christianity and Islam are the largest and second largest religions in the world and in history. Christians and Muslims reportedly make up over a third and over a fifth of humanity respectively. Together they make up more than 55% of the world’s population, making the relationship between these two religious communities the most important factor in contributing to meaningful peace around the world. If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace. With the terrible weaponry of the modern world; with Muslims and Christians intertwined everywhere as never before, no side can unilaterally win a conflict between more than half of the world’s inhabitants. Thus our common future is at stake. The very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake.

The language "our common future" is one that many will recognize in the decades-long work towards building a world government system. Our Common Future is the name of a report, published in 1987, from the UN World Commission on Environment and Development chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway. Dr. Dennis Cuddy described this report as

"actually a map or program for the world's future covering nearly all areas of life, and calling for 'new norms of behavior at all levels . . . changes in attitudes, in social values' and population control." (Now is the Dawning of the New Age New World Order [Hearthstone, 1991), p. 260)

An article in the Christian Post indicated that

Christian leaders urged for an interfaith dialogue that moves beyond “polite” ecumenical talks between selected leaders. Instead, leaders of both faiths should hold dialogues to build relations that will “reshape” the two communities to “genuinely reflect our common love for God and for one another” . . . .

It is likely that there will be additional concerns expressed about these documents and corresponding activities of evangelical leaders in the weeks to come. This is definitely an "emergent moment" in the rise of a new form of global ecumenism and syncretism. While the surface agenda is lovey-dovey, the Dominionist tenets of these key evangelical leaders overshadows this "brotherhood" agenda. These men believe they are "building the kingdom of God on earth."

Just how will they build this kingdom upon their newfound common ground? These evangelical leaders have already demonstrated their profound willingness to abandon the tenets of the Christian faith. While they pander to an emerging nebulous spirituality, the biblical foundation of true human compassion is eroding.

The Truth:

It is a mental exercise to identify "some core common ground between" faiths. But what of the Gospel? John Flavel wrote in 1680 that

there are everywhere to be found more professors than converts--unregenerate professors, whose religion is but the effect of education. Christianity, by the favor of an early providence, was the first comer; it first bespoke them for itself. These are Christians of a human creation, rather born than new-born believers. Now, all these are self-deceived, and hastening to damnation under the efficacy of a strong delusion; . . .

Surely our birth-privilege without the new birth is nothing, yea, worse than nothing, as to our last and great account. That which stands for a great sum in our arithmetic is nothing, is but a cipher in God's. "Except a man be born again," say the lips of truth, "he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Poor self-deceivers, ponder these words of Christ. You have hitherto thought your moral education, your dead and heartless duties, enough to constitute you Christians before God: But go now, and learn what that scripture means; and be assured that you must experience another manner of conversion or else it is impossible for you to escape eternal damnation.

(Touchstone of Sincerity [Old Paths Gospel Press, PO Box 318, Choteau, MT 59422, 406-466-2311]) Reformatted for blog use.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Marianne Williamson: Moonbeams, Miracles & Magic

"Suggesting anything close to the idea that love might actually be the Answer, we're swatted down like a fly by our contemporary thought police. We're told how naive we are, how silly we're being, how unsophisticated our analysis of the world situation is. 'She's a nut! She's New Age! He's a moonbeam!' Yeah, right. . . .

"Our mind has been opened to a liberating truth, and we feel this truth like an alchemical substance that bathes our cells and transforms our thinking."
--Marianne Williamson, The Gift of Change: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life (HarperCollins, 2004), p. 22-23.

"A huge drama is being played out on the earth today, and we're choosing to be part of it. We are signing up for prophetic duty. We are asking to be used for an effort much bigger than ourselves. We realize that the emergence of wiser, stronger, more intelligent and compassionate people is the single most important factor in the salvation of the world. . . ."
-Ibid, p. 77.

When ex-New Ager Warren Smith wrote a key post on November 9 "'Oprah and Friends' to Teach Course on New Age Christ," he detailed concerns about the 365 day curriculum that would be taught by Oprah's good friend Marianne Williamson beginning in January 2008 which is based on A Course in Miracles. A Course in Miracles is, as we described in the previous post, an extensive psycho-spiritual curriculum that systematically indoctrinates people into a New Age mystical mindset based on the teachings of a false Christ.

All of this is relevant because of Reverend Robert Schuller's continuing fascination and flirtation with A Course in Miracles, a fact which is described in detail in Chapter 9 of Warren Smith's book Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church. Because Schuller's Crystal Cathedral is promoting a Rethink Conference, the whole concept of rethinking--and its key role in facilitating New Age transformation --has come to the forefront once again. And A Course in Miracles is the foremost occult curriculum on how to rethink.

Marianne Williamson describes her involvement in this Course in Miracles in her 2004 book The Gift of Change. Several times she credits Oprah Winfrey with direct assistance in furthering her work. In "Acknowledgments" Williamson writes: "To Oprah Winfrey, for creating my national audience to begin with and for continuing to support my work" (p. ix). And at the end of the book Williamson explains how,

"Thanks to Oprah Winfrey and her generous enthusiasm for the book, my world changed. Money came that I had never had before, along with press attention and a slight celebrity status." (pp. 227-8)

To her credit, Marianne Williamson openly admits that A Course in Miracles is not Christian:

"In 1978 I became a student of a self-study program of spiritual psychotherapy called A Course in Miracles; in 1992 I wrote a book of reflections on its principles called A Return to Love. Claiming no monopoly whatsoever on spiritual insight, the Course is a psychological mind training based on universal spiritual themes. It teaches people how to dismantle a thought system based on fear and replace it with a thought system based on love. . . .

"Although the Course uses traditional Christian terminology, it is not a Christian doctrine. Its terms are used in a psychological context, with universal meaning for any student of spiritual principles, regardless of whether they have a Christian orientation. . . .

"Twenty years ago, I saw the guidance of the Course as a key to changing one's personal life; today, I see its guidance as key to changing the world." (pp. 4-5) [emphasis added]

Williamson explains that "a change in our perception holds the key to a world made new" (p. 11). Like other New Agers, Williamson promotes the transformation of the mind as a crucial factor for the future of the planet:

"as we learn the lessons of spiritual transformation and apply them in our personal lives--we will become agents of change on a tremendous scale. By learning the lessons of change, internally and externally, each of us can participate in the great collective process in which the people of the world, riding a wave of enlightened understanding, see the human race on a destructive course and turn it around in time. (pp. 11-12) [emphasis added]

To construct this new mindset requires demolishing the old. The old, of course, being biblical Christianity. First, one must become open to other truths, other ways:

"The miracle worker's task is this: to consider the possibility there might be another way." (p. 18) [emphasis added]

Then "He" (presumably the "Christ" of A Course in Miracles) will "reprogram us at the deepest levels. . . through the alchemy of the divine curriculum. . . ." (p. 21) [emphasis added]. Williamson explains that first one must empty the mind, a classic brain-altering technique:

"The idea of emptying one's mind is fundamental to all meditative practice. For once we have surrendered our extraneous thinking, then God's truth can move into the vacuum. We substitute His Mind for our mind, and thus they become one."(p. 78) [emphasis added]

This is the basic occult idea that we become God:

"The Christ within us a newborn self, fathered by God and mothered by our humanity, here to express the divine potential that exists inside us all." (p. 103) [emphasis added]

And on the next page, in a subsection "The Christ," Williamson acknowledges that

"The conversion to Christ need not entail a conversion to the Christian religion. The word is a symbol for the Child of God within us, our true identity and a space of remembrance of all that is divine. . . .

"God's one begotten son is who we are." (p. 104-105) [bold added, italics in original]

Williamson readily asserts, "We are here to participate in a glorious subversion of the world's dominant, fear-based thought forms." ( p. 16) Presumably this means the subversion of biblical Christianity, since her book The Gift of Change is a manual in New Age thought.

Williamson's book contains several statements of classic New Age futurist foreboding which tell of doom and gloom for planet Earth unless people undergo this transformation of their minds:

"An underground revolution is sweeping the hearts and minds of the people of the world, and it is happening despite the wars and terror that confront us. This revolution is a fundamental change of worldview, and it carries with it the potential to reorganize the structure of human civilization. It brings a basic shift in the thoughts that dominate the world." (p. 199) [emphasis added]

"To some this might feel like the period of a Great End, perhaps even at times an Armageddon, but in fact this is the time of a Great Beginning. It is time to die to who we used to be and to become instead who we are capable of being." (pp. 11-12) [emphasis added]

Attorney Constance Cumbey, who is credited with first exposing the revival of Theosophy through the modern New Age movement, and who has been warning evangelicals for over two decades about it, wrote in a column for NewsWithViews yesterday, "Shirley MacLaine's 'Karma-Geddon,'" that "I have long warned that the New Agers view monotheists as 'cancerous cells on the global brain.'"

"Too many purporting to warn the Christian community have told them far too often to go back to sleep, nothing's happening. Folks, it is happening. It is here. We are looking, I fear, at a movement of mass possession. All the 'meditation,' Reiki, yoga, est, channeling, Silva Mind Control, Feldenkreis, earth reverencing movements, et al, etc., have done their work and those entering into altered states are receptive to the mindset exemplified. Paul Hawken has been singing the same songs along with David Spangler as long as I have been looking at the New Age Movement, since the early 1980s. He brags that this is a movement that nobody saw coming.

"It is the exact same song the New Agers have been singing since the first day, 1970. The planet is overpopulated. 'Christianity is a root cause of the problem.' Too many alleged Christians have been delivering 'amens' and helping the New Agers set up the very structures intended for our destruction under the guise of 'Christian stewardship.'"

The rest of this Cumbey article is worth a read. Warren Smith's online book Reinventing Jesus Christ, gives a similar warning. In a day and age when evangelical leaders are playing footsie with New Age gurus, and using the same terminology and practices of the New Age, these warnings become even more serious.

Nowhere is this garbled confusion in terminology more evident than in A Course in Miracles. When Marianne Williamson launches the 365-day version of this New Age Course on "Oprah and Friends" this January, many will be deceived because the language sounds so biblical. But heretical teachings are mixed up in such an intricate way that it is virtually impossible to pick out all of the leaven.

It is more important than ever that people take heed and exercise true discernment, for here is what they are getting into: Williamson, in describing troubles with insomnia, wrote:

"During the wee hours of the morning, both angels and demons take shape. . . .

"In those hours that I've lain so inconveniently awake, I think I've begun at last to know what awakened means. Noting the witching hour--4:15--at which I awake more often than not, stealing outside to look at the stars and marvel at the moon, I return again to my ancient self. In those hours, I am not a menopausal nutcase, I'm a magical witch, and I can feel it in my bones." (pp. 242-244) [emphasis added]

The Truth:

"Moreover, Brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;
And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures:
And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
And last of all He was seen of me, also as of one born out of due time." (I Corinthians 15:1-8)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What is "Rethinking"?

"True perception is the means by which the world is saved from sin,
for sin does not exist.
And it is this that true perception sees."
--A Course in Miracles, Manual for Teachers (Foundation for Inner Peace, 1992) p. 85 [emphasis added]

In his November 9 Herescope article entitled, "'Oprah and Friends' To Teach Course on New Age Christ," former New Age follower Warren Smith warned that a false Christ teaches a Course in Miracles using the methods of "mind training" and "thought reversal."

This "mind training and "thought reversal" sounded an awful lot like "rethinking." Curious about what this might mean, we began to investigate the concept of "rethinking" itself. We began with what has been called "the New Age Bible" -- A Course in Miracles.

As we thumbed through A Course in Miracles, we noticed that it physically resembles a Bible. It is printed on fine-quality paper and is divided into chapters and verses. There is a hefty Concordance of 1106 pages that contains references to these "verses." It is very seductive, in that it uses biblical terms and phrases repeatedly. But intermixed throughout is pure New Age occultism. It would be mind-boggling to try to take every statement and dissect it. Which is perhaps the point.

The most astonishing feature of this "bible" is its obvious dedication to the re-orientation of people's thought processes; i.e., "rethinking." It is a structured step-by-step psycho-spiritual training program that teaches people how to "re-think." Each lesson builds upon the previous lesson, in a methodical deconstruction of old patterns of thinking. An early lesson acknowledges that "you fear the destruction of your thought system" (Text, p. 51). But this Course is a systematic and patterned reconstruction of the mind based on new ways of seeing, perceiving and thinking. The word "mind" and its derivatives is covered by nine large pages with 3 columns of small type in the Concordance. The term "perception" and its derivatives covers 3 pages.

The Preface states that the Course "makes a fundamental distinction between the real and the unreal; between knowledge and perception. " "Perception" is said to be "based on interpretation, not on facts" (p. x). By the end of the curricula what is called "true perception" is said to be the "one correction possible for false perception," not "knowledge" (Manual for Teachers, p. 85). Rational thought, which has been systematically demolished throughout the Course, is thereby discarded.

The word "still" is used frequently in the sense of meditation and contemplation -- as in "be still." This is so that the participant can hear "God's voice" and be open to new "truth" from the "Internal Teacher, Who will direct all subsequent learning as He sees fit" (Concordance, p. 887-889 and Preface, p. ix-x). The Course is filled with vacuous chants that must be rehearsed over and over. And once the brain has been emptied, it can thus be filled with heretical mantras such as "My salvation comes from me" or "My holiness is my salvation" (Workbook for Students, pp. 119 & 60).

A stunning example of shutting down the brain in preparation for receiving new teachings can be found on page 52 of the Text, where the student is first told to "Be still and know that I am God" before accepting the new theology "The journey to the cross should be the last 'useless journey.'"

Warren Smith recorded his experiences with these very verses from the Course in his book Reinventing Jesus Christ:

In our New Age meditations we would often meditate on and contemplate certain passages of Scripture. At an Edgar Cayce conference I once attended, we began each day by meditating on Psalm 46:10—“Be still, and know that I am God.” Looking back on that experience now, I realize why that particular verse of Psalm 46 was used by so many New Age groups for contemplation. The spirit world was only too willing to take something God was saying about Himself and translate it into something that the New Age was saying about man. It was very clever.

We were being “still” and we were quoting Scripture, but we were continually affirming that we were God by emphasizing the “I” and repeating the phrase “I am God” over and over again. We were “going within” to the “God within”—“Be still” and know that “I” am God. In our unguarded state of “being still” we were not being taught that God was God. We were being taught that we were God.

The “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles also used Psalm 46:10 to teach this New Age concept. We were to “be still” and to “know” that we were “God.” This false Jesus actually used the “Be still” verse to preface his false teaching that “the journey to the cross should be the last ‘useless journey.’” Our New Age journey was around the cross not through the cross. We were being taught by A Course in Miracles and our other New Age teachings that if we were “being still,” and if we “knew” that we were God, then we didn’t need the cross and we didn’t need Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We could save ourselves by “being still” and “awakening” to the inner “self-realization” that we were God. A Course in Miracles lesson number 70 is “My salvation comes from me.” (Chapter 5 Update, subsection "Be Still")

Another example of emptying the brain in the Course is a lesson entitled "My thoughts do not mean anything" where the student is put through a "correction process" after "repeating an earlier statement that your mind is blank." This is called a "prerequisite for vision."

Close your eyes for these exercises, and introduce them by repeating the idea for today quite slowly to yourself. Then add:

This Idea will help to release me from all that I now believe. (Workbook, p. 16-17)

In the end, the Course pupil will readily believe that "Christ takes many forms with different names" (Manual for Teachers, p. 88) and agree that we are all "co-creators" (there are 13 references for this). In fact, in example after example, there is a startling doctrinal similarity between the messages found in a Course in Miracles and the new theologies of the Emergent/Emerging church movement and New Apostolic Reformation (Latter Rain).

Furthermore, the evangelical world has largely borrowed these same same psycho-spiritual techniques of rethinking, with the same result that many are now embracing new doctrines. Spiritual formation, meditation and contemplation, and the widespread use of structured curricula using a stage-by-stage progression in acquiring new theologies -- all of this works in the same way as the Course in Miracles to cause people to "rethink."

It is no wonder that Robert Schuller can sponsor a Rethink Conference at his Crystal Cathedral and invite big names from the evangelical world to attend. Just what is intended by this "rethink" agenda? Are evangelicals supposed to "rethink" traditional Christianity? There can be no doubt. And when ex-New Agers like Warren Smith recognize the same patterns, processes and personnel, then there should especially be widespread concern.

In fact, Smith details Robert Schuller's connections to A Course in Miracles in Chapter 9 of his book Deceived on Purpose, in which he began by stating that in 1985 "members of Schuller's staff were facilitating Course in Miracles groups at the Crystal Cathedral" (p. 94). The rest of the chapter is a fascinating firsthand account of Schuller's two decades of flirtations with the Course.

The promo for the Rethink Conference states that "Dr. Robert Schuller was one of the original 'out-of-the box' thinkers when it comes to church." The question comes to mind - just how far outside of the box will this rethinking go? If the Course in Miracles is any indication, thinking out-of-the-box means thinking outside of the Bible.

The Truth:

"Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding." (Proverbs 9:6)

Friday, November 09, 2007

"Oprah and Friends" To Teach Course on New Age Christ

By Warren Smith

Oprah Winfrey will be letting out all the stops on her XM Satellite Radio program this coming year. Beginning January 1, 2008, “Oprah & Friends” will offer a year-long course on the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles.1 A lesson a day throughout the year will completely cover the 365 lessons from the Course in Miracles “Workbook.” For example, Lesson #29 asks you to go through your day affirming that “God is in everything I see.”2 Lesson #61 tells each person to repeat the affirmation “I am the light of the world.”3 Lesson #70 teaches the student to say and believe “My salvation comes from me.”4

By the end of the year, “Oprah & Friends” listeners will have completed all of the lessons laid out in the Course in Miracles Workbook. Those who finish the Course will have a wholly redefined spiritual mindset—a New Age worldview that includes the belief that there is no sin, no evil, no devil, and that God is “in” everyone and everything. A Course in Miracles teaches its students to rethink everything they believe about God and life. The Course Workbook bluntly states: “This is a course in mind training”5 and is dedicated to “thought reversal.”6

Teaching A Course in Miracles will be Oprah’s longtime friend and special XM Satellite Radio reporter Marianne Williamson—who also happens to be one of today’s premier New Age leaders. She and Conversations with God author Neale Donald Walsch co-founded the American Renaissance Alliance in 1997, that later became the Global Renaissance Alliance of New Age leaders, that changed its name again in 2005 to the Peace Alliance. This Peace Alliance seeks to usher in an era of global peace founded on the principles of a New Age/New Spirituality that they are now referring to as a “civil rights movement for the soul.”7 They all agree that the principles of this New Age/New Spirituality are clearly articulated in A Course in Miracles—which is fast becoming the New Age Bible. So what is A Course in Miracles and what does it teach?

A Course in Miracles is allegedly “new revelation” from “Jesus” to help humanity work through these troubled times. This “Jesus”—who bears no doctrinal resemblance to the Bible’s Jesus Christ—began delivering his channeled teachings in 1965 to a Columbia University Professor of Medical Psychology by the name of Helen Schucman. One day Schucman heard an “inner voice” stating, “This is a course in miracles. Please take notes.”8 For seven years she diligently took spiritual dictation from this inner voice that described himself as “Jesus.” A Course in Miracles was quietly published in 1975 by the Foundation for Inner Peace. For many years “the Course” was an underground cult classic for New Age seekers who studied “the Course” individually, with friends, or in small study groups.

As a former New Age follower and devoted student of A Course in Miracles, I eventually discovered that the Course in Miracles was—in reality—the truth of the Bible turned upside down. Not having a true understanding of the Bible at the time of my involvement, I was led to believe that A Course in Miracles was “a gift form God” to help everyone understand the “real” meaning of the Bible and to help bring peace to the world. Little did I know that the New Age “Christ” and the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles were everything the real Jesus Christ warned us to watch out for. In Matthew 24 Jesus warned about false teachers, false teachings and the false “Christs” who would pretend to be Him.

When I left the New Age “Christ” to follow the Bible’s Jesus Christ, I had come to understand that the “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles was a false “Christ,” and that his Course in Miracles was dangerously deceptive. Here are some quotes from the “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles:

  • “There is no sin. . . “9
  • A “slain Christ has no meaning.”10
  • “The journey to the cross should be the last ‘useless journey.’”11
  • “Do not make the pathetic error of ‘clinging to the old rugged cross.’”12
  • “The Name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol. . . . It is a symbol that is safely used as a replacement for the many names of all the gods to which you pray.”13
  • “God is in everything I see.”14
  • “The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself.”15
  • “The oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity and your limitless power.”16
  • “The Atonement is the final lesson he [man] need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation.”17

Most Christians recognize that these teachings are the opposite of what the Bible teaches. In the Bible, Jesus Christ’s atoning death on the cross of Calvary was hardly a “useless journey.” His triumph on the cross provides salvation to all those who confess their sin, accept Him and follow Him as their Lord and Saviour. His victory on the cross rings throughout the New Testament. It has been gloriously sung about in beloved hymns through the ages and is at the heart of our Christian testimony. I found the Jesus of the Bible to be wholly believable as He taught God’s truth and warned about the spiritual deception that would come in His name. The “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles reveals himself to be an imposter when he blasphemes the true Jesus Christ by saying that a “slain Christ has no meaning” and that we are all “God” and that we are all “Christ.” It was by reading the Bible’s true teachings of Jesus Christ that I came to understand how deceived I had been by A Course in Miracles and my other New Age teachings.

I was introduced to A Course in Miracles by Dr. Gerald Jampolsky’s book Love is Letting Go of Fear. Jampolsky declared in his easy-to-read book how the teachings of A Course in Miracles had changed his life. As an ambassador for A Course in Miracles over the years, Jampolsky has been featured not only in New Age circles but at least twice on Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power. While Schuller introduced Jampolsky and his “fabulous”18 Course in Miracles-based books to his worldwide television audience, it was Marianne Williamson’s appearance on a 1992 Oprah Winfrey Show that really shook the rafters.

On that program, Oprah enthusiastically endorsed Williamson’s book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles. Oprah told her television audience that Williamson’s book about A Course in Miracles was one of her favorite books, and that she had already bought a thousand copies and would be handing them out to everyone in her studio audience. Oprah’s endorsement skyrocketed Williamson’s book about A Course in Miracles to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Ironically, all of this was happening after I had left the Course and the New Age. In fact, I was doing the final editing on my book The Light That Was Dark that warned about the dangers of the New Age—and in particular A Course in Miracles.

After being introduced to the world on Oprah, Marianne Williamson has continued to grow in popularity and, as previously mentioned, has become one of today’s foremost New Age leaders. Williamson credits Winfrey for bringing her book about A Course in Miracles before the world: “For that, my deepest thanks to Oprah Winfrey. Her enthusiasm and generosity have given the book, and me, an audience we would never otherwise have had.”19 In her 2004 book, The Gift of Change, Williamson wrote: “Twenty years ago, I saw the guidance of the Course as key to changing one’s personal life; today, I see its guidance as key to changing the world. More than anything else, I see how deeply the two are connected.”20

Thus the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles are about to be taught by Marianne Williamson to millions of listeners on Oprah’s XM Satellite Radio program. Listeners are encouraged to buy A Course in Miracles for the year-long course. An audio version of A Course in Miracles recited by Richard (John Boy Walton) Thomas is also available on compact disc. Popular author Wayne Dyer told his PBS television audience that the “brilliant writing” of A Course in Miracles would produce more peace in the world.21 Williamson’s New Age colleague, Neale Donald Walsch, said his “God” stated that “the era of the Single Saviour is over”22 and that he (“God”) was responsible for authoring the teachings of A Course in Miracles.23 Meanwhile, Gerald Jampolsky’s Course in Miracles-based book, Forgiveness, continues to be sold in Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral bookstore as Schuller prepares to host a January 17-19, 2008, “Rethink Conference” at his Crystal Cathedral.24

At this critical time in the history of the world, the New Gospel/New Spirituality is coming right at the world and the church with its New Age teachings and its New Age Peace Plan. But this New Age Peace Plan has at its deceptive core the bottom-line teaching from A Course in Miracles that “we are all one” because God is “in” everyone and everything. But the Bible is clear that we are not God (Ezekiel 28:2; Hosea 11:9). And per Galatians 3:26-28, our only oneness is in Jesus Christ—not in ourselves as “God” and “Christ.” What Oprah and Marianne Williamson and the world will learn one day is that humanity’s only real and lasting peace is with the true Jesus Christ who is described and quoted in the Holy Bible (Romans 5:1).

Oprah Winfrey’s misplaced faith in Marianne Williamson and the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles is a sure sign of the times. But an even surer sign of the times is that most Christians are not taking heed to what is happening in the world and in the church. We are not contending for the faith as the Bible admonishes us to do (Jude 3). It is time for all of our Purpose-Driven and Emerging church pastors to address the real issue of the day. Our true Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is being reinvented, redefined, and blasphemed right in front of our eyes and hardly anyone seems to notice or care. If we want the world to know who Jesus Christ is, we need to also warn them about who He is not. There is a false New Age “Christ” making huge inroads into the world and into the church. The Apostle Paul said that “it is a shame” we have to even talk about these things, but talk about them we must (Ephesians 5:12-16).

If people want to follow Oprah Winfrey and the New Age “Christ” of A Course in Miracles they certainly have that right. But let them be warned that the New Age “Christ” they are following is not the same Jesus Christ who is so clearly and authoritatively presented in the pages of the Bible.

Warren Smith is a former New Age follower who at one time was deeply involved in the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles. He is the author of The Light That Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace and Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church. His book Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel is available free online at

2. A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume (Glen Ellen, California: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1975), (Workbook), p. 45.
3. Ibid., p. 102.
4. Ibid., p. 119.
5. Ibid., (Text), p. 16.
6. Ibid., (Preface), p. ix.
7. Neale Donald Walsch, Tomorrow’s God: Our Greatest Spiritual Challenge (New York: Atria Books, Simon & Schuster, 2004), pp. 262-263.
8. Robert Skutch, Journey Without Distance: The Story behind “A Course in Miracles” (Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts, 1984), p. 54.
9. A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume, (Workbook), p. 183.
10. Ibid., (Text), p. 425.
11. Ibid., p. 52.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid., (Teachers Manual), p. 58.
14. Ibid., (Workbook), p. 45.
15. Ibid., (Text), p. 147.
16. Ibid., p. 125.
17. Ibid., p. 237.
19. Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles A Course in Miracles (New York: Harper Perennial, 1996), p. ix.
20. Marianne Williamson, The Gift Of Change: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004), p. 5.
21. Wayne Dyer, “There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem,” Public Broadcasting System broadcast in 2001.
22. Neale Donald Walsch, The New Revelations: A Conversation with God (New York: Atria Books, 2002), p. 157.
23. Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: an uncommon dialogue, Book 1 (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1996), p. 90.
24. (See also 10/30/07 “What is Robert Schuller ‘rethinking’?” by Joseph Farah and “Rethinking Robert Schuller” by Warren Smith. See also Herescope: "Rethinking Culture" and "Rethinking and Reinventing" (10/30/07)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Good Intentions

If It Looks So Good . . .
How Can It Be Deception?
Part 2
By Barbara Wilhelm

  • Aren't good intentions and a sincere, heartfelt desire to honor and please God enough of a safeguard to keep us from deception and sin?
  • If God sees that our intentions are good and our motives sincere in our desire to glorify Him, won't this please Him, no matter what?

Sadly, the answers to both these questions are NO!

There is one other essential factor that must be entered into the equation: Is the action done in accordance with His Divine will and His stated commands as found in His Word? If it is a clear violation of His commands, it will NOT please Him no matter how sincere and well-intentioned it is! To prove this premise, let's look at 1 Chronicles 13 and 15 and 2 Samuel 6.

Here we have David's pious proposal to bring up the ark of God to Jerusalem that God would be honored. He consults with the people to see "if it seems good to them" and if they think that the idea is "of God" (1 Chron 13:2). 2 Sa 6:1 and 1 Chron 13:1 tell us that these were all the "chosen" (meaning excellent) men of Israel. These were the leaders and elect of the people whom he consulted. And what was proposed seemed "right in the eyes of all the people" (v.4). It was unanimously agreed that this was a good thing. And they performed their task with the greatest joy, in fact they solemnly "celebrated before God with all their might" (v.8).

There is no doubt that those involved held the Lord in the very highest esteem, verse two clearly demonstrates that: "the ark of God, Whose Name is called by the Name of the Lord of Hosts, Who dwells between the cherubim" (2 Sam 6:2).

So, we have pious, well-meaning, sincere men of God - His very elect - attempting to perform a service to their God with their only purpose in mind being to honor Him "with all their might." Surely, God will be thoroughly pleased with them. . . but He was not! So displeased was God that "He smote Uzzah" and killed him!

Let us study more thoroughly that we might "rightly divide the Word of Truth" (2 Ti 2:15) and that we would understand that a good intention will not justify a bad action. God had, in His Word, given specific instructions as to how the ark was to be carried and who was allowed to touch it. He will never leave us ignorant of His Divine will, if we will but seek it out.

  • Nu 1:50 " ...appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony and over all things that belong to it. They shall carry the tabernacle."

Yes, Uzzah was a Levite (he was, after all, the son of Abinadab, a Levite). . . BUT that was not all. . .

  • Nu 7:9 ". . .to the sons of Kohath (one of three divisions of Levi) were assigned the care of the sanctuary which had to be carried on their shoulders."

And nowhere does it say that Abinadab’s house was that of the Kohaths.

In addition, David had the ark put on a cart. Perhaps, the Philistines were allowed to place the ark in a cart (1 Sa 6:7), but they were not His chosen people who were supposed to be well-versed in His commands. To place the ark on a cart - even a new cart - was against God's specific written command. This was God's holiest thing - the ark of the covenant - and He would determine His holy commands over it.

Was God's righteous judgment against Uzzah a rash and unrighteous act? No indeed, for He had already given the Israelites the warning that "the sons of Kohath shall carry (the ark) but they shall not touch the holy things, lest they die" (Nu 4:15). Again, He repeats it in Nu 18: 3 " . . . only they (the Levites) shall not come near the sacred vessels of the sanctuary that they. . . die not."

Matthew Henry Commentary states:

"The priests must instruct the people and admonish them concerning the due distance they were to keep and not allow them to break the boundaries set before them." For to break through those boundaries results in death, as it did for Uzzah.

Lindsell Bible Commentary states:

"David disregarded God's specific instructions and however pious his intention, disaster followed his disobedience."

If we find fault with God's reaction to all this, we become like David; we become "offended with God" (1 Chron 13:11). The word offended here means "blazed up in anger;" blazing anger against God for what God had done! Instead, David should have humbled himself under God's mighty Hand, confessed his sin, acknowledged God's righteousness, sought His exact Will as found in His Word, and then gone on with his actions. Because of David's "offendedness" at God, the ark was delayed three more months from entering Jerusalem.

(How often does God try to get our attention and chasten us in His love
and we become offended with Him instead of seeking His Truth?)

1 Chron 15 shows us that seeking God's Truth as written in His Holy Word was exactly what David finally did:

  • v.2 "Then David said, None should carry the ark of God but the Levites, for the Lord chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him for ever."
  • v.15 "The Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses commanded by the Word of the Lord."


  • v. 13 "For because you bore it not (as God directed) at the first, the Lord our God broke forth upon us, BECAUSE WE DID NOT SEEK HIM IN THE WAY HE ORDAINED."

CONCLUSIONS: Yes, they were the elect, the excellent, the chosen people, the leaders of Israel. Yes, what they did they did with a heart's desire to glorify God. Yes, they were well-intentioned. BUT...GOD HIMSELF WAS NOT PLEASED BECAUSE THEY DID NOT SEEK HIM AS HE HAD ORDAINED!


  • Is 8:20 states: "Direct (them) to the Word and the testimony: if their teachings are not in accord with this word, there is no light in them."

There is another aspect that bears study in relation to the problem with good intentions: good intentions sometimes may "sound religious" but they aren't what God has commanded. 1 Samuel 15 relates the command of God that King Saul slay all the Amalekites and all they owned. Saul, however, did not do this but destroyed only what was inferior, keeping the best part from destruction. He uses as an excuse for this lack of obedience that it was done with a good intention, for the religious-sounding idea that he was going to use these things (v.21b) "to sacrifice to the Lord thy God."

His intentions looked and sounded good, but they were not the command of God. Matthew Henry's Commentary, detailing the conversation between Saul and Samuel is very explicit on this matter:

"It was with a good intention: 'It was to sacrifice to the Lord thy God.' He is thy God, and thou wilt not be against any thing that is done, as this is, for His honor." This was a false plea, for both King Saul and the people designed their own profit in sparing the cattle. But, if it had been true, it would still have been frivolous, for God hates robbery for burnt-offering. God appointed these cattle to be sacrificed to Him in the field, and therefore will give those no thanks that bring them to be sacrificed at His altar; for He will be served in His own way, and according to the rule He Himself has prescribed. Nor will a good intention justify a bad action." [emphasis added]

It sounded and look so holy, so religious to offer sacrifice to God. But what God required was not sacrifice but obedience to His commands.

"Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to hearken than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft
and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry"
(1 Sa 15:22-23)

Such harsh words Samuel used! He called this "religious-sounding, "good-intentioned"-sounding action -- rebellion! Witchcraft, stubbornness, idolatry! Why? Because God has given specific commands that were to be fully obeyed in their execution. God gave His commands; anything l
ess than full obedience to those commands is sin. No matter how good-intentioned it sounds.


There are those who are sincere in their desire to please God, who are well-intentioned and who say that we are to covenant with all those who "name the Name of Jesus." BUT Ps 138:2 says that God Himself "has magnified His WORD above that Name." So we must seek His Word to see if that union would be God's intent.

These same people say that the unity of all those who "name the Name of Jesus" is the ultimate goal of the church and that it was Jesus' ultimate prayer in John 17. BUT v.17 in that same chapter also quotes the rest of Jesus' prayer: "Sanctify them by the Truth. Your WORD is Truth." Unity can only come about when it is done in accordance with His express Word. God's express Word says that "we are to separate ourselves from idolaters and not even eat with them" (1 Cor 5: 11-13).

We now have “Christian” yoga – a mixture of the name of Christ with that of idolatry. We now have “Christian” meditation which is nothing more than Eastern mysticism. We have brought into the Church, under the banner of “Emerging Church,” many of the rituals of Roman Catholicism – the stations of the cross, the Eucharist, the lectio divina.

When Uzzah touched God’s holy ark, he died. When Nadab and Abihu tried to offer “strange fire,” they died. When Ananias and Sapphira lied, they died. Dear Lord, sanctify your people!

One last point:

1 Chron 13: 2 states that
"all the priests and Levites" were in attendance on that fateful day:
all those in leadership,
who surely knew the Word of God,
and who surely knew
that the actions David proposed
were in direct violation of that Word.

Why did they not speak up and stop him, and all the people gathered with him, from an action that God, ultimately, found to be so totally displeasing to Himself?

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Special POMEGRANATE Anointing oil from CHUCK PIERCE. . .

I've told many of our readers, that "oil is oil." The Bible just teaches that we should anoint one another with oil. HOWEVER, having said that, we enjoy making specially fragrant and specially prophetic-meaning oils available to you for your ministry use. Again, it could be motor oil, since "oil is oil." But the OIL OF THE POMEGRANATE (offered below) has special Biblical meanings of success, prosperity, healing, and more. . . .

"Pomegranate Anointing Oil" $19.99 4 oz.

Anointing Oil
"My Life Will Profit" $12.99 3/4 oz. Roll-on Anointing Oil

[The Elijah List, October 22, 2007]

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.

The Truth:

"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)