Thursday, July 17, 2008

God's Dream?


TheCall DC - God Has A Dream
Forty years ago this year, Martin Luther King sounded a prophetic trumpet to the nation. Echoing the ancient cry uttered by Moses to the oppressive Pharaoh of Egypt, Martin Luther King and 250,000 Black Americans cried out “let my people go” in peaceful defiance of the oppressive edicts and Jim Crow Laws of morally eroded governmental leaders and a culture of systemic racism. Gathering at the mall in Washington D.C the sound was born of “I have a dream” and that same sound still resonates today. Today the sound is being carried across the pulpits of the pews of America, extending from the senatorial chambers of Washington D.C. to the movie industry of Hollywood. It is the sound of another great movement on the horizon, a prayer and justice movement crying out for God’s dreams to be fulfilled in a generation. 
[emphasis added]

Become a Mobilizer for TheCall DC, August 16, 2008
Join us on the National Mall in Washington DC on August 16, 2008 for a massive gathering of united generations desperate for revival and real change in our nation. More than an event, TheCall is a fast, not a festival. Come and be a part of the cultural reformation.

There are moments in history when a door for massive change opens. Great revolutions for good or evil occur in the vacuum created by these openings. It is in these moments that key men and women - sometimes entire generations - risk everything to become the hinge of history. That pivotal point determines which way the door will swing.

This Washington, D.C. Mall event described above is connected with the rise of patriotic Dominionism, described in the previous post. The organizers of this event have been working for several decades to create a youth movement that could fulfill their expectations for a “New Breed” and could function as a “Joel’s Army.” To recruit young people for their "bootcamps" and prayer "furnaces", these men have invoked patriotic fervor over the abortion issue especially, and morality generally.

This theme of “God’s Dream,” or some variation of the phrase, has increasingly become the metaphor of choice for the radical transformation of evangelical Christianity. Brian McLaren has used the term frequently, most recently in his book Everything Must Change, in which he explains it in terms of a new eschatology of “God’s dreams actually coming true down here” (p. 4) and “God’s dreams coming true for this earth” (p. 21) :

“Jesus’ message is not actually about escaping this troubled world for heaven’s blissful shores, as is popularly assumed, but instead is about God’s will being done on this troubled earth as it is in heaven. (p. 4) [link added]

Sadly, McLaren, along with many other neoevangelical leaders, is using Dr. Martin Luther King’s stirring speech as a metaphor for his plans for global transformation (Everything Must Change, page 146, e.g.). The most striking example can be found in the quotation at the top of this post. God's Dream is the theme of an upcoming pseudo-patriotic event scheduled in Washington, D.C. on the Mall sponsored by TheCall, an organization linked to Mike Bickle, Lou Engle and many other New Apostolic Reformation leaders, including many of the old “Kansas City Prophets.” But this is no fringe operation. TheCall and its personnel is interconnected with many mainstream evangelical organizations, including Campus Crusade for Christ.

To get a sense of the extraordinary nature of this upcoming “God’s Dream” event, check out “The Vision” posted at TheCall Institute, which is to “equip, disciple and commission an emerging generation of radical Nazirites to prepare the way of the Lord by embracing a lifestyle of prayer and fasting that is energized by intimacy with Jesus…. [A] new breed of young men and women….” [emphasis added]

A highly disturbing video posted at TheCall’s website describes the extreme nature of this youth movement, and states that “those who come will be marked forever and they will be history-makers and dreamers of God's dream.” Notice the young men and women in this brownish-greyish video have marks on their foreheads.

A similarly disturbing video is posted at The Luke 18 Project which is interconnected with TheCall. It states that 10,000 apostolic young men and women, by their radical lifestyle of prayer and fasting, and in conjunction with the fulfillment of a “dream of launching massive solemn assemblies of fasting and prayer” will “release justice over the earth” and start prayer cells (called “prayer FURNACES”) that “will transform cities, finish the task of the Great Commission and prepare a way for Jesus to return to the planet to establish his kingdom forever and ever....” The context for much of this activity is through food deprivation (fasting) in conjunction with a hypnotic-like fervor of mass prayer rallies "filled stadiums and arenas."

It is not quite certain what exactly “God’s Dream” means metaphorically, but it has always been linked to the idea of building the kingdom of God on Earth. There is a fascinating history of the usage of this term detailed in the Chapter 10 Update to Warren Smith’s online book Reinventing Jesus Christ.

God’s Dream?

Another of the many obvious Rick Warren links to Robert Schuller and the New Age/New Spirituality is through the Schuller concept of “God’s Dream.” On October 27, 2003 Rick Warren announced that the next weekend he would be introducing his P.E.A.C.E. Plan to “help change the world.” He used the term “God’s Dream” to describe this P.E.A.C.E. Plan. He called it “God’s Dream For You—And The World.” While the explicit term “God’s Dream” is not to be found anywhere in the Bible, it is a term that Robert Schuller has been using for over thirty years. In his book The Purpose-Driven Church, Rick Warren states that in 1974—six years before he started Saddleback Church at the age of twenty-five—he read Robert Schuller’s book, Your Church Has Real Possibilities. This Schuller book presented a young and impressionable Rick Warren with the Schuller concept of “God’s Dream” and how “God’s Dream” was inextricably linked to “purpose.” In his 1974 book, Schuller wrote about “God’s dream” for your life,” stating:

He has a dream for your life and your church. He will reveal His dream by causing you to desire what He wants.

Now pray the prayer of surrender…. Then ask the Holy Spirit to fill your mind with God’s dream for your life.

Big beautiful dreams will come….

…Listen to this dream, “For it is God at work within you, giving you the will and the power to achieve His purpose”….

The phrase “God’s Dream” was also particularly prevalent in Schuller’s 1982 book Self-Esteem: The New Reformation. This was the book that was so highly praised by [New Age leader] Neale Donald Walsch and his New Age “God,” and the book from which Rick Warren apparently drew so much unattributed material for his book The Purpose-Driven Life. In this book Schuller wrote:

When God’s dream is accepted, we must be prepared to pay a high price. The dream that comes from God calls us to fulfill his will by taking an active part in his kingdom.

I am not fully forgiven until I allow God to write his new dream for my life on the blackboard of my mind…. God has a great plan to redeem society. He needs me and wants to use me.

“God’s forgiving grace is incomplete until he gives me—and I accept—a new kingdom-building dream and opportunity.”

Tremendous human energy is needed to walk God’s walk, work God’s work, fulfill God’s will, and complete his dream for our self-esteem.

Robert Schuller was calling for a “kingdom building dream”—a “New Reformation”—to redeem the world. He called it “God’s Dream to “redeem society.” Twenty years later Rick Warren was calling for a kingdom building dream—a “New Reformation”—to “change the world.” He called it his P.E.A.C.E. Plan and described it as “God’s Dream For You—And The World.” I would later discover that Rick Warren’s use of the term “God’s Dream” and his accompanying affirmation that it is “going to happen” could be found in Robert Schuller’s 1978 book Discover Your Possibilities. Schuller had written:

Pray, seek God’s guidance and what’s going to happen? You’ll get a dream to pursue…. Find a dream. Once you’ve got that dream and you know it’s God’s dream for your life, then be daring. Dare to say it. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. Announce to the whole world that it’s going to happen.
[emphasis added]

In Rick Warren’s October 27, 2003 e-mail announcing his P.E.A.C.E. Plan and entitled “God’s Dream For You—And The World,” he wrote:

THIS WEEKEND, I’ll begin a series of five messages on
God’s dream to use you globally—to literally use YOU to change the world! I’ll unveil our Global P.E.A.C.E. plan, and how God has uniquely prepared you for this moment of destiny….

The Global Peace Plan
IS GOING TO HAPPEN….[bold added]

This use of “God’s Dream” and its direct connection to Robert Schuller is yet one more issue that has never been honestly addressed by Saddleback apologists. When I pointed out [in my book
Deceived on Purpose] that the concept of “God’s Dream” was a Schuller concept, and it could not be found in the Bible, Saddleback representative Gilbert Thurston [in defending Rick Warren’s use of the term “God’s Dream"] focused only on the single word “dream”—ignoring the issue of “God’s Dream” and distorting what I really said—he made it look like I was saying the word “dream” could not be found in the Bible. Here’s what he wrote:

As for the word dream, Mr. Smith is technically correct when he says that every time the word dream is used in the Bible it’s referring to sleeping dreams or waking visions. However, he is incorrect when he tries to imply that the kind of dreams that Rick Warren, Bruce Wilkinson or even Robert Schuller, for that matter, talk about are not found in the Bible.

Saddleback apologist Richard Abanes even took it a step further. Carefully avoiding any mention of the term “God’s Dream,” and Rick Warren’s specific use of the term “God’s Dream” in describing his “Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan,” Abanes—like Gilbert Thurston—also limited his discussion to the single word “dream.” He then tried to suggest that Rick Warren’s language was patterned after Martin Luther King—not Robert Schuller. He wrote:

Smith plays the same word game with “dream”—a term used by both Rick Warren and Robert Schuller (Smith p. 178). Warren has talked about his dream for the P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Schuller has often used the word dream in about his teachings regarding church leadership, church growth, and New Age concepts. But that does NOT mean the two men are using the word in the same way.

In fact, Warren’s use of the word “dream” dates all the way back to his first sermon at Saddleback in 1980. He listed several dreams he had for his church. And it is more reminiscent of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington D.C. than anything Schuller has ever said/written.

But who is the one playing word games? Abanes never addressed Rick Warren’s specific use of the Schuller metaphor “God’s Dream” and how he uses it to characterize his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Like Thurston, Abanes tried to contain the discussion to the more generic and easily defensible term “dream.” But he still missed the point. He stated that Rick Warren’s use of the term “dream” in his first Saddleback sermon in 1980 was “more reminiscent” of Martin Luther King than Robert Schuller. What he was conveniently overlooking was the fact that in 1980 Rick Warren had just graduated from The Robert H. Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership where—according to Kay Warren—he had been “profoundly influenced” by Schuller. Rick Warren himself stated that six years prior to starting Saddleback he had read Robert Schuller’s book Your Church has Real Possibilities. One can only wonder what else went through nineteen year-old Rick Warren’s mind when, two pages after Schuller’s multiple references to “God’s dream,” Schuller wrote:

You’ve got to believe it before you see it! So believe you can build a Twenty-First Century church now! You can be the founder and the leader of such a great new inspirational center. You can make your church a great church for Jesus Christ.

Some reader of this book will build the greatest church ever built in America….

Controversial Emergent Church leader Brian McLaren and Prayer of Jabez author Bruce Wilkinson—along with Rick Warren and many others—are definitely helping to popularize the Schuller concept of “God’s Dream.” They are obviously attempting to make this Schuller concept part of the new transformational language of the church. McLaren recommends that metaphors be used to introduce the world to Jesus. McLaren even proposes a new “language of the Kingdom.” In his 2006 book The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth That Could Change Everything, McLaren states that the emerging twenty-first century church needs a new user-friendly language to effectively communicate with the world about Jesus. With no mention of Schuller—or Rick Warren for that matter—the very first metaphor McLaren suggests is the concept of “God’s Dream.” Not surprisingly, like Abanes, he also tries to link this Schuller concept to Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement and King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. McLaren explains:

For all these reasons, “the dream of God” strikes me as a beautiful way to translate the message of the kingdom of God for hearers today. It is, of course, the language evoked by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. His dream was God’s dream, and that accounted for its amazing power.

But this descriptive linking of “God’s Dream” with Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement is the same thing that New Age leaders were doing as they linked their PEACE PLAN—their “civil rights movement for the soul”—to Martin Luther King and King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Curiously, when I did an Internet search I could find no instance of Martin Luther King ever using the specific term “God’s Dream.” By using the Schuller concept of “God’s Dream,” while invoking Martin Luther King and his civil rights movement, church leaders were now falling—even more directly—into the New Age spiritual trap.

With an ever-evolving, conveniently overlapping, new transformational language, Rick Warren’s Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan was in the process of semantically merging with the New Age PEACE PLAN.
Was the Schuller concept of “God’s Dream” going to be the “pied piper” rallying cry for a seemingly wonderful PEACE PLAN that would deceptively capture the world’s imagination? It was no wonder, and no accident, that Neale Donald Walsch and his “God” described Robert Schuller as an “extraordinary” Christian minister. And how interesting that Saddleback apologists were doing everything in their power to try to distance Rick Warren from Robert Schuller—the very man who so obviously inspired Rick Warren’s life and ministry and his whole present-day Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

The Truth:

"Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:32)

[This excerpt from Reinventing Jesus Christ by Warren Smith used by permission. It was altered slightly for blog use. Full citations can be found in the Chapter 10 Update posted at Additional material on "God's Dream" can be found in Chapter 11 of Warren Smith's book Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church.]

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kicking the Kingdom into High Gear

"God has His hand on America to bring our nation back into its proper alignment. A major key to making this happen is the formation of the U.S. Apostolic Alliance. Few have the clear, practical vision and the passion for mobilizing our nation's apostolic and prophetic leaders, region by region, than Apostle Dutch Sheets. I am excited to be a part of Dutch's apostolic team, and I believe we are going to witness giant steps toward seeing our land reflect the kingdom of God in very near future."
C. Peter Wagner, Presiding Apostle
International Coalition of Apostles

There is a massive re-"alignment" going on in the so-called "apostolic" realm these days, and most of attention is being concentrated on the United States. The focus of this new "alignment" is a virulent new form of patriotic Dominionism, and it is being championed by the charismatic leaders.

C. Peter Wagner’s July 11, 2008 Global Harvest Ministries newsletter was titled “Alignment! Looking toward the Future. ” In it he announced that “our desire is that Chuck Pierce, our son in ministry, become the heir to GHM" (Global Harvest Ministries).

Wagner wrote, “A large part of the apostolic ministry to which God has called me is facilitating biblical alignment.” One entity created for this purpose of “apostolic alignment” is being called “Global Spheres,Inc. (GSI).” To describe this organization’s operations, Wagner linked it to the recent Lakeland, Florida activities: “One very public example of this is the recent apostolic alignment of Evangelist Todd Bentley with the Revival Alliance.” In fact, Wagner and Pierce put their stamp of approval on this whole extravaganza.

This Todd Bentley Lakeland "revival" is being connected with the overall "Dominion" agenda, which Wagner explained in his newsletter as:

“The kingdom of God furnishes the template for our stream. We believe that God's desire for this season can be discerned through 'The Dominion Mandate' and 'The 7-M Mandate.' Chuck has laid groundwork through his books, The Future War of the Church and God's Unfolding Battle Plan. I have been doing the same through The Church in the Workplace and Dominion! We want to provide a viable opportunity for apostolic alignment for leaders who minister in all seven mountains….

“We feel that Global Spheres, Inc., will fill a gap for many who believe in the direction that Chuck, Doris and I are taking into the future, and who desire official alignment with us as their apostolic leaders. We do not want it to be a traditional, religious organization, but rather an aligned network of leaders from all seven spheres that make up societal structures. This is a way that we can do our part toward fulfilling the Dominion Mandate.” [emphases and links added]

Dominionism in America on the Rise

Dominionism in America is also being promoted by a widely circulated "prophecy" posted at - (To read this "prophecy," go to Enter Flash Site, press Skip Intro, “CLICK HERE” in the image, and go to "America -- The Day and the Hour of Revival Approaches" in the pop-up window).

Printed below are excerpts from this prophecy titled America – The Day and the Hour of Revival Approaches. It is attributed to self-proclaimed prophet Wendy Alec, co-founder (with husband Rory) of God TV. The prophecy was posted on the God TV website as well as on Alec’s own website titled Journal of the Unknown Prophet: Legacy to a Renegade Generation. It has circulated on the Internet and is embraced by numerous Christians—including some prominent Christian leaders—who apparently credit God as its source.

As you will read, the "prophecy" describes an imminent spiritual revival in America and specifically mentions the southern United States, which is commonly referred to as the Bible Belt. It cryptically foretells supernatural visitations, a new anointing and a widespread spiritual awakening among the nation’s youth.

Some believe this prophecy (and a similar one by Alec titled East Coast Revival) is now manifested in the Florida Healing Revival led by Canadian evangelist Todd Bentley (of Fresh Fire Ministries), which is currently underway in Lakeland, Florida. Bentley’s highly publicized services have been held twice a day, seven days a week. A recent news report stated that more than 140,000 people from at least 40 nations have attended the meetings in Lakeland. The services reach many others through live broadcasts aired on God TV and by the Internet. There are claims of healings, spiritual ecstasy and supernatural experiences. Bentley’s ministry, with its emphasis upon mystical, esoteric experiences, visions and angel encounters, is not linked to sound Bible doctrine. It appeals to the spiritually gullible, the greedy, those influenced by false prophets, and those not grounded in the Word of God.

Likewise the prophetic message titled America—despite its spiritual-sounding language borrowed from the Bible (a little truth)—is not inspired of the Holy Spirit. The America message does not line up with true Bible prophecies. It lifts up the efforts of man without acknowledging the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary. It appeals to those who hope for revival, but does not present the Gospel message of Salvation. Instead it gives a message about building the kingdom of God on earth. The message is a false prophecy and an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.

Excerpts from the "prophecy" AMERICA - THE DAY AND THE HOUR OF REVIVAL APPROACHES: AMERICA – A NEW SEASON with commentary in red [all emphases added]:

  • For the Lord would say – America – beloved America – you stand on the brink of a new season [NOTE: this is a common thread in all false prophecies - claiming that God is doing something "new"] in me – For I have heard the cries of those that hunger – of those that have fallen on their faces before me seeking imploring me for a move of my presence.... [M]y hand shall move across the United States of America for the great outpouring of my Holy Spirit that has yet to fall – [NOTE: This paragraph sets the stage, but sadly the apostate church does not know the Word of the Lord nor can it discern a true outpouring of the Holy Spirit.]
  • And so beloved I tell you that my presence shall fall from East to West from North to South – and Canada – yes surely Canada shall be a part of this revival says the Lord of Hosts ...I AM CALLING MY APOSTLES, MY PROPHETIC EVANGELISTS And now I would address the apostles – Rise Rise Rise up in the nation of America – Apostles – for surely the intercessions and the supplications of the saints have prepared the way for your feet to march and for your hands to build – and the prophets – the voices of my prophets have rent the heavens and now apostles it is time for you to rise and build [NOTE: The biblical apostle or prophet is to preach the Gospel, not march upon or build nations -- this is the language of Dominionism] ...
  • [T]here is a new breed of evangelist that rises upon your shores America – and it is you to whom I call forth – for surely although you have seen harvest – the harvest you have reaped has been but a glimmer of what I have birthed in your spirit – but I tell you that even in a moment it shall be – even in a moment – that my breath shall blow and like a whirlwind – a different season and a different dispensation shall fall – and I shall raise up my prophetic evangelists and as they declare – and as they bring forth – so I tell you that my consuming fire shall fall... [This "new breed" concept is not biblical, nor is there an endtime harvest that the church is put in charge of reaping, nor is there a "different season" and "dispensation." Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). Satan is the author of confusion, not God!]
  • THE CONSUMING FIRE OF MY PRESENCE SHALL ROAR ACROSS THE YOUTH OF AMERICA And many many many yes many of them shall be the youth of this nation – for I tell you – there is coming a fire –the consuming fire of my presence that will roar across the YOUTH of the nation of America [NOTE: This is a message about "Joel's Army," a false end-time focus upon youth. While we all hope for a revival among youth, it is not to create an army, but rather so that they might be saved from their sins.]
  • ...[M]y mighty Generals and Apostles shall join across America in a great and fearsome army of the Lord – And it shall be a new sound [NOTE: A new song is mentioned in the Bible – but it refers to the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ (Psalms 96:1, 98:1, and 149:1)] ... it is the sound of marching – marching – to the step and the sound of the Lord of Hosts. [NOTE: the militaristic language in this prophecy.]
  • And Prophets – my Prophets –I call you – rise up in this day and in this hour and cry out cry out to America – for the time to demolish the religious strongholds that have bound my people so tightly in their fetters ... [NOTE: Who define religious stronghold? How will they be demolished?]
  • AMERICA – A SHIFT AHEAD – A GREAT SIFTING For I tell you America – that the times and the seasons are changing – and a time of persecution dawns – a time when agendas will rise to the surface – for there comes a shift aheada shift in the political arenas in the years ahead – and a great sifting of believers in America will take place ... [NOTE: Which believers will be sifted? How? Who will be persecuted and by whom? This "prophecy" foretells a paradigm shift in spirituality.]
  • [F]or it is time to look OUT America – beyond your cities beyond your towns – Look out Look OUT America – for the nations have need of you – Rise up from the bondage of complacency - for the East cries out to you – and the North travails – and the South calls to you in the spirit – and so my fire shall fall – and from the east Coast to the West and from the West across the seas it shall go – and from the North it shall rise North North even to Russia – it shall burn – and to the South – the South a flame of fire shall rise[NOTE: The global aspect of this "prophecy" is scary on its face!]
  • ... I shall come towards you in this day yet in a new form – and yes many many many in the new day shall not recognize me – they shall say oh this is not God – but I shall pour out such a spirit of hunger of hunger of hunger upon you – that your desperation for me shall overcome your religious expectation [Look out! This sounds like Antichrist! See Matthew 24:23-28.]
Why are charismatic promoters of hyper-spiritualism and the supernatural seemingly so successful? And why are the predictions of false prophets believed by so many? The Bible answers those questions in Deuteronomy 13:1-3:

"If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, whereof he spoke unto you, saying, Let us go after other gods, which you have not known, and let us serve them, you shall not hearken to that prophet or dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proves you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul."

As Scripture affirms, the Lord allows false messengers and sorcerers to succeed for a time to test His people and the sincerity of their love for Him. Those who choose to follow false ways are free to do so, but at their peril. The wise will heed the warning in Deuteronomy and reject all signs, wonders, miracles, and prophecies not based on sound Bible doctrine—even if they look real.

Regrettably many Christians have already moved away from their love of God and properly-placed faith (in the finished work of Christ) to pursue these kinds of false systems warned of in Deuteronomy. They now embrace New Age and pop spirituality, mysticism, the practice of ancient ceremonies, the prosperity gospel, humanistic psychology, the seeker sensitive movement, the cell group/apostolic hierarchy movement and other false ways. Mega-churches that follow business models for church growth fill the pews with thousands on Sundays, but they serve no spiritual food. Many Christians who once knew The Way seek experiences instead of a relationship with Christ.

Much is at stake. Babes in Christ are highly vulnerable to the influences of showy false teachers who claim to hear from God. Mature Christians too are at risk of turning away from The Faith if they choose to abandon sound Biblical doctrine for false ways. And an entire generation of
young people—except for a few who hear and accept the Message of the Cross—is in danger of being lost.

How can Christians avoid falling for man-made pseudo-Christian movements that pervert the Gospel? Christians can steer clear by keeping their faith properly placed in the Lord Jesus Christ (the only Way and object of our faith) and His finished work on the Cross (the sacrifice of His life and the shedding of His Blood on Calvary, which paid for our salvation and for our victorious daily living.)

God still heals the sick, mends broken hearts, and sets free those in Satan’s hold. And He still works miracles today. However a true spiritual move of God is a work of the Holy Spirit. It is not a flamboyant, garish creation of men enabled by evil spirits. Nor is it an aggressive, marching end-time army building a kingdom here on earth.


For the preaching of the Cross is to them who perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the Power of God. (I Corinthians 1:18)

We are grateful to J. Flood for the majority of thoughts in this post.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Miracles - Preaching the Gospel = ___?

"This revival has all the elements of all the other false revivals combined and is very powerful in its influence. The revival in Florida is powered by supernatural stories and testimonies and experiences. The stories increasingly stretch ones incredulity – incredible healings, with claims of 20 people already being raised from the dead. Reports of people seeing angels, angels filling teeth with gold, sending down feathers into meetings, gold dust, diamonds appearing, etc."
- Mike Oppenheimer, Let Us Reason newsletter, June/July 2008

In Jesus' era people were also seeking miracles, signs and wonders. Mark chapter 1 details how Jesus "healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils" (vs. 34) Shortly thereafter, Simon Peter commented to Jesus that "all men seek for thee" (vs. 37). Our Lord's response was simply, "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore cam I forth" (vs. 38). And Mark records that "He preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils" (vs. 39).

In the 1600s, Matthew Poole wrote on this passage, which is just as relevant to today's seeking after miracles. Commenting on Mark 1:30-39, particularly the verses cited above:

"Peter probably pitieth the multitude, because many amongst them needed Christ's presence, for their bodily infirmities. Our Saviour knew their hearts better than Peter; and that which made them so much seek for Him, was either in some a curiosity to see miracles wrought, or at best but a desire of some bodily benefit from Him.

"Whereas His working of miracles was but a secondary work, subservient to His work in preaching, and done to confirm His doctrine, and to advantage them as to their faith in Him as the Messais.

"As therefore He refused to gratify the curiosity of the Pharisees in giving them a sign, so here our Saviour takes no notice of the multitude seeking for Him, but saith to His disciples, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also; for therefore came I forth. Paul saith that God sent him not to baptize, but to preach, I Cor. 1:17. Our Saviour saith not, Let us go into the next towns, that I may work miracles, but that I may preach there also; He doth not say He came forth to work miracles, but to preach...

"How it comes to pass that some are possessed of so slight an opinion of preaching as to think that it is needless, which our Saviour and St. Paul counted to be their principal work, where, in the meantime they pretend to derive from Christ, I cannot tell. I am sure preaching was the greatest part of Christ's work; comes to be the least part of ministers' work since....

"We do not say that preaching is a greater work than prayer, or that it is not ministers' duty to pray... but this we say, we read of Christ's preaching often in the synagogues, on the mountain, in a ship; of His public praying we read not, though of His private and secret prayer often. We read expressly that He baptized none.

"We must have leave to think that our greatest work which our Lord and His apostles were most employed in, and do think others will be of our minds as soon as they shall understand, that if the end of preaching be not turning men from one opinion to another, but from the love and practice of sin to God, there is as much need of it as ever; and that the turning of men from one opinion to another, without a change of heart, as to the love of sin, is but a turning of men from one quarter of the devil's kingdom to another."

The Truth:

"I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils." (I Corinthians 10:20b)

[Matthew Poole, A Commentary on the Holy Bible, Vol. III: Matthew Revelation (Hendrickson), pp. 150-151. ISBN: 0-917006-28-3. Reformatted for blog. The reader who is lost, confused or floundering in their faith due to the many deceptions and errors of our time may find it profitable to read the very old commentaries by Matthew Poole and Matthew Henry.]

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

THE SHACK, "Elousia," & the Black Madonna


By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever. In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant "The Shack" wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?"
--description of The Shack on

God is Truth. That He is Truth distinguishes Him from idols which are false. Of the Lord, the prophet declared, “There is none like Thee, O Lord; Thou art great, and great is Thy name in might,” and explained of those who create idols, “But they are altogether stupid and foolish In their discipline of delusion—their idol is wood!” The prophetic commentary which follows then states, “Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish, And gold from Uphaz, The work of a craftsman and of the hands of a goldsmith; Violet and purple are their clothing; They are all the work of skilled men. But the Lord is the true God . . .” (Jeremiah 10:6-10, NASB).[1] In this vein, A.W. Tozer once wrote: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”[2]

But idols arise out of human imagination. Humanoids make god however they want him/her/it to be. In the description of the declension into idolatry, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man (Emphasis mine, Romans 1:21-23a, KJV). Imagination creates images — even idolatrous images — and the images can either be material or mental, actual or verbal.[3]

Words can create mental pictures. Someone once said that a picture is worth a thousand words. In an image-oriented age where people watch more and read less, this statement makes its point. But words can also create images. Through the mind’s eye, we see. Someone once defined idolatry as thinking wrong thoughts about God. So the question becomes, with the stroke of his verbal brush and in his bestselling novel The Shack, what picture of God does William P. Young create? I am fearful that the book’s painting of God, even though fictional, might promote the wrong image of Him.

The novel tugs at the emotional strings of its readers, and for just that reason the book has become a bestseller in the fiction category. I am therefore aware that I am about to tread where angels might not dare. This pastor realizes he is about to enter the personal and emotional space of the human heart. People feel very deeply about this book and its author. I ask only, as you read Young’s book with an open heart, that you might also read this theological review of the book with an open mind.

We now proceed to look at the theology of The Shack.[4] We turn to the ideas presented in the book about God. The god of The Shack (In this reference, I refuse to spell God with an upper case “G.”) is an imagined hermaphroditic trinity, consisting of a retreat center owner and hostess who goes by the name of “Elousia,” a carpenter-handyman by the name of “Jesus,” and a gardener who goes by the name of “Sarayu.” In order, we consider the three main characters, and another omniscient and sensual lady who goes by the name of “Sophia,” or Wisdom.

THE FIRST PERSON — At first mention, and according to Mack’s wife Nan’s understanding, the first person of the godhead goes by the name of “Papa” (perhaps alluding to the Apostle Paul’s designation of Him as “Abba,” Romans 8:15). But upon Mack’s arrival at The Shack, “Papa” morphs into a large and loving African-American woman named “Elousia” (i.e., a combination of the Hebrew name for God the Creator, “El,” and the Greek word “ousia” suggesting a Platonic meaning of “being” or “existence”).[5] Among other characteristics, “Elousia” describes herself as, “the Creator God who is truly real and the ground of all being.”(The Shack, 111).

This name for God appears to be borrowed from the writings of theologian Paul Tillich (1886-1965), who referred to God as “the Ground of Being.” By so designating deity, Tillich meant that, “God is not a being alongside others or above other but God is Being-itself or the Ground of Being.”[6] Likewise, to Tillich, “God is not a being, not even the highest of all beings; he is being itself, or the ground of being, the internal power or force that causes everything to exist.”[7] This conception of God compliments the conception of deity amongst devotees to the New Age/New Spirituality.

Even though Tillich’s assertions about deity were esoteric and complex, Young presents a Tillich-like scheme of deity who describes herself as “the ground of all being” that dwells “in, around, and through all things . . .” (The Shack, 112). Such a view of God is acknowledged to be panentheistic (i.e., God dwells “through all things”).[8] This may explain why, toward the end of his life, Tillich no longer prayed. He only meditated. To him there existed no personal or transcendental God to pray to. God was immanent only, his “ground of being.” So like an airplane, which is refused take-off for reason of mechanical failure, the concept of god in The Shack never gets off the “ground.” However, according to The Shack’s picturing of God, there may be a similarity even more startling.

Having finished reading The Shack, and while surfing the Internet, I was quite smitten when inadvertently, I ran across an internet article by Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox, The Return of the Black Madonna: A Sign of Our Times or How the Black Madonna is Shaking Us Up for the Twenty-First Century. Fox’s description of the Black Madonna (or the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis as she is alternately understood) included her supposed leading of distressed people to find emotional healing within themselves. This description seemed to possess, at first glance, an eerie parallel to the black goddess character (“Elousia”) created by William Young. The comparison upon further reading, study and thought, revealed that their similarity was more than just color. In both writings, two similar personages emerge. I proceed to note a few of the analogies between Fox’s Black Madonna and Young’s “Elousia.”

First, Fox states that, “The Black Madonna invites us into the dark and therefore into our depths. This is what the mystics call the ‘inside’ of things, the essence of things. This is where Divinity lies. It is where the true self lies. It is where illusions are broken apart and the truth lies.”[9]

In The Shack, we note the word “darkness” occurs frequently. It is as if darkness is archetypal to Mack’s Great Sadness. This is especially noticeable in his appearance before “Sophia.” In the chapter “Here Come Da Judge,” darkness is the dominant aura surrounding Mack’s experience. As he entered the cave, “with his hands outstretched in front of him, he ventured a couple of steps into the inky darkness and stopped.” (The Shack, 151). To create Mack’s experience, Young heaps up references to amplify “darkness”—“deep shadows . . . inky blackness . . . dim light . . . darkened room.” Similarly, in Fox’s words, the Black Madonna “invites us to enter into our grief and name it and be there to learn what suffering has to teach us.”[10] By entering the darkness, Mack dealt with his sadness. In contrast, 1 John 1:5 informs us that "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (KJV).

Second, Fox also notes, “The Black Madonna calls us to Grieve. The Black Madonna is the sorrowful mother, the mother who weeps tears for the suffering in the universe, the suffering in the world, the brokenness of our very vulnerable hearts.”[11] Fox goes on to say, “To grieve is to enter what John of the Cross in the sixteenth century called the ‘dark night of the soul.’ We are instructed not to run from this dark night but to stay there to learn what darkness has to teach us.”[12]

In The Shack, at the climactic moment when “Papa” (AKA “Elousia,” the black goddess) enfolded Mack into his/her arms and gently invited him to “Let it all out,” the story records that in a moment of emotional catharsis Mack “closed his eyes as the tears poured out . . . He wept until he had cried out all the darkness, all the longing and all the loss, until there was nothing left.” (The Shack, 226).

Third, Fox explains that “The Black Madonna calls us down to honor our lower charkas [sic] . . . The Black Madonna takes us down, down to the first charkas [sic] including our relationship to the whole (first chakra, as I have explained elsewhere is about picking up the vibrations for sounds from the whole cosmos), our sexuality (second chakra) and our anger and moral outrage (third chakra). European culture in the modern era especially has tried to flee from all these elements . . . in religion . . .The Black Madonna will not tolerate such flights from the earth, flights from the depths.”[13]

To those unacquainted with eastern religion, Fox’s words appear as mumbo-jumbo. But according to Yoga teaching, chakras are, “vortices that penetrate the body and the body’s aura, through which various energies, including the universal life force, are received, transformed, and distributed.”[14] It is believed that there are seven points of entry for the energy; among others, they include,
  • “The root (muladhara) [which] is located at the base of the spine and is the seat of kundalini . . .
  • The sacral (svadhisthana) [which] lies near the genitals and governs sexuality . . . [and]
  • The crown (sahasrara) [which] whirls just above the top of the head.”[15]

The experience of the entrance of energy into the body, which can happen spontaneously, is called kundalini (Sanskrit for “snake” or “serpent power,” named as such because of the belief that it lies coiled within the body ready to strike at any moment). Kundalini describes the mystical experience when energy enters the body and arouses the “sleeping serpent” (Shouldn't we compare this to Genesis 3:1?). When that happens, wham . . .! This transient moment of arousal is defined to include, “physical sensations . . . clairaudience, visions, brilliant lights . . . ecstasy, bliss, and transcendence of self.”[16] With this description in mind, let’s look at one incident in The Shack to see if Mack, the novel’s main character, experienced kundalini.

Upon hearing the sensual Sophia ask him, during his journey into the darkness, “Do you understand why you’re here?” the novel records that, “Mack could almost feel her words (clairaudience) rain down on his head first (the 7th chakra) and melt into his spine (the 1st chakra), sending delicious tingles everywhere (the 2nd chakra). He shivered (physical sensations) and decided that he never wanted to speak again (transcendence of self). He only wanted her to talk (bliss) . . .” (The Shack, 153). What do you think? Did Mack experience kundalini? If so, then it came to him at a spontaneous moment in the darkness via the voice of the goddess-like Sophia.

Fourth, Fox states that, “The Black Madonna calls us to our Divinity which is also our Creativity.” He goes on to state that The Black Madonna “expects nothing less from us than creativity. Hers is a call to create, a call to ignite the imagination.”[17] On the next point Fox again states, “The Black Madonna calls us to Diversity. There is no imagination without diversity — imagination is about inviting disparate elements into soul and culture so that new combinations can make love together and new beings can be birthed.”[18] His Black Madonna calls us to a magical consciousness that has nothing to do with Scripture.

Likewise, when the goddess-like Sophia calls upon Mack to role play as The Judge, to sit in judgment over all other persons including God, she notes his pensiveness about assuming such an awesome responsibility. Sophia says to Mack: “‘Your imagination,’ she interrupted his train of thought, ‘is not serving you well at this moment’.” (The Shack, 160). In the Front Matter of the book, Greg Albrecht informs the potential reader, “You will be captivated by the creativity and imagination of The Shack, and before you know it, you’ll be experiencing God as never before.” Young’s novel itself serves to ignite the imagination, something Fox writes that the returning Black Madonna is also doing.

Other parallels between Fox’s Black Madonna and The Shack’s Elousia — their gender diversity, nurturing of hurting hearts, emphasis upon developing personal relationships, concern for the environment, and so on — form archetypal metaphors around which the mystery of life and suffering can be probed and explained, and upon which transcendent values can be formulated and applied for the social welfare and unity of the world’s diverse and divided population. These ecumenical metaphors are increasingly making their way into the evangelical church, especially via the Emergent Church.

The feminization of deity extends back to time immemorial. The Egyptian goddess Isis, in which Matthew Fox finds his precedence for the return of the Black Madonna, was likely the source for all the female deities of ancient Middle Eastern religion, including the idolatrous “queen of heaven” worshiped by the women and men of ancient Israel (Jeremiah 7:18-20; 44:15-19). The Black Madonna and “Elousia” find themselves in company with an idol goddess that Yahweh could not, and did not, tolerate before His face (Exodus 20:3-4). We now consider the second person of Young’s trinity.

THE SECOND PERSONThe Shack describes Jesus to be a quite human person, a relatively unattractive Middle Eastern Jewish man with a “big nose” who functioned as the retreat center’s repairman. (The Shack, 111). As regards Young’s portrayal of Jesus’ humanity, there is little disagreement. The author’s portrayal of Jesus in a literary symbolic sense seems reasonable and within the bounds of Scripture (See Matthew 1:1-17; Romans 1:3; Isaiah 53:2; Mark 6:3).

Nevertheless, the author leaves the door open for the idea that Jesus originated from “Papa-mama.” In explaining the derivation of woman from man, The Shack's Jesus tells Mack: “We created a circle of relationship, like our own, but for humans. She out of him, and now all males, including me, birthed through her (Eve), and ALL originating from God” (capital emphasis mine, The Shack, 148). Seemingly, this dialog makes Jesus’ birth to be as profane as the rest of humanity, thus calling into question His being the “only begotten of the Father” (meaning unique, or only one of His kind, John 1:14). Theologically, doubt is also aspersed upon Jesus Christ’s eternal generation.[19] After this assertion, the novel pictures Jesus’ desire to join all humans in “their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved.” (The Shack, 182)[20] In this regard, never once in the novel is Jesus (His human name) ever referred to as “Christ” (His self-chosen messianic and divine name, Matthew 16:16).

Young presents his readers with a very human Jesus who comes up short of being Christ. We turn now to the third member of The Shack’s trinity.

THE THIRD PERSONSarayu, the retreat center’s gardener — perhaps referring to Spirit’s production of fruit for Christian living (Galatians 5:22-23) — is the character meant to represent the Holy Spirit. Just after his introduction to her, Mack asks The Shack's Jesus, “Speaking of Sarayu, is she the Holy Spirit?” Jesus answers, “Yes, She is Creativity; she is Action; she is Breathing of Life; she is much more. She is my Spirit.” Mack responds, “And her name Sarayu?” Jesus explains, “That is a simple name from one of our human languages. It means ‘Wind,’ a common wind actually. She loves that name.”(The Shack, 110)

Sarayu is likely a Sanskrit word (the language that is the most important religious and literary language of India). It might also be construed to compare to the blowing of the wind in the necessary new birth spoken of by Jesus (John 3:8). But by naming the Spirit Sarayu, there seems to be allusion to the Rig Veda, the Hindu scriptures, for Sarayu bears semantic and phonetic resemblance to Vayu.[21] In so naming the Spirit with the Indic word for “wind,” is the author making overture to eastern religion?

Nevertheless, the novel’s impersonation of the Holy Spirit as female contradicts Jesus’ clear statement that the Spirit is neither an “it” nor a “she,” but “He” (John 16:13).

Is there a fourth member of Young’s polymorphous trinity? Maybe . . . we are left to our imagination.

WISDOMSophia, though separate from the trinity, but secluded not far away from the resplendent retreat center, is a divine-like lady-judge, who is wise in all the ways in which “Papa” conducts his/her affairs (See Proverbs 8:1-36; 1 Corinthians 1:24.). In her verbal exchanges with Mack, she clearly possesses clairvoyant, if not omniscient, perception. (The Shack, 156, 160)

IN CONCLUSION, The Shack, under the cover of biblical allusion, presents a god which may be likened to a deity of eastern mythology and mysticism. The reader ought to beware lest biblical allusion be used to peddle theological illusion. But you ask, “How can that happen?” How can scriptural allusion promote spiritual delusion? I would point out that Satan used biblical allusion to tempt Jesus. In the second phase of the temptation of Christ, Satan alluded to Psalm 91:11-12, to which Jesus responded by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (See Matthew 4:5-6, KJV.). Presenting a potpourri of spirituality combining biblical allusion with mystical illusion and mythological delusion, The Shack will surely resonate with an Emergent Christian mindset that attempts to flirt with the New Age/New Spirituality of postmodernism. The fact that the novel is fiction makes no difference — it communicates wrong ideas about God. As A.W. Tozer wrote,

"Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.

"Perverted notions about God soon rot the religion in which they appear. The long career of Israel demonstrates this clearly enough, and the history of the Church confirms it. So necessary to the Church is a lofty concept of God that when that concept in any measure declines, the Church with her worship and her moral standards decline along with it. The first step down for any church is taken when it surrenders its high opinion of God.

"Before the Church goes into eclipse anywhere there must first be a corrupting of her simple basic theology. She simply gets a wrong answer to the question, ‘What is God like?’ and goes on from there. Though she may continue to cling to a sound nominal creed, her practical working creed has become false. The masses of her adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is, and that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind." [22]


"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him." (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)

1. The Apostle Paul also remarked of the reputation of the church at Thessalonica how they, “turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God” (I Thessalonians 1:9). Scripture also records that both Jesus and the Holy Spirit are also Truth (John 14:6; 1 John 5:7, 20). In this vein, one must note John’s closing word: “Little children, guard yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).
2. A.W. Tozer,
The Knowledge of the Holy, The Attributes of God: Their Meaning in the Christian Life (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1961) 12.
3. The word “imagination” (Greek, dialogismos) literally means, “the thinking of a man deliberating with himself” (Romans 1:21, KJV). On this point, it is appropriate to note that William P. Young accounts for the origin of his novel for reason of personal and private conversations he had with God on his daily work-commute from Gresham to Portland, Oregon. World magazine reports that, “Young used 80 minutes each day . . . to fill yellow legal pads with imagined conversations with God focused on suffering, pain, and evil.” (See Susan Olasky, “Commuter-driven bestseller,” World, June 28/July 5, 2008, 49.) Paul, the apostle states that idolatry germinates out of people “deliberating” within themselves. This is gnosis spirituality which is ever in contest with the Logos spirituality of the Bible. The Word finds its origin with God (John 1:1, 14). Gnosis, the basis of the New Age/New Spirituality, finds its origin in the mind of man, or perhaps might even be received from demons (1 Timothy 4:1).
4. In that in the Front Matter The Shack book receives rave theological kudos, it is not unfair to investigate and evaluate the book’s theology, especially the doctrine of God known to systematic theologians as the category of Theology Proper.
5. On this point, I find it interesting that the novel has not yet been accused of racial stereotyping, i.e., that God is pictured as being a “large” or “big black woman” (The Shack, 84, 86), and that Jesus comes from a Jewish nation of people with “big noses” (The Shack, 111).
6. John P. Newport, Paul Tillich (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1984) 108. Newport also observes that in the “grounding” of God, Tillich “seems to synthesize the pantheistic element of immanence with the theistic element of transcendence in a way that leans toward pantheism.” (110). Newport’s assessment may be too generous. At the end of his life, Tillich might have been an out and out pantheist. Of Tillich’s book, Courage to Be, Erickson remarks that it “appears to have more in common with Hinduism than it does with historic Christianity.” See Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998) 334.
7. Erickson, Theology, 333.
8. For sake of explanation, pantheism teaches that God is all things while panentheism holds that God dwells in all things. For sake of analogy, a tree is not God (pantheism), but the sap which is the “life force” in the tree is. God is “in” the tree, but the tree is not God. See Erickson, Theology, 333.
9. Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox, “The Return of the Black Madonna: A Sign of Our Times or How the Black Madonna Is Shaking Us Up for the Twenty-First Century,” Friends of Creation Spirituality, January 2006, Article Number 1 (
10. Ibid. Article Number 8.
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid. Article Number 3.
14. Rosemary Ellen Guiley, “Chakra,” Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical & Paranormal Experience (San Francisco: Harper Collins Publishers, 1991) 86.
15. Ibid. 86-87.
16. Guiley, “Kundalini,” Encyclopedia, 319.
17. Fox, “The Black Madonna,” Article Number 6.
18. Ibid. Article Number 7.
19. When it acknowledged Jesus to have been “begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead,” it might be construed that the Chalcedonian Creed (AD 451) allows for a concept that God originated Jesus (See However, to imagine the mystery surrounding the Trinity to be analogous to some kind of human begetting (i.e., as in the Mormon doctrine of God) is improper. The relationship of the Father and Son to each other is their personal relationship, and it would be well for us creatures not invade their privacy (i.e., mystery). Their relationship is theirs alone. Though the unity for which Jesus prayed may be compared to that of His with the Father, it is only similar to (“as”), but not the same as their unity (John 17:21).
20. In this regard, one can note the capitalization of “Beloved.” When used in the NASB translation of the Bible, “Beloved” is capitalized as when Paul wrote of the grace God bestowed upon the believer “in the Beloved” (in Christ, Ephesians 1:6, NASB, NKJV, NRSV, 1901 ASV). Thus when the "Jesus " of The Shack said he desires people to be transformed “into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved” (The Shack, 182), it is as if Jesus envisions that humans can achieve a theotic state of “being” that morphs into divinity. While believers are “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), we are not consumed of it (Romans 7:14ff.).
21. “Word Mythology Dictionary: Vayu,” (
22. A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy,

Pastor Larry DeBruyn is the author of Church on the Rise: Why I am not a Purpose-Driven Pastor. This article used with permission.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Todd Bentley & the Beautiful Side of Evil

Berit Kjos has a new article posted on her website which analyzes Todd Bentley's Florida "revival" in a fascinating new light. Below is an excerpt:

What's driving Todd Bentley? Why do thousands of people flock to his revival meetings?...

Back in the eighties I read The Beautiful Side of Evil by Johanna Michaelsen. For many years she was caught up in the occult, yet she believed that the "angels" who reached out to her were servants of God, not Satan. One of those "angels" sounds strangely similar to Bentley's "floating" angel, Emma:

"[She was] beautiful with flowing hair and robes of shimmering dark blue spangled with tiny stars.... She took me by the shoulders and gently kissed me on the forehead.... 'Welcome, my child,' she said. Then she turned and floated back through the wall as she had come. I have never experienced such joy, such light and peace, such unspeakable ecstasy. I was on the right path at last."[2,p.83]

No, she was tricked! Masquerading as an "angel of light," Satan used her feel-good experiences to deepen the deception. Through those painful years, Johanna's "fellowship" with demons brought her indescribable depression and despair. The enchanting moments of light were fleeting, while fear and confusion darkened her days. She would continue to suffer under that cruel master until God set her free. . . .

Be sure to read the full article, "Angels or Demons? Todd Bentley and "The Beautiful Side of Evil"* posted HERE.

The Truth:

"Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace;" (Hebrews 13:9a)

*Article excerpt used with permission