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Spiritual Gifts and False Teaching

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Question #1:

[details omitted]

Response #1:

I don't believe theological exercises are profitable when undertaken for their own sake. My method is to look and see what the Bible actually says and let the Spirit direct my inquiries as I try to assemble all of the biblical evidence. I don't put together theories and then try to fit them to the evidence (that, sadly, is what most theology consists of).

I believe that the truth is to be found in the Bible, and I have dedicated my life to doing that. All of the evidence I have found on spiritual gifts over the years can be found in BB 5, Pneumatology.

Faith, hope and love are virtues. All Christians are led to live by these virtues. Spiritual gifts are special endowments that are given to every Christian in the Church Age, but no two people are similarly gifted. We are all a part of the Body of Christ and we all need each other (if we read and accept those three chapters in 1st Corinthians: 12-14). Different gifts were needed before the Bible was completed, but now that it is, the "sign gifts" have been discontinued (and this actually happened very early on).

You are certainly free to question and or reject anything you read at Ichthys. The only problem there is that only the actual truth actually believed can benefit any of us, because the Spirit only uses truth and only truth in our hearts put there by believing it.

So I always do encourage readers of this ministry to give it the benefit of the doubt, especially if you've found many or (hopefully) most things you've seen here to stand the test. If the fruit of the tree is good generally, you don't need to distrust every apple that comes off of it.

In any case, I wish you and yours a very happy and blessed Christmas, and a wonderful 2019!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hi Sir,

I am really learning a lot with your ministry especially your position in post tribulation prophecy. I also thanking for giving some clarity about my query in dealing power and principalities and angels. Have you got a specific teaching for power and principalities?

And also if you don't mind me asking. Do you support the group called “Cessationists”? Is there any specific verses or passage that confirms that the Apostolic gift and gifts of the spirit has stopped and they are no longer available for the Church. Such as speaking of tongues, gift f healing etc. I'm presenting this not as an arguments but as someone who seek clarity from someone who are deeply rooted with the Scripture. I was ordained minister in a Pentecostal denomination and presently overseeing couple of churches (Filipino), but we are no longer under that denomination as we became independent ministry since 2008. Since I'm still working at same time really do not have an ample time to dig deeper with the scripture like yourself. I would appreciate and really blessed each time you gave me a response to my query.

I also welcome if you have any advice concerning church life or related spirituality.

Thanks,

Response #2:

On the fact that 1st Corinthians 13 specifically teaches what we can see with our own eyes, namely, that certain spectacular gifts are not being presently given (being unnecessary since we now have the Bible), see the links (which will point to many others):

Are miraculous gifts still in operation today?

What is "the perfect" in 1st Corinthians 13?

More on "the perfect"

On "principalities and angels", please see the extensive study: BB 2A: Angelology.

On "church life or related spirituality", I'm not sure exactly what you mean. The purpose of a church – the biblical purpose – is assembly to learn the Word and to be mutually encouraged through the Word (Heb.10:24-25) – in fact just the opposite of what "church" has come to be in the lukewarm era of Laodicea in most cases, sadly. Here are a few links on this:

Finding a Church – or Something Better? II

Mega-Churches, Emergent Christianity, Spirituality and Materialism.

Dysfunctional Churches.

Red Hot or Lukewarm?

The Meaning and Purpose of True Christian Assembly

Thanks for your good words – and do feel free to write back about any of the above, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Greetings Dr Robert

I met a fellow who said the Holy Spirit never ceased his operation even when the apostles left the scene e.g. empowering people through various spiritual gifts in order to help the church grow and function. He said every new believer has a unique experience and encounter with God and manifests in ways beyond our imaginations and things known. He said even now the Holy Spirit is still doing things as they were during those times apostolic era. He further said that the manifestation of the Holy Spirit through various devices be it spiritual gifts, miracles, wonders and pretty much everything that occurred then"Jewish age"is still happening now with an even more benefit the completed canon of scripture which by way does not symbolize the end of the works of God the Holy Spirit ... He further added on that the books acts merely records the acts of the Holy Spirit through the apostles"historically" but that does not restrict the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit, further he said the Holy Spirit probably manifested even much greatly when the community of believers grew, he further intuited that just as an example the last apostle and his fellow presbyters young at that time lived longer than any other and probably did many works which are not included in the scripture specifically the book of Acts.

Questions:

What's your take on his stand?

The closing of the Old Testament is celebrated – why was that so?

How did we arrive at, that the New Testament is or was closed?

What is going saying now, that the Bible isn't been written?

Response #3:

Most of what I have to say on this topic can be found at these links:

Temporary gifts (in BB 5)

Historical and Transitional Nature of Acts

The Gift of Tongues: Part 3

"The Perfect" and the cessation of sign gifts

The fact is that the hyper-miraculous "sign gifts" of the apostolic period were prophesied to cease (1Cor.13:8-12); there are good reasons to see them as a temporary expedient (in getting the new Church Age up and running in separation from the regime of the Law); and objectively speaking no one has performed a healing or prophesied in the Spirit or spoken in tongues or performed a miracle since the last apostle, John, went to be with the Lord nearly two thousand years ago. The last point is not evidence of a lack of faith; rather it is evidence of a lack of gullibility (we are told to be wise as serpents, after all), and a desire to put the truth of the Word over the proclamations of mere human beings.

Scripture explicitly says that these gifts will cease and no one can give a single example of any instance of their legitimate occurrence today. But there are many false teachers and charlatans in the world (please see this link on that which will lead to others: "Third Party Reports").

The canon of scripture was closed with the Book of Revelation (please see the link: "The Bible and the Canon: The Inspired Word of God IV"). People who claim to be getting communication directly from God since that time are either insane or intent of deceiving others.

It is very common today for a large part of the church-visible to immerse itself in emotion and experiences. The truth is emotional too, however, and it does empower all of our experiences, but working up emotion artificially (as many groups do) and pretending (or imagining) experiences that aren't really happening only opens people up to satanic influence. Such practices do not promote spiritual growth.

So I would advise you to stay away from such people and organizations, my friend.

Please do feel free to write me back about any of this.

In Jesus our dear Savior who is the truth.

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

Do you believe in miracles?

Response #4:

Good to hear back from you.

It's an interesting question.

I certainly do, but I suppose this has do be qualified by asking the question, "what do you mean by the word 'miracle'? ".

"Miracle" is a Latin derived word and while various Bible versions use it (KJV, e.g.) it doesn't correspond well with Hebrew and Greek terminology – not at least the way the word 'miracle' is employed in contemporary usage. You see, the word "miracle" as we use it today has a lot of baggage associated with it, baggage that cannot be disassociated from the Roman church and R.C. doctrines.

Etymologically, the word "miracle" is useful enough. It means "something to marvel at". We marvel at things all the time, things that are "out of the ordinary" for whatever reason. But of course that is not what people think of when we use the word "miracle". Christians, it seems to me, reserve this word for supernatural events that defy human logic and what science deems possible. So our Lord bringing back Lazarus from the dead we may call "a miracle" and rightly so by this definition. But in that case our Lord "worked" the miracle, and that fact is a good deal of what gives it its power and makes it all the more clear that it was an act of God which only God could do. Had Lazarus shown up in town a few days later (having been raised in secret instead of publicly), it would be in fact a "miracle" of no less significance, but it wouldn't have that same appearance and effect upon those who met him. Many would have been astounded – but human skepticism would more easily dismiss something not seen with one's own eyes, "merely" the result.

There are no apostles today, nor anyone alive with any gift of miracle working. So for that reason, "miracles" of the kind our Lord and a few select men of the first generation of the Church Age were given to do are certainly not being "worked" by anyone – and anyone who claims that is lying.

That does not mean that God does not do miracles for us, especially when we ask Him in our prayers. I have seen such things very many times and I think most Christians who have been "in the faith" for any length of time must have too. They may not be things we can place before skeptical non-believers and say, "look, you see this must have been a miracle, don't you?"; inevitably they will answer with some sort of to-them-plausible naturalistic explanation in most cases.

That gets back to the whole idea of miracles though. Anything not natural but truly supernatural is rightly described as worthy of wonder and amazement, something done by God which mankind cannot reproduce through physical effort. And that happens all the time. Whenever the Spirit leads you to do something, that is a miracle. Whenever a person is born again, that is a miracle. Whenever God answers your prayers, any prayer, no matter how small, that is certainly a miracle too because He is doing something that otherwise would never happen in the natural order of things. God is supernatural. So by that definition, everything He does is a miracle. We tend to consider only "big miracles" as worthy of the name, but that is our faulty way of looking at the issue. If something is "big enough" to surprise us, to evoke our wonder, then it is "a miracle", but otherwise not. But all Christians ought to be getting to the point of seeing God in everything everywhere all the time – because He is, working things out for good, and miraculously so.

In naturalistic terms, if a person believes the second law of thermodynamics, then miracles are everywhere. As David Berlinski has observed, every time a flower blooms or a person is born, it violates this essential law of materialistic physics. So in truth, miracles are all around us everywhere. It takes a hardened heart not to see them.

(18) God's wrath is about to be revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness – on men who suppress the truth [in their hearts about God] in their unrighteousness. (19) For that which can be known about God [from everyday experience] is obvious to them, because God has made it obvious. (20) His nature, though invisible, is nevertheless plainly apparent, and has been since His foundation of the world, for it may be clearly inferred from this creation of His – [this is true of] both His eternal power and His divinity – so that they are without any excuse: (21) they knew about God, but they neither honored Him as God nor thanked Him. Instead, they gave themselves over to [the] vanity [of this world] in their speculations, and their senseless hearts were filled with darkness.
Romans 1:18-21

One other caveat here. As mentioned above, while God does miracles every day, however defined, there are no "miracle workers" around, people who can, by their own will, bring such a thing about. Since many antichrists are in the world (1Jn.2:18), it behooves every Christian to be skeptical on the subject of claimed extraordinary supernatural events, skeptical NOT of God's ability, but of the honesty or lack thereof of those doing the reporting.

(13) And [the beast's false prophet] [will] perform great miracles (lit., "signs"), even making fire come down from heaven to the earth in front of everyone. (14) And he [will] deceive those who dwell upon the earth on account of the miracles (lit., "signs") which have been given to him to perform in the presence of the beast.
Revelation 13:13-14a

Here are some links on that which will lead to others:

Dreams, Visions, Miracles, Exorcism, Tongues, and False Prophets

Near death experiences

Third Party Testimony:  We Believe God and His Word – Not People

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Thank you Dr. Luginbill,

I had some confusion on the subject.

I thought of miracles as "Divine Intervention". It is that however, I took the intervention part to be similar to a surprise to God. An example, would be like pushing a pedestrian out of the way on speeding traffic. Looking at it from this perspective, I used to think miracles were contradictory to God's omniscience.

Thank you for your reply. I really like your explanation of it. I look forward to reading through all of the rest of your studies.

Response #5:

You're very welcome, my friend.

You are certainly correct in your perspective that God is most definitely NOT reacting to anything. God is omniscient, yes, and He also decreed absolutely everything that will ever happen before He ever initiated creation. The plan of God is completely comprehensive. There is not a single movement of a single subatomic particle at the farthest end of the universe that was unknown to Him before it happened. Indeed, it could never have happened if He had not decreed it. Nothing ever has nor ever will happen that has not been decreed in eternity past. The greatest miracle here, in my opinion, is that God has also completely incorporated creature free will into the decree, having anticipated and so decreed every single angelic and human decision into the whole. And what is the result? The perfect conclusion to the perfect plan with the entirety of saved humanity and the elect angels in one complete family of God in the New Jerusalem forever, with everyone there of their own free will (and those who were not willing excluded), all paid for by the cross of Jesus Christ, the Rock on which the entire plan is founded.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hello again Dr. Luginbill,

I was taught that the Baptism in the Spirit was always subsequent to salvation, but I believe now that it is simultaneous to believing in Jesus Christ. Also, to me, subsequent does not mean after months and years. The particular denomination where I studied and was ordained teaches differently than I now believe. No problem though as I have no current affiliation with them at this time.

What really got me thinking about Baptism in general was your reference in the studies I have reviewed, that there is only one baptism which is expressed in Ephesians 4:5. "one Lord, one faith, one baptism,..."

I realize that now, but I still am perplexed by certain scriptures. I believe what the Word of God says, not what my former denomination teaches, that is, that when a person really believes in Jesus Christ as both his Lord and Savior, at that very moment, they are baptized in the Holy Spirit.

One aspect of the holiness doctrine was the concept of three works of grace: salvation, sanctification, and the baptism in the Spirit. William Durham suggested there weren’t three works of grace, but only one work of grace, shown in two ways in our lives. He did not believe in the so-called second work, namely, sanctification. He taught that believers were saved and then baptized in the Holy Spirit. I don't agree with the subsequent necessarily unless of course they mean immediately thereafter.

Acts 9:17
Ananias laid hand on Brother Saul and immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight and he got up and was baptized.

Again, no mention of water, as I believe it was the Spirit baptism and reflected in John 3:5.
Acts 10:44-47. The Holy Spirit fell on those while Peter was still preaching and they heard[believed] his message and were baptized in the Holy Spirit; He fell on them.
I have said all this to get to the verses of scripture that follow:

Acts 19:1-7
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when a you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7There were about twelve men in all.

Several baptism's mentioned here:

1. John's baptism in water to those who believed in his message. Verse 3.

2. Baptism into the Body of Christ . Verse 5.

3. Baptized by the Holy Spirit. Verse 6.

There is this perplexing question in verse 2 that I am endeavoring to understand. "and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when a you believed?”

Could it be that at that time (Old Testament) when John the Baptizer lived it was practiced? The Holy Spirit, at the time (OT) had also not yet been given?

So, to bring this to and end, my question is:

Isn't a person who really and truly believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, at that moment filled with the Holy Spirit? No three works of grace that the denomination I belonged to still teaches today. This may be trivial matter, and straining at a gnat, but it is important to me. I want to understand this, that's just who I am. Thanks for you help my friend, I always look forward to your response.

P.S. I just wonder how many more things I will uncover as I continue.

Be blessed my brother,

Your friend,

Response #6:

Always good to hear from you, my friend. Here is what I read in scripture:

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
Romans 8:9 NIV

The last sentence makes it very clear that by the time Paul wrote Romans, all believers had the Spirit (cf. Jn.14:16-17; Rom.8:11; Gal.4:6; 2Tim.1:14). That has to mean that all believers receive the Holy Spirit at the point of the new birth. There were exceptions at the very beginning of the Church Age for two major reasons: 1) obviously, because many were already believers and therefore needed to receive the Spirit by other means than salvation which they already had; and 2) because of the necessity of establishing the authority of the apostles (who were given to mediate the Spirit by means of the laying on of hands), and 3) because of the need to bring about the transition from the leadership of Israel to the flooding in of the gentiles into the Church: a certain amount of gradual, step by step movement was necessary (i.e., Jews [Acts 2], to Samaritans [Acts 8], to gentiles as exceptions [Acts 10], to gentiles as a rule).

So I commend your continued investigation of the truth, my friend! The scripture winnows out all false positions eventually . . . for those who are willing to listen to the Spirit.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi--I have a question about the Greek in Acts 2:3 where flames of fire rested on everyone in the room. Does the word for "divided" here mean that the flames were divided in shape--forked? OR does it mean that one flame divided itself into many flames and one each rested upon each person? I know someone on CARM, who is a fanatic, to say the least, about stuff like this; thinks Paul is a false apostle and saw Satan outsided Damascus; thinks Saul was drunk half the time when he wrote his epistles, because he supposedly contradicted himself...yes, I know, why do I interact with this guy, on the Apologetics board on CARM? Because the Mormon board is really slow right now.... This guy is interesting, to say the least....

Anyway this guy seems to think that a forked flame on top of each person indicates that it was from the devil! I told him I think the word in Greek, for "divided" meant that the flame divided itself among the people, not that it was fork-shaped on each one. But I also told him that even if it was fork-shaped, that doesn't mean it came from the devil--fire flickers and changes shape all the time.

Thanks for your help. Have a nice weekend.

Response #7:

Sorry for the delay. Saturday is my posting day, so things that come in after I'm finished on Friday usually have to wait until at least Sunday.

As to your question, the Greek word diamerizo means to "disperse", not to "split"; we see the -mer morpheme in the English word "polymer" which means "having many parts; so the verb means here "being distributed". The fact that the participle is plural and modifies the tongues which are plural argues for this meaning that each tongue was distributed individually (rather than referring to the shape). That is further confirmed by what follows in Acts 2:3 where were are told that [one] tongue sat on "each ONE of" the assembled; note: the tongues are plural but the verb indicating "sitting" is singular, and that can only work if what we have here is a distribution, precisely what the participle asked about indicates.

The shape of these miraculous manifestations is that of a tongue – just as fire has "tongues" of flame (the Greek says "as of fire" – meaning this is a metaphor – and not "of fire" which would mean it was literal fire); but the use of the word "tongue" is not accidental: the result of the distribution of a "tongue" that looks like a flame of fire on each person is that said person is enabled to speak in a "tongue" he didn't previously understand (the Greek word glossa means the organ, "tongue", the shape of the organ, and the ability to use the organ to speak a particular language, as well as the language itself).

Don't know how you put up with some of this "stuff", my friend!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Good morning,

Could you please help me with something? When Paul says, 'put away childish things,' what does he mean? I heard someone recently try to say comic books and whatnot, but to be honest, I really don't see much of a difference between watching football a lot (a game) vs playing video games. Or playing Bridge (which apparently housewives did). Or playing Bingo (stereotypical game of the elderly). I mean I put comic books in the same group. What does he really mean?

Thank you,

Response #8:

1st Corinthians 13:11 is an often mis-applied verse.

It refers to the passing away of the gifts of tongues, prophecy, healing, etc., things that were necessary when the Church Age was in its infancy, but which ceased once the churches had been "weaned" into adulthood by having the entire Word of God made available. But the Corinthians were still playing around with the "kid stuff" to their spiritual detriment.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

That would make soooooo much more sense. But in the example he gives, he says he put away childish things. What sort of childish things could he have put away (this would have been before the outpouring of gifts)? Just like he says, as he has put away xyz childish things, his readers needed to put away abc childish things. So abc is the special gifts, but what was xyz?

This isn't related to anything, but does it make you feel hollow when people quote the Bible without realizing it and know they don't like the Bible? Like if they say they 'fought the good fight' or something similar without any reference to Christianity, and you know that comes from the Bible, they just don't know it. Just hollow to me. Like maybe they take the body without the soul?

Response #9:

Yes, this is one of those verses that people like to quote "at you" instead of "for you" (especially if you are doing something THEY don't like). I have observed in my life that oft quoted verses are almost always misunderstood and misapplied . . . and sometimes not in the Bible at all (such as "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" and "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone" – both interpolations which are NOT part of scripture (see the link).

As to "childish things", this means whatever you or I or the Corinthians would consider "kid stuff", things that are no longer interesting or useful which we did when we were four or five but have outgrown now. I think my family would lock me up if started digging forts in the dirt in the back yard and putting toy soldiers in them – and well done them since it would mean I'd lost my marbles. At four or five, OK. But I gave all that up a very long time ago. The Corinthians were doing something similar in the spiritual realm by continuing to esteem "sign gifts" over the teaching of the Word of God – which explains why Paul had to correct their childishness more than any other congregation on record.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

I apologize for so many emails. I will try to put them into one email the next time. It's just that whenever I hit send, more questions pop into my mind when I read the bible, read devotionals, or listen to sermons. I am not someone who gets upset easily, but there are things which I believe dishonors God and our Lord Jesus Christ that grieves and upsets me. Is having a bunch of angel figurines in a home idolatry? Some people's homes are filled with these and almost nothing they speak of has anything to do with Jesus and God. I heard a sermon where the speaker said that just having a bunch of statues of Mary in their Cathedral's is tantamount to Idolatry even though people don't directly pray or worship towards those statues. I guess what troubles me is those who profess to worship God and seem to have more honor towards something inanimate.

My other question is regarding the spiritual gifts. I believe that I have the gift of spiritual discernment; the gift of faith, and the gift of giving. But then how would I determine if I truly have these gifts according to scripture. I have absolute trust in God that ALL of my prayers will come to pass because I can determine by the events in my life that it is God's desire for me to move in those directions; and for this reason, I believe that I have the gift of faith, and I thank the Lord before it actually comes to pass (Mk.11:24). I don't understand how some people are so reluctant to give. To me, it gives me more joy to give things to people just to see them happy. This makes me feel very joyful inside. I heard of one missionary who went to some remote parts in China but didn't have the ability to communicate the Gospel message because he only knew English. To his surprise, he began speaking in Chinese and the Chinese people were surprised as well as the missionary himself. What spiritual gifts are still in operation today? And lastly, what is that which is perfect in 1 Cor. 13:10? I believe you had told me that it refers to the bible. I've got so many other interpretations on this one text from others. From us being in the perfected state in our glorified bodies, to the end of the apostolic era.

God Bless,

Response #10:

If you pray to it, worship it, revere it, then it is an idol. If it's just a figurine, it's just a figurine. If you have a lot of figurines and they take up a good deal of your time, effort, money and attention, it ought to occur to you that perhaps you are at least verging on worshiping them. Figurines can't do you any good whatsoever, after all – but they can be a terrible trap if they do ever stray over into the realm of idolatry. The cross is the symbol of our Christianity – but too many people and groups use it wrong ways, misunderstanding and mis-stating its meaning, as with crucifixes; this can be an example of the same problem.

If you are "operating" in accordance with, e.g., faith, giving and discernment, then it really is a moot point, an "it'd be nice to know but isn't necessary to know" point; however, if you are convinced by the Spirit and have had it confirmed by much personal experience that you have gifts A, B, C, well then . . . The main thing is that if a person has a gift – or thinks they have a gift – which would involve timely preparation (beyond the spiritual growth to maturity we all need in order to have our gifts function properly) – then such a person does need to "figure it out": there's no point in going to seminary or graduate school to prepare for a teaching ministry if one has not been gifted to be a teacher, e.g., but if that IS one's gift, the sooner the preparation begins the better.

Tongues is a gift not operational today. I don't weigh in on anyone else' experience. God does miracles all the time. And people exaggerate all the time (and stories passed down third hand get "better" with each telling; see the link). The hyper-miraculous "sign" gifts mentioned by Paul in 1st Corinthians chapter thirteen are not being given today. So God may heal miraculously (He often does, in my experience), but no one today has the ability to say, "Arise and walk!" to a crippled person and have that come true because of a spiritual gift, e.g. Much more about all of this including your gifts at the link: "Spiritual Gifts" in BB 5.

On "the perfect", yes indeed: that term refers to the completed canon of scripture. See the links:

"The Perfect"

What is "the perfect"?

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hi Professor,

I said tongues, prophecy etc was the norm in the Pentecostal church. But most of the time it was vague stuff. And sometimes it changes or contradicts. But God doesn't contradict Himself. Therefore, I have to conclude that it is FALSE. And I hated to be pretending to speak gibberish when the light was over me and I got scared. I hope it isn't bad to talk badly of that denomination, because I don't really want to upset my family. But falseness will kill you. So I think you are right, that there is no more prophecy. Any message I would assume to be made up outright or ginned up out of emotional and psychological chaos and pressure. Even when alone on an island people hallucinate voices. And for the vague ones, it seems kind of useless to even vocalize them.

Response #11:

You are absolutely right about all this. So there is no need to feel bad or be embarrassed for having spiritual common sense. Good for you! As I often say on this subject, if there were anything to "tongues" as it is currently practiced (as opposed to the actual spiritual gift which ceased to be given even in the first century; cf. 1Cor.3:8), then it would be easy to document a person who never studied and was never exposed to an actual human language suddenly speaking it fluently nonetheless in praise of God. But even with everything nowadays being recorded on cell phones there has never been a documented instance of this as far as I have ever seen or heard of. Very strange if as some groups falsely claim "all with the gift of the Spirit can speak in tongues" – which is also contradicted by the Bible ("All do not speak with tongues, do they?": 1Cor.12:30 NASB). Furthermore, all a Christian has to do is to read 1st Corinthians chapter 14 to understand that even a person speaking in tongues legitimately, that is, someone who actually did have the gift, was not supposed to do so unless there was a person present with the gift of interpretation who would then be able to translate for the rest of the congregation.

There is plenty about this on the website (for one link which will lead to others: "The Gift of Tongues: Part 3").

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

I really don't understand if the older adults really believe it is tongues, or if they aren't sure and allow it just in case. There wasn't as much showiness with my grandpa's church as with the Pentecostal church my parents took us too. The music was still energetic (but that might not be a bad thing). I wasn't differentiating when I was telling my experience, I do want to clarify that my grandfather was more solemn (relatively). I just don't want you to think badly of him. I also will check out the link!

Response #12:

No worries. I try to distinguish between the practices and the people in any case. There are plenty of things I disagree with in the old time denominations too, and in the modern evangelical non-charismatic churches too. My objective has always been to teach the truth regardless of what others do, and I only ever get involved in these discussions when it is a case of trying to help others to see the truth, understand what is true and not true, and occasionally to help them extricate themselves physically and emotionally from places of "untruth".

It's certainly the case that in all three of these types of churches one may find "good people" who are "doing charitable things" and "praising God". But to the extent that any church, whether part of a denomination or independent, devotes itself to practices which are contrary to scripture on the one hand and to efforts that distract from seeking the truth on the other, to that extent they are hamstringing themselves spiritually – along with any and all unfortunate to hitch their wagon to such a place.

I rejoice that you have "chosen the better part" (Lk.10:42).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Dr. Luginbill,

I don't mean to be rude but I respectfully disagree.

It was a bit different before the 60's wasn't it-when you didn't cross denominations, and you might have gone to the only church or school in town? In their day, I would not have been able to go online and enjoy this Bible study. I heard from my maternal grandmother that, for many, you wouldn't even marry someone from another denomination. And it isn't nothing to spit your elder's face in front of the community telling them they got it wrong (even if they did) and you are going to do your own thing in front of them and everyone else for them to watch the rest of their lives (before people moved around all the time). One of my favorite Methodist quotes is: In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity. My grandparents works are not worthless. I do wish he had treated my brother and myself differently. But there are a lot of people he helped that I don't think mind too much that he interpreted the Bible not entirely accurately all the time. No-one's theology is perfect, even for those who spend their lives studying the Bible. And if we all sat around waiting until we got every bit right, nothing would get done. We might even starve first. And our neighbors might starve, because we are too busy thinking about whether a certain word is derived from this or that origin with this or that connotation. Especially during the Depression. You wouldn't say Peter's works for the Lord before he met Cornelius were less because his theology wasn't perfect right then.

Don't get me wrong, I think that such learning is good and necessary. And I do really admire your expertise and have really learned a lot from you. But sometimes there are circumstances and situations that take precedence over the extended learning for others. I don't think it's fair to say someone's life of work isn't much good because they couldn't parse every word of the NT. The important thing is that you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. He and my grandmother both believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, and relied upon Him for salvation. They are saved. And they have a lifetime of prayer and good works through grace. Please don't down their lives' work because they may or may not have known or understood as much as you do.

I just can't bear thinking of all their souls that they poured into the church and the community, when you say it was a hamstrung
effort.

Respectfully,

Response #13:

You are certainly free to disagree. However, I think you have misunderstood me, at least in part.

For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to [full] knowledge (epignosis, i.e., actual truth actually believed).
Romans 10:2 NKJV

Nothing is more important than the truth. Good intentions and "zeal" which are misdirected only do damage; they do no spiritual good. Every Christian finds this out eventually – all, that is, who are really trying to please Jesus Christ.

Being saved is important indeed, but it is a fault of the modern church-visible, not just of the movement you are defending, to be little concerned with spiritual growth, spiritual progress, or genuine spiritual production. The prevailing attitude in lukewarm Laodicea is that being saved and getting others saved is "enough", and that anything more is to be demonstrated either by overflowing and misdirected emotionalism or by repetitive ritual. Christians today are, generally speaking, willing to do absolutely anything for Jesus Christ – except what He wants them to do: grow spiritually, progress and pass tests, then minister to help others do likewise. And that is the problem.

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
1st Corinthians 3:11-15 NKJV

It doesn't matter what you or I or anyone else may think about "the work" we are doing here on earth. It only matters what the Lord thinks. He is the One who will evaluate us – and keeping that in mind is truly what the "fear of the Lord" is:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.
2nd Corinthians 5:10-11 NIV

It is always dangerous to make spiritual choices based upon emotional attachments to other people. It is fine to love others, especially one's family. But it is a huge trap to allow any sort of personal influence to turn away the Spirit's influence. Yielding to this sort of earthly pressure is exactly how people get caught up in denominational loyalties and thus end up putting humanly concocted practices in front of what the Bible and the Spirit are clearly saying. Anyone who wants to know the truth will be led to the truth; anyone who puts anything else before the truth, regardless of good intentions, will end up ruing that decision.

Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation.
Hebrews 6:9 NIV

I'm keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

You are right. We have to do what the Lord wants, and the Lord's way. And the truth is most important. And other people have to make their decisions in life. It has been my observation that the more someone slides away from the truth the less they can tell which is good and which is bad even for themselves. Or maybe they can, but choose the bad anyway. (I mean when I ask a person doing something that is bad for them, at first the person doesn't see it as bad. But if/when they finally get to realizing(?) and admitting it is actually bad after all, they often continue to choose it anyway). And when we allow a little badness/untruth, we start protecting it and twisting other things to protect it and cope, and it just grows and grows. I put you in a bad spot bringing my family up, asking you what you thought, and then replying like that. I am sorry.

Thanks for the wonderful learning and for the prayers!

Response #14:

No need to apologize, my friend. We all have family and friends and people whom we love or respect, even though we may know in our heart of hearts that they did not approach things the way we would have preferred, hewing to the truth regardless of consequences as we are doing. We can, e.g., admire the good things about Solomon without endorsing his grave mistakes. The problems only come when we give our loyalty to people instead of to the Lord. That is the grave danger of politics as well as of denominationalism. No group is perfect and no person is perfect and these two areas are insidiously evil by nature of the fact that they are founded on false premises and lies. For that reason even good denominations and political leaders (like, e.g., the Presbyterians and Winston Churchill) will fail and disappoint in the end, while bad ones (like, e.g., the Mormons and Hitler) will lead directly to hell.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hello Professor,

While writing the Marian text I found a useful reference on a website of a Polish believer with whom I got in touch. He recommended me the teachings of a Polish teacher and he pointed me to him again now that I have completed the series. I have browsed through this teacher's website and started to listen to his lecture on which translation to use, etc. There he presented a vehement justification of the Textus Receptus (!) and denounced textual criticism and those who engage in textual work. The believer who pointed me there (his name is Wojtek) and who has seemed a reasonable person so far seems to fully subscribe to these views (he sent me the graph which I am attaching). Their approach can be summarised as follows:

1) It seems they conflate textual criticism with the so called "higher criticism" (Tubingen school, etc.) and see all those who do either as "enemies" who perform Satan's work. Wojtek wrote for example that this is how he sees Westcott's and Hort's work - as devil's work under the label of enlightement

2) They put in doubt the quality and antiquity of such witnesses as Codex Sinaiticus or Vaticanus and seem to suggest that the manuscripts used to create TR are superior (as the ridiculous graph implies).

I prepared a response, but it really is hard to know where to begin the discourse. The graph has according to my study absolutely nothing to do with all the archeological work and research done on manuscripts and looks like a falsification produced to satisfy the needs of the defenders of the TR. I really didn't expect anyone who has done any studies on the subject to defend the TR, but there we are. It seems to me that these people - unwilling to come to terms with the truth which requires effort and in-depth study - choose the easy way out of proclaiming the TR as the text we should all rely on and labelling everyone who undermines this as a worker of Satan.

They seem to set their target on Westcott and Hort in particular, pointing that either of them (or both, I couldn't remember) were not believers and engaged in some spiritualistic or other shady activities. I would like to hear your take on them, but while I accept that their work may not have been perfect, even an unbeliever may actually contribute to the restoration of the NT text and they have made their contribution. An unbeliever cannot understand the truth of the Word and doesn't have the Spirit, but they can still do good archeological work or perhaps even manuscript work. I accept that the latter is more difficult, especially given that internal evidence requires understanding of the text itself, but the restoration of certain readings is perhaps not impossible for a secular scholar?

And as for the dating of the manuscripts and assessment of their quality - while no perfect methods exist to accomplish either, it is really hard for me to take seriously the claims that the witnesses behind TR are superior to a manuscript like Codex Sinaiticus (which this teacher dismissed on the basis that it's name is derived from misunderstanding the location of Sinai - so how could it be any good; the same for Codex Vaticanus - how can anything to do with Vatican help us in our Bible study). Dating may not be precise to the year, but we are talking about a few centuries of difference and as for text corruption, a lot can be proved as well.

And then comes the point that Alexandria was also full of "ungodly" scholars who have certainly corrupted the text. I must say I haven't heart something that ridiculous from a pseudo scholar for a long time.

One more point, Professor. Not only do I think that an unbelieving scholar can make a contribution in the area of textual criticism (even though his contribution will have its limits), but even if a scholar was doing textual work only to undermine the text used by Christians - such as the Textus Receptus - then this in itself can be helpful, as it shows believers that they need to pursue more solid foundation of their faith rather than relying on an amalgamation of old and corrupt witnesses. So even if we were to say that either Westcott or Hort - or both - were unbelievers with completely wrong motivations (it doesn't seem to me they were, but my knowledge of them is limited to what I read in the Textual Criticism books), then such a wrongly motivated work can still be helpful in at least highlighting the areas of weakness that need addressing.

Response #15:

The chart attached is pretty silly. The history of the NT text is not a two-pipe system as presented. Every major ms. has a certain amount of "cross-fertilization" for one thing. The silliest thing is the "corrupted" label for all non-Byzantine mss. and "preserved" for the Byzantine mss. This would lead one to believe therefore that all the Byz mss. are precisely the same. In fact, no two are the same. So which one of the thousands is the preserved text, and why are not all the rest corrupt?

Also, of course, the TR is a text critical edition. It is not a manuscript. It was based on other text critical editions which were also based on a collection of manuscripts (the few very late and inferior ones available at that time) . . . but of course Erasmus back-translated the part of Revelation what was not in his mss. Erasmus as a great believer? A great scholar, yes, but I don't see any particular evidence of faith there at all. Same thing goes for the translators of the KJV, not just Wescott and Hort, etc.

And make no mistake. That is what this is about. It's about defending the KJV. Why do that, when in terms meaning it's not all that much different from many other versions, even if the language is dated? I love and, as you know, often quote the NKJV.

So why all the fuss? I would be interested in knowing what, for example, folks with this odd point of view find particularly objectionable about other translations. I do understand that they might not like how NIV (especially the new NIV) renders certain passages. *But 99% of the time NIV (or any other translation) is translating the exact same text as the TR (sometimes with very minor changes which wouldn't influence the sense much one way or the other), and usually producing similar meanings (even if the diction is different).

Mostly when I've probed on this point it turns out that the individuals behind this attack on the Bible (which is what it really is) are wanting to keep the longer ending of Mark. They want a scripture which says that if you aren't water-baptized, then you aren't saved. They want a scripture which says that all will speak in tongues (today). They want a scripture which says that all will be able to heal by laying on hands (today). This stuff is not biblical, but it does occur in the erroneous longer ending of Mark which KJV prints as scripture . . . because it was in the mss. used for the critical edition that became the basis for the TR. So . . . obviously . . . the TR (and KJV) have to be god-given.

It's all very sad, really. I think one has to approach this sort of thing just as one would approach a person defending speaking in tongues or water-baptizing "for salvation" or claiming to be able to heal – or being zealous for any sort of false doctrine. Usually such zealots are not open to having reasonable arguments. I hope you've an exception on your hands.

Here are some links where I talk about these issues:

Interpolations in the KJV

King James "onlyists"

The Bible and the Canon: The Inspired Word of God III (see Q/A #5)

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Good day

Trust you are well. I read a book long time ago about a man who could pray for the dead who were tormenting the living. The book is The awakening by Friedrich Zuendel. Is it possible or true that there are lost souls who can be prayed through to their state of rest.

Thanks

Response #16:

There are two types of "the dead": believers in the third heaven with the Lord, and unbelievers in Torments in Hades awaiting the last judgment. The latter don't have a clue as to what is going on in the world (cf. 1Pet.3:19ff.; except what they may hear from new arrivals), and only care about their own suffering (cf. Lk.16:23-24). The former are our departed brothers and sisters in Christ and wish only our good – but they are only able to observe; they cannot even pray for us.

Likewise, we cannot do anything for the departed. This life is the only place where choices can be made, and everyone has the right and responsibility to make their own choices. There are many religions, sects and cults which teach otherwise. But these are satanic lies.

So this report is sheer nonsense. Here are a few links which deal with related matters:

Third Party Testimony: We Believe God and His Word – Not People

Dreams, Visions, Miracles, Exorcism, Tongues, and False Prophets

Near death experiences

Beware of third party reports V

Beware of third party reports IV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hello Bob,

Thanks again for being so on point! While I was reading your links I suddenly realised that I had also fallen for another snake oil salesmen by way of the "Deliverance" ministries.

There are many Christians out there that say that type of personality disorders are to do with demons and they recommend "binding" them. The book arrived today but I will send it back as I don't want to be had by another huckster. I guess it's a daily struggle for all of us in these times. I don't know who to trust any more. Has it really come to a point that all men have become liars? It's so exhausting, especially coming from a highly dysfunctional family with a poor handle on truth and trust. I do know deep down that Jesus is the way and the only way forward and I need to put a lot of time and effort into my spiritual growth to really heal in any significant manner.

Even if I start to heal and forgive my family, there will always be opportunity for them to say and do things to hurt me or invade my personal space as though I am a mere belonging. People say that the way to go is no contact but I wonder. It's a tough thing to go through. Whenever I mention faith, it's always dismissed. Recently said "don't bother with the Old Testament as it is riddled with inconsistencies".

About the Youtube channel with the secret knowledge. I asked the "teacher" respectfully where the knowledge came from and this was his reply: "it comes from research. You are not going to find anything like this out there anywhere. The Holy Spirit revealed it to me. And it is simply a MAP or PROOF that corroborates the stories of the bible as accurate and true, as they are reflected in the physiology of the human body. It all points back to Christ and everything he said is True. He is the Son of God and you have to believe in him to be saved. "

Anyway I have unsubscribed to him now. I didn't like that he hinted that I don't believe in Christ. I've noticed with other "teachers" that whenever you want to discuss or question their information
they always suggest that questioning their authority is a result of lack of faith.

Thanks again for all your support my friend.

I am praying for you that you are kept safe and healthy with good people around you.

In Jesus Christ,

Response #17:

The response of the false teacher with the codes scam doesn't surprise me. False teachers always threaten damnation to those who don't agree with them and who don't subordinate themselves to them absolutely. No cult could survive if people were free to do their own thinking or exercise their own free will. That is why these are the first things cults seek to take away (please see the link: "Cult Characteristics"). It's also the easiest thing to say, "What I say is true because God spoke to me and not to you!" Easy to say . . . but is it true? Until Moses and Elijah return once the Tribulation begins, I guarantee that ANYONE making such a claim is lying. God spoke to prophets; then He spoke to us "by means of His Son" (Heb.1:1-2), and He empowered a few of those who saw His Son to write the New Covenant. Now that we have the entire canon of scripture, the veritable "Mind of Christ" (1Cor.2:16), we have no need for God to speak to individuals and give them information which is not in the Bible. Could He do so? God can do anything. Is He doing so? Not at all, not at the moment. What about people claiming the opposite? Lying is very easy for liars. Here's a link on that:  "Third Party Testimony".

You are correct that "deliverance" movements (I dare not call them "ministries") are also pure hogwash. No believer, no matter how advanced, how holy, how close to God, has any direct power whatsoever over demons. The apostles had some special gifts in this regard, but along with tongues, touch-healing, and other "sign gifts", these passed from the scene with them. Anyone today who claims to have such powers is merely lying. Again, a very easy thing for liars to do. And since Christians are generally good-hearted people who want to believe what others tell them, liars who are seeking to exploit others generally have an easier time hoodwinking Christians than they would if dealing with unbelievers. But Christ told us to be "wise as serpents", even as we are harmless as doves: do no wrong to others, but take care not to believe evil people and liars as if they were true ministers of Christ.

For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
2nd Corinthians 11:13-14 NIV

Do stay away from such things, my friend. I understand the dilemma regarding your family. We are to honor our parents, e.g. On the other hand, we are not required to allow ourselves to be abused by them. If cutting off contact seems wrong to do, perhaps limiting it in time and also in what is allowed to transpire (i.e., leaving immediately when and if abuse begins) might be a middle ground to explore. But charlatans who are only playing at Christianity are no solution. Here are a few links on that:

Dreams, Visions, Miracles, Exorcism, Tongues, and False Prophets

Spiritual Warfare V

Casting out demons

Demons and Healing

Pretend "Exorcism"

Gaining power over demons?

Demon "deliverance" (Angelic Issues III)

Binding demons?

Demon Influences

Exorcism

Binding and loosing?

Prayers for binding?

Keep fighting the fight, my friend! As you continue to grow through diligent attention to the truth, all of these things will fall into place for you, and your ability to discern the truth and to oppose what is false will grow along with it.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Good Morning. I meant to ask you about faith healers and whether you believe that God uses them to heal and if you know of a healing service I could attend. I know many believe that all we need to do is pray on our own to Jesus to heal but I have seen many who say that Jesus is appearing to them and telling them that those who do not pray correctly that they will die and He has told them the correct way to pray for healing. I get so confused and am not sure what to believe. Can you advise me in this area? Ty for your time!

God Bless,

Response #18:

I'm sorry to hear that this continues to be a struggle. I do promise to keep praying for you. God has a plan. It's hard to accept sometimes when things are tough, but you are handling this test very well and I draw encouragement from your steadfast faith!

As to "faith-healing", the actual gift of healing was an apostolic gift and it ceased to be operative when the last apostle passed from the scene in the first century (cf. 1Cor.13:8-10 for the principle of the cessation of certain gifts). All who claim to be able to heal today are charlatans, so please do not have anything to do with them (God is merciful and good and does NOT punish His children for supposedly "praying wrong"!).

"For I am the LORD who heals you."
Exodus 15:26b

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:2-5 NKJV

God is the One who heals us, and He can heal us at any time. We have faith that this is so. But we also know that it is not His will for us to live in this world forever, nor is it His policy for most of us to go through life without any health concerns. The apostle Paul, a man who had the gift of healing, had some serious health issues (Gal.4:13-15; 2Cor.12:7-10). There were reasons why the Lord didn't heal Paul – just as there were reasons why Paul lived mostly in poverty. Health and wealth were definitely not part of the picture for him, although he may have been the greatest believer who has ever lived (he will certainly be one of the most highly rewarded).

Hoping in the Lord is never a mistake. He can turn things around in an instant. I have seen Him do so. But He may leave us to wrestle with "the problem", whatever it may be, for a good long time. How we respond is the important point. We want to glorify Him by continuing to demonstrate that we trust Him no matter what we have to face. And we have it from Him that while it may be very difficult, we will never be asked to do the impossible (1Cor.10:13) . . . even if it may occasionally seem like it. His plan is perfect, and as long as we are here, we have hope of deliverance from whatever trials and troubles we face. Because He is absolutely faithful and could never be otherwise.

I am praying for your deliverance.

Keep trusting Him. Nothing is impossible for Him.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Ty Robert for clarifying this issue as I highly respect your knowledge and wisdom when it comes to The a Word of God. I believe everything you said and I think that is why I have had feelings of confusion and I think Holy Spirit is telling me that I need to place all my trust in God for all my needs rather than people and if our suffering is for His Glory then I accept all of these trials. I just don’t understand how I could be so naive. When I have watched these Christian channels and see these so-called prophets they seem so real yet most or all of them are writing and selling books. One of them says we need to imagine ourselves coming before Father God as Judge and jury and ask Him to forgive our sins and to ask for Him to revoke and remove any and all cases or condemnation that satan has over our lives, our health or the lives of our ancestors before any form of healing can take place. It’s sad because desperate people do desperate things and cling to anything to get the help they need and I know it is in the Bible that there will be many false prophets. I am looking forward to reading all your new material and will begin tonight. I thank you again for your prayers and will continue to keep you in our prayers as well.

God Bless You my friend!

Response #19:

You're very welcome, my friend. And don't be too hard on yourself. What you said is right on the money: "desperate people do desperate things" – that is why it's called "a test". Anyone can give the right answer on a multiple choice exam; doing the right thing when the pressure is on is very different thing. You are passing the test – and glorifying the Lord!

Here are a few links that also bear on your question:

God Heals - in His way (not our way)

Faith Healing

Healing, Miracles, and Dreams

Third party reports

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hello Bob,

I believe that ___ is on the wrong path, and doesn't want to believe me even when I clearly demonstrated using scripture that I was correct. There was a woman who ran my brother's memorial that claims to heal people; and even ___ said that this woman personally healed her, and can testify to this truth. I also know that anything – including miracles, are to be tested with the Truth of God's Word. So I prayed with all my heart to the Lord to help me understand, and to give me insight and discernment to spot any form of deception.

This woman who I believe is leading ___ astray is a "Pastor", and I have provided a link below showing who she is, and what she is trying to do. She claims to have prophetic visions from God, and in the video she described one of them. Here's where I spot deception. In this video, she claims to have had a vision where parts of the US were ignited or sparked with fire, and that this represented a "spark" of a Coming Revival soon. She said NOTHING about a "literal" fire at all. Recently, California had a wave of literal fires which had no clear cause. And all of this Pastor's friends and congregation said that this was her "prophetic vision' which had came to pass.

I find this VERY deceptive for several reasons; even if this woman truly did have these dreams, that doesn't necessarily mean that it was from God. And not to sound misogynistic; but the Bible says that women are NOT to be Pastors – and that it was Eve who was deceived first. I can't help what the Bible says! This Pastor and her followers are trying to make a "connection" between what this Pastor had said in 2016, to what had RECENTLY occurred the last month. A symbolic fire mentioned in 2016, to a literal fire in 2018. Here is something also very peculiar: my computer shut off several times by ITSELF when I was writing this email to you. It was definitely supernatural, and occurred at certain points in the email where I typing out important words. I know that God is Absolutely Sovereign, and He does NOT allow anything to happen to His children unless He gives it the green-light.

What I also find bizarre is WHY would God give a woman "Pastor" who is living in wilfull disobedience to His commands prophetic visions? What was also interesting is that she sprinkled "holy or blessed" water on us when we were sitting down. Now where is this in the bible? I can't find this anywhere. She said that my brother who is now with the Lord had done this in her dream, and she was told that my brother wanted her to sprinkle "blessed" water on us too.

I've never encountered such a time in Christian History when there is an unprecedented surge of false prophets on the rise. I can literally find hundreds, if not thousands of them on youtube. To me, this is a clear sign that the return of Christ is VERY near. One of the FIRST things Jesus said at the Olivet Discourse was: BE NOT DECEVED. He also said that MANY false prophets will arise during the last times. And that the seas and waves will be roaring with perplexity. Like a woman in travail, the frequency of her birth pangs will become more frequent then ever when compared to the signs that point to Christ's Return. Some of these false prophets are easily spotted, but Jesus said that there will arise false prophets that would deceive even the very ELECT if it were possible. So I am writing this to you and wanted some feedback and counsel at this time, because there is a serious spiritual battle going on; and Satan is trying to take out my family members. I can CLEARLY see this because the devil and his minions ALWAYS show up whenever I present the Truth to them. He's LITERALLY like a roaring lion in hiding; waiting to pounce on the vulnerable and those who are not sober.

I forgot to mention in my last email about the woman Pastor who I believe is leading ___ into deception that this Pastor is an Anglican. Now I don't know what Anglicans believe, or if what they teach is biblical.

God Bless,

Response #20:

I share your concern.

1) There is no such thing as a woman pastor/teacher.

2) There is no such thing as the gift of prophecy being given today (that ended with the closing of the canon of scripture, and will not be reinstituted until at least the Tribulation begins).

3) There is also no such thing as the gift of healing being given today (God heals miraculously all the time, and He does answer prayers for healing, but no individual has the gift of being able to heal someone else by word or touch today).

4) There is not nor has there ever been any such thing as holy water (except made-up in the RC church of which the Anglicans are an offshoot).

5) There is nothing new about fires in California. This is a sign? There were fires out there last year too (and the year before and the year before, etc.). This one was bigger and more people were killed. Number of casualties defines what's a sign and what isn't? Ridiculous.

6) There is no such thing as a revival – not in the Bible, any way. The closest thing found in scripture is the ministry of John the baptist who was charged with "making ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Lk.1:17) – a unique situation in every way since the first advent only occurs once. Note also that most people did not respond, and that those who did mostly fell away at some point.

So what can we do for people who want to follow such wolves in sheep's clothing? We can point out to them the danger and the folly. Usually this doesn't work. If they were operating with basic spiritual common sense and had it in their hearts to please the Lord first and foremost, while they might be attracted to the hoopla initially (anyone can make a mistake, especially if not spiritually mature), they would turn away from it when burned (as they will be burned).

We can also pray. And we shall pray.

Your comments about the contemporary situation are right on the mark. In Laodicea, there is widespread lukewarmness about learning the actual truth of the Bible. That is hard. It takes work. One has to read the Bible and, in a disciplined and consistent way pay attention to a good, no-nonsense teaching ministry. Much more "fun" to chase after emotional pyrotechnics, prophecy and miracles, showmanship and miracles, big crowds, big churches, big names, big music, big fun . . . but in the end "it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper" (Prov.23:32 NIV).

Keep up the good fight of faith, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hi Bob,

I hope all is well with you and sorry to bother you again so soon. I'm feeling more settled now concerning my family. I'm keeping a healthy distance and praying every day. I have also been praying for your other correspondent who has been wanting to honor her parents as well. She has been on my mind every day and I hope she is making some progress.

I have another Christian friend who I am concerned about. We have been close friends for many years. She is such a caring, kind, gentle person and we were saved at the same time in the same church. When I fell away from the Lord she continued to go to church. She then left the area and joined a Vineyard church and is now working for them. When I came back to the Lord I started to learn a bit more about her church through my friend and also through the church website.

I have listened to one of the talks my friend's Pastor gave which has been put on the church website. He talks about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit called the Toronto Blessing and how the first time it started in the UK was in a meeting of 30-35 church leaders which just happened to be taking place in his house. He talks about a person falling on the floor and rolling from one end of the room to the other. That was the first of many people in the room experiencing a powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit and all manner of things went on and the meeting continued until after midnight. He said that when the Spirit of God fell on him he simply laughed and that it was a wonderful experience. He said people had to be driven home that night because they were drunk - completely drunk in the Spirit and couldn't be trusted with a car. He talks about another meeting where it was "pandemonium". Bodies were strewn all over the place and all sorts of strange phenomena were occurring. He says he spoke to someone in the Catholic church about it and within 2 weeks it had spread across the UK. He said he believes it was a genuine move of God. One issue though which was a concern for him was to do with the teaching that began to happen on some of the phenomena which were happening at the time (I'm presuming this would be teaching about this not being of God). He said John Wimber was saying it is a mistake to try and theologise particular strange and exotic experiences. The Pastor talked about people roaring like lions and making noises like chickens (I can't believe I'm even writing this Bob. It makes me angry. I just feel it's an absolute insult to the Holy Spirit). The Pastor was saying it would be wrong of us to be embarrassed by or shun these experiences. He believes it was a genuine move of the Holy Spirit.

I already knew all about the Toronto Blessing but I was sad to hear my Friend's Pastor endorsing it. The church also encourages speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing etc. They have held Sozo sessions (inner healing and deliverance ministry). They are also keen to show unity with their "Catholic brothers and sisters". A few weeks ago my Friend told me that they taught contemplative prayer. It just seems to go from bad to worse. I have researched contemplative prayer and New Agers, occultists and those practicing Eastern religion regard contemplative prayer as part of their OWN movement. I recognise the methods of contemplative prayer in the church as being the same as those used in the New Age movement (from my time away from the Lord reading New Age books). It's just a 'Christianized' version but obviously completely unbiblical.

I have tried to tackle some of these teachings with my Friend but so far only really just scratched the surface. It's hard to know where to start - inside I'm just screaming get out of it and run! I have told her about your website and how I have learnt so much from your teaching. I have mentioned about the fact that the gift of tongues is no longer being given (she says she speaks in tongues) or the gift of prophesy or healing (but that God does still heal today if He chooses to). I've told her that Women should not be Pastors leading or teaching the congregation of the Church. I was surprised to find out that she didn't know Catholicism is a false religion and that they believe in salvation by works etc. She said she had listened to a Catholic Priest give a talk and she came away feeling very encouraged. Already I can sense her disapproval of the little I have gently tried to explain to her. She has already advised me to look elsewhere for my teaching (there's no way that's going to happen! I've found where I belong and I'm staying put).

So she has attended the church since it started and has been working there for years. They have a congregation of about 2000 people and have just extended the building to fit more people in. Her Pastors are teaching all this stuff and the congregation seem to be happily going along with it. I want to warn her about the dangers of these teachings but from her reaction already I don't know if she will listen to me. Is it another case of a hardened heart that only the Lord can change or should I persevere in the hope that she will see the truth? I fell away and believed the New Age books and she has continued in the church and yet it seems she's being just as deceived as I was.

I've been studying your teaching on pneumatology and loving it. It couldn't be any more different to what I have written about above.

Really sorry it's a long one again Bob and I'm pretty certain it's nothing you haven't heard before but I would appreciate your thoughts on this. Thank you.

Your friend in Jesus

Response #21:

Great to hear back from you. No need to apologize! I'm somewhat acquainted with this group and with all of the various bizarre behaviors and activities in which they are involved (see the link: "Cults and Christianity IV" Q/A #7). I want to commend you on a terrific job of focusing in like a laser beam on the specific abuses and the problems with them. This particular place you write about seems to have gone the extra mile to include absolutely everything in "experiential Christianity" movement that could possibly be wrong – and beyond into secular / pagan new age nonsense. It does go to show how a person whose loyalty is to their church / group / denomination is thereby made vulnerable to deception in many ways. That is because churches / groups / denominations are made up of people, and because people may change over time and are always eventually replaced by others, so that even a once "good place" may end spiritual dangerous once the wolves infiltrate (as they always eventually do).

This phenomenon and the corresponding tendency to misplaced loyalty will thus constitute a terrible trap during the Tribulation. Right now, getting involved in a group like is certainly going to crater the person's spirituality and undermine catastrophically any prior growth, but in most cases it probably won't completely eliminate genuine faith in Christ (if it is already present). During the Tribulation, however, what I have been able to glean from scripture suggests that antichrist will co-opt the worlds organized religions in toto, to include "Christian" denominations and organized groups, down in many cases to the individual independent church level. At that point, being loyal to the group – instead of to Jesus Christ – will result in following the beast . . . and nothing could be worse than that. I will certainly say a prayer for your friend.

Your circumspection on how to handle the matter is very wise. Few people who have invested so much for so long in any cult or cult-like group are likely to be sprung free instantaneously by an over-aggressive approach. In most cases I know of, the seed of truth has to be planted, nurtured, and allowed to penetrate the propaganda. The change has to come from within in response to the truth. The Lord has a way of making those who are His own face up to the truth, and I know that prayer is never a mistake in these cases. You have a lot of material to work with here. I am sure that you can see a dozen things they do / teach / proclaim that are directly contrary to specific scriptures. That might be the best place to start. And by the way, "pandemonium" (a word coined by Milton if I'm not mistaken) means "demons everywhere".

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hi Bob,

When I read your last sentence about the meaning of the word "pandemonium", I don't think my eyes have ever opened so wide and my jaw drop so low!

Thank you very much for your guidance and for the link to Cults and Christianity. I can relate very well to it. The person writing to you mentioned a video entitled The Finger of God. My friend lent me the same DVD to watch and it was terrible. Things like gold dust flying everywhere and people discovering they had suddenly, miraculously got gold teeth (these looked suspiciously like the gold crowns/caps we gave patients when I worked as a dental nurse). When I gave the DVD back to my friend she made a comment about it and said, "now THAT'S the Holy Spirit working!" I didn't say anything back because by then I thought, "oh dear I really have got my hands full here. Lots of work to do".

In your response on the link Bob you say:  By being "exciting" and "supernatural" and "miraculous" they are going to be much more "fun" than an hour long session explaining Christophany in the Old Testament (for example).

Again, I can relate to this because I tried to explain to my friend that the church today needs to focus more on good, in-depth Bible teaching rather than on the worship music, atmosphere etc. She said that if her church did that then nobody would stay - especially the young people in the church. That's exactly how I was as a young person at church. Loved the music, the atmosphere, the fun and very little of the Word and it didn't do me ANY GOOD - it's only by the grace and mercy of our Lord that I'm back with Him again and I give Him all my praise and love.

I hope it doesn't sound like I'm being a bit too light-hearted about this situation with my friend. I feel the complete opposite. It's in my nature to be a bit of a deep thinker and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to help people like my friend. Very often I find that they don't listen and I'm worn out at the end. Sometimes my own time with the Lord in prayer and Bible study is cut short because of it which isn't good. I will gradually try to plant some seeds of truth, pray for her and trust the Lord. She is definitely one of His own.

Thanks ever so much again Bob.

Your friend in Jesus

Response #22:

You're so very welcome.

I greatly appreciate your obvious spiritual common sense. Now THAT is the Spirit at work – not all the caterwauling and crazy behavior that is the signature of these sorts of groups. The Spirit's voice is still and small (1Ki.19:12), but immensely powerful, encouraging, and clarifying for those believers willing to hear it.

And for what it is worth, I think your method is absolutely correct. Thinking things over first is much underrated these days as is patience and perseverance – all of which qualities you obviously have in great measure. They'll no doubt all be necessary to employ for victory on this tough case.

I'll be keeping you in prayer, my friend.

Wishing you success in the cause of Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L

Question #23:

Hi Bob,

It definitely is a tough case. The more I discovered what she was involved in the more overwhelmed I started to feel. I was thinking that I'm up against her Senior Pastors, a congregation of about 2000 believing the same, she's been there from the start and it's her place of work. I was thinking there's no way she's going to listen to me. She'll be thinking that I've only just come back to the Lord, I don't attend a church so what do I know. Why would she listen to me over them.

For a while now I think the Holy Spirit has been reminding me to stop trying to fix things on my own, in my own strength but to have faith in and rely on Him. I felt the same when I wrote to you about the situation with my family and you confirmed what I thought the Holy Spirit was saying by advising me to "go slow" and "think twice" about trying to sort the situation out on my own. For a couple of weeks now I've also had this picture in my mind of me standing right in front of this huge mountain knowing I'd got to tackle it but feeling overwhelmed and intimidated by it. I don't know if this was from the Lord or just me but it was there and either way I know He can use it. I woke up last night thinking about my friend and this mountain and then Matthew 17:20 came to my mind.

He replied, Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
Matthew 17:20

I read some of the notes in my Bible for that verse as well.

Perhaps the disciples had tried to drive out the demon with their own ability rather than God's. There is great potential in even a little faith when we trust in God's power to act. If we feel weak or powerless as Christians, we should examine our faith making sure we are trusting God's power, NOT OUR OWN ABILITY to produce results. Jesus wasn't condemning the disciples for substandard faith; he was trying to show how important faith would be in their future ministry. If you are facing a problem that seems as big and immovable as a mountain turn your eyes from the mountain and look to Christ for more faith. Only then will you be able to overcome the obstacles that may stand in your way.

I searched a bit more in my Bible and found Psalm 121:1-2

I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.

I really feel that the Lord is doing what I know is good for me by stretching me and testing my faith and my trust in Him. You have taught me that I have to seek out the truth (a good teaching ministry - called Bob!), hear, learn and most especially BELIEVE the truth. This is where I know I'm really getting down to the nitty gritty of it. I feel Him really close to me and I know that if I trust Him and if I keep listening to His still, small voice (and it really is - but I'm learning) and responding to His guidance, my faith will grow stronger for it.

I want to thank you so much for your encouragement Bob. I'll be gently planting those seeds of truth and its power will do the rest. I'll keep you up to date with progress. You're in my prayers every day.

Your friend in Jesus

Response #23:

Very nice points on the "mountain moving" issue! Yes indeed, if we need it moved, He will move it (we only have to trust Him). Our problems are patience (meaning lack thereof), faith (not trusting Him enough), and failure to realize that the plan of God has everything in hand and that He is doing whatever needs to be done – we are just blessed to be able to participate (see also the link: "Moving Mountains").

Thanks much for your good words and mutual encouragement. You are demonstrating how much is possible in even a short time for someone who takes the plan of God for their life seriously and "gets cracking". Good for you! Be pleased to keep up the fight – I will be keeping you in my prayers. And do feel free to write any time.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hi Bob,

Hope you're enjoying getting back to a bit of normality this week.

I just wanted to let you know how things have gone with my friend. As you know, I have already spoken to her (always gently and with love) about a few 'iffy' teachings and didn't get a very positive response. One thing that was really laying heavy on my heart was contemplative prayer which I know her church encourages. "Contemplative practices are contributing to the unbiblical ecumenical movement (interdenominational, interfaith and interspiritual), and is playing its part in paving the way towards the False Prophet's One World Religious system", (or so some people think - can you tell I've been researching!). I've learnt a lot about it and to get straight to the point, it's Satanic. I feel so so sad for all these Christians who are being led with the support of their Pastor down this path. It's so sad that they're not content with a relationship with the Lord through His way by prayer and study of the scriptures. It's almost like an addiction - they have to experience some kind of spiritual buzz all the time just to keep them going.

In the past I have messed about with this sort of thing including meditation and I've paid a heavy price for it. So I felt a huge responsibility to warn my friend about contemplative prayer. What kind of a friend would I be if I just overlooked it and said nothing, especially with what I've experienced. I thought the most loving thing I could do for her was to tell her the truth. Not just that though, I feel very passionate and protective towards the truth and I can't help but stand up for it. It's just in me and I can't help it and I'm glad I can't!

So I tried to warn her about it, that it's not biblical prayer but more like mystical meditation. I told her the different techniques they use in contemplative prayer are the same as what I had been involved in with new age etc. and the dangers of it and the bad experiences I had with it. I tried my best Bob in a very gentle way, but she has made it very clear that she doesn't want to listen or talk about it. I'm not too surprised because of her negative reaction before. I don't think there's much more I can say or do. At first I worried that I had upset her because I'd never want to do that. But then I thought about how I love the truth and I'm pleased to be able to speak the truth and I'm not ashamed of the truth. The truth can offend people or make them feel uncomfortable but that shouldn't stop us from speaking up. I want to please the Lord, not people.

People tell me I'm a very sensitive person, that I care too much, that I spend too much time trying to help other people. The thing is, I do care and I can spend hours and hours thinking about people, seeing how much they're hurting or seeing the trouble or danger they are in. I always try my best to help when I'm asked but very often people will do what they want anyway. I'll always pray for my friend. The Lord rescued me when I couldn't have been further away from Him. After I came back to Him I found out that my Auntie (who has been born again ever since I can remember), had been praying for me every night for years and I truly believe the Lord answered her prayers. She lives in Ireland (don't worry she isn't Catholic!) and when I was younger we used to write each other letters about how much we loved the Lord. So the Lord does hear our prayers and I know He will answer my prayers for my friend. I have a feeling our friendship might not be as close as it once was. We're like opposites now and conversation hasn't been as easy.

You've helped me so much Bob with the situation with my family and then with my friend. Thank you so much for your prayers. The Lord has definitely been my strength and comfort throughout all this. They were the two major things that were bothering me. I've spent a lot of time praying for them, crying for them, grieving for them, researching for them and talking to them but I really feel now it's time for me to leave it in the Lord's hands. Reading about all this wacky stuff leaves me feeling really tired and I can honestly say once I get back to His word I feel so much lighter and better. It's time for me to concentrate (with your help) on studying His word, praying and growing closer and closer to Him. I've still got lots to learn, lots of growing to do and not much more time left. There's still lots of work to be done to help all our brothers and sisters in Christ and those who are still to come to Him and If we've got the Tribulation to get through then we've got to be ready!

Your friend in Jesus

Response #24:

I'm not at all surprised by your report, but I must commend you on your spiritual acumen, your good heart, and your persistence in the face of the seemingly impossible – like moving a mountain. But God does move mountains when they need to be moved. I have no doubt that all your efforts for your friend and your family and for everyone else in your circle of concern are not going unnoticed by the Lord and are not without their effect. A ministry is judged – will be judged by the Lord on that Day – not by the results seen through human eyes but by the effort and the heart of those doing the ministering. Beyond all question, some fields are more difficult to plow than others. If ours has a lot of boulders in it, are we to be rewarded less because the ostensible crop was less? Not at all. I am sure that Jeremiah's reward will be enormous – but do we know of anyone who responded to his prophesying? Perhaps a few (Baruch, Ebed-Melech, e.g.), but most of his countrymen paid no attention . . . unless it was to try and kill him. We have to fight the fight we are given to fight with the tools the Lord has given to fight it. Your dedication and wisdom are inspirational, and I want to encourage you to persevere. As in the very encouraging case of your Aunt, we all have experience of faith and persistence paying off. And some great believers had to wait a very long time for the fulfillment of their prayers. Abraham was 99 years old before he received the word that his hopes for an heir were finally to be fulfilled. Abraham is therefore our father in faith, Abraham who . . .

. . . who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
Romans 4:18-22 NKJV

I admire your faith. I also admire your courage. It is not easy to tell those we love personally the absolute truth. It seems it is easier to do so in the case of absolute strangers. Because we know something about those we love, and we know that the truth is divisive. But if we really loved them, would we not, as you affirm, be better off being honest with them about what is most important in this life?

I just wrote this to one of my family members: There's another "issue", however. It might behoove me to just keep my mouth shut, but I might regret that more, so here goes . . .

I'm hoping being honest with him will not cause estrangement, but, like you, out of love I am willing to endure that (for what I hope is only a short time) in order that "his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (1Cor.5:5) – and even if the issue doesn't come to such a point, in order that he may "hold fast" and no one take away his crown (Rev.3:11).

Nothing is more important than the truth. Jesus is the very truth, the Word of God Himself.

Praying for you – and thanks for yours as well.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hi Bob,

Thank you so much for your lovely email and for reminding me of Abraham and Jeremiah. As I'm reading Jeremiah, I'm right there with him. I have felt intense feelings like Jeremiah felt for his people. I have had a real heavy ache inside and I've cried tears like he did. I have felt the anger he felt at the sin but at the same time felt so much compassion. What endurance and faithfulness he had. His example gives me great encouragement to keep on persevering no matter what.

My friend's church talk about "signs and wonders", but when I stop to think about the absolute miracle the Lord has worked in my life I have the faith to believe He can work a true miracle in my friend's life. I was very far away from Him for years but in what felt like just the blink of an eye He brought me back to Him in such a powerful way. He answered the prayers of my Aunt and I must have looked like a hopeless case - talk about "mountain moving!"

As in your case Bob with your family member - I could have kept my mouth shut and said nothing to my friend, but this time round I couldn't stay quiet. My conscience wouldn't have allowed me to overlook it and let it go. I would never have been able to settle or have peace about it. I knew this time I couldn't just make it sound pretty for her either, I had to with gentleness and love give her the whole truth. I did what I knew the Lord was asking me to do but I also did what I would have wanted someone else to do for me if I was in that situation.

You said to me Bob that the Lord has a way of making those who are His own face up to the truth and I really believe that. Deep down she knows I've told her the truth and I know the Lord can use that. I don't feel so anxious about it now. I know the Lord is in full control. I really do feel my faith is slowly getting stronger. I'll be guided by Him one step at a time and use the tools He's given me to keep fighting for her.

I've been getting some real solid training and testing in patience, perseverance and endurance. First physically and now spiritually. I'll share it with you soon! I thank the Lord for you Bob. He has blessed me with one very loving, gifted, patient, enthusiastic and caring friend and teacher.

I'll be praying for you and your family member.

Your friend in Jesus

Response #25:

You're more than welcome, my friend.

I appreciate your heart for the Lord. I thank you for your prayers and promise to keep you in mine as well.

Thank you for keeping me in the loop – and thanks for your encouraging testimony.

Keep on fighting the good fight for Jesus Christ our Savior.

In Him,

Bob L.

 

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