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“Dean, how did you know and how did you know so early?”
That was the question several pastors asked me in the late eighties when a huge mega-church in the Kent area of Washington state was exposed for extreme moral failures.
I had begun warning people of the errors and spiritual apostasy three years earlier and had come under great criticism.
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The church was a lightning rod, drawing huge crowds to its “Holy Spirit-filled meetings.” I had been accused of being judgmental and critical of a new move of God.
The warning signs that I saw at that time, which others seemed to overlook, are very present in some circles of ministry today.
They are very popular circles, I might add.
1. The first sign is an over-emphasis on the humanity of Jesus.
Certainly, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 KJV).
We know that Jesus was “tempted in all points as we are” that He might be found sinless and without fault (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15).
The extreme emphasis upon the humanity of Jesus Christ opens the gate for some of the forms of Gnosticism to make their subtle way into the teaching of the church.
The Apostle John couched his teaching of the humanity of Jesus within the clear emphasis of Jesus Christ’s deity as the Son of God.
The Apostle Paul confronted Gnosticism in the first century by clearly declaring the deity of Jesus Christ, “In Him dwells all the fullness of the godhead, bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:9-10 NKJV).
Yes, Jesus Christ is one hundred percent God and He is one hundred percent man; “[W]ho, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8 NKJV).
The Apostles did not find it necessary to emphasis the humanity of Jesus so people could more easily identify with Him. Just the opposite.
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They placed great emphasis upon the deity of Jesus Christ revealing the exceeding greatness of the Gospel over all other religions.
The world’s religions are striving to reach their deities and coerce them to have mercy.
Jesus Christ is eternal God, who has such great love, mercy and grace, that He became human and came to us, to redeem us to Himself.
When one begins to adjust the identity of Jesus Christ, they are on a path that will lead them to great error.
2. The second sign that alerted me to the dangers of that ministry and which is being seen today is found in the way they identify Holy Spirit.
He is referred to as a force and not as a person.
There are those who are teaching it was “the sound from heaven” that brought the tongues of fire and the mighty working on the day of Pentecost.
They are urging people to become aware of the divine sounds that will lead them to greater works of God.
There emphasis is upon the sound and the force of that sound, not on the Third Person of the Trinity.
When Jesus Christ urged the disciples to “wait for the promise of the Father,” He was making a direct reference to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, not the “sound from heaven.”
He made it very clear, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” not when you have heard a “sound from heaven.”
The over emphasis upon a manifestation will always lead to an imbalance and a distortion of the person of God and His work.
Holy Spirit is a very real person.
- He has a name: Holy Spirit.
- He has a will:
- He will only speak what Jesus Christ has told Him to speak.
- He has character and personality: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and self-control.
- He has emotions: He can be grieved and He can be quenched.
When the teaching of a ministry begins to adjust the identity of Jesus Christ and the person of Holy Spirit, they are headed in a very dangerous direction that has consistently led to error and moral failure.
3. The third sign I discovered is the over emphasis of the prophetic word and the visitation of angels.
There is an emphasis to seek the “new revelation” and “hear to deeper word.”
Greater attention is given to that which is received through the prophetic word, a revelation, and the word of angels than to study of God’s written Word.
This is a gateway to the extreme and to the doctrine of demons.
Every prophetic word, revelation, and visitation of an angel is to be judged by the revealed Word of God, the Holy Bible.
“Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89 NKJV).
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV).
I know there are those who will mock and say I am just being outdated and resistant to the new move of God. The danger is very real.
There is a reason the Reformation was grounded upon sola scriptura.
Every great revival of history has been anchored upon the Word of the Living God, the Holy Scriptures.
21st Century Church, we must not “unhinge from the Old Testament” or find a “new revelation of God” to reach this generation with the Gospel.
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9 NKJV).
If there is to be a “new revelation,” “a deeper revelation,” and a prophetic word to this generation, let it be a fresh revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His redemptive work that transforms a sinner into a “new creation.”
Let it be the full awareness that Jesus Christ takes away the old man “and behold all things are become new.”
Let it be the amazing power of the baptism of the Holy Spirit that enables an ordinary person to do extraordinary things in the name of Jesus Christ.
Learn more about the Holy Spirit in my workbook “Father’s Promise”
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