Dare to Discern (Part 4)

“For the time will come when they will not endure
sound doctrine; But after their own lusts shall they heap to
themselves teachers, having itching ears.” – 2 Timothy 4:3

      Anyone who has ever camped, picnicked, or walked for miles on an ocean beach knows just how subtle the tide changes can be. There you are, happily high and dry, safely enjoying the long, sandy expanses of beach while the dancing waves gurgle and swish benignly in the distance. Everything seems to be so perfect when all of a sudden you find yourself hastily retreating to higher ground in an effort to escape an unexpected silent, stealthy flow of water.     It is as if the gravitational pull of the moon and the untamable ocean currents have joined forces in a conspiracy to wipe you, and everything else off the broad, sandy expanse.

      As menacing and dangerous as the temperamental and unpredictable tides and currents of the ocean are, even more dangerous are those subtle tides of change and “winds of doctrine” that have been, and are, sweeping through the church in these end days. Christians need to keep in mind that Satan doesn’t burst through the church doors, march to the pulpit and announce that he is the devil and that he is there to destroy the faith of the just. Instead, he uses subtle and crafty means to deceive, transforming himself “into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” 2 Corinthians 11:14b, 15. The key to discerning such false workers is to consider the agenda and goal behind their works, and ask yourself these questions: Is the bottom-line goal, and priority, of any individual, ministry, movement, church or organization to lift up the Lord Jesus Christ and Him crucified, to present the Gospel (death, burial and resurrection of Christ), to disciple believers according to Jesus’ command, and to bring glory to God? Who is being exalted—Christ or man? Is the leader seeking to gain a following? What is the prevailing emphasis—is it humanitarian in scope, (a temporary work) or are souls being saved (an eternal work)? Is the whole Word of God being adhered to, are Bibles being made available to the people, and is the Lord leading through the Holy Spirit, or is God’s Word being twisted to fit man’s agenda, while lip service is given to lend credibility to man’s endeavors to build on the wrong foundation? Only Jesus Christ is the true foundation—not good works, not religious traditions, not man’s lofty imaginations or noble efforts, or fleshly experiences.

      In the Apostle Paul’s farewell speech to the Elders at Ephesus, he declared, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” Acts 20:27-31. [Emphasis added.] According to the words of Jesus in Revelation 2:2 it would appear that this church did take Paul’s warning to heart for we read, “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.” Jesus went on to commend them for their patience for His name’s sake, their labor, and steadfastness; however, what He had against them is that they had left their first love. (See verses 3, 4.)

      We learn from this that we must not only discern false workers, but we must discern where we are at in our own relationship with the Lord. This reminds me of something I learned as a young teen going through a Moody Bible Institute Correspondence Course my saintly Great-Grandmother subscribed to for me. It went something like this: “Beware that you don’t get off the track while chasing your enemies.”

      Therefore, while we continue our discussion on discernment of false apostles, prophets, teachers, movements, and so forth, let us remember to guard our hearts and our love for our Lord Jesus Christ, above all else. There is no doubt that we are living in the days Jesus warned us of in Matthew 24. Therefore, it is necessary to point out one of the fastest growing, most dangerous and militant movements within the world today. It comes under many titles and subtitles—some of which are: New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), Latter Rain, IHOP (International House of Prayer), Kingdom Now and Kansas City Prophets, Dominion Theology / Manifest Sons of God (Joel’s Army) / Third Wave / Toronto Blessing, “The New Paradigm Churches,” Replacement Theology, to name a few. As Paul warned, the leaders of these movements are indeed “grievous wolves” who have entered “in among [us], not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Their goal is as follows:

Latter Rain or Dominion Teaching can be summed up this way – From Apologetic Index:

  1. The Church must be Restored & Equipped to rule by the five-fold ministries.
  2. It must come to Perfection & Complete Visible UNITY.
  3. Out of the purified church will come a Spiritual Elite Corps, a Corporate Christ who possess the Spirit without measure
  4. They will Purge the earth of all Wickedness & Rebellion
  5. They will Judge the Apostate Church
  6. They will Redeem Creation, and Restore the Earth
  7. They will eventually overcome death itself in a Counterfeit of the Rapture
  8. The Church will thus inherit the Earth, and Rule over it from the Throne of Christ.

           http://so4j.com/new-apostolic-reformation-latter-rain

      A discerning Christian, who is rooted and grounded in the Word of God, should be able to not only sense a wrong spirit behind this false doctrine, but also know Scriptures that directly refute it. Beginning with number one, the question we need to ask is: What does it mean to restore and equip the church to be ruled by the five-fold ministries? Admittedly, the Bible does tell us that in the end times there will be a “falling away” (apostasy) from the truth. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4). Failure to make disciples according to the Great Commission of our Lord (Matthew 28:18-20) through the centuries is evidenced by the growth of modernism, worldliness, New Age beliefs and practices, Universalism, humanism, occultism, witchcraft, cults, unbelief, false prophets, and carnality interspersed within mainstream churches. These individuals (along with “wolves” and “swine”) are referred to as the “goats” and the “tares” that Jesus will separate from the “sheep” and the “wheat”. There is a day of separation coming; but, until that day we are to redeem the time, watch and pray, overcome (the world, the flesh, and the devil), hold fast our profession of faith, be the salt and the light, endure to the end, and watch for His coming.

      The Latter Rain, Manifest Sons of God, and Dominionists (Kingdom Now) people that we have encountered through the years initially take advantage of the fact that most Christians long for true revival; therefore, they use this as the “bait” to cleverly establish a point of agreement. We can all agree, to some extent or the other, that the modern church is a far cry from the New Testament pilgrim church. However, it is not up to God’s people to do this work of “restoration” which they define as “laying a new foundation,” (such as Latter Rain “prophet” Dr. Bill Hamon teaches) but it is Jesus Christ who is building His Church. His words are still true, alive, and in effect: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock [of Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God] I will build my church: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” Matthew 16:18. The Apostle Paul warns, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” 1 Corinthians 2:10, 11. [Emphasis added.]

      Once a person comes into agreement with the Five-Fold Ministries proponents that the Church is falling short in different areas, they subtly begin to introduce just how this “restoration” is going to take place through “equipping” the Church to rule the world prior to the return of Christ in order to set up His kingdom so He can return. They believe that this will be accomplished by the “Five-Fold Ministries” which is based on Scriptures taken out of context from Ephesians 4:11-13. Their spin on these three verses is lengthy, serving as another layer in their faulty foundation. To further help you understand the subtle, insidious perversion of these verses, allow me to quote from O. W. Price, who summed it up very well on his Web Site: “However, Ephesians 2:20-21 [‘Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone’] informs us that the church is, ‘built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.’ If the apostles and prophets were the foundation of the church, are we still building the foundation? Hebrews 6:1-3 encourages us to move on from the fundamental principles. We are supposed to grow. The role of the apostles and prophets were to proclaim God’s revelation, to teach the truth the church would need in order to grow and thrive. The apostles and prophets completed this mission.

      “How? By giving us the Word of God. The Word of God is the completed revelation of God. The Bible contains everything the Church needs to know in order to grow, thrive, and fulfill God’s mission and purpose. The Holy Spirit of God is our revelator/teacher. The cornerstone work of the apostle and prophets is complete. The ongoing work of God is manifested in the Holy Spirit speaking through the Word of God and teaching us God’s Will through his Holy Spirit filled servants.

      “Therefore, in the usual biblical sense of the term, there are no apostles today. Nor are there any prophets in the traditional Biblical sense (Foretellers of events relating to the kingdom of God and the coming messiah and His speedy triumphant Return), as they were part of the ‘foundation’ laid in the first-century church….Joel 2:28 may add some light on the use of the word prophet as it relates to the new testament Church. The Word “Prophet” comes from the Hebrew word “naba’”{naw-baw’} which means one who is under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Now let’s keep this in mind as we read Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:16-18. The question may remain, ‘Are there any prophets today?’ No, not in the sense of one who reveals new unknown truth from God regarding to the kingdom of God, the coming messiah and His triumphant Return. Why would we need such prophets since we already have the completed prophecy from God recorded in the Bible and manifested in Jesus Christ?”

      He went on to say, “If prophets and apostles were the ‘foundation’ of the early church, are we still building the ‘foundation’ today? The answer is an unequivocal No! Therefore, the concept of the five-fold ministry fails the test and is found to be in error. Now the question still remains as to whether or not I believe in prophecy as Paul refers to it. Do I believe God can give someone a message to deliver to someone else? The answer is absolutely Yes!

       “The teachers of the “five-fold ministry” are seeking to restore a foundation that has never been moved. They are actually laying a false foundation that will not support the building up of the body of Christ. This is one reason why Christendom has become so polluted with twisted messages of prosperity and self-centered ambitions rather than salvation and self-denial.” https://owprince.wordpress.com/five-fold-ministry/ [Note: GSM does not necessarily agree with or endorse cart blanc everything that the authors we quote write or believe, but we appreciate factual, scriptural information for the edification of the Body.]

      These self-appointed so-called “apostles” and “prophets” demand full allegiance and obedience from their followers at all times as they go about to establish “the kingdom of God” on the earth. Of course, this control defines the entire movement as a major cult.

      Concerning item number two “It must come to Perfection & Complete Visible UNITY” we read in Ephesians 5:24-27 that the church is subject unto Christ, that He “loved the church and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” He is the One who perfects His Church, and He is the Head of the Body—not the so-called “apostles” and “prophets” in the Five-fold ministry! It also needs be noted that Jesus is the Head of the Church, His Body, and not the King of the Church. He is the King of Israel, and the King of kings, and He will reign over the earth as King. But, concerning the Church, He is our Head, and there is no other. (See Ephesians 1:20-23.)

      The “unity” that the new “apostles” and “prophets” of the Five-Fold Ministry are determined to achieve is not the unity that Jesus prayed for in John 17. By contrast, the “unity” that these false apostles and prophets are working to achieve is a Nicolaitan hierarchy wherein everyone has checked out their brains and has come into agreement with everything and anything that the leadership believes, teaches or practices. Jesus hates Nicolaitanism! (See Revelation 2:6, 15.)

      Discernment Ministries International reports, “Hamon and others see the restored fivefold ministries as a divine hierarchy, with the apostle being at the top and the prophet either next to or directly beneath him or her (depending on whose book you read). Everybody else is beneath them. The restored apostles and prophets are to give divine direction to the Church. These heretics have set themselves up not only to be the judges of doctrine but also the formulators of new doctrines.

      Please understand that the stated goal of this movement is to demolish every denominational distinction and to enforce spiritual unity through the use of supernatural power. They foresee the day when every city will have one Church with many pastors, but each city will be led by a group of apostles and prophets, who will hear from God and give direction for the Church without walls.” https://discernmentministriesinternational.wordpress.com/tag/fivefold-ministry/

      We know from Scripture that eventually all the tides of destructive heresy will converge into one big, worldwide whirlpool of ecumenism. I asked Rayola how this is going to work since the Roman Catholic Pope, the “Protestant Pope” (Rick Warren), the Manifest Sons of God/Latter Rain/Third Wave/Kingdom Now/Replacement Theology/New Agers, et al. movements each think that they are going to be the controlling power. She said that they will find a common ground where they can all come into agreement and “get into bed with each other” and that they figure once that happens they can fight it out between themselves as to who is on top. All this is just a setup for the antichrist to step on the scene.

      Now that we have given a short outline of what the definition, purpose and goal of the Five-Fold Ministry and the “Unified Church” is, the remaining six points can be briefly touched on. Point number 3 – “Out of the purified church will come a Spiritual Elite Corps, a Corporate Christ who possess the Spirit without measure.” In other words, the elite will cheat death and become little gods. (Just like the Mormons.) “Within the Latter Rain logic that the Church is Christ’s Body and that during the Manifestation of the Sons era, believers will experience a corporate “spiritual Second Coming” in them, this radical version simply goes a step further and states that all believers are God.” (See http://www.banner.org.uk/res/lastdl2.html for an in-depth study of this cult.) Satan, the father of lies, just keeps repackaging and repeating the same lie he told Eve, “Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” Genesis 3:4b, 5. [Emphasis added.]

      Point number 4 – “They will Purge the earth of all Wickedness & Rebellion.” This they believe they will accomplish through “Joel’s Army” which is made up of all the “manifested sons” who are now divine, invincible, and immortal. The “purging” of the earth of anybody who does not agree with them will be accomplished as a second class of warriors in Joel’s army carry out their inquisition in the “spirit of Phinehas”. Jesus warned both Jews and Christians, “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service” John 16:2. All of these fanatic, far-out, false fantasies supposedly have been “revealed” to these wolves in sheep’s clothing through “revelations.” The truth is, Satan is more than able to provide bizarre revelations through dreams, visions, false prophets, altered states of consciousness, New Age meditation techniques, vain imaginations, extreme periods of long fasts (called “holy anorexia”), and unbalanced emotional hype. It cannot be emphasized enough that Christians must grow in the knowledge and love of the truth, God and the Bible. Revelation 19:11-21 makes it clear that it is Jesus, the KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS who shall come with his armies to destroy His enemies and set up His kingdom on the earth in fulfillment of many Old and New Testament prophecies too numerous to mention in this article.

      Point number 5 – “They will Judge the Apostate Church.” On the contrary, my Bible makes it abundantly clear that Jesus is the Judge. “And when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left” Matthew 25:31-33. In John 5:22 Jesus said, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” The promise in Revelation 5:10, “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” means with Him, not instead of Him.

      As if all this arrogant lunacy wasn’t enough, point number 6 declares, “They will Redeem Creation, and Restore the Earth.” Where oh where does it say that in the Bible? Is this the commission for Christ’s Church? Yet, how many Christians are falling headlong into the myth of global warming, and the environmentalists’ agenda to “save the world” while blaming and destroying human life? The Apostle Paul describes such foolishness in Romans 1:21, 22, 25, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.” Furthermore, it is God, not man who will create a “new heaven and a new earth!” (See Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:1.)

      As for points number 9 and 10, which state, “They will eventually overcome death itself in a Counterfeit of the Rapture” and “The Church will thus inherit the Earth, and Rule over it from the Throne of Christ,” are nothing more than an unbiblical, bizarre and blasphemous tale. The folly of these headlines speaks for itself. Jesus said that the “meek shall inherit the earth” not an angry, aggressive, militant, bloody, sword-wielding, unloving church that on all points lacks the fruit of the Spirit. No mere flesh-and-blood, fallen human being, regardless of how fanatical or zealous he or she is may be, will ever vanquish death. Only our God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the “resurrection and the life” can destroy death. Let this beautiful promise from Revelation 21:4, 5 sink deep down into your heart, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.”

      Is this your hope?

Coming next month: A true account of how certain members of the Manifest Sons of God cult attempted to kill me and make it look like an accident.