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Chrislam Cult


“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” 2 Thessalonians 2:3

In these Last Days, the Devil is very openly active in the affairs of men. We read in 2 Thessalonians that one of the signs that will immediately the chrislamprecede the Rapture of the Church will be the great “falling away” from the faith once delivered to the saints of God. One sign of this end time  prophecy is the demonic activity of Chrislam, the evil mutant hybrid of Christianity and Islam that is being pushed so hard here in America by false teachers like Rick Warren. 

Warren, pastor of  one of America’s most influential Religious leaders, has embarked on an effort to heal divisions between evangelical Christians and Muslims by partnering with Southern California mosques and proposing a set of theological principles that includes acknowledging that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. The effort, informally dubbed King’s Way, caps years of outreach between Warren and Muslims. Warren has broken Ramadan fasts at a Mission Viejo mosque, met Muslim leaders abroad and addressed 8,000 Muslims at a national convention in Washington D.C.

Christianity and Islam are the world’s two largest religions. With  2.8 billion Christians and 1.6 billion Muslims the world-round, it’s not surprising  that these two faith systems impact, to a profound extent, social and political events occurring in the world. But what about “Chrislam,” the controversial belief system that combines both traditions to form its own fascinating religious brand?

On the surface, the notion that the two faiths would be able to mesh successfully seems next-to-impossible. After all, Christianity relies upon the fact that Jesus Christ is the only way one can attain eternal salvation. To the contrary, Muslims don’t believe that Christ was God’s son, nor do they accept the notion that he died on a cross to save humanity’s sins.

Understanding Chrislam hinges upon examining its leader’s motivations for creating and sustaining the merging the two faiths.  Shamsuddin Saka, a religious leader in Nigeria, is seeking to bridge the religious divide and to bring together Muslims and Christians like never before.  Saka, who was born a Muslim but is now a Christian at heart, claims that he felt called by God to launch his Chrislam ministry following a pilgrimage to Mecca, a commanded voyage that is one of Islam’s Five Pillar. The faith leader takes the unique approach of preaching about the common roots that peoples of both faiths share (i.e. that they are both children of Abraham, both promote peace, etc.).

He believes that God told him to “make peace between Christian and Muslim,” thus he has sought to embark on that very mission. While Saka experienced this revelation, the seeds for his journey were likely set at an early age, as he was reportedly influenced by both faith systems when he was a young boy. His father, a herbalist, saw Christians and Muslims, alike, for healing, so both traditions were common fixtures in his early existence. While Saka now sees himself as a believer in Jesus Christ, he told The Christian Science Monitor that it doesn’t “mean Islam is bad.  Saka ia referred to by his followers as “His Royal Holiness”; “The Messenger”; and “Ifeoluwa” – the Will of God.

While the concept of a merged faith system is appealing to some, like Saka, who seek peace, there are a those, particularly in the evangelical realm, who reject Chrislam, likening it to the Spirit of AntiChrist.  There is no atonement in Islam, no forgiveness, no savior, and no assurance of eternal life.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of hope; Islam is a religion of hopelessness.”  

Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation.  He is the one true God and there is no other. The Holy Scriptures, not the Quran, are the inspired and inerrant Words of God.  Jesus  saith unto him “I AM the Way, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.  No man cometh unto the Father but by me”

 

 

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End -time Antichrists


NOVEMBER 26, 2013

So who exactly IS the mainstream of the charismatic movement?

The fall out from the StrangeFire conference shows a general truth about critiquing the craziness of the charismatic movement. It seems that whenever a pastor points out the flagrant error and false worship associated with the charismatic movement,  charismatics respond by saying that we always grab the “low hanging fruit” on the fringe of the movement and try to pass it off as some sort of accurate representation of the movement as a whole. We’re told that the level-headed, reformed charismatic folks are the obvious mainstream representatives of charismatics, and the entranced glossolalaholics and Fletch-clone healers are the outlandish fringe. Thus, since most charismatics are even-keeled, level headed, and have books in our book store, we should leave the charismatic craziness alone–after all, it is so isolated.

fletch_healing

This argument has always made me puzzled since it’s so horribly obvious to me that the theologically absurd charismatic church of 20,000 obviously has far more influence in the movement and “on the street” than the theologically cautious charismatic church of 2,000 (and that’s being generous since the theologically absurd churches aren’t just bigger, but far more numerous).

So, I thought to myself, how can I give some sort of objective measure of influence? How can I suggest, in any objective way, who is mainstream and who is fringe? Then I had an idea. It’s not a great idea, but an idea none the less. I’m going to look at online influence in  the form of Twitter reach (as measured by followers) as a very rough indicator of the amount of influence and reach certain people have on the web.

Before I get to the raw numbers, I’d like to offer a few disclaimers:

1.  This does not a measure, in any way, of the truth claims of any person/organization or the biblical conformity of their doctrine.  When it comes to biblical conformity, I think that both sides fall short of a sufficiently biblical position.  The fact that there’s more folks listening to the people on one list or the other doesn’t have anything to do with who’s closer to the truth.

2. This is only an attempt to show the scope of various people’s influence.  I know I’ve already said this, but it’s so important that I thought it was worth mentioning twice.

3.  I know that this research is flawed, but not fatally flawed.  Measuring Twitter followers is not a comprehensive measure of reach or influence at all, and that’s the flaw here.  Numbers regarding book sales, radio listeners, website traffic, sermon downloads, Facebook likes & traffic, church attendance, etc. would all have to be incorporated into a proper and reliable study of the reach and influence of anyone.  I mean, Billy Graham only has around 34,000 followers on Twitter and The Gaithers have only has around 22,000 followers, but I know that there’s a whole lot more people than that who follow both and yet have never heard of Joel Osteen or Hillsong United.  Still, this is a down & dirty way of showing, via a globalform of social media, just how many people (who still pay full price at Denny’s) are paying attention to the folks on either list.

4.  The lists are composed of only the people I know of or could find out about in a few dozen hours of research, so the lists are far from comprehensive.  People are missed in both categories, though the second category is missing far more than the first.  It’s far from perfect.

5.  I originally posted this on my personal blog and have edited it since then.  I have moved a few names, have added new ones, and have removed some others.  The changes come after doing further research on my part, as well as some helpful comments I’ve received from my readers.  Again, it’s far from perfect.

6.  I have purposefully stacked the deck wildly in favor of the “theologically cautious” crowd.

– In the first list, I’ve included some people who are not know as charismatics at all, but have a trace of charismatic leaning (i.e. Ed Stetzer & Craig Groeschel).  In doing so, I’ve granted the “theologically cautious” crowd list some ringers (i.e. Chris Tomlin) in an effort to toss an olive branch to the brothers in the Lord who make up the first category. I want to preempt any complaints of unfairness from the “open but cautious” crowd if I can, but  I still predict they will come by the busload.

– In the second list, I’ve purposefully only included people whose errors I could document where I thought it was necessary.  There were many international names that came up but were not added to the list simply because I lacked the ability to research in their language (and most of their stuff isn’t in English).  I did my best to make no assumptions, and tried to document the reasons for my choices.

7.  I have even included music pastors, but not general “worship” artists.  The reason I included music pastors was because of reasons two and six, and also because the larger music pastors are often far more popular than the pastors of their churches.  The popular music pastors are frequently a massive drawing card to their churches and though they are not necessarily the ones peddling the bad teaching, they’re the sirens that lure the people into the rocky coast of bad teaching.  Excellent musicians playing skillfully isn’t bad in and of itself, but a “theologically absurd” charismatic church without a cool worship band (i.e. a band composed of hair models or hipsters or cast extras from Duck Dynasty,with lighting akin to a Britney Spears show, and lyrics by Ann Voskamp) is like the movie Avatar without the special effects: remove the packaging and it’s not quitethe same.

So, with all that being said, let’s look at the theologically cautious vs. theologically absurd crowd and see who the folks on the streets are following, shall we? (be warned: this is a totallink fest that will have you reading for a long time…)

A. The Theologically Cautious Crowd:

I’m going to list (as best I can) all the “remotely respectable” charismatics with over 100k followers (using that number to keep the list reflective of those with widespread influence), and the numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand (and accurate as of November 13, 2013):

1. Rick Warren – 1.223 million followers (He’s certainly not known for charismatic leanings, but he’s well know for his S.H.A.P.E. paradigm, which allows for the existence and activity ofall spiritual gifts, including the miraculous and apostleship.  In other words, he’s no cessationist.)

2. Chris Tomlin – 574k followers (Chris is a worship pastor as Lou Giglio’s Passion City Church)

3. John Piper – 558k (Check out this or this or this.)

4. Mark Driscoll – 435k (Check out this or this, and definitely this and this – those last two is new to me and has Mark Driscoll saying a bunch of interesting stuff…)

5. Beth Moore – 415k  (If you haven’t seen this listening prayer debacle, you need to.  Cessationists don’t read the Bible and then ask God to “speak” to them outside of scripture.)

6. Louie Giglio – 407k (Charismatic issues aren’t a main course in his ministry at all, but he has said some interesting things related to charismatic issues like this.  Also, he has spoken at the 2012 Hillsong conference where he shared a pulpit with Joyce Meyer and  Joseph Prince, both of whom are definitely not on “theologically cautious” list, though sharing a stage does not mean sharing theology.  Finally, it’s worth listening closely to his message at Passion 2013where he claims to hear the voice of God, among other things… He’s no Benny Hinn, but he’s definitely not a cessationist.)

7. Matt Chandler – 245k (Pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas.  This andthis should be enough to let you know he’s not a cessationist.)

8. David Platt – 226k (I wish all Charismatics were as level-headed and honest as Platt.  I disagree with him, but if you read his 63 page take on the Holy Spirit and his gifts, I’m sure you’ll agree that he’s in a way different league than people in the theologically absurd list below.)

9.  Marcos Vidal – 220k – (Pastor of Iglesia Evangelica Salem in Madrid, Spain, but this is not what he’s known for.  He’s known for being a Spanish Christian music star.  Still, he appears to be the only fairly level-headed charismatic with over 100k followers that I could find outside of North America.)

10. Desiring God – 213k

11. Craig Groeschel -182k (He’s admittedly really tame, but he’s a continuationist who invites some rather questionable charismatics to share his pulpit.  Here’s a transcript of a sermon he preached on the Holy Spirit.  All that to say that he’s no cessationist.)

12. Bill Hybels – 174k  (He’s not an aggressive charismatic by any stripe, but has handed out a handbook for understanding the issue in depth, with is basically a point/counterpoint written by Grant Osborne and Scott McKnight, with Willow Creek clearly leaning toward the position of McKnight.  Willow Creek also has some stuff on prophecy here (pages 6-9) and also instructions on lectio divina and contemplative prayer [pages 18 onward]).

13. Scott Williams – 147k (Craig Groeschel’s worship pastor)

14.  Passion Conference – 120k  (See the video linked on #5 – Beth Moore.)

15. Priscilla Shirer – 117k  (As far as I know, she’s a relatively tame continuationist.  She’s written a book on hearing the voice of God, and the F.A.Q. on her website talks about listening/contemplative prayer as well as divine communication using signs and wonders; she’s no cessationist.)

16. Ed Stetzer – 106k (Ed Stetzer has told me personally that he’s not a cessationist nor a charismatic, which basically leaves some form of light weight continuationism.  He’s also told me that he’ll write something about his position on charismatic issues in the future, so I’ll wait for that to discover his exact position.)

 

18. Perry Noble – 103k (Noble isn’t exactly known for having a tongues speaking church, but they definitely believe in it.)

If I’ve missed any  theological cautious charismatics with over 100k followers, please drop the names in the comment feed.

Notice how that list does not include some of the people with any modicum of continuationist sympathies that many think would be more influential: James McDonald(86k), Tim Keller (81k), Ann Voskamp (78k), Josh Harris (78k), Greg Laurie (75k), Christy Nockels (66k), Mars Hill Church (60k), JD Grear (38k), CJ Mahaney (38k), Steve Mays(37k), Jud Wilhite (33k), the Acts 29 network (31k), Leonard Sweet (30k), Justin Taylor(27k), Miles McPherson (26k), Scot McKnight (23k), N.T. Wright (21k), Frank Viola (20k),Adrian Warnock (16k), J.I. Packer (14k), James Robison (13k), Bob Coy (12k), Jim Cymbala(12k), Miroslav Volf (11k), Michael Youssef (10k),  D.A. Carson (9k), Francis Chan (8k),Bruxy Cavey (8k), Brian Brodersen (5k), Tope Koleoso (5k), Skip Heitzig (5k), Kevin Meyers(5k), Sam Storms (3k).

One thing worth noticing:

The whole “theologically cautious” crowd is essentially made up of white pastors from North America, with few exceptions.

Another thing worth noticing:

Craig Keener, Vern Poythress, Gordon Fee and Wayne Grudem aren’t on Twitter at all.  Good thing they’re the academic defenders of the movement; I’m sure everyone in Africa or South America is familiar with their theological defenses.

So, if we total all the “theologically cautious” charismatics with 100k+ followers we get5.438 million followers.

For the record, that number is 2.092 million followers when it’s composed of only the people I’ve ever heard to be cited as charismatic defenders (John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Beth Moore, Matt Chandler, David Platt, Desiring God, Priscilla Shirer.)

Let’s be honest. Rick Warren has 1.2 million followers but he really doesn’t have time to talk about Charismatic issues. He’s too busy “keeping it real”…

Finally, as a point of methodological honesty, it’s worth noting that plenty of John Piper’s followers, as well as those of Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler and David Platt, don’t necessarily hold to their positions on Spiritual gifts.  There are plenty of people who find plenty of great stuff coming from them and simply overlook some of their failings.  They all preach rightly about Christ and the gospel, and they’re all brothers in the Lord from whom we can learn.

B. The Theologically Absurd Crowd:

I’m going to list (as best I can) all the “out to lunch” charismatics (namely prosperity hacks, false prophets and pastors for whom the term “theology” seems to mean “the study of definite articles”) with the same numerical standards as before:

1.  The Pope – 3.243 million followers (Considering that 100+ million of all Charismatics are Catholic, the Pope is an unquestionable false prophet/false teacher, both Benedict XVI andJohn Paul II have officially endorsed the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, the current pope hasofficially endorsed the Catholic Charismatic Revival and he is already seen as a defender of it, I include him.  To learn more about the Catholic Charismatic movement, check out this [best official resource], and this, and this, and this and this).

2. Joyce Meyer – 2.465 M  (If you’re wondering why she’s on this list, I’m more interested in how you found this blog!)

3.  Joel Osteen – 2.198 M (Do I really need to justify his placement here?)

4.  Chris Oyakhilome – 1.308 M (“Pastor” of Christ Embassy International in Lagos, Nigeria and otherwise known as “the Benny Hinn of Africa”…his healing events sometimes end in death and look just like what Jesus did!  The ministry of Christ Oyakhilome has even had censorship trouble and faced media censorship due to it’s fraudulent claims regarding healing…)

5.  TD Jakes – 1.274 M (He’s a prosperity preacher who preaches total nonsense.  Is it any surprise that his major defenders were reformed charismatics?  Don’t some of those guys claim to have the gift of discernment, let alone earned doctorates?  That whole gong show calls for a meme.)

6.  Marcos Witt – 714k (previous Spanish ministries pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, moved on in 2012).

7.  Hillsong United – 687k  (The worship network based out of Hillsong Church in Australia)

8.  Silas Malafaia – 675k (Brazil’s version of Pat Robertson…except around 1,000x as popular… He makes jaw-dropping political statements that make Pat Robertson look like an example of self control.  He’s the founder of the denomination Assemblies of God: Victory in Christ and notorious prosperity preacher).

9.  Carlos “Cash” Luna – 441k (Guatemala’s version of Creflo Dollar; here’s a little video that shows just how insanely large this church is.  He’s a prosperity preacher in poverty-stricken Guatemala and has a private jet (Sabreliner 60) that is old but not cheap. Remember, that’s in a nation where 50% of the people who are employed only live off around $700 a year.)

10.  Hillsong Church – 423k (pastored by Brian Houston, a noted prosperity preacher.  Sadly, the church was started by Brian’s father Frank Houston, who late in life admitted to being a pedophile before he founded Hillsong church.  There’s a troubling blog, written by someone who worked at the church under the reign of Frank Houston, here.)

11.  Kari Jobe – 412K (music pastor at Gateway Church, which I discuss here.  She’s attendedOral Roberts University, which was started by Oral Roberts; the father of the prosperity gospel, as well as CFNI, which is an apostolic school teaching the 5-fold ministry that was started by a Pentecostal faith healer who was associated with the worst of the movement.  I don’t know a ton about Kari Jobe, but I know that she didn’t exactly get taught biblical theology at either ORU or CFNI, and Robert Morris is a prosperity preacher.  I’ll cross my fingers and hope for the best.)

12.  Darlene Zschech – 383k (Worship leader at Hillsong)

13. Marco Barrientos – 382k (prosperity pastor of Centro Internacional Aliento.  This articleshould give you an understanding of what kind of doctrine gets peddled there, and how badly Barrientos mishandles the scripture.)

14.  Danilo Montero – 367k (Current Spanish ministries pastor at Lakewood)

15.  Jesus Culture – 328k (Worship band at Bethel church in Redding, California.)

16.  Brian Houston – 308k (Pastor of Hillsong Church)

17.  Creflo Dollar – 298k (Quite honestly, his name actually does say it all…but this and thisand this and this give you a shaving off the tip of the iceberg.)

18.  Enlace TV – 297k (The Spanish Chanel of the Trinity Broadcasting Network.  It’s slightly more popular than TBN North America…by over 1,000%…)

19. Judah Smith – 271k (I include Smith because of the explicit doctrine of the church he pastors, and because of the ministry relationships he publicly pursues.  Judah Smith hosts a conference at his own church called “Prosperity with a Purpose” that  had Oral Roberts as a speaker in 2009, and in 2010 had Brian Houston, the pastor of Hillsong church who wrote “You Need More Money“.  Beyond that, Judah Smith has been a speaker at Hillsongs conferences since 2008, Jentezen Franklin’s “Forward” youth conference since 2009,  C3 church which is a prosperity-gospel church in Australia pastored by Phil and Chris Pringle [I think that video contains almost everything that is wrong with the “theologically absurd” crowd], and  Ray McAuley’s prosperity gospel church in South Africa.

20. Matthew Barnett – 269k  (pastor of the Dream Center in Los Angeles.  Their doctrinal statement is pretty telling…)

21. Benny Hinn – 256k  (I believe everyone knows that Benny Hinn is doctrinally at the level of Papa Smurf, but did you know that these comments were directed at John MacArthur?  Who’s being divisive again?  Oh, and in case you missed it, he used to be “friends” with Paula White…with the kind of friendship that Benny called “dating” and involved sneaking off to a hotel in Rome together and results in Benny Hinn’s wife divorcing him…but Benny said it was because he was busy and she was on drugs.  Oh wait.  Benny never repented for anything, and now his wife and him are back together…with the ceremony performed by Jack Hayford and Reinhard Bonnke?!?  It’s all good!  Nothing to see here folks!  In unrelated news, as a Canadian I take no responsibility for Benny Hinn, my fellow Canadian.)

22. Victoria Osteen – 247k  (Wife of Joel Osteen.)

23. Paula White – 243k  (Prosperity preacherpastor of New Destiny Christian Center, and “ex-friend” of Benny Hinn…Just watch this or this or this and try to not smash something.)

24. Hillsong Live – 200k

25.  Edir Macedo – 196k (Brazilian prosperity preacher worth $1.1 Billion dollars who is no stranger to controversy)

26. Steven Furtick – 185k (Steven Furtick is SBC, but he speaks with prosperity preacher as much as Judah Smith…which is all the time.  This one video is shows Steven Furtick absolutely fawning over a prosperity preacher.  Beyond that, he has invited Hillsong’s word faith/prosperity gospel prophetess Christine Caine to that same conference.  He has also spoken regularly at Hillsong and C3 church.  He might not be a prosperity preacher, sure…but he appears to lack such basic biblical discernment that one must wonder if he’s theologically lost his marbles.)

27.  Deitrick Haddon – 183k (From the prosperity-gospel gong-show: the “Real” Pastors of LA)

28.  Joseph Prince – 182k (Check this out, and this, and this, and this.  Any questions?)

29.  Israel Houghton – 179k (He’s a worship leader at Lakewood in Houston.)

30. Hillsongs Spanish – 178k

31. Brooke Fraser – 176k (She’s a worship leader at Hillsong)

32.  Bishop Noel Jones – 169k (Also from the prosperity-gospel gong-show: the “Real” Pastors of LA)

33. Christine Caine – 153k  (See comments under Steven Furtick…)

34.  Joel Timothy Houston – 153k (Son of Hillsong pastor Brian Houston, and co-pastor of Hillsong NYC).

35.  Estevam Hernandes – 152k (Brazilian prosperity preacher who started the “March for Jesus” craze and pastors the Igreja Apostólica Renascer em Cristo, which apparently has a network of 500 churches with around 2 million members. He got arrested in 2007 when he tried to illegally sneak $56,467 into the U.S., partly by shoving $9,000 in his Bible…and he served 5 months in a U.S. prison)

36.  Claudio Freidzon – 151k (Faith healer and pastor of Church King of Kings, a church of 20,000+ in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Here’s a short bio from when he’s spoken at Bethel Church in Redding, CA.  That also gives you a hint for who his ministry friends are…)

37.  Kim Walker-Smith – 149k (From Jesus Culture, the worship band at Bethel Church in Redding.)

38.  Mike Murdock – 149k (Mike Murdock was a con man for Jim Baker, but has now moved on to Benny Hinn and Creflo Dollar.  He’s such a prosperity-gospel snake that even Fred Phelps is embarrassed of his conduct.  I haven’t documented anything about him because the web is full of stuff on this clown and I cannot stomach reading about him.  Okay, here’s one link, and here’s one more.)

39.  Sidney Mohede – 149k (worship pastor at Jakarta Praise Community Church)

40. Jentezen Franklin – 142k (His church has a school of discipleship that teaches classes on generational curses, offensive prayer and positive confession [pg. 10-11 of the pdf], Jentzen Franklin has written a new book called “The Spirit of Python”, which is based on a sermon of the same namehere is the first chapter of the book.  He speaks at conferences alongside rather notorious prosperity preachers and I’ve written about a rather damning associationhere.)

41. John Bevere – 138k  (Here is Chris Rosborough from Fighting for the Faith taking apart a prosperity gospel message John Bevere preached.  He’s known for other nutty stuff like his book/sermon “Bait of Satan” and here’s him teaching on prophesy.)

42.  John P. Kee – 136k (Gospel singer who pastors New Life City of Praise in Charlotte, NC.  Their church has something like a statement of core beliefs, except that it only talks about money.  You do the math.  Not only that, but John P. Kee has such a lack of discernment that Mick Bickle has publicly called him out…you read that right.  Mike Bickle.  Read this to find out just how undiscerning you need to be to have your discernment publicly challenged by someone in the New Apostolic Reformation…)

43.  Jaeson Ma – 133k (Asian New Apostolic Reformation star who was mentored under no less a shining example than M.C. Hammer…seriously)

44.  Redeemed Christian Church of God – 129k – (Church of Enoch Adeboye)

45. Steve Munsey – 114k  (Watch this. ‘Nuff said.)

46. Hillsong London – 112k

47.  John Hagee – 112k  (Watch this and this and this.  ‘Nuff said.)

48. Reinhard Bonnke – 106k (He used to run CFaN, but now he’s retired.  He’s still around a lot, and when he was in active ministry, he apparently was the world’s most successful faith healer and evangelist…based on counting decision cards?  He claims there that he averages 2 million converts a month?  Yup.  I’ll believe that.  He peddles miracle promises to the poor and the ill, he travels almost exclusively in prosperity gospel circles [though he apparently only preaches the “health” part of “health and wealth”], and although he claims to have raised hundreds from the dead, when sixteen people actually died at one his his crusades, he was powerless to do anything [like Paul in Acts 20:7-10…no wait…].  He’s not exactly respectedby the Association of Protestant Churches and Missions in Germany.  More than that, he was one of the “pastors” who officiated Benny Hinn’s remarriage to his wife; you know the one who divorced him for his affair with Paula White?  His message there is rather interesting, given the context.)

49.  Enoch Adeboye – 104k (“pastor” of Redeemed Christian Church of God in Lagos, Nigeria)

50.  Marcelo Rossi – 103k (Brazilian Catholic Charismatic)

51.  Bill Johnson – 103k (Bill Johnson says, without any confusion, that God never brings sickness and it’s always his will to physically heal believers, as well as Jesus died for the physical healing of all believers and to “save” believers from poverty.  He’s a prosperity preacher who speaks about it here and here and here.)

52.  Kenneth Copeland – 100k (This one should need no explanation, but it’s possible that one person somewhere is unaware of just how nutty he is.  Check out this, or this, or this, orthis, or this, or listen to this famous clip that his wife has said.  Also, here’s Copeland exporting theological cancer in Africa via the church of “Bishop” David o. Oyedepo. Any Christian who claims to have the “gift of discernment” and doesn’t see Kenneth Copeland as a clear and obvious false teacher reveals that have a knowledge of biblical theology around what one would learn in a pop-up bible.)

Pop-Up

I may be mistaken, but I don’t believe that’s exactly what Noah’s ark looked like…

53.  Lisa Bevere – 100k  (Wife and ministry partner of John Bevere.)

You’ll also see that the previous list is very restrained regarding who’s included among the “theologically absurd” charismatics: I’ve only basically included the ones that I’m aware of, and a few in South America that I’ve learned about while writing this.  If I had around 600 hours to do research, that list would be a lot larger.

Notice how the list doesn’t include some of the lesser lights (who still have over 50k followers) like Sam Adeyemi (99k), Otoniel Font (96k), Bishop Charles Blake (94k), Bishop Paul Morton (92k), Kong Hee (92k), Bishop IV Hilliard (92k), Carlos Ortiz (91k), Bobbi Houston (89k), Lakewood Church (84k),  Taffi Dollar (84k), Carl Lentz (82k), PlanetShakers(80k),  R.R. Soares (75k), Jesse Duplantis (73k), Rudy Garcia (68k), Tim Hughes (67k), Rod Parsley (66k), Chris Quilala (64k), Misty Edwards (55k), Cindy Jacobs (54k), Kimberly Jones(54k), Bishop Eddie Long (54k), Robert Morris (53k), Tommy Tenney (53k), Benny Perez(53k),or Bishop Dale Bronner (51k).

Of honorable mention here are a few people whose influence is clearly not indicated by their twitter presence:

1.  César Castellanos – 49k and pastor of one of the largest churches in South America: Misión Carismática Internacional, which is a church in Bogota, Columbia.  It has over a quarter million members…you read that right…

2.  Valdemiro Santiago – 30k and pastor of what is likely the largest church in South America: The World Church of the Power of God, which is a church in Sao Paulo, Brazil that has well over a million members that runs a network of 4,000+ churches and has recently completed a building that seats 150,000.

There are a whole lot more people who deserve honorable mention, but I am cutting things short because I want to actually put this post online sometime today…

I also didn’t even include “small fries” with less than 50k followers like IHOP (47k) or Mike Bickle (39k) or Lou Engle (34k) or  Banning Liebscher (33k) or even relative “nobodies” likeSteve Murrell (19k followers and pastors the largest church in the Philippines with over 60,000+ attenders) or TL Osborne (17k followers and is a globally-traveled faith healer who, well, really looks like a vampire) or At Boshoff (15k followers and pastors a multi-site church of 48,000 in South Africa) or Todd Bentley (12k followers, even after he basically yelled “I am a false teacher!” for several years straight).

I also didn’t include the “even smaller fries” that you’ve never heard of like Chuck Pierce(10k) Chuck is a professional false teacher (explore this) and was recently making sheep stewin my old stomping grounds:

Nor did I include other “even smaller fries” that you’ve never heard of like Sunday Adelaja(10k)…even though he’s more widely followed than D.A. Carson and pastors one of the largest charismatic churches in Europe, let alone the Ukraine; The Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations.  If you’re wondering exactly where he’s at theologically, watch this video and explore the rest of their church website.  That skoubalon is being peddled in the Ukraine under the guise of “Christianity”.  Here’s a picture of a typical church service there:

Sunday Adelaja Church

These guys would have no influence in the Ukraine, being a church of only 25,000+ and having planted 700+ churches, right?

If I included all the “small fries” like Phil Pringle (38k followers and he’s behind the global C3 church movement, started by the gigantic C3 Church in Australia and branching out into over 300 churches worldwide), or “relatively unheard of crowd” (at least according to Twitter) like Dr Michael Brown (6k followers and an outspoken critic of the Strange Fire conference) or Francis Frangipane (5k followers and referred to by some as a great intellectual defender of the charismatic movement), the list would be thousands long.

So, if we total all the “theologically absurd” charismatics with 100k+ followers we get 21.825 million followers.

For the record, that number is 15.816 million followers when it’s minus the musicians and the two Catholics (and I do that because all the pastors on the list are known for their charismatic activities and doctrine; it’s a main part of who they are and what they’re known for.)

Being irrationally generous, there are 4.013x more people influenced by absurd charismatics than cautious ( 21.825 /5.438= 4.013).

At ridiculously generous, there are 7.560x more people influenced by absurd charismatics than cautious (15.816 / 2.092 = 7.560).

– Again, as a point of methodologically honest, not everyone who follows those in the “theologically absurd” crowd share their beliefs on spiritual gifts…but I’d dare suggest that far less of the people who follow Piper follow Joyce Meyer.  Also, there’s a number of people who follow online personalities like Joyce Meyer because they stalk or troll her Twitter account, but that number hardly makes up a significant percentage of his followers (if everyone who follows John Piper also stalks or trolls Joyce Meyer, that would only make up about 23% of her followers…).

On the basis of the numbers, I’d suggest, that the “level headed” continuationists are theobvious fringe.  They are quite outnumbered by the mainstream theological circus acts where church services end with the church looking like there was a chemical weapon attack:

 Brownsville

Before I close off, I have 2 more things I’d like to point out:

1. I didn’t include several “Christian” celebrities who are openly associated with the charismatic movement and give wide recognition and credibility to the questionable, if not horrible, pastors that they follow.

But, if I would have included a few celebrities from just one church, it would have sent the second list way over the top.  If I had included some of the people that attended HillsongNYC, I would have had to include their pastor Carl Lentz(82k), the rapper JaRule (116k – recently made a profession of faith at Hillsong NYC and is already starring in a “Christian” film), NY Knicks center Tyson Chandler (608k), High School Musical start Vanessa Hudgens (2.839M), wardrobe stylist June Ambrose (562k),  and some kid named Justin Bieber (47.283 M) who apparently goes there too (poor old Judah Smith is now replaced). Remember, HillsongNYC is a plant from an overt prosperity gospel church, and with only 6 people that one church has a Twitter influence of 51.49 million people.  If I would have included them it would have stacked the deck a little, right?  Well, I didn’t include them since nobody ever listens to  celebrities nor is influenced by them in any way, right?

And for those who complain, it can get a whole lot worse.  I could easily include a few celebrities who are openly charismatic and let the numbers rise more and moreand more and more and more and more and more and more…but I’m a nice guy and didn’t do that.

Oh, and here’s something to consider:

Being wildly generous and including HillsongNYC (see below) and the Catholics (51.49 + .103 + 3.243 + 15.816 = 70.652) there are 33.772x more people influenced by absurd charismatics than cautious (70.652/2.092 = 33.772).

Now if 30, 60, or 100x the people are influenced by the absurd side of the charismatic spectrum, what does the general populace see as the mainstream representation of the charismatic movement, or even Christianity in general?

2.  I didn’t include a third list with cessationists on it since…well…there aren’t any cessationists with more than 100k twitter followers.

John MacArthur has 83k, and the rest fall below him: Albert Mohler (71k), Grace To You (54k), Ligonier Ministries (45k), Kevin DeYoung (36k), Ligon Duncan(24k),  Burk Parsons (20K),  RC Sproul (16k), Thabiti Anyabwile (16k), Phil Johnson (14k), James White (10k), Steve Lawson (8k), Rick Holland (5k), Frank Turk and Dan Phillips (3k), and Conrad Mbewe (2k).

Even if we comically inflate the numbers by including those who are “technically cessationists” due to atheism, like Bill Maher (2.392 M) or Richard Dawkins (857k) or Stephen Hawking (207k), the cessationists aren’t exactly taking over.

So when people cry “foul” when people like Creflo Dollar or Benny Hinn are used as an example of something reflective of the charismatic norm, simply respond and say “Well, they’re the norm because they’re what a majority of the world sees when the world looks at Christianity.  Your little church has no influence and your open-but-cautious books aren’t being sold at Costco.  Last time I went to Costco, I saw them selling books by Joyce Meyer, Todd Burpo and Joel Osteen, but nothing by John Piper or Mark Driscoll or D.A. Carson.”  (Change the relevant names as needs be…)

I think the real problem lies in the fact that the level-headed continuationists know that they’re on the outer fringe and hate it, but they can’t really critique their movement because of one of two reasons:

a. The last time they tried to reason from the scripture with an absurd charismatic, the person simply didn’t really care what the Bible said and responded with something along the lines of “The unloving tone of your voice displeases me…”

b.  When they pull out the sword of scripture and start hacking away at the frauds in their movement, there’s no way to trump the “God told me so” card without an consistent hermeneutic applied to scripture, but an ounce of consistency will result in the sword of scripture being turned against them. In the end there will be no survivors.

 Neither side has theology that is able or willing to stand up to serious biblical evaluation, so there’s a general ceasefire until a major leader has a public moral failure, and even then the ceasefire is lifted to talk about sin in the most general terms possible…at least until the person is (almost inevitably) restored to ministry.

This one has been eye-opening enough for me regarding  just how insane the charismatic mainstream gets in South America.

I hope this work has helped you understand the sheer scope of this issue as much as it has helped me.

Lyndon Unger

Next pope must be smart, creative, politically adept


Next pope must be smart, creative, politically adept.

I invite you to click on this most informative article relating to the resignation and the speculation about who will ascend to the throne of the Catholic Church:  http://lynleahz.com.pope_00001-4_3_rx512_c680x510

Preachers for Profit


Millions of folk around the world satisfy their need for spiritual enlightenment by tuning in to their favorite television preacher.  Although there are a few men of God who fervently seek to proclaim the undiluted Gospel of Jesus Christ over the airways, more than likely, one will have their ears tickled by a self serving entertainer with a watered down social gospel of “I feel good and you should too! ” In reading a recent posting by Darrell Creswell, (http://darrellcreswell.wordpress.com)  I was astonished at the amount of wealth that some of these purveyors of spirituality have accumulated over the years from their unsuspecting viewers.  Perhaps the most disturbing fact for me is that many, many many of these blinded followers are Senior Saints who are oblivious to the underlying purpose of these  so-called Gospel ministries.  A couple of dollars from the millions of geriatric viewers soon mounts up to some might fancy steaks on the dinner plate.  All the while these pension-pinchin Senior Saints are indulging in soup, cereal and sandwiches.  Well, the old proverb that a picture sends a thousand words is most certainly true; so lets take a look at the lifestyle of some of the more prominent ‘Gospel” entertainers.copeland-hinn-home (1)joyce-meyer-jesse-duplantis

Now let us take a look at where Jesus laid down his hear to rest:   Quite a contrast to the multi-million dollar homes of these charlatans of the social gospel

l    jesus-laid-his-head

And if this does not mess with your mind then lets take a look at the method of transportation

Them:televangelists-transportation2 (1)

Jesus:OS18033

It is needful that Christians adhere to the scriptural principle of providing for their Pastor, giving him a double portion even.   So many Godly men depend upon the Lord to provide and rightly so, however, God uses his people through tithes and offerings to support the man who has given his life to preaching the Gospel.  Scripture  admonishes us not to store up for ourselves treasures on earth, but to instead store up for ourselves treasures in heaven.  The preaching of the Gospel to fill ones own pockets is a sin; an abomination and a disgrace to everything that Jesus died for on Calvary.  Ministers of the Word should not be greedy of money nor use the gospel shamelessly to make money

These viscous wolves in the sheep’s clothing of a fundamental gospel preacher are twisting scripture so as to seduce people into supporting their ‘ministries’;  into following them and not Jesus. Their charismatic presentation seduces unsuspecting viewers to open their thin wallets and send a ‘dollar or two’ to ‘further the “gospel”.    O foolish generation, how carelessly are we taken away into captivity by these entrepeneurs of wealth through the exploiting of the Truth.

Let It Snow!


10507_454664304585682_1880659255_n winter scene

One has to admit that there is something sorta magical about the first significant snow of the season.  Actually I would rather have snow than rain because it just lazily falls from the heaven and gently lands upon the earth.  The whiteness of the flakes leave little doubt as to its identity.  Unlike rain, even in its gentlest form it can be easily visually recognized.  Snow is also a visual indicator of which way the wind is blowing.  Many. many children over the years, as well as adults, delight in the anticipation of building the first snowman of the season; snow angels grace the lawns of homes in a myriad of sizes.   It is absolutely refreshing to gaze upon an open field of freshly fallen, sun glistening snow.  Even the barrenness of deciduous trees is adorned in a beautiful garment of white.  As we recall the excitement of little children peering through frosted windows and exclaiming in gleeful voices “It’s snowing, it’s snowing!”, lets us consider this frozen precipitation in another manner.

In Job 26 we have confirmed once again that God created all things for it is written that He saith to the snow, be thou on the earth!  It is absolutely amazing that even the snowflakes obey the Heavenly Father!  His purpose in creating these beautiful hexagonal ice crystals seems to range from a delightful source of joy for young children to the refreshing of the soul and a launderer of the atmosphere.  Fresh fallen snow has a sense of pureness and renewal and in addition presents a need to respond responsibly. A virtuous woman is not afraid of the snow, for she cloths her family appropriately.

God has promised us in Isaiah 1:18 that though our sins be as scarlet, they shall become white as snow when we come and reason together with Him.  Oftentimes when I take in the beauty of new fallen snow, it is a reminder of the night I realized that I was a sinner, that Jesus shed his blood for my sins, conquered death by arising from the grave, and provided a way for mankind to be reconciled to God.  That evening a miracle took place in my heart as I called upon the name of the Lord, asked forgiveness for my sins and for God to save me.

Unfortunately we are subjected to the ugliness which is thrust upon the snow by the trampling of the world.    Dirty snow is repulsive to look upon and so it is when the Lord Jesus looks upon the sin-infested heart of a believer.  The grayishness of carnality taints the covering of a pure heart and within its core sin has deposited tarish black tumors.  It is as though the drought from not spending time in the Living Word and the heat from friction of spiritual warfare has melted the snowy clean soul of a believer.  A shame indeed is this turn of events in the life of one of Gods redeemed.  But, alas, there is hope!  I John 1:9  It we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Let us endeavor as we enjoy the beauty of this season to consider maintainig the snowy whiteness of our hearts.

Will Obama spend Eternity in Hell?


11316082-human-person-must-burn-in-the-fire

The very first Commandment states that Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  During his entire time in office Mr. Obama has chiseled away at Christian liberties, yet allowing the Muslins to practice the very liberties that he forbade Christians.  Allah is an enemy of the Living God.  The Koran contains the agenda of the Muslim people to rid the world of  Christians, and especially American Christians.  This cult is the mastermind of Satan himself.  We are not just talking about humanistic dogma, this is a manual for destruction of the doctrine of Christianity as set forth in the Word of God.

The practice of sodomy is an abomination to God.   God destroyed  Sodom and Gomorrah  because of the blatant practice of this distortion of God’s Word.   Many Americans were sickened by the sight of the homosexual marching band that participated in Presidents inaugural parade.  The promoters of this perverted sin have championed their ‘right’ to marry.  Marriage was designed by God to be the union of a man and a woman.  Thus the second institution established by God, the home, is being tainted by same sex marriages.  Mr. Obama has ignored the Biblical teachings of God and has established a hedonistic practice which must truly anger the Heavenly Father.

Mr Obama has been proven to be a habitual liar and a deceiver.  From the beginning he would not produce his genuine birth certificate and persistently denied that he was a Muslim.   Since then an encyclopedia could be written on all of the instances of altered truths that have come out of his mouth.  ” Thou shalt not bear false witness”, is another of the Ten Commandments which throughout the Bible, God states time after time that he hates lying.  Satan is the father of Lies, he is the great deceiver.  So when one practices lying, guess who he is emulating.  Granted, all of us are guilty of pervaricating, telling little white lies, exaggerating or whatever label sounds more acceptable, but in God’s eyes, lying is lying!

According to the Scriptures, all murderers will have their place in the Lake of Fire.  The practice and promotion of  the killing of unborn babies is murder!  The President nor any one else has the right to allow the destruction of the life of the unborn.  This is also true of the practice of euthanasia, when it comes to those folk who are deemed a ‘burden’ on society, such as the nonfunctional elderly or the handicapped.  Yes, my friend, these murders are being practiced every day in our society.  Withholding life sustaining food. fluids and medication is called murder.  The Obamacare is designed to establish the elimination of those folk who are not considered ‘salvageable’.  The President and his liberal friends forced this legislation upon the American people.

Thus far we have mentioned the sins of worshipping false gods, promoting homosexuality, permitting abortions and euthanasia, and practicing lying.  Fortunately this is not the end of the story.  Believe it or not, there is hope for people like Barack Obama.  The Bible outlines in John chapter 3 the simple plan of salvation designed by God for sinful man.  Let’s take a look……………

A Jewish leader by the name of Nicodemus came seeking understanding from Jesus concerning the miracles which the Lord had performed.  Jesus turned this into an opportunity to teach Nicodemus that he must be born again.  Needless to say, Nicodemus, a learned master in Israel did not understand what Christ was telling him.  In the following verses we learn, as did Nicodemus, the need to be saved.   This promise of God is applicable to all men for that all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God, even Barack Obama.  For God so loved Mr Obama that he sent his only begotten Son to shed his blood on the cross of Calvary for his sins.  In Romans 10:13 we are told that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  In other words, if Barack Hussein Obama would admit that he is a sinner, deserving of spending eternity in the Lake of Fire, believe that Jesus died on the Cross for his sins,  confess those sins and ask Jesus to save him, he would be born again, a new creature in Christ.  Seemingly improbable?  Not so, if God will save a man like Paul, who viciously murdered and persecuted Christians, then he can and will save not only Mr Obama, but anyone who calls upon the Lord to be saved.

Women in the Word – Abigail


abigailFor those unfortunate women who are yoked together with a mate who is difficult and challenging,  God has been especially gracious in sharing the story of Abigail, one of the loveliest females in the Bible.  Her biography is an inspiration to all ladies who struggle to live a Godly life in spite of their troubled home environment.  Although her parentage and genealogy isn’t given in the Word we are told that her knowledge of Jewish history testifies to an early training in a godly home, whereby she became acquainted with the teachings of the prophets of Israel.  Her name in itself indicates that she was the “Joy of her Father”

As her story unfolds in 1 Samuel 25, we learn in verse 3 that she was a woman of understanding.  Her countenance was tempered with knowledge and beauty.  It is worth noting that the Lord listed understanding as her fist admirable quality.  Many women have a tendency to focus on their beauty rather than their brain.  Lest we are neglectful, it is good to remember that it is not spiritual for women of God to dress shabbily.  Proverbs 31 sets the example that we are to make ourselves coverings of tapestry,  Tee shirts and jeans are not an acceptable attire for ladies to wear to church.  In addition, Abigail possessed wisdom and discernment.  She was indeed capable of working under stressful conditions.

nabalWhatever the cultural or familial reason for her marriage, our dear sweet heroine was married to a fool.  That is exactly what the name Nabal means.  Although Nabal was a descendant from the house of Caleb, he did not inherit the Godly spirit of his ancestor.  God describes him as churlish and in Isaiah 32: 7  teaches us that the meaning of the word churl is one that deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words.  Nabal was a stingy selfish, penny-pinching, son of Belial.

david-and-nabalThe third character in this unfolding drama is David.  Without taking the time to reiterate the entire story, we will focus on the fact that David sent men to ask Nabal for sustenance for his troops.  When Nabal refused, David’s anger was kindled and he prepared to seize what he needed from Nabal and to destroy not only Nabal but his entire household.  Fortunately, one of the trusted servants shared the arrogance of Nabal with Abigail, who immediately understood that she needed to take action.

Knowing that innocent lives were at stake, Abigail put herself to the task at hand without informing her husband.   She functioned well under pressure and organized her servants to prepare a meal for David and his men so that her people would not die.  The provisions that Abigail prepared for David are listed in verse 18.  There needed to be enough provisions to feed the 600 men of David’s army.   Ponder for a moment if you will, the fact that the food was loaded upon the backs of asses, the most stubborn of animals.  Yet there is not an indication that this nature manifested itself in this most important task.

abigail-and-davidThe events that transpire next can only evolve from a woman whose heart is surrendered to God.  Starting in verse 23, God reveals the indwelt spiritual beauty of Abigail.  This woman willingly takes personal responsibility for the sin of her husband, in that she herself did not see David’s men who came seeking provisions.  She asks David to forgive HER!.    David was so overcome by her countenance that God shares with us in verses 32-34 that he blessed her.

What an amazing tribute to this outstanding woman.  Her intervention in the life of David prevented him from shedding unnecessary blood.  After God reaped judgment upon Nabal she was blessed by becoming David’s wife.  There are so many lessons that both women and men can learn from this biographical presentation in Scripture.  Perhaps the most important is the correlation of this story and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Abigail, the lost sinner was under the curse of Nabal; the law.  David represents the Lord Jesus, who under his mercy, she began a new life, dead to the law.  The Lord is able to develop the character of Abigail in the life of any woman who is in a dysfunctional marriage.  For those readers who do not have access to the throne of grace, may I invite you to admit that you are a sinner deserving of an eternity in Hell?  Confess your sins to the Living God, who gave his Son the Lord Jesus Christ to shed his blood on the cross for our sins.  By asking Jesus to save you,  God will begin a new work in you which he will perform until the Day of Jesus Christ.  Once you have become a new creature in Christ, then boldly approach the throne of grace and ask the Lord to give you wisdom in dealing with all of your life’s challenges.  Follow up your salvation experience by attending a fundamental Bible preaching church and faithfully reading your Bible every day.