Jerry Falwell and the modern Balaams
The Christian Expositor is no friend of the 'Reverend' Jerry Falwell, for in the past he has made it clear that he is, at best, a very poor friend of Jesus - the Word of God. The most recent furore caused by Falwell began when he was interviewed on the CBS-TV program "60 Minutes" (Sept. 30, 2002) by Bob Simon, and freely volunteered this opinion: "I think Muhammad was a terrorist. . . I've read enough of the history of his life written by both Muslims and non-Muslims, that he was a violent man, a man of war . . . Jesus set the example for love, as did Moses, and I think Muhammad set an opposite example."Doctrinal somersaults of Falwell
However, Southern Baptist minister Falwell apologized by the next weekend for calling Muhammad, the founder of Islam, a "terrorist" choosing the following words: "I sincerely apologize that certain statements of mine . . . were hurtful to the feelings of many Muslims. I intended no disrespect to any sincere, law-abiding Muslim."
The Christianity of Falwell follows the trends of many other denominations which have been increasingly infiltrated with psychological/occultic techniques. At Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, for example, the students have to complete a course based on Introduction to Psychology by Atkinson, Atkinson, Smith and Hilgard, which boasts that psychology has been able to redefine morals for society, even changing what was once viewed as perversion to normal. It treats humans as highly evolved animals, promotes situation ethics, neither acknowledges God nor sin and exalts self and legitimizes sodomy. For a man who points the finger at others so wildly, this does not augur well for his 'Christian' witness to the world. But it gets worse.Certain men crept in unawares... (Jude 4)
Earnestly contend for the faith . . once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3)
In December, 1995, Falwell participated as a speaker at a conference in Montevideo, Uruguay, sponsored by Sun Myung Moon's Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace and Washington Times Foundation, and titled, "Christian Ecumenism in the Americas: Toward One Christian Family Under God." For those who don't know - the 'Reverend' Moon is the leader of the Moonies cult and an anti-Christ figure. According to Moon's Unification News, speakers in addition to Moon and Falwell included William Cenkner (Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Catholic University of America), Dr. Nilson de Amaral Fanini (President of the Baptist World Alliance), and Michael Cromartie (Senior Fellow in Protestant Studies and Director of the Evangelical Studies Project at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.). In his speech, Falwell said, "It is my observation and personal conviction that conferences and seminars like this one can be very beneficial for building bridges of communication." Jerry Falwell was seen posing in a warm hug with Sun Myung and calling him an "unsung hero [to] the cause of freedom" who was "to be commended" for his determination, courage, and endurance in support of his beliefs. In fact, cult leader Moon opposes freedom and employs mind control tactics which have enslaved his followers. Any 'bridges' being built under the auspices of cult-leader Moon are those leading to the ecumenism which will usher in the 'reign' of the Anti-Christ. Since Falwell claims to have some special Gnosis regarding the appearance of this monster it is astonishing to find him ignorant enough to partake with an anti-Christ who preaches 'doctrines of demons' (1 Timothy 4:1). Christ didn't say, "Go into all the world and build bridges of communication', but "go into all the world and preach the gospel" (Mark 16:15)! Falwell is happily into "communication" and compromise and thus a denial of the Lord Jesus Christ, by fellowshipping with Moon. What are Moon's beliefs which Falwell commends him for supporting faithfully? Moon claims that Jesus failed in His mission, that Moon is the true Messiah, and that Jesus Christ has said, "[T]he King of Glory...our precious Lord Sun Myung Moon and his beloved bride Hak Ja Han ...reign as king and queen of the entire universe...[and] I, Jesus of Nazareth, known as the Christ, bow in humility before them...." . On this standard we would expect Falwell to be hugging and commending Muhammad if he was alive today!
We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29)
God is our refuge and strength . . . therefore will not we fear . . . (Psalms 46:1-2)
In 1995 Falwell naively co-operated with the corrupt Russian Orthodox Church, who still oppose Protestant evangelistic groups who they accuse of proselytizing. Despite evangelicals being warned not to try to change anyone's church affiliation we also find that Billy Graham was duped when he met with 'the Russian Orthodox patriarch and...[they] agreed that proselytizing was inappropriate" [Dallas Morning News - 7/15/93]. Falwell was also part of a large evangelistic outreach in Moscow involving a tour which many Americans joined to see the "wonderful response to the gospel in the former Soviet Union." Jerry was the principal speaker at a large gathering in Moscow's Olympic Stadium. According to Russian/English-speaking attendees, he gave a clear gospel message, but the translator changed it to conform to Orthodox belief. When Jerry gave the invitation to receive Christ (offensive to Orthodoxy), the translator made it sound like a call for all who wanted to join in prayer. Many people raised their hands, leading Jerry and those with him to mistakenly believe there had been a great response to the gospel. A further deception was the fact that a major purpose of the meeting in Olympic Stadium was to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the martyrdom of celebrated Orthodox priest Alexander Menn. There were pantomimes and speeches by Orthodox priests honouring him and the distribution of thousands of his books in Russian. Falwell and his team had no idea of the heresies in the Russian copies because the English copy they received deleted favourable references to Buddha and Confucius, that all religions lead to God and that God had spoken through every founder of the great religions. Menn promoted evolution and the power of icons as a window to God and, loyal to Orthodoxy, rejected the biblical gospel. Josh McDowell was also unwittingly involved in a meeting in Moscow where Alexander Menn was again celebrated.' [The Berean Call]
Falwell supports the deceiver Benny Hinn!
As this millenium approached Falwell encouraged an ignorant panic to set in to his congregations:
Jerry Falwell's National Liberty Journal for October reports that "many technology experts believe that computers could begin to show signs of breakdown as early as January 1, 1999....It behooves all Americans to prepare now for what appears to be...inevitable...." The article continues, If you live in downtown New York [or other large city], you should probably make plans not to be there January 1, 2000....The nation's inner cities could face major looting and violence....Be sure to put away enough food and provisions to include neighbors, Christian brothers and sisters and the poor around your family dinner table....Pastors, begin to educate your flock now on the Y2K computer problem so each family can...be prepared to help those in your community who face problems caused by Y2K. The church that can amass a large clothes closet and food supply can use Y2K to share God's love and act as servants.' [The Berean Call]
Dave Hunt wisely asked of these duped people who followed Falwell's ignorant leading:
'Who will any longer believe those who were so certain of disaster that they organized neighborhoods, persuaded family and friends to buy generators, huge stores of food and supplies - and tied it all in with Bible prophecy and evangelism? Who will restore the shattered faith of disillusioned Christians who sold their homes to move into a country hideaway or into some "safe, self-contained Y2K Christian community" they saw advertised in a Christian publication such as Falwell's National Liberty Journal? We know of churches already dividing and families breaking up over Y2K, and worse could follow. There has been a serious abuse of Scripture. A major mantra for Christians sounding the alarm is "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished" (Proverbs 22:3, 27:12). That scripture has no bearing upon Y2K. Solomon's prudent man knows the evil that's coming and thus what to hide from.' [The Berean Call]
Benny Hinn has been the recipient of well-deserved criticism from many quarters. Chris Tarrant has featured Hinn on his UK TV exposure of the obvious excesses of 'TV-evangelists' and he even gets a mention in Billy Connolly's biography for his incredibly vain 'comb-over'! The Confusing World of Benny Hinn documents many of Hinn's false prophecies, deceits, heresies, occult practices, etc. He supposedly repents, then goes back to the same thing and frequently changes his story. He even changes his testimony: "I got saved in Israel in 1968" (PTL Family Devotional, Dec. 1981); "It was in Canada that I was born again right after '68" (1983 message in St. Louis); "I got saved in high school in February 1972...during my senior year" (Good Morning, Holy Spirit, 1990);"I never said I was a senior..." (Christianity Today, 10/5/92). Which, if any, is true? In March 1995, in Springfield, MO, Hinn said, "...in South Africa I saw a man blow on somebody and the man fell, and I thought, 'Boy, that's a good idea! [That's why] I began to blow...in ignorance...." Yet in The Anointing (p. 89), Hinn had said, "Some have asked me what I'm trying to do when I throw or blow at them....God told me to do it...." If you believe Hinn, he has had more revelations and seen more visions than anyone, including John in Revelation. He claims that angels appeared in his bedroom every night for a year. In the Bible, angels appeared infrequently and always for a reason. Apparently angels just enjoy observing Benny - perhaps they are trying to discover the secret of his amazing 'comb over'? He also claims to have seen God and Jesus, and even 'smelled' God.
The following is a summary of some of the many false prophecies Hinn declared "directly from God" in Orlando on December 31, 1989: A great revival movement will be birthed in Orlando in mid-'90s to bring God back into American classrooms. The mid-'90s will see a new move of God to shake the world with the last great revival. Many will be raised from the dead. Angels will come knocking at your door. About '94-'95 God will destroy the homosexual community of America with fire. A new disease will arise from South America birthed from a new drug from South America and many will die. God will bring America to its knees by economic collapse. An earthquake will hit the east coast of America and destroy much in the '90s. Not one place will be safe in America from earthquakes in the '90s. Not one of the December '89 "God given" prophecies came to pass! Hinn should be disciplined as a false prophet by the church, yet the more false prophecies he declares, the more heresies he proclaims, and the more bizarre the experiences he relates, the larger his following becomes. He is allowed to appear on TBN and state vaguely: "...the Lord just told me, and I don't know if this is true or not." Well, the discerning know that none of it is true - but still the gullible (including Jerry Falwell) back this deceiver!
Many leave Hinn's meetings not only spiritually seduced and with empty pockets, but worse off physically. A man Hinn had "slain in the Spirit" fell on a prostrate elderly woman and broke her hip, resulting in her death. The lawsuit was settled out of court.At a South Africa crusade a man collapsed; Hinn said the Lord told him the man would be okay, but he died in the ambulance. An elderly Hinn follower was turned away from one entrance to ARCO Stadium in Sacramento, CA because she had not given enough money to enter the stadium. Later, on the stage (presumably after paying enough to this hireling) she was "slain in the Spirit," and while she was lying on the floor a huge man, likewise "slain," landed on top of her, breaking her leg. In 1993 in Basel, Switzerland, Hinn prophesied over a man with cancer that he had many years to live. He died two days later. In Nairobi, Kenya early in May 2000, four patients released from a hospital to attend Hinn's "Miracle Crusade" died while waiting for prayer. Hinn has rebuked "the spirit of cancer" and the "devil of death and of debt" so many times without any result that it would be laughable if so many weren't deceived. Earlier this year 3,000 church leaders such as Jack Hayford, Rex Humbard, and Jerry Falwell honored Hinn for 25 years of ministry. Humbard lauded Hinn as "the most illuminating man...of detecting and feeling the moving of the Holy Spirit that I've seen in my 68 years of God's work [and] one of the greatest Bible teachers that God ever let live." On TBN this "greatest of Bible teachers" scorned doctrine as "sick stuff" and said, "I don't discuss doctrine." Even TBN's Paul Crouch has referred to sound doctrine as "doctrinal doodoo." Hinn prowls about on stage, growling more in the manner of one who is demon-possessed (back-masked recordings reveal strange utterances!) and breaths heavily into his microphone, trying to convince his audience that it is the Holy Spirit at work: "If I don't release this power I'll explode!" In a guttural voice he curses those who dare to question him, curses their children and threatens that if he had a "Holy Ghost machine gun" he'd "mow down" critics. He admits that he searches for a verse in the Bible that would allow him to kill them! "Fire!" he roars, to knock people down. When one falls he demands, "Pick him up!" - then knocks him down again and again. This is supposed to be the power of the Holy Spirit? Jerry Falwell appeared with the many false prophets at the 25th anniversary celebration of Hinn's ministry and stated: 'Pastor Benny and I are friends....He came [to Lynchburg] and we had a wonderful day together...in conversation about what God is doing....I wish you and Susan and your four children a blessed, blessed next 25 years....When I look at your crowds in those coliseums, all I see are those 18-year-old high school seniors and I want all of them at Liberty University...!'
How many more false prophecies and victims and how much more heresy will it take for Falwell, Hayford, et al. to stop encouraging and endorsing Hinn? And when will respected leaders be concerned enough to correct him and to warn the church? Falwell proves by his doctrine and the company he keeps, despite clear Scriptural admonishments to the contrary (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 1 Corinthians 10:21), that he is not a true servant of God and - at best - operates in the spirit of the 'professional prophet' Balaam (Numbers 22), who incited God's people to sin at Peor (Numbers 25) so that he was found among unbelievers and consequently killed when the Lord ordered vengeance against the Midianites (Numbers 31).
Did Islam react consistently with its spiritual heritage?
In reaction to Falwell's statement, in the Indian city of Solapur, Muslim youths who had gathered to protest at Falwell's remarks, clashed with Hindu crowds and local police, causing a riot that left at least eight people dead and 90 injured, according to wire reports. In Iran, Egypt and Lebanon, Muslim clerics denounced Falwell, some calling for the evangelist's death and others urging a non-violent response.
Other recent comments by USA evangelists
Pat Robertson, another 'popular' American television evangelist and founder of the influential Christian Coalition declared Christians are engaged in a "religious struggle" that amounts to a "clash of cultures" pitting the West against the Muslim world. To imagine that Islam is a peaceful religion, Robertson maintained recently, is "fraudulent". Robertson described Muhammad as an "absolute wild-eyed fanatic . . . a robber and brigand . . . a killer." Unfortunately, Pat Robertson has also ignorantly enthused, "Pope John Paul II stands like a rock...in his clear enunciation of the foundational principles of the Christian faith."
As we recorded earlier, the Rev. Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham and often called heir to his mantle as the single most important religious leader in the US, went further. After September 11, he declared that the God of Islam is "a different God [to the Christian God] and Islam is a very evil and wicked religion".
The Rev. Jerry Vines, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, also called Muhammad a "demon-possessed paedophile."
How did Islam react to this?
High-ranking Iranian Muslim clerics promptly called for the death of three U.S. Christian leaders for insulting the prophet Muhammad. An Abrar, Iran newspaper reported that last Friday during a prayer sermon, Ayatollah Mohsen Mujtahed Shabestari called for the killing of Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell, evangelist Franklin Graham and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson. "U.S. leaders want to repeat the crusades," Shabestari reportedly said, only referring to the three as "the Israeli mercenaries" who needed to be "separated from other Christians." Cleric Shabestari also said 'the American [Falwell]' was a 'mercenary who must be killed.' Al-Jazeera broadcast fiery call-in shows on the controversy. There were protests in India, Malaysia and Iran, and fundamentalists from London to Indonesia claimed: ""We told you that America hates Islam.""