(Continued from page 457)
The section below was first included in the reply to Josephine Melrose and therefore appears in our menus with the same title but with a number in square brackets as below 
Scripture shows clearly that the 'persuasion' to follow the errors of 'Word-Faith' 'teachers' does not come from the Spirit of truth. This is also an obvious attempt by the 'Word-Faith' camp to apply the 'Emperor's New Clothes' psychology: if you don't have enough faith to believe God will work for you then you don't love Him enough!
You write: '... The good news is; you don't have to be sick no more, you don't have to be broke no more, you don't have to live in a bad marriage no more ...'
TCE: We have amply disproved the first two claims and we have our local 'Word-Faith' heretic, Ray Bevan (who is heavily supported in his ministry by the 'mighty vessels' of the USA cult), to exemplify the vile nature of the last claim you make for, sadly, he separated from his wife to commit adultery with another!
===================================================There is no Biblical record of Jesus planning to hold a healing meeting anywhere, issuing a general invitation to be healed, or offering generalized prayers for healing! 
Kenneth Copeland heretically declared that the 'born again Jesus' went into Hell to defeat Satan and that he (Copeland) - as a 'born again man' - could have done exactly the same! 
What is Benny Hinn (or Rodney Howard-Browne) doing when he takes off his [custom tailored!] jacket and rubs it on his 'anointed' body? He is supposedly rubbing 'the Power' onto the jacket. Then he starts swinging it wildly, like Biblical David swinging his sling. He 'slays' his followers, left and right, on the stage - just like a stage magician! The stage vibrates as bodies hit the floor. As a catcher moves to pick up someone, Hinn 'slays' the catcher - then he slays the catcher who caught the catcher. Catchers struggle to keep up with the toppling bodies. Then Hinn rears back and, with a theatrical pitching motion, slays the entire choir with one toss. 'That's power,' yells Hinn, 'POWER!' He blows loudly into the microphone and hundreds fall backward. Some collapse and begin to babble. And then Hinn departs like Elvis leaving the building. The 'power' vanishes from the room leaving gullible people staring in stunned silence.
This describes a typical Hinn stage show. It was something like that when we observed him performing in Birmingham, some years back (at Birmingham NEC - 1989). It was very noticeable that those of us who were there purely to observe his fraudulent acts were not slain! During that meeting Hinn quoted one Scripture (out of context!) and supposedly healed a number of people - but at no time did he make any mention of the gospel of Jesus Christ or His Lordship! He claims that about 1,000 people are healed at each 'miracle service,' but seems hard pressed to come up with any that would convince a serious medical investigator. When pressed for truly convincing miracles, Susan Smith [Hinn spokesperson] cited a woman in Orlando who was cured of blindness caused by diabetes, but she would not give the woman's name and later admitted that the woman's vision may still be cloudy: 'She still has diabetes, strangely...[and] was just re-hospitalized.' 'People of God,' shouts Benny, 'we must never speak such faith-destroying words as these: 'If it be thy will, Lord.'... I am Him [Jesus]! The Word has become flesh in Me! ... You are a little god on earth...!' This is all utterly un-Scriptural as we showed earlier.
These aspects of Hinn's meetings are enough to condemn him without the mass of other evidence. He supposedly throws the 'Holy Spirit' around in a most irreverent fashion, using the third Person of the Trinity as his servant to un-Scripturally attract attention to himself, not to Christ (John 16:13-16). Hinn acts as though the 'anointing' is some metaphysical power at his disposal, to be rubbed off onto physical objects. It looks impressive, may work largely by the power of suggestion if it is not outright demonic, but has no purpose except to induce an awe of Hinn. Benny's office at his church contains pictures of himself with George Bush and John Paul II - truly he desires to be seen in the presence of other men of 'power', even when they are deceivers and 'anti-Christs'. Hinn has declared: 'I have received a new mandate from heaven - bring the message of the miraculous, healing power of God back to America! Invade our nation with the miracle-working power of God in the '90s!' How can anyone believe that the fake healings of Hinn bring glory to God or direct the unsaved to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? How can false miracles and the deaths of innocents be part of being born again or being saved, as you are suggesting? The warnings against false prophesies and false 'signs and wonders' in Deuteronomy (cf. Matthew 7:15-23 etc.) nowhere suggest that God is in anyway pleased with those who falsely claim to be His servants.
Early in 1991 Hinn repudiated some of his false teaching and ''Word-Faith'' doctrines which he had taught as 'revelation knowledge.' He seems to forget - God's revelations don't change! What kind words did Hinn have for his critics?:
'You know, I've looked for one verse in the Bible - I just can't seem to find it - one verse that says, 'If you don't like 'em, kill 'em.' I really wish I could find it!...Sometimes I wish God would give me a Holy Ghost machine gun. I'd blow your head off!'
The deceived TBN studio audience loudly applauded these words from the 'man of God' who is surely fulfilling the primary sign Christ gave of the nearness of His return (Mt 24:24):
'For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect'
How do people miss the clear import of Matthew 12:39 -40 and Luke 11:29-32 where Jesus says the only sign that will be given those who demand signs is the sign of the prophet Jonah, which turns out, in the context, to be a portent of His own resurrection. In other words, Jesus wants faith to be firmly based on His own death and resurrection. Signs can have a legitimate subsidiary role in establishing faith, but the uncritical quest for signs has clearly been corrupted by impure motives which too often ignore the abundant evidence that Jesus Himself points those who hunger for signs back to His resurrection. Jesus said (Matthew 7:21-23):
'Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
Their exorcisms, prophecies, and miracles are all performed in Jesus' name, but He does not bother to question their reality. It is quite possible that those who ask these questions of Jesus on the last day honestly think they ought to be admitted to the kingdom (just as the 'goats' are surprised by their fate in Matthew 25:41-45). But they are turned away, unrecognized by Jesus, because however 'powerful' they may be in the realm of the miraculous, they do not display the marks of obedience: they do not do what Jesus says and produce good fruit (cf. 7:20).
The point is not that genuine 'signs and wonders' are inevitably bad but that they are never of first importance. We should not miss the flow of the argument in 1 Corinthians 12-14: various charismata may be distributed to members of Christ's Body, the church, but the 'most excellent way (not 'gift'!)' required of all believers is the way of love. If Benny Hinn, and many others of the 'Word-Faith'/'signs and wonders' movement, were really exhibiting true charismata would they really have resorted to 'Holy Ghost machine gun' threats against those who do not embrace their works? The critical test for who is and who is not a genuine follower of Jesus is obedience, not displays of power. Scripture makes it clear that some displays of power, even some done in Jesus' name, are proof of nothing at all.
Even within the ministry of Jesus, healings and exorcisms are clearly placed in a subsidiary role to Jesus' teaching and preaching. When Jesus' intention is stated or His initiative described, almost always His teaching and preaching are in view, not His healings (e.g. Mark 1:14-15, 21, 35-39; 2:2, 13; 3:14, 22-23; 4:1; 6:1-2, 34; 7:14; 8:31, 34; 9:30-31; 10:1; 12:1, 35). By contrast, apart from one or two summary statements (e.g. Matthew 4:23), when Jesus heals individuals or casts out demons from them, either the initiative is with the sufferer (e.g. Matthew 8:3-4; 9:20-22, 27-31; 17:14-18; Mark 1:23-26; Luke 7:1-10; John 4:46-54 - including the initiative of the sufferer's friends, Matthew 9:27-31; 12:22; Mark 1:30-31, 32-34; 6:55-56), or Jesus may take some initiative with an individual after His purpose for being there is established on some other basis. For instance, in the case of the crippled woman of Luke 13:10-13: 'Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there and '.... When Jesus saw her, he called her forward' (cf. also Matthew 12:9-13; John 5).
No orthodox Christian would for a moment suggest that Jesus did not see His healings and exorcisms as part of His Messianic work (see Matthew 8:16-17; 11:5-6), but it is simply to point out that there is no record of Jesus going somewhere in order to hold a healing meeting, or of Jesus issuing a general invitation to be healed, or of Jesus offering generalized prayers for healing. Where Jesus does undertake to heal an individual, the procedure is never prefaced by some generalizing announcement (there is no 'I have a word from the Lord: there is someone here with back pain, and God wants to heal you'), and the result is never ambiguous. This is very different from the pronouncements of the 'Word-Faith'/'signs and wonders' movement.
'Signs and wonders' do have an attesting function in Jesus' ministry. At one level, that is not unlike the attesting function of 'signs and wonders' in the life of, say, Joshua (3:7; 4:14). But in most cases there are additional overtones connected with Jesus' role as the promised Messiah. For instance, when John the Baptist sends envoys to question Jesus' credentials, Jesus responds with a summary of His ministry (Matthew 11:4-6):
'Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me'
The important point to observe is that Jesus frames this summary as a fulfilment of Messianic prophecy (Isaiah 35:5-6; 61:1-2): His miracles attest that He is the one who would bring in the new order promised in the Scriptures. What Jesus purposely leaves out of each of the passages He quoted from Isaiah is the note of judgment: 'the day of vengeance of our God' (Isaiah 61:2). He does not include the words 'he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you' (Isaiah 35:4) in his allusion. John the Baptist made a point of enquiring about the ministry of Jesus because he had preached that the One whose sandals he was unworthy to loosen would not only baptize His people in the Holy Spirit but would thoroughly clear His threshing floor and burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:11-12). Jesus is saying, in effect, that the dawning of the kingdom in His own ministry is introducing the long-awaited blessings of the Messianic age, even though the judgments are delayed. Meanwhile, John, having started well, is encouraged not to draw back now: 'Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me' (Matthew 11:6).
Again, on the day of Pentecost, Peter describes Jesus in these terms: 'Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know' (Acts 2:22, italics added). Even in these and other passages, at least two things must be borne in mind. The person being accredited is Jesus, God's own Son, the unique Redeemer. In this case, at least, it is improper to think of the potential of 'signs and wonders' to command faith without also thinking of where the faith is to be placed and we therefore need to consider just how far some similar role is assigned to 'signs and wonders' performed by others. Although Acts 2:22 insists Jesus was accredited by God to Peter's hearers by miracles, wonders, and signs, the fact of the matter is that those hearers did not become believers until Pentecost and the gift of the Spirit. In other words, Peter appeals to the 'signs and wonders' to establish the unique redemptive-historical gift from heaven bound up in the Person and work of Messiah Jesus, and all his preaching turns on this point. Even so, the miracles themselves did not command faith, not even in the ministry of Jesus.
John's gospel puts some of these tensions in proportion when several perspectives on 'signs and wonders' are brought together. On the one hand, Jesus' signs display His glory, at least to His disciples (John 2:11). On the other hand, Jesus' initial response to a man who cries for help is the firm reproach 'Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders ... you will never believe' (4:48). The religious leaders are convinced that Jesus is actually performing miracles whose reality they cannot deny, but that does not foster faith but, rather, it fuels their rejection and anger and nurtures their plot to corrupt justice and have Him executed (e.g. 11:47-57). Precisely because they will not believe Jesus' words and do not perceive that He does what His Father does, Jesus appeals to them at the very least to reconsider His miracles (John 10:37-38):
'Do not believe Me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe Me, believe the miracles, that you may learn and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father'.
His appeal is to learn from the 'signs and wonders' that He performs, for they speak of exactly who Jesus Himself is. From the way Jesus phrases Himself, we conclude that He sees such faith as of inferior quality, but certainly better than unbelief. And in any case He knew that His appeal would be futile: His hearers do not believe. Elsewhere, some do believe because they see Jesus' works (e.g. 11:45), though not all faith triggered by Jesus' signs proves valid: some of it is spurious (2:23-25; cf. 8:30-31). The narrative of the last of the twelve to believe in Jesus' resurrection is revealing. Thomas comes to believe in Jesus' resurrection precisely because Jesus graciously proffers the hard evidence of the miraculous that satisfies His doubting apostle. But the same relatively negative valuation is given: better than the kind of faith that insists on seeing Jesus' signs first hand is the faith that rests on the reports of the unique signs of Jesus (20:29-31).
What about the post-resurrection period? Clearly, 'signs and wonders' are heavily tied in the Old Testament to the major events surrounding the redemptive-historical event of the Exodus, and the same category is quickly applied to Jesus in the New Testament. After reporting that Peter on the day of Pentecost proclaims that God has once again performed 'wonders' and 'signs' through His Son Jesus (Acts 2:19, 22), Luke immediately summarizes the results of that first Christian sermon (Acts 2:43, italics added):
'Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles'
The same point is repeated in Acts 5:12. Signs and wonders are attributed to Paul and Barnabas in Acts 14:3; 15:12. Considering Luke's consistent usage, the 'signs and wonders' for which the church prays in Acts 4:29-30 are most plausibly understood to be miracles that the apostles would perform. In Acts the only other individuals who are said to perform 'signs and wonders' are Stephen (Acts 6:8) and Philip (8:13), who at least are closely associated with the apostles. Paul himself refers to the 'signs and miracles' or '[marks of] an apostle' that he performed (Romans 15:19; 2 Corinthians 12:11-12). The most natural reading of Hebrews 2:3-4 is that the 'signs, wonders and various miracles' by which God testified to the gospel were performed by those who first heard the word (i.e., the apostles) and who then passed the message on.
None of this can be made to support the conclusion that Cessationists draw - that miraculous 'signs and wonders' have ceased altogether. But a significant connection can be made between 'signs and wonders,' taken as a linguistic entity, and the two major events of redemptive history, namely, the Exodus and the coming of Jesus the Messiah. Thus the 'signs and wonders' terminology is forcefully linked to the central redemptive-historical focus and embraces not only Jesus and His death and resurrection but the first articulation of that truth in the apostolic circle that was distinctively accredited to that ministry.
While this does not take into consideration such miracles as, say, the gifts of healing of 1 Corinthians 12, at the purely linguistic level 'signs and wonders' in both the Old and New Testaments enjoy primarily the narrow focus emphasised here and is therefore a misleading label to apply to the claimed phenomena of such as the 'Word-Faith' and Vineyard movements. The problem is more than one of labelling: by using the expression so freely, these movements frequently apply to themselves Scriptures and principles that a more sober reading refuses to warrant. If, against New Testament usage, we apply the expression 'signs and wonders' to all Christian expressions of the more spectacular charismata, or of miracles generally, there are other discernable functions of 'signs and wonders' in the New Testament:
First, there are the passages where Jesus authorizes either the twelve (Matthew 10:8; Luke 9:1-2) or the seventy-two (Luke 10:9) to heal the sick (in the former passages, 'to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons'). It would be unreasonable to limit the applicability of the command to the twelve, since the seventy-two receive a similar commission. It is also unreasonable to cite Matthew 28:20: 'teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you,' as if that authorizes the automatic applicability of those passages to all believers. Why? Because the same commissions to the twelve and the seventy-two also included prohibitions against going to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, and commands to take no bag for the journey, etc. Sound exegesis requires that the historical details and fine points of the ministries of the first disciples must be thought through and their full theological significance thoroughly studied before single texts are cited as if they applied to every believer and circumstance. It is in these details that 'Word-Faith' and the Charismatic movement in general has failed repeatedly to show even reasonable restraint, resulting in a mass of false 'signs and wonders' which are dishonouring to God.
There is an important sense in which the first disciples' ministry, even before the cross, was an extension of Jesus' ministry and a pre-figuring of the coming kingdom. This was part of the revelation of the Son and, although the application of the text to all Christians is fraught with difficulties (unless we want to apply everything in these chapters to all Christians and are prepared to deny that there was nothing special reserved for the first followers of Jesus), there is nothing to suggest that it would be impossible for any other believers, after the resurrection, to be gifted in similar ways.
What about the 'greater things' that Jesus spoke about in John 14:12? 
Kenneth Copeland has heretically declared that the 'born again Jesus' went into Hell to defeat Satan and that he (Copeland) - as a 'born again man' - could have done exactly the same! No doubt this helps to give rise to the 'Word-Faith'/Vineyard view you espouse which denigrates the status of a born again Christian but, much more devastatingly, insults our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ unforgivably, being a sin against the Holy Spirit [Mark 3:29 (KJV) - But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation]!
There is an incredible testimony to the position the born again Christian has in Christ in Matthew 11:2-15. Continuing from v4-6, where Jesus answered the Baptist's questions by referring to his own ministry in terms of two passages from Isaiah, Jesus then turned to the crowds and spoke to them about John. As John bore witness to Jesus, so Jesus now bears witness to John - but it is witness of a special type. Jesus asks a number of rhetorical questions regarding the expectations of the crowds when they went to see John in the desert. The final question leads Jesus to affirm that John the Baptist was a prophet (11:7-9) - indeed, 'more than a prophet.' How was he more than a prophet? The Baptist is more than a prophet, Jesus insists, because John not only spoke the Word of God, but was someone of whom the Word of God spoke. Jesus cites Malachi 3:1: John is the one of whom the prophet Malachi said: 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you' (Matthew 11:10). That is what makes John the Baptist more than a prophet. In fact, Jesus does not hesitate to offer this staggering evaluation of John: 'Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he' (11:11).
The second part of the verse shows that Jesus means John is the greatest born of woman up to that time. From the time of the kingdom onward, John is outstripped in greatness by the least in the kingdom. Still, the first part of the verse must have raised a few eyebrows in the first century. It means that, in the evaluation of Jesus, John the Baptist is greater than Moses, greater than King David, greater than Isaiah, greater than Jeremiah, and greater than Solomon. Why? Bearing in mind the quotation from Malachi, the only possible answer is that John the Baptist is the greatest because to him was given the task and privilege of pointing Jesus out more clearly than all before him. True, on Jesus' reading of the Old Testament, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Solomon had all pointed to Jesus in one fashion or another, but John pointed out just who Jesus was in time, on the plane of history, before his peers. That is what made him the greatest person born of woman to that point in history. The brief assessment reported by the fourth evangelist is pertinent: 'Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. Here he stayed and many people came to him. They said, 'Though John never performed a miraculous sign [emphasis and italics added], all that John said about this man was true.' And in that place many believed in Jesus' (John 10:40-42). This means, of course that, although it is true to speak of Jesus' witness to John, it is a peculiar witness indeed: He is in fact using John to point afresh to Himself. The Baptist's entire greatness turned on the clarity of his witness (owing to his position in redemptive-history) to Jesus - and in no way to any 'signs and wonders'! How then, can anyone put emphasis on 'signs and wonders' - or anything of 'power' that the believer can do - when Jesus puts this emphasis and importance on our position as born again believers?
And then Jesus adds that 'he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he' (Matthew 11:11). For the comparison to be meaningful, the categories of 'greatness' must be the same as those that applied to John the Baptist. The least in the kingdom are greater than John because even the least in the kingdom can point Jesus out more clearly and with greater depth than could the Baptist. All born again Christians live this side of the cross and resurrection; none of us should be slow to affirm that Jesus is simultaneously the conquering king and the suffering servant, the Davidic king and the priest in the order of Melchizedek, the sovereign Lord and the Sacrificial Lamb, the crucified Messiah and resurrected Saviour.
That is what establishes the Christian's greatness: to us has been given the indescribably great privilege of bearing witness to Jesus' Person and work. It does not depend on performing miracles, as John the Baptist's greatness did not depend on performing miracles (John 10:40-42): it depends on the privilege of knowing God in Christ Jesus, this side of the cross and resurrection, this side of the dawning of the promised kingdom.
There is no warrant for concluding that the children of the kingdom must not perform 'signs and wonders' (in the generic sense) in their witness to who Jesus is, on the ground that John the Baptist did not. What is entirely clear, however, is that greatness in Jesus' mind is not tied in any way to the performance of miracles. The greatest person born of woman until the dawning of the kingdom performed no miracles, but pointed Jesus out more immediately than all before him. The least in the kingdom is still greater than he, for the obvious analogous reason: he or she can point Him out with even greater clarity because of the fuller revelation we have in the New Testament. That is tremendously humbling; it is staggeringly Christ-centred; it establishes that proclamation of the truth about Jesus (i.e., the gospel) is fundamental to our significance. But here is the rub - those who present 'another gospel', 'another Spirit', and 'another Jesus' (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:4), as the 'Word-Faith' teachers do, can never be justified or share in all the promises of the new birth in Christ in any way - even though they claim to perform miracles, prophecy, etc., in His name.
Some Christians today are fooled by simple counterfeit 'signs and wonders' - so how thoroughly will they be fooled by the real Anti-Christ?! 
What about the 'greater things' of John 14:12? In the farewell discourse Jesus says, 'I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these [italics added], because I am going to the Father' (John 14:12). The passage has become a more or less standard proof text, not only in many traditionally charismatic circles but also for many in the Vineyard. As well as considering what the text means, it is worth mentioning what it can't mean. First, it cannot simply mean more works: that the church will do more things than Jesus did. There are perfectly good ways to say that sort of thing in Greek, and John did not choose any of them. Second, it cannot mean more spectacular works or the like - though some such meaning seems to be assumed by many Vineyard people. We must remember that Jesus walked on water, raised the dead (in Lazarus's case, after he had been dead four days), fed five thousand from a small picnic lunch, and turned water into wine. There is clearly no one in the Vineyard, or anywhere else for that matter, who claims, with any sort of public attestation at all, that he is performing more spectacular miracles than these. No single person has ever matched them and no group has, or is, collectively matching them. In fact, it is difficult to imagine what kinds of miracles could possibly be classed as more spectacular than these.
Interpretative clues to the meaning of the passage are provided by the context. First, the verse before verse 12 must not be ignored: 'Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles [literally, 'works,' which, in the Gospel of John, include miracles] themselves' (14:11). In this context, the 'greater things' (v12) that believers will perform derive their relative greatness from the fact that they are performed after the cross and resurrection for which Jesus is at this point preparing His followers. Both Jesus' words and His deeds were somewhat veiled during the days of His flesh, as the previous verses make clear. Even His closest disciples misunderstood much of what He was saying and doing. But in the wake of Jesus' glorification and the descent of the Spirit (themes that dominate Chapters 14-17), the words and deeds of Jesus' followers, empowered by the Spirit of truth, the Paraclete, will take on a clarity, and thus a 'greatness,' that necessarily eluded some of Jesus' words and deeds in the period before the cross. The words and signs of Jesus could not be as effective before the cross as they become after, when they are reported, in the wake of Jesus' exaltation and His gift of the Spirit. In the same way, Jesus' followers perform 'greater things' (the expression is ambiguous enough to include more than miracles), precisely because they belong to the period of greater clarity, of less ambiguous witness to Jesus. In short, the argument is similar to that of Matthew 11.
This interpretation is also confirmed by the causal clause at the end of the verse. When Jesus says His followers will do 'greater things' than those He is doing 'because I am going to the Father,' He cannot possibly be understood to mean that they will somehow have greater scope for their wonderful efforts because He will have faded from the scene and abandoned the stage to them. Rather, their works are classed as greater precisely because Jesus is going to the Father - a category in the fourth gospel that embraces His death, resurrection, and exaltation. They belong to that post-exaltation period.
There is also an important parallel in John 5:20: 'For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all he does. Yes, to your amazement He will show Him even greater things than these' (exactly the same Greek expression as here). The context of 5:20 shows that the 'greater things' the Father will show the Son, and that the Son will manifest to His followers, are displays of resurrection and judgment (5:17, 24-26). And this life-giving power of the Son turns on His death, resurrection, and exaltation - described by John as His 'glorification.'
In short, the greater things that believers do include all their words and works empowered by the Spirit and performed this side of the Son's exaltation. They are greater precisely because they bear witness most tellingly to who Jesus is (the witness theme occurs throughout this gospel, not least in these chapters, e.g., 15:26-27). Doubtless they may include miracles, but there is not a scrap of evidence to restrict those 'greater things' to miracles, and certainly not to miracles that are judged more spectacular than those of the Lord Jesus.
So, apart from the faulty Christology and other aberrations of the 'Word-Faith' and Vineyard movement, we have ample Scriptural evidence that contradicts their approach to miracles supposedly wrought in the 'power' of the Holy Spirit. Few movements in the history of the church have been entirely good or entirely bad and to expect all the leaders of these movement to be only heroes or villains would be naive. Many have made similar claims to those of today, claiming that the kingdom has come in its fullness in and through their ministries. In other cases, too, the theology was decidedly aberrant (e.g., Montanus, who led a 'prophetic movement' that began around 172 A.D. and insisted upon the continuation of the gift of prophesy and ecstatic utterances through 'the Spirit'). At the very least, even when nothing essential was denied, the balance of Scripture was decidedly skewed. It appears, not surprisingly, that whenever part of the church experiences a measure of genuine renewal the renew quickly leads into forms of sheer subjectivism and, ultimately, major deception (cf. Paul's warnings to the Ephesian ekklesia in Acts 20:28-31).
The distinction of these movements does not lie in prayers and healing sessions for the sick because we know of countless prayer meetings where a large part of the prayers have been for the healing of illnesses of friends, relatives, and those in far-of lands. But those who insist that 'signs and wonders' must be part of every normal Christian gathering put the onus on healing to such an extent that people lose their objectivity and begin to make many false claims. This has spawned dozens of foolish and death-dealing claims - and blatant frauds - which are an affront to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Witnesses would testify equally stridently that remarkable healings take place outside the meetings of 'Word-Faith' and the Vineyard (and other related) movements but there is such a lack of objectivity that real figures that would withstand scientific scrutiny do not exist. People tend to forget that the healings recorded in Scripture are of men and women with an attested record of sickness. If you are 'blind from birth' (John 9:1; cf. Matthew 9:27ff.), have 'an issue of blood (that is on medical record as having been of 'twelve years' duration (Mark 5:25), or have a clearly visible 'withered arm' (Matthew 12:10) - and then you are miraculously healed in front of witnesses - nobody can argue about it! This is not the case with 'healings' and 'prophesies' from these movements who trumpet most loudly about their 'anointed' successes. Again, here is the rub - the miracles of Scripture are backed up by evidence - by facts!
We see a constant stream of excuses when followers die when they were supposedly healed, or false prophecies fail repeatedly! 
If you want to provide indisputable evidence that the Holy Spirit really works miracles for the men and women you would defend, you could start by supplying absolutely solid, incontestable, evidence of just one healing or prophecy worked at their hands! That these movements are not even good counterfeits of true Christianity is shown by their inability to even do that - and this is something that should seriously concern every Christian who loves their brother and sister in Christ. If some Christians today are so easily fooled by the deceptions of movements that cannot even supply simple counterfeit 'signs and wonders', how thoroughly will they be fooled when the Anti-Christ of Scripture comes (2 Thessalonians 2:3)?
Only those who seek maturity turn constantly to the Scriptures rather than appeal to 'experiences'. It has truly been said that the Christian follows the 'experience of authority' while the deceived follow the 'authority of experience'. It is noticeable that these movements have a two-tier form of Christianity, based on a second-blessing theology in which only some Christians enjoy an 'inside track' with the Spirit (however expressed). Endless testimonies are of the 'before-I-entered-the-Vineyard/'Word-Faith'/ministry of Brother or Sister X-and-after-I-entered-the-Vineyard/'Word-Faith'/ministry of Brother or Sister X' variety. There are no prizes for guessing which side is more spiritual, powerful, effective, godly, and so forth. This goes beyond the normal Christian testimony about the changes that take place when the individual meets Christ. So many of these testimonies deal with self-perceived improvements effected by connection with these 'anointed' ministries and result in a practical two-tier system of spirituality which is always a sign of cultic tendencies similar to that exhibited by the system of the Jehovah's Witnesses who have 144,000 'born again believers' - and the second-class left-overs! Thus they foster an inner ring syndrome that caters (however unwittingly) to spiritual arrogance and tends toward divisiveness, but it does so on the basis of a certain perception of the nature of spirituality and heavy emphasis on the special 'power' they believe they enjoy. This focus on power caters to the infatuation with triumphalism and loses perception of the Scriptural fact that God's power is perfected in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), that we triumph as we endure - and frequently that we conquer as we suffer. There is little call to self-denial, to the way of the cross, and this is extremely apparent in much of the evidence from these ministries.
On the basis of the Biblical evidence these movements have focussed on the gifts of the Spirit found in 1 Corinthians 12-14 etc., and elevated their counterfeit 'signs and wonders' to a place of central importance. 'Signs and wonders' are part of the Christian Biblical heritage and there is no way we should forget the exhortation of Paul to seek the greater gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31), but to elevate them to what is central is to lose the central focus of our message which is always the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel, or at least to obscure both!Many contemporary Christians seek unity with other 'Christians' who 'speak in tongues' without regard to their false doctrines and practices! 
Undoubtedly one of the paradigms of freeing people in the New Testament is healing. But the modern propensity to speak of virtually every act of transformation as a 'healing' tends to squeeze out other paradigms - freeing people from the slavery of sin, forgiving debts, bringing them into new birth and life, and much more. Above all, these models are all tied in the New Testament to the cross. It is virtually impossible to imagine a Vineyard or 'Word-Faith' preacher saying, with Paul: 'I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified' (1 Corinthians 2:2). Indeed, in scores of their public meetings, where checks have been made as to the place given to the cross (in hymns, songs, prayers, and preaching), this element, which is so foundational to New Testament Christianity, scarcely registers on the scale of what is important - even though, no doubt, no supporter of 'Word-Faith'/Wimber etc. would openly disown its importance.
Although these movements acknowledge the existence of the Biblical passages that warn against false 'signs and wonders', and sometimes mention the Scriptural tests that distinguish between the true and the false, they fail to accurately consider the different varieties of falseness. The choice, as has been shown, is not always between the divine and the demonic. There can be genuine 'signs and wonders' pursued by thoroughly corrupt teachers with matching motives - and there can be 'signs and wonders' which are allowed by God but designed to test our faithfulness (Deuteronomy 13:1ff.). Above all, Biblical warnings against the deceptiveness of some 'signs and wonders' must be taken more seriously.
Among the tests to be applied (certainly not an exhaustive list) are these:
Do these displays of power give glory to God or to people (cf. John 7:18; 8:50; 17:4)? Anyone watching the stage 'performances' of the average 'Word-Faith' teacher will quickly work out that the exaltation of leaders occurs to a dangerous degree.
Do those involved display the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25)? Do they walk in the way of love (cf. 1 Corinthians 13)? See the words of the leaders when they are challenged to prove their claims; the genuine power of God ultimately transforms us into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
Do those involved in these displays of power clearly submit to the Lordship of Christ (James 2:14-19; 1 John 2:3-5; 5:3)? Obviously they profess Christ, but their lack of obedience to His Word cannot lie (Matthew 7:21-23).
Do their displays of 'power' edify others and foster the unity of the church (1 Corinthians 12-14)? Do not apply this test simplistically: divisions sometimes occur for valid reasons, as Paul explains (1 Corinthians 11:19), but the New Testament holds the unity of the church in high regard. It is very noticeable that supposedly charismatic 'super churches' grow by sucking immature believers from 'weaker' churches. The projection of an image of spiritual superiority, of an inner ring, is potentially destructive of both love and sound doctrine.
Do these displays of 'power' drive people to the Jesus of the gospel, to Jesus crucified, risen, exalted? Or is the Jesus who is praised 'another Jesus', one largely detached from the gospel? Do people in the movement expect men and women to be transformed by the message of the cross or by powerful signs? (1 Corinthians 1:18 - 2:5). How do the public meetings of the movement display the commitments of the leaders in this regard?
Other tests could be added. Are the leaders genuinely accountable? We see a constant stream of excuses when followers die when they were supposedly healed, or false prophecies fail repeatedly. Do they correct themselves as they grow in maturity (note, Benny Hinn's supposed repentance from heretical doctrine was short-lived), or are they largely impervious to advice and surround themselves with 'Yes' men. Do the 'Word-Faith'/Vineyard movements strive for Biblical balance and proportion, or are they bed-fellows of heterodoxy? When Jesus castigated the Pharisees, He did not belittle their scrupulous commitment to apply the tithing laws even to the herbs grown in the garden, but criticized them for scrupulously observing the tithing laws while ignoring the far weightier matters of justice, mercy, and faithfulness (Matthew 23:23-24).
The Corinthians were so obsessed with the blessings and gifts they had received in Christ that they overlooked the blunt fact that Christianity has a 'not yet' as well as an 'already.' They thought they had it all already (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:8-13) with the result that they had few categories for future hope, laid no emphasis on death to self-interest and self-fulfilment. It is as unlikely to see Corinthians delighting in Mark 8:34-38 as it is to see the 'new Corinthians' of the 'Word-Faith'/Vineyard movements embracing these teachings:
34Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels.'
The Corinthians could not defend themselves against the deceptive sins of their culture anymore than the 'Word-Faith'/Vineyard movements manage. They are blown every-which-way by 'gold teeth', 'gold sprinklings' and other fools gold as they go against this Scripture and actually seek to 'gain the whole world' (see their quotes about wanting the wealth now!) - and in the process they do indeed lose their souls!
The emphasis put on 'signs and wonders' (in the generic sense) ignores the fact that, even if they were always genuine, they are nowhere near as central as adherents profess. Occasional causes of faith include any number of personal experiences: e.g. personal tragedies, faith proven in good works, or a basic, powerful, argument from Scripture. Biblical evangelism is not substandard when it comes with an absence of 'signs and wonders'. The serious imbalance in this area in the 'Word-Faith'/Vineyard movements leads to distortion of the gospel itself. The emphasis on 'signs and wonders' makes it difficult to articulate and teach a theology of suffering, faithfulness, perseverance, the cross, and of the Word of God and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit - all of which are far more central to Biblical thought, and far more important to Christian maturity, than the power of 'signs and wonders' to serve as an occasional cause of faith.
Notice how these heretics all attack - and even desire the deaths - of those who point out their doctrinal errors!!! 
What does Scripture warn us of? Not of those who 'cause division' - as so many heretics accuse in their sad attempts to divert the truth away from themselves by misquoting Scripture. Our complaint against the 'Word-Faith'/Vineyard movements majors on doctrines - their teachings. They are either true or false. A true doctrine cannot be divisive in a harmful way, for that characteristic applies only to false teachings, as Scripture makes clear when quoted fully:
'Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them' (Romans 16:17 & 2:8-9).
Divisions are caused when you stand for the truth! Jesus, who is the Truth, can only be known in truth by those who seek the truth (John 14:6; 18:37; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Deuteronomy 4:29). Christ himself caused division (Matthew 10:35; John 7:35, 43; 9:16; 10:19) - division between truth and error (Luke 12:51). If there is division in the body it is caused by some following the truth and others rejecting the truth of doctrinal teaching, while those whose behaviour reflects their rejection of the truth will show this in their rejection of members of the body (1 Corinthians 12:24-26):
24 But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
Paul was inspired to write (1 Corinthians 11:19):
For there must [or 'have to be' - NIV] also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you.
Because people from every walk of 'Christian' life today are fellowshipping together, does this lead to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ being spread abroad as never before - or at least in ways comparable to the past centuries?
Among today's Protestants (especially 'Charismatics') there is a growing spirit of ecumenism which embraces as 'brothers in the faith' anyone who 'speaks in tongues,' without regard to their false doctrines and practices. At large charismatic 'unity' conferences many participants, and a significant number of leaders, are Catholics - and the call for 'unity' is not on the basis of the true faith once for all delivered to the saints, but 'signs and wonders' and an agreement not to question one another's doctrine. These 'Conferences on the Holy Spirit' result in a historic rejection of the Reformation and the issues for which millions gave their lives! How is it that eternal truths for which the martyrs died can be set aside as though of no importance, while a substitute, counterfeit, 'positive' gospel of prosperity or self-esteem can grow so rapidly in acceptance? In many respects the Protestant church today appears to be in worse condition than the Catholic Church of Luther's day.
So it was with those in Jerusalem (John 2:23-25) who 'believed in His name, when they saw the miracles which He did.' They believed He was the Messiah but had a false view of what that meant. 'Jesus did not commit himself unto them' because He knew what was in their hearts and that they would not believe the truth. We see the same error from those in John 6, who, because Christ had healed and fed them, wanted to 'take him by force to make him [their] king' (John 6:15). There were many who called themselves His 'disciples' (today they would be called 'Christians') who had a false view of the Messiah, and when He tried to explain the truth to them, would not hear it but 'went back and walked no more with him' (John 6:66). We learn from Christ how to handle the multitudes who want to follow Him for the wrong reasons. We must do today what He did then. Many came 'forward' to tell Jesus they believed in Him and would follow Him faithfully, but what was this gospel that He preached: 'The foxes have holes and the birds have nests, but I have nowhere to lay my head' (Matthew 8:20). How different this is from the mansions coveted by so many leaders of the contemporary Charismatic movement. Today we fill the churches with multitudes who imagine that Christ's mission is to make them feel good about themselves by building up their self-esteem, answering their selfish prayers and fulfilling their self-centred agendas. The Reconstruction/Kingdom/Dominionists are more confused than John the Baptist, though their error is similar. They refuse to walk in the rejection of Christ, bearing the reproach of His cross, because that would be 'defeatism.' They imagine we're in the millennial kingdom already and are supposed to act like 'King's kids.' They think it is our task to establish that Kingdom through taking 'dominion' over the media, educational institutions and political leadership. The 'signs and wonders' promoters, from Oral Roberts to the late John Wimber, imagine they are in the process of taking dominion over all disease and even over death itself without the resurrection and return of Christ. It is all very positive and ecumenical - and death-dealing! Christian lobbyists such as Bob Grant of Christian Voice and the American Freedom Coalition in Washington, D.C. are willing to work with Moonies and Mormons and all others who are in favour of bringing traditional values back to America. In defence of such folly, Christian leaders stoutly defend the correctness of working with all those 'who call Jesus Lord.' They seem to forget that Christ said: 'Many will say to me ... Lord, Lord, have we not ...in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me...' (Matthew 7:22-23). There are multitudes, such as Mormons and Catholics (to say nothing of many Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, et al) who call Jesus 'Lord' but are not saved.
It is not many years since Paul and Jan Crouch welcomed three Catholics to their 'Praise the Lord' programme - two priests and a woman lay leader. Paul Crouch displayed his usual naiveté and incredible ignorance of theology by smoothing over any differences between Protestants and Catholics as 'simply matters of semantics.' In his eager embrace of Transubstantiation, a heresy so great that thousands died at the stake rather than accept it, he declared: 'Well, we [Protestants] believe the same thing. So you see one of these things that has divided us all of these years [Transubstantiation] shouldn't have divided us all along because we were really meaning the same thing but just saying it a little differently ... I[am] eradicating the word 'Protestant' even out of my vocabulary. ... I'm not protesting anything anymore ... it is ... time for Catholics and non-Catholics to come together as one in the Spirit and one in the Lord.' Sadly, he is ignorant of the false gospel of Catholicism - 'another gospel' (Galatians 1:6-9) of salvation by works and ritual through the essential mediation of the Cult of Rome. Let us remember what Christ said to those who believed on Him: 'If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free' (John 8:31-32). It is that truth which we are called upon to proclaim in clarity and power.
Where are the church leaders who should be protecting the flock by specific warnings against false teachers and false 'miracle workers'? 
What happened to the 'Third Wave Prophets' who arrived with a flood of 'new revelations'? The 'Latter Rain' movement (a revival of an old heresy) rekindled with astonishing speed in association with the Vineyards and Kansas City Fellowship under the influence of 'prophets' such as John Wimber, Paul Cain (former associate of William Branham), Rick Joyner, Mike Bickle and others. These men joined Hinn and Kenneth Copeland in their threats towards those who refused to be duped by their lying 'signs and wonders'. Copeland strongly implied that those who resist God's 'move' could be making a fatal mistake:
"One of these days, you may just be talking to someone, asking them how my sin caused Christ to pay such a great price. The shedding of Christ's blood, with which we were redeemed, was not because things went at church last Sunday, and they may say, 'Oh it was great! The glory of God was so strong it healed ten cripples, opened the ears of thirty deaf people, cured seven cases of cancer and killed Brother Bigmouth and Sister Strife'.... When the fire of God begins to burn and the rivers of the Spirit start to flow...he'll either have to yield to the Spirit ...or he'll have to resist the flood of God's Spirit and be swept away" (Voice of Victory, Oct 94).
Strange how often 'Word-Faith' heretics desire the death of those who do not go along with their heresies and dare to point out their blatant errors? A very different spirit from that demonstrated by the Lord Jesus Christ who rebuked those who expressed that kind of threat to those who did not accept them (Luke 9:54).
Heretic Paul Cain's roots go back to the origins of the Latter Rain movement which was referred to as: 'The last great outpouring that was to consummate God's plans on this earth.' As a 'prophet' of the Kansas City Fellowship/Vineyard prophetic movement, he issued the body of Christ this warning:
'Don't speak a word against signs and wonders and the prophetic ministry in these last days or God's zeal will chasten you!' (Christ for the Nations, Sept 89).
Rick Joyner, another advocate of 'what the Holy Spirit is doing today,' added his 'prophetic' challenge:
If the leaders resist this move the Lord will continue it through the congregations. These groups will begin to relate to the other members of the body of Christ and their bonds will grow stronger, regardless of the resistance or warnings of their pastors. Some pastors and leaders who continue to resist this tide of unity will be removed from their place....Some that were used greatly of God in the past have become too rigid in doctrinal emphasis ... to participate in this revival. ...Those who are linked together by doctrine ... will quickly be torn away (Restoration, May/ June 88).
In Vengeance is Ours, by Al Dager of Media Spotlight, he documented the false teaching that those who criticize or oppose the 'New Wave' of God's Spirit are either possessed or oppressed by a 'Jezebel spirit,' or are into witchcraft. He quoted Rick Joyner:
This is the year when the Lord starts to bring down the spirit of Jezebel. He will begin by calling her to repentance. Those who have become vessels for this spirit, and who do not repent, will be displayed as so insane that even the most immature Christians will quickly discern their sickness. ... The source of witchcraft against us may not be the obvious satanic cults or New Age operatives. It can come from well meaning, though deceived, Christians who are praying against us instead of for us (p149-150)
Rodney Howard-Browne gave this 'prophecy' at New Life Centre:
'Do not compromise. For if you compromise, you shall not only lose the anointing that I placed upon you, you shall lose your life.'
These are only a few of the many indications that there is a very disturbing side to what John Wimber called 'a refreshing' or 'a renewal.'
The damage to the church caused by the heresies of John Wimber and the 'Vineyard Movement'! 
Increasing numbers of churches submitted themselves to these 'prophets' in a rapidly growing discipleship movement based upon 'signs and wonders' which brought back dangerous heresies in the name of holiness and unity. In a dream, Paul Cain supposedly saw God put His Spirit upon President Clinton and change him into another man - just as He did Saul of old! An entire issue of Rick Joyner's The Morning Star Prophetic Bulletin was dedicated to this 'prophecy.' It was revealed to Cain that God had chosen Clinton to lead the United States into a new spiritual dimension, provided Christians pray for him. The future headlines of five specific newspapers were allegedly given in the dream to validate it. Does that mean the prophecy is from God? Obviously not! Even false prophets (Paul Cain has made many false prophecies) can make some correct predictions (Deuteronomy 13:1-3). Cain's mentor - 'prophet/healer/miracle worker' William Branham - was declared a heretic by the Assemblies of God over 40 years ago, yet was a forerunner of Hagin/Copeland/Hinn and the whole 'Word-Faith' and healing movements. In spite of Branham's numerous and serious heresies, Cain praised Branham as 'the greatest prophet of the twentieth century.' In fact, Cain, like Wimber and other 'prophets' associated with the Vineyard movement, continued to teach the Branham/Manifest Sons heresy that a 'new breed' of overcomers known as 'Joel's Army' would attain immortality without the resurrection or Rapture and, because no one can kill them, will virtually take over the world. Cain's testimony of numerous childhood spirit visitations and miraculous powers sound clearly occultic. This supposed latest vision had a built-in escape clause: it would happen only 'if the church prays for it.' If it fails, the church's lack of prayer, instead of the 'prophet,' could be blamed! Again, the 'Emperor's New Clothes' scam! Rather than coming from God, the dream attempted to further the Manifest Sons delusion promoted by Cain and other 'prophets' that we are on the verge of the great 'last-days revival.' Empowered to perform signs and wonders such as the world has never seen, the 'new breed/ Joel's Army' will supposedly convert entire nations. Clinton was to be one of the generals in Joel's Army! Apparently even John Wimber became disillusioned with such prophecies, which he had earlier embraced wholeheartedly. Wimber and his team of 'prophets' descended upon England, for the October 1990 Docklands Conference, and had been preceded by a false Paul Cain prophecy of great revival in England. Convinced that the revival would spread from the conference across Europe, Wimber declared: 'As Jesus went into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, so He will return on the back of a victorious church. One in the eye for any dispensationalists among us!' This sad Scripture twisting came to nothing - of course! Wimber brought his four children to experience this great outpouring of the Spirit, but nothing of note happened - as usual. Wimber then broke his ties with Paul Cain, whom, for several years, he had regarded as God's special prophet to the Vineyard movement. Linking Clinton to Saul's being changed into another man (1 Samuel 10:6) hardly fitted the prediction that God's Spirit would empower Clinton to lead the country into blessing. Saul, in fact, though changed for a time by God's power, proved to be self-willed and disobedient and eventually led Israel into disaster. Interestingly, the New Age magazine Mind, Body, Spirit also contained a prophecy promising spiritual leadership from President Clinton at about the same time - but this 'prophecy' was clearly 'channelled' by Seth, a demonic entity long active in occultic circles. The world certainly knows now where Clinton's leadership led. After these false prophecies of Cain, which never happened, we have heard little of these men since (and nothing good!). Thank God!
Most Christians are probably unaware of Diane Sawyer's 'Primetime Live' exposé of three popular televangelists: W. V. Grant, Larry Lea and Robert Tilton. At the time, Tilton was taking at least $80 million a year by promising health and wealth to those who give to him. It is a sad day when the secular media accuses leading evangelicals of deliberate deception and seemingly documents the charges, thereby bringing reproach upon the gospel and our Lord. Why are millions of Christians so gullible as to support almost anyone who offers healing and prosperity, even though the promises are obviously un-Biblical, extravagant and almost always fail? Where are the church leaders who should be protecting the flock by specific warnings against false teachers and false 'miracle workers'? Why don't highly respected evangelical leaders bring desperately needed correction to their own ranks? One is reminded of televangelist healer Peter Popoff, who was such an obvious deceiver that it was embarrassing to watch him - yet church leaders allowed him to defraud the flock and bring reproach upon Christ. It was the atheistic humanists who exposed him years ago: magician James Randi, Paul Kurtz, et al. Popoff claimed 'revelations from God' enabled him to call out names, addresses, and ailments of those in his audience. In fact, his wife, Elizabeth, who circulated among the audience before the meetings gathering information, later broadcast the data at 39.17 Mhz. from the announcers' booths overlooking the various auditoriums into a sophisticated electronic device concealed in Popoff's ear. Randi and his team recorded the proof - and the evidence is now available on video. For example, in February 1986, at a crusade in San Francisco's Coliseum, when Peter Popoff made his grand entrance on stage amid shouted hallelujahs, Mrs. Popoff tested the equipment with these words: 'Hello, Petey. Can you hear me? If you can't, you're in trouble. I'm looking up names, right now.' During the 'healings' the flow of data into Popoff's ear went like this: 'She should be there on your right side. Right side. In the blue. She lives at 4267 Masterson, and she's praying for her daughter Joy, who's allergic to food.' Following these directions, laughter was heard coming from Elizabeth and Pam, the wife of Popoff's assistant Redford Shirrell - as Popoff repeated this information to the victim, pretending it was 'revealed' to him by God. Popoff should have been exposed and denounced by church leaders, but he wasn't! Even after he'd been unmasked by humanists as a deliberate fraud, Charisma carried his full-page ad, and deceived Christians continued to send this 'man of God' their support!
W. V. Grant followed a similar scam, calling out names, diseases and other details pertaining to specific individuals of whom he denied having prior knowledge, claiming to receive this information from God. In fact, he also used an old trick of gathering and memorizing data beforehand that he later presented as 'revelation knowledge.' Grant was also exposed years ago by Randi, Kurtz and their team. Yet Christian leaders continued to honour him. The irrefutable evidence that W.V. Grant, like Popoff, was operating a deliberate scam was first presented in two editions of the humanist magazine Free Inquiry, Spring and Summer, 1986. They followed up people whom Grant claimed to have healed, only to find that no healing had taken place. Actors whom they planted in the audience were 'healed' of make-believe ailments. Phony information which they had fed to Grant or his associates before the meeting was called out by Grant as 'revelation from God.' Grant even brought wheelchairs with him in which his ushers persuaded the elderly who were tired of walking to sit, on the promise of being wheeled down close to the front. It is these people who were dramatically called out of 'their wheelchairs' and made to run up and down as proof of their 'healing'! Those who actually came in their own wheelchairs left in the same manner, wondering why they weren't healed when so many others apparently were! Those on Grant's mailing list received the most outrageous letters telling how he had prayed for them individually (the computer inserted their names to make it appear like a personal letter) and offered methods of receiving a blessing that involved witchcraft-like rituals which are an insult to God. For example, one mailing included a large picture of 'Jesus' holding out his hands by a window, with the instructions to 'Touch my hands - I will touch yours' (supposedly based on Malachi 3:10), and claiming that this 'Jesus' promised: 'I will ... open you the 'windows of heaven'. ... Lay any unpaid bills and your wallet on these Nail Scarred hands of Jesus.' Everything must be returned with the largest offering possible, of course. Grant then took the offering 'to a certain window that the Lord is showing me, as I lay my hands where you lay yours.' Always a condition for receiving the 'blessing' is the 'seed faith offering' the un-Scriptural invention of Oral Roberts which is used by many other 'evangelists,' such as Marilyn Hickey, to persuade the gullible to give in order to reap 100-fold.
These are such obvious frauds, but when the real Anti-Christ comes with powerful lying 'signs and wonders' (2 Thessalonians 2:9), will these gullible people heed God's warning (Deuteronomy 13:1-3) that He allows false prophets to work 'signs and wonders' as a test to see 'whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul'? We already live in a time of such testing and only staying close to the Word of God will keep us close to the God of the Word and keep us from apostasy.
Where did these errors originate? Consider another aspect of Benny Hinn's deception: 'If you want a healing tonight for your finances you get to that phone now and say I want to make a pledge and I want Benny Hinn to pray that God will break the 'devil of poverty' over my life ... get to the phones now ... the quicker you do it the quicker your miracle comes. ...In the mighty name of Jesus we come against the 'devil of poverty' in your life ... !' A lesser-known TV evangelist promises, 'the power of the 'spirit of debt' will be broken in your life ... a supernatural power to get wealth will be loosed into your hands.' Neither diligence, prudence, a new job nor any other practical solution is needed. One needs simply to rebuke and bind the right 'demon' and money will flow into one's pockets. It does not seem to matter to them that there is no Scriptural precedent of 'demons' or 'spirits' having this power over the Christian's finances, or other matters! How devastating it is to the faith of those in a church where week after week the pastor and elders, in the name of Jesus, command healings that don't occur! We have watched these fraudsters command the Word of God to go out and heal all illness and financial lack in their audience. No Bible-believing Christian seriously thought it would happen - and it didn't! Such empty bravado can only please Satan and makes a mockery of God's Word! Yes, God still heals in answer to prayer, as He wills, but what audacity to command Him to do so! It is equally harmful to attempt to overcome sin with un-Biblical 'spiritual warfare' techniques. Of course, it's easier on the flesh, and the 'in' thing, to blame a demon rather than oneself. What the Bible calls the 'works of the flesh' are being blamed on demons. The 'demon of lust' or the 'demon of sex' or the 'demon of pride' has been cast out literally thousands of times from thousands of Christians. This grievous error denies Christ's indwelling, relieves the Christian of his own responsibility - and robs him of God's remedy! Fraudulent exorcisms seem to support the belief that genuine, walking by the Word and in the Spirit, Christians can be demonized and that victory over sin requires exorcism - but Scripture denies it. To those who 'believed on him,' Jesus said, 'If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free' (John 8:31-32). Instead, they resisted the truth and tried to stone Him! They 'believed' that Jesus was the Messiah - but they also had an un-Biblical concept of a Messiah who would conquer the Romans - and let them live in peace and prosperity. They refused to accept Him as their deliverer from the real enemy - self and sin within.
This is the end of material first included in our reply to Josephine Melrose (see explanation at top of page)
John Wimber's 'Power Evangelism' requires 'signs and wonders' for sinners to believe the gospel. Yet Romans 1:16 assures us that 'the gospel [itself] is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth [it].' Paul declared, 'It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe' (1 Corinthians 1:21). But the argument is that the gospel has lost its power to convert modern man and needs help not only from 'signs and wonders,' but demons, which supposedly afflict a large number of those seeking to come to Christ, must be bound as well. John Dawson writes, 'We need to overcome the enemy [Satan] before we employ other methods of ministry. . .' One of the most tragic examples of how this teaching corrupts the gospel is exemplified in Jack Deere, for 12 years on the faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary before he took the position of leading theologian in Wimber's Vineyard movement. He was interviewed by Graham Banister in Sydney, Australia, at a Spiritual Warfare Conference taught by Wimber and his team to 5,500 church leaders who each paid $150 to attend. Banister asked Deere how he would define the gospel, and was told, 'I'm not sure.' Banister goes on to relate that he was 'somewhat' stunned, and said, 'I find that quite surprising - that you're not sure what the gospel is.' He replied, 'I used to be just like you...thinking the gospel was simply justification by faith.' I responded, 'Are you saying it's more than that?...What would you add to it?' 'Deliverance,' he said, '...things like demons and healing.' I said, 'You would add as an essential part of the gospel...the exorcising of demons and healing?' He nodded. I continued, '... like what John Wimber was saying last night...?' 'Yes,' he said. 'But you're not sure exactly what should be included?' I asked. 'No,' he said, 'not yet.' 'Would it be fair to say' l asked, 'that you're in a state of flux since you joined the Wimber thing?' He responded, 'We're always in a state of flux....' 'But on the gospel message?' I asked: '...you couldn't go back into that pavilion and tell those people the gospel?' He replied, 'No - not yet.' I responded, 'When do you think you could do it?' And he said, 'Maybe five years, maybe ten....' It is incredible to learn that one of the leading minds, if not the leading theological mind in the 'Signs and Wonders Movement', did not know what the gospel was! Yet the gospel is the key to new life and victory! Believing the gospel, that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), sets us free from all that once bound us. We are to 'stand' (in Christ's victory) and to 'resist,' not attack, rebuke or bind Satan. We have no fear of him. Greater is He (the Lord) who is in us than he (Satan) who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Because we are 'crucified with Christ,' (and only because of that) Satan and his demons have no power over us. Christ has become our life. We need to stop struggling to live the Christian life, and trust Him to live His life through us in obedience to His Word! Christ neither 'rebuked' nor 'bound' Satan when tempted by him. He resisted him with the sword of the Spirit as clearly stated in Scripture, by saying: 'It is written.' We must do the same. The Word of God doesn't become effective in our lives by merely speaking it forth as a 'positive confession.' It must be understood, believed and obeyed in the power of the Spirit. It is the truth ('Thy Word is truth') that sets us free and keeps us free from the world, the flesh and the devil. And whom the Son sets free is 'free indeed' (John 8:36)!
John Wimber's 'signs and wonders' movement has long been a source of many of the heresies which have plagued the contemporary church. The encouragement towards experiential, emotional, even physical, 'encounters with God' is central to Vineyard ministry and has led to the error of putting the 'authority of experiences' above the 'authority of Scripture'. Many are slipping into experience-driven spirituality through their involvement in various forms of psychotherapy, failing to recognize that the psychologically influenced programmes in their own fellowships have a common experiential base. Furthermore, a great many of the therapies applied in church supported psychological counselling sessions are at least as experiential and often just as bizarre as the experiences occurring at Charismatic meetings.
The Bible - through the ministry of the Holy Spirit - is the believers' God-given resource for discernment, a Biblically mandated necessity for withstanding these end-time religious delusions. Without Biblical discernment, we're left only with fleshly reasoning, vain imaginations or subjective intuition (Proverbs 16:25):
'There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.'
The growing trend away from doctrinal absolutes, from conclusions based on Scriptural examples, and from any Biblical scrutiny or testing has created a vacuum rapidly being filled by experiential religion of the 'Word-Faith'/Vineyard movements. This translates into feelings becoming more and more the measure of what is of God and what is not. That trend can clearly be seen among those who express confidence that these 'experiences' are of God. When pressed for an explanation and for scriptural support, the responses sound more like wishful thinking. Rodney Howard-Browne reflects its experiential nature:
'You can't understand what God is doing in these meetings with an analytical mind. The only way you're going to understand what God is doing is with your heart.'
These sentiments are clearly un-Biblical, would be entirely at home in the Mormon cult, and were echoed by Episcopal rector Hugh Williams, who was changed by such experiences, endorsing them with this unwitting indictment: 'Words [including God's Word?] have become meaningless in our society. Signs and wonders are what must capture our attention'. Attention has certainly being captured - and at the expense of preaching the Word. Terry Virgo, a New Frontiers International director in England, wrote in a highly supportive Charisma article that the Lord gave Virgo's church the following prophecy: 'Prepare yourselves for disruption.' He added, 'Now, I'm a preacher who puts a very high value on Biblical exposition. But I have to admit that people are being changed more radically and completely through God's supernatural touch in these meetings than they ever have been through listening to me preach!' Both the prophecy and the implication of Virgo's statement run counter to the Scriptures: 'Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine' (2 Timothy 4:2). Sadly, Paul's Holy Spirit-given counsel is conspicuously absent in today's so-called Holy Spirit revival and Virgo clearly did not consider what Scripture informs us regarding prophecy:
1 Corinthians 14:31-33 (ASV) - For ye all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets; for God is not a God of confusion [Greek: ἀκαταστασία - akatastasía (pronounced - ak-at-as-tah-see'-ah) meaning: instability, disorder, commotion, confusion, tumult], but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints ...
And that certainly explains the problems with Virgo's preaching!
John Wimber expressed confidence that the 'experiences' that were taking place were from the Lord, but the basis for his confidence was highly questionable, since he admitted:
'There's nothing in Scripture to support these kinds of phenomena ... So I feel no obligation to try to explain it ... It's just people responding to God.'
This was an opinion expressed in an interview with Peter Jennings, when he was asked: 'Are you utterly, totally convinced that [the manifestations are] always the Holy Spirit?' Wimber replied, 'No. I'm largely convinced that it's the Holy Spirit, but I believe that it's a mixture of humanity and spirit.' What about the demonic - and who in the Vineyard is capable of discerning the difference? Jennings noted that 'at the Vineyard church we found that people were hungry for a faith they could feel.' Indeed, feelings reign supreme in this realm of 'signs and wonders.' People are attracted to the phenomenon because of emotional desires or feelings. They 'operate' in that realm guided by their feelings, and their argument that God is involved is based upon their feelings.
And that certainly explains the problems with Wimber's repeated contradictions!
The 'Word-Faith'/Vineyard movements are just part of the parcel of deception that seeks to destroy the only Biblical basis for unity - the truth. The Bible alone contains God's truth, which is revealed by the Holy Spirit to Christ's sheep (John 10:27; 1 Corinthians 2:11-16). God's Word is not only 'the truth'; it judges all that is false. Certainly experiences are not necessarily evil. They are, however, all subjective and must be scrutinized by means of the Word of Truth. Peter had a tremendous experience when he was in the presence of God on the Mount of Transfiguration, and it's worth noting that one of the experiential manifestations that took place is noticeably missing in the 'revivals' documented today: falling on one's face in fear of God.
Note, also, that the Scriptural 'falling in the Spirit' (aka - "Slain in the Spirit" or "Resting in the Spirit") is clearly on one's face and only backwards when God is making a judgement on those who oppose Him:
Numbers 22:31 (KJV) - Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.
Ezekiel 3:23-24 (KJV) - Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face. Then the spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spake with me, and said unto me, Go, shut thyself within thine house.
Ezekiel 43:2-3 (KJV) - And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face.
Ezekiel 44:4 (KJV) - Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD: and I fell upon my face.
Matthew 17:5-7 (KJV) - While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
John 18:4-6 (KJV) - Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward [Greek: ὀπίσω - opísō - meaning: aback, backward, behind], and fell to the ground.
Since other Scriptures do not specifically say in which direction people were falling, people believe they are on safe ground making the assumption that these other verses give the possibility of people falling backwards when the presence of God manifested in their presence. An 'argument from silence' is no argument at all and all the other 'arguments' used to try and support this practice are also based on experiential claims. Having counselled people who have suffered clear demonic attacks (e.g. oppression and depression) after attending 'Charismatic' meetings, we cannot find anything good to support claims for Wimber-like practices.
Peter makes it absolutely clear that, although he valued his personal experience, God's Word is utterly trustworthy - and totally necessary:
2 Peter 1:19-20 (KJV) - We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
Without that absolute basis for objective discernment, the experiential is a pathway to delusion (Psalms 119:104): 'Through thy precepts (Hebrew: commandment, statute) I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.' Biblical discernment of what is truly of God (Isaiah 8:20; Acts 17:11) is an absolute necessity for the believer in any age - and no less in these deceptive last days.
===================================================How the foolish laws that govern the airwaves allow 'Word-Faith' hucksters to fleece the ignorant and vulnerable!
The 'Word-Faith' hucksters mainly prey on the elderly and the poorest and neediest members of society!
How honest are the 'mighty vessels' you champion? Interestingly, unlike newspapers and other media, television and radio depend on using airwaves that belong to all of us. The Federal Communications Commission is charged with regulating these broadcasts in the public interest. The United Kingdom has a law that requires that the claims of healings and other supernatural phenomena must be verified before being broadcast. If only this law was applied worldwide we might see the end of these fraudulent ministries. Many American cities have laws that require that those who solicit more than 50 people must obtain a license from the city. TV and radio preachers, with massive direct mail campaigns, routinely break those laws. Many of the televangelists claim to raise money for a certain project, then use the money for something else - sometimes to buy property or items in their own name. People should urge their state comptrollers and the IRS to target these operations for tax violations. It is no surprise to see Hinn and Cerullo being investigated for such!
Ironically, television has both given exposure to, and exposed, this evil at the root of our society, and especially in the American church - a new kind of Roman paganism disguised in the form of televangelists. The same thing happened in the 1500s in Europe with a new and powerful technology - the printing press. A grotesque form of paganism in the church was exposed by the printed word - and it led to the Reformation.
Would a 'Word-Faith' proponent ever make the 'negative' confession that they were 'chief of sinners', as Paul did?!
Why should the church be ashamed of this $2.5 billion 'business' which claims to preach the gospel? Because these TV and radio evangelists are vying for a donor pool of about five million people. They mainly prey on the elderly (55% of the 5 million are elderly women) and 'the desperation pool' - the poorest and neediest members of society (who make up 35% of the 5 million). These are the people who are most desperate for a 'miracle' - the poor and elderly who are in danger of becoming homeless, those whose child or spouse has cancer or AIDS, in short, those who are experiencing the worst kinds of suffering. Some are so needy that they even send in their food stamps or their wedding rings. What kind of person can take advantage of these people in such a manner? Sadly, the remaining 10% of the 5 million are those who might be classified as upper-middle class, who want spiritual justification for their greed. Many city and state solicitation statutes are being broken by preachers who broadcast appeals on radio or television and then follow up with direct mail campaigns asking for money, without ever applying for or obtaining the required permits and licenses for that jurisdiction. There are also those who use the airwaves and their tax-exempt privileges to bolster their own political agendas and to financially support friendly candidates. Careful surveys of the programmes offered reveal that many religious broadcasters devote almost no time to what they claim to be presenting - 'the gospel.'
The Christian organisation, Trinity Foundation, has repeatedly been asked to help major television news teams such as PrimeTime Live, CNN, Inside Edition and A Current Affair to investigate televangelists such as Robert Tilton, Benny Hinn, Bishop Earl Paulk, Larry Lea, W. V. Grant and others. They established a toll-free hotline for victims of televangelist abuses that has received more than 5,000 calls. In 1988 they began The Dallas Project, a programme to challenge churches to meet the needs of the homeless by members taking needy people into their homes. The attendant publicity resulted in them being swamped with homeless people who revealed that many of them had given their last dollars to one of the 'Word-Faith' televangelists, betting on a spiritual 'roll of the dice' to get them one last break. They also received calls from many other ministries that had become the dumping ground for the discarded fruit of the televangelists. One woman had received an inheritance of $53,000 and, over time, sent one of the Word-Faith televangelists $49,000. When she fell on hard times, she went to his church and asked for help. He told her to go to a social service agency. Such utter callousness from someone claiming to be a man of God - and who declared the efficacy of 'Word Faith' and 'prosperity' - is astounding.
What a contrast to the true gospel. Jesus preached the very opposite of the Word Faith 'gospel':
'Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it' (Mark 8:34-35).
Paul echoed this in Philippians 3:7:
'But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.'
Why believe the pagan lie of duality, that God does only good things and any negatives in our lives come from Satan, that 'real' Christians never have to experience any discomfort, any struggle or depression or period of doubt. This pagan belief is un-Scriptural and robs us of the benefits of God's chastisement, for 'whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth' (Hebrews 12:6-8). Receiving that chastisement rather than running from it is so important that those who don't receive it are called 'bastards':
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Peter reminds us (1 Peter 4:12-13):
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
Why would Peter warn us to 'think it not strange' concerning the fiery trial that will come upon us; that we should expect persecution and testing and to count it joy to when we are 'partakers of Christ's sufferings'?
Scripture is clear that, if we do not suffer with Him, we will not reign with Him (Romans 8:19):
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
It is through chastisement that the seldom-seen fruits of perseverance, patience and long-suffering are developed. It is unlikely that we would ever hear a 'Word-Faith' proponent making the 'negative' confession that they were 'chief of sinners', as Paul did (1 Timothy 1:16), and it is for this reason that we doubt that such men and women have ever abandoned 'self' and thrown themselves entirely onto God's mercy.
This tendency towards paganism that lies just beneath the surface in the Church in America is glaringly apparent in the activities of the televangelists. One reason is that there is no accountability for televangelists. They are insulated from their audiences, and many times surrounded by body guards. It is difficult to compare their private lives with their preaching, to see if it matches, but when they do reveal their 'old Adam' to the world through their public outbursts the evidence is severely disappointing. Sometimes the 'board of directors' of their organisation is revealed to consist only of themselves, their wife and the secretary - a dangerous situation which is ripe for potential corruption of the kind that brought down Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart.
Another of their hallmarks is that they lie a lot. They falsify testimonials on their broadcasts. They conceal their health problems, while preaching that to be sick reveals a lack of faith. What would Jesus or Paul say to these men? The brazenness of these prophets of profit knows no end. One of their lawyers boasted that the U.S. Constitution gives them the 'right to defraud' the public in the name of freedom of religion. But the Supreme Court covered this ground more than 50 years ago. In one of its rulings, it stated:
'Nothing we have said is intended even remotely to imply that, under the cloak of religion, persons may, with impunity, commit fraud upon the public.'
If you complain that their 'gospel' doesn't work they tell you there is hidden sin in your life - or you have a demon oppressing you and an exorcism will be prescribed. The lives and messages of the televangelists reveal a progressively straying path toward paganism. Christians who seriously study the history of religions are used to seeing the vile evidence of shamanism, or the Papal Roman Catholic Church, taking money for their 'truth'. But who would ever have imagined seeing an ostensibly 'Protestant Christian group' taking money for delivering 'the gospel'? God has surely allowed them to come to prominence so the church can see the reflection of itself in them, and repent.
You write: 'You should never take a knife to a gunfight, and that is just what this Christian Expositor non-denominational, orthodox evangelical Christian group have done. I have back [sic] up the Word of Faith message using Scripture, it always was and always will be. How dare they call the Faith Message Cultic.'
TCE: You deceive yourself if you really believe that you have 'back[ed] up the Word of Faith message using Scripture' - or disproven the cultic nature of the 'Faith Message'! You have also forgotten that you aren't in 'a gunfight' and we haven't brought a knife against you - your fight is against a sword - 'the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God' (Ephesians 6:17; cf. 4:12; Matthew 10:34; Revelation 1:16 ; 2:12, 16; 19:15, 21), which has easily dismantled the false doctrines of the 'Word-Faith' teachers.
The most compelling evidence that the 'Word Faith'/Vineyard movements are aberrations from true Christian doctrine, and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, comes from the straightforward evidence that their teachings cannot stand comparison with Scripture. Not one of the 'unique' claims of the 'Word Faith' teachers has ever been shown to be supported by Scripture and it is telling that this is exactly the same situation that is found when the teachings of the cults are examined. True Christian doctrine is defensible, but we have seen absolutely no redeeming evidence to support the claims of the 'Word Faith'/Vineyard movements and therefore suggest that you make a long and serious examination of your beliefs in the absence of any material supplied by these ministries. Only the pure Word of God can set you free - and whom the Son sets free is 'free indeed' (John 8:36).
One thing you were right about: 'quit relying on others to tell ... what the truth is ... there are those out there that don't even have the brains God gave a Raccoon, and their [sic] claiming to be teachers of the Word.'
If only you seriously examined the claims of your 'mighty vessels' who you have relied on for the so-called gospel you preach and teach! And those 'vessels' have certainly revealed their less-than-Raccoon intelligence! God's unchanging Word reveals that, although the 'Word Faith' movement accepts most of the orthodox doctrines of Christianity, its dualistic world view and doctrines of human nature, Christ's atonement, and deification of the Christian, constitute major aberrations from historic Christianity. Anybody recognising these facts should follow the admonition of the Apostle Paul who was inspired to write (Galatians 1:8-9):
8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
In the Precious Name of the Lord Jesus Christ
Pastor Jeff replies: 19th June 2006
Thank you very much for your response, I look forward to reading it. I did start and it looks like it will be a very interesting study.
In His Service,
Sadly, we received no further response from 'Pastor Jeff'!
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