I want to tell you again what a tremendous impact this “New Gospel” (actually “Original Gospel”), of Jesus as the Saviour of the whole world, has had on my life. When my friend Irven Gerbrandt brought up the subject at our home Bible study it hit me like a bolt of lightening–as the truth! Unfortunately, most of the others in the group, including a young pastor, were quite unhappy and opposed to what was discussed. But for me it is new life. As I had said in my previous letter, I had already had an inner conviction some years back about the possibility of getting a chance to get right with God after death in those areas that we failed so much in this life. But I didn’t have much Biblical information (I haven’t been an ardent Bible studier), and I didn’t follow through on the thought. Let me give you some background on my life.
I am 67 years old and retired. I was born in a German Pentecostal home, and attended a small country German Pentecostal church until I was 21. We had no pastor, and the local farmers took turns preaching. Some were ok, but, as you also may be aware, there is nobody like the Germans for preaching hell-fire and brimstone sermons. And my dad was of the same nature. What I remember most is constant warnings that we had better live right, or we’re bound for hell! I did try to live right, but I never felt I succeeded. One day, when I was 18 or 19 a young woman evangelist was preaching a sermon about people who had committed the “unpardonable sin,” and how they wept and prayed and pleaded with God and tore out their hair and banged their heads against the wall–all to no avail. They were lost and bound for hell, and God would never listen to them again. Well, would you believe it, suddenly I felt the Spirit of God leave me, and I plunged into hell! I was now one of them. I too prayed and cried and pleaded, for almost 10 years, but it seemed God had indeed written me off. I lived in horror and agony, but I read the Bible and pleaded with God continually. But eventually, little by little, I was able to sense the presence of God again, and I felt there was hope.
One of the most amazing things in my life happened during the time of hopelessness. One night while I was asleep, after a particular time of agony, I had a vision of a Bible school. I was an ignorant country young man and knew of no Bible schools, but in my dream I saw one in complete detail. I saw every part of the building, every room inside, every door and window, every colour inside and out, and while I was walking through the building I came face to face with the devil. We stood and had an eye-to-eye battle that was one of the most intensive experiences I’ve ever had in my life. Finally, the devil dropped to the floor–and, would you believe it, he was a person I later went to Bible school with! Yes, I knew that the vision was meant for me to go to Bible school, so I went to a bigger town a distance from where we lived and went to see a Pentecostal minister and told him what I had experienced, and I asked him if he knew of a Bible school like that. And he did. It was one in Vancouver, so I applied immediately, and although it was just a few days from starting I was accepted. I won’t go into a lot of detail, but even during my three years in Bible school I still had great battles with despair and depression and the feeling that I still wasn’t fully accepted by God.
A few years after I graduated I was married, and we applied for a church to pastor. We got one in a very small place in northern BC. You would think that by now I should be on my way to a normal Christian life, especially being a pastor. But while I was preaching the doctrines I was taught I went through a powerful inner feeling that I didn’t believe what I was preaching! It was terrible. I again went into agony, and I prayed day and night with all the urgency I could. I was always saying, “please, God, I just want to be like all the other ministers and believe what I am preaching.” One late night, after particularly urgent praying, the voice of Jesus came to me with such force and said, “that’s exactly what I do not want you to be”!
So I resigned, and we moved to where we now live and got a job as a school bus driver. The next 35 years were up and down. I never felt I wanted to become a church member. I attended a variety of churches, and sometimes I didn’t go to church at all. In fact, I went through such spiritual battles that for a while I even tried to be an atheist. But that didn’t work either, because so many times when I went through my worst distress Jesus would come to me in a dream and deliver me from utter defeat. One of the greatest trials I had was struggling with great loads of guilt. I could never seem to get away from the feeling that I failed to please God, no matter how hard I tried. I think I know now what the basis of this bondage was. My dad made me feel I was lower than any of my neighborhood friends. Most of the sermons I listened to were along the line that we had better smarten up spiritually or God would be angry with us. But I believe there is even a more accurate basis for what I went through: I believe that God was preparing me to welcome and accept the true Gospel of Jesus Christ when it was introduced to me–to make me emotionally and spiritually ready to receive it.
Until about a year ago I went through hard times of depression. Then one day I attended a group of lay people in a worship service, and Jesus brought me a new deliverance, and He made it very clear to me that I was too much alone, and I should associate with fellow Christians. Since then I have joined in the ministry of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s group, and a church laymen’s ministry, and home Bible study. That too has lifted me spiritually, and I believe also helped to prepare me to receive the good news that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the whole world. I still do not feel that I should become a church member, but I do like to attend the worship services in a number of evangelical churches. I love the worship services, but many of the sermons don’t do a lot to lift me up or help me feel the presence of Jesus.
Now that I have learned much from the tapes and booklets you sent me I think I have a better understanding of the reasons why I–and maybe most Christians–had/have difficulty in living a victorious Christian life. We were/are always told that one of the most important acts we are to carry out is the love of God. “We should love our fellow believers, we should love our enemies, we should love the whole world,” and so on. But at the same time that is probably the greatest area in which we fail to practice what we are urged to believe and carry out. And that is what created a lot of guilt within me, and maybe in others too. So why can’t we succeed in this seemingly most important “law” of the New Testament?
I believe it is because although we accepted it outwardly, yet in our innermost being we couldn’t erase the suspicion that God Himself didn’t succeed in the love He expected us to practice. He claims to love the whole world, and He claims to have reconciled the whole world to Himself through Jesus Christ, and yet in the end He will plunge most of the world’s people into hell with wrath and anger! So how in the world can we, sinful, weak and faulty human beings, practice what God Himself cannot carry through?? But now I have a completely new understanding of what the love of God really is, and I can actually feel a love within myself for the whole world that I never experienced before. It is not because I am better or more righteous or holier than others, but because I now see the true Gospel of Jesus Christ for what it is—the salvation of the whole world. But now I’m faced with another challenge, and that is to tell the world what I believe.
The friends in our Bible study group know what I now believe, but the rest of the world doesn’t. Even my wife doesn’t because she works in the evenings we have our Bible study, and I haven’t had the guts to tell her because I think she will go into shock. I can’t help but feel that most of my Christian friends will reject me if they find out that I believe in this so called “satanic doctrine of universal salvation.” Well, maybe I’m wrong, and anyway one of these days I will have to make it known.
by Gary Amirault
“So then you must try to be like God, for you are his children and he loves you. Your life must be lived in love, and must have as its pattern the life of Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us, as a sacrifice and offering acceptable to God. Fornication and any kind of indecency or conscienceless greed should not even be so much as mentioned in your society, for it is not fitting for God’s consecrated people even to talk about things like that. You must have nothing to do with obscene language and with stupid talk. These things are not becoming for you. No! Gratitude to God should be the accent of your talk. For you are well aware that no one who is characterized by that greed, which has made gain its god, has any part in the kingdom which is Christ’s and God’s.
You must not allow anyone to mislead you with empty words. It is things like that which bring God’s wrath upon those who disobey him. You must not allow anyone to mislead you with empty words. You must never have anything to do with people like that. You were once all darkness, but now your connection with the Lord has made you light. You must behave as those who are at home in the light. For light brings as its harvest everything that is good and right and true. You must submit everything to the test of the approval of the Lord. You must have no share in the sterile deeds of darkness; you must rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:1-11, Barclay translation)
“Christ set us free, and means us to stay free. Take your stand on that, and never again submit to any yoke of slavery.
I, Paul, tell, you that, if you get yourselves circumcised, Christ will be no good to you. Once again I solemnly state to every man who gets himself circumcised that he is under obligation to carry out every item of the law. If you try to get into a right relationship with God through any legal system, you have by that very act severed your connection with Christ. You have removed yourselves from the sphere of grace. It is by the help of the Spirit that we eagerly await the hoped-for right relationship with God which comes from faith. Once a man becomes a Christian, whether or not he is circumcised is meaningless. What matters is faith working in love.
You were making excellent progress. Who stopped you obeying the truth? Whatever arguments were used to persuade you certainly did not come from the God who calls you. Once even the slightest infection gets into the society, it spreads until the whole society becomes infected. The fact that you and I are united in the Lord makes me completely confident that you will agree with me. But the person who is upsetting you will have to pay the penalty-and it does not matter who he is. As for me, brothers, if I still proclaim the necessity of circumcision as a necessity, then those who believe in circumcision would no longer find the cross offensive. I wish the people who are disturbing you would castrate themselves, let alone circumcise themselves! (Galatians 5:1-12, Barclay translation)
“Alexander the coppersmith did me a lot of harm. The Lord will give him what he has earned for what he has done. You too must watch him, because he bitterly opposed our message.” (2 Timothy 4:14,15, Barclay translation)
“You must realize that in the last days difficult times will come. There will be men who love nothing but self and money. They will be boastful, arrogant and abusive. They will have no respect for parents, and no gratitude to any man. They will be without reverence to God and without natural affection to men. They will be implacable in their enmities and slanderous in their words. They will be intemperate and savage. They will see nothing to love in goodness. They will be treacherous, reckless, inflated with conceit. They will love pleasure more than they love God. They will retain the outward conventions of religion, but they will consistently deny its dynamic. Refuse to associate with people like that. It is people like that who insinuate themselves into houses and thus get into the clutches of silly women, who are burdened by their sins of the past and driven by all kinds of desires, women who go from teacher to teacher, and who remain quite incapable of ever arriving at the knowledge of the truth. Jannes and Jambres rebelled against Moses, and they too rebel against the truth. They are men with corrupt minds and a counterfeit faith. But they will not get very far. Their folly will be publicly exposed as that of Jannes and Jambres was.” (2 Timothy 3:1-9, Barclay translation)
“I wish that you would bear with me in a little folly. Please do! I am jealous for you with God’s jealousy, for it was I who arranged your engagement to Christ as a chaste virgin to her one husband. But I am afraid that your minds may be corrupted, and that you may be seduced from your single-hearted devotion to Christ, just as the serpent with his clever lies seduced Eve. For, if someone comes and preaches another Jesus to you, different from the Jesus we have preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel you were given, you have no difficulty in tolerating it. I do not believe I am in any way inferior to these super-apostles. I may be inexpert in speech, but I am not in knowledge; and this is something that always and in all circumstances we have made perfectly clear.
I accepted a low place to enable you to have a high one, for I preached the good news to you, and I did not take a penny piece for doing so. Was this where I went wrong? I robbed other congregations by taking pay from them to enable me to serve you.” (2 Corinthians 11:1-8, Barclay translation)
If you are of the King James tradition, these scriptures may sound somewhat unusual. I find his phrasing very refreshing, even though some words he uses strongly indicate he is not an American, but rather from the British Isles.
William Barclay is an internationally-known Bible teacher whose 18-volume work Barclay’s Daily Study Bible, New Testament, is always among the best-selling commentary sets. As I mentioned in a previous article, Dr. Barclay discovered that Jesus Christ would reconcile all mankind unto Himself. It would have been nice if he had discovered that before He wrote this translation. It would have been even a better translation than it already is.
In the above scriptures, Paul gives many warnings. He speaks of “other gospels,” “other Jesus,’” “different spirit.” He even mentions names like Alexander the coppersmith, and the “super-apostles” who I am sure the Corinthians knew by name. These were not Hindu, or Moslem “super-apostles.” He was talking about people who considered themselves followers of Jesus Christ. He wished some of them would castrate themselves. He is saying these teachers are bearing bad fruit; he wished they would be cut-off from planting bad seed.
Nothing has changed. These same “super-apostles” are still here, only greatly increased in number. The “different gospels,” Jesus’ and spirit have increased in number, but they are spewing forth the same thing they spewed forth 1800 years ago. The “super-apostles” set up shop, brought forth hundreds of different gospels and today they are known as the 22,000 different denominations of Christianity. Any denomination that mixes law and grace stems from these “super-apostles” which Paul wished would castrate themselves so as not to spread their “other gospels and other Jesus’s.”
Well, they tried to shut Paul up over 1900 years ago-and almost succeeded. Paul’s gospel has been neatly covered up laying beneath the church in Jerusalem which preached a mixture of law and grace. It took me years to get out from underneath it. Those “super-apostles” are very forceful individuals. The systems they build are extremely effective in keeping people in fear and through fear, in bondage. It is very difficult to break free.
The other day, driving to the airport to pick up my wife, I turned on the radio which was tuned into a St. Louis station which was broadcasting a church service. The preacher was one of the most dynamic speakers I have heard in a long time. His primary message was that our words contain the power of life and death, they were containers for what is in our hearts. He was extremely funny. As I was trying to bring myself into his audience, I could tell he was using many facial and body expressions to make his points. He was extremely charismatic.
I used to be in the sales management field. This industry often used dynamic speakers to “pump up” the sales force for the week. We would give them motivational tapes designed to give them enough enthusiasm, motivation, and vision to get them through a job which required always being upbeat and positive.
This preacher had all the qualities to be one of these kind of speakers. As a matter of fact, he was one of those kind of speakers. Although this was a church service, his gospel was really the same gospel a sales manager would present to his sales force. It was a “prosperity message,” you know, the “name it claim it” kind of gospel. While I dislike this kind of teaching and believe it is a false gospel worshipping the god of Mammon instead of Jesus Christ, I must confess, I really enjoyed his performance. He had those same kind of qualities that made John Kennedy and Ronald Regan so likeable.
After laying the foundation of words being extremely powerful, a teaching often packaged under the “positive confession” label, he shifted gears into the area of gossip and slander. Here he really turned on his body language to describe some of those who spread this awful disease in the body of Christ, gossip.
Now gossip, slander, and false accusations are certainly something we should all stay away from and there is a proper place for this kind of teaching. But it was clear from his remarks and his manner of presentation, that he was creating the atmosphere that any criticism of his ministry would fall into those categories. By the time he was finished, I was astonished at what he had created. I couldn’t imagine anyone in his congregation challenging him in any way for fear of being labeled as “slanderer.”
It occurred to me that the way he defined things in his sermon, Paul was certainly a slanderer, Jesus with His “Woe to you pharisees, scribes, lawyers” would certainly have qualified Him as the devil himself. The prophets of the Old Testament would have been just sour old men who were jealous of the established successful churches.
I know a lot about the power of words, both from a natural and a spiritual point of view. They are indeed powerful. I also know that with my knowledge of the Bible, I have become good enough at using the Scriptures that I can make a strong point on both sides of almost any issue. I can teach we are not to judge and pull many powerful Scriptures to build my case starting with “Judge not.” I can make an equally good case that we are to judge starting with “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die.’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to have his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.” (Ezekiel 3:18)
I have become good enough at using words that if I want to justify myself about anything I can do it. I can also condemn the whole world, while saving myself. I have seen many do this, and they feel perfectly justified and Scripturally correct.
The preacher on the radio was very entertaining and captivating while he was preaching against gossip and slander. But while the audience was being entertained, they did not realize he was using smear words and mannerisms to make sure that anyone who ever thought of speaking a word of correction or rebuke to the pastor or his organization would feel like a snake. He painted such an awful picture of anyone who would ever touch “God’s anointed,” that I don’t think anyone in his congregation would ever have the nerve to confront him on anything.
Paul said he did not come with eloquent speech. Of Jesus, Isaiah said there was nothing charismatic about Jesus that the natural man would find attractive. This preacher was nothing like that. In the natural he was an outstanding orator, a great entertainer, and also a great deceiver. Don’t misunderstand me, God can use people who are eloquent and handsome. But eloquence and handsomeness must preach the Gospel, the Jesus, and by the Spirit which Paul preached.
I realize that as I judge so will I be judged. So be it. I know all will be eventually judged by the finished work of Christ for all mankind. My heart’s desire and belief is that all will be restored to Christ. I judge that all mankind will be ultimately forgiven, including those who presently are marketing false gospels, false Christs, and false spirits.
In this time where the modern church is attempting to display to the world a unity which is not based upon the foundation of the finished work of Jesus Christ, it will be difficult to speak a word of correction. Paul faced the same problem from forty AD to just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem. The gospel of the circumcision was crushing Paul’s work. Paul spoke out. We have his words and the events of that period of time recorded. Paul was right, the circumcision party was wrong..
If Paul lived today, I feel certain he would speak against this mixture of law and grace as strongly as he did in his time. I don’t think any of us would like to hear from the apostle to the nations, ” I wish you would go all the way and castrate yourselves.” These are strong words. But they need to be spoken again today. “Oh foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you,” also needs to be spoken again today.
I know as I write these words, many will feel that I am being judgmental, that I am arrogant, not loving. I am sorry. I don’t know how to write this material in a way that everyone will understand and turn from the awful lies sold as truth in the church market places. There will be some who will hear and be thankful. Others will hear and want to stone me. May our Father have mercy on us all and I know He will. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
In future editions of Dew, I hope to write several articles on the various techniques people use to hold others under their power. We will talk at length about the powers of persuasion of men like Hitler, brain-washing techniques of nations like China, and propaganda methods like those used in the former Soviet Union and the United States. We will talk about social and cultural pressures to conform to a national or cultural standard, deceptive and subliminal advertising techniques used by the corporations and advertising agencies of the world, and the hypnotic methods used by centers like Hollywood and Disney Studios.
Our focus will be on how all of the above techniques are used in many churches of this world. You may feel, perhaps, that I must be a little crazy in the head to think I can show how these techniques are used in churches,-not in just a handful of churches-but actually in most churches.
Let me give you a little idea of what I am talking about. While the preacher on the radio used many different techniques of persuasion to deceive, I will focus on one used by tens of thousands of churches. And most Christians aren’t even aware it is being used on them.
As I mentioned, I believe hypnosis is used in many churches, particularly in the “Word,” “Faith,” and Charismatic type of churches; those who believe in positive confession, healings and miracles through the power of one’s faith. Many people in this kind of environment believe they see miracles that don’t even exist. Now, let me make it perfectly clear I believe in miracles. I believe in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit including some receiving the gift of speaking in tongues. I am not saying there are not true miraculous healings. I myself have had supernatural miracles happen in my life. But for every genuine miracle I have seen, there are a thousand counterfeits pawned off as genuine to a blind deluded people in many churches.
Let me show you how one of many of these techniques are used to project miracles which never happened.
I have read several books on hypnosis from several points of view: dangers of hypnosis from a Christian point of view, mass hypnosis, hypnotherapy, etc. I did this reading because I felt that many charismatic television preachers were using persuasive techniques, but I couldn’t put into words what I was perceiving. I went to a hypnosis training center and told him of my hypothesis about hypnosis being used in churches. “Oh, sure,” he said.
I bought a couple of books, read a little and just set the project aside because of other more pressing work.
Recently, we had some friends visit who were in Christian ministry. The wife’s former husband was a professional magician for 16 years. Part of their act was hypnosis. I shared with her my concern. She shared with me a form of hypnosis used in almost every church in this country. She called it “Hokum Hyp,” short for “Hokum Hypnosis.”
This technique is often used to prepare those who are selected to participate in a stage performance. The hypnotist would begin the show by declaring in a clear way that really only “intelligent” people can be hypnotized. Perhaps some further suggestions might be made to put down in a subtle way non-intelligent people. This is called “planting the suggestion.” The thought that is to be projected is people who can’t be hypnotized are not intelligent.
At this point, the hypnotist begins to hypnotize people and command them to perform the routines he laid out for them to do. As we can see, the subtle suggestion that it is intelligent people who are susceptible to hypnosis also implies those who do not get hypnotized are unintellingent. This added fear usually makes one go along with the act even though not actually hypnotized.
I talked to a professional magician named Randy. Some of you may remember him from the Johnny Carson Show. He exposed an evangelist named Peter Popoff as a fraud. Popoff claimed to have the gift of the word of knowledge. Randy had a team go to one of Popoff’s crusades. He showed that Popoff used a radio receiver to receive the information about people from his wife who was giving him information she had gathered while talking to people as they entered the tent. She would ask to look at people’s Bibles and from there would gather information like, “To my precious niece from Aunt Janet.” Randy filmed this scam and then aired it on the Johnny Carson Show. Believe it or not, Peter Popoff is still in business. He has ripped off millions of dollars with his cons in the name of Jesus.
Randy, the magician also did a hypnosis act. He does not believe people really get hypnotized. He believes people will do these silly things because they want the attention, they want to be on stage. I don’t agree with him on this. Nevertheless, he believes people come up to the front stage or go to healing lines and fall or shake or give testimony to healing for the same reasons people do silly things for him on stage, they want the attention.
In both of these situations, Randy’s and those who were “seeded” with the “unintelligent” fear are very likely to do all that the hypnotist tells them to do even though they are not truly hypnotized. In the first situation, fear rules. In the second, desire for attention rules. They both work.
Stage hypnotists usually have a screening process of some sort to gather a group willing to go along with them so that everyone can have fun and be entertained. He will usually “plant” in advance what he wants them to do so that when he gives the command, they will follow it.
Here is how one could create a perfect audience and act which would later go on television as a great evangelistic, teaching, and healing service.
First, create an audience whose foundation consists of believing that which they cannot see; an audience which calls that which is not as though it is; an audience trained that doubt of any kind can rob your healing; an audience which believes God wants you rich, healthy, without suffering (suffering is from the devil); an audience which believes and follows the “anointing;” an audience which will participate in music which would be helpful to induce a light trance; an audience with many large egos whose god is very much the god of mammon. America is full of such people, and it is not too difficult to amass 20 to 30,000 of them together at any time one wants to have a meeting which will later be televised.
Second, once this audience is gathered, through music, pep rally type hype, slogans, themes, etc. prepare an atmosphere of expectation for the supernatural. “Plant” the seed that we must do this together. If you don’t participate, your doubt may be the cause of failure and your building up your faith will be responsible for the success of this meeting.
Since this audience has already digested huge quantities of teachings emphasizing that without faith nothing will happen, and that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” the audience will believe what it can’t see. You can take your miracle home with you even if you don’t feel it. You can even testify of your healing without lying because you are speaking words of faith, which are more real, than physical evidence. It is yours by faith, which may have no physical evidence at the moment.
Third, give a message reminding them of all the teachings they have crammed into their minds from reading and listen to hundreds of tapes and books which they bought from him the last time they were at one of these conventions. The key of course is your faith. I will not list all the Scriptures this audience has heard sermons on, how many hundreds of times they have confessed these Scriptures for their healings, their pocket books, etc. But they all are in this vain, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24)
When it comes time for the healing part of the show, use the “word of knowledge” technique. Call out that there is someone being healed of a backache right now, someone has a migraine and it is going away right now. Do this long enough that when you call people forward there will be enough up front to select from for the next part of the show.
Next, invite those who have received their miracle to come up to “give glory to God.” (Who doesn’t want to be on stage like the big famous evangelist who gets so much glory and fame on this stage? Many in this audience lust for a ministry like the one the faith healer has.)
Have someone from your staff screen those who have come forward. The evangelist tells the audience they are being screened so that only the big miracles come forth due to a lack of time. He may tell them they are being screened so that only those who truly have had a miracle will be on stage. The fact of the matter is, the screener is really looking for the right candidates who will play along. A trained person through careful questions makes sure that this individual will go along with the performance. At this point, another “seed” gets planted. “When he blows on you and you fall down, don’t worry. There will be someone behind you to catch you.” (A hypnotist will tell them what he expects of them before he has them actually do it.)
To make sure you get the most mileage out of the “miracles,” have your screener, (not the person healed) tell the audience of the miracle that occurred. That way it can be exaggerated. Also, the miracle is now announced to the whole audience for you. You don’t have to lie. You just have to play along. The reward will be to be on stage with a celebrity in front of thousands of people. It may even be televised. And the healer sets it up so that the candidate could get on that stage without even lying. But even if he does have to declare a miracle, he can claim it by faith, believing what has not yet happened.
After the show, professionally edit out the video of all those who did not go down, all those who did not fit the pattern of a perfect move of God brought about by the faith of the audience and the “anointing” of the healer.
Of course use the same faith principles to gather up a huge offering by promising God must multiply your offering if you sow it into the kingdom with faith.
After the show, make sure you develop a superb database, hire professional advertising and marketing people to keep the customer happy and make them a partner in crime by giving them the opportunity of becoming a “partner,” for a fee of course, usually monthly. Should a few real suckers be found in the audience who wrote very big checks, they should be followed up with personal attention and cultivated for those times when huge amounts of money are needed for building projects like auditoriums, TV stations, etc.
As in sports, it is important to make the audience feel they were a part of the success. Very few of us say, “Our team won.” Usually we say, “We won,” even though we only watched. We all like to win. We all like to support winning teams. Getting the audience to identify with the success will make them want to come back. Of course, unlike sports events, healing conventions are always winning events.
The above example is very brief. It could easily be developed into book length. Some evangelists have actually repented and have revealed to the world some of their techniques. Books have been written by insiders, telling us what really goes on behind the scenes.
One excellent book written about the “world’s youngest evangelist” is entitled Marjoe by Steven Gaines, published by Dell. I highly recommend going to the library and reading it. The world’s youngest evangelist, who made the front pages of many newspapers, reveals many of the methods used to fleece sincere people. I have several books written by insiders of some of the leading Christian television evangelists. You won’t believe what goes on. Write and I’ll give you some titles.
I do not write from some lofty position where I can say I have never partaken of the scene I just described. Like I said, I believe in miracles, healings, gifts of the spirit, anointings, all of that.
I used to be so frustrated and tired when our Father would put someone in my life that really needed a miracle and my prayers never made it two feet from my mouth. I wanted people delivered, healed, set free.
An acquaintance once told me the “anointing” was really on brother so and so and it was being imparted to others. We went on a trip together. Part of the reason for the trip was to go to this “anointed” brother to get the “anointing” to set the prisoners free.
His church was a huge building on a mountain. The building was much larger than the size of his congregation. He used to be a tent evangelist and raised enough money to begin building this giant warehouse on a mountain of what he called “very valuable sand.” Apparently, the grade of sand he had his church on “might” be the grade used for silicon for computer chips. He was a potential millionaire. He also showed us a golf shoe invention he held a patent on from which he hoped to make a lot of money. After a tour of the main building, he drove us around his sand pile in his Lincoln town car.
When we got back to his office, it was time to get to business. He knew I came for something. He was quiet, and so was I. I was so sickened by the tour of the facilities, I really didn’t want the “anointing” anymore. I just wanted to crawl in a hole somewhere and cry. Whatever it was he had, I didn’t want it.
Another time, I went to a gathering of many great charismatic evangelists who gathered in Phoenix, Arizona for a much publicized convention. Due to my extreme hunger to share the Gospel and the many prophesies that were spoken over me, which seemed to confirm what was in my heart, I thought I would be an evangelist who would preach to millions. To pay for my trip, I made a bunch of silkscreened Christian T-shirts that I planned to sell there.
At this great event, I saw giant men break concrete building blocks, pick up hundreds of pounds, of course to the glory of God. I saw big men blown down by a small evangelist. I saw an evangelist from Africa whose crusades drew hundreds of thousands at a time; who knocked men down when he said, “Hallelujah.” I saw a musician artist sing out the great battle between Jesus Christ and Satan with Jesus winning by the hair of his chin. And I saw a guy outside the circus hawking souvenirs . . .me . . .and I was sick again. On the way home from that carnival, my Father began the process of delivering me from this charismatic circus which I found myself immersed in for the previous two or three years. I could tell you many stories of some of the things I have seen and participated in which make me want to hang my head in shame. Fortunately for all of us, He turns all things to our good when the time is right.
A word of caution to those of you who have rejected the supernatural realm due to the abuses you have seen. Where there is a counterfeit, there is the genuine. It is important we do not let these abuses keep us from entering the genuine. Too many Christians have rejected gifts of the Holy Spirit, dreams, visions, etc. because they do not want to be associated with these abuses. This is not wise.
In the Dews ahead, Father willing, we will talk more about the ways which seem right to the religious mind, but whose way leads to a pit of darkness. We will talk more about the mind control methods used to keep us enslaved to men and their systems.
A reminder again-I do not write these things for the sake of finding fault, for exalting myself by putting other ministries down. I know the glory that we can receive through the ministry of condemnation (2 Cor. 3:9). I find no pleasure there. I find joy when the children of the Most High are free. The very chains that hold us in bondage are being peddled as the way to life. I cannot remain silent. The “ministry of death” is being sold as the “way to life.” As you read the other articles, if you feel I am speaking too harshly, just remember what is at stake-abundant life. And I won’t tell anyone I wished these deceivers would go all the way and “castrate themselves.” There is someone far greater than I who has already spoken these words.
Oh, Foolish Galatians!
Who has bewitched you?
by Gary Amirault
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made without him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it…The word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5, 14)
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through who He made the universe. The Son is appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being. (Hebrews 1:1-3)
He is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn over all creation. . .For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him (Colossians 1:15, 19)
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has now appeared to us. (1 John:1-2)
I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you knew Me, you would know the Father as well…Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:6,7,9)
That’s mystical language: “The Word was with God. The Word was God. The Word became flesh and dwelt for a while among us.” But it’s really not just poetry! Jesus is the Word.
Often we use the term, “Word of God,” to refer to the scriptures, the Bible.” But what do we mean when we call it the Word? We’re claiming that the Bible, this God-breathed thing, did not come from men’s conception, man’s hand, or man’s mind applied to philosophical or religious matters, that instead it is a recorded manifestation of the very breath of God.
Jesus Christ, however, is so much greater than that! He is the incarnate manifestation of the Word of God. If the Bible is the Word become words, Jesus is the Word become flesh. Remember that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God. “The Lord thy God is one God”-not three Gods, but one. Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father but by Me.” Jesus of Nazareth if the expressed heart and Word of God Himself. He is the manifested thought of God Almighty.
I want to take this step back to help you to see that the qualities the Bible speaks about – patience, humility, holiness – are not just noble character traits that we must strive to imitate. Jesus Christ Himself is the Word of God. What we read about in the written Word is simply a description of Jesus Christ in language we can understand. “He came and dwelt for a while among us.” He lived out God’s character and life. He spoke it. He taught it. He was the breath of God. Again, “No man comes to the Father but by Me.” Jesus was and is the road to the Father, expressing and manifesting and personifying the character and thought and mind of God. He was the “exact representation of the Father.”
“Have you been with me so long and do not understand?” Jesus asked. “When you see Me, you have seen the Father.” You can see right through the incarnate word of God into the heart and mind of God, into the very Person of God Himself. That’s who Jesus is! And that’s why John spoke of Jesus as being “the eternal life.” That’s why John could say, “Our hands touched, our eyes saw, our ears heard the very eternal life of God.” He didn’t say that Jesus was a “really good man Who told us all about God, a man who lived a perfect Christian life to show us how to live it, too.” Instead, John-reflecting back sixty years after he saw Jesus ascend to heaven-said that he had touched the eternal life, not just a good man.
Paul called the incarnation a “mystery”-something unfathomable by man, yet revealed by God. Paul himself, the holy apostle, one of the most fruitful men ever to walk the face of the earth, admitted that it was a mystery to him. He could never have figured out how God could breathe and a baby be born. Yet God revealed that it had really happened. The very Word of God cried in a manger! The very thought, mind, heart, intent, purpose, vision-the very Spirit of the Living Godhead!
“The Lord thy God is one God.” That’s why both John and Paul could write that “Jesus created all things,” that “all things were created by Him and for Him.”
Wait. Didn’t the Father do that?
Not without Jesus. They are one!
“No man comes to the Father but by Me.”
“When you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.”
“The eternal life appeared to us.”
You need to understand this mystery of the Incarnation to understand why there are no “things” called patience, goodness, self-control, or holiness. These are not external qualities you can attain by reading your Bible a whole bunch or by praying to receive them as individual things. That’s no way to live! You’ll never be a “good Christian” by trying to add Christian qualities to your life. “Things” don’t equal Life! How do you get life out of a test tube! You don’t! You don’t put all the right ingredients in a test tube and shake it up and put a Bunsen burner under it and then have life.
It isn’t like that in the spiritual realm, either. Life is found in Him, and those qualities come from being in Him. Those “things” are merely a description of both your current standing and your eventual destiny in Him. They’re a description of the heart and mind and soul of God Almighty as manifested in Christ Jesus, the Living Word. And now you are living epistles, with the Word of God written indelibly on your hearts and in your minds. You are transformed from one degree of glory to another into the very image and likeness of God.
“Unto the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Hallelujah! That’s why all of these “things” are really of no consequence. That’s why pursuing them as goals to be achieved leads to a series of failures and frustrations and shallowness and emptiness and fear. If Christ Jesus is not your All in All, you will feel the frustration, that hollowness, that lack of fruitfulness-all those desperate things. But all the “achievements” you desire are already in the Son. “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” There is nothing else. All things are held together in Him, by Him, through Him, and to Him. All things would ever have any value are already in Him.
That is why, when the rich young ruler called Him a “good teacher,” Jesus replied, “You don’t get it-no matter how much you know-for only God is good.” Jesus didn’t go on to explain it, but we know the mystery of the Incarnation. The rich young ruler went off frustrated that all of his good deeds were for naught. Maybe he tried to justify himself: “Well, I do good deeds. Who does this young carpenter think he is, anyway?” I’m sure he tried to prop himself up on his own self-life, until it all came collapsing again, and he remembered what Jesus had said.
But suppose you and I approach our lives in a radically different way? Let’s begin with the decision that Jesus Himself will be our All in All, believing that He alone is the way to the Father and that every spiritual blessing exists in Him.
That decision will have some revolutionary implications for our lives…
“From Now ON, You Know Me”
Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way? Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really knew me, you would know My Father as well. From now on, you know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:5-7)
It Takes a Bunch of Kids!
We look in the mirror and wonder, “Hey, do I really know God?” It’s interesting that Thomas and Phillip and the others had been with Jesus so long yet were still asking these same sort of questions. They really didn’t understand exactly who Jesus was; they didn’t know who the Father was; they didn’t know how the two were connected. After all this time with Jesus, it still wasn’t clear.
But Jesus made the comment: “From now on you know God.” I’m sure they scratched their heads at that point and said, “We do? I mean, five minutes ago we didn’t. But now we do-right! I’m certain Jesus’ words were a little frustrating for them. It is encouraging that, while there’s a part that we play in being fertile soil and in not letting weeds take the place of God’s crop, the “work” of our knowing God seems to be God’s responsibility. The rest of John 14 records that Jesus went on to talk in great detail about the Holy Spirit’s place in the believer’s life in nurturing that relationship.
So I feel OK being dumb and having Jesus look at me and say, “You don’t know God, but now you know God.” The faith the Father is speaking from through His Son is that He knows the end as the beginning. It’s clear in His mind, and He’s actually trying to pass on a confidence to us that we won’t measure ourselves by how we feel or perform. There’s something bigger than that going on!
If you have ears to hear, understand this: Jesus’ commitment to you is more real than your current introspect.
“Now you know Me.”
“We do?” Well, I can live with that. If Jesus says I know Him and His Father, then I’m not going to argue with Him. And while I may not be expressing the fullness of it, isn’t it also true that “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world?” Isn’t it true that it is by faith that we can throw mountains into the sea? Doesn’t Christ dwell in our hearts by faith? As a prerequisite for our experiencing what He said, we must believe what He said. And if He says that my knowledge of Him in His mind is real, then the only question is whether I’m willing to believe that my knowledge of Him is complete in Him.
If I don’t believe that Jesus is the Way, I’m going to be constantly frustrated and wandering and experimenting in confusion. But if I believe Jesus is the Way, it’s a pretty simple matter to escape the confusion that Satan would try to throw into my mind. As God has promised us that we can know Him-and that in His mind, we already do-then we must believe Him before we can live it out.
That’s a real mystery. I admit it to you freely. We’re wired in such a way that wee tend to demand proof before we actually accept something as true. Jesus came to re-wire us! He told us, “What I say is true. The Word became flesh. I am the Truth. Forget what you’ve heard or experienced-what I say to you is truth.” It takes a bunch of kids to live that way!
“Now you know Me.”
“OK! I don’t know what that means, but I know its’ true. Now all I have to do is find out how it’s true.” There’s no debate about whether it’s true; it is true.
“Now you know Me.”
“Help me to see how I know you. I didn’t think that I did, but I’m obviously wrong, because You said I do. So I do!”
Actually, there are a lot of Scriptures that call us to make that kind of response. For example: “Reckon yourselves dead to sin.”
“Unh, unh! I’m not dead to sin. No way! Why, just this morning…”
And in your mind you can argue with God! I don’t recommend that. For one thing, you’re going to be wrong every time! For another, you’re never going to experience life in Christ as long as you’re walking in unbelief. You’re never going to be able to experience the reality of the gospel of Jesus in your life, and you will be like millions of others who have gone to their graves never experiencing Christianity, although they profess it. Why is that? Because they walked in unbelief. Just like the Hebrews, they didn’t combine it with faith. They heard the words, but they didn’t believe them. They let their experiences dictate how they felt and how they looked at themselves. Whether they considered themselves dead to sin depended on how they did this morning, not on what God said.
I am dead to sin. I am dead to sin. How do I know that? Because God said so. My experience doesn’t measure up? Well, that’s my problem. God said it’s true, so it’s true! Now I just need to believe that. The living out of that truth will follow belief. It won’t precede faith!
You have to get that straight about Christianity. That’s the point Jesus was making when He said, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.” If you’ll just understand that your ability to have the Way, the Truth, and the Life-zoe life, the eternal life, the power of the galaxies inside your mortal body-depends on whether you are hiding in Jesus for their fulfillment. To attempt to attain those things by your own effort is futile! You will never attain the Way, The Truth, and the Life; they are hidden in Christ to the glory of God. The only way to have them is to rest in Jesus, to find your life and your hope in Him, no matter how you feel, to “believe in the One whom the Father sent.
Stop right at Jesus as the answer to your questions.
“Am I saved?”
“Is Jesus saved?”
“Am I wise?”
“Is Jesus wise?”
“Am I holy?”
“Is Jesus holy?”
“Am I dead to sin?”
“Was Jesus dead to sin?”
“Am I happy?”
“Was Jesus content?”
“Can I pray?”
“Well, could Jesus?”
answer to every question is in Jesus. He is the answer. He doesn’t give a big rule book so that we can figure out the formulas and memorize the answers, and-provided we figure all the formulas right-then: Yay! “The Victorious Christian Life” (whatever that is). Or “the perfect church.” Life in Christ is not a matter of formulas, and neither is corporate life. The church consists of a bunch of people that are totally sold out-not just in a committed sense, but in the sense that Jesus is the answer to their every question about their lives. Otherwise, you can be saved, but you can’t experience salvation in this current life. If Jesus isn’t the answer to every question about who you are and what strength and abilities and talents you have, what impact you can have on another’s life, how you feel about yourself-if He’s not the answer, then you’ll continue to live a futile frustrated life. That’s not God’s will for you. Jesus came that you could have life in abundance. Frankly, as you know, not a lot of people have experienced that.
Your willingness to love the truth is the beginning of your ability to walk in the gospel, the good news of Jesus, and to “taste the powers of the coming age” in this current age. You really can experience that kind of walk! Paul did. He wrote of being “seated with Christ in the heavenly realms.” Did he learn about that in theology class under Gamaliel? What Old Testament passage was he quoting? There isn’t one! The truth was that Jesus had revealed to Paul his position in Christ. As a result, he was living a life seated with Christ, and he simple described what he was seeing. “Best way I can describe it is that it’s kind of like being seated with Christ in the heavenlies. Yeah, that would be a good way to say it.” He was expressing what he was experiencing. That’s the way God wants us all to live. That is your destiny! That’s your place! That’s who you are-as you are willing to accept and believe that God said so, and as you allow Him to write it on your heart.
Announce that it’s true, to the world and to the accuser of the brethren and to your own face in the mirror. Proclaim that Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s every requirement of you, that Jesus is the “Yes” and the “Amen” to every promise and every hope of God-past and future. I don’t know another way to say it-just settle this stuff in your heart. When you look in the mirror, and you’ve failed, and you’re frustrated and tempted, when the kids are crying in stereo, when stuff is happening to you, make sure that you do not falter or waiver from this foundational point: Whatever else may be true, Jesus is the answer. The answer has already been given. It’s been spoken. The Word has become flesh. The Father’s every hope and every dream have been fulfilled in you, as you believe on the One He has sent. Jesus is the Way.
“Am I going to make it?”
“Did Jesus make it?”
“I made it! I made it! Can you believe that? Can you look into the Father’s eye and say, “I made it!” Or are you busy looking at yourself, not believing what God has said and kicking in the dirt, asking, “Am I going to make it or not? I don’t know. I wonder if I can?”
Don’t live that way! God will love you anyway, but He doesn’t want you to live a frustrated, miserable low life. So don’t! And while you are at it, “Encourage one another with these words.” When you see somebody who isn’t seeing things as Jesus would, who is looking at himself in a way in line with the hope and promise of the gospel, the good news of Jesus, then encourage one another. “Go forth and multiply and fill the earth”-with the good news of Jesus. He has fulfilled Father’s every requirement of you, and He is the answer to every question about your worth, your value, your potential-the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
An Answer, Not Just a Theology!
Do you know God?
How do you know that you know Him?
Because He said so.
You have to think straight to be a Christian! You do know Him.
“I don’t know Him.”
Hey, that’s not an admission of immaturity, that’s of immaturity, that’s an admission of unbelief! Now all of a sudden mature enough to know Him, that’s out of my control. “Maturity” is way out there someplace. How would I get mature overnight? What could I mix together in a jar, add water, and shake it up to make a mature Christian? I just couldn’t do that. It’s too large, too out of my control. And if it’s out of my control, I’m not responsible. I might do a couple of right things here and there to get on the right track, but it’s such a long journey!
“I don’t know how we’ll ever make it. By the time I do two right things, I’ll probably do three wrong things immediately thereafter, or I’ll get prideful about doing the two right things, and then it will all be over.”
Well, if you view things that way, you’re going to live a long, miserable, tedious kind of life. The good news is that you don’t have to!
So do you know God?
Yes, I know God. And that’s the only way to think!
Do I know God?
The answer isn’t “Hmm. Let me see if I know God. Well, I don’t pray enough, and I’m not holy enough, and I don’t love enough, and my temper sometimes…”
Listen: I don’t want your temper to get away from you. Jesus doesn’t either. And you probably don’t pray enough! But that isn’t really the point. Do I know God? The answer isn’t measured by my performance. What I want to ask myself when someone inquires whether I know God is, “What did God say about that?” Isn’t that a different kind of answer? “What did God say? He said I do know Him!”
What we’re trying to get at here is how to think, how to answer questions. How did Jesus Answer Satan’s accusing questions? By using God’s thoughts. That’s the way we need to answer, too. If Jesus had reflected on how He felt, I don’t know what He would have said. But He determined that how He felt would be governed by what God said.
So if you ask me if I’m perfect, there may be a lot of ways to answer. But in my spirit, I’m going to say: “Well, was Jesus perfect? What do the Scriptures say about someone who’s been washed in the blood of the Lamb? ‘White as snow.’ Bingo! There’s my answer.” Am I as white as snow? If I wanted to answer by my performance, by my knowledge, by assessing things as men do, I would have to say that I’m not white as snow. If I were trying to assess things the way God sees them-which is the only right answer!–I would have to say: “If it cost Jesus His blood, I guess so. Though my sins were as scarlet, they are now as white as snow-if I call on the name of the Lord. If He’s my hope; if He’s my Rock, my Refuge, my High Tower, my Salvation, my Wisdom, and my Righteousness-my Way and Truth and Life-then how could I be otherwise? I guess I’m all right! I must be white as snow.”
Do I want to improve? Yes. I do want to improve. I’m not creating some slackardly way that could still be called Christianity. But the only way you’re going to be able to live your life in faith, and actually see the victories that you’ve longed for from the heart from the first time you heard Jesus’ name, is to begin by answering every question with Jesus. Fill in the blank with Jesus. Whatever the question is, whatever the accuser of the brethren would throw at you, whatever the wisdom of the world or your employer or your circumstance or the religious status quo would throw at you-answer every question with Jesus, and you’re going to be on a very safe ground.
What does God think? How does he view it? That’s my answer. That’s not some alibi. That’s not some cutesy way to throw something new into my theology. No, that’s my answer. That’s not my theology; that is my answer, because it’s the truth! You can with your mind say, “Am I righteous? Well, my theology says He is my Righteousness”-but all along in your spirit you still feel dirty, because you haven’t really accepted that He is your Righteousness.
What I’m encouraging you to do right now, if you don’t already live this way, is to refuse to accept any other answer in your life. And please-encourage one another, Don’t let anyone else live a half-life either, a mere existence with minimal life in it. Make sure that you encourage one another that the answer is Jesus, that your salvation is as secure as His, if you believe in the One your Father sent.
Lord Jesus, we want to say some really basic, simple things to you.
We know that You’re a Person, not a concept. We want to follow you, the Person, not just an historical teacher or a bunch of ideas about a way of life. Because You are risen from the dead, You’re alive. Because You’re alive, we can follow You, as much as John or Peter or James or any of those men did. We want to be like them. We want to leave our nets, our tax tables, or whatever it may be, and follow You, not knowing exactly where we’ll go, but knowing there’s nowhere else to go. You have the words of eternal life. You have the words of depth and meaning and truth. You are the one we want to be with. We want to touch You. When questions come up, we want to touch You. When fears arise, we want to hide ourselves in You. We want to feel what You feel and believe what You said, as absolute truth and fact, regardless of past experiences or the accusations of the devil or man. We want our lives to be placed foundationally, totally and absolutely, in You as a Person and in all that You did-all that You were to the Father, and all that You therefore are to us. We want Your reality to be a secure foundation in our lives, and may the answer to our every question and shortcoming be found in You.
We believe that You are the One the Father sent. We believe that with all our hearts. We believe that God raised You, Jesus, from the dead, and gave You a Name above every name. We believe that You pleased Him, Jesus, in every way, and that by Your blood sprinkled on the earth and in the heavenlies there is a way to The Father. We believe that, and we’ll grab a hold of that, and we’ll never let any man steal our crown. Help us to see and to experience all that You intend for us, that there might be a testimony on the earth of Your blood and Your infinite grace.