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Many of the Latter Rain - and similar - teachings gained credibility within Pentecostalism as ministries gained access to television and tapes and CDs began to make these false messages available in millions of homes each week. Christian broadcasting networks, and smaller ministries that buy time on local stations, continue to help promulgate such heresies. And the internet has now joined the media spreading lies about the Gospel of Christ and His Kingdom. Fortunately we also get the opportunity to redress the balance through pages such as these.
Some of the Latter Rain's doctrinal progeny became even more toxic to Christians, e.g. 'Heavy' Shepherding, which placed an unscriptural emphasis on submission to a personal spiritual leader, or 'shepherd,' who was God's designated authority and provided daily counsel, even making mundane decisions, such as where the disciple should live and which job to take.
Manifest Sons of God was a direct outgrowth of Latter Rain's teaching of the Church's immortality. Manifest Sons of God claimed not just a last-days revival, but a restoration of creation to pre-Fall status. Adherents teach that in the life of the believer there are three steps to godhood: salvation, baptism in the Holy Spirit, and finally being revealed as a 'son of God' with a glorified body (or 'little god') before the Second Coming. The ridiculous claims of pompous men, such as Morris Cerullo, that they were 'little gods' reached new heights of stupidity as some even claimed they would be able to deliver creation and execute judgment on the wicked. Televangelist and pastor Earl Paulk wrote: 'Until we comprehend that we are little gods, we cannot manifest the Kingdom of God' ('Satan Unmasked,' p97). They try and use Romans 8v19 ('For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God') as the basis for the teaching, but the clear context of Romans 8 is of the future heavenly hope dealing with the culmination in future resurrection (verse 23: 'And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body'). Glorification of our body clearly takes place as a result of the return of Jesus (I Corinthians 15, and I Thessalonians 4v13-18), so we see that the 'Latter Rain' heresy leads to an un-Biblical twist on post-millennialism. Many have followed Paulk's rush to madness and David Eells and his co-conspirators are no exceptions!
It is scarcely believable that any human being, even those of a Mormon or Hindi persuasion, would aspire to becoming 'a god'. But (allegedly) born-again evangelicals are insisting that man's proper function is to be 'a little god' under God - which is incomprehensible and palpably un-Scriptural. These false teachers even blatantly back-track on themselves when they make statements such as:
'I can't tell any of the faith teachers that they shouldn't preach [that we are gods] - because it is scriptural....[B]ut recognize the fact that you may not be able to handle going around confessing that you are a god - even though you are confessing the Word. It could be very dangerous for you' (Seduction?? A Biblical Response, by Reid, Virkler, Laine and Langstaff; p26).
When it suits these 'positive confession' adherents such 'positivity' is dangerous! Again, when it suits them - just like the 'lost healing' scam - they try and argue that being a 'god' is good, but not when we aren't mature enough to handle it and might become proud. Somehow, we have to believe, these men who are supposed to take their position as 'gods' with dominion over the earth in order to establish the Kingdom, are too immature and proud to fulfil the destination God has for them!
On the contrary, the true God clearly declares (Isa 44v8): 'Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have I not declared unto thee of old, and showed it? and ye are my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? yea, there is no Rock; I know not any.' Scripture also declares (1 Corinthians 8v5): 'For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth; as there are gods many, and lords many.' It is tragic that these false teachers of the Word-Faith and Latter Rain heresies fall into the same traps inhabited by the cults for so many centuries - incorrect recognition of the clear statements concerning the One True God and wrong understanding of the warnings about those who would claim to be 'gods.'
Jesus challenged those who refused to believe in Him with these words (John 10v30ff.):
30 I and my Father are one. 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? 37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
Notice that Jesus clearly claimed:
1. Equality with the Father (v30);
2. He had done miraculous works that spoke clearly of His Deity (v32, 37-8);
But, equally clearly, he referred to others who were called and accepted to be 'gods' by the Jews - because He is quoting from Psalm 82 (specifically verse 6):
1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. 2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah. 3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. 4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. 5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course. 6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. 7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.
The Psalm makes it absolutely clear that:
1. It is God who judges those who are called 'gods' (v1, 7);
2. These 'gods' were men who had been assigned the role of judges over the people of Israel, but they were 'judg[ing] unjustly' - and consorting with 'wicked people,' failing to 'defend the poor and fatherless' or to deliver 'justice to the afflicted and needy .. the poor and needy' and failing to free them from 'the wicked';
3. These 'gods' were ignorant and 'walk[ed] in darkness';
4. But, the damning identification of these men proves that they were not 'gods' in any supernatural meaning of the Word but would '... die like men, and fall like one of the princes.' Do true 'gods' act in this disgusting immoral way, or die!
So Jesus was making a powerful statement to the Jews both about the men they accepted and called 'gods' compared with the amazing 'good works' He had done as the sanctified Son of God!
Notice now that, if we accept exactly the same evidence that Jesus challenged the Jews to accept as a test of who is a 'True God' (or 'god'!) - and His Words are absolutely clear, we can be in no doubt whatsoever that the 'little gods' of this contemporary earth are utterly false:
37 'If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.'
The complete and utter failure of the 'little gods' to produce one miraculous 'good work' that would authenticate their big claims (and we are aware of many claims to miracles, not one of which have proven to be verifiable!) proves conclusively that they are a total fraud!
It is tragic that these heretics do not recognise the Biblical way that we are 'gods' - we become gods by disobeying God, by joining Satan, the god of this world, in his rebellion! Jeremiah 10v11 reveals the Only True God's view of the fate of all false gods and confirms the view of Psalm 82:
'Thus shall ye say unto them, the gods that have not made the heaven and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.'
Another major error brought in by Latter Rain teaching is the belief that the words that a Christian 'confesses' with his mouth is what he will receive or become! Hence the title of the belief: 'Positive Confession.' If this were really a true doctrine then we would be speaking about the end of every real believers life's problems. If all a believer - needing healing, money, housing, a job, or whatever - had to do was 'confess it' with their mouth, then why would any believer not call out to God for what they want? One of the many obvious signs of a false teaching are that we can easily see that it is only the leaders of this movement that are heavily 'prosperous' - who wouldn't be when the other main appeal is for 'seed' money to demonstrate your faith and 'encourage' God to give you money back - many times over! Thus the poor disciple gets poorer and the rich teacher gets richer! Strange that this is the method for getting mammon - but there is no directly equivalent method for healing, except the 'healed' one needs to demonstrate their faith by thwoing away their crutches or wheelchair, or giving up their drugs. You can meet the poor disciples who have swallowed this nonsense and are still waiting for their replacement eye or limb. Their failure to obtain the healing they need is put down to their lack of sufficient faith but doesn't compare with genuine Biblical healing when it wasn't a question of the sick person alone demonstrating faith! Why is it that the great Latter Rain teacher, who is also a 'little god' who - they claim - can command Jesus, cannot fill in the lack of faith with their 'great' faith? Of course, like the people who did not want to appear to be foolish in the 'Emperor's New Clothes' scam, those who 'lose' their healing (an unknown occurrence in Scripture) don't want to demonstrate their 'lack of faith' - and some of them won't complain because they are dead!
Ministries such as those run by the Copeland's circulate letters which are blatant examples of these money-raking deceptions. One example was Kenneth Copeland letter including a photo of him standing in front of his 'prayer cabin' in the Ozarks. Copeland wrote:
'There will be moments during those three days and nights [at the cabin] when the anointing on me will be greater than any need you have.'
Modesty permitting, he set himself up as a channel of 'the miracle power of God flowing through
me,' instructing recipients of the letter to do three 'very important' things to get their 'miracle':
1. As you visualize yourself there with me, remember there is no time nor distance in the realm of the spirit.
2. Fill in and return to me the 'Covenant of Agreement' prayer form. I want it right beside me so that every time those special moments of anointing come I can touch you by touching our Covenant Agreement.
3. The very moment your letter leaves your hand to be mailed back to me say with your mouth (out loud) - 'Lord Jesus, my miracle has started! It's working for me now!'
This three-part ritual was presented as the technique that would assure 'you will have what we say.' It is sad enough that naive Christians are being led into attempting to manipulate God through white magic, but they are also being relieved of their money and enticed into covetousness by the unbiblical promise that 'planting money' guarantees a harvest of money in return. There is one guaranteed winner: the person enticing you with the seed-faith promise - Kenneth Copeland! He makes clear that giving him a seed-faith offering is an essential part of the ritual: 'I want you to remember...your 'Covenant Agreement' letter is not the only thing that will be in your envelope when you release your faith words. Your seed-faith offering will also be in your envelope.' Describing his ministry as 'good soil,' Copeland invokes visualization again:
'As you enclose your seed-faith offering in the envelope see your harvest coming up!' (Copeland's emphasis in all quotes)
On TBN February 5, 1986, with co-hosts Paul and Jan Crouch giving enthusiastic approval, Copeland explained that Galatians 6v7 means that when you give money to a ministry, if you don't expect to reap a harvest of money you are mocking God! Copeland also declared, 'Faith is a force just like electricity or gravity...we are a class of gods.' Gloria Copeland writes that Mark 10v30 guarantees that for every $1 you give you receive $100, which she declares to be a very good deal. It sounds like a slot machine in the sky, a guaranteed way to buy a miracle at a bargain price! There is nothing mysterious about how it works, however; the money doesn't drop from the sky into the ministries of Hagin, Copeland, Roberts, et al. It is given to them by their supporters, who unfortunately don't have a list of donors to entice into giving them seed-faith offerings, which is the only seed-faith that works! Of course we ought to give to ministries that will use the funds for God's purposes, but it is not biblical to 'give to get.' Paul made it clear in 1 Corinthians 13 that even if we give all we have to feed the poor and our bodies to be burned and are not motivated by love (love expects nothing in return) it is not accepted by God.
How did this pagan idea get into the church? It was invented by Oral Roberts 'in the early fifties,' as he explains in his book The Miracle of Seed-Faith (p 6). The 'faith teachers' who use this same money-raising technique learned it from him. There is no way it can be derived from Scripture. In Matthew 13 the seed represents the Word of God, the soil is the heart of those who receive it, and the sower is Christ. In variations of this central parable, the seed represents Christians, the soil is the world and again the sower is God himself. Never is there a hint that 'seed' is money or that God blesses those who give to get. Yet millions of Christians go along with this and other unbiblical schemes, hoping to reap a reward in this world, which, if they did, would rob them of an eternal reward. In direct reproof of this false interpretation, Galatians 6v8 goes on to say, 'He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.' Every Christian ought to firmly oppose false teachings - no matter who brings the teaching - just as Paul warned in Galatians 1v6-9. To fail to do so is not only an encouragement of false teachers but a failure to warn those who are deceived by them.
Korean pastor David (Paul) Yonggi Cho, is another 'positive-confession' adherent who has been a major catalyst in spreading these vile heresies by writing:
'By the spoken word we create our universe...you create the presence of Jesus with your mouth...through visualization and dreaming you can incubate your future and hatch the results. ... If you speak about salvation, the saving Jesus appears. If you speak divine healing, then you will have the healing Christ in your congregation. If you speak the miracle performing Jesus, then the presence of the miracle performing Jesus is released. He is bound by your lips and by your words. He is depending on you, and if you do not speak clearly because of your fear of Satan, how will Jesus Christ manifest His power to this generation? So speak boldly ... Remember that Christ is depending upon you and your spoken word to release His presence. What are you going to do with this Jesus who is riding on your tongue? Are you going to release Him for the blessing of others? Or are you going to lock Him up with a still tongue and a closed mouth?' ('The Fourth Dimension', p83, 86).
Kenneth Hagin agrees fully with this heresy, claiming that God revealed to him that even the ungodly can get miracles by developing 'the law of faith,' while another of these false leaders, Charles Capps, says God told him that positive confession 'is a scientific application of the wisdom of God to the psychological makeup of man....These principles of faith are based on spiritual laws. They work for whosoever will apply these laws.' Hagin calls God 'the greatest Positive Thinker that ever was!' To these 'faith teachers,' faith is a mind power which even God uses - a force contained in words and released when one speaks forth 'the word of faith.' That demons are behind this ridiculous delusionary practice is shown again by the number of people who lurk on the fringes of these 'Christian' churches seeking rewards of healing and wealth but rarely, or never - even when 'miraculously' healed of some ailment - seeking the Giver, our Lord Jesus Christ! The common denominator for all such teachers is the heart of 'religious science' (and, of course, the nature of the cult 'Christian Science' - which is neither Christian nor science!) and lies in seeking a spiritual force which anyone can activate by 'scientific' application of the laws governing it.
Of course, if believing something will happen causes it to happen, then who needs God? Men have become gods themselves, just as Satan declared could happen in his first lie in the Bible (Genesis 3v5), and taken their first steps on a magic (occult) tower of Babel climbing to an illusionary heavenly state.
Biblical faith is believing that God will answer one's prayer, not a magic power we aim at God to get Him to bless our plans, but 'the obedience of faith' (Acts 6v7; Romans 1v5; 16v26; 2 Thessalonians 1v8, etc.) which brings us into submission to Him as the instruments of His will. Idiotically, Benny Hinn claims:
'Never, ever, ever, go to the Lord and say, 'If it be thy will....' Don't allow such faith-destroying
words to be spoken from your mouth ...'
Why do they believe they can make such outrageous claims? Because 'man was created on terms of equality with God,' says Hagin. Why can't these deceived people see that the teaching elevates man to the position of God and puts God in the subservient position. It is no longer man serving God, but God serving man and his every whim and, as Paul was inspired to write (Romans 1v21), it is to fail to glorify God as God:
'Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.'
How can this perverted doctrine be anything but 'doctrine of demons' (1 Timothy 4v1-2)? Even hedonistic rock and roll musicians can see through this to such an obvious extent that they have written a song which is clearly mocking these hucksters:
Do you see the face on the TV screen
coming at you every Sunday
see that face on the billboard
that man is me
On the cover of the magazine
there's no question why I'm smiling
you buy a piece of paradise
you buy a piece of me
I'll get you everything you wanted
I'll get you everything you need
don't need to believe in hereafter
just believe in me
I believe in the family
with my ever loving wife beside me
but she don't know about my girlfriend
or the man I met last night
Do you believe in God
cos that's what I'm selling
and if you wanna go to heaven
I'll see you right
You won't even have to leave your house
or get out of your chair
you don't even have to touch that dial
cos I'm everywhere
Won't find me practising what I'm preaching
won't find me making no sacrifice
but I can get you a pocketful of miracles
if you promise to be good, try to be nice
God will take good care of you
just do as I say, don't do as I do
I'm counting my blessings,
I've found true happiness
cos I'm getting richer, day by day
you can find me in the phone book,
just call my toll free number
you can do it anyway you want
just do it right away
There'll be no doubt in your mind
you'll believe everything I'm saying
if you wanna get closer to him
get on your knees and start paying
Cos Jesus he knows me
and he knows I'm right
I've been talking to Jesus all my life
Oh yes he knows me
and he knows I'm right
and he's been telling me
everything is alright
Jesus He Knows Me (lyrics & music by Tony Banks/Phil Collins/Mike Rutherford)
The world sees through these men and women who are greedy for your money - why can't these supposed Christian disciples? Because they prefer to have their ears 'tickled' (2 Timothy 4v3-4):
'For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.'
and they can no longer hear because of 'strong delusion' (2 Thessalonians 2v11):
'And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:'
>>> Joel's Army - the 'new breed'!
(Continued on page 222)