Rick Joyner: Christian Gnostic
Then I turned and saw the army of the Lord standing behind me. There were thousands of soldiers, but they were still greatly outnumbered. I was shocked and disheartened as it seemed that there were actually many more Christians being used by the evil one than there were in the army of the Lord. I also knew that the battle that was about to begin was going to be viewed as The Great Christian Civil War because very few would understand the powers that were behind the impending conflict (Rick Joyner, The Final Quest, 1996, p.22).
O Timothy, guard what was committed to
your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions
of what is falsely called knowledge (gnosis) - by professing it
some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen
(NKJV: 1 Timothy 6:20,21 )
Since records began, the Bible has been the best selling book in the world. Between 1815 and 1975 some 2.5 billion copies were printed. God's Word has been translated into more languages than any other book (over 300) and is more widely read than anything else. The Author of the Bible, the Holy Spirit of God, promises that "the holy scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15 ).
Is the Bible sufficient for our needs as Christians? Is it perspicuous (clear) enough to guide us in all things? Or do we need fresh revelation to live as God would have us in a modern world? Some would say that we cannot 'put God in a box' and that 'He is bigger than His Word'.
Undoubtedly Christian books and commentaries on the Scriptures can be a great help for us. Paul asks Timothy: "the things you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2 ). The Lord sent Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch who, although he had a portion of the Bible, needed help to understand it (Acts 8:26ff .).
But, though we appreciate Christian literature, do we need extra books which reveal to us what the Jehovah's Witnesses call 'New Truths' or which explain to us things which we can't really see in the Bible itself? God may be bigger than His Word, but He is also faithful to it (1 Thess.5:21 , Titus 1:9). He has chosen to reveal Himself authoritatively in the 66 books of the Bible, and has made explicit warnings to us that we do not go "above that which is written" (1 Corinthians 4:6 ) or "add unto these things" (Revelation 22:18 ).
So what are we buying today as Christians to help us in our obedience to Christ and our application of the Scriptures?
Well, one of the best-sellers at my local Christian bookshop is The Final Quest by Rick Joyner.
Who is he?
Joyner is associated with the Kansas City Prophets (Paul Cain, Bob Jones, Mike Bickle et al) who have been discredited for a number of reasons, notably:
Paul Cain's false prophecy that revival would break out in London in October 1990 when John Wimber went there. It didn't happen. "Many were left sceptical or disappointed" (Nigel Scotland, Charismatics and the Next Millennium, 1995, Hodder & Stoughton).
Paul Cain's close adherence to the Latter Rain teachings of Trinity-denying heretic William Branham. Cain considers that Branham was "the greatest prophet in the 20th century" despite the fact that Branham had a spirit guide or 'angel', believed he was Elijah returned, looked to the zodiac and Egyptian pyramids for revelation, taught that Eve had sex with the Serpent and falsely prophesied that the RC church would take over all the denominations in 1977 via the World Council of Churches.
Bob Jones' sex scandal in 1991 ('Minister removed after confession of sexual misconduct', Olathe Daily News, 31 November 1991). Bob Jones' Joel's Army/ Kingdom Now/ Dominion Theology/ Manifest Sons of God heresies. He also believed that the Kansas City Fellowship was the one true church all others should become part of; he claims that God revealed to him that prophets are to be only 66% correct, and that he would be providing false prophecies so that they would not become more accurate; when he was in a mental institution, he asserts that he was told by God that to regain his sanity, he must either forgive or kill 12 people.
Mike Bickle's New Breed/Manifested Sons of God, etc. heresies. He also believes that Christians will be perfected and glorified on earth prior to Christ's return. We will become "little gods" (see the teachings of Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Earl Paulk, etc.).
Joyner himself strongly endorses all these men and they regularly 'prophesy' at his meetings or have transcriptions on his 'Morningstar' website (www.eaglestar.org ). Joyner works for Morning Star Ministries in North Carolina, where he conducts a 'prophetic' ministry. He has tremendous credibility and pizzazz, and he issues a continuous stream of (best-selling) prophecies about the endtimes Church. His 'big thing' is "The Great Christian Civil War":
Like the American Civil War, the coming spiritual civil war will also be between the Blue and the Gray. In dreams and visions blue often represents heavenly mindedness- the sky is blue- and gray speaks of those who live by the power of their minds- the brain is often called gray matter- this will be a conflict between those who may be genuine Christians, but who live mostly according to their own natural minds and human wisdom, and those who follow the Holy Spirit ("Civil War in the Church," The Morning Star Prophetic Bulletin, May 1996, 2)
One of the questions I'd like us to ask
ourselves is this: what does Joyner mean when he talks about 'blues'
and 'grays'? Some other questions: will there really be a Christian
Civil War, do we need to take sides, and if so whose side are
we going to be on?
Joyner's prognostications about the upcoming
Christian Civil war are many and various. The most widespread
publication is the book, The Final Quest (1996, Whitaker House),
but he has also circulated several prophecies on the subject in
his Morning Star Prophetic Bulletin.
In May 1996, Joyner sent out a message entitled 'Civil War in the Church'. He makes the following points:
1. This is the greatest time of expectation
in the history of Christianity- reconciliation and renewal are
taking place everywhere and the church is growing at 200,000 people
2. There is an advance of ecumenism and the breaking down of denominational barriers (including Catholic/Protestant) thanks to Christian TV. 3. Satan is about to test the church's new unity.
4. In 1988, 1993, 1995 and Feb 1996, Joyner was shown that the church is headed for an inevitable spiritual civil war.
5. It will be "an opportunity to drive the accuser out of the church, for the church then to come into a unity that would otherwise be impossible".
6. "[It will be] the end of Christianity as we know it. The very definition of Christianity will be changed, for the better."
7. "The church that emerges will be full of unprecedented grace, truth and power."
8. The conflict will be extremely costly and prolonged.
9. The primary issue (as with the American Civil War) at stake will be the eradication of "the spiritual slavery and oppression now existing in much of the church".
10. "Nearly half the believers in the world today are held under a spiritual 'plantation mentality'" with leaders seeking only to build and preserve their own empires.
11. "Satan's 'strand of three cords' (the control spirit, the political spirit and the religious spirit) by which he is yoking multitudes of believers, must be confronted and removed from our midst." Then the church may "come into her ultimate glory".
12. Much of the church uses "guilt, pressure, manipulation and control to compel men to do what we think they should do". We must "remove the cancer from our midst".
13. A major factor in the Christian Civil War will be strife over money.
14. Another will be tradition/ a religious spirit/ Pharisaism vs. what God is currently doing. "The more anointed a new movement is, the more these traditionalists will be threatened by it, and the more vehemently they will attack it."
15. Some of those who oppose denominations will nevertheless keep others in fear and bondage to their own self-will.
16. There will be a fight between the true unity we have in Christ and the false unity of political expediency, tradition, way of life, etc.
17. The conflict will be between Christians who are heavenly-minded/ Spirit-led (Blues) and intellectual/ Mind-led (Grays).
18. The only way for true unity to occur is to rout the forces of spiritual slavery and oppression.
19. Unity and peace must be based on truth.
20. Many will fight simply out of loyalty for their organisation or denomination, not through true conviction.
21. There will appear to be a "total meltdown of Christianity [which] will result in one of her greatest victories ... This will cause the Lord's champions to ascend the mountain into higher realms of the Spirit than they have gone before. As they do, Faith, Hope and Charity will be revealed, and seen from even greater distances than would have otherwise been possible.
22. "The black church ... will be the primary force to bring about the ultimate victory," despite attacks from Satan and Islam. After the war, there will be no white or black church.
23. "There will be an entirely new definition of Christianity, which the Lord Jesus Himself has already written. The world will know us by our love."
24. There will be a New Breed of Spiritual Leaders, who will fight for the Blues. They may not initially be appreciated.
25. The Blues will be fighting for the liberation of the Grays, not to destroy them. "We are not fighting against people, but the forces that deceive and bind them."
26. Those who will not comply must be removed from their place of influence. "These can be distinguished by their attempts to spy out our liberty and yoke the church with bondage, or sow the doctrines the Scriptures call leaven."
27. "All the movements that are working to bring about the unity of the church really have been sent by God ... .We must do all that we can to strengthen every relationship, and reconcile with all those that we can."
28. We must "strengthen the essential truths of our faith, within ourselves", without compromise, and not follow organisations for their own sake.
29. We need to "judge ourselves, lest we be judged", casting out any spirit of control in us.
His earlier vision of August 1993, 'War and Glory' makes other similar points about the coming War, including: denominational rivalry, people not listening to watchmen, treacherous leaders, light-healing teams on the battlefield, SLSW, the visible church destroyed, a triumphant unified loving church ('a building' in the vision) in the aftermath.
In The Final Quest (1996, p.6ff), Joyner
reveals that the "foremost divisions [of the demonic army
controlling the Grays] marched under the banners of Pride, Self-righteousness,
Respectability, Selfish Ambition, Unrighteous Judgement, Jealousy
... Intimidation ... Treachery ... Accusation, Gossip, Slander,
Faultfinding ... Rejection, Bitterness, Impatience, Unforgiveness
and Lust". These demons attached themselves primarily to
Christians (sometimes several demons to one Christian), 'riding
on them' like horses!
Joyner continues with an enormous amount of bizarre description of the battle, including:
Vultures named 'Depression' which vomited 'Condemnation' on the imprisoned, demonised Christians. Unfortunately, these deluded 'Gray' Christians thought that "the vomit of Condemnation was truth from God ... these prisoners actually thought they were marching in the army of God! ... They naively accepted everything that happened to them as being from the Lord".
Many more Christians in the Devil's Army (Grays) than in the Lord's (Blue).
Great majority of Blues were women and children.
Joyner goes on to climb up The Holy Mountain, above lower 'levels' of truth with which other Christians content themselves with (e.g. 'salvation'). As he rises, he learns new truths, gets new weapons and is at a greater vantage point to kill the Vultures and other demonic creatures.
So what are we to make of all this?
NZ Prophet Speaks Out
Several people have issued responses to Joyner's various visions (e.g. Hank Hanegraaff; Balaam's Ass ministries), but the most interesting of all is from Andrew Strom of New Zealand Revival Bulletin. His view is significant, because he is into all kinds of prophecy and endtimes revival intrigue (though encouragingly, he has seen through the Toronto/Pensacola deception). Despite Strom's very friendly attitude towards Joyner, he balks at Joyner's desire for a Christian Civil War. In refreshing, no-nonsense, antithetical fashion, he wrote an article on 2 August 1996 called 'Why I Oppose The Civil War'.
Strom believes that there will undoubtedly be, as prophesied, a Christian Civil War. But he highlights Philip Elston's vision (which Joyner also quotes in 'Civil War in the Church'): the Lord says, claims Elston, that "no-one who has their brother's blood on their sword will be used to build My house". "God has warned very strongly that those who take part in this conflict will be excluded from the great Revival which is to follow immediately after this colossal 'shaking'," says Strom.
Strom agrees that "we are headed for a great splitting and shaking of the church", due to the church's Laodicean complacency. But he opposes Joyner's eagerness to redefine Christianity and to take part in the conflict.
The idea that we should join in with this war, to try and drive the 'Accuser of the brethren' out of other Christian groups in this way, frankly strikes me as being one of the most disastrous and ill-advised courses of action that I have ever heard ... aside from a whole raft of crushed and damaged Christians, what would be the real fruit of such a war? (Strom)
Strom discusses a vision experienced by
one of his friends in early 1995. In it she too saw a Red Sea-like
parting of the church into "TWO CHURCHES". She saw the
Toronto/Pensacola Experience as the catalyst for this. Strom concurs,
pointing out how he has noticed a
far more 'militant' mood amongst 'Spirit'-orientated believers since Toronto swept through the church. There seems to be a lot more talk of aggressive mobilisation and aggressive defence of the movement against those who oppose it. This hardening of attitude has also coincided with a similar hardening on the other side. Many of the 'conservative' evangelical-type Christians seem to have been particularly appalled by Toronto, and have become quite bitter in their opposition. So we can see that conditions for a Civil War in the church have been greatly advanced by 'Toronto' and ... 'Pensacola'
Strom, therefore, must be incredibly torn
at this time. He avers his strenuous belief in an endtimes global
revival, and is a Spirit-led prophesying Charismatic, but he refutes
Toronto, its Word-Faith origins and its dubious fruit. On which
side does he stand?
He adopts the 'Saul-David' strategy (interestingly, this metaphor is also used by Paul Cain, but to incite aggression, not to quell it). Strom argues that 'Saulish', 'Gray', Spirit-quenching, head-knowledge Christian groups should be left alone, just as David refused to strike 'the Lord's anointed'. David would have rebelled against God, even by removing this apostate king. The Blues must bide their time, or they will be "disqualified ... from taking part in the coming move of God". The Christian Civil War will be "JUDGEMENT", says Strom, on all who take part. Why should God warn us of it, if not to urge us to avoid it?
Then Strom speaks the unspeakable. He questions the motives and impartiality of the American prophetic vessels of God's contemporary revelation (i.e. Joyner, Jones, Cain, Bickle et al). He makes these excellent points:
1. "Is it really desirable to have a prophetic movement that is seen by many to be more of a mouthpiece for the Vineyard movement than an impartial mouthpiece for God?"
2. "As always there will be subtle pressure in such a situation, not to be too critical or too analytical about some of the teachings or practices that are associated with the 'related body'."
3. Prophets are supposed to be unbiased
'eyes'. How can they be if there is a "perceived bias in
favour of one particular (controversial) stream of teaching"
(Dominion Theology, Kingdom Now, Latter Rain, Signs & Wonders
Evangelism, Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare, etc.)?
This is dynamite stuff! How dare Strom sow seeds of doubt about the American prophetic movement? How can they be anything other than completely squeaky clean and disinterested - in all their motives, schemes and agendas? Is it not blaspheming the Holy Spirit and 'touching the Lord's anointed' to even hint that they may be manufacturing prophecies to suit their own church-political plans? The Encyclopedia of Pentecostal Ministries and Preachers says that Joyner has "developed strategy to infiltrate and gain control of the Christian Community throughout the US and Canada on behalf of the Kansas City Fellowship". Would it not therefore be tempting for Joyner - even if he was receiving genuine messages from God - to doctor his prophecies slightly so as to assist his designs for international influence?
Strom has also perceived another fallacy in the American prophetic movement: their obsession with 'legalism' and Pharisee-type religion in the church ... . Do we really need to go on and on about it, like some broken record or an endless tape loop? Surely we would have to be kidding ourselves if we thought this was the major problem facing the 'Laodicean' church?
No indeed. But what Strom does not say (I hope he thinks it) is that the straw man of legalism/Pharisaism is absolutely invaluable for the machinations of the Toronto/Pensacola/Latter Rain movement. If they can establish in the minds of Christians that legalism (not deception, lack of Gospel and Bible knowledge, lack of prayer, lack of evangelism) is the big problem today they can do two things: preclude the possibility of analysis, criticism and refutation; they can muzzle and demonise discerning Christians peddle their own psycho-religious ecstatic rituals as a way of 'release' from the 'bondage' of obedience to Scripture and daily Christian service.
It is most encouraging that Strom does
return to Scripture and asks searching questions from it to the
The Bible ... warns again and again of seducing spirits, 'lying signs and wonders', great deception amongst Christians (arising from within the church), etc. Surely any truly 'prophetic' movement in the last days would be warning strongly of such dangers? But we don't seem to be hearing many warnings about these things from today's prophetic movement do we? Could it be that it is more 'politically correct' in the Vineyard to attack legalism and domination, but not 'lying signs and wonders' or similar deception?
More than this - the Latter Rain prophetic grouping of Vineyard, Kansas City Prophets, Word-Faith and Toronto/Pensacola is the lying signs and wonders movement. It's no surprise at all that they warn against legalism and refuse to acknowledge the possibility of deception, because they foster that very deception. They condemn 'legalism', but that is because "the mystery of lawlessness is already at work" (2 Thessalonians 2:7) among them. They are "clouds without water ... raging waves of the sea" (Jude 12) whose broken words and false prophecies leave many parched for spiritual truth or dashed on the rocks of spiritual shipwreck (1 Timothy 1:19). Strom finds this "alarming"!!
Strom pleads with the church to repent of its "insipid compromise", its pleasure-seeking, its apathy, its refusal to "take up the cross". He demonstrates how too much teaching against 'legalism' will lead to "casting off of restraint, license, and a spiritual 'fun/party' atmosphere. Sin and holiness will be de-emphasised, and touchy-feely 'experiences' will tend to come to the fore".
Strom warns against joining the much-feted (by Paul Cain and Rodney Howard-Browne et al) Joel's Army, pointing out that in the book of Joel, the army is in fact LOCUSTS!! These "sweep through prior to the genuine Revival ... devouring everything". Strom believes there is a 'Gideon's Army' waiting in the wings to bring in the Revival after the Joel's Army (LOCUSTS) have self-destructed. He mentions another vision - 'The Two Revivals'- to back this up, where he talks about the 'Laodicean Revival' (Toronto/Pensacola) which brings the Civil War and great divide, which is immediately to be followed by a genuine revival administered by "a great tide of young people" (presumably the young men of Joel 2:28 ).
Strom concludes with yet another 'analogy' of his own - the children of Israel in the wilderness. The church, he suggests, has been through a wilderness of testing, with much fallout and apathy. Only a remnant of true disciples (like Joshua and Caleb) will get to see the promised land. These will be the Gideon's Army who bring in the last-days harvest after the Joel's Army (Blues) has fought against the Legalists (Grays) and the two have destroyed each other.
What are we to make of all this?
Andrew Strom is warmly to be commended for his deep concern to be found obedient and faithful to the Word of God. It is a little more difficult, however, to follow him wholeheartedly in his view of prophecy. How has God revealed that this Civil War will take place? Will there really be a massive global revival of genuine Christianity after the dust settles?
The Bible points away from global endtimes
revival. It promises a gradual degeneration of righteousness on
earth - "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse,
deceiving, and being deceived" (2 Timothy 3:13 ); then shall
many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate
one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive
many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall
wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall
be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in
all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the
end come (Matthew 24:10-14 )
We know from 2 Thessalonians 2 that there will be a great falling away from true Christianity, and a man of sin who sets himself up in its place. Everything looks set to get worse before our Lord Jesus Christ comes from heaven to judge and restore all things.
Global revivalists and restorationists point to the statements made about the end coming after the proclamation of the Gospel over all the earth. But they confuse proclamation with acceptance and dominion. They wilfully insist that the whole world will be Christianised and brought to submission, bowing the knee not to Christ but to the Church, his 'ongoing incarnation'. This ties in very nicely with Roman Catholic thinking (Catholics think they are saved through the Church alone, not Christ alone); this consonance of thinking will make ecumenism, syncretism and the eventual One World Religion so much easier.
But the Bible teaches that, though the Gospel will preached to every nation, it will by no means dominate every nation. It is a sad fact about mankind that our whole history has been marked by general rejection of God and His ways.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:13,14)
The only reason why people think things will be different at the end is because they are talking about a different gospel. There will be widespread if not total acceptance of this gospel, this broad way which the whole world will find appealing. It will probably be permeated with plausibly theological terms- Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, revival, love, unity will all be mentioned. But none of these words will be tethered at all to the Biblical (and only true) definitions of them. Paul warns the Corinthians that men will come preaching another gospel, another spirit, another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4 ). The foolishness of evangelicals when they extend the hand of fellowship to savage wolves, merely because they mouth the word 'Jesus' is astonishing. Kenneth Copeland's motto is 'Jesus is Lord'. But his real motto is 'Kenneth Copeland is Lord and Mammon is Lord'. He hates the real Jesus. He defies Him, saying that He became a demonic being on the Cross. Copeland is just one of the many apostates who have infiltrated into the heart of the church, playing on our naïve desire for better things, for refreshing, revival and filled pews.
There will be a global revival of unprecedented proportions. This is quite true, because the Bible says that the great leader of this religious revival will cause "all both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads" (Revelation 13:16 ). But it will be a revival of paganism, of gnosticism, Satan's last ditch attempt to stir up man to defy God and impale himself on his own pride.
We've got to keep a tight watch on what we mean by 'Gospel' and 'Jesus'. We mean that Christ died for sinners, once and for all, according to the Scriptures- we are saved by His grace alone through faith. Jesus Christ is a real man, He came, He lived and died, He rose and ascended. He is not the Christ Consciousness New Agers speak of, and of which Mother Teresa promoted. He is our God and King, and we are different from Him. We are not gods, we are sinners saved only by His precious blood. Yes, we do have His Spirit within us when we believe, but this Spirit is not a force or genie for our disposal, or to give us fuzzy warm ecstatic experiences and make us feel transcendent. This Spirit is our God, our Lord to whose leading we must submit utterly.
The new gospel of the new revival demotes every member of the Trinity just as it deifies man. Jesus to them is just some kind of spirit filled prophet with unusual insight, we've just got to tap into it. The Spirit (like faith) is apparently a force we bend to our wills by positive confession. The Father is depicted as impotent, trapped outside of His universe needing to form a covenant with Abraham in order to recapture some influence, but ultimately needing the Church to sort out the attitudes of Planet Earth before He is able to return. But these new apostles, they're something special. They're a new breed of miracle workers, of supermen who will claim ground and assume authority over secular governments and subdue the world beneath their feet. They've got a great range of impressive titles, and they all have doctorates in knowing how to intimidate dry and desperate Christians into accepting their psycho-somatic or even demonic rituals. The existence and pre-eminence of such men is a great testimony to God's patience, the Lord [who] is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9 )
So I would differ from Strom sharply on his endtime revival views, on his conviction that there definitely will be a Civil War between the Blues and Grays after which some kind of 'Gideon's Army' who will persuade the world of the truth of Christ. It does seem likely however that there will be a big, visible divide (akin to the Reformation perhaps) between apostate and genuine Christianity. Indeed, I think that as true believers maybe we should be praying for that to happen, because the unchurched are completely confused by the situation. Since Vatican II and perhaps before Satan's tactic has simply been to swallow everything and subsume it into pan-religionism. The Catholic Church's specific objective is to envelop all denominations and religions into itself, God's organisation on earth.
We as Bible-believing Christians therefore have even greater need to make sharp and clear distinctions between true and false manifestations of the Gospel, to be at peace as far as is possible with every man, but to refuse to be unified with bogus Christianity or to value human unity above unity with the mind of Christ. "Let God be true, and every man a liar" (Romans 3:4 ).
We also need to be extremely cautious about what prophecies we take on board. They must be brought to the bar of Scripture, and tested thoroughly to see whether they are in harmony with its general teaching about God and His character and specific teaching about the future. Strom is surely premature in his acceptance of a lot of these rather shaky prognostications, without more careful Biblical assessment.
Analysis of Joyner's Civil War
Hank Hanegraaff, in his illuminating text Counterfeit Revival, reminds us that Joyner labels the Grays as "spiritually ruthless and cruel", that he wants them "either converted or removed" and that Joyner is looking for "the end of Christianity as we know it" and an "entirely new definition of Christianity". If you think about it, saying that Christianity needs to be redefined is the same as saying that God didn't define it properly when He sent His Son and when He wrote the Scriptures. As Balaam's Ass point out, Joyner "claims a vision, and in Charismania that demands respect higher than the Word of God itself".
Hanegraaff, however, cites Jonathan Edwards, who "warned against just such a 'holy war'". Joyner it seems is more willing to fight with 'gray legalistic conservatives' than he is with Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists and other sects "in which there is a doctrinal mixture" (The Harvest). He believes that there will be, contrariwise, a 'great reaping' among them, and that they will join the American Prophetic Movement as it sweeps the world before itself. They will "be won by love, not truth" because Jesus is about to "enormously increase" our understanding on even such basic truths as "salvation and being born again" anyway.
It's the same old liberal, ecumenical
battle-cry: "Love unites, doctrine divides". They have
decided that they know better than God, that they are more loving
than Him because He insists on truth and right doctrine. Jesus
says, "If you love me, obey my commandments." Part of
loving God is being faithful to His teaching. We can't love God
on our own terms, we come as supplicants before a King on His
Joyner nevertheless has no time for people who insist upon doctrinal purity - unity is 'far more important' (as if unity and purity can be faced off against each other). Francis Schaeffer trenchantly declares in his remarkable book, Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History,
The reason why ... people [are] able to have a real unity and a real peace [is] that they [are] locked into the truth and commandments of God ... Any unity, any peace, that is not rooted in truth is nothing! Francis Shaeffer, Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History (available in The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer).
Satan loves to create false antitheses. All his false teachers love to pretend that somehow love and truth are opposites, or that grace and obedience are opposites, or that the Word and the Spirit are at odds. Joyner is no exception.
Joyner's friend, William DeArteaga, "denounces those who make essential Christian doctrine a prerequisite for unity". He calls this "the heresy of orthodoxy" which shows how twisting anti-Biblical thinking can get.
Joyner's other friends, Bob Jones (KCF),
James Ryle (linked with Promise Keepers) and Wes Campbell (Toronto
Airport Church) also had similar visions about the Civil War,
and they are all along the same lines - 'Gray', thinking, critical,
Pharisaical, legalistic, spirit-quenching Christians fighting
a bloody battle with Blue, spirit-filled, prophetic, revivalist
Christians. There is no neutral ground, they are adamant.
When Joyner was on Pat Robertson's 700 Club programme, plugging his books, he "emphasised how we Christians are entering a new age" and that we are to "realise our unity in diversity" (i.e. stop caring about truth). I wonder how hostile Joyner is to the New Age movement if he uses their terminology and is 'open' to spirits and redefinitions of things, and cares more about 'love' than truth.
Let's look at the points Joyner makes on the Christian Civil War and dig a little deeper into what he is really saying.
1. 'Reconciliation' and 'renewal' are certainly widespread. Keen YWAM teams launch themselves all over the Middle East, confessing the 'corporate sin' of our 'Christian forebears, the Crusaders' to Muslims. Everywhere Reconciliation Marches are striding forth, with Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims all holding hands and declaring their common faith in the monotheism. This is the Pope's dear wish, as he has been visiting Muslim leaders to try and arrange a trip up the Mount of Olives with them at the dawn of the New Millennium, to proclaim the essential unity of Judaism, Islam and 'Christianity' (read Catholicism).
1. The reconciliation is with men and
not with God, because it is not on his terms (truth);
a lot of the renewal and growth in the 'Christian' church is taking place within the Catholic Charismatic movement, the fastest growing in the world. This is a bogus, ecumenical, experience-based, Cross-denying, Mass-exalting movement which is trying to destroy the work of the Reformation by joining Catholics and Protestants in ecstatic rituals, not belief in the same truths.
2. Joyner is glad that denominational barriers are broken down. So should we be, because the Holy Spirit calls us "with one mind and one mouth to glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 16:6 ). Paul rejects denominationalism per se (1 Corinthians 1:12,13 ). But the point that is so blithely skipped over is this: we must be one mind as well as one mouth. It's wonderful when previously conflicting Christian groups can lay aside their differences and merge in the common cause, "with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" (Philippians 1:27 ). But if they just sweep their differences under the carpet for fear of offence, and put visible, organisational, man-based unity at the top of their agenda, both groups cease to be Christian. Of course the Reformation was regrettable in a sense. But is it better to be united with lies, or separated from them? All true Christian Protestants the world over would be so glad to hear that Rome had changed her teachings, repented of her Christ-denying ways, and turned back to the true Gospel of Jesus, and the Word of God. But until that change of mind has taken place, true believers cannot be one mind with those who reject the mind of Christ. "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed" (2 John 10 ); "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers ... for what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? ... Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord" (2 Corinthians 6:14-17 ).
If Joyner insists on joining with the Roman Catholic church (despite its refusal to acknowledge the Jesus of the Bible), he is contracting himself to idols, and will indeed find himself at war with true believers as they continue to preach the historic faith of Christ alone, and that, as "little children, [we] keep ourselves from idols" (1 John 5:21 ).
3. The visible church's new unity will be based on neo-humanism (that is, humanism with a spiritual side). There are undoubtedly many of us who are genuinely confused by all the talk of unity and renewal, and don't know where to stand. We don't want to oppose a real move of God, but we don't like the sound of a lot we hear. It sounds weird, unBiblical, compromised. We are right to be cautious.
The confusion largely centres on this anomaly: there are many true Christians within the false revival movement. They have not yet understood the dark powers that be, or the hidden agendas, behind the revivals that they are so enthusiastic about. It's very very important not to crush such people (and I say this to myself!). Their enthusiasm is laudable, and I praise God for it. It is, however, misguided. I believe it is our calling - as discerning believers who by God's grace have been enlightened as to the truth of these matters by His Word and by the evidence at our disposal - to warn such, and warmly encourage them to continue with their Christ-like zeal in preaching the true Gospel, whilst avoiding the false revivalism particularly found at hyped-up, 'big-top' or stadium-style meetings. We have to do this. It's not an option.
These dear brothers and sisters are our flesh and blood in Christ, and we are surely most unloving and callous towards them if we do not interest ourselves in the object of their excitement (false revivalism) and seek to redirect them back to the Cross (Galatians 6:14 , 1 Corinthians 2:2 ), back to looking at Jesus as found in Scripture (Hebrews 12:2 ), back to adorning the Gospel with our lives of gratitude and humble service alone (Titus 2:10 ), and leaving it unadorned doctrinally (Galatians 1:6,7 ; Revelation 22:18,19 ), as it is already perfect and powerful to save any man who believes (Romans 1:16 ). Let Aquila and Priscilla be our models - let us not shy away from expounding the way of God more perfectly to all the bold Apolloses we meet.
The new unity of the false visible church will be tested by these confused true believers within it. There will be many who can't accept the humanist, pagan, panentheistic agenda, and will little by little realise they have to "come out and be separate". But ultimately the false church will have its unity, because true believers, as Joyner points out, will be pushed if they do not see in time to jump. I only hope they see sooner rather than later. Time is running out.
The true church will have its unity, too, as it always has been unified throughout the ages in the glorious blood of Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour, to whom be all glory forever. And there will most certainly be a war between the two, but it will not be civil, it will be spiritual and total (Revelation 19 ).
4. Again, it is not a civil war as such, because 'civil' suggests there is already a unity of sorts. There is not - we either love Christ and trust Him as Lord and Saviour and long to be with Him in heaven, or we love our Gnostic god-within and our visions and our power and long to live as super-evolved gods forever on this earth. There is no traffic between the two sides, but a great gulf (Luke 16:26 ).
5. The 'accuser' here is not the Accuser mentioned in the Bible (Satan: see Revelation 12:10 ). The 'accuser' driven out of the visible, false, global, 'pan-everything' church will be the true Christian, as we've already discussed. Vanguard 's call is that the Holy Spirit, the consciences and Bibles of these brethren will drive them before they are extirpated by men like Joyner.
How do we know if we are being like Satan, the Accuser of the Brethren, or like the Holy Spirit, the discerner of all things? It is at the bar of Scripture that we decide. If we raise ourselves up as judges and gods over all men and all teachings, and accuse them if they do not submit to us, then perhaps we are more in line with the Evil One. But if we seek to try to submit humbly to the Word of God, and apply its holy wisdom to our situations, then we imitate our Master, Christ (see Matthew 4 ).
6. It will be the end of Christendom as we know it; that is, the connection between the visible, RC-led church and real Christianity will be severed once and for all. Ecumenism, Revivalism and Catholicism will not resemble Christianity at all, as they seek after other gods to satisfy their will to power and global conquest.
Mere Christianity, on the other hand, will never end. The word of God endures forever ever (1 Peter 1:25 ). Nothing will change about Christ's teachings, because they are perfect from the beginning (Psalm 119:160).
Joyner believes that the "very definition of Christianity will be changed, for the better" because it appears he has never really taken hold of Christ, the author of authentic and primitive Christianity. There is no need to change the Gospel, and to say it needs to be changed is to accuse Christ of inadequacy, which is what the Roman Church have being doing for hundreds of years (Cross + Mass, Mediator-Redeemer [Jesus] + Mediatrix-Redeemer [Mary], Gospel + Pope + Magisterium + Tradition). Joyner will be quite happy to join with his Catholic brethren as they have one thing in common: they hate the simple Gospel and want to bolt their own religion on to it until it is unrecognisable. There will always be men who think they can make Christianity better than Jesus made it.
7. The emerging global church will be unprecedented. But it will be so because it will be further removed from Christianity then any of its heretic forebears. It is interesting that Joyner claims that it will be "full of unprecedented ... truth". This is because its 'new truths' will supplant the 'old truths' of the Bible, and fill up the minds of its enslaved followers. There is no room for Jesus Christ in the heart of the New Age Christian, because that room has already been taken up by everything else which denies Him.
8. The conflict will be costly, sadly.
Even now the unbelieving world is so confused as to the true message
of Christianity. Some bright-eyed people are talking of a new
future of church-engineered world peace; others are calling all
men everywhere to repent of past and present evils, and to hope
for a Christ-established future. Who should they listen to? Those
'glorious overcomers' or those 'ghetto, remnant theologians'?
Let us carefully avoid such a caricature - we do not believe that the Christian church is a effete loser. We believe, praise God, that the Body of Christ, is triumphant with Him! But our triumph, says the Bible, will be through our suffering for His sake, not through our global dominion and conquest. "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10 ). Our triumph, like our Lord's, will be when we take up our cross and follow Him, out into the world, loving all men, telling out the good news, and being rejected by those who call themselves our brothers (John 15:20 , 16:2 ). Our great privilege and earnest is that "unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake" (Philippians 1:29 ), not that we will commandeer the wealth of the wicked, or overcome the governments of the world.
The cost may be our lives, and we may find that those baying most awfully for our blood will be the most 'spiritual' men of all, who see our 'negative vibes' (doctrines of sin and repentance) as a danger to the harmony of the New World Order.
9. Joyner thinks the church is under slavery because it is chained to the former revelations of the Book, and will not receive the latter rain of the Spirit. Only when we chuck out the Bible (even if we pay it lip-service in the interim to get the more cautious on board) will we be truly free, it is thought. Jesus says that only the truth will make us free (John 8:32 ) and God's Word is truth (Psalm 33:4 ).
10. I agree with Joyner's assessment of empire-building and self-aggrandisement. I just do not see how he is any different (don't buy The Final Quest, it's too expensive, and it's not very good. If you want to verify what I'm saying, I'll post it to you).
11. By 'control spirit' Joyner means those who seek to "cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5 ).
By 'political spirit' Joyner means those who fight for their 'denomination' as he would see it. Actually he will try to classify those who fight for the Scriptures and their supreme authority as those who are politically and denominationally minded. It seems we all, like Randy Clark (the self-styled 'firestarter' at Toronto, may God have mercy on him), must lose our denominational spirit (the bathwater) and the Bible with it (the baby).
By 'religious spirit' Joyner means those who believe in the truth of the law of God, and that loving Christ involves keeping His commandments and not running amok, sinning willy-nilly that "grace may abound" (Romans 6:1 ).
These three spirits (self-control, Bible-belief and law-abidance) will be obliterated so that the new wave of the spirit can come in and take all with it. Then the Apostate Church will come into her ultimate shame and delusion (2 Thessalonians 2 ).
12. When Hank Hanegraaff spoke out against the Pensacola Outpouring, they cursed him and threatened his family. I cannot think of one Counterfeit Revival leader (Joyner, Hinn, Clark, Arnott, Howard-Browne, Copeland, etc.) who does not exert enormous amounts of pressure on his congregations to comply with him in giving him money taking of the new spirit rejecting the use of the mind, the Bible and prayer.
13. Certainly there will be strife over money - they will always want more! "He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity" (Ecclesiastes 5:10 ). The Revival leaders have worked out that they can milk people down to their last penny if they tell them what their itching ears want to hear (you will get rich, be happy, be healthy, get anointed, be powerful, work miracles, take over the world, be popular). What is particularly sick about it is that they prey on poor Africans (even in Britain, most of the people who go to the false revivalist crusades are Afro-Caribbean) and queer the pitch for genuine Gospel preachers (I believe Morris Cerullo is almost single-handedly responsible for the restriction of religious freedoms in Israel. Since his money-grabbing leaflet drop, the Knesset has passed laws in reaction, limiting indigenous Christian's rights to preach the Gospel to their lost Jewish brothers).
14. I guess I am one of those vehement traditionalists. If there's anything of sentimental, non-Biblical tradition in me, then may the Lord strike it out, as it too (however benign-seeming) adds to the perfect Gospel of Christ. We need to examine and judge ourselves in these things. Are we clingy to old, man-made patterns of behaviour and meetings? Do we really derive our Christian experience and lives from the teachings of Scripture and from the prompting of the Holy Ghost? Are we counting on past experiences to save us? Are our prayer lives fresh and urgent? Are we reading the Scripture with burning eyes and hearts, and teachable spirits, day and night seeking the Lord's will for us? Or are we falling back on shallow and staid evangelical rituals as a substitute for true worship and our reasonable service?
Joyner, however, wishes that we jettison not only our church habits, but also the very traditions of Scripture. "Therfore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle" (2 Thessalonians 2:15 ). Our Christian faith is nothing without those traditions.
15. This is to pre-empt criticism from non-denominationalists (like us). It is Vanguard 's dear wish not to enslave, but to "furnish God's people with sound Bible teaching". We are fully open to Biblical criticism, and would grieve profoundly if it was shown that we had brought fear and bondage to any man. Indeed, our motive we hope always to be love of God's people, and "perfect love casteth out fear" (1 John 4:18 ). It is certainly true that a lot of what is written is 'negative', but we do not apologise for utterly condemning anything which seeks to usurp the positive, GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ! There isn't anything better, friends, no matter what Joyner says!
16. Joyner recognises there is such a thing as false unity, which is encouraging. How he can say in another place that unity and love are more important than truth, is difficult to fathom.
17. We trust that as Bible-believers, we seek to be as heavenly-minded as possible, so as to be of great earthly-use! " Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33 )
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:1,2 ).
18. What does the Bible say is the route
to unity? It is hearing the voice of Jesus, and coming into His
one fold (John 10:16 ). The kind of unity achieved by the false
global church will be the unity of Pilate and Herod - unified
(Luke 23:12 ).
19. This 'truth', however, may be a little different from He whom we follow (John 14:6 ).
20. We need to avoid this error - fighting out of loyalty for our denomination, if we have one. Fidelity to one's local church is surely a noble thing, especially through arid times. But to back one's movement indiscriminately when it's getting derailed is folly.
21. Joyner is happy ascending up his gnostic mountain of ever-greater secret knowledge and power. Rodney Howard-Browne is a big pusher for the 'higher realms of the spirit', but the kind of realms they are talking about are mystic raptures and altered states of consciousness where people's defences against marauding spirits are drastically lowered. Let's remember that the Apostle Paul was extremely loath to show off about his vision (2 Corinthians 12:1ff ), where these men pride themselves in 'how high they've climbed'.
22. Firstly I want to ask, Should there be such a thing as "the black church", when the Bible says "there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all" (Colossians 3:11 , cf. Galatians 3:28 )?
Secondly, it is certainly the case in Britain that the so-called black church is almost entirely sold out to these deceivers. Any Morris Cerullo or Benny Hinn concert in Earl's Court has a 95% black crowd (even though most of the speakers are white). Kensington Temple, the largest church in the UK, has the same kind of stats.
Let me make it perfectly clear that I believe there are some wonderful Christian black believers in England. It is just that, from my experience, the Counterfeit Revivalists delight particularly in misleading Afro-Caribbeans by their promises of untold wealth, health and revival in Africa. I've seen Hinn and Colin Dye whip black crowds into a frenzy through his 'visions' of revival in various African countries.
My conviction is that those in the 'black church' should start joining multicultural, multinational churches where all are one in Christ Jesus, and distinctions are not made on the basis of skin colour. Think how offensive and divisive it would be if someone said, "The white church ... will be the primary force to bring about the ultimate victory."
And if there are any 'white churches' that view themselves as such, and do not immediately extend the hand of fellowship to blacks, Asians and everybody else in Christ, they should surely start reading their Bibles again.
It is through exalting our skin colours and national and cultural identities that we endanger ourselves to deception.
23. The Lord Jesus has already written the definition of Christianity. It's called the Bible. He doesn't need Rick Joyner to make up some more. It's a perfect revelation already, for which we are to be profoundly grateful. Who are we, that deprecate the Bible by thinking it's sub-standard? Muslims? Mormons? Christian Scientists? No, indeed, we are called by His Name! "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (2 Peter 1:3 ).
24. The New Breed of Spiritual Leaders
are people like Paul Cain, Bob Jones, Jim Bakker and Earl Paulk
who are false prophets and have all been involved with sex scandals
(as has been mentioned). It is by God's grace if we discern their
words as lying imaginations of their own hearts. "I have
heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying,
I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the
heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets
of the deceit of their own heart; which think to cause my people
to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to
his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal"
(Jeremiah 23:25-27 ).
They will not initially be appreciated, not because they are great prophets, but because they are liars and cheats and money-grabbers. They will however persuade many through their lying signs and wonders (see 2 Thessalonians 2:9 ; R.T. Kendall rejected Toronto/Pensacola initially until Paul Cain started speaking telepathically [I believe he has demonic power to do this] and Rodney Howard-Browne 'healed' R.T's wife; R.T. was never persuaded by the truth of their prophecies, but wowed by the power at their disposal. It is not a power from the God whom they deny).
25. It is to Joyner's credit that he speaks in this way. We could say the same about him - that we battle against the spiritual forces that bind him, and seek to save the man. "And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh" (Jude 23 ).
26. I guess 'discernment' is to be restyled as 'spying out the liberty of the church'. Again, we seek to present the truth of the Scriptures, which alone can liberate man. The visions and imaginations of man will only bring him into bondage, alone and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12).
27. Joyner wants to strengthen every relationship. He supports all drives for unity (even though he says unity must be based on truth). This means he supports the work of Churches Together, The World Council of Churches and the Parliament of World Religions, three important instruments of Satan in bringing about the One World Religion. Clue: it won't be Biblical Christianity.
28. When Joyner talks about "strengthening the essential truths of our faith, within ourselves" he is using gnostic/humanist language. His faith is a self-generated power, focusing on his own enlightenment and experiences. It is not a faith focused on Christ and His atoning work. It's similar to the kind of Christ-consciousness doctrines Mother Teresa peddled.
29. We do indeed need to judge ourselves,
"for the time is come that judgment must begin at the house
of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of
them that obey not the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17 ). But
the spirit we need to fling out is that of Babylon, of Mystery
Religion, of flirting with the antediluvian foe of that old whispered
life, "you shall be as gods!" (Genesis 3:5 ). It's Satan's
most seductive lie, and he hasn't given up on it yet. It's brought
more people into hell than anything else. Either God is God, or
we are. I know which I choose! "Then Simon Peter answered
him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal
life" (John 6:68 ).
Conclusion for Part 1 - Civil War
There is a war coming. But "though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh" (2 Corinthians 10:3 ). We are to "love our enemies" and pray for them (Matthew 5:44 ). We are to take up spiritual weapons- the shield of faith and "the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God" (Ephesians 6:17 ). And when the great Falling Away and the Man of Sin do come, and the visible church crumbles into Babylon (2 Thessalonians 2 , Revelation 13-19 ), let us (like the two prophets) "finish our testimony" (Revelation 11:7 ) knowing that a crown of glory awaits those who persevere to the end, by the mercies of Christ and His saving strength. And those crowns we shall gladly cast at His feet.
And meanwhile, I urge to you win as many
true believers over to the truth of these matters, so that we
can all get on with our proper calling which is to go into the
world and warn every man to flee from the wrath to come (Matthew
3:7 ), and bring the Good News to every nation.
Soli deo gloria.
2 - Gnosticism, Mysticism and the 2nd Coming
This article, by Neil Richardson, first appeared in Vanguard Magazine . It is used here by permission. Vanguard Magazine is a quarterly teaching magazine associated with Christian Witness Ministries
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