Part 2: Joel's Army
Morris Cerullo is also a self-proclaimed "prophet." He had a program recently (early 1991) entitled, MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD. He couldn't have been more blatant! However, the teachings were indeed more blatant than even the title could have possibly suggested. Yet, the hearers looked very sincere as they chanted out blasphemy on his command.
"Jesus, being the brightness of all that God has and is. He was the reflection, image and manifestation visibly of all that God has and is. What is God's purpose and plan and objectivity? Sons and daughters who will manifest all that God has and is. Can you imagine the power in your being when you face the devil? You represent all that God is and all that God has!"
At this juncture Morris Cerullo questioned three ministers as to what God is doing on the earth. Their replies were exuberant and followed the same trend.
(1) God is duplicating Himself in the earth;
(2) God is releasing His life through the Body; and
(3) the whole of creation is waiting for the Manifestation of the Sons of God".
The excitement manifest by the people lets you know that indeed it is JOEL'S ARMY that has finally arrived. Morris Cerullo continues:
"Today I am a Son of the all powerful almighty God of the Universe. His life flows through me. God has birthed the life of Christ. The fullness of the Godhead dwells. I am a partaker of the DIVINE NATURE. I am a joint heir with Jesus. I have inherited all things. ... everything Christ has belongs to me. . Jesus didn't come to teach you how to defend yourself. He came to lead you in an attack. Jesus went into Satan 's territory. The strategy of Christ was not to wait until the enemy came. He taught us how to march out, go into his territory... we are not on the defensive. We DECLARE WAR. . . 'I and the Father are ONE.' How's that for taking the offensive!"
Have we become so used to cartoon characters that do such unusual things that we don't even notice the same type of deception abounding in the church? Children wake up on Saturday morning to see turtles that have had a "magic potion" or "ooze" thrown over them that transforms them into TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES. Benny Hinn blows on his audience and supposedly it is the breath of God that transforms them into "Super-beings". Benny Hinn on October 20, 1990 aired a sermon on TBN titled "God's Super Being." Here's an excerpt:
"When you were born again God gave you this brand new being, this brand new being was created before the foundation of the....... Your spirit, ladies and gentleman, is God-like, he's God-like in every way... Say after me, within me is a God-man. . . Say it again, within me is a God-man. Now let's say even better than that, let's say, I am a God-man. When you say I am a God-man, you're not talking about your flesh or your soul, you're talking about your spirit-man. . . This spirit-man within me is a God-man. Say after me, he's born of heaven, he's a super being... Say I'm born of heaven - God-man. I'm a God-man. I'm a sample of Jesus. I'm a super being. Say it! Say it! Who's a super being? I walk in the realm of the supernatural. Say it! Who walks in the realm of the supernatural?. .get the spirit-man renewed. . . when he's strong, he'll hold off sickness. . . you want to prosper? Money will be falling on you from left right and center. God will begin to prosper you, for money always follows righteousness.. Say after me, I hold my destiny. . . The reason many of us ask and never get is because our spirit-man isn't strong enough to give it to us,. Say after me, everything I want is in me already."
So many of the "prophets" and "teachers" today get very upset when told they are teaching "Manifest Sons of God" doctrine. They deny it vehemently. Yet, they go on teaching it! Yes, if you hear someone teaching that God is raising up "Joel's Army" or "Super Beings" coming on the scene, you are hearing "Manifest Sons of God" teaching in its purest form. The theology behind "Manifest Sons of God" is rather like jello. It just changes its shape depending on the mold you put it into - yet it is still jello. It comes as "Dominion Theology", or "Kingdom Now" and even can be called "The Bride". Next time, it may not be Joel's Army, but may be the Phineas Priesthood (those who executed judgment in the name of the Lord -Numbers 25).
JOEL'S ARMY CALL-UP
The recent visitation of the JOEL'S ARMY "prophets' in England was initiated with the following prophecy purported to be of God: "Revival will break out, and then spread through the whole of England and into Europe." This prophecy was also used to advertise the importance of the prophetic conference, thereby raising the level of expectancy to a high pitch. However, Barry Killick (PROPHECY TODAY with reference to the prophets in England last October (1990)) reports:
"Vineyard Ministries international came to Britain. People were blessed, but the promised October revival did not take place."
That the Church is experiencing a paradigm shift, there is no doubt. The gospel we are hearing coming from the lips of the new popular ministries certainly is not the pure Gospel of Christ nor does it even closely resemble the old time orthodox gospel. The unchanging Gospel of Christ was clearly distinguished and defined by the Apostles of Christ. By their definition, the current prophetic gospel of JOEL'S ARMY with its admixture of error and truth is not only unholy and deceptive, but is accursed, in that it is "another gospel."
The Church is both the heir and guardian of God's precious Word - the Defender of the Faith. Therefore it is not ashamed to say, "Thus saith the Word of the Lord". The true Church believes the Word of God is "Yea and Amen", absolute, pre-eminent and final! Any beliefs to the contrary cannot represent the true Church - be careful! Biblical truth is the staple diet the Church subsists on, anything else will cause death! The fundamental doctrines of the Bible are in the foundation of the Church and are the basis on which the orthodox faith rests. Whatever therefore threatens Bible doctrine, the faithful will resist, resent and expose. At least several basic orthodox doctrines determine whether or not a movement or an individual is a true witness to the Gospel of Christ. These doctrines are: (1) The Deity of Christ; (2) Redemption through the Cross of Christ; (3) Salvation by faith according to grace; (4) The resurrection and ascension of Christ; (5) The Rapture (the catching away of the saints out of the earth); and (6) The Second Advent of Christ with His saints.
Over and against these orthodox beliefs, a new gospel with definite "New Age" overtones is emerging within the Church, which to all intents and purposes is in direct conflict with Scripture and orthodox views - hence the vociferous outcry within the Church. Some of the erroneous teachings of the "new gospel" are as follows: (1) the deification of man - denying the exclusive Deity of the Son of Man (Christ); (2) The perfection, immortality and glorification of the elect (JOEL'S ARMY, Manifest Sons, etc.) in the absence of the literal presence of Christ - denying the Rapture of the saints' (3) Scripture is not the only source of redemptive truth denying the "Written Word"' (4) Doctrine does not really matter as to the unity of the Church - denying the foundation of the Apostles' doctrine; (5) The new ministries, that of the "prophets" and "apostles" are not to be judged according to the Scriptures, but rather subjectively and according to the fruit of their lives - denying the criterion of the Word of God, Here we have a "seed-bed" for a hybrid mixture of truth and error.
"Does God ever approve the mixture of truth and error? Is it alright to mix truth and error if one is sincere, or if this mixing is done to accomplish Scriptural goals? Of course not! God's Word always demands the separation of truth and error and believers who disregard God's commands in this respect will eventually pay a terrible price even though such a violation of Scriptural principles might at first appear to produce beneficial results, (FOUNDATION,, November/December, 1990. Vol. Xl, Issue 6, Fundamental Evangelistic Asso. P. 0. Box 6278, Los Osos, CA 93412).
DOMINION/KINGDOM NOW TIES
If you do not believe in a literal "catching away" or "rapture", a literal anti-Christ, a literal tribulation, a literal Armageddon, etc., then you will get caught up in the words of today's prophets who are telling you a very different Gospel that has come from allegorizing and spiritualizing the Word of God. Their agenda is political, with a view to take over the earth. Naturally, to take it over for Jesus. Those recently attending the Docklands conference in England were promised by John Wimber, "There is something higher than being Baptist and that is to be in this END TIME ARMY and involved in THIS GREATER PRIZE of bringing EVERYTHING ON THE EARTH AND ABOVE THE EARTH AND BELOW THE EARTH tot he FEET OF JESUS." Clifford Hill in his publication summed it up:
"The opportunity of joining the 'new breed,' an elite group of believers endowed with supernatural power that would enable them to be part of the army of 'dread warriors' that God was said to be raising up in our generation. According to John Wimber this is a type of Joel's Army' who will overcome all opposition to the gospel and eventually subdue the nations. This teaching is part of what is known as 'dominion theology' which teaches that an elite army of 'overcomers will either destroy or subdue all the enemies of Christ until they eventually gain power and authority throughout the world. The government of the nations will be upon their shoulders and when all the secular authorities, governments, princes and kings have finally submitted to them, Christ will return and they will present the kingdom to him." (PROPHECY TODAY, Volume 7, Number I, England).
Earl Paulk has been teaching along these lines for some time. In THE WOUNDED BODY OF CHRIST he says:
"We have been foreordained of God to become that people who will be so glorified that we can bring Christ back to the earth. This glorified Church must make the earth God's footstool before Jesus can come again . . . Let me describe the glorified Church. The glorified Church will be approved of the Father. . . it may be only a nucleus of people, a firstfruit. Somewhere on the face of this earth, God will find a people - how large or small numerically I do not know. But those people will adequately become a witness of God to the nations of the earth."
"...The greatest test of the spirit of the anti-christ is its attitude toward the church. The attitude isn't directed toward Jesus. Jesus is not personally a threat to any community unless there is a living, thriving church functioning in that community. Therefore, the spirit of the antichrist refuses to recognize that GOD IS HERE IN THE FLESH."
Does that hit you? Now, the true church is being called the spirit of the antichrist! The ones who do not have their eyes opened now to see that the church is GOD HERE IN THE FLESH NOW! MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD! Are you willing to accept that "we are to look for another?" Do you accept that the Church now coming forth and being manifest is the coming of Christ we've been looking forward to since He ascended into heaven and "two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this SAME JESUS WHICH IS TAKEN UP FROM YOU INTO HEAVEN, SHALL SO COME IN LIKE MANNER AS YE HAVE SEEN HIM GO INTO HEAVEN."
Bill Hamon has been teaching along these lines for an even longer time. In THE ETERNAL CHURCH he states:
"Each restorational advancement of the Army of the Lord has established denominational forts that are given responsibility to maintain the purity and power of that truth. . . New recruits are now being drafted and trained and older soldiers and generals are being put through intensified training for the next advancement of the Church Army. They are being purified by the Baptism of Fire. . . Are you Ready? Where do you start? What will you do? A new government must be established, a new way of life for those millions of people. You are now ready to rule and reign on your overcomer's throne!"
So, what is ahead? The MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD. Bill Hamon on page 385 of the same book lays it out.
"The Earth and all of creation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, the time when they will come into their maturity and immortalization.... When the Church receives its full inheritance and redemption then creation will be redeemed from its cursed condition of decay, change and death....the Church has a responsibility and ministry to the rest of creation. Earth and its natural creation is anxiously waiting for the Church to reach full maturity and come to full sonship. When the Church realizes its full sonship, its bodily redemption will cause a redemptive chain reaction throughout all of creation." [Paradigm Shift.]
Again, who is glorified? The Church, the Manifested Sons of God! Oh how wonderful to recognize my full Potential to KNOW WHO I AM! The cry of our hearts should be THAT I MIGHT KNOW HIM IN THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS, BEING MADE CONFORMABLE UNTO HIS DEATH.
So many of the terms that are being twisted are so scriptural. Hence, the deception. This teaching is also heavily promoted in the video called THE BRIDE. On viewing this video my seventeen-year-old son was distressed at the distortion of Scripture. The video is full of inaccuracies and completely based on the Kingdom Now/Dominion viewpoint. Pastors must be warned to not allow this video to be shown to their congregation unless they are showing it with disclaimers to teach their congregants how to discern false doctrine. The line-up of commentary in their advertising tells the story:
". . . a message of hope and victory for today's broken and wounded Church." - Vinson Synan
The Church of Jesus Christ is not feeble! By saying this, the Cross of Christ is made of none effect! God does have a people. He has those who will not bow their knee to Baal! The Church is alive and well. The blood of Christ has never lost its power!
THE GOSPEL BEING CHANGED
Have we been hearing a distortion of Scripture for so long that we do not recognize error any longer? Is the church going to sit complacently by and allow the written Word of God to be corrupted? The "Christ" that is being preached today is a "bloodless" Christ. In fact the basic Gospel is continually and subtly being changed. Jack Deere's theology has also become "jello" for he says, "The Scripture never encourages us to warn the unbeliever of the wrath that is to come. When the prophets speak to God's people, they warn God's people about what's to come. (Joel's Army, Jack Deere, VINEYARD, 1990).
There is a serious problem here. This view is leading people to believe that the simple message of the gospel is inadequate. The power of the cross of Jesus Christ is being reduced. According to BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE, Vol. 111, No.4, July - August 1990, Robert Dean notes that the chorus book at the Vineyard has 83 choruses, but 82 fail to mention the cross. This lack of certainty regarding the gospel of Christ is brought out in the following conversation by Dr. Jack Deere who is considered to be John Wimber's right hand theologian and scholar. This is an interview quoted from the aforementioned publication:
"After introducing myself, I said to Dr. Jack Deere, 'I wonder if you might tell me why you felt my explanation of the gospel was defective yesterday?'" [Jesus Christ who died for our sins and was buried and raised on the third day and that it is this gospel by which we are saved.]
To which he replied, "I'm not really very prepared to talk about that."
I must admit that I was a little surprised at this initial response, considering he had just finished speaking to five and a half thousand people on false teachers. Added to this was the fact that two days earlier had informed us of the many ancient languages in which he had become proficient in order to fully understand the Bible. I wouldn't have thought someone with such credentials would need to do all that much preparation for a friendly discussion on the content of the gospel.
Given his lack of preparation, I then asked, "Well just off the top of your head, what do [you] think the gospel is?"
Jack Deere replied, :I'm not prepared to make a formal statement about that"...
My next question was, "Could you perhaps tell me in formally what you believe to be the gospel?"
Jack Deere answered, "I'm not sure."
Somewhat stunned, I said, "I find that quite surprising - that you are not sure what the gospel is."
Jack Deere then commented, "I used to be just like you.... Thinking the gospel was simply justification by faith."
I responded, "Are you saying that the gospel is more than justification by faith?"
"Yes," he said.
"What would you add to it?" I asked.
"Deliverance," he said.
Then I asked, "What do you mean by Deliverance?"
He explained, "Things like demons and healing and... .,'
Pausing for a deep breath, I said, "So let me get this straight. You would add as an essential part of the gospel things like the exorcising of demons and healing?"
I continued, "Sort of like what John Wimber was saying last night at the evangelistic rally that it's the 'complete package' -the word and the works of Jesus."
"Yes," he said.
"But you're not sure exactly what should be included?' I asked.
"No," he said, "not yet."
"Not sure of what to say next, I asked, " Would it be fair to say that you're in a state of flux since you joined the Wimber thing?"
He quickly responded, "We're always in a state of flux - you are...."
"But on the gospel message?" I said, "surely that's one thing we should have worked out. I can understand being in state of flux over something like remarriage and divorce but surely not over the gospel! Don't you think we can reduce The gospel to some sort of summary statement like Paul does in say l Corinthians 1 and 2 or I Corinthians 15 or I Thessalonians 4 or Romans 5 or . . ?
There was no response except a shrug of the shoulders.
I continued, "Do you think the apostle Paul had anything particular in mind when he wrote to Timothy and asked him to guard the gospel that had been entrusted to him?"
Continuing to be amazed, I said, "Are you saying that you couldn't go back into that pavilion and tell those people the gospel?"
He replied, "No - not yet. "
I responded, "When do you think you could do it?~
And he said, "maybe five years; maybe ten..,"
We must all be cautioned that the Word of God has very strong things to say abut those who do not abide in the Doctrine of Christ.
"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not In the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." II John 9-11.
Sadly enough, those who are duped by this heresy and say doctrine doesn't matter, when faced with the evidence will shrug their shoulders and say, "Well, that isn't what they meant." Another excuse will be, "You took the quotations out of context." The truth is that the quotations in their full context offer an even more frightening glimpse of what is awaiting these souls who refuse to allow their sound mind to discern according to the Word to God. They will brush aside the realities with, "Oh, you know God does weird things. He did weird things in the Bible and people just don't understand when He does weird things today." Honestly, how weird do you have to get before you wake up. Will it take the Jello melted into kool-aid in a steaming jungle to bring the church to her senses? (i.e. Jim Jones). "Both the Biblical writers and the early Church Fathers felt it vital to contend for the faith. They did not think it unspiritual or a form of pharisaical religion to stand up for fundamental Biblical truths found In scripture." (The Manifest Sons of God, Viola Larsen, Apologetics Resource Center). And I'm certain they would not maintain the attitude that: "Conversely, immediate and heavy discipline will fall on those who take it upon themselves to publicly criticize and attack others' ministries. The world will know God has sent Jesus when they see us acting in love towards one another..."(EIijah House NEWS, Jan, 1991, Paula Sanford).
It is rather love that is the motivating force to warn the Church of the errors. I know that many of the teachers are dear men of God. My own father loved the Lord with all of his heart, mind and being! Yet, I remember even he enjoying the idea of "entering immortality" when he heard it taught. It is exciting to hear a message like Mike Bickle's proclaiming, "We'll have the power to raise people from the dead, that even death won't stand before the power of the Church. We'll see those four days Lazarus kind of deals. The Lord's going to begin to give those in the days to come." (School of Prophecy, Session 7, Vineyard Ministries, 1989).