If God is so good and powerful, why does He allow evil and suffering? A helpful lecture by Dr. Gary DeWeese of Biola University…
“We require God to remove evil after evil until a paper cut is worst evil in world. How can there be a good God if He allows paper cuts?” (Dr. Gary DeWeese)
The lecture entitled Solving the Problem of Evil by Dr. Garrett DeWeese; Biola University Christian Apologetics Department is extremely helpful when addressing the valid question, “If God is so good, why does he permit evil and suffering in the world?” I listened to this lecture a while back while in the Christian Apologetics program, and it was outstanding.
Dr. DeWeese explains the fact that there are two different kinds of evil:
- Moral evil; caused by free choices of moral agents (e.g., Nazis used their free will to cause suffering in others)
- Natural evil (Phenomena of nature; Operation of non-moral causes)
Dr. DeWeese further explains:
“Now, most concerns when we talk about the problem of evil have to do with moral evil. But when we come back to Bambi, the fawn that was horribly burned by the forest fire caused by lightning, you have to ask, ‘Why did God make a world in which natural cause and effect can bring about such suffering. And I think something like this…would give us the very same kind of answer as the free will defense did against moral evil. Conclusion, of all of this, God is a good God. He did not need evil to exist in order for His goodness to be good! He did not need to create at all. God did not need you and me. Or creatures like us. But having freely made the decision to create, and having decided to gift the creation with freedom, thereby to receive greater glory from it, God also made possible suffering and evil. God did not make suffering and evil. He made it possible. Do the existence of suffering and evil in our world count against the existence of God? I think so. I think there are arguments. I don’t think atheists that talk about these arguments are irrational. But I think the positive arguments for God’s existence together with the defenses, the rebuttals, that we can offer for the arguments from evil, are such that we can have great confidence not only that God exists but that evil can be successfully dealt with philosophically, and with using the theological resources of our faith as our understanding of God grows, our certainty of that conclusion will grow as well.” (See source; Emphasis mine)
This is such a complex subject. If you have the time, please listen to the audio by Dr. DeWeese I provided in the link above. It is okay and good to ask questions like these. God is a God of truth, and He is not afraid of nor mad at our honest questions. What is not okay is to go through life – never digging and arriving at the answer – and dying with unanswered questions. What a tragedy that would be. So, if you are digging and asking questions, good for you.
Another kind of moral evil: Suffering for being a Christian and/or doing what is right
In addition to moral evil and natural evil, there is a sort of evil and suffering that comes about by doing what is good! This falls into the moral evil category. This is what the rest of this article will be about. Crucial to note is that this is temporary. For the Christian, there will not always be suffering:
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
Remember, even Jesus suffered:
“But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Heb. 2:9)
God does not delight in evil. Human beings have free will. God did not make puppets. Rather, He made people with the ability and freedom to choose good or evil. If He made puppets, there would be no love because it would be forced love. Love must contain a free choice to be love. God chose to send His Son into the world because He loves you and me. He gave us freedom to choose Him or not, to choose right or to choose wrong. The puppets would have no choice or freedom in the matter.
There must be free will.
What does it mean to be blessed? People of the world want to be blessed. Christians want to be blessed. Everyone wants to be blessed, and nobody wants to “suffer”. We often wish people “blessings” and want them to “be blessed”. But, what does it mean to “be blessed”? Prosperity preachers (false prophets) will tell us that being blessed means health, wealth and happiness; a great job, popularity, and a lot of money. This is what most of the world thinks. The definition of blessed that Jesus gave was quite different. Jesus said that when we are experiencing such things as being “poor in spirit”, mournful, meek, desiring righteousness and being persecuted, insulted, and falsely accused…this is when Jesus says we are “blessed”. It is when we experience these issues that we are truly ‘blessed’…according to God. It is when we are “afflicted in every way”, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, and delivered to death (whether spiritually or physically) that we are truly blessed (2 Corinthians 4:1).
This is God’s truth, yet how many Christians believe this? And how many pastors faithfully preach this?
Another example is that Jesus says it is more “blessed” to give than to receive. Yet, we often equate blessings not with giving or sacrificing something of value to us, but with receiving something from someone or from God.
Remember Acts 20:35, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Being falsely accused of evil, being persecuted and insulted because of Christ – yep, that’s blessed in God’s eyes. There are future rewards for those sufferings. Some of us are blessed and don’t even know it. Jesus says, “for great is your reward in heaven”. Life’s temporary happiness is worth nothing compared to eternity. The Apostle Paul called his troubles “light and momentary afflictions”, and he went through nothing that we would call “light afflictions”! He was beaten, imprisoned, and shipwrecked.
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” (2 Cor. 4:17)
Jesus explains true blessings. God sees blessings differently than the way we see them, for His understanding is higher than ours. He even conveys in Scripture that suffering for being a Christian is a blessing. He goes so far as to say all true Christians will be persecuted: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus believes that if we are partakers of Christ’s sufferings (suffering for being a Christian; doing or saying Godly, Biblical, Christian things), then we are to “REJOICE”, that when His glory is revealed, we will have exceeding joy. We are to be happy when we are reproached. This is opposite of the worldly view.
Here is a passage from 1 Peter 4 about suffering: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 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? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator”.
Did you know that people hated Christ?
“Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.” (1 John 3:13)
Christ made it clear that people of the world (and that includes worldly, Christian-in-name-only people) would hate His disciples. In fact, Matthew 10:25 makes it clear that if we truly are His disciples, then we could even be called worse things than Jesus: “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?”.
Disciples will love others, but they will be hated in return.
Jesus calls this blessed.
He even goes so far as to say, “woe to you” (how horrible it will be) for some: “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26). Wow. Being praised by the crowds, in God’s eyes, is not a blessing, but a woe? This, again, is a completely opposite view of what the world calls “blessed”.
Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountain, and when He sat down, His disciples came to Him. This was the Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew, chapter 5. Jesus explains more of what it is like to be truly blessed:
“And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you”.
Are you blessed? Count your blessings! This will be comforting to some. I pray this is enlightening and comforting to Christians who suffer for Christ and an eye opener for those who refuse to. Be blessed.
The Loneliness of a Christian by A.W. Tozer
The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world.
His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorptions in the love of Christ; and because with his circle of friends there are few who share his inner experiences, he’s forced to walk alone.
The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord himself suffered in the same way.
The man (or woman) who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk.
For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over-serious, so he is avoided, and the gulf between him and society widens. He searches for the friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none, he, like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart.
It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else.
Source: DeWeese, Gary. (n.d.). Solving the Problem of Evil. [Lecture and transcript]. Biola University Christian Apologetics Department. Accessed October 1, 2018.
This article was originally published September 8, 2011
Is Sozo healing safe and biblical? The real roots and history of Sozo: Randy Clark of Toronto Blessing, jungle and barnyard animal behaviors, Bethel Church, Argentina and more…
HISTORY OF SOZO
“In 1997, Randy Clark, a healing evangelist, held meetings at Bethel Church. At that time, Pastor Clark would send a team to train a congregation how to be prayer servants. A small portion of that training was a model of ‘deliverance’ from Argentina. This model became our first tool ‘The Four Doors’.”
The above is a direct quote that www.bethelsozo.com provides in their history section. Elsewhere in this section, it states that the “Lord introduced” these tools for this healing ministry. Interestingly, the Word of God (the Bible) does not support this at all.
Why didn’t the Lord introduce these tools a long time ago so that others could have been using these tools for the past twenty centuries or more? Why did “the Lord” wait so long to introduce these methods if this is what “sozoes” (saves, heals and delivers) a person and “makes them obtain a connection to the Father”? What did the early Christians of the previous centuries do to get “saved, healed and delivered”? Did they rely on these Sozo tools, or did they rely on the shed blood of Jesus? Why would the Lord wait 2000 years to introduce these tools to save, heal and deliver?
Here are the seven tools introduced by “the Lord”.
- Father Ladder
- Four Doors
- Presenting Jesus
- The Wall
- Trigger Mechanisms (Advanced Tool)
- Divine Editing (Advanced Tool)
- Shabar (that is, if the above tools fail to work)
According to this official source of Sozo, Randy Clark of the Toronto Blessing is part of the roots of this movement (as well as an Argentinian healing ministry). According to my research, it is public information that Sozoers collect a “suggested donation” sometimes as much as $150.00 (or more). Interestingly, the cross (the message of “Christ crucified”) is found nowhere on the official Bethel Sozo website. I spent a good amount of time going over every page, and no cross! Therefore, this is yet another good reason to believe that Sozo is a false gospel. Also, I contacted several official Sozoers and Sozo leaders and asked them how I could know I am saved. Most of them told me that Sozo [rather than Christ] is “the way to obtain a connection to the Father”! One of them told me that if I do Sozo, it’s like a “three in one deal” and that I would surely get connected to God via Sozo. Another Sozo leader told me that if I can hear an actual voice (i.e., of God), it is a sure sign of being saved. Most of them (all but one) could not explain to me the real Gospel message of Christ crucified, but instead told me to just do Sozo to get connected to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 2:5)
Who is Randy Clark and what is the Toronto Blessing?
Randy Clark is a friend of Bill Johnson according to Bill’s public “friend list” online. Many people say, “you can’t believe everything you see on the internet,” but direct quotes from official sources are true and undeniable. Also, the official sources do tell others that “the Lord” sends barnyard and jungle animal manifestations and even drunkenness and uncontrollable laughter (see the photo provided). These are the types of notions Randy Clark teaches, and it doesn’t seem like Bill Johnson has a problem with it! The following photo is from www.catchthefire.com:
The answer is Jesus, not Sozo. He alone can sozo (i.e., save, heal and deliver) a person. Furthermore, He has been doing it (free of a suggested donation) for centuries. Sozo is not the mediator between God and men.
“Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” (Proverbs 30:6)
Sozo suggests that you need to keep doing Sozo sessions in order to be set free, but what does the Bible say?
“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6:11)
Answer: The Toronto Blessing refers to the supposed outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the people attending the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship Church, which at the time was the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church. On January 20, 1994, a Pentecostal pastor named Randy Clark spoke at the church and gave his testimony of how he would get drunk in the Spirit and laugh uncontrollably. In response to this testimony, the congregation erupted in pandemonium with people laughing, growling, dancing, shaking, barking like dogs, and even some even being stuck in positions of paralysis. These experiences were attributed to the Holy Spirit entering people’s bodies. The pastor of the church, John Arnott, referred to it as a big Holy Spirit party. The moniker “Toronto Blessing” was given, and the church was soon in the international spotlight. When this “blessing” is held to the light of Scripture, however, it can scarcely be called a blessing; abomination, maybe, but not blessing. Absolutely nowhere in Scripture can one find any precedent for what was happening at the Toronto Airport church, except, perhaps, the physical conditions demon-possessed people suffered. In fact, the Toronto Airport church became so embroiled in emotional outbursts and psychological displays that Pastor Arnott ceased preaching salvation, and instead preached about the party of the Holy Spirit. Experiences were being held in higher authority than Scripture. This was even too much for the already extremely charismatic Vineyard movement, which severed ties with the Toronto Airport church in 1995, prompting the name change to Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. A believer’s focus needs to be Jesus Christ, the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), not on oneself, one’s experiences, or even the Holy Spirit. The Toronto Blessing focuses on the last, to the detriment of biblical faith. Believers can have fun, dance, sing, even shout to the Lord. However, when a worship service resembles the dream of a demented schizophrenic and attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit, only one word comes to mind: heresy.
This article was originally published on April 26, 2013 and has been updated.
In this new article from the San Francisco Chronicle, a former 50-year resident of Redding, California and licensed clinical social worker explains why she made the choice to leave Redding. This says a lot:
“I recently chose to leave Redding after nearly 50 years in this community, where I raised my family and where many I love remain. I left almost entirely because of Bethel and the city’s passive complicity in the real factors that ail Redding. Did you wonder why Bethel gave $500,000 for law enforcement but not homeless shelters…did anyone ask what happens to the hundreds of people who come from all over the world to have their serious mental or medical illness “healed”? When they don’t believe “strongly enough” to be healed, they end up on the streets of Redding, sick, alone and far from home. Please do some research. Begin with the “seven mountain mandate,” which teaches that the church should take control of seven important aspects of society, and the New Apostolic Reformation (a growing movement in the U.S.). Review Bethel’s history in the nearby community of Weaverville (Trinity County). Look at the net worth of Bethel’s leader, Bill Johnson. Ask some questions. Find the answers.” (Roxanna Zalesny; Emphasis mine)
Also, in a previous article, it is noted that many of the town’s residents are not happy with the cult. That is, a cult which looks eerily similar to Scientology and disregards healthy separation of church and state. The article explains:
“Suffice it to say that church leadership rake in untold millions of tax-deducted dollars. Apparently, leader Bill Johnson’s wife, his two sons and their wives are all on the payroll. Bethel Church is the perfect example of why churches should be required to file the same annual reports as every other nonprofit organization. It won’t happen because Congress is scared to death of Christianity, Inc.”
“…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Ephesians 4:14)
When we anchor our faith on the Word of God, we won’t be “carried around by every wind of doctrine”. These various doctrines come to us by way of the false prophets. The false prophet’s agenda is to attack the truth of God’s Word. Since right doctrines lead to right living and false doctrines lead to bad living, having right teaching is paramount. Jesus explained how even a little error is very damaging (Galatians 5:9). Many friends I have had believe that Christians are to “eat the meat and spit out the bones” when it comes to listening to teaching. That is, to take what is good and discard what is bad or false, and to keep listening. Where do we see Christ teaching this?
The Bible also likens false prophets to wolves. They seek to destroy the flock with their false teaching. In fact, they have an inner drive to bring down God’s sheep, and often this drive is well disguised. The Bible says false prophets are crafty:
“These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted…” (Jude 1:12)
So crafty are false prophets that they seek to get to the sheep by infiltrating our churches and homes (this can be through radio, TV, books, online sermons, etc.):
“For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim. 3:6,7)
One of the commands of Jesus is to beware the false prophets who come to us in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Please notice in the Scripture above the word, “creep”. How many people have you known who look and seem like Christians, but who turn out in the end to be teaching false doctrine and their own ideas over the truth of God’s Word? It was the ancient Pharisees who nullified God’s Word in order to follow their own ideas:
“…thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” (Mark 7:13)
This is why Jesus had a problem with the Pharisees (an ancient Jewish sect). They were overly lax and liberal with the truth and commands of God and invented their own false teachings instead. They set themselves up as religious representatives to the people. The Bible says to beware the false teachers, but it is also the command of Christ to seek to reconcile with others whom we have offended or who are offended by us, to put out those fires in our lives, and “leave your gift at the alter”:
“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23,24)
Reconciling with others is an act of worship. Being the one who actually seeks the reconciliation is spiritual maturity; however, does God even want us running after certain people He has removed from our lives? Based on my own personal experience, sometimes it is painfully clear who is a false prophet and sometimes it is not so clear. There is great danger in mistaking a wolf for a sheep, but there is also great danger in mistaking a sheep for a wolf. Jesus wants us to have peace with our brothers, and we must not call our brothers what they are not (see Matthew 5:22). Jesus said we can know them by their fruit and of course, whether or not they are teaching truth or lies. What happens when there is a false teacher in the family? Would God ever call a believer to reconcile with a false prophet? Why or why not? And, do false brothers or “tares” also fall into this category (i.e., the category of “beware”)? Paul said he was in danger of false brothers in 2 Corinthians 11:26. I have come across false teachers, and it is a mind trip when it happens. The shock of it feels a bit like being a “deer in the headlights” when the individual you thought was a dear friend or pastor turns out to be a massive semi truck about to run you over and devour you swiftly with lies and false accusations rooted in lies.
Another command of Christ is to let your light shine because God is good to all:
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt. 5:44,45)
Was Christ referring to the false teachers too when he said “enemies”? With all the multitude of exceedingly stern warnings in Scripture about false prophets and false teachers, not to mention, the one which commands us to “mark and avoid” such people (Romans 16:17), how do you personally reconcile all these verses together? For example, what if there is a false prophet in your family? How would God want you to treat them? What if they got sick or needed money? It seems as thought there is a vast disconnect between “loving enemies and letting your light shine” and “being weary of, marking and avoiding” such individuals. When light shines, it shines on all. Light is not exactly selective on who or what it shines on. I am not suggesting shining light on the false prophets nor casting pearls before swine, but I am raising some real questions.
One time, years ago, I was actually exceedingly nice to a false prophet. I bought them gifts for all their children and expressed my love to them in many acts of service. Of course, I didn’t actually know they were a false prophet at that point. It didn’t turn out for my benefit at all, but ended up being massively, spiritually damaging. The guy ended up severely verbally abusing dozens (if not hundreds, actually) of sincere “sheep”. Wolves don’t exactly care if you are nice to them – it does not phase them – I have noticed. They are still wolves by nature. I am not suggesting that you make the same mistake I did.
What has been your experience, and how do you weigh all these verses together in your quest to obey the commands of Christ? Do you think the false prophets go after the empathetic and merciful types of “sheep” more than others? How do you know when God wants you to “go and reconcile” and when God wants you to “run and shun”?
Just Another Day in Corinth: ‘Pastor’ David Devereaux Preaching on Homosexuals in Church and Clergy…False Teaching in the Church
Desert Spring United Methodist Church – Summerlin is not teaching according to sound doctrine, so please be careful. I say this with love and sadness. This is the same thing that happened at Corinth. Remember, the Bible warns us:
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 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. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:1-5; emphasis mine)
“For certain men have crept in among you unnoticed—ungodly ones who were designated long ago for condemnation. They turn the grace of our God into a license for immorality, and they deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:4; emphasis mine)
“…the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine…” (1 Tim. 1:10; emphasis mine)
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Romans 16:17,18; emphasis mine)
The “pastor” of this Las Vegas church, “Reverend” David Devereaux, is not teaching the orthodox, Biblical teachings about what God has to say about homosexuality in church membership and clergy (church leadership). He gave the sermon soon after the members and clergy of the United Methodist Church at large (more than 12 million members worldwide) voted to retain what they call their “Traditional View” on the homosexuality/clergy issue. He explained how this view only won by 28 votes! According to my research, the view that lost would have allowed homosexuals in clergy.
An article at Christianity Today outlines what the “Traditional Plan” looks like:
The “Traditional Plan” maintains the current stance against gay marriage and ordination, proposes enhanced accountability, and offers a gracious exit to those who feel they cannot in good conscience remain part of the denomination. Those bodies who leave would be given an exemption from the trust clause and allowed to retain their property. (In an early ruling by the denomination’s judicial body several parts of the original plan were deemed unconstitutional, and it has since been altered and will be presented as the “Modified Traditional Plan.”)
Yesterday, in a Sunday church service at Desert Spring, “Reverend” David Devereaux went into detail about his disapproval of this decision (vote) by the United Methodist Church at large to exclude homosexuals from clergy. He stated that his church is “way ahead of the curve” on this matter (on gay marriage/membership/clergy). According to my notes which I took during the service, he even explained this decision as a blatant disregard for decency!
I got to thinking…isn’t disregarding God’s Word (the Bible) a blatant disregard for decency (in God’s eyes)?
There are massive problems with his teachings and disapproval of the “Traditional View”. While he conveyed to his audience that the Bible is rather silent on issues such as this, in actuality, the truth is that the Bible is exceedingly clear that homosexuality in church/clergy/marriage is a sin and unacceptable to God. God wants a pure church. It would not be wrongly judgmental or unloving to hold to this orthodox view. This is God’s view, after all. The pastor was conveying the message that the homosexuality/clergy issue is a non-essential (as he quoted the famous, “in essentials, unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in everything love”). It just so happens that God is very clear on the issue of homosexuality in clergy, thus it is an essential doctrine!
Yes, we as Christians are called to love. I love the homosexuals I know. I have a family member who is one! They are not a worse sinner than I was, certainly! Homosexuals do not have the corner on sexual sin. We are to show compassion to all. However, that does not change the fact that God wants a pure church. He does not want gay pastors, it’s just what the Bible says. This does not mean we hate, not at all. Love and truth go together. Disapproving of homosexuality in the pulpit does not put us into the category of “hateful”, as this pastor seems to indicate as he explains how we fail at love if we do this. Yes, we are to love and do good to the homosexuals we know. If they are unbelievers, we are not called to judge them, but to love them. If they are sick, or need help, we are to help them. But, as Christians, we are called to a certain standard. Christian pastors are also called to be faithful to their wives. We are to reflect our holy God the best we can and make moral choices because we are the “salt of the earth”.
Run, and run fast, from this church.
During the service, I also got a red flag in my spirit before the sermon even began, but I figured I would give them the benefit of the doubt. The leaders seemed nice, smiled a lot and shook hands; however, I have never seen such a blatant disregard for the Word of God, ever.
It was scary.
His public sermon dated March 3, 2019 was heterodox. This is a matter of public concern. Ironically, the opening Scripture in the service was the “salt of the earth” Scripture (Matthew 5:13). Being the “salt of the earth” means that as Christians, we are to stand out morally from a compromising, immoral culture! We are to be “salty”, like a preservative in a decaying society and a decaying church! We are not to blend in! How ironic and hypocritical it was to use this Scripture before a sermon that condones sexual immorality in church!
He went on to say how Christians should not exclude people, and that Jesus condemns those who exclude people. Then, he quotes 1 Corinthians 12 where it speaks of the body of Christ.
“We are going to continue to be in ministry with all people, with all people, giving witness to the greater church to a better path, a better way. When it comes to Desert Spring, this decision does not impact our ministry…our values…it does not impact my ministry and what I will be doing as your pastor. In a lot of ways, we are like way ahead of the curve on this, because a long time ago, we decided to agree to disagree on this matter…I mean, we have folks in our church that believe homosexuality is a sin, and we have folks in our church that believe it is not a sin, but we have decided loving one another is more important…regardless of whether it is a sin or not…we do better to stop pointing the finger in judgment at other people…at Desert Spring, we say all are welcome…and we mean all are welcome…we believe that people who are tall, short, blue eyes, dark skin…heterosexuals, LGBTQIA…are welcome in this place. We say this because it is a fundamental Biblical principle based on the life of Jesus Christ…He welcomed them all…when it comes to controversial issues, as Christians, we err on the side of love.”
Notice how this “pastor” creates a false dichotomy between loving others and accepting homosexuals into the church (as members/clergy). The Bible commands us to love, and to not judge those outside of the church. But, what about homosexuality inside the church? This pastor is suggesting that this issue is rather non-essential. But, what does the Bible have to say?
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality…” (1 Cor. 6:9; emphasis mine)
“For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” (1 Thess. 4:2-8; emphasis mine)
“But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.” (1 Cor. 5:13; NASB; emphasis mine)
“An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, having children who are believers and are not open to accusation of indiscretion or insubordination.” (Titus 1:6; BSB; emphasis mine)
If you are a Christian and attend this church, you need to leave in obedience to the Lord. Run, and run fast. Doing so would not be unloving because it’s obedience (see Romans 16:17-18 on avoiding false teachers who twist doctrines, teach false doctrine and/or deceive their sheeple). Read your Bible at home, or with a good home fellowship. It’s a better use of your time.
Devereaux, David. March 3, 2019. (Public, featured image and public sermon entitled “March 3rd 2019 – When Christians get it Right – Part 4 – Rev. David Devereaux”. Accessed March 4, 2019. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/321074062
Author has no ill-will toward any individuals and/or parties mentioned. All content is the truth spoken to the best of knowledge and/or can be verified by research. Content is a matter of public interest. The above is a “fair use” commentary on public information.
This is a portion of a helpful article written by Victory Ministries, but please note that this ministry does not necessarily support all the beliefs of all the ministries listed in the links. Nevertheless, many of these links were helpful. The article is called GRAVE SUCKING BILL JOHNSON:
THE BLIND DECEIVED ONES IN THE THIRD WAVE CANNOT SEE OR UNDERSTAND THAT THEY ARE FULL OF KUNDALINI DEMONS AND SERPENT POWER. THAT IS WHY THEY ARE DEVOID OF REAL POWER, NEVER MIND HAVING TRUTH, INTEGRITY AND LOVE. THAT IS ALSO WHY THEY FALSELY SUED FOR $50 MILLION AND CHARACTER ASSASSINATE THE MESSENGER BECAUSE THEY ARE DEMONIC AND DON’T WANT TO HEAR THE TRUTH ABOUT THEMSELVES.
BILL JOHNSON IS THE DECEIVER http://www.scribd.com/doc/25418818
BILL JOHNSON & the NEW AGE
GRAVE SUCKING BILL JOHNSON http://wp.me/p2M7AJ-1mT
WARNING BILL JOHNSON AND BETHEL CHURCH http://moriel.org/MorielArchive/index.php/discernment/church-issues/warning-bill-johnson-and-bethel-church
THE BIG MISTAKE OF COPELAND AND FRIENDS http://wp.me/p2M7AJ-1Jc
GOD WANTS YOU WELL http://wp.me/p2M7AJ-1ry
THE FALSE BROWNSVILLE REVIVALhttp://www.scribd.com/doc/211818062/
NATIONAL AWAKENING http://www.scribd.com/doc/226939087
THIRD WAVE SEDUCERShttp://moriel.org/MorielArchive/index.php/news/with-real-concern-for-the-third-wave-word-of-faith-signs-wonders-laughing-charismatics
GOLD DUST http://wp.me/p2M7AJ-1Mm
DRUNK AND LAUGHING https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HBXGPAhd24&
More Deception, Back by Popular Demand! Paul Goulet’s Prophetic Conference 2019 at International Church of Las Vegas starring Malik and Ashley Edwards, Chuck Pierce and Jane Hamon…
The following is an old article from years ago, but looks like the Vegas “apostles” are back at it again!
There is nothing new under the sun! January 27, 2019 will mark the beginning of another extremely deceiving, cultic and mind-controlling “prophetic conference” at ICLV, the International Church of Las Vegas. If you are a Christian planning on attending, please do your research first like a noble Berean. You could save yourself and others from a lot of spiritual and emotional harm. That is, careening off the narrow path of being a disciple of Christ to unknowingly becoming a disciple of a false prophet.
Furthermore, false prophets are those who would lead you astray from the faith and sound doctrine of Christ. Jesus loved us so much that He warned us, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). Jesus also warned us that the false prophets would have a massive following (and, these guys do; see Luke 6:26).
As it is, history repeats itself (the following is an article from years ago):
A few churches in the Las Vegas area openly support and are publicly affiliated with Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, California. One of these churches is International Church of Las Vegas (ICLV). ICLV’s pastor (or some say apostle) Paul Goulet can even be found in Johnson’s public favorite friend list which lists many questionable ministries, even some who have promoted strange manifestations in Christian circles such as acting totally drunk and acting like a (quote from their own ministry website): “cross between a jungle and a farmyard” animal.
Neither of these manifestations are Christian (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:22,23; 1 Cor. 14:23; 1 Peter 5:8). Rather, the fruit of the Spirit is self-control not a loss or lack of self-control. Here is a direct quote about a “transferable anointing” from one of Johnson’s ministries that he promotes:
“…transferable anointing. In its most visible form it overcomes worshippers with outbreaks of laughter, weeping, groaning, shaking, falling, ‘drunkenness,’ and even behaviours that have been described as a ‘cross between a jungle and a farmyard.’ Of greater significance, however, are the changed lives.” (John and Carol Arnott, Catch the Fire, History of the Toronto Blessing)
Teachers involved in the Jesus Culture band and affiliated with Bethel Church (like Banning Liebscher) have spoken at ICLV in the past at the “Holy Spirit Conference”.
Therefore, please be very careful with letting anyone lay hands on you who has this “transferable anointing”. You could do strange things afterward.
Another upcoming tour scheduled in March 2013 to stop here in Las Vegas at ICLV is the Jesus Culture Still Believe Tour with Kim Walker-Smith.
Remember that Jesus Culture has come directly out of Bethel Church (Bill Johnson). Another church that gives their support of Bill Johnson is Encounter Community Church in Henderson, Nevada. This church even participates in Bethel’s “sozo” inner healing ministry (which originated at Bethel Church) and has promoted their sozo conference right here in Nevada. The inner healing ministry was started by two ladies just a few years ago. One of these ladies is also a “Liebscher” (Teresa Liebscher). So, why does this matter? Please read the article link at the top of this post. May God bless you and give you wisdom and discernment.
“For he that bids him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2 John 1:11)
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17)
The following was written by David Backus
Copyright The Free Believers Network 2011
I can usually spot them. It’s my job as I contribute my portion of the work to the Body of Christ. They are sometimes outcasts. Sometimes they are quiet and introverted. Other times they are more outspoken and abrasive. Either way, they are misunderstood. Usually, if they don’t want to be removed from their local church group, they conform, grudgingly and brood quietly. Many aren’t aware of why.
Often they get accused of being unteachable or unsubmissive to authority and being headstrong. The problem is, many times even they don’t recognize why or what they have. Usually these people’s hearts get crushed early on in the institutional church system.
I am speaking, of course, of those with the spiritual gift of discernment. This specific gift doesn’t get a lot of limelight and exploitation like the more powerful gifts. It is usually a threat to most pastors and it is more difficult to manipulate and control.
This is one of the biggest population of people in churches that get their share of spiritual and religious abuse. Either they conform to the all-knowing constraints of their pastors, or they get swept under the carpet, or booted out. Their warnings about error taking hold in the church often go ignored and usually such people aren’t given a position of leadership or to even speak in the average church setting.
I like to call the gift of discernment the twin gift of prophecy. People who are prophets or who work closely with prophets possess this gift as well. It complements and tempers the prophetic gift nicely.
The discerner is the watchman in the late hours of the night. They constantly scan the horizon for possible danger. They watch closely and carefully with a highly critical mind, for anything that might damage or lead the church away from the truth of the things of God.
If I were to liken the discerner to a part of the body of Christ it would be the immune system. They are the body’s defense system against viral lies that would infiltrate His people.
Unfortunately, due to religious pride, financial corruption and desire for power and control, religious abuse, or even the more passive aggressive church communities have rejected this crucial part of the body, rendering it vulnerable to the lies of the enemy.
Usually discerners don’t get along well with the pastor who doesn’t understand the gift and insists on running the show. They also don’t get along well with the “be nice and don’t judge” mentality of the average church attender. Often, discerners get accused of being judgmental, overly critical, or even arrogant.
I would offer comfort here though, there is an entire book of the Bible dedicated to the discerner. It is most often overlooked and poorly understood. It is one of my favorites, the book of 1 John. I take deep comfort in this book and other passages in the Bible which reaffirm this gift in me.
To the pastor or the observant church member, I say this. Look for the ones who usually are considered and labeled rebels. They don’t fit in, they don’t play nice with the status quo. They sometimes have a chip on their shoulder, they usually complain about the way things are and can tend to be overly critical. Look for the loner who is in the group, but never at complete harmony with it. Also look for the one who drives you crazy with their being “unteachable” and “unsubmissive.” Chances are, they have the gift of discernment, even if it is undeveloped and not brought under the control of the Holy Spirit and His Love.
To the Discerner: If this blog describes you, make sure you are submerged in love for people. Use your gift based on love. My gift of discernment became the most effective when I learned that God is love, and I asked God for the gift of seeing the world, especially the Church through His eyes.
As with all spiritual gifts, it needs to spring out of God’s flame of love for others deep inside of you. Fall deeply in love with people before operating in this gift. When you love people, you will never go wrong. And things can go awry when love is withheld and selfish motives are the root.
I want to share with you a good booklet I read late last year in 2018. The following is the excerpt about the booklet. Click on the title below to order on Amazon:
Narrow is the Way – Have you REALLY found it? is a collection of dynamic testimonies of nine believers, from the United States, England, and Guatemala, who, in spite of geographical location, have come together with a common purpose – to share and expose their troubling experiences with-
THE NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION (NAR) – A false movement in the Body of Christ today that has invaded thousands of churches and ministries – and is deceiving many unaware but except for sincere believers around the globe.
Learn a brief overview about what NAR is and the hurtful and sometimes abusive treatment these believers encountered when they began asking questions of their church leaders and what happened as they tried to leave.
This is a must read for every christian, because we are warned in the scriptures to “test the spirits” and to “decide all things carefully”. This booklet will help you decide for yourselves – to either receive “new revelation knowledge” from the New Apostolic Reformation or to believe the Word of God.