Watch Out for Those Who Teach God Speaks to Them, Pt 1
In today’s world, it is becoming common to hear one Bible teacher after another teaching about the alleged revelations they’ve had (and enjoy…as in ongoing) from God. When someone tells you that “God told” them something, two things are immediately happening.
- they are stating without equivocation that God absolutely speaks to them and their word is authoritative, and
- if you disagree with them about what God has allegedly revealed to them, you are essentially disagreeing with God
Isn’t that special? Seriously, we are hearing more people today say things like, “And as I prayed God said to me…” or “God spoke to my heart and He told me…” and as people who were not part of that conversation, we are expected to believe it in spite of whether or not it aligns with God’s revealed will in His written Word. People who question it are questioning God.
I recall when the Charismatic Movement was in full swing in the early to mid 1970s. Names like Demos Shakarian, Frank Foglio, Harold Hill, Frances & Charles Hunter (the Happy Hunters), Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson, Jamie Buckingham, Paul and Jan Crouch, Kathryn Kuhlman, Oral Roberts – and the names just keep going on, but we would run out of room here – were really big then. These were considered the heavy weights in Christianity at the time. They clearly “knew” God, had His ear and He theirs. According to many of these folks, God often communicated with them extra-biblically, meaning, it was like He whispered in their ears.
When I was involved in the Charismatic Movement, local meetings were often sponsored by the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship (founded by Demos Shakarian). Meetings involved singing, praying, speaking in tongues and even healing. Honestly, I don’t recall them in too much detail except I know that on numerous occasions those of us who attended were “taught” how to speak in tongues because it was alleged that this was the evidence of being baptized by the Holy Spirit. If you didn’t have the gift of tongues, you hadn’t been baptized yet.
In one particular meeting, Graham Kerr (the Galloping Gourmet) was the guest speaker and he taught everyone how to take that one sound that the Lord would give and repeat it over and over again until other sounds were added to the mix. All in all, these people seemed to love the Lord and if I got nothing else out of my brief sojourn with the Charismatic Movement, it was this: thank God for everything, always. In reality, we cannot thank God enough for the many blessings He has provided and continues to provide, not least of which is salvation.
All the rest of everything highlighted in that movement, I’ve since rejected as being unbiblical. One of the things that stands out in my mind from those days that is happening again in these days is the “God told me this truth.” It was absolutely part of the Charismatic Movement (or Renewal as it was also called) and it is making a comeback big time now. Why is that? I thought it was over and the Charismatic Movement in many ways did seem to die out, though obviously not completely. As a fad, it waned for many, but we are seeing at least some of it come to the fore again.
Today, it is not necessarily tongues that we are hearing about, but authority that is being claimed. Let’s face it, anyone who is bold enough to say that God told them something is really also claiming an authority that biblically speaking, only the prophets and apostles truly possessed. Moreover, even though the last of the actual apostles died out, there is an apostolic movement today in which people alive now are claiming to have that same apostolic authority. Yes, some people living today have actually come out stating they are full-fledged apostles.
But, there are those who do not say that directly. Instead, they imply it in how they describe their alleged relationship with the Lord. Whether it’s Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, James Robison, Kenneth Copeland, Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, Tony Campolo, Pat Robertson, Robert Tilton, Ernest Angley, or a host of other well-known, individuals within Christendom who enjoy some type of celebrity status that Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, and all the rest somehow missed, these people are implicating themselves as having apostolic authority because they say without equivocation that God speaks to them and tells them what to share with the rest of us lowly people who have no real direct line with God. Of course, these people would argue that we don’t have a direct line with God because that’s what we have chosen through disobedience, ignorance, or both. But is that the case?
Let’s take a look at one thing that Beth Moore has taught, which tends to make my blood boil a bit. Moore is not the only one who teaches this, by the way. There are many average Christians who say something similar and it bothers me every time I hear it because it is patently false.
A few years ago, Beth Moore made this statement:
“My Bride is paralyzed by unbelief. My Bride is paralyzed by unbelief’ … Starting with you.’ ” … Amen.”
To be clear, Moore made that statement with a preface and the preface was what she says God told her. Allegedly, God said, “I’m gonna tell you something right now, Beth; and boy, you write this one down. And you say it as often as I give you utterance to say it…”
That is fascinating. Here, Moore is essentially telling people that…
- God specifically told her He was going to reveal something to her (that was not written in His Word)
- God wanted Moore to teach it far and wide as long as He gave her utterance
- What she was saying was absolute truth because she tells us God revealed it
Based on the above, what should we conclude? We should conclude several things, but I don’t think many will be willing to go to the extreme I’m going to go to because they really, really like Beth Moore. I get that. I understand it and as someone who used to read Moore’s books and study guides, I agree that at least in her early days, she seemed to be right on the money as far as God and His Word was concerned. But is it possible that Beth Moore has veered from the path of truth? Is it possible?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes, it is possible. It could happen to anyone because deceit is such a terribly surreptitious thing and most of the time we are not even aware that it has taken root in us. Amen? This is reality for all of us (myself included), which is one of the biggest reasons why the Bible tells us that iron sharpens iron and we should approach God’s Word in deep humility because we do not know everything. We must always have an attitude of humility because pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).
The problem – as I’ve mentioned before – is that church-goers, like the rest of the world – have succumbed to determining truth based solely on emotional virtue, aka political correctness, aka Cultural Marxism. It’s wrong, but people’s emotions speak loudly and clearly today often overriding the truth of God’s Word.
Next time, I want to look closely at Moore’s quoted statement, unpack it, and compare it to Scripture. However, I don’t want to single Moore out because there are many who, instead of simply and properly rightly dividing God’s Word, look to “outside” sources that reveal things that may or may not be in line with God’s Word. What we need to do is determine if there are commonalities that virtually all false teachers share and if so, would knowing what those things are lessen our chances of being deceived as they are deceived?
Will you join me for that?
Entry filed under: christianity, Emotional virtue, Religious - Christian - Prophecy. Tags: beth moore, charismatic movement, demos shakarian, ernest angley, james robison, jim bakker, kathryn kuhlman, kenneth copeland, oral roberts, pat robertson, paul and jan crouch, priscilla shirer, robert tilton, tongues.