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Spiritualism within the church:
September 2011

I have noticed that many of the ministries that appear to be most open to deception today are also promoting a form of spiritualism which they are dressing up as Christianity. Some look to the spirits of departed saints to minister to them instead of God. Others seek to acquire the anointing of former deceased healing revivalists by giving them honour instead of honouring God. This clearly isn’t scriptural. The number of links between these deceived ministries suggests to me that the devil is orchestrating a major wave of deception based upon this type of spiritualism in the near future.

These past healing revivalists were not teachers: Many of the past healing revivalists were caught up in serious deception when they attempted to become teachers. By looking towards them and honouring them instead of God some believers today are likely to start buying into the very same errors that they once promoted. These deceptions included the belief that deceased Christian could minister to us instead of the Holy Spirit and/or return to earth to minister to us as angels.

Examples from three former healing revivalists: Here are just three examples of deceived healing revivalists of the past: The healing minister Alexander Dowie, (1847 - 1907), fell into serious teaching errors and towards the end of his life ended up believing that he was Elijah. William Branham, (1909 - 1965), who almost everyone now recognises as involved in huge levels of deception, taught that the pyramids and signs of the zodiac had as much spiritual authority as the bible. Unlike the other healing ministries of his day he also claimed to receive his anointing from an angel instead of directly from God, (raising the question as to whether his anointing was in fact occult in the first place). This has encouraged some Christians to seek an anointing from angels instead of from the Lord today. Derek Prince, who had met Branham, believed he had another spirit as well as a genuine gift from God, (I’m not so sure about the gift being from God myself). Branham also claimed he was the angel and messenger to the end time’s Laodicean church. His followers, including his family, refused to bury him for several days after he died because they thought he was about to be raised from the dead. I think it is likely that this idea had originated with Branham himself who may have had a messianic complex. The controversial healing revivalist, John. G. Lake (1870 - 1935), also came out with many serious teaching errors. Once he also allowed a woman, who claimed to have come for prayer, to channel a spirit to him whom they both believed was his deceased wife. This is exactly what mediums do in the occult and contradicts the scriptures which forbid such things. Lake clearly didn’t understand some of the most basic aspects of biblical spirituality and therefore should never have attempted to teach.

A pagan influence: Looking back to the dead for guidance, spiritual blessing and anointing to heal in this way parallels’ the subtle resurgence of paganism as part of the New Age within the western world. Therefore this also now appears to be influencing parts of the church. Paganism was the original religion in our lands before Christianity arrived. Pagans used to seek guidance and spiritual blessings from their dead ancestors who they saw as their spiritual forefathers. They used to keep their ancestors bones in containers as artefacts to connect with them spiritually. Today the following “Christian” leaders are paralleling this by calling for us to honour deceased healing revivalists as our spiritual forefathers. A museum containing their artefacts is being built as a monument to honour them. They believe that we can obtain anointing to heal by doing this and by visiting their graves. Some are already calling upon the spirits of the past healing revivalists to return to earth to minister to them. The Christians and early N/T Apostles never moved in this type of spirituality. This is not only idolatrous it is part of the New Age/occult.

Today’s Ministries: I will list the ministries I have come across who are involved in this, their particular type of belief in spiritualism to date and the way in which they are linked together. There must be far more involved than I am aware of so this is probably just the tip of the iceberg although I expect I have covered the main ones here. Most of these ministries are expanding their influence within the church of the western world which is a very bad sign of things to come.
“ Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God,” (1 Jn4; 1 N.K.J.V).

Todd Bentley and Bob Jones: Both Jones and Bentley seek ministry from an angel named Emma who they claim looks just like former healing evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman, (1907 - 1976). Both also claim the spirit of the deceased Indian evangelist Sundar Singh, (1889 - 1929), returns to earth to minister to them. During his life Singh never appears to have fully broken free from his former belief in Hinduism which he claimed was a channel through which Gods Spirit could move. Singh also taught the error that Christians could return to earth as angels.

In this video recording Bentley also prophesies that God is “releasing it all back to where it all started in 1948... how many of you believe we need something new.” 1948 was the year William Branham’s healing ministry really took off as Gordon Lindsay set up “The Voice of Healing” magazine to promote Branham’s meetings. Todd Bentley is cited as saying more clearly in 2003 that this angel is named "Healing Revival" and is the one which accompanied “William Branham” in his ministry in the past. It is clear that that Bentley believes that seeking the return of the angel that accompanied Branham and enabled him to heal is the key for us to move into revival today. Instead we should be looking to the Lord not angels or man.

[Links that I’m aware of – Bill Johnson and Rick Joyner are overseeing Bentleys return to ministry since his adultery and dishonesty during his 2008 Florida crusade. Bob Jones is also closely linked to Joyner apparently having left the authority of Mike Bickle and the Kansas City/Metro Christian Fellowship, where he had to step down from public ministry in the 1990s after he admitted using his spiritual gifts to solicit sexual favours from women in that congregation].

Cal Pierce of the International Association of Healing Rooms, (I.A.H.R):
Pierce claims to have dug a spiritual well that gives him access to the healing anointing of former healing revivalist John. G. Lake. Pierce visited the grave of Lake every month for a year in regard to this. He is dedicated to promoting the teachings of Lake who, as mentioned above, believed that Christians should seek to receive messages from the dead. Pierce uses his Healing Rooms organisation to pass these teachings on to others. Many people have now linked to this and have been trained by Pierce in his spiritualist beliefs. These directors have set up Healing Rooms of their own in thousands of churches across the world. These Healing Rooms are bound to play a key role in spreading this deceptive trend towards spiritualism in the future.

[Links that I’m aware of - Cal Pierce was originally an elder and board member of Bill Johnsons Bethel church which has its own Healing Room linked to Pierces organisation. The Healing Rooms “Spiritual Hunger Conference” to be held in September 2011 will also have Johnson appearing as leading speaker].

Bill Johnson of Bethel church: Johnson believes he is called to set up a huge library and artefacts museum of signs and wonders, called “The House of Generals,” relating to the same healing revivalists of the last century. [Roberts Liardon’s library of Christian books on past revivalists has been purchased for this in accordance with a (false) prophecy from James Goll. Liardon has had to step down from ministry in the past due to his homosexual activity, (link)]. This appears to me to reflect the way Catholics use relics to enhance their spiritual faith and those involved in the occult gather artefacts to connect with the spirits of the dead. This looking to man is idolatrous and not at all scriptural. Johnson claims in this video, (link) , that “that if we will honour those who have walked faithfully before the Lord in the past then in that honour he will give us access to their anointing.” However it is Jesus Christ who we should be honouring, as the bible teaches, not deceased evangelists who were only able to heal because of God’s grace, (Rev 5; 13), and the anointing comes as we submit to God not by engaging in this practice of honouring the dead.

Some of these past revivalists were godly people, others had moral lapses during their ministries. Kathryn Kuhlman for example, who many claimed to be the purest, ran off for a season to live with a married man with whom she committed adultery, before returning to ministry later on. Kuhlman, Lake and Dowie along with Branham are among the key ministries that Johnson claims we should be honouring, (see pictures on the same video). I’m sure that the more godly ministers such as Smith Wigglesworth would warn us against this practice of honouring man and would not allow us to honour him. Johnson’s museum could become the centre of this form of idolatry as he and others to seek to obtain the anointing that was upon these past healing revivalists. Others may even make it a place of pilgrimage as they seek ministry from the spirits of these deceased ministers who they believe can return to earth as angels.

Johnson also appears to have a very authoritarian model for the church in the future. He claims, quite cleverly, (in this video), that Christians should follow their leaders on the basis of relationship, as children do their human Fathers, not on the basis of testing their beliefs. Derek Prince taught that a controlling spirit is as the spirit of witchcraft and it appears that this is the fruit coming from Johnsons occult ideas. This will infantilise, (make as children), those who follow such a person, robbing them of their ability and willingness to move in discernment or be led by the Spirit themselves as the bible teaches. This will leave these congregations wide open to the deceptions that Johnson has already received himself.

[Links that I’m aware of - Cal Pierce, Todd Bentley, Rick Joyner and Paul Cain].

Rick Joyner: I believe that unless Joyner gains discernment and moves toward a more biblical form of Christianity he will emerge as a leading figure within an apostate form of pseudo - Christianity in the future. He has ties with, and is operating in parallel with, Bill Johnson. They must both be aware of this and have discussed these issues together. Joyner uses Father’s day each year to subtly introduce the same pseudo spiritualist ideas as Johnson to the church. This year Joyner held a celebration on the God Channel to “honour” the male healing revivalists of the past who he claims are our spiritual Fathers. On Mother’s Day he held a similar celebration to “honour” the female healing revivalist of the past who he claims are our spiritual Mothers. Joyner believes that as we continue to do this we will receive a healing anointing and revival in the end times. This is surely a form of spiritual adultery though, looking to man instead of to God for the anointing of the Holy Spirit? As Joyner’s doesn’t appear to disapprove of some of his compatriots/friends actually calling upon the spirits of these past evangelists to return to earth to minister to them it is likely that he holds to the same views. In his book “The Final Quest” Joyner claims to receive ministry directly from the spirits of various well known deceased revivalists himself. Instead of them returning to earth though he claims to ascend to heaven to speak with them.

From his descriptions it appears Joyner is particularly interested in restoring the ministry and methods of William Branham who we mentioned earlier. This parallels Bentley’s statements in the link, (audio) about an angel from the past returning to help us birth revival. The dates for this line up precisely with Branham’s ministry and his reliance on an angel for anointing instead of God.

A “Christian” friend of mine was involved with a group of deceived vicars and New Agers online and became open to their occult teachings. Later on he started claiming to have moved on from a basic faith in Christ’s crucifixion for our sins to new more advanced revelations as well. He still saw himself as a Christian though, remained an elder at his church, and tried to pass his “new greater revelations” on to other believers. This appears to me to be the position Joyner and Johnson have taken in the misguided belief that they now have greater revelation than the original Apostles of Jesus and the teachings contained in the scriptures. They clearly believe they have greater revelation than ordinary Christians and are therefore subtly drip feeding us their beliefs in stages because they don’t think most will yet be willing to receive them in their entirety. William Branham probably had similar views.

[Links that I’m aware of – Bill Johnson, Todd Bentley, Bob Jones, Paul Cain].

Paul Cain: He claims to have worked with former healing revivalist William Branham whilst he was still alive and is seen by some as the only remaining link to him. He claims that Branham was the greatest prophet who has ever lived which is hard to understand considering the level of deception Branham is known to have moved in. Cain had some very unscriptural visions and prophesies himself that appear to me to have come from occult spirits. However his accuracy in predictions once led many to consider him the greatest prophet alive today. This may have had something to do with the fact that his Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother were all psychics who had accurate prophesies themselves. These will have come from demonic spirits though which Cain may have unwittingly inherited. Cain seems to have disappeared from ministry since he was found to be living an illicit drug taking and homosexual lifestyle in 2006.

[Links that I’m aware of – Bill Johnson who eventually oversaw attempts to reinstate Cain, Rick Joyner, Todd Bentley and Bob Jones].

Gwen Shaw: She leads a group called “The End Times Handmaidens” and assisted Joyner in his Fathers and Mothers Day celebrations which honoured these healing revivalists of the past. She also believes that deceased Christians’ can return to earth to minister to people as angels.

[Link that I’m aware of – Rick Joyner].

James Goll: He had the false prophesy/dream that instructed Bill Johnson to establish the museum and library of signs and wonders containing books, wheelchairs, crutches and other artifacts to honour the former healing revivalists, see video. This would not seem such a problem if it were not for their belief in acquiring these deceased ministers anointing and/or calling for their spirits to return to earth.

[Link that I’m aware of – Bill Johnson, John Crowder].

John Crowder: Crowder is seen in this video attempting to draw the anointing from the grave of former healing minister Alexander Dowie, link. Crowder is leader of the growing New Mystics movement who partake in just about every bizarre and deceptive influence going. This excellent video may also be of interest in relation to this.

[Link - James Goll]

Conclusion: I am only going by my own limited knowledge of the links between these ministries but writing them down has underlined their common agendas which they must be aware of themselves. I believe the most prominent is Rick Joyner, followed perhaps by Bill Johnson of Bethel church and then probably Cal Pierce of the Healing Rooms. There must be many other influential ministries that tie in with these already with more who will follow in the future, (I would be very surprised if, for example, Patricia King did not also accept these spiritual practices later on). The main thrust of this article was to underline this deceptive trend of looking toward the deceased instead of God for ministry and the anointing. This is spiritualism, of the occult, and not in any way part of biblical Christianity. I expect this will lead to a wave of counterfeit healings as these ministers tap into occult powers that will divert many believers away from moving in Gods Spirit in the end times;
” according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders,” (2 Thess 2; 9)

S. Dobbs, September 2011.

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