The Vineyard Movement's 'Toronto Blessing' (Part 2b)CONTENTS:
Scripture As The Final Authority...So all these things are happening to you and many of them have happened to us. And people ask these questions, they say "Well, what about all this stuff." And you're going to be asked this question when you go home. You're going to be asked, "Where's all this in the Bible?" and "How come this is happening? How do you explain this, and how do you explain that?" And you're going to be asked all these questions. I, myself, was asked these questions.
...And so we entered into a time of teaching, and I want to say right up front that this whole problem is really one of interpretation. When you come to the Bible it's a hermeneutical problem. It's an exegetical problem. And the question is this: When somebody asks us a question, "where's this in the Bible," what exactly are they asking us? What will they be asking you? Are they asking you "Can you show me a proof-text for somebody should explode and shake violently and prophesy?" Are they asking you that question? "Show me a proof-text, a Bible verse." Or, are they asking you a question, "Is this something that is biblical, but you deduce it. It's inferred from Scripture but it's not explicitly stated?" Are they asking something that's an issue, not specifically dealt with in Scripture but consistent with the flow of Scripture?
...And so this whole question of interpretation is really the primary question. In our church we grew up, we didn't even use music. You say, why not? "'Cause," the Brethren would tell us, "show me a piano in the New Testament." That's true. They'd say "Show me a piano in the New Testament." Now what you're at is this. Now here's the fundamental question: if you remember nothing else, remember this. What law of interpretation of the Bible do you operate on? Unless it's expressly stated, does that mean you can't do it? Or unless it's forbidden and contrary to Scripture, does that mean that you can't do it? In other words, is your interpretation of the Bible this: if it doesn't contradict the flow of Scripture and has spiritual fruit and it is in the bounds of the principles of Scripture, it's allowed. Or, if it isn't mentioned, if it isn't mentioned, it's not allowed. That's the fundamental thing right there. And I'll tell you this: every single person that believes the Bible -- that says "If you can't show it to me in the Bible, I don't do it" -- every single one of them will violate that principle somewhere in their life. Every single one of them. Because the Bible was not written to be read in that narrow context. I'll give you one of the best proof-texts that I can see for that. That's on the Scriptures there. John 21, verse 24 and 25. "This is the disciple that testifies to these things and who wrote them down. And we know that his testimony is true." This is right in the Bible. "Jesus did many other things as well." As well as what? As well as the things that are written down in the Bible. "If every one of them were written down for all, for the books" -- that's a misquote. It says this. "If every one of them were written down, I suppose the books of the world could not contain them." What the point is, is this: Many things Jesus did were not written down. They're not in the Bible, were they true? But they're not in the Bible. Does that mean that there can be things that Jesus did by Scriptural precedent that are true, that are not in the Bible? Does it? Of course it does. And Jesus never intended, God never intended that every single thing that He did and that is true was to be in the Bible. Because the body of Scripture is the body of Scripture delivered for the saints, that's what He intended to be there, but it wasn't a restriction on the life in the Spirit. There were many things that Jesus did that weren't recorded in the Bible. They were true. And so, when you enter into this whole thing of phenomena, the primary issue is this: show me where it contradicts the known word of God. And show me where the fruit is antithesis to the work of the Spirit. That's the question. (Wes Campbell, Spiritual and Physical Manifestations of the Holy Spirit, Toronto Airport Vineyard, October 15, 1994)
The above passage creates the perfect scenario for introducing extra-biblical revelation. "There were other things Jesus did that were not mentioned in the Bible." Many of the things the Vineyard/Toronto Blessing spokesmen are saying are not only not in the Bible, but contradict the Bible, such as the visible appearance of Jesus Christ in some churches shortly. They also have the world getting better and better, bringing in a harvest, as Campbell says later in this article, of one billion souls, until the world is in such a good state that Jesus will be permitted to return. The Scriptures tell us that things are going to get worse and worse, with persecution of the saints taking place by the world. It also tells of false signs and wonders from false prophets and a great delusion sweeping the world that would "deceive the elect, if possible." Are Vineyard/TB spokesmen sure they aren't actually going to be ushering in the anti-Christ rather than Jesus Christ?
...All these things, you know what they all are? I'll tell you what they all are. The bottom line is, people measure according to their own experience, not the Bible. Not the Bible. And when all is said and done, here it is, the spiritual fruit that we have seen from six and eight years of phenomena has been overwhelmingly good, the prophecies have been on, the fruit has been good, the salvations keep coming, the prayers increase, the love for Jesus is strong, the demons are expulsed, they're thrown out, people are brought closer to Jesus, no one, of all the people I know, some of the strongest Christians that I ever know, have seen, are all shakers. They all have had phenomena happen. Not all of them. I'm not saying all of them have. I'm saying some of the strongest Christians I know are my friends. Almost all of them. I'm about the only one. And the fruit is the test. This doesn't violate Scripture. It just violates the mind. It aligns itself with Scripture and it aligns itself with the fruit of Scripture. (Wes Campbell, Spiritual and Physical Manifestations of the Holy Spirit, Toronto Airport Vineyard, October 15, 1994)
That is most certainly correct as far as the Vineyard/Toronto Blessing followers are concerned. They are having an experience and are not measuring their experience by the Bible.
So, all I'm saying is, that, I'm not accusing anyone here of being immature. I don't mind if people stick up their legs and, uh, if the Lord wants to work that way, fine, but we must always, in the back of our minds, we must always say that our critics may possibly, we may be experiencing something that later on we may have a more sophisticated explanation for. That we don't have all the answers right now. Let it happen, don't be doctrinaires to why it happens, you see, and be a little bit charitable to your critics. After all, it is a little bit strange. Okay? That just gives us a sense of humility if we historically reflect that these great revivals all had a bit of immaturity perhaps, even us. Perhaps even that book Quenching The Spirit has a few errors in it, you know, possibly, I don't know. It may be a possibility. No, it wouldn't have. It's all revelation knowledge [laughter]. Okay, now the punch line.
.....Revivals are killed when the Pharisees convince the population that it's not of the Holy Spirit at all, that it's all flesh or demonic, depending on their theology. So, if the predominant theological opinion -- you see, this drains the faith of the people. They don't expect anything. They'll say oh, they're just a bunch of locos sticking up their legs in the air, doing all sorts of (William DeArteaga, Toronto Airport Vineyard, October 13, 1994)
It would seem that William DeArteaga has just told us here not to be Bereans.
[Speaking of all the various manifestations]:
.....Why does God do or permit stuff like this and other things we've seen this week? Why does He do that?
1 Corinthians 1:26. "For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. Because God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise."
Just try explaining some of this. I used to try to do that out of the Bible. I used to try to say well, people fell down in the presence of Jesus and Daniel vibrated and got sick after his visions in Daniel 7 and 8, and there's John falling down in the Revelation. It's not the same thing as we see tonight.
You can't explain this out of the Bible. He's chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and the base things of the world, and the things which are despised.
The world despises it when we lose control. The world loves intelligence. The world worships intelligence. And God is in the business today of bypassing our minds and doing something that cannot be explained in rational terms. And it offends the mind. It offends the mind when He does that. (Jack Deere, Toronto Airport Vineyard, November 20, 1994)
Finally, some honesty. YOU CAN'T EXPLAIN THIS OUT OF THE BIBLE!
John Wimber, the head of the Vineyard, has a rather low opinion of the Scriptures, it would seem:
"Now I don't want to, in any way, erode your confidence in the Word of God, but listen very carefully to what I am about to say. It (the Bible) is not God; it is the Word from God. Don't worship the book. Evangelicals all over the country are worshipping the book. They have God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Book. They took the very workings of the Holy Spirit and placed it in the Book." (John Wimber, Healing: An Introduction, cassette tape 5)
Didn't Paul say that all Scripture is God-breathed? Doesn't that mean that whatever the Scriptures say, God says? The last time I checked, Psalm 138:2 still said "...for You have exalted above all things Your Name and Your Word." As John MacArthur says: "...any trivial, trite, whimsical, capricious treatment of Scripture that does not pursue the truth and the meaning of that Scripture to get at exactly what God meant is to blaspheme His Word, and He holds His Word equal to His own name. Treating God with disrespect is a frightening thing, but treating the Word with disrespect is equally frightening, and the mandate for the church and the mandate for Christians is to know the Word, to study to be approved unto God, workmen who need not to be ashamed because they rightly divide the Word of truth." (Dr. John MacArthur, Songtime USA Radio Interview)
Talking about Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California, Wimber said:
"Calvaryites are sometimes a little too heavily orientated to the written Word. I know that sounds a little dangerous, but frankly they're very pharisaical in their allegiance to the Bible. They have very little life and growth and spontaneity in their innards. Sometimes they're very rigid and can't receive much of the things of the Lord." (John Wimber, Church Planting Seminar, cited in Testing the Fruit of the Vineyard, by John Godwin.
By contrast we read:
"I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths." (2 Tim. 4:1-4)
"We are further resolved that we will preach nothing but the Word of God. The alienation of the masses from hearing the Gospel is largely to be accounted for by the sad fact that it is not always the Gospel that they hear if they go to places of worship; and all else falls short of what their souls need.
"God being with us, we shall not cease from this glorying, but will hold the whole of revealed truth, even to the end. You cannot leave out that part of the truth which is so dark and so solemn without weakening the force of all the other truths you preach. Brethren, leave out nothing. Be bold enough to preach unpalatable and unpopular truth. Remember, you will have to give an account, and that account will not be with joy if you have played false with God's truth.
"What marvel if, under some men's shifty talk, people grow into love of both truth and falsehood! People will say, 'We like this form of doctrine, and we like the other also.' The fact is, they would like anything if only a clever deceiver would put it plausibly before them. They admire Moses and Aaron, but they would not say a word against Jannes and Jambres. We shall not join in the confederacy which seems to aim at such a comprehension. We must preach the Gospel so distinctly that people know what we are preaching. 'If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle?'" (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Greatest Fight in the World)
Signs And WondersThis world is not going to come to Jesus Christ because someone comes up with a good plan. It's going to come to Jesus Christ when there's a cataclysmic outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Signs and Wonders... (Jack Deere, Toronto Airport Vineyard, November 20, 1994)
But He prepared His sacrifice, and there were three stages that he poured water out on it and, you know, by the time the second water, the thing was beginning to swim in it and especially the third time. I may be wrong in this, but I believe that the great harvest, as some people call it, or when we begin to see just radical, radical evangelism begin to touch some of the cities and things, I don't believe it's really going to begin to happen until sometime after the year 2005, but I do believe that churches in the nineties that are responding to the Spirit, they're going to begin to experience the first-fruits, that they are, in their circles, going to begin to see more and more radical evangelism, they're going to begin to see more and more miracles and signs and wonders. (Marc Dupont, Prophetic School - Part 3, Pastor's Meeting, Toronto Airport Vineyard, November 16, 1994)
Well, this is already an incredible night, and it's yet to be what the Lord has shown me that it's going to be. We are going to take the roof off this place tonight. We're going to see signs and wonders and miracles and the power of God impacting peoples' lives. I have a real clear impartation of what God wants to do here tonight. I've seen, I've received, and I'm going to (Larry Randolph, Renewal and Revival Today, Toronto Airport Vineyard, November 18, 1994)
...You haven't seen anything. God's women are rising. The spirit of Debra's falling on the women. The spirit of prophecy is coming upon the women. Signs and wonders and miracles. (Larry Randolph, Renewal and Revival Today, Toronto Airport Vineyard, November 18, 1994)
I see the day coming, maybe months, maybe a few years, where in a meeting like this the Spirit of Jesus will so overwhelm us, and He will so personally visit us, that we will not be able to stand up on our feet. The glory and the awesomeness of God, the holiness and the power of God is so going to permeate His people, miracles and signs and wonders will happen and we won't even know they happened. No man will get the glory. No man will cheerlead it. No man will foster it. It will be signs and wonders wrought as a result of relationship with Jesus of Nazareth, for when He is lifted up, all men are drawn unto Him. (Larry Randolph, Pursuing Jesus Before His Gifts, Prophetic School -Part 3, Toronto Airport Vineyard, November 19, 1994)
.....And also it says against the adulterers. You know, Jesus taught about adultery. He said "How is it you know what's happening in the weather patterns, how come you can tell, you know, what the weather's going to be like tonight or the next morning, you know, but you can't tell what's happening in the Spirit?" And He said "an evil and adulterous generation." There is spiritual adultery going on. There is spiritual adultery in the body of Christ, where we love God, we're married to God, but we're more enamoured with success in the eyes of the world, where we're more enamoured with the material things in the world, or more concerned with what men think of us. (Marc Dupont, Prophetic School - Part 3, Pastor's Meeting, Toronto Airport Vineyard, November 16, 1994)
Notice the emphasis over and over again on signs and wonders. Then look at what is missing from the last quote! Matthew 12:39 says, in it's entirety: "But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas." Jesus also said about the last days in Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
There have certainly been plenty of prophets prophesying false prophecies in the Vineyard/Toronto Blessing Movement, and to cover up their false prophecies they say that they are a different type of prophet -- a prophet that can prophecy falsely.
The Vineyard/Toronto Blessing pastors think that the world is going to be won to Christ by signs and wonders, but Jesus condemned that type of thinking. Yes, signs and wonders were performed by the New Testament apostles, but remember that the entire Scriptures had not been completed and even the Scriptures they had were not available in everyone's home like they are today. Today we have God's completed Word. If that and the very creation, as Paul says in Romans, doesn't convince the unsaved, then signs and wonders aren't going to work either. Not even someone returning from the grave will work, as the rich man learned in the story of Lazarus and the rich man.
Signs of Revival"Because, we didn't think it was going to look like this. We were praying for God to move, and our assumption was, when God moves we'll see more people saved and more people healed, and there would be the excitement that that would generate. We didn't think He would come and throw a massive party, where people are laughing and rolling and crying and getting so empowered that emotional hurts from childhood were just lifted off, and so, you just have to sort of look at these strange phenomena but realize even though that's strange, the fruit that this is producing is extremely, extremely good. (John Arnott, Pastor of the Toronto Airport Vineyard, Pastor's Meeting, October 19, 1994)
Did you know this is the first time in human history, the first time ever, there's been a universal anticipation of a move of God. The first time ever in the history of mankind. That never before this has there been a consensus among God's leaders across the earth, whether it was Israel or whatever, to where there was going to be a move of God, urgently. I mean, very soon, right down the road. Almost every revival in history snuck up instantly, and maybe a few little prayer warriors knew it two or three years in advance. There might be an exception here or there of one or two people who knew ten years in advance, but never a large group. It was never world-wide. At most, it was normally one or two people that were prayer warriors that had a few years in advance in a local area. But this is the first time in history that a hundred thousand leaders in all the nations all agree the power of God is coming and a new thing is emerging. (Mike Bickle, Prophetic Preparation For Leaders, Introduction To The Prophetic Series, Tape 4 of 8, July 24, 1989)
This is just one of many, many references to this revival (or refreshing) being a party, usually a drunken party. That's certainly terminology that would appeal to the flesh, isn't it? It's noteworthy, also, that those who say that the revival hasn't started yet, that this is a time of refreshing taking place in a prelude to a revival, aren't aware of the fact that in every other revival, it has never been preceded by a time of refreshing.
How many reading this article were aware that 100,000 leaders of all nations are expecting the power of God to come? If only he had provided some documentation. And if that is true, it would certainly pave the way for the arrival of the antichrist.
Slain In The Spirit?Pastor Larry Thomas makes this insightful observation regarding being slain in the Spirit at Vineyard/Toronto Blessing meetings:
I saw on videotape one time, everybody in the place was laying on their backside. He finally turned around and realized that the choir hadn't been blessed yet. And so he said "you all up in the cheap seats need some of this," and he went like that and they all fell down, except one old man with a hearing aid. And he looked around at everybody, and when he looked this way, you could see on the camera the hearing aid, and you knew why he didn't fall down, he didn't hear the command. And he looked around and then he [falls down]. Aw, c'mon! Do you believe the Holy Ghost is something you can roll up in a ball and throw it across the room and knock people down? What blasphemy! Do you think that the Holy Ghost wants us to imitate animals? I don't know what we've got to laugh about. The world's going to hell in a handbasket. Our loved ones, our families, our kids, our neighbours, are on their way to an eternity in hell and the church is sitting around laughing. This is no laughing matter. (Larry Thomas, No Laughing Matter, Audiotape, October 10, 1994)
StrawmenWe have always been thoroughgoing Evangelical people. They hate us, though, when we say that. They can't stand it. It makes them so mad. Because we're so weird. I mean, we are!
....And so the Evangelicals get so mad when we say we're one of you. Oh, it drives them nuts! But we are! I've showed you tonight we're historically, directly linked. John was a Quaker. You don't get any more Evangelical than Quakerism. I mean that's, that's true, blue blood Evangelicalism. Almost all of us come out of very distinctly Evangelical backgrounds. I was a Methodist, then a Calvary Chapel guy. I mean, that's as Evangelical as you get. But what we said is that we believe that there is a power available that we're not fully tapping into to do this job. (Todd Hunter, Revival In Focus, Mission Vieto Vineyard, October 23, 1994)
One favourite technique of many Vineyard/Toronto Blessing pastors is to put words in the mouths of others -- to claim that non-supporters believe the gifts of the Spirit ceased, that we get mad when they claim to be evangelicals, etc. It's called building a straw-man. They create an argument that we supposedly put forth and then destroy it.
We have already discussed the beliefs of the Quakers, and the majority are hardly evangelical.
Taking The Place of Jesus Christ?...And so that brings in a whole lot of eschalogical questions, you know. Is this the time? I don't know. Is this the time Jesus is coming? Will He find faith on the earth when He returns? I hope the answer to that is yes. But He's asking the question. It's almost an implied no in the Scripture when you read it, isn't it? 'Will I find faith on the earth when I return? Probably not.' Wait a minute. Yes, Lord, we're going to go for it, we're gonna try to do our part to bring the kingdom of God here. And, I don't know what it all is going to look like in the aftermath, but I just cannot believe God would go to so much trouble to save fallen humanity and say 'Well, we gave it our best shot, but we're miserable failures,' you know. Can you? There's this poor little remnant hiding in a cave somewhere waiting for the rapture to happen. I just don't see that as a Sovereign Lord. Everything He does, He does well. The hitch really is, He's chosen to use fallen and redeemed man to get the job done, that's kind of a hitch, isn't it? (John Arnott, Pastor of the Toronto Airport Vineyard, Pastor's Meeting, October 19, 1994)
..."So, when God starts to roar like a lion, you know, beware! And if you read, I think it's Isaiah 42 -- maybe you could check that, Ian -- He's saying that 'too long have I been silent. Too long have I said nothing. But now I am going forth like a warrior to bring vengeance upon those of my adversaries.' And, wouldn't it be wonderful if the Lord would start to move in power and restore the church to its proper place and make us the head and not the tail? (John Arnott, Pastor of the Toronto Airport Vineyard, Pastor's Meeting, October 19, 1994)
Excuse me? In the Body of Christ, isn't Jesus Christ supposed to be the Head?
1 Cor 11:3 Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
Eph 1:20-22 ...which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Eph 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour.
Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
Note our previous discussion of the Manifest Sons of God teaching that we become Jesus Christ. The same people who were teaching that in the days of the Kansas City Fellowship are still teaching it today in the Vineyard.
WARFAREOne of the most serious claims of people in this movement is the coming of physical warfare between Christians.
...But you know, I think there's going to be a debt to pay, and I want to say this with sobriety. We were talking about this the other night, and I remember when we were there in 1989 at Metro Vineyard in Kansas City, and I remember when Bob Jones shared this vision. And we were talking about this, but I think that this is, in a sense, a propos for tonight. (Wes Campbell, Toronto Airport Vineyard, October 14, 1994)
In 1984 we didn't just have a vision about the cup bearer and the baker. He had another one, and that was about the church. And the church was gathered in a large civil war-type big stately mansion, a big ballroom, and they were dancing. And they were dressed in colourful clothes and happy, and they were moving and they were laughing and they were dancing and they were just having the wonderful party of their life. And he looked at that and Bob began to laugh and he said Look at them dance, look at them have fun. And an angel came and said Wait. Not yet. And then what happened is that strangely in the ballroom, the crowd began to change, and they began to take sides, and they began to have blue coats and gray coats, and in a moment civil war broke out. A bloody civil war broke out. James Ryle has had a similar vision. The Lord even showed him how the blue coats stand for the revelatory, the revelation, and the grey for grey matter, man's wisdom. And in this context, the north fought the south and the south fought the north, and the south wanted to keep the people enslaved. They wanted their money. They wanted their bodies. They wanted their personhood to keep the system going. And the north said No! Freedom! Freedom! And they went into a terrible fight, and it was father against son, brother against brother, and a man's enemies were in his own house. And the angel said this: There won't be a house that escapes weeping.
We do not know how long this time of visitation will continue in this capacity. But when the time is up you run with all your might, because as this begins to be known throughout the entire Christian community of the world, there will come a polarization. There always has come a polarization. And there eventually will become wars. There will be wars in your household. Your own family may not understand what's going on. Your own family may turn against you. That doesn't mean they're evil. That just means as Christians they haven't seen this aspect of the Holy Spirit. 'Cause they're Christians. We're talking about Christians. But the end of the vision was this: that after the time of bloodshed, the Lord was going to heal the breach. And then the harvest will come in. And I don't say quit laughing, and I don't say quit being filled. But you bring the pots, you bring the pots, you bring the pots, you bring the pots, you fill the pots, you fill the pots, you fill the pots. And when this time of filling is over, and when the people stop coming, and when the people are not willing to come and be filled, you watch it. There may come a season, and there will be great divisions, and there will be risks, and there will be a time for perseverance, but listen. We're going to sell the oil, we're going to sell the oil that's poured out during this season. We're going to pay that debt, and we're still going to have enough to live on. And we're going to go into the future, and there is going to be a harvest.
Stacy, you come up. And I'll say this, and I'll say it publicly, 'cause Mike Bickle said it for years publicly. The Lord has showed him that the Lord is going to bring in one billion souls in the sweep of time. A billion souls will come into the kingdom.
.....I want the band to come up. My wife, Stacy, for those of you who haven't met her. She feels she has a word tonight regarding this last piece of the message about persecution an perseverance. I want her to share that with us, and then we're going to stand up, we're going to begin to, I believe, worship the Lord for a time. But, I've spoken both with faith and with sobriety. Faith and sobriety. And as we move into a time of worship, we're going to move all the chairs, again stack them in stacks of 10. We're going to move them to the sides. But we're going to pray tonight. There's all sorts of prayer people, and we're going to continue to pray for impartation. The oil is flowing. Tonight could be a time when God wants to significantly touch you.
Stacy: I feel that the Lord has a very serious word tonight, and so I actually feel to do this, and on those whom the Spirit is moving in laughter, I just say I don't want to quench that at all and stop that, but I would just ask you to just maybe go out and, you know, 'cause I don't want to stop what the Lord is doing in you. I want to just bless that, but what the Lord has to say tonight is no laughing matter, and so for those, the rest of us I feel like the Spirit really wants us to catch this, to understand this, and to listen with great sobriety to this. So I want you guys to ask for ears to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to the church. And that's not always that easy. That's not a simple thing, 'cause you can hear a lot of words. We always hear a lot of sermons and we still don't do the word. And so I ask you to really ask the Lord to cause you to hear this word and to do it.
When Jesus was on earth He often spoke to His disciples about His crucifixion.
And He took the twelve aside and said to them, behold we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will delivered to the gentiles and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon. And after they have scourged Him they will kill Him, and the third day He will rise again. But they understood none, none of these things.
See, they were in the midst of all the miracles and all the good things and they understood none of these other things. And the Scripture that the Lord wanted me to read out tonight is entitled in my Bible, A Hard Road Before Them.
Brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all on account of My name. But it is the one who has endured to the end [who will be saved].
And we know that this has been actually fulfilled historically, not once, but many, many times, through various persecutions and various countries. And,
I came to set a man against his, uh, Do not think I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it.
And, this is very similar to what Wes has just said, you know, that Bob Jones and different other people have prophesied. But I feel like the Lord would like to just prophesy afresh to you:
And as Elijah spoke on Mount Carmel, immediately after, showing the power of God, immediately after, great displays of His power. He did not stop with the display of His powers. He said Choose, choose, choose this day whom you will serve. And in the days of power, and in the days of sight, when many miraculous things are being done around you, and many signs and wonders are happening, and many outpourings and much joy, and many good things are given, the Lord would say Choose, choose, choose.
Will you be like Job, who said "Shall I accept good from the hand of the Lord and not evil?" Will you take both the good and the bad? For I am telling you, grab all you can while you can get it, take what you can while you can have it, for the days are coming, says the Lord, when a great division will begin in the church, and a man's enemies will be those of his own household, and your parents will criticize you, and speak evil of you, and say they have lost you to a cult. And your sons and your daughters will say My parents have gone crazy. And there will be mourning in the house of God. And I tell you there are those even among you now who are here simply to spread discord among the brethren. And there are seven things that the Lord hates, that are an abomination to Him, and one of them is a man who deliberately comes seeking to spread division in his church, seeking to destroy and to divide, who, in the name of truth abandons love and stirs up hate, who does not understand that love covers a multitude of sins. And the Lord says the word of correction is to be brought in love. And the Lord does correct, and the Lord does like correction, and He calls for it to happen, but the Lord hates, haaaatttteeeeesss division. And for the one who comes to bring division, to divide the Church of Christ, to cut off His arms from His legs, and the toes from His feet, the Lord says it would be better for Sodom and Gomorrah than it will be for that one on that day. But I tell you, nonetheless, that division will come, and it is even now brewing like a leaven in the church. For the Lord calls you right now, this day, seeing what you are seeing, hearing of the miracles you are hearing of, seeing the fruit of God that you are seeing, to call it God, endure to the end and be saved, or to follow after human wisdom and reasoning that kills the word of faith and brings division and justifies in self-righteousness the dividing of the church.
The Lord wants you to purpose in your heart this night, is it God or isn't it, and to stand by your commitment as you are called to stand by your confession of faith.
Wes Campbell: We should be quiet before the Lord. Everybody be praying. I really feel that there's a need right now for some major covenant making in the heart. Jesus asked the disciples a strange question. He asked, When I come, will I find faith on the earth? Why did He ask that? He said because of offense, the love of many will grow cold.
This is a time of tremendous joy in the house of the Lord, but I believe the Lord wanted to give a word in this conference about the future and what it will take to stand. And there needs to be a major commitment on our part that having seen what we've seen, that when the times of oppression and persecution do come, that we will not forget. We will not grumble, but we will wax strong, we will be bold. And you know, there's a call right now also for the harvest. You know, there are be many, many people who will be found in the balance, many people that are hearing about the revival and the renewal. Many people that are wanting to come, and the voice of opposition is going out even now, the voice of criticism is going out even now. Just as the work of the Spirit is going, the leaven is also going, and the time is now to step up, step up the harvest. And we need to make a renewed commitment to go and to labour, to bring in while it's yet time. The Bible says Wake up and work while it's still the day, for the night comes when no one can work. And we need a commitment for that. We need a commitment for ambassadors to run like, I guess it was Paul Revere? With that lamp, when he went and says "You know, they're coming, they're coming." We need to go out and say "Come on, come on, come on!" People just going out saying "Come!" And there's a call of that, there's a call of that.
Unknown "Prophet" [shouting loudly, much shouting in the background from audience]: ....will you come and proclaim Me, will you speak of My glory, will you speak of My glory, My people? Or will you turn, will your ears be tuned to the ears and to the hearts of those that would say "this cannot be of God. This has not come before. Is this the fashion and the form with which God would come?" And I say, Take Courage My people! I am the Lord your God in the midst of thee. I will give you strength and power. You will stand in the mantle of praise. You will know that God is in you. I shall SHOUT from Zion, saith God. I shall roar with victory! You will plunder the camp of the enemy!! I am coming!!! I am a man of war!!! I am the Lord God of Israel!!! I am coming!!!! Lift your hearts!! ....I will let My work be seen, but no, not my work only, no, my way. Do not allow your ears, do not allow your hearts to be turned to those that would say unto you "Be reasonable! Be rational! This is not logical." I say unto you, the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. Allow Me, allow Me to speak, allow Me, allow Me to move through you! You are my chosen, I have bought you with My blood, I have poured out sacrifice for you. Will you be made a drink offering? Will you be broken, will you be fed to the nations, do you know, do you know My grace is sufficient for you? I declare, the weapons of your warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty through Me to the pulling down of strongholds. Do not be shaken, do not be moved. Let your feet be planted firmly in My word. Let your heart sing a love song of Zion!!! No, I am mighty, I am the living God, I will surely deliver you says the Lord God this day. (Wes & Stacy Campbell, Toronto Airport Vineyard, October 14, 1994)
Jesus said of the people in Jerusalem in Luke's gospel, He said, "Woe to you! You did not recognize the day of your visitation. I came in the prophets, you didn't recognize Me. I came in the other people, you didn't recognize Me. Now I come, the Son of God. God's speaking. I come in the Son of God, you do not recognize Me. What will you do? You will kill Me, you will bury Me, and you will then spit on My grave," and He says, "and I'll rise and later you'll say That was the Messiah." Listen, they're going to wait 'till the end of time until they mourn and cry and say oh! They'll weep upon Him. Like an only Son that was killed because they didn't recognize the day of their visitation. And I tell you, for the church, now it is prophesied, this is a day of visitation, right now! Right now! And you need to get that in your spirit. You have to have faith for this. This is a day of visitation. Today. With a little oil. (Wes Campbell, Toronto Airport Vineyard, October 14, 1994)
So physical warfare is coming between Christians shortly. No wonder the Canadian government is bringing in gun control! Notice Stacy Campbell's warning that people will say that they have lost the Vineyard/Toronto Blessing follower to a cult. One of the first things any good cult (like the Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons) will do is warn their prospects that they will have opposition from their families and will be told that they're in a cult. Then the prospect is impressed when they discover that they are being opposed. Notice also that the unknown prophet (who may or may not represent the views of the Vineyard/Toronto Blessing leaders) warns people about those who tell them to be reasonable, rational, logical.
Who's Guiding Whom?"And here's another thing. I've found that when I preach salvation messages, the ministry team was hard, or the ministry itself, the ministrys' time was hard. And by the third time I started to get it a bit and I asked the Lord, 'Well why, why is this hard, like I would have thought you would have liked it if I'd have preached on that,' and He said, 'It's because you're pushing Me' and I thought 'You mean I'm out ahead of You, this is not what you're doing yet?' 'Right.' 'So, well, Lord, I want to do it your way, I don't want to push you.' And then He said, 'Is it all right with you if I just love up on My church for a while?' So I said, 'Okay, we'll just do the love of God, the joy of God, the peace of God, the power of God, all the newer messages that we're preaching. And I found that I could speak on How To Be Filled With The Spirit and at the end of the message give an invitation and they'll all respond because it's just a quickening in their heart, anyways. The people that are getting saved are usually not tied to some masterpiece of a salvation message, but we give the altar call, the invitation, anyway." (John Arnott, Pastor of the Toronto Airport Vineyard, Pastor's Meeting, October 19, 1994)
Imagine pushing God and getting ahead of Him and then having God ask your permission to do something? Also, we have John Arnott preaching to the unsaved on how to be filled with the Spirit and then people coming forward for salvation. What ever happened to conviction of sins, repentance, and then being saved? Is that outdated now?
CONCLUSIONSI would like to point out, in fairness, that not all Vineyard pastors agree with the things that are going on. A few are totally against the various phenomena and teachings that accompany it. Also, not all pro-manifestation pastors agree with each other. But as more "prophets" emerge and the "apostolic" office is "restored," I think that they will be ordered to toe the line in favour of the extreme elements. I also suspect that there will be increasing attacks on those churches that don't go along with this movement and further and further departures from the Scriptures.
I've quoted extensively from Vineyard/Toronto Blessing sources and have made my own comments on them. I've shown their connections with the Manifest Sons of God teachings, which, I believe, will become more obvious as time goes on and as people put more faith in feelings, experience, prophets and apostles and the Vineyard/Toronto Blessing's interpretation of Scripture than in Scripture itself.
There is much more that could have been added, as I receive new information almost daily, and just when it seems that doctrinal perversion can't get worse, it does. It may very well be that there will be signs and wonders and miracles, but keep in mind that Jesus predicted such things from demonic sources in the last days, so ask yourself what such things would look like. Remember that Jesus also said that these signs and wonders would even fool the elect, if possible. If it could fool the elect, don't you think that it must take on the guise of a move of God in order to do that? As Debra Bouey commented, the cleverest deception is the one that is the closest to the truth.
Do I believe that the Vineyard Church as a whole is a cult? No, I don't, but there are many cultic elements within it and the church and entire movement is headed at full speed in that direction. As I have said before, a few Vineyard churches don't want to have anything to do with the things that we are hearing about.
Despite their pleas to use discernment, the pro-phenomena leaders are using none of their own and condemn those who do. Despite their claim that the Bible is the Word of God, many leaders go over and above the Scriptures with new revelations. Despite leaders' claims that the phenomena are not important, and despite the Bible's warnings about false signs and wonders in the last days, the emphasis is on the phenomena. A great number of Christians do not heed the Scripture's warnings to test all things, to judge things by the Word of God, and the leaders are taking full advantage of the situation.
John Wimber has expressed his own concerns about some of the things that have been happening in the movement. It is to be hoped that he will take control of the situation before it is too late for the Vineyard church.
2 Cor 11:14-15 ...Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Eph 4:14-15 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Jude 1:3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
Written by Bob Hunter, Contenders; Revised August, 1995
Copyright 1995 by Bob Hunter
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