counterfeits“But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception.” (1 John 4:6).

Notice the supernatural aspects of truth and error. We cannot help but see that the phrase is not “the teaching of truth and the teaching of deception” and if it was worded that way it would seem correct. But it is not worded that way here.  It is, “the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.” It shows the source of truth and the source of error.  Satan and his demons have teachings (1 Tim. 4:1) and there is also the doctrine of Christ (2 John 1:9). As Pentecostals we should be more sensitive to this and that is why God has given us the all the charismata or gifts of the spirit especially the “discerning of spirits” (1 Cor 12:10) which is the gifting or ability to discern a true miracle (Acts 3:12-16) from lying signs and wonders (2 Thess. 2:9). While I was still pastoring my previous church in the 90’s, the so called Toronto Blessing and Brownsville Revival movements were having a major influence on various Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. Falling down, writhing like snakes, barking like dogs, clucking like chickens with people sprawled all over the floor was the norm.

I mean seriously? This has NOTHING to do with the Holy Spirit. It is NOT true Pentecost.

As I remember on a July 4th weekend I was asked to come and minister in a church in Maine. When we came we found the church at that time was into this Counterfeit Revival movement. At one time, I knew the Pastor to be a level headed man but when the service began it was wild and out of control. The church was dominated by cacophonous laughter and people lying all over the floor. The “worship” service went two hours with all kinds of craziness. I was not happy at all-and was wondering why I was there and why he invited me to preach.

The pastor knew I did not agree (probably because of my sour expression and how I just sat there motionless) and as God would have it, he had me come up to to the pulpit to preach anyway. By the grace of God I am not a ecclesiastical politician nor a coward when it comes to confronting such extra-biblical practices. I just wonder why it always has to be me. I reprimanded them sharply-just like the Bible says to do (Titus 1:13). After I spoke, the pastor was miffed. I left the meeting and went back to the hotel room thinking I was done and I should start packing for my trip back home. I was disappointed and wondered what was wrong with them? What was ironic is that I felt to preach on the biblical view of the anointing of the Holy Spirit for that weekend. I intensely studied on this subject for months and now I was second guessing myself.

They had morning seminars and then we went to lunch. You could see the pastor was still brewing over my preaching the night before. So we talked about it and I actually asked him, “When the Holy Spirit is moving in a service could you preach from any portion of the Bible?”

He said, “I suppose so…yes.”

Then I asked, “What about  1 Corinthians 14 and its regulations and teachings concerning spiritual gifts?”

He said, “I suppose not.”

I said, “That is ridiculous. It makes no sense.”

His reasoning was so flawed- yet that night the pastor still had me preach and it was powerful. I focused on the teaching of scripture about the Holy Spirit and many told me they saw more answers to prayer than they did under what the pastor was promoting. I could teach about the biblical perspective of the Holy Spirit and God took over from there. It was like a high pressure system pushing a low pressure system out. It turned about to be a great series of meetings. I learned then that the truth is stronger than lies, that the inspiration of the scripture far outweighs  the false  practices and teachings of man. I could only hope God would deal with them after that time.

God during this time began to bring my attention to the New Jersey area.  It was a slow start when we came and one day I felt compelled to leave Pennsylvania and go to New Jersey. I found a job and lived with my Mom for a time. Sarah found a job almost immediately and things came together-we had a small Bible study. I received a call from with two families in Maine who wanted to come down and help me start a church. So those things were good.

When Sarah moved up finally we went to live with my father in law for a time and would visit churches on Staten Island. Once again a preacher who I thought was a balanced man was allowing the Brownsville influence in his church. In fact, he and others were making pilgrimages to that place. His church was jammed. He was my friend so we visited his church for a few services and he let me preach. I had fellowship again. This church was at first not as wild but after attending a few services the weirdness was growing to fever pitch.

People were yelling, making weird noises, tongue talking during the preaching. I do not mean to be crass but every freakacostal and charismaniac was in attendance. I remember the day I came I was happy for my friend.  The church had grown to two services and though I did not agree with those practices I was hopeful things would turn around. After all, this was the church where I was saved. Maybe it just being welcomed anywhere after my recent hurtful experience at the Warehouse of Praise so there was a sense of relief. I also believed that if he was a man of God he would correct these practices eventually.

But these happy thoughts would not last very long-not even one day longer. My pastor friend came in and he looked angry and sour. He had a bad spirit and you could tell. I was wondering what was wrong with him. I had pastored before so I know how things happen before church and when you preach so I cut him some slack and excused it in my mind. 

That same Sunday morning God gave me a word or prophecy. It was a hard word and I had never given one like this before. But I felt the power of God to say it.  I don’t remember all of it but it was a harsh rebuke for what was going on-God was exposing the wrong practices and spiritual adultery of these people. I said some other words and as I began to speak of God offering blessing for their repentance- the pastor stopped me midway from prophesying. This was a first. Before this time, I prophesied many times in that church and I was well received. I was known of the brethren and I am careful when I speak forth prophetically. His actions were unnecessary and he was wrong. My mother was next to me and she was indignant at what happened. All of us knew what this pastor was allowing in his church was wrong and God was telling him to repent. 

We went back to my mothers house and I was hurt and confused. My twin brother was there and at first he said, “I told you not to go there!” But then he comforted me. People talk about how wonderful it is to be an Elijah or Jeremiah or any such thing. It is not-it is a life of rejection but obedience does not seek applause. The sad part was that not but a year later the same church fell apart. If only they would have listened!

I do believe in ministering under the pastoral direction I always attempt to exercise protocol and find out how to operate within the church culture. But this does not mean compromising scripture or scriptural practices. I wonder sometimes why God always seems to put me in the place of being the bad guy as it were. I have began referring to it as being an antihero. Yet I realize that a man cannot love Christ and the evil world system at the same time. Why can’t some pastors just do their job instead of allowing these things to happen to the congregation which has been entrusted to their care? Why do I have to sit in a pew and listen to their watered down message or insane ideas? Why do they have to run their churches by books and ideas written by religious marketers instead of God’s Holy Word? Is not Jesus enough? I always thought he was. 

© 2015 Rev. Stephen S. Gibney, give credit where credit is due

Anatomy of Apostasy

“For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the LORD.” (2 Chr. 28:19).

King Ahaz appeared to be a great solution to Judah’s problems. In the end he would be a nightmare. When we read the Bible we see these men as monsters with blood dripping from their fangs.  This is not true. He appeared to be a leader much like any politician appeared to be, with new ideas promoting the history of Israel as a nation, the need for economic recovery and bi-partisan leadership.  I am sure that the nation of Judah thought at first that it was about time that an open-minded, tolerant and progressive King ruled the land. Evil is not always so dramatic at first, in fact it seems so practical. Yet shrouded beneath this veneer God sees the heart and what he sees disgusts him, thus we see his record in the scriptures.

When Ahaz first began to reign, he reimagined and reinvented the worship of God by placing idols in God’s temple (1 Kings 16).  He did not completely replace the LORD with false gods; he just placed other gods side by side with Yahweh. This is called pluralism today, but we used to call it polytheism. It is an ideology that promotes coexistence of all religious paths as equally valid. The Bible describes people today in this horrible state,“A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God.” (Hosea 4:12NIV). It is idolatry.

I thank God for the internet; it can promote biblical teaching and evangelism but it is clear that this philosophy has saturated our culture and all the religions once separated by continents are now available via the world-wide web. It has created confusion and has become a snare and a trap to people worldwide. There is so much religious noise, offering many ways to God and salvation. Christians cannot compromise. The Bible is clear: there is only one God (the Trinity) and one Holy Book (The Bible) and one way to Salvation (Jesus Christ). There is no other way, no other God. Yahweh is jealous he will accept no rivals. He decimates the competition for they are dead idols invented by the imaginations of men. It was no surprise that King Ahaz ended up shutting down all the worship of Yahweh because it is incompatible with idolatry (2 Chr 28: 24-25). He cut himself off from the salvation of God by closing the doors to God’s house.

Ahaz worshipped idols that involved the worst kinds of practices and lifestyle imaginable. He sacrificed his sons by burning them alive in offering to the false god Moloch or Molech. “The image of Moloch was a human figure with a bull’s head and outstretched arms, ready to receive the children destined for sacrifice. The image of metal was heated red-hot by a fire kindled within, and the children were laid on its arms and rolled off into the fiery pit below. In order to drown the cries of the victims, flutes were played, and drums were beaten; and mothers stood by without tears or sobs, to give the impression of the voluntary character of the offering.” (Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor International Standard Bible Encyclopedia” 1915; Public Domain).

I am sure they had someway even then of justifying these gruesome murders. They wanted to make it clear to do this was the choice of the parents, it was acceptable in that culture and all the arguments they used-we use. It is horrifying how they could present this as so relevant or even political in their day.

This is what the Bible calls an abomination or a practice that is repulsive and disgusting to God. God says, “I will resolutely reject that man and his family, and him and all who join him in prostituting themselves in the rituals of the god Molech I will cut off from their people…” (Lev. 20:5-7NLT). We may not bow down to statues in our country, and we may be taken back by the practice of the Molech worshippers in the day of Ahaz, but  what shall we say to this abortion ridden world, that is covered with torrents of blood from murder of babies by the millions. There are 42 million estimated abortions annually and 115,000 per day worldwide.  This is a holocaust of human life that has become the norm. God is sickened by this vile murderous demon that is worshipped worldwide.

God will come in justice!  “The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked.” (Isa 11:14NLT). This won’t happen with the bombing of some clinic as madmen in the past have done. No. God will repay them to the face. There will be no doubts. In this day and age where people do as they feel and reject God’s laws- they fail to see God coming with just anger against this vile practice. They won’t even see him coming but it will no doubt be Him.

Ahaz was eventually losing against the pagan nations around him. You would think Ahaz would turn to God in this time and repent of his sins but instead, Isaiah asks Ahaz, “Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?” (Isa. 7:13).  Despite the warnings of Isaiah, Micah and Hosea the prophets-Ahaz worshipped every idol he thought would save him from his enemies, “In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the LORD. He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus, who had defeated him; for he thought, “Since the gods of the kings of Aram have helped them, I will sacrifice to them so they will help me. But they were his downfall and the downfall of all Israel.” (2 Chr. 28:22-23NLT).  How sad is the life with no touch of God upon it!

Ahaz was like so many today, he starts looking at Christianity as just a traditional religion, a religion identified with a certain political party and desires to worship the new or more relevant, contemporary gods because he is deceived by the idol worshipper’s temporary success! Paganism has become vogue, the eastern religions that have destroyed their own countries with vile practices are now part of the pluralistic country in which we live. These false gods cannot save!  It is ironic to read that, “the LORD his God handed him over to the king of Aram. The Arameans defeated him and took many of his people as prisoners and brought them to Damascus.” (2 Chr. 28:5)

This is a state everyone should be afraid of, a place where, a person, “is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him.” (Prov. 5:22NLT).  How many addicts testified of this type addiction where they said there was a point when they stopped using drugs and the drugs started using them. But this is not just an addiction to drugs or alcohol but an addiction to sin: this where people stop sinning and sin starts using them. Sin runs unchecked! God deliver us from such a state! It is the worst form of spiritual slavery and self-deception. The Bible says, “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” (2 Thess. 2:11-12NIV).


© 2011 Stephen S. Gibney Soul Health Care


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