Jesus’ “Lesser Works” (Sidebar to The Physics of Heaven)

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Charismania, Quantum Spirituality

Can “new apostles” do “greater works” than Jesus?

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.”
Emphasis added, Jesus, John 14:12, NASB [1]

Introduction
Essential to the claim being made by today’s new apostles or “manifest sons of God”—that they can perform greater “signs and wonders” than Jesus did—is the promise (cited above) the Lord made to Philip and the other Disciples (John 14:12). Referring to this promise, one of the authors of The Physics of Heaven stated: “Jesus said that we would do greater works than He did, but no Christian in history has exceeded Jesus’ works.” [2] The apostlette then adds that doing “greater works” than Jesus “should be an everyday occurrence for us.” [3]

Jesus words are foundational to claims of performing “signs and wonders” by advocates of a New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). John 14:12 serves as their validating text to be able to perform greater miracles in the 21st century than Jesus did in the 1st. Therefore, understanding what Jesus meant when He made this promise to His Disciples becomes imperative for believers today. Should we really expect to perform greater “signs and wonders” than Jesus did? At face value, Jesus seems to have said so. Thus, the context and content of what Jesus actually said must be considered.
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The Holy Spirit and Holy Scripture

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Charismania, False Teaching

Did Jesus promise “revelations” would continue?

“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” Jesus to His Disciple/Apostles, John 16:12-13, KJV, Emphasis added.

The New Apostolic Reformation (i.e., NAR), a charismatic movement within evangelicalism’s “big tent,” believes that just as the Holy Spirit guides Christians into “all truth,” He also reveals new truths—i.e., “things to come.” In their belief, not only does the Spirit bear witness to the Bible He inspired (which He does, 1 Corinthians 2:6-15), but He also anoints contemporary apostle/prophets and apostlette/prophetesses to receive and reveal authoritative new revelations. These latter-day and latter-rain seers argue that Jesus’ promise to His disciples authorizes their reception of new revelations. (See above citation.)

Continuing Revelation
For instance, Sandi Freed tells her followers she believes “in anointed times and seasons.” Then after citing John 16:12, she comments that for “King’s Kids” engaging in spiritual warfare, “This is an amazing passage—it explains why we receive revelation at specific times.” [1] Again, another advocate of latter-day-latter-rain revelations tells readers,

Throughout the world millions recognize this present day as the consummation of the ages and God’s grand finale with latter rain truth. The Scriptures tell us that [John 16:13] the Spirit of Truth is promised as our heritage to guide us into all truth and to show us things to come. [2]

He then explains: “The Lord is standing at the door knocking with a personal invitation for profound fellowship and the unveiling of latter rain revelation.” [3] He tells followers that they must “soar with” the Holy Spirit so that He will give them revelations like the one the Spirit gave him; which revelation was, “Go deep in order to go high!” [4] But using John 16:12 to endorse reception of “new revelations” is not restricted to Charismatic Christians. Cults and other religions have hitchhiked on Jesus’ words to validate their extra-biblical revelations.
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Power Play

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Charismania

Dominionism, the New Apostolic Reformation and “Binding and Loosing.”

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ . . . .” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, KJV

Scripture teaches the existence of spirit beings beneath, around and above planet earth. The Apostle Paul stated that our struggle is “not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12; Compare Revelation 12:7, ff.; Daniel 10:13; Jude 9; etc.). An invisible war rages around us. We know it for two reasons: first the Bible tells us; and second, at one time or another, many of us have been drawn into it, into what has been called the conflict of the ages, the war between Satan, his hosts and God and His. Though the Lord owns the world, the usurper has carjacked it and now is taking it for a joyride until God’s powerful angel arrests, binds and imprisons him in “the bottomless pit” for a thousand years (See Revelation 20:1-3). But because Satan is “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience,” there exists an ongoing conflict between God and the Devil, between good angels and evil spirits (Ephesians 2:2).

To fight this war, the apostle Paul instructs believers to “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). One weapon in the divine arsenal is prayer. We are to fight the war “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints . . .” (Ephesians 6:18). Yet to this vital weapon the New Apostolic Reformation has added a innovative dimension—that of power praying which, they believe, binds evil spirits and looses good angels over geographical areas. But before dealing with this dimension of prayer, the context in which and the system by which those who espouse “binding-loosing” ought to be surveyed.
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Faith Healers and Dealers

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Charismania

Some Thoughts on Acts 3:1-11.

And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.” Acts 3:10-11, KJV

They were “filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him” (Acts 3:10). That is how Luke describes the reaction of the people who firsthand observed the apostolic healing of a man who had been congenitally lame for more than forty years (Acts 4:22). His lower extremities were but skin and bones, and worshippers at the temple saw him begging in that condition for most of his life. Healed by Peter “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,” the miracle stunned Jews who saw him “walking, and leaping, and praising God” (Acts 4:22; 3:8-11). Luke heaps up words to describe the reaction of the witnesses to the miracle, “wonder . . . amazement . . . wondering . . . marvel” (Acts 3:10-12). Have you ever asked why claimed healings today do not make a similar impression upon outsiders?
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Dialogue with Deception

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Charismania

A critical review of Lloyd Gardner’s book, Face to Face: A Dialogue with Jesus (Tollhouse, CA: Eliezer Call Ministries, 2009) 174 pages.

Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by . . . taking his stand on visions he has seen . . .” (Paul the Apostle, Colossians 2:18)

Lloyd Gardner’s book, Face to Face: A Dialogue with Jesus, contains material that Bible believing Christians can agree with. Scriptural quotations, paraphrases and allusions appear throughout the book. Lloyd’s emphasis upon the spiritual life–the need for believers to daily take up their cross and follow Jesus, to love Him as a faithful Bride, to enter into God’s rest, and to eschew worldliness and cultivate holiness and forgiveness in Christian living–ought to resonate with all believers.

Having almost died of a heart attack near Budapest, Hungary, in November of 2006, I sympathize with the author’s living with cancer. His insights can help others who for reason of illnesses, are coping with the uncertainty of life.

As a pastor, I also identify with the naiveté with which he returned to minister in a former congregation only to be dismissed by the leadership for failure to share their vision for the church (Chapter 9), which in today’s market-driven environment of ministry demands the production of tangible “results”—increasing attendance numbers, upping the cash flow and building bigger buildings. These days, “the buck stops” in the pulpit!

In a day of “big box” churches, Gardner’s focus upon the simple, as opposed to the institutional, church—The 2:42 Formula—finds precedent in Scripture. Luke describes “the four to-s” of the early church; that early Christians devoted themselves “to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Emphasis added, Acts 2:42). [1] But these days, contemporary Christians are all about feeling comfortable in church. As one pastor observes:

Comfort has become a central goal of worship. In the face of life’s challenges, people come to church seeking therapy or comforting affirmation. They often get their wish because church leaders know that these customers will vanish from the padded seats if they’re not satisfied. [2]

So pan-evangelical congregations emphasize man-centered musical excitements and entertainment in worship, programmatic approaches to spirituality, and paid professionals preaching psychology, positivity, possibility and prosperity in order to make the audience “feel good.” These developments in America’s evangelical churches represent a radical departure, even apostasy, from the devout and simple church described in Acts.

Gardner’s book contains truth. But when compared to Scripture, the truth is mixed with error, something that ought to concern Bible believers. About mixing truth and untruth, Harry Ironside (1876-1951) wrote:

Error is like leaven of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died. [3]

We turn to discern the errors in Face to Face.
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Prayer Papers and Power Encounters

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Charismania

Paul’s miracles and the handkerchief mailing scam.

And God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.” Acts 19:11-12, NASB

A mass mailing sent out by Saint Matthew’s Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, tells recipients:

God tells Ministers to send out Handkerchiefs to people’s homes, so that blessings will start in their lives. Use this Bible Handkerchief soaked with prayer, tonight, and return it in the morning. [1]

To receive a blessing, one must take the anointed prayer-handkerchief included in the mailing, write his/her name on it, place the inscribed paper handkerchief in a Bible, believe God for whatever miracle is needed or wanted, sleep near the handkerchief and Bible overnight, and mail it back to Saint Matthew’s Church first thing in the morning, preferably with a financial contribution enclosed. What blessings will persons receive if they follow these steps? The letter from Saint Matthew’s Church is filled with anonymous testimonies like the following: “USED THE BIBLE HANDKERCHIEF . . . Blessed With $6,000.00 . . . FLORIDA–I put the Handkerchief in the Bible . . . and sent it back to you. I received a check for $3,500 . . . I received a check for $2,500 . . .” Other deliverances testified to in the Saint Matthew’s prayer letter include individuals who saw their son released from jail, their son-in-law delivered from alcohol and drug abuse, their financial debt eliminated, their physical and mental illness cured, and other big financial blessings come upon them.

At the face of it, this whole business appears to be a blatant religious scam, except for the fact that it claims to have biblical precedent and authority behind it. Support supposedly is found from the book of Acts where Luke recorded: “And God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out” (Acts 19:11-12). What, we ask, was going on at Ephesus during Paul’s ministry in that city? Does the book of Acts support the idea that ministers are to mail out prayer handkerchiefs to help people with their personal, health, and financial problems? To answer these questions, issues pertinent to the passage need to be addressed and understood.
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Sour Grapes

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Charismania

Vineyardism and the Toronto Blessing.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:22-24, NASB, Emphasis Added

Mother’s Day, 1994. When standing to be recognized in the church gathering, many mothers “fell and remained on the floor for about 20 minutes, laughing.” At a previous January service, the “participants were swept up in a fervor of what they said was the power of the Holy Spirit. They laughed or shook uncontrollably and fell to the floor.” [1]

The pastor of the church tells congregants:

Do we want you to shake and fall down? Are we disappointed when you don’t? Well, a little bit. We want you to focus so much that you are overwhelmed. . . . When the living God overwhelms you, it shows. It’s a big deal. Call it the baptism in the Spirit. Call it being nuked. [2]

About what happened at one Vineyard gathering, a pastor reported of a fellow who, “described [his] . . . experience as equivalent to six months of therapy.” [3]

What am I to believe about these manifestations? Do they come from the Holy Spirit? Or, in failing to appreciate and apply the “Toronto Blessing,” am I missing something that could bless my personal Christian walk and the congregation I pastor?
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