Friday, October 30, 2015

Is it Always a Sin to Not Tell the Truth?

Today I would like to address the question whether it is always a sin to not tell the truth or to withhold information. Secondly, are there ever times when it is not a sin to lie or deceive? I will address this second question first.

Biblical Examples of Deception
There are some biblical examples of deception and lying that were not openly condemned.  In fact, some of them even appear to have God’s approval on them. Some examples of such instances include the following:

Samuel plainly withheld information and deceived Saul’s men (1 Sam 16:1-5). Michal helped David escape from Saul and used a deceptive decoy, as well as a lie to cover for him. (1 Sam 19:11-17). David told Jonathan to lie to King Saul (1 Sam 20:5-7). David lied to Ahimelek the priest (1 Sam 21:2,8). David pretended to be insane in front of Achish, King of Gath (1 Sam 21:13). Abraham lied to Pharaoh (Gen 12:13; for wider context see verses 10-20). Abraham lied to Abimelek king of Gerar (Gen 20:2; for wider context see entire chapter). Isaac lied to Abimelek king of Gerar (Gen 26:7; for wider context see verses 6-11). Jacob deceived his father and received the blessing (Gen 27:1-38). Joseph hid his identity from his brothers, and told numerous lies to them (Gen 42:7,12,14-16,18-20; 43:27,29-30; 44:4-5,15,17). Moses did not tell Pharaoh it was a permanent exodus (Exo 5:3). Rahab lied to protect the Israelite spies (Jos 2:4-5; Heb 11:31). Joshua used a deceptive military tactic to ambush and destroy the city of Ai (Josh 8:1-29). The prophet Jeremiah lied to the officials who came to him and asked him why he was speaking with King Zedekiah. He gave them the false alibi that the king had ordered him to use, in order to protect his life (Jer 38:24-27). Nevertheless, just because someone in the Bible did something, it does not give us the right to do the same thing.

Lying is a Sin
In ancient times, it was not a crime to tell a lie in order to save a life.  A man named Diphilus or Diphilon (possibly Philo), once said, “I hold it right to tell a lie for safety: nothing should be avoided to save life.” An unbeliever may say that, but a Christian cannot act that way and save his soul, even though he may save his own life. The Ten Commandments are clear that lying is wrong (Ex 20:16). We must not make lies our refuge and hide ourselves under falsehood (Isaiah 28:15,17). “No lie is of the truth” (1 Jn 2:21). God is the God of Truth (Is 65:16). He cannot lie (Tit 1:2). Jesus is the Truth (Jn 14:6), and He never once lied, not even to save His life. It was declared of the 144,000 worshipers in Revelation that "No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless." (Rev 14:5). The Spirit is the Truth (1 Jn 5:6). The Scriptures are "the Word of Truth" (Psa. 119:43; 2Co. 6:7; Col. 1:5; 2Ti. 2:15; Jas. 1:18). God hates a lying tongue (Prov 6:17). He hates liars (Prov 12:22). He will stop the tongue of liars (Ps 63:11). We are not to lie to each other or deceive one another (Lev 19:11; Col 3:9), but to lay aside all falsehood and speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15,25). No one who practices deceit will dwell in the Lord's house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in His presence (Ps 101:7). All liars have their part in hell (Rev 21:8,27; 22:14-15).

The devil is a liar and the father of lies. Jesus said, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44-45). The devil does not hold to the truth. So we must not speak his native language and carry out his desires.

Withholding Truth
Now what about omitting certain truth in order to save a life? Is that a sin? Jesus taught us, "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Mat 7:6). There are two things he referred to here. One is that which is holy and the other is our pearls. We are not to give that which is holy to dogs or throw our pearls before swine.

The meaning of this is clear. Dogs are unclean animals and will not treat with reverence anything holy. So in the natural realm, if you give what is holy to dogs, they will trample them under their feet and turn and tear you to pieces. Also in the natural realm, if you throw your pearls before swine, which are also unclean animals, they will quickly realize it is not something they can chew, enjoy the taste of, or fill their bellies with. They too, will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Neither the dogs nor the pigs can appreciate the great value of such things. The interpretation of this is that these are people who do not really want to know the truth, but simply want to use what you say against you. The Lord wants us to avoid such an outcome, not wanting us to be torn to pieces by dogs or pigs, because He cares about us.

To the Jews, Gentiles were considered dogs. And they did not eat pigs, which were detestable to them. The dogs and pigs that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7 stand for unclean people who do not have regard for the holy and precious things of God. If we share such things with them in answer to their questions, or in an effort to force such things on them to make them understand, they will only use them against us or attack us with them.

There are various applications of this teaching. One application is regarding Truth. Jesus illustrated this in His own life. There were times when He withheld the plain Truth from people. For example, when the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him and demanded to know by what authority He was doing these things, like cleansing the temple, and who gave Him this authority. Jesus first asked them a question to prove whether they were sincere or whether they were actually pigs and dogs seeking a way to tear Him to pieces. He said to them, "I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. "The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?" And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' He will say to us, 'Then why did you not believe him?' "But if we say, 'From men,' we fear the people; for they all regard John as a prophet." And answering Jesus, they said, "We do not know." He also said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Mat 21:23-27).  You see, the Lord tested them first to see if they were sincere or pigs, and then He withheld Truth from them (also see Jer 6:27, NIV).

The Lord also withheld information from people at other times. He always spoke in parables to the masses. In fact, He did not speak to them without a parable. “He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything." (Mk 4:34; cf., Mat 13:34-35). The reason He did not explain the parables to the masses was so that they would not be able to turn to God insincerely and be forgiven, if God was not drawing them to Christ.  “He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” (Mk 4:11-12).

Jesus did not tell people He was born in Bethlehem. Therefore, His critics did not know He was the Christ, since they assumed He was born in Nazareth. They scoffed saying, “Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" (Joh 7:42).

Jesus told people not to tell anyone He was the Christ. “Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.” (Mat 16:20).

The Lord did not tell everything He knew, in the various situations He encountered, but only spoke what the Father gave Him to say. He said, “For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.” (Jn 12:49; cf., Jn 5:19; 8:28)

The Lord kept silent when questioned by certain people. “The high priest stood up and came forward and questioned Jesus, saying, ‘Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?’ But He kept silent and did not answer.” (Mar 14:60-61a). He was also silent before Herod. “Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing.” (Luk 23:8-9)

Another application of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:6 is with regard to holy and precious people. When He spoke of what is holy and of pearls, these may also apply to people who are holy and precious. The saints are holy people. So if someone comes to us demanding to know where such people are located, and we determine that the inquirer is a dog or pig, we are not under any obligation to disclose that information. We are not required to speak that particular truth to them. In fact, we must not speak it, according to Jesus. Aren’t people precious to God just as much as any sacred truth? If the person inquiring only wants to do harm to them, it would be wrong to tell them where those people are located.

There are many examples in history of godly people hiding innocent people who were in danger. Corrie Ten Boom comes to mind immediately. She and her family hid the Jews in their home and helped them escape the Nazis who wanted to kill them. Dietrich Bonhoeffer also helped Jews escape Germany to freedom. But there are also biblical examples. Obadiah hid a hundred prophets of the Lord from Jezebel in caves, and provided them with bread and water (1 King 18:4,13). Jezebel was destroying the prophets of the Lord, and because Obadiah greatly feared the Lord, he helped those prophets by hiding them from the evil queen Jezebel and her evil husband Ahab. What Obadiah did was an act of righteousness, not a sin. He did not give the holy prophets to dogs or throw these precious pearls before swine.

The Scripture commands us: "Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back. If you say, 'See, we did not know this,' Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?" (Pro 24:11-12)

So we are not under any obligation to say everything we know or tell people all the Truth we possess. We must first determine if the person is sincere or whether he is a dog or pig. If he or she is a dog or pig, meaning they are evil or vile, then we must not give such a person what is holy or throw our pearls before such a one. Otherwise they will trample that which is sacred or those precious pearls under their feet, and turn and tear us to pieces.

More Examples of Casting Pearls

Here are some more examples of not giving what is sacred to dogs or casting pearls before swine. The Magi did not go back to Herod and tell him the location of baby Jesus (Mat 2:12). The baby was holy, His life was precious, and Herod was a dog or swine. He only wanted to know where Jesus was so he could kill Him.

Another example is refusing to associate with immoral people who call themselves brethren. “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. ‘Expel the wicked person from among you.’” (1 Cor 10:10-14). (For more on this topic, see Purge the Evil from Among You).

The immoral person who claims to be a Christian is essentially a dog or swine. “Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and, ‘A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.’" (1 Pe 2:22). Therefore, we must not associate with such a person, or in any way give such a person what is sacred or cast our pearls before them.

When Peter escaped from jail, he told the brethren to be silent, so as not to disclose his location (Act 12:17). Again, Peter was a saint (holy one), his life was precious, and his location was a pearl not to be thrown before swine.

Paul was lowered in a basket from a window in a wall, in order to escape from the governor. “In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.” (2 Cor 11:32-33). Is it wrong to lower a person covertly in a basket through a window in a wall, rather than have them go publicly through the gates and inform the guards who are looking for him that he is leaving the city? The governor of Damascus was a dog or swine, and Paul was holy. The brethren secretly helped Paul escape without the knowledge of the guards at the city gates, in order to save his life. 

Jesus initially refused to deliver the daughter of the Syro-Phoenecian woman from demons. “The woman came and knelt before him. ‘Lord, help me!’ she said. He replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.’” (Mt 15:25-26).  The woman was not a Jew and the Father sent Jesus to the lost sheep of Israel. So he called her a dog. His statement was a test to prove whether she genuinely believed in Him, and when He saw that she did, He delivered her daughter.  Had it not been for her sincere faith, He would not have done so, because healing is sacred and is considered the children’s bread.

So we should be wise as serpents when dealing with people. We should seek to find out, for example, by questioning them, whether they truly want to know or just want to use our words against us, slander us, hurt us, or falsely accuse us.  Once you discover a person is a dog/swine, you should be careful not to give them what is sacred or cast your pearls before them.  It is in everyone's best interest. If you do cast your pearls, knowing they are swine, then 1) it will only increase their damnation, and 2) it will only bring hurt upon your own head, and we are not to seek out persecution, but flee from it, and 3) it will grieve the heart of our Father, God, since it is His pearls they are trampling, and His child they are tearing to pieces.  So for the best interests of the Father, of you, and of the swine, we refrain from casting the pearls.  This is why the Lord spoke in parables, too.

We as disciples are commanded to preach the gospel to sinners (Mt 28:18-20), not to plainly teach them all of the sacred truths of Scripture. And ministers are supposed to preach and teach the whole counsel of God to the saints (Ac 20:27).

Lying to Save Yourself
There are some instances in Scripture where certain people lied or deceived for the sake of self-preservation. Some examples are Samuel, David, Abraham, Isaac, and Jeremiah. God overlooked the times when people didn’t know any better, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent (Ac 17:30). This is one of those things that changed under the Lordship of Christ. There were many other such things where the Lord said, “You have heard that the ancients were told,” and then in contrast to what they had heard in the past, He would declare the new and higher standard He now requires. Just look at the Sermon on the Mount for many examples, in which the Lord taught the higher, spiritual meaning of the Law (Mt 5:21-22,27-28,31-35).

Indeed, we have heard that the ancients lied or deceived to save their own lives. But now Jesus says to us that the only way to save your life is to lose it. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mk 8:35; cf. Lk 9:24; Mt 16:25). 

Therefore, it is a sin to lie in order to save your own life or for any selfish reason. That is what the apostle Peter did when he denied knowing Christ, and that was considered a sin (Luke 22:54-62).

Other Situations When It’s Appropriate to Withhold Truth
There are some situations when it is not a sin to withhold the truth. You must still be truthful, but must speak the truth in love.  You must also withhold information that would endanger another person’s life. You must never do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life (Lev 19:16).

The Lord Jesus is our perfect example. He did no violence and no deceit was found in His mouth (Is 53:9; 1 Pe 2:22). Yet He sometimes withheld the truth in order to test people. There are many such examples of this in the Bible. When He was about to multiply the loaves, He asked Philip where they would be able to buy bread for the large crowd to eat. “This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do.” (Joh 6:6).  The Greek word for “test” in this verse may also mean to “scrutinize, discipline, examine, prove, or try.”  He did something similar on the other occasions when He fed the multitudes, initially instructing His disciples to give them something to eat (Mt 14:16; Mk 6:37; Lk 9:13).

Another incident was when He approached the two men on the road to Emmaus, and prevented them from recognizing Him. As they were discussing all the things that had happened to Him regarding His passion, crucifixion, and empty tomb, He asked them "What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?" (Luk 24:17a). When they asked Him if He was the only one in Jerusalem who was unaware of the latest events that had just occurred, He replied as if He didn’t know what they meant, by saying, “What things?’ (Lk 24:19). Then He proceeded to explain to them all the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures, beginning with Moses and with all the prophets. And when they approached the village where they were going, He acted as though He were going farther. (Luk 24:28). But in fact, He intended to go inside with them, recline at the table, break bread together, and reveal His identity to them before disappearing in front of their eyes.

Therefore, based on the Lord’s own example, it is sometimes appropriate to withhold truth in order to test, scrutinize, discipline, examine, prove, or try people. The Lord's example also confirms that withholding truth is not considered lying. And since He sometimes withheld truth from certain people, we may conclude that it is not a sin to withhold truth in order to save lives. In fact, it may be necessary to do so.

A Truthful Witness Saves Lives
Some people believe that it is sometimes necessary to lie in order to save lives. However, the Scripture says, "A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful." (Pro 14:25, NIV). So according to God's Word, it's not the liar who saves lives, but the truthful witness who does so. The Young's Literal Translation has it like this: "A true witness is delivering souls, And a deceitful one breatheth out lies." (Pro 14:25, YLT). So this proves that it is not necessary to lie in order to save lives.

The Holy Spirit Will Teach You What to Say
At this point, you may be wondering how you would handle a difficult situation, in which you may be brought before authorities for the sake of righteousness, and the time comes to defend yourself or other innocent people. Jesus taught us, "When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say." (Luk 12:11-12). Therefore, give no thought beforehand what you will say. Then when that moment comes and the Holy Spirit teaches you what to say, you will not be guilty of sin, as long as you say what He tells you to say.

Buy the Truth and Sell it Not
The Scripture also teaches us to “Buy the truth and sell it not.” (Pr 23:23). This means that we must get truth at any cost.  Since God and His Word are the source of Truth, then we must seek it from Him through prayer and reading His Word. On the other hand we must never sell it for any price.  We must never agree to give truth in exchange for money. One example is when a person will preach for a fee or sell their sermons on CD, DVD, or in books. Another example is giving prophecies for a price.

Likewise, we must never withhold truth for the sake of money. For example, if a pastor neglects to preach the whole counsel of God, and refrains from unpopular topics like righteousness and holiness, because he does not want to offend people or lose members and their money, that is selling the truth. It is a serious sin. Another application is that we must not lie in exchange for a bribe or any payment or blackmail. The Roman guards who watched over the Lord’s tomb did this. The Jewish leaders paid them to tell a lie (Mt 28:11-14).  We must not lie in exchange for money, such as when an employer requires an employee to lie, mislead, exaggerate, or deceive customers in any way. No amount of money they could pay you is worth losing your own soul.

Biblical Examples of Sinful Lying
After Cain murdered his brother, he lied to God: “Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’” (Gen 4:9)

Sarah lied to the Lord, too. “Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, I did not laugh. But he said, yes, you did laugh.” (Genesis 18:15). Even something as simple as saying she didn’t laugh is considered a lie in God’s sight.

Joseph’s brethren lied to their father, after they sold their brother into Egypt: “Then they got Joseph's robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood.” (Gen. 37:31).

The Gibeonites sinfully deceived the Israelites that they came from far away, so that the Israelites would make a peace treaty with them. But in fact they were near neighbors (Josh 9).

Perhaps the most shocking example if that of Ananias and Saphira, who were immediately struck dead by God for lying to Him (Acts 5:1-11).

Putting it All Together
So I hope this has helped to show what the Bible says about lying and deception, how it is clearly a sin, but that there are instances where it is appropriate and even virtuous to withhold information, and not tell everything you know, or to hide innocent people for their protection. I also hope it has helped to explain what it means to give dogs what is sacred or cast our pearls to swine, and why we must not do so.

The ninth commandment does not require us to give full and exhaustive answers to any and every question we may be asked, especially when asked by someone who is evil or seeking to do violence to another human being other than oneself. We must not say or do anything that endangers our neighbor’s life. The ninth commandment is not intended to aid and abet evil. “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’" (Gal 5:14).

Attribution notice: Scripture quotations taken from the NASB

Author's Note: I recommend you read the following articles: Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven, What is Truth?, Hiding Place, The Cost of Discipleship, Purge the Evil from Among You, The Sale of Christian Music and Art -- A Robbers' Den?, Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth?, Is Obedience Optional?, Restored Truth, Aim for Perfection, and The Straight and Narrow Path. You may access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Exposing Heresy

I recently received reproof from a pastor who read my article, called Exposing the JMS Cult. He said that we should not expose false teachers, since it is not a good use of our time, and there are too many cults in the world. Not only was he refusing to assist me in exposing this dangerous cult, by neglecting to warn others, but he was presuming to bring correction and teach me why I myself should not be doing so. He obviously disapproved of what I had done. If one were to listen to him and believe him, they would probably conclude that it was wrong for me to write such an article. However, let’s look at what the Bible says about exposing cults, false teachers, and false prophets.

Contend for the Faith
First of all Jude wrote, "Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people." (Jud 1:3).

It was initially Jude’s intention of writing to the Church about salvation, but instead he felt compelled to urge them to contend for the faith. He was urging them to strive for the faith, to use earnest efforts to defend and preserve it. He was speaking about contending for the faith against certain ungodly persons, who had crept into the Church unnoticed, and introduced destructive heresies. That was important enough for Jude to change the topic of his letter. Contending for the faith was more necessary at that time than learning more about salvation.

Publicly Reprove Sinning Elders
Secondly, the apostle Paul instructed Timothy, "But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning." (1 Tim 5:20). This is a very clear instruction from the Holy Spirit to reprove sinning elders before everyone. The reason for such public reproof is so that others may take warning. Other elders will be more careful not to make the same mistake, knowing they will be publicly reproved. And other disciples will be warned not to follow such an elder. If such people are not reproved, or if the reproof is private, rather than public, then others would not be able to take warning.

Expel the Wicked Person
Thirdly, when there is sin in the camp, we are supposed to purge ourselves from evil. Paul said, "God will judge those outside. 'Expel the wicked person from among you.'" (1 Cor 5:13). He was specifically referring to a man in the Corinthian church who was calling himself a brother in Christ, and yet was committing sexual immorality. We are not to tolerate sin in the Church, such as false teaching, but to judge those inside the Church and expel them.

Mute Dogs That Cannot Bark
If all shepherds of the Lord’s flock chose to ignore false teachers, wolves would overrun the church. We would all pay no attention to them and let them devour the sheep, while we look the other way.

Paul warned the Ephesian elders against wolves during his final visit with them saying, "I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock." (Ac 20:29).  The savage wolves would only come after Paul left, since he would never tolerate them like so many people do today. These men are leading people down to hell, and some pastors prefer to stand by idly. That reminds me of dogs that don't bark.

Isaiah prophesied, "Israel's watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep." (Is 56:10).

I think one of the reasons the Church has gone astray, and so many Christians have been deceived by cults, is because the shepherds fail to warn the flock. Imagine a shepherd who is supposed to be tending the sheep, and when wolves come into the flock, he leaves them alone, doesn’t chase them off, and doesn’t warn the sheep of their presence. The wolves would take the liberty to carry off sheep any time they were hungry, and eventually the whole flock would be destroyed. What kind of shepherd would that be, who did not fight against the wolves to protect the flock? But that is what shepherds are like when they neglect to warn the flock about false teachers. If people knew that aggressive groups like the Mormons (Latter Day Saints) and the Jehovah’s Witnesses are cults, and that they are teaching falsely, then fewer people would be deceived by them.

Refute Those Who Contradict Sound Doctrine
In Paul's epistle to Titus, he gave the qualifications for an elder, one of which was that an elder must be one who is "holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict." (Tit 1:9). He made it absolutely clear that an elder must refute those who contradict sound doctrine! Any elder or pastor that does not do so is not fit for service.

Deceivers Must Be Silenced
In that same passage, Paul said, "For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain." (Tit 1:10-11). He warned Titus that there are many deceivers, who must be silenced. Any elder or pastor who refuses to silence deceivers is neglecting his duty.

Expose Them
Again, Paul warned, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.” (Eph 5:11). He did not simply say to avoid deeds of darkness, but to also expose them. Therefore, it is a sin to fail to expose sin.

The early church definitely exposed false teachings. One particular example was the first Church Council in Jerusalem, in which they exposed the heresy of Judaizing, or requiring Gentiles to adopt Jewish customs when they turned to Christ (Ac 15).

Paul devoted one of his epistles to exposing such things and said, “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”  (Gal 1:6-9)

Rescue Those Staggering to Slaughter
Even godless people can see the harm that destructive cults are doing. For example, there is even an atheist I know, who can see the dangerous nature of the JMS Cult, and he is helping people escape from it. Meanwhile, there is Christian pastors I know who says we should not bother to expose this cult or any cult, for that matter. He says it is “not our job” to do so. I think that it is a judgment against the Church when even the atheist can see the harmful nature of the cults, but the very shepherds of God’s flock refuse to do so.

The Scripture says, “Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back. If you say, ‘See, we did not know this,’ Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?” (Pro 24:11-12)

Other Scriptures
There are many other Scriptures that instruct us to identify and expose false teachers, rather than ignore them.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1Jn 4:1)

"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Mat 7:15)

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.” (2Jn 1:10-11). For this reason, I will not even allow a Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon into my home, when they come to my door.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” (Eph 5:6-13)

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” (2Pe 2:1)

“And in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2Pe 2:3)

“These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.” (2Pe 2:17-19)

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness.” (2Pe 3:17)

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. (2Co 11:13-15)

“Holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” (2Ti 3:5)

If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.” (1Ti 6:3-5)

The Lord warns shepherds who do not attend to His sheep, for He says in His Word, "Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!" declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: "You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds," declares the LORD. (Jer 23:1-2)

“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.” (2Th 3:6)

If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” (2Th 3:14-15)

But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting.” (2Co 11:12)

"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Mat 18:15-17)

“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” (2Ti 4:2)

Putting it All Together
The Scriptures are clear that we must refute, reprove, rebuke, expose, expel, avoid, and keep away from false teachers. They must be silenced. We must beware of such men and guard against them. We must not receive them, welcome them, or be partakers with them. We must rescue those people that they are deceiving, who are being taken away to death, who are staggering to slaughter. In fact, we are to stay away from every brother, who does not live according to the pattern of teaching we have received from the apostles. We must take special note of that person and not associate with him. That includes keeping away from any pastor that disapproves of exposing false teachers and their cults.

I do not spend all my time, or even most of my time, hunting down every single heresy and exposing it. But when I come into contact with it directly, because I encounter someone teaching falsely or encounter a destructive cult that is affecting the flock I care for, or is affecting me, then I address it. I maintain that, according to Scripture, we should certainly contend for the faith and expose false teachers, especially when we have occasion to do so.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB

Author's Note: I recommend you read the following articles: Purge the Evil from Among You, Testing the Spirits of False Prophets, Unbiblical Practices of the Catholic Church, What's Wrong with the Prosperity Gospel?, Pagan Symbols of the Popes, Pope Frances Supports Homosexuality, Messages from the Lord for Catholics Worshipping Idols, and The Rise of Antichrists. You may access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.


Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org

Are We Really Little gods?

Many of the word of faith, prosperity preachers teach that we are little gods.  This includes Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Morris Cerillo, Benny Hinn, Paula White, Creflo Dollar, and Joyce Meyer. 

In case you don't believe me, I will quote a few of them verbatim, and then we'll search the Scriptures together to see if these things are really so.

What the "little gods" Teach
Kenneth Copeland says "...And I say this with all respect so that it don't upset you too bad, but I say it anyway. When I read in the Bible where He says I AM, I just smile and say, 'Yes, I AM too.'" (Believer's Voice of Victory Broadcast, 7/9/1987). 

"Earl Paulk states "Just as dogs have puppies and cats have kittens, so God has little gods .... Until we comprehend that we are little gods and we begin to act like little gods, we cannot manifest the Kingdom of God.' (Earl Paulk, Satan unmasked 1984 pp.96-97)

Copeland states "You are not a spiritual schizophrenic -- half-God and half-Satan -- you are all-God" (Now We Are in Christ Jesus (Fort Worth: KCP Publications, 1980), pp.16-17).

Copleand states" Am I a god? Man was created in the god class, was not created in the animal class, it was the god class. He has a uniqueness about him that even angels do not have...Now Peter said by exceeding great and precious promises, you become partakers of the divine nature. Alright, are we gods? We are a class of gods." (Praise the Lord, TBN, 2/5/1986). 

Benny Hinn said, "God came from heaven, became a man, made man into little gods, went back to heaven as a man. He faces the Father as a man. I face devils as the son of God. Quit your nonsense! What else are you? If you say, I am, you’re saying I’m a part of Him, right? Is he God? Are you His offspring? Are you His children? You can’t be human! You can’t! You can’t! God didn’t give birth to flesh…You said, ‘Well, that’s heresy.’ No, that’s your crazy brain saying that." (Benny Hinn, Our Position in Christ #2—The Word Made Flesh  Orlando Christian Center, 1991).

Kenneth Hagin says that you are Christ.   “The believer is called Christ...That's who we are; we're Christ" (Zoe: The God-Kind of Life, 1989. pp. 35-36, 41)

Paul Crouch says, “I am a little god!  Critic, be gone!” (Paul Crouch, Praise the Lord program - TBN July 7, 1986).   There is an obvious arrogance and pride about these statements.

Morris Cerillo says “the whole purpose of God was to reproduce Himself. …you’re not looking at Morris Cerillo, you’re looking at God, you’re looking at Jesus” (The End Time Manifestation of the Sons of God, Audio Tape 1, Sides 1 &;2).

Hinn states “Are you ready for some real revelation knowledge....you are god” (“Our Position In Christ”, tape # AO31190-1).  Hinn also said, "I'm gonna say something.  I don't care whether you like it or not." Then he pointed at the camera and said, "You ever attack me, your children will pay for it." ("Word of Faith Teachers: Origins & Errors of Their Teaching" by Keith Thompson).

I said, "You are Gods"
One of the passages they use is John 10, where Jesus quotes Psalm 82.

The psalmist wrote: I said, "You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High. "Nevertheless you will die like men And fall like any one of the princes." Arise, O God, judge the earth! For it is You who possesses all the nations." (Psa 82:6-8)

Jesus used those verses from Psalm 82 to show the Jews who opposed Him that even God called the judges of old "gods" in Scripture.

Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your Law, 'I said, you are gods'? "If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? (Joh 10:34-36)

Jesus used this to show that if God called mortal men who die "gods", then they should not have a problem with Him saying He is God's Son.  And Jesus did say we are also sons and daughters of God.  But Jesus did not say we were "gods".  And even if you feel you can deduce from various verses in the Bible that we are so-called "gods", you will not find Jesus teaching this to His disciples, or any of the apostles teaching it.  It leads to error and confusion, as well as division in the Body of Christ, as I see it. 

It is important to note that the judges whom God called "gods" in Psalm 82 were not redeemed Christians.  They were actually judging unjustly and showing partiality to the wicked, which angered God (Ps 82:2).  If you are going to use this passage to refer to Christians, then I guess you would also have to apply it to all humans, including those who are not Christians.  And this is exactly what the New Age movement and Eastern religions do, as well as witches like Margot Adler..  They say that we are all gods. What the prosperity preachers are teaching is no different than what these non-Christian religions believe.

The point of Psalm 82 was that God is the Judge among the judges, and they will all die like mortal men.  But He will arise and judge the earth, for it is He who possesses all the nations! (Psa 82:8) And though the judges may have godlike powers to determine whether men are allowed to live or die, if they themselves are acting unjustly, then they will receive their just penalty in the final judgment. For it is appointed to all men once to die and then face the judgment (Heb 9:27).

You have made him a little lower than God
The advocates of the "little gods" doctrine also use Psalm 8:4-5 to support their position, which says: "What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,” (Psa 8:4-6).  They believe this passage refers to mankind.

However, in order to properly understand the meaning of Psalm 8:4-6, we must interpret it the way the inspired apostle did in his letter to the Hebrews, when he said, “For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. But one has testified somewhere, saying, ‘What is man, that you remember him? Or the son of man, that you are concerned about him? You have made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, and have appointed him over the works of your hands; you have put all things in subjection under his feet.’ For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing that is not subject to Him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him. But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.” (Heb 2:5-10)

The apostle makes it clear that the psalmist was speaking prophetically about Jesus Christ. He says, “We do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus.”  For a little while, God made Him a little lower than the angels.  Yet now He has crowned Jesus with glory and honor, appointed Him over the works of His hands, and put all things in subjection under His feet.  To interpret this passage differently than the apostle to the Hebrews is to interpret it incorrectly. 

And even though God put all things in subjection under the feet of Jesus Himself, as this verse says, appointing Him over the works of His hands, let us keep in mind the following three things. 

We do not yet see all things subjected to Him
First, in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing that is not subject to Him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him.  Since we do not yet see all things subject to Him, even though the Father has already subjected all things to Him, we should realize that the same is true of us.  David said, “The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’” (Psa 110:1)

The apostle Peter saw Jesus' exaltation as a fulfillment of Psalm 110:1. Peter said, "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."' (Act 2:33-35; cf., Act 5:31)

Paul said, “For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet…When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.” (1Co 15:25, 28)

The apostle wrote to the Hebrews: “But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.” (Heb 10:12-13).  So we see that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God, still waiting for His enemies to be made a footstool for His feet.  If that is true of Jesus, then it is also true of us.

Perfected through Sufferings
Secondly, the Scripture says, “It was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the Author of their salvation through sufferings.” (Heb 2:10)  Yet the preachers who teach that we are gods do not teach that we must be perfected through sufferings, as the apostles taught in Scripture.  They speak only of blessings and not about the need to suffer. Also see my article, The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer.

Jesus Never said the Exact three words, "I am God"
Thirdly, although Jesus is God and was fully God when He walked the earth as a fully human man, he never said the exact three words, "I am God," as the prosperity preachers like to say about themselves. In fact, He even rarely called Himself “the Son of God” (Joh 5:25; 10:36; 11:4).  It’s true that satan, the demons, and His enemies called Him the Son of God (Mt 4:3,6; 8:29; 26:63; 27:40, 43; Lk 4:3, 9, 41; 22:70; Joh 19:7), His apostles called Him the Son of God (Mk 1:1; Lk 3:38; Joh 1:34, 49; 11:27), and the angel Gabriel called Him the Son of God (Lk 1:35).  For that is who He is!
 
But Jesus mostly referred to Himself humbly as “the Son of Man” (Mat. 8:20; 9:6; 10:23; 11:19; 12:8,32,40; 13:37,41; 16:13,27,28; 17:9,12,22; 18:11; 19:28; 20:18,28; 24:27,30,37,39,44; 25:31; 26:2,24,45,64; Mark 2:10,28; 8:31,38; 9:9,12,31; 10:33,45; 13:26; 14:21,41,62; Luke 5:24; 6:5,22; 7:34; 9:22,26,44,56,58; 11:30; 12:8,10,40; 17:22,24,26,30; 18:8,31; 19:10; 21:27,36; 22:22,48,69; 24:7; John 1:51; 3:13,14; 5:27; 6:27,53,62; 8:28; 9:35; 12:23,34; 13:31). Also see my article, The Son of Man.

He also forbid the demons from saying He was the Son of God (Luke 4:35, 41), and He forbid His disciples from doing so until after He had risen from the dead (Matthew 16:15,16,20; see also Mark 3:11,12; 8:29,30).  He did the same with those He healed (Matthew Matthew 8:3,4; 12:15,16; Mark 5:42,43).

Author Richard Bailey points out why Jesus did not openly and clearly reveal His true and full identity.  He gives these four reasons:

1. Because Jesus knew that His identity is beyond human understanding, and is revealed only to believers who are enabled by God to search for this truth (Matthew 16:15-17; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:7-14; John 6:37,44,65; 14:21-23)

2. Because He did not want people to be distracted from His basic purpose and message (Matthew 20:28; Luke 19:10; Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Timothy 2:5)

3. Because Jesus knew many people have so hardened their hearts and surrendered to satan, that they could not recognize who He really is and why He came (Matthew 13:10-11,13-15; John 1:10,11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 Corinthians 2:7,8).

I would add that He did not cast His pearls to the swine, and taught His disciple not to do so either. "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." (Mat 7:6)

4. God’s word is filled with statements about God’s secret wisdom understood only by those to whom God reveals it (Job 28:11; Proverbs 25:2; Isaiah 45:15; 48:6; Jeremiah 33:3; Daniel 2:22; John 6:45; 1 Corinthians 2:1-8; Colossians 2:2,3; 4:3; see also 1:26,27)

Although Jesus existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped (Php 2:6).  He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  That was the example He gave us to follow. If He never said, “I am God,” then why should any man say, “I am God” or “I am a little god”?  Why not keep that to yourself, if you believe it?

We Are Servants of God
Likewise, the apostles always referred to themselves very humbly as servants (Rom. 1:1; Gal. 1:10; Php. 2:7; Col. 1:7; 4:7; 1Ti. 4:6; 2Ti. 2:24; Tit. 1:1; Jas. 1:1; 2Pe. 1:1; Jude 1:1).  In spite of all the miracles the Lord did through Peter and Paul, and in spite of the fact that James and Jude were half-brothers of Jesus, they all referred to themselves as servants, not gods or Christs.  Neither Peter, nor Paul, nor John, nor James, nor Jude ever said we are gods or that they themselves were gods.  In fact, when the people tried to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas as if they were gods, the apostles tore their clothes and did everything they could to stop them. (Act 14:14-18).  When Cornelius bowed down in the presence of Peter, the apostle raised him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am just a man." (Act 10:26).

Jesus taught, "But the greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Mat 23:11; cf., Mk 10:34; Lk 22:26).  He said, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."  (Mk 9:35).  Yet by calling themselves gods, these prosperity preachers claim to be first or great. Also see my article, Having a Servant's Heart.

No One is Good Except God
Actually Jesus said no one is good except God, so we should not even call any man good.  Let alone call any man god.

"And Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.'" (Mar 10:18).  Likewise, the Christian should say in this same Spirit of the Lord, "Why do you call me a god? No one is a god except God alone?"

Beware of Pride and Selfishness
When God created man in His image, He did not say, “Let us make gods in our image.”  He said, “Let us make man in our image.” (Gen 1:26).  Let’s keep it that way and not change it to suit our own selfish egos.

The devil tries to tempt man to do what God has forbidden.  And pride is one of his greatest temptations.  Calling oneself god or Christ is the epitome of pride.  Yet Jesus said, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man." (Mar 7:20-23). Pride is an evil thing that proceeds from within and defiles the man. 

Likewise, the apostles are in agreement. John said, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (1Jn 2:16). James also said, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (Jas 4:6).  And Peter said, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1Pe 5:5).  There is nothing humble about saying you are a god. God will oppose anyone who speaks like this, and it is one of the marks of false teachers. Jude wrote, "They boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage." (Jude 1:16b, NIV). Man will have to give an account for every idle word he has spoken (Mt 12:36).

In Mt 6:1-6, and 16-18, Jesus taught us the importance of not drawing attention to our own spirituality. That would be boasting.  Just as we must not tell people when or how much we pray, when or how much we give to the needy, nor when or how much we fast, we must not tell people we are gods.  It exalts self, and this is displeasing to the Lord.

Even if you say, "Well, I give 97% of my income to the poor. But that doesn't make me special.  I'm no better than the next guy." Or "I pray four hours a day, but I know that this does not make me any better than you.  It doesn't make me extraordinary. I am still just a mortal man."

You may think you are able to say "I am a god" without being prideful.  But you are setting an example for your hearers to follow.  Then when they come to Christ, they will go around saying, "I am a god."  And they may become puffed up with pride and fall into the trap of the devil..

"Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?" (1Co 5:6)

That's why it is best to follow the example of Jesus and the apostles and not even allow a little yeast in our lives.  Speak of yourself in the most humble terms possible.

We would do well to heed the wise advice of Solomon, who wrote: "Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among his great men; it is better for him to say to you, 'Come up here,' than for him to humiliate you before his nobles."

You Shall Have No Other gods Before Me
There is a good reason why the first commandment says, "Then God spoke all these words, saying, 'I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me.'"  (Exo 20:1-3)

When anyone claims to be a god (even with a little "g"), they are in violation of the first commandment, as I read it. God said, "...No other gods..."

The Jews would certainly not be impressed by anyone's claim to be a god, since they and we know there is only one God.  "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!" (Deu 6:4).  Jesus affirmed this in Mark 12:29.  And so did the apostle Paul, when he said, "There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." (Eph 4:4-6).  It only breeds confusion and is not the true gospel for a Christian to say, "I am a god" or "we are gods."

"You are My witnesses," declares the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me." (Isa 43:10)

"Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. 'Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place. 'Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.'" (Isa 44:6-8)

"I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me;" (Isa 45:5)

"Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me." (Isa 45:21)

Rather than falsely claiming that you are a god, there are other biblical expressions you can use that are accurate, such as "all who are led by the Spirit are sons of God." (Rom 8:14).  Or "we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light." (1Pe 2:9)

Let's hold fast to what the apostles said, and not stray from the gospel they preached.

The Man of Lawlessness Displaying Himself as Being God
Millions of people are being deceived by these false teachings.  It's an end time deception.   I don't think any believer would come to the conclusion from Scripture alone that they are a god, unless they heard it from someone who teaches this.

It is all in preparation for when the anti Christ sets himself up in God's temple and says, "I am god."  This will not even shock the Christians, since millions of them have fallen for the lie that we are gods.

The apostle Paul said, "Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the coming of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God." (2Th 2:3-4)

Since the believer is the temple of God (1 Co 3:16; 6:19), then it is blasphemous to sit in that temple and display yourself as being God or a god.  That would be a precursor of what the man of sin is going to do.  There is a big difference between being the temple of God, in which God dwells, and being God.

This blasphemy that the man of sin will commit will not be one of a kind.  Jesus said, "Watch out that you are not deceived. Many will come in My name, claiming, 'I am He.'...Do not follow them." (Lk 21:8) Isn't that clear enough for us to know we should not follow anyone claiming to be God or to be Christ?

Putting it All Together
Let’s beware of this heresy and stay clear of it.  These "little god" preachers have chosen their destiny by speaking like this, and unless they repent, their souls are in grave danger. They are leading many astray with this teaching, and their version of the prosperity gospel.

If you are caught up in this, I urge you to prayerfully consider what I have just told you.  Repent and ask the Lord to forgive you for your part in it, whatever that may have been.  Then apologize to those whom you have taught or said this to (that you are a god), and ask their forgiveness.  Explain to them that it is false and not in line with Scripture.  Make everything right, and clear yourself completely of this matter. 

I once read a poster that said, “Fact number one: There is one God.  Fact number two: You are not Him.”  This sums it up succinctly.

Let us say with Peter, “I am just a man.”  Let us say with the apostles, “I am a bond-servant of the Lord.”  Let us say with Mary, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord” (Luk 1:38). Let us say with the psalmist, “The LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” (Psa 100:3; cf., Ps 95:7).

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Image of T.D. Jakes and Joyce Meyer from Apprising Ministries.

References:
1. Why did Jesus not openly reveal his full identity? by Richard Bailey of Answering Islam.
2. Joyce Meyer and T.D. Jakes teaching word faith “little gods” doctrine by Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries.
3. The Little god/Men article is credited for the quotes of these "little god" teachers.  This does not constitute endorsement of “Let us Reason Ministries.”

Author's note I also recommend reading What's Wrong with the Prosperity Gospel?, Exposing Heresy, The Son of Man, Having a Servant's Heart, The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer, The Rise of Antichrists, The Dangers of Disobedience, and Sin and Consequence. You can access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Exposing the JMS Cult

Caution: Many of the links in this article will take you away from The Truth of God's Word blog. With the exception of the links to Eternal Destinations, Purge the Evil from Among You, Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Testing the Spirits of False Prophets, my articles on hell in the "Hell is Real" section of this article, and the articles suggested in the Author's Note at the end, none of the other articles are mine. They are provided only for the purpose of further investigative research, and I am not responsible for their content. Proceed at your own risk to these sites, which are mostly non-Christian, and some may contain inappropriate, indecent, or immodest content.

Introduction
By way of introduction let me start with a little background. On February 3, 2014, I posted an article on my Eternal Destinations blog about the Trip to Hell in pictures, full-length video, promoting the video. However, new information has now come to light that has caused me to reverse my position, which I feel is important to present here to my readers.

I had corresponded with the lead artist who published the video, and never got answers from her to some of the following questions of mine:

Questions of Mine
After watching the Trip To Hell video, I sent some questions to the producer, Hwa Bi Jung.  My questions were mainly about her Trip to Heaven video.  She eventually had me correspond with an American pastor in California, named David Baker, due to the language barrier. But I wanted to know directly from her the answers to my questions.  Ultimately the pastor simply advised me that according to Hwa Bi Jung, everything portrayed in the videos was received from the Lord by revelation.  However, I do believe that the Word of God must confirm all revelations.  Therefore, now months after I published this article and asked the questions, I would like to publicly post some of my questions here for my readers to see, which the video producer herself never answered.  

1. At around 7:07 in the Trip to Heaven video, you spoke about billions of years for God to create the earth and billions of years to create human beings, and hundreds of thousands of years to create the human spirit.

- What is the Scripture for this, since Genesis tells us God made it all in 6 days? (Gen 1:31; 2:1; Ex 20:11; 31:17)

- Why do you refer to the Father, Holy Son, and Holy Spirit as deities (plural) rather than the Deity?

2. Are you teaching that man was on earth for some hundreds of thousands of years without a human spirit until God created it?

- What is the Scripture for this, since God created man (Adam) on the sixth day and breathed into His nostrils and He became a living being (Gen 2:7)?

3. At 7:39, it must be a typographical error where it says "God, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Son, and the Messiah," as if the Holy Son and the Messiah are two separate Persons.  Am I correct, or was that intentional?

It seems it should perhaps read, "God, the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Son -- the Messiah." Is that correct?

Video Connected with JMS Cult
On September 2, 2015, I received the following comment on my Trip to Hell article from Peter Daley: “I think the source of this video is worthy of mention. It's made by members of the JMS cult, a Moonie offshoot with a leader in jail for rape...”

Although Peter Daley is an atheist and does not believe in hell, he has been studying this cult for over ten years, and helping to expose it. There were three ways he knew the video was made by JMS members. First, the church has a link to the video on their website. Secondly, there is an image of Jeong at 4:45 in the Trip to Hell video. Finally, the same font of Korean script used in the video is used by JMS elsewhere.  I did not know any of these things and had no idea of the connection. In fact, I was skeptical that there was any actual connection, when I first received Peter’s comment.

Jeong Myeong-seok
On September 5, 2015, I followed up with the lead artist for the video and confirmed that her pastor is in fact Jeong Myeong-seok (aka Joshua Jung, Joshua Lee and Pastor Joshua).  However, when I tried to present to her that he is a cult leader, she denied it. I sent links to articles containing evidence of his wrongdoing, and she said she knew all about the contents of those articles and websites I sent to her. However, she said she is convinced that he is not like that. She said she is not ashamed to say that he is her mentor.  She believes that the site is a hypercriticism site made by those who oppose the group. She said that at Jesus' time, there were thousands of people who misunderstood and slandered even our Lord, and that many of God's people in the Bible were persecuted because of misunderstandings. She cautioned me that misunderstanding and slandering God's people is a great sin. And she insisted that the words in the video are only from God.  She said that if her pastor is like what the slanderers say he is, then God could not give the Words to him.  She assured me that her pastor preaches only the Trinity, and he is really good pastor who leads the people to love God, the Holy spirit, and the Holy Son.  However, it was interesting that she capitalized the pronoun “He” when referring to her pastor, whom she called the man of God, and that she capitalized “the Words.” She felt that the only way to discern the truth is by "the Words" and prayer.

I promoted that video in my article, which received thousands of page views, and I do not want to be connected in any way with a cult or with a pastor who does the things this man has been accused of doing. This made me feel shocked and saddened. I have a responsibility before God to make sure I am not misleading anyone, as well as protect the sheep from wolves. On the other hand, the Scripture tells us not to receive an accusation against an elder, except by two or three witnesses, so I needed to find out the truth of the matter. Initially, I wanted to assume his innocence, hoping these were all just false accusations, although there were certainly more than two or three witnesses against him. But after doing a good bit of research on this man and the church he has founded, I have discovered some pretty strong evidence against him.

Connection with the Unification Church
Someone from inside JMS, whom I will not identify here for privacy reasons, advised me: “The purpose for the teaching on Adam and Eve is that we should not engage in physical love. So all of Jeong's teachings teach that physical love is the quickest path to breaking relationship with God. The church has very strict rules on preachers in terms of sexual immorality. Of course within the proper context of marriage physical love is permitted with the person's spouse to procreate. But the larger purpose is spiritual love with God. The way to atone for the sin of Adam and Eve would not be to engage in physical love because that is the root of the problem in the first place. Because people misunderstand physical vs. spiritual love, it has caused this great misunderstanding about Jeong, but seeing him in everyday life I have never seen him make advances on a woman or any questionable behavior in regards to sexual immorality.”

These teachings sound very similar to what is taught by the Unification Church founded by Sun Myung Moon, which is a cult known as the Moonies. That should be no surprise, because the JMS Church has connections with the Unification Church. "In the 1970s Jung was a member of the Unification Church, whose teachings closely resemble Jung's." This Wikipedia article states:

"According to one researcher, nine of the 30 precepts resemble the Unification Church's Divine Principle very closely."

The main differences are that:
1.   "it identifies Jung as the Messiah (rather than Sun Myung Moon). This is allegedly proven using numerology. Andrew Choi, Chief of External Affairs at CGM, completely denied this claim in 2014."
2.    "it teaches that original sin, originating in Eve's intercourse with Satan, can be defeated by having sex with Jung."

"It is also explained that those who do not 'meet' him will not go to Heaven and that any who betray him are committing a grave crime. Providence teaches that Jung is here to finish the restoration history of the Holy Trinity, asserting that he is the Messiah of this time period and has the responsibility to save all mankind, and that the Christian doctrine of bodily resurrection is false, but that people can be saved through Jung." -- Wikipedia.

There is no Scriptural basis for those teachings about original sin being sexual intercourse between Eve and satan.  The Scripture says that satan tempted her to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the one tree from which God had forbidden her and Adam to eat.

“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Gen 2:8-9, NIV).

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,  but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” ‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Gen 3:1-6, NIV).

The account of the fall says nothing about Eve having sex with satan.  It refers to a tree in the middle of the garden, the fruit of which was good for food, pleasing to the eye, and gaining wisdom, and from which God forbade them to eat. It was when Eve ate of that fruit, being tempted by satan to do so, and gave some to Adam, which he also ate, that the human race was plunged into sin.

And God revealed His solution for this deadly problem by saying that the woman’s Seed or Offspring, which is Christ, would crush the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15). The Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled this on the cross.  He is the one and only Messiah. The apostle Paul wrote:

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Col 2:13-15, NIV). Christ has defeated satan, and destroyed the power of sin. He rose from the dead and holds the keys of hell and death. The way to be saved is through faith in Him, not by having sex with Jung.

Brides of Jeong
There are videos and photos, which I have chosen not to post links to here due the near-nudity and indecency, which show Jeong dancing with women. One of them from the CBS Cross News in Korea, shows Jeong dancing with many erotically dressed women around him. There is another video of him being arrested by a non-governmental organization (NGO), called Exodus, when he was a fugitive from justice. In that video, Jeong, who is not married, is outdoors in a small tent made of sheer, translucent fabric with two women. As he comes out of the tent, he reaches out and forces down the camera of the NGO team that has arrived to arrest him.

However, there is one I would like to post here, called Providence: Korean Church led by Convicted Rapist, contains an interview with two women in Australia that were recruited into the cult to be the brides of Jeong.

An Australian woman named Liz, who escaped from the cult, explained at 3:14 in this video that the main beliefs of the group are that: 1) “Jeong is the new Messiah;” and that 2) “From the New Testament, the new level of history is being raised to something that they call the Complete Testament;” and 3) “They said that we’re in a position of brides towards God, and we’re also in a position of brides towards Jeong, the leader, because he represents God.”

Lover’s Era
The group believes in something called a Lover’s Era, which is basically what the Unification Church believes. According to an article by Korea Beat:

“[Jeong] argues that good and evil and depravity are sexual depravity, and the modern day is the ‘Lover’s Era’ among the different ‘eras’ of salvation.”

An Japan Times article by Mark Schreiber, titled, 'Love' cult snares students" shed more light on this. “The church's doctrine is composed of the so-called '30 precepts,' although it's pretty clear that they're derived from the Unification Church," explains Toyoshige Aizawa, a Christian minister engaged in weaning young people away from cults. "Jong has twisted the biblical story of Adam and Eve to deal with sex, saying, 'To atone for Adam and Eve's original sin, which was visited upon all mankind, it's necessary to engage in intercourse with the Lord.' In this case, he means himself, since he claims to be a reincarnation of Jesus.” -- Archived from the original article on March 6, 2003. Retrieved April 7, 2015.

Word of Salvation
The Korea Beat article also states regarding Jeong: “He also claims that people who read, believe, and follow the book titled ‘Word of Salvation,’ written by JMS, will be saved.”

The only Word that can save us is the eternal Word of God, not any other book. James said, “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the Word planted in you, which can save you.” (Jam 1:21). This has been a basic tenet of the Protestant Church for centuries, which is called Sola Scriptura, meaning "Scripture Alone" in Latin.  For the Bible is the highest written authority, to which all other writings must conform. The apostle Paul called the gospel the Word of Truth and said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Rom 1:16). Therefore, this book by JMS is evidence that they are a cult, since Jeong claims that reading it can save people. And it contradicts the doctrine of Sola Fide (Faith Alone), the Protestant belief that we are saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ.

Classified as a Cult in Korea
The Korea Beat article also states that “JMS has been classified as an anti-Christian cult by the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Koshin) in its 41st assembly in 1991, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Korea in its 87th assembly in 2002, and the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Hapdong) in its 93rd assembly in 2008.”

Multiple Organizational Names
The Wikipedia article about the Providence Church states that it goes by many different names, one of which is its official name, the Christian Gospel Mission (CGM). It has also been called Jesus Morning Star (JMS), Setsuri ("Providence" in Japanese), International Christian Association (ICA), the Morning Star Church, the Bright Moon Church, and Ae-chun Church. Other names include World Youth University Students MS Federation, East-West Christian Union, and International Christian Union.

The Church also has many front organizations by other names, such as the name, Global Association of Culture and Peace (GACP), which was used in the modeling show at the UCSD.  But it’s worth mentioning that the JMS acronym for the church not only signifies the name, Jesus Morning Star, but it also coincidentally bears the initials of its founder, Jung Myong Suk.

False Messiah
As I mentioned in my initial questions to the lead artist regarding her video, at 7:39, it says "God, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Son, and the Messiah," as if the Holy Son and the Messiah are two separate Persons.  It seems it should perhaps read, "God, the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Son -- the Messiah."

When I researched this, and read one of Jeong's teachings, I discovered why they make this distinction between the Holy Son and the Messiah. His twisted teaching makes it all very clear, so I will now attempt to explain it by quoting numerous excerpts from that teaching.

Jeong states, "...The Holy Son is responsible and in full charge of the salvation of the world. The Holy Son is the One whom God and the Holy Spirit sent. Therefore, the Holy Son instills the love of God and the Holy Son in all people. In this way, He enables people to open their eyes to love and love God and thereby become God’s brides."

There is no Scriptural basis to say that the Holy Son instills the Holy Son in all people, as Jeong teaches.

He has developed an elaborate false teaching about the Holy Son, so that he himself may be considered an incarnation of the Holy Son. He teaches that Jesus of Nazareth was a person God used, and through whom we came to know the working of God, similar to the biblical figures of Old Testament history (eg., Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, and David).

He states, "Just as our hearts and spirits work through our bodies, the Divine Being who exists as a spirit chose one person from among those who had been waiting for God and the Messiah of that time period, and God delivered the Word and carried out the work of salvation through the body of that person. This is how God has worked in each time period, from the beginning of the salvation history to the present...Through Jesus of Nazareth, the Holy Son preached the gospel to those who had been waiting for God to come...The one that spoke and appeared to people was the body of Jesus of Nazareth. But fundamentally, it was God and the Holy Son who were within Jesus that was speaking and appearing through him. In other words, God and the Holy Son were giving the Word and carrying out the history of salvation through the body and spirit of Jesus of Nazareth...the Holy Son appeared through the body of Jesus...the Holy Son used Jesus’ body and spirit."

He continues, "Jesus said to his followers that he was the body of the son of God and that God and the Holy Son appeared, spoke and worked through him...The almighty Holy Son’s original entity...was working within Jesus...Jesus of Nazareth was not the Holy Son Himself. The Holy Son was the original entity and Jesus was the Bunche of the Holy Son, that is, a man before the Almighty God."

The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ is God (Joh 1:1-3,14; Col 1:1-19; Tit 2:13; Heb 1:8; also see Is Jesus God?). However, Jeong incorrectly teaches that Jesus of Nazareth "became the body of the Holy Son," and that the Holy Son spoke and worked through the body and the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth. He falsely claims that Jesus was merely the body of the Son of God. This is a seemingly insignificant distinction, but a very important one that makes Jeong's teaching false.

He falsely states: "Until now, we have perceived that Jesus of Nazareth is the son of God and the original entity of the Holy Son. However, because the time has come, it has been clearly revealed that the Original Entity is the Holy Son but Jesus is not the Original Entity but the Bunche...He was the Messiah because the Holy Son of the Trinity wore his body...In other words, [Jesus] was a man, but because the original entity of the Holy Son of the Trinity used him, his mission and authority was that of the Messiah." Did you see that? He says Jesus is not the Holy Son, and he refers to the Lord Jesus instead as something he calls "the Bunche." Once again, Jeong has absolutely no Scriptural basis for such false claims.

He insists that we must perceive this separation when he states, "...the spirit of Jesus and the spirit of the Holy Son’s original entity exist clearly as separate entities. We need to perceive them clearly separating the two." This explains why in the Trip to Heaven video, it refers to "God, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Son, and the Messiah," thus separating the Holy Son and the Messiah into two distinct entities.

The reason Jeong insists on such a distinction is that he claims the Holy Son reincarnated in a human body born in 1945 in Korea, referring to Jeong himself, who was born in Korea in 1945.  

He teaches, "At the First Coming, just as He came through the body of Jesus of Nazareth, who was in the position of a son, at the time of the Advent also, the Holy Son will come again through the body of the person who is worthy in this time period...Now, the Holy Son Lord has come down to the Earth again, and He is working upon [human beings] through the body of the Teacher. It is because the Teacher pacified the Lord’s grief over His one-sided love, broke the seal of love, and set the condition of absolute love that the Holy Son has appeared through his body. The Teacher, as a human being, is ‘the counterpart of Heaven.’ The counterpart of Heaven is, in other words, ‘the Bunche.’ He is the incarnation of God and the Holy Son, and ‘the bride’ who lives with the Trinity...The Holy Son’s original entity came once at the New Testament and comes once at the Complete Testament."

Referring to himself as "The Teacher", he claims that He is the incarnation of God and the Holy Son, and ‘the bride’ who lives with the Trinity.

He teaches that he himself is the Second Coming of Christ, saying: "The people of the New Testament of this time period also believe in God and Jesus. However...they live not knowing even though the Holy Son came again in this time period through the body of the person who set the conditions among brothers. Instead, they are persecuting him. The Holy Son has already been making the history of the Advent on earth for the past 33 years wearing the body of the man-of-mission of the time period, but they do not know it."

He claims to be the body of the Holy Son, and that people can only be saved by believing in him, saying, "Sunsangnim who is the body of the Holy Son and is appointed for the time of the Advent cannot be compared with any prophet or central figure of the past. The past history was all a history of waiting for the history of the Advent, and the prophets or the central figures of the past history of salvation are people-of-mission during the process. But the man-of-mission of the time of the Advent is the one who carries it out and concludes for the final time while being united with the Holy Son Lord. He is the path that leads to the Holy Son, the truth, the life, and the symbolic figure for those who are to be saved." Notice he says that he cannot be compared with any prophet or central figure of the past. That means he claims to be greater than the central figures and prophets he named in his teaching, such as Noah, Moses, David, Daniel, and even Jesus of Nazareth.

Moreover, an article on the group's website, dated May 12, 2015, entitled, “Treasure of Heaven: President Jung Myeong Seok’s 11th Art Exhibition-Put up the mast and sails” states in part:

“An art exhibition titled, ‘Put up the mast and sails,’ which displays President Jung Myeong Seok’s artworks, has been opened for viewing at the Gusang Art Museum since March 15, 2015.”

The article continues, “The Holy Son gave a message of blessing: ‘In order to successfully sail through life and sail through faith this year, we must ride on the fortune of Heaven. That fortune is like the mast and sail of a boat, the wings of an eagle, and the engine of a car. Like one would put up the mast and sail of a boat, we need to set up the Savior in our brain, heart, and thoughts.’”

In fact, the group even has a painting of Jeong as a persecuted Jesus bearing the cross.  And on their website, it shows that lots of places at their retreat center are named after the "Holy Son".

The false teaching about the Holy Son and His reincarnation in Jeong, as well as the painting of him bearing the cross, and the places named after him, are all irrefutable evidence that this group is a cult. The Scriptures are clear about this.  Our Lord Jesus warned us:

"See to it that no one misleads you. Many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He!' and will mislead many.” (Mar 13:5-6)

"And then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ'; or, 'Behold, He is there'; do not believe him; for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect.” (Mar 13:21-22).

False Teaching on the Holy Spirit
The Trip to Heaven video states at 14:33 that heaven is a spiritual structure centered on the Trinity. However, oddly enough, the Holy Spirit is represented pictorially as a female standing beside God the Father at the top of the stairs at 14:39 in the video. I am not in agreement with that representation.

Jeong's teaches that "A family in the physical world consists of father, mother, and a child. Likewise, in the Kingdom of Heaven also, the Trinity—the Holy Father God who is in the position of father, the Holy Spirit who is in the position of mother, and the Holy Son who is in the position of a son -- exists as one while as independent entities."

There is no Scriptural basis for his teaching that the Holy Spirit is female or fulfilling the position of mother.

Idolatry and Big Titles
At 3:01 in the video, Providence: Korean Church Led by Convicted Rapist, it shows a lady at the pulpit in the Providence Church, Canberra, Australia, introducing the next worship song to the congregation on January 23, 2014. Beside her on an easel are two paintings, one above the other. The one at the top of the easel is the painting of Jesus’ face, similar to the “feminine-looking” Jesus found in the “Trip to Hell” video.  Directly below that painting is another painting of the face of Jung Myeong Seok.  The lady at the pulpit is saying, “Yeah, the first song we’ll sing is ‘A Sacrifice Like No Other.' Yeah, it is truly, because of Seongsengnim’s sacrifice that we can rise to levels that could never have even imagined.”

The term “Seongsengnim” is the Korean title by which they refer to Jung Myeong Seok, which means “Teacher.”  They also call him "President Jung".  Jesus said, “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.” (Mt 23:8, NIV)

The display of images of Seok in front of the congregation during worship is idolatry, according to the Scriptures. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Ex 20:4-5, NIV).

That practice of displaying those portraits of Jesus and Seok for worship are consistent with another one of the cult’s practices, which is that of giving to Seok’s brides (called Evergreens) a double-photo frame containing the portrait of Jesus on the left side and an autographed photo of Seok on the right side. One such Australian young lady, who escaped from the cult, mentioned this at 4:58 in the video. She said, “We prayed to images like this.”

The comment by the lady at the pulpit in the Canberra Providence church proves that they are practicing idolatrous worship. She not only has the portraits beside her, she is preparing the congregation to worship, by praising Seok for his sacrifice for them. She says it is “because of Seongsengnim’s sacrifice that we can rise to levels that could never have even imagined.” Her statement is consistent with a painting they have made of Seok bearing the cross, which I myself have seen.  In essence, by her statement she is preparing them to worship Seok.

Moreover, the group displays in all churches a photographic image resembling Jesus that they call “Astral Body of Jesus”.  They claim it's a photo Jeong took of Jesus during one of their meetings in a cave near where he grew up. However, a former member has revealed that it was actually a present given to Jeong by a Japanese member of the church, who is a photographic artist. The image looks Christian to a visitor, but it reminds members of the church of Jeong's importance and Messiah role.

Three Levels of Involvement
According to an article by the UCSD Guardian news, called Alleged Cult Sows Seeds Via Campus Event:

“There are three levels of cult involvement, according to Daley. The first level involves membership in front organizations, where many members are unaware of GACP [Global Association of Culture and Peace] links or even targeted for further indoctrination; they serve the interests of the group by paying to attend events.”

“’[GACP] members are required to pay a fixed donation, part of which is believed to finance Jung's flight from the law,’ Asahi Shimbun reported in July.”

“The second stage involves a 30-lesson Bible study course, and upon completion, members come to recognize Jung as the messiah. The majority of members remain at this stage of involvement, according to Daley, with only a few select women reaching the third stage.”

“These women meet with Jung personally, oftentimes at his request, and are asked to take off their clothing for a health check meant to cleanse the members' sin, according to Daley. After having sex with the messiah, girls are often threatened with spiritual death if they speak of their experiences.”

This is an antichrist church, because their pastor claims to be the messiah.

The other thing the article reveals is that the California pastor whom the Korean artist had put me in touch with, named David Baker, is part of the cult, because he gave a message a GACP event held at UCSD.  

Leading People into Sexual Immorality
In the Revelation given to the apostle John, the Lord exposed a sin in the Church of Thyatira. In that church there was a woman named Jezebel, who called herself a prophetess, who led the Lord’s people into sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols. The Lord gave her time to repent, but since she didn’t want to repent of her immorality, He said He was about to cast her on a bed of sickness.  He said He would cast those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.  The reports of sexual immorality committed by Seok that I have read, which the Supreme Court convicted him of and sentenced him to jail for, and the video footage I have seen of him dancing in a pagan style with woman all around him, dressed like prostitutes, all remind me of what was going on in the Church of Thyatira. Here is what the Lord Jesus said to the messenger of that church:

"And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: 'I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. 'But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 'I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. 'Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 'And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. 'But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them--I place no other burden on you. 'Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 'He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'” (Rev 2:18-29)

We must hate this sinful practice and expose it if we find it in the church. It doesn’t matter if the person committing sexual immorality claims to be a prophet or pastor, and claims that you will go to hell if you speak against him. We must purge the evil from among us. The apostle Paul was very clear that people who commit sexual immorality would not inherit the kingdom of God.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (1Co 6:9-11)

The Holy Spirit spoke through the prophet Isaiah: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." (Is 5:20, NIV)

Revenge
Then there is the issue of revenge.  The church has a history of taking revenge on those who speak against the cult or expose the crimes committed by their leader.  For example, it is reported that there was an interview of Kim, Hyong-Jin, one who fought against JMS for long time.  He once got attacked by a group of people alleged to be JMS believers. They were armed with a steel pipe and were waiting for Kim. But by the grace of God, he barely made it out of the attack and reached the police. All of the attackers were handed to the police and serving in prison. Their legal team has also successfully sued a news agency and threatened repeatedly to sue a researcher who has spent ten years researching the cult and exposing them.

The Word of God teaches us not to take revenge.  The Lord Jesus said, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” (Mt 5:39, NIV). The apostle Paul wrote, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Rom 12:19, NIV).

Moreover, the practice of believers suing believers in civil courts of law is ungodly, and it shows that those who do so are already defeated. For Paul wrote: "Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints?...but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren." (1Co 6:6-8) 

Conviction
Jeong was finally convicted in South Korea of raping or sexually assaulting five women, after escaping justice for eight years on the run and rape allegations from every Asian country he spent time in. The verdict and sentence were handed down in August 2008. There was a trial and two appeals. The initial conviction was six years in prison. Both sides appealed. The first appeal upheld the verdict and added four years to the sentence. The final appeal was heard by the Supreme Court, which upheld the guilty verdict. The ruling stated: “By taking advantage of his position as a religious leader, Jung committed heinous crimes but showed no remorse,” the ruling said. “Thus, it was inevitable for the court to hand down severe punishment.” Here's an article about the final verdict and the previous ones.

Strange Letters to Single Women
I have reviewed electronic copies of letters that Jeong wrote from prison to Sarah, one of his young, Australian brides, who escaped from the cult, as featured in the video documentary called Providence: Korean Church led by Convicted Rapist. The things he wrote to her were strange and inappropriate for a pastor to say to someone in his church. But they clearly show how he views himself in relationship to her. For example, here are some excerpts from his letters to her:

"Make your spirit come to me, too...I feel like I am in your warm bosom and your embrace of love."

"Call the Lord day and night, and converse with him all the time. Converse with me, too. My spirit goes to you if you call me. The spirit is 4 billion times faster than light, so I can visit thousands of people a day."

"Since we always meet in spirit, and our minds meet and our souls meet in dreams, we are always meeting each other."

"My spirit is always with you guys. Your souls visit me often. Call me day and night, whatever you ask, soul will do."

"You have to realize that the Holy Son and His representative [Note: Jeong is referring to himself] are precious. Only they can save this generation and stop spirits who are on their way to Hell from going to Hell."

"How precious is the Lord incarnate [Note: Jeong is referring to himself as "the Lord incarnate"], and how important is he? After I die this history will spread across the earth for 1000 years. People will just see me in spirit, but they will not see my body. If you can’t see me now you won’t see me. (People who do not see me now will not see me)."

"The Almighty Lord always goes to see you, because He is a god. My spirit also goes to visit you." Note how Jeong refers to the Lord as "a god", rather than "God."

Hell is Real
I want to be very clear that hell is real. It is an actual place of eternal, conscious torment prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt 25:41). The fire in that place is not quenched and their worm does not die. And all who do not believe and obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ also go there (Mt 25:46).  Here are some testimonies of people who have experienced hell: Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, Sister Ayo - a Revelation of Heaven and Hell, and Ibrahim's Experience in Hell. I have also posted many more such testimonies on my Eternal Destinations blog.

Testing the Spirits
Since many false prophets have gone out into the world, the Scriptures teach us not to believe every spirit, but to test the spirits to see whether they are from God (1 Joh 4:1). As I have written in my article, Testing the Spirits of False Prophets, that includes checking their fruit. The Lord said, He said, "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit."  (Mat 7:17-18).  What He meant here is that the false prophets are like bad trees, which cannot produce anything but bad fruit.  Conversely, the true messengers of God are like good trees, which can only produce good fruit.  So in order to determine if someone is a false prophet, examine their fruit. In this manner He assured us that we would be able to recognize them, when He said, "So then, you will know them by their fruits. (Mat 7:20).

I have seen ample evidence of bad fruit from Jeong and his supporters, and if you do the research, I think you will also discover the same.  If they have bad fruit, as Jeong and others in his group clearly do, then we know that they are not good. When you witness the moral filth and evil that is coming forth from them, you will realize that this is a dangerous, destructive cult.

Warning to Jeong and Supporters
I would like to warn Jeong that he must stop what he is doing, including those who support him. He will not see God's face unless he repents.  He also needs to make restitution for all the damage he has done to people's lives.

To those who support him, my message is that they should come out. As Paul said: “Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ Says the Lord Almighty.” (2Co 6:16-18).

Paul also said: “But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” (1Co 5:11-13)

Lastly, I'd like to warn those who are being targeted by this destructive cult to beware of them. If members of this group are inviting you to their events or seeking to recruit you, then I strongly advise you to avoid them.  They actively recruit students, especially women, on elite university campuses around the world, including the United States. 

Reality is in Christ
I understand how one could become cynical about the Christian faith after learning about the kinds of things that have allegedly been done by people like Jeong, who claimed to be believers. It disturbs me, too. But the fact that there are such hypocrites does not mean that genuine believers do not exist and that God does not exist.

According to Colossians 2:17, reality is found in Christ.  The terrible things that men have done in His name must not deter us from believing in the very One in whom reality is found.

So for example, the term "Heaven's Rapist", used by one website exposing Jeong, is quite blasphemous toward God, because it implies that God has enlisted a rapist to do his bidding; and that God is doing this evil. Such blasphemies fulfill the Scripture that says, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." (Rom 2:24)

But we must be careful not to accuse God of any wrongdoing, since He is our Creator and incapable of any unrighteousness.  Man is the one who lies, who is fallen, and sinful, and God desires to save man from the mess he has gotten himself into.  He is the One who has sent His only Son to pay the price for all our sins. That's amazing love.

People like Jeong can say they belong to Christ or that they are a pastor, but the Lord Jesus said this:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them...Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Mat 7:13-16a,21-23, NIV)

So while the things that Jeong has been found guilty of doing should make us angry and we should hate those things, we must be careful of our attitude. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” (1Co 10:12). In addition to exposing this evil and purging ourselves of it as a Church, each one must do a thorough self-examination to see if your own heart is right with God. Ask Him to expose anything in your life that is hidden that must go. Then repent of anything the Lord shows you, and ask Him to cleanse you in the blood of Jesus Christ. He alone can save you from perishing. Put your trust in Him today to save you, surrender all to Him as your Lord and Savior, and enter into reality that is found in Him alone.

If you are a member of this dangerous cult or associated with it in any way, I urge you to come out from among them. Break off all your ties with them. Repent before God for being involved in it, even if you were ignorant of the fact that it is a cult. Ask the Lord to forgive you, in the name of Jesus. Then help to expose both their evil practices and false teachings to others.

Additional research
Detailed timeline in the comments at the end of this English article.

http://www.cultnews.com/2014/04/south-korean-cult-jms-recruiting-students-at-us-universities/

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/thefeed/story/inside-providence-secretive-korean-church-led-convicted-rapist

Korean articles:
http://www.cnbnews.com/category/read.html?bcode=7019

http://www.nocutnews.co.kr/news/4249126

Disclaimer: Neither I nor this ministry are connected with Peter Daley, his website, or his work.  The quotes in this article from Daley, and the links to his sites, do not represent any endorsement of him or his material, tacit or otherwise.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.  Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.  Photo of Jeong Myeong-seok courtesy of Wikipedia, and is in the public domain without copyright.

Author's Note: Also see Exposing Heresy, Is Jesus God?, Drifting Away, Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, Godly Attire & Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Carrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?, Keeping Your Body Pure and Holy, An Open Mind that Loves the Truth, Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven, Purge the Evil from Among You, Testing the Spirits of False Prophets, Baptized by Blazing Fire -- a Korean church's testimony, Only the Holy -- Three Shocking Testimonies, Angelica Zambrano's Second Visit to Hell, The Kingdom of Darkness, The Judgment Seat of Christ, Rachael Mushala Testimony of Hell, Sister Ayo - a Revelation of Heaven and Hell, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Garments of Godliness, You Must Be Born Again, Is Obedience Optional?, Aim for Perfection. More articles are available through the Home page of this blog. You may also access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org