Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Nature of False Prophets

It's normal to think of false prophets as those who say things that are obviously lies. However, that would be too easy to detect them. The devil is the father of lies, and he has been lying from the beginning. He knows quite well how to deceive humanity. Therefore, we need to understand the tactics he uses to do so.

Partial Truth
He knows that a believable lie will usually have some truth to it. Let's look at some examples from Scripture.

When the devil tempted the Lord Jesus in the wilderness, he used Scripture. "And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." (Mat 4:3). This statement contains two facts that Jesus knew were true -- that He was the Son of God and that He had the power to turn the stones into bread by a mere command. However, the way the devil said those two facts were in such a way that cast doubt over them and tried to coerce the Lord into proving they were true.

After Jesus overcame that temptation by the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, reminding the devil of what is written in Scripture, the devil tempted Him again with another half truth by quoting from the Bible. He said, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, 'He will command His angels concerning you'; and 'On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" (Mat 4:6). Here the devil quoted from Psalm 91, but he intentionally used it to mean something it did not actually mean. Jesus once again retorted with the Word of God, telling the devil what else is written in Scripture, which exposed the devil's lie.

In the third temptation, the devil again used partial truth. "Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, 'All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.'" (Mat 4:8-9). While it is true that the devil is the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4), He is not God, Who alone is worthy of our worship. Therefore, Jesus responded again by quoting aloud what is written in Scripture that you shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.

These are the types of subtle lies the devil uses to trick people. He knows the Bible better than most Christians and he knows how to use it against them. Someone once said, "The Bible is like an old fiddle. You can use it to play any tune you want to play." Just as anyone can pick up an old fiddle and play only the notes they want to play to produce the tune they want to produce, so anyone can pick up the Bible and preach only the verses they want to preach in such a way they brings forth the message they want to convey. They can use the Scriptures to make it sound like the Bible teaches whatever they wish.

This is why it's so important for the saints to know the Word very well. We need to read the Bible daily and meditate on it. We must pray and learn to know the voice of the Good Shepherd, so that we will not listen to a stranger.

It may surprise you to know some of the things that false prophets and teachers could say. They can say things that sound very pious, making it seem like they hate evil. For example, the Pharisees said of Jesus, "This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons." (Mat 12:24). Such a statement sounds true, because it seems concerned with exposing the devil. It is believable because we naturally assume that only those who hate the devil would expose someone operating by his power.

They also spoke as if they were concerned with upholding God's law. They said to Him, "Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath." (Mat 12:2). While their statement seems righteous on the surface, it is not true. The devil's messengers still say things like this today that sound very righteous and holy. They may condemn a certain practice as evil and say that if you do it you will go to hell. They may even use Scripture to say so. For example, they could teach that if you eat certain foods you will not make it to heaven, based on the dietary laws of the Mosaic covenant. Or they could teach that anyone who does not celebrate the Lord's day on Saturday is going to hell. They may even seem to be very concerned about sound doctrine and speak against other teachings that they deem to be heresies.

While they appear to uphold righteousness and condemn sin, as though they are trying to keep you from going to hell, their message is not true because it is not based on the Scripture. They may be able to quote passages to support their doctrine, but they omit other passages that would clearly contradict what they teach.

The Traditions of Men
One way the enemy teaches such things is through the traditions or precepts of men. The Jews had many such precepts and traditions, which were communicated orally and later written down in the form of the Midrash and the Mishnah, which was a part of their Talmud. While these contained men's interpretations of the Law, essentially these were like a fence around the Scriptures that were even more strict than the commandments of God. These man-made precepts and traditions were taught as doctrines. If one kept these precepts and traditions of men, it would seem they would never come close to violating God's commandments. It appears righteous and holy. However, the Lord taught that it was just the opposite.

And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. 'BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.' "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. "For Moses said, 'HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER'; and, 'HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH'; but you say, 'If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),' you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that." (Mar 7:6-13)

According to Jesus, in order for people to keep the man-made precepts and traditions, they had to violate the commandment of God. The same thing happens today. These false messengers teach their man-made precepts and traditions as doctrines, and they support them with Scripture, but in order to obey their teachings, men must violate God's commandments. These doctrines may appear as if they uphold holiness and righteousness, and by following them you will surely reach heaven. They may warn that if you don't follow what they teach, you will go to hell, and if you do follow their teaching, you will make it to heaven. But they are misleading people.

The Greatest Commandments
If in our effort to reach heaven and avoid hell we violate the commandments of God, we will still perish in the end. What counts is keeping God's commandments. And the Lord taught us what the two most important commandments are.

One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.' "The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mar 12:28-31)

Notice He said there is no other commandment greater than these. While there is the command to be holy (Heb 12:14; 1 Pet 1:15,16), that is not the greatest commandment. And while the Bible says we are saved by grace through faith, not by works (Eph 2:8), that is not the greatest commandment. And while the Bible says that all who believe in Jesus will be saved (Joh 3:16), that is not the greatest commandment. The greatest commandments are love. If I have everything else that seems to signify a godly life, such as giving all my possessions to the poor, knowledge of God and His Word, the gifts of prophecy and speaking in tongues, and even giving my body to be burned, but have not love, I am nothing (1 Cor 13:1-3).

The problem with man-made precepts and traditions is they cause us to break these greatest commandments in some way. That's why it is so important to follow the Word of God, obey His commandments, and not follow after the precepts and traditions of men, no matter how holy and righteous they may seem to be.

High standards don't give you any extra credit with God. Such thinking is a “works” mentality. People don’t realize the danger. If you are seeking extra credit through the traditions of men, you will end up breaking the commandments of God. If a person doesn’t realize this, then they can become a victim. Consider the Good Samaritan; then consider the priest who walked by the hurt man because he had “more important matters.” Love is most important. We can fail at this in trying to be holy. The priest and Levite could represent any Christian today. They had high standards and were very busy trying to fulfill them, but in doing so they neglected the need of the hurt man.

Remember what the Lord said about the final judgment when He separates the wicked and the righteous like a shepherd separates the sheep and the goats. The goats will say, "When did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels..." (Mat 25:38-41)

The traditions of men may make you to feel very pious. But they go beyond what is written. Don’t put anything above God’s Word. You can’t be more holy than God. Scripture says, “Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise— why destroy yourself? (Ecclesiastes 7:16) There are already enough commandments to obey. And don’t forget the two greatest ones! Keeping His commandments is what counts (1 Cor 7:19). They are high and holy as it is. If you have not love, you are nothing! You have failed. You have no extra credit. If you are upholding a standard that lacks love, you will not reach heaven. One of the signs of the last days is that the love of most will grow cold (Mt 24:12), so let's beware of that. Evaluate yourself, even if you are seeking to live most holy. The most important thing is to obey God’s commandments, not the traditions of men.

Unwitting Agents of the Devil
Remember, too, that the messengers of the devil may be used by him knowingly or unknowingly. Not all false prophets and messengers even realize what they are doing. Since they themselves are deceived, they may not even realize it. Usually people who are deceived are in denial. If they knew they were deceived, they would probably forsake the lies in which they have believed and embrace the truth. But they don't know it and they continue on being used unwittingly as an agent of the devil. They may even be very likeable and sincere. That's why we must test their fruit, in order to see whether it is good or bad. If it is bad fruit, then they cannot be a good tree. You will know them by their fruits. The basic fruit test is widely overlooked and underutilized. But that is what the Lord commanded us to do, so we must do it and then avoid the ones we identify as bad trees, no matter how much we like them. For more on this, please see Testing the Spirits of False Prophets.

They May Say, "Lord, Lord"
Just because a preacher or teacher claims to be a Christian and calls Jesus, "Lord" does not mean they are genuine. Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter." (Mat 7:21). Notice how it always comes back to whether you DO the will of God. That determines whether or not you will enter heaven.

They May Come in Jesus' Name as Anointed Ones 
And Jesus said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many." (Mat 24:4-5). While this speaks of false Christs, who claim to be Christ or a "little Christ," let us not forget that "Christ" means anointed. So this infers that there are many who come in Jesus' name, claiming to be anointed, and mislead many. Don't be fooled just because they come in the name of Jesus or claim to be anointed of God.

They Prophesy Lies in the Lord's Name
As the term implies, false prophets prophesy falsehoods. "Then the Lord said to me, 'The prophets are prophesying lies in My name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.'" (Jer 14:14, NIV).

They Arise from Among You
Notice that in this last passage from Jeremiah, the Lord refers to them simply as "prophets," rather than false prophets. These may have at one time been valid prophets before they became compromised and began uttering lies. They may have once been a true prophet or someone who once had a genuine revelation from the Lord. In fact, people who are used by God mightily are at greater risk of becoming targets of the enemy, because so many people believe and follow them. If the enemy can get them to compromise and be one of his agents without people realizing it, then he will not only capture that one person's soul to hell, but the masses who follow them. Beware of this!

Remember Paul's warning to the Ephesians: "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them." (Act 20:29-30). Therefore, it is from among your own selves that men will arise.

They are Popular
Not only may they arise from within the Church itself, but they may be quite popular. In fact, when everyone speaks well of a person, that is a warning indicator that they are not of God, since that is how the false prophets were treated. Jesus warned, "Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets." (Lk 6:26, NIV). On the other hand, the true prophets are usually persecuted (Mt 5:11-12; Ac 7:52a). Persecuted or Popular?

They are Common
Another misconception about false prophets is that they are rare. You might not suspect many people of being false prophets, based on your belief that they are not very common. However, Jesus said, "Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many." (Mat 24:11). This is one of the major signs of the end times, and we are in those last days when false prophets abound. There are more of them than you may think, and many of the preachers that you thought were legitimate are actually false teachers.

Criticizing Pharisee-type Behavior
False messengers may even openly criticize any behavior that seems to them like the Pharisees. In their efforts to uphold their false teachings or prophecies, they may actually accuse others (such as their opponents) of acting like the Pharisees. It's amazing but true that they do so!

Masquerading as Servants of Righteousness
Another thing to beware of is that they may masquerade as servants of righteousness. Just because someone preaches righteousness and holiness does not mean they are a genuine man of God. Paul said, "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." (2 Cor 11:14b-15)

Signs and Wonders
Finally, I will mention one last important point about false messengers, which is that they may operate in signs and wonders. The Lord said, "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect." (Mat 24:24). The devil knows that most people are more impressed with power than with godly character or sound doctrine. He also knows that most people will pay more attention to signs and wonders a preacher performs than to the preacher's message to see if it is sound doctrine according to Scripture. He also knows that most people don't read their Bibles well enough to know the difference anyway. Therefore, don't follow signs and wonders, or be fooled by them, no matter how great they are.

Putting it All Together
The Lord warned us in His Word to watch out for false prophets and teachers, so that we would not be deceived. They may use partial truth in what they teach, preach, or prophesy. They prophesy lies in the Lord's name. They may know the Bible very well. They may teach man-made precepts and traditions as doctrines, which seem to uphold a very high standard of holiness and righteousness. Or they may preach the false message of eternal security that because of God's grace, nothing you can ever do as a believer can ever affect your salvation. They ultimately cause you to disobey God's commandments, even though you might not be aware, because they probably won't do so explicitly or directly.

False preachers may say this or that is of the devil or is sin, when in fact it may be from God and may not be sin at all. They may masquerade as servants of righteousness. They may criticize behavior that is like the Pharisees or accuse those who oppose them of being either like the Pharisees or of the devil. They will have bad fruit in their lives, by which you may identify them. They and their followers may lack love or have what Scripture calls cold love. They may come in Jesus' name, call Him "Lord," claim to be anointed, or perform signs and wonders that make it seem as though God is using them mightily. They may seem sincere and be an unwitting agent of the devil, not even realizing they are deceived and deceiving others. They may arise from your midst, and at one time in the past been used to speak true prophecies or revelations. They may be popular and well-spoken of. They are very common, so don't let anyone deceive you. Test their fruit and follow what God has commanded us in the Scriptures, the most important of which is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB

Author's Note: I recommend you read the following articles: Testing the Spirits of False Prophets, Exposing Heresy, Judging Revelations, Visions, and Prophecies, Restored Truth, The False Gospel of Eternal Security, 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, Persecuted or Popular?, Leadership Approach Reveals View of God, and The Rise of Antichrists. You can find more articles exposing the heresy on 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?"

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

Thursday, October 27, 2016

HOREMOW Issues and Concerns

Regretfully I need to publicize some issues and concerns that I have with the Holiness Revival Movement Worldwide (HOREMOW), based in Nigeria. Brother Paul Rika, who is the International Director, and whom I had considered to be a friend, leads it. He is married to sister Linda Paul Rika, formerly Linda Ngaujah, who is originally from Sierra Leone. I had previously published her testimony of heaven and hell, but have since removed that article due to my concerns.

Linda Paul Rika
The Scripture says not to receive an accusation against an elder, except by the testimony of two or three witnesses. So I have confirmed the following details through interviews with Michael Thomas Sambo and Jeff Zanni, who is a retired Air Commodore with the Nigerian military.

False Prophecies
Since Linda received her original revelation, she has taken to prophesying future events that do not come to pass. For example, she falsely prophesied the winner of the Nigerian presidential election. The person she prophesied would be the next president was not the person who won the election. While I have known about this for quite some time, I have chosen to remain silent about it until now. But I can no longer remain silent, because she has given many other prophecies that did not come true.

She also prophesied about a certain governor of a Nigerian state, who was seriously wounded in a plane crash. After the crash he was airlifted to the US where he received medical care and later returned to Nigeria to govern the state. A meeting was arranged with the Governor to be prayed for by a team of ministers from HOREMOW with Paul Rika in attendance. During the meeting she prophesied that he would recover from his injuries and go back to his job as governor. However, to this day he has not gone back. His term of office ended while he was still sick, and another person was elected in his place. To this day he is unable to hold office.

There was another case where a Nigerian governor actually died in a plane crash, who had been a Christian. His deputy, a Muslim took over in line with the Nigerian Constitution. Linda prophesied that a Christian governor would replace him. However, another Muslim succeeded him, not a Christian, so once again Linda’s prophecy never came to pass.

At a HOREMOW event in Bauchi State, Nigeria in 2013, where Linda was a guest speaker, she also prophesied that the Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria would end that year. She prophesied that the Lord said He would take out Boko Haram Himself. In fact, Jeff Zanni was also a guest speaker at that same program and heard her prophecy. However, Boko Haram did not end after that, so her prophecy did not come to pass. In fact that group has gotten worse, and is still killing people. They are still there and have even sworn allegiance to ISIS.

Although I am not saying Linda's original testimony was not true or genuine, all of these false prophecies she has been giving call into question anything she now says or has ever said in the name of the Lord. Therefore, the warning of our Lord Jesus to beware of false prophets applies to her in this case:

"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 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. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. "So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'" (Mat 7:15-23)

Ungodly Treatment of Michael Sambo
Moreover, she has attacked my friend, brother Michael Thomas Sambo. She has attacked his calling, his family, his ministry, and his revelation that he had of heaven and hell. In fact, she had said it's the spirit of Allah using brother Michael. Her husband, Paul Rika, had been brother Michael’s spiritual father. In fact, he transcribed Michael’s testimony from a video recording and published it as a book, called Divine Revelation of God's Holiness and Judgment. When it was initially published, he seized control of it by giving Michael a legally binding statement drafted by a lawyer to sign, which stated that Michael gave up all rights to royalties from the book to Paul Rika, and that Michael would only have the content of the book to defend. At that time, Michael was young and did not fully understand the implication of what he was signing. Now Paul Rika has informed him that the 300 free books he initially gave him to hand out for evangelism were his full share in the royalties, and that he has no rights to the book. Paul says the book belongs to him. This is amazing, since the book contains Michael’s own testimony as given by Michael himself. While I do not know his motives for claiming exclusive rights to the book, I do know that selfishness, greed, and covetousness have no part in the kingdom of God. Moreover, the revelations the Lord has given us are not for sale, as I have written in my article, The Sale of Christian Music and Art -- A Robbers' Den?

Paul Rika, pastor and International Director of HOREMOW
Furthermore, Paul Rika has now gone so far as to tell Michael that he is backslidden, his name is not written in the Book of Life, and he is under God’s judgment. He told Mike that he does not even have any future ministry in HOREMOW. Subsequently in a private meeting with Jeff Zanni, Paul told Jeff that Mike was backslidden, that he had abandoned ministry, and that a prophecy was given through Linda his wife that Mike’s name was no longer written in the Book of Life. This seems like an abuse of spiritual gifts, since prophecy is not meant to be used to judge people, but to edify, encourage, and comfort the Body of Christ (1 Cor 14:3-4). Paul said that Mike loved the things of this world and had gone after money by establishing a poultry farm. The implication was that it was not right for a preacher to own a poultry farm. Jeff responded by saying that he did not see thing anything in the Bible to prohibit a preacher from owning property. During that meeting, the two men also prayed together.

Subsequently Michael received two invitations to speaking engagements that were independent of HOREMOW. But he felt that he needed to clear it with his spiritual father before going to those engagements. Mike felt that no preacher who is backslidden or whose name was no longer in the Book of Life should be speaking for the Lord, so he wanted to know if Paul would authorize him to go and speak. In an email he sent to Paul about this, he said in part, "...In my understanding, I think I am on discipline. I have been praying before the Lord on all that was discussed and feel that as a son in the Lord, I need a clearance on my state before I am engaged to preach. Please sir, I am confused." However, all of his attempts to reach Paul went unanswered up to the dates of these engagements and Mike did not go to either one. He did not see any reason that he should do so, since Paul considered him to be a backslider.

Michael Thomas Sambo
Afterward, on 22nd  September 2015, Paul convened a meeting of HOREMOW leaders as a sort of council or hearing, so that Paul could decide Mike’s case. According to Mike, the meeting lasted nearly five hours. Paul reviewed the matter of Mike’s failure to fulfill his two speaking engagements, and characterized his actions as "evil". Then he asked Mike what he had to say in defense of himself.

Mike responded in part by saying, "Before I go on to explain why I acted that way, I still want to apologize again before I explain. I'm very, very sorry. I'm not going to defend myself." Then in his detailed explanation of his actions, he said something like this: “Sir, you told me my name is not in the Book of Life, that I am backslidden, and that I don’t even have any more future in HOREMOW to do any ministry, and that I should go and pray." And Mike continued, "Sir, you did not confirm to me in response to my email that I should go and speak. I called you on the phone, but you did not answer. I texted you, but still received no response. I emailed you, but you did not answer me. The day came and went, and since I did not receive any answer from you, I did not go to speak.”

In a short, fifteen-minute clip of the meeting that I watched, Mike got down on his knees facing Paul, who was seated, and said he was deeply sorry. He made it clear that his intention was not to run away from Paul, to hurt him, or to compete with him. He pleaded for forgiveness for any way in which he had offended anyone. He said once again, "I'm very sorry."

In response to this, Paul said that he himself had moved very slowly on this matter for months, wondering, "What do I do?" He said he had continued that way until the day before the present meeting was held. He said he had been given "two verdicts" for Mike, but he only elaborated on one of them initially, which was the one that would apply if Mike felt he had finished apprenticeship and wanted to have his own ministry. He said if that was what Mike wanted, they would pray for him and give him all the support he needed. Mike could still be a minister in HOREMOW. They would use him any time they wanted, but he would be on his own. "Whatever assistance we want to give you or you need from the movement, fine. The materials you need you have access to those. You have access to me for any help you need. You have your liberty. I think this is a good option, if you consider it so." He indicated that Mike could come and go any time he wanted and would be one of the HOREMOW leaders. He asked Mike how he would like to proceed.

There was a long pause for a couple minutes as Mike knelt before the group. Then Mike said he was not in a position to make a choice at that moment. He needed time to go and pray about it before he would make a decision, since it was very serious.

He asked Paul whether his apology was accepted. However, while all this was being video recorded, Paul said, "As for apology, right from the beginning [I have said that] it's only...the act is before the Lord. I have said it. The act is before the Lord. So you are not making apology [to me]. You are making apology to the house and before the Lord." As Paul paused to wait for Mike's decision on which verdict he would choose, Mike replied, "I don't have the answer, sir. I don't have the answer."

Then Paul, pressed for a response, saying, "Do you choose so or do you not choose so." He had given Mike a choice: Mike could either go and have his own ministry with the possibility of speaking at HOREMOW events, or else he could stay in HOREMOW and only do whatever Paul says he must do. He reiterated that the second option was that if Mike chose to remain in HOREMOW, he would be saying to Paul, "I want to remain with you, as a minister under your command." He also said that the first option was that Mike would not be under his command. He once again repeated that the second option was, "You are under my command! Then I will take decision on you as a minister under my command."  He gave examples of what that would mean, saying he would be managing Mike's activities each step of the way, saying, "Back again. Go here before you go. Do this before you do it." He asked Mike if that is what he wanted or if he wanted to be able to go and conduct his ministry without such restrictions.

Mike simply replied, "I want the will of God, sir."

Paul replied, "You want the will of God. You have a right to the will of God for you."

Mike responded, "I want us to pray."

Paul replied, "Then I will take this decision. You are now on discipline. You will stop all ministry and go to pray to recover your Christian life, because this thing you did offended the Lord. That the Lord's people were crying out and just your stubbornness -- stubbornness, just because you would not submit. You allowed the name of the Lord to suffer shame. You allowed the Lord to be grieved over the message the Lord has given you. You offended God. So you will go and have your time to recover, [his words after this were inaudible]. I want to make sure I walk with a holy man, a righteous man. I will journey very far. And the eyes of God are upon Holiness Revival Movement, and we must give God the best. You are coming short of the best. Your life has to be improved. You must attend to righteousness and holiness. You've behaved badly. So I have placed you on discipline indefinitely until such time as God has finished working in your life." He also told him he needed to go take care of his communications, remain where he is there, and “be faithful to fellowship, being careful to attend all meetings, but no ministry."

When Jeff heard this, he later challenged Paul’s decision publicly, since it seemed quite harsh. Paul replied by asking Jeff whether he would have challenged Moses’ decision, if he had been present when Moses consulted with God about a certain man who had sinned, whom God said should be stoned to death. In saying this, he implied that the Lord told him to discipline Mike indefinitely. It's interesting that Paul related himself to Moses, rather than the Lord Jesus, who said, "Neither do I condemn you," when those gathered around Him were ready to stone the woman caught in adultery, and asked Him what He thought should be done with her (Joh 8:11). The Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (Joh 1:17).

When Paul had finished placing Mike on indefinite discipline, he said, "Everybody will pray with you to help that you recover. And I want to ensure that all the nuances that are going around, 'Pastor Rika is in trouble.' or "Pastor Rika and Michael Sambo are in conflict.' Those nuances must be stopped! All people forming cliques everywhere. I see there's two cliques now -- one for Pastor Rika, one for Michael Sambo. It must disappear! You will come back as a son walking with his father. And we must walk in righteousness and holiness." He said all of this while remaining seated in his chair and while Mike remained kneeling on the floor in front of him in the middle of the room.

Incidentally, in that meeting, Paul denied that he ever told Mike that his name was not written in the Book of Life. Jeff Zanni was there in the meeting, as one of the people Paul considered a HOREMOW leader. He knew that Paul had told him privately that Mike’s name was not in the Book of Life, but he did not want to embarrass Paul publicly, so he did not say anything at the leaders’ meeting. He assumed that perhaps Paul had forgotten, so he held his peace.

However, a few days later, Jeff spoke to Paul privately. He told him in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t happy with Paul’s handling of Mike and his case. Jeff reminded him of the private meeting they previously had together, in which Paul told him that Mike’s name was not in the Book of Life, and he also reminded Paul of other details of that meeting. However, Paul was speechless. Jeff told him to apologize to Mike, but he did not. Instead he began telling false stories about Mike and even about Jeff himself. In doing so, Paul is acting as if he is does not need to be accountable to anybody, including the elders within his own organization. For example, one of the claims Paul has made several times is that Mike did not apologize to him. However, I have seen the video recording, showing Mike apologizing multiple times, which I have documented in this article. Both Mike and Jeff have released Paul in their hearts and they have peace inside, because the Lord knows and sees what is happening.

Revelations Equal to the Bible
Another issue I have with HOREMOW is that Paul Rika says that when a revelation is given and it is confirmed to be from God, that revelation is equal to the Bible. So his wife Linda gives dreams and revelations on people, and he believes them and acts on them based on whatever she says. This is an unbiblical practice that is very dangerous. It leads to all kinds of error, both doctrinal and practical. It has been and is being used to manipulate, abuse, and hurt people seriously, as has been done to brother Michael.

As we have already seen, people can make false prophecies that do not come to pass, as with Linda's prophecies. If those are considered equal to Scripture, then many people will be led astray. That would mean these messages are inerrant and become elevated to the level of Scripture. In other words, each prophecy would hold the same authority as Scripture. Or else it is regarded as another rule that Christians must obey, besides the Bible. The end result is that such prophecies and revelations end up superseding Scripture, because they are regarded as authoritative and binding upon all Christians, even if they contradict the Bible. This essentially nullifies the Word of God. The fact is that no prophecy carries the same authority as Scripture, and must either conform to the Word of God or be ignored.

The apostle Paul said, "For we know in part and we prophesy in part." (1Co 13:9). Our sole rule of faith is the Bible, and prophesies are meant to strengthen, edify, and encourage the Body of Christ (1 Cor 14:3).

Also see my article Scripture Alone.

Use of the Title "Daddy"
Another issue I have with HOREMOW is people calling Paul Rika by the title "Daddy." Jesus commanded, "And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven." (Mt 23:9, NIV). In light of what our Lord commanded, I once asked Paul in February 2014 why he allows people to call him "Daddy," since it means father. However, he never replied to me. Daddy and father are two synonymous words. If we are not to call any man by this title, we should also not let any man address us that way, since it would be sin. There is absolutely no Scriptural basis at all for calling any man Father or Daddy.

Remarrying Your First Spouse
Likewise, I do not see any Scriptural basis for the teaching of Paul Rika and HOREMOW, regarding remarrying one's first spouse. They teach that if someone has been remarried after divorce, they must return to their first spouse.

First of all, as I stated in my article, Divorce -- Two Divine Revelations, I agree that the ideal situation is to be reconciled with your first spouse and get remarried to that person. Simply repenting for committing the sin of divorce and not going back to your spouse is not enough. You must make restitution!

However, if your first spouse has already been remarried, I do not see any Scripture that allows you to remarry that person. Even if their second spouse divorces them or dies, the Bible teaches that it is an abomination for you to remarry your first spouse once they have been married to someone else.

"When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man's wife, and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance.” (Deu 24:1-4).

Likewise, the Lord declared through the prophet Jeremiah, "If a husband divorces his wife And she goes from him And belongs to another man, Will he still return to her? Will not that land be completely polluted?" (Jer 3:1)

Therefore, the only scenario in which Scripture allows you to remarry your first spouse, in my opinion, is when neither of you have been remarried after divorcing.  In fact, if you have been divorced and neither you nor your spouse have been remarried, you should certainly repent and remarry your spouse if he or she is willing to do so. However, there is no biblical basis for remarriage to one's first spouse after divorce and remarriage has already occurred. Doing so would violate the Word of God, and teaching people to do so would nullify one of God's commandments.

Our Lord said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mat 5:17-20)

In July 2015, I brought all of this to the attention of Paul Rika by sending him my article on Divorce, which contains the section above on remarrying your first spouse that I have just quoted from (except for a couple, recent, minor revisions), and asking for his input. However, he never responded to me.

For more on this topic, please see Adultery According to Jesus.

Putting it All Together
All of this needs to be evaluated based on the Word of God. First of all, we are not to listen to a false prophet, but rather expose them. If someone is giving prophetic predictions that do not come true, then they have proven to be a false prophet. We should not listen to anything else they say. Secondly, if someone is using prophecy to judge or control people, they are abusing the gift of the Holy Spirit, and are in need of church discipline. Thirdly, we must not make any prophecy or revelation equal to Scripture, since that is not the purpose of the prophetic, and we only prophesy in part (1 Cor 13:9). Fourthly, there is to be no division in the Body of Christ (1 Cor 1:10), and we must love one another from the heart (Joh 13:34; 1 Pe 1:22; 4:8; Rom 12:9). If a brother repents, we are to forgive him and comfort him (Lk 17:3-4), so that he is not overwhelmed by excessive sorrow, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes (2 Cor 2:7,11). If we do not forgive others, then our Father in heaven will not forgive us (Mt 6:14-15). The way that Paul and Linda Rika have treated brother Michael is hurtful, unforgiving, and controlling. Whatever they have done to Mike, they have done it unto Jesus (Mt 25:40). Fifthly, Paul has told false stories about Mike and Jeff, and we are commanded not to bear false witness against our brother (Ex 20:16). We are supposed to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15), for all liars will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur (Rev 21:8).

Sixth, the way Paul has seized control and claimed exclusive rights to the book containing Mike's testimony is not right. Seventh, there is no Scripture that says anyone should be denied forgiveness or disciplined indefinitely. This is an abuse of spiritual authority and a form of mind control. The Lord does not accuse forever, nor will He always be angry. He is with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit (Is 57:15-16). "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (Jam 4:6). Eighth, Paul seems to be lacking accountability, since he is acting unilaterally without regard for what one of his own elders is telling him. Ninth, he allows people to call him "Daddy," contrary to what Jesus taught. Tenth, there is the unbiblical teaching on remarriage to one's first spouse after divorce and remarriage. Eleventh, Linda accuses Michael of being used by the spirit of Allah, and Paul has been echoing that same thing. People who say such things to those who are operating by the Spirit of God should beware of blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mar 3:28-30). Finally, Paul’s heavy-handed, domineering behavior is not the way a pastor is supposed to care for the flock. The Scripture says that an elder is not supposed to lord it over others like that.

The Lord said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called 'Benefactors.' But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” (Luk 22:25-26). Likewise, the apostle Peter said, “Nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.” (1Pe 5:3).

Sadly, based on these bad fruit, we can say for sure that this couple is no longer operating in the Holy Spirit. This is not the fruit of the Spirit. Since Jesus said you would know them by their fruit, we have now identified who they are. They are bad trees, and bad trees cannot bear good fruit, neither can a good tree bear bad fruit. I do not judge them, but I have identified them based on the fruit test, as I have written in my article, Testing the Spirits of False Prophets.

After documenting these issues, I humbly submitted the document to Paul Rika via email to read and respond. His assistant, brother Ande, replied to say he would print my document and give it to Paul once he returned from a trip he was currently on in Sierre Leone. His email was sent from "Holiness Revival Movement Headquarters Abuja," displaying Paul Rika's name and profile picture on it, so he was officially representing that movement and its International Director. Underneath Ande's name in his email was a caption stating, "Holiness; the only requirement for Heaven" (emphasis mine). This is not to pick on brother Ande, but this slogan helps to reveal an underlying assumption within HOREMOW that is being taught, which is not biblical. I replied back to him, asking what Scripture he bases that slogan upon, but he did not answer me.

Holiness is certainly one of the requirements for heaven (Heb 12:14), but our Lord Jesus said that the greatest commandments are to love. You are commanded to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mt 22:37; Mk 12:30; Lk 10:27). These are even greater than the command to be holy, as important as holiness is. Jesus said, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Joh 13:35, NIV). We do not want to be a holy people without love. If we attain the very highest level of holiness in our lives, but have not love, we are nothing (1 Cor 13:1-3). Let's not forget that! May the Lord help us all to be a holy people who love the Lord with all our being and love one another deeply from the heart. This whole matter should cause us all to go before the Lord, asking Him to evaluate us and reveal to us anything that is hidden that must go.

I do not relish or enjoy writing an article such as this, and I wish I did not have to do so. I myself am just a man who has not yet attained to perfection. But I also have a responsibility to my readers to warn them of things like this, especially since I had previously written a favorable article about Linda, and other articles associated with HOREMOW. As the apostle Paul instructed Timothy, "Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning." (1 Tim 5:20). And he instructed the Ephesians, "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." (Eph 5:11, NIV).

The exact sequence of what was said in the HOREMOW elders' meeting and the exact words that were spoken were not recorded with complete accuracy when this article was first published. I sincerely apologize for that, however, I was originally relying upon the account that Michael Sambo and Jeff Zanni had given me to the best of their ability from memory. They had sought to be as accurate as possible in their account, being very careful not to misstate anything, doing their best to concisely summarize a long story. I have since reviewed some of the video record of the meeting that they have sent to me, and made some corrections, as well as added some direct quotes for clarity. However, I don't think those revisions have changed the overall outcome of what has happened or the implications.

As I mentioned in the article, I sent an email about this matter to brother Paul Rika, but he never replied to me. There has been no repentance, no apologies, no brokenness in response to this matter being publicized. I also sent this article to the US Coordinator for HOREMOW, brother Johnson Tata, but he never replied to me either. And I know that brother Jeff Zanni has also spoken to the HOREMOW Coordinator for Europe in London, as well.

A dear Nigerian pastor I know and love, who lives abroad but recently visited his native Nigeria, told me that the conditions in the Church there have gotten worse since he left the country. He said there is human worship, pastors are prideful and unaccountable, and people worship them as God, as if they cannot fall. This very practice is setting these pastors up for a fall, because instead of helping to bring about repentance for ungodly behavior, these people are encouraging pastors to continue in it. This should be a wake up call not only for the Church in Nigeria, but throughout the world, to stop worshiping men and making idols out of them. Stop treating them as if they are not accountable to any man. I suggest you repent for the way you have contributed to this sad state of affairs.

If this article does not appall you and grieve you, and if you are more interested in keeping your idol from toppling, then you are part of the problem I have just described. This message should cause you to grieve, lament, and pray. However, many readers have chosen to attack the messenger instead. If you plan to use the comments section for that purpose, then please don't bother, because your comments will not be published. If you are going to leave a comment that disagrees with what has been presented in this article, then please provide factual evidence to support your view, as well as any witnesses you are able to cite, if you want your comment to be published.

Finally, as for my views on holiness, they haven't changed one bit because of this matter, because they are based on the Bible and not on any man's revelation. You can still find my articles on holiness, such as Holy Living in a Perverted World, Garments of Godliness, and Godly Attire & Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, along with revelations about God's holy standards on Eternal Destinations, such as Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, Ezekiel Moses Testimony of Heaven and Hell, Eudoxia Varga's Testimony of Heaven and Hell, and Baptized by Blazing Fire -- a Korean church's testimony.

Part II - Exposing the Darkness within HOREMOW

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB,except where noted otherwise. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, where noted.

Author's Note: I also recommend reading Exposing the Darkness within HOREMOW, Judging Revelations, Visions, and Prophecies, Grieve and Lament for the Church, The Nature of False ProphetsLeadership Approach Reveals View of GodMichael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, A Tale of Two Kings, Testing the Spirits of False Prophets, Accountable, correctable, and teachable, Loving Deeply, Filled Up to All the Fullness of God, Angelic Escape from Terrorist Assassins, Interview with Brother Michael Thomas Sambo, The Wardrobe of the Saints, Whatever You Do, Do All Like This, How to Treat Leaders, Our Senior Pastor, The Shepherding Role of Elders, Exposing Heresy, Divorce -- Two Divine Revelations, Adultery According to Jesus, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Purge the Evil from Among You, and The Rise of Antichrists. You can access the Home page of this blog for more articles on Truth and heresy, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master.

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.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Heresies of C.S. Lewis

C.S Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, is one of the most popular authors within Christian circles, and perhaps one of the most loved heretics of our time. However, he accepted the following false beliefs:

Christ did not atone for our sins.

The Bible is not inspired or inerrant.

Pagan religions have truth.

Evolution is true.

The Bible is not literal.

Catholic sacraments spread the life of Christ to us.

Purgatory is a real place.

Hell may be simply a figment of the mind.

Praying for the dead.

White magic is good.

Scripture Refutes these heresies
God's Word teaches us that these beliefs are false, so we must reject them and anyone that teaches them.

Christ atoned for our sin.
The apostle John wrote, "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 Jn 2:2, NIV).

All Scripture is inspired.
The apostle Paul wrote, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness." (2 Tim 3:16). Also see The Bible is the Word of God.

Jesus is the Truth and the only Way.
Jesus said that He is the Truth and the only way to the Father. He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (Jn 14:6). We can not get to the Father in heaven through pagan religions.

The apostle Paul wrote, "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Rom 10:9).

The apostle Peter said, "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Ac 4:12). You cannot be saved by following Buddha, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, or any other man. There is no other name but the name of Jesus by which we must be saved. Those other men's bones are still in their graves, but Jesus' tomb is empty, because He has risen from the dead and sits at the right hand of God.

God created the heavens and the earth in six days. 
Moses taught this in his writings, which Jesus said we must believe (John 5:45-47). "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done." (Gen 1:1;2:1-2). "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy." (Ex 20:11). Also see Oral Account of Creation from Adam to Abraham.

God created man both male and female from the beginning.
They did not evolve from a lower form of life. "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." (Gen 1:27). Jesus Himself taught this. "But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female." (Mk 10:6).

We are saved by grace through faith, not sacraments.
There is no Scripture that requires us to take sacraments to be saved. Paul wrote, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Eph 2:8-9). There are two ordinances that Jesus left for the Church, which are communion and water baptism. He taught us to celebrate communion in remembrance of His death (Lk 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24-25), and to baptize new believers in water (Mt 3:13-17; Mt 28:19). He said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." (Mt 28:19). He said, "And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned." (Mk 16:15-16). Water baptism is for those who have repented and believed in Jesus, not a sacrament that can save those who have not yet believed. See By Faith Alone - Part I and By Grace Alone.

The Bible teaches heaven and hell as the two possible eternal destinations of man.
There is no Scripture in the Bible that teaches purgatory. "It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment." (Heb 9:27). Jesus said, “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned." (Jn 5:28-29, NIV).

Hell is a literal place.
Jesus taught a literal hell. He said that when He judges all mankind, He will send the wicked to the eternal fire.
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels." (Mt 25:41).

He said, "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into [ac]hell, into the unquenchable fire, and where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched." (Mk 9:43-44)

Those who worship the beast and receive his mark will be tormented forever by fire and brimstone, undoubtedly in hell, the lake of fire. “Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.’” (Rev 14:9-11)

The beast and false prophet both end up in that same place, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Rev 20:10).

Many others will be in the lake of fire. “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Rev 21:). Also see Where will you go when you die?, Revelation of Hell to Seven Colombian Youths, Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, and Eudoxia Varga Testimony of Heaven and Hell.

There is no Scriptural basis for praying for the dead.
Mercy is only available while you are on earth. Once you die, then comes the judgment. "It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment." (Heb 9:27). The only reason someone would pray for the dead is if they either believed that one may be in purgatory and somehow released, or if they believed that hell is temporary. But the Bible teaches that hell is eternal.

All forms of magic are condemned.
Magic is considered witchcraft. Throughout Scripture, all forms of witchcraft are considered wicked and are condemned. (Deuteronomy 18:10–16; Leviticus 19:26, 31; 20:27; Acts 13:8–10). There is no distinction made between black magic and white magic, good magic or bad magic. It is all evil. The apostle Paul referred to Elymas the sorcerer as a “child of the devil” full of  “all kinds of deceit and trickery”, "perverting the right ways of the Lord” (Acts 13:10). The apostle Peter condemned Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:20–23. When the Ephesians came to Christ, they repented of practicing magic arts and burned the books, which probably contained the magic spells, incantations, and other magic instruction. "And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver." (Ac 19:19).

The Scriptures teach us that the eternal destiny of those who practice magic arts is in the lake of burning sulfur. "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Rev 21:8, NIV; cf. Rev 22:15)

Putting it All Together
As we can see from Scripture, these beliefs of C.S. Lewis are completely false. Therefore, I caution you not to read his books, since this man was an agent of the father of lies, which is the devil. And for that matter, I do not advise anyone to watch movies that are based on his books, such as Narnia. These open doors for demons to enter your life.

As followers of Christ, we must not cling to falsehood or anything that is of the devil. We must repent from our involvement in it and cry out for forgiveness. We must live holy and godly lives for the Lord Jesus. We must not touch any unclean thing. For the sake of your own soul, please do not dabble with darkness. Come out from among them and be separate. Walk in the Light as Jesus is in the Light.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, I recommend the following articles for further proof of what I have explained here: Unbiblical Practices of the Catholic Church, Former Pope in Hell Declared a Saint, Pope Validates Evolution and Big Bang Theory, Pagan Symbols of the Popes, The Bible is the Word of God, Where will you go when you die?, Revelation of Hell to Seven Colombian Youths, Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, Eudoxia Varga Testimony of Heaven and Hell, Nigerian Pastor Raised from the Dead, Harry Potter is the Devil's SnareVisitation of Jesus to Samuel Oghenetega, Rachael Mushala Third Testimony of Hell, and The Bible is the Word of God. You may access more of my articles on the Main Directory of this blog, as well as 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.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Rhema vs. Logos – Is there truly a distinction in the word?

Some people use the Greek words rhema and logos in Scripture to teach that our focus should be on words spoken to us personally by God as a rhema or “now” word.  They use these Greek words to build an entire doctrine that is unscriptural and dangerous.  Yet it has been repeated so many times that many people believe it.

There is a teacher who states:

"One translation says, 'For sword take that which the Spirit gives you – the words which come from God.'  The Greek word here for word is rhema, which means 'a saying, that which is uttered by the living voice.' This is the word made alive in our spirit as God speaks to us…Some make the mistake of thinking a mere confession of the Word of God has power in itself." 

He goes on to say that only the rhema will accomplish God’s purpose:
"This kind of word which goes forth from [God’s] mouth is a Scripture which the Holy Spirit makes alive to us.  This personal word to our hearts will produce an effective result.

Apart from the Spirit, the Word is the letter of the law, which causes spiritual death (2 Cor. 3:6).  However, the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power – making it active, operative, energizing and effective; it is sharper than any two-edged sword…(Heb. 4:12)….We cannot presume, however, that spoken words (even biblical ones) in themselves have power."

First of all, I believe he is mistaken on these points.  In this teaching, he places great emphasis on rhema as superior to that which is not rhema.  He defines rhema in the following terms: 1) a saying, that which is uttered by the living voice, 2) the word made alive in our spirit as God speaks to us, and 3) a Scripture which the Holy Spirit makes alive to us.  He teaches that only that part of the Bible that is rhema has power to accomplish God’s purpose.  Only a “personal word to our heart will produce an effective result.” Moreover, he teaches that not all biblical words have power. 

Conversely, the implication in his teaching is that if a Scripture is merely logos, then it does not have power to accomplish God’s purpose.  In fact, he clearly states that if it is not rhema, then “the Word is the letter of the law,” and it “causes spiritual death.”  He uses Hebrews 4:12 as a proof text for this.  Yet the Greek in the Hebrews 4:12 passage for the Word of God is logos.  So the Scripture does not support this teaching.  In fact, the very proof text he cites contradicts his own teaching.  The writer of Hebrews teaches us that the logos is alive and full of power, active, operative, sharper than any two-edged sword, dividing between soul and spirit, as well as between bone and marrow. 

Paul’s Teaching on the Word of God
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he says: "The entire law is summed up in a single logos: Love your neighbor as yourself" (Galatians 5:14).  If we follow the line of reasoning of the rhema teachers, we must incorrectly conclude that since “Love your neighbor as yourself” is a logos – not rhema – then it is merely “the letter of the law,” and it “causes spiritual death.” 

In Paul’s second epistle to Timothy, he urged the young man of God to “correctly handle the Word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).  The Greek here for word is logos.  If Paul wanted Timothy to focus on the rhema or “now” word, why would he direct him as he did here to correctly handle the logos? Some would teach that if it wasn’t rhema, then it was merely “dead letters of the law” “without any power” to accomplish God’s purpose.  But Paul made no such distinction.

Paul also stated: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus…I give you this charge: Preach the Word: be prepared in season and out of season: correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 3:16-4:2).  The Greek word for all in this passage is pana.  According to the Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich Greek Lexicon, in this passage pana is scarcely different in meaning from the word all. The lexicon states that pana here emphasizes the individual members of the class denoted by the noun every, each, and any.  So we can correctly interpret Paul’s words to Timothy to mean each and every Scripture is theopneustos or God-breathed.  Yes, any Scripture!  All of it is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. It’s all inspired, breathed forth from the mouth of God.  Thus Paul could exhort Timothy to devote himself to the public reading of Scripture, without distinguishing between reading rhema or logos (1 Timothy 4:13). 

Quite notably, when Paul said, “Preach the Word” in 2 Timothy 4:2, the Greek for Word is not rhema.  Paul charged Timothy to preach the logon without wavering.  Therefore, if we follow the line of reasoning used by the rhema teachers, we must conclude that before God, Paul charged Timothy to preach portions of Scripture that were merely “dead letters of the law” “without any power” to accomplish God’s purpose.

Paul went on to say in the context of that second epistle to Timothy cited above: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit there own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3,4).   One of the dangers of this heresy on rhema is that it gives leverage to those who will not put up with sound doctrine.  It creates a false illusion that parts of God’s Word are merely letters with no power, and which bring death.  To make it even more dangerous, the test to determine which parts of the Bible are rhema and which are logos is very personal and subjective.  In other words, if I feel a passage causes spiritual death, I may conclude it is logos to me, not requiring my attention.  This gives me an excuse to stay away from any portion of Scripture that makes me feel uncomfortable.  Those who embrace this heresy could incorrectly conclude the Bible is not the Word of God, but that only portions of it are the Word of God – only the rhema portions that have become personalized.  This is the very practice that leads men to refuse to put up with sound doctrine, turn away from the truth, and gather around them many teachers who say what they want to hear.

Peter’s Teaching on the Word of God
Peter also had a warning to his readers about the last days, the day of the Lord when scoffers will come.  These scoffers would come, scoffing and following their own evil ways.  In fact, in Peter’s day the scoffers had already emerged.  He said that these scoffers “deliberately forget that long ago by God’s Word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water” (2 Peter 3:5).  Was it by God’s rhema that the heavens existed or the earth was formed?  Upon a careful examination of this passage, we find that the Greek for the Word of God here is logos.  It was by the logos that God powerfully created the universe!  Again the rhema teachers have not examined the Scriptures with great eagerness to see if these things are true before teaching them. 

Peter wrote both his epistles to remind his dear friends to “recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles” (2 Peter 3:2).  The Greek for the holy prophets’ spoken words here is proeiremenon rhematon (proeirhmenwn rhematwn).  In the context of this passage, it is clear that the use of rhema refers to “spoken words”.  This is an excellent example of how the word rhema is to be correctly understood.  The word logos would not make sense here, since Peter was referring to words the prophets had spoken. 

However, if we follow the rhema teachers’ rationale, we must interpret the use of the word rhema in this passage to mean Peter urged his dear friends to remember only the “Scripture which the Holy Spirit makes alive to” them.  Of course, this is not what Peter meant.  Peter used rhema to refer to words spoken in the past by the holy prophets, which had been written down in what was known then as the books of the Prophets.  To verify this is what he meant, all we need to do is look at the context. At the beginning of this epistle he refers to “the word of the prophets made more certain” (2 Peter 1:19).  What word of the prophets?  The Greek for word of the prophets here is propheticon logon.  In the context, it was the words of the prophets predicting the “power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” that had been made more certain by the apostles’ eyewitness of Jesus’ majesty (2 Peter 1:16).  By recalling “the word of the prophets made more certain” Peter’s friends would not be led astray by the false prophets and false teachers among them (2 Peter 2:1).  Thus it is clear that Peter’s use of the term the word of the prophets (propheticon logon) in chapter 1 refers to the same thing as his use of the term the holy prophets’ spoken words (proeiremenon rhematon) in chapter 3.  Peter’s use of the word rhema in one instance and logos in another are two different ways of saying essentially the same thing.  He certainly was not implying any of the things the rhema teachers of today would have us to believe.

One clear proof of this is that Peter also exhorted his dear friends to recall the “command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles” (2 Peter 3:2).   The Greek here for command is entolas (entolhs).  We know that the command he was referring to includes that which the apostles had written down and which is found in what has come to be known as the New Testament Bible.  This includes the command given by our Lord and Savior through the apostles Matthew, John, and Paul.  So we know the command given by our Lord and Savior is not rhema, it is entolas.  Thus if we follow the rhema teachers’ line of reasoning, we must come to the following conclusions: 1) Since the command of our Lord and Savior here is entolas, it is not rhema, and 2) In urging his dear friends to recall entolas, Peter was urging his dear friends to recall written portions of Scripture that are merely “dead letters of the law” “without any power” to accomplish God’s purpose.  Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. 

Jesus’ Teaching on His Word
Jesus said a number of things about his Word.  Here are a few of them:
  • “I know that His command [entolas] leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say” (John 12:50). 
  • "Heaven and earth shall pass away but my Logos shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35.)
  • “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my Logos and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). 
  • “Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear my Logos” (John 8:43).
  • “Therefore everyone who hears these Logos of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these Logos of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27).  Jesus explicitly taught that we must hear his Logos and put it into practice if we want to survive the storms of life and avoid perishing in hell. 
It is a mistake to teach that Jesus words are dead letters and powerless to bear fruit unless they are rhema.  To the contrary, His logos brings eternal life to those who believe.

Peter’s Teaching on the Word of God
Peter clearly taught that the holy prophets who spoke did so by divine inspiration.  He said, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.  For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20,21).  The term “prophecy of Scripture” here is propheteia grapha.  According to the Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich Greek Lexicon, grapha means writing, and here in this passage it is specifically used as a “designation of Scripture as a whole” (p. 166).  Peter states here that the men spoke as the Holy Spirit was carrying them along.  The Greek for being born along is pheromenoi. According to the BAG lexicon, pheromenoi here means to be moved, to be driven, or to allow oneself to be driven (p. 855b). This means Peter’s intent here is to uphold the Scripture as that which was uttered by men while the Holy Spirit was moving them.  In other words, Scripture originated with the Holy Spirit, not with men.  He contrasts this in the very next sentence with the words of “false prophets” and “false teachers” who “secretly introduce destructive heresies” (2 Peter 2:1).

Peter went on to say, “By the same Word the present heavens are reserved for fire, being kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7).  The Greek here again is logos.  If it is logos and not rhema, how could it have such power to bring down fire and judgment to destroy ungodly men?  Those ungodly men about whom Peter wrote were the scoffers, false prophets, and false teachers who scoffed and said, “Where is this ‘coming’ He promised?” (2 Peter 3:4).  To these scoffers, the logos Peter referred to (or Scriptures about the Lord’s return) were something to be scoffed at.  Yet their scoffing and unbelief does not render the logos any less powerful.  In spite of their refusal to believe the logos, they will be destroyed by it. 

John’s Teaching on the Word of God
Jesus Himself is the Word of God.  Was He the Logos or the Rhema?  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:1-3).  This passage obviously refers to Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh.  The Greek here for “word” is logos.  Thus if we follow the rhema teachers’ line of reasoning, since Jesus is the logos and not the rhema of God, he is merely “dead letters of the law” “without any power” to accomplish God’s purpose.  How blasphemous is this logical conclusion to their reasoning, even though they may not teach this explicitly or intentionally.  We know that in Him is Life (John 1:4), and all who believe in Him have eternal life (John 3:36).

Luke’s Teaching on the Word of God
Luke wrote of the incident where Peter preached to those in the home of Cornelius, the Gentile centurion.  "While Peter was still speaking these rhema, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the logos" (Acts 10:44).  While both rhema and logos are used in the same sentence, the Scripture says it was those who heard the logos who received the Holy Spirit.  In other words, correctly interpreted, this passage means that the Holy Spirit came on those who heard the word that Peter was speaking. If the logos produces death, then how could those who heard it be baptized with the Holy Spirit?

Mark’s Teaching on the Word of God
Mark wrote, “After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat down at the right hand of God.  Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord confirmed His logos by the signs that accompanied it” (Mark 16:19-20).  The Lord confirms the logos! He stands behind His Word.

James’ Teaching on the Word of God
James teaches that we should not “merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like” (James 1:22-24).  The Greek here is logou, not rhema. So James taught that we must be doers of the logos, not just the rhema.

James went on to say “the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25). The Greek here for law is nomos, not rhema.  In the context, James used logos and nomos almost interchangeably to say that if we do what it says, we will be blessed.  This flies in the face of those who would have us believe we will not be blessed unless it is the rhema we seek to obey.  To them, the logos and nomos are merely “dead letters of the law” “without any power” to accomplish God’s purpose.

James did not use the word logos in this way at all.  In fact, he taught that the Father “chose to give us birth through the word of truth” (James 1:18).  The Greek here is not rhema, but logos through which the Father gave birth to us.  How could the Father give birth to us through dead letters devoid of any power?  Of course, we know He could not.

Paul’s Teaching on the Word of God
Now let us turn to the second epistle of Paul to the Corinthians.  The rhema teachers use the third chapter to teach that apart from the Spirit, the Word is the letter of the law, which causes spiritual death (2 Cor. 3:6).  In the next sentence, they contrast this with the rhema, “the Word that God speaks”.  In doing so, the implication is that any portion of Scripture that is not rhema word is “the letter of the law, which causes spiritual death.”  If we follow that line of reasoning, we must conclude that logos (word), entolas (commands) and nomos (law) are all “the letter of the law, which causes spiritual death.”  In fact, we would have to conclude that all Scripture, aside from rhema as defined by these teachers, is “the letter of the law, which causes spiritual death.”  Is this really what Paul taught?

On the contrary, like James, Paul taught, “the Law is good if one uses it properly” (1 Timothy 1:8).  The Greek here for the Law is nomos.  He went on to say, “the “Law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murders, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers – and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which He entrusted to me” (1 Timothy 1:9-11).  And in Paul’s letter to the Romans, he explained the purpose of the law to lead us to Christ as a schoolmaster or a tutor that shows us we fall short of God’s glory (Romans 7). In that passage, he states, “the Law is spiritual” (Romans 7:14).

So if Paul did not teach that all non-rhema Scripture is merely dead letter which kills, then what did he mean when he wrote his second epistle to the Corinthians?  In the context of that passage, Paul refers to some apostles who had come into Corinth with letters of commendation (2 Cor. 3:1).  He also referred in that same verse to men who had ministered among the Corinthians and asked them for letters of commendation, so that they would be able to enter other towns where the Corinthian believers had connections.  The word for letters there is epistolon, from which we get the English word epistle.  Paul goes on to say that he did not need such commendatory epistles, since the Corinthians were his epistle.  He said, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.  You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Cor. 3:2,3).  Paul was saying that these believers who resulted from his ministry were his letter.  They were written on the tablet of his heart by the Spirit of God, not with ink or on tablets of stone.  This is the first reference to letters written on tablets of stone.  Paul emphasized the work of the Holy Spirit in the Corinthians over and against ink and paper.

He then goes on to refer to the confidence he and Timothy had due to the competence given them by God as ministers of a new covenant (2 Cor. 3:4,5).  He pointed out to them that this new covenant of which he and Timothy were ministers was not of the letter, but of the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:6).  For the first time in this passage, Paul uses the word grammaton, which also means letter.  At this point we observe here Paul’s repetition of the concept of “letters” which he had just begun discussing.  We might ask why this repetition occurs here.  Perhaps the answer is that there is a parallel between the remarks about epistolon and the remarks on grammaton, both of which are translated by the English word "letter".  The table below shows the parallels observed.  Compare and contrast each line item in the left column with its corresponding item in the right column:

Epistolon Passage (2 Corinthians 3:1-5) Grammaton Passage (2 Corinthians 3:4-17)
Letters of commendation written with ink Old Covenant engraved in letters
Letters of commendation needed by those who commend themselves Old Covenant and those whose minds are made dull
Corinthians were written on the tablet of his heart New Covenant was written on the tablet of the heart
Corinthians written on heart reflects work of Holy Spirit New Covenant written on heart reflects a ministry of the Spirit, too.

Having now observed a parallel between the written letters relative to the Corinthians and written letters pertaining to the Old and New covenants, we may observe how Paul begins to contrast and compare the Old and New Covenants.  In the following table, compare and contrast each line item in the left column with its corresponding item in the right column:

Old Covenant New Covenant
Of the letter (v. 6) Of the Spirit (v. 6)
Kills (v. 6) Gives life (v. 6)
Engraved in letters on stone (v.7) Ministry of the Spirit (v.8)
Brought death (v. 7) Gives life (v. 6)
Condemns men (v. 9) Brings righteousness (v. 9)
Came with glory (v. 9) Came with glory (v. 9)
Fading (v. 11) Enduring (v. 11)
Has no glory now (v. 10)  Much greater, surpassing glory (v. 10,11)
Moses (v. 13)  “We are not like Moses”, referring to Paul & Timothy (v. 13)
Put a veil over his face (v. 13) Boldness, no veil on Paul or Tim’s face (v. 12,13)
Veil remains to this day covering their hearts when Old Covenant is read (v. 14, 15)    Only in Christ the veil is removed whenever anyone turns to the Lord (v. 14, 15)

Having used these tables to show the observed contrast and comparison of the Old and New Covenants and the preceding parallel between the living epistles and the letters of commendation, let’s go on to ask some questions.  First of all, why did Paul draw such parallels?  What was his point in doing so?  My answer to these questions is that he wanted to point out the difference between the Old and New Covenants was just as radical as the difference between men’s letters of commendation and the living epistle the Corinthian believers were to Paul.  If we correctly handle this passage, we will not draw the false conclusion that “apart from the Spirit, the entire Word of God is the letter of the law, which causes spiritual death.”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It is plain to see what Paul meant in 2 Corinthians 3:6, when he said, “for the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.”  He was clearly referring specifically to the Old Covenant of Moses here, as those outside of Christ, who have not turned to the Lord, read it.  He is not referring to the entire Word of God.

Putting it All Together
In conclusion, I want to be clear that there is some truth in what the rhema teachers proclaim.  Here are the points where I agree with them:
  • Rhema in the Greek New Testament refers to a word that proceeds out of the mouth, or a spoken word, when that is the connotation the writer wishes to convey. 
  • God speaks to people today through the Holy Spirit and through the Scriptures.
  • When the Holy Spirit illuminates a passage of Scripture, it seems to come alive.  At those moments, we may be encouraged, comforted, strengthened, edified, or convicted of sin.
  • The Holy Spirit reminds us of Jesus’words.  He gives us what we need from a practical viewpoint for what is happening in our lives currently.
  • When we have ears to hear what the Holy Spirit says to us, we obey and see the good fruit of it.

Here are the points where I believe the rhema teachers are in error:
  • The Scriptures do not teach us that rhema is more spiritual, more important, or more powerful than commands (entolas) of Jesus, the logos (word), or the perfect law (nomos) that gives freedom.
  • There is no teaching in Scripture to focus our attention on rhema or emphasize it rather than logos.
  • The Scripture does not teach that unless it is rhema the Word of God is dead letter.  We cannot section off parts of the Word as dead letter, because we consider them not to be rhema.

Here are some other points on the subject that are abundantly clear from a straightforward examination of Scripture:
  • We are to recall the commands (entolas) of Jesus, and his words (logos).  We are to practice them, since they save us from destruction and lead to eternal life.
  • All Scripture originated with the Holy Spirit, whether God speaks it to me personally or not.
  • The entire Bible is God-breathed (theo-pneustos), and it’s all the Word of God whether I believe it or not.
  • While all Scripture is found written in our Bible today, the first step in the inspiration process for all Scripture was that God breathed forth His Word.  Therefore, it was all a spoken word from the Holy Spirit initially.
  • The Word of God is our sole rule of faith, not our subjective feelings and not just certain passages that we select because we consider them rhema.
  • The Word of God does not need to be changed, I do.  If there is a portion of it that I am supposed to be practicing and am not practicing, then I am not to disregard it as dead letter that I am free to ignore.  Instead, I must acknowledge that I fall short of the glory of God.  I must admit that I am spiritually depraved apart from God, and completely incapable of obedience to His Word apart from walking in the Spirit. My salvation must rely daily on the grace of God in Christ by faith.
  • Every born again believer in Christ has the Holy Spirit dwelling within.  So the ministry of the Spirit should be a regular part of the believer’s time in the Word.
  • The Spirit has to reveal to you the thought or concept behind what is being said. 
  • Those who espouse this rhema teaching should be careful, because "every idle rhema (word or utterance) that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matthew 12:36.)

Indeed, we must be very careful in the way we handle the original Greek and Hebrew languages of the Bible.  We should be very careful not to add to the Word or teach things based on meanings of words in the original languages that were not taught in Scripture. As with the Biblical languages, there are also English words that carry similar meanings but have different connotations.  For example, take the words vehicle and car.  A car is always a vehicle, but a vehicle is not always a car.  Similarly, an oil painting may be considered a picture, but a picture is not always an oil painting.  While I admit they have different connotations, I would also be mistaken to exaggerate or misuse the grammatical differences between these words to make distinctions that were never intended in the English language.  For example, it would be incorrect to state that all vehicles get poor gas mileage, but all cars get good gas mileage.

Likewise, one can also show that these two words – logos and rhema – have different and distinct connotations.  But one would be mistaken to exaggerate or misuse the grammatical differences between these words to make distinctions that were never intended in the Greek language.  The Scripture does not teach all of the points being made by the rhema teachers, nor does it create this false separation of itself into the rhema and logos categories.  It’s my responsibility as an individual to combine the Word with faith.  But my lack of faith or lack of hearing does not make the Bible or any passage of Scripture any less the Word of God. 

By once again embracing all Scripture as useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, we are free to Preach the Word, not just certain portions.  When this begins to happen, the Holy Spirit will move in a mighty way in our lives and in the Church, so that the people of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted. "Wise and Foolish Builders" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.

Author's note: I also recommend my other articles, Deleted Scriptures in the Bible?, Is Obedience Optional?, The Scripture Must Be Fulfilled, The Bible is the Word of God, Scripture Alone, The Law of Christ, Faith Works!, What Then Must We Observe?, Obedience by the Spirit, Read the Bible for All Its Worth!, The Rise of Antichrists, Called to be BlamelessSins That Will Keep You From Heaven, Ask for the Ancient Paths, and What's Wrong with the Prosperity Gospel? See the Home page of this blog for more. You can also find my complete collection of blogs 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