By Gary Amirault
"So then you must try to be like God, for you are his children and he loves you. Your life must be lived in love, and must have as its pattern the life of Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us, as a sacrifice and offering acceptable to God. Fornication and any kind of indecency or conscienceless greed should not even be so much as mentioned in your society, for it is not fitting for God's consecrated people even to talk about things like that. You must have nothing to do with obscene language and with stupid talk. These things are not becoming for you. No! Gratitude to God should be the accent of your talk. For you are well aware that no one who is characterized by that greed, which has made gain its god, has any part in the kingdom which is Christ's and God's.
You must not allow anyone to mislead you with empty words. It is things like that which bring God's wrath upon those who disobey him. You must not allow anyone to mislead you with empty words. You must never have anything to do with people like that. You were once all darkness, but now your connection with the Lord has made you light. You must behave as those who are at home in the light. For light brings as its harvest everything that is good and right and true. You must submit everything to the test of the approval of the Lord. You must have no share in the sterile deeds of darkness; you must rather expose them." (Ephesians 5:1-11, Barclay translation)
"Christ set us free, and means us to stay free. Take your stand on that, and never again submit to any yoke of slavery.
I, Paul, tell, you that, if you get yourselves circumcised, Christ will be no good to you. Once again I solemnly state to every man who gets himself circumcised that he is under obligation to carry out every item of the law. If you try to get into a right relationship with God through any legal system, you have by that very act severed your connection with Christ. You have removed yourselves from the sphere of grace. It is by the help of the Spirit that we eagerly await the hoped-for right relationship with God which comes from faith. Once a man becomes a Christian, whether or not he is circumcised is meaningless. What matters is faith working in love.
You were making excellent progress. Who stopped you obeying the truth? Whatever arguments were used to persuade you certainly did not come from the God who calls you. Once even the slightest infection gets into the society, it spreads until the whole society becomes infected. The fact that you and I are united in the Lord makes me completely confident that you will agree with me. But the person who is upsetting you will have to pay the penalty-and it does not matter who he is. As for me, brothers, if I still proclaim the necessity of circumcision as a necessity, then those who believe in circumcision would no longer find the cross offensive. I wish the people who are disturbing you would castrate themselves, let alone circumcise themselves! (Galatians 5:1-12, Barclay translation)
"Alexander the coppersmith did me a lot of harm. The Lord will give him what he has earned for what he has done. You too must watch him, because he bitterly opposed our message." (2 Timothy 4:14,15, Barclay translation)
"You must realize that in the last days difficult times will come. There will be men who love nothing but self and money. They will be boastful, arrogant and abusive. They will have no respect for parents, and no gratitude to any man. They will be without reverence to God and without natural affection to men. They will be implacable in their enmities and slanderous in their words. They will be intemperate and savage. They will see nothing to love in goodness. They will be treacherous, reckless, inflated with conceit. They will love pleasure more than they love God. They will retain the outward conventions of religion, but they will consistently deny its dynamic. Refuse to associate with people like that. It is people like that who insinuate themselves into houses and thus get into the clutches of silly women, who are burdened by their sins of the past and driven by all kinds of desires, women who go from teacher to teacher, and who remain quite incapable of ever arriving at the knowledge of the truth. Jannes and Jambres rebelled against Moses, and they too rebel against the truth. They are men with corrupt minds and a counterfeit faith. But they will not get very far. Their folly will be publicly exposed as that of Jannes and Jambres was." (2 Timothy 3:1-9, Barclay translation)
"I wish that you would bear with me in a little folly. Please do! I am jealous for you with God's jealousy, for it was I who arranged your engagement to Christ as a chaste virgin to her one husband. But I am afraid that your minds may be corrupted, and that you may be seduced from your single-hearted devotion to Christ, just as the serpent with his clever lies seduced Eve. For, if someone comes and preaches another Jesus to you, different from the Jesus we have preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel you were given, you have no difficulty in tolerating it. I do not believe I am in any way inferior to these super-apostles. I may be inexpert in speech, but I am not in knowledge; and this is something that always and in all circumstances we have made perfectly clear.
I accepted a low place to enable you to have a high one, for I preached the good news to you, and I did not take a penny piece for doing so. Was this where I went wrong? I robbed other congregations by taking pay from them to enable me to serve you." (2 Corinthians 11:1-8, Barclay translation)
If you are of the King James tradition, these scriptures may sound somewhat unusual. I find his phrasing very refreshing, even though some words he uses strongly indicate he is not an American, but rather from the British Isles.
William Barclay is an internationally-known Bible teacher whose 18-volume work Barclay's Daily Study Bible, New Testament, is always among the best-selling commentary sets. As I mentioned in a previous article, Dr. Barclay discovered that Jesus Christ would reconcile all mankind unto Himself. It would have been nice if he had discovered that before He wrote this translation. It would have been even a better translation than it already is.
In the above scriptures, Paul gives many warnings. He speaks of "other gospels," "other Jesus,'" "different spirit." He even mentions names like Alexander the coppersmith, and the "super-apostles" who I am sure the Corinthians knew by name. These were not Hindu, or Moslem "super-apostles." He was talking about people who considered themselves followers of Jesus Christ. He wished some of them would castrate themselves. He is saying these teachers are bearing bad fruit; he wished they would be cut-off from planting bad seed.
Nothing has changed. These same "super-apostles" are still here, only greatly increased in number. The "different gospels," Jesus' and spirit have increased in number, but they are spewing forth the same thing they spewed forth 1800 years ago. The "super-apostles" set up shop, brought forth hundreds of different gospels and today they are known as the 22,000 different denominations of Christianity. Any denomination that mixes law and grace stems from these "super-apostles" which Paul wished would castrate themselves so as not to spread their "other gospels and other Jesus's."
Well, they tried to shut Paul up over 1900 years ago-and almost succeeded. Paul's gospel has been neatly covered up laying beneath the church in Jerusalem which preached a mixture of law and grace. It took me years to get out from underneath it. Those "super-apostles" are very forceful individuals. The systems they build are extremely effective in keeping people in fear and through fear, in bondage. It is very difficult to break free.
The other day, driving to the airport to pick up my wife, I turned on the radio which was tuned into a St. Louis station which was broadcasting a church service. The preacher was one of the most dynamic speakers I have heard in a long time. His primary message was that our words contain the power of life and death, they were containers for what is in our hearts. He was extremely funny. As I was trying to bring myself into his audience, I could tell he was using many facial and body expressions to make his points. He was extremely charismatic.
I used to be in the sales management field. This industry often used dynamic speakers to "pump up" the sales force for the week. We would give them motivational tapes designed to give them enough enthusiasm, motivation, and vision to get them through a job which required always being upbeat and positive.
This preacher had all the qualities to be one of these kind of speakers. As a matter of fact, he was one of those kind of speakers. Although this was a church service, his gospel was really the same gospel a sales manager would present to his sales force. It was a "prosperity message," you know, the "name it claim it" kind of gospel. While I dislike this kind of teaching and believe it is a false gospel worshipping the god of Mammon instead of Jesus Christ, I must confess, I really enjoyed his performance. He had those same kind of qualities that made John Kennedy and Ronald Regan so likeable.
After laying the foundation of words being extremely powerful, a teaching often packaged under the "positive confession" label, he shifted gears into the area of gossip and slander. Here he really turned on his body language to describe some of those who spread this awful disease in the body of Christ, gossip.
Now gossip, slander, and false accusations are certainly something we should all stay away from and there is a proper place for this kind of teaching. But it was clear from his remarks and his manner of presentation, that he was creating the atmosphere that any criticism of his ministry would fall into those categories. By the time he was finished, I was astonished at what he had created. I couldn't imagine anyone in his congregation challenging him in any way for fear of being labeled as "slanderer."
It occurred to me that the way he defined things in his sermon, Paul was certainly a slanderer, Jesus with His "Woe to you pharisees, scribes, lawyers" would certainly have qualified Him as the devil himself. The prophets of the Old Testament would have been just sour old men who were jealous of the established successful churches.
I know a lot about the power of words, both from a natural and a spiritual point of view. They are indeed powerful. I also know that with my knowledge of the Bible, I have become good enough at using the Scriptures that I can make a strong point on both sides of almost any issue. I can teach we are not to judge and pull many powerful Scriptures to build my case starting with "Judge not." I can make an equally good case that we are to judge starting with "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die.' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to have his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand." (Ezekiel 3:18)
I have become good enough at using words that if I want to justify myself about anything I can do it. I can also condemn the whole world, while saving myself. I have seen many do this, and they feel perfectly justified and Scripturally correct.
The preacher on the radio was very entertaining and captivating while he was preaching against gossip and slander. But while the audience was being entertained, they did not realize he was using smear words and mannerisms to make sure that anyone who ever thought of speaking a word of correction or rebuke to the pastor or his organization would feel like a snake. He painted such an awful picture of anyone who would ever touch "God's anointed," that I don't think anyone in his congregation would ever have the nerve to confront him on anything.
Paul said he did not come with eloquent speech. Of Jesus, Isaiah said there was nothing charismatic about Jesus that the natural man would find attractive. This preacher was nothing like that. In the natural he was an outstanding orator, a great entertainer, and also a great deceiver. Don't misunderstand me, God can use people who are eloquent and handsome. But eloquence and handsomeness must preach the Gospel, the Jesus, and by the Spirit which Paul preached.
I realize that as I judge so will I be judged. So be it. I know all will be eventually judged by the finished work of Christ for all mankind. My heart's desire and belief is that all will be restored to Christ. I judge that all mankind will be ultimately forgiven, including those who presently are marketing false gospels, false Christs, and false spirits.
In this time where the modern church is attempting to display to the world a unity which is not based upon the foundation of the finished work of Jesus Christ, it will be difficult to speak a word of correction. Paul faced the same problem from forty AD to just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem. The gospel of the circumcision was crushing Paul's work. Paul spoke out. We have his words and the events of that period of time recorded. Paul was right, the circumcision party was wrong..
If Paul lived today, I feel certain he would speak against this mixture of law and grace as strongly as he did in his time. I don't think any of us would like to hear from the apostle to the nations, " I wish you would go all the way and castrate yourselves." These are strong words. But they need to be spoken again today. "Oh foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you," also needs to be spoken again today.
I know as I write these words, many will feel that I am being judgmental, that I am arrogant, not loving. I am sorry. I don't know how to write this material in a way that everyone will understand and turn from the awful lies sold as truth in the church market places. There will be some who will hear and be thankful. Others will hear and want to stone me. May our Father have mercy on us all and I know He will. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
In future editions of Dew, I hope to write several articles on the various techniques people use to hold others under their power. We will talk at length about the powers of persuasion of men like Hitler, brain-washing techniques of nations like China, and propaganda methods like those used in the former Soviet Union and the United States. We will talk about social and cultural pressures to conform to a national or cultural standard, deceptive and subliminal advertising techniques used by the corporations and advertising agencies of the world, and the hypnotic methods used by centers like Hollywood and Disney Studios.
Our focus will be on how all of the above techniques are used in many churches of this world. You may feel, perhaps, that I must be a little crazy in the head to think I can show how these techniques are used in churches,-not in just a handful of churches-but actually in most churches.
Let me give you a little idea of what I am talking about. While the preacher on the radio used many different techniques of persuasion to deceive, I will focus on one used by tens of thousands of churches. And most Christians aren't even aware it is being used on them.
As I mentioned, I believe hypnosis is used in many churches, particularly in the "Word," "Faith," and Charismatic type of churches; those who believe in positive confession, healings and miracles through the power of one's faith. Many people in this kind of environment believe they see miracles that don't even exist. Now, let me make it perfectly clear I believe in miracles. I believe in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit including some receiving the gift of speaking in tongues. I am not saying there are not true miraculous healings. I myself have had supernatural miracles happen in my life. But for every genuine miracle I have seen, there are a thousand counterfeits pawned off as genuine to a blind deluded people in many churches.
Let me show you how one of many of these techniques are used to project miracles which never happened.
I have read several books on hypnosis from several points of view: dangers of hypnosis from a Christian point of view, mass hypnosis, hypnotherapy, etc. I did this reading because I felt that many charismatic television preachers were using persuasive techniques, but I couldn't put into words what I was perceiving. I went to a hypnosis training center and told him of my hypothesis about hypnosis being used in churches. "Oh, sure," he said.
I bought a couple of books, read a little and just set the project aside because of other more pressing work.
Recently, we had some friends visit who were in Christian ministry. The wife's former husband was a professional magician for 16 years. Part of their act was hypnosis. I shared with her my concern. She shared with me a form of hypnosis used in almost every church in this country. She called it "Hokum Hyp," short for "Hokum Hypnosis."
This technique is often used to prepare those who are selected to participate in a stage performance. The hypnotist would begin the show by declaring in a clear way that really only "intelligent" people can be hypnotized. Perhaps some further suggestions might be made to put down in a subtle way non-intelligent people. This is called "planting the suggestion." The thought that is to be projected is people who can't be hypnotized are not intelligent.
At this point, the hypnotist begins to hypnotize people and command them to perform the routines he laid out for them to do. As we can see, the subtle suggestion that it is intelligent people who are susceptible to hypnosis also implies those who do not get hypnotized are unintellingent. This added fear usually makes one go along with the act even though not actually hypnotized.
I talked to a professional magician named Amazing Randi. Some of you may remember him from the Johnny Carson Show. He exposed an evangelist named Peter Popoff as a fraud. Popoff claimed to have the gift of the word of knowledge. Randi had a team go to one of Popoff's crusades. He showed that Popoff used a radio receiver to receive the information about people from his wife who was giving him information she had gathered while talking to people as they entered the tent. She would ask to look at people's Bibles and from there would gather information like, "To my precious niece from Aunt Janet." Randi filmed this scam and then aired it on the Johnny Carson Show. Believe it or not, Peter Popoff is still in business. He has ripped off millions of dollars with his cons in the name of Jesus.
Randi, the magician also did a hypnosis act. He does not believe people really get hypnotized. He believes people will do these silly things because they want the attention, they want to be on stage. I don't agree with him on this. Nevertheless, he believes people come up to the front stage or go to healing lines and fall or shake or give testimony to healing for the same reasons people do silly things for him on stage, they want the attention.
In both of these situations, Randi's and those who were "seeded" with the "unintelligent" fear are very likely to do all that the hypnotist tells them to do even though they are not truly hypnotized. In the first situation, fear rules. In the second, desire for attention rules. They both work.
Stage hypnotists usually have a screening process of some sort to gather a group willing to go along with them so that everyone can have fun and be entertained. He will usually "plant" in advance what he wants them to do so that when he gives the command, they will follow it.
Here is how one could create a perfect audience and act which would later go on television as a great evangelistic, teaching, and healing service.
First, create an audience whose foundation consists of believing that which they cannot see; an audience which calls that which is not as though it is; an audience trained that doubt of any kind can rob your healing; an audience which believes God wants you rich, healthy, without suffering (suffering is from the devil); an audience which believes and follows the "anointing;" an audience which will participate in music which would be helpful to induce a light trance; an audience with many large egos whose god is very much the god of mammon. America is full of such people, and it is not too difficult to amass 20 to 30,000 of them together at any time one wants to have a meeting which will later be televised.
Second, once this audience is gathered, through music, pep rally type hype, slogans, themes, etc. prepare an atmosphere of expectation for the supernatural. "Plant" the seed that we must do this together. If you don't participate, your doubt may be the cause of failure and your building up your faith will be responsible for the success of this meeting.
Since this audience has already digested huge quantities of teachings emphasizing that without faith nothing will happen, and that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," the audience will believe what it can't see. You can take your miracle home with you even if you don't feel it. You can even testify of your healing without lying because you are speaking words of faith, which are more real, than physical evidence. It is yours by faith, which may have no physical evidence at the moment.
Third, give a message reminding them of all the teachings they have crammed into their minds from reading and listen to hundreds of tapes and books which they bought from him the last time they were at one of these conventions. The key of course is your faith. I will not list all the Scriptures this audience has heard sermons on, how many hundreds of times they have confessed these Scriptures for their healings, their pocket books, etc. But they all are in this vain, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." (Mark 11:24)
When it comes time for the healing part of the show, use the "word of knowledge" technique. Call out that there is someone being healed of a backache right now, someone has a migraine and it is going away right now. Do this long enough that when you call people forward there will be enough up front to select from for the next part of the show.
Next, invite those who have received their miracle to come up to "give glory to God." (Who doesn't want to be on stage like the big famous evangelist who gets so much glory and fame on this stage? Many in this audience lust for a ministry like the one the faith healer has.)
Have someone from your staff screen those who have come forward. The evangelist tells the audience they are being screened so that only the big miracles come forth due to a lack of time. He may tell them they are being screened so that only those who truly have had a miracle will be on stage. The fact of the matter is, the screener is really looking for the right candidates who will play along. A trained person through careful questions makes sure that this individual will go along with the performance. At this point, another "seed" gets planted. "When he blows on you and you fall down, don't worry. There will be someone behind you to catch you." (A hypnotist will tell them what he expects of them before he has them actually do it.)
To make sure you get the most mileage out of the "miracles," have your screener, (not the person healed) tell the audience of the miracle that occurred. That way it can be exaggerated. Also, the miracle is now announced to the whole audience for you. You don't have to lie. You just have to play along. The reward will be to be on stage with a celebrity in front of thousands of people. It may even be televised. And the healer sets it up so that the candidate could get on that stage without even lying. But even if he does have to declare a miracle, he can claim it by faith, believing what has not yet happened.
After the show, professionally edit out the video of all those who did not go down, all those who did not fit the pattern of a perfect move of God brought about by the faith of the audience and the "anointing" of the healer.
Of course use the same faith principles to gather up a huge offering by promising God must multiply your offering if you sow it into the kingdom with faith.
After the show, make sure you develop a superb database, hire professional advertising and marketing people to keep the customer happy and make them a partner in crime by giving them the opportunity of becoming a "partner," for a fee of course, usually monthly. Should a few real suckers be found in the audience who wrote very big checks, they should be followed up with personal attention and cultivated for those times when huge amounts of money are needed for building projects like auditoriums, TV stations, etc.
As in sports, it is important to make the audience feel they were a part of the success. Very few of us say, "Our team won." Usually we say, "We won," even though we only watched. We all like to win. We all like to support winning teams. Getting the audience to identify with the success will make them want to come back. Of course, unlike sports events, healing conventions are always winning events.
The above example is very brief. It could easily be developed into book length. Some evangelists have actually repented and have revealed to the world some of their techniques. Books have been written by insiders, telling us what really goes on behind the scenes.
One excellent book written about the "world's youngest evangelist" is entitled Marjoe by Steven Gaines, published by Dell. I highly recommend going to the library and reading it. The world's youngest evangelist, who made the front pages of many newspapers, reveals many of the methods used to fleece sincere people. I have several books written by insiders of some of the leading Christian television evangelists. You won't believe what goes on. Write and I'll give you some titles.
I do not write from some lofty position where I can say I have never partaken of the scene I just described. Like I said, I believe in miracles, healings, gifts of the spirit, anointings, all of that.
I used to be so frustrated and tired when our Father would put someone in my life that really needed a miracle and my prayers never made it two feet from my mouth. I wanted people delivered, healed, set free.
An acquaintance once told me the "anointing" was really on brother so and so and it was being imparted to others. We went on a trip together. Part of the reason for the trip was to go to this "anointed" brother to get the "anointing" to set the prisoners free.
His church was a huge building on a mountain. The building was much larger than the size of his congregation. He used to be a tent evangelist and raised enough money to begin building this giant warehouse on a mountain of what he called "very valuable sand." Apparently, the grade of sand he had his church on "might" be the grade used for silicon for computer chips. He was a potential millionaire. He also showed us a golf shoe invention he held a patent on from which he hoped to make a lot of money. After a tour of the main building, he drove us around his sand pile in his Lincoln town car.
When we got back to his office, it was time to get to business. He knew I came for something. He was quiet, and so was I. I was so sickened by the tour of the facilities, I really didn't want the "anointing" anymore. I just wanted to crawl in a hole somewhere and cry. Whatever it was he had, I didn't want it.
Another time, I went to a gathering of many great charismatic evangelists who gathered in Phoenix, Arizona for a much publicized convention. Due to my extreme hunger to share the Gospel and the many prophesies that were spoken over me, which seemed to confirm what was in my heart, I thought I would be an evangelist who would preach to millions. To pay for my trip, I made a bunch of silkscreened Christian T-shirts that I planned to sell there.
At this great event, I saw giant men break concrete building blocks, pick up hundreds of pounds, of course to the glory of God. I saw big men blown down by a small evangelist. I saw an evangelist from Africa whose crusades drew hundreds of thousands at a time; who knocked men down when he said, "Hallelujah." I saw a musician artist sing out the great battle between Jesus Christ and Satan with Jesus winning by the hair of his chin. And I saw a guy outside the circus hawking souvenirs . . .me . . .and I was sick again. On the way home from that carnival, my Father began the process of delivering me from this charismatic circus which I found myself immersed in for the previous two or three years. I could tell you many stories of some of the things I have seen and participated in which make me want to hang my head in shame. Fortunately for all of us, He turns all things to our good when the time is right.
A word of caution to those of you who have rejected the supernatural realm due to the abuses you have seen. Where there is a counterfeit, there is the genuine. It is important we do not let these abuses keep us from entering the genuine. Too many Christians have rejected gifts of the Holy Spirit, dreams, visions, etc. because they do not want to be associated with these abuses. This is not wise.
In the Dews ahead, Father willing, we will talk more about the ways which seem right to the religious mind, but whose way leads to a pit of darkness. We will talk more about the mind control methods used to keep us enslaved to men and their systems.
A reminder again-I do not write these things for the sake of finding fault, for exalting myself by putting other ministries down. I know the glory that we can receive through the ministry of condemnation (2 Cor. 3:9). I find no pleasure there. I find joy when the children of the Most High are free. The very chains that hold us in bondage are being peddled as the way to life. I cannot remain silent. The "ministry of death" is being sold as the "way to life." As you read the other articles, if you feel I am speaking too harshly, just remember what is at stake-abundant life. And I won't tell anyone I wished these deceivers would go all the way and "castrate themselves." There is someone far greater than I who has already spoken these words.
Oh, Foolish Galatians!
Who has bewitched you?