The Problem With Messianic Judaism

Who Is Making Who Jealous?
By David Ravenhill

Saul of Tarsus was certainly no fan of the early Church. His zeal drove him to plunder, persecute, prosecute and imprison whomever he came across belonging to The Way. Entering house after house he destroyed God’s fledgling flock, causing them to be scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. His very name evoked fear in all who heard it.

Then it happened. Saul had an encounter with the Living God. This once proud Pharisee became the apostle to the very dogs he formally despised. Saul, their one-time arch adversary, became their chief advocate. » Read more

Peculiarities of Present-Day Prophets

Heaven’s Prophetic Assignments
By John Eckhardt

God puts a prophet through a process of refinement. God purges the prophet and develops their character. The prophet has to respond to the dealings of God in his or her own life before they can effectively deal with the problems in the lives of others.

Sometimes as a prophet you will feel as if you are in a furnace. You may find yourself saying, “God, why are You dealing so strongly with me? Why don’t You deal with everyone else like this?” Don’t give up, prophet. Go through the process.

A prophet is a vessel. God purges His vessels. God will take the dross (impurities) out of your life. You have to become the raw material to be a prophetic vessel. Go through the process. Let the fire burn.

Prophet, don’t allow guilt, shame and condemnation to prevent you from accepting and walking in your calling. Many prophets struggle with feelings of inadequacy as a result of their past. Isaiah was purged and sent. Allow the Lord to purge you from sins of the past, walk clean before the Lord and fulfill your call.

Moses distinguished himself as a prophet by his faithfulness (Num. 12:7). Be faithful to the call and commission. » Read more

10 Reasons Preachers Become Divas

10 REASONS SOME PASTORS DEVELOP A SUPERSTAR MENTALITY
By Joseph Mattera

From the outset of this article I do not want to convey the thought that just because a leader has name recognition or becomes popular that they are not people of God. Many of my close friends in the ministry are also celebrities in their own right but do not exhibit these traits. However, It would be less then honest for those of us in the church not to admit the aberrant behavior of some of our own. The following are ten reasons some church leaders develop a superstar mentality. » Read more

Ministerial Pride

By Pastor Bob Jennings

“God is able to humble those who walk in pride” (Daniel 4:37)

Pride is a mother sin. All sin, in a way, is a manifestation of pride. That is, the conceit, the arrogance, the self-importance—pride affects every word, thought and deed. Pride, though subtle, is fairly simple—“thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.”1

This self-exaltation is universal, infecting every heart2, until the time when one is born again and the proud man is taken down to full surrender by the finger of God.3 Right there is the crux of conversion to Christ. It was a pride problem; it was a power struggle between man and God. » Read more

14 Common Traits of Toxic Church Leaders

Editor’s Note: For more than 35 years I’ve been doing all I can to alert the Body of Christ to the prevalent problem of ungodly, unChrist-like hyper-authoritarian church leaders. They are the bane of the church in that they pervert and distort the whole concept of human under-shepherds who are supposed to be mirroring and representing the Great Shepherd, the literal and functional Head of the Church that He is building. Human leaders shape the earthly church in many ways — some of which are tangible and obvious, others intangible and subtle. For many years, the author of the following article has worked closely with, coached and counseled, and observed church leaders. Primarily, his work and associations have not been with the Pentecostal/Charismatic branch of the church; nevertheless, his observations about church leaders and leadership often have application to that realm as well. My book, Charismatic Captivation, remains, 18 years after its release, to be one of the leading books dealing head-on with the matter of hyper-authoritarianism in the Neo-Pentecostal church, in particular, and continues to be found by hundreds of new readers and scores of booksellers every year around the world. One of the reasons for the continued demand for the book, I believe, is that it is a prophetic book, written from a prophet’s perspective, scribed through a prophetic pen. One significant hallmark of genuine prophets is that they disdain and eschew ecclesiastical politics, to their self-detriment and deterrence of their ministry in many ways. Certainly, this book’s contents reflects all of that. It is direct and straightforward. It spares not. In writing it, I made no attempt to be politically-correct, but every attempt to put to paper exactly what I heard the Lord speaking in my Spirit, without sugar-coating it. For these reasons, the self-appointed, de facto Pentecostal/Charismatic aristocracy has by no means accepted or received the message of this book, even to the present. The backcover copy captured and prophesied the essence of why the book’s message has been so disdained by many Charismatic ministers: “Charismatic Captivation exposes the widespread authoritarian abuse that has been flourishing virtually unabated for decades since it was first infused into the very fabric, foundation, and functions of the Charismatic/Neo-Pentecostal church during the ‘Discipleship/Shepherding Movement.'” The symptoms of toxic church leaders the author of the following article identifies are essentially identical to the signs and symptoms of abusive church leadership identified in my books and other writings. The only comment I would make about the article regards the first sentence. While I would agree with it when applied to the entire institutional church as a whole, unfortunately, the percentages of toxic church leaders within the Pentecostal/Charismatic is higher than the church-at-large. There’s a number of significant reasons for that, albeit that matter is beyond the scope of this post. The recent spate of church leaders being exposed as being dominating and controlling abusers of authority and the far-reaching effects of their antichrist leadership methodologies demonstrates the extensiveness and expansiveness of this spiritually destructive cancer that a large portion of the church has stubbornly refused to recognize and thus allowed to metastasize virtually unabated for decades, despite the warnings and admonitions of some of its prophets. Espousal and practice of these symptoms of spiritual toxicity in leadership are by no means limited to the ecclesiastical realm, but are also increasingly found in the Christian business arena as well, particularly among the ranks of business enterprises that spiritually identify with Neo-Pentecostal streams and associate their business endeavors with the more spiritual-sounding realm of “marketplace ministries,” where the cult-like tactics of domination and control are the same, despite the claim to a more sophisticated and spiritual stratosphere than that of the normal business realm.[End Editor’s Note]

Fourteen Symptoms of Toxic Church Leaders
By Thom Ranier

Most church leaders are godly and healthy. A toxic church leader, one that is figuratively poisonous to the organization, is rare. But it is that church leader who brings great harm to churches and other Christian organizations. And it is that leader that hurts the entire cause of Christ when word travels about such toxicity. » Read more

Bishops and Apostolic Succession

In the 1980s a spiritually perilous trend began developing in the Neo-Pentecostal realm, which was the human appointments of certain leaders into the supposed office of “bishop” by groups claiming ” Petrine apostolic succession.” This vogue has become especially popular and common in an increasing number of so-called Neo-Pentecostal “networks” that have emerged since the 1980s, comprised of affiliated though purportedly autonomous churches. One prominent Neo-Pentecostal organization1 in 1982 formed what it called “The International College of Bishops,” comprised of ecclesiastical leaders upon whom the organization had conferred the title of “Bishop,” which they purported positioned the conferees in the bimillenial hierarchical system of bishops of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) supposedly leading back in unbroken “succession” to the Apostle Peter, who the RCC regards as the first “Pope.”

This trend has developed despite the irrefutable fact that no such “office” or “position” is established anywhere in Holy Writ (The Bible), but rather in fact is undeniably antithetical and subversive to the governmental offices God has established in His Word, namely, the Fivefold Ministry Offices (Eph. 4:11). Nowhere does Scripture establish or even vaguely support the notion of a spiritually efficacious “office” of bishop or hierarchical lineage of ecclesiastical surrogates appointed by Christ, the supreme Head of the Church. » Read more

Confronting the Error of Hyper-Grace

Dr. Michael Brown

By Dr. Michael Brown

The biblical message of grace is wonderful, glorious and life-transforming. We can’t live without it for one second of our lives. But there is a message being preached today in the name of a new grace reformation, mixing powerful truth with dangerous error. I call it hyper-grace.

One of the foundational doctrines of the hyper-grace message is that God does not see the sins of His children, since we have already been made righteous by the blood of Jesus and since all of our sins, past, present and future, have already been forgiven. That means that the Holy Spirit never convicts believers of sin, that believers never need to confess their sins to God, and that believers never need to repent of their sins, since God sees them as perfect in his sight. » Read more

Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence!

One morning about a year ago, I awoke hearing a Scripture verse in my spirit: “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.” (Heb 10:35)

Then, I was reading in George W. Bush’s autobiography, the chapter on Afghanistan, less than a month after the conflagrations the President ordered began there, the media and some pacifist politicians were unjustly and unwisely already beginning to cast doubt and aspersions regarding the mission, evoking the “Q-word” — likening the scenario to a Vietnam-like “quagmire.” The President went around the room at the next NSC meeting and asked every member, who were a mix of advisers, cabinet officials, and top military commanders: » Read more

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