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Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. -- 1Corinthians 12: 4-11 (ESV)
Beloved, we have written before about the ongoing trend in modern Charismania to abandon the absolute truth we are assured of in Scripture in favor of what we experience and feel. This unbiblical teaching is rampant in NAR circles and promoted widely by Bethel Church, IHOP and Charisma News. The foundational premise is simple. While paying lip service to the Bible these false teachers train their adherents to "experience" the Holy Spirit using new age techniques such as centering prayer, soaking prayer, and the emptying of one's mind. Essentially, we are to seek the Spirit apart from the Word. Leaving the God that never changes for the wickedness of our own deceitful hearts. We see it in the language employed by the false prophet network all the time. They constantly refer to things they "felt" the Lord say. Renowned false teacher Joseph Prince always claims that every sermon he preaches was directly conveyed to him by God thus elevating what he preaches to Biblical truth. This is the same scheme used by those claiming the mantle of modern day prophecy. One cannot challenge for example Jennifer Leclaire claiming she was shown by God a "sneaky squid spirit" that was stalking her because of the subjective nature of the claim. All we can do is point out how silly and wildly unbiblical it is. This cartel however will merely reply that those clinging to Biblical truth need a greater revelation of the Spirit. Translation? Leave the inerrant truth for Scripture for what you heart is saying to you.
This movement has created their own worship and education programs to support it. Bethel runs a "school for the supernatural"; where they claim to be able to teach people the gifts of the Spirit. The aforementioned Leclaire runs her own "School of the Prophets" out of a hotel room by the Fort Lauderdale Airport, where for $300 you too can be taught to be a prophet. For another $300 you can join Jennifer's network of Prophets so you have immediate street cred. On the worship side we have seen the growth of mantra-related worship, where the hook is repeated over and over again and the advent of "prophetic worship." Bethel teaches their worship leaders to empty their heads when worshipping and just sing the first thing that comes to mind, calling it "prophetic." I witnessed this once at a local church where for 15 minutes the worship leader just sang and repeated over and over again, "jump in the river if you want a hug from Jesus." This was not prophetic beloved; it was demonic. In order to be prophetic, something must align with the final revealed will of God -- the Bible. The first thing that pops into our heads is often derived directly from our hearts which the Bible says is more deceitful than anything else. This is why we do not wander from the assurance of absolute truth found in the Bible. I say this as a back drop to an article on Charisma News this week from infamous false prophet James Goll. Mr. Goll is actually the prophet who "covers" the sneaky squid prophetess Jennifer Leclaire. Let us reason together beloved as we delve into the mind of a false prophet (link above):
"As light and darkness continue to polarize and grow into maturity in the world around us, it is imperative that we learn to discern the spiritual source of the inputs to which we are daily being exposed. This is actually one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit--and we can become more accurate in this gift through practice and fully submitting our bodies with its five senses to God." -- James Goll
We should have warning lights flashing the moment we see an article entitled, "It's Time to Surrender Your Senses to Holy Spirit." What a completely unbiblical premise and we see that Goll is quite open about his premise here at the start. First of all, light and darkness are not "polarizing" in these end days. If anything, they are growing closer together as the church continue to seek relevance to a world they are supposed to be called out from. The problem for people like Mr. Goll of course is he has convinced himself that his darkness is light, which Jesus teaches means he is in the deepest darkness one can imagine. His movement however is growing so he believes that his darkness is become polarized when it is actually the opposite. While it is true that discernment is one of the gifts, Goll makes three major errors in his introduction. First of all, not everyone can have every gift. Paul makes this abundantly clear when he asked rhetorically if all can prophesy, teach, or speak in tongues. The answer implied in the original language is -- no! Secondly, the notion that "practice makes perfect" when it comes to a gift of the Spirit is ludicrous. Does God give incomplete gifts? Does the Holy Spirit apportion a gift that someone does not know how to wield? How inept does James Goll think God is? Lastly from the introduction, the notion that therefore we must submit our bodies/five senses to God in order to bring about these unbiblical notions is obviously unbiblical itself. Nowhere does God instruct us to rely on our senses, especially over the truths contained in Scripture. Goll continues:
"Have you ever seen or felt or discerned a supernatural presence by the Holy Spirit--whether it be angelic or a demonic one? When we "see" or "sense" or "feel" a spiritual entity nearby, we have discerned its presence." -- James Goll
Ugh. That is NOT what the gift of discernment is beloved. The Scriptural reference for the gifts of the Spirit are the key verses for today. I included the entire beginning for context because it is important to not lose track of what Paul is saying. What can we definitively say about these gifts? We can say that there are varieties of gifts, service and activities but they come from the same God. We can definitively say that only God empowers them! Not some school at the airport or mega church in California. We can say definitively that not everyone can have all of the gifts. To each a manifestation is given -- not all of the manifestations. One gets wisdom and another gets a word of knowledge. One gets healing and another prophecy. We can state definitively that these are apportioned to each person individually by the Holy Spirit as He wills. Not Bill Johnson, Jennifer Leclaire or Mike Bickle. We also see that discernment is listed here as "distinguishing between spirits." This is not meant as some form of spiritual hide and go seek, where we are to try and feel if there are good or evil spirits nearby. Commentaries agree: