Time to see what the Bible has to say about these false worship movements we see springing up throughout the church.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. -- John 4: 23 (ESV)
The Bible warns us we should not be ignorant of the schemes of the enemy. The Scriptures are packed with warning after warning regarding false teachers and false prophets. They are clearly central to the schemes of the enemy in these end days. One look over the Christian landscape is all it takes to see all the various false teachings literally leading millions astray. Millions will end up in hell because they fell for the wrong teaching, followed the wrong prophet, and as a result were never saved to begin with. We worship avarice and greed through prosperity heresies. We excuse sin and mock the righteousness of God through greasy grace preaching. We usurp the power of God through word faith apostasy. We exchange the surety of an omnipotent God by exchanging His Word for our feelings through the false signs and lying wonders movement. We intermingle false gods throughout this world by mixing Christian orthodoxy with eastern mysticism, contemplative prayer, and mantra chanting. We accept absurd teachings on the bridal paradigm, Joel's end times army, the New Apostolic Reformation, conquering the seven mountains nonsense, holy laughter, making animal noises, gibberish masquerading as a heavenly prayer language, hardcore Calvinistic election, Kundalini spasmodic spirits, gold dust, gem stones, glory clouds, angel feathers and any new fad that comes along. Leonard Ravenhill once correctly quipped that the Bible must be infallible or how else could it have survived so many years of bad preaching.
While doctrine is a central focus of the enemy schemes it is not the only focus. As much as he hates the truth of God he hates any true worship of God as well. So it comes as no surprise that we see a proliferation of false worship rising up in these last days; often a direct by-product of false teaching. They have a symbiotic relationship beloved. False worship grows out of false doctrine and often our poor doctrine is either formed by or reinforced by our false worship. For example, if you believe in the heretical bridal paradigm propagated by IHOP then you are more susceptible to the Misty Edwards type of worship that over sexualizes the relationship with Christ. By the same notion, if you spend 15 minutes on a Sunday repeating the same mantra about how much God loves you, is jealous for you, and how you are His portion (all of which is one song); then is it any wonder that your doctrinal beliefs are me-centric and narcissistic? Instead of "How Great Thou Art" we are raising a generation of "How Great God Thinks I Am." Worship is supposed to be about God beloved, not us.
A recent trend in modern American Christianity is known as "Prophetic Worship." It is immensely popular amongst younger believers and the false signs and lying wonders crowd. You see it all the time at places like Bethel and Jesus Culture. IHOP and the Kansas City Prophets, from which Misty Edwards became popular. The new apostolic reformation, Chuck Pierce, Kim Clement, Dutch Sheets and C. Peter Wagner. It is what feeds the heretical Holy Ghost movies. Prophetic worship is an activity that combines spontaneous music, dance, and other art forms to present a "new word from God." By its definition alone it is pure heresy. God did not forget to reveal something to us that can only be expressed by a flagger or some other "prophetic" worshipper. What the people are being taught is to listen for God in their heart and then communicate what He is saying. Places like Bethel actually have "schools of the supernatural" where they teach this scam. I have seen classes where kids are taught that all worship is prophetic and thus all worship leaders are as well. What utter nonsense. God decides who has what gifts and when. Not Bill Johnson. Kids are taught that they might get as much as 70% wrong in their "prophetic utterances" and that is still OK. Sometimes the music and lyrics are not even planned anymore. So instead of a hymn whose doctrine has stood the test of time, we will hear the ramblings of the heart of the worship leader who claims what she is saying is from God but has been taught that 70% of the time she might be wrong. That is staggering in its stupidity and arrogance.
I remember seeing this up close and personal once at a local church. There was a guest worship leader who had clearly been taught this heresy. She sang a song for over 15 minutes that only had one coherent sentence and that was an absurd, "Jump in the river if you want a hug from Jesus." The keyboard was jacked up to provide the greatest heights of emotion. Everybody was swaying and eventually falling down. There is a word for this beloved. It is called emotionalism. This is where false worshippers try to replace a true move of the Holy Spirit with the emotions of our flesh. How can we know that is what occurring? To discern that we must first ask, what is the origin? The origin of true worship must always be truth; the Word of God. The key verse today even explains that. God is seeking true worshippers who will worship Him from their indwelt Holy Spirit and according to the infallible truth found in the Word of God alone! But where is the origin of "prophetic worship?" Inside the wicked hearts of those who are leading the worship! Remember, they are taught to "listen" to what God is saying in their hearts and then spew it out as if God Himself said it when in all likelihood their own flesh has said it. Have you ever dealt with the spiritually smug before? The super spirituals that always seem to be hearing directly from God? This is the kind of false teaching that promotes that. Have you ever had hands laid on you from a false prophets who is claiming to "feel God showing" him something about you? That kind of clairvoyant false prophecy is prevalent in the church today and is the same exact thing. God most certainly knows our hearts beloved but that should not be a source of solace.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? - Jeremiah 17: 9 (ESV)
The human heart is deceitful above all else and you want me to try and guess what God is saying in it? I know what He is saying because He already said it in the Jeremiah verse. He said do not trust it! Do not listen to it! Instead however, people who sell this "prophetic worship" rely upon the most deceitful thing ever created to "hear from God." How sad. The emphasis is placed upon the spontaneous nature of the worship; making it even more carnal. God is a God of order, especially when it comes to the order of church service. This spontaneous origin of worship entices and encourages those listening to respond in kind. People are taught to react carnally instead of scripturally. This is how you ended up with holy laughter and barking like dogs. Rolling around on the ground. The Kundalini convulsions from the false Brownsville "revival." This is how we end up with absurdities such as Todd Bentley who claimed the Holy Spirit would direct him to kick and punch people to impart healing. This is how we get to the inane point of charlatans waving their jackets at crowds of people in order to heal them. I do not need to know what you feel God has spoken to your deceitful heart. I already know what He has said to all of us in His Word!
The commonplace signs are almost always there, so it is easy to spot. Heresies like this usually claim there is some kind of "shift" going on. Something is happening in the atmosphere. The anointing becomes a fluid concept as it is usually "flowing." People who take it to extreme levels claim they are "soaking" in the presence of the spirit. The problem of course is it is not the Holy Spirit. If it were, it would be biblically grounded. The false signs and lying wonders crowd tries to leverage Scripture to support their silliness but it is always a complete butchering of what God is actually saying. They often point to the fact that David danced before the Lord.
And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn. 2Samuel 6: 14-15 (ESV)
I have heard these verses proclaim David was naked! I have heard them used to justify dance ministries. Flagging ministries. Yes, even prophetic worship. None of these are supported by this story however. First of all David was not naked beloved. The sad thing is you have to be very lazy to not be able to figure this out. The corresponding verse assures us:
David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as also were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the music of the singers. 1Chronicles 15: 27 (ESV)
This is problem when you engage in proof texting. This is the practice of too many of the new breed of preachers these days. They decide what they want to preach on instead of seeking God. They arrive at a pre-conceived point and then scour the Bible to find any verse that appears to support it. Invariably however, they are forced to rip that verse horribly out of context meaning we do not actually hear what God has to say on the matter. Did David dance before the Lord? Yes. Does this mean that churches today should have a team of fluorescently clad women dancing through corporate worship? Flaggers obscuring the sanctuary? No. I remember once at my old church they had 17 flaggers during one song. We could no longer see the worship team. I thought they might have been raptured. All kidding aside beloved, anything that distracts you from God cannot be called worship.
Many will then try and point to the complaint of David's wife, Michal. The issue she was complaining about was not the removal of clothing per se but the removal of David's "kingly" garments. Michal came from aristocracy. She was the daughter of King Saul. She apparently did not like the fact that David "lowered" himself to the level of "common" servants. Consider this; if her complaint had merit then why does the chapter end with God telling us that she had no children all of her life? There is nothing "prophetic" about David dancing here. He was simply joyful before the Lord. We also should never make doctrine, or religious practice out of one incident that is not fully confirmed elsewhere in the canon of Scripture.
The common argument leveled against those who would actually follow the Bible is that they are trying to place God into some sort of "box." That since God can do anything, we should not be restrained by anything either. Except the problem is that the box they are referring to is called doctrine. It is the very Bible itself. God created the box so our wicked hearts would not reign confusion in our lives. God certainly delights in our worship beloved but not for the sake of it alone. The first sign of true worship is obedience to what He has already said. Consider that earlier in the same story of David dancing before the Lord this happened:
And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen had stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. -- 2Samuel 6: 6-7 (ESV)
The Bible says that David and all of the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord as they transported the ark back to Jerusalem. They were worshipping. Yet God was clearly more concerned with the manner of worship than the act. You see Uzzah was not supposed to touch the ark. God had ordained that only the Kohathites were allowed to transport the ark and Uzzah was not a Kohathite. Additionally, it was not meant to be transported on a cart but rather on the shoulders of the Kohathites by using poles. You may be saying what's the big deal? Uzzah was ordered by his king to do this and was only trying to prevent the ark from spilling onto the ground. Why couldn't God just be happy with the worship that was being offered? That seems to be the logic today as well with things like "prophetic" worship. They think that God should be happy with the worship regardless of the manner. They think that their zeal or sincerity makes up for their blatant disobedience to the Word of God. They are dancing spiritually naked before the Lord and like Uzzah before them; they have no idea how offensive their false worship is. This is not new beloved. God has had to deal with this before and not just with Uzzah:
Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. -- Amos 5: 23-24 (ESV)
Worship is a natural outpouring of love for God but how can we say we love Him while not obeying Him? As Jesus once lamented, why bother calling me Lord if you refuse to do what I say? Claiming God forgot something in His Word and is now imparting new revelation is blasphemous. There is no need to rely upon our hearts when we have His Word! Beloved realize the insidious nature of this scheme from Satan. If we are to believe that this form of expression is indeed prophetic, then we put it on par with the Word of God and thus diminish the Word! The other major problem is it is a slippery slope. David probably thought the cart was a safer way of transporting the ark; no big deal. Uzzah probably felt honored and never could have imagined the ark falling over onto the ground. His reaction to stop the ark from touching the ground was surely benevolent but the reaction from God sure wasn't. His intentions did not matter. His heart did not matter. His worship did not matter. All that mattered was his disobedience. The slope is slippery beloved. There is a huge difference between saying how much we love God and how much He loves us. There is an even bigger difference between saying I love God and I am a lover for God. Consider these lyrics from new worship star, Nikki Mathis, who was recently heralded by Charisma News as a "prophetic worshipper."
I wanna be an extravagant lover
An offering, a sacrifice for thee
I find in you my passion and pleasure
Til I am consumed with the spirit of burning
A laid down lover
That's what I wanna be
Mathis has cited Jesus Culture, Misty Edwards and Rick Pino of all people as her influences, which explains the softcore pornographic nature of her lyrics here. You shouldn't feel the need to shower after worship. Mathis openly admits that the sound of worship is changing.
"It is being used in a real raw place, because that is what this generation wants. And to reach the lost, we have to get real and raw and worship that is not fake will cause others to worship." -- Nikki Mathis
How unscriptural and narcissistic. Getting "real and raw" may sound really cool or even profound but it is spiritually vacuous. Ironically the fake worship she rails against is this notion of prophetic worship. By definition it must be fake or God is a liar. God did not just realize He forgot to tell us something so He whispered it to Nikki Mathis' heart to tell us. Mathis however unwittingly reveals the deception she is under and is spreading like a cancer through the body of Christ:
I have heard people say, "That is just emotionalism." Our soul is made up of our mind, will and emotions. Why wouldn't I want to experience and worship God with all my being! Spirit and body as well! It isn't wrong that we get emotional when worshipping Him with music. -- Nikki Mathis
There is so much wrong and misleading here. First of all, we are made up of spirit, soul, and body according to 1Thessalonians. It is the spirit that is connected to God. This is where He leads us into all truth. There is nothing wrong with getting emotional during worship if you mean being overwhelmed in your soul because of how good you realize God is in your spirit. The issue is not becoming emotional. The issue is in allowing your emotions to dictate your worship. To cast aside the truth only found in the spirit for what you feel. That is the definition of emotionalism. It is carnality disguised as a spiritual experience.
At the end of the day that is all prophetic worship is. It originates in the carnal heart and seeks to please the carnal soul. It starts innocently enough just asking what is wrong with a little emotion but it ends as we saw this past year with the most absurd and heretical moments in church worship. Songs like "I Like to Move It, Move It"; Highway to Hell, and Wrecking Ball were performed during church worship. We have seen the absurdity of the Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey and Kim Walker-Smith testifying to tens of thousands that she had a waking visitation from Jesus and met Father God face to face. Remember, what we believe forms our worship but what we say in worship can also form our doctrine. It is all part of the grand scheme the devil has laid out in these last days. To erode doctrine to the point where demanding it means you are branded as religious and trying to put God in a box. To convince millions of people they are saved because of an emotional reaction to an emotional call. To corrupt the true worship of the Lord through heresies such as "prophetic worship" and utter carnality. Beloved it is real simple. If your sermon is not scriptural then it is false by definition. If your worship is not scriptural then it too is false. The key verses today declare God is seeking worshippers! But they must worship Him in spirit and in truth. You cannot have one without the other.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- March 9, 2016
Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.