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March 11, 2020
NAR Idiocy and the Coronavirus -- Blaspheming the Way of Truth
By Anthony Wade
Three coronavirus stories this week highlight how false teachers damage the cause of Christ...
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. -- 2Peter 2:102 (ESV)
We often hear in response to discernment that false teachers and prophets are not that big a deal. Where is the harm in Joel Osteen making people feel a little bit better about themselves? What is wrong with spreading the hope of prosperity? When one looks at the micro sense, perhaps it can be difficult to see that when the prosperity does not come to pass or the house gets foreclosed that we have people whose faith has been shipwrecked on the shores of disbelief. There are macro concerns as well though and Peter gets to that in the key verses for today. It is expressly because of false teachers and prophets that the way of truth, or the Gospel, will be blasphemed. While the apostate church turns a blind eye to charlatans like Paula White, the world see her for what she is. A conniving, money grubbing hustler. When the world sees the absolute lunacy that comes out from Charismania, all of the church gets lumped in with the false teachers. When Bethel pretends for a week they are going to raise a dead child and fail, the way of the truth gets blasphemed.
That said, the recent pandemic of the coronavirus provided the church with the opportunity to either be the church as God designed or continue playing games and leading people to defame and blaspheme Christianity. Guess which path they have chosen? The above links are to three recent stories emanating from those who fancy themselves Christian and the outbreak the world is grappling with. The first comes from a mega church pastor in Australia named Brian Tamaki. Here are some excerpts from the article:
"Tithe-paying, Bible-believing, Holy Spirit-filled Christians have a Psalm 91 "protection policy" against COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, according to New Zealand's popular multi-campus Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki. Speaking to his congregation in Auckland on Sunday, Tamaki said God allows "epidemics, pestilence and famine" when people have departed from faith in Him. But for Bible-believing, born-again Christians who pay their tithes, God assures them protection from the virus in Psalm 91. Tamaki claimed that because viruses travel through the air controlled by "satanic spirits" that energized their spreading, only Christians covered by God can avoid being affected by the virus. "The prince of the power of the air, Satan, has control of atmospheres, unless you're a blood-bought born-again, Jesus-loving, Bible-believing, Holy Ghost-filled, tithe-paying believer. You are the only one that can walk through atmospheres and has a, literally a protection -- the Psalm 91 protection policy around you," Tamaki said. "I don't care if you don't believe it. It's all right. I'm just giving you so you understand." -- Charisma News
First let us deal with the obvious fact that the verses cited from Psalm 91 do not provide immunity from disease. That is absurd. If it were so, Christians would literally never get sick. This is why we never create full doctrine based from Psalms or Proverbs. They can serve as excellent secondary sources to confirm scripture but not to create whole doctrine. Even Paul advises Timothy to partake of a little wine for his stomach ailments. Paul himself suffered from a thorn in his flesh that many theologians assume was a physical ailment of some sort. God did not respond to his pleas for relief by quoting Psalm 91 -- He told him that His grace would be sufficient. Do you know who did quote 91, out of context I might add? Satan. He did so to Jesus during His temptation.
The more egregious portion of Tamaki's false teaching here is the interjection of tithing into this discussion. Psalm 91 is not even remotely about tithing. Understand what Tamaki is essentially saying about God here. He is teaching that God will only protect you if you pay Him first. What kind of a mafioso god is Brian Tamaki trying to sell here? This is what happens when so called Christian leaders are hirelings instead of pastors. People who seek to make money from the flock instead of watch over them. Tithing was part of the Old Testament civil laws that was nailed to the cross. According to Galatians, if one insists on tithing, or any part of the law, then he renders Christ useless. Tamaki was rebuked by several local sources because you do not need the indwelt Holy Spirit to see that he is a huckster. He damages the cause of Christ and the Gospel. He embodies the warning from Peter in our key verses.
As does Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding California. Bethel is a literal cesspool of false teaching. A chief hub of NAR dominionism, experiential Christianity and false signs and lying wonders, Bethel also loves to teach divine healing. Johnson claims that God must always heal us and if we do not experience healing then it must be due to a lack of faith on our part. This from a man who clearly does not understand irony or hypocrisy as he wears corrective eyeglasses. Yet the second link above shows that Bethel canceled their "healing rooms" and advised their "faith healers" to stay away from local hospitals. The church released the following statement:
"We believe that wisdom, modern medicine, and faith are meant to work together, and express the value for each in the pursuit of continued health and healing." -- Bethel Spokesperson
Wait a minute. Bethel teaches mandatory healing by God! Why now when faced with something so viral do you suddenly feel the need to partner with the world of medicine? Because the truth is that Bethel never actually heals anyone. The coronavirus has simply exposed their lack of faith in the snake oil they usually sell. Not all of the Bethelites got the message however:
"One Redding woman told The Sacramento Bee on Saturday that on Jan. 31, she was approached by two Bethel students in the emergency room at Mercy Medical Center in Redding. The pair said "they would pray over the people there and put Jesus in their hearts and this would heal us all and we didn't need to stay at the ER and could go home," the woman said in a text message. She asked not to be identified to protect her family's privacy. She said she filed a complaint with the hospital after one of the students touched her 5-year-old daughter without permission. Mercy didn't return a message seeking comment." -- Sacramento Bee
This is what happens when you indoctrinate the young with false teaching. Listen, this is not about whether God CAN heal -- of course He can. This is about whether He must heal all of the time. To tell people they did not need to stay in the hospital is reckless. Do not also lose sight of who is reporting this story. It is not Charisma News but rather the secular Sacramento Bee. This is again what Peter warned us about in the key verses. From the article, we see a comparison between the sanity of the world versus the insanity of Bill Johnson:
'As it was, there was no shortage of schadenfreude that a church known for claiming to have healed everything from brain tumors to deafness is now telling people to wash their hands to keep disease at bay. "It's clear that when it comes to something really serious like coronavirus, their actions speak louder than their words," said Michael Shermer, the editor of Skeptic magazine and a professor at Chapman University in Southern California. "So, God is omniscient and omnipotent and can cure diseases if he wants, but just in case: wash your hands!"' -- Sacramento Bee
"Many visit Redding weekly, hoping that God will touch them. I am happy to report that many leave well and whole," Johnson wrote. "But many others leave in the same condition in which they came. I refuse to blame God for this, as though He has a purpose in their disease. While Jesus did not heal everyone alive in His time, He did heal everyone who came to Him. His is the only standard worth following." -- Bill Johnson
Which of these two statements is tethered to reality? The Sacramento Bee has no problem seeing through the falseness of claiming healing without any medical documentation and then insisting on washing your hands to prevent the spread of the flu. You cannot run around playing healing games because eventually a crisis will make it obvious you are a scam artist. Johnson's statement on the other hand is not even tethered to the bible.
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids--blind, lame, and paralyzed -- John 5:2-3 (ESV)
Now, how many of these multitudes were healed by Jesus that day? One. Purveyors of this divine healing theology all use this fake argument that Jesus healed everyone and that is simply not true. I do not blame God -- I blame Bill Johnson. For teaching such aberrant theology that even the Sacramento Bee can see right through. None of this matters though according to our third link above. We do not even have to worry anymore about coronavirus because false prophet Shawn Bolz has received a text from God that it is ending!
Yes the third link above is to a piece recently from Charisma News icon and Grandmaster of NAR dominionism -- Stephen Strang. In it he defends a recent false prophecy from Bethel's own -- Shawn Bolz. For those who may not know him, Bolz likes to speak at large events and use fake psychic tricks and his smart phone to be given "words of knowledge" about random people in the audience. In it, Strang quotes Bolz from his infamous February 28 post:
'"The Lord showed me the end of the Coronavirus...the tide is turning now!" Bolz wrote. "He is answering the prayers and cries of the nations and is putting an end in sight. The exaggerated fear based tactics of both the enemy and several media outlets for political reasons is coming to an end. The enemy has been trying to distract and steal from several equally important purposes and issues by dominating airwaves with conspiracy and fear. Even now several vaccines are coming out as well as a natural dying out of the virus itself. The Lord is saying 'I am removing the threat of this.' Within a short amount of time the extreme threat will feel like it is in the way past."' -- Stephen Strang
So according to Shawn Bolz on February 28 God said the tide was turning and He was removing the coronavirus. At the time of this false utterance, there had been 82,000 people infected and 2800 deaths. Just 12 days later, as of this moment, those numbers have increased to 121,238 cases and 4378 deaths. Gee it would seem if God was removing it that we would not have seen another 100,000 infections with a doubling of the death toll. Yet unabashed, Strang stated he believed Shawn had heard from the Lord.
No he has not. Shawn fakes words of knowledge through the technology in his smart phone. He does not hear from God. He instead pretends to by giving people false words that will result in some of them thinking they no longer need to be medically vigilant during this outbreak. This is a very dangerous game Bolz, Johnson and Tamaki are playing here. This is a real virus that is killing real people. Does it get to much hyped coverage? Sure, but that does not remove the fact that it is very real, especially if you have lost someone to it. The church is supposed to be seen as a source of comfort in the unsure times of this world. We are supposed to be a city set upon as hill for all to see the light of Jesus Christ. Not used car salesmen for false predictions, telling sick people to leave the hospital or claiming the virus is ending when it most certainly is not. Is it any wonder why the way of the truth is blasphemed?
Reverend Anthony Wade -- March 11, 2020