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June 14, 2018

Debunking False Unity Arguments -- Anna Aquino Edition

By Anthony Wade

As an example of the recent discussion of false unity we turn to Charisma News' Anna Aquino...


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Earlier in the week we wrote about the overall issue of calls for false unity from the apostate church. We must remember that the purpose driven industrial complex is a cash cow. It generates millions if not billions of dollars per year. Consider that Joel Osteen recently admitted that he spends nearly 60 million dollars per week to provide the church services at Lakewood and the accompanying television programming. The first rule of this syndicate is to protect the brand at all costs. It is bad enough when those in the world can see through the thin veneer of pseudo-piety and see the wizard for who he is but when the body of Christ starts to criticize the church they will fight back. This week's call for unity is linked above and was written by Anna Aquino. She has carved out for herself a little niche within the complex that allows her to make money, write books and claim to be a prophetic voice. That niche is in selling false prophecy. She routinely writes for Charismas News with such renowned pieces as 'Our Divine Purpose in the Prophetic Waiting Room." False prophecy is a huge part of the cabal. So let us reason together through her article beloved.

"Recently I have witnessed a growing trend of Christians who are attacking and criticizing other Christians. Their verbal attacks are cannibalistic. I'm sure these kinds of things happened long before social media ever existed, but now it seems to be getting worse. A well-known ministry said one thing that is shared and reshared around pages where their followers start petty squabbles. The next week, it will be another victim. It becomes hot gossip, and people from all walks of life are weighing in on the latest story. Sadly it's like playing telephone, these things get blown way out of proportion. The ministries get attacked. The unbelievers are reminded as to why they don't want to go into churches, and the Christians participating think they have become some kind of church vigilante." -- Anna Aquino

Let's first notice two common false arguments offered by the false unity crowd. The first is to conflate the biblical duty of discernment with something God hates -- gossip. The bible cannot be clearer. The Bereans were nobler because they searched the scriptures to make sure what they were being taught was correct. Titus commands all ministers to call out who is teaching falsely. Paul routinely named those that were causing division in the church through their false doctrines. This is not gossip. If Jesse Duplantis called me two weeks ago and told me God wanted him to fleece his flock for 54 million to buy a new jet plane and I went ahead and told you about it THAT would be gossip. When Duplantis himself goes on television to beg for the money and I mention it; that is merely speaking the truth.

The second common argument Aquino makes here is the truth will somehow drive the lost away. What utter garbage. Beloved, the things of God are foolishness to them but the world has no problem identifying the things of Satan. They have no problem identifying a snake oil salesman like Duplantis while the church tries to protect him. The world would prefer to see some compassion and honesty from the church instead of partisan politics and hateful rhetoric. The number one reason given by the "unchurched" for why they will not go to church is not that Christians vie for the truth but that they are hypocrites. That they will talk about one thing and endorse or do another. For instance, they will demand fealty to sacrificial giving and in the same breath defend a man asking for 54 million dollars for an airplane. Aquino continues:

"The news media is even beginning to pick up these stories. This is ridiculous. I have come to expect this kind of behavior from the unbeliever but from the churched? Really? Medically, when one body part attacks another body part the whole body becomes out of order and can't function. This disunity, the attacks and the brutality of the situation are causing the church to become fragmented." -- Anna Aquino

Yes, the media has always picked up on when the church behaves reprehensibly. I first saw the Duplantis story for example on a completely secular news site. How much more powerful that secular story could have been if they could have heard from any church leader correctly denouncing the Duplantis duplicity! There are two other misconceptions here we must correctly understand. The first is that this is not body of Christ fighting against itself. This is the body of Christ repelling a virus in its system. When the word faith virus of Osteen comes in and attacks the body it is the job of the body to fight back against it so the body can be healed. The same goes with the experiential Christianity of Bethel, the bridal paradigm of IHOP, or the prosperity gospel of Jesse Duplantis. This is tied directly into point number two, which is what is the actual cause of disunity in the body of Christ?

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. -- Romans 16: 17-18 (ESV)

Who causes division? Those that bring in teachings different from the doctrine of the Bible! The church is already fragmented between those that play church and those that are the church. Between the "churched" of Rick Warren and the "saved" of Jesus Christ. The mistake Aquino and so many of her ilk make is in the assumption that everyone who says amen is a brother or sister in Christ. Jesus Himself said, who are my mother and brother except they that do the will of my Father.

'I have a few things I think we all need to keep in mind: Are the words that flow from your mouth, or out of your keyboard going to cause unity within the body of Christ or division? Think about what you say before you say it. Think about what you post before you post it. God makes a lot of statements in the Word about unity. Unity commands a blessing from God. Psalm 133 Does your life need God's blessing on it? People who are constantly causing strife and division do not please God. In fact, in Romans 16:1,7 God clearly tells people to avoid those causing strife. As Thumper once said in Bambi, "If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all."' -- Anna Aquino

The "thumper theology" aside, how sad is it that Anna Aquino walks right up to the correct Scripture and then walks past it without seeing the truth? She is the voice of dissension in the body every time she tries to teach Christians that God must heal them and He has no sovereignty. The other common misperception offered by Aquino here is that something critical is by default negative. If you only focus on the wolf, it may seem so. There are however sheep that are hopelessly lost and being led to slaughter. Our unity must be rooted in correct doctrine. My shouting "wolf" does promote unity within the body and hopefully the removal of the wolf from our midst.

"Matthew 7:5 Is very clear on the point that we need to remove the log out of our own eyes so that we can remove the speck from our brother's. It's easy to point the finger at someone else and what you feel they have done wrong, but are you looking that closely in the mirror at the things you need to work on? There is a popular phrase that when you point one finger at someone there are three fingers pointing back at you. Jesus did not come to this earth to be brutally murdered so a select few could sit on their high and lofty judgmental seats and point fingers at everyone around them. Jesus was moved with compassion for His people because He loved them. Signs, wonders and miracles flow when people are moved with compassion. Judgmental attitudes dry up the spiritual atmosphere in a person's life." -- Anna Aquino

Yet another strawman argument made by misusing scripture. The Matthew 7 verse is about hypocrisy. That means if I am in the middle of an adulterous relationship I should not be rebuking my brother for doing the same. The hypocrisy ruins the message. Aquino turns it upside down by asserting that one must work on all of their deficiencies before addressing a sinful brother or sister. Under that restriction no one would ever be helped and we would cease being our brother's keeper. Yes Jesus loved His people so much that He refused to allow them to stay in their sinful state. The first words of the ministry of Jesus Christ however were not "can't we all get along" but rather -- "repent!" People who practice sound discernment do not sit in any lofty position. I am nobody but I know somebody! He did not come to this earth to be brutally murdered so that Anna Aquino can prophe-lie and then demand everyone get along with her. Just once I would like to see the false teachers be worried about having compassion for the sheep instead of the wolves.

"Did you know that in order to go fishing for different kinds of fish, sometimes you need different kinds of bait? It's okay if you don't agree with everything one church teaches. As long as the foundation is biblical and not skewed, you must stop looking at someone else's flair as though there is something wrong with it. Different isn't wrong. Someone else is going to need that in their life. Different bait will catch different fish. You are on the same team. Stop fighting, people. If God had wanted us all to be like everyone else, he would have made us all carbon copy robots. He didn't. The Bible refers to the church as a body. Some church groups may focus more on the heart of an issue. Some may focus on the brain. However, they need each other to function." -- Anna Aquino

Different bait? Is she serious? Romans teaches us that only the Gospel has the power of God unto the salvation of man. Is Anna Aquino actually suggesting that we need to modify the Gospel according to who our listeners are? That is simply put, blasphemy. A different gospel is anathema to a discerning Christian. It is not looking at someone else's flair -- it is examining their teachings. I could care less about flair.

"The Bible gives us fantastic wisdom on dealing with people you disagree with. This can be found in Matthew 18 15-17. If you have a problem with someone in the church, you are to go to them on your own so the two of you can talk it out. If that doesn't work, you are to bring a couple of witnesses, and if that still doesn't work, you bring them before the church, but you get the point. How many people practice this today? Instead, they get on social media and blast the individual. If you have a problem with them, go to them. Perhaps you only have half the story. However, people don't want to listen to this. They want to hide behind their posts and stir the drama. Do not speak until you know both sides of a story." -- Anna Aquino

Still another bible verse she simply does not understand. The calls to shut down discernment often center on these verses in Matthew. The problem of course is they do not mean what Anna Aquino believes they do. These verses are for when a brother or sister sins against you personally. A wolf does not sin against me personally. There is no biblical requirement for me to coddle wolves, talk to them, or try and convince them to stop being a wolf. As for the two sides argument, in what possible context is heresy acceptable? Is there a context where Anna believes it is ok to ask people for 54 million dollars for an airplane? If so, we have discovered the real problem.

'"A soft answer turns away wrath" (Prov. 15:1a). You don't have to pick a fight with everyone you disagree with. You have the choice to stop the gossip. You have the choice to comment or not. There have been times I have responded to issues and there have been times I have chosen to let it go. Be wise with your words. In all the drama we see these days, we must remember that God says, "'Vengeance is Mine. I will repay,' says the Lord" (Rom. 12:19b). It is not our job as believers to sit in our padded pews and point out all the faults of others. We need to honor men and women of God who are doing God's work. Let God deal with those people if they are off. If you haven't spent time praying about a situation, you shouldn't spend time posting about it. You need to run so fast towards what God has for you that it doesn't matter what others are doing around you. You don't have time to deeply question their motive.' -- Anna Aquino

I agree wholeheartedly that those practicing discernment should be discerning. There have been plenty of times I have chosen to not address issues because they were too petty or easily misconstrued. Even the Duplantis flap I stayed away from until I saw people mangling the bible in order to defend it. Correctly discerning what teachings and spirits are not from God is not only biblically mandated but it a higher form of love. It is not "sitting in padded pews" or "pointing out faults." Just as we need to honor those that are doing the work of the Lord we also must rebuke those that are not but claim to be. That is why the shepherd holds the rod beloved. To beat away the attacks upon the sheep. It is not about "running towards God" or whatever other silly argument she tries to make. Do the other sheep around us count at all to Anna Aquino? Why is this always about protecting the wolf? I could care less about the motives of wolves. I care about what they are teaching. Aquino concludes:

"Most people criticize what they can't control or what, deep down, makes them jealous. Your goal needs to be to do what God has put you on this earth to do. Stop looking to your right or to your left to see what everyone else is doing. You run your race and keep your eyes on Him. We will all have to stand before God one day and give an account for how we lived our lives. So instead of nitpicking at others, and cannibalizing the ones in the pews and in the ministry next to you, we need to just keep running our own races. Let's start working as a team." -- Anna Aquino

Nice try Anna but I do not wish to ride in a 54 million dollar airplane. Nor do I wish to live in a 3.5 million dollar mansion bought with the blood of the poor. I am not jealous of wolves. In many ways I feel bad for them because they have no fear of God before them and have no idea what awaits them. You are right Anna. One day we will all give account for our lives. That should not be a point of solace for you.

Beloved, unity without doctrine is no unity at all. Holding hands and singing Kumbaya may sound nice but be careful whose hand you choose to hold.

Reverend Anthony Wade -- June 14, 2018

Authors Bio:
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.