New Matt Ford’s Features

The latest news on Matthew Ford: His website has been updated. (Observe ‘Tranced Out Tuesdays’ .)

He’s now switched to the suit and lost his little red cap of fur upon his head. A now serious conservative looking Ghost Toker.

But it’s not that I’m wanting to specifically drag your focus towards. It’s more about this really.

This was a forwarded e-mail to me:

Souls. It’s what we’re all about.

Bringing the power of God to this last day generation has been the mandate of Christian Harfouche Ministries for over two decades. Dr. Christian and Dr. Robin Harfouche have inundated the nations of the world with the living Word of God and dynamic demonstrations of the Holy Spirit and power.

Christian Harfouche Ministries is dedicated to equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. In 1994, Dr. Christian and Dr. Robin Harfouche established a world-class bible training center, International Miracle Institute, and pioneered a New Testament prototype church, Miracle Faith Center. In addition, International Miracle Institute Correspondence Program was developed to enable people around the world to partner with the anointing on Christian Harfouche Ministries and discover their identity and authority as believers in Christ. This message is broadcast through the show “Miracles Today”. Televised daily around the world, “Miracles Today” captures the passion and purpose of a generation with a divine mandate. Embracing the promises of God and the triumphant walk of faith, “Miracles Today” is the celebration of unscripted victories and real-life miracle testimonies. Trained and mentored by Drs. Christian and Robin Harfouche, these disciples have answered a global call to broadcast the creative expression of God throughout the Earth.

Christian Harfouche Ministries is inspiring thousands of believers to answer the call of God and equipping a generation of miracle workers by the Word and the Spirit for the final harvest of souls.

“Through God’s grace, we have seen blind eyes open, deaf ears unstopped, and thousands delivered from every disease imaginable. In one day alone we saw 53,000 souls come to Christ, but we are not satisfied. There is more in God.”

Dr. Christian Harfouche

Rev’d Matthew Ford

Matt is the Fire It Up International Ministries Senior Minister, he has been in the ministry for 11 years.  Matt’s passion is to release Heaven everywhere he goes and to see the Sons of God manifest.

Matthew was raised in the church from when he was a few weeks old. Matt’s parents were active leaders in their church and instilled into their son a passion for God and His Word. Matt subsequently was trained in Youth Ministry, but his passion was to see all generations ignited with Holy Ghost Fire and Bridal Love.

In 1998 Matt visited a Pentecostal Church where he was radically baptised into the Holy Ghost and taken into Heaven for three days and nights. Prior to this he went through a season of “intensely looking for God”. Matt would rise early and pray, knowing that surely this God He had read so much about actually wanted a relationship with him. Matt has great faith to bring people into their Heavenly identity.

While Matt was in the Heavenly realm he was given the gift of faith and the working of miracles. Three days after this encounter began, Matt was able to function relatively normally again, but with an overwhelming, tangible sense of God’s love and presence on his life. This was that which he had been crying out for. The God of the universe had taken Matt up into heaven (Rev 4:1) and deposited His Holy Spirit inside of him. From this time on Matt began to operate in amazingly accurate words of knowledge and wisdom. Miraculous healing’s and signs follow him when he ministers.

Matt is walking into his apostolic anointing as he plants churches and provides “covering” and accountability for other ministers and pastors, more info on this is available from

Matt has been intoxicated on the Father’s love since 1998, and at times is not able to function well in the physical realm due to the glory that rests on his life. He is a God pleaser and is about his Fathers business….. drinking in the bridal wine of Heaven… Jesus. Even though Matt has been in full time ministry for 11 years, he has kept himself relatively out of the church scene, only coming out of his “Ghost Cave” when directed to do so by the Father.
After Matt completed Theological Training he was trained in the prophetic by some of today’s well known and respected prophetic voices in Canada and the United States. After this season Matt returned to Australia and continued his mystic journey with Jesus, preferring to spend countless hours a day in the presence of His King, rather than out “doing ministry stuff” and trying to build a ministry empire.

Matt is a strong believer that a persons character needs to measure up to their call, gifting and anointing’s. During the last 10 years he has sat at the feet of Jesus, enjoying his relationship with Heaven. Matt has developed a very close relationship with Holy Spirit and loves to teach others about Him and show the church that God is a playful God, full of fun, joy and glory.

Matt carries an incredible grace and authority which is evident when he ministers. satanic high priests, witches and demon possessed people frequently get delivered and set free in his meetings. Amazing miracles and healing’s take place frequently, from cancers dissolving, bones changing shape and growing, deaf ears hearing and totally paralysed people walking again.. there is nothing that Jesus can’t heal.

Matt has a really simple style of ministry. He gets whacked (drunk… filled with Holy Spirit) and ministers from the glory realm. He spends hours a day drinking in the presence of Heaven so that he can unleash the torrent of the Fathers love every time he preaches. .

141 thoughts on “New Matt Ford’s Features

  1. Matt Ford = Jim Jones.

    So much for making disciples of Jesus … who needs Jesus when you’ve got Matt Ford?

    Follow the money.

  2. More money making schemes from the blasphemous Ford:

    Dear Partner’s and Friend’s,

    The silly season has landed!! There is always and expectancy in the air around this time of year. As one year draws to a close and an entirely new one is around the corner, bringing with it an entirely new season choc full of blessings and joy unspeakable.

    The corporate church is experiencing an outbreak of glory like never before. This revival wont be contained to one building or city, it is breaking out into the streets and into every church that wants it.

    It’s a wildfire!

    You are a carrier of revival glory!

    Click here to read Matt’s Latest Blog Fire It Up Bible College – 2010Starting early next year we will be launching our Full Time Bible College, with night courses running as well. This will be a fully accredited Bible College, with AUSTUDY approval by mid-year.
    · Each course consists of 96 CDs or 100 hours of prophetic teaching and impartation
    · Curriculum founded on the Word and the Spirit
    · Personal Instruction from Drs. Christian and Robin Harfouche & Rev. Matt Ford
    · Earn a AA, BA or MA degree in Christian Theology
    · Flexible payment plans available
    · Subjects include: Heavenly Identity, Great Faith, Anointing, Miracles, God Man, Prophets and Prophecy, The Supernatural, Prayer and Intercession, Demons and Demonology, The Activity of Angels, Ministry Gifts, Team Ministry, The New Mystics, Extreme Miracles…and many more!
    · All classes will be held at The Wine Barrel Church and overseen by Rev. Matthew Ford.
    · This a College based on the Word & Holy Spirit. Sunday Service’s 10am and 4pm.The Wine Barrel will go to two meetings on a Sunday, 10am and 4pm starting 3rd January 2010.

    At present we are holding meetings every night right up until December 20.

    Our QLD and NSW Offices will be closed from Dec 21 through to January 4. Overseas Missions & Children’s Home.2010 sees us launching into the international missions field as we establish and fund Children’s Home’s in India.

    This is going to be an exciting time as we walk more and more into our destiny.

    Watch Us Live!
    We have started live streaming some of our weekly meetings, which are also archived for later viewing.

    We are hearing awesome testimonies of healings that are taking place over the live streaming, yeah God!

    Partner Program
    We are launching a whole new interactive partner program. With various levels and benefits to suit the individual sower. We are also very much aware of our “Web Based Church” which forming and we want to be able to ofter Pastoral care and covering to those who call The Wine Barrel Home.

    Keep an eye out for this on our new look website.

    Partner’s will have access to Video’s, MP3’s and teaching that are not available from our main site.$30 – $50 PCM or $500 One-time gift.Partners Package CD/DVD and regular mailings, along with email updates.

    Prayer covering and prayer partnership (monthly phone call from FIU team member)10% discount on all product10% discount on FIU Equipping Schools* $100 PCM or $2500 one time gift/year benefits* include:Partners Package CD/DVD and regular mailings, along with email updates.Prayer covering and prayer partnership (monthly phone call from FIU team member)15% discount on product15% discount on FIU Equipping Schools* $500 PCM or $5000 one time gift/year benefits* include:

    Partners Package CD/DVD and regular mailings, along with email updates.

    Prayer covering and prayer partnership (monthly phone call from FIU Senior Pastor)

    Personal phone call from Rev. Matt Ford or Franc Manhattan during the year

    20% discount on product

    20% discount on FIU Equipping Schools* $1000 PCM or $10,000 one time gift/year benefits*


    Partners Package CD/DVDand regular mailings, along with email updates.

    Prayer covering and prayer partnershipMonthly phone call from Rev. Matt Ford

    25% discount on product

    25% discount on FIU Equipping SchoolsReceive one of the first copies of newest CD project or Book Ever Drank God?

    We have all sizes available in our Ever Drank God? t-shirts which are available from our on-line shop. Calling All People of Prayer.

    In January we launch our new “Prayer Squad” (intercessors), who will become a vital part of our Ministry Army as you pray for us and we pray for you each day. Keep an eye on the website for details in January.

    Thank you for your love and support throughout 2009.

    May this Christmas be your most JOY Filled EVER!

    Love, Bliss and Blessings
    Rev’d Matthew Ford.

  3. If we think this looks a bit dodgy, what do non-Christians think…. I dont want to get “fired up” today, its Australia Day. Im going to go to a thong throwing contest or something 🙂

  4. I really cant tell if they are joking or not. Its only got one T-shirt for sale.

    Selling pastoral care? If you give $6000 you can get a monthly phone call from a pastor, and one ‘personal’ phone call from Matt or Franc during the year. Oh joy.

    This is a strange mix of idiocy, audacity and canny psychological manipulation.

  5. “I’m going to go to a thong throwing contest or something” – mj

    I nearly got hit by a flying thong this morning! Went to a “Big Breakfast” in Warringah Shire. Someone managed to throw a thong maybe 50 metres, into the kid’s mini jeep rides area (that’s where I was, in the hot, sunny queue).

    All the volunteers did a great job in the heat.

    I came down with a splitting headache when we got home. A coffee seems to have helped though… that’s a bad sign.

    Anyway, I can’t tell if they are joking or not. Obviously they follow ‘Manifest Sons of God’ theology, which I need to look into more. It all sounds OK (if you are into that kind of thing) but then the money…

    They are selling a course which doesn’t actually have its accreditation yet.

    Maybe we should set up a competitor here at Signposts02. 🙂 I’m sure some of us could commit to monthly phone calls for that kind of compensation. Hee hee!

    Yeah, I think you put it well, wazza – audacious is the right word. But people are looking for this kind of thing obviously.

  6. I’m thinking of starting a scheme modelled on those we are considering for managing carbon-pollution. The companies that generate the most money are generally the biggest polluters, and the organisations that do most for the environment do not generate a lot of money. Similarly in Christianity the ministries that receive the most money are generally the most extra-biblical, and the ministries that preach the bible do not in the main generate a lot of money.

    So just as Al Gore can jet around the world without harming the environment (by purchasing carbon off-sets), so we can arrange for Matt Ford to continue preaching without in any way harming the Church or the Kingdom of God. He would just have to purchase bad-theology offsets from us here at Signposts02. We would issue him with an appropriate certificate and send the money on to an approved biblical ministry which is advancing the Kingdom.

  7. It’s the new people’s temple.

    Listen! We can disagree with one another and perhaps have some issues regarding tithing or whatever amongst us. But we recognise the Holy Spirit in each of us. We love Jesus. We Worship Almighty God.

    Matt Ford is literally preaching a different Jesus, a different Gospel. Matt Ford, like his friend/mentor/like-minded hero Todd Bentley should be excommunicated.

    Such people, unless they repent and turn from their wicked ways, will be amongst those who said “Lord, Lord” but Jesus never knew them.

    They are wolves amongst the flock. They make merchandise of God’s People. On the Day of Judgement, I will not be able to look.

    Frankly, this whole thing I find to be very fearful … because I know how imperfect I am. The more I go on with God, the more I know how much I offended Him, and still offend Him. I’m scared witless. But, He knows the truth about me … and you know, He can still use me. He doesn’t love me cos I’m special. I am special only because He chose to love me … and you.

    There is a balance here. Fear, deep respect and awe, alongside grateful thanksgiving, and love for what He chose to do, by sending His only natural Son to suffer in my place.

    Wow. And some people need signs and wonders to get excited?


  8. hear hear! us flock maybe imperfect but we aren’t pushing our wares…………

    I hate people misrepreseting our Lord, and im not afraid to say so 🙂

  9. Wazza – I totally love your idea/analogy. Hilarious.

    We were toying with the idea of adding a tithing tab to the site, but now I think a ‘theology offset credit’ would be a real service to parts of the church at large. It reminds me a little of the Catholic church selling ‘indulgences’, but its a more modern and universally applicable alternative.

  10. wazza: “He would just have to purchase bad-theology offsets from us here at Signposts02.”

    indeed, hear hear!

    The trick of course is to be able to measure the number of credits that need to be purchased. It is not good enough to say “that is crap”, you have to be able to say “that is 1.5 credits worth of crap”.

    There needs to be a list of the various heinous crimes of biblical misrepresentation (sorry I don’t know the greek term for biblical misrepresentation), for example:
    * “argument from silence”, 1 crap
    * “illogical argument”, 2 craps
    * “just made it up”, 1000 craps
    These could be added up to obtain the kilocrap and megacrap values for the certificates.

  11. Bull – he can’t be excommunicated from his own independent denomination, and on top of that, he’s offering ‘Apostolic Covering’ to others.

    Fortunately Christ builds His church, because if He left it to man, we’d have no hope. Wazza pointed out how many of the churches that preach the bible, or ‘do most for the environment’, make little money. Those that get sidetracked by it can make a lot. Yet God designed things so that despite this, His true church would grow.

    What I find really surprising about the Ford thing above, is that they are talking about charging heaps of money for an _online_ church. Online churches can be free. There are many ministries online which offer services and content just like a physical organised church, which cost nothing. People often use these as an adjunct to the church they physically attend. But Ford wants to charge thousands of dollars!!! I am amazed.

  12. But there are also online churches which say, if this church has become your spiritual home, this is how you can tithe to us… I think one of them is Patricia King ministries.

    The above link is to Patricia King’s online church info page – she only charges members a $35 per month administrative fee – you can see there what they offer. So Ford is not breaking new ground here, but he is rather expensive!

    Also, here is a link to the tithing page. If your webchurch is your spiritual home, here is an encouraging insight on why you should tithe to them:

  13. I meant that Ford should be excommunicated from the Church … not his own pet denomination.

    Of course, using the word denomination actually gives him some legitimacy as a Christian.

    I don’t want to stop him setting up his own religion. I do object to him calling it Christianity and using the name of Jesus when clearly, he is setting up a cult of Ba’al-zebub.

    The occult practices that he promotes will cause damage to the Churches he walks into, simply by being there. The amount of money he is charging for “services” demonstrates how much he is in the grip of Satan.

    He wants his best life now … make as much money as he can now … wallow in the swamp of licentious behaviour … because he’s worth it … the way he likes it.

    By their fruits you will know them.
    Expensive tastes.
    Fast cars.
    Faster women.

    You keep your eyes open … it is bound to happen.

    This guy is hell bent. And he is desperate to drag as many people as he can to hell with him. It’s sick.

  14. Having just heard about M Ford, i watched 1 or 2 brief videos. I must confess I started laughing (at him, not with him) Honestly he comes across as a bit “unwell”. Someone likened his behaviour to tourettes. Do you think some of these people could have some sort of mental illness too? M Ford comes across as a bit odd.

  15. Yeah, I knew what you meant Bull, but framed my response poorly. The problem you describe is the problem. Isn’t it interesting how ‘denominations’ make things legit though, once they are big enough to be recognised. And God did not start up the concept of denominations.

  16. thats why i like going to a uniting church. Everyone is from different denominations (alot of Catholic) but we tend to all agree on the Biblical teachings.

    We even have somone that goes to Benny Hinn so its quite diverse but the minister is spot-on with the Bible.

  17. ah, the old WOF movement. Funny revivalorriots -or “revivallaurietes” i dont miss that part of the church. What a frustrating and hurtful doctrine to preach. Ive had someone say that to me…”oh, not enough faith” when i was upset about someone really sick………what a moronic thing to say to someone suffering

  18. Hooray! I’ve been promoted! Thanks guys! Criticize away! Bless you and your powerless doctrines!

    Your discernment is A-MAZE-ING! Have another conference on it!

    I would NEVER tell someone they don’t have enough faith. Jesus told the disciples that THEY didn’t have enough faith when THEY were praying for someone. The blame was never put on the person receiving prayer. That is just sheer stupidity to do that.

  19. Then you can read this, Ryan. Would love Bill Johnson to explain his “doctrine” on feathers. Would love to see him sit down and have a face to face discussion with the likes of John Macarthur, Paul Washer, Albert Mohler, John Piper and justify scripturally the “experiences” at Bethel, his relationship with the likes of Todd Bentley, Che Ahn, the list goes on.. No doubt you love the Lord but you allow experiences to determine your theology rather than sound doctrine determine your experience.

  20. And Ryan, been there, done that for 22 years and the Lord graciously, lovingly, brought me out of it, still retaining the passion and zeal to worship Him, who chose me in Him before the foundation of the world.

  21. If he has to think this long, he isnt getting it. he’s trying to think of something profound and back it up with scriptures. 🙂

  22. For Ryan, just a taste of truth from John Macarthur – be blessed as you read……… substitute “fresh revelation” for feathers and gold dust 🙂

    “Why do so many modern Christians seek revelation from God through means other than Scripture? Certainly not because it is a reliable way to discover truth. All sides admit that modern prophecies are often completely erroneous. In fact, the failure rate is astonishingly high. In my book Charismatic Chaos I quoted one leading “prophet” who was thrilled because he believed that two-thirds of his prophecies were accurate. “Well that’s better than it’s ever been up to now, you know. That’s the highest level it’s ever been.”

    In other words, modern prophecy is not a much more reliable way to discern truth than a Magic Eight-Ball or Tarot cards. And, I would add, it is equally superstitious. There is no warrant anywhere in Scripture for Christians to listen for fresh revelation from God beyond what He has already given us in His written Word. In fact, Scripture unsparingly condemns all who speak even one word falsely or presumptuously in the Lord’s name (Deut. 18:20-22). But such warnings are simply ignored these days by those who claim to have heard afresh from God.

    And not surprisingly, wherever there is a preoccupation with “fresh” prophecy, there is invariably a corresponding neglect of the Scriptures. After all, why be concerned with an ancient Book if the Living God communicates directly with us on a daily basis? These fresh words of “revelation” naturally seem more relevant and more urgent than the familiar words of the Bible. Is it any wonder that they draw people away from Scripture?

    That is precisely why modern evangelicalism’s infatuation with extrabiblical revelation is so dangerous. It is a return to medieval superstition and a departure from our fundamental conviction that the Bible is our sole, supreme, and sufficient authority for all of life. In other words, it represents a wholesale abandonment of the principle of sola Scriptura.

    The absolute sufficiency of Scripture is summed up well in this section from the Westminster Confession of Faith:

    The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men (1.6, emphasis added).

    Historic Protestantism is grounded in the conviction that the canon is closed. No “new” revelation is necessary, because Scripture is complete and absolutely sufficient.

    Scripture itself is clear that the day of God’s speaking directly to His people through various prophetic words and visions is past. The truth God has revealed in Christ including the complete New Testament canon is His final word (Heb. 1:1-2; cf. Jude 3; Rev. 22:18-19).

    Scripture—the written Word of God—is perfectly sufficient, containing all the revelation we need. Notice 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Paul tells Timothy:

    From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    That passage makes two very important statements that pertain to the issue we are looking at. First, “All Scripture is inspired by God.” Scripture speaks with the authority of God Himself. It is certain; it is reliable; it is true. Jesus Himself prayed in John 17:17: “Your word is truth.” Psalm 119:160 says, “The entirety of Your word is truth.”

    Those statements all set Scripture above every human opinion, every speculation, and every emotional sensation. Scripture alone stands as definitive truth. It speaks with an authority that transcends every other voice.

    Second, The passage teaches that Scripture is utterly sufficient, “able to make you wise for salvation … [and able to make you] complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” What clearer affirmation of the absolute sufficiency of Scripture could anyone ask for? Are extrabiblical messages from God necessary to equip us to glorify Him? Certainly not.

    Those who seek fresh messages from God have in effect scorned the absolute certainty and absolute sufficiency of the written Word of God. And they have set in its place their own fallen and fallible imaginations.

    If the church does not return to the principle of sola Scriptura, the only revival we will see is a revival of the superstition and darkness that characterized medieval religion.

    Does this mean God has stopped speaking? Certainly not, but He speaks today through His Word.

    Does the Spirit of God move our hearts and impress us with specific duties or callings? Certainly, but He works through the Word of God to do that. Such experi­ences are in no sense prophetic or authoritative. They are not revelation, but the effect of illumination, when the Holy Spirit applies the Word to our hearts and opens our spiritual eyes to its truth. We must guard carefully against allowing our experience and our own subjective thoughts and imaginations to eclipse the authority and the certainty of the more sure Word.”

    John Macarthur

  23. you know, God’s done enough, its up to us to “do” something, help people, feed them, clothe them. “you” be the miracle i heard on the movie Bruce Almighty, my kids like that movie…my kids seem to have more insight than moi

  24. Hey btw, check out PP’s “marlborough man” shirt on c3of 2 nite, asformentioned marlborough man on GS

  25. Of course, it’s actually “works-centred” not grace. They continually keep their congregations under the law with DO, DO, DO…. and I wonder how many have
    “experienced” those deceptions, leaving the rest, who haven’t, feeling less “worthy”, or worse, pretending. Yuk.

  26. I can’t watch C3 any more, it’s too personally painful – I’d rather watch “Escape To The Country”. 🙂

  27. such gobbledegook in these sort of sermons…ministry of servanthood to a building/man….how boring and banal and …..pls dont get me started

  28. u know whats funny, people in these type of movements are always going on about power. Gods power in our lives, in us, its sounds v insecure to me. its almost like they feel bound or haunted by the devil(use that term loosely)i dont give the big “D” a second thought because i feel secure in God, and i feel he loves me and my children and cares…

  29. oooooh PP just said that his “ministers” are going to literally raise the dead, and give sight to the blind, wow. All i can say, prove it 😉

  30. Oh yes, they do forget that Satan is God’s servant. But that’s a whole other story! I’ve come to realise their God seems to have His hands tied…. not mine!!! The freedom of understanding His sovereignity, His discipline(yep), His boundaries that keep us secure spiritually even when going through trials…. yet at C3, they say grace but all I heard was law,law,law.

  31. PP’s habit of vision casting at work there….. his mentor is Yonggi Cho now. And that’s a combination of Christianity and Buddhism (Cho’s own admission in his book “Fourth Dimension”.)

  32. yeah i watched yonggi on the christian channel, money money money, must be funny, in the rich man’s world….

    I know the devil should get less mention…JESUS is it for heavens sake, pardon another pun

  33. oh no, he’s now saying “fresh oil” “fresh oil” i hope its not woollies brand but spanish or italian 😉

  34. Your actions are pathetic, talking back and forth to each other on here. I have a lot better things to do with my time than justifying myself to two dudes on some blog who spend all their time slandering people in the name of ‘discernment’.

    Thanks for all the hits to our site though!

    “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” -Matthew 12:34

  35. anyhow, looking at the congretation they look like they wanna just go home, have a steak, a little vino and watch the tennis…let them go

  36. Oh Ryan, you have this “so” upside down. All i can say is God loves you, relax, we just love Jesus, thats about it actually

  37. and btw Jesus was talking to the churchy religious pharisees, in Matthew. we are all about the Bible…the truth, dont insult us, actually u cant insult me, as i know who i am in Christ. That’s all that matter, i feel secure

  38. Ryan, did you read John Macarthur’s comments or is he to be discounted too? I was just as annoyed as you a few years ago. I did not want my charismatic boat rocked, my 22 years of pentecostal “theology” to be untrue or just badly exegeted by sincere but sincerely wrong pastors.

    By the way, I’m not a “dude”, I’m a wife, mother, grandmother, former “pastor”, counsellor etc etc. I’m mother of a pastor, mother-in-law of another pastor, but most certainly a sinner in need of a saviour.

    I see you are on Facebook, I’ll send you a message with full disclosure if you like.

  39. look, the thing is we love you as a brother in Christ. you can call us “anything” if you like. Broody might be more the word….if someone misquotes Jesus, yeah we get annoyed. But i would rather do that than….whatever the other thing is, be an angry Christian isnt good, unless the church is being used as a market/ing tool

  40. Hey guys, I had a look at Ryan’s website. To be fair, they are very clear that they don’t accuse people of lack of faith when they are not healed.

    In fact, they say:

    Say God is trying to teach them something with sickness, say they don’t have enough faith (Lazarus had none), or that sickness is their ‘thorn in the flesh’. God is not a child abuser.

    Teddy, are you now a complete cessasionist? John MacArthur sounds like he is. I’m not, though I think there’s a lot of fakery around, and suggestion etc.

    Would you bother praying for the sick at all unless you believed God answered positively at times? I don’t believe we are always healed – and I actually used to believe and study exactly what Ryan and Laura are saying on their website – but I still believe He does choose to heal at times. We are just not in charge by commanding it. If we are healed because of our faith, God has supplied us even with that faith. We aren’t always healed, and then we go ‘through’ the ordeal with Jesus, who will not desert us. I don’t believe God wills these things. I agree with their comment that He is not a child abuser. However, we are still dealing with the results of the Fall.

    Anyway, maybe we could be a little kinder when people we disagree with visit? After all, kindness is also a fruit of the spirit, and we don’t just poke fun at a visitor to our house.

  41. point taken RP. But he came in with guns ablazon. what is one to do? anyhow after much praying, i believe (i know a few americans, europeans, dutch) teasing is like embracing someone in oz, free thought and discussion. Ryan may find that baffling or annoying. I have many foreign family members, catholic, jewish, pentie, and “other”.

    Ryan we do apologise if we are so forthright. But we only follow Jesus, well i do. The fear of man brings a snare….

    This site upholds doctrine, not man

  42. RP, I’ve already said on previous posts that I’m not a cessationist. By the way RP, where was I being rude?

    I’m seriously concerned about these churches promoting false signs and wonders and that’s what they are….. feathers and gold dust! The only mention of gold dust is in the OT when they made a golden calf which was pulverised and they had to to drink it!

    I’m seeing this stuff beginning to touch local churches and they are infiltrating because they are “nice” people. Doctrine doesn’t seem to matter if you’re nice! Matt Ford was easy to spot, these others aren’t.

    Would love some sound doctrine provided to prove their experiences…. any takers?

  43. I have a comment in moderation (because of attached links) which explains why Ryan is getting so many hits and it’s going to challenge him. Which can be a good thing, it certainly was for me.

  44. I think we got off on the wrong foot here.

    You’re right..I came in guns blazing…but the only reason I did was because I was immediately labeled a ‘heretic’ without anyone ever even acknowledging that I am a human being who loves God and has left everything to follow Him.

    We have experienced miracle after miracle of God’s provision and His goodness…so to be called a “heretic” by a total stranger for no reason except that I attend a specific church that not everyone likes (I don’t agree with everything going on either…but where on earth can anyone go where anything is perfect?) and that I believe that God still heals and WANTS to heal?

    That is ridiculous and hurtful. I also apologize for the way I reacted. It was wrong and I ask your forgiveness.

    I personally do not agree with much of the things that the ministers that you shared with me preach—inasmuch as you do not agree with much of the things that the ministers that I listen to preach…

    I despise the ‘fluffyness’ that has so infected the charismatic church. I think much of it IS hype and the power of suggestion…but I cannot deny that when we see 24 people just TODAY have their legs grow out to match the other (hip alignment problems) right in front of our eyes AND their eyes to ours and their amazement…and the woman who was unable to hear from her left ear due to a tumor on her brain stem after about 30 or 40 minutes of us commanding the sickness off (just telling you what we were doing) she was able to hear 70% better before she left.

    Why would I waste my time saying these things if they were not true?

    The devil can’t cast out the devil…and please spare me all of the verses about lying signs and wonders and false prophets…I’ve been through this with so many different people and I really am praying for an actual conversation where people don’t pull that stuff up…it’s so stale.

  45. excuse my australian honesty but can you produce a video of these “miracles”, perhaps post them, 24 is a good number.

  46. “But he came in with guns ablazon. what is one to do?”

    Always a good question and sometimes a real quandary.

    Ryan felt attacked – after all, he’d just been accused of heresy – so he reponded defensively. Not surprising really.

    Also, he did respond to an accusation in a manner consistent with his website quote that I posted above.

    Teddy – thanks for reassuring me re the cessasionism – John MacArthur is a bit hard in these areas and really reminds me of my ex-Minister in the Anglican church who actually was a cessasionist. You weren’t being rude so much as perhaps patronising, which does put people off hearing what others have to say. I probably do that too sometimes. I’m just a bit cautious with these things when we have a new visitor whose material we may have discussed.

    Re the gold feathers and dust and nice people – yes, you put that well. I’ve found the same thing. I am very dubious re the feathers and dust, but the people behind it actually come across in a very loving way, and often seem less legalistic than some of the established Pente churches that aren’t into it. It is a real issue. The niceness does make it harder to dismiss. I think a lot of the people taking an interest in it are a bit disillusioned with the mainstream Pente church, too. But often appeals for money also come hand in hand, so that can be another sign to look for.

  47. well, i suppose Ryan was brave to come out and argue. I have to admire a person that does that. i only go on sermons. You serve me up cr__p and i will retalliate. I just uphold Jesus’s teachings, thats all

  48. Ryan, Jesus didn’t spend 30-40 minutes commanding sickness off. And the leg-growing is seriously overdone. Praise God for any healing, He works in spite of us1

    I’m surprised to hear you discount guys like John Piper etc. Have you ever spent time listening to them? And do you understand in their passion and love for the body of Christ, they have to defend sound doctrine as commanded by scripture, and bring the charismatic/pentecostal movement into question for a lot of flaky “stuff”.

    Have you heard of CJ Mahaney, a prominent Charismatic leader who has aligned himself with the likes of John Macarthur, Ligon Duncan, R C Sproul, Mark Driscoll, to bring the church back to its true biblical north? There is an enormous groundswell amongst the youth in the States to come back to reformed theology, and sound biblical doctrine

  49. RP i understand we must be tolerant of other people’s “beliefs” too. I do consider where a person is coming from. Geez i have atheist friends who are sometimes more loving and kind than so called Christians.

  50. …and you don’t see me promoting the gold dust and feathers, etc.

    Have I seen some of that stuff? On occasion, yeah. Have I been able to unmistakably prove what the stuff is? Not all of it, no.

    I was in a prayer meeting with 2 other people back at my old church in New Jersey about 1.5 years ago and I watched a small diamond materialize out of thin air…which I then took to a jewelry shop the next day and after appraising it, they said it was worth about $35 dollars. What was so amazing about it was that I had gotten a $35 parking ticket right before this happened. Do I have a chapter and verse as to why God would do that? Other than God being good and wanting to take care of His children in a fun, unorthodox way, no. Am I going to freak out about it and try to gather all kinds of people around me over things like that? Of course not.

    Now honestly ask yourself…why would I even bother typing that up and saying it if it were not true? To try and prove that I’m right and you’re wrong? C’mon…I don’t know you…I don’t have to prove anything…I don’t have to waste my time saying anything on this site…I found it by accident because I like to keep in touch with people who are visiting our site to thank them. But yet I’m still here.

    I think you would be surprised if you read through the things that I post that they are not very fluffy or hyped at all. I hate that stuff.

    I am on a quest to see authentic displays of the power of God on earth in our lives as it is in heaven, today. I have seen mind blowing things happen and lives changed for the good…my own included.

    I believe that the Word is true…that Jesus gave us authority over sickness and disease..and I won’t bother typing all of the verses up about it because it’s almost 2 AM and I’m tired…and so many are so concerned about “Word of Faith”…but I’d rather someone label me as someone who believes in “Word of Faith” than “word of doubt.”

    We can discuss doctrine all day long…but at the end of the day, good doctrine doesn’t get people saved, healed, set free, or delivered. Has everybody that I’ve prayed for been healed? No. Does that mean that I will stop? Never. Jesus healed them all and oppression and sickness is from the devil. (Acts 10:38)

    If you can argue somebody into the Kingdom, they can be argued out.

    Jesus, in His grace, came to me at the lowest point in my life and I touched His hands and felt the holes in his wrists and side…He told me “STOP DOUBTING, AND BELIEVE” and in a second of time my entire life was changed and I turned 180 degrees to pursuing God and His will for my life. My fraternity brothers thought I went crazy and called me a hypocrite…all of my friends and loved ones alienated me because I changed so quickly and drastically.

    And visions from the devil don’t make you want to worship Jesus Christ…so please don’t attack the testimony of my salvation if you don’t agree with it because it might not line up with your doctrine. It certainly didn’t line up with the doctrine that I grew up with, either.

    And that good, but powerless, doctrine certainly did not have the ability to keep me from wandering into a sinful life of sex, drugs, and addictions. But one encounter with the Living God changed all of that in a moment of time. I owe it to Him and to everyone around me to boldly proclaim the Truth that He is the same yesterday, today and forever and I will by no means be quiet about it.

    I appreciate the apology, mj.

    I am going to bed for the night. If I do not respond right away, it is simply because I am very busy.


  51. um, last time i looked none of “us” have our own doctrine Ryan, we just follow the New Testament. We follow Jesus, pretty much everyone on this site.

    Goodnight, nice to meet you

  52. It’s a pity if I sound “patronising” – it’s just having been down that road and coming out of it still upsets me and my hackles go up pretty quickly.

    I’m curious as to where Ryan thinks lying signs and wonders are going to come from then if not in the church environment and why are we warned about it?

    Ryan, I really emphasise with you – imagine how you would feel if the Lord pulled the rug out from under your feet and challenged every thing you believed in? It’s still difficult but at the same time a glorious time of really getting to know the Saviour of my soul.

  53. Ryan, things probably did get off on the wrong foot. Here’s some context for this site:

    A lot of people on this site have had disillusioning experiences in Pentecostal churches and are going/have been through a bit of a detox. We have a fairly wide range of views on lots of things here; the most important thing that we all have in common regardless of views, is a very deeply held commitment to Jesus. This has led some of us to leave our church communities behind, and go through the grief of their loss. When this happens to some people, they lose all their connections. God will provide new ones but it takes time.

    Additionally, some of us have had massive doctrinal swings, where things that we formerly believed were scriptural we now believe are heretical, and are seriously damaging many of our brothers and sisters in Christ, like cancers in the church. That might sound a bit extreme, although for all I know, you may also have gone through this in some areas, but there is also a grief process attached there.

    It can be incredibly painful to wake up and discover that so much of something you love was built on lies. I almost had to see a psychologist to help me with it, but anyway, I’m much better now. God has seen me through it. I am out the other side and learning to live in His kingdom daily, with a new and voracious appetite for scripture. I’m not the only one.

    I studied Stuart Gramenz’ books on healing, and practiced what he taught. BTW, I think Stuart Gramenz is a genuine guy, not in it for the money, and who loves Jesus. He came to our church, and we all prayed for people’s legs to lengthen. There was a lot of exclaiming – lots of legs appeared to lengthen. However, that particular miracle can be explained. It’s not an indisputable proof of God healing someone. A lot of the time, it’s repositioning of joints and hips, which might even be done without the people involved really knowing what they are doing. To me, that is actually the definitive example of what miracle NOT to use to demonstrate God healing. Even if a few are healed – its just not the one to use to demonstrate this.

    Having said that, I did pray for a friend who needed healing prior to her exam, and she recovered that night and attributed it to God. In fact she was convinced she was healed immediately after we prayed. She was Anglican, and was desperate for God to help her at that time. That doesn’t sound like much of a miracle either and I wouldn’t use that to convince people.

    I also know someone whose mother was healed of some dreadful disability she’d had from an accident, and her whole family was saved as a result. Now that is God’s mercy and grace.

    I think the main thing is that healing is free and not associated with money in any way whatsoever. Also, people need to be encouraged to see doctors and not to stop taking their medication without a doctor’s approval. People should not be condemned if they are not healed. However – the people who pray for them also should not be condemned for lack of faith if healing does not take place. We do not do the healing, God does. He is not ours to command.

  54. i really dont know what to say to someone like Ryan. I do know americans can be either full-on with God or not full-on with God, correct me any americans….but that has been my experience. black and white is only good for film noir

  55. Teddy,

    You have made a lot of assumptions that simply because I attend a charismatic church and believe what I believe that I do not know who these people are. I very much like a lot of what CJ Mahaney, John Piper, and some of the others have to say.

    I used to work in a Family Christian Store and had been really wrestling with the subject of Jesus and the Pharisees and His confrontational nature for a very long time…and then I see John MacArthur comes out with “The Jesus You Can’t Ignore”.

    So this man who has blatantly attacked much of what I believe to be true comes out with a book that deals with the very subject that I have been seeking answers to.

    So I had to make a decision. I felt the Lord say to me, “The answers to some of your biggest questions lay directly beyond the doors of your biggest offenses.”

    …needless to say, the book is on my shelf and I like it very much. Do I agree with everything he says? Of course not. Is he an amazing teacher who loves God? Absolutely, and I honor him for it.

    I am not here to argue. I am here because there is so much animosity in the church between many in the charismatic church and those who disagree with much of what occurs in the charismatic church…and I want to demonstrate that there is a better way to do this than for us to wave our doctrines in each other’s faces and demand that we are the ones who are right and that the others are wrong.

    I really don’t think any of us will ever stand before the Lord and have Him say, “You had amazing doctrine.” I believe that it is true what Jesus said…that the world will know that we are His by the love we have for each other. Love does not mean we have to agree about everything. Love displays honor to people because they are formed in the image and likeness of their Creator.

    In regards to the video, we do have a video of a few of them–we only had enough battery life for a couple. If you friend me at and send me a message so I know who you are (I get a lot of random requests) I’d be happy to send it to you.

    Is it something that people would probably pick apart if they don’t believe what is happening is real? Sure. But I assure you I have a lot better things to do with my time than waste it making videos and convincing random people to ‘fake’ miracles.

    I like you guys. 🙂

  56. I have to let this go, if Ryan believes the diamond is from God then what can I say…… I believe it’s a great deception, not because he doesn’t love and want to follow Christ but because we as fallible, fallen sinners are so easily deceived. Bless you Ryan, I’ll catch up on Facebook.

  57. Ryan, read some CS Lewis, dont read just american literature. If there is a miracle of what you say it would be on the CNN.

    And all the world would bow. come on man, show us the evidence of these miracles….miracles happen, yes, but Jesus did that to wake people up. He is about love, peace and follow Him. For God’s sake (pardon another pun) dont follow man/leaders

  58. I’m actually really glad you’ve come on here, Ryan, because I do believe God heals today, and just because we’ve seen a lot of things abused in churches doesn’t mean we want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Healing is one of those things which was open to potential exploitation even back in the NT – why else would Jesus have commanded the disciples to freely give, as freely they had received?

    Currently I don’t believe that we always ‘command’ healing – but if we are responding to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will pray in the direction that He wants, which can include healing prayer. I don’t think we always do things one way or another – we learn to hear His voice. Plus doctrinally, we’d be remiss not to pray for the sick, anyway. And why pray if we don’t think God hears?

    In terms of your comments re doctrine, I couldn’t agree more with what you say about love. Doctrine without love is useless and potentially harmful. But its also good to have good doctrine and understanding, as long as you also have love.

    Love what you said God told you:

    So I had to make a decision. I felt the Lord say to me, “The answers to some of your biggest questions lay directly beyond the doors of your biggest offenses.”

    Yep. That’s something we all need to bear in mind, since no one man has it perfect. It’s so important that we don’t cut ourselves off from the body of Christ at large – we miss out on many gifts if we do.

    Also, I respect your desire not to just battle about who is right and wrong. I agree that that is not what it is all about. Though it does help when our understanding grows. Sometimes on this site, our debates cause us all to grow!

  59. i gotta go but…look i still move in Catholic circles, with bleedin madonnas and the like. the best we can do is be good to our parents, love our children and friends, be good co-workers. Be honest and kind when one can is the key

  60. BTW – mj, Teddy, if I ever find a diamond materialising, I will let you know. And I will give you my details and show it to you! Might have to attend some special meetings though to get one. Hmmm. Not sure where that would be.

  61. we’re not saying you dont Ryan….its between you and God, really work out your own salvation people…..For it is Christ that works in you

  62. Dang it…it’s late. I misread the statement about ‘loving and following Christ’ and was not able to delete it. Ignore that.

  63. John McArthur,
    ‘Scripture itself is clear that the day of God’s speaking directly to His people through various prophetic words and visions is past. The truth God has revealed in Christ including the complete New Testament canon is His final word (Heb. 1:1-2; cf. Jude 3; Rev. 22:18-19).’

    It is patently clear, reading the piece Teddy produced from McArthur, that he is completely clueless about the working of NT prophecy, and the gifts or manifestations of the Spirit, which nowhere in the NT is said to have ended or been completed.

    The idea that the Canon of scripture itself is enough and there is no longer the need for the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, or speaking in tongues, or prophecy is completely refuted by scripture, and shows one of McArthur’s basic errors.

    The Canon is complete, and need not be added to or subtracted from, but this fact doesn’t nullify the admonition to be zealous to prophesy, or to desire spiritual gifts, or the fact that God placed the gifts in the Church, or that they are the Spirit’s gifts, and therefore his prerogative to use, with whomever he will use, whenever he chooses. In fact, scripture firmly encourages prophecy and speaking in tongues.

    NT prophecy is, for the most part, different from OT prophecy, in that, under the OT God appointed specific prophets for specific tasks, at specific times, through whom he spoke his will, whereas under the NT, all believers are empowered by the Holy Spirit to prophesy. In fact, Peter’s preaching on the Day of Pentecost revealed that God’s Spirit was being poured out on all flesh, and that all would prophesy. Tis outpouring continues, and will not end until Jesus comes for the Church.

    This doesn’t mean that under the NT prophecy produces fresh revelation, outside of the canon of scripture, as McArthur wrongly claims, rather it confirms what is already revealed in the Cannon of Scripture, and applies it to a modern or future situation. This we still need in the Church, evidently.

    McArthur’s problem is that he refuses to believe what the scripture says in regard to prophecy, tongues, the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, and has to seek out scripture to ‘prove’ his bias. The error of this is that it deprives good Christians of much of the outworking of the Spirit which God has said is vital to our witness and well-being.

    You will be hard pressed to prove why this is any less of an error than the claims he makes of error amongst those he charges with heresy for obeying the Holy Spirit, by allowing him to minister through them in the gifts and manifestations.

    They are The Spirit’s gifts. He is God and he changes not. Why then would his gifts and manifestations, which are especially helpful to the Church, have to me removed? There is no reason, neither is there any scripture which tells us this has ended, and we need the gifts as much today as they did in the Book of Acts. Maybe more, because there are far more people on the earth with all the same problems and all the same needs as in the Book of Acts.

    Paul said clearly that we were not to be ignorant of spiritual things. Lack of knowledge is one thing, but deliberately misleading people by denying the power of the Holy Spirit is anathema!

  64. Teddy,
    ‘we as fallible, fallen sinners’

    Is a person who is forgiven and washed in the blood of Jesus still a fallen sinner?

    How does one get to be one of the saints addressed by Paul so often in the NT?

  65. RP et al. I didnt realise who Ryan was i thought he was a charismatic challenging us. Sometimes, because of frustration our “fruits of the spirit” get overidden 🙂

  66. LF, we battle with sin our entire lives. Hopefully we get good at it, out of practise, resisting temptation… The old man that Paul talks about is often “popping up” if we dont learn to deal with our own particular weaknesses

  67. FL….. because we still sin every day. So you’re now infallible and sinless. Sure, when we get to the end`of the journey and our new bodies but in the meantime…..

    “Let us not expect too much from our own hearts here below. At our best we shall find in ourselves daily cause for humiliation, and discover that we are needy debtors to mercy and grace every hour. The more light we have, the more we shall see our own imperfection. Sinners we were when we began, sinners we shall find ourselves as we go on; renewed, pardoned, justified, yet sinners to the very last. Our absolute perfection is yet to come, and the expectation of it is one reason why we should long for heaven.”

    And I prefer a man to use Scripture to reprove error than bow to “experience” as proof. The heart is deceitful above all else still, isn’t it? I’ve heard and read enough of John Macarthur to see that he doesn’t discount the miraculous, but sees the working of God’s providence to be the case.

    Fl, you seem to always want to give a pass to guys and ministries like Ryan without warning them to be more discerning. Do you give credence to the Todd Bentley’s, Patricia King’s, Joshua Mills’ and because he endorses these people, Bill Johnson.

  68. the thing that annoys me is they dont have to focus on fighting the “devil” all the time. Jesus gave us the victory. It is finished.

  69. There is a battle but it is in our hearts…a minister always told me to guard and watch my heart, keep it in check

  70. RP,an interesting discussion on cessationism vs continuationism on John Macarthur’s blog ( and it generated lots of response on both sides)…..

    “Throughout our series on the Prosperity Gospel, a number of people have steered the comments toward the cessationism vs. continuationism debate. I asked Phil Johnson (GTY’s Executive Director) about the issue—here’s what he said…

    If you believe any of the miraculous spiritual gifts were operative in the apostolic era only, and that some or all of those gifts gradually ceased before the end of the first century, you are a cessationist.

    If you believe all the spiritual gifts described in the New Testament have continued unabated, unchanged, and unaltered since the initial outpouring of tongues at Pentecost, you are a continuationist.

    It’s pretty hard to find a real continuationist. Absolute non-cessationists exist only at the bizarre fringe of the charismatic movement. They are the sort of people who like to declare one another “apostles,” claim (and inevitably abuse) all the apostolic prerogatives, sometimes invent fanciful stories about people raised from the dead, and twist and corrupt virtually every category of doctrine related to the gospel, the atonement, or Christian discipleship and self-denial.

    But evangelical charismatics (especially the Reformed variety) do not really believe there are apostles today who have the same authority as the Apostles in the early church. Some may use the term apostle, but they invariably insist that the apostleship they recognize today is a lesser kind of apostleship than the office and gift that belonged to the apostles in the first century.

    Now, think through the implications of that position: By arguing for a lesser kind of apostleship, they are actually conceding that the authentic, original New Testament gift of apostleship (Ephesians 4:11) has ceased. They have in effect embraced a kind of cessationism themselves.

    Note: There is no more or less biblical warrant for this view than for any other kind of cessationism.

    Nonetheless, every true evangelical holds to some form of cessationism. We all believe that the canon of Scripture is closed, right? We do not believe we should be seeking to add new inspired material to the New Testament canon. We hold to the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3)—delivered in the person of Christ, and through the teaching of His apostles, and inscripturated in the New Testament. We believe Scripture as we have it is complete. And those who do not believe that are not really evangelicals. They are cultists and false teachers, who would add to the Word of God.

    But notice this: if you acknowledge that the canon is closed and the gift of apostleship has ceased, you have already conceded the heart of the cessationist argument.

    That’s not all, though. Most leading “Reformed charismatics” go even further than that. They freely admit that all the charismatic gifts in operation today are of a lesser quality than the gifts we read about in the New Testament.

    For example, in Wayne Grudem’s book The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today (Wheaton: Crossway, 1988)—probably the single most important and influential work written to defend modern prophecy—Grudem writes that “no responsible charismatic holds” the view that prophecy today is infallible and inerrant revelation from God (p. 111). He says charismatics are arguing for a “lesser kind of prophecy” (112), which is not on the same level as the inspired prophecies of the Old Testament prophets or the New Testament apostles—and which may even be (and very often is) fallible.

    Grudem writes,

    there is almost uniform testimony from all sections of the charismatic movement that [today’s] prophecy is impure, and will contain elements which are not to be obeyed or trusted.

    Jack Deere, former Dallas Seminary prof-turned charismatic advocate, likewise admits in his book Surprised by the Power of the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993), that he has not seen anyone today performing miracles or possessing gifts of the same quality as the signs and wonders of the apostolic era. In fact, Deere argues vehemently throughout his book that modern charismatics do not even claim to have apostolic-quality gifts and miracle-working abilities. One of Deere’s main lines of defense against critics of the charismatic movement is his insistence that modern charismatic gifts are actually lesser gifts than those available in the apostolic era, and therefore, he suggests, they should not be held to apostolic standards.

    Again, consider the implications of that claim: Deere and Grudem have, in effect, conceded the entire cessationist argument. They have admitted that they are themselves cessationists of sorts. They believe that the true apostolic gifts and miracles have ceased, and they are admitting that what they are claiming today is not the same as the charismata described in the New Testament.

    In other words, modern charismatics have already adopted a cessationist position. When pressed on the issue, all honest charismatics are forced to admit that the “gifts” they receive today are of lesser quality than those of the apostolic era.

    Contemporary tongues-speakers do not speak in understandable or translatable dialects, the way the apostles and their followers did at Pentecost. Charismatics who minister on the foreign mission-field are not typically able to preach the gospel miraculously in the tongues of their hearers. Charismatic missionaries have to go to language school like everyone else.

    If all sides already acknowledge that there are no modern workers of signs and wonders who can really duplicate apostolic power, then we have no actual argument about the principle of cessationism, and therefore all the frantic demands for biblical and exegetical support for cessationism are superfluous. The real gist of our disagreement boils down only to a question of degree.

    In a very helpful book, Satisfied by the Promise of the Spirit (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1996), Thomas Edgar writes,

    The charismatic movement gained credence and initial acceptance by claiming their gifts were the same as those in Acts. For most people this is why they are credible today. Yet now one of their primary defenses is the claim that [the gifts] are not the same [as those in the New Testament.] Faced with the facts, they have had to revoke the very foundation of their original reason for existence. (p. 32)

    As for biblical arguments, in Scripture itself, there is ample evidence that miracles were extraordinary, rare events, usually associated in some significant way with people who spoke inspired and infallible utterances. It is obvious from the biblical narrative that miracles were declining in frequency even before the apostolic era drew to a close. Scripture says the miracles were apostolic signs (2 Corinthians 12:12), and therefore by definition they pertained specifically and uniquely to the apostolic era.”

  71. Yes, an interesting argument, Teddy. But I don’t agree with him. It’s a highly constructed point of view, which redefines so called ‘continuationists’ and ‘cessasionists’ in a fashion to suit his stance.

    I feel that the cessasionist argument is actually a distortion and addition to scripture. It only stands up when they add to scripture themselves. Their constructed point of view reminds me of some of the constructed views regarding tithing and submission to leadership.

    On other matters, they add a lot to the church. In this matter, they limit God’s power in the lives of individuals.

    God can still work in us and through us whether we are cessationists or not, however.

    One thing I used to find peculiar, was my ex-Anglican ministers asssertion on the one hand that the charismatic gifts from God were dead and gone since 100AD, but on the other hand, the devil was alive and well, and creating spiritual utterances everywhere. Somehow, the devil had a complete monopoly on visible spiritual power.

    We all know that charismatic gifts can be highly abused, but this doesn’t mean they’ve ceased. They were also abused back in NT times. So regardless of any kind of demonstration of power, we still come back to the fruit of the Spirit to see where a person is really coming from.

  72. Years ago, when I went to the Katoomba Convention, Phil Jensen also spoke against charismatic gifts but wouldn’t directly say they were wrong. Instead he used implication to clearly insinuate that they were from the devil, while standing on the stage in front of hundreds of Anglican youth. I was staying in the area where the speakers ate and so forth (was attending in a service role at the time, rather than as a conference attendee), and when they found I went to a charismatic church, you should have seen the put downs. I was instantly regarded as sub-intelligent. They became polite, but condescending. You have to have lost a few brain cells to disagree with their viewpoint, it seems.

  73. I think if you look closely at Phil Johnson’s point of view and further reading of his other articles, he and John Macarthur believe in a profoundly miraculous God who still heals today but it is in His sovereignity and purpose… John Macarthur’s testimony about his own son’s brain tumour a case in point.

    I thank God for men like these.

  74. ‘Phil Johnson’ and ‘Phil Jensen’ sound similar – just to clarify if there was any confusion, I was talking about ‘Phil Jensen’, the Sydney Anglican.

    I found this interesting comment about Mark Driscoll, as well, in passing:

    He is not without his surprises though. His dreams, visions, demon battles and non-cessationist views of charismatic gifts at times jar with what is otherwise reformed theology.

    I had been basically a theological cessationist and a fan of fundamentalist straw-man attacks on charismatic Christians. It wasn’t until some years later, however, that I came to see the cessationists’ interpretation of 1 Corinthians 12-14 as the second worst exegesis I have ever read, next to that of a Canadian nudist arsonist cult I once did some research on. (Confessions, p. 121)

  75. If you listen to Phil Johnson’s sermon, he makes the point well that Charismatics have a problem seeing God at work providentially every day… it’s in their defining of the “miraculous”, they are missing the bigger picture.

    Mark Driscoll, as much as I love him, hasn’t achieved “theologian” status. He makes all sorts of contradicting statements at times and happily admits he is on a steep learning curve! I love a man who admits failures, he reminds of me of Peter (in his relationship with Christ), suffers from foot in mouth disease 🙂

  76. Wow, McArthur fails to see the Rapture of the Church in John 11! It shows his inability to hear other’s teaching. Scary! It’s there in verses 25 & 26, plain as day! Compare, ‘though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die’, with 1 Cor. 15:51-52 and 1 Thes. 4:12-18, both descriptions of the catching up of the Church.

    As he says, you have to work hard and study diligently to be a workman approved of God. That is correct, but why is hard work and diligence exclusive to cessationists?

    The argument on the blog for cessationism amongst the continuists is seriously flawed, and based entirely on non-scriptural reason. Not a single reference to scripture, only to authors of books which conveniently ‘prove’ his point.

    Whether men are involved in miracles and healing today or not isn’t the point, and proves nothing. Scripture declares, amongst other things, that those who believe will do the same things that Jesus did, and the gifts of the Spirit include the miraculous. God has not ended a thing. If we do not see the same degree of miracles today as in the Book of Acts, it is not because God has ended them, but because we are not applying God’s truth accurately. Widespread bad teaching such as cessationist doctrine doesn’t help!

    I am appalled at the disrespect shown to charismatic teaching in this article.

    Again the claim is that NT prophecy has to be extra-biblical. It isn’t. It can’t be. No charismatic claims this. It is an argument contrived by cessationists.

    NT prophecy is explained by Paul as exhortation, comfort and encouragement. The Holy Spirit gives the utterance, and will always draw our attention to Christ, and to the Word, and never reveal anything that is not already revealed in scripture.

    I’d be very surprised if they didn’t teach you that at CCC.

    By the way, Teddy, I haven’t said a word about Ryan, either in defence or against. I am mostly concerned with your use of McArthur’s teaching to refute what you see as error, when, in fact, McArthur is clearly in error himself. I will say that Ryan has been badly treated, however, but he can defend himself.

  77. Wow, it’s all in hearing isn’t it FL. John Macarthur is thoroughly documented on his belief of an imminent rapture of the church – he’s pre trib, pre wrath through and through. His sermon at Shepherds Conference a couple of years ago (I’ve heard it) about this put the cat among the pigeons! His stance and support in regards to Israel and God’s future dealings with them is thoroughly documented too.

    The issue is bad eisegesis in John 11 not good exegesis. I never expect you to agree FL, you are the old me and I was never “wrong”.

  78. You don’t like John Macarthur, accuse him of error but seem to constantly overlook the “flakey” churches and ministries, FL… why?

  79. John MacArthur defines self-respecting Calvinism as Premillennial
    Posted by Erik in Irish Calvinist, John MacArthur, Shepherds’ Conference on Mar 7th, 2007

    “This morning John MacArthur opened the 2007 Shepherd’s Conference with a loud blast that will no doubt be heard around the Reformed world in the coming weeks. His message in General Session 1 was entitled “Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is Premillennial”.

    I am not going to try to quote him here, because frankly I did not take notes, I just sat there and listened. MacArthur pulled no punches in his messages saying things like Jesus, Peter, the writer of Hebrews, and James were all premillenial. He also said that it is too late for Calvin but it is not too late for you [to join the Reformed Premillennial movement]! I just want to note that he neither proposed nor answered the types of objections that are oftentimes levied against premillennialists (like some I have heard lately). Instead, MacArthur systematically unpacked the biblical theology that leads one to an unabashed Calvinistic eschatology.

    He made an interesting connection between Genesis and Revelation. Basically he said that when people spiritualize or allegorize the first three chapters of Genesis we call them Liberals, but when they do the same with the prophetic Scriptures we call them amillennialists. MacArthur insisted that we should be able to preach the whole Bible without changing the original meaning of the text or abrogating promises.

    In a really interesting illustration MacArthur envisioned an amillennialist evangelizing a Jew. He asked what the amillennialist would say if the Jew asked about the kingdom and the blessings. The amil guy, MacArthur said, would have to say that things have changed, those promises no longer apply to you, we have them now and this is the kingdom. In a shocking conclusion to the illustration, MacArthur said, “if this is the kingdom, then Jesus is not the messiah”. His point being that Jesus literally fulfilled promises of God just as they would have been literally taken, how in the world can we now redefine the kingdom in a different way than it was described in and through the prophets?

    This message clears up any questions as to where MacArthur stands on the eschatology issue. His presentation was not an attempt to harmonize Calvinism with a premillennial view but rather to show the inconsistency of the contrary. He also spoke briefly about dispensationalism, but I am not going to cover that here, I got to run.

    So check out Tim Challies’ summary on this once it is posted and if you are able to get your mitts on the audio for this it is highly recommended.

    I couldn’t help but wonder what the other guest speakers might have been thinking as they sat in the front row. Ligon Duncan and CJ Maheney (preaching tonight in the place of John Piper) both are Amil; Al Mohler and Mark Dever are both Historic Premil (I believe, correct me if I am wrong).”

  80. I don’t have an opinion of John McArthur as a person one way or the other. He’s very good in some areas, and amiss in others, like all of us. But error is error despite the credentials of the speaker.

    Neither did I challenge his premillenial view, rather his aloof opinion, on the YouTube clip you put up on ‘bad hermeneutics’, illustrated by a speaker he heard who had a message on the rapture from John 11, which McArthur jokingly dismissed, and plainly said wasn’t there. It is. And clearly. Being a reference to the resurrection of the Church. By Jesus himself, the Resurrection and the Life!

    I have often spoken out, on this blog, against the outrageous claims of some ministries, including Todd Bentley, Matt Ford, and others. I do not defend wrong teaching. I do not agree with everything said by those who are mostly spoken of here. But I also do not think it is right to say some of the things which are said about ministries.

    If you quote McArthur, and what he says is not scriptural, then it should be acceptable to point out the error. Or would you rather help perpetuate it?

    I do not agree with all of Calvinism, mainly the teaching on predestination, although I have begun reading Calvin, and many of the things he said pastorally are excellent and worth considering.

    I believe a Calvinistic perspective of scripture can be divisive in some ways, and is the main issue of contention in the Church today, and one of the reasons Pentecostalism and charismatic teaching are so badly viewed by many of the pro-calvin ministries, which include the bulk of ‘discernment ministries’.

    The cessationist view is one of the most destructive arguments in the Body today, and denies much of the power of God, at least that which he endued the Church with, which leaves the Church with form, legalism and reason.

    If you remove the gifts, manifestations and power of the Holy Spirit from the Church, what are you left with? The Word. Yes, but the Word without the Spirit is deadly! We need the Word and the Spirit, and then we have the power of God demonstrated through the Church, to God’s glory.

    McArthur may believe in the miraculous, but it is on means of God’s outworking of the miraculous through the Church in which he errs.

  81. FL, we are living in a world which is becoming more difficult to stand for the faith, in light of these confusing, sometimes deceiving ministries that are running rough shod through the body of Christ.

    I have a high view of Scripture including a belief in its sufficiency (as I’m sure you do).

    I believe God speaks to us today only through Scripture and not beyond the written Word. I’m not rejecting general revelation in which “the heavens are telling of the glory of God..” (Ps 19:1-6), but believe that specific, authoritative revelation for this church age is confined to the Old and New Testaments.

    Is God adding new revelation or “inspired texts” to supplement Scripture? God has promised that the Scriptures are “adequate to equip us for every good work” (2 Tim 3:17).

    Do we need to seek “fresh communication” from God, or do we rely on the “sure word of prophecy” (2 Pet 1:19).

    This helps us to be Christians who are “diligent to present ourselves approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth”(2 Tim 2:14). We need men like Macarthur, among others, who are not heretics, but simply showing due diligence to the Word.

  82. Now I’m off to see Avatar, and may change my views altogether after scrambling my brain with 3D. 🙂

  83. MJ: “This site upholds doctrine, not man”

    Even though I am keen to learn good doctrine, hold onto good doctrine and defend good doctrine, I think it is essential that we elevate that alongside brotherhood.

    To me, truth is love and to love is to seek truth. They both come at a high cost. I know I’ve failed in putting relationship and doctrine side-by-side on Signposts02 in the past, but it’s a goal I wish we could all aim for.

  84. Are you saying that we don’t need prophecy today, Teddy? or that the gifts of 1 Cor.12 have ended?

    I don’t think we need anyone who tells us that things have ended when they haven’t.

    He may be diligent in study, but he is also highly critical of people who share a contrary view of scripture, which is acceptable, as long as he can actually demonstrate from scripture that he is correct, which he can’t in his cessation claims, or his claims about the gifts, or speaking in tongues, or healing, or miracles.

    He, like you or I, is as open to criticism and challenge on his doctrine as those he teaches against. He is under the same judgement with which he judges.

    I have already agreed that the canon of scripture is closed. But within the canon of scripture, provision is made for prophecy, tongues and interpretation, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, and other utterance gifts, which are manifestations of the Spirit. They have not ended.

    Therefore accurate teaching must be given to the Church on these things. If they are denied by a certain quarter of the Church, then they will not be accurately taught.

    This means we are missing a huge chunk of important doctrine. We cannot admire teachers who choose to neglect such important issues.

    God placed this doctrine in the Church for a purpose. We need to be good stewards of the ministry God has entrusted us with. This means we must teach the Word as it is presented to us, not as we think it should have been presented.

    McArthur is lacking in this in the area of the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, despite being diligent and studious, and having a vested, declared interest in producing accurate doctrine. If his lack of understanding were through mere ignorance we would say that is fine, but he deliberately denies the gifts, and attempts to dissuade us from the need or importance of them, to the point of saying they are not of God, leading people astray. For a man of his calibre and seniority this is unacceptable.

  85. Unacceptable to you FL, not to many, many others who are just as committed.

    What is prophecy to you, FL? Extra-biblical revelation that would need to be added at the end of our bibles or the forth-telling of God’s already revealed word?

    “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last dayshe has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Heb. 1:1-2 ESV)

    From a theological standpoint the reason that God no longer speaks to His people through “today’s prophets” is that He has said everything He wants to say through His Son.

    And the Son gets all the preeminence.

  86. Teddy: “we as fallible, fallen sinners”

    FaithLift: “Is a person who is forgiven and washed in the blood of Jesus still a fallen sinner?”

    A huge resounding, NO!, from me. If we are redeemed, we aint falling away, we’re exalted and seated by the Son.

  87. What are you saying Specks, that you still don’t sin daily? I do! But yes I’m redeemed, restored, forgiven and a work of ongoing sanctification – and still fallible and in a sinful body subject to decay. Well, I am 61, perhaps I should know better.

    And guess what? I totally believe that we do not lose our salvation. Chosen in him before the foundation of the earth when I wasn’t even there!!

  88. “From a theological standpoint the reason that God no longer speaks to His people through “today’s prophets” is that He has said everything He wants to say through His Son.

    And the Son gets all the preeminence.”

    Interesting point Teddy! I think an arabic translation of Messiah is ‘Final Revelation of God’.

    God has said everything to his Son. But sometimes people forget or fail to listen and see who the Son is, what he’s declared and done. As much as I like your point, I do believe that the son uses SOME of today’s prophet’s to prophesy and to reveal scriptural truths in relation to Him

  89. S & P i was referring to the “cult of personality” type thing (and what they say) over the Bible teachings, sorry, a comment out of context reads funny i know

  90. well, this conversation has gotten bigger. I believe prophecy, i believe in miracle, i believe that there are sometimes signs/wonders. i think some have their beliefs (of the Bible) leaning towards one more than the the other, i think thats ok. Its when there isnt a balance, commonsense involved and love.

    when a “belief” gets totally out of whack, then thats an issue. In the little church i attend some people have more charismatic leanings, or more traditional but it seems to be reigned in, not over the top.

    As i said one person goes to see Benny Hinn, i think they might be alone in that belief but, we dont say anything, and they are generally a decent person, just searching…

  91. So you clearly say we need no longer be zealous to prophesy, as Paul admonished us, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, Teddy.

    I’d have to ask you why Jesus gives us Prophets in the church if there is nothing to prophesy. When the outpouring of the Holy spirit ended, and why, when it was, and is, an outpouring upon all flesh Acts 2:17-18, so that, having received the Promise of the Spirit, ‘they shall all prophesy’, with the Promise of the Spirit being, ‘unto you, and your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call’, Acts 2:39.

    In fact, with respect, although I have explained it three times, you have failed to understand what I have said about NT prophecy. I also stated that McArthur has missed it completely, and has mislead his followers too. It means he has misunderstood scripture to such an extent that he is denying some of the most important out-workings of the Holy Spirit’s ministry today. I’m sorry, but this is error. Scripture is clear:

    1 Corinthians 12:7
    ‘The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every person to profit all others’.

    1 Corinthians 14:
    ‘Follow after love, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that you might prophesy’. ‘He that prophesies speaks to people to edification, exhortation, and comfort’. ‘I would that you all spoke with tongues, but rather that you prophesy’.

    ‘If all prophesy, and there comes in one who does not believe, or is unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all, and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth’.

    ‘Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If anything be revealed to the other sitting by, let the first hold his peace. For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints’.

    ‘Brethren, covet to prophesy and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order’.

    1 Thessalonians 19-20
    ‘Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings’.

    There is nothing there about revelation outside of the canon of scripture. It is about building the members of the church. It is about edification and exhortation.

    The fact I am making is that this is in the canon of scripture, and therefore should be taught.

    The canon may be settled, but what it says to us, and how we are expected to act within its set of instructions has still to be acted upon. It is complete, but not ended in the sense that we now have no role to play in demonstrating its power and processes. rather we are called to show forth the excellence of God by allowing the Spirit to speak to our age.

  92. Well, FL, i actually know of a prophet of sorts. They have prophetic dreams (that have came true). Doesnt happen alot but some people do have a bit of a gifting in that area. Usually they are quiet about it and use it for close friends or family, they usually know the persons involved in the prophecy very well too.

    They are not “showy” about it or use it randomly on peoplel they hardly know

  93. I definitely know prophets, healers and people who move in words of knowledge. They’re not in leadership. They don’t want to be. And these people that have such gifts operate in humility and only approach you when they feel like they would be sinning if they didn’t speak to you, because they are sure God wants them to do something to an individual they approached.

    For the prophets, to their credit, they’ve often said ‘Please test what I say for your sake, not mine’.

    They don’t like being down the front. If something supernatural happens, they encourage the receiver to share what a ‘prophet’ or ‘healer’ did to them.

  94. Matt Ford in his articles says:

    “Souls. It’s what we’re all about.”

    I have to question if this is what should be Christianity’s goal.

  95. well if the emphasis is on winning souls then thats a bit unbalanced.

    After the first flush people need more, they need solid teaching. They need to go through a process. Some dont take long to have “full” knowledge (btw, we sometimes still experience mystery). Its about character building and learning to lean on God yourself….then maybe help others too

  96. A very interesting discussion everyone.

    I think that the argument about the nature of Modern Prophecy … i.e. is it extra-biblical? If yes … it must be dodgy, if no … then it is pointless extra stuff we don’t need … is a classical straw-man argument.

    Post-Apostolic Age prophetic utterances must be weighed and judged according to scripture.

    Everyone should agree to this.

    Where the Spirit has already spoken, we know He will not contradict Himself. Once we have verified that an utterance is in accord with scripture, we can then see how it applies to the immediate situation.

    If God has chosen to speak, we must listen. End of story. However, the next test of the prophecy must be based on the person who has been used as the mouthpiece. If that person is recognised as being unreliable, we can ignore him as well.

    If the person is acknowledged as being a reliable spokesperson, then we can then see if the word of knowledge applies.

    Now, let me remind you where we got this notion of the pre-tribulation rapture from.

    It comes from JN Darby in the 1840’s. Before him, everyone believed in a post-tribulation rapture. He responded to a prophecy … which was extra-biblical in nature. He had to really twist scripture as there was no clear statement … grab a verse here, twist with another verse there … come up with a complete lie … just to make us feel good. Don’t worry about the here and now … Jesus will take us away long before bad stuff happens.

    He turned eschatology into escapology!

    So now, we end up with the left-behind series of stories that have no basis in scripture … at all.

    It is possible to construct, from inferences in scripture (not clear statements), an argument for a pre-trib rapture. It is very convoluted. Get your local church bible teacher person to explain, from scripture, using clear statements in scripture … how we will all be raptured by Jesus coming secretly before the tribulation. Then after the tribulation He will return publicly. It isn’t in the Bible!

    While it does say He will come like a thief in the night … read that very carefully. We are told in no uncertain terms that if we watch for His coming, we will not be caught unawares.

    So, He will not come as a surprise for those who watch for him. What will be the signs of His coming?

    Great falling away …
    Love of MOST will grow Cold … (implies that He is loved by them first though … apostasy in the church folks)
    Then the Gospel will be preached to all the nations …

    If you look at Revelation … you will see that if you read the book in order and don’t just grab bits in no particular order … you will see that all the bad things happen BEFORE Jesus returns for His bride.

    And if you are wondering why Jesus will allow the Church to suffer … He is already allowing the Church to suffer.

    more than 250,000 martyrs every year. Suffering for Jesus sake can’t get any worse for them can it?

    Get Ready. The point of Revelation is to tell us believers to get ready for the worst.

    It gives us hope too. Jesus Wins after all.


  97. i must correct myself i said “some don’t take long..” i meant sometimes people grasp the Bible easily, for many others it takes time and trial and error.

    Bull i had completely forgot about the rapture scenario, was that where we are taken up to the sky, i dont like heights or lack of oxygen 😦

  98. Post-Apostolic Age? Is that anything like the New Apostolic Reformation? Neither seems to fit with scripture! When did the New Testament end or need revision.

    The last days began at the Day of Pentecost, and therefore continue until the end of the age. It is the age of the Church. The time of the Gentiles. it precedes the second coming of Christ with the Church, not for the Church, who will already be with him when he comes in his wrath.

    There is actually very strong evidence for a pre-tribulation catching up of the Church. It is not sketchy or sporadic teaching, but very compelling. The great tribulation is certainly the outpouring of God’s wrath, yet we are assured that we are not appointed to wrath, but to obtain salvation, which would suggest the Church will to go through this tribulation.

    Finally, prophecy by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit cannot be considered pointless. God doesn’t waste his Breath. If there is teaching on the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, on prophecy, on tongues, and God considers it important, which he does, then we should learn all we can about it and teach it accurately to the proportion it deserves, and not sweep it away with arrogance as if it doesn’t matter. God wastes nothing!

  99. Ephraim and The rapture…..from Salvation by Grace

    “Are you familiar with Ephraim the Syrian? And, if so, what is the controversy surrounding him and the rapture? Thank you for taking my question. I really like the Q and A section of your website!
    Jim –
    Well, there’s a question you don’t often see! But, you’re right. There is a controversy surrounding Ephraim the Syrian. So, let’s start with some history and then we’ll get into the document in question and the implications of that document.
    The actual historic person is often referred to as St. Ephraim of Edessa, the Syrian. Edessa is a city in modern Turkey, near Antioch, which is now called Antakya. He was born in the city of Nisibis, Mesopotamia in 306 and died in 373. He was a monk, a poet, a hymn writer, and teacher. It is said that Ephraim attended the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, accompanying his bishop, James of Nisibis.
    Ephraim (or alternately “Ephrem”) the Syrian is recognized as a saint in both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. He grew to be one of the primary figures of importance in the Syrian church. Of his writings, we still have copies of his commentaries on the Old and New Testament, numerous sermons and some 72 hymns.
    None of that is particularly controversial. That’s reasonably settled history. However, history also has produced a person who has come to be known as “Pseudo-Ephraim.” This was a person who wrote under the name “Ephraim the Syrian,” probably to give his writing credibility and added weight. But, historians doubt that these later documents were actually penned by the original saint.
    Now, one of these documents in question is called “Sermon on the End of the World.” There is considerable variation over the time of its authorship, although estimates range anywhere from 373 to 627 AD. Now, this sermon is relatively short, just under 1500 words. It is preserved in four Latin manuscripts, but there are also Greek and Syriac versions remaining. Evidence leads scholars to conclude that the first version of the sermon was most likely written in Syriac, translated into Greek, and from there into Latin.
    What’s interesting about the multiple early manuscripts, all dating from around the same period, is that the original sermon appears to have been so popular that it was quickly translated into the major languages of the day in order to circulate it widely among the early Church. This was not a hidden, or “shadowy” bit of teaching. This was a popular and well-read document.
    The sermon itself is fascinating reading for many, many reasons. So, for those of you intrigued by such things, here is an English rendering of Pseudo-Ephraim’s popular sermon
    On the Last Times, the Anti-Christ, and the End of the World
    A Sermon by Pseudo-Ephraem
    Section 1
    Dearly beloved brothers, believe the Holy Spirit who speaks in us. We have already told you that the end of the world is near, the consummation remains. Has not faith withered away among mankind? How many foolish things are seen among youths, how many crimes among prelates, how many lies among priests, how many perjuries among deacons! There are evil deeds among the ministers, adulteries in the aged, wantonness in the youths–in mature women false faces, in virgins dangerous traces! In the midst of all this there are the wars with the Persians, and we see struggles with diverse nations threatening and “kingdom rising against kingdom” (Matt. 24:7). When the Roman Empire begins to be consumed by the sword, the coming of the Evil One is at hand. It is necessary that the world come to an end at the completion of the Roman Empire.
    In those days two brothers will come to the Roman Empire who will rule with one mind; but because one will surpass the other, there will be a schism between them. And so the Adversary will be loosed and will stir up hatred between the Persian and Roman empires. In those days many will rise up against Rome; the Jewish people will be her adversaries. There will be stirrings of nations and evil reports, pestilences, famines, and earthquakes in various places. All nations will receive captives; there will be wars and rumors of wars. From the rising to the setting of the sun the sword will devour much. The times will be so dangerous that in fear and trembling they will not permit thought of better things, because many will be the oppressions and desolations of regions that are to come.
    Section 2
    We ought to understand thoroughly therefore, my brothers, what is imminent or overhanging. Already there have been hunger and plagues, violent movements of nations and signs, which have been predicted by the Lord, they have already been fulfilled (consummated), and there is not other which remains, except the advent of the wicked one in the completion of the Roman kingdom. Why therefore are we occupied with worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of earthly actions and prepare ourselves for the meeting of the Lord Christ, so that he may draw us from the confusion, which overwhelms all the world? Believe you me, dearest brother, because the coming (advent) of the Lord is nigh, believe you me, because the end of the world is at hand, believe me, because it is the very last time. Or do you not believe unless you see with your eyes? See to it that this sentence be not fulfilled among you of the prophet who declares: “Woe to those who desire to see the day of the Lord!” For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins. And so, brothers most dear to me, it is the eleventh hour, and the end of the world comes to the harvest, and angels, armed and prepared, hold sickles in their hands, awaiting the empire of the Lord. And we think that the earth exists with blind infidelity, arriving at its downfall early. Commotions are brought forth, wars of diverse peoples and battles and incursions of the barbarians threaten, and our regions shall be desolated, and we neither become very much afraid of the report nor of the appearance, in order that we may at least do penance; because they hurl fear at us, and we do not wish to be changed, although we at least stand in need of penance for our actions!
    Section 3
    When therefore the end of the world comes, there arise diverse wars, commotions on all sides, horrible earthquakes, perturbations of nations, tempests throughout the lands, plagues, famine, drought throughout the thoroughfares, great danger throughout the sea and dry land, constant persecutions, slaughters and massacres everywhere, fear in the homes, panic in the cities, quaking in the thoroughfares, suspicions in the male, anxiety in the streets. In the desert people become senseless, spirits melt in the cities. A friend will not be grieved over a friend, neither a brother for a brother, nor parents for their children, nor a faithful servant for his master, but one inevitability shall overwhelm them all; neither is anyone able to be recovered in that time, who has not been made completely aware of the coming danger, but all people, who have been constricted by fear, are consumed because of the overhanging evils.
    Section 4
    Whenever therefore the earth is agitated by the nations, people will hide themselves from the wars in the mountains and rocks, by caves and caverns of the earth, by graves and memorials of the dead, and there, as they waste away gradually by fear, they draw breath, because there is not any place at all to flee, but there will be concession and intolerable pressure. And those who are in the east will flee to the west, and moreover, those who are in the west shall flee to the east, and there is not a safer place anywhere, because the world shall be overwhelmed by worthless nations, whose aspect appears to be of wild animals more than that of men. Because those very much horrible nations, most profane and most defiled, who do not spare lives, and shall destroy the living from the dead, shall consume the dead, they eat dead flesh, they drink the blood of beasts, they pollute the world, contaminate all things, and the one who is able to resist them is not there. In those days people shall not be buried, neither Christian, nor heretic, neither Jew, nor pagan, because of fear and dread there is not one who buries them; because all people, while they are fleeing, ignore them.
    Section 5
    Whenever the days of the times of those nations have been fulfilled, after they have destroyed the earth, it shall rest; and now the kingdom of the Romans is removed from everyday life, and the empire of the Christians is handed down by God and Peter; and then the consummation comes, when the kingdom of the Romans begins to be fulfilled, and all dominions and powers have been fulfilled. Then that worthless and abominable dragon shall appear, he, whom Moses named in Deuteronomy, saying: Dan is a young lion, reclining and leaping from Basan. Because he reclines in order that he may seize and destroy and slay. Indeed (he is) a young whelp of a lion not as the lion of the tribe of Judah, but roaring because of his wrath, that he may devour. “And he leaps out from Basan.” “Basan” certainly is interpreted “confusion.” He shall rise up from the confusion of his iniquity. The one who gathers together to himself a partridge the children of confusion, also shall call them, whom he has not brought forth, just as Jeremiah the prophet says. Also in the last day they shall relinquish him just as confused.
    Section 6
    When therefore the end of the world comes, that abominable, lying and murderous one is born from the tribe of Dan. He is conceived from the seed of a man and from an unclean or most vile virgin, mixed with an evil or worthless spirit. But that abominable corrupter, more of spirits than of bodies, while a youth, the crafty dragon appears under the appearance of righteousness, before he takes the kingdom. Because he will be craftily gentle to all people, not receiving gifts, not placed before another person, loving to all people, quiet to everyone, not desiring gifts, appearing friendly among close friends, so that men may bless him, saying;-he is a just man, not knowing that a wolf lies concealed under the appearance of a lamb, and that a greedy man is inside under the skin of a sheep.
    Section 7
    But when the time of the abomination of his desolation begins to approach, having been made legal, he takes the empire, and, just as it is said in the Psalm: They have been made for the undertaking for the sons of Loth, the Moabites and the Ammanites shall meet him first as their king. Therefore, when he receives the kingdom, he orders the temple of God to be rebuilt for himself, which is in Jerusalem; who, after coming into it, he shall sit as God and order that he be adored by all nations, since he is carnal and filthy and mixed with worthless spirit and flesh. Then that eloquence shall be fulfilled of Daniel the prophet: And he shall not know the God of their fathers, and he shall not know the desires of women. Because the very wicked serpent shall direct every worship to himself. Because he shall put forth an edict so that people may be circumcised according to the rite of the old law. Then the Jews shall congratulate him, because he gave them again the practice of the first covenant; then all people from everywhere shall flock together to him at the city of Jerusalem, and the holy city shall be trampled on by the nations for forty-two months, just as the holy apostle says in the Apocalypse, which become three and a half years, 1,260 days.
    Section 8
    In these three years and a half the heaven shall suspend its dew; because there will be no rain upon the earth, and the clouds shall cease to pass through the air, and the stars shall be seen with difficulty in the sky because of the excessive dryness, which happens in the time of the very fierce dragon. Because all great rivers and very powerful fountains that overflow with themselves shall be dried up, torrents shall dry up their water-courses because of the intolerable age, and there will be a great tribulation, as there has not been, since people began to be upon the earth, and there will be famine and an insufferable thirst. And children shall waste away in the bosom of their mothers, and wives upon the knees of their husbands, by not having victuals to eat. Because there will be in those days lack of bread and water, and no one is able to sell or to buy of the grain of the fall harvest, unless he is one who has the serpentine sign on the forehead or on the hand. Then gold and silver and precious clothing or precious stones shall lie along the streets, and also even every type of pearls along the thoroughfares and streets of the cities, but there is not one who may extend the hand and take or desire them, but they consider all things as good as nothing because of the extreme lack and famine of bread, because the earth is not protected by the rains of heaven, and there will be neither dew nor moisture of the air upon the earth. But those who wander through the deserts, fleeing from the face of the serpent, bend their knees to God, just as lambs to the adders of their mothers, being sustained by the salvation of the Lord, and while wandering in states of desertion, they eat herbs.
    Section 9
    Then, when this inevitability has overwhelmed all people, just and unjust, the just, so that they may be found good by their Lord; and indeed the unjust, so that they may be damned forever with their author the Devil, and, as God beholds the human race in danger and being tossed about by the breath of the horrible dragon, he sends to them consolatory proclamation by his attendants, the prophets Enoch and Elijah, who, while not yet tasting death, are the servants for the heralding of the second coming of Christ, and in order to accuse the enemy. And when those just ones have appeared, they confuse indeed the antagonistic serpent with his cleverness and they call back the faithful witnesses to God, in order to (free them) from his seduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    Section 10
    And when the three and a half years have been completed, the time of the Antichrist, through which he will have seduced the world, after the resurrection of the two prophets, in the hour which the world does not know, and on the day which the enemy of son of perdition does not know, will come the sign of the Son of Man, and coming forward the Lord shall appear with great power and much majesty, with the sign of the wood of salvation going before him, and also even with all the powers of the heavens with the whole chorus of the saints, with those who bear the sign of the holy cross upon their shoulders, as the angelic trumpet precedes him, which shall sound and declare: Arise, O sleeping ones, arise, meet Christ, because his hour of judgment has come! Then Christ shall come and the enemy shall be thrown into confusion, and the Lord shall destroy him by the spirit of his mouth. And he shall be bound and shall be plunged into the abyss of everlasting fire alive with his father Satan; and all people, who do his wishes, shall perish with him forever; but the righteous ones shall inherit everlasting life with the Lord forever and ever.
    It is not my intention to write a commentary on this whole document, incredibly interesting as it is. In particular, I am fascinated by Pseudo-Ephraim’s descriptions of the depravity of people in his time. We could read the opening sentences of section 1 of this document from any pulpit in the modern world and the words would ring just as true.
    But, the phrase that has caught people’s attention is from Section 2, and it reads – “For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins.”
    Now, to give proper credit where due, Grant Jeffery is credited with rediscovering this statement in 1995 and recognizing its significance to Rapture teaching. “Grant Jeffrey found the statement in Paul J. Alexander, The Byzantine Apocalyptic Tradition, by (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), 2.10. The late Alexander found the sermon in C. P. Caspari, ed. Briefe, Abhandlungen und Predigten aus den zwei letzten Jahrhunderten des kirchlichen Altertums und dem Anfang des Mittelaters, (Christiania, 1890), 208-20.” 1
    Following in his footsteps, Thomas Ice has written several informative and well-researched articles on Pseudo-Ephraim.
    Now, here’s the core of the controversy. The belief that Jesus will return prior to the “Great Tribulation” and “catch away” His saints is called “pretribulationism.” That also happens to be the eschatology that I subscribe to. I have spelled out my reasoning, conclusions and exegesis concerning the Pre-Tribulation Rapture in the on-line book “A Brief History of the Future.”
    However, there are also many opponents of that position. And, one of the chief arguments leveled against it is the notion that prior to John Nelson Darby in the early 1800’s, pre-tribulation rapture teaching was completely foreign to the Church. In other words, they argue that this position was unknown and untaught for the first 18 centuries of the Church’s existence. Therefore, inasmuch as the early Church knew nothing of it, pretribulationism must be a modern invention and not genuine apostolic doctrine.
    Some go even further and argue that the first time this idea emerged was during an ecstatic vision by Margaret MacDonald back in 1830. She is reported to have predicted a two-stage return of Christ, with some believes raptured before the onset of the tribulation. She said these things while in a trance and also mentioned Mr. R. Owen, whom she said was the antichrist. Of course, she was wrong.
    So, opponents of pretribulationism jump on this odd bit of history and discount the entire idea on the basis that a lunatic propounded it. But, that’s hardly a rock-solid refutation. Anyone versed in the rules of logic will recognize that as the “ad hominem” error.
    Through the years, a host of scholarly, respected theologians of all stripes have based their teaching of pretribulationism on solid Bible exegesis. To say that the idea is faulty simply because it was propounded by someone whose sanity was suspect is like saying Christianity itself was invalidated when David Koresh claimed to be Christ. It fails to address the true merits of an argument by simply pointing fingers at the flaws of someone who agrees with it.
    In any case, if Pseudo Ephraim did indeed propound pretribulationism, then all of those arguments are moot. This teaching was well known and widely distributed early on in the Church’s history. And, its wide acceptance proves that it was not a foreign idea to the early believers.
    So, I said all that to say this — in the end, we must only teach and accept those things that can plainly and clearly be found in Scripture. I am a great advocate of reading the Bible at face value, standing toe-to-toe with what it actually says and adjusting our theology accordingly.
    As such, I am convinced that there is a future time of trouble coming for planet Earth, a time such as never was nor ever will be again. Jesus said that, not me. But, prior to that time of tribulation, Christ will return to gather His bride to Himself. We will meet Him in the clouds of the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Paul said that, not me.
    The critics of that position, far from being able to discount it from Scripture, have resorted to a most tenuous method, which is claiming that this teaching was completely foreign to the early church and therefore not the genuine way to understand Paul’s writing.
    However, if Pseudo-Ephraim did indeed publish a widely read and accepted sermon that taught that all the saints and elect of God are taken to be with the Lord prior to the tribulation, then this teaching is far from unique, and can be proclaimed quite boldly as historic, apostolic doctrine.
    And, that’s the deal with Ephraim the Syrian. Hope it helped! And, thanks for asking such an interesting question!
    Yours for His sake,
    Jim McClarty

  100. And while Fire It Up Ministries is small and getting on it’s way to try and be big, Matt Ford is in Hawaii supposedly drunk on glory.

    This Sunday (21/2/10), he is preaching in Waipahu Hawaii. Why do they let him? Dear God!

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