Fergusson’s Tribute to Hillsong?

You can read this poem hear on Hillsong’s web site. Your thoughts?

http://myhillsong.com/church-lord-jesus-christ

The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ

She is the plan of God on earth; always in her Father’s eye: Cherished, mysterious, beautiful and potent beyond measure: King empowered and life infused. She emerges triumphant; limitless with potential; a harbour for the hopeless and an answer for the ages: The church resplendent – a bride for His Son.

She is the body of Christ on earth; born, like her Head, amidst tribulation, under jealous skies. Cradled in her innocence and guarded for His purpose. She grows in wisdom and stature with victory on her lips and freedom in her hands. Hers is an unstoppable cause. She embraces the world with dignity, honour and compassion; gives vision to the sightless and life to the dying.

She is the family of God on earth. Within her compass, the hungry find sustenance and the weary receive strength. She is a haven for recovering humanity, enthralled by grace. She invites the broken, the vulnerable and the outcast to be immersed in love. She stands imperfect but perfection resides within her. She is flawed but is washed with forgiveness. She has a treasury of faith and a wealth of belonging.

She is the house of heaven on earth: A representative, resolute to reconcile. The Word within her accepts the receptive but challenges the heartless. She is the ecclesia, called out to serve the world: Calling out to welcome in. Blood-washed and armed with testimony, the cross on her lips liberates the chained and offends the unchanging. Like her Master she is pursued and persecuted. Yet she rises with strength in her heart and fire in her soul.

She is the bride of Christ on earth; readying herself for the day when all eyes will be upon her. Prepared and presented before the Lord: The Lamb for whom the world waits, who comes like the rising sun, majestic and magnificent beyond description, while she dazzles with reflected glory. Spotless, perfect and mature, she bows low to cast her crowns and passionately worship Him. Her temporal focus becomes her eternal gaze. She is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

– by Robert Fergusson


99 thoughts on “Fergusson’s Tribute to Hillsong?

  1. But what about Christ’s role in this?

    “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

    Romans 8:28-30

    “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

    Eph 5:25-27

  2. Good observation RE. But I think if the poem is about a subject, the subject should be the focus.

    If this was me, I’d mention more about Christ’s role in the process in how he made her, how he comforts her and will return for her.

    I must admit, the last few lines of the poem seem to suggest Latter Rain, ‘Manifest Sons Of God’ theology:

    “She is the bride of Christ on earth; readying herself for the day when all eyes will be upon her. Prepared and presented before the Lord: The Lamb for whom the world waits, who comes like the rising sun, majestic and magnificent beyond description, while she dazzles with reflected glory. Spotless, perfect and mature, she bows low to cast her crowns and passionately worship Him. Her temporal focus becomes her eternal gaze. She is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

  3. I think MJ, that Robert may have blurred the distinction between the congregational church (made up of people who can be pursued and persecuted) with the Church or body of Christ that stands through all of Creation (a body being perfected by Him).

  4. Yes in broader terms this “poem” may seem true, the overall “church”.

    Is he saying HIllsong is flawed? Hillsong is persecuted? Does that mean they are the true church then….

    I dont think in the NT its says the bride is flawed, any scriptural back-up anyone?

  5. I think he is saying that the people gathered (wherever) are the true church. And as no gathering is perfect and is made up of imperfect people then the church / bride is flawed.

  6. yeah, but by the time Christ comes isnt the church supposed to be “ready”. Individuals supposed to be “ready”. Of course its a big process, church-wise and individually.

    I see that as what we are supposed to do, get ready. It could be ages away….

  7. Personally, I think this understanding of the church is wrong. Following this line of thought, the church will never be ready. I think congregations are merely a support to the church. The real church stands throughout all aspects of life. It was created that way from the begining, our role is to fill that church / body. This is the church that Christ builds not us (therefore dwindling congregation numbers etc mean nothing). This is the church that is flawless.

  8. yep, i agree, but there are some that have followed Christ properly, they are not perfect as we are still human. Its Christ working through us, not our doing. Learning His ways

  9. “It was created that way from the begining, our role is to fill that church / body. This is the church that Christ builds not us (therefore dwindling congregation numbers etc mean nothing). This is the church that is flawless.”

    Amen, Muppet!!!

  10. Facelift: “In what way do they suggest ‘Latter rain’ etc, s&p?”

    these lines seem to suggest this:

    “readying herself for the day when all eyes will be upon her. Prepared and presented before the Lord: The Lamb for whom the world waits, who comes like the rising sun, majestic and magnificent beyond description, while she dazzles with reflected glory.”

    We will be taken like a thief in the night, in the twinkling of an eye. We will be taken up to him and transformed. I don’t think the world would be able to see that coming, or see this happening.

    Latter Rain belief as to which other doctrines were spawned from, say that his bride will be quite imperialistic and will be made manifest in all fulness and glory before Christ’s return, or something like that. These views in the overall movement vary on this a little bit.

  11. Yes, I agree entirely with Muppet.

    Congregations of different types are a support to the ‘real’ church, the one that Christ builds which stands through all aspects of life.

    Things like strong brands and denominational lines, or dividing our lives into sacred and secular components, sometimes hinder us from seeing the Church in this way. Some churches encourage an inward focus on themselves as the Body, as though the rest of the Body isn’t there, or as though it is only the Body inside their doors or groups.

    A broader perspective on Christ’s church throughout creation shows why its so important that congregations recognise our place in strengthening and equipping one another for life overall (usually via strengthened faith, knowledge of God and character), not just training for recognised and limited roles in a congregational capacity.

  12. Fergusson’s tribute says:

    “readying herself for the day when all eyes will be upon her. Prepared and presented before the Lord”

    But won’t everyone’s eyes be on God?

    “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

    “Salvation belongs to our God,
    who sits on the throne,
    and to the Lamb.”

    All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

    “Amen!
    Praise and glory
    and wisdom and thanks and honor
    and power and strength
    be to our God for ever and ever.
    Amen!”

    Rev 7:9-12

  13. The bible was written in the language of the time. This clown uses the language of past to describe the present.

    If an non churched person heard that they would say “what the”.

  14. ““She is the house of heaven on earth” – Robert.
    Not totally sure what was meant there???” – Muppet

    Maybe he’s saying here that we house the Holy Spirit in us? A suggestion of where Peter talks about us all being spiritual stones making up the temple/house of God?

  15. I see thanks s&p. The swapping of house of God with house of heaven leaves me a little confused sometimes. As does the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven (which is off topic).

  16. I’m not sure what the purpose of the poem is. Is it to praise and glorify God by praising his creation – in this case His church; is it to explain what the church is, and encourage people to want to be part of such a wonderful creation, or, is it to explain to people what Hillsong is like, its context on their website equating Hillsong to the Bride?

    At the moment, some people around the world think that the Bride is asleep. 🙂 You’ll get a different description from different people.

    It may work a little on the level that describing a wonderful creation does glorify God. It can also sound a little like praising the church in place of God, but I am sure that’s not what was intended. I am fairly sure that it is at least partly to encourage people to want to be a part of such a wonderful thing by participating in Hillsong, since its on the Hillsong website, probably to explain the relationship of Hillsong to the Lord.

    For something like this, on a church website, I’d like to see some footnotes to scripture for each part, so that everyone can see where he derives each part of the poem from. It would either show where it is in error or make it a more effective teaching tool. At the moment, because its hard to check, its hard to know what he really means and is just a nice sounding opinion where you kind of guess where he is coming from.

  17. The ‘house of heaven’ is very peculiar.

    This might explain it in the Hillsong context:

    Heaven Is In This House
    Online Store – Books By Bobbie – Heaven Is In This House

    Heaven Is In This House

    Imagine a place so irresistible that people cannot wait to get there
    Imagine a place so functional that no one ever wants to leave. Imagine a place where the atmosphere takes your breath away. Imagine a place where this same atmosphere causes humanity to flourish and that is designed for no other reason than to connect you with a world beyond your wildest dreams. Such a place exists and has existed within the heart of God since before all time.

    In this book, Bobbie Houston endeavours to paint a picture of what the House of God (the Church) should and could look like on the earth today. With beautiful images, a special compilation CD and postscript by Brian Houston, this book is an inspiration and refreshing delight to read.

    http://store.brianandbobbie.com/product.php?xProd=16

    Looks like the Bride is the Church which is the ‘House of Heaven’ since ‘Heaven is in this House’.

    In this context, the poem is describing the Church, as the ‘House of God’. ???? I’ve mainly come across this where we are encouraged to physically attend church in order to be in God’s Presence, and where it has been specifically stated that we don’t enter his Presence so strongly in any other place – ie: the physical corporate gathering under the church roof.

  18. it sounds like the movie The Island, when they talk about going to “the island”. sorry, watched it the other nigth

  19. At least Bobbie knows what the church should like. It’s a little beyond me. Maybe I should get the beautiful photos and CD to help me out.

  20. It’s just a poem!

    The title is ‘THE CHURCH OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST’. It’s not about Hillsong Church.

    Surely the house of heaven on earth is the welcoming home for the lost. The Church is a refuge, and the Safe Haven for souls until Jesus comes. The Flock, the Fold, the Temple, the Household, the Called-Out-Ones, the General Assembly of the First-Born, the Body of Christ.

    The Bride is also the New Jerusalem, which comes down from heaven and adorns the Bride of Christ.
    ____________________________

    s&p, you don’t seem too sure about what Latter Day doctrine is.

  21. “The house of heaven on earth is the welcoming home for the lost…” – FL

    I’m not trying to be funny – I still don’t understand the concept. (Perhaps I really am a Muppet).

  22. well, in terms of people who are in need or hurt by life or have no family it is often the church one tries to find refuge…

  23. Facelift: “s&p, you don’t seem too sure about what Latter Day doctrine is.”

    Umm… I think I do! You made me laugh pretty hard!
    I’ve always said ‘Latter RAIN Doctrine’.
    I think you thought I said ‘Latter DAY Doctrine’.

    They are big on these scriptures: Joel 2:23, Hosea 6:3, Zechariah 10:1.

    Wikipedia says it all right here:

    Beliefs

    Latter Rain proponents saw Pentecostalism as spiritually dry in the post-war period and in danger of slipping into a dry or mental formalism like many of their evangelical peers. Latter Rain doctrines addressed this formalism with a series of doctrinal and practical changes. These changes made the Latter Rain Movement distinct from the Pentecostal context from which it arose, and church life in Latter Rain influenced churches significantly different from traditional Pentecostal ones.

    The Latter Rain brought a new focus on the spiritual elements of Christianity including personal prophecy, typological interpretation of Scripture, the restoration of the five-fold ministry and a different eschatological emphasis. Many of the doctrinal emphases which later emerged were outlined in seed form in George Warnock’s Feast of Tabernacles, which is the primary foundational text for the movement.

    Eschatology

    The Latter Rain broke with the dispensationalism which had become entrenched in the ranks of Pentecostalism. Dispensationalism tended to be pessimistic in its outlook whereas the Latter Rain emphasized a victorious eschatological outlook. Rather than attempting to simply save a few souls before the rise of the anti-Christ, the Latter Rain emphasized the Church as overcoming and victorious in the fact that the church would come into “full stature” as taught by the Apostle Paul.

    The term Latter Rain stems from Bible passages such as Jeremiah 3:3, 5:23-25, Joel 2:23, Hosea 6:3, Zechariah 10:1, and James 5:7. The idea of a latter rain was not new to Pentecostals. It was present from the earliest days of Pentecostalism, which believed that the reappearance of speaking in tongues and the baptism of the Holy Spirit marked the latter rain of God’s Spirit and that these were signs of the coming end of history. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost had been the “former rain” that established the Church, but the current “move” of the Spirit was the latter rain that would bring the Church’s work to completion and culminate in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, which was and is imminent.

    Joel’s Army

    A major feature of the expected latter rain would be the “manifestation of the Sons of God” or “Joel’s Army”. The Latter Rain movement taught that as the end of the age approached, the “overcomers” would arise within the Church. There was debate among various branches as to the nature and extent of this manifestation. These Manifest Sons of God, ones who have come into the full stature of Jesus Christ, would receive the Spirit without measure. They would be as Jesus was when he was on earth and would receive a number of divine gifts, including the ability to change their physical location, to speak any language through the Holy Spirit, and would be able to perform divine healings and other miracles. They would complete the work of God, restoring man’s rightful position as was originally mandated in Genesis and by coming into the full stature of Christ would usher in his millennial reign. Extreme versions of this spoke of Jesus as a “pattern” Son and applied “ye are gods” (Psalms 82:6) to this coming company of believers.

    Ecclesiology

    The “Sacrifice of Praise” and the restoration of the Tabernacle of David were important themes within the Latter Rain. Dancing, lifting of hands and spontaneous praise are marks of this movement. An effort was made to show the error of many Christians that deny the imperative form on these verbs.

    A major theme of the Latter Rain was “unity” among the believers in the church service, the geographic region and at large. They taught that God saw the Church organized not into denominations but along geographical lines as in the book of Acts—one Church but in different locations. They expected that in the coming last days, the various Christian denominations would dissolve, and the true church would coalesce into city wide churches under the leadership of the newly-restored apostles and prophets.

    The Latter Rain taught that there would be a restoration of the five ministerial roles mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher). It was believed that the foundational roles of apostle and prophet had been lost after the time of the first apostles due to the Dark Ages but that God was restoring these ministries in the present day. These ideas are part of the “prophetic movement” and “New Apostolic Reformation”.

    Pneumatology

    Unlike Pentecostals who traditionally held that the baptism of the Holy Spirit usually comes after prolonged “tarrying” or waiting for the Spirit, the Latter Rain movement taught that the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit can be imparted on one believer by another through the laying on of hands.

  24. Above is a very good summary of the Latter Rain beliefs (but I’ll have to examine that thing on pneumatology, that is interesting! New thread time!). The movement seemed to start out innocently enough. Then man made up what he wanted to believe. Which was very unfortunate.

    From reading the above, you can see what I mean about this poem being written with a Latter Rainer’s perspective.

  25. Poetically, the house of heaven could be the born-again believer, or the Church, made up of believers. As Stephen said in Acts 7, ‘The Most High doesn’t live in temples made with hands’. He meant, of course, that God indwells his people by the Spirit of Christ.

    Stephen also referenced Isaiah 66:1, quoting God as saying, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What house will you build for me, or what is the place of my rest?” God’s House, or Temple, then, is the Spirit filled believer. He tabernacles with his people.

    Ephesians 2 references both Israel and the engrafted Goyim as the Household of God, the Church, the Holy Temple of the Most High, a ‘building constructed upon the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone’, ‘in Whom all the building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in Whom you are also being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit’ .

    The Temple is both the individual believer, and the corporate assembly of believers, the Church, the General Assembly of he First-Born. God the Holy Spirit resides in the believer, with the believer, and upon the believer. God fills all in all.

    A further reference to the House of God, or Bethel, is made at what is known as Jacob’s Ladder, where God met with Jacob and reminded him of the covenant he has made with his grandfather, Abraham. Jacob called it the Gate of Heaven.

    Genesis 28
    10 ¶ Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran.
    11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep.
    12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
    13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: “I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.
    14 “Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
    15 “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”
    16 ¶ Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.”
    17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”
    18 Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it.
    19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously.
    20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on,
    21 “so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God.
    22 “And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

    So, poetically, referencing the Church as the House of Heaven has merit.

  26. FL, Robert is Brian’s right hand man. I suspect that it is all too easy to associate Hillsong with the concept that it is the only true church … or at least much better than all the rest, especially CCC.

    😉

  27. Sorry, s&p, I meant ‘Latter Rain’ doctrine.

    I am aware of the basic doctrine. I know Bull has a beef with them, and it seems you do too. I wonder what exactly you have against them that you feel is dangerous.

    It would seem to me that, along with some of the more quirky ideas, such as the Manifest Sons of God, and the misreading of the ‘ye are gods’ passages, and maybe the move towards a form of dominionist theology taken further by others, there were some positive development,s in better understanding the Church and prophetic events, especially pertaining to the present and future, including the important reintroduction of Israel as a part of God’s end time plans, and the end of demonising the Jews.

    There was a better grasp of the importance of God’s structure involving apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The re-establishment, crucially, of the manifestations of the Spirit, which were key to the Pentecostal revivals, but had been allowed to become formalised and dry as denominationalism was introduced.

    Some of these movements, as with all restorationists, engaged in things which we would see today as excessive, but had elements which moved the Church on in the right direction, which is why some of their ideas are embraced by neo-pentecostals.

  28. Bull, I know who Robert is, but don’t you think he’d be a poor Pastor if he didn’t believe his local church was a part of God’s Body! He is clearly not referencing his own church as The Church, however. In my opinion, that is! 🙂

  29. “A further reference to the House of God, or Bethel, is made at what is known as Jacob’s Ladder, where God met with Jacob and reminded him of the covenant he has made with his grandfather, Abraham. Jacob called it the Gate of Heaven.”

    He was actually calling The Angel Of The Lord “The Gate of Heaven”. And Christ Himself says he is just that in John 1:51. In John 10, Jesus says I am The Gate (Or The Gateway). The Gate is Christ.

    But I’d like to further add to what you’re saying:

    Christ is in and through all His creation. Whatever He makes He inhabits. In the begininning in Genesis. The first things he makes are his temples or ‘containers’. Container 1 is heaven. Container 2 is earth. 3 container is sea. container 4 is sky.

    You could probably call them temples because He reveals His wisdom, His brilliance, glory and Word through the things he placed in those containers/temples. Then you have the multitudes of temples within those temples – His design of cycles – sciences – designs – functions – purposes – heartbeats – intrinsics – etc, within these temples.

    God really opened up my eyes last year and led me to discover in His creation what truly is his. He leaves me amazed. 🙂

  30. Facelift – “It would seem to me that, along with some of the more quirky ideas, such as the Manifest Sons of God, and the misreading of the ‘ye are gods’ passages, and maybe the move towards a form of dominionist theology taken further by others, there were some positive development,s in better understanding the Church and prophetic events, especially pertaining to the present and future, including the important reintroduction of Israel as a part of God’s end time plans, and the end of demonising the Jews.

    There was a better grasp of the importance of God’s structure involving apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The re-establishment, crucially, of the manifestations of the Spirit, which were key to the Pentecostal revivals, but had been allowed to become formalised and dry as denominationalism was introduced.”

    I think this is to be discussed on another thread.

    Facelift – “Bull, I know who Robert is, but don’t you think he’d be a poor Pastor if he didn’t believe his local church was a part of God’s Body! He is clearly not referencing his own church as The Church, however. In my opinion, that is!”

    There is only one reason why I would think Hillsong would allow Fergusson to put a poem like that on their contemporary and relevant, flash, website.

    I think it falls into line with Houston’s theology on what the church is. It really looks like a poem that beats the drums of patriotism and loyaltism to one’s church. I found it very narrow in it’s approach in including the global elements of the church around different facets of cities, countrysides and neighbourhoods.

    I actually do really like this poem. The only other criticism I’d like to make is it’s detachment from this present reality. Anyone can relate to the bride remaining pure but stuck in the mud (so that people can know that what they are going through, can be felt alongside others in this poem).

    A harsh reality among the midst of the ideal helps make people go ‘Yep! We are the bride, but we need all the help we can get from God cos I’m stuck and bothered’. It takes away the drums of idealism and places in the hands of saints, the feeble triangle all being played together for others comfort.

  31. I don’t see the Angel of God in that passage, s&p, but that’s not to say I disagree.

    The Gate of Heaven was clearly the place Jacob marked off as the place of visitation. He saw the Lord God Himself in the vision, and angels ascending and descending the Ladder. He named the place Bethel, ‘House of God’.

    God reminded him of his covenant there.

    There is a context in which Jesus is the Gate, the Door, and that is another reference to the Entrance into the Church. If he is the Gate of Heaven, then we have entered in through him. He is also the Veil. We are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

  32. Hillsong I believe intend to convey a message by having that poem on the “myhillsong” website with other information about their church.

    In a similar way, a message was conveyed in Brian’s vision video presentation of a couple of years ago, which was shown to the church. This was the one where he spoke about his vision for the church from the cockpit of a helicopter, surveying Sydney from above and pointing out the areas not yet covered by a Hillsong church. At the start of that video was a quote from the Genesis passage mentioned by FL “This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” These words were highlighted by moving graphics and dramatic music. The implication to me was clear, this was a video about Hillsong church, and they were saying that Hillsong church was the house of God and the gate of heaven.

    I agree with FL, that Jesus is the Gate (and the only gate).

    I’m uncomfortable with the focus of the poem. It is a hymn to the Church personified as a woman. I know that the Bible talks about the church being a bride, but the focus is on Christ and the bridal image is to emphasise the nature of the relationship between Christ and the church. It is not meant to describe the nature of the church, more the actions of God.

    To call the church “spotless, perfect and mature”… well yes but only through Christ’s grace. In the same way I could be called “spotless, perfect and mature” but you wouldnt write a poem about me.

  33. Wazza noted:

    “I’m uncomfortable with the focus of the poem.”

    I agree. Focus is so important. Alarm bells ring for me when I see an advertisement that tries to persuade other by the reputation of a person or organisation. Even if the descriptions are true, there is danger that people may become more enamoured by the creation rather than the creator. The credit goes to the one who blesses, not the ones who have been blessed.

    There is always a temptation to strongly identify oneself with a leader and movement rather than the one we actually serve and worship. It just ends up being another form of idolatry.

  34. Again I agree with you that the Church should be looked at in more masculine way at times, if that is what you’re saying, wazza2. Yes she is the Bride, but also the Body of Christ. If the Church is the Body of Christ, then we should be seen through the perspective of his masculinity.

    I know that in the Spirit there is neither male nor female, but I don’t think Bible literature is gender neutral.

    As to the Glorious Church, this can only be seen through God’s perspective, of the Church being in Christ.

    Presumably people will be being saved right up until the coming of Christ for the Church, meaning they will come in with all of their baggage; hang-ups, insecurities and addictions, which will render the earthly perspective of the Church as blemished in some way, as we are today, collectively, and individually. So the Glorious Church, presumably, is glorious now, in the sight of God, made so by the blood of Jesus, not by our works.

  35. Facelift: “I don’t see the Angel of God in that passage, s&p, but that’s not to say I disagree.
    The Gate of Heaven was clearly the place Jacob marked off as the place of visitation. He saw the Lord God Himself in the vision, and angels ascending and descending the Ladder.”

    The Lord was revealed as the Ladder.

    Jhn 1:51 He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

    Jesus was referring himself AS the LADDER (John 1:51).
    In Gen 28:12 the translation isn’t best. The Amplified says:

    Gen 28:12 And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!

    ‘On it’ could equally be translated as ‘on him’. On who? Jacob?

    We find out who the ‘him’ is in the next verse:

    Gen 28:13 And behold, the Lord stood OVER AND BESIDE HIM and said, I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father [forefather] and the God of Isaac; I will give to you and to your descendants the land on which you are lying.

    Other translations should properly read ‘above him’ (him being Jacob). Jacob’s declaration of ‘this gateway’ was used was used in a masculine way. This ladder was the gateway. Both the Ladder and Gateway are Christ. Angels were ascending up and down ‘Him’. It was by grace that Jacob received the revelation of seeing God’s Spirit revealed in such a way that foreshadowed Christ!

    Now let’s look at the translation of ‘ladder’. Some translations read stairway for good reason. In Hebrew, ‘sullam’ is traditionally but inaccurately translated as ‘ladder’.

    The associated verb, salal, means ‘to heap up’ something, such as dirt for a highway or ramp. So a stairway is seen to be a more appropriate image.

    However, the visual in Jacob’s dream have some scholars associate it with the Babylonian ziggurat or temple tower. With the infamous Tower of Babel known by all men in that time, we can start to possibly see what Jacob saw. A tower, a gateway, a connection from the heavens to the earth – not made by man but by God.

    Hear what man wanted to accomplish at Babylon:

    Gen 11:4 “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top [may reach] unto heaven; and LET US MAKE US A NAME, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

    God destroyed it and the people were scattered.
    Mankinds at Babylon wanted to unite to make a tower/house to be a connection from heaven to earth TO MAKE A NAME FOR THEMSELVES. God destroyed their plans and spread them east, south, north and west.

    We saw God prevent man from building a access-house from earth to heaven. And then in Genesis Abram is called. Now it’s God’s turn to build His HOUSE and His HOUSEHOLD! Man wanted to make a name for themselves.

    God changed Abraham’s name for His glory. Later, God changes Jacob’s name to Israel – for His glory and to exalt and set apart His House and His Household from the other works of men.

    We saw God’s intention in scattering or spreading out from Babylon. Let’s look at God’s language used towards Jacob in regards to God’s promise:

    Gen 28:13-14And behold, the Lord stood over and beside him and said, I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father [forefather] and the God of Isaac; I will give to you and to your descendants the land on which you are lying.
    And your offspring shall be as [countless as] the dust or sand of the ground, and you shall SPREAD abroad to the west and the east and the north and the south; and by you and your Offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed and bless themselves.”

    In almost direct rivalry to Babylon, we see how God is building His House/Household among the nations, how it will grow, and how it will bless mankind. God revealed to Jacob through revelation that He IS the house that is the connection from earth to the heavens. This is not all!

    Through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob He was making HIS household on earth, through his Promise.

    Jacob was frightened in this dream. He just heard fantastic words that He and His household will be forever blessed! The focus of the vision was the Lord and the ‘object’ that the angels were descending up and down.

    I, without a doubt, believe that the Lord and the ‘dwelling place of ascension’ were one.

    A dream doesn’t operate in a natural way. Can you imagine waking up in a dream, seeing a colossal towering vessel next to you, that allowed man and angels access to heaven, speak to you from above regarding your future?

    I think I would wake up petrified like Jacob. He associated the ‘ladder’ with both a house and a gate in remembrance of His vision. Truly, this visual is a reminder to Jacob that God will build His House and His Household.

    It’s no wonder that Jacob worked so hard for Laban! It’s no wonder that the next encounter he had with God he said – BLESS ME!

  36. I’d like others to consider the possible visuals of the Babylonian Tower and the Jacob’s Tower.

    If Jacob saw the angels descending and ascending, the stairwell would have been exterior. If it was to act as a house, their may have been doors leading inside the main center of the tower for people to live. If this was to go all the way into the sky, it would cater for a few hundred thousand people. Enough to fit a city inside.

    Contrast that to what people were trying to make Babel to be:

    Gen 11:4 “And they said, Go to, let us build us a CITY AND A TOWER, whose top [may reach] unto heaven; and let us make a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

    The Tower of Babylon was not only a ‘stairway to heaven’ – it was a city from the ground to the sky! Man’s house!

    I find this rivalry also in Revelations. The city of Babylon was ascending from the earth – again. A city – New Jerusalem later descending from the sky to the earth. Their is a rivalry of which is the most glorious.

    Babylon always moved first like in Revelations – God always destroyed it then revealed His glory through His House/Household/City.

    I don’t have time to check the dimensions of the new Jeruslaem as was recorded in Revelations, but I’ll be curious to know if it’s highest point hits the mantle of the clouds or go further.

  37. FL, I was not so much worried about the church being personified as feminine, I was uncomfortable with the church being personified to this extent.

    It is one thing to talk about the church as a person as a figure of speech to emphasise a relationship. It is quite another to praise and rhapsodise about this “person”. It changes the focus from Jesus to another idealised person, the church.

    As RE said there is always a temptation in people for idolatry, for Christians this is most likely to be in identifying with the Christian leader or movement to which they belong. This poem encourages that natural weakness to idolatry of the church.

  38. Wazza2:

    “Hillsong I believe intend to convey a message by having that poem on the “myhillsong” website with other information about their church.

    In a similar way, a message was conveyed in Brian’s vision video presentation of a couple of years ago, which was shown to the church. This was the one where he spoke about his vision for the church from the cockpit of a helicopter, surveying Sydney from above and pointing out the areas not yet covered by a Hillsong church. At the start of that video was a quote from the Genesis passage mentioned by FL “This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” These words were highlighted by moving graphics and dramatic music. The implication to me was clear, this was a video about Hillsong church, and they were saying that Hillsong church was the house of God and the gate of heaven.”

    Would you believe me if I said, this is what came to my mind when I thought of this poem. That scripture “This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven”, gave me so much trouble, I was having so much trouble trying to figure out why Jacob said that. I spent roughly a month studying up about that.

    I thought this poem was very agenda specific. I’m so glad you thought similar to me about this.

  39. I agree with Wazza, especially:

    “The implication to me was clear, this was a video about Hillsong church, and they were saying that Hillsong church was the house of God and the gate of heaven.

    I agree with FL, that Jesus is the Gate (and the only gate). ”

    As Wazza said, the focus in scripture is on the relationship. Not on worshipping the church. I’m OK with praising God’s good creation, when it’s really praising God by acknowledging the wonder of what He has done. I could read this poem from that perspective. But really to me it reads as though the church is the person to be praised, rather than Jesus. So that does make me uncomfortable. The aim is to make people feel that they have ‘arrived’ when they become a part of the corporate church.

    I think that Wazza is right, and it encourages that weakness to idolise the church. Being on Hillsong’s website, it is there to encourage people to be a part of Hillsong, by attributing all the qualities of the Bride to Hillsong. No organisation has those qualities, and no organisation is the gateway to heaven. Jesus is.

    The true church, which is everywhere, has the qualities of the Bride. This poem doesn’t say its about Hillsong only, but the context and other material, such as Bobbies book, and Brian Houston’s past comments about people who don’t tithe or attend a church as a member, make it clear that that particular expression of church is the one that is regarded as the right Gateway to or House of heaven.

    It is therefore a distortion of what scripture really says, while using enough scriptural content to argue that it is not.

    Anyway, that’s just my view.

    It will encourage those who already identify with Hillsong to feel they are a part of something much bigger and more glorious. That goes with the whole ethos of Hillsong, including the music and performance there. We have the freedom to do this. The problem is when it shuts out different parts of the wider body from being recognised as the body, and when the organisation itself becomes the focus of worship, and support is turned inwardly towards it, rather than it assisting in equipping and supporting people in their normal daily context to be a part of the Church that fills all Creation.

  40. I agree, that feeling of “ive arrived” this is the place to be is quite common in these type of churches. Yes, its good to follow Jesus but another thing to be transformed into the person you can be. This process is lost in this type of church. You are on a high, “im going to heaven”, im forgiven, im in the right place, Im going to be prosperous, all things are new….and the rest.

    Personally i think my growth was stunted in that type of charismatic atmosphere ( wont go into details ) And i was brought up in the Catholic community…

  41. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this, then. It looks to me that Ferguson is dreaming of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, and this is expressed in his title. Putting it together with other snippets of Hillsong paraphernalia detracts from his intentions.

    I don’t think, either, that you could claim that Hillsong shuts out the rest of the Body. They, of all churches, have ‘championed’ the local church with their annual conferences, which don’t use speakers solely form within Hillsong, but from a wide array of influences, whether we like them or not.

    I think you may be being tempted to misassociate taking ownership of our local church as a vital part of our lives with worship of the local church. I love my church, but I worship Jesus, who builds the Church, his own Body, of which my local church is a part. I am happy to promote our local church community, but not in such a way that it replaces Christ, but rather, that it, being part of the Body, compliments Christ, as the Bride surely is expected.

    Surely the essence of relationship is accord, and the completion, covenant, were two or more parties are seen as one. “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
    _________________________

    I enjoyed your work on the Ladder & Gate, s&p. Thanks!

  42. MJ commented:

    “I agree, that feeling of “ive arrived” this is the place to be is quite common in these type of churches.”

    The whole story of Israel was for God to say to us that although they were his chosen people, even at the peak of their history they had never ‘arrived’.

    The land of Canaan was but a mere shadow of the perfect kingdom that was yet to be established. Despite the glorious reign of King David he had his own failings and still was not a perfect leader. Although the people had the laws they were still imperfect and their sacrifices were temporary.

    Under the New covenant the God-King, Jesus erased sin once and for all through his death. He ascended into heaven to prepare a permanent room in his Father’s house. HIs has sent his Spirit to personally build and lead his people.

    It’s good if your church is a nice place to be. But to be in the eternal presence of God will be more than a thousand times better.

  43. I agree with FL in that there is no way Robert would refer to Hillsong as the Church (capital C). However, the outworking of the general thinking is that you cannot be involved in the Church unless you are serving in tangible church (little c – organised congregation).

    I like the poem, but it blurs the distinctions between the church and the Church. The house of heaven statement therefore infers that churches like Hillsong (or Anglican etc) are the guardians of the eternal and you can only access that through them.

    As with most poetry you can read in different meanings according to your world view. It is written in the typical Greek / Western world veiw.

  44. Yes, I agree that its unlikely that Fergusson would think of only Hillsong as the church, and in fact, I don’t think that Brian or Bobbie would either. But I do think Muppet is right about the ‘outworking of the general thinking’. I also clearly have an issue with the teaching that your local church is the house of heaven – at my previous church, it was clearly taught, that the only way to be in the fullness of the Presence of God was to attend the Sunday service. We did a thread on this some time ago, where Heretic said:

    In my church it was actually taught that the gateway to heaven is only in the sunday services and not in the home groups or other meetings.

    – Heretic

    and I said:

    The teaching I am under is that we have to come to church to be at the Gate of Heaven. It has been said by a variety of preachers/teachers over me that while we can access God’s presence in a small group meeting, or a gathering of two or three, we can’t really access the fullness of His presence in the way we can in the church service. This is because the church when gathered is Bethel, the Gate of Heaven. As the small groups aren’t the fullness of the church that the Sunday meeting does, wjo;e they are good, they aren’t the gate of heaven. So unless we go on a Sunday, we are missing out on being in the presence of God in the fullest possible way.

    – RP

    And Facelift said:

    Well, if they’re saying this it is a nonsense. God can turn up for one, two, or any number of people at any time anywhere and do something outstanding.

    Christ is the door, once we enter in we are in. Oh well!

    – FL

    https://signposts02.wordpress.com/2008/05/04/proof-that-the-church-is-not-the-gateway-to-heaven/

    So perhaps we don’t disagree as much as it first appears. If Hillsong is teaching this – and this is what it looks like _might_ be happening – then we agree it is off track.

  45. In effect, neither concept is wrong, as long as it is not exclusively applied to one particular local church.

  46. It is still wrong if it is applied to all the local churches. The Body / Bride can only be applied to all the saints (I mean believers MJ).

  47. Yeah, I really meant the idea of the Church being the House of God, the Lord being the gate of heaven, and our meetings, even in the local church setting, being a place where the presence of God envelops his people in a particular way. Not that we’re ever detached from God, but there is a sense in which our awareness of his presence is heightened.

    Or, put another way, the local church is no less part of the House of God, but is not exclusively the House of God.

  48. Well, that inscription leaves no room for doubt that in that instance they are referring to the literal building and the literal door!

    When C3 did its building campaign, they also were fond of referring to the future building as the House of God, and comparisons were made with the temple of Solomon.

    Yeah, I really meant the idea of the Church being the House of God, the Lord being the gate of heaven, and our meetings, even in the local church setting, being a place where the presence of God envelops his people in a particular way. Not that we’re ever detached from God, but there is a sense in which our awareness of his presence is heightened.

    Well, there _can_ be a sense in which our awareness of his presence is heightened in the large gathering, but this can equally take place in small groups and even on our own – in my experience. All of those settings can be places when we sense God’s presence very strongly – or not much at all.

    It is wrong to teach that people must gather in a big mass or they miss out on this very real sense of God’s presence.

    Surely many if not all of us have also had times alone where we’ve felt His Presence very strongly, as well as times in meetings of many types?

  49. yep, definatley agree. God or HS can be closer to you in the quiet times, you can feel God anywhere. I like the nature settings, a quiet little national park, the beach or whatever worx for you. i didnt like the above “poem”. I like words straight forward but i guess some people like that sort of thing

  50. Well … poetry is different from prose.

    Prose gives the thoughts, while poetry confers the feelings. It’s different.

    Regarding latter rain doctrine:
    My problem with it is that they promote a different gospel and a different Jesus. They say that human beings will be perfected as the church takes dominion … we become little Gods. Which is not what is promised in my Bible. Jesus Himself refutes this when he tells us that at the end, there will be a great falling away, the love of MOST will grow cold and then the Gospel will be preached to all the Nations.

    But these guys now put themselves up as Apostles … not ordinary Missionaries, Super-Apostles or Foundational Apostles. They go around making Apostolic Decrees and go further than the Bible … essentially declaring that their decrees are an addition to the Bible so we can’t judge their utterances by the Bible to see these things are true.

    So, inventing new, unheard of doctrine and promoting a “prophetic vision” of the future that contradicts what Jesus said would happen is what concerns me.

    Sola Scriptura. Once we throw that away, we are back into papal infallibility and the selling of indulgences … look at Todd Bentley … if he hasn’t been indulged by allowing him to have a sham marriage with his mistress without ever having to feel sorry about anything … well, what else might we overlook? Mass-Murder?

    Well … we do. It’s called the persecuted church. The western church largely ignores it. It doesn’t fit with the health’n’wealth/name-it-claim-it/blab-it-grab-it pentecostal culture that exists in the broad pentecostal stream coming from the US.

    Latter rain doctrine is heresy that will consign people to eternal damnation. That’s why I am so alarmed by it all. I want to get people back to the Jesus of the Bible, not some fairytale designed to make us feel like we have made it, or that we are special, or that we have become gods or anything like that.

    The issue is Salvation itself. Anything else is just fluff.

    This particular poem? Who really cares? Prosperity doctrine … well, it’s a stepping stone to latter rain, but not the only one and not really the biggest one. It is fluff on this scale of measurement too.

    Latter Rain heresy is the biggest danger to Western Christianity because it is nothing less than ‘christian’ fascism.

    Joel’s Army = Neo-Nazi.

    They have said that any Christian who doesn’t go along with them in this will deserve to be executed. I really wish I was making this up.

    Do your own research. Don’t take my word for it. These guys want to kill us all, merely for wanting a direct relationship to God the Father through Jesus alone, rather than follow sinful men like the Latter Rain Super-Apostles.

    I count FL as a brother. Peter Wagner … is not a brother. He wants to see people like me dead, because I do not recognise his authority as a self-appointed Chief Apostle of the New Apostolic Reformation.

    I am a protestant. I am a protestant against the NAR. If they do take over, I would burn as a Martyr for Jesus against these ungodly parasites who are trying to worm their way into our fellowships.

    Latter Rain was declared an out and out heresy by the AOG about 60 years ago. The promoters of this heresy wormed their way into churches and now it is everywhere.

    Stand for truth … but check me out with your own research. Please.

    Shalom

  51. Oh well, interesting, Bull! I know a few of the Latter Rain ideas, but some of these you quote are news to me. I think there must be different streams.

    I understand some people attribute influence to Paul Cain and Jack Deere. I don’t really rate either prophetically, based on what I’ve heard or read. I heard Cain in Perth when John Wimber was there, and he prophesied something which made me wince, although I don’t remember exactly what it was now, but it pertained to some girl who was apparently in the hall at the time. It was very condemnatory, and not very on the Word. Made him sound superficially special and powerful, but wasn’t something I’d agree with scripturally. Put it on the shelf!

    Joel’s Army! Wasn’t that an illustration of a swarm of locusts destroying the crops of Israel because of their disobedience, followed by God restoring what the locust destroyed in the latter days?

    Blow the trumpets in Zion. God is sending an army of destruction! Not an army of believers, evidently!

    Prophecy can refer to more than one era, economy and people, and have more than one interpretation, depending on who is being referenced, Israel, the mystery church, the nations, etc. I’ll have to read Joel again and see what it says about end-time armies.

  52. effectively, wrong teaching and deliberate mis-interpretation of Biblical verses and passages is used to justify heresy.

    I didn’t mention homosexual scandal-ridden Paul Cain. (The scandal was mainly that he’d covered up his homosexuality) or Jack Deere.

    I notice you didn’t mention Bob Jones, who is a known sexual predator who manipulated young women into undressing in his office so he could prophesy over (fondle) them.

    Instead of throwing him out of the church and handing him over to the cops, Mike Bickle (leader of the Kansas City Prophets and now IHOP) covered the whole thing up … shows you what kind of people these are.

    Bob Jones is Todd Bentley’s “Mentor”.

    These people are monsters … have nothing to do with these wolves.

  53. A long read on latter-rain and Mike Bickle…….

    “Mike Bickle and International House of Prayer

    The Latter Rain Redivivus

    By Bob DeWaay

    Earlier this year the International House of Prayer (IHOP) sponsored a conference in Kansas City entitled Passion for Jesus that was heavily promoted toward young people. The purpose of the conference was to “cultivate intimacy with Jesus.” In the conference’s second session, IHOP president and director Mike Bickle preached a message based on an allegorical interpretation of a Matthew 25 parable in which he explained his end times theology and “revelation of the bridal paradigm.” Bickle claims that Jesus cannot return until something drastically changes in the church: “He is not coming any day. He is not coming until the people of God globally are crying out in intercession with a bridal identity under the anointing of the Spirit.1” If you do not understand what he means by that it is likely because you have read the Bible literally and have never found anything regarding a special anointing that imparts a revelation of a “bridal identity.” In fact, much of Bickle’s terminology will be strange and foreign to most Christians.

    In this article I will show that Bickle’s movement is based on allegorized scripture, deeper life pietism, and mysticism, representing a slightly modified version of the heretical Latter Rain movement of the 1940s. Bickle claims that he began his ministry through the hearing of an audible voice of God in 1983 that told him to start 24-hour prayer in the spirit of the tabernacle of David. He further claims that he erected a sign to that effect and that he himself did not even know what prayer in the spirit of the tabernacle of David was, despite that God had told him to establish it. It turns out that it is “prophetic singing prayers.2” Once they figured out what it was, IHOP was born.

    The Latter Rain End-time Scenario

    On IHOP’s Web site is a series of affirmations and denials that appear to distance themselves from the discredited Latter Rain movement. (I explained Latter Rain ideas in a previous CIC article.3) For instance, they deny any belief in the Joel’s Army teaching4, one of the key teachings of the Latter Rain stating that an end-time church would arise with great power and defeat God’s enemies during the Great Tribulation. They also taught that Christ could not return to the “defeated” church they deemed existed in their day.

    As I documented, key leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation have picked up the concept and teach the same thing. This teaching is so eccentric that it is unlikely anyone espousing it had not been influenced by those who first proposed it. This is especially so when one considers Bickle’s past associations with prophets like Paul Cain of the Latter Rain era. Therefore I conclude that Bickle and IHOP have indeed been influenced by the Latter Rain despite their denials.

    Bickle claims that the church will not only go through the Great Tribulation, but the church will cause it:

    We’re not absent for the great tribulation, now listen carefully, the church causes the great tribulation. What I mean by that – it’s the church, it’s the praying church under Jesus’ leadership that’s loosing the judgment in the great tribulation in the way that Moses stretched forth his rod and prayed and loosed the judgments upon Pharaoh. The church in the tribulation is in the position that Moses was before Pharaoh but it won’t be a Pharaoh and Egypt, it’ll be the great end time Pharaoh called the antichrist and the book of Revelation is a book about the judgments of God on the antichrist loosed by the praying church.

    In Bickle’s eschatology, the church, with a special type of prayer as the key, defeats Antichrist. The Latter Rain version claimed that a company of prophets and apostles would do it. In both versions an elite end-time church defeats God’s enemies, and Jesus is “held in the heavens” until it happens. Earl Paulk actually wrote a book by that title in the mid 1980s.5

    Bickle describes his doctrine that Christians must adopt a certain version of prayer before Christ can return:

    Right now the prayer movement is growing fast….really fast! But when I say it’s growing fast instead of one percent of the Body of Christ taking hold of it, maybe 10 percent. It’s….you know it’s like 10 times bigger than it was a generation ago, but beloved as fast as the prayer movement is growing, where people are getting hold of it, still for 90 percent of the Body of Christ it’s not even on their mind. Jesus is not coming until the Body of Christ globally is crying out “Come Lord Jesus, Come Lord Jesus, Come Lord Jesus” and they don’t just say “come and forgive me” they are crying out in the understanding of who they are as the one that is cherished by Jesus in the bridal identity.
    Note the elitism. Here, Bickle obviously refers to people who have adopted his movement, and by implication has rendered useless the practice of praying in the manner the Bible teaches—with regard to God executing His plans for the earth

    .
    The proof text for this idea is this passage: “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” (Revelation 22:17) First, it is not clear whether the Spirit and bride are asking Christ to come, or whether the Spirit and bride are inviting all to come to Christ to find salvation (as the last part of the verse does). I believe that the entire verse is an invitation to salvation, not a call for Christ to return6. Second, in either case, the passage does not only address some elite end-time group that has a special bridal paradigm revelation. The church has been praying for Christ’s return ever since He gave us the Lord’s Prayer. Every time we receive the Lord’s Supper and thus “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes,” we implicitly state our longing for table fellowship at the marriage supper of the Lamb. It is abusive to imply that Christians throughout the centuries had inadequate prayer because they lacked a personal revelation that cannot be validly derived from Scripture.

    Another idea that Bickle emphasizes throughout his message is that the greatest revival lies ahead and will be contemporary with the Great Tribulation. This makes sense from the Latter Rain perspective, but where is it taught in Scripture? Amazingly, Bickle claims that Matthew 24 teaches it: “There’s so many principles in this [parable of the virgins] parable. It is an end time parable, I tell you it is. It is for the people and when the crisis and the revival of the great Matthew 24 is unfolding.”

    Hold on. Matthew 24 teaches a great end-time revival? Where? It teaches the opposite: a great end-time falling away. Here are a few passages:

    For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will mislead many. . . Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name. And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. . . . For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:5, 9-12, 24)

    Not one verse in Matthew 24 teaches a great revival where Christians defeat God’s enemies. And Bickle cites none, but he claims the teaching exists there:

    We’re still in Matthew 24 it’s all about the end times—Matthew 24 and then the three parables. Jesus is preparing the church through these three parables to walk in victory in the hour of the greatest revival in history and the greatest time of trouble in history—it’s called the Great Tribulation.

    The Bible simply does not teach this revival. The Bible teaches that there will be people coming to faith during the Tribulation, but most of them are martyred7. The idea of the revival Bickle describes is a Latter Rain teaching that came from allegorizing some Old Testament passages about the agricultural seasons in Israel. Bickle repeatedly refers to this non-existent revival and makes it the centerpiece of his allegorization of the parable of the virgins.

    What we have here is Latter Rain redivivus8. In its resurrected form it is sans anti-trinitarianism, the manifested sons, and a few other false teachings that caused the first version to be discredited. But the distinctive eschatological doctrines of the Latter Rain are alive and well. In both movements, Jesus cannot return for the church because the church is supposedly “defeated” or “lacking revelations.” In both movements, it is the church, and not God Himself, who defeats God’s enemies during the Tribulation. In both movements all Christians are considered unenlightened and lacking, except those elites who are privy to special experiences and revelations. Both movements predict an expected end-time revival that is greater than anything that has gone before.

    Allegorized Scripture

    The bridal paradigm so central to IHOP’s teaching is based on an allegorical interpretation of the Song of Solomon that creates the idea of an “intimacy with Jesus” that is analogous to a sensual relationship between a man and a woman. (K. Jentoft deals with the problems with such a “Jesus” in the accompanying article in this issue of CIC.) But the problematic practice of allegorizing God’s Word to find hidden or secret meanings causes much mischief in other ways besides the romantic Jesus they promote.

    For example, consider Bickle’s interpretation of the parable of the virgins. First, with no exegetical support he claims that the parables in Matthew 24 and 25 are about “leadership at the end of the age.” Bickle says, “He is specifically talking to leaders.” In fact, the parable of the virgins is a warning to disciples to be faithful and vigilant. Bickle then goes on to claim that the two groups of five in the parable are people who have intimacy with Jesus and those who lose it:

    He is not contrasting wise and evil, he is talking about wise and not so wise, but these are within the ranks of the people who are saying yes to the Lord. These are people who love the Lord today, and their love for the Lord stays steady to the end, but their connect with the Lord [sic]; a lot of people who love Jesus, they lose their connection with him at the heart level; I mean at the intimate level. I’m not talking about people, this is not talking about people who lose their salvation; it’s talking about people who lose their intimacy in all that is going on at this time of history.

    But what in the context tells us levels of “intimacy” are the issue? (Remember, the bridal paradigm implies the sensual—the Bible never uses the term “intimacy.”) I will deal with the two-level schema in the next part of this article. But here Bickle is not making much of an attempt at literal exegesis. The parable itself teaches that the foolish were lost people, not lesser Christians:

    And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. And later the other virgins also came, saying, “Lord, lord, open up for us.” But he answered and said, “Truly I say to you, I do not know you.” (Matthew 25:10-12)

    It is serious when Jesus shuts the door to the wedding banquet and says “I do not know you”! But Bickle interprets those in the parable to be Christians. In the context of other such warnings in Matthew (such as those in Matthew 7 who said “Lord, Lord” and the parable of the sower and the seeds) it is clear enough that Matthew is warning that some are false disciples who do not really know the Lord.

    According to Bickle, the lamps are ministries: “They all had a lamp…they all had a functioning ministry. They’re born again, they’re virgins and they all have a functioning ministry.” Bickle assumes they are born again because of a passage in 1Corinthians that calls believers “virgins.” But this is not how parables work. In Jesus’ use of parables, He tells a story that uses language of literal Jewish wedding practices to make a point. The story contains literal oil, lamps and virgins as there would have been in the situation described in the parable. It does not follow that every detail has a meaning that is found by how terms like oil, lamps, or virgins are used elsewhere. But the allegorical method finds hidden meaning everywhere. So for Bickle the lamps are ministries and the virgins are truly regenerate Christians.

    Since all went out to meet the bridegroom in the parable, Bickle says that the ten, “were involved in pursuing the Messiah as the bridegroom God.” Never mind that the “revelation” of the bridegroom God is Bickle’s own invention based on allegorization of other passages. But allegorizing one passage in his hermeneutic helps prop up further allegorization of others: “Now there is only one time in history, only one time in all of human history where the people of God universally, worldwide will see Jesus as a Bridegroom King – a Bridegroom God and that’s at the end times. It says in Revelation 22:17 ‘The spirit and the bride say come.'” Bickle is correct in that quote. The Spirit and bride have indeed said “come”; they have said it since John wrote Revelation and the invitation has been valid throughout church history. Bickle’s interpretation has no merit. But, if we follow Bickle’s thought, he proposes that now we have leaders with the revelation of the Bridegroom God at the end of the age with ministries (lamps) going out to meet the groom.

    Another allegorized part of the parable in Bickle’s scheme is the oil: “Oil – oil is the heart connect with the Holy Spirit. As we cultivate our secret life in God, did you know that every one of us in this room have [sic] a secret life with God. . . . It’s the reach of your heart for God. Every one of us are [sic] developing a secret history in God – that’s the oil, the connection with the Holy Spirit.” Is there any evidence from the text of Matthew that oil means “secret life with God” that is better for some Christians than others? Clearly not. The contrast in Matthew is between those who are alert and therefore ready for the Lord’s return and those who are not: “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:13). But Matthew’s meaning does not even factor into Bickle’s interpretation.

    Why should that be so? Because it does not fit into his Latter Rain eschatological scheme he likely ignores the issue of the need to be alert, based on the realization that we do not know when the Lord will return. He claims that the Lord cannot return until after the entire church gets the revelation of the Bridegroom God, defeats God’s enemies, and calls Jesus from heaven to return. If all that were already happening when Jesus does return, then obviously the entire church would be in the condition of the five wise virgins and would hardly be taken by surprise by the timing of the return. So not only does Bickle’s interpretation make no sense based on what we read in Matthew, it does not even make sense based on his own eccentric eschatological scheme.

    The allegorical approach to hermeneutics attacks the concept that the meaning of the Scriptures is determined by the Holy Spirit-inspired authors. The clever allegorist finds his own meaning. The bottom line is that the reader who dreams up the allegory determines the meaning of the Bible; God, who inspired the Scripture, does not. The Bible becomes a touch point, a base for creative ideation where ideas that have no direct link to the text itself inspire new interpretations.

    Deeper Life Pietism

    In an earlier CIC article I described various types of pietism that claim there are two types of Christians, with certain elites in the preferred category9. Like the Latter Rain, Mike Bickle’s IHOP takes pietism to a completely new level, and his message on the parable of the virgins shows this. He has promoted pietism by claiming that the wise virgins are Christians with a better secret connection to God and the foolish ones are Christians with worse, or lesser, connections to God. Pietism is unbiblical, and Bickle misinterprets the parable of the virgins in order to find it there. The foolish virgins were not Christians not only because Jesus said “I do not know you,” but because the parable before this one (about the slave) and the parable after it (about the talents) clearly portray as non-Christians those who were not faithful. In the first case it states “the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and shall cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; weeping shall be there and the gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:50, 51). The issue is the same: the master coming at an unexpected time. In the parable of the talents it says this: “And cast out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30). The parable of the virgins does not teach Bickle’s two- (or more) tiered scheme of types of Christians.

    Bickle has various dividing points between the good kind of Christian and the lesser one. One of those is “connected” and “disconnected.” Bickle states: “He wants us connected to his heart, not that you feel God all day every day, but I tell you when I press into the Lord with a bridal paradigm and I stay connected to him, my heart gets tenderized.” So, am I to believe that if I come to God on His terms, believing that Jesus’ blood washed away my sins, and I “draw near” to the throne of grace by faith, I am still lacking something that only certain elite Christians like Mike Bickle have gained through revelation? Pietism sounds spiritual enough, but it always is an attack on the finished work of Christ and the solas of the Reformation. What God has done in Christ to forgive sins and bring us near to Him is the same for all true Christians: “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).

    The elite-minded leaders at IHOP are selling a bill of goods. They have bought the lie that by imagining “passion for Jesus” along the lines of sensual intimacy that they have ascended into an elite class that will make them like Moses and they will be able to call down the plagues on the world. They have pumped themselves up into imagining that the Great Tribulation will be the stage where they show off their exemplary spiritual powers and prowess.

    It gets truly scary when they call for Christians to send their teenagers to Kansas City to get this same “passion.” This is actually happening, so be warned. These young people are being inducted into a reworked version of the elitist Latter Rain heresy. If children believe Mike Bickle they will return home convinced that their parents’ faith is totally inadequate. They will think that way because Bickle’s doctrine is an attack against grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, Scripture alone, and to the glory of God alone. They will have been taught to add “the revelation of the bridegroom God” which amounts to thinking of Jesus as a sensual lover in order to avoid being one of the foolish virgins whom the Lord says He does not know. The foolish “virgins” are supposedly anyone who does not believe Bickle’s false teaching.

    Besides “connected and not connected” there is other terminology in this version of pietism that divides the body into the “haves and have nots”. There are those who have “intimacy with God” and those who do not. Bickle says, “Being the bride of Christ is a position of privilege near to experience the heart of God.” Therefore the privileged ones possessing this special revelation are supposedly closer to the heart of God than ordinary Christians are. The book of Hebrews speaks of drawing near to God in several passages, and none apply to an elite group with a special revelation. Neither do any speak of a “bridegroom God.” Here are a few:

    Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. . . . Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. . . . Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 4:16; 7:25; 10:22)

    Drawing near to God as taught in Scripture is not based on being part of a certain elite Christian class who have achieved a better piety, but it is based on what God has done for us in Christ. Our hearts are cleansed by His work of grace that we receive by faith. The Bible offers us assurance because we know we are sinners and that God is holy. Our comfort is that Jesus intercedes for us and has made a way that our sins are forgiven and we have access to the throne of grace. We draw near because of what Christ has done, not because we know some supposed secret to intimacy with God that has not been taught in Scripture.

    Bickle’s version is man-centered because it focuses on the supposed deeper experience that certain Christians have cultivated. He defines the “secret life” as follows: “It’s the reach of your heart for God.” This apparently is based on something that we do. He asks, “What are you doing in your secret history in God? Are you developing it with strength or are you neglecting it?” He is helping his listeners feel guilty about lacking something that they will have to set out to gain through their own effort based on his revelation. Hebrews encourages us by explaining what Christ has done and how He has made access for us. What we need is faith in Christ, not faith in the level of our own personal piety or “personal history in God.” I am quite certain I am an impious sinner who, by God’s grace, has found a gracious and forgiving Savior.

    The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

    We will not know exactly what it means for the church to be the bride of Christ until after Christ returns and we participate in the marriage supper of the Lamb. Bickle’s “revelation of the bridegroom God” claims to know what is not yet revealed. What can be known about the bride of Christ metaphor is found only in what the Bible tells us. And what it tells us reveals that it is not restricted to an elite, end-time group with a “passion” that ordinary Christians lack.

    For example, Jesus described the eschatological feast in this way: “And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11). The Old Testament saints participate in the feast along with people throughout history who have saving faith. Participation is not predicated upon a “revelation of the Bridegroom God” but rests on our having faith in God according to His terms

    .
    When Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples He made reference to a “cup” that will be drunk at the eschatological banquet:

    And when He had taken a cup, and given thanks, He gave it to them; and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant10, which is poured out for many. Truly I say to you, I shall never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” (Mark 14:23 – 25)

    At a Passover meal there were four cups associated with the four promises of Exodus 6:6, 7. The third cup was associated with the promise “I will redeem you.” Jesus offered the third cup when He said “This is My blood of the covenant.” But He put the drinking of the fourth cup on hold until it will be shared by all of the redeemed at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Interestingly, the cup that we will share with Jesus, the fourth cup, was associated with this promise from Exodus 6:7 – “I will take you for my people and I will be your God.” This covenant statement is thematic in the Bible and is repeated toward the end of Revelation: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them” (Revelation 21:3). When Jesus returns for His church, the dead in Christ shall rise first, and all who are truly His shall meet Him in the air (1Thessalonians 4:17). Then He shall share that fourth cup at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

    To further illustrate this, Paul calls the cup we share at the Lord’s Supper, “the cup of blessing” (1Corinthians 10:16). This is an allusion to the cup the Lord blessed at the Last Supper11. Then in 1Corinthians 11:26 Paul says that in the Lord’s Supper we “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” So we receive the “cup of blessing,” the third cup to remember that He poured out His blood for our redemption, and we do so in His physical absence as He has bodily ascended into Heaven. But we also do so in faith that He will keep His promise that we will share the fourth cup with Him at the eschatological banquet feast. And we will do so with all of the redeemed.

    The marriage supper of the Lamb occurs when this anticipated fourth cup is shared and the promise associated with it (that He will be our God and we his people) will be fully actualized. This is part of the hope that Christians have shared through the centuries. Bickle would like to take it away from all but a few elite, enlightened ones at the very end of church history.

    Conclusion
    By the authority of God’s Word I offer the following assurance: Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, died for sins and was raised on the third day. He bodily ascended to Heaven and has promised to bodily return for His own. If you truly repent and believe the gospel, your sins are forgiven and you are part of the bride of Christ. To be alert means to persevere in the faith, not moved away from the hope of the gospel. If you confess Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9), you are saved. This eternal hope is true because of what Christ has done for you through His once-for-all shed blood—and not what you have done for Him.

    In contrast, Mike Bickle offers hope to those who have a certain unquantifiable level of “intimacy with the bridegroom God”, “secret history with God”, “passion for the bridegroom”, and “revelation of who they are to Jesus”, and other pietistic notions. But consider how tenuous assurance is when based on one’s own level of piety (according to Bickle): “Nobody can measure how strong or weak that [secret history] is; nobody really knows. You can’t even fully measure it, but God can.” If you are a follower of IHOP and Mike Bickle, it means that you may not be one of the wise virgins and your status as such cannot be known to you. In fact, you would have to be rather brash to claim that you were sure your secret history was good enough to qualify. Bickle tells you that being one of the foolish virgins is not so bad. But do you really think Jesus slamming the door on you and saying He does not know you is desirable? By Bickle’s definitions the majority of Christians have no hope of qualifying.

    Because Bickle’s allegorical interpretation comes from his own imagination and not from the meaning of the Biblical authors, placing your hope in what he offers means placing it in his own imagination. I am offering you the hope of gospel made certain by God’s acts in history, backed fully by the Scriptures interpreted literally according to the Biblical authors’ meaning. If you believe on the Lord Jesus you shall be saved, and you will most assuredly participate in the marriage supper of the Lamb. If you are Bickle’s follower you should seriously consider discarding his false hope based upon your own personal level of mystical revelation and personal piety. Place your hope instead on Christ and in His finished work.”

  54. I was taught to always be ready yourself. One could die tonigth, be hit by a car, and havent repented or done the right thing in life. Then the emphasis is on your own heart not your church as your saving grace.

    I read the above as prose, sort of “stream of consciousness meets pentecostal persuasion”

    Its sort of a “nice” thought. kind of like what Gandhi said when they asked him what he thinks of “western civilisation” He said it was a nice idea. or something like that

  55. Facelift: “I enjoyed your work on the Ladder & Gate, s&p. Thanks!”

    No probs. It took a bit of time to find those scriptures again and some of my old scattered, half-written article on it.

    Facelift: “They, of all churches, have ‘championed’ the local church with their annual conferences, which don’t use speakers solely form within Hillsong, but from a wide array of influences, whether we like them or not.”

    That’s funny. The last time I checked my bible, ‘championing the local church’ was never a focal point for Paul or any of the other apostles in ministry, nor was it a commission or a command for the church.

    Hillsong have made themselves the crown of the Australian church – and are proud of it. The more this has been discussed, the more I am seeing this poem seems to add to their flattery. They are trying to see themselves as being ‘justice’. They’ve been slowly pushing this word more and more into their church identity. I noted the word ‘justice’ started to be pushed around to promote who they were in 2005 (after their appalling lack of voice for justice during the Afghan and Iraq wars the previous government got involved in).

    Now justice is their trumph card – and look at the handling of Mercy Ministries and the handling of Guglimucci and others in leadership. Hillsong is not stupid. They know how to brand. They how to market and make themselves an appealing identity. They know how to win people to their movement. You wouldn’t usually have poem on a business site for business sake. In having such a poem on a site like theirs, it promotes THEM.

    Because of this ‘triumph’ image they portray to the rest of Australia, other churches of Australia suffer because of Hillsong’s ‘triumphing’ image of the church.

    The common thing people say about the churches of Australia is ‘they just want your money’. Reality is, whether Hillsong realise this or not, Hillsong adds to the persecution of the local church. They give fuel to the non-believers.

  56. Wazza2: “Apparently this is the inscription on the door of St Pauls Cathedral, I think this is a similar but even worse misapplication of the scripture to a local church.”

    I’m not sure if it’s a misapplication… The words are actually placed under the right hand side of the cross. I didn’t see the cross right away. When I saw it though, I smiled. As FaceLift said:

    There is a context in which Jesus is the Gate, the Door, and that is another reference to the Entrance into the Church. If he is the Gate of Heaven, then we have entered in through him. He is also the Veil. We are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

  57. And Bull. I’ve research the Latter Rain movement extensively, and the toll it has taken on the church in England as well. Unfortunately, it’s starting to thrive down here as well in Australia. I’ve been doing my best to monitor it like a Hawk. Minister’s from the Kansas City Prophets minister quite a bit down in Melbourne.

    IHOP Burn center’s are operating around Sydney now. I think it was Dayspring church in Sydney that embraced this. I think they are more the Crowder church-crowd now as they’ve also given Todd Bentley’s music director opportunities to speak at their church.

    Their was Kira Mitchell’s from Todd Bentley ministries that toured through Sydney and the coast as well. Her itinerary was on her website. And we all saw and heard of the devastation Crowder left at one of the C3 churches and what loonies cleaned up behind him. One now I’m monitoring constantly: Matt Ford.

    Bill Johnson has spoken around Sydney too. But he’s more mild.

    First it was places like Hillsong and C3 that were allowing them to speak early on in Australia. Occasionally they let them speak today. I think they are aware of the lunacy of the Charismatic movement and try to distant themselves from them.

    But now Latter Rainers and their doctrines are focusing on the medium sized to smaller sized local churches. I have found this really not helping the cause for Christ at all. I have often seen more damage then good. 😦

    Bless you Bull! If these ministers red-light you – charge!

  58. Thats a good observation S&P, hadnt seen that. I still think that by putting it on the door they are inviting misinterpretation from people who will see the door and the church, and miss the cross.

    Regarding Latter Rain, Joel’s Army and the other Christian Dominionists… I dont think they pose a serious danger to the Church. They do pose a serious danger to the people who get involved with them, and they ought to be exposed for what they are.. which is another religion dressed in Christian clothes. But Protestantism has always been fiercely independant. Evangelical Protestantism even more so, and Pentecostalism even more than that. If you dont agree with your Pastor you can go and start another church.

    There’s no way that these guys will get all the Protestants in one town to unite under their “apostles”, let alone a city.

  59. Facelift: “I think there must be different streams.”

    There definitely are! If I’m not wrong, the End Times Hand Maidens also came from them.

    I’m pretty sure that the Word Of Faith and Prosperity Movements also came from these guys. I could be wrong on this, but I think they established their doctrines within these movements. It wasn’t just Kenyan the WOF used.

    Facelift: “Joel’s Army! Wasn’t that an illustration of a swarm of locusts destroying the crops of Israel because of their disobedience, followed by God restoring what the locust destroyed in the latter days? Blow the trumpets in Zion. God is sending an army of destruction! Not an army of believers, evidently!”

    I think that is the right interpretation FaceLift.

    And Teddy, I’ve mentioned the Bridal Paradigm on SignPosts02 before. It is an heretical doctrine straight from the pit. I think both Lance and me did an article about the odd Bridal Event that Mike Bickle held at his church. I think it was held last year.

    I think what is just as dangerous is their popular worship singer and icon, Misty Edwards.

    She may have a sincere and genuine faith, but if you listen to the words of her songs, they flow in line with the bridal paradigm doctrines of Bickle. Her music is popular with younger generations. She sings a song about the foolish versions with Mike Bickle’s wrong interpretation of it.

    However, I do like her music. She is most famous for this song.

    I like the melody, but I find it’s motives work-based and suggestive of the Bridal Paradigm. I even picked up on this odd vibe before I even new what the bridal paradigm was last year.

  60. Wazza2: “Regarding Latter Rain, Joel’s Army and the other Christian Dominionists… I dont think they pose a serious danger to the Church.”

    If you haven’t read it already, I encourage you to read the Latter Rainer’s or Charismatic’s bible ‘The Final Quest’ by Rick Joyner. I know I’ve given a snippet above. But that book gives you insight into their divisive doctrines and military focus in church division and Dominionism.

  61. &p,
    ‘They give fuel to the non-believers’

    The name of Jesus gives fuel to unbelievers!

    Why should we be put off by the shrill opinion of the media?

    ‘…appalling lack of voice for justice during the Afghan and Iraq wars the previous government got involved in’

    And which the present government continues. No one had a problem with going into Afghanistan. All commenters considered this a just war. The voice for justice in regard to Iraq was clearly split between two camps. Those for and those against. So justice wasn’t a simple matter of sharing your opinion.

    Was it justice to allow Saddam to continue? Where were the Christian voices in opposition to his genocidal chemical attacks on the Kurds [research Al-Anfal Campign]? His use of chemical warfare against Iran in the attempted invasion? His invasion of Kuwait? His tyrannical family’s torment of any opposition?

    Iraqis have just made their feelings of justice known by hanging Saddam’s cousin, Chemical Ali, whom Saddam made Governor of Kuwait when Iraq invaded, and was chief of Iraq’s notorious intelligence forces. They also sentenced Saddam to death by hanging. This would never have been possible without the intervention of US, British and Australian forces. The injustice was the procrastination of the UN, whilst Iraqis continued to suffer under this regime. It was a great injustice to force the US and Allies to go it alone in removing this despotic, dangerous regime. The sanctions imposed only increased the suffering of the mass of Iraqis while the Baathists basked in palaces.

    It was never the role of Hillsong issue statements about the relief of Iraq or Afghanistan, except to support those who were suffering. But which was worse, the suffering before the Allies went in, or after?

    Sometimes justice issues have more than one side to consider. Right now the Australian Council of Churches strongly supports Palestinian claims rather than Israel, and opposes Israel’s tough stance against what they see as terrorist threats. Is this justice?

  62. The point is Facelift. Hillsong now seem to give themselves a face of justice when they had no face to begin with when it came to instances with the wars.

    Their lack of voice was their voice of approving.

    70% of the Australian public did not want to go to war with Iraq. Some local churches did speak out. They researched the evidence regarding these wars. They were ILLEGAL wars. These were THE most unpopular wars in global history! Every single continent (including Antarctica) seemed to be against the invasion of these countries.

    The goal posts changed after they could not prove that weapons existed. This is NOT acceptable. The RCC spoke against this war being injust. They gained credibility in this. No matter how much small pentecostal churches spoke out, they were smeared alongside Hillsong’s silence on the matter.

    This poem is almost like… church propganda – promoting something that they’re not. (Mercy Ministries anyone?)

  63. ‘Their lack of voice was their voice of approving’

    Of what? Of no war, or of war? Having no voice says nothing either way. A pro-war person would say completely the opposite to you using the same argument.

    I think you’re being unkind to call this poem propaganda.

    Anyway, I’ve said what I think!

  64. “Having no voice says nothing either way.” – that is a complete and utter lie. Silence says a lot especially in times of war.

    America made these wars religious wars.
    Hillsong was silent.
    Innocent people were killed.
    Hillsong was silent.
    The biggest protests in history occured in in opposition to these wars.
    Hillsong was silent.
    Radioactive weapons were used in this war against Iraq.
    Hillsong was silent.
    Evidence for justifying invasion were incredibly faulty and falsified.
    Hillsong was silent.
    Falujah?
    Hillsong was silent.
    Abhu Graib?
    Hillsong was silent.

    Politicians and Hillsong?
    The church was their friends.

    Howard voted out.
    Hillsong is JUSTICE!
    The forgotton wars.
    Hillsong is JUSTICE!

    Facelift. Their silence spoke more about their lack of justice. It’s only now they are making up for it. However, I don’t think Joel Houston had this intention when he made his movie “We Are In This Together”.

    Facelift: “I think you’re being unkind to call this poem propaganda.”
    Ok. Maybe extreme patriotism, idealism or drum-beating.

  65. Facelift: “No one had a problem with going into Afghanistan.”

    Odd. America did actually invade the wrong country since the majority of terrorists who bombed the US were from Saudi Arabia, NOT Afghanistan. Some teacher from CCC even pointed this fact out at the time.

    Facelift: “The injustice was the procrastination of the UN, whilst Iraqis continued to suffer under this regime.”

    What on earth are you talking about? The UN said they found NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. But with America’s falsified evidence, they were determined to go in. To disarm Iraq of it’s WMD against America and remove their threat of terrorism.

    It was NEVER their aim to begin with to liberate the Iraqi people from their government. That was a candy-coated-sin, rewarded to those that believed that the Western forces intentions for invading, was good.

  66. from endtimes …

    If Disney made churches …

    They’d …

    * Be always happy and smiley
    * Give attendees a warm and fuzzy glow.
    * Have a pleasant, but an unreal environment
    * Be consumer orientated
    * They’d always promise happy endings
    * They’d make the most of every possible merchandising opportunities
    * Everything would be overpriced
    * If you don’t pays the money you don’t get ‘in’
    * The ‘kids’ would be encouraged to want more and more of it – nothing would satiate.
    * They’d be non confrontational and accepting of all lifestyles
    * Everyone must be in role
    * They’d have simple little ditties playing over and over again
    * They’d have a ‘new thing’ every few months
    * Add your own thoughts ….

    Oh my goodness, it seems like Disney do ‘make’ churches after all!

  67. Bull – I haven’t attended Hillsong for some years now. But while I was there (city church) it wasn’t the case that a breakfast with Brian cost $1,000 or you got better seating for giving more. I was in “Kingdom People” where you made a faith commitment to give a certain amount. This got you access to exclusive functions (I don’t know if this still operates the same way)??? Are you getting confused with this?

  68. ok, ill come clean…God knows what im doing anyway, i was blogging on Phil Pringle’s site and my comment is still in moderation after 10 minutes. All i did was quote a scripture from the NT. All things work together for good for those that love God….

  69. Never mind MJ, I commented saying on an older PP post – “do we fear the storm and/or the Lord” and that wasn’t allowed.

  70. Well, i have commented before, sometimes they’re moderated/published, sometimes not. Interesting that all i quoted was a scripture.

  71. oh they are definately cut and pasted at times. And yes only what “adds” to the theme. i just cant understand why a scripture was moderated, not under mj either, which usually gets shunned or moderated

  72. mj – I found one of your comments that was being critical on the site. All the other comments were very positive in the ‘Wow… Awesome’ vein.

    I actually found I quite liked PP’s one on ‘self-control’. Taken at face value, it was good.

    Proverbs 25:16 – Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, Lest you be filled with it and vomit.

    Just because a little is good, it does not mean a lot would be better!

    Whenever we find a sweet thing, something that gives us pleasure we need to control our appetite, otherwise it will destroy our lives.

    Good things become bad things when we abuse the use of them.

    All our appetites need restraints. Legalistic Christianity simply says ‘No honey at all’, so people never learn moderation.

    Try to eat what you need, buy what you need, do what you need, rather than just always what you want and life gets simpler.

    – PP

    I find myself reading stuff into it though, whether its there or not… such as “Try to eat what you need, buy what you need, do what you need [so that you can give more to the church]”. It’s better for me not to go there.

  73. oh know, its weird how they published my protest about the cut and pasting. I know for sure the site was “rigged” the other week. i am a straight forward person and i have written my thoughts almost a year ago re “an issue at church with a brother” PP actually replied to me and dialoged. anyway, i dont mind, thats life hey 🙂

  74. That’s pretty good that he did that.

    I strongly disagree with some of PP’s stances that he teaches, but on the other hand, I don’t dismiss him on everything. On other things at times he can offer something worthwhile. We can take each thing on its own merit.

    My time at his church was many years ago. When I was there, I liked that it didn’t seem at all legalistic. For example, leaders could drink alcohol. You were just expected to use some judgement about appropriate amounts, and obviously to hold back if it was going to cause someone else a problem. I liked that you weren’t judged for wearing make up, and that all of us were expected to have a strong personal relationship with the Lord, based on our own time with Him in prayer and the Word. Plus, the homegroups weren’t programmed at all back then, and could follow where we felt the Holy Spirit lead. In some groups that were comfortable doing that, it was great.

    Now there is different teaching, I think. People like John Bevere are held up as teachers resulting in some quite hierarchical submission doctrine. Also, since the building fund was first introduced, the focus on money became much more pronounced, and everything seemed less relaxed; more focussed on a goal. But initially, when I joined before the building fund, the spread of teaching was broader, and overall, it seemed more relaxed. Not saying it was perfect, but I really did benefit from those early years.

  75. Something for PP to understand…..

    “It is boring to read the comment threads when everyone say “Thanks, great post!” It only gets good when there is criticism. Without criticism, life becomes “The Gary Smalley Show” from SNL. “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

    I should try putting that up on PP’s blog.

  76. yep, i take each “sermorn” on its merit. If preaching seems out of hand i kind of switch off (previous sermons). I was brought up Catholic so….

    where i attend now the preaching is pretty much on the money – teaches the Gospel properly. And one can always look up scriptures for themselves and go online and check the context etc

  77. s&p wrote:
    “Hillsong adds to the persecution of the local church. They give fuel to the non-believers.”

    can you help me to figure out what persecution is meant here?

  78. gandalf: can you help me to figure out what persecution is meant here?

    ok. it’s more like stereo-typing the rest of the church with the image of Hillsong or C3. So lets say you were Baptist or Methodist. In outreaching or it in harmless conversation came out that you were a Christian, a common reply would be ‘Oh, I’m not a Christian for a reason. The church wants your money.’

    If not that, other one’s I’ve heard is ‘I like my brains in my head, you Christian’s like your brains missing’. ‘Church is a cult’. ‘I know your bible more than your church does’.

    In each instant, they assume either i’m
    a) Hillsong if I speak to them in the city or
    b) Hillsong or C3 if I speak to them on the Northern Beaches

    They automatically assume, as a Christian I go to Hillsong or C3! Even in the last three months, I heard a non-believer say to a non-believer while I was in the conversation ‘He probably wants your money. You go to C3 right?’

    Talking to those guys further, one of them got ripped off at C3 and had huge problems with seeing the ATM in the foyer, complained about how their were three offering talks in the service and talked continually about money. Both then started telling me about the Jesus they knew.

    They were actually shocked that I agreed with them. We both believed the same Jesus – just the resurrection was the catch.

  79. Re-visitng this thread and seeing this again in new eyes, I’d have to agree that so much focus is on the church these days and not on God.

    This actually really creeps me out. I don’t know why I said this one time after a sermon to a congregation.

    I said:
    “David didn’t even think about the army behind him. He had God and that was enough. He didn’t see through his own eyes but God’s eyes. We cannot outreach to fallen man, focusing on our own armies of men, to be effective in ministry. Otherwise we are relying on the same strategy as the world. No. Know your church! But even more importantly, know the God that saves you. The church can’t save you! God does. David didn’t save Israel! God did.

    David knew what God knew. Salvation was today. God revealed His glory through David. Must the church forget that the only reason why we are holy is because God is holy? To elevate the church is to elevate man. To elevate God, is to elevate HIS church.

    We must not see through the eyes of man it means we will exalt man. We must see through the eyes of God, seeing how Jesus reveals Himself through us, so that we may continue to exalt God and those He chooses to glorify.” – 8/2/2009

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