This is Part 1 of a two part series.
Part 2 is ‘ But LORD! ‘
Please read both parts together.
And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. (Leviticus 10:1-2)
You can bank on this truth: “If you want more of Jesus, then dive deeper and deeper into the Word of God, because Jesus is the Word. You will not get it through some sensational experience, especially those pretending to be of the Holy Spirit. A more sensational experience does not equate to more power and anointing.”
I must say, that this article I am writing comes with one of the strongest urgings of the Holy Spirit of all the articles I have ever written. I will try to keep it concise and to the point. It is not meant to be an exhaustive look at the ‘Strange Fire’ many in Christianity have hovered toward. Nor is it meant to be an exhaustive combat tool against it. This article is about how grieved the Holy Spirit is about all the ‘Strange Fire’ that has infiltrated, not just through the Pentecostal/Charismatic world, but through Christians who are not satisfied with the normal Scriptural avenues. Do not get me wrong. I am 100% for seeking for all that the Lord wants to give me and do in my life. I am also 100% for enthusiastically worshipping the Lord. I definitely know what it’s like to tangibly feel the presence of the Lord in my life. But what I am talking about is the hype, the theatrical antics, the psychologically induced emotionalism, the delusions of men, the bizarre, and yes, the infiltration of demonic spirits. It stems from a New Age infiltration into Christianity. The truly dangerous part is this mixture catches many off guard because many of the words that are used are what a Christian is used to like Jesus, the Holy Spirit, salvation, etc. In short, the Christian lingo is there, but so is an infiltration of new buzz words, phrases, and teachings. An example is, “You will be taught how to ‘release’ your prophetic abilities and learn how to have the dove of the Holy Spirit rest on your shoulder.”
I was first introduced to this infiltration over 10 years ago when I went over to a woman who obviously was in pain and needed prayer. As I was praying for her I felt a weird presence. I looked next to me and saw another woman going through what I could best describe as hocus-pocus motions. I went home and investigated what this woman was involved with. This is what I found and wrote a report on it at the time:
“One definition of New Age is those who seek insight and personal growth who cluster around a spiritual teacher or an education center. Visit http://www.aslansplace.com and read through all their pages. Notice and read into their new INSIGHTS. Notice their spiritual teacher and their education center. Notice their Generational Deliverance and going back to the mothers womb teaching. Notice their teaching on vibrating at the proper resonance and operating within one’s sphere of power. Notice their teaching of actually going into the Lord’s court. Notice their teaching of cutting through Ley Lines. These are just a few of their off-the-wall teachings. Satan is noted for the 99% truth and 1% lie stealth (we see that in Satan’s temptation of Jesus). We are prompted by the Word of God to test for 100% truth and hold on only to that. The New Testament directs us to pray for the sick and anoint them with oil. We need to be careful of any kind of hocus-pocus. Aslan’s Place teaches how to pull hand-over-hand as if pulling the physical problem out, rather than praying (and anointing the individual with oil) like the Bible teaches, so God can do the healing. Our greatest tools as a Christian are prayer, fasting, and the Word of God. There are no new ways or shortcuts or things to tap into. This raises a red flag which cannot be ignored.”
My second encounter with this infiltration was when the book ‘Heaven Is So Real’ was recommended for me to read by the church I was going to because it was endorsed by the Senior Pastor of the largest Assembly of God in the world. When I first started reading the book, it was clear to me that the jesus in this book was not the same Jesus of the Bible. It lead me to warn others and point out its deceptions with this post Book ‘Heaven Is So Real’ Deception . What is really amazing, since I wrote that article almost exactly 5 years ago, the leadership in both churches, even though half way around the world from each other were convicted and sentenced in their respective court systems.
Recently my wife and I were invited to attend a Bible study at the home of a wonderful couple. The husband had a good report and was known to present the Bible in a lively way. I have learned to respect my wife whom the Holy Spirit has gifted with impeccable discernment. She felt very uneasy about attending, so we didn’t. After about a half dozen of these studies, I had two people voice their concerns to me because they were troubled in their spirits by the teachings. Now I know why the Holy Spirit did not give us the OK to attend the studies. I learned the studies were actually a series of video teachings along with a book and student lessons by a man named Bill Johnson and his Bethel church. So I investigated Bill Johnson and found out his teachings are also New Age mixed into Christianity. They are tied to Aslan’s Place (also out of California) and the Toronto Blessing (Toronto Airport Fellowship), to name a few (go to http://www.elijahlist.com/links.html). The following PDF is the story of a man who gives a candid look at Bill Johnson and the Bethel church along with comments that follow his account:
Bill Johnson’s story in his own words: “In my personal quest for increased power and anointing in my ministry, I have traveled to many cities, including Toronto (Toronto Blessing). God has used my experiences in such places to set me up for life changing encounters at home. Once in the middle of the night, God came in answer to my prayer for more of him, yet not in a way I had expected. I went from a dead sleep to being wide awake. Unexplainable power began to pulsate through my body, seemingly just shy of electrocution. It was as though I had been plugged into a wall socket with a thousand volts of electricity flowing through my body. My arms and legs shot out in silent explosions as if something was released through my hands and feet. The more I tried to stop it, the worse it got. This divine moment was glorious, but not pleasant. At first I was embarrassed, even though I was the only one who knew I was in that condition. I saw myself with my arms and legs flailing about as though I had serious physical problems. The power surges didn’t stop. This experience continued the following two nights beginning moments after getting into bed.”
Bill Johnson writes in his book ‘Hosting the Presence’: “I know there are many who think this kind of encounter couldn’t be God. After all, the Holy Spirit is a ‘gentleman’. At least that’s what I was told throughout the wonderful years of the Charismatic Renewal of the 60’s, 70’s, and early 80’s. This ‘gentleman’ knocked Saul of Tarsus off of his donkey. He does what he pleases. He is God and will not fit into our boxes.”
What Bill Johnson would like you to forget is that what happened to Saul was Divine Intervention to stop Saul in his tracks because, “Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers” (Acts 9:1). This was not a wonderful outpouring of power onto one of Jesus’ followers as Bill Johnson would like to sway you to believe. Read Acts 9:17-19 where Saul, after he finally becomes a follower of Jesus, is filled with the Holy Spirit decently and in order. One other vital point: ‘Nowhere in Scripture is it recorded that Saul was traveling on a donkey’. Bill Johnson is caught once again violating the Word of God by adding to it.
The woman who writes the forward to this book states: “I felt so desperate for what Bill Johnson was talking about that even without an altar call I ran down to the front. I was completely undone with a pulsation through me like electric shocks. It was so powerful that I thought I might die. I couldn’t move, walk, or talk for 7 days and 7 nights.”
Notice that wherever the demonic world meets the real world, there is disruption or lack of order. Let’s look into the story of the woman who followed Paul for days. Even though she was prophesying a truth, it was done with much disruption causing Paul to finally take action. Here is the Scripture:
“And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.” (Acts 16:16-18)
When I received the Dunamis power of the Holy Spirit, it was a most beautiful encounter filled with peace. I was in my prayer closet on Easter 1981. My Bible was opened and I read Scripture back to the Lord, asking Him to fill me. I knew He heard my petition and I knew it was His will according to Scripture. I had been living my life as a sanctified vessel leading up to this and I was ready. With uplifted arms of praise, the Holy Spirit filled me in a most wonderful way and I have never been the same since. I allowed the Holy Spirit to have control over my tongue, but never did I not have the ultimate control to stop it. The peace and comfort were beyond description. Every Epistle of Paul, Peter, Jude, along with Second John and Revelation starts off with declaring ‘peace’ from God. Nowhere is there any kind of uncontrolled or spastic body functions. This speaks volumes. The Holy Spirit works in the lives of those who seek Him to comfort, exhort, and edify.
It amazes me of all the books written, seminars, retreats and pilgrimages people take trying to obtain what they think is the Dunamis power of the Holy Spirit, when in reality it is nothing more than ‘strange fire’. There is no magical formula, there is no magical person or teaching to receive the real promise of the Dunamis power of the Holy Spirit through. There is no sensationalism or acrobatics or hocus-pocus involved. It is simply standing on the promises of God by praying His Word in faith. I stood on these verses (2Timothy 2:21, Luke 24:49/Acts 1:8, Acts 2:17-18/Joel 2:28-29, Matthew 7:7-8/John 14:13-14/1John 5:14-15, and Acts 2:4) and prayed through out loud. The three biggest reasons people do not receive this promise, outside of not seeking for it, is that they do not sanctify their vessel, they are not willing to believe in the evidence of the promise, or they seek for it for the wrong reason outside of being a mighty witness for the Lord.
Please, please watch the two eye opening videos below. The first is only two minutes long and asks the question, “Who is slaying your church?” The second video is 28 minutes long and is an excellent documentary with the author at the end emphasizing the fact that there is the true operation of the Holy Spirit, but there is also the wrong spirit too many Christians are flocking to.
The late David Wilkerson is in the following video and he addresses the ‘Weird Manifestations’ that the above two videos deal with. Notice how he starts off with pointing out that the pastor he talks about thought there was more and that the church under him was not growing fast enough. This led to the opening up of himself and his church to ‘Weird Manifestations’.
I have tried to understand this ‘Strange Fire’ the best I can. I realize we are in the end times where demonic activity will heighten and many will fall away. But we are also in the time of Latter Rain. So what can we do? First, recognize that at the core is man’s thirst for the sensational rather than the Lord’s way. I can’t help but wonder that Nadab and Abihu got bored with the fire that was demanded, and tried their own concoction. Second, we need to get back to preaching sanctification and leading a life of holiness and separation. Very rarely is this preached anymore. Third, recognize the difference between being gifted and anointed. There are many preachers and teachers that are extremely gifted with natural abilities and have huge followings, but they are not anointed. You can still be a huge sinner and remain gifted, but not so when it comes to being anointed. A gifted person draws attention to himself. An anointed person is completely dimmed out, and only God’s glory shines. As long as men follow gifted men and sanctification is looked at as being an antiquated work, invasion attempts will continue. Keep in mind, the Church may be invaded at times, but it will never be prevailed against! (Mt 16:18)
Even though I am not from Calvary Chapel, I believe this simple statement is true:
“Over the years, however, fundamentalism, while it clung to the integrity of God’s Word, tended to become rigid, legalistic, and unaccepting of spiritual gifts. Similarly, Pentecostalism became too enthusiastic and emotional at the expense of the teaching of God’s Word. Calvary Chapel tries to be the balance between the two. They believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Bible, but they must always be exercised in decency and order, with the primary emphasis on the Word of God, which must always be looked to as the primary rule of faith.”
I came across this Scripturally sound quote the other day that hits the nail on the head: “Remember that God is the key to powerful prayer, not self-manufactured emotional intensity. Faith is confident in the power of God, the wisdom of God, the love of God, the timing of God, and the Word of God.”
In conclusion, there is the genuine thing and there is the counterfeit. There is the Holy Spirit and there is Satan (and his minions) appearing as an angel of light. There is the real fire and there is ‘Strange Fire’. I am begging you to examine very very closely what you are going after and holding onto.
“And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (1 Corinthians 14:32-33)
“Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Corinthians 14:39-40)
“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22)