Apprising Ministries http://apprising.org Awakening to the Light of Scripture Sun, 20 Apr 2014 02:38:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 IT’S RESURRECTION SUNDAY—HE’S ALIVE! http://apprising.org/2014/04/20/its-resurrection-sunday-hes-alive/ http://apprising.org/2014/04/20/its-resurrection-sunday-hes-alive/#comments Sun, 20 Apr 2014 02:38:03 +0000 http://apprising.org/?p=90820

Further reading

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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY SCALES BACK DUTIES OF PROVOST RON GODWIN OVER HINN VIDEO http://apprising.org/2014/04/17/liberty-university-scales-back-duties-of-provost-ron-godwin-over-hinn-video/ http://apprising.org/2014/04/17/liberty-university-scales-back-duties-of-provost-ron-godwin-over-hinn-video/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:11:29 +0000 http://apprising.org/?p=90799 aaq0

You’ve likely noticed here lately at Apprising Ministries that I’ve been spending quite a bit of time covering the pitiful position of far too many mainstream evangelical leaders when it comes to promoting, and even partnering with, Word Faith prosperity preachers like “trinitarian-modalist” T.D. Jakes.

Along that line, the other day I covered Liberty University Partnering with Word Faith Flake Benny Hinn? I also pointed out that Tom Ascol, senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church and executive director of Founders Ministries, also thought so as well based on his post Liberty University Partners with Benny Hinn.

This peculiar story began as Hinn would announce the following on his website more than hinting this was a very real possibility (click to enlarge):

1w2
(source)

You should know that this page I captured for you and placed above has since vanished into the meta. It’s important to note also that the Word Faith “healer” Hinn also provided a video promoting this supposed partnership with Liberty University, which also seems to be missing from Hinn’s website.

In a moment, you’re going to find out why. First, appearing with Benny Hinn in these exclusive video clips from that video are Dan Reber, Director of Liberty University Institute of Biblical Studies and Dr. Ronald Godwin, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost for Liberty University.1

Like I said before, by holding up one of Liberty’s diplomas, it would seem pretty clear below that Hinn was attempting to try and telling us that those who complete the course would indeed receive a diploma from Liberty University itself:

Also notice the following screen capture from the then downloadable brochure from Hinn’s website did say in no uncertain terms that the diploma would indeed be from Liberty University:

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(source)

This brochure has also apparently been removed from the website as well. All of which brings us now to LU scales back provost’s responsibilities following video, a report Tuesday from NewsAdvance.com where we’re told:

Liberty University has scaled back the responsibilities overseen by Provost Ron Godwin following a video in which he appeared to endorse a partnership between the university and Texas-based faith healer Benny Hinn.

Godwin, 76, no longer will serve as the university’s vice president for academic affairs, according to a statement on LU’s website, though he will continue as provost.

In the statement, Liberty University President and Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. said Godwin’s refined role would ensure the error does not repeat itself.

“The University will continue to rely on Dr. Godwin’s breadth of academic and administrative experience,” Falwell said in the release, which appeared on www.liberty.edu on Friday but was not sent to media outlets. “He will spend the next few years grooming his successors and guiding the team responsible for Liberty University’s pending ten year accreditation reaffirmation report.”

The update on Godwin’s role was written as an addendum to a statement issued by LU on April 3, which notified the public that Liberty University did not have a partnership with Benny Hinn Ministries, as Benny Hinn had advertised.

According to Hinn, his partnership with Liberty University would allow students of the World Healing Fellowship & Liberty University Institute of Biblical Studies to receive a diploma from the university, and be eligible for college credits.

On April 4, the university issued a cease-and-desist order, requiring Benny Hinn to remove from its website all unauthorized uses of the university’s trademark and intellectual property.

The confusion as to whether or not such a partnership existed — which led to short-lived but national attention — occurred in part because of Godwin’s appearance with Dan Reber on Benny Hinn’s television show, “This is Your Day.” (source)

So, with LU issuing the cease and desist order to remove the materials, now we know why they have since vanished. While I don’t find much good to say about LU in general, they should be commended for this anyway.

You can read the Liberty University statement in its entirety, along with further commentary from Ron Godwin, by clicking here.

Further reading

Endnotes

  1. https://www.liberty.edu/aboutliberty/?PID=11850, accessed 4/17/14.
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APPRISING MINISTRIES WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR HELP http://apprising.org/2014/04/14/apprising-ministries-would-appreciate-your-help/ http://apprising.org/2014/04/14/apprising-ministries-would-appreciate-your-help/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 22:38:06 +0000 http://apprising.org/?p=90779 AS0

If you are a regular reader of Apprising Ministries, then you probably know about my battle with the osteomyelitis, which affected my spine. It was just over a year ago now that I would go into the hospital for nearly four full months. Unfortunately, we were without health insurance.

So, we have since ended up with a six figure debt. In regard to the spinal infection, I’m actually progressing a little better than some of the doctors expected. Still, I’m not even a year into my recovery; and no doubt you’ll notice my that my posting is still no where near the volume as before.

To update you on the health problems I outlined for you a month ago in Request for Prayer and Support, there has been some over-all improvement. My eyes are starting to have a few more more good days than bad. As you might guess, back pain makes sleeping difficult as does all of the stress.

Even so, I do wish to encourage you that your financial support means AM is still here having effect along the Internet Front of this Truth War. For example, we were among the few who covered John Piper and Linger Conference with IHOP’S Stephen Venable and his Comtemplative Teaching.

The Lord be praised, this would help bring about The Master’s College Withdraws as Exhibitor at Upcoming Linger Conference and Stephen Venable out of Linger Conference. In addition to issues like those, I also strive to bring balance as in On Contemplative Spirituality and Charismania.

God knows that I really hate talking about the subject of money; however, a work like this is entirely dependent upon the generosity of the Lord’s people. As such, following the holiday and tax seasons, I do need to let you know that AM is currently in a really bad slump as far as donations go.

As always, we greatly appreciate those of you who have been faithfully giving all along. Without you we would never have lasted these nine years since AM went online in 2005. Still, we need help; and we do pray you’ll join us in asking the Lord to raise up some new supporters to stand with the others.

Perhaps you’ve been blessed through the work here and maybe you’ll consider helping to support this labor in the Lord. Please know that, at this time, a gift of any amount—whether one time or on a regular basis—goes a long way toward helping to keep AM available to serve the Christian church.

If you would like to help us out in this time of need, your prayer and financial support would be deeply appreciated. If you feel so led, you may donate via PayPal by clicking here.

Or, if you prefer, you can make your checks/money orders payable to Connecticut River Baptist Church with Apprising Ministries in the memo and send them to:

Connecticut River Baptist Church
P.O. Box 340
Claremont, NH 03743

Further reading

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C.J. MAHANEY AT TOGETHER FOR THE GOSPEL http://apprising.org/2014/04/10/c-j-mahaney-at-together-for-the-gospel/ http://apprising.org/2014/04/10/c-j-mahaney-at-together-for-the-gospel/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 21:44:21 +0000 http://apprising.org/?p=90719 SGMCM

Here at Apprising Ministries I’m doing what I can to continue covering The Falling Away Of The Evangelical Church, which is the article that essentially launched this work. Not long after I found fmyself among those who are also pioneering this still developing work of online apologetics and discernment ministry.

Like it or not, as Jesus sends spiritual darkness and 1 Peter 4:17 judgments across a professing Christendom in lust for acceptance of the world, mainstream evangelicalism is well into what I call the New Downgrade No-Controversy. I’m afraid that even the reformed sectors aren’t immune to the resulting apostasy.

For example, we have the so-called New Calvinism (NC); which, as I told you the other day in Mark Driscoll Controversy Cover-Up, is emerging as a postmodern form of Calvinism that tries to marry some parts of reformed theology with corrupt counter Reformation spirituality a la apostate Roman Catholic mystics.

In my opinion, the charismania within NC has caused more than its share of confusion. As I see it, this is what would lead John Piper into making the ill-fated decision to bring Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren into the Desiring God Conference 2010 as the keynote speaker. Unfortunately, it got even a little worse.

Dr. Piper decided to defend his decision and would go on to state:

At root I think [Rick Warren] is theological and doctrinal and sound. (source)

With all due respect to John Piper, as I showed you e.g. in Rick Warren and his Brother, “His Eminence” Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New Yor, at best Warren is a sinful ecumenicist who has repudiated the doctrinal and sound theology of the Protestant Reformation concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Remember as well that Rick Warren received much training from Leadership Network, as did the aforementioned  Mark Driscoll. Since the first Elephant Room (ER), I’ve told you about a developing Evangelical Ecumenical Magisterium (EEM) growing up around Driscoll and  his ER co-host James MacDonald.

My point in bringing this up is to warn you that this EEM of cult of celebrity megachurch pastors already has a foothold within young, restless and reformed circles. And it’s no surprise that later in 2010 PDL pope Warren placed his blessing upon key members; they are in part his disciples:

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(source)

From where I stand, it looks pretty easy for “big time” pastors, who are always rubbing shoulders together at the same conferences, to have their judgment clouded by their friendships. Has this happened in the case of C.J. Mahaney? Obviously, I can’t say because I don’t frequent the circles he does nor do I know the men he does.

What I can do is remind you that two years ago in C.J. Mahaney & Sovereign Grace Church Bring History, Controversy To New Louisville Launch and Lawsuit Claims C.J. Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Ministries Concealed Sex Abuse Allegations AM began coverage of alleged problems surrounding Mahaney.

C.J. Mahaney founded Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), which was once known as People of Destiny International (PDI). PDI was aligned with elements of the the Shepherding Movement.1 In fact, we’re told that theologian Alister McGrath:

associated PDI with the shepherding movement and described it as having “informal links with Bryn Jones,” the UK house church leader.2

The above was also referenced in Kerrin’s Story, part i over at SGMsurvivers.com, where you’ll find other stories of hurt through SGM’s policies. And as a Lawsuit Targets Sovereign Grace Ministries And Co-Founder Over New Child Sex Abuse Allegation,”flagship churches” would make the decision “to leave the [SGM] network.”3

You should also know that apparently this situation has remained serious enough that CJ Mahaney Drops Out of 2014 Together for the Gospel Conference Due to Sovereign Grace Lawsuit:

Citing a desire to keep his peers from any “unfair and unwarranted criticism” stemming from a lawsuit filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries, C.J. Mahaney has announced his departure from the biennial Together for the Gospel (T4G) pastors conference he co-founded in 2006 with fellow evangelical Christian leaders Mark Dever, Albert Mohler and Ligon Duncan. (source)

C.J. Mahaney would announce his decision to depart T4G via “a letter dated July 1, 2013, and published on the TG website.”4  While discussing this in his The Photo Promotion of C.J. Mahaney at Together for the Gospel post yesterday Brett Detwiler shared some of Mahaney’s letter:

Nine months ago, C.J. issued a statement about withdrawing from the conference.  Here are his remarks.

“After much prayer, reflection and counsel I have decided to withdraw from participation in the 2014 Together for the Gospel conference.  My reason for doing so is simple: I love these men and this conference and I desire to do all I possibly can to serve the ongoing fruitfulness of T4G.

“Unfortunately, the civil lawsuit filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries, two former SGM churches and pastors (including myself), continues to generate the type of attention that could subject my friends to unfair and unwarranted criticism.  Though dismissed in May (and now on appeal), the lawsuit could prove a distraction from the purpose of this important conference.  My withdrawal is not intended to communicate anything about the merits of the suit.  My decision simply reflects the reality that my participation could create a hindrance to this conference and its distinct purpose of serving so many pastors.  My strong desire is to make sure this doesn’t happen.  I believe the most effective way I can serve my friends who have supported me, and continue to support me, is by not participating in the 2014 conference.” (C.J. Mahaney, July 1, 2013)

C.J. was forced to withdraw from speaking even though one of the four original founders (Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever being the others).  (source)

Speaking of being one of the founders of an organization, if you don’t know, Detwiler was:

one of four founders of Sovereign Grace Ministries who left the church-planting network over differences with President C.J. Mahaney in 2009,… (source)

In the interest of fairness, let me also bring to your attention that last year in Ministry leaders blast whistleblower we find out that SGM “released a statement” concerning Detwiler, which was:

adopted in May by the organization’s leaders commending founder C.J. Mahaney and denouncing [the] former associate turned vocal critic of the well-known evangelical leader. (source)

However, the decision by C.J. Mahaney not to speak at T4G does make the following photo a bit curious:

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Detwiler also informed us yesterday that:

The Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference is currently going on in Louisville, KY.  This photo [above] shows Al Mohler, John MacArthur, Thabiti Anyabwile, John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, and Kevin DeYoung sitting together in the front row (left to right).  The other men are all speakers.  C.J. is not. (source)

The picture was originally tweeted out by Melton Duncan:

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(source)

Now, in light of all of this, I’m going to leave you with the following from Brent Detwiler, who asks what I find to be an interesting question:

C.J. was forced to withdraw from speaking even though one of the four original founders (Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever being the others).  He may not be an official participant but he is a participant.  That aside, this photo is a clear endorsement of C.J.  It was taken by Melton Duncan and put on the internet.  Melton is Ligon Duncan’s brother.

C.J. claims he didn’t want to subject his friends to “unfair and unwarranted criticism” or be “a hindrance to this conference.”  Really?  Then why in the world did he agree to sit in the front row in front of thousands of people? (source)

Further reading

Endnotes

  1. http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/shepherd.htm, accessed 4/10/14.
  2. http://bit.ly/1sI1MUG, accessed 4/10/14.
  3. http://bit.ly/1kwd5hF, accessed 4/10/14.
  4. http://bit.ly/1mZK8KV, accessed 4/10/14.
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THE UNREGENERATE KNOW NOTHING OF THIS STRUGGLE http://apprising.org/2014/04/08/the-unregenerate-know-nothing-of-this-struggle/ http://apprising.org/2014/04/08/the-unregenerate-know-nothing-of-this-struggle/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 21:48:40 +0000 http://apprising.org/?p=90678

as1

Here at Apprising Ministries you’ve heard me warn you on a regular basis about the despicable Church Growth Movement (CGM),1 which slithered out of the spiritual black hole known as Fuller Theological Seminary (FTS). Briefly, we trace the origins of the CGM back to Donald McGavran who in 1965:

 was asked by Fuller Theological Seminary to establish the School of World Mission…. His major book  Understanding Church Growth does not primarily focus on Theology (but rather on the social sciences. McGavran’s theology is primary apologetic.

Although the name of his book is Understanding Church Growth, he focuses mostly on growth and little on the church. (source, bold in original)

At this point it’s important to note that C. Peter Wagner, McGavran’s partner in spiritual crime at FTS is listed as the co-author of Understanding Church Growth.2 You might also notice that the mythology of McGavran and Wagner sounds an awful lot like the seeker driven Purpose Driven Church methodology of Rick Warren.

There’s actually good reason for this as I shared a couple of years back in Rick Warren on Mentors like C. Peter Wagner. For you see, “Apostle” Wagner—the wingnut who developed the spurious New Apostolic Reformation—happens to be the mentor for Warren’s doctoral dissertation at FTS on, you guessed it, church growth.3

Since this isn’t the main point of this piece, let me just point that these men essentially espoused the same man-centered theology as the late Robert Schuller4 who once wrote the following foolishness:

Classical theology has erred in its insistence that theology be “God-centered,” not “man-centered”…[and teaching about] a holy God who hates sin…we [need to] redefine our doctrine of sin.”

Historical theology has too often failed to interpret repentance as a positive creative force… Essentially, if Christianity is to succeed in the next millennium, it must cease to be a negative religion and must become positive.5

So, if you didn’t know where these man-centered myths came from, now you do. Here’s why this is important before you read the devotional teaching to follow. Another entity of the CGM, which would also slither into the visible church to marry man-pleasing mythology to business methodology is Leadership Network (LN).

It’s no secret that Rick Warren has been deeply involved with LN for decades.6 You need to know that LN teaches a fable known as “pre-conversion discipleship.” For example, we consider the following from Emergent Church “missiologist” Alan Hirsch, who was very involved in the early Emerging Church.7

Hirsch writes:

we need to reframe evangelism within the context of discipleship…even “the Twelve” (and “the Seventy”) were all what we would call “pre-conversion disciples.”8

That’s from Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship where Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren himself gushed in his foreword:

No, sorry about that Rick Warren; they are clearly teaching a mythology that someone who is still in the flesh can actually be discipled. However, the critical fact is that the Twelve and the Seventy were very specifically chosen by Jesus Christ Himself and interacted directly with Him; and thus they were converted before they were sent out.

This brings me to the most important part of this short article. The CGM has really crippled the Christian witness outside the Body of Christ and produced the neutering of the Gospel of repentance and the Cross. As such, you need to know that there are scores and scores of false converts kidding themselves that they are Christians.

George Whitefield was a leading figure in the Great Awakening, a major revival “that swept through the American colonies between the 1730s and the 1770s.”9 Well, I  offer Whitefield saw more conversions to Christ than Rick Warren et al could ever dream of seeing. He was once asked, “Why do you always say, ‘You must be born again!’?”

Whitefield simply replied, “Because you must be born again!” Don;t deceive yourself, no one can follow Christ in the flesh or ever hope to please God (c.f. John 3:3-7; Romans 8:7-11). If you don’t find what you’re about to read happening to you personally, then you have every reason to wonder whether you are a regenerated Christian:

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5)

If you fail that test you just might cry out —Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24). If this be so, good; the Lord is calling you. Now you’re ready for the Good News;  there’s repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ Name. Come to HIm now; He died on the Cross for your sins.

And if you’ll but reach out for Him, then your next cry wil be — Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:25)

“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you cannot do the things that you would.” Galatians 5:17

In this one verse the apostle Paul describes the thing that continually plagues every Christian.
We, as the people of God, desire more than anything to love God perfectly, but can’t.
We long to cease from sin and ungodliness, but can’t.
We strive to worship our God with our entire being, but can’t.
We try to do good and honor God in all things, but can’t.

Why do we continually do, say, feel, and think things that are evil?
Why are we so hard-hearted, unforgiving, and ignorant?
Why can’t we do what we desire most?

It’s because we have two natures called . . .
flesh and spirit,
sin and righteousness,
Adam and Christ.

We do indeed believe our God, but not as we would.
We do love our Savior, but not as we would.
We do live for His honor and glory, but not as we would.

Our flesh won’t allow us. It always interferes. It keeps us from doing the things that we would. When we would do good–then evil is present with us.
Our most fervent faith, is mixed with unbelief.
Our most selfless sacrifices, are mixed with selfishness.
Our most ardent prayers and supplications, are marred by our infirmities.
Our most spiritual moments, are contaminated by our sickening carnality.
Our meekest hours of submission and dependence on God, are corrupted by our self-will and pride.
Every mountain top experience of spiritual pleasure, is tinged with shameful wanderings within.
Our clearest views of Christ are darkened by error, misconceptions, and preconceived notions.
Even when our hearts seem to be most fixed on God’s glory, they are torn between this world and the next.

The reality is, that as long as we live in this world–we will be at war within ourselves! The flesh will not submit to the Spirit–and the Spirit will not submit to the flesh. We will be . . .
pulled this way one moment–and that way the next;
believing one moment–and doubting the next;
praising God in the morning–then murmuring at night;
seeking God’s will today–and our will tomorrow.
As long as we live in this body of flesh there will be a constant struggle within us–a struggle between flesh and Spirit.

Lost unregenerate men know nothing of this struggle! This internal warfare is peculiar to believers. Unbelieving, unregenerate, impenitent, rebellious, lost sinners know nothing of this fight with SELF. They don’t loathe themselves as all believers do; they lovethemselves. They have but one nature–and that is sin, which rules in their hearts supremely. Lost men do not have grace within, to oppose the works and motions of the flesh. All they have is a nature that is dead in trespasses and sin, that walks according to the course of this world.

The struggle doesn’t begin within a man, until that man is born of God’s Spirit and given the gift of life and faith in Christ.

This war between our flesh and Spirit is best for us. If it were not so, then God would not allow it. God is control of this fight, and has ordained it for us in His infinite wisdom and grace. This constant battle within our hearts is good for us, because it keeps us looking to Christ–ever seeking Him, His grace, His help, His power. This lifelong fight will make the prize that much sweeter–when Jesus will present us “to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless!” Ephesians 5:27

Frank Hall

Further reading

Endnotes

  1. e.g. Teachings of Demons on Church Growth
  2. http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Church-Growth-Donald-McGavran/dp/0802804632, accessed 4/8/14.
  3. You’ll find helpful background material here: http://www.talk2action.org/story/2009/12/4/134435/084, accessed 4/8/14.
  4. e.g. see Man-Centered Methods of Rick Warren a la Robert Schuller and Robert Schuller: Father of the New Reformation
  5. Robert Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation [Waco: Word Books, 1982], 64, 65, 104
  6. e.g. see http://herescope.blogspot.com/2006/01/leadership-network-spawns-emergent.html, accessed 4/8/14.
  7. The emerging church, another arm of the CGM, was also launched by LN. See http://www.herescope.blogspot.com/2005/11/how-leadership-network-created.html, accessed 4/8/14.
  8. Alan Hirsch, Deborah Hirsch, Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship [Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2010], 150.
  9. http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/eighteen/ekeyinfo/grawaken.htm, accessed 4/8/14.
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ROB BELL SET TO TOUR WITH OPRAH WINFREY http://apprising.org/2014/04/07/rob-bell-set-to-tour-with-oprah-winfrey/ http://apprising.org/2014/04/07/rob-bell-set-to-tour-with-oprah-winfrey/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 21:20:54 +0000 http://apprising.org/?p=90320 1b

“Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?” Amos 3:3)

Rob Bell Is Now Walking With Oprah Winfrey Through The New Spirituality

Apprising Ministries was blessed by the Lord to be among the online apologetics and discernment ministries (OADM) who were the first to cover apostate Rob Bell, the former rock star icon of the Emerging Church aka the Emergent Church. In fact, this OADM actually became a leading critic as evidenced by the following.

Though funding is down right now, I want to encourage you who have been faithfully supporting this labor in the Lord that He is using it to reach people and putting it right in front of the various people I write about. For example, in the 2008 ABP News piece Rob Bell: Christians shouldn’t fear controversy over doctrine we found out:

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(source)

Actually, it was back in 2008 that I would feel led to write Rob Bell And Christian Universalism. Therein I began to show you that, even then, Rob Bell was already leaning toward, as well as beginning to teach, a form of universalism where—after a time in some type of a purgatory—eventually everyone will end up being saved.1

Then in 2011 Bell released his most controversial book Love Wins where he came out of the closet advancing the argument for a form of Christian Universalism.2 Keep in mind here that the Emerging Church, which Bell was aligned with, morphed into the Emerging Church 2.0 with its own postmodern Progressive Christian theology.

You need to know that under the silly circus “big tent” they erected3 these rebels against the final authority of the Word of God would refer to their mythology as Emergence Christianity; and at the very corrupt heart of this foolhardy fable is the same type of universalism Bell was arguing for as the basis for his Love Wins mythology.

Here it’s very important to keep in mind that, at the time, the warped and toxic teachings of Rob Bell were being used across mainstream evangelicalism in Youth groups and Young Adult ministries. For example, in 2011—the very year that Love Wins dropped—we have Saddleback Church of Rick Warren using Rob Bell Teachings.

As I told you in Unrest With Rob Bell Inside Mars Hill Bible Church, on March 13, 2011, a meeting concerning Bell’s Love Wins was held at Mars Hill Bible Church (MHBC), where he was still pastor. I also shared with you how sources I had inside MHBC informed me that Love Wins was the reason Bell would resign his pastorate.

This was later confirmed in Rob Bell Tells How ‘Love Wins’ Led to Mars Hill Departure where we were told that, in spite of his best efforts, Bell really didn’t feel that MHBC had become apostate enough for him:

Former megachurch pastor Rob Bell, founder of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Mich., recently shared how his 2011 book, Love Wins, led to a fallout with the congregation and forced him on a “search for a more forgiving faith.”

Bell details this search in a recent interview with The New Yorker, and discusses his invitation to Christians interested in a different kind of church, “one that can keep pace with the rising ‘waterline of culture.’” (source)

Why is all of this important to rehash here? I’m glad you asked; because 1) Rob Bell has probably had more influence upon the young in your local evangelical church than you realize and 2) he is a leading practioner and proponent of the corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) I have so often warned you about.4

The fact is, the universalism Rob Bell arrived at is direct fruit of his longtime devotion to this spurious CSM promulgated by the Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster for years as so-called Spiritual Formation. Now consider, CSM likely forms the basis of what’s been taught to your young since circa 2004.5

Against this backdrop I tell you again that Rob Bell has long had far more in common the Buddha than the Christ. Which now brings me around to talk show host turned spiritual guru, Oprah Winfrey. Let’s be clear, Winfrey does claim to be a Christian and unfortunately there are many gullible Christians who buy that claim.6

Even so, as you’ll hear her tell us, “I am a Christian; that is my faith” at 0:26 of the clip below:

You can also see that Winfrey’s statement, “I respect for all faiths” was indeed a real crowd pleaser. Of course we respect people of other faiths; however, mystics like Winfrey and Rob Bell actually espouse the New Spirituality, which supposedly transcends these faiths. For them these other religions are really irrelevant.

Neo-gnostics like Oprah Winfrey, and possibly Bell himself now, are trying to get others to understand that it doesn’t so much matter what you believe about God as long as you believe the world is spiritual. I showed you before, also using her own words, that Oprah Winfrey is not a Christian—though “she was raised Baptist.”7

We do know that both Oprah Winfrey and Rob Bell have in common the practice of transcendental meditation in an altered state of consciousness, sometimes called Contemplative/Centering Prayer, which is at the occultic heart of the new spirituality. So, we shouldn’t find it surprising that Winfrey is so keen on Bell’s version of theology.

Now I can point you to Pastor Rob Bell to tour with Oprah Winfrey as I get set to close this out. Matt Vande Bunte reports that:

Rob Bell will join Oprah Winfrey this fall on an eight-city tour scheduled to include a stop at The Palace of Auburn Hills near Detroit.

Bell, the former Mars Hill church pastor in Grandville, is among the “handpicked thought leaders and pop culture icons” slated to participate, according to a news release. The other guests already announced: Deepak Chopra, “Eat Pray Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert and Iyanla Vanzant, whose “Iyanla Fix My Life” show airs on Winfrey’s TV network. (source)

You can see that among the “thought leaders” in spirituality whom Bell will tour with is Living Spiritual Teacher Deepak Chopra, a leading teacher of new spirituality aka the New Age. Sounding a lot like her friend Joel Osteen, Oprah is calling this The Life You Want Weekend.8 It begins September 5 and runs through November 15.

Relevant magazine adds:

Rob Bell will be out on the road as part of a new speaking tour. But unlike the intimate theater shows he used to host, his new platform will be in arenas around the country… On her website, the TV mogul has posted an epically-scored video describing the tour if you want to learn more about finding a, ummm, “gratitude space” … (source)

Along those lines Joseph Sunde brings out:

lo and behold, Oprah’s Big-Tent Self-Helpism is about to expand its posts once again. This fall, Oprah will rally a handful of preferred prophets and “tastemakers” to embark on an eight-city weekend tour, “The Life You Want,” a celebration aptly titled for the self-obsessed.

Though a tour of this variety is a first for Enterprise Oprah, and despite the booming promise of the promotional trailer — “Oprah like you’ve never seen, heard, or experienced!” — the aim and agenda are rather routine as far as upper-middle-class heart-tingling goes. All the way down to the $99–$999 price tag.

The tour will push themes of “empowerment, resilience, and authenticity,” we are told. Oprah will share her inspiring rise from poverty to media glory, followed by a series of talks by “hand-picked thought leaders” such as “spiritual teacher” Iyanla Vanzant, mind-body wizard Deepak Chopra, pastor-turned-surf-churcher Rob Bell, and all-around me-seeker Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love. “The goal is to live the fullest, highest expression of yourself as a human being,” Oprah declares.

Swoon. Tingle. Tear. Repeat. (source)

Below you see the list of centered of the self speakers who’re supposed to help Oprah create “a transformative journey for every person in the audience” during this tour:

aq1
(source)

Let’s turn your attention specifically to Deepak Chopra, who “is widely credited with melding modern theories of quantum physics with the timeless wisdom of ancient cultures.”9 You might recall about four years ago now a book called A New Kind of Christianity (ANKoC) from Living Spiritual Teacher and EC guru Brian McLaren,

Within ANKoC McLaren, one of the unholy Emergent trinity of apostates with universalist EC pastor Doug Pagitt, and his friend Tony Jones—the progressive “theologian in residence” at Pagitt’s Emergent Solomon’s Porch—began laying out more systematically the Emergence Christianity I mentioned earlier.

Not long afterward Rob Bell, a Brian McLaren disciple,10  would become emboldened to also detail  the universalism at its heart. What you may not know is that McLaren’s theology in ANKoC is largely culled from the book The Future Of Faith (TFoF) by the uber-liberal theologian Harvey Cox.

I told you before,  e.g. in Jim Wallis says your Salvation Isn’t Yours, that Cox has also been very instrumental in assisting progressive Christian theologian Philip Clayton, as well as his friend Brian McLaren, in cobbling together this EC big tent Christian universalism that’s now also advanced by Rob Bell.

The reason I went into all of that is in order to share with you a couple of the recommendations for Cox’ TFoF off its back cover.  First, we have Brian McLaren:

This important book has not only helped me understand the past. present, futre of this amazing phenomenon called Christianity . . . it has also motivated me to keep working to help make actual the possible future Cox envisions.
—Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian

As you can see from McLaren himself, he’s working along with men like Cox and Clayton to “help make actual the possible future” they’re together envisioning. Then there’s also the following endorsement from new spirituality guru Deepak Chopra, who clarifies what kind of future for Christianity we’re talking about:

Harvey Cox has been a voice of both reason and faith in our cynical times. Now, he offers a fresh vision for the resurrection of a new global Christianity that will restore our faith both in ourselves and in the divine.
—Deepak Chopra, author of Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment

When you have a supposed resurrected “new global Christianity” that even a pantheist New Age mystic like Chopra can sign onto then you have ceased to have anything left that’s Christian theology. So you see, Rob Bell has more in common with Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey than he does a Bible-believing Christian.

Now that we have this understood, we can then return to the aforementioned report by Matt Vande Bunte  who goes on to tell us that:

Bell moved to southern California in 2012 to pursue TV opportunities after founding Mars Hill Bible Church, which grew into the area’s largest church. His books including “Love Wins” and “What We Talk About When We Talk About God” reportedly “wowed” Winfrey, who interviewed him last year for a “Super Soul Sunday” show on her TV network.

Bell tweeted last week that he’ll take part in an April 8 taping of the network’s “Help Desk” show. (source)

No shock there that Winfrey was wowed by Bell’s mythology; and yes, by the video clip below, Rob Bell sure does seem pretty excited about his upcoming appearance tomorrow:

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(source)

As you can see from Rob Bell Speaks With Oprah Winfrey on ‘Super Soul Sunday’ and Watch Rob Bell talk spirituality and religion with Oprah Winfrey on ‘Super Soul Sunday’, it’s not his first appearance for Winfrey:

Former Mars Hills Bible Church pastor Rob Bell sat down with Oprah Winfrey to talk religion and spirituality in a piece broadcast Sunday morning, Nov. 3 [of last year]. (source)

Here’s the bottom line: Rob Bell’s message was so far removed from orthodox Christianity that Oprah Winfrey wanted him back because she is hearing what she wants to hear.11 Forget the argument that Bell is befriending Winfrey in order to preach the Gospel to her. The truth is, he doesn’t preach the Gospel in the first place.

I’ll leave you with the following clip from Bell’s appearance with Oprah on that Super Soul Sunday broadcast from last year. Hear for yourself that with his vague and opaque “spiritual” answers to Winfrey’s rather straightforward questions, Rob Bell sounds much more like Deepak Chopra than he does a minister of Jesus Christ.

Bell’s words are so nebulous he could be describing the smell and taste of good barbecue rather than God. And before you’re tempted to give Rob Bell a pass on his nebulous presentation, I encourage you to listen to the truth of the words to follow from Charles Spurgeon, a real minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

Our very speech should be such that our citizenship should be detected. We should not be able to live long in a house without men finding out what we are.

A friend of mine once went across [from England] to America, and landing I think at Boston, he knew knew nobody.

But he heard a man say, when somebody had dropped a cask on the quay, “Look out there, or else you will make a Coggeshall job of it.”

My friend said, “You are an Essex man man I know, for that is a proverb never used anywhere but in Essex: give me your hand”; and they were friends at once.

So there should be a ring of true metal about our speech and conversation, so that when a brother meets us, he can say, “You are a Christian, I know, for none but Christians speak like that, or act like that.”12

However, with apostate Rob Bell we offer that none but contemplative neo-gnostics speak like he does below:

Further reading

Endnotes

  1. This will prove helpful as well: Pastor Chad Holtz Explaining Christian Universalism.
  2. This will give you a good working knowledge of this decidedly not Christian mythology: http://carm.org/christian-universalism, accessed 4/7/14.
  3. I discuss so-called “Big Ten Christianity” further e.g. in Progressives a bit Leery about Big Tent Christianity of the Emerging Church.
  4. I documented this e.g. in Rob Bell in a Nutshell: Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism and Influence of Richard Rohr on Rob Bell and his Love Wins Mythology.
  5. In November of 2004 Christianity Today would run an article by Andy Crouch entitled “The Emergent Mystique,” which helped serve to rocket the then largely unknown Rob Bell into evangelical superstardom: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/november/12.36.html, accessed 4/7/14.
  6. e.g. http://www.charismanews.com/us/33290-oprah-winfrey-i-am-a-christian, accessed 4/7/14.
  7. http://bit.ly/1jt7967, accessed 4/7/14.
  8. http://www.oprah.com/tour, accessed 4/7/14.
  9. https://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/teachers/teachers.php?id=280, accessed 4/7/14.
  10. I showed you Bell’s view of Scripture was influenced by McLaren in Rob Bell on the Record Concerning Scripture.
  11. c.f. 2 Timothy 4:3-4
  12. Charles SpurgeonAt the Master’s Feet [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005], April 5.
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BLINDED BY THE ERRORS OF ROME http://apprising.org/2014/04/07/blinded-by-the-errors-of-rome/ http://apprising.org/2014/04/07/blinded-by-the-errors-of-rome/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 18:23:52 +0000 http://apprising.org/?p=90635 aq0

Formerly, when our hearts were blinded by errors in teachings from Rome, we imagined that God was a salesman who sold his grace in exchange for our our works and achievements.

Now, however, since the light of the gospel has dawned, we know that we are credited as righteous only by faith in Christ. Our hearts throw out all self-chosen works and perform only the work of our calling and the works of love, which God commands.

Martin Luther

Further reading

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GOD’S TENDER MERCY http://apprising.org/2014/04/05/gods-tender-mercy/ http://apprising.org/2014/04/05/gods-tender-mercy/#comments Sat, 05 Apr 2014 22:43:43 +0000 http://apprising.org/?p=90605

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There is a wounded soldier bleeding out his life upon the battlefield and here comes a friend, merciful and tender, who has brought him a refreshing draught which will help to bring him back to consciousness and open his half-glazed eyes again. He is covered with a clammy sweat, but there is cold water with which to wipe his fevered brow.

His wounds are gaping wide and his very life is oozing forth from him, but his friend has brought the salve and bandages with which to strap up every wound. Is this all that he has provided for the wounded warrior? No, for there is a stretcher, carried by men who choose their steps with care, so that they do not jolt the poor invalid. Where will they carry him?

The hospital is prepared. The bed—so soft, just fit to bear such a mass of weakness and pain—is waiting for him and the nurse stands there in readiness to render such service as may be required. The man soon sleeps the sleep that brings with it restoration—and when he opens his eyes, what does he see? Just such food as is suited to his circumstances and needs! A bunch of flowers is also placed near him, to gladden and cheer him with their beauty and fragrance. And a friend comes stepping softly up, and asks whether he has a wife, or a mother, or any friend to whom a letter may be written for him.

Before he thinks of anything that he needs, it is there beside him and, almost before he can express a wish, it is supplied! This is one instance of the tenderness of human sympathy, but infinitely greater is the tenderness of God towards guilty sinners! He has thought of all that a sinner can possibly need and he has provided in abundance all that the guilty soul can require to bring him safe into Heaven itself!

For every individual case, God, in the Covenant of His Grace, seems to have prepared some separate good thing. For great sinners, whose iniquities are many and gross, there are gracious words like these, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” If the man has not fallen into such depths of open sin, the Lord says to him, as the tender-hearted Savior said to one who was in that condition, “One thing you lack”—and that one thing the Grace of God is prepared to supply!

There is as much in the Word of God to encourage the moral to come to Christ as there is to woo the immoral to forsake their sins and accept “the tender mercy of our God.” If there are children or young people who desire to find the Lord, there is this special promise for them, “Those that seek Me early shall find Me.” Yes, even for the little ones there are such tender words as these, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the Kingdom of God.”

Then, if the sinner is an aged man, he is reminded that some were brought to labor in the vineyard even at the 11th hour! And if he is actually dying, there is encouragement for him in the narrative of the dying thief who trusted in the dying Savior and who, when he closed his eyes on earth, opened them with Christ in Paradise! So again I say that in the Covenant of His Grace, God has seemed to meet the peculiar case of every sinner who really desires to be saved.

If you are very sad and depressed, desponding and almost dismayed, there are Divine declarations and promises that are exactly suited to your case! Here are a few of them—“He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.” “The Lord takes pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy.” “A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench.” Everything seems to be done on purpose that into whatever condition a man may have fallen through the grievous malady of sin, God may come to him, not roughly, but most tenderly, and give to him just what he most needs!

I rejoice to be able to say that all that a sinner can need between here and Heaven is provided in the Gospel of Christ—all for pardon, all for the new nature, all for preservation, all for perfecting and all for glorifying is treasured up in Christ Jesus, in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell! Let us, then, before we go any further, bless that tender thoughtfulness of God which, foreseeing the greatness of our sins and our sorrows, our needs and our weaknesses, has provided for our vast necessities a boundless store of Grace and mercy!1

Charles Spurgeon

Endnotes

  1. From Sermon #3029  God’s Tender Mercy
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MARK DRISCOLL CONTROVERSY COVER-UP? http://apprising.org/2014/04/05/mark-driscoll-controversy-coverup/ http://apprising.org/2014/04/05/mark-driscoll-controversy-coverup/#comments Sat, 05 Apr 2014 21:38:22 +0000 http://apprising.org/?p=90585 AS0

Since the first Elephant Room (ER) conference, I’ve been talking to you here at Apprising Ministries about a developing Evangelical Ecumenical Magisterium (EEM) growing up around Mark Driscoll and his ER co-host James MacDonald. This EEM of cult of celebrity megachurch pastors appears quite important to them.

It would seem that rather than abandon it, they even resigned from The Gospel Coalition when criticized for their desire to mainstream Word Faith prosperity preacher T.D. Jakes.1 In fact. so broad has this EEM become we even see Mark Driscoll Defends His Christian Brother Joel Osteen.

Soon Joel Osteen is likely to be ushered into the EEM. As you’ll see in Mark Driscoll, Acts 29 Network, & The Emerging Church, Driscoll’s theology has always been off. With that in mind, consider that he’s been working to develop an emerging postmodern form of Calvinism with mentors like Tim Keller and John Piper.

Unfortunately, this so-called New Calvinism is built upon the shifting sand of the charismania I discussed in On Contemplative Spirituality and Charismania, which I showed you e.g. in Acts 29 Pastor Matt Chandler on being a Reformed Charismatic and Mark Driscoll and Neo-Reformed New Calvinist Contemplative Spirituality.

The reason I remind you of this is because from where I stand, as evidenced by e.g. Mark Driscoll Vision-Casting Dead Bodies His Mars Hill Bus Will Roll Over, Driscoll is a leading figure in the EEM of multi-site megachurch prophet-pastors. Such as these have no real accountability because they claim direct revelation from God.

Perhaps this is the real reason behind the following from about a month ago Mark Driscoll Apologizes to Mars Hill Church Followers for Using Wrong Book Marketing Strategy; Radio Show Host Blasts His Letter as ‘Mushy Church Talk’. Christian Post reporter Morgan Lee informed us:

Megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll recently apologized via an internal letter to his congregation for using a marketing company that promoted his book Real Marriage through what he now sees as a manipulative method to help place the book on top of the New York Times best seller list.

“My understanding of the ResultSource marketing strategy was to maximize book sales, so that we could reach more people with the message and help grow our church,” Driscoll stated in the letter. “In retrospect, I no longer see it that way. Instead, I now see it as manipulating a book sales reporting system, which is wrong. I am sorry that I used this strategy, and will never use it again. I have also asked my publisher to not use the ‘#1 New York Times bestseller’ status in future publications, and am working to remove this from past publications as well.”

Earlier this month, after a report that the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church he pastors paid a promotional company $210,000 three years ago to make sure that Real Marriage, co-written by Driscoll’s wife, Grace, made the New York Times best-seller list, the church released a “Note From Our Board of Advisors and Accountability.” In addition to describing a shift in the way decisions made by the church administration are reviewed, the Board addressed the book promotion controversy.

However, the more personal letter from Driscoll, 43, was released on Mars Hill Church’s internal social network on Sunday after the controversy did not seem to subside last week. (source)

Being that Driscoll was trained by the quasi-Christian business outfit Leadership Network, he’d be quite adept at double-speak and damage control. As a matter of fact, the same day the above report came out Religion News Service would reveal Pastor Mark Driscoll apologizes for missteps, quits social media:

Seattle megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll has written a letter to his congregation to explain recent controversies, including the marketing campaign intended to place the book, “Real Marriage,” on The New York Times best-seller list…

In recent months, however, reports have emerged that Driscoll plagiarized some of the material in his books. And earlier this month, World magazine reported that Driscoll hired a firm to buy copies of the book he penned with his wife, Grace, so that it would top the best-seller lists.

In a letter posted on Reddit on Saturday (March 15), Driscoll apologized for using the marketing strategy…

The church’s spokesman, Justin Dean, [also] confirmed that a letter from Driscoll to Mars Hill Church was posted to the church’s internal network as “a private family communication.”

“At this time we have chosen not to publicly release the letter,” Dean said, adding that the pastor was not available for interviews.

Driscoll also apologized to his church in 2007 for lacking humility. In the new letter, Driscoll said he would quit social media for the rest of 2014 to “reset” his life. (source)

As you can see, Driscoll’s come into quite a bit of controversy in the past few months; yet supposedly he has since repented of this actions.2 Now you have the proper backdrop from which to examine Mars Hill Church moves to destroy documents:  A group of former members asks for a delay, suggesting forthcoming lawsuits.

Warren Cole Smith begins his report by telling us that:

Mars Hill Church, the Seattle megachurch pastored by Mark Driscoll, has moved to destroy all staff emails more than three months old. According to the church’s new email retention policy, announced this week, the email deletions would reduce technology costs. But a group of former staff, elders, and members say the new policy is a deliberate attempt to destroy documents that might be used in litigation against the church.

WORLD obtained an email from the church announcing the new policy, scheduled to go into effect by the close of business today. “We are now shifting to a new email retention policy, which will automatically retain emails only from the last 90 days on our machines, servers, and backups,” the email read.

Reaction to the new policy was immediate, with some former staff members and elders saying that even though Driscoll issued a lengthy statement confessing to and repenting of behavior that has led to recent controversies, this action is not consistent with that statement.

“Mars Hill leaders say they are ‘repenting,’ yet their actions scream cover up and damage control,” said former church staff member and elder Kyle Firstenberg “Sin that is repented of declares the glory of the gospel of Jesus. Sin that is covered up declares self-preservation and a lack of understanding of the gospel. Why don’t their words and actions agree?” (source)

Firstenberg asks a good question; and based upon what I’ve seen I would have to agree with his assessment. Especially when you consider Mark Driscoll’s piece Do You Trust Your Pilot? It sure seems to me, he’s all but demanding cult-like obedience. All you need to do is substitute the words “I” for “they” and “my” for “their” below:

Working for an organization, including a church or ministry, is kind of like a plane in flight. The senior leaders are up front getting data from private channels and have a perspective out the windshield that no one else has…

Assume that they have way more data and training than you. Assume they see stuff out of their window you don’t see out of yours. Assume they did the right thing, even if you are wearing your drink, your luggage came flying out of the overhead bin, and you need to buy new underwear to replace the ones you were wearing… (source)

Further reading

Endnotes

  1. See Mark Driscoll Resigns from the Gospel Coaliition and There’s More to the Resignation of James MacDonald from Gospel Coalition.
  2. Driscoll’s repentance is found wanting upon closer examination: http://bit.ly/1jPtISD, accessed 4/5/14.
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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY PARTNERING WITH BENNY HINN? http://apprising.org/2014/04/03/liberty-university-partnering-with-benny-hinn/ http://apprising.org/2014/04/03/liberty-university-partnering-with-benny-hinn/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 21:50:13 +0000 http://apprising.org/?p=90520 aaq0

That’s what well-respected Southern Baptist Tom Ascol, senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church and executive director of Founders Ministries, also thought based on his post Liberty University Partners with Benny Hinn.

Here’s where it all begins as Apprising Ministries shows you below what Hinn has stated on his website concerning that possibility (click to enlarge):

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(source)

Word Faith “healer” Benny Hinn also provided a video promoting this supposed partnership with Liberty University, from which the exclusive video clips to follow below were taken.

Appearing with Hinn in the first clip are Dan Reber, Director of Liberty University Institute of Biblical Studies and Dr. Ronald Godwin, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost for Liberty University.1

By holding up one of Liberty’s diplomas, it would seem pretty clear below that Hinn is telling us those who complete the course would indeed receive a diploma from Liberty University:

Also notice that the following screen capture from the downloadable brochure from Hinn’s website does say that the diploma would be from Liberty University:

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(source)

Today however, Liberty University (LU) issued the following clarifying Statement: Liberty nor partnering with Hinn where we’re told:

aaa
(source)

Now, later on in the video promoting this program of study, Dan Reber and Ronald Godwin do tell Benny Hinn that it isn’t the University but the Institute that’s providing the materials.

But at the same time, Dr. Godwin emphatically states that LU will be giving people credit for taking it should they wish to transfer it to LU:

So, if it is true that Liberty University is extending this diploma, then LU is in something of a partnership with Benny Hinn through his partnering with Reber’s Liberty University Institute of Biblical Studies.

HT: Fighting For The Faith

Further reading

Endnotes

  1. https://www.liberty.edu/aboutliberty/?PID=11850, accessed 4/3/14.
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