I overheard my pastor and some of the other members talking this past Wednesday night about a conference Ray Comfort had gone to speak at where a bunch of heretical Word of Faith teachers were sharing the platform. I had heard how Ingrid Schleuter had contacted him and urged him to rebuke the false teachers so that the sheep gathered there might hear the real gospel message and be edified. I heard how he turned it back on her, and then yesterday I did a little searching around on my own and found out more about what had been happening from information posted on the Apprising Ministries and Strange BaptistFire web sites. Here are some links to various posts I explored yesterday:
After reading more about the event and what all was being taught by some of the other speakers, I was shocked and disappointed that he would attend and not take the opportunity to correct and rebuke other “shepherds” of the flock when they are teaching heretical doctrines that are so devastatingly harmful to so many people in so many ways! I posted this on the Strange BaptistFire page last night and will post it again here. It grieves me to see how little regard even most of those who would call themselves teachers seem to have for sound doctrine any more. I am not out looking for false teachers, faulty doctrine, or other things to get upset about. But more and more it seems these things just keep coming up. I am beginning to understand I think (in just a small regard) what the prophets of old must have felt as they looked around and saw the complete disregard and utter devastation (or should that be detestation) for the true faith.
Please bear with me because I know you’ll probably wonder how what I have to say ties into this conversation. I will get there, but I need to give a little background first. I think you’ll understand when I do…
I attended a charismatic church for a while about a year ago. The pastor grew up Pentecostal and his wife grew up Baptist. When we first started going, it seemed *fairly* normal. Of course, my wife and I had been out of the church for about four years, so my discernment may have been a little dull.
Over the three to four months we attended the church, it just got weirder and weirder. The pastor spoke in tongues and interpreted as if Jesus Himself was speaking through him on a couple of Wednesday night services. They were anointing people with oil and healing them from illness and ailments, and then the dreams and prophecies started coming up, accompanied with signs and wonders, and about that time my wife and I started feeling pretty uncomfortable with whatever was going on there. The last two Sundays we attended the pastor showed a video of himself at some sort of prophetic conference he’d attended and was enjoying a big ego stroke.
Another attender said he had a vision of the pastor “stepping up and filling the mantle of a 12 foot Jesus” who was standing in front of the podium. I have no idea what that even means, but that was the last service I attended. Oh yeah, they showed a video of Lou Engel and the pastor mentioned some book he was reading (I think by Mike Bickle) and I started doing some research and finding out some about the Apostolic-Prophetic movement that it turns out was sort of underpinning a lot of the “unspoken” belief system up there. I started coming across terms and phrases I’d been hearing and piecing things together.
There was also a lot of Word of Faith influence in the some of the messages… granted, it was subtle, but it was still there. Just a few weeks before we stopped going, someone form the church gave us several Jesse Duplantis videos to watch. I’d never heard of him before, but I was connecting the dots with him and Word Faith group as well. I’m sure most of the folks at this church would have been horrified to find out I was reading some books by Charles Stanley and John MacArthur at the time–-and of course my Bible–-and I was growing more and more concerned by the questionable theology (if you can even call it that) that was so central to their beliefs. And from everything I could see, they were just go farther and farther away from, well, The Way. It was sort of surreal, but I am thankful to God that He brought me to and through that experience because it gave me a lot of insight I would otherwise not have had, as well as a renewed passion and interest in His word. We are now attending a little Baptist reformed church that is built on sound doctrine and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I am still thanking God daily for our church.
Now, I say all that to say this. That charismatic church we’d been attending who didn’t have any problem with Joel Osteen or any of the Word Faith guys (and actually revered many of them), embraced the “prophetic” and the “prosperity gospel”, taught the basic “name it and claim it” and “sowing seed” stuff–a member of whom just recently sent my wife a copy of the book “The Shack” with a note that she would be blessed by it (as if you can be blessed by heresy)–this church was about to start another Way of the Master study group right as we left. In fact, I was supposed to go to a WOTM conference with several of the members about the time I left.
And here is my concern. This church, which was not doctrinally sound by any means and which was apparently inviting and embracing all sorts of unbiblical teaching and views felt very comfortable with WOTM. To be quite honest, it was not until maybe 3 or 4 months ago that I actually started listening to them on the radio occasionally because I figured that the WOTM teaching must have been a bit off, too, since so much of the other stuff they were drawn to was questionable. It turns out, though, that after finding out more about WOTM and their ministry over the last few months and hearing them discuss some of the false teachers and movements–-I still remembering listening to Todd Friel playing the Todd Bentley clip where he “kicked a woman in the face with his biker boot”–-I actually respected and appreciated what they were about.
I definitely would not lump WOTM in with some of the clearly heretical charismatic fertilizer spreaders out there, and I think they are generally pretty good at what they do. But seeing what has happened over the last few weeks with Comfort sharing the stage with some blatantly heretical false teachers and sheepishly shrugging off any responsibility to attempt to convict THEM of THEIR sin when THAT is what HE does… WOW! It just strikes me as hypocritical, in the traditional sense of the word… one who acts in front of others.
Now I like WOTM, and my (new) pastor likes WOTM and Ray Comfort (as do many in our church), but we were talking about this yesterday and the truth is, this HAS hurt Ray’s image in the eyes of many people that respected him. And for me personally, having seen the people from the charismatic church I attended who throughly enjoyed and embraced the “doctrine of the itching ear”, it really made me think about Ray’s responsibility in this. I agree with what Ken and Ingrid (and Dustin and others) have had to say here. Ray does have a responsibility to expose the false doctrines of the so-called teachers he shared the podium with. THAT is Ray’s ministry, and he does to people who are going about “just minding their own business” all day long without a second thought. If God has put it on his heart (which He obviously has) to save people from the fires of Hell, HOW could he possibly overlook the obvious error of associating himself and his ministry with false teachers that leading the sheep down the wide road to destruction and NOT rebuke them! It would have been so encouraging to see him take a stand and preach the gospel to the blind that are leading the blind. I think someone else pointed out here that Paul Washer–-a close personal friend of our humble pastor-–would not have let that opportunity pass.
I will say this loud and clear. Several people are already thinking and saying it, but here it is. RAY COMFORT HURT HIS REPUTATION AND HIS MINISTRY BECAUSE HE COMPROMISED THE VERY PRINCIPLES ON WHICH THEY STAND. And I’m sure he knows it, just like we know it. It grieves me that he blew such a terrific opportunity because it appears that he was more interested in pleasing men than God. I pray that God will continue to use Ray and WOTM, but I also pray that the Lord will send His Spirit of conviction upon him, but even moreso to those false teachers who are living like parasites off the lost.
Sorry for the long rant. I couldn’t help it.
Pray for the elect and preach the gospel, friends. These are the days of deception…
Peace & Blessings,