The same proper exegesis that establishes important Christian doctrines such as the deity of Christ, the Trinity, justification through faith alone, etc. establishes definite atonement (along with all the doctrines of grace).     

Yet ironically, I continue to see far too many ‘Calvinists’ use the same practices as that of the followers of Arminius at Dort when addressing Arminianism—namely, providing bucket loads of refutations, but then being absent (and/or very sloppy) in presenting positive exegetical affirmations from the text of Scripture.

Even worst is when misguided “Calvinistic” apologists rely on and employ philosophical apologetics and erroneously use Matthew 23 as a hermeneutic to evangelize and thunderbolt their typical myopic agenda in refuting the false system of Arminian autosoteric.

In fact, Arminianism promotes several unbiblical views including universal atonement, conditional election, and, with some, partial depravity. However, we as Christians, who correctly understand and embrace the doctrines of grace should (as mandated) confront these errors appropriately and out of love using the exegesis of Scripture to both affirm important biblical doctrines and refute any false doctrines whether essential or tangential.


             Scripture is sufficient to affirm and refute false doctrines.    


Oneness advocate and popular TV evangelist T. D. Jakes (of the Potter’s House church in Dallas, TX) has changed (reworded) his doctrinal statement regarding God. His old statement read:

THREE DIMENSIONS OF ONE GOD. . . . Triune in His manifestation, being both Father, Son and Holy Ghost AND that He is Sovereign and Absolute in His authority. We believe in the Father who is God Himself, Creator of the universe. (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1).

Here his denial of the biblical definition of the Trinity is crystal clear. Describing God as “THREE DIMENSIONS” and saying God is “Triune in His manifestations” is decidedly Oneness, not Trinitarian. His statement before this one (1998) read in part: “God-There is one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three Manifestations: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

But as of recently, he changed it again, going back to the 1998 description: “There is one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three manifestations: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” As we can see, the “Belief Statement” on the Potter’s House website: still provides a unitarian and distinctly Oneness concept of God- using the term “manifestations” (thus avoiding the use of “Persons”) to describe God is consistent with Oneness doctrine, not Trinitarianism.

For those who still defend Jakes insisting that he holds to the biblical doctrine of the Trinity and not Oneness theology, please refer to the Potter’s House website and read his own Belief Statement. Denying the Trinity denies the biblical revelation of the nature of God. See A Concise Look at Oneness Beliefs.  




Spanish edition Here- 


John 17:3: “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (cf. John 4:24). The one true God has revealed Himself as three distinct persons, the Father and the Son, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Unbiblical Teachings of Oneness-Unitarian Theology

Oneness Christology is a clear and major departure from biblical orthodoxy. Similar to Islam, it teaches a unitarian/unipersonal (i.e., one person) concept of God. Hence, the chief Oneness Christological divergences from that of the biblical teachings are as follows:

1. Oneness Christology denies the unipersonality and deity of the Son. It teaches that “Jesus” is the name of the unipersonal deity. Accordingly, the “Son” merely represents the human nature of Jesus, while “Father/Holy Spirit” represents the divine nature of Jesus—thus, the Son is not God, only the Father is (cf. Bernard, Oneness of God, 1983: 99, 103, 252).

2. Along with the deity, Oneness Christology denies the preexistence and incarnation of the Son, and thus, His role as the Creator (cf. ibid., 103-4; Magee, Is Jesus in the Godhead or Is The Godhead in Jesus?, 1988: 25). By denying the preexistence of the person of the Son, Oneness doctrine rejects the incarnation of the divine Son holding to the erroneous notion that it was Jesus as the Father, not the Son, who came down and wrapped Himself in flesh, and that “flesh” was called “Son” (cf. Bernard, 106, 122).

In sharp contrast to Oneness Christology, Scripture presents clearly and definitely that the distinct person of the Son 1) is fully God (cf. Dan. 7:9-14; John 1:18; 5:17-18; Phil. 2:6-11; Heb. 1:3, 8, 10; 1 John 5:20; Rev. 1:8, 22:13), 2) was the Creator of all things (cf. John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1: 2, 10-12), 3) eternally coexisted with and is distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit (cf. Gen. 19:24; Dan 7:9-14; Matt. 28:19; John 17:5; 2 Cor. 13:14; 2 John 1:3; Rev. 5:13-14), and 4) became fully man in order “to give His life a ransom for many” (cf. John 1:1, 14; Mark 10:45; Phil. 2:6-11).

This is the Jesus of biblical revelation. Jesus Christ is the only mediator and intercessor between God the Father and human beings. Jesus is the divine Son, the monogenēs theos (“unique God”) who is always in the bosom of the Father (John 1:18), a personal self-aware subject, distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit. In contrast to Oneness Christology, Jesus is not the Father, but “the Son of the Father” (2 John 1:3; cf. John 17:5ff.; 1 John 1:3).

Worshiping the unipersonal God of Oneness theology is not worshiping the true God in spirit nor truth. The Oneness concept of God is fundamentally the same as Islam and the Watchtower (Jehovah’s Witnesses): a unipersonal deity with no distinction of persons. The true God of biblical revelation is triune—the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. . . .” (KJV).

The United Pentecostals Church International (UPCI) uses this passage (among others) to support its view that water baptism MUST be done “in the name of Jesus” only to be valid. Since the UPCI theology holds to the idea that Jesus IS the “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit.” The UPCI’s position is clear: Peter commands new converts to (a) repent be water baptized and (b) be baptized only by way of the exact formula: “in the name of Jesus.” Therefore, as the UPCI asserts, the remission or forgiveness of sins is accomplished only by water baptism “in the name of Jesus,” and repentance. However, only by disregarding the historical context and particular grammar, can the UPCI hold to such a heterodox view. Furthermore, the doctrine of baptismal regeneration controverts the theology of Luke (e.g., Acts 10:43). Even so, UPCI leader David Bernard remarks on the necessity of water baptism, as he understands Acts 2:38:

We should remember that water baptism is administered because of our past life of sin; it is for the ‘remission of sins’ (Acts 2:38). Since the name of Jesus is the only saving name (Acts 4:12), it is logical that the name be used in baptism (The Oneness of God, 139).

In proper biblical interpretation: Context governs word meanings. This is a vital point in exegesis. In other words, whatever Acts 2:38 is saying, it cannot oppose the NT as a whole in which the constant theme is justification (salvation) is through faith (as the sole instrument), apart from works—any works, such as the work of water baptism (cf. John 5:24; Rom. 4:4-8; 5:1; 1 Cor. 1:17, 30-31; Eph. 2:8-10; 1 John 5:1 et al).   

Note, that there at least four acceptable interpretations of the passage. However, of the interpretations offered by competent Christian theologians, none provide for baptismal regeneration. Thus, Paul says: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel. . . .” (1 Cor. 1:17).  

For example, noted Greek grammarian J. R. Mantey offers one such acceptable interpretation. He argued that the preposition eis (“for”) could be causal, hence the passage could read: “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized—each one of you—at the name of Jesus Christ because of/for/unto the forgiveness of your sins.’” In other words, the preposition eis should be translated “because of,” or “in view of” not “in order to” or “for the purpose of” forgiveness of sins. But keep in mind there is at least four different interpretations of Acts 2:38. Mantey believed that a salvation by grace would be violated if a causal eis were not evident in such passages as Acts 2:38. This way of handling the text is also concurred by one of the world’s premium and most quoted NT Greek grammarians A. T. Robertson:

My view is decidedly against the idea that Peter, Paul, or any one in the NT taught baptism as essential to the remission of sins or the means of securing such remission. So I understand Peter to be urging baptism on each of them who had already turned (repented) and for it to be done in the name of Jesus Christ on the basis of the forgiveness of sins which they had already received (Word Pictures, 3:35-36).

There is also another grammatical aspect to be considered. There is a shift from second person plural to third person singular and back to second person plural. Notice below:

  1. The verb “repent” (metanoēsate) is second person plural and is in the active voice.
  2. And “be baptized” (baptisthētō) is third person singular and is in the passive voice.
  3. The Greek pronoun translated “your” (humōn) is in a second person plural.

 Therefore, the grammatical connection is: “repent” (active plural) with “your” (active plural) as in “for the remission of your [humōn] sins” and not “be baptized” (passive singular) with “for the remission of your sins.” Moreover, the same wording “for the remission of your sins” is used in reference to John’s baptism (cf. Luke 3:3; Mark 1:4) and that baptism did not save, it was a preparatory baptism and of the coming Messiah and a call to repentance, as we will deal with below. An additional view, however, is that baptism represents both the spiritual reality and the ritual which is an acceptable view that works well in the scope of the context.

Notwithstanding the different shades of interpretation, which in fact do not contradict, but only enhance—they are all in accord with good exegesis. Contrary to the UPCI position, which violates not only the theology in Acts (e.g., 10:43) but also the entire theology of the NT (e.g., John 6:47; Rom. 4:4ff.; Gal. 2:16).

Lastly, in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, foremost Greek scholar Daniel Wallace provides insightful comments regarding the four main interpretations of Acts 2:38:

  1. Causal εἰς [eis, “for”] in Acts 2:38? An interesting discussion over the force of εἰς took place several years ago, especially in relation to Acts 2:38. The text reads as follows:

Πέτρος δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς Μετανοήσατε, φησίν καὶ βαπτισθήτω ἕκαστος ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὑμῶν. . . . (“And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized—each one of you—at the name of Jesus Christ because of/for/unto the forgiveness of your sins…”).

On the one hand, J. R. Mantey argued that εἰς could be used causally in various passages in the NT, among them Matt 3:11 and Acts 2:38. It seems that Mantey believed that a salvation by grace would be violated if a causal εἰς was not evident in such passages as Acts 2:38.

On the other hand, Ralph Marcus questioned Mantey’s nonbiblical examples of a causal εἰς so that in his second of two rejoinders he concluded (after a blow-by-blow refutation): It is quite possible that εἷς is used causally in these NT passages but the examples of causal εἰς cited from non-biblical Greek contribute absolutely nothing to making this possibility a probability. If, therefore, Professor Mantey is right in his interpretation of various NT passages on baptism and repentance and the remission of sins, he is right for reasons that are non- linguistic. Marcus ably demonstrated that the linguistic evidence for a causal εἷς fell short of proof.  

If a causal εἷς is not in view, what are we to make of Acts 2:38? There are at least four other interpretations of Acts 2:38. 1) The baptism referred to here is physical only, and εἰς has the meaning of for or unto. Such a view, if this is all there is to it, suggests that salvation is based on works. The basic problem of this view is that it runs squarely in the face of the theology of Acts, namely: (a) repentance precedes baptism (cf. Acts 3:19; 26:20), and (b) salvation is entirely a gift of God, not procured via water baptism (Acts 10:43 [cf. v 47]; 13:38-39, 48; 15:11; 16:30-31; 20:21; 26:18).

2) The baptism referred to here is spiritual only. Although such a view fits well with the theology of Acts, it does not fit well with the obvious meaning of “baptism” in Acts—especially in this text (cf. 2:41).

3) The text should be repunctuated in light of the shift from second person plural to third person singular back to second person plural again. If so, it would read as follows: “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized at the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins. . . .” If this is the correct understanding, then εἰς is subordinate to Μετανοήσατε alone, rather than to βαπτισθήτω. The idea then would be, “Repent for/with reference to your sins, and let each one of you be baptized.…” Such a view is an acceptable way of handling εἰς, but its subtlety and awkwardness are against it.

4) Finally, it is possible that to a first-century Jewish audience (as well as to Peter), the idea of baptism might incorporate both the spiritual reality and the physical symbol. In other words, when one spoke of baptism, he usually meant both ideas—the reality and the ritual. Peter is shown to make the strong connection between these two in chapters 10 and 11. In 11:15-16 he recounts the conversion of Cornelius and friends, pointing out that at the point of their conversion they were baptized by the Holy Spirit. After he had seen this, he declared, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit…” (10:47). The point seems to be that if they have had the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit via spiritual baptism, there ought to be a public testimony/acknowledgment via water baptism as well. This may not only explain Acts 2:38 (viz., that Peter spoke of both reality and picture, though only the reality removes sins), but also why the NT speaks of only baptized believers (as far as we can tell): Water baptism is not a cause of salvation, but a picture; and as such it serves both as a public acknowledgment (by those present) and a public confession (by the convert) that one has been Spirit-baptized.

In sum, although Mantey’s instincts were surely correct that in Luke’s theology baptism was not the cause of salvation, his ingenious solution of a causal εἰς lacks conviction. There are other ways for us to satisfy the tension, but adjusting the grammar to answer a backward-looking “Why?” has no more basis than the notion that εἰς ever meant mere representation.”

Final thoughts: the fundamental problem with the groups who embrace baptismal regeneration is that their view challenges Paul’s main thesis that “God credits righteousness apart from works” (Rom. 4:6) and justification is through faith (sole instrument) alone (not by works). Although the “work” of water baptism is a biblical commandment, it is a work that man does. It does not contribute in any way, shape, or form to the atoning work of God the Son (gospel), which is the very ground (cause) of justification. So Paul says to the Corinthian church: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel. . . .” (1 Cor. 1:17).                         

Frequently seen on the Trinity Broadcasting Network is animated evangelist Jesse Duplantis—known by his devotees as the “Raging Cajun.” Infrequently practiced, the Bible admonishes Christians, to “test all things” (1 Thess. 5:21; cf. Acts. 17:11). Christians therefore, should not abdicate their responsibility to put Duplantis, in spite of his widespread popularity, to the biblical test. 

Visitation to Heaven

In August of 1988, Duplantis alleges that he went to heaven and postulates this claim behind the pulpits of some of the largest churches in America. Recently, Duplantis wrote a book entitled, Heaven, Close Encounters of the God Kind wherein he describes his alleged visitation to heaven. He also has a video and audio cassettes/DVD’s that provide all the details of his extraordinary claim. What is most alarming though, is that notwithstanding his “Christian” vocabulary and by his own admission, his claim to be a “Christian” teacher, is that Duplantis is teaching LDS (Mormon) doctrine in some of the largest Christian churches. 


Mormon Doctrine of God (an exalted man)

Founder, first President, and so-called prophet of the LDS Church tells us: “God himself was once as we are now and is an exalted man. . . . ” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345).

Also in the LDS scripture, Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 we read: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s: the Son also. . . . ” The foundation of Mormon theology is that God is an exalted man. In Duplantis’ book, page 111, Duplantis tells us that he saw God’s throne. Then, on page 113, he goes on to describe how he saw God the Father: “I saw Elohim, Jehovah God, Yahweh sitting on the throne! But I saw his feet – only his feet.”  What is more, on pages 114-115, Duplantis explains:  

But I looked, again and I saw the lower part of his hand resting on the arm of the throne. He is so big – you can’t describe him in a dimension. His hand is huge!. . . . Then I saw God’s finger barely move and when it moved, an angel that was flying near Him was thrown up against a wall. Bam! It didn’t hurt the angel. . . .

Thus, Duplantis’s so-called vision is perfectly consistent with Joseph Smith’s teaching that God is a big man. Keep in mind, Duplantis is speaking of God the Father, not Jesus (cf. pp. 88-89). What is most distressing is that Duplantis is teaching this utterly blasphemous view of God to millions of people in Christians churches over airwaves and through multi media.

Thus, Duplantis’s (and LDS doctrine) is in stark contrast to the truth of God’s word. The God of biblical revelation is spirit (cf. John 4:24) and as Christ affirms in Luke 24:36-40, “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Further, Jesus Himself clearly states: “No man has ever seen God [the Father] at any time. . . .” (John 1:18). The LORD Himself declares: “Do not I fill the heaven and earth?” (Jer. 23:24; cf. v. 23; see also 2 Chron. 6:18). Discordant to Duplantis’ false teaching, God tells us in Hosea 11:9: “For I am God and not a man.” 

Clearly, Duplantis’s teaching of God is a decidedly different God than that of Holy Scripture. Duplantis, as does the LDS Church, has completely disregarded the clear teaching of Scripture—namely, that God the Father is an invisible spirit, which no man has seen, “or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16). 


Mormon Doctrine of Preexistence

Also, Duplantis is in full concert with the LDS doctrine of preexistence. According to LDS theology, prior to man’s life on earth, all people existed in heaven as “spirit children”, then, at the appointed time, these spirit children are sent to earth to receive their physical bodies, thus becoming human (cf. LDS apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 589).

In harmony with this view, Duplantis explains on page 119, that he

saw babies flying around God’s throne . . . wearing nightgowns. . . . [they were saying] “Can I be a spirit? Would you send me to the earth so I can be a spirit? I want to be a redeemed person. Can I be a spirit?. 

Duplantis’s doctrine of preexistent “babies,” again contradicts Scripture. Genesis 2:7 tells us plainly: “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Duplantis however, holds to an LDS concept of preexistence, that is, preexistent babies, “wearing nightgowns” crying to God to come to earth, rather than the biblical doctrine of man (cf. also Zech. 12:1).


Different Spirit

Enlarging on Duplantis’s corrupt teaching of God, Duplantis then tells us on page 118 and 119, that the Holy Spirit resides only on earth and not in heaven. If Duplantis would only rely on the Bible rather than on his experience he would understand that the Holy Spirit is omnipresent and therefore cannot be confined to locality—this is a basic teaching that most children learn in Sunday school. Speaking on the omnipresence of the Spirit, David clearly declares: “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? if I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there” (Ps. 139:7, 8; see also 1 Cor. 2:11).



Without question, Jesse Duplantis is teaching contrary to Holy Scripture. If in fact, Duplantis really did have a bonafide vision, he should have consulted the Bible and put it to the test. But unfortunately, he did not and hence, he was duped by another spirit (cf. 1 John 4:1). Duplantis re-defines the God of the Bible and reduces Him to a big man. He pointedly denies the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit and concedes to the erroneous LDS view of preexistence. Jesus tells us to “watch out for false prophets” (Matt. 7:15-23). Christians are told to “refute those that oppose sound doctrine” and “rebuke them sharply” (Titus 1:9, 13; 2:1).

The foundation of LDS doctrine rests squarely on the teaching that God is an exalted man, the doctrine of preexistence, exaltation (i.e., man progressing to become a God). LDS theology is not Christian theology. Mormonism is a polytheistic non-Christian construct that has been rejected by the Christian church since its inauguration in 1830. Consequently, biblically unstudied people that embrace Duplantis’ s teaching are embracing the bedrock of LDS theology.

The pastors who bring Duplantis in are sinning and accountable to God; for they are bringing deception into their church. If Christians do not speak out against false teachings (as biblically mandated, 1 Pet. 3:15; Jude 1:3; etc.), then the false teachings will be construed as truth. In the first century, the Christian motto was “contend for the faith,” but in present-day Christianity, this motto has departed – now the motto is: “contend for the people”–in spite of doctrine.     

Pastors would do well to emulate the Apostle Paul, who was neither concerned as to what people thought of him nor his words–but only what His Lord Jesus thought. Note his words to the pastors: 

For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the Church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw disciples after them. So be on guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears (Acts 20:26-31).


“It is His doing,” says Paul, that we “are in Christ Jesus, who became to us . . . righteousness. . . .” (1 Cor. 1:30). Ephesians 2:8-9 indicates we “are saved by [His] grace through [the instrument] of faith . . . not by [any] works.” Paul’s doctrine of faith alone is foundational to our understanding of what grace actually is and what being “declared righteous” (i.e., justified—through faith alone) by the Lord really means. As we know, in spite of the clarity of numerous passages in both the OT and NT, which stipulate this biblical truth, many non-Christian groups (esp. LDS and Catholics) deny this, thus denying the sufficiency and efficacy of the cross-work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

These groups routinely appeal to James 2:21: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?” Then, in the same breath, verse 24: “A person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” Note that James actually says a person is “justified by works” and “not by faith alone” (ouk ek pisteōs monon). Typically, most Christians will respond to the objector by insisting that the Bible teaches that man is saved by “faith alone” and not by works. Although this is true, the response is lacking—because it doesn’t specifically deal with the passages in James 2, it just denies the assertion of the objector. To make matters worse, the objector will quickly point out the fact that James 2:24 is the only place in the NT where the exact phrase “faith alone” is used, and in the negative—“not by faith alone!”

However, groups such as Roman Catholics, who claim Scripture is the inspired Word of God, inadvertently make the NT contradict itself—placing James’ theology against Paul’s. Paul clearly says, “a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” (Rom. 3:28).

And Paul argues elsewhere, “the one who does not work, but believes in Him . . . his faith is credited as righteousness” (Rom. 4:5). Paul’s faith-alone theology is unequivocally seen throughout his epistles (cf. Gal. 2:16; Rom. 4:4-8; 5:1; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Thess. 2:13; etc.).

Reconciling the Apparent James vs. Paul Discrepancy

There are several issues, which clearly erase any idea of discrepancy, affirm the theological consistency of James and Paul, and the biblical revelation of justification apart from any works.

Different Meanings. As we will see, contextually both James and Paul mean something different in their usage of particular terms—especially the term “justified.”

Word Fallacy. Because both James and Paul use the same terms (dikaioō, “to justify,” pisteōs, “faith,” and ergōn, “works”), the objector typically assumes that James is using “justified,” as Paul does,—in a context of salvation (viz. God pardoning the sinner declaring him righteous). This is the main error of the objector. By doing this, he engages in an exegetical word fallacy: applying a “limited” or single definition to a term at every place it appears regardless of the context. This error is a common one. We see the same with the term “world.” For example, the “world,” which the Apostle John says not to love in 1 John 2:15 is certainly not the same “world” as mentioned in John 3:16. The fact is, terms such as “world,” “every/all,” “prosperity,” “heal,” “son,” “age,” etc. are frequently misdefined due to a missing context. Remember, words are meaningless without a context. Since most terms can have various meanings, one must pay close attention to the context in which a term appears in order to obtain an accurate definition of the term in a given passage.[1]

So, in James 2:14-26, the objector applies a limited meaning to the term “justified”—that is, the actual act of God pardoning and declaring the sinner righteous by imputing the righteousness of Christ to the sinner’s account through faith—happening at conversion (cf. Rom. 3:28; 5:1; etc.). Although, this kind of justification is the marrow of Paul’s theology, James is not speaking about this kind of justification. In James 2:14-26, James is speaking of the already justified (saved) Christian being “justified” by his actions (esp. love) before men.

James explains that a workless faith, is a faith that is fruitless, not a real faith at all; it is not a genuine faith that was the result of regeneration. Again, James is dealing with the already justified person showing the world, by his works and behavior, that he is actually saved. In the same way, Abraham, who was already justified before the Lord by his faith alone, proved to men his justified status by his actions of obedience (“works”) offering up Isaac. This is the very point James makes in 2:21ff. Therefore, James can say Abraham was justified (before men) by his works and not by faith alone. Understanding this makes it easier to see what James is saying and thus draw a distinction between how James uses “justified” (before men) and how Paul uses it (before God).

In fact, there are many places in Scripture where God subsequently declares an already justified person “righteous” (as with Abraham in Gen. 15:6). There are also places where God pronounces an “act of justification” or openly acquits an already justified person before others. For example, Jesus in Luke 7:36-50 openly declares to Simon the Pharisee and to the women who washed His feet that her sins were forgiven.

It is obvious that her sins had been previously forgiven at some prior time. Her acts of piety and devotion toward the Lord Jesus show this to be true, which prompted Jesus to declare to her openly: “Your sins have been forgiven” (cf. vv. 40-48). Her previous state as truly justified motivated her acts of devotion towards the Lord Jesus. We saw the same with Abraham in Genesis 15:6: “Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness,” which James even quotes in 2:23. When was Abraham “credited as righteous”—before or after this passage? Clearly before, for this could not have been the first time that Abraham believed.[2]

Faith and Works. So far, we saw how James uses the term “justified” in distinction to Paul’s usage. Now let’s look at the terms “faith” and “works” as used by James in distinction to Paul.

“Faith” (pisteuō). As with the term “justified,” the meaning of “faith” in James 2 is determined by the context. Frequently, Paul uses “faith” in the context of being the sole “instrument” (precondition) of justification (e.g., Rom. 5:1). Faith in this sense denotes the trustful response, which was the result of regeneration—faith is the instrument of justification whereas the lone merits of Christ is the cause of justification. Here, however, James is addressing those whose faith was progressing (if not already there) towards a stiff intellectualism empty of love, which James calls “faith without works”—that is, a dead faith.

“Works” (ergōn). Paul renounces the idea that any kind of works can merit in any way, shape, or form one’s justification—they cannot contribute anything to salvation. James, however, sees “works” as acts of kindness (love) to those in need. To James, this proves the evidence of one’s “actual justification” and a true and vital faith (2:14-17). So, although both James and Paul use the same terms (“justified,” “faith,” “works”) they use them in a different sense and context.

Further, Galatians 3:6 reads: “Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Here and throughout Paul’s writings, he speaks of how a man may achieve justification before God (by faith alone) in which he cites Genesis 15:6. While James speaks of how a Christian should demonstrate or display (by works) his already and actual justified state in which James cites Genesis 22:9-10. Consider also, that Abraham’s “show” of faith (to offer Isaac up as proof) was at least twenty years after he was “credited as righteous.”

Similarly, in James 2:25, James asks, “Was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another way?” However, before her noble “faith-act” of hiding the messengers, Rahab already had faith in YHWH (cf. Josh. 2:9). “The LORD your God,” she said to the messengers, “is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (v. 11). She was already righteous before God through her faith alone and later justified before men by what she did. Again, this is precisely the point that James is making: observable faith before men (cf. James 2:25).

In this sense, James sees “works” in a positive sense: Works that justify a Christian before men. Whereas Paul speaks of “works” in the negative sense: Works that do not justify before God. In 2:14, James asks, “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?” The answer, of course, is No! True faith results in works (cf. 1 John 3:16-18). James further says, “Faith, if it has no works, is dead being by itself” (v. 2:17). So Luther rightfully affirms: “We are saved by faith alone, but that faith is not alone.”

Lastly, note, what I call, “verbs or language of observation.” We find James using terms and phrases in chapter 2 denoting a real and literal “seeing/showing” faith, which again supports the context of as one of demonstrative active faith (shown by works), which justifies a Christian before men. For example: 

 2:18 “But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” ‘Show me’ [deixon moi] your faith without works and ‘I will show’ [deixō] you faith by my works.”

2:22 “’You see’ [blepeis, from blepō] that his faith was working together with his works and his faith was perfected by works.”

2:24 “’You see’ [horate, from horaō] that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone [pisteōs monon].”

Note, all verbs linguistically can denote a literal seeing with the eyes and a literal showing.  This, along with Abraham and Rahab’s “show” of faith defines the context: a show-faith before men.

Only by ignoring the audience to whom James wrote, the defining context, specific terms and phrases used, and the examples of Abraham and Rahab causes groups like Catholics and the LDS to remove James 2 out of its natural context making it oppose Paul’s faith-alone theology.

Therefore, when James says that a person is “justified by works and not by faith alone,” he is speaking of a person (Christian) whose works (viz. love) serves as proof to men that he is actually justified before the Lord. Whereas when Paul says, “a man is justified by faith apart from works” (Rom. 3:28; cf. 4:6; 5:1), Paul is speaking of a person to whom God, through faith alone, pardons and imputes to him the righteousness of Christ.

Again, James speaks of how Christians are “justified” before men (by faith and works); Paul speaks of being “justified” before the Lord (through faith alone by God alone; cf. Rom. 8:33; Eph. 2:8-9). To interpret James 2:14-26 in a context of a sinner being “justified before God” (salvation) by works is a blatant “misuse” of the intended meaning of the Apostle James. That a person’s works (any works) justify him or her before the Lord contradicts the entire biblical content of divine revelation.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).



[1] Similar exegetical errors include known as “illegitimate totality transfer” (cf. Cf. Darrell Bock, in Introducing NT Interpretation; also cf. D. A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies). This fallacy “assumes that a word carries all of its senses in any one passage” (Bock, 110; the Amplified Bible tends to invoke this fallacy). Hence, to apply every definition that a term can have to a given passage with no regards for the context is an exegetical error.

[2] We see the same distinction (actual vs. open declaration) in the Sonship of Jesus Christ. In other words, Jesus was already and actually the “Son” when He was subsequently and openly declared to be the Son on many different occasions throughout His life (e.g., at His baptism, cf. Matt. 3:16-17; at the transfiguration, cf. Matt. 17:5; His resurrection, cf. Acts 13:33; see also Rom. 1:2-4, where the Son was declared to be the Son).

Read Acts 20:17-28:

Did they listen? Yes: see Revelation 2:1-3

*If we do not SPEAK OUT Against FALSE teachings, the FALSE TEACHINGS will be construed as TRUTH

1 Timothy 4:1:

But the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrine taught by demons….

10 Marks of a Non-Christian Cult And False Teacher

NON-CHRISTIAN “CULT”: A group of people gathered around someone’s (typically one man) interpretation of the Bible and they always claim that they are Christian (as with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Oneness Pentecostals, Christadelphians, etc.) and yet deny one or more essential doctrines of Christian (i.e., denying either the Trinity, deity of Christ, justification though faith alone, and/or the *physical* resurrection of Christ Jesus).

Christianity Defined: John 17:3; 8:24; 1 John 2:22-23; Gal. 1:6-8

Thus, Christianity is defined by the Person, Nature, and Finished Work of Christ

Essential theology vs. Peripheral theology

Essential theology: Gospel. See Paul’s definition of Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: the Person of Christ (God-man), His real death (i.e., His cross-work including His substitutionary atonement—God’s work in justification), and His *physical* resurrection—that is Paul definition of the Gospel.

· Deity of Christ (John 1:1; 20:28; Phil. 2:6; Col. 2:9 (Creator); Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:3, 8-10)

· Incarnation (2 Tim. 2:8; Rom. 1:2-3; cannot deny it: 1 John 4:1ff.)

· Death (what did His sacrifice achieve? Atonement, Justification )—Rom. 5:8-10)

· Physical RESURRECTION (see John 2:19ff.).

· Finished Work (real Death, Atonement—Justification Mark 10:45; John 6:37-40, 44; 19:28, 30;; Rom. 4:4-8; 5:1, 8-11; 8:1, 29-32; Gal. 1:6-8).

Cannot deny these essential doctrines


Membership of CULTS OVER 80% OUT OF Christian churches

10 Marks: Not necessarily in chronological order

MARK 1: One person’s interpretation of the Bible, in which a “new revelation” contradicting Scripture is always postulated.

LDS: Joseph Smith,: Many Gods, a polygamous God with body parts,

  • The notion that that folks with “dark skin” were cursed
  • Reinstating the Levitical Priesthood
  • And many other so-called “NEW REVELATIONS.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Claim to be a prophet:


Who will be Jehovah’s prophet? Who will be the modern day Jeremiah? The plain facts show God has been pleased to use Jehovah’s Witnesses (WT, 15 Jan. 1959, 40-41).

God has on earth a people, all whom are prophets, or witnesses for God. . . . Jehovah’s Witnesses (Awake, 8 June 1986, 9).

Thus, JWs made these by so-called “DIRECT REVELATION” from Jehovah Himself:

  • The Trinity is a False Pagan doctrine
  • Jesus was NOT God
  • Jesus did not physically resurrect from the dead
  • Justification by faith and works, and only for the 144.000 in heaven

Many WORD OF FAITH preachers assert a NEW REVELATION

Such as Jesse Duplantis’ so-called trip to heave wherein he states in his book: “Close Encounters of the God Kind” that

  • Jesus had light brown hair, 89.
  • Johan was being affected by sin in heaven, 107.
  • God the Father can be seen, 113.
  • God is a big Man with big hand and feet, 114-115 (see the Mormon scriptures, Doctrine and Convents section 130:22, where Smith states the same: ““The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.”
  • Angel thrown against a wall, 115.
  • Preexistence of souls, 119.
  • The Holy Spirit is not omnipresent (everywhere), 118-119.
  • Adam seeing God the Father in contrast to John 1:18; 2 Tim. 6:67), 13.
  • Popcorn filed the car, 25

MARK 2. Visitation from God or an ANGEL(S) ALWAYS Providing a NEW revelation:

Joseph Smith:

His so-called First vision in 1820. However there are more than six so-called versions of the *first vision.* But the LDS’ accepted one is from 1838:

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt. . . . (Pearl of Great Price, Smith 2:19).

What was the NEW REVELATION THAT THE ANGEL BROUGHT: The ENTIRE CHURCH had FALLEN into a state of TOTAL apostasy AND God chose Joseph Smith Jr. to restore it.

JWs: NWT: angels directed the translators

Islam: It was the angel Gabriel that brought the Koran to Mohammad:


Galatians 1:6ff (Judaizers) READ: 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15

MARK 3. They Deny ONE OR MORE ESSENTIAL DOCTRINES of historic biblical Christianity—

Jesus Christ was eternal God in the flesh; TRINITY; Justification through FAITH ALONE; etc.


(a) The doctrine of the Trinity IS misrepresented, normally as either THREE GODS or MODALISM—esp. by the JWs); at times EVEN BY CHRISTIANS

The JWs:

Never was there a more deceptive doctrine advance than that to of the Trinity. It could have originated only in one mind, and that the mind of Satan the Devil (Reconciliation, 101).

LDS: Define the Godhead as THREE separate gods in purpose: (Meeting in the Grove, east of the Temple, June 16, 1844):

I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected this text for that express purpose. I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years (1829?).

I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods. If this is in accordance with the New Testament, lo and behold! we have three Gods anyhow, and they are plural: and who can contradict it! (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 370).

Oneness theology: FLAT OUT DENY THE TRINITY: asserting that the Trinity teaches 3 gods: Thus positing a UNIPERSONAL God

ALL NON-CHRISTIAN CULTS Redefined the Person of Jesus Christ and the term “SON OF GOD”:

  • ONENESS: >>>> A Unipersonal DEITY

ALSO THEY misrepresent the biblical doctrine of Justification:

Roman Catholicism: Council of Trent’s Degree on Justification, Canon X1:

If anyone says that people are justified; either by the sole imputation of the righteousness (justitia) of Christ or by the sole remission of sins… or even the grace by which we are justified is only the favour of God, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA

LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie; Mormon Doctrine

Indeed, one of the greatest religious contentions among the sects of Christendom is whether men are justified by faith alone, without works, as some erroneously suppose.… (408).

one of the untrue doctrines found in modern Christendom is the concept that man can gain salvation (meaning in the kingdom of God) by grace alone without obedience (Mormon Doctrine, 671).

JWs Watchtower Mag:

To get one’s name written in the Book of Life will depend upon one’s works (4-1-1947, 204).

AND AS WITH the LDS, groups such as the Church of Christ, Roman Catholic Church and the UPCI teach BAPTISM = SALVATION. Thus, they all teach that BAPTISMAL REGENERATION (i.e., works + faith = salvation).

Further, *Many deny the physical resurrection (JWs, Christian Science)

For JOHN, The physical resurrection was a TEST OF ORTHODOXY (1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 7).

*Many Deny the Incarnation of Jesus Christ (John 1:14): Oneness, JWs (that God became flesh).

ALL cults and world religions reject

MARK 4. They, after denying one or more essential doctrine, always CLAIM that they are “Christian.”

LDS, JWs, Oneness, Christian Science, Christadelphians, etc

MARK 5: Exclusivism—the only true church


LDS, Brigham Young:

“No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith.

From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, 289).

LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie:

“There is no salvation outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Mormon Doctrine, 670).

Roman Catholicism: Extra Ecclesia, nullus salus

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215

There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.”

Pope Boniface VIII, In 1302, in his Papal Bull (Unam Sanctam) stated:

“We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

MARK 6: Faulty Hermeneutics

Every Christian should have a solid understanding that their interpretation is correct before applying it:

2 Peter 3:16

In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul exhorts Timothy to

Be diligent to present yourself approve to God as a workmen who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the Word of truth.

“accurately handling”: orqotomew which means “cutting straight

In Greek literature, the term was used to describe the task of a guide, whose goal was to cut a straight path



Grammatico-syntactical considerations. We must study the grammar and syntactical structure (i.e., word arrangement; structure of passages) meaning of words (lexical detail) the in its original significance:

EXAMPLE: The NWT of John 1:1 reads:

In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.

)En a)rx$= h=(n o( lo/goj, kai\ o( lo/goj h=(n pro\j to\n qeo/n, kai\ qeo\j h=(n o( lo/goj.

By ignoring the grammar in the original, they render (qeo\j (theos, God) as indefinite. However, only by not considering the grammar, syntax and, of course, context can an Indefinitized theos interpretation work.

1. qeo\j cannot be indefinite (one God if many) for that would go against John’s own monotheistic theology.

2. theos is, grammatically, an anarthrous predicate nominative (pre-Verbal). An anarthrous nominative PREDICATE tells us something about the subject, logoj. Thus, semantically theos is QUALITATIVE—not indefinite.

  • It speaks of the QUALITY of the subject, not identity.
  • A PREDICATE NOMINATIVE describes the class or category to which the SUBJECT belongs. Hence as to the Logos’s QUALITY as God
  • QUALITATIVE AS IN John 1:14; 4:24

3. Syntactically, theos (God) is in the *EMPHATIC POSITION* (FIRST IN THE CLAUSE) (making an indefinite rendering even more improbable).

WORD of FAITH: (esp. Copeland, Myers) USE Luke 23:43 To support the doctrine that Jesus had to go to hell to atone:

Luke 23:43 “And He said to him, Truly, truly I say unto you, Today you will be with Me in paradise”

Also, non-Christian cults ignore

>> Historico-cultural considerations. The understanding of the historical setting in which particular books were written.

ALL Epistles were written to un-deceive Christians.

1st and 2nd John and Col. Galatians and Romans refuted the teachings of the Judaizers; etc.

JWs DENY that Jesus was the Agent of CREATION because of Col. 1:15: (“firstborn, beginning of creation)—but Paul here is refuting the Gnostic doctrines.

1:15 He is the image [ei)kw\n] of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

1:16-17 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.[1]

1:20: and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. 1:22: yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach. . . .

2:9 In Him ALL the FULLNESS [plh/rwma] of deity [qeo/thtoj] dwells [katoikei=] in human flesh [swmatikw=j].[2]

They IGNORE Contextual considerations. Recognizing the context. Context always determines the meaning of the passage as well as the meaning of the words (e.g., firstborn; Justified; Kurios; theos; etc.).

THEY IGNORE THE Basic Principals of Hermeneutics

#1, The Bible as Literature. The Bible is to be studied literally. We must know the type of style that is being utilized in certain passages: E.g., Hyperbole (an overstatement for emphasis, Luke 14:26), Puns, Proverbs, Parables,

· Allegories, Phenomenological language (describing God’s activity in an observational fashion, Ps. 19:4),

· Anthropomorphisms (ascribing human characteristics to God to understand his activities), and Zoomorphisms (ascribing animal characteristics, Ps. 91:4). ADV: LDS above

#2. Analogy of Faith. The difficult passages must be interpreted by the clear passages. No contradictions

#3. The Priority of the Didactic (teaching). All historical narratives are to be interpreted by the didactic portions of Scripture. [Example the book of ACTS].

#4. The Priority of the Explicit. The implicit should be interpreted by the explicit (John 3:5).

And FINALLY, #5. Lexical Detail. The original meaning of words in its original significance must be observed (i.e., Heb, Aram. and Gk.).

FOR EXAMPLE, JWs: “Firstborn” (prwto/tokoj) = FIRST ONE CREATED

In Genesis 41:51 Manasseh is called “firstborn” and Ephraim is called “second.” But in Jeremiah 31:9 Ephraim is called “firstborn.”

Exodus 4:22: Israel is called “firstborn.”

Psalm 89:27: David is called “firstborn.”

If Paul wanted to convey that Jesus was “first-created” he certainly could have used the word prwto/-ktistoj meaning “first-created” to do so (cf. 2 Cor. 5:18: kainh\ kti/sij, “new creation

Or the term “Begotten”

  • JWs: created
  • Oneness[3] the origin of the Son.
  • LDS sexual relations

In simple terms, the compound word monogenhj is derived from monos meaning “alone,” or “one,” and genos meaning “class” or “kind.”

Hence, ho monogenēs huios simply means the “one and only Son” (cf. NIV), “unique Son,” or “one of a kind Son” (e.g., Heb. 11:17). Therefore, monogenēs is a relational term (as utilized by the early church), which does not carry the idea of begot,” “to give birth,” etc. The lexical support is overwhelming.

Other mistranslated words: qeo/thtoj (Col. 2:9 “divine quality” NWT);

MARK 7:= The Bible is NOT the sole authority, but secondary to the religious organization.

Every non-Christian cult has a reason as to why sola Scriptura does not work.

  • JW: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
  • LDS: Quad.
  • In their 8th Article of Faith: “We believe that the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God (Pearl of Great Price).
  • There were many plain and precious things lost or taken from the Bible.[4]
  • Roman Catholicism: Not Scripture alone, but rather Scripture and Tradition are the Word of God

Ex cathedra (Vatican I, 1870 pope Pius IX)

Too frequently, the “Spirit” supersedes the Bible.

WE are told to TEST ALL THINGS


Acts 17:11 vs. 2 Thess. 2:1-2*

MARK 8: Doctrinal and/or Textual Changes.

JWs: False Prophecies;

NWT John 1:1; 8:58; Col. 2:9

LDS: False Prophecies (polygamy[JD 11:269]; Blacks). Early teachings VS. Modern teachings;

JST at John 1:19 (1:18)

MARK 9: Causing feelings of guilt when leaving.

Brigham Young claimed that these who leave the Mormon Church would turn “wrinkled” and “black.” The following curse was pronounced by Brigham Young:

“But let them apostatize, and they will become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 332


Both the LDS and JWs assert that the entire church subsequent to the death of the apostles fell into total apostasy.

Both groups misuse 1 Tim. 4:1 (“some will fall away”) and

2 Thess 2:3: Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (future?).

>>At what doctrinal point did the early church (some of which were disciples of the original apostles) err? What is the evidence?

1. No passage in the Bible teaches that a TOTAL APOSTASY will happen.

2. Jesus said that I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it

3. Eph. 3:21: to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

LDS scholars disagree as to the time of this so-called apostasy.

The notion that there was in fact a TOTAL apostasy is fundamentally indispensable for the RELIGION OF THE LDS.

IF no TOTAL APOSTASY, —then, no need for a restoration—- and hence no need for a restorer—Joseph Smith.

The churches in Rev. 2-3 the 7 churches. Rev, was written c. A.D. 80-90.

1 Peter 3:15 commands all Christians to always be ready to give a defense to give and answer for that defense, with gentleness and respect.

JOHN 17:3 JOHN 8:24

Titus 1:9

John 17:3

Glorify God

[1] Paul utilizes different prepositions to amplify his case: All things were created “by Him” (en + dat.); “through Him” (dia + gen.); “for Him” (eis + acc.); and “in Him” (en + dat.).

[2] o(/ti e)n au)t%= katoikei= pa=n to\ plh/rwma th=j qeo/thtoj swmatikw=j

[3] Bernard unthinkingly explains that the term translated “begotten” means:

“to procreate, to father, to sire.” Thus, begotten indicates a definite point in time—the point at which conception takes place. There must be a time when the begetter [the Father] exists and the begotten [the Son] is not yet in existence, and there must be a point in time when the act of begetting occurs. . . . . So, the very words begotten and Son each contradict the word eternal as applied to the Son of God.

[4] (1 Nephi 13:20, 28; 14:23).

NOTE: As a result of this article below, Justyn Martyr, of The Bereans: Apologetics Research Ministries (, who ironically is a member of MSI (now called “Every Nation”), wrote a short letter in response (read here). He demanded of me to produce more factual evidence to support the claims contained in the article (for he was quite unaware of the predominance of evidence that existed, which is typical among current members). Thus, after explaining that the article was not intended to provide an exhaustive presentation, but rather basic facts, I then provided Justyn with documented official MSI teachings, which demonstrate beyond doubt the false and sociologically cultic teachings of MSI. Read it Here

At face, the term “cult” can be viewed by some as quite pejorative, to be sure. In any normal English dictionary, several different meanings to the term are provided. However, from an evangelical/theological point of view, the term “cult,” that is, “non-Christian cult” is used to signify groups that consider and call themselves “Christian,” but denies or rejects an aspect of essential biblical theology. For instance, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Oneness Pentecostals all reject the biblical doctrine of the Trinity; Catholics reject justification through faith alone; etc. Hence, these groups would be classified as theological non-Christian cults due to their denial of these essential doctrines (cf. John 8:24; Gal. 1:6-9). However, there is another category of “cult” that, unfortunately, some Christian churches are regarded as. By way of doctrinal definition, this category is known as a “sociological cult.” A “sociological cult” is a group(s) that holds to essential biblical theology, but in terms of leadership and organizational construct they are sociologically abusive, promoting “elitism,” and teach a very unbiblical concept of church authority. For example, to support the false notion that water baptism is a necessity for justification, Kip McKean, founder of the sociological cult, International Church of Christ (ICC), teaches his biblically unstudied followers:

I do not know of any church, group or movement that teaches and practices what we teach as Jesus taught in Matthew 28:18-19: one must make the decision to be a disciple, then be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins to be saved and receive the Holy Spirit. When one is born again at baptism (First Principles, 34). Hence, the ICC teaches that in order for one to have salvation, it is not faith alone, but rather: first, the candidate must become a disciple, which is a process, then assuming the candidate is worthy (i.e., a “true disciple”), then he or she must be water baptized (only in the ICC), and only then are they accepted as true Christians. Further in the ICC publication, The Disciple’s Handbook, they explain that salvation is a developmental:

we believe and expect every member of the church to be fully committed to living according to that truth. . . . To our knowledge, we are the only group that teaches the biblical principle of discipleship as a necessary part of the salvation process (120; emphasis added). This is only one of countless false teachings that the ICC forcefully teach. Note the utter elitism that is slipped in the above statements that produce an atmosphere of fear, which then causes members to “submit” unconditionally. Thus, the ICC is both a theological cult (for denying justification through faith alone) and a sociological cult (for holding to an unbiblical view of authority and church discipleship). For more information on the ICC see:

Morning Star International (now called Every Nation)

Virtually identical to that of the ICC’s teaching on discipleship and authority is Morning Star International (MSI; now called “Every Nation”). Even though MSI is not theologically branded as “non-Christian cult,” MSI does, in fact, fall unequivocally in the category of “sociological cult.” This should not be at all surprising since they stemmed out of Maranatha Ministries. The leadership of MSI consists of Rice Broocks, Phil Bonasso, and Steve Murrell, all whom are self-appointed Apostles, thus referring to themselves as the “Apostolic Board.” Of course, the only church that I can think of that has a governing Board of so-called “Apostles” is The LDS (i.e., the Mormons), which they call the “Quorum of the Apostles.”

Note that when leaders of groups insist that they are “Apostles” or as with MSI, an “Apostolic Board,” it creates an illusion in which they are seen by members as God’s infallible mouthpiece determining what is “best” for their devotees. Hence, the result is that members of these kinds of organizations fearfully submit unconditionally. In fact, there are literally hundreds of Christian counter-cult ministries that speak out against the cultic practices, theological falsities and abusive teachings of MSI. Further, there are hundreds of internet posts from ex-MSI members who have written much of the spiritual abuse and crass authoritarianism that they have experienced. This perpetual teaching of “unconditional authority” keeps MSI leadership in full control of their non-questioning members. In the end, many ex-MSI members come out spiritually, and at times, mentally damaged. Physiologically, spiritual abuse is one of the most damaging abuses. A simple Google search on MSI will produce scores of websites exposing MSI. I have personally interfaced with the so-called Apostles (viz. Broocks and Bonasso) and many members of MSI. In evaluating official MSI literature, shown to me by former MSI leaders and carefully listening to MSI sermons throughout the years, I see a virtual exactness with the International Church of Christ.

Not surprising, both ICC and MSI utilize the same passages (e.g., Heb. 13:17) to teach that members should submit to “God’s delegated leaders” without question! Although, they both, with no regard for the exegesis of the text, read their own a priori assumptions into these passages. Further, both hold to an unbiblical concept of discipleship. Hence, both churches are filled with sheepish terrified members who would never dream of questioning their “covering” that, according to MSI leadership, are God’s delegate authority. To maintain a rigid control, leaders of these Discipleship or “Authoritarian” movements, claim that the authority of the leaders is “God-given” or “God-delegated.” Thus, any disobedience to the leaders is direct disobedience to God. They emphasize heavy authority and relentless submission in the relationships between the leaders and ones under them.

Space precludes me to go into every aspect of teaching on key issues of Authoritarianism such as MSI’s biblically-unbalanced doctrine on discipleship, submission, etc. that they reign over unassuming members. However, if you are a current member of MSI consider the following:

1. The New Testament does teach that church leaders are authoritative on issues of (i) directing church affairs (cf. 1 Tim. 3:5); (ii) teaching sound doctrine (cf. 2 Tim. 3:1-4); and (iii) correcting those who sin and disciplinary action if they refuse to repent (cf. Titus 3:10-11). In these cases, church authority exits. This kind of biblical authority will help, rather than obstruct, the Christian to submit to Christ.

2. Scripture indicates that the pastoral ministry is noticeably, “marked by a servants attitude,” not a weighty emphasis on authority and submission (see Matt. 20:25-28; 2 Cor. 1:24; and esp. 1 Pet. 5:1-3).

3. Christ is the one Mediator between God and man, not church leadership, for they can err (cf. 1 Tim 2:5).

4. God, not man or a church leader determines one’s destiny, (cf. Ps. 139:16; Eph. 1:11; 2:10).

5. Scripture indicates that Christians should “obey God and not man” (cf. Acts 5:29).

6. Studying God’s Word will help the Christian develop a maturity to discern what God’s will is or is not for his or her life (cf. Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 5:8-10).

7. The first and final authority—above all—is Scripture (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Thess. 5:21).

Writing against Authoritarian groups, apologist, E. Miller, pointed out that “Leaders who put heavy emphasis on authority and submission typically seek to make themselves indispensable to others’ spiritual growth and well-being” (CRI Journal, Spring, 1985, 15). Because of MSI’s over emphasis on submission and unconditional authority, which naturally flows from their roots, Maranatha, MSI is not a biblically based or exegetically sound organization. There are far too many churches that do not view members as “rebellious” merely for asking questions or pointing out theological error. Among the many, MSI is a typical Discipleship/Authoritarian movement that seeks to control and ultimately intimidate its trusting members.

The Watchtower (Jehovah’s Witnesses) proclaimed: “If we have love for Jehovah and for the organization of his people we shall not be suspicious, but shall, as the Bible says, ‘believe all things,’ all the things that The Watchtower brings out. . . . ” (Qualified to be Ministers [WT pub.], 156).

Scripture alone is the only sole infallible authority and rule of faith for the church—our ultimate freedom is in Christ Jesus, our great God and Savior.

For documented official MSI teachings, which demonstrate beyond doubt the false and sociologically cultic teachings of MSI, Read Here

Dear Justyn Martyr,


First, thank you for your response to our summery of MSI (read it here). I will try to respond to your concerns.

I would like to say that first I am not an ex-MSI member, as some would assert. My concern with MSI, as I have indicated in tract, article, and various online posts, is squarely based on MSI leadership’s un-biblical teachings regarding (among other doctrines) discipleship and their view on Kingdom Now theology. Also, I would like to qualify any statement of MSI that I have made and will continue to make: In spite of a doctrinal tolerance that MSI has exhibits (such as considering T. D. Jakes to speak at conf.), so far, I do not see MSI as non-Christian, but do see them as sociologically cultic and tolerant of heresy as well as endorsing false teachers (e.g., Joyner, Wagner, Jakes, etc.).

Also, if you decide to post your response to our article on MSI posted on the DCD website, I would ask of you, as a matter of fairness, to post this response, which expands on what the DCD article did not include and the main issues of MSI as to why we view them as sociologically cultic and an unhealthy church.

Second, as you should know, experience shows that when there are literally hundreds of posts, websites, and University campus literature, which see MSI as cultic and holding to really bad theology, well, that normally is a fair indicator that there is merit for these claims.

Third, I am not merely some guy out there that one of many speaking against the un-biblical practices of MSI, but have been involved personally. I have spoken at the yearly MSI conference (Anaheim, for the youth), and have spoken at MSI churches such as MSI, Hawaii (Pastor Lloyd Manamtam), as well as MSI, San Diego (Pastor Greg Wark) and MSI, Kansas City, MO. I have been indirectly involved with MSI campus outreaches for over a decade (e.g., UH and USC). In fact Phil Bonasso has financially sponsored some of the campus events that I was part of. Further, I have communicated many times with Leo Lawson and provided him with literature concerning cults (e.g., LDS). I am very familiar with VLI and their curriculum and Leo’s influence, with false teacher Peter Wagner out of Fuller (as I will expand below).

Several of my close friends are still and were in MSI leadership (e.g., Tom Sirotnak, Al Manamtam, Denel Sparks [formally was in MSI Reno, now here in LA], Dave Pollus, the current MSI pastor in Studio City, CA).

Justin, you are in a ministry called The Bereans (and apologetic ministry), which I assume means that you value correct biblical teaching and speak out against false teachings, but how is it that you are inconstant when dealing with MSI? I understand hat you are in a MSI church (correct me if I am wrong) but, to whom is your allegiance? MSI or Scripture? I know that this can be an emotional subject being that you are a MSI member, but if we and numerous others (ministries, ex-MSI and current members) are right in our biblical assessment of the teachings of MSI, then you have a lot to think about. For many will not see your *apologetic* ministry as credible by your affiliation with MSI and everything that is attached to MSI (such as the support of false teachers).

It really seems to me, for through the years I have dealt with many MSI members and ex-members, that you have not investigated thoroughly MSI. Do you know why Bassano was removed from his church and position in MSI? or why Broocks was removed from (or changed his) position in MSI?

Where you aware of that in May of 2004, Greg Ball, member of the apostolic (governing) board of the ministry, founder and leader of Champions for Christ, and pastor of Morning Star’s church in Austin, Texas, was removed from his position as head due to financial impropriety, as well as continual problems with Morning Star’s authoritarian leadership style?

Where you aware that in August of 2005, Tony Fetchel, a leader of the Graduate School of Campus ministry in Los Angeles was found to be committing adultery over a long period with the adult daughter of the ministry’s number two leader, Phil Bonasso? As a result of this scandal other leaders were given the opportunity to examine Bonasso’s leadership style, and came to the conclusion that the Graduate School had an authoritarian environment. It was this environment which allowed the affair to continue for such an extended period un-confronted. As a result, the decision was made to move the Graduate School to Nashville.

Aside from all the moral corruption of MSI leaders (some of which call themselves *apostles*, a strictly biblical term), my main concern is the doctrinal issues. You had said:

It is unfortunate that you base your “facts” from the postings of many former Maranatha members.

Well that statement (you should know this) is an ad hominine attack which ignores the issues. Whether or not they are ex-MSI or ex-Maranatha members do automatically falsify one’s testimony, that is a LDS assertion against Christian writers who are ex-Mormon, thus it does not follow.

The question is: is the information presented accurate or not. Are all these ex MSI or even Maranatha members merely lying? All of them? Are any of them truthful? I am not sure if you actually verified any of the posts (there are many) as to there truthfulness. Further, in the DCD article, I did not quote from any such online post, only facts, which, as presented below, I acquired throughout the years from (a) MSI *official* literature, (b) sermons from MSI leaders, and (c) statements from current and ex-MSI (not Maranatha) members. So, your assumption of my derivation of MSI information is incorrect.

But in saying that I found in your response to our MSI article, you did not really respond to any of the biblical issues or comment on MSI’s un-biblical discipleship teachings as I presented in our MSI article—you only deny it.

I have collected scores of personal emails to our ministry from current members (many would not give their name for fear of their MSI leaders) communicating to us their doctrinal concerns and spiritual abuse. And a double amounts of mail from ex-MSI (not Maranatha) members telling of their experiences of bad theology and spiritual abuse.

In spite of the reported spiritual abuse that many have claimed (ex and current) memebres, it is true that the churches that are under MSI are not all alike in terms of heavy sociological and church abuse. However, I would say that first, the MSI headship (i.e., to whom all the MSI churches submit) teach an unbiblical idea of discipleship, this is unquestionable (as indicated below). So, even is no abuse is in a particular MSI church is seen (which is questionable, for those in it normally do question authority, lest they be tagged as *rebellious*), they are under the spiritual submission of an unbiblical construct and teaching of Christian discipleship. Justin, when one is it the pot they cannot see the fire until they get out. Virtually every ex-member conveys on the same line—“I never saw it when I was in it, for I did not want to see it.”

Hence, the main problem: It is true that heavy church and sociological abuse exist in some MSI’s, but not in others, however, the question is, if MSI is teaching its members a false doctrine on issues such as discipleship, God’s will for one’s destiny, God’s providence, and other issues such as Kingdom Now theology, why on earth would a truth seeking Christian want to worship and hence be in and involved in a church who is under the spiritual authority of MSI?

As one website rightly put it:

>Every Nation reflects a blend of influences, much like its predecessor Maranatha Campus Ministries did. This includes Word of Faith, Reformed theology, Christian Reconstructionism, >and Charismatic theology (which itself was influenced by the Latter Rain Movement). Perhaps the closest analogue, however, is the Shepherding Movement. For example, one of the >key founders and shapers of the doctrine, Steve Murrell, essentially mentions on his blog [2] that he “cut his teeth” on New Wine magazine, the official publication of the Shepherding >Movement.

You had stated, Justin:

“Nevertheless, one continues to wonder why despite the preface, literatures and taped sermons, you have not even bothered to quote even one statement from the Every Nation leaders to support your allegations. After all, you claimed that you have been “carefully listening to MSI sermons throughout the years.”

First of all the purpose of the MSI article on our DCD website was not to provide and exhaustive study of all MSI teachings, just an overview. But the addresses are plenteous. Also not all MSI think and teach alike. But there are commonalties that all share. Note the below:

Leo Lawson’s false teachings

Leo Lawson

Leo Lawson is a former Maranatha pastor/leader who now heads the Morning Star/Every Nation “Graduate School for Campus Ministry.” ALL potential campus ministers attend this school and are exposed to these teachings. These notes outline a major tactic campus ministers (aka “counselors”) are taught in order to maintain spiritual and emotional control over their members’ thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors, which are also very similar to Maranatha’s old “deliverance” practices. I have the original tapes/sound files from a series taught in Lafayette, Louisiana last year, and can burn them to CD if you are interested (furnished from a ministry friend of mine).

Notes—Leo Lawson/Inner Healing & Deliverance

April 13-15, 2004:

Inner healing=repenting for each sin

Jesus performed inner healing and deliverance as a means of discipling Peter

IHD=is based on our being comprised of body/soul/spirit. Demons can inhabit our souls even though the Holy Spirit inhabits our spirits

“it” [demon] took him [Peter] out fishing in John 21

Legal rights of demons

Spirits of [lust, pornography, etc.] rather than sin

Must uproot legal rights of demons to inhabit believers

“roots” [my notes—this sounds similar to Cleansing Stream “hooks”—deliverance ministry w/very similar theology] =choices made in past that give legal rights to demons to inhabit you

Demons try to get legal rights through temptation

If you sin, demons have legal rights to inhabit you

We must “bind thoughts”

“suppressed” sins—You need to go back and deal with them so that demons don’t have legal rights

“I’m slower about casting out demons” – do inner healing before deliverance from demons

“Getting the demon out”—not called possession but “demonization”—still means that a demon can be inside you (a believer)

The process of our making good choices (and exercising our will) makes us more like Christ. [my note–Where is Holy Spirit?]

“In the soul there can be demons”

We can have demon issues, character issues, and sin-loving nature issues

The power of your character can affect demons

“Everyone is demonized… everyone needs deliverance” (this includes born again Christians)

First time people were “slain in the spirit” -> when Jesus said “I AM”


Being pushed by demons

Comparisons w/Braveheart (the movie) – >[my notes–see Apologetics Index—this is common among those in Kingdom Now/Spiritual Warfare movement who see this movie as a metaphor for spiritual warriors]

Reversal of previously made bad decisions—the soul (not spirit) needs to be cleansed and healed

You are being transformed in his image—Inner Healing and Deliverance takes you back to that place in your soul and reverses it [my notes–what about forgiveness in Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection??]

The Holy Spirit was “pushing” Peter on the day of Pentecost, not demons as in John 21

John 21 (event) and Acts 2 (evidence) shows that Jesus performed inner healing and deliverance on Peter

Sins=spirits (demons)

–Then plant the word – let the word save that part of your soul

–then cast the spirits out

The evidence in Acts 2 that demons left Peter (as opposed to John 21) is that the spirits of pride, etc. were no longer there

There can be no discipleship without inner healing and deliverance, and there can be no inner healing and deliverance w/o discipleship

[Deliverance can only be done by others, not by yourself. Pastor Lawson strongly implies that you need your own personal discipler/counselor to conduct this]


Deliverance=releasing a believer from the influence of a specific demon or demonic force

Demons are named by the destiny it distributes (demon of lust, demon of pornography, demon of divination, etc.)

Demons are given assignments under Satan

We can judge angels—Adam had authority over the serpent but did not exercise his authority. Demons are fallen angels so we have authority over them

How to discern if there’s a demon—if there is a spiritual “push” toward pornography, lust, etc.

[my note–Check Ephesians 6:10-18—how does this fit in w/NT model of spiritual warfare?]

Compulsion=caused by a fetish spirit; e.g., checking for dirt under fingernails subconsciously; unnatural push by a demon

Sins give demons legal rights to enter your soul

Avenues of demonization:

Personal sins—gives demons legal rights to inhabit your soul

Generational sins

Adopted people don’t know what they’re cursed with—need the Holy Spirit to tell discipler/counselor what spirit it is so that it can be told to leave


Curses get stronger over time

Soul ties


Agreement w/demons


Your human will keeps you from being demonized—true of believers and unbelievers

Don’t deliver people from demons unless they’re already saved

Proof of demonization—Ephesians 4 and John 20-21

Oppression—demon can be on outside or inside

“Demons on the inside won’t flee until you deal w/garbage”

Heart=is where your soul and spirit meet [my question–is the heart part of neither one?]

Jesus defeated the devil for us in the desert

>Biblical bases for IHD/demonization of believers: 2 Cor 11; 1 Cor 5:1-15; Gal 3:1 & 4:9; Acts 8:13-24


Justyn, If you need me to explain to you as to why exegetically these various teachings above esp. the notion of demonization of believers are biblically incorrect, let me know.

Any one with a decree of knowledge of basics hermeneutics will see that the above assertions regarding demonization is simply biblically wrong.

Again, Justyn if you would like me to explain biblically as to what biblical sonship is (which is solely given by God. not by works, e.g., John 1:12-13) and the issue of sickness, I would be delighted to do that.

Leo Lawson—partial transcript of Victory sermon (4-14-2004):

>The Father said, ok angels, step back now, let my son step into the arena. How many of you saw the movie Hoosiers? Do you remember when the father gets up off of that bed and said, son, go out there and kick their butt. That’s what I believe the Father did there in the wilderness. The Father said, son, I want you to get into the arena with that devil and I want you to show him what the power of the Holy Spirit can do inside of a man of God. And you know what young people? That’s what God wants to do. He wants to give you your chance at that area in your life, so you can learn to win over sin. You’re not a victim, you’re a victor in Christ Jesus. Jesus got that victory for us in the wilderness, and what he did at the cross was just a triumph, a celebration of the victory that he had already gotten. He walked in that victory for three and a half years, and you, my friend, can walk in that same victory that he, as a human being, empowered by the same Holy Spirit that lives in you, you too as a human being can live in the same victory that he lived for three and a half years. (emphasis added).

As one online poster said reading the VLI class:

>One of the key pastors in the Morning Star movement taught my VLI class. In printed VLI materials and in his statement in this class… he said (almost verbatim) “Morning Star embraces the Latter Rain belief.” He went on to expound the individual stories and subsequent demise of the 1940s Latter Rain members. He said that these men/women were too human to handle God’s anointing. That was the cause of their failure of the movement. But his response to that was, ‘where these men/women failed. We will succeed.’” (direct quote).

Peter Wagner and VLI

Peter Wagner is bad as Rick Joyner where false teachers are concern, you should know this. But yet he is instrumental in the VLI program. Why have you not spoke out against VLI? The Bereans? Did you test Wagner, Justin? For C. Peter Wagner, in his book, Engaging the Enemy, attributes much of his information on “Territorial Spirits” to practicing itch doctors and former Satanists, rather than God’s Word, check it out. Wagner is Kingdom Now. One does not have to go far to read of the heretical teachings of Wagner, he has written much or just do a simple Google search (see for example: by M. H. Reynolds).

But what I found is that many do not want to know, or be confused with the facts.

Folks that have interest in going to VLI will find that DR. C. PETER WAGNER is listed as HONORARY DEAN on page 2 of 3 of the VLI brochure from Victory Leadership Institute.

Listen to what one ex-member said:

After listening to the NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION DVDS for the past 5 evenings, you can actually see for yourself what a false teacher C. PETER WAGNER really is. I recommend these DVDs to everyone who wants to know the truth.

Jim Laffoon is also listed as co-teachers with Rice Broocks, Jim Lafoon, Ray McCollum, and Paul Barker teaching a class called Apostolic Foundations. on page 1 of 5 at

Since C. PETER WAGNER and JIM LAFFOON have not recanted and repented, and submitted to church discipline and correction, I can only assume they are still teaching heretical and false doctrines under the guise of a new name. (Every Nations)<

As Outlining the first year course of VLI (

Apostolic Foundations and The Art of Discipleship

Then, VLI course, “Spiritual Gifts”

–that Christ was a “man of God” who became perfectly indwelled with the Holy Spirit at the time of His baptism, and that we too can live as Christ did for the last three and a half years of his life (otherwise known as *Dynamic Monarchianism*).

Leo Lawson teaching, 4/04

–that Christ got us victory over sin not at the cross but in the wilderness

Leo Lawson teaching, 4/04

–that we along with the rest of the New Apostolic Reformation are opening up portals to the second realm–that of angels and demons

VLI, “Spiritual Gifts” (chart)

–that we are tripartate beings–body, soul, spirit–allowing us to be indwelled by demons after salvation (this is actually a much more widespread teaching than just within MSI, but the roots of this teaching comes from Plato and Zoroastrianism rather than Christianity)

Taught multiple times in my church. Described in detail in Leo Lawson teaching on inner healing and deliverance, 4/04.

–that the only way that we will follow our spiritual leaders and become totally unified as a church is to become “drunk in the spirit” through worship and lose our senses, just like the disciples became drunk in the spirit in the upper room in Acts. If we come to our senses and start questioning our leaders or what we are becoming involved in, the solution is to become drunk in the spirit again

Jim Laffoon, National School of the Prophets, 5/00. A variation of this teaching was given at BWOC in the spring of this year. I also just found out that a portion of this teaching (the part having to do with Jacob and Rachel/Leah) was taught by Maranatha and was part of the original 1982-1984 ad hoc committee’s criticism of Maranatha’s allegorizing Scripture to support hyperauthoritarianism.<<

Researching and personally observing VLI, my fellow researcher had said (3 Oct 9:31) that:

1) Leo Lawson preached on at least one occassion that we are literally Christ and therefore have dominion on earth as Christ. That Jesus was just a man who was perfectly indwelled by the Holy Spirit and that Jesus gained the victory in the wilderness, not on the cross. That your soul and body can still be indwelled by demons when your spirit is indwelled by the Holy Spirit.

2) Ulyankee’s former church preached that the authority and voice of spiritual leaders is equivalent to God’s authority and voice and that this is the Holy Spirit’s primary mode of communication to believers. Direct communication is secondary and subject to the primary.

3) The previous version of a VLI course stated that spiritual gifts could be received by unbelievers and had a chart indicating portals to the realm of angels and demons.

4) That Jim Laffoon preached that the Acts 2:46 kind of unity comes from the Acts 2 kind of infilling of the Holy Spirit.

So what do we have? One pastor with serious errors in doctrine. One church with abusive, over-controlling teachings (supported by other posters so probably at least 5 churches with this problem). An old version of a course which has been replaced. We on this board, don’t yet know the new version so this point is suspended until we know more.

Now I agree with ulyankee, if that was preached and practised in my church, I’d have left too, no question. What I don’t agree with is that one pastor’s teachings represent the doctrine of an entire organisation. If this were true, then my pastor’s Biblical teachings should be seen in the same light – as 100% representative of the organisational doctrine.

The reason that the argument collapses is that Leo Lawson isn’t on the apostolic leadership team and nor is my pastor. They don’t determine the fundamental doctrine. Both have a great deal of responsibility toward their congregations and both have the freedom to teach what they believe but neither one is in a position to dictate policy to other churches.

The fundamental beliefs of EN are set by the apostolic leadership team. They are explained in materials like the Biblical Foundations book so that everyone can look for themselves and decide whether or not they agree. If they do, they are free to join and be active members and if they do not, they are free to go to a church whose beliefs do coincide with their own. If they join an EN church and their church deviates from that Biblical foundation, they are free (actually compelled by God) to speak out and if that doesn’t work, to walk out.

So what I’m saying is that the written materials produced by EN for the entire network, contain the doctrine. If you point out errors there then that does involve my church and I have to act. The verbal and written materials produced by a church for that church do not necessarily represent the beliefs of every other church. If you point out errors there then I can make note of which churches to avoid if I ever move to the States and I can sympathise with people who sat under this teaching but further than that, it does not involve my church.

Everyone on this board – those who are in healthy EN churches and those who left unhealthy ones – agree that the points ulyankee posted are error. What more is there to say?

Does Rice Broocks, Bonasso, Murrell acknowledge the pope as sovereign as does NOLR Paul Crouch?


Check it out.

Ray W. McCollum

Ray accepted the appointment of the Apostolic Team of Every Nation to be Senior Pastor of the Christ Community Church in Austin, Texas.

Alarmingly, He brings New Age concepts to the church, from one who witnessed it (

>In a sermon called, “The Power of the Purified Imagination” he points out that whatever the Christian desires . . . she or he is to physically place a picture of the desire object where she or he can view it on a daily basis. If we learn to visualize our desires: a certain brand of car, how we want our future spouse to look, a certain way that we want our future house to look. Then God, in time, will actually bring that object into reality as a gift for us.

He made the statements:
Everything is Created Twice
First – A desire or need is identified
Then: The 1st Creation
A mental image of what it should be or look like
Then: 2nd Creation
The imagination becomes reality

He then cites Genesis 11:6 and Mark 9:23

Pastor Ray then goes on to state that believing is:
Imagining what you want – what you desire and then Seeing it first in your heart and mind.

That is the gist of the sermon. He shares a personal example of many years ago, he had his heart set on this particular Cadillac car. He desired it…but he financially couldn’t afford it. He tore a picture of that Cadillac out of a magazine and placed it up on his board. He saw it every day – yet he normally began to ignore it. Yet it was continually up on his board. One day, he gets this phone call from a car salesman friend of his. The car salesman recalled that he had remembered that Pastor Ray had wanted this particular Cadillac – and there sat before the car salesman this Cadillac. Ray went down to the car lot and lo, behold – it was exactly the same model, color, year that was posted on his board. He bought the car.

Pastor Ray used this example to teach that whatever we as Christians want – we need to visualize – and it will become a reality. He gave some other examples… but that is the gist of the sermon.

Now mind you, my understanding is that Pastor Ray then visited several other MSI churches to preach the exact same message. I actually bought into this sermon.

Until recently when i began to deconstruct of few past teachings…

<<<Visualization: New Age practice of using one’s imagination allegedly to affect or manipulate reality. Meditating on, affirmation of, or “naming” of an object or goal, which supposedly creates the desired effect through “mind over matter.” See Maya.

BTW, Pastor Ray then goes on to reveal that this Cadillac he had his heart set on…that he had visualize for so long… that now he proudly owned… turned out to be a lemon.

Hmmmm… maybe the real moral behind the story is to allow God to control our desires and provide for us what He believes He sees fit. Prosperity is not about cars, money, homes…it is about the condition of your soul, your walk with Christ.<

To read sermon in its entirety, go to:

More References

In terms of addresses of reference, regarding MSI’s Kingdom Now theology I would encourage to see or read entire transcript of Jim Laffoon, which his teachings on Kingdom Now is most explicit, excerpt below:

Jim Laffoon (with Rice Broocks)
“To Reach and To Rule”
Morning Star International/Every Nation Churches and Ministries
2004 World Conference: Every Leader – Every Church – Every Nation
July 15, 2004
Conference audio and video available for sale from;
Note: original recording is © Every Nation Productions, 2004. This is a transcription from the original recording.

[Jim Laffoon]: I want to share a word with you tonight which I’m going to entitle, “To Reach and To Rule.” Who will possess the nations of the earth? The issue facing us tonight is not, “Will the nations of the earth be possessed?” For possessed they will be. There is only one issue facing us tonight, is “Who will possess them?” Who will possess the nations of the earth? What entity, what ideology, what force will possess the nations of the earth in such a way that they become the inheritance they give to their children?

Another MSI fellow researcher made these observations:

>The parent ministry changes its name
Morning Star International to Every Nations Churches
(What are they trying to hide?)

VLI course content is revamped. Even changes its name from VLI to ENLI.
(What are they trying to bury?)

Pastor Ray posts a quickly-composed e-newsletter that redefines the parameters of spiritual authority. This perspective is changed and opposes the years of past sermons and teachings.
(What are they trying to cover up?)

The individual MSI church(es) term for “cell groups” is being changed to “small groups”.
(What are they trying to avoid?)<

Oneness Theology

Even more disturbing was their Oneness friendly Statement of Faith:

We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative
Word of God.

We believe there is one eternal, almighty and perfect God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

see it here

before MSI omits it.

Regarding their non-stance on the Trinity, as one ex-MSI member and researcher pointed out:

>Before last fall, Every Nation’s statement of faith was “Modalism friendly” – it was exactly the same as the NAE’s statement (which is about as “mere Christian” as one can get) except in its affirmation of the Godhead:

NAE version: We believe there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

EN’s old version: We believe there is one eternal, almighty and perfect God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I discovered this discrepancy late last summer and this was discussed at length on FACTNet, and around the end of September or so, Every Nation’s official statement of faith was revised. Some local Every Nation churches have slowly come into compliance. Bethel World Outreach Center (their main headquarters, where Rice Broocks is based) just recently changed theirs, I think within the last day or so… it may have been because I brought up the issue again on FACTNet. They DO monitor and react to FACTNet posts. BTW, one of the other posters has registered a user-friendly URL redirecting to the EN related FACTNet discussion threads:

“Every Nation churches that still do not affirm the Trinity include:

Morning Star NY/MSNY and Beacon City Church (a former Maranatha church that was characterized as a “church plant” in 2001):; Both these churches are “covered” by King’s Park International Church founded by (and defacto still run by) former Maranatha pastor Ron Lewis. Ron Lewis is currently the senior pastor of MSNY.

Ray McCollum’s church, Christian Community Church of Austin (formerly Greg Ball’s church, formerly named Morning Star Church of Austin)

Grace Christian Fellowship, the former Maranatha church in Corvallis, OR:

University Family Fellowship, a former Vineyard church (!): as well as its church plant in Reno:

Every Nation Indianapolis – a “football” church planted out of a Champions for Christ chapter:

There are additional churches that have no statements of faith listed on their websites, including churches in Seattle, Tampa FL, Palos Verdes CA, Washington DC/NoVA, Albuquerque NM, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, etc. – some of these are either former Maranatha churches or are pastored by former Maranatha pastors.”

Why? The Trinity, as I know you believe, is the most important and most essential doctrine, but yet how does MSI see it? Shame on MSI or any professing Christian church that does not accurately define and exalt the tri-unity of God. And how dishonoring to God to have (a) Oneness implied statements (out of ignorance or not) on MSI’s Statement of Faith and (b) support Oneness advocates such as T. D. Jakes as well as other false teachers such as Rick Joyner and Peter Wagner.


In conclusion, I have provided much in terms of specific references and addresses by way of official MSI literature, sermons by MSI leaders, and the testimonies of those who were in it demonstrating that MSI is a doctrinally and hence spiritually un-healthy church. And I have much more that I can provide. Things you may not be aware of in terms of the private goings on in MSI leadership, doctrinally and legally (esp. all misappropriation of funds by the so-called MSI Apostles [viz. Phil Bassano], which is a matter of record). Most MSI members are not privy to such information. And most MSI members, as you have stated, see the statements of ex-memebres as non-creditable. But do you see the weakness in that position? For the ones that I know of personally that were in MSI and got out were making the same statements as you when they were members? But now they are speaking out against MSI. MSI members, while they are in, discount all who speak out (without of course, verifying facts), that is common. They do not see the fire while in the pot.

It disappoints me that MSI does not see the doctrine of Trinity as a doctrine that should be defended and affirmed (even though as of recently they changed their Statement of Faith). For they still support those who deny it has made Oneness statements. Justin, you are in a ministry of apologetics, thus, how can you, in all honesty, not even research the very church that you belong? Based on our previous conversations, I believe that you want to do the right thing and have a passion to defend the gospel and present truth. But, Justin, what of MSI? If what I presented is accurate (and please check all sources, before you merely disregard it), then, what you demand of others you cannot provide.

It is inconsistent, biblically, for you to hold the banner of Christian apologetics and then only to turn a deaf ear to MSI, which is currently filled with moral corruptions, misappropriation of funds by so-called MSI *Apostles,* false teachings, and false teachers who are abusing the flock. These issues are not from the far past, Justin, they are current.

Justin, you have a responsibility now, not before your pastor at MSI, or Rice Broocks, or Steve Murrell, but before God.

I will keep you in my prayers.

God bless,

Edward Dalcour, Ph.D.

President: Director: Department of Christian Defense

“In [the] beginning was the Word, and the Word was with [pros] the God, and God was the Word [kai theos ēn ho logos]” (John 1:1).