Christian Fun Facts: Heroes of the Faith

June 20, 2007 at 9:01 am 53 comments

Camp MeetingA poster on XnForums who goes by the handle of Jimmy Page, gave us this list of “heroes of faith” from Christianity’s Charismatic/Pentecostal/Word of Faith camp. This is not an exhaustive list and I can think of many “heroes” who should be added to this list.

David Hogan–“Faith Healer” who became popular during the Pensacola Revival at Brownsville, Assemblies of God, who claimed to have resurrected some 200 stiffs, who claims to have a vehicle that was/is able to drive under water (by the power of the Holy Spirit, of course), and a host of other claims too numerous to list here.

Kim Clement–The rockin’ rappin prophet who has made so many false predictions that it beggars my ability to list them. A favorite of TBN’s Jan Crouch, this South African-born “prophet” has been making bad predictions for years and, to no one’s surprise who knows the charismatic world, has not been called to answer for them.

Marilyn Hickey–WoF’er (Word of Faith) out of Colorado who has been making standard WoF claims for years. She is remembered for her constant providing of shameless “Jesus Junk” as a point of contact–corn meal, breastplates, oil/water from the Holy Land, etc., etc., ad nauseum.

Paul Cain–Charismatic prophet of immense standing a few years ago who, it was claimed, had so great an anointing that he could and would short out nearby electrical equipment. He fell from grace with the Charismatics after it was revealed that this holy man of God had been involved in homosexual affairs.

Bob Tilton–Do I really need to include this guy’s past? I mean, after ABC got done with him he was tried and convicted of various and sundry fraud claims. After his time in the slammer, Bob came back and is again peddling his shameful WoF message on television.

Mike Warnke–claimed to be a former Satanic high priest and was a familiar part of the Charismatic world until he was exposed as a result of a story in Christian publication “Cornerstone.” He is credited (or blamed would be the better word) for the proliferation of anti-Satanic ministries in the late 20th century such as the unspeakable Bob Larson.

Bob Larson–Bombastic and proven liar of Christian radio and television, he claims to have cast out hundreds of demons–some even on the air. Married at least four times, he repeatedly claimed to be married only once. One of his best whoppers was when he claimed that Satan had taken to appearing as himself (Larson) in order to spread these rumors.

How about some golden oldies?

A.A. Allen–Tent revivalist of the 1950’s and 1960’s, who claimed to regularly raise the dead, heal the sick, and so on. In his revival meetings, there were jars said to contain the physical remains of demons for the gullible to come up and gawk at. He also had oil flowing from his hands (allegedly by the power of the Holy Spirit), and had the sign of the cross appear on the foreheads of those he touched there. He once invited people to send the bodies of their deceased to his ministry headquarters in Arizona until health officials in that state stopped the practice before it could really get started. He promised to resurrect these dead folks. He was found dead in a San Francisco motel strewn with barbiturates and alcohol. Cause of death was liver failure from years of drinking.

Maria Woodworth Etter–1880’s-1906 “prophet” known as the “trance evangelist” because of her tendency to freeze in position in mid-sentence, sometimes for hours or even a day. She predicted that SF would disappear as a result of a tidal wave in 1890, which it rebelliously failed to do. She was the inspiration for a host of later lady healers/prophets such as Aimee Semple McPherson, Kathryn Kuhlman, et al. Her works are still in publication through WoF publishing houses such as Harrison House. Knee-slapping fun, this one!

William Branham–Called the greatest prophet of his time, this guy used common parlor tricks to sucker his audiences into believing that he was called of God. When he died in an auto accident in the 1960’s, his followers refused to bury the guy, believing that God would resurrect him. One of the first of the Five-fold ministry types, and still looked to and revered amongst Pentecostals and charismatics.

W.V. Grant–both father and son of the same name, but especially the latter. W.V. jr. spent time in jail for mail fraud but still manages to show up on television every so often promising all sorts of things. He is best remembered for his ability to call on people in his audience by name, tell them who their MD was, and what their ailments were. He learned this trick from his dad and William Branham, who would collect information on cards on audience members before the meeting and then use the info to “Call out” the person.

Oral Roberts–What can one say? He of the 900 ft. Jesus, the failed City of Faith, and his whining that unless his followers come up with some $8 million in cash that God was going to “Call him home”. The granddaddy of contemporary healers, all of the rest of these charlatans owe a tip of the hat to Oral and his techniques, such as the seed-faith sham.

Aimee Semple McPherson–Huge evangelist of the 19 teens through the 1940’s. Claimed healings and “signs and wonders” followed her ministry based out of LA. She faked her own kidnapping in the 1920’s when she left to take up with one of her paramours, a ministry radio operator. Other famous alleged lovers (Anthony Quinn) and known lovers (Milton Berle). Many more are rumored. She died of a drug overdose in 1944.

Kathryn Kuhlman–Benny Hinn’s mentor and faith healer today still spoken of with great reverence among charismatics. A series of “for sure” healings were followed up upon by an MD and found that not one of her claimed healings were in fact true. She died on the operating table after her own faith apparently wasn’t enough to save her life.

Who are your heroes?

- The de-Convert

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The Journey of a De-converting or Skeptical Christian Have a Jesus Day!

53 Comments Add your own

  • 1. agnosticatheist  |  June 20, 2007 at 12:36 am

    Here’s a few additions from:

    http://wcbstv.com/slideshows/local_slideshow_144175305/

    Jim Bakker founded The PTL (“Praise The Lord”) Club and preached on television with his wife, Tammy Faye. A sex scandal forced his resignation. Later, he was convicted of fraud and conspiring to commit fraud charges for crimes committed while leading PTL. He served about five years of his 18-year federal prison sentence before being released on parole. (Thomas Nelson Publishing)

    Ted Haggard was once proclaimed one of the most influential evangelicals in America. But in November 2006, after a former male prostitute alleged Pastor Ted Haggard had regularly engaged in sex with him, Haggard was removed from his position as pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. He also lost his leadership position in the powerful National Association of Evangelicals. At first Haggard denied the allegations but later admitted to “sexual imorality.” He entered a three-month period of intense religious counseling, after which one of the pastors involved declared Haggard to be “completely heterosexual.” (CBS)

    Jimmy Swaggart was a wildly popular televangelist in the 1970s and ’80s, until he was photographed with a prostitute in 1988. His resulting “I Have Sinned…” sermon was quite powerful, but did not prevent his being defrocked by the Assemblies of God Church. The last time Swaggart made headlines was 2004, when he criticized same-sex marriage by saying, “I’ve never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I’m gonna be blunt and plain. If one ever looks at me like that, I’m gonna kill him and tell God he died.” Swaggart is the cousin of singers Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley. (AP)

    Peter Popoff uses infomercials to sell his “Magic Spring Water,” which he claims can cure physical and monetary ills. He was a wildly successful faith healer until 1987, when skeptic James Randi produced evidence suggesting Popoff was a fraud during an appearance on “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.”

  • 2. agnosticatheist  |  June 20, 2007 at 1:03 am

    Here’s one of my additions:

    Kenneth E. Hagin – Considered by many as the Father of the Word of Faith movement. Claimed to be miraculously raised from the dead after dying of a heart condition as a child:

    “Then the inner man rushed out of my body and left my body lying dead, with the eyes set and the flesh cold. . .I have proof that I was actually dead. My eyes were set, my heart stopped beating, and my pulse had ceased. . .Finally, far below me, I could see lights flickering on the walls of the caverns of the damned. The lights were caused by the fires of hell. . .Upon reaching the bottom of the pit, I became conscious of some kind of spirit being by my side. . .a voice spoke from far above the blackness, above the earth, and above the heavens. I don’t know if it was the voice of God, Jesus, or an angel, or who. . .I slipped back into my body as easily as a man slips into his trousers in the morning – through my mouth.”

    “My heart stopped beating for the second time. . .I felt the blood cease to circulate. The tips of my toes went numb – then my feet, ankles, knees, hips, stomach, and heart. I leaped out of my body and began to descend: down, down down. . .The voice spoke from heaven and again my spirit came up out of that place – back to my room and back into my body. The only difference this time was that I came up at the foot of the bed.”

    “…my heart stopped for the third time. I could fell the circulation as it cut off again – and I leaped out of my body and began to descend. . .Thank God that voice spoke. I don’t know who it was – I didn’t see anybody – I just hear the voice. . .I began to pray, “O God! I come to you in the Name of Lord Jesus Christ. I ask You to forgive me of my sins and to cleanse me from all sin. . .That was the very hour I was born again due to the mercy of God through the prayers of my mother.”

    Claimed to have seen Jesus many times including this account:

    “I began to pray in other tongues, and I heard a voice say, “Come up hither” . . .I thought everybody heard it. “Come up hither,” the voice said again. Then I looked and saw Jesus standing about where the top of the ten would be. As I looked again, the tent had disappeared . . .God had permitted me to see into the spirit realm. Jesus was standing there, and I stood in His presence. He was holding a crown in His hands. . .It seemed as if I went with Him through the air until we came to a beautiful city. . .The Jesus turned to me and said, “Now let us go down to hell.” Jesus told me, “warn men and women about this place,”. . .He then brought me back to earth. I became aware I was knelling on the platform. . .As he stood there, He talked to me about my ministry. He told me some things in general that He later explained in more detail in another vision.”

    He was accused of plagiarizing the works of E.W. Kenyon. He is considered the mentor of many popular charismatic preachers including Kenneth Copeland.

    Even though he claimed Jesus would return before his death, I believe he died of heart issues in 2003.

    He was featured in this video posted earlier.

    Quotes from http://discernment.org/wordfaith/kenhagin.htm

    In other words, many Christians not only believe the fantastic stories in the Bible but they buy into the many fantastic stories of today’s Christian leaders. Many of the mega-churches and mega-ministries today have a Word of Faith/Charismatic foundation including Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, etc.

  • 3. HeIsSailing  |  June 20, 2007 at 2:30 am

    Hagin is one of the few men in this world really scare me. No exaggeration here.

    My mother was a big fan of Kathryn Kuhlman before she died. We saw her on a couple of her travelling healing crusades when I was younger. Mom used to tell me how amazed she was by watching Kuhlman lengthen a man’s uneven leg. Of course, this was before the days before this parlor trick became well-known.

    I have never been much for TV evangelists or travelling revivalists. THey have always reminded me of snakeoil salesmen, even when I was a Christian. I suppose an exception is the late Dr Gene Scott. That man was an endless source of amusement, entertainment and frustration for me. He could give the most profound sermon on substitutionary atonement that I have ever heard, then turn around and cuss out his inept camera crew like they were worthless bootcamp recruits the next. This was sometimes mixed in with him reading books on arcane subjects like Pyramidology, showing videos of horseshows, and telling rude jokes. The fact that I could never pidgeon-hole him made him is what made him so frustrating to me, and why I sometimes tuned in to his late night broadcast when I was up after midnight. Don’t worry, even when he yelled “Get On the Phone”, at the TV camera, I never sent him a nickel.

  • 4. agnosticatheist  |  June 20, 2007 at 9:05 am

    HIS,

    Hagin is one of the few men in this world really scare me. No exaggeration here.

    I struggle with what this says about me but I did once hold Hagin in high esteem (with a slight bit of skepticism). I think in the charismatic/pentecostal camp, disillusional people have an opportunity to be classed as “spiritual.” Maybe Hagin was like the guy in “A Beautiful Mind” and really believed he had those experiences. I’m not sure….

    See, it’s still difficult for me to just call him a blatant liar. Religious indoctrination – it’s a powerful thing :)

    aA

  • 5. storbakken  |  June 20, 2007 at 11:44 am

    Please clarify this statement:

    “He is credited (or blamed would be the better word) for the proliferation of anti-Satanic ministries…”

    I know that this Web site is dedicated to Anti-Christian themes. But is it for the proliferation of Satanism?

  • 6. notabarbie  |  June 20, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Yes, storbakken, we’re into the proliferation of “satanism.” Sheesh!

    Does anyone remember when SNL used to do a bit about Kathryn Kuhlman? It was hilarious!

  • 7. Karen  |  June 20, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    Wow, that is quite the rogue’s gallery there! :-)

    I was never a Pente or charismatic, but it strikes me how many of those you list seem to have been apprenticed to the old-time snake oil salesmen, carny workers, sideshow hucksters and plain old conmen. It would probably be tough to find out, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that many of them came from that tradition, or had some exposure to it as youngsters, then just morphed the same techniques for religious purposes. They certainly knew how to rip people off!

    As for Hagin, it sounds like god was trying to send him to hell an awful lot. I’ve always heard of people “going toward the light” or even arriving at the pearly gates during those out of body experiences. This is the first time I’ve read one where the person was sinking down into the fiery pit. :-)

  • 8. Heather  |  June 20, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    **Even though he claimed Jesus would return before his death**

    The ever popular claim, which is why it’s hard to take it seriously when uttered by anyone.

    **I slipped back into my body as easily as a man slips into his trousers in the morning – through my mouth.”** Okay, I’m sorry, but this sentence alone takes away from the ‘seriousness’ of his account. He just escaped from hell, and this is an analogy he’s using?

    **.The Jesus turned to me and said, “Now let us go down to hell.” Jesus told me, “warn men and women about this place,”. ** I wonder whicih word Jesus used to describe hell? The curious thing about this is that when I read the New Testament, I don’t see Jesus sent to save people from the default location of hell. I see him sent to offer salvation from sin, much of which plagues people in this life. The concept of Jesus saving from hell, which is a common statement among conservative Christianity, seems to be vaguely inferred in the Bible (I’m discounting Revelation due to the symbolic nature and that ‘Hades/Hell’ is cast into the lake of fire).

  • 9. agnosticatheist  |  June 20, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    storbakken,

    Mike Warnke totally misrepresented the Satanist movement with a bunch of fabricated stories. Of course, Christians swallowed his lies and believed Satanist did all the vile things Warnke claimed. It would do Christians some good to get the facts straight and study what Satanism is all about. It does not mean what you think it means.

    aA

  • 10. storbakken  |  June 20, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    Satanism is an umbrella term with no set doctrine. It is not a movement per se. There are many splinter groups within Satanism which range from dangerous fanatacism to a more earth-centered new age-sim that states theistic beliefs are a sign of intellectual weakness.

    You say “It does not mean what you think it means.” So I have to ask if you have read any of the works by LaVey, Crowley or Moldoror? Have you attended a black mass? Please tell me what you think Satanism (i.e. Devil worship) is all about?

  • 11. HeIsSailing  |  June 20, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    I have never read any of the satanist material, but I have heard Bob Larson’s radio program numerous times. Does that count?

    In the early 90s, Bob Larson had a radio program that we would tune in to at work. I was the only Christian among the bunch of us, but we all could not help but be amused by this guy. If anything he was hilariously entertaining.

    He speciallized in exposing ‘cults’ and Death Metal musicians. But his real forte was holding live exorcisms on the radio. Not actually live, but over the phone. Imagine Max von Sydow exorcising demons from Linda Blair – over the phone.

    What I found hilarious about these is that some person would call Larson’s studio while on-air. Larson, using his amazing gifts of discernment, would realize that his caller was not just some random death metal lover, but actually *possessed of demons*!! Larson would then spiritually hogtie his caller and begin his exorcism – all done over the phone!!

    Larson: What is your name?
    Caller: I AMMMMAMAM….. LEGION!!
    Larson: Come out of him in JESUS NAME!
    Caller: AAAAAAAAAAGHGHGHHHGHGH!!!

    Not only was the demon possessed caller courteous enough to hold the telephone receiver to her ear while being thrown out of the hosts body and back into the bottomless pit, but the demon also always managed to stay within FCC regulations.

    Fabulous Stuff!! *sigh* I miss Bob Larson.

  • 12. Karen  |  June 20, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    HIS, did you ever listen to the Kingdom of the Cults radio show? I forget the host’s name now, but he basically criticized and reviled any Christian or pseudo-Christian sect that didn’t consist of fundies and evangelicals.

    I don’t remember him ever casting out any demons over the air, though. ;-)

  • 13. agnosticatheist  |  June 20, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Walter Martin or Hank Hannegraaff? Hank actually recently released an updated version of Walter Martin’s Kingdom of the Cult where the WoF Movement (Hagin, Copeland, etc.) was labeled a cult along with Mormonism, JWs, etc. Got to love Christians labeling other Christians as going to hell because of different interpretations of a very flawed and confusing book.

  • 14. storbakken  |  June 21, 2007 at 1:19 am

    aA,

    You wrote: “It would do Christians some good to get the facts straight and study what Satanism is all about. It does not mean what you think it means.”

    This blog clearly propagates an antiChristian message and now it is espousing sentimental remarks about Satanism (i.e. Devil worship).

    What are your views regarding Satanism. What are the facts and what is Satanism really about?

  • 15. agnosticatheist  |  June 21, 2007 at 1:41 am

    storbakken,

    Start here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satanism and follow the links.

    For the most part, Satanist do not worship the Bible’s devil. In fact, they do not believe the Bible.

    It’s a stretch to believe in God but I’m agnostic to that because we cannot prove there is no God and there are a lot of things we really cannot explain. However, it’s almost an impossibility to actually believe that there is a devil. Do you really believe in the devil?

    Funny thing is I believe more Christians (especially Pentecostals) pray more to the devil than Satanists…. binding, loosing, rebuking, etc.

    aA

  • 16. doug rosbury  |  June 21, 2007 at 1:49 am

    You have voiced what has always been an aversion with me
    evil and hell are real things. They can and do suddenly
    appear without prior notice, because it is not the concern of an evil heart to warn you that its appearance is immanent. I have kept company with a handicapped lady who now and then surprises me with reactions of an evil nature that causes me extreme grief and terror but this last such episode caused me to finally break down and express to her my emotional breakdown in no uncertain terms. we shall continue together
    nevertheless, because it is of paramount importance that i do all i can to help her to heal her unresolved issues. evil and hell are rampant in our world. i have heard of so many instances of them and more every day that it causes me to be ever more vigilant of my own attitude because i too am capable of evil acts and attitudes.
    I know what you mean(!!!!!!) blessings on you and good luck.——– Doug Rosbury

  • 17. HeIsSailing  |  June 21, 2007 at 6:25 am

    Not really Satanism per se, but a great book on what the Bible says about devils is Elaine Pagels, “The Origin of Satan”. I found it in the library a few months ago – it is a fast and easy read, and it clears up a lot of misconceptions.

    *********************************************************
    Karen asks:
    HIS, did you ever listen to the Kingdom of the Cults radio show?

    No, I never heard a radio show by that name, but Walter Martin had a book out by that title. If memory serves, my favorite guy in the world, Bob Larson also had a book out with a similar name – …. …. . and yeah I bought it by mail order. I must have lost it, because I no longer have it. And yeah, you have to really believe not just in Jesus, but the RIGHT Jesus, if you want to be one of Larson’s Prayer Champions.

  • 18. Karen  |  June 21, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    Yes! Walter Martin is the guy I’m thinking of, he wrote the book. I don’t recall now whether he also hosted the radio show, or if maybe Hank hosted the show and referred to the book a lot.

    Someone in my ex-fundy group had an excellent point to make when we were discussing this topic recently. She said:

    I’ve also been reading and talking to people about “cults” and
    cult-like behavior for about 20 years. Shows like you mention are peeves of mine, because in my experience groups like this often confuse cultism with heresy, and do everybody a disservice in the process.

    In a nutshell, the problem with cults (or by their “nicer” terms —
    authoritarian or totalistic groups) is their use of manipulative
    *psychology*. Heresies, on the other hand, by definition are groups that teach incorrect *doctrine*. (And as everyone here knows, heresy is very much in the eye of the beholder.)

    It’s misleading for shows like this to tell people some group is a
    cult but then start talking about doctrine. It blinds people to the
    fact that groups might have orthodox doctrine but still be
    destructively manipulative. Teaching people about psychological manipulation, on the other hand, helps them to recognize cultic behavior wherever they may encounter it.

    I read that and just went, Bingo! There was always something that bugged me about that show and this was exactly it. I just couldn’t put my finger on it through the “fog” of religion that my brain was trapped in, I guess.

  • 19. Heather  |  June 21, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    I’m familiar with Walter Martin’s book. I was also raised in one of the religions that he happily slings the word ‘cult’ at. And his book frustrates me beyond belief. It frustrates me even more when people recommend it as great reading material on ‘cults’, because the purpose of the book wasn’t to educate, but to show why all other supposed Christian religions were wrong and blinded.

    First — if you want to know about a belief system, do you really ask a person who thinks that belief is stupid and wrong? And only that person? You could ask that person as a way of getting both sides, but you would also ask someone who shares that belief. For instance, if I want to learn more about Judaism, I will ask a Jew. Not an evangelical Christian.

    Second — religions as a whole have a huge potential to look silly and strange to an outsider. Especially an outsider who has preconceived notions about the ‘other.’ So for someone who finds the ‘other’ silly and strange to then try and explain it … well, how well is that going to work?

    Third — in terms of the one I was raised in, he took many things out of context. (Which I found ironic, because Walter Martin is someone who would say that members of this board take much of the Bible out of context)

    Fourth — the book was arrogant, mocking and patronizing.

    Okay. Done now. :)

  • 20. storbakken  |  June 21, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    The devil is real and hell exists in this world as well as the hereafter. It’s usually more difficult for people to believe that demons do exist when they live in Anytown, USA. Try living in NYC and you will undoubtedly see demon-possessed people and others who are simply living in hell.

  • 21. HeisSailing  |  June 21, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    storbakken,

    When you mention ‘devil’, are you referring to a real, literal, living entity who fell from God’s graces through his own pride and now stands as God’s and humanity’s adversary?

    If so, you do realize that this devil has more to do with medieval superstition than the Bible, right?

  • 22. storbakken  |  June 22, 2007 at 10:39 am

    I’m not talking about the devil with a long tail, horns, red skin and carrying a pitchfork. I am talking about the serpent in the garden. The devil who vexed Job. The angel who sought to usurp God’s throne and whom Christ saw fall from the heavens. And the antiChristian, anticreation devil who tempted Christ. The same whose natural language is lies.

  • 23. HeIsSailing  |  June 22, 2007 at 11:06 am

    storbakken sez:
    “I am talking about the serpent in the garden. The devil who vexed Job. The angel who sought to usurp God’s throne and whom Christ saw fall from the heavens…The same whose natural language is lies.”

    Here are a couple of questions for you to ponder, storbakken:

    Where in Scripture is the snake who tempted Eve ever identified with the Devil?

    Assuming that snake really is the devil, and if the natural language of the devil is lies, why did he tell the truth to Eve when he tempted her?

    Did you ever stop and wonder why the name ‘Lucifer’ in Isaiah 14:12 is left as a Greek word in the Hebrew scriptures? Why was it not translated back into the Hebrew from the Septuagent like most every other proper noun in the Old Testament?

    If the devil is the father of lies and the epitome of sin, what is the devil (named Satan in Job) doing in God’s throneroom in Job 1:6?

  • 24. agnosticatheist  |  June 22, 2007 at 11:27 am

    HIS,

    The whole concept of the evolution of the Christian Devil out of the serpent, stars, and Job’s Satan would make a great post (hint) :)

    aA

  • 25. Heather  |  June 22, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    **Where in Scripture is the snake who tempted Eve ever identified with the Devil? **

    This is the fun part about Christianity — how it reads concepts back into the Bible. I don’t believe the snake is identified as the devil until the New Testament (and even that might require some inferrence). After all, it comes across that the serpent was an animal created by God. An animal that God then punished by turning into the snakes we see today (minus the talking). If the Devil was the serpent, why punish snakes?

    **Assuming that snake really is the devil, and if the natural language of the devil is lies, why did he tell the truth to Eve when he tempted her?** This is my favorite part of the whole story. The snake didn’t lie at all. He said exactly what would happen, which was that Adam and Eve wouldn’t die (spiritual death is stretching it, because the word meant physical death), and they became like gods, knowing good and evil. Which is exactly what God said, a few lines down.

  • 26. Karen  |  June 22, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Fourth — the book was arrogant, mocking and patronizing.

    Okay. Done now. :)

    Hey, sometimes we all need to vent! :-) I agree with what you said, Heather. In my experience the radio show and the book were basically tools that allowed the “real” Christians to define themselves as distinct and – of course – better than those “pretend” Christians. It was a way of puffing ourselves up and putting everyone else down.

    For those who are interested in arguing doctrine, that’s fine. But confusing arguments over doctrine with putting another group down as a “cult” just because they don’t follow YOUR narrow interpretation of that doctrine, is just arrogant and wrong.

    I remember our church offering courses on world religions, from a would-be missionary perspective. You could sit through something like 16 weeks on Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and all the major religions – but of course the teachers would all be coming from a Christian perspective and teaching that the other religious doctrine is wrong, comes from satan and his deceiving angels, etc. Not exactly an objective lesson plan. Maybe that’s why I never signed up!

  • 27. Karen  |  June 22, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    This is my favorite part of the whole story. The snake didn’t lie at all. He said exactly what would happen, which was that Adam and Eve wouldn’t die (spiritual death is stretching it, because the word meant physical death), and they became like gods, knowing good and evil. Which is exactly what God said, a few lines down.

    Actually, when you think about it, god’s the one who lied!

  • 28. storbakken  |  June 22, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    God is the liar? And Satanism is misunderstood?

    I believe you have been duped.

  • 29. HeIsSailing  |  June 22, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    starbakken queries:
    “God is the liar? And Satanism is misunderstood? I believe you have been duped.”

    I’m just reading the Bible and seeing what it says, starbakken. Let’s look at the relevant passages in Genesis:

    God makes this statement to Adam:
    “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” – Gen 2:16,17

    The snake makes this statement to Eve:
    “You will not surely die, for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Gen 3:4,5

    God makes one simple claim. They eat of the fruit and they die. The snake claims that they will not die, rather they will have their eyes opened and know good from evil. Read further into the story, and let’s see who’s claims are correct:

    “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked;” – Gen 3:7

    Snake 1, God 0

    “And he (God) said, “Who told you (Adam) that you were naked?” – Gen 3:11

    Snake 2, God 0

    And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” – Gen 3:22

    Snake 3, God 0

    “He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” – Gen 3:22

    Hey, wait a minute! They ate the fruit, and not only have they not died, but if they eat from the other tree, they will live forever??!!

    Snake 4, God 0

    storbakken, I am just reading the text. How exactly have I been duped?

  • 30. Heather  |  June 22, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    Thanks, Karen. Venting can sometimes be good for the soul.

    **Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and all the major religions – but of course the teachers would all be coming from a Christian perspective and teaching that the other religious doctrine is wrong, ** I think this is key. Not only in the book and radio show, but from any fundamentalist perspective. Anything that is ‘other’ is filtered through that fundamentalist lens. With Islam just accepting Jesus as a prophet and nothing else, it doestn’ seem as though that is filtered through a ‘why they believe that,’ but rather ‘here’s how it’s Biblically wrong.’ It’s a biased perspective.

  • 31. HeIsSailing  |  June 22, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    agnosticatheist hints:

    “The whole concept of the evolution of the Christian Devil out of the serpent, stars, and Job’s Satan would make a great post”

    hmmm… I have a skeleton of that article lying around somewhere. Let me see if I can whip something up this weekend. Stay toooooned.

  • 32. storbakken  |  June 23, 2007 at 8:19 am

    God said: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

    We do die. That’s a fact. There is no lie in this statement.

    The devil said: “You will not surely die, for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Gen 3:4,5

    The devil likes to mix lies with truths to fool people. Can you find the lie and the truth in Genesis 3:4,5?

    “And he (God) said, “Who told you (Adam) that you were naked?” – Gen 3:11.

    Being naked is not evil. We were created naked and God said it was good. Rather it was their attempt to hide themselves that showed that they had knowledge that they had done something evil.

    (For a longer discussion on Nakedness and Sin see: http://morefire.wordpress.com/2007/05/25/is-nakedness-sin/.)

    I won’t be able to continue this discussion for some time. I have a big day today and a big week as well. Hope you enjoy your weekend. God bless.

    J

  • 33. Heather  |  June 23, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Storbakken,

    We do die, yes. But the problem is with the phrasing. If someone says, “Don’t do that or you’ll surely die,” the expectation is that the person will die within minutes or hours of committing the act. That’s not what happened in the garden at all. It happened exactly as the snake said — they didn’t ‘surely die’ but died about 900 years later, and they were like gods, knowing good and evil. In fact, that’s exactly what God said: “Now they are like us, knowing good and evil.” And they were kicked out before they could eat from the tree of life and live eternally. Which means that Adam/Eve lacked the ability to live eternally even before they ate of the tree of good and evil.

  • 34. agnosticatheist  |  June 23, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Storbakken,

    I won’t be able to continue this discussion for some time. I have a big day today and a big week as well. Hope you enjoy your weekend. God bless.

    Congrats on your wedding! Have a great day and we’ll continue our chat after your honeymoon. It’s probably not wise to blog during that time :)

    aA

  • 35. HeIsSailing  |  June 23, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    Storbakken sez:

    “God said: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
    We do die. That’s a fact. There is no lie in this statement.

    Storbakken, God makes the implication that they will die upon eating the fruit. But they died 950 years later.

    But, you will say, it all depends on how we interpret this passage. Here is something else to consider. I quoted the Genesis passages using the NIV, which is the default setting at biblegateway.com – I should have been more cautious. Let’s look at some of the other translations of Genesis 2:17 –

    But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (KJV)

    The good ol’ King James indicates that Adam will die day that they eat the fruit. The Hebrew word used for day is ‘yown’, the same word used to describe the days of creation. Let’s look at some more translations:

    “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (NKJV)

    “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (English Standard Version)

    but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (New American Standard)

    but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” (Revised Standard Version)

    but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (American Standard Version)

    But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. (Amplified Bible)

    The word “day” is in each of these translations.

    But we finally get to the NIV –
    but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

    What?? Where did “day” go? Hmmmm… I wonder…

    Why is it, that of all the translations in which God clearly makes that claim that Adam will die the day he eats the fruit, the NIV somehow leaves that little part out?

    Before you tell me that “day” in this case is supposed to mean an age, or general period of time, consider what the snake tells Eve just 14 verses later in the story.

    Using the King James this time,

    For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Gen 3:5

    There is the word ‘day’ again. Same Hebrew word ‘yowm’. What happens in the story? In this instance, they eat the fruit and *immediately* they know good from evil, thus making the word ‘day’ as literal. But are we now to take God’s meaning of ‘day’ just 14 verses earlier as meaning a general long period of time? Why?

    Like I said, I am just reading the text. I am doing my best not to read anything into it. When you just read the text without interpreting it to fit a church creed of original sin, you get a very different story than you heard in Sunday School.

    But don’t answer now. Enjoy your Wedding and Honeymoon!

  • 36. RARARA  |  June 24, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    Adam and Eve is the story of humankind’s spiritual fall from grace. Adam and Eve died spiritually the day they fell from grace.

  • 37. HeIsSailing  |  June 24, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    RARARA, I concede that a Spiritual Death makes much more sense in the whole Biblical context than a physical death. That was the position that I took when I was a Christian. The flow of Genesis 2-3 makes indicates that God is talking about a physical death, but I at least grant that physical death at least gets God off the hook as far as telling falsehoods to Adam. But I at least admit that Spiritual Death is not out of the question, and is also an important element later on when Paul (and St Augustine) develops the Doctrine of Original Sin.

    However consider this. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul is drawing the distinction between death through Adam and Life through Christ. Paul makes an interesting statement:

    But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. – 1 Cor 15:20-22

    I think Paul is drawing a one on one relationship between Adam and Christ here. Christ is the first to have *first* to have risen from the dead, the dead who had fallen asleep starting with the death of Adam. So, if Adam’s death is spiritual death, then Jesus resurrection is spiritual. But that is Christian heresy, isn’t it? I thought Christ rose in the flesh. This passage makes little sense if Adam’s death is spiritual, but Christ’s is physical – so which is it?

    So keeping these textual problems consistent is difficult if you say that Adam’s death is spiritual.

  • 38. Heather  |  June 24, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    **I concede that a Spiritual Death makes much more sense in the whole Biblical context than a physical death. **

    Another difficulty I have with the concept of the spiritual death is, as you say, that’s not how it comes across in the actual set-up. The word itself, and just how it comes across, seems to refer to a physical death. When I add to that the fact that the OT was rather vague on the concept of the afterlife until the book of Daniel, and so the concern was pretty much all in this life, the spiritual death concept loses weight for me.

  • 39. HeIsSailing  |  June 24, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    Yeah, I agree with you Heather. But as a Christian, I felt that the Spiritual Death interpretation made much more sense than the Physical Death. When learned more about the concepts of the afterlife in the Old Testament, and compared it to the passage in 1 Corianthians 15, like I did above – well obviously no interpretation made much sense at that point!!

  • 40. Heather  |  June 25, 2007 at 7:47 am

    **But as a Christian, I felt that the Spiritual Death interpretation made much more sense than the Physical Death.** Which I can understand, because the only way the story still seems to work is if the Spiritual Death portion is used. And that’s almost “twisting” the story to fit a certain theology, rather than letting the story stand as is.

    **When learned more about the concepts of the afterlife in the Old Testament, and compared it to the passage in 1 Corianthians 15** I was in a bookstore this weekend, and out of morbid curiosity, I picked up a book called ‘Hell under Fire’ and started skimming. I figured I could still afford to do this because I’m young and so high blood pressure isn’t that dangerous. ;) But it made mention that the ‘fire and brimstone’ concept of hell was very valid, even in the Old Testament. I was left wondering what Old Testament they were reading. I mean, I don’t think Judaism ever had an afterlife of eternal torment, and the whole point is that one day, Earth will be redeemed as an eternal paradise.

  • 41. randy  |  July 9, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    these wolves in sheep’s clothing need to be expose like self proclaimed false prophet richard w hayes he is a wv grant jr wanna a be grant is richard hayes brother in law keeping the tricks in the family by getting the names and info from people before service and then during service and pretend that god gave them the information just to get your money watch dateline or google their names you will see the scamming that is taking place …

  • 42. Joe  |  July 9, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing the large list of charlatans. They are a fulfillment of Peter and Paul who say many false teachers shall arise in the church and “with feigned words make merchandise of you”–and by whom “the way of the truth will be maligned”.

    They are mentioned specifically in 2 Peter 2 and in Jude—the last book before Revelation. The “Acts of the Apostles” come directly after the Gospels when the church first began—Jude “The Acts of the Apostates” comes at the very end of the church age, before the Fulfillment of Revelation. That there are SO MANY of these guys is a clear sign of the apostasy of the end times for sure.

  • 43. BigHouse  |  July 9, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    And that there have been guys like this for thousands of years rebuts the notion that the end times are near..

  • 44. The de-Convert  |  July 9, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    It also funny that the fingers point in all directions here. I know Hagin/Copeland etc. all thought that Hank Haanegraff is pretty much being used by the devil to attack God’s true work and we can come up with a similar profile for him even though he’s non-charismatic. It is quite a delima but as Proverbs says “every man’s ways are right in his own eyes” :)

  • 45. Joe  |  July 9, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    And that there have been guys like this for thousands of years rebuts the notion that the end times are near..

    I expected that one LOL. There have been charlatans at all times of course. When speaking of “end times” one must remember that it is quantity and frequency that are important. Jesus spoke of earthquakes and storms, etc.—and one is prone to say “but there have always been storms and earthquakes”—but Jesus said it is like a “woman in travail”—labor pains increase, and become closer together. Due to global warming storms are increasing dramatically which cannot be denied. And earthquakes have increased in rapidity and strength also—–there have ALWAYS been huge earthquakes—-it’s just the increase of them that is important.

    The same with false teachers—-there have ALWAYS been charlatans—of course. But the huge increase in them, especially through the charismatic movement is pretty astounding. And a huge reason also is television, which has only been around for 60 some years, and has greatly increased their ability to rake in millions (they had radio before that of course–but TV has been a landfall like never before).

    When you begin to put all of the signs together then you begin to see how close we really are. But this is a thread about charlatans—not the last times. But it is hard for me not to separate the two issues–they are mentioned so much in the Bible concerning the last days.

  • 46. The de-Convert  |  July 9, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Joe,

    I’ll have to do a post on the history of “Jesus is coming soon” issue. It’s quite fascinating.

    Paul

  • 47. cmaglaughlin  |  July 13, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Been where you are- done that. Tried to justify my unbelief. Could not outrun “the Hound of heaven.” It all came together when I realized salvation was of God, not of man. He chooses whom He pleases, and allows everyone else to wallow in their own chosen state of rebellion and unbelief. Jesus said, “all that hear my voice will follow me, and ANOTHER they will not follow.” You guys can’t lose something you NEVER had. Jesus said ALL that the Father has given me, I have and will not lose one. He is not only the ONLY saviour, but He does ALL things well. Perhaps you need to quit committing intellectual suicide and read up on the real Jesus.

  • 48. paleale  |  July 13, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Whee! Another drive by!

  • 49. jeff  |  March 30, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    ISIAIh 41 BRING forth your IDOLS did they PREACH to you see they can’t speak they can’t DO ANYTHING all they do is cause confusion. Jeremiah 10 they nail thier IDOL down like a scarecrow it can’t move cant speak can’t move must be carired these are nothing but the WORK of CON men. spalms 115 graven images have eyes but cant see have ears but cant hear have noses but cant smell and those that make them shall become like them. john 10 jesus christ sais his sheep hear his voice and another voice thy will not follow and if another person tries to preach to them they WILL FLEE from him. jeremiah 5 the priests bear rule on thier own authority what will you do when your judged my word is not inside them. Now here is the kicker john 5 son of man voice goes back in time mathew 16 jesus christ claims to be the son of man. ‎1 cor2 mind of CHRIST preached internally and john 16 sais the spirit of truth comes in the future. Ezekiel 13 lying prophets of ISRAEL my word is not inside them saying god sais god sais god sais wrote hoping mankind would CONFIRM thier WORDS. all of this is EASILY verifiable.

  • 50. jeff  |  May 1, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    ISIAIh 41 BRING forth your IDOLS did they PREACH to you see they can’t speak they can’t DO ANYTHING all they do is cause confusion. spalms 115 and spalms 135 thier IDOLS are FALSE cant speak can’t hear cant smell and those that make them shall become like them. Jeremiah 10 they nail their IDOL down like a scarecrow it can’t move can’…t speak can’t move must be carried these are nothing but the WORK of CON men.john 10 jesus christ sais his sheep hear his voice and another voice thy will not follow and if another person tries to preach to them they WILL FLEE from him. jeremiah 5 the priests bear rule on their own authority what will you do when your judged my word is not inside them. Now here is the kicker john 5 son of man voice goes back in time mathew 16 jesus christ claims to be the son of man.‎1 cor2 mind of CHRIST preached internally and john 16 sais the spirit of truth comes in the future. Ezekiel 13 lying prophets of ISRAEL my word is not inside them saying god sais god sais god sais wrote hoping mankind would CONFIRM their WORDS. all of this is EASILY verifiable.

  • 51. cag  |  May 1, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Jeff, if your gibberish is so verifiable, why are we still waiting for evidence 2000 years along? Do you have any translation of your utterings into English? As it reads there is only one person in the world that can even read your message – you. The only thing about your message that is verifiable is that your words do not convey anything. Even if your native tongue is English, may I suggest an ESL (English as a Second Language) course.

    Stop believing in the unbelievable. Stop trying to convince anybody else in the ridiculous.

  • 52. Mastery Energy Healing  |  May 28, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    God does not exclude anyone. Gods love is in us all.

  • 53. wondering  |  May 31, 2012 at 7:40 am

    What has happened to Marilyn Hickeys husband. We never see him and she is always away travelling and no husband appears a very bad wife. We never hear of her poor adopted son Michael who she left at home while she travelled. Bad adopted mother. She preaches about loving God but forgets her husband and son. Never ever seen Michael in a Christmas photo or hear about his children.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

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Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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