Joel's Army Growing

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Marcia, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. Marcia

    Marcia
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    Could a moderator please close the thread I started on this in the Other Christian Denominations forum? I'd prefer to have this posted here.

    This is a credible article on the growing ranks of Joel's Army, a cultic offshoot of extreme Pentecostalism-Latter Rain movements. This is something all pastors and believers should take note of and be aware of. Please read entire article. Although it starts off talking about Todd Bentley, please do not make this thread a discussion of Bentley.
    Quote:

    ....Tattooed across his sternum are military dog tags that read "Joel's Army." They're evidence of Bentley's generalship in a rapidly growing apocalyptic movement that's gone largely unnoticed by watchdogs of the theocratic right. According to Bentley and a handful of other "hyper-charismatic" preachers advancing the same agenda, Joel's Army is prophesied to become an Armageddon-ready military force of young people with a divine mandate to physically impose Christian "dominion" on non-believers.

    Joel's Army followers, many of them teenagers and young adults who believe they're members of the final generation to come of age before the end of the world, are breaking away in droves from mainline Pentecostal churches. Numbering in the tens of thousands, they base their beliefs on an esoteric reading of the second chapter of the Old Testament Book of Joel, in which an avenging swarm of locusts attacks Israel. In their view, the locusts are a metaphor for Joel's Army.

    ......Despite their overt militancy, there's no evidence Joel's Army followers have committed any acts of violence. But critics warn that actual bloodletting may only be a matter of time for a movement that casts itself as God's avenging army.

    Those sounding the alarm about Joel's Army are not secular foes of the Christian Right, few of whom are even aware of the movement or how widespread it's become in the past decade. Instead, Joel's Army critics are mostly conservative Christians, either neo-Pentecostals who left the movement in disgust or evangelical Christians who fear that Joel's Army preachers are stealing their flocks, even sending spies to infiltrate their own congregations and sway their young people to heresy. And they say the movement is becoming frightening.

    "The pitch and intensity of the military rhetoric of this branch of the global Dominionist movement has substantially increased since the beginning of 2008," writes The Discernment Research Group, a Christian watchdog group that tracks what they call heresies or cults within Christianity. "One can only wonder how long before this transforms into real warfare with actual warriors."
    ===End Quote===


    Source
    http://www.alternet.org/story/96945/?page=entire
     
  2. A2J

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    Wow, I had never heard of them before.

    Thanks for posting this.

    :)
     
  3. pinoybaptist

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    Thank you, Marcia. This is the kind of heresy, if you will, that those who name the Name of Christ should look out for, and sound the alarm about, rather than making other preachers sound heretic who really are not.

    The likes of Koresh armed himself and others and fought back against government. I hope this Joel's "army" thing doesn't grow into an armed movement that imposes itself on Muslims and others through violent means such as the one that the Muslims do, by going to Jerusalem and other Muslim countries and bombing Muslim quarters and their Dome of the Rock in Israel, as avenging locusts of God's army to "free" Israel.

    Scary thought.
     
  4. Gold Dragon

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    When I hear rumours, I like to go to the source and see what all the noise is about. On googling Joel's Army, I come up with a ton of the usual Christian rumour sites that seem to work so hard at bashing other Christians so of course I am skeptical.

    Anyway, the two people that continuously come up are Lou Engle and his ministry called The Call which is a massive solemn assembly for youth that seems to happen twice a year in various cities and operates by word of mouth.

    The other character is Todd Bentley who is a tatooed biker faith healer/vision prophet who was preaching at a charismatic revival meeting known as the Florida Outpouring. He was supposed to be a guest speaker in a Florida church called Ignited Church for 5 days in April but apparently its still going on and was covered on GodTV. ABC Nightline did an "expose" in July that questioned the authenticity of the healings that appears to have lead to Bentley and GodTV "taking a break" from the revival. Both started up again in later in the month. One of Bentley's tatoos says "Joel's Army". GodTV has some of the sermons on their website if you do their free sign up.

    While I do hear a lot of the usual questionable methods of charismatic faith healers, I don't hear a lot of what the rumour sites are saying. They may still be right but I remain skeptical until I see some more evidence.
     
    #4 Gold Dragon, Aug 31, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 31, 2008
  5. Gold Dragon

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    Bentley's website has a Joel's Army Internship application page. This is what they describe an intern does.

     
  6. Marcia

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    I am certainly not trying to scare anyone, but I think there should be heavy concern over this, even if Joel's Army is not as militant as the first articles states.

    Their theology is very much a part of the Latter Rain/Dominionism heresies. There has been somewhat of a merge or overlap with groups such as Joel's Army and the Five-Fold Movement, also called the New Apostolic Reformation (the NAR). This movement believes that the true church must restore the offices of apostle and prophet for Jesus to come back.

    The NAR prophets believe in most cases that their revelation supersedes the Bible and that it does not have to be 100% correct. They are very much into mystical revelations and subjective experiences that convince them they are hearing from God.

    They also believe that one must pray in order for God to "release" his power and be able to do things. This is why they are have the Call, which is an NAR event even though many non-NAR people are involved in it. They believe God cannot act until we pray.

    I will try to post more evidence of their beliefs later.
     
  7. Gold Dragon

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    Thanks. I'm skeptical of most Christian rumour sources for information so the type of evidence I'm looking for is quotes not taken out of context, generally from their own literature or reputable news sources. I do not hold any credibility for Christian "news" sources trying to bash other Christian groups because they disagree with their approach or theology. Those Christian "news" sources may be evidence that certain groups are concerned about "Joel's Army" but are not evidence of the validity of their concern.

    It is unfortunate but I find that gossip and slander tend to run rampant in the internet and non-internet "Christian news" scene.
     
    #7 Gold Dragon, Sep 1, 2008
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  8. Marcia

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    I already knew about the NAR and Joel's Army long before the article I posted above. This past Feb., I attended two workshops on the NAR in Kansas City, where one of the headquarters for this movement is located (Mike Bickle of the Int'l House of Prayer, also known as IHOP).

    A Baptist pastor in that city who has visited the IHOP many times and studied their movement for several years and read their literature (in fact, I think he's writing a book on it with another person) gave both of the workshops. Some of my friends went out to IHOP one evening (I was too tired to go) and heard Bickle in person, and also got a lot of literature there. (But I already knew about NAR and the other related groups several years ago).

    When I say things like this, I don't just go by something on the internet or a questionable Christian source.
     
  9. Marcia

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  10. Marcia

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    GoldDragon, did you notice that the article I posted in the OP is from the Southern Poverty Law Center? Hardly a dubious Christian rumor mill!!

    Did you read the whole article? I strongly suggest it. Here's more from that article:
     
  11. Gold Dragon

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    I am familiar with these three Christian rumour mills which I found in my initial google search.

    I've never heard of the Southern Poverty Law Center but if that article is an example of their "journalism" it seems they took the course in responsible journalism from Christian rumour mills.

    Here is Rick Joyner's website which comes with a statement of faith. Here is an article by Charisma magazine that both praises Joyner and criticizes the authenticity of Joyner's visions. Here is Joyner's response to it which he says is both a positive and inaccurate picture of who he is and what his ministry represents. Not a word of Joel's Army or the militancy mentioned in the rumour articles.

    The closest evidence of a real and organized "Joel's Army" is the stuff I found on Bentley's website which looks like a 4 month discipleship course.

    Maybe there is a real Joel's Army that is dangerous but I have yet to see any real evidence of its existence.
     
    #11 Gold Dragon, Sep 2, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2008
  12. Thinkingstuff

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    I went about studing Pentecostalism and though there are believers in that denomination I came to the overwhelming conclusion that they are heretical. They fall under the same errors as Montanus. This is a good example of why the early church dismissed them as heretical though they held to firm trinitarian doctrine and even Tertullian fell under their auspices.
     
  13. Marcia

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    Apologetics Index is not a rumor mill! It's a very good site with a wide array of articles. I know the man who runs it. He often posts both pro and contra views of certain issues. I do not think the others are rumor mills either.

    You are doing the same thing you accuse other of doing; I'm surprised at this. You are dismissing groups and sites without having the facts and you are acting like the rumor mills you protest!

    The Southern Poverly Law Center is not a Christian organization and furthermore, is very liberal. They started back in the Civil Rights Movement as a law group and fought for the Civil Rights for African Americans. They are known as "watchers" of hate groups and extreme movements like white supremacist and neo-nazi groups.

    http://www.splcenter.org/index.jsp

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Poverty_Law_Center


    Many cultic groups have what seem to be solid statements of faith, and many false teachers do as well. They do not always like to post on their websites what they really believe. I am not sure you read the article I posted. The article does not say that they are like a real army but that some fear that. The article goes on to give further information in a rather neutral way, imo.

    You ignored my post about the pastor in Kansas City who has watched the NAR movement for years and visited one of their main headquarters. He has studied them, their teachings, their literature, etc. He is a very down-to-earth and unassuming person, not an alarmist. Not only that, but I personally know several others in ministry who have been watching this movement. They are not alarmists nor are they affiliated with "rumor mills." I also have read some of the literature.

    I am stating that some of these facts are true but you seem to not believe me. A lot of this I have known for a number of years from firsthand sources.

    Are you aware of the Latter Rain, Manifest Sons of God, Five-Fold, and Dominionist Movements and what they teach? These are not made-up. They existed or exist in some form now.
     
  14. ReformedBaptist

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    As someone who was a "member" of MorningStar (rick said if you went twice you were a member, and I went for almost 3 years, lol) and as one who accomplished 2 of those years in their School of the Spirit (many years ago) the teaching of Joel's Army, the manifest sons of God, et. were taught and believed but not by all. So, to the board I say, Marcia is NOT misrepresenting this movement.

    And Rick Joyner's statement of faith is NOT solid. Here a VERY brief critique:

    I found myself this evening reflecting on days gone by when I was heavily involved with the charismatic/prophetic movement. I spent several years with MorningStar in Charlotte, NC and two years in their School of the Spirit. My wife can testify, I jumped in hands and feet and eyes closed! Recently, I have seen some criticism of the movement in the Reformed circles. So, I poked my head into the movement by visiting MorningStar's website. It has been 10 years now since I have been a part of a movement like that (wow, time flies) and I can honestly tell you, based on watching some videos and reading some things, nothing has changed.

    I did spend the time to read through MorningStar's statement of faith. I am surpised I never noticed it before when I was in the movement, but I guess "doctrine" wasn't that important to me then. I wrote a brief critique of the statement and found what I believe is rank heresy. But you also be the judge. This is not meant to be exhaustive by any means. But perhaps, having been in this movement, the Lord will have me deal with it in more depth someday.

    Why not critique the statement of faith of what is probably the "leading" church in the movement, MorningStar? You can read their statement of faith here MorningStar Ministries : Statement of Faith I would submit the following errors with this movement, aside from the obvious on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, are serious.

    Rick Joyner used to say to us that if we saw error or that the ministry going astray, he prayed we would have the widom to get out. When Rick publically announced many years ago that he saw God the Father, I got out. But what about their public statement of faith?

    1. "When Jesus is lifted up, He will draw all people to Himself. We consider it the primary purpose of the church to esteem and exalt Jesus in every way. It is the focus and devotion of MorningStar Ministries to know and preach Him, and not ourselves." This is an obvious misinterpreation of John 12:32 which speaks of His atoning sacrifice for every tongue, tribe, and nation.

    2. Their statement, "On man" is confusing at best. It seems to allude to the doctrine of original sin, but it is not clear at all. The statements under "On the Atonement" lays further confusion to their beliefs in that they say, "Because all have sinned and are therefore under the sentence of death..." So which is it? When they wrote concerning man, they say, "The first man, Adam, transgressed the command of God, and as God had warned, the process of death entered him and all of his descendants because of that transgression. Therefore, all have sinned and are worthy of the sentence of death." So which is it? Edited to clarify: Are they saying that all have sinned because of Adam's transgression? They seem to be saying that all are under the sentence of death because everyone has sinned, and at the same time saying that all are under the sentence of death because Adam transgressed. So which is it? Using my own judgment having been in the movement I would think they would answer: both.

    3. "Those who trust in Jesus Christ have access to the Throne of Grace by His sacrifice and by His sacrifice alone." You will notice this phrase repeated several times concerning "access to the Throne of Grace" As one who was involved in this church for years, it is most likely their statement is affirming the "manifestations" you see and hear in their videos. They are seeking a "secret place" through the blood of Jesus Christ to access this "Throne of Grace" wherein they completely wrest Hebrews 4:16 from its context and plain meaning, and apply a mystical experience to it.

    4. Their statement on the new birth, or regeneration, is odd at best. They state, "Believing in our hearts that Jesus is the Son of God and in His propitiation made for our salvation results in a regeneration and renewal that constitutes our new birth into new creations." Certainly belief that Jesus is the Son of God is needed. But what they are describing should be the faith given as a gift by the work of regeneration in the heart of man unto believing that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

    "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9.

    Their statements under "On the purpose of faith" is, if I may be bold (but open to be corrected) is rank heresy. They state, "True faith is of the heart and not just the mind (Romans 10:10). God's purpose in requiring faith for salvation is to raise our focus and concentration above the temporal to the One who is eternal." The first part of the statement gives justification to a believing without the mind. (I was there..lol edited to clarify: What I mean is, I was there to hear many times to set one's mind aside and just receive and accept what the "spirit" was doing). The second past of this statement is a denial of justification. God's purpose for faith in Jesus Christ is NOT to "raise our focus and concentration" but to justify the ungodly through Jesus Christ by faith.

    Romans 3:30 "Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith."

    Galatians 3:8 "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed."

    Much more can be said to prove the doctrine of justification by faith alone, but I wanted the you to see what they are doing. After their statement regarding the purpose of faith which I quoted here, they state under the same heading, "Therefore, the gospel that is able to save souls must be preached in the power of the Spirit of God." Again, this is to lay justification for what they are doing "in the Spirit of God" and not to agree with the Scriptures themselves.

    Unless the Lord does it, we will hardly get an audience with these folks to be heard, let alone with the leadership. I am personally amazed at how silent solid, bible-believing churches have been in regards to this movement. And when it is critiqued, its usually a mere reaction to the strange behavior that is seen among them. But the Lord has not left them without some good. They claim, "We do not accept any doctrine which contradicts Scripture." and, "We do not accept any revelation, vision, dream, prophecy or discernment as truth which contradicts Scripture, or cannot be verified by it. We do not believe that any other writings have the same authority as the canon of Scripture."

    Have they not, to whatever degree, just affirmed Sola Scriptura, albeit by practice are denying it? Perhaps it is time by the will of God that someone examine the movement and particularly this church which seems to be at the forefront, and apply their own confession of their faith and test their doctrine and practice by the Scriptures.

    May the Lord have deliver them from the error of their way.


    I think I fixed the typos.

    RB
     
    #14 ReformedBaptist, Sep 2, 2008
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  15. Marcia

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    RB, thanks so much! Sometimes it's really frustrating when you know of a group with dangerous teachings but interest is not high or there is disbelief. So thanks for confirming what I said.
    I hope so! The church needs people like you who have "been there, done that" who can testify and warn others. You mean the one in Charlotte, NC right? My seminary is there and many know about Morningstar and have heard some testimonies of people going there or who went there.


    Thanks for your evaluation of this. This is one thing that many don't understand - the words may be the right words but these groups put a different meaning into the words.



    The false dichotomy between mind and heart is not only found in mysticism but in many cults and cultic groups. And encouragement to turn off the mind or statements that downgrade thinking are extremely common in cults (and in the New Age as well). I always tell people in my talks that if anyone tells them they need to turn off their mind or that their mind is in the way of knowing God, to get away from that person or group. Jesus said to love Him with all our heart, mind, and soul. I write about this in one of my articles on my website to show biblically that we are not to see our hearts (or spirits) and minds separately. The word translated as heart in the OT actually means the total inner person and includes the mind, feelings, and spirit.


    Amen!

    It is disheartening but might be that many are unaware of what is really going on. Thanks for your thoughtful words! Maybe this info will help someone.
     
  16. Gold Dragon

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    I was commenting on their writing style and use of references, which was an observed fact to look like rumour mill writing

    Your description explains their writing style, because they are a rumour mill. The goal of "watchers" is not journalistic integrity but warnings of "potential danger" based on rumour and often using out of context quotations and false associations with little concern for things like substantiation, getting first hand quotations, hearing multiple sides to a story, attempts at objectivity, etc. References in the wikipedia article about them confirm my suspicions.

    I am aware of Latter Rain, Five-fold and Dominionists. Their existence does not mean Joel's Army that is portrayed by these rumour mills exists.

    I believe you when you say you have attended their school and heard these problematic teachings. Can I ask you some questions about that?

    Have you met people who considered themselves part of "Joel's Army"?
    If you have, what do you consider to be their main goals?
    If you have, how would you describe their militancy?

    Thanks!
     
    #16 Gold Dragon, Sep 3, 2008
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  17. Marcia

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    I am not discussing their writing style. Haven't you ever heard of the Southern Law Poverty Center? They are known for their fight against groups like the KKK. They did this when it was very unpopular in the South do so. Also, I know the guy who runs one of the sites, and it is not a rumor mill.

    In fact, please show me how the apologetics index site is a rumor mill.


    I don't think you read what I wrote correctly. I did not say I attended their schools; I said I knew people who had been to one of the NAR hdqtrs. Joel's Army is associated with that movement, or some would say, comes from it. There is no official demarcation and groups here - this is all rather loose-knit, which makes it that much more difficult to pin down and follow. But these groups believe that they are the true church that must take over the world in order for Jesus to return. It is an extreme form of Kingdom Now beliefs.

    Please show me how apologeticsindex site is a rumor mill.
     
    #17 Marcia, Sep 3, 2008
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  18. Gold Dragon

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    Flipped through their website and it looks like they base most of their comments either on unsupported statements or statements based entirely from the words of critics. While the analysis of the thoughts of critics is important, fair journalism should also look at the words of proponents.

    Many of there articles read like their Manifest Sons of God where it consists entirely of conjecture with little if any supported evidence, particularly from direct sources.

    Their "About Us" page admits they are not neutral. They say they try to present multiple views, even from proponents of the groups they attack. I unfortunately did not see very much of that in my small sample size which may be unfair to them. I admit that they are better than the average rumour mill. But still a rumour mill non-the-less.

    I was talking to ReformedBaptist when I mentioned the attending their school thing.
     
    #18 Gold Dragon, Sep 3, 2008
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  19. Marcia

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    I realize now you were asking RB those questions, so sorry about that!

    Apologetics Index is not neutral - it's run by a Christian. However, he does gather a lot of info on a wide range of topics. He does not endorse all those links or sites but usually stays away from anything known as a bad source.

    Quit calling them a rumor mill! You really have no grounds for this, especially as you have admitted you only looked at a small part of the site. They are a resource site and in no way fit the profile of a rumor mill.

    Really, I think you should apologize for this. It seems unlike you to make such unfair accusations.
     
  20. Marcia

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    This is not a rumor mill.
     

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