Monday, February 4, 2013

book review--The Call by Rick Joyner

tastes funny

There is an impression I get when I read the things written by modern prophets, like this book by Joyner, "The Call". It's not a subtle thing, though it's not an easy thing to correctly label. The best way I can think of to compare it to is "taste". Things like "The Call" taste funny. For me, comparing biblical prophetic books like Isaiah, Ezekial, and Zechariah to things like "The Call" is like comparing a fine, quality cheese to processed, plastic-wrapped cheese slices, or a well-prepared grilled steak to a hastily-prepared fast-food burger.

But while I think there is something to that impression, it is only an impression, only subjective. There are objective reasons, though, for a reader who practices biblical discernment to question the things Joyner has written in this book.

One is found in the Introduction, where Joyner writes, "Never are we told that prophecy is infallible, which is why we must judge prophecy" (p 22); however, Deuteronomy 18 says otherwise, "21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him."

In chapter 1, Wisdom, some kind of personification of Jesus, speaks against examining oneself. "You began to look at yourself. This will always bring confusion, making it harder for you to hear Me...You must learn to abide in My presence without becoming self-conscious and self-absorbed..." (p 31); however, in I Corinthians 11 we are told to examine ourselves when we partake of the Lord's Supper, and in II Corinthians 13 Paul tells them to examine and test themselves, to see if they are really in the faith, because they have been listening to false apostles.

In chapter 2, he gives a bizarre interpretation to Revelation 13, which he says came to him from Jonah. " If you will wake yourself up, repent and go the way that He sends you, you will not have to be swallowed by the beast... As you read in that chapter (Revelation 13), this beast is given to make war with the saints and to overcome them. This will happen to all who do not repent." (p 48); however, that is not what Revelation 13 says, "5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain." The beast will be against the saints and will to overcome them, but the unrepentent will worship it.

In another place, he claims that the Lord said to him, "...I can command the heavens and they obey Me, but I cannot command love. Love commanded is not love at all." (p 60); however, what did Christ say was the first and greatest commandment? To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. What did He say was the second? To love your neighbor as yourself. Love isn't just commanded, but is it commanded in the two greatest commandments.

Lot tells Joyner, "What the Lord did to Sodom, He did as an example so that others would not have to be destroyed in this way." (p 42); however, II Peter 2 tells us something a bit different, "6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, a making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;". Peter's statement, made through the Spirit's inspiration, is rather the opposite of Joyner's.

One of the more interesting statements comes from Wisdom, "The wages of sin is death, and the wages of righteousness are peace, joy, glory, and honor. All are about to receive their worthy wages." (p 56). The first part is not the problem, but the part about "the wages of righteousness" is rather bothersome biblically. Consider this, from Romans 4, "What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,". And this, from Romans 3, "21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," I have not found the phrase "wages of righteousness" anywhere in the Bible; in fact, "wages of righteousness" seems an oxymoronic statement. If we were to receive our wages, we would receive death. God's righteousness is not a wage, but a gift received by faith.

Another strange statement from Wisdom is this, "The truth that I am sending will not just convict My people of their sin, but will cleanse them from their sin." (p 175); however, we who believe in Christ already have been cleansed from sin by His blood, as Ephesians 1 says, "7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,"

To finish off this review, here's a bit of something Jonah tells him, "When you go through that door, you will enter the times when the Lord's power and glory will be released on the earth such as He has not done since the beginning of time. All of heaven has been waiting for the things you are about to see." This is simply an example of what seems to be the fundamental premise of the book--how important Joyner is. Because in his visions he goes through a door, something unprecedented is going to happen. Wisdom tells him all kinds of things, so that he'll be able to tell everyone else. Even when he gets rebuked, it only serves to emphasize his importance.

To sum up, we have good reason to think that the visions Joyner claimed to have receive and written about in this book are less than divine. The way the people in his visions mishandle biblical passages and statements is a sure clue that something is rotten in them. There is much sounder biblical teaching out there.

No comments: