Saturday, December 7, 2013

book review—The Path (Fire on the Mountain) by Rick Joyner

massive self-aggrandizing

For a while, I had thought to call this review “disney theology”, because of lines like this, “The familiar things you are looking for to give you bearings are not the same, and you are not the same. Therefore, your guidance must come from your heart, your spirit.” (Kindle Locations 156-157); “After a few minutes, Mary walked up to Elijah and looking him directly in the eyes asked, “Are you the real Elijah?” “What does your heart tell you?” he replied. After a minute, Mary answered with less boldness, “You really are Elijah. I’m sorry, but it’s just hard to believe that we would be so special to have you come to help us.” (Kindle Locations 1076-1080). We needs to get guidance from our hearts? This girl's heart tells us this guy is the real Elijah? That is one of the main problems with this book—subjective standards like feelings and “your heart” are set up as our guides, and the objective standard of what the Bible says is at best secondary.

But after a while, another bit of something started to become more obvious—the way the book boosts the egos of certain people with rhetoric like this, “ “Every one of these is a messenger. They are being prepared to shake cities and nations with the power of the message they will be given. In time, they will capture the attention of the entire earth, and everyone on earth will marvel at them. These will be ‘the mighty ones’ that Enoch prophesied would come. They are alive now, and they are starting to find this path,” Elijah concluded, and walked away.” (Kindle Locations 1725-1728). “He (Elijah) stopped , hesitated for a moment, and then turned and said, “I have never seen so many in one group who are called to be the mighty ones that Enoch talks about. Every one of these is called to walk in more power than I did. Obviously the time is now close.”” (Kindle Locations 844-846).

One thing statements like those brings up is, where does Enoch say anything about these “mighty ones”? The Bible says precious little about Enoch, and gives only one prophecy of his, mentioned in Jude. It is about Christ returning with His saints, which seems to be supported by Revelation 19. Joyner, though, spins this differently, “You are a forerunner of the forerunners. You are to help prepare those who will prepare the way for the King.” (Kindle Locations 269-270). This notion of preparing the way for the Lord is made much of in the book, which combined with his rhetoric about how great these coming “mighty ones” will be, leads to one conclusion—Joyner is teaching dominionism. It goes by a few different names—Joel's Army, Manifest Sons of God, Elijah Company, Seven Mountains, et al—but the notion is that the church has to essentially take over the world before Jesus will return.

Now, that's questionable and important, but I came to think that the main message is something else—that this is self-aggrandizing for Joyner. Look at what happens in the book. Joyner has the prophet Elijah hanging around him and his group, approving of everything Joyner is teaching them. Joyner has a group of people following him about, hanging on every word he says, some asking questions but none really challenge anything he's teaching them, and they constantly heap praise on him and what he's teaching. Enoch gives him a staff made from wood from the Tree of Life itself, which is suppose to represent some kind of authority Joyner now has. This is self-aggrandizing on a pretty large scale..

There are also reasons to be concerned about the nature of this story, if Joyner is claiming it's some kind of prophetic vision.

For example, early on Elijah tells him, ““You must also have the living water. You must never let it out of your sight again. You must drink from it as soon as you begin to thirst.” (Kindle Locations 164-165). This living water is usually found in a stream close to the path they are suppose to take. But later, when they start going uphill, this stream disappears from sight. Enoch tells him, “You must always stay close to the living waters, and they are always flowing, but here they are not on the surface. As you go into higher places like this you will often have to dig for the living water. The higher you go the deeper you may have to dig for them, but they will be near you. They will always be close to the path you are to walk,” (Kindle Locations 2489-2491). So, there's a contradiction—Joyner is not to let the water from his sight, but it's underground so he can't see it. These two things contradict each other.

Another has to do with the staff Enoch gave to him. The group's prophetic kid says this to Joyner, “You think your rod is new and freshly cut, but it is much older than you can imagine. It seems like it is new and fresh because of the life that is in it, and life will stay in it as long as you walk with God and do not depart from His path. This was cut from the Tree of Life before the world was formed, and it was sized just for you at that time.” (Kindle Locations 2629-2631), but a moment later he tells him in private, “Your rod was a bud that was given to you when you were very young in the Lord,” (Kindle Locations 2662-2663). Those two statements contradict each other.

One of the big problems, then, is how we are to understand what this book is? If it is simply an allegory, then such contradictions could be noted as maybe being some clumsiness on the author's part, but not serious problems. But if Joyner claims that this book is a record of a prophetic vision, things like he's claimed to have written before, then we have serious problems, 'cause such contradictions would not exist in a godly prophetic vision.

Honestly, this book is very disappointing, and doesn't even succeed at being interesting reading. It's like Joyner just mailed it in. There's not much new here, and reading obviously stilted conversations gets very dull very quickly. Despite an occasional good nugget, overall the last thing the reader should do is act like the people in the group, who just take whatever Joyner says without discernment. If you do read this book, do it as the Bereans in Acts, looking to the Bible to see if what this book is saying is what is taught in the Bible.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

death does not whitewash

Christian Leaders Mourn Loss, Honor Memory of Paul Crouch

I left a comment there earlier, but it is now gone. My comment was something along the lines that, while I give condolences to this man's family and those close to him for his passing, and hope that he found grace and repentance, the truth is Paul Crouch taught and spread the worst of the worst in modern heresies, bad theologies, and aberrant practices, and his life and 'ministry' are not thing to hold up as examples.

Although Charisma has, for some reason, seen fit to remove such a comment, that doesn't take away from the truth in it. Simply because someone has died does not mean that we can or should whitewash their lives. There may be a place for grieving with those who are grieving in this situation, but spreading fictions is only giving false hope.

There is little in the memory of Paul Crouch that deserves honor. How many people have been and still are hell-bound because they believed the false gospels spread by the false teachers on his station? How many people have lost their money because they gave it to some TBN teacher who promised them 10-fold or 100-fold from God if they gave until it hurts? How many thought they were going to be healed if they did whatever some TBN fake healer told them to do?

No, grieve for him and those close to him, but Paul Crouch was no hero. The main thing to gain from his life is what NOT to do, what NOT to teach. Perhaps the main thing one could mourn is that one who had such potential influence wasted it on robbing widows to fatten his own accounts, living in luxury while begging from the poor for even more.