A Charismatic Primer Part 6 – The Outreach Top 50 (#21-25)

Time for the sixth installment in this series.  So far, we’ve looked at the New Apostolic Reformation, the Outreach Top 50 #1-5, the Outreach Top 50 #6-10, the Outreach Top 50 #11-15, and the Outreach Top 50 #16-20.  We’ll now look at the Outreach Top 50 #21-25, which includes three churches of interest:

21.  The Rock Church and World Outreach Center of San Bernardino, Ca – Pastored by Jim Cobrae.  These guys are also an overtly charismatic church (a signs and wonders church) that is likely a prosperity gospel church.  Their church website doesn’t say a ton, but they have an “in house” bible college that offers some very telling courses.

Once you search through their sermon archives though, the “absolute giveaway” stuff isn’t too hard to find:

21a.  This video tells you where The Rock Church is on the issue of healing (within the first 4 minutes).  At around 5:15 the guy (Al Furey, a disciple of Frank Huston: prosperity preacher,founder of Hillsongs Australia and homosexual/pedophile sex offender – read this and this and this…) tells about his first healing where he “rebuked the spirit of arthritis” in a concert pianist (and instantly healed him). Around 7:00 he says that Exodus 30:22-25 is about the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  At 7:30 he lies about the “Hebrew” word for “anoint” (He says it’s “mash” as apposed to “mashach”) and does some typical charismatic word study fallacies for the next 2 minutes.  He quotes from the “Ben Campbell Johnson” translation of the Bible (Otherwise known as “the interfaith Bible“, written by a crazy liberal ecumenist…?!?).  The guy then goes on from 13:00 on, hacking Exodus 30 to bits in ways that simply will make you need a bucket.  At around 39:30, he asks everyone who’s sick and believing God to be healed to stand, and the whole congregation stands up.  At around 41:30, he claims that God doesn’t ever send sickness. Around 42:40, he gets everyone who is sick to lay their hands on themselves and then pray the prayer of the preacher, and at 44:00 he explains how everyone can discover if their “healing” has occured; try to move whatever you couldn’t move before (if you couldn’t raise your arm, try to raise it and then praise the Lord for the healing you’ve received).

At 45:00 he leads the people to curse their sicknesses and infirmities, and leads them in a magic formula prayer.  At 47:50 he rebukes the demons of sugar diabetes and carpal tunnel syndrome.

At 49:50, he gets a message from the Holy Spirit to tell everyone to lay hands on the person behind them and heal them.

At 51:00 they start the testimonials and the microphone goes out. The healings, in order, were:

– Stomach issues (?).

– Sinus issues (?).

– No pain in a rotator cuff.

– “Problems” with breathing; a guy who couldn’t get a full lung of air now can.

– Malnutrition (?!?).

– A guy whose infant daughter got healed, even though the father doesn’t really know.

– Asthma (“I can breathe better now”).

– A guy “feels” his pancreatic cancer healing.

– A guy was healed of Cancer May 16th (but he wasn’t healed tonight and says nothing about it).

– A guy in pain due to knee surgery who has no pain now.

– A healing of a “broken heart”.

– loss of pain.

– loss of pain in the shoulders due to tendonitis.

– loss of “venetian blinds in the eye” after retinal surgery.

– A lady was healed of tumors through chemo and 2 surgeries, then she was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer (for which she received chemo) and now her bloodwork is positive (also didn’t happen tonight).

– Lack of pain from a car accident.

– At 62:00 they close down the testimonials and pray for the salvation of those who are there.

General Idea –I could watch more sermons, but that 1 video is a gold mine.  The Rock Church is a loud and proud, name it and claim it charismatic church that has invites in prosperity preachers (or men who are disciples of prosperity preachers).  I haven’t seen any overt “prosperity” teaching from the actual pastors there (I’ve only looked at a few sermons), but they’re likely a “prosperity gospel” church.

22. Harvest Bible Chapel of Rolling Meadows, Ill. – Pastored by James McDonald.  This church would be a major player in the reformed charismatic camp and are thankfully, quite tame (and doesn’t have a whole lot of info online):

22a.  Their official statement about tongues is basically cessationist…I mean, they actually refer to themselves as “non-charismatic”.

22b.  Their official definition of spiritual gifts is basically cessationist.

22c.  Their spiritual gifts inventory test doesn’t even include tongues, interpretation of tongues, or healing…but strangely includes “craftsmanship” (and I’ve addressed this exegetical sloth here).

General Idea –I would suggest that Harvest is a church that portrays themselves as “open but cautious” but is actually functionally cessationist (though they’d clearly claim they aren’t).  The only reason that they think they’re non-cessationists is because of some errant definitions of certain spiritual gifts…but if far bigger fish than me couldn’t straighten James MacDonald out on T.D. Jakes and the Trinity, good luck straightening him out on his own personal doctrinal confusions.

MacDonald and Jakes

23.  Flatirons Community Church of Lafayette, Colorado – Pastored by Jim Burgen.  This church doesn’t have enough information on their website to make any sort of guess as to where they stand.  Their lack of any doctrinal statement on their about page gives me little reason to believe that these guys know why churches actually have a doctrinal statement, and their sermon page give me reason to think these guys spend more time on the cover art than the actual sermon.  With these guys, who KNOWS where they stand?  I’d guess that these guys would be practical cessationists, but who knows?

24.  Free Chapel of Gainesville, Georgia – Pastored by Jentezen Franklin.  This church doesn’t have enough information on their website to give a definitive answer as to where they are on the charismatic spectrum, but there are clear indicators that these folks are charismatic, if not subtle prosperity-gospel preachers..

24a.  Their church store includes a DVD with an interview of Christine Caine, a prophetess from Hillsongs Australia (an shockingly open prosperity church).  Caine is also a main speaker at their women’s conference.

24b.  These guys have a school of discipleship that teaches classes on generational curses, offensive prayer and positive confession (pg. 10-11 of the pdf).

24c.  Jentzen Franklin has written a new book called “The Spirit of Python”.  There are some informative videos here, and the first chapter of the book is here (Yikes!).  Let’s just say that Franklin shows signs of sadly typical charismatic hermeneutics/exegesis where biblical interpretation involves prayer, a blindfold and a concordance.

24d.  Though they appear to not be a prosperity church, they also don’t seem to have a doctrinal statement at all, and I couldn’t find anything on their website about spiritual gifts, tongues, prophesy, or any positional papers.  Still, Jentezen Franklin speaks at conferences alongside rather notorious prosperity preachers and that is highly suspicious…well, I guess we should give Jentezen Franklin the benefit of the doubt; perhaps he doesn’t know that Creflo Dollar is a heretic, or maybe sharing the stage with Creflo Dollar (among other prosperity preachers) isn’t the same as endorsing his horrible theology…?!?

Perhaps the moon landing was faked by Oscar Leroy as well…but it’s rather hard to believe…

Oscar

General Idea –I would suggest that Free Chapel is a church that portrays themselves as “charismatic” but is actually very charismatic, if not an outright prosperity gospel church (seeing that they proudly associate with prosperity preachers).  This church warrants a closer look, but you’ll likely have to buy stuff to actually find any real information out.

25.  Mariners Church of Irvine, California – Pastored by Kenton Beshore.  Their website doesn’t include a lot of information, and their doctrinal statement definitely makes them look like practical cessationists.

So there we go!  We’re half way there!

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “No, Oscar didn’t actually fake the Moon Landing” Unger

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13 thoughts on “A Charismatic Primer Part 6 – The Outreach Top 50 (#21-25)

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  11. If you cannot verify your concerns about a church, I’d advise you to leave it off your list. Flatirons Community Church is an exceptional, God centered, true-to-the-gospel church that leaves out the weirdness of religiosity; including the mentioning, let alone the practice of discontinued spiritual gifts. I would also suggest that if you are truly curious, listen to a few messages from our pastors. However, discovering the truth about the church before discrediting it doesn’t appear to be your agenda.

    • Well, the list isn’t mine; it’s the list of Outreach Magazine. It’s not a list of charismatic churches. It’s a list of the 50 largest churches in America in 2012.

      I’d dare suggest that you read what I actually wrote about Flatirons.

      I didn’t say anything to discredit the church, but only to make a simple observation that the website makes the church look alarmingly shallow. The only doctrinal statement I could find was on the about page:

      Our Values

      Acts 2:42-47

      1. Biblical Authority… “A Better Way to Do Life”

      We will present God’s Word with grace and truth. We recognize its authority and our need to adjust to it. (John 1:14)

      2. Relational Intimacy… “Grace and Truth”

      No matter what disconnected you from God, Jesus is the only way to reconnect with Him. (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6, 8)

      3. Authentic Community…”Me Too”

      Pursuing truth together is the best opportunity for truly living out and applying that truth. Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-35

      4. Gifted Service… “Purpose and Personality”

      We recognize that God distributes Spiritual Gifts (time, talents, treasure) to equip the Church in order to serve as Christ to the world. (Romans 12, Galatians 5)

      5. Excellent Environments… “Bump into Jesus”

      We aren’t in the business of changing people. Rather, we embrace our role as creating a space where people can work out their stuff with Jesus. (Colossians 3:17)

      6. Relational Evangelism… “Come and See”

      We will intentionally leverage our influence in the world for the purpose of introducing people to the awesome love of Christ. (Mark 2, Matthew 28)

      ***

      I can understand if your feelings are hurt if some random stranger from another country says something untrue about your church. I didn’t suggest that Flatirons was charismatic; rather I said that “I’d guess that these guys would be practical cessationists, but who knows?”

      I searched the entire website for things like “tongues” and “prophecy”, and a half dozen other charismatic keywords (plus some other stuff like “eschatology”, “end times”, “sovereignty”, etc.). I came up with absolutely nothing on the entire site outside of passing references in blog posts or pdf documents. A church of what, 15,000 people and NO teaching on any significant doctrine whatsoever?

      Flatirons may be the best church in the world, but the website makes it look abysmally shallow…but your point is taken.

      Feel free to pass on a few of the best sermons that the church has to offer. Since you go there and know the church, I’ll trust you to point me in the direction of the teaching of meaty truth that I couldn’t find. I’ll take you up on anything you offer.

      Honest.

      Now are you willing to give me a chance to be proven wrong?

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