Time for the eighth 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, the Outreach Top 50 #16-20, the Outreach Top 50 #21-25, and the the Outreach Top 50 #26-30. We’ll now look at the Outreach Top 50 #31-35, which includes two churches of interest, both of which you may not have ever heard of:
31. Harvest Christian Fellowship of Riverside, California – Pastored by Greg Laurie. Laurie is a Calvary Chapel alumnus and shares their ideas about spiritual gifts, though it appears that Laurie hasn’t strayed far from the “charismatic lite” position of Calvary Chapel (i.e. they speak in tongues but basically only in private, prophecy is some form of discernment/teaching/situational application of scripture, and the gift of healing = “pray for people and they get healed…often after medical treatment…”). Though this isn’t a huge topic for Laurie, I have found some things he’s said:
31b. Laurie has also preached on Spiritual Gifts here (Part 1, Part 2) where he says some typically “odd” Calvary Chapelisms (i.e. “Christians should not follow signs and wonders, but signs and wonders should follow Christians”, or “quenching the Spirit” is not using your gifts – something he also says here).
31c. Harvest Christian Fellowship has a fairly tame doctrinal statement on the Holy Spirit and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, where they do not teach any sort of doctrine of subsequence (the baptism of the Spirit is a separate occurrence after salvation) or initial evidence (tongues is the sign evidencing the baptism of the Holy Spirit).
General Idea –Greg Laurie is another practical cessationist, which means that his practice is actually better than his doctrine. He doesn’t really say too much that cannot be chalked up to a confusion of terminology (i.e. what he calls “healing”simply is not the type of healing he claims it is), like most Calvary Chapels, and for that I definitely praise the Lord.
32. King Jesus International Ministry in Miami, Florida – Pastored by Guillermo Maldonado. Well, the name should tell you that this isn’t your grandma’s Southern Baptist Church, but as of 2012 it had 12,000 members (and many more than that in attendance); this church shouldn’t be taken lightly. These guys are a straight up, Hispanic Prosperity Gospel Church…and the largest Hispanic church in the United States (Which means that the largest Caucasian church and the largest Hispanic church in the United States are both prosperity gospel churches).
32a. These guys don’t mess around. They’ve got all the standard prosperity gospel boiler plate stuff: claiming an apostolic covering that is built of a network of “apostles”, constant testimonials of people being “healed” from feeling pain or undiagnosed/unconfirmed temporary infirmities, people getting “slain in the Spirit”, people testifying to money miraculously multiplying and getting healed of AIDS (In Africa…disgusting), etc.
Remember, God loves you and has a wonderful plan of blessing and prosperity for your life…
32b. On their home page, there’s currently a link to sign up onto their e-mail list that says “write your primary email to receive supernatural revelation. That’s right; God will speak to you directly through your inbox.
32c. They offer an “in house” ministry training school that teaches, among other things, how to be a prophet and how create money.
32d As all prosperity “ministries”, their resources are not free. If you’d like to hear their stuff, you’d have to order their Five Fold Ministry course or their Chosen Generation Conference audio/teaching.
32e. They have a university called “The University of Supernatural Ministry”, and the inauguration video is on the page here. No theology posted there, but it tells you two things: (1) In the first year the school had 400 students, so they’re not exactly small potatoes, and (2) they plan to send prophets to Antarctica (see if you can spot that in the lady’s prayer). Okay. It’s just funny, but I couldn’t resist. I’m a weak man.
32f. Apostle Guillermo Maldonado is a graduate from Oral Roberts University (well known wolf factory) and has an honorary doctorate from Vision International University. VIsion is an openly charismatic school that is a supporter of the New Apostolic Reformation – they have a whole class on it in their DMin program. As well, they offer a 4 year bachelors with an emphasis in prophetic ministry. and a 3 year degree with a whole course in the charismaniac doctrine of blood covenant (E.W. Kenyon’s horrible book on that “doctrine” is linked in the previous link; he’s a patron saint of the crazy/prosperity side of the Charismatic movement. He taught/was ripped off by Kenneth Hagin [thoroughly documented in this book, a useful excerpt of which is here and a defense against which is here] and Hagin taught/was ripped off by Kenneth Copeland.). Guillermo Maldonado does not have any affiliations or teaching that suggests he’s any sort of moderate charismatic, or even a man of basic discernment.
General Idea – King Jesus International Ministry is the real deal (when it comes to being unashamed heretics). These guys fit the false teacher profile in every way except for one: sexual scandals (at least that I’ve found). There’s a watchdog or two monitoring this ministry, but this church largely flies under the radar of those of us who aren’t Hispanic. Maldonado is well connected, powerful, and a horrific heretic. The influence of Maldonado and this church in the Hispanic community is truly hard to underestimate.
33. Calvary Temple Worship Center in Modesto California – Pastored by Glen Berteau. This church is affiliated with the Church on the Way, so don’t expect the “reformed charismatic” crowd to be here. There’s a fair amount of stuff worth taking notice of online regarding Calvary Temple:
33a. There’s a half hour introduction video to the church here. They discuss their Monday Night Prayer (where “we’ve learned how to praise and then worship God enough to get into the glory of God”), their partnership with the Kings University (i.e. Church on the Way), their “Christian gym” called The House Fitness, their social program called Nineveh Outreach (food distribution, mobile medical and dental, etc.), their media ministry, their expanding multi-site stuff, their addictions recovery, their youth ministry, their sports ministry, their children’s ministry and preschool/school, and at around 23:15 they show some of their guest speakers, many of whom are in the “Who let HIM in?” category (i.e. Steve “I preach in a bathtub” Munsey, #19).
33b. The Monday night prayer meeting has a promo video here, and for those who are familiar with charismatic speech, there’s a whole lot of common cliches.
33c. As for Berteau’s preaching online, he’s doesn’t hold a lot back. Here’s something about receiving miracles from the Exodus 16. Here’s him explaining the “spiritual and prophetic meaning” of Joel 1:4, which apparently has to do with Satan’s “demonic locusts” destroying your dreams, your discipline/heart, your desire, and your destiny (Strange…according to Cindy Jacobs, it’s the Leviathan spirit that destroys marriages. According to Glen Berteau, it’s the locust spirits. I wonder who’s right?). And here, we see the old heresy of positive confession being proudly proclaimed (and the scriptures being strung together absolutely haphazardly). He also says some pretty stupid stuff, like saying that Jesus went to Hell, actually taking his disassembled cross with him, and boasted at the Devil with his cross as a prop. *YIKES*
33d. Finally, Berteau seems to proclaim prosperity theology here and here and here and here and here. Also, along those lines, he shows up on TBN here (around 138:40) and is introduced as a man who led 45,000 people to the Lord in Modesto (in 2005…and Modesto is now a city of 205,000 or so). The real reason for taking notice of that video is because on there, Berteau talks about how Denny Duron led him to the Lord and discipled him.
Who’s Denny Duron? It’s worth noting that Denny Duron is a shameless prosperity preacher (he has often hosted TBN in the past) who has invented something called “The Abishai Anointing”, based on this short book, which basically says that pastors are the “David” and everyone else under them is the “Abishai”, meaning the faithful and selfless servant of the “David” It’s another version of the popular “touch not the Lord’s anointed” teaching that runs throughout charismatic circles. In other words, “The Abishai Anointing” looks like this:
In other news, Denny Duron is no stranger to scandal as well. He has admitted to being part of covering up a teenage sex scandal, though the charges against the defendant were later dropped due to lack of evidence and then the a lawsuit against Denny Duron for emotional damages was dropped. Denny Duron apparently attacked the family of the girl from the pulpit but the court ruled that it’s basically not a crime to do so…and though Duron pressured the family into destroying evidence, they didn’t have to listen to him. Once the evidence was gone, Coach Dennis Dunn was officially off the hook. Coach Dunn left Evangel only a year after the suit against Denny Duron was dropped. I don’t know about you, but keeping close company like Denny Duron suggests that Berteau is a man of rather questionable discernment.
General Idea –At the end of the day, Glen Berteau is definitely part of the Charismatic crowd, though he’s likely a Prosperity Gospel preacher. He’s most certainly a smart guy, but his theology is straight out of the worst of the charismatic literature and portrays a shockingly shallow understanding of scripture.
34. McLean Bible Church of Vienna, Virginia – Pastored by Lon Solomon. This church is an openly cessationist church, right in their doctrinal statement. That’s amazing!
35. Bayside Church of Granite Bay, California- Pastored by Ray Johnston. This church’s claim to fame is that their worship pastor is Lincoln Brewster. Though there’s basically nothing about their position on spiritual gifts/charismatic issues that I could find online, their doctrinal statement is really tame and from that they sound like practical cessationists.
So this is a far shorter post than last week, but it definitely has some interesting people/churches on the list
A question for my readers: Are you starting to see some patterns in these churches and what they teach? I definitely am, but I’ll include those observations in the final post of the “Top 50” series.
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “Boom Boom” Unger