A ‘Prophet’ Rebukes Dr. John MacArthur

Dr John MacArthur being rebuked by a Scottish 'prophet' named John O'Niell (Source: YouTube/Screengrab)On Sunday August 16, 2015, a Scottish ‘prophet’ named John O’Neill rebuked pastor John MacArthur on stage at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, after Dr MacArthur had returned from a summer break and where O’Neill claimed to be a prophet sent by GOD to bring a message that MacArthur’s “doctrine of cessation is in error.” Please view the video hereunder to see the “drama” as it unfolded before O’Neill was summarily escorted out of the worship centre by the GCC’s security team!

The transcript: “You have grieved the Holy Spirit of God! Your doctrine of cessation is in error. He has been grieved, John MacArthur. I have been sent here to tell you, you are sharpening the sword and they are cutting each other. You do not believe in prophets, you are looking at one! God have mercy on you and teach you the truth. Your doctrine of cessation is in error, John MacArthur! It’s in error! I have been sent to tell you it’s in error! For the unbeliever: repent of your sin! [Unintelligible…] You don’t have time! Jesus Christ is coming back soon! God bless you, people of God! God bless you people!” ~ The Gospel Herald Opinion

Due to the above video being removed on Youtube we hereby attach a further video from SO4J-TV ~ updated February 10, 2016

Whilst much has been already written on this particular incident, and whilst the two proponents in the camps of the cessationists and the charismatic continuanists have been going back and forth for decades trying to quantify and qualify their position in this debate, this blog post will look at the two groups from a pure Biblicist viewpoint and make an impartial judgment using the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42) contained in the Holy Bible (AV1611). So was Scotsman John O’Neill who confronted Dr John MacArthur a true ‘prophet’ sent by GOD?

1. Are there prophecies and prophets in the church today?

The conflict surrounding cessationism (the ceasing of sign gifts) and continuanism (the continuing of sign gifts) is due to the presupposition from which each camp comes from in how the 1 Corinthians 12-14 Scriptures are interpreted.

We read from the prophet Joel about the last days, in which last days we are presently in which started after the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we read,

28  And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29  And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 
30  And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 
31  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. 
32  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. ~ Joel 2:28-32

In the Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary pertaining to Joel 2:28-32 we read,

The promise began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, and it was continued in the converting grace and miraculous gifts conferred on both Jews and Gentiles. The judgments of God upon a sinful world, only go before the judgment of the world in the last day. Calling on God supposes knowledge of him, faith in him, desire toward him, dependence on him, and, as evidence of the sincerity of all this, conscientious obedience to him. Those only shall be delivered in the great day, who are now effectually called from sin to God, from self to Christ, from things below to things above. ~ Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on e-Sword

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ was authenticated by the laying down of the foundation by the apostles and prophets as we can read,

20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; ~ Ephesians 2:20

The ekklesia is founded on the doctrine of Christ which has been delivered by the prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles of the New Testament. At the time during the first century as there was no Bible as we have today and the apostles had not reduced GOD’s Word to writing yet, the Gospel would have also been declared by the prophetic word. Therefore, the apostles and those who were scattered abroad and went every where preaching the word as we read in Acts 8:4 would have given the prophecies as ‘truth tellers’ of the past events, fulfilled events and future events still to be fulfilled through the leading and headship of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, even today evangelists, pastors, teachers and even those who witness to unbelievers are in a sense being prophets as ‘truth tellers’ of the Holy Scriptures if being lead by the Holy Spirit. From Scripture it would therefore appear that the only appointed ‘office’ of persons mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 that does not exist today, which have ‘ceased’, are the apostles. As stated here before the initial apostles were called by GOD to authenticate the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and they were appointed to death, as it is written,

9  For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. 
10  We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
11  Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
12  And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
13  Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
14  I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. ~ 1 Corinthians 4:9-14 

The remaining “. . . and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” (Eph. 4:11) are still present in the New Testament ekklesia,

12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: ~ Ephesians 4:12,13 [my emphasis in bold and throughout]

We are reminded in Scripture by our Lord Jesus Christ and the Lord’s apostles Peter and John that there will be many “false Christs” and “false prophets” (see Matthew 7:15, 24:11,24; Mark 13:22; Luke 6:26; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1) who would “arise,” “be among people” and “gone out into the world.” As there would be “false prophets” it also stands to reason that there would be true prophets for the apostle Paul wrote ca. A.D. 60-62 to “the saints which are at Ephesus” (Eph. 1:1) saying, Christ “gave some prophets” (Eph. 4:11) and the apostle Paul also previously confirmed the same when he wrote ca. A.D. 55 “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours;” (1 Cor. 1:2), and said, for it is written,

27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29  Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 
30  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 
31  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:27-31

The apostle Paul confirms that “God hath set some in the church [ekklesia] . . . secondarily prophets, . . .” and Paul then goes on and asks questions of certain gifts, in which is included, “are all prophets?” The obvious answer to each of the questions would be “No”, for the apostle Paul had already recorded that GOD has only set some and not everyone to receive certain gifts, but he also stresses that the saints should covet earnestly the best gifts. Would the saints receive these gifts that they desire to have? If GOD determines that they should receive a specific gift, whether they desire it or not, it is the Holy Spirit who gives as He will, as we read concerning the diversities of gifts by the same Spirit (see 1 Cor. 12:1-10), and the Holy Spirit divides to each man, as it is written,

11  But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:11

So from GOD’s Word we see that a man – not mentioning only the apostles – but it says a man could have several gifts as the Holy Spirit of GOD divides to every man severally as He will. The ekklesia – who are the called out ones, congregation, assembly which is known as “church” – is mentioned as a body and each part as members have need of the other in order to have a living function together, working in harmony and unity, as we read,

17  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19  And if they were all one member, where were the body? 
20  But now are they many members, yet but one body. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:17-20

Every part of the body has need of the other, even the more feeble parts are necessary, and this is where we have problems and divisions within the ekklesia today for there is no true unity. In the Gospel of John our Lord Jesus Christ says, for we read,

24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. ~ John 4:24

If there are so many different doctrines and teachings within the ‘institutional and contemporary local denominational churches’ we must question who have given us these doctrines and teachings? The Holy Spirit does not contradict or cause division and if we are required to worship GOD in spirit and in truth, surely we must have the same Spirit and there can therefore not be many truths! Truth is not subjective, but objective! There can only be ONE TRUTH! Back in the mid first century the problems of today were already being addressed by the apostle Paul which problems were already playing out back then, as we read,

9  God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 
10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment
11  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 
12  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 
13  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? ~ 1 Corinthians 1:9-13

Is the present day ekklesia all speaking the same thing? No. Are there divisions among us? Yes. Are we perfectly joined together? No. With the same mind? No. And the same judgment? No. Are there contentions among us? Yes. The modern church of today is a spiritual cripple, it is disjointed and just as every one back then were saying “I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ”, so ‘professing Christians’ are saying today I am of John Calvin; and I of Jacobus Arminius; and I of George Whitfield, of Charles Spurgeon, of John Knox, of John Wesley, of Charles Wesley, of Leonard Ravenhill, of John MacArthur, of John Piper, of Ray Comfort, of Kirk Cameron, of Paul Washer, of Rick Warren, of T.D. Jakes, of Benny Hinn, of Ellen G. White, of Joel Osteen, of Creflo Dollar, of Joyce Meyer, of Paula White, of T.B. Joshua, of Pastor Chris of Nigeria, of Jesse Duplantes, of the charlatans on TBN and GodTV, and so on, and so on, . . . By your customs and traditions of men you make the Word of GOD of none effect (see Mark 7:13) and you divide Christ! This is idolatry making your favourite pastor or teacher or theologian your golden calf! We are not commanded to follow the aforementioned men and women. Our faith is upon the foundation of the Bible apostles’ doctrine as Paul says,

1  Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:1

So what is the signs of a New Testament ekklesia prophet? It certainly is NOT what one would see coming out of the mainstream Pentecostal-Charismatic-Word of Faith-Movements. There is a form of prophecies that the PCWoF Movements are peddling where they are prophesying extra-biblical revelation adding to the Scriptures when the canon of Scripture is closed. We have a sure prophecy within Scripture where GOD warns about adding to and diminishing from His Word, as we read,

2  Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. ~ Deuteronomy 4:2

32  What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. ~ Deuteronomy 12:32

5  Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
6  Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. ~ Proverbs 30:5,6

18  For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. ~ Revelation 22:18,19

This is sadly done by men who self appoint themselves in the ‘offices’ of apostle and prophet to be seen and admired of men. These men are generally the health and wealth prosperity-gospel preachers who preach that ‘mighty men of God’ should be prosperous, healthy, wealthy and lacking nothing, and these are the ‘prophets’ who are the one’s who normally prophesy over their church members and teach a ‘name-it-and-claim-it’ heretical doctrine. The problem is that no one tests against the Word of GOD what is being prophesied! Scripture tells us to test all spirits, as we see in the first epistle general of John written in the late first century,

1  Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. ~ 1 John 4:1

GOD also gives an extremely severe warning against prophets that say they represent Him when they have not been commanded to speak for GOD, as we read,

14  Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
15  Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. ~ Jeremiah 14:14,15

After all, the apostle Paul to the Corinth ekklesia encourages the spiritual gift of prophecy, as we read,

1  Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:1

He says that “he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort” (1 Cor. 14:3) and further in Chapter 14 the difference between speaking in tongues and prophesying is compared, where the distinction is made that by speaking in tongues it is a sign not to those who believe, but those who believe not, and vice versa concerning prophesying, as we read,

22  Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:22

So from GOD’s written Word it is evident that prophecy does find its place as a spiritual gift in the ekklesia for by prophesying which serves the believer as a gift to reach unbelievers who can come to repentance and worship GOD, as we read,

24  But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
25  And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:24,25

The prophesying here is not extra-biblical-further-revelation-jargon, but prophesying the great Truths of the Holy Scriptures that the indwelling Holy Spirit makes known to the prophet through the preaching and teaching of GOD’s Word! What i am saying can be summed up by Matthew Henry on verses 22, 24 and 25, quote:

Would it not make Christianity ridiculous to a heathen, to hear the ministers pray or preach in a language which neither he nor the assembly understood? But if those who minister, plainly interpret Scripture, or preach the great truths and rules of the gospel, a heathen or unlearned person might become a convert to Christianity. His conscience might be touched, the secrets of his heart might be revealed to him, and so he might be brought to confess his guilt, and to own that God was present in the assembly. Scripture truth, plainly and duly taught, has a wonderful power to awaken the conscience and touch the heart. ~ Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on e-Sword

Now therefore, was ‘prophet’ John O’Neill in or out of line to publically bring a “message from GOD” and rebuke Dr John MacArthur? It is reported that MacArthur had commented to his congregation after the event that if O’Neill was a prophet he would not have acted like that. Then how should he have acted? The only way to have tested the veracity of O’Neill being a prophet with a message was to adhere to what Scripture tells us. If GOD had in fact sent O’Neill to lovingly rebuke MacArthur, then MacArthur, the GCC congregation and the security team would have done well to have listened to what O’Neill had to tell MacArthur as a ‘sent messenger.’ If O’Neill was not truly sent by GOD, but was acting out of a ‘revengeful’ spirit to openly rebuke MacArthur due to MacArthur’s public Strange Fire Conferences, or MacArthur’s doctrine of cessationism, or the like, then it would have been wise also to have tested what O’Neill had to say. We see that our Lord Jesus Christ openly rebuked the apostle Peter with even sterner words, saying, “Get thee behind me, Satan:” (see Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33) and the apostle Paul publically withstood the apostle Peter to the face (see Galatians 2:11), so was O’Neill in line to do likewise to MacArthur?

The answer is two-fold. Firstly, as we have performed an exegetical review of Scripture we can determine from the foregoing whether O’Neill was being a New Testament ekklesia prophet, for Scripture tells us, as we can read,

29  Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 
30  If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 
31  For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 
32  And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 
33  For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:29-33

There had to be a plurality of prophets, two or three, that would have confirmed that GOD was speaking through the Holy Spirit and that it was not a false prophet masquerading as a messenger of GOD. For previously, we read and quoted that by prophesying “he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort” (1 Cor. 14:3). For the prophets would each take turns to “prophesy one by one” “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets” for if they are truly speaking by the Holy Spirit the others would judge to see if what is being said is True and confirm the same. Hence, the false prophets would speak into the air and be found liars when a righteous judgment is made being lead of the Holy Spirit! This is why GOD and His Word should be feared and revered lest you speak in vain, be seen to blaspheme and found to be liars and lying against the Holy Spirit (see Acts 5 – Ananias and Sapphira)! See also the severe warning of prophets that prophesy lies as mentioned in Jeremiah 14:14,15 as an example above.

And Secondly, whilst O’Neill did not meet the criteria of having a plurality of prophets prophesying for the edifying of the ekklesia (Eph. 4:12), we cannot dispel and call him a ‘false prophet’ for he could have brought a loving rebuke to MacArthur as a single messenger prophet as we find in the Old Testament, for GOD can will as He purposes. O’Neill’s ‘correction’ could also have been brought in accordance with the New Testament, for we read,

16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16,17

5  Open rebuke is better than secret love. 
6  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. ~ Proverbs 27:5,6 

It should also be noted that in the very act of preaching sermons and engaging in street-preaching evangelism we are uttering prophecies still to be fulfilled as prophets of GOD! We are ‘truth tellers’ of Scripture.

The whole contention of cessationism and continuanism rests on a faulty premise and interpretation of a portion of Scripture from 1 Corinthians 13:8-13, which reads as follows,

8  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 
9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 
10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 
11  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 
12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:8-13

This contentious portion of Scripture is making a distinction of charity (love) never failing and that it is everlasting, but when the perfect time comes of meeting the Lord Jesus Christ we will not have need of prophecies which fails in comparison to charity, neither will tongues profit anything as they will cease in comparison to everlasting charity, and even the knowledge that we have now will vanish away compared to the charity that never fails! All the spiritual gifts profit nothing if they are done without charity, as we read concerning prophecy,

2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:2

The knowing and prophesying in part now will be fully known when the perfect time comes and the knowing and prophesying will be done away with as we will not have any need of them any longer. Paul uses a further comparison with the analogy of a child maturing to a man. The  prophecies, tongues and knowledge is in comparison to an immature child, and the fullness of meeting the Lord is compared to the maturity of a man. The immature things are put away when the fullness has come. Now we only know in part, but meeting Christ “then shall I know even as also I am known.”

A further summary by Matthew Henry in respect of 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 reads as follows, quote:

Charity is much to be preferred to the gifts on which the Corinthians prided themselves. From its longer continuance. It is a grace, lasting as eternity. The present state is a state of childhood, the future that of manhood. Such is the difference between earth and heaven. What narrow views, what confused notions of things, have children when compared with grown men! Thus shall we think of our most valued gifts of this world, when we come to heaven. All things are dark and confused now, compared with what they will be hereafter. They can only be seen as by the reflection in a mirror, or in the description of a riddle; but hereafter our knowledge will be free from all obscurity and error. It is the light of heaven only, that will remove all clouds and darkness that hide the face of God from us. To sum up the excellences of charity, it is preferred not only to gifts, but to other graces, to faith and hope. Faith fixes on the Divine revelation, and assents thereto, relying on the Divine Redeemer. Hope fastens on future happiness, and waits for that; but in heaven, faith will be swallowed up in actual sight, and hope in enjoyment. There is no room to believe and hope, when we see and enjoy. But there, love will be made perfect. There we shall perfectly love God. And there we shall perfectly love one another. Blessed state! how much surpassing the best below! God is love, 1John 4:8, 1John 4:16. Where God is to be seen as he is, and face to face, there charity is in its greatest height; there only will it be perfected. ~ Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on e-Sword

Therefore, MacArthur is not entirely exonerated from being corrected even if it was by a stern rebuke from ‘prophet’ John O’Neill, for Scriptures confirm that there are New Testament ekklesia prophets today. We just do not see a whole host of them in the modern ‘institutional and contemporary local denominational churches’ of the 21st century, for the ministry of the Holy Spirit is being severely quenched by congregations which are merely passive spectators in ‘church buildings’ and in the Pentecostal-Charismatic-Word of Faith-Movements you have the other extreme where the majority of churches are doing everything contrary to what Scripture teaches.

2. Have the miraculous sign gifts ceased? or do they continue today?

We know that the cessationists, like Dr John MacArthur, agree that there are spiritual gifts as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12-14 which are in operation today, but they believe the sign gifts of prophet, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues, and the gift of healings and miracles ceased in accordance with 1 Corinthians 13:8-13. The reason cessationists would believe this to be the ‘facts’ is because they hold to a faulty premise and interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 as afore-stated.

I stress, i do not hold to the cessationist position neither do i hold to the continuanist position, or to how both camps peddle their doctrine and teachings, but as before mentioned i hold to the pure Biblicist position and the apostles’ doctrine contained in the Holy Bible (AV1611).

I certainly do agree that there is Strange Fire (see Lev. 10:1; Num. 3:4, 26:61) being offered before the LORD which GOD did not command, when it comes to certain unbiblical practices in the Pentecostal-Charismatic-Word of Faith-Movements that blasphemes GOD’s Holy Name by their very actions. And there is certainly also Strange Fire that is being offered in many evangelical protestant institutional-contemporary-denominational churches of today!

In Scripture we are told to do all things orderly. In 1 Corinthians 14:40 the apostle Paul says, as we read, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” In the very preceding verse, Paul tells us,

39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:39

This is simple and clear, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul who is called to authenticate the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ through the will of God (see 1 Cor. 1:1) says, “… covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.” This statement is spoken to the brethren (saints) in the ekklesia (church).

The Scriptures teach that “the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (1 Cor. 12:7), and we can read further as the Scriptures explain how the gifts are given by the Spirit, as it is written,

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:8-14

It is therefore left to the Holy Spirit to give spiritual gifts to born-again believers for the edification of the ekklesia which is the one body which is Christ, and with the greater gifts one would need to exercise more humility so that the prideful spirit would not hinder the working of each member in the unity of the body, as we read,

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:25-27

If speaking with tongues and interpretations and the gifts of healing were not for the ekklesia of today then the apostle Paul would not have asked the following questions and encouraged the coveting of the best gifts, as we read,

30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:30,31

The answer to each of the above questions are “No.” Some receive as the Spirit will. In Chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul makes the distinction between speaking with unknown tongues and prophesying. Paul says that he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not unto men, but unto GOD, for no man understands him (see v.2). Paul then says that he that speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself, but he that prophesieth edifieth the church (ekklesia) (see v.4). Paul then says that he would that ye all (ye = plural and “all”, that is stressing that “everyone”) spoke with tongues, as we read the actual verses,

5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? ~ 1 Corinthians 14:5,6

Paul says that he has spoken in tongues more than “ye all” (see v.17) and although he says that he would rather speak five words with his own understanding than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue (see v.19), he goes on and says that speaking in tongues is as a sign to those that believe not (see v.22).

This is where the Pentecostal-Charismatic-Word of Faith-Movements get it all totally wrong and are in great error. They go totally contrary to verses 23, 27 and 28 with their “babel” or “babbling” in unintelligible gibberish tongues with no interpretations which are a cacophony of sounds, shrieks and noises that are supposed to be “unknown tongues”, but are far from it! It is a spirit of pride that drives them to speak in babbling tones out of fear of not being seen as having ‘true spirituality!’ As a result of their actions and their violations of the following Scriptures, it leaves them “mad?”,

23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? . . .

27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:23,27,28

To this day there are missionaries who speak foreign languages in distant lands and interpretations are also performed. The reason we do not see more of proper language tongues being spoken in the ekklesia is that the Holy Spirit has been grieved in many respects through unbelief that it does not take place today and also by the false performances of the gifts! And what is performed by the continuanists is a very poor unbiblical display of gibberish, babbling, cooing and at times various animal noises. This results in what the cessationists term Charismatic Chaos, which is exactly what it is, being unbiblical and heretical!

Many of today’s ‘faith healers’ and ‘miracle workers’ are deceiving charlatans who are more interested in putting on televised performances akin to circus acts with their signs and lying wonders. What comes to mind is Todd “Biker Boots” Bentley who says he was instructed by the ‘holy spirit’ to kick certain people with cancer in their stomachs. His “BAM”-healing charades were certainly not biblical and it is definitely another spirit that told Bentley to do that, but certainly not the Holy Spirit of GOD! In one word, Bentley’s actions were: DEMONIC! Other unbiblical performances that make a mockery of the gifts of the Holy Spirit can be seen at these links, which are not an exhaustive collection of the wicked charlatan brigade:

In view of what GOD’s Holy Word truly teaches, we suggest Dr John MacArthur and the cessationist camp revisit their position and stance in this regard, and where necessary recant their teachings. We also suggest that the Pentecostal-Charismatic-Word of Faith-Movements who are teaching a false gospel and performing unbiblical spiritual acts of the gifts, they too should recant their teachings!

We need to get back to the first century ekklesia where the Holy Spirit leads all proceedings under the Headship of our Lord Jesus Christ and which looked decidedly way different to what masquerades as “church” today, as we read,

26  How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:26

We need to be brutally honest. There are Christians who meet week after week in ‘church buildings’ that are passive and non-participating due to the way that the meeting is conducted through the ‘pastor’ and ‘clergy’, where every member is not functioning as they ought to by the leading of the Holy Spirit and under the Headship of our Lord Jesus Christ. The ‘meetings’ are devoid of the ministry of the Holy Spirit! We Christians largely have depended on being sermonized by various doctrines and teachings for decades on end and still remain babes in Christ lacking maturity. Christians are not transformed by hearing sermons – expository or topical – week after week. We are transformed by regular spiritual encounters with our Lord Jesus Christ and those who do preach Him are called to preach Christ and not information about Him! The spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12-14 are available as the Holy Spirit will to every member functioning in open-sharing, Spirit-inspired teaching, prophesying ekklesia meetings by the leading and Headship of our Lord Jesus Christ! This is how the ekklesia should look like,

4  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 
5  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 
6  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 
7  Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 
8  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 
9  Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11  Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12  Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13  Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14  Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16  Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. ~ Romans 12:4-16

The power of the Holy Spirit appears to be ‘boxed’ in the ekklesia meetings through grievance and quenching of Him. However, it is good to know that GOD is still in the business of performing healings and miracles as many of us can testify to His sovereign grace . . .

Soli Deo Gloria

_______________

Here are some previous related blog posts:

> Have We Really Been Doing It By The Book? (Part 1 ~ April 27, 2011)

> The Calf Path¹ (Part 2 ~ April 28, 2011)

> Church ~ The Ekklesia of God (Part 3 ~ April 29, 2011)

> A Spiritual House (May 13, 2011)

> “Why” Some People Quit Going to Church (June 4, 2013)

> Christian, Are You Playing Church? (October 19, 2015)

> Doctrines, Dogmas and Denominations cause Divisions! (November 23, 2015)

  • This blog post was amended on December 11, 2015 to include a heading and by adding in a few more names of ‘men’ followed in the institutional contemporary local denominational churches.
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Open-air Preaching

A SKETCH OF ITS HISTORY AND REMARKS THEREON

By Charles H. Spurgeon

GHSTHERE ARE some customs for which nothing can be pleaded, except that they are very old. In such cases antiquity is of no more value than the rust upon a counterfeit coin. It is, however, a happy circumstance when the usage of ages can be pleaded for a really good and Scriptural practice, for it invests it with a halo of reverence. Now, it can be argued, with small fear of refutation, that openair preaching is as old as preaching itself. We are at full liberty to believe that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, when he prophesied, asked for no better pulpit than the hillside, and that Noah, as a preacher of righteousness, was willing to reason with his contemporaries in the shipyard wherein his marvelous ark was builded.

Certainly, Moses and Joshua found their most convenient place for addressing vast assemblies beneath the unpillared arch of heaven. Samuel closed a sermon in the field of Gilgal amid thunder and rain, by which the Lord rebuked the people and drove them to their knees. Elijah stood on Carmel, and challenged the vacillating nation with “How long halt ye between two opinions?”

Jonah, whose spirit was somewhat similar, lifted up his cry of warning in the streets of Nineveh, and in all her places of concourse gave forth the warning utterance, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” To hear Ezra and Nehemiah “all the people gathered themselves to “ether as one man into the street that was before the water gate.” Indeed, we find examples of open-air preaching everywhere around us in the records of the Old Testament.

It may suffice us, however, to go back as far as the origin of our own holy faith, and there we hear the forerunner of the Saviour crying in the wilderness and lifting up his voice from the river’s bank. Our Lord Himself, who is yet more our pattern, delivered the larger portion of His sermons on the mountain’s side, or by the seashore, or in the streets. Our Lord was to all intents and purposes an openair preacher. He did not remain silent in the synagogue, but He was equally at home in the field. We have no discourse of His on record delivered in the chapel royal, but we have the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon in the Plain; so that the very earliest and most divine kind of preaching was practiced out-of-doors by Him who spake as never man spake.

There were gatherings of His disciples after His decease, within walls, especially that in the upper room; but the preaching was even then most frequently in the court of the Temple, or in such other open spaces as were available. The notion of holy places and consecrated meetinghouses had not occurred to them as Christians; they preached in the Temple, or in such other open spaces as were available. but with equal earnestness “in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”

It would be very easy to prove that revivals of religion have usually been accompanied, if not caused, by a considerable amount of preaching out-of-doors, or in unusual places. The first avowed preaching of Protestant doctrine was almost necessarily in the open air, or in buildings which were not dedicated to worship, for these were in the hands of the papacy. True, Wycliffe for a while preached the Gospel in the church at Lutterworth; Huss and Jerome and Savonarola for a time delivered semi-Gospel addresses in connection with the ecclesiastical arrangements around them; but when they began more fully to know and proclaim the Gospel, they were driven to find other platforms.

The Reformation when yet a babe was like the new-born Christ, and had not where to lay its head, but aOpen-air 1 company of men comparable to the heavenly host proclaimed it under the open heavens, where shepherds and common people heard them gladly. Throughout England we have several trees remaining called “gospel oaks.” There is one spot on the other side of the Thames known by the name of “Gospel Oak,” and I have myself preached at Addlestone, in Surrey, under the far-spreading boughs of an ancient oak, beneath which John Knox is said to have proclaimed the Gospel during his sojourn in England. Full many a wild moor and lone hillside and secret spot in the forest have been consecrated in the same fashion, and traditions still linger over caves and dells and hilltops where of old time the bands of the faithful met to hear the Word of the Lord.

It would be an interesting task to prepare a volume of notable facts connected with open-air preaching, or, better still, a consecutive history of it. I have no time for even a complete outline, but would simply ask you, where would the Reformation have been if its great preachers had confined themselves to churches and cathedrals ? How would the common people have become indoctrinated with the Gospel had it not been for those far-wandering evangelists, the colporteurs, and those daring innovators who found a pulpit on every heap of stones, and an audience chamber in every open space near the abodes of men?

All through the Puritan times there were gatherings in all sorts of out-of-the-way places, for fear of persecutors. “We took,” says Archbishop Laud, in a letter dated Fulham, June, 1632, “another conventicle of separatists in Newington Woods, in the very brake where the king’s stag was to be lodged, for his hunting next morning.” A hollow or gravelpit on Hounslow Heath sometimes served as a conventicle, and there is a dell near Hitchin where John Bunyan was wont to preach in perilous times. All over Scotland the straths and dells and vales and hillsides are full of covenanting memories to this day. You will not fail to meet with rock pulpits whence the stern fathers of the Presbyterian church thundered forth their denunciations of Erastianism, and pleaded the claims of the King of kings. Cargill and Cameron and their fellows found congenial scenes for their brave ministries amid the mountains’ lone rents and ravines.

What the world would have been if there had not been preaching outside of walls, and beneath a more glorious roof than these rafters of fir, I am sure I cannot guess. It was a brave day for England when Whitefield began field-preaching. When Wesley stood and preached a sermon on his father’s grave, at Epworth, because the parish priest would not allow him admission within the (so-called) sacred edifice, Mr. Wesley writes: “I am well assured that I did far more good to my Lincolnshire parishioners by preaching three days on my father’s tomb than I did by preaching three years in his pulpit.”

Wesley writes in his journal, “Saturday, 31 March, 1731. In the evening I reached Bristol, and met Mr. Whitefield there. I could scarce reconcile myself at first to this strange way of preaching in the fields, of which he set me an example on Sunday; having been all my life (till very lately) so tenacious of every point relating to decency and order, that I should have thought the saving of souls almost a sin, if it had not been done in a church.” Such were the feelings of a man who in after life became one of the greatest open-air preachers that ever lived!

Open-air 2Once recommenced, the fruitful agency of field-preaching was not allowed to cease. Amid jeering crowds and showers of rotten eggs and filth, the immediate followers of the two great Methodists continued to storm village after village and town after town. Very varied w ere their adventures, but their success was generally great. One smiles often when reading incidents in their labors. A string of pack horses is so driven as to break up a congregation, and a fire engine is brought out and played over the throng to achieve the same purpose. Hand-bells, old kettles, marrowbones and cleavers, trumpets, drums, and entire bands of music were engaged to drown the preachers’ voices.

In one case the parish bull was let loose, and in others dogs were set to fight. The preachers needed to have faces set like flints, and so indeed they had. John Furz says: “As soon as I began to preach, a man came straight forward, and presented a gun at my face; swearing that he would blow my brains out, if I spake another word. However, I continued speaking, and he continued swearing, sometimes putting the muzzle of the gun to my mouth, sometimes against my ear. While we were singing the last hymn, he got behind me, fired the gun, and burned off part of my hair.

After this, my brethren, we ought never to speak of petty interruptions or annoyances. The proximity of a blunderbuss in the hands of a son of Belial is not very conducive to collected thought and clear utterance, but the experience of Furz was probably no worse than that of John Nelson, who coolly says, “But when I was in the middle of my discourse, one at the ouside of the congregation threw a stone, which cut me on the head: however that made the people give greater attention, especially when they saw the blood run down my face; so that all was quiet till I had done, and was singing a hymn.”

I have no time further to illustrate my subject by descriptions of the work of Christmas Evans and others in Wales, or of the Haldanes in Scotland, or even of Rowland Hill and his brethren in England. If you wish to pursue the subject these names may serve as hints for discovering abundant material; and I may add to the list The Life of Dr. Guthrie, in which he records notable open-air assemblies at the time of the Disruption, when as yet the Free Church had no places of worship built with human hands.

I must linger a moment over Robert Flockhart of Edinburgh, who, though a lesser light, was a constant one, and a fit example to the bulk of Christ’s street witnesses. Every evening, in all weathers and amid many persecutions, did this brave man continue to speak in the street for forty-three years. Think of that, and never be discouraged. When he was tottering to the grave the old soldier was still at his post. “Compassion to the souls of men drove me,” said he, “to the streets and lanes of my native city, to plead with sinners and persuade them to come to Jesus. The love of Christ constrained me.”

Neither the hostility of the police, nor the insults of papists, Unitarians, and the like could move him; he rebuked error in the plainest terms, and preached salvation by grace with all his might. So lately has he passed away that Edinburgh remembers him still. There is room for such in all our cities and towns, and need for hundreds of his noble order in this huge nation of London—can I call it less?

No sort of defense is needed for preaching out-of-doors; but it would need very potent arguments to prove that a man had done his duty who has never preached beyond the walls of his meetinghouse. A defense is required rather for services within buildings than for worship outside of them. Apologies are certainly wanted for architects who pile up brick and stone into the skies when there is so much need for preaching rooms among poor sinners down below. Defense is greatly needed for forests of stone pillars, which prevent the preacher from being seen and his voice from being heard; for high-pitched Gothic roofs in which all sound is lost, and men are killed by being compelled to shout till they burst their blood-vessels; and also for the willful creation of echoes by exposing hard, sound-refracting surfaces to satisfy the demands of art, to the total overlooking of the comfort of both audience and speaker.

Surely also some decent excuse is badly wanted for those childish people who must needs waste moneyOpen-air 4 in placing hobgoblins and monsters on the outside of their preaching houses, and must have other ridiculous pieces of popery stuck up both inside and outside, to deface rather than to adorn their churches and chapels: but no defense whatever is wanted for using the Heavenly Father’s vast audience chamber, which is in every way so well fitted for the proclamation of a Gospel so free, so full, so expansive, so sublime.

The great benefit of open-air preaching is that we get so many newcomers to hear the Gospel who otherwise would never hear it. The Gospel command is, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” but it is so little obeyed that one would imagine that it ran thus, “Go into your own place of worship and preach the Gospel to the few creatures who will come inside.” “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in”— albeit it constitutes part of a parable, is worthy to be taken very literally, and in so doing its meaning will be best carried out.

We ought actually to go into the streets and lanes and highways, for there are lurkers in the hedges, tramps on the highways, street-walkers and lane-haunters, whom we shall never reach unless we pursue them into their own domains. Sportsmen must not stop at home and wait for the birds to come and be shot at, neither must fishermen throw their nets inside their boats and hope to take many fish. Traders go to the markets; they follow their customers and go out after business if it will not come to them; and so must we. Some of our brethren are prosing on and on to empty pews and musty hassocks, while they might be conferring lasting benefit upon hundreds by quitting the old walls for a while, and seeking living stones for Jesus.

I am quite sure, too, that if we could persuade our friends in the country to come out a good many times in the year and hold a service in a meadow, or in a shady grove, or on the hillside, or in a garden, or on a common, it would be all the ketter f or the usual hearers. The mere novelty of the place would freshen their interest, and wake them up. The slight change of scene would have a wonderful effect upon the more somnolent. See how mechanically they move into their usual place of worship, and how mechanically they go out again. They fall into their seats as if at last they had found a resting place; they rise to sing with an amazing effort, and they drop down before you have time for the doxology at the close of the hymn because they did not notice it was coming.

What logs some regular hearers are! Many of them are asleep with their eyes open. After sitting a certain number of years in the same old spot, where the pews, pulpit, galleries, and all things else are always the same, except that they get a little dirtier and dingier every week, where everybody occupies the same position forever and forevermore, and the minister’s face, voice, tone are much the same from January to December -you get to feel the holy quiet of the scene and listen to what is going on as though it were addressed to “the dull cold ear of Death.”

As a miller hears his wheels as though he did not hear them, or a stoker scarcely notices the clatter of his engine after enduring it for a little time, or as a dweller in London never notices the ceaseless grind of the traffic; so do many members of our congregations become insensible to the most earnest addresses, and accept them as a matter of course. The preaching and the rest of it get to be so usual that they might as well not be at all. Hence a change of place might be useful; it might prevent monotony, shake up indifference, suggest thought, and in a thousand ways promote attention and give new hope of doing good. A great fire which should burn some of our chapels to the ground might not be the greatest calamity which has ever occurred, if it only aroused some of those rivals of the seven sleepers of Ephesus who will never be moved so long as the old house and the old pews hold together.

Besides, the fresh air and plenty of it is a grand thing for every mortal man, woman and child. I preached in Scotland twice on a Sabbath day at Blairmore, on a little height by the side of the sea, and after discoursing with all my might to large congregations, to be counted by thousands, I did not feel onehalf so much exhausted as I often am when addressing a few hundreds in some horrible black hole of Calcutta, called a chapel. I trace my freshness and freedom from lassitude at Blairmore to the fact that the windows could not be shut down by persons afraid of drafts, and that the roof was as high as the heavens are above the earth. My conviction is that a man could preach three or four times on a Sabbath out-of-doors with less fatigue than would be occasioned by one discourse delivered in an impure atmosphere, heated and poisoned by human breath, and carefully preserved from every refreshing infusion of natural air.

I once preached a sermon in the open air in haying time during a violent storm of rain. The text was, “He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth,” and surely we had the blessing as well as the inconvenience. I was sufficiently wet, and my congregation must have been drenched, but they stood it out, and I never heard that anybody was the worse in health, though, I thank God, I have heard of souls brought to Jesus under that discourse. Once in a while, and under strong excitement, such things do no one any harm, but we are not to expect miracles, nor wantonly venture upon a course of procedure which might kill the sickly and lay the foundations of disease in the strong.

Do not try to preach against the wind, for it is an idle attempt. You may hurl your voice a short distance by an amazing effort, but you cannot be well heard even by the few. I do not often advise you to consider which way the wind blows, but on this occasion I urge you to do it, or you will labor in vain. Preach so that the wind carries your voice toward the people, and does not blow it down your throat, or you will have to eat your own words.

There is no telling how far a man may be heard with the wind. In certain atmospheres and climates, as for instance in that of Palestine, persons might be heard for several miles; and single sentences of wellknown speech may in England be recognized a long way off, but I should gravely doubt a man if he asserted that he understood a new sentence beyond the distance of a mile. Whitefield is reported to have been heard a mile, and I have been myself assured that I was heard for that distance, but I am somewhat skeptical. Half a mile is surely enough, even with the wind, but you must make sure of that to be heard at all.

Heroes of the Cross -here is a field for you more glorious than the Cid ever beheld when with his brave right arm he smote the paynim hosts. “Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?” Who will enable us to win these slums and dens for Jesus ? Who can do it but the Lord? Soldiers of Christ who venture into these regions must expect a revival of the practices of the good old times, so far as brickbats are concerned, and I have known a flowerpot to fall accidentally from an upper window in a remarkably slanting direction. Still, if we are born to be drowned we shall not be killed by flowerpots.

imagesCAWFJZUYUnder such treatment it may be refreshing to read what Christopher Hopper wrote under similar conditions more than a hundred years ago. “I did not much regard a little dirt, a few rotten eggs, the sound of a cow’s horn, the noise of bells, or a few snowballs in their season; but sometimes I was saluted with blows, stones, brickbats, and bludgeons. These I did not well like: they were not pleasing to flesh and blood. I sometimes lost a little skin, and once a little blood, which was drawn from my forehead with a sharp stone. I wore a patch for a few days, and was not ashamed; I gloried in the cross. And when my small sufferings abounded for the sake of Christ, my comfort abounded much more. I never was more happy in my own soul, or blessed in my labors.”

I am somewhat pleased when I occasionally hear of a brother’s being locked up by the police, for it does him good, and it does the people good also. It is a fine sight to see the minister of the Gospel marched off by the servant of the law! It excites sympathy for him, and the next step is sympathy for his message. Many who felt no interest in him before are eager to hear him when he is ordered to 1eave off, and still more so when he is taken to the station. The vilest of mankind respect a man who gets into trouble in order to do them good, and if they see unfair opposition excited they grow quite zealous in the man’s defense.

As to style in preaching out-of-doors, it should certainly be very different from much of that which prevails within, and perhaps if a speaker were to acquire a style fully adapted to a street audience, he would be wise to bring it indoors with him. A great deal of sermonizing may be defined as saying nothing at extreme length; but out-of-doors verbosity is not admired; you must say something and have done with it and go on to say something more, or your hearers will let you know.

“Now then,” cries a street critic, “let us have it, old fellow.” Or else the observation is made, “Now then, pitch it out! You’d better go home and learn your lesson.” “Cut It short, old boy,” is a very common admonition, and I wish the presenters of this advice gratis could let it be heard inside Ebenezer and Zoar and some other places sacred to long-winded orations. Where these outspoken criticisms are not employed, the hearers rebuke prosiness by quietly walking away. Very unpleasant this, to find your congregation dispersing, but a very plain intimation that your ideas are also much dispersed.

In the street, a man must keep himself alive, and use many illustrations and anecdotes, and sprinkle a quaint remark here and there. To dwell long on a point will never do. Reasoning must be brief, clear, and soon done with. The discourse must not be labored or involved, neither must the second head depend upon the first, for the audience is a changing one, and each point must be complete in itself. The chain of thought must be taken to pieces’ and each link melted down and turned into bullets: you will need not so much Saladin’s saber to cut through a muslin handkerchief as Coeur de Lion’s battle-axe to break a bar of iron. Come to the point at once, and come there with all your might.

Short sentences of words and short passages of thought are needed for out-of-doors. Long paragraphs and long arguments had better be reserved for other occasions. In quiet country crowds there is much force in an eloquent silence, now and then interjected; it gives people time to breathe, and also to reflect. Do not, however, attempt this in a London street; you must go ahead, or someone else may run off with your congregation. In a regular field sermon pauses are very effective, and are useful in several ways, both to speaker and listeners, but to a passing company who are not inclined for anything like worship, quick, short, sharp address is most adapted.

In the streets a man must from beginning to end be intense, and for that very reason he must be condensed and concentrated in his thought and utterance. It would never do to begin by saying, “My text, dear friends, is a passage from the inspired Word, containing doctrines of the utmost importance, and bringing before us in the clearest manner the most valuable practical instruction. I invite your careful attention and the exercise of your most candid judgment while we consider it under various aspects and place it in different lights, in order that we may be able to perceive its position in the analogy of the faith. In its exegesis we shall find an arena for the cultured intellect, and the refined sensibilities. As the purling brook meanders among the meads and fertilizes the pastures, so a stream of sacred truth flows through the remarkable words which now lie before us. It will be well for us to divert the crystal current to the reservoir of our meditation, that we may quaff the cup of wisdom with the lips of satisfaction.”

There, gentlemen, is not that rather above the average of word-spinning, and is not the art very generally in vogue in these days? If you go out to the obelisk in Blackfriars Road, and talk in that fashion, you will be saluted with “Go on, old buffer,” or “Ain’t he fine? My eye!” A very vulgar youth will cry, “What a mouth for a tater!” and another will shout in a tone of mock solemnity, “Amen!” If you give them chaff they will cheerfully return it into your own bosom. Good measure, pressed down and running over will they mete out to you. Shams and shows will have no mercy from a street gathering.

But have something to say, look them in the face, say what you mean, put it plainly, boldly, earnestly, courteously, and they will hear you. Never speak against time or for the sake of hearing your own voice, or you will obtain some information about your personal appearance or manner of oratory which will probably be more true than pleasing. “Crikey,” says one, “wouldn’t he do for an undertaker! He’d make ’em weep.” This was a compliment paid to a melancholy brother whose tone is peculiarly funereal. “There, old fellow,” said a critic on another occasion, “you go and wet your whistle. You must feel awfully dry after jawing away at that rate about nothing at all.” This also was specially appropriate to a very heavy brother of whom we had aforetime remarked that he would make a good martyr, for there was no doubt of his burning well, he was so dry.

It will be very desirable to speak so as to be heard, but there is no use in incessant bawling. The best street preaching is not that which is done at the top of your voice, for it must be impossible to lay the proper emphasis upon telling passages when all along you are shouting with all your might. When there are no hearers near you, and yet people stand upon the other side of the road and listen, would it not be well to cross over and so save a little of the strength which is now wasted?

A quiet, penetrating, conversational style would seem to be the most telling. Men do not bawl and halloa when they are pleading in deepest earnestness; they have generally at such times less wind and a little more rain: less rant and a few more tears. On, on, on with one monotonous shout and you will weary everybody and wear out yourself. Be wise now, therefore, O ye who would succeed in declaring your Master’s message among the multitude, and use your voices as common sense would dictate.

In a tract published by that excellent society “The Open-Air Mission,” I notice the following:

QUALIFICATIONS FOR OPEN-AIR PREACHERS
  1. A good voice.
  2. Naturalness of manner.
  3. Self-possession.
  4. A good knowledge of Scripture and of common things.
  5. Ability to adapt himself to any congregation.
  6. Good illustrative powers.
  7. Zeal, prudence, and common sense.
  8. A large, loving heart.
  9. Sincere belief in all he says.
  10. Entire dependence on the Holy Spirit for success.
  11. A close walk with God by prayer.
  12. A consistent walk before men by a holy life.

If any man has all these qualifications, the Queen had better make a bishop of him at once, yet there is no one of these qualities which could well be dispensed with.

Where Are The Men of God?

O Father in Heaven, move men to stand up for the TRUTH!

Ministerial Confessions

By Horatius Bonar (1808 – 1889)

We have been carnal and unspiritual. The tone of our life has been low and earthly. Associating too much and too intimately with the world, we have in a great measure become accustomed to its ways. Hence our spiritual tastes have been vitiated, our consciences blunted, and that sensitive tenderness of feeling has worn off and given place to an amount of callousness of which we once, in fresher days, believed ourselves incapable.

We have been selfish. We have shrunk from toil, difficulty and endurance. We have counted only our lives, and our temporal ease and comfort dear unto us. We have sought to please ourselves. We have been worldly and covetous. We have not presented ourselves unto God as “living sacrifices,” laying ourselves, our lives, our substance, our time, our strength, our faculties, our all, upon His altar. We seem altogether to have lost sight of this self sacrificing principle on which even as Christians, but much more as ministers, we are called upon to act. We have had little idea of anything like sacrifice at all. Up to the point where a sacrifice was demanded, we may have been willing to go, but there we stood; counting it unnecessary, perhaps calling it imprudent and unadvised, to proceed further. Yet ought not the life of every Christian, especially of every minister, to be a life of self sacrifice and self denial throughout, even as was the life of Him who “pleased not himself”?

We have been slothful. We have been sparing of our toil. We have not endured hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. We have not sought to gather up the fragments of our time, that not a moment might be thrown idly or unprofitably away. Precious hours and days have been wasted in sloth, in idle company, in pleasure, in idle or worthless reading, that might have been devoted to the closet, the study, the pulpit or the meeting! Indolence, self indulgence, fickleness, flesh pleasing, have eaten like a canker into our ministry, arresting the blessing and marring our success. We have manifested but little of the unwearied, self denying love with which, as shepherds, we ought to have watched over the flocks committed to our care. We have fed ourselves, and not the flock. We have dealt deceitfully with God, whose servants we profess to be.

We have been cold. Even when diligent, how little warmth and glow! The whole soul is not poured into the duty, and hence it wears too often the repulsive air of ‘routine’ and ‘form’. We do not speak and act like men in earnest. Our words are feeble, even when sound and true; our looks are careless, even when our words are weighty; and our tones betray the apathy which both words and looks disguise. Love is lacking, deep love, love strong as death, love such as made Jeremiah weep in secret places. In preaching and visiting, in counselling and reproving, what formality, what coldness, how little tenderness and affection!

We have been timid. Fear has often led us to smooth down or generalize truths which if broadly stated must have brought hatred and reproach upon us. We have thus often failed to declare to our people the whole counsel of God. We have shrunk from reproving, rebuking and exhorting with all patience and doctrine. We have feared to alienate friends, or to awaken the wrath of enemies.

We have been lacking in solemnity. How deeply ought we to be abased at our levity, frivolity, flippancy, vain mirth, foolish talking and jesting, by which grievous injury has been done to souls, the progress of the saints retarded, and the world countenanced in its wretched vanities.

We have preached ourselves, not Christ. We have sought applause, courted honour, been avaricious of fame and jealous of our reputation. We have preached too often so as to exalt ourselves instead of magnifying Christ, so as to draw men’s eyes to ourselves instead of fixing them on Him and His cross. Have we not often preached Christ for the very purpose of getting honour to ourselves? Christ, in the sufferings of His first coming and the glory of His second, has not been the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, of all our sermons.

We have not duly studied and honoured the Word of God. We have given a greater prominence to man’s writings, man’s opinions, man’s systems in our studies than to the Word. We have drunk more out of human cisterns than divine. We have held more communion with man than God. Hence the mold and fashion of our spirits, our lives, our words, have been derived more from man than God. We must study the Bible more. We must steep our souls in it. We must not only lay it up within us, but transfuse it through the whole texture of the soul. The study of truth in its academic more than in its devotional form has robbed it of its freshness and power, engendering formality and coldness.

We have not been men of prayer. The spirit of prayer has slumbered among us. The closet has been too little frequented and delighted in. We have allowed business, study or active labor to interfere with our closet hours. A feverish atmosphere has found its way into our closet, disturbing the sweet calm of its blessed solitude. Sleep, company, idle visiting, foolish talking and jesting, idle reading, unprofitable occupations, engross time that might have been redeemed for prayer. Why is there so little concern to get time to pray? Why is there so much speaking, yet so little prayer? Why is there so much running to and fro, yet so little prayer? Why so much bustle and business, yet so little prayer? Why so many meetings with our fellow men, yet so few meetings with God? Why so little being alone, so little thirsting of the soul for the calm, sweet hours of unbroken solitude, when God and His child hold fellowship together as if they could never part? It is the lack of these solitary hours that not only injures our own growth in grace, but makes us such unprofitable members of the church of Christ, and that renders our lives useless. In order to grow in grace, we must be much alone with God. It is not in society, even Christian society that the soul grows most rapidly and vigorously. In one single quiet hour of prayer it will often make more progress than in whole days of company with others. It is in the ‘desert’ that the dew falls freshest and the air is purest. So with the soul. It is when none but God is near; when His presence alone, like the desert air in which there is mingled no noxious breath of man, surrounds and pervades the soul; it is then that the eye gets the clearest, simplest view of eternal certainties; it is then that the soul gathers in wondrous refreshment and power and energy. Nearness to God, fellowship with God, waiting upon God, resting in God, have been too little the characteristic either of our private or our ministerial walk. Hence our example has been so powerless, our labours so unsuccessful, our sermons so meagre, our whole ministry so fruitless and feeble.

We have not honoured the Holy Spirit. We have not sought His teaching or His anointing. “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.” (1 John 2:20). Neither in the study of the Word nor the preaching of it to others, have we duly acknowledged His office as the Enlightener of the understanding, the Revealer of the truth, the Testifier and Glorifier of Christ. We have grieved Him by the slight put upon Him as the Teacher, the Convincer, the Comforter, the Sanctifier. Hence He has almost departed from us, and left us to reap the fruit of our own perversity and unbelief. Besides, we have grieved Him by our inconsistent walk, by our lack of circumspection, by our worldly mindedness, by our unholiness, by our prayerlessness, by our unfaithfulness, by our lack of solemnity, by a life and conversation so little in conformity with the character of a disciple or the office of ambassador.

We have had little of the mind of Christ. We have come far short of the example of the Master. We have had little of the grace, the compassion, the meekness, the lowliness, the love of Jesus. His weeping over Jerusalem is a feeling in which we have but little heartfelt sympathy. His seeking of the lost is little imitated by us. His unwearied teaching of the multitudes we shrink from as too much for flesh and blood. His days of fasting, His nights of watchfulness and prayer, are not fully realized as models for us to copy. His counting not His own life dear unto Him that He might glorify the Father and finish the work given Him to do, is but little remembered by us as the principle on which we are to act. Yet surely we are to follow His steps; the servant is to walk where his Master has led the way; the under shepherd is to be what the Chief Shepherd was. We must not seek rest or ease in a world where He whom we love had none.

We have been unbelieving. It is unbelief that makes us so cold in our preaching, so slothful in visiting, and so remiss in all our sacred duties. It is unbelief that chills our life and straitens our heart. It is unbelief that makes us handle eternal realities with such irreverence. It is unbelief that makes us ascend with so light a step into the pulpit to deal with immortal beings about heaven and hell.

We have not been sincere in our preaching. If we were, could we be so cold, so prayerless, so inconsistent, so slothful, so worldly, so unlike men whose business is all about eternity? We must be more in earnest if we would win souls. We must be more in earnest if we would walk in the footsteps of our beloved Lord, or if we would fulfil the vows that are upon us. We must be more in earnest if we would be less than hypocrites. We must be more in earnest if we would finish our course with joy, and obtain the crown at the Master’s coming. We must work while it is day; the night comes when no man can work.

We have been unfaithful. The fear of man and the love of his applause have often made us afraid. We have been unfaithful to our own souls, to our flocks, and to our brethren; unfaithful in the pulpit, in visiting, in discipline in the church. In the discharge of every one of the duties of our stewardship there has been grievous unfaithfulness. Instead of the special particularization of the sin reproved, there has been the vague allusion. Instead of the bold reproof, there has been the timid hint. Instead of the uncompromising condemnation, there has been the feeble disapproval. Instead of the unswerving consistency of a holy life whose uniform tenor should be a protest against the world and a rebuke of sin, there has been such an amount of unfaithfulness in our walk and conversation, in our daily deportment and talking with others, that any degree of faithfulness we have been enabled to manifest on the Lord’s Day is almost neutralized by the lack of circumspection which our weekday life exhibits.

We need men that will spend and be spent, that will labour and pray, that will watch and weep for souls!

Doctrines of Devils

This past weekend I noticed that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) for television have a programme that they screen on their SABC1 channel titled Religions of South Africa – on the Lord’s Day. This is something that I have noticed in the past, but it has given me a righteous anger that wicked people are broadcasting religion that teaches falsehood and lies to a wide audience of people that blatantly blasphemes the nature of Almighty God. This is the first of a new series of blog posts that will be posted from time to time bringing to light the unfruitful works of darkness. As true believers in Christ we are to expose the unfruitful works of darkness and the false religions, churches, and teachers that blaspheme the Holy name of the only true God – Jesus Christ. The three Scriptures for these posts are:

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Colossians 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

In South Africa there are thousands of ‘churches’ that profess to be christian, which are in fact schisms from missionary churches planted by foreign clergy who came to these southern african shores, and there are also splinter churches that have been established due to power-struggles within them. The evil and wickedness of man is seen by the many doctrines that permeate the churchianity that exists and the degradation of  Christianity by mixing it with African traditions (culture). This would clearly bring about another gospel as these ‘churches’ have deviated away from the Truth – or in fact never knew the Truth – and therefore we should look to God’s Word to see His warning in this regard as recorded in Galatians 1:6-10 (my emphasis added, and throughout):

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

Galatians 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

Galatians 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

The first episode of “Doctrines of Devils” will commence with exposing the false teachings of the Nazareth Baptist Church, also known as the Shembe Church. We will start off with some history and background from Wikipedia and the eThekwini Online site, thereafter followed by a video interview that appears at Vimeo.

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Isaiah Shembe (1870– 2 May 1935), was the founder of the Zulu Nazareth Baptist Church and a figure in the African independent church movement in South Africa.

According to Shembe biographer Irving Hexham, not much is known about Shembe’s youth, except that he was born into a Zulu family near Estcourt, South Africa. After his baptism in 1906, he worked as an itinerant evangelist. In 1910, he began a ministry focused on healing and prophecy, and sometime between 1910 and 1912, he began the Nazareth Baptist Church or iBandla amaNazaretha, an indigenous church for the Zulu people. Later, he established a holy city at ekuPhakameni and a yearly pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain of Nhlangakazi. In addition to his preaching and healing, he was known for composing Zulu hymns and sacred dances, for creating sacred costumes that combined Zulu and European clothing styles, for developing a new liturgical calendar (that omitted Christmas), and for dietary laws that included a restriction against eating chicken.[1]

Shembe’s legacy has created some controversy. In a 1967 book, G.C. Oosthuizen argued that the movement was “a new religion that sees Isaiah Shembe as ‘the manifestation of God.'” Oosthuizen was attacked by Bengt Sundkler and Absolom Vilakazi as being too Westernized to understand Zulu culture, and claimed that the movement remained Christian. However, Oosthuizen’s view has been embraced by two of Shembe’s successors, his nephew son Amos Shembe and his grandson Londa Shembe, who (although they fought with each other over who was the legitimate successor and eventually formed two separate branches of the church), both of whom believe that Shembe did indeed create something new.[1]

Nazareth Baptist Church

The Nazareth Baptist Church, often called Shembe, is associated with a small group of churches, often referred to as African “messianic” churches, where the leader or founder is ascribed by his followers with supernatural powers.

The large majority of the three thousand African independent churches are either “Ethiopian” or “Zionist“. The Zionist churches, whose name implies an identification with the holy mountain of Zion in the Old Testament, are largely charismatic prophet-led healing groups. Worship in the Zionist churches is an African variant of Pentecostal spirituality.

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Reference: 1.  Irving Hexham, “The amaNazaretha”, in Encyclopedia of African and African-American Religions, ed. Stephen D. Glazier. Accessed via Google Books on 7 July 2010.

Shembe’s Rise to the Lord

By Themba Nyathikazi

Near Inanda, north of Durban, is a sacred site called Ekuphakameni, the ‘Place of Spiritual Upliftment.’ It was named by Isaiah Shembe, prophet and founder of the Shembe Church. A major festival is held in mid-January at an equally sacred location, the mountain dubbed Nhlangakazi, some 30 kilometres north of Ekuphakameni.

“Our pilgrimage to the mountain is based on the third book of Moses,” says a preacher from the area, Reverend Nxumalo. “It dates back to a revelation Shembe experienced in 1916, in which he was told that the Lord would speak to him on the holy mountain, Nhlangakazi, just as He had spoken to Moses on Mount Sinai.”

Ekuphakameni is the place where the Shembe’s holiest shrines are to be found. Most of them were erected by Shembe himself. Egumbini, the ‘House of the Tabernacle,’ one of the holiest of holies, lies to the east of the Inanda Road. It adjoins a tree-lined open area termed ‘Paradise.’ As a token of respect, visitors must remove their shoes before crossing this terrain.

Shembe Footwashing

It is said that the late founder of the Shembe movement was alone on a hillside when struck down by lightning. The Voice of the Lord thundered the command: “Go south!”. Isaiah Shembe was carried, unconscious, to his hut. He was paralysed, and taken for dead. The women of his village wailed and ululated in hysterical fear.

Sangomas and witchdoctors were summoned, and rituals performed to revive Shembe. When he came to, he told his followers that he was among spirits who had instructed him to go south. He duly left on his pilgrimage, carrying his Bible, blanket, stick and precious gifts from his followers.

Among the sacraments stored in the Tabernacle at Ekuphakameni is a supply of holy water used for purification ceremonies. The Shembe village is divided into five distinct living areas. Young women live in specially set aside stone dwellings. They are carefully brought up in age differentiated groups by the elders, and subjected to rigid discipline.

Within the temple area, the Shembe leader resides in ‘eGumbini langaphakathi,’ near the Tabernacle. The married quarters for men and women are known as ‘ekamu,’ and the older men’s quarters as ‘Inhlalisuthi,’ whereas women live on the eastern side of the main church in an area referred to as ‘Kwa Fourteen’ or ‘Jamengweni.’

In future, boys living within the village will be divided into two age groupings, and once they are older they will move to the ‘Inhlalisuthi’ – quarters reserved for older males. Female children are divided into three groupings, known as ‘Amasheshakungena’ (up to 11 years), ‘Amatubhane’ (teenagers, not yet of marriageable age) and the ‘Twenty Fives’ or ‘amakhosazane’ (those who are ready to marry).

The Shembe Church is well known for its spectacular dance festivals and the church’s structure is a fascinating mixture of Christian dogma and the tenets of Zulu culture. The founder of the church inculcated in his followers a belief that closely mirrors the traditional norms of social and moral behaviour among the Zulu people.

“Our rituals include baptism by immersion, the keeping of the Sabbath, observance of a seven day fast before Holy Communion, and the celebration of Holy Communion at night, preceded by feet washing ceremonies,” says Enoch Mthembu, spokesman for the Shembe Church. “Holy Communion is celebrated twice a year, during the January and July festivals.”

The January festivals, particularly the one held in mid-January, see Shembe followers, clad in traditional white garments, flock to the holy mountain of Nhlangakazi.

Some worshippers travel very long distances to reach the holy mountain, where they participate in ritualistic song and dance. During the exodus to the mountain, the Shembe take part in a hypnotic, trance-like dance, with the men leading the way. The married women follow, carrying furled umbrellas and tiny ceremonial shields in the same colours as their church clothing. They are, in turn, followed by young maidens in full traditional regalia. A constant stream of vehicles and barefooted worshippers snakes along the dusty road to the holy site.

Praising the Almighty on top of the mountain, and executing traditional Zulu dances, the Shembe reflect an alternative version of Christianity, which has evolved based on the Old, rather than the New Testament. The festival has evolved into one of the most colourful spectacles in Southern Africa, and it attracts increasing numbers of tourists each year.

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Vimeo Video

Click the Photo to View the Video

Mwelela Cele interviews Mr Ximba as part of the Memories of Inanda documentary, produced for the eThekwini Municipality’s Ulwazi Programme. Mr Ximba discusses the Shembe Church.

Nazareth Baptist Church (Alternatively called “The Nazarite Church” “iBandla lamaNazaretha”, or the “Shembe Church”) is an African Initiated Church founded by Isaiah Shembe in 1910.

It has approximately 4 million members. The religion bans smoking, drinking, and fornicating. It is seen as a mixture of Zulu tradition and Christianity. It reveres Isaiah Shembe as an African Messiah and emphasizes the Ten Commandments.

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Here is an extract from a book titled The theology of a South African Messiah by Gerhardus Cornelis Oosthuizen at page 38 which shows the doctrine of demons, quote:

The exclusion of Jesus is also due to Shembe’s emphasis on the law which is the very source of their redemption – the Sabbath is according to Shembe, the very core of the law. cf. Isl. 218. …

Shembe restored the Sabbath so that “the road which goes home to Jehova our iNkosi” (“indlela yokuya ekhaya Inkosi yethu“, Isl. 571; see also 578). It is no longer the way of Christ but of the messianic Shembe and his Jehova. In Isl. 604 Jehova has to be praised for sending “Isaiah his Servant”. It is natural development that Shembe should be on the side of the lawgiver. The worshippers of Jesus are the breakers of the law; they worship the Sunday-God not Jehova.

Other reasons could be mentioned for pushing Jesus into the background. Jesus’ emphasis on His being “the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 146) has excluded the possibility of accepting the saints of the pre-christian Zulu world into the fold of the Biblical God. This is unacceptable to a society in which the emphasis is so strong on the communion of the saints – and to them all those who were of significance are holy ones. At the gate is no more Jesus and the Cross but Jehova, Shembe and the law.

After his confession of faith in Isl. 73 the emphasis is on the Supreme Being and in the last approximately hundred Izl. the name of Jesus is totally omitted and iNkosi either refers here to Shembe himself or to Jehova, Thixo, uNkulunkulu, Simakade or Baba. It is easier to bring Jehova and Baba together than Jesus Christ and Baba with whom the whole Zulu history is associated.

The aspects of the Shembe doctrine of demons and the Zulu traditions that are contrary to God’s commands need to be exposed. Some of their evil and wicked beliefs and practices are listed here under:

  • They Worship God through ancestors
  • They offer up sacrifices of cows or goats to their ancestors who then speak to God on their behalf
  • They hold to the Old Testament (Shrines, Holy of Holies, The Ark and other Holy vessels belonging to the prophet, sabbath-keeping)
  • Shembe is the prophet of God to the African (black) man. They also see him as their ‘messiah.’
  • They don’t pray in the name of Jesus – they pray to the god of ekuPhakameni
  • They practice polygamy. It is believed that Amos Johannes Galilee “J.G.” Shembe (1907 – 1986 died 1976) had 62 wives.
  • Sangomas and witchdoctors play a significant role in Zulu tradition.

We will now let God’s Word, the Holy Bible speak from hereon:

Only One Blood of Jesus Christ

Act 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

Act 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

Act 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

Act 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

Act 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Act 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Act 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. ~ Acts 17:24-31

Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Act 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. ~ Acts 20:28-30

Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

Heb 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. ~ Hebrews 9:12,22

Heb 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Heb 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

Heb 10:6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

Heb 10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

Heb 10:8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;

Heb 10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

Heb 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Heb 10:11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

Heb 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

Heb 10:13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

Heb 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Heb 10:15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,

Heb 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

Heb 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

Heb 10:18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

Heb 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Heb 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

Heb 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God;

Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. ~ Hebrews 10:4-22

Heb 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

Heb 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~ Hebrews 13:20,21

Jesus Christ is the Only Mediator

Gal 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

Gal 3:20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

Gal 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. ~ Galatians 3:19-22

1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

1Ti 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. ~ 1 Timothy 2:3-6

Heb 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

Heb 8:2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

Heb 8:3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.

Heb 8:4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

Heb 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

Heb 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Heb 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

Heb 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

Heb 8:11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

Heb 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Heb 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. ~ Hebrews 8:1-13

Heb 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

Heb 9:16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

Heb 9:17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

Heb 9:18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

Heb 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,

Heb 9:20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.

Heb 9:21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.

Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Heb 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Heb 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: ~ Hebrews 9:15-24

Heb 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Heb 12:25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:

Heb 12:26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.

Heb 12:27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

Heb 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

Heb 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire. ~ Hebrews 12:24-29

Only in the Name of Jesus Christ

Act 4:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

Act 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. ~ Acts 4:11,12

Act 10:39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:

Act 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;

Act 10:41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

Act 10:42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

Act 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. ~ Acts 10:39-43

Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Php 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Php 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Php 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Php 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:5-11

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Rev 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

Rev 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Rev 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

Rev 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

Rev 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. ~ Revelation 19:11-16

Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ~ Matthew 28:19,20

Joh 5:43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

Joh 5:44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?

Joh 5:45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. ~ John 5:43-45

Joh 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

Joh 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Joh 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. ~ John 14:12-14

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Man’s Traditions

Galatians 1:14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. [The apostle Paul who became a doulos (bondslave) of Jesus Christ]

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

Matthew 15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

To conclude this doctrine of demons post hear the Word of God:

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

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Footnote: Here is a quote from the Sunday World Newspaper reflecting some of the ‘high profile’ members who belong to the Shembe Church.

Pilane is the latest celebrity to join the church . Others include the slain reggae star Lucky Dube, Prosper Mkwaiwa, Brenda Fassie, former President Nelson Mandela, President Jacob Zuma and Mbongeni Ngema.

Read the full article HERE.

One often see on Shembe followers’ vehicles “bumper-stickers” that declare “Shembe is the way”. This is true, “Shembe is the way … to Hell”. For God’s Son:

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

BLOG AMENDED ON JUNE 18, 2013 CHANGING ALL SCRIPTURE PORTIONS FROM NASB AND NKJV INTO KING JAMES BIBLE SCRIPTURES.

THE TITLE HAS BEEN CHANGED ON SEPTEMBER 4, 2014 FROM “DOCTRINE OF DEMONS” TO “DOCTRINE OF DEVILS”.

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