Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Profane Bride?

Is the Church the bride of Christ? Emphatically, Yes.

Is an individual believer the bride of Christ? Emphatically, No.


There is much confusion in the Bride, uh, the Body of Christ, concerning this issue. A significant "stream" of the Charismatic church has adopted a system of beliefs (doctrine) that suggests that we, individually as well as corporately, are the Bride of Christ, and in fact that we can or are somehow, symbolically, be married to Christ. This teaching is generally referred to as the "Bridal Paradigm," and as the title suggests, everything is seen through the lens of this belief.

Webster's 1828 dictionary defines Bride as a "woman new married" but notes that the "name is applied to a woman at the marriage festival, before she is married, as well as after the ceremony." The secondary definition tells us that a bride is "a woman espoused, or contracted to be married." This is plainly the sense in which the Holy Scriptures uses the word Bride when referring to the Church (or Israel).

In the Book of the Revelation, Chapter 19 and Verse 7 we read "Let us rejoice and be glad and give him the glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready." Regardless of your eschatological leanings, no reasonable person would suggest that this has already taken place. More precisely, the Church is the bride, betrothed to Jesus.


"The story has a happy ending! The Bridegroom and the Bride are married and live happily in a beautiful city forever." Introduction to the Book of the Revelation in The Visualized Bible.


Background


The concept of being married, symbolically or figuratively, to Christ predates the heterodox Bridal Paradigm viewpoint. The concept of a "mystical marriage" was promoted by Roman Catholic Teresa of Avila who through this experienced "spiritual ecstasy" which was defined as "divine intimacy." Not coincidently, many elements of Catholic Mysticism have been incorporated into the beliefs of those espousing the Bridal Paradigm today(1). The rejection of these aberrant Roman Catholic beliefs has been, until today, one of the distinctives of Protestantism.

Pope John Paul II, in an "Apostolic Letter" (Vita Consecrate no. 34)(2) noted that some aspects of this thought is "taking root or reemerging in the Churches and Ecclesial Communities which originated in the Reformation and is the sign of a grace shared by all of Christ's disciples. This fact is an incentive to ecumenism, which fosters the desire for an ever fuller communion between Christians 'that the world may believe'." John Paul goes on to say "In the consecrated life particular importance attaches to the spousal meaning, which recalls the Church's duty to be completely and exclusively devoted to her Spouse, from whom she receives every good thing. This spousal dimension, which is part of all consecrated life, has a particular meaning for women, who find therein their feminine identity and as it were discover the special genius of their relationship with the Lord."

I mention this to illustrate the point that the Roman Catholic viewpoint is that BOTH the corporate Church and the individual believer are the Bride of Christ. To their credit, the Roman belief outlined in John Paul's letter, suggests that they do adopt the understanding of Webster's second definition, which is that the Bride is betrothed, not married to Christ.


The Current Emphasis

In 2007, an acquaintance of mine, Rev. Keith Gibson, of the Apologetics Resource Center, wrote an excellent article on the Bridal Paradigm as it is emerging in the Charismatic church today (3). His thesis is that "Truth, taken to an extreme, becomes heresy." I'm going to quote his article in depth, because I really can't improve on it.

The bridal paradigm is a teaching that the image of the Bride is the primary identity for the church, especially the church of this unique end-time generation. This teaching has strong dominion theology undertones as there is a strong emphasis on the Bride co-reigning with Christ. Esther is seen as a type of the end-time Church. The bridal paradigm becomes the grid through which all Scripture is interpreted and through which all spiritual activity is engaged. Thus we have teachings like Bridal intercession, the Global Bridegroom fast, the cross in the bridal paradigm etc. All of the scripture is seen as the relentless pursuit of the heavenly lovesick groom for the bride of His hearts desire. This message truly stands the gospel on its ear. No longer is the emphasis on a God who is working for His own glory and displaying His majesty in redeeming a lost and unworthy humanity. Now the story of redemption is on God seeking a suitable mate for His Son with the cross being the dowry.

God is described as ”in-love”, lovesick, the passionate Bridegroom, or having a ravished heart. He is the Lover with fire in His eyes for His bride. The church is to respond in similar manner as we pray for our love to be awakened, to be ravished by the love of the Bridegroom etc. etc. Images and language from Song of Solomon abound.

This teaching, while drawing upon a legitimate metaphor and the language of Scripture, pushes the metaphor beyond the boundaries of its proper understanding leading to an improper and unbiblical picture of God and His relationship to the Church.

The first problem is the emphasis on the metaphor of the Bride to the exclusion of all other images used to describe the Church. Yes, the church is the Bride of Christ, but that is not all that is said of the Church. The Church is also called the Body (1 Cor. 12), the children of God (Eph 3:14, 1 Jn 3 and others), an olive tree (Rom. 11), a field (1 Cor. 3:6-9), a temple (1 Pet. 2:5), a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9), a holy nation (1 Pet. 2:9), God’s house (Heb. 3:6), the flock of God (1 Pet. 5:2), and an inheritance (Eph. 1:18). And this is just for starters!! Consulting any good systematic theology book will yield a veritable host of metaphors, titles and images of the church. Therefore right from the beginning we should understand that any teaching that focuses almost exclusively upon one metaphor is necessarily out of balance. Each of these titles is meant to teach us some important truth concerning the people of God. We simply do not have the right to fixate upon one to the neglect of the others. We do not have the right to elevate one to the place of primary position and evaluate all of Scripture through this lense. In like manner, Jesus is the Bridegroom but that is not all that is said about Jesus. This teaching is out of balance.

The second issue is that, while it is true that the metaphor of the Bride is used for the church as a whole, this same metaphor is never used for the individual believer. This may seem minor at first but it is actually very significant. It is the entire church that is the Bride of Christ. Each believer is a part but is not the Bride. It would appear that many of the prophetic teachers either misunderstand this or choose to ignore it. Due to this confusion, many of the statements of the prophetic teachers cause Jesus to sound like our personal boyfriend instead of our Lord. I have shared before of the man who claimed that he held Jesus for the first 30 minutes of his quiet time and then had Jesus hold him for the last 30 minutes. Jesus is not your boyfriend or lover. It is inappropriate to consider Him in this way.

A third issue is that the statement is a metaphor. It is not a literal statement. The metaphor is meant to teach us the truth about God’s love and commitment to us and our need for holiness and submission and yes, love for Him and a number of other things. But it is not meant to be literalized and physicalized (If that’s not a word, it should be.) This third issue brings a host of problems into play. It should be noted that, as with teachings on Contemplative Prayer, the source of much of this teaching is Roman Catholic mysticism. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and Madam Guyon, along with many others, have provided the foundation for this thought. This, in and of itself, should be a problem. Why would we go to those whose overall understanding of God is so poor expecting to find truth? Why would we draw from the polluted well of Roman Catholic mysticism hoping to find pure water? I have been told that it is because of their passion and certainly these authors can write passionately about God, but they can and did write just as passionately about the virgin Mary! This indicates to me, that the emphasis of the leaders of this movement is not at all grounded in a desire for truth but merely a desire to feel. And many of the “passionate” statements written by these mystics are squarely unbiblical. Consider the words of Catherine of Sienna who used to pray:

”O divine madman, you are crazed with love and drunk with love for me.”


Surely a less Biblical picture of God could not be painted than that of a crazed madman drunk with love.

This literalizing of the metaphor can be seen in the abundance of overly romantic phrases used to describe God’s love for us and ours for God. We read that God is “lovesick” or ravished for us. These phrases portray a God who simply cannot find true joy apart from us, who will never be satisfied without us. These statements are more appropriate for an adolescent than Almighty God. These phrases portray God looking longingly at the individual Christian and saying, “You…..complete me.” Jesus is finally sent to earth “When He couldn’t take it any longer.” This is a far cry from the God of the Bible who is completely sufficient within Himself and needs nothing. (Ps. 50, Isa 40) The triune God is complete within Himself, lacking nothing including relationship.

Certainly Christ does love us. He loves us with a love that is beyond comprehension in its height, depth, width and breadth (Eph 3:18-19). But He is not romantic about us. He is not attracted to us. He does not get sweaty palms, or stomach flutters. He is not “in-love” with us as we commonly mean that term today. There is a difference. (end extended quote)



Marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship to the church. The Bridal Paradigm turns the biblical view on its head. The Bridal Paradigm teaches that we look at marriage to get a view of what Christ’s relationship to the church is. The biblical view is that we look at Christ’s relationship to the church and let that color our marriages with God-honoring truth. -Drew Blom (4)



Contemporary Illustrations

In 2002 CBN news reported "Some 20,000 mostly young people packed the Kansas City Convention Center on New Year's Eve for a wedding ceremony unlike any other... as each person who came embarked on a marriage covenant with the Bridegroom of Heaven... From noon until midnight they danced and sang, fasted and prayed, and got ready to get married to Jesus. One by one, thousands of men and women, young and old, made their vows and walked under the prayer shawl symbolizing their commitment to Jesus." (5)

Walking under a marriage canopy, known in Hebrew as a huppah, is part of the covenantal Jewish wedding ceremony. (6)

This ceremony took place at a meeting known as "The Call" which has strong ties to Lou Engle and the International House of Prayer (IHOP). The CBN report goes on a quote Steward Greaves (who is currently a lead teacher at IHOP) who said "I really feel like the Lord is calling young people to fall madly in love with Him. I've always felt that the difference between religion and relationship is intimacy with Jesus". (7)

While no one would argue against (righteous) intimacy with Christ, I can't help but contrast that statement with one made by evangelist Steve Hill which illustrates true intimacy.

Religion is hanging around the cross, Christianity is hanging on the cross.


CBN went on to note that at IHOP "there has already been a tremendous focus on the bridal love of Jesus... where for three and a half years, a team of prophetic singers, intercessors and others have held 24-hour-a-day praise and worship focusing on Jesus as the bridegroom." This practice has continued on to this day.

Mike Bickle, the leader of IHOP, is well known for his over-allegorization of the Song of Songs, by applying it literally to the individual believer and Jesus. While few would be willing to criticize anyone with a passion for prayer, the words of Gibson resound loudly: "Truth, taken to an extreme, becomes heresy."

Here is an illustration of the teaching coming out of IHOP. "He [God] has given Himself to both the exhilarations and the woundings of a lovesick heart. When He gazes upon me, He sees through the eyes of love and desire. He comes before me and says, 'I am a Man in love. I am a God that burns with desire, and I have set My affections on you. I am an all-consuming fire of love, and you are the inheritance that My Father has promised me. Will you receive My love?'" (8)


Passion in the Arts

Although it would be nice, no one expects musicians in the church to be theologians. So on one hand, I am hesitant to criticize the musicians in the church who are simply reflecting what they are hearing from the pulpit. However, we are aware that music has a very strong influence on people and much theology is gained through music.

John Mark Mcmillan, who has been featured at "The Call" meetings, wrote a song "How He Loves" which had gained some popularity. He writes:


We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss,
And the heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain this regrets,
When I think about, the way He loves us,
Oh how He loves us... (9)


Or consider some verse from Kansas City:


"O Gaze Eternal,
How penetrating are Your Fires
Rushing through my darkest places
With the burning streams of Desire
Leaving me naked, purged and bare
... Yet embraced...
You take hold of my weakest places
And kiss them with Your mercy
Lifting up my low grounds
With your mighty love so holy..." (10)


And this is a Misty Edwards favorite, the worship leader at IHOP-KC

I am lovesick, for my Beloved
My Beloved and my Friend
Only YOU can satisfy

Try as I may to chase another Lover,
I find there is, there is no other
For only YOU can satisfy (11)


Let me emphasize again that "Truth, taken to an extreme, becomes heresy."

It is not uncommon for those at IHOP to speak of being ravished by Jesus. This goes on much further than what could be deemed appropriate. Here's another quote from some required reading for students at IHOP: "She lifted her arms wide to the Lord and said with all of her strength and her love, 'Enjoy me. Right here, right now, in my absolute weakness, enjoy me.'" (12)


Spiritual Ecstasy

Sensuality, common in society, has indeed invaded the church. As noted previously, Teresa of Avila experienced "spiritual ecstasy" which was defined as "divine intimacy." Many in the charismatic church, in a practice known as "soaking prayer" where one is directed to empty ones mind completely and trance-like states are not uncommon, have reported such experiences. According to Paul Gowdy, Carol Arnott, a leader at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, reports that "she had her bride experience where she was taken into the very presence of Jesus and said that the love that she experienced was even better than sex" (13). Gowdy, an acquaintance of mine, was formerly pastor of a Vineyard church in Toronto which was a sister church to TACF, then known as the Toronto Vineyard.

Others involved in this practice have equated the experience to orgasm. My wife has heard women in mainstream Charismatic churches talk about these experiences in these terms. An anecdotal story, posted in response to the aforementioned CBN report, states : "A woman whom I see to be very Spirit filled, was talking to us at the dinner table about being taken into the "upper chambers" where Jesus laid her down on a bed of roses (because He is the Rose of Sharon He can do that, she said), and that He made love to her. She described to me this whole scene as if it were out of a romance novel. The thought of Jesus actually making love to me made me sick... I was actually disheartened, grieved and shocked that she was talking about this. What gets me is that her friends who were with her all agreed as if this was sound biblical doctrine."

I've heard reports from Kansas City of men being speaking of being "ravished in their hinder parts" by Jesus. While this may not be the viewpoint of leadership there, it reflects the sordid depravity behind the doctrine, and the logical end of such thinking.

Lee Grady, in a recent Charisma Magazine article, writes of the charismatic craze of Spiritual Ecstasy (14) which often involves drug imagery such as "tokin' the Holy Ghost" (15). He states "it won't be long before we see some Christians having sexual experiences at the altar. "It's already happening," my friend said. He described a recent "worship concert" in which one of the musicians simulated sex while stroking a microphone and whispering sensual phrases to Jesus. What is next-orgasmic worship? God help us." (16)


Profanity

Years ago I constructed a teaching on profanity. Many people are under the mistaken idea that profanity has to do with cuss words. A biblical definition of "profane" would be to make ordinary that which God has called Holy. Esau, by virtue of selling his birthright, was deemed profane (Hebrews 12:16). Psalm 89:39 speaks of one who has "profaned his crown by casting it to the ground." The leaven of the Bridal Paradigm, which starts with the innocuous premise that we, individually, are the bride of Christ, has blossomed into full blown profanity. Their over-allergorized Song of Songs even warn us of the little foxes that spoil the vines.

We are admonished by the Lord to touch no unclean thing. The Lord says "Therefore come out from them and be separate" (2 Cor 6:17). The call to walk in holiness and to not deviate from the counsel of the scriptures has never been easy. It is perhaps harder but even more important in these last days when the time has come that people will "not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

“Lord I ask that you would create in us a pure heart and renew a right spirit in us and in the church.”



Endnotes

(1)
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09703a.htm

(2)
http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2VITA.HTM

(3)
http://signofjonah.wordpress.com/2007/08/12/bridal-mysticism/

(4)
http://signofjonah.wordpress.com/2007/09/12/bsv-4-the-bridal-paradigm/

(5)
http://www.hishousemedia.com/docs/BreakingNews.htm

(6)
http://www.myjewishlearning.com/lifecycle/Marriage/LiturgyRitualCustom/Chuppah.htm

(7)
http://www.hishousemedia.com/docs/BreakingNews.htm

(8) ibid

(9)
http://www.seekalyric.com/song/John_Mark_Mcmillan/How_He_Loves

(10)
http://www.hishousemedia.com/docs/BreakingNews.htm

(11)
http://www.ihop.org/Shop/Sections/Items/Item.aspx?item_id=1000002501

(12)
http://www.hishousemedia.com/docs/BreakingNews.htm

(13)
http://www.discernment-ministries.org/NLMarchApril_2007.htm

(14)
http://www.deceptionbytes.com/PatriciaKing-Ekstasis

(15)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGfjcER2WyA see also
http://video.aol.com/video-detail/the-new-mystics-drunken-glory-tours/1670643694 Note Jim Goll “toking the ghost” at 04:03 time stamp.

(16)
http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/newsletters/fire-in-my-bones/18454-strange-fire-in-the-house-of-the-lord

18 comments:

  1. Well, you have taken something good and twisted it in your mind into a perversion. Mike Bickle has been very clear to warn people that "Jesus isn't their boyfriend" and that Song of Sol is an analogy. He has warned and warned of the danger. But would you accurately report that here? Heck no, it would cut against the grain of your lambasting... You have a real gift of manipulating words... May I suggest a career writing speeches for our new president?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments and insight. ALthough much of this article was quored from Keith Gibson, I stand behind it 100% - having spent hundred of hours in research.

    Many people, of course, feel that Mike Bickle has taken the analogy much too far, with his extensive collections of notes on the topic, and for years an unbalanced focus on Song of Songs.

    If you would like to discuss a specific point I'd be glad to carry on a substanitive conversation.

    As to writing for Obama? I don't think so; I've got an adversion to lying. LOL.

    Bill Fawcett

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  3. Anon,

    I'm not certain that MB has called SOS an "analogy." Specifically , he states that his take on SOS is "a symbolic interpretation to see the spiritual truths in our relationship with Jesus behind the natural love story. This is the approach I will use in this study course. We study the Song to gain deeper understanding of our relationship with Jesus."

    He bases this premise on this:

    "The Spirit has deep friendship with Jesus and a fierce loyalty to fill people with love for Jesus. They have been together from eternity past. Thus, it is inconceivable for the Spirit to inspire a book in the Bible without Jesus being the predominant theme."

    (Mike Bickle, SOS SESSION 01 INTRO)

    I think that's a stretch. But my comments were about the blurring of distinctions betweem the corporate bride and the individual. Are you disputing the 2002 CBN report?

    -Bill Fawcett

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  4. posted for Kristine by admin.

    Dear Bill,

    I just read your web info about the "Bride of Christ" as it is promoted these days and I couldn't help but blurt out, "FINALLY! Finally someone is speaking out against this perversion of what is supposed to be a body of believer's relationship to their God, Creator and Savior Christ Jesus." I have been searching the web for months trying to find out if I was wrong in my own personal perceiving that something was not right in the current "doctrine" of Christ Jesus being a romantic (and even somewhat erotic),lover to those He came to save from Sin. I thought Jesus was supposed to be
    the first born of many brethren. The Christian world appears to be drenchedin what I view as a fantasy of spiritual incest.

    It had puzzled me why there was the lack of focus on the other metaphors of the Body of Christ; yet, time and again I could not find someone on the web who presented anything other than another version of this unhealthy obsession with being in a "bridal chamber" with Jesus. At one Church the worship leader went on and on about having "bridal intimacy" with Jesus. I asked the Lord, "What is this guy talking about? What are all these men and
    women in the congregation supposed to be doing with You in this bridal intimacy?" What happened to just simply being alone in prayerful creation-to-Creator fellowship with God? I thought that was the fellowship Jesus came to restore mankind to. This present Bride of Christ mentality
    makes it seem like Jesus came to earth to snatch Himself a huge harem... and of both women and men. What man, other than a homosexual, wants to see
    himself ravished by Jesus?

    At another Church I had to endure a woman behind me yelling out to the Lord, "Be my HUSBAND! Be my HUSBAND!" Whatever happened to: "Be my Lord! Be my
    deliverer!"

    I left another Christian fellowship when one of the main leaders (a woman), got up in front of everyone and said that although she was (as all of us women were), a "princess" to God; nonetheless, the Father "told" her in prayer one day that she was now promoted to being the queen of His heart.
    Apparently all the rest of us princesses lost the bid for queen. Where in the Word of God does it state that women who believe in Christ Jesus are
    princesses? Does that make men: princes? I thought Believers were kings and priests in Christ. Yet, everyone accepted her promotion as a true Word from the Holy Spirit.

    One Pastor did preach that the Song of Songs was only intended to be a God inspired insight as to how passionate a mankind man and woman's marriage relationship was supposed to be and that is all. But, that was the same Church where the worship leader wanted everyone to hop into the bridal
    chamber with Jesus. Evidently the preacher either changed his mind or the worship leader missed his sermon.

    From my observation, women seem to be the worst promoters of this "legal" lusting for Jesus. After all, wouldn't He be the world's most perfect husband? Even the comedy show "Saturday Night Live" did a skit where the actresses appeared as young girls at a slumber party fighting over who would be most likely to be "Mrs. Jesus." And I can tell you that I have talked to Christian woman after Christian woman with glassy eyes telling me about being "His Bride," and how He is the LOVER of their soul. Of course Almighty God is the lover of your soul: He created it! God loves all the creations of His hands. And lets not forget the fact that we have a HATER of the soul God created for us: Satan.

    I can only surmise that it is a tactic from the Hater of all God has made to seduce the minds of Believers to trade in the armor of God for a wedding gown. How good of a fight are people going to fight the good fight of faith in a "dress?" In the past, it seemed you gathered with other Christians to strengthen and encourage each other toward perseverance in holiness, sanctification and commitment to the will of Almighty God for your life.

    Now, folks lay sprawled on the floor with PowerPoint presentations of Bridal scenes while the "worship team" wails out mating calls to Jesus. I don't
    believe this is what God gave His only begotten Son for.

    And lastly, since many who are "ravished" by Jesus lean on much of the Old Testament writings to support their sexual affair with Him; why, then,
    didn't the Jewish nation ever have this mentality? On the contrary, they were waiting for a Messiah; a King; a Ruler; a Lord; a defender and champion of truth and righteousness and holiness... not a divine madman crazed with love and drunk with love for them. A guy like that wouldn't even get a seat on the local city council, much less be received as the King of Israel.

    Well, I could easily go on and on. But, I did have to send this "e" to let you know how well appreciated your website on the Profane Bride was. I wanted to post this as a reply on the site, but I am not well versed enough on that procedure.

    Thanks again,
    Kristine

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  5. Dear William;

    The Lover is the Holy Spirit in His Name as "the Shepherd" himself; as those who have never experienced it do not know what is spoken of here I will try to draw their attention to the Song of Songs in it's revealing of the soul and the spirit in their meeting as the Two Hands of God which the sun amd moon symbolize; and which were the original positions of Adam and Eve.

    When God's two hands clasp together it is His Original Prayer then being answered; as it was to have been with Adam and Eve; yet this did not happen until Jesus of Nazareth and Mary of Bethany were betrothed; the real "True Parents" of Mankind in my book; and not as the usurped title of Mr. Sun and Mrs. Moon who did not reach this position in Truth.

    Furthermore in Paradise the "light of the Sun" represented the "Virginity" of Adam and the "light of the Moon" represented the "Virginity" of Eve. In the mystical union with God in the Holy Spirit in His Name the men and women who have given up the flesh for the Spirit are not considered as to their external form in respect to men nor their internal form in respect to women; for Eve was Adam's visible soul as he was her visible spirit; for those men who are "eunuchs for the Kingdom of heaven" no distinction between them and women spiritually is even considered: as God considers such to be his Bride; which is why St. Paul said: to wit;

    "...I wish that ALL Men were such as I..." ;

    that is: a eunuch for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake: the entire Church if they were then being the Bride; coming out of the "side" of Jesus just as Eve came from the "side" of Adam; even as the Creation was made from the "side" of the Day after it was seperated from the darkness. Women are then the "bridesmaids" to the Lamb; but only the 144,000 are The Bride herself.

    Those who have the Spirit of Christ will understand this; those who do not or will not have decided to forget much of what Lord Jesus said long ago would come to pass in his Gospel and Revelation.

    As one who died in Christ in the Name of Christ Jesus I was given the understanding of these things that is written of at my website at the New Unification Church; for the Consumation that is coming and now is upon the earth is this: those who come in ecstasy saying the Name of Christ Jesus will find themselves saying the Name of Love over and over while they Melt in the Sun of Righteousness; those who engage in fornication without saying the Name out loud of Christ Jesus will all find themselves Burning in the Lake of Fire; thus it is the Name of Love as the Name of God which is now what will seperate the sensual goats from the spiritual sheep.

    For the Elect the knowledge that all one does in the Name of God one also does in the Name of Jesus Christ thus shows that all we do in the Name of Jesus Christ we also then likewise do in the Name of God; the Elect knowing they are "one-and-the-Same".

    That it is the 144,000 men who are called the Bride who make the Vow and then later die in Christ who are they written of in Revelation whose Collective Soul is that very Reward of the Lamb who is called the "Lamb's Wife". It is these who I was sent to gather with the help of my Father's servant John. I am the last; the least of the least.

    I suggest those with real understanding apply themselves to the actual dimensions of the Second Death; who is the One upon the White Horse; who alone swallows up Death and his throne as Hell on earth; as this is how the Word of God came to me when this Name was written on me; as is described in My Generation's book "The Revelation of Salvation: the Regeneration of John the Divine" which I copied down for 21 years when I was instructed by the angel of John and recently finished in 2008.

    Christ Jesus is then the Name of Lord Jesus; Christ being Lord; and for those who doubt my words I suggest they observe how Jesus by John is called "the True Light" because when "Jesus" as the "Light" seperated himself from Darkness by overcoming the Devil in the Wilderness he then became the "Christ" or "Day". Thus the Name of "Christ Jesus" literally means "Day Light"; the Light of Life itself. It is this "Name" that lead me to Him on the Path of the Just; which is seen in the 7 overcomings in the 7 churches I reveal as the Tower of Salvation it really is.

    I bring New Hope as the least in the kingdom of heaven; just the little Candle of God: but it is my Father's servant John who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven; as all will discover when every knee bows on earth: they who heed the Voice shall remain upon the Holy Mountain of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is the New Earth that was in the position of the Old Heaven; just as the Old Earth now becomes the New Heaven as that Holy City of the Revelation of Jesus Christ in the Coming of the Son of Man in his Glory: and the 144,000 Virgins are then the "throne of his Glory" that he then sits down upon, as it was written; the "Lamb's Wife".

    That the "Lamb's Wife" who is the Sacrificial Bride of the 144,000 who did not marry nor were they given in marriage I now reveal that they are the "Clouds" at his Coming: the Children of the Resurrection; of whom I am one.

    Of these Children I remind they who read this that they will be they like myself who died with Jesus Christ upon that Cross; for in his Passion he embraced Death as if it were his Bride: and thus is Death swallowed up in Victory.

    That is why we are Faithful unto Death; whose seed does not leave our bodies; as it is "the Word of His Patience"; even The Word of God; to wit;

    "...now the Seed is the Word of God...."

    For this reason it is the Seal of John who says those who keep their seed within their bodies "cannot sin" as being born of God. Nor can they die anymore: being equal unto the angels; the Clouds themselves who now can be seen in the Air if one looks up; for our Kingdom hath arrived: the End of Time comes with the arrival of Eternity; the Kingdom itself.

    So: who is the Fairest of them All?

    The Bride who comes in His Name as Justice:
    the Lamb's Wife


    I leave you with this Blessing which I was given of my Father Jesus:

    "...Bless thee in the Name of my Father,
    in the Day of Christ Jesus;
    that the Name of Jesus Christ
    be Glorifed again:
    Amen......"

    christopher witt diamant

    Founder
    New Unification Church
    www.NewUnificationChurch.com

    Song of the Lamb by Thee Unicorns
    http://www.myspace.com/theholyunicorns

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  6. hello William (or Bill?)

    i want to thank you for your article. I have to say I'm not fully in agreement with all of it but I appreciate some of the dangers coming into the body of Christ today, and the need to rightly understand the scriptures and the teaching being presented across the world. I think we are seeing all the extremes because people have access to it all at the click of a mouse and there are many conferences one can go to which support one's own viewpoint. I would say however that there are charismatics and non-charismatics who equally take that approach.

    I'm going to share something quite simple. I come across stuff on the internet which makes me so sad (your article mostly didn't) because of the polarised opinions. I believe that there is a level of experiential love which can be experienced which is beyond what most of us have known. I believe that God does long for intimacy with us (but not to complete himself) I believe that the Father's love is supposed to fill his Church so that we will go to the lost. I believe that you can be filled with the love of God in such a way that can make you laugh with joy or cry with relief ( but it is not supposed to be sexual) I believe that as a Church gathered to worship we can experience the presence of God in a powerful and tangible way. I think that the love of God is beyond our love and that there can be an intensity that is very strong (but not at all agreeing about the individual marrying the bridegroom).

    Our Church has been transformed by the love of God - we have a strong relationship with the Church in Toronto. We have receieved much ministry from them, including the training of our leadership team. We have, I am glad to say, never been taught in this way. We have experienced the anointing of the Spirit on many occasions with only Jesus being glorified. The father's love has caused so many in our Church and beyond it to
    return to their first love, or maybe discover it for the first time in reality. We fellowship with many others who teach and practice intimacy with God. We still preach the other things too! ( The cross is still everything to us! it's just this letter is about other things) Our motto is "Loving the Word, Living in the Presence, Light for the World". We have become a place where people broken in other places come and get healed.

    But we ourselves have had to draw the line and stop someone sharing at our church that there is a consummation happening where those embracing the "hidden mysteries" of the scriptures are becoming one with the bridegroom. The person and his friends left.

    I feel afraid that the baby will be thrown out with the bathwater though. For instance the Song of Songs. Some say it's just about human sexual love. Some say it's about the heavenly bride and bridegroom. My answer to both is "yes it is" But it takes real wisdom to not take things farther than the scripture actually goes, in either direction. But in Ephesians 5 we are shown that marriage is actually a picture of Christ and his Church. Some of these guys are taking it too far, but at the same time there is a passion for Jesus which can be Holy and which we should all aspire to! One quickly learns that it all comes from him, even the ability to love, and the longing to see people saved is an expression of the heart of God. Jesus came because of love, and dealt with sin because of love, for the joy set before him!

    One thing upset me: your reference to soaking prayer. You are not even close in how you see it, and it is unhelpful and stereotypical. We have run a soaking prayer room in our church for 5 years. We have visitors from all sorts of Churches and backgrounds. It is an opportunity to take some time with God, in the context of worship, and to STILL our minds (very different from emptying them) and fix our eyes on Jesus. It is a chance for God to speak into people's hearts, to receive prayer from the ministry team (all trained). It is a spiritual discipline in the days where the Church is all do do do and yet many believers don't know how to hear him speak or to be still. It is a chance to be filled with the Spirit. People come and cast their anxieties on to him. It is the one meeting where people come and don't talk! I believe it is an aid to coming into the sabbath rest as a daily reality. The fruit has been amazing and lasting. People are becoming sold out for him and becoming a real witness out in the world.

    It's been hard in these days: especially all that has happened with Todd Bentley. I was SO disappointed and sad. Still there is not enough wisdom to see the big picture. We had people go to Lakeland in the earlier days and be really blessed. A small group in our lounge responded to God whlst watching the revival and the Spirit just fell upon us. That was no anti-aninting. I'm sure God wanted to pour out his presence there. But man sinned and messed it up. The shock waves continue, and some leaders are out of order. But I'm sure it was of God - but got corrupted.

    Anyway, thanks for writing with intelligence and as someone who loves the body. I am a pastor in the UK and care about the body deeply - our Church seeks to serve the wider body too and to be involved. You'll find there are many like us and that there is a place for extravagant intimacy with God which is wholesome and Holy - after all, HE is Holy! God Bless You! Dave Wuyts

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  7. Christopher,

    With all due respect, you are a space cadet.

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  8. Dave,

    Your post was a breath of fresh air (after that last one). Thanks for writing and being willing to dialouge.

    Did I mention that I was (pardon the pun) "intimately" involved in a pioneer church in the Soaking Prayer movement for some 25-odd years (and odd years they were)? And yes, we had the Arnott's and the Fish's visit from time to time. So I probably know a lot more about SP than you might think.

    And I was the "Minsitry Team" head at that church for many years, in charge of the altar ministry during the services.

    Yes, I've spent time writhing on the floor with my face in a pool of drool, and I'm not proud of it.

    We finally left that church and it sensual atmosphere. A few years before the pastor did, who was being sensual with the piano player. Wowsers!

    I never was too keen on the fishing expeditions and the emphasis on (often bogus) personal prophecy that would take place during scheduled SP appointments, but my area of concern was on Sunday monring ministry, not the SP team.

    And what's the deal with somoene stading there waving flags on sticks over someone kneeling at the altar anyhow?

    Wow, don't get me started!!

    Well, anyhow, I sorry it got you upset, and maybe someday I will try to express my concerns over SP in a new blog article.

    I will admit that SP and Toronto has been a major life-changing experience for many people. I've read Margaret Poloma's positive account, and Derek Prince's not-so-positive account.

    My wife went to Toronto and her impression was that John Paul Jackson just spent all his time talking about his goofy dreams, it finally creeped her out too much and she escaped to her hotel room. Sorry, that's not gospel preaching.

    So talking about throwing the baby out with the bathwater- we are not forced to choose between experiential intimacy and biblical preaching and teaching. We get tyo have both.

    -Bill

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  9. I would encourage a search on the net about the Song of Solomon and the Jewish religions. I found many interetsing information there but one thing that impressed me was that even in the O.T. times the book was so minor that it only got one reading every year. Even they understood that the books meaning was about the relationship between God and the nation of Israel and never about a singular person, intimate, bridal sensual relationship between him and a person.

    There were even some sects of the Jewish religion that took it way beyond the intent as it is done in the N.T church of today.

    I still question the use of the scriptures that support this SP ministry. Seems that they are taken out of context to support a man made vain imagination theology.

    Words have meaning and this book, called the bible, the God Breathed word of God, scripture, is the only book that we, mankind seem to feel it's alright to take sentences (verses) out of the total written meaning by the author and build our own theology out of. We would never do that with any other book or newspaper article or magazine article. Why do we do this with the bible?

    Blessings - IWanthetruth

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  10. Thanks Bill for your reply - still seems your experience of soaking is somewhat different to ours! It hasn't made me writhe on the floor with my face in my own drool - not even when the music was really bad! (Now I'm joking...)However I have experienced the Spirit bringing conviction or affirmation and crying whilst soaking. I've been blessed in a way that is undescribable. And often it is the discipline of being still. I will never go back to my old life where Bible study was like a distance-learning course!

    I'm not sure that there has been a soaking prayer movement for 25 years by the way - the Arnotts were possibly Vineyard pastors by then but the Fish's definitely would not have been involved before '94. I think you need some wisdom to see the whole picture on this - it is carefully run and very clearly defined - and is used across all denominations that really believe God is personal and not just in heaven keeping the log!

    I think you've got quite an overlap of subjects there - for instance my wife could teach you a bit about the use of flags and banners in worship and how sometimes they can prophetically symbolise things. perhaps you're like me and not as creative arts minded as some! I definitely see a lack of objectivity there...

    The whole prophetic area attracts real men and women of God and also unusual types. It takes a lot of managing but actually is worth the trouble!

    I just think that God is not like us - especially us logical western "I'm-sure-God-wears-a-tie-to-church" meeting-attenders. It's funny how we always run away from Supernatural encounters that don't fit the preconceptions we have - or our culture. Take the people of israel saying to Moses "You go, we're too afraid" or saying "we want a King like other nations". But God always wanted to get past the law to relationship and trust. I think many think the Song of Songs shouldn't be in the Bible, and they certainly don't like the wierd things some of the prophets did. Sometimes perhaps our boxes in which we contain him have to be enlarged somewhat...

    I don't deny some of the stuff that's out there - it's just that people are always looking for it and tarring the rest of us with it. I do think some people with travelling ministries are a little off-the-wall. But I think the overall trends are very good when you visit individual Churches. We're part of the Partners in Harvest network and have been highly blessed since we joined it. I have been going to conferences at TACF for 6 years and have only struggled with a couple of sessions by visiting speakers in that time. Please note here my roots are Brethren & Baptist... Sorry about your wife's experience there - did she persevere or give up?

    I think there is more sin in the Churches today and we have a holiness issue - though hopefully we've got a more biblical grasp of Holiness than the old days of not going to the cinema. However it is right across the board - from Anglican to baptist to Pentecostal to Charismatic. whether adultery or irresponsibility with money or whatever, it is not just the Charismatics - and I certainly wouldn't connect the adultery of the pastor with freedom in the Spirit.

    well, I should be doing other things - so I'll stop here. I could say loads more. And I think you could too lol!

    dave

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  11. Dear Bill;

    The Song of the Lamb was written to gather the Bride; they who dod not marry nor were thay given in marriage; even as I never married; nor was given in marriage; as one of the Children of the Ressurection; who are the Clouds themselves.

    As the Child of the Resurrection I represemt them; but I would never call myself anything other than a symbol; my witness should interest you but will probably not; as you read not my words with your heart; so you never heard them. I seek with this Music which is the Trumpet itslef of the Archangle I gave the Song of the Lamb; and only the Virgins could sing it: and believe it in their hearts at the same time; so this if my offer to you: go listen to the Song of the Lamb; and then we can discuss the fact that I am the one who was the Lost Sheep of Israel; even as Solomon later stood for Ephraim; the 10 tribes of the northern kingdom who followed him when he fell into the abyss.

    That His servant John raised me, like Lazaurus, from the dead should help you remember that prophecy about the Prodigal Son; the wastrel; even entirely My Generation; Ephraim itself.

    I will, of course, pray that you understand what informs my word, for I do not write this of myself; but that which I hear; that I say with this pen; as it was written of me long ago.

    Can you not hear my voice William? Even that of the Shepherd who is the Holy Spirit that says "God is Love."?

    Is is that Holy Name which is that of Christ Jesus; "Day Light" itself: the Light of Life itself; if thine eye ( mind ) was single ( concentrated )you could see it.

    It then is not myself to which you should attend: it is the fact that His servant John hath appeared; it is this, not just the revealing of Osama bin Laden as the Antichrist or that Sun Myung Moon is John the Baptist that should awaken you to who and what I represent; but of that you will discover enough if you were diligent enough to investigate the Witness I have given; even here: even now.

    In Love:
    The Mighty God

    christopher witt diamant

    Song of the Lamb

    Thee Unicorns
    www.myspace.com/theholyunicorns

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  12. Christopher,

    Please take your damnable heretical views elsewhere.

    -Bill Fawcett

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  13. Dave,

    I didn't mean to imply that the church I was involved with for 25 years had been doing SP for 25 years, only that I was part of that church for 25 years. To be precise, it got involved with it in the very early days of Toronto.

    Anyhow, I'm pretty intimately familiar with the practice, and I've seen a lot of really bad, and sometimes really stupid stuff.

    I'm not one to run from the mystical, but I'm not one who needs to create the mystical either. I like the real deal.

    Brethern? COTB? That's my wife's background too.

    -Bill

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  14. NOLR History6/13/10, 11:41 PM

    Mike Bickle and his Kansas City cult is a major node for the larger occult movement known as the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) which was re-packaged several years ago by C. Peter Wagner and other "Apostles" and "Prophets" several of which have been exposed as sexual perverts over a 30-year period. Roberts Liardon, Paul Cain, Bob Jones, Ted Haggard, etc. etc.

    For a summary of the theosophical roots for this movement, read the following article,

    "The NAR’s Fairy Godmother? Jane Leade & The Philadelphian Society"

    http://endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com/2009/02/09/the-nars-fairy-godmother-jane-leade-the-philadelphian-society/

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  15. Dave the Wave10/12/10, 4:36 AM

    I lost a girlfriend who said she was married to Jesus. She's now a worship leader at a satellite church plant of Rick Joyner's MorningStar Ministries. She could never think of being married to me because Jesus was already her husband, a fact she informed me of several times.

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  16. Wow, this is awesome commentary. I read a book recently that used the "bridal" paradigm and relied heavily upon an unconventional reading of the Song of Solomon to sensualize a Christian's relationship with God. You've thought through this issue and share a viewpoint that very helpful in understanding that sort of thinking.

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  17. Hi Bill,

    Thank you for the post, it has really cleared up and opened my eyes to yet another heretical stream I was not aware of, I mean, I knew something wasn´t right but I just couldn´t put my finger on it and this is exactly it! I´m from Argentina and sadly the situation in some of the latinamerican "apostolic" movement churches promote similar ideas, millions of people (many sincere and God loving) follow these false teachers and "apostles" as I at some point believed them as well, but God is faithful.

    I believe that God´s love is holy, superior to romantic love, it goes higher than our human experienced emotions, Jesus is everything to me simply because he is greater than anything else. People who defend this doctrine claim that we are religious and have not experiences the Holy Spirit`s baptism but to me, (and I have experienced so much with the Holy Presence of God, and in the walk I´ve had with him he has made me see) labeling his love towards us and viceversa as romantic would be just limiting him and making him to our image, when his love is perfect, fear casting, and most high, manifested by his everlasting grace --- not some cheap sensual emotional void experience which will only feed our carnal desires and not lead us to the cross and to the correct God fearing vision on the Wonderful, Amazing, All Mighty Lord.

    I am truly passionate for my Jesus and for that same reason is why my heart breaks when I read of such profanities, I believe, Bill, that it´s that same passion that drives you to write these posts, and that anyone that truly loves God and seeks the truth will find the answer.

    P.S. If you're interested in what´s going on in Latin America check out the G12 movement or maybe you know about it? Well it`s like the number one heresy over here, that and dominionism.

    God bless!

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  18. ...and not lead us to the cross and to the correct God fearing vision on the Wonderful, Amazing, All Mighty Lord.

    I think this is spot on... I believe that what most believers don't have is a healthy fear of God. Healthy in that it should lead one to test the teachings to make sure that what one is following is not just some man-made-vain-imagination theology. Scripture mentions "...working out your salvation with FEAR and TREMBLING..." and I think too many people just trust too much in what leaders bring forth as truth, but the follower never REALLY checks the teaching out to see if it is true or not.

    Good word there...

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