Testing The Fruit Of The Vineyard 

By John Goodwin, Pastor, Solid Rock Christian Fellowship 
This resource was posted with permission from Pastor John Goodwin.

Background and Introduction (pgs 1-5) 
Heresy Is Unloving (pgs 5-13) 
"Give Him An Inch And He'll Take A Mile" (pgs 13-17)
Error 1: "Have Experience Will Travel" (17-21)
"If It Works It Must Be From God" (pgs 21-23)
Power Evangelism - Whose Power? (pgs 23-24)
Error 2: God or Magic? (pgs 24-27)
Inner Healing (pgs 27-31)
Error 3: Ghostbusters, Inc.? (pgs 31-34) 
Our Sure Foundation (pgs 34-35) 
References (pgs 36-41) 

Background and Introduction 

The church is asleep during a time it needs to be the most alert; the following pages will begin by tracing how the church has been lulled into this stupor. Although Satan's poison has devastatingly seeped into most of our churches today, this article will focus on how it has permeated the Vineyard Fellowships due to my personal involvement with this movement. 

In the mid to late 1960's, there were profound changes taking place in America - changes to our social, political, and spiritual institutions. The entire cultural landscape was in upheaval. All the old assumptions, i.e., the Western-rational, science-based understanding of the universe and our understanding of social relationships were challenged and discarded by the "elite." There was a concentrated assault on our moral base and on the concept of morality itself. 

Relativism was the moral philosophy du jour. Consciousness was being expanded and "raised" by the use of hallucinogenic drugs and forays into the Occult and Eastern Mysticism. This attitude of experimentation was transferred into the church as many of the young "Jesus People" came from the counterculture and brought with them many of the drug and Eastern mystic-induced "revelations" with them. These things I know with certainty because I was one of those counterculture "Jesus People". (The term "Jesus People" was a media creation and I use it only as a point of reference.)

This was a time when all institutions and their foundational truths were challenged and if possible changed. The evangelical church leadership were profoundly intimidated by the incursion of these young people with their experiences and claim to superior knowledge, while the theological liberals from primarily the German thought in theology embraced and mentored these young radicals. The theologians found in the new infusion of radical, social, political and spiritual concepts of these young people a fertile field in which to plow their aberrant theology, and to produce a harvest of very strange fruit - fruit that was not biblical in its origin or in its outcome. They eventually came to fill the pulpits of many of the mainstream denominational churches. 

As our society had become more permissive and tolerant, so were these attitudes introduced into the church. Many in the charismatic movements had already experienced this permissiveness and tolerance of a "low-view" of Scripture and tradition and had the obvious signs of heresy and lack of sound biblical teaching. The other more traditional denominations maintained a veneer of biblical orthodoxy. However, the inoculation against the truth had come in through the "Trojan Horse" of psychology, permitting every deviancy the counterculture had, challenging traditional orthodoxy and orthopraxy. 

They did this in the name of science and with the blessing of virtually every evangelical leader in America. The seeds of the lie were planted deep within the soil of the church, the satanic seed of deception, being watered and cared for by the very ones that were looked to as the leaders of God's flock. The false shepherds of the flock of God tended the garden of Satan in the full view of the people of God and were never challenged. As God has said in His Word ,Woe unto those shepherds... ".

With this change of paradigm from a biblically-based understanding of man and his condition to a pseudo-scientific understanding (really nothing more than a rationalization which is all that psychology is), came the acceptance of every type of experience into the church. Because all sources of "truth" were being taught as equal, why not accept those that could only be found in the Occult and Eastern Mysticism as being as valid as any other source of truth? 

Many of the manifestations found in things such as the laughter phenomena (the shaking, stiffening of the limbs, howling, roaring, screeching etc.) have no biblical component or warrant from Scripture, but can be found in India, Haiti, Africa and other places of pagan worship and voodoo, ( which is a bizarre mix of paganism, Catholicism, with the conscious decision to actively involve the supplicant in demon possession). New Age/Occultism would be the most current definition of the phenomena. The infusion of this demonic deception was not challenged by the leaders of the church and has contributed to the current status of decline. 

Social liberalism began in earnest in the 30's with Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" and was enlarged and expanded by Lyndon B. Johnson in his colossal move of the country to the left in the 1960's with the "Great Society". At the same time, the liberal views of Scripture brought into the church by the theological establishment, the "Jesus People", and the Pentecostal \ Charismatic movement's experiential version of Christianity (essentially a psychological, cathartic experience) became the measure according to the "enlightened" of what was "holy", "anointed", and "blessed by God". 

The training received by the new converts in the seminaries were essentially from the German school of theology with a strong mix of psychology, Marxist social conscience, and existential philosophy, what today could be called Liberation Theology. What you now hear from the pulpits of what were once fundamentalist, evangelical churches, is the language of the secular left. This (the attitudes of the secular left), is then presented as the new method by which the church can be healed and brought into the experience of the truth and fullness of what the church "should be". 

Accordingly, the "new" paradigm of the liberal theologians which is imposed upon Scripture, although not derived from Scripture, is then presented as the need the church must address to be relevant. Since this language is from the left, we find a strong impulse towards global unity in a political sense and a move towards "unity" within "Christian" churches without regard for doctrinal purity or even a rudimentary acknowledgment of the basic tenets of the truth as revealed in Scripture, which is a denial of the person and work of Jesus Christ. We find, in short, the agenda as well as the language of the secular left, being galvanized with the words "the truth" and presented to the church as the church's agenda. This end result has long been the agenda of Satan and is the result of a massive infiltration by Satanic agents into our seminaries and churches. 

We are finding strong calls for the reunification of the Protestant and Catholic churches with calls from John Wimber, among others, to have the Protestants submit to the authority of the Pope. There is a willingness to extend "fellowship" to the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses, and the New Age Occult "Churches" such as the Unity Church. As you will see in the pages to follow, the deception and deviancy has gone to extremes. 

The church needs to wake up and see that the deception is strong and invasive. The problem with people that are deceived is that they are deceived, and because of that fact, are not open to the truth. They don't know what they don't know, and they don't know they don't know it. Reread that; it's an important distinction to make when dealing with people who are deceived. 

We can't allow ourselves to be drawn into the "strong delusion" of Satan and his "angels of light" and be robbed of the liberty that we have in Christ. This is the end-time and the attack upon the true body of Christ - not the professing church, but the true Church - is increasing and the enemies of the cross are emboldened by the inroads into the church and the marginalizing of the vast majority of true believers. 

This trend is to anesthetize the church and leave it open and vulnerable to the coming "deception" spoken of in II Thessalonians 2:9-11, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11, "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:"

It is evident that the professing church is in apostasy and that New Age \ Occult concepts and teaching have invaded and overrun the church. The lie is coming and many will be led into eternal separation from God because of the lie and those who spread the lie. We must fight the good fight of faith and be the few who are faithful when the Lord Jesus Christ returns. 

The Word of God must be the basis of our faith and practice as Christians. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible proclaims that it is God's written revelation of Himself to us. What is desperately needed in the church today is not more experience, nor shifts in our worldview, but a return to biblical doctrine. Christians are warned against seeking the supernatural and instructed to be vigilant concerning miraculous signs and wonders in the last days. Our greatest need in the church today is the fruit of the Spirit, which is love. (Gal. 5:22-26) 

The Bible indicates that it is more than just physical reality as a printed book or spoken words. In its spiritual form, it is equated with God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God", and "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."(John 1:1,14) Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God, the Logos. The last phrase of John 1:1 should read literally "and God was the Word." To remove yourself from the authority of the Word is to remove yourself from the authority of Jesus Christ. 

We do not worship a book, but we have been instructed to seek Jesus Christ through the book and to have the book as our unfailing guide to His truth. Jesus said in Luke 11:28 what would characterize a blessed individual, " ...blessed [are] they that hear the word of God, and keep it." In Acts 12:24 we are told that " ...the word of God grew and multiplied." Signs and wonders didn't grow and multiply, spiritual gifts didn't grow and multiply, "inner healing" didn't grow and multiply (as if some Occultic concept like this would). However, these are the insertions that John Wimber would have you make to accept the "gospel" he espouses. 

We are told in Acts 19:20 that as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit which brought conviction and repentance, "So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed." When the Holy Spirit works miracles, the end product - the Word of God (i.e. Jesus Christ) - grows, not an individual or his/her ministry. The sad fact is, John Wimber's emphasis on the concept that signs and wonders produce church growth is a corporate business concept, not a biblical concept. These concepts have more in common with Multi-Level Marketing than anything found in Scripture. In fact, if Scripture is any guide (and of course we contend it is our only guide), Peter on the day of Pentecost saw three thousand converted because of the proclamation of the Word of Life, not the "mighty rushing wind". 

John Wimber has also said he "is anxious to stand in the evangelical tradition on Scripture ... his adviser assured ... us that he John Wimber did not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture."1So, John Wimber wants to be a traditional evangelical, and yet he denies one of the most fundamental tenants of evangelicalism - the belief in the sufficiency of Scripture. As a result of his deviation from Scripture, the teachings of John Wimber, founder and pastor of Vineyard Ministries, errs dramatically in three main areas: 

1. Dependence on experience rather than Scripture, leading to the practice of pragmatism (the idea that if a technique works, it must be of God), and subjectivism (i.e. the equality of all sources of information as truth). 

2. Acceptance of Occult practices in "Christian" forms, such as aura reading and manipulation, the teaching of "Inner Healing", and psychological and Occult methodologies. 

3. The teaching that Christians can be possessed by demons. 

There are a multiplicity of problems that develop in each of these areas, all of which relate back at some point to deviation from the Word. John Wimber reveals his attitude towards Scripture and his basic extra-biblical thinking on many of his teaching tapes on a variety of subjects. His confusion, which results from a departure from the Word, leads to chaos in theology and practice. 

It is the responsibility of church leadership to expose the "sword" (Ezk.33:1-5 ) of heresies which come upon us. If this is not done, the result is a proliferation of false teachings, which can and does cause spiritual death. Dealing with heresy is a serious matter, but it is not unloving. To leave people vulnerable to deceitful doctrine and practices which will destroy them spiritually, while causing pain and suffering to innocent victims, is unloving For this reason, as well as the command of Scripture, exposing heresy within the church is a necessary charge given to leaders. [Return to Outline]

Heresy Is Unloving 

John Wimber is Pastor of the Vineyard Fellowship in Anaheim, CA, and has been head of Vineyard Ministries International, as well as The Association of Vineyard Churches, since 1981. He was also an adjunct professor at Fuller School of World Missions where he taught the now defunct MC-510 class on Signs and Wonders, and Church Growth. He currently travels and teaches extensively both in the U.S. and abroad on subjects ranging from a popularized version of his MC-510 class, to spiritual gifts, spiritual warfare, inner healing, holiness and prophecy. 

Many of John Wimber's teachings have stirred controversy within the church over the past few years, and he is a major promoter of a number of damaging concepts infiltrating Christian circles. Because Scripture clearly states that in the last days many false prophets will arise and that a spiritual deception would precede the return of Christ for His church, it is imperative that Christians everywhere be warned and made aware of heresies. 

As Jesus said; "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matthew 24:24) And the Apostle John said in I 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." For this reason, John Wimber and his teachings must be examined in the context and light of Scripture by Christians, especially those who have been exposed to his teachings. 

Heresy is by definition, that which deviates from the original doctrines or theology in any given religion. The primary indicator of heresy in the teachings of John Wimber is his departure from Scripture and willingness to go beyond the Word of God for truth. Wimber is quoted from one of his audio tapes as saying "It's not a loving thing to do to call your brother a heretic." 2 It's more accurate to say it's not a loving thing for your brother to be a heretic. This is a common tactic of Wimber, to demonize his opponents before they have a chance to expose what he teaches to the light of Scripture. It could have just as easily been the Maharishi saying that as anyone else. In an odd way this illustrates the Eastern \ New Age paradigm shift that Wimber made and encourages you to make. Wimber deflects the attention from his teaching or practice to the one examining the teaching or practice trying to marginalize the person reacting to the event. It is a common statement of Wimber's that "God is greater than His word." 3 This phrase has become a mantra for John Wimber and is used repeatedly on tapes, and live at seminars and conferences. This phrase means two things. First, there is truth in extra-biblical sources, (i.e. he denies the ''sufficiency of Scripture" for the believer's life) and secondly, that the phenomenon experienced by attendees of Vineyard seminars and services do not need to be validated by Scripture, and could, according to Wimber, contradict God's Word and still be "from the Lord." 4 He also notes "God is giving us special, prescriptive directions from week to week" 5 and in regard to prophesying he says "I'm speaking things into existence that God is telling me to speak, because of the anointing. We're moving into a miracle dimension." 6

What are these "special, prescriptive directions"? The Bible tells us that "Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven" Psalm 119:89), not from "week to week". Nowhere are we told to speak things into existence or move into other dimensions. Without say so directly, there is the strong influence of the New Age concept of constant human evolution. This is the first tenet of New Age "theology", that humans are in a constant state of "evolving" into other "dimensions" and "higher planes". 

The next "quantum leap" of the New Age evolution is the illumination of the soul, in the other "dimensions", to personal godhood. This step ties in very nicely with the Vineyard concept of self authenticating experiences, you have them, and they are of God, because you are a god. This reasoning is the logical conclusion of the acceptance of self authentication of experiences and thoughts. The Satanic goal is ultimately to lead to worldwide demon possession. Jesus said; "as it was in the days of Noah...". In that day, as a result of the unholy union portrayed in Genesis 6:1-4, the whole of the human race was demonized...infested with demons. In this "higher dimension" into self-realization, i.e., that you are divine, you are deceived into believing the whispered lies of Satan, imputing them to the Holy Spirit. 

The Bible clearly states that we do not know our thoughts in their origins, but God does. The New Age teaches that within man is the "Christ spirit" or the "Christ consciousness" that needs to be realized. John Wimber is familiar with these concepts as you will see later in his open endorsement of Robert Schuller. Next, you realize the universal cosmic "god force". This is nothing more than Hinduism and its false teaching that everyone and everything is god and we are each a part of God and of course God is only a "force" without personality. 

As you can see from Wimber's statements, he says that God and His gifts are a "force". This is a completely New Age/Occultic concept, and the idea of moving in other dimensions is something commonly heard from those who have had a "close encounter of the third kind", or those in contact with Barbara Marx Hubbard, Elizabeth Care Prophet, Matthew Fox, Robert Muller, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. This is an area forbidden to the believer in Scripture and severe consequences await those who transgress and enter the domain of Satan, although we do know that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and lures the unsuspecting to eternal ruin through these "other dimensions". This statement of Wimber's indicates at the least a kinship with Kenneth Copeland and Hagan and their concept that faith is a "force" that can be used to alter reality. These are New Age ideas, not biblical concepts. Actually, these concepts have strong support in all the Babylonian mystery religions and most likely go back to Genesis 6:4 and the infestation of the earth with demonic creatures prior to the flood. In fact, they go all the way back to the Garden and Satan and Eve's conversation. 

We will discuss this more fully a little later. 

If these were merely arrogant and self-aggrandizing statements, it would be bad enough, but Wimber goes further in saying, "The Lord went with an apostolic tour. The Holy Spirit has put on my heart ...I'm going to take a group from my church ...We'll be ministering in much the same way ...We'll be going as an apostolic group. In an apostolic group.[sic] As an apostolic group there is power and anointing far beyond your normal ability to perform." 7 [sic] Wimber considers himself and his group's activities to be on the level with the apostles. This, combined with a lack of accountability to the Word, results in unscriptural practices and teachings which are dangerously unchecked. 

His attitude is stated as the following 'John said that God told him not to read anything critical of his ministry." 8 It appears that Wimber is not interested in applying the judgment of Scripture to his teaching or healing ministry. He has also said, "I've determined in my heart, I'll never, ever, answer another spectator's questions, the rest of my life. I'm not interested in their theories, their speculations, their criticisms, their confusions, [sic] or their comments. From this point forward I'm only going to dialogue with those people who are in the arena. And in the place of the touch of God.[sic] 9 I've been in the "arena", in "the place of the touch of God", a participant not merely a "spectator". Not that one who has not been where Wimber has been is disqualified from taking note of the unbiblical and at times antibiblical attitudes of John Wimber and the Vineyards. It seems as though Wimber perceives anyone not involved in the "arena" he is in as a spectator and not worthy of being heard. 

I was in John Wimber's office the day he received one of many calls from Dave Hunt prior to the publication of The Seduction of Christianity, and Wimber told his secretary, "I'm not taking any calls from him." Then, that evening at a service at the Vineyard in Anaheim, he said how hurt he was that many, including Hunt, had criticized his ministry and not even bothered to bring their concerns to his attention before airing their accusations. 10 At other times, Wimber has also confused his own judgment with the authority of Christ in saying, "In the name of Jesus, you can forgive the sins of others.''11 Placing the phrase "In the name of Jesus", first does not negate the heresy that Wimber is declaring people can forgive sins (see section on inner healing for further amplification). 

Such self-aggrandizing and self-adulating concepts are especially dangerous when considering that John Wimber has made a primary departure from the faith in his teaching regarding Scripture and experience. He states, "All that is in the Bible is true but not all truth is in the Bible. We integrate all truth, both biblical and other, into our experience of living. l2 John Wimber has advocated that all Vineyards incorporate this statement into a comprehensive statement of faith. As a result of this, his teaching is more likely to be founded on "spiritual" experiences which are then validated by finding some Bible verse which appears as though it might apply to what has occurred. 

This approach to God is not in line with the manner in which God has instructed us to come to Him, but is consistent with and opens the participant up to the Occult. Such practices are not just a bad idea, they are dangerous, because the spiritual realm which they contact is real. Christians everywhere need to heed the clear warning of Scripture to not only expose, but have nothing to do with such "unfruitful works of darkness." (Eph.5:11) Jesus said in John 14:23 "If a man love me, he will keep my words." The violation of His words by church leaders can only be interpreted as the converse of the declaration of Jesus, i.e., the one in violation does not love Jesus. The Lord defines those who are His disciples in John 8:31; "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed." What God has revealed in His Word is so important that only by continuing in the Word are you a disciple of Jesus Christ. Only by continuing in the Word can you enter at the straight gate, proceed down the narrow way that leads to life everlasting 

A fact sheet on the Vineyard published by Walter Martin's Christian Research Institute (CRI) states, "...there appears to be little emphasis on teaching the Bible per se. This lack stands in contrast to the very strong Bible teaching at Calvary Chapel, a church with which The Vineyard was once associated ... While Bible teaching is not emphasized enough, the role of experience in the Christian life appears to be somewhat over emphasized. People in the Vineyard frequently seem to be willing to allow their spiritual experiences to be self-authenticating''13 The idea that a phenomena did not need scriptural warrant, and could contradict Scripture and still be "from the Lord" is based in the idea that the experiences are "self-authenticating", i.e., the experiences must be from God because I am having them. I hope you see that this attitude allows you to become the final arbiter of whether or not something is from God. In point of fact, the position taken by the Vineyards is that the event must be from God because you are having it. This attitude is not too far removed from the concept that you are god and that all that you do is good and "from god"...seeing as how you are him. As Wimber is quoted as saying above, they are "speaking things into existence". I was under the impression that only the Lord God, the Lord Jesus Christ, spoke things into existence by divine fiat. 

It is a sound principle of Christian faith that every philosophy, every doctrine, every methodology be tested by the Word of God. In discussing the charismatic movement in general, pastor and author Chuck Smith, in his book Charisma vs. Charismania, observes, "One of the greatest weaknesses of the charismatic movement is its lack of sound Bible teaching There seems to be an undue preoccupation with experience, which is often placed above the Word. As a consequence, charismatics have become fertile field for strange and unscriptural doctrines proliferating through their ranks." 14

John Wimber makes his attitude towards strong biblical identification clear when he says "Calvaryites [those who attend Calvary Chapel] are sometimes a little too heavily orientated to the written word, I know that sounds a little dangerous, but ah, [sic] frankly they're very Pharisaical in their allegiance to the Bible. They have very little life, and growth and spontaneity in their innards.[sic] Sometimes they're very rigid and can't receive much of the things of the Lord." 15 Whatever these "things of the Lord" are that Wimber is referring to, it is questionable that they are of the Lord if they cannot be found by people attentive to His Word and open to being led by the power of the Holy Spirit. To equate those who insist that teaching and practice be both orthodox and orthoprax with unbelieving Pharisees is to beg the question and engage in a spurious argument to deflect attention from his accountability to Scripture and the apostle's doctrine. He is effectively putting himself and his followers beyond the pale of the traditional accepted biblical faith, and making themselves "a law unto themselves" This leads to a further expansion of the idea of self-authentication, that just because a experience is not biblical, i.e., found in and derived from Scripture, doesn't mean it's not from God. 

Jesus said that a "wicked and adulterous" generation would seek after a sign. What is happening here is true biblical faith is being replaced by "signs and wonders". Jesus could ask the question as to whether or not there would be faith on His return because the delusion by the lying "signs and wonders" would be the evidence of the "truth" of the professing churches belief. True biblical faith, "faith which comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God", will cease to exist. What Wimber is saying is that external proofs and miracles validate Scripture. The truth is that Scripture authenticates the experiences or the "signs and wonders" and if the "signs and wonders" are at variance with any portion of Scripture, we must conclude it is a Satanic or "lying" "sign and wonder". 

The New Age and the Occult predicate their belief system upon the manifestations of miraculous to authenticate their belief. The New Age says; "It happened, and therefore it must be true". This is so similar to the Vineyards approach to the supernatural that we can safely conclude that they are one and the same approach. This is the "delusion", the replacement of true faith with counterfeit and opposite of faith, "signs and wonders". We are not at this point trying to endorse Calvary Chapel, but to highlight the fact that John Wimber and the Vineyards are not accountable to the Word of God and have very elaborate and clever arguments to obfuscate the truth and continue their denial of the Scriptures as the final authority for the Church. 

This attitude towards extra biblical experience is taken further when Wimber states "Because they believe the right doctrine and can give you the right answer doesn't mean they're born again." 16 This is true and in and of itself it doesn't mean too much, but combined with Wimber's continued ridicule of those who rely on the Word of God for final authority, the implication is that knowledge of the Word is suspect as evidence of life in Christ, and knowledge of the Word is not to be pursued. John Wimber says concerning studying the Bible, "It's not a worthy goal just to get through the Bible. It's not a worthy goal just to be informed by the Bible.''l7 This is refuted by Scripture (Acts 2:42, Romans 6:17, Romans 16:17 and others). Wimber's theology is focused not on Jesus Christ or the Word, but on power and force relating that "That's what separates dead doctrine from the living reality. There's a force of grace, there's a force of faith, that must be manifest in our midst.''18 This is an Occultic concept being presented as the authentication of the work of the Holy Spirit! Scripture never speaks of these things in terms of a "force." This is characteristic of the last day and the lack of attention to "sound doctrine" and a surrender to the forces of darkness, calling evil good and good evil. 

It would be impossible for me to recount the number of times I, as VMI Staff, have been at seminars and conferences that John Wimber was conducting, to see openly Occult and demonic manifestations occurring. As these manifestations were occurring there were always large crowds of people surrounding them, extending their hands, "blessing the work of the Spirit", without any sense that what was happening was demonic in origin or that it was a manifestation of evil. 

This tangle of ideas indicates the direction of Wimber's thought - a dualistic separation of the Word of God from its own authority and vitality, as if the Word in itself is dead without the injection of some "force." Jesus said, "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63b) The Word of God itself is "quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12). Because Jesus Christ is the Living Word, a person devoted to Jesus Christ will be at the same time devoted to His Word. There is no logical or spiritual separation. 

Wimber rationalizes his position on Scripture by identifying with Jesus as a blasphemer [agreeing with the accusation that Jesus is a blasphemer] and placing himself on an equal level with Christ in authority. Speaking on the situation in Luke 5: 18-24, Wimber says, "This fellow blasphemes - were they correct? Yes, they were correct." l9 [sic] He elaborates, noting that; "Many of you and myself included have committed that sin. We have been theologically correct as we've attempted to conform something to Scripture, saying; 'at this point the teaching is' ...Many fundamentalists do exactly the same thing today about the works of the Spirit.[sic] They take the Word of God and chisel at a practice or a ministry or a flow,[sic] without recognizing it's God moving. Not recognizing that God is bigger than His written Word." 20

There are several things going on here. To begin with, if a practice is scripturally correct, one would not need to "conform it to Scripture." Any need for such contortion indicates a problem in itself. An example would be the statement that "They take the Word of God and chisel at a practice or a ministry or a flow,[sic]." If a practice or ministry is from the Lord then the Word of God won't "chisel" at it but will affirm and ratify it. Secondly, where in Scripture do you find anything about "a flow"? Once again an incursion of New Age thought in Wimber's teaching. Further, Wimber accomplishes two things through this kind of thinking First, he identifies himself with Jesus in the Luke 5:18-24 scenario imputing to himself and his followers the authority of Jesus Christ on scriptural issues and practice and second, he equates those who measure a practice or ministry with Scripture with the unbelieving scribes. This effectively insulates his teaching and practice from scriptural critique. He is equating non-recognition of his ministry with non-recognition of the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Wimber elaborates on the Luke 5:18-24 incident stating, "In this case, He, by revelation of the Spirit, knew exactly what these guys were thinking said, Jesus, knowing their hearts said, [sic] why are you thinking evil in your heart? ...I remember when the Lord spoke that word to my heart it was like a arrow in my heart, I said, Lord they're not thinking evil, they're ...they're ...they're just operating under sound doctrine. [sic] Hello ...these men aren't thinking evil, these men were under doctrine, they were under a dispensation, they were under the Old Testament, they're not being evil ,Lord. But you see, it's evil when you don't recognize God. It's evil when you don't see Jesus in the things that are going on. It's evil when you hide behind doctrinal beliefs that curtail and control the work of the Spirit. It's evil when you don't recognize the Lord of glory in the work He's doing,. The church today is committing evil in the name of sound doctrine. And they're turning against the work of the Holy Spirit. And they're resisting the work of he Holy Spirit in this last day." 21 Wimber is himself hiding behind a facade of true adherence to the moving of the Spirit of God in order to insulate his theology and practices from those who would unravel the facade with God's Word. At the same time, he equates anyone who would challenge the facade with those who did not recognize Jesus' authority and work. None of this addresses the real issue: whether these practices and ideas are biblical. Wimber sets this up by stating that Jesus knew, "by revelation of the Spirit" (showing his low regard for the full Divinity of Jesus Christ) and professing credence in his own mind of the belief of equality with the person, work and ministry of Jesus with himself and his followers. Sound doctrine will not "curtail and control the work of the Holy Spirit" but will encourage that work and produce godliness. (1 Tim 6: 2-3) To quench the work of the Holy Spirit is to not walk in love. To teach doctrines not found in Scripture and invite confusion and demonic activity is to truly quench the work of the Holy Spirit. To teach from sound doctrine is to put yourself in the arena of truly walking in love and allowing the Holy Spirit to use you and for the "torrents of living water to gush forth from your innermost being". (Jo.7:38 literal translation) [Return To Outline]

"Give him an inch and he'll take a mile..." 

Referring to Scripture, Wimber says, "Sometimes you can learn more from what's not said than from what's said. If you take today's practice and put it up against the scripture, lots of stuff falls off. There's no place to put it." 22 In terms of practices within the church, certainly no biblical practice "falls off" when "put up against scripture", and as for what is unbiblical, the best place to put it is out of the church. The implication of his statement is that experiences can be self-authenticating, needing no scriptural support. It also indicates that Wimber and the Vineyard Fellowships believe God is speaking to us by what He doesn't say, or what they say He meant by what He didn't say in His Word. Please don't miss this point. The statements are subtle but the reality is to get you to accept their interpretation as a continual revelation from God to the church and the need for you to come under their control. The Vineyards present themselves as gurus to the Church. To a Church that is supposed by them, unable to know the truth and understand the times by the Word and Spirit of God, but in need of intense and constant clarification by the Vineyard leadership of what God is saying to us by what He didn't say. 

What the challenge to the Word of God accomplishes are three very important things for Satan. The first tactic of Satan is the challenge in Genesis three. Here we find the dialogue between Eve and Satan. Satan asks the question; "hath God said?" Another way of putting that question is, "are you sure you understand what God is saying to you?" Or, " sometimes you can learn more from what God is not saying in His Word than from what He is saying." Or possibly you have misunderstood what was clearly stated in God's Word. This tactic is to plant the seed of doubt into your heart and get you to begin to question God and His Word. The second challenge is; "you shall not surely die." This is a full frontal assault on the truth of God's Word and a denial of the truth. 

Wimber says, "what God really meant here, by what he didn't say is thus and such." The third lie is "you shall be as God." You can speak things into existence. You can move into other dimensions. You can edit or rewrite Scripture and it's all right with God. Never mind that God said to us, in Revelation 22:18b-19; "...if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of this 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." Make no mistake about it, God's Word is true and shall be fulfilled. Also, make no mistake that what Wimber is doing is moving the church into the New Age and the New World Order. With this last question or paradigm shift that Satan asked Eve to make comes the spirit of antichrist. 

The attack is three pronged. They question God's Word, they deny God's Word, and then they substitute the reversal as the truth. The spirit of antichrist is not a duplicate of Christ, but, the reversal of Christ; Antichrist takes the words of Christ and reverses the meaning of them. As Wimber does so often he calls good evil, and evil good. The three pronged attack is: 1) The Bible has been misinterpreted, 2) the traditional "position" of Scripture is denied; 3) the reversal of Scripture becomes the "truth". Then we find Wimber along with Schuller, the Pope and most others he endorses, McNutt, the Linn brothers, Stanford, et al, telling us that Christ is simply a "force". The Holy Spirit is a "force". Grace and mercy are a "force". This is the essence of the esoteric mysteries of the New Age and Copeland, Hagan, Schuller, Hinn, Wimber, et al. This represents not merely a faulty presupposition, but a Pandora's box of both theology and practice. 

For Wimber, this means going as far as teaching that not only can Christians be possessed by demons, but that a person can become possessed by demons named Jesus [which he calls religious demons] if they aren't careful to accept the "right" Jesus 23 (see section on Christians being possessed: "Ghostbusters, Inc.?'). During a question/answer period following a healing seminar, Wimber responded to a question about Christians and demonic possession by stating "Keep in mind that the definition of what is a Christian is a very obscure thing in a society that's Christian. What is a Christian? Is it a person who believes, or a person that receives, a person that walks by the spirit, are they born again? What is the definition of born again?" 24 The deviation has gone so far that Wimber can no longer even reliably define what a Christian is. John 3:16 gives a very dear definition of what being born again is, and is such a fundamental text on the subject that one could hardly imagine someone claiming to be a "fundamentalist evangelical"25 Bible teacher neglecting it. Also, there would seem to be no excuse to ignore the plain declaration of Jesus Christ that you must enter in at the Straight Gate and proceed down the Narrow Way to eternal life. 

It would seem that Wimber has actually become Gnostic in his approach to the Person of Jesus Christ. He has said, 'We have overemphasized his god nature and under emphasized his man nature." 26 This leads Wimber to make assumptions of human limitation on Jesus that are neither warranted by Scripture nor consistent with His Person as God the Son. Wimber says, "Haven't you been taught that Jesus knows all things? There are many times in the gospels when Jesus doesn't know and he has to ask questions.[sic]" 27 This assumption by Wimber of the motivation of Christ's' questions denies the full Deity of Jesus and reduces Him to the level of a mere man. Wimber has the same attitude in referring to the healing ministry of Jesus when he states, "Jesus often ministered on the faith of others. Jesus often rode the crest of the faith of others. I believe there were times when Jesus had little or no faith for the healing of the individual. I believe that there were times when he [Jesus] had more faith flowing that at other times." 28 Once again, Wimber has brought the Author of Life, God With Us, to the level of a mortal man in need of "faith" to fulfill the purpose of the Father. In this he has denied that Jesus Christ is fully God. This in turn puts us in a position of authority and makes us even necessary for the fulfilling of the purpose of God. 

Wimber demonstrates further confusion with endorsements of those who teach known doctrinal error. An example is his statement that "Robert Schuller is one of the greatest evangelical proclaimers of the gospel of this generation." 29 Schuller, like his mentor Norman Vincent Peale, is an unabashed humanist who teaches and preaches a gospel of "Possibility Thinking." Schuller is quoted in his own magazine Possibilities saying "...nothing exists except God. There is no other reality ...The Christ spirit dwells in every human being whether the person knows it or not." 30 This is not the gospel of Christ, but another, humanistic gospel which will not save. This is the New Age doctrine of releasing the Christ-spirit within and awaiting the appearance of the Christed one, i.e., Lucifer himself, to be revealed to the world as Antichrist. This is tantamount to Wimber endorsing the rankest of heresy ever foisted on the church. This is the Occultic message given by the channelers, those who have "encountered" UFO's, horoscopes, Hinduism, Buddhism, Unity, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Elizabeth Claire Prophet, Matthew Fox, Scientology, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Sri Chimmony, Marijhiji etc. ad nauseam. This is the company of those who are leading the church into eternal ruin, following the doctrines of devils and teaching those same doctrines. This is the Occultic doctrine of the New Age. It bears no resemblance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Wimber's extrabiblical forays also lead him to accept practices which the church has rejected as unbiblical for centuries, such as the use of relics (human remains and objects they've touched). He states "In the Catholic church for over a 1,200 year period people were healed as a result of touching the relics of the saints. We Protestants have difficulty with that, why ... but we healers shouldn't, because there's nothing theologically out of line with that." 31 The use of relics is an utterly pagan concept, not justified by the single scripture reference to special miracles worked through Paul "so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them." (Acts 19:12) 

Most importantly, Paul was alive at the time, not dead, and the miracles are attributed to God working through him, not through the handkerchiefs or aprons. The use of relics of the dead is tied not to scriptural healing, but to necromancy or contact with the dead. Furthermore, Paul was an apostle, and those miracles were done to authenticate his ministry and authority. The use of relics is a form of idolatry and is a sign of the loss of the consciousness of the true God. This is not biblical Christianity. 

Wimber is not only open to Roman Catholic doctrine but actively encourages the reunification of Protestants with the church of Rome. During a Vineyard pastors' conference, he went so far as to "apologize" to the Catholic church on behalf of , all Protestants. He asked an archbishop, from the Los Angeles archdiocese to stand up in the front of the auditorium and spoke these words to him, asking him as the representative of the Catholic Church to accept his apology on behalf of all Protestants and asked for the church's[Catholic] forgiveness. 32 He stated that "the pope, who by the way is very responsive to the charismatic movement, and is himself a born again evangelical, is preaching the gospel as clear as anyone in the world today. 33

The pope has visited Our Lady of Fatima and attributes his preservation and recovery from an assassination attempt to the Virgin Mary. Part of the doctrine of Fatima (an apparition of Mary, Queen of Heaven) is that the United States will be attacked because they will not bow down to the Pope and the Church of Rome, and give national homage to Mary. This nuclear attack on America, predicted by the apparition, is punishment for the sin of refusing the authority of the Pope. After this punishment, according to Fatima (Mary), we will be lead into a "Golden Age". This is identical to the New Age "Golden Age". We begin to see why Wimber says the Pope is open to the charismatic movement - the lack of sound biblical doctrines and the embracing of the lies of the New Age. A statue of Mary at Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, erected following a "sighting" of Mary there, has allegedly spoken and said, "Everyone worships god in his own way with peace in our hearts." 34 The Catholic church officially endorses this. This is a clear presentation of the gospel? Dave Hunt, who has done extensive research on this subject, summarizes the Pope's true position in saying "The Pope promotes a humanistic ecumenism. He recently declared that the efforts of "Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists {etc.} ...were unleashing profound spiritual energies in the world and bringing about a 'new climate' of peace." 35 On the other hand, Jesus said in Matthew 12:30 "He that is not with me is against me ...." There is no ecumenism in the teaching of Jesus, no thought of reunification with any that would distort or oppose the Word of God, but the severe warning that "heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."(Matt. 24:35) John Wimber ignores this in his endorsement of the Pope's "gospel." 

Dave Hunt expressed the need to correct doctrine in one of his CIB Bulletins, saying; "Most of the Epistles were written to correct doctrinal error. Why bother, if 'it doesn't matter what your doctrine is?' In fact, doctrinal purity is essential not only for salvation but also for living the Christian life. Paul wrote to Timothy, 'Thou has fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith long- suffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions ...' (2Tim 3:10). Doctrine was the very foundation of Paul's life. And so it must be for ours ... 36

If exposing these teachings, and more specifically those of John Wimber, as heresy is unloving, then the apostle Paul must be considered the most unloving of Christians. It is his urging in Scripture which reveals the heart of God towards spiritual deception: "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" (Gal. 1:8).[Return To Outline]

Error l: "Have Experience Will Travel" 

Wimber is quoted as saying "I'm sort of a have-experience-will-travel person" 37 and notes that members of his congregation are "encouraging one another to move deeply into the spiritually unknown as well as to rediscover the spiritually forgotten...Know more personally the God who exists both beyond and within the boundaries of well-defined doctrinal systems." 38 How are people to "know" the God who exists "beyond" these systems? The totality of God is certainly beyond our capacity to know and understand, and for this reason, He has defined Himself for us through doctrinal systems, equated Himself with those systems, and we are told by Him not to look for Him outside of those systems. II John 1:9: "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." 1 Timothy 4:16: "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." I Timothy 6:3: "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth." Titus 1:9: "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. Titus 2:1: "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine." 

By the "spiritually unknown," Wimber is referring to what he calls the "Excluded Middle," a layer of "reality" which is not part of the western worldview. In his Signs and Wonders and Church Growth Syllabus, the "Excluded Middle" is described by the following. 

Supernatural Forces On This Earth includes: 

  • spirits, ghosts, ancestors, demons 
  • earthly gods and goddesses who live within trees, rivers, hills, villages 
  • supernatural forces: maya, planetary influences, evil eyes, power of magic, sorcery, witchcraft - Holy Spirit, angels, demons, Signs and Wonders, gifts of the Spirit39 
Aside from the Holy Spirit, gifts of the Spirit, and angels, Satan, demons, other creatures which Christians already have in their "worldview" from Scripture, this list presents demonic entities that no Christian should deal with. Scripture makes us aware of the reality of demons, without "paradigm shifts" or "altered worldviews" and also gives strong warning to have nothing to do with them. There can be no purpose in suggesting that Christians need to incorporate these things in their allegedly 'limited" worldview other than opening them up to experience for the sake of experience or to gain control as "guides" through this, for most Christians, foreign and dangerous territory. Anyone who has been regenerated by the Spirit of God knows these things and knows that they are from the dark side, Satan and his minions. There is no need to pursue these because we are prohibited from doing so in the Word. 

There is a serious danger in exploring the "spiritually unknown" under the guise of gaining understanding from a shift in your worldview. If an experience is not referenced in the Bible, the Christian cannot reliably trace it to God. This leads to exposure to ungodly and Occultic influences. Those things which are "forgotten" are in the realm of witchcraft and the occult, and there are profound scriptural warnings not to remember them or to be "a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer" (Deut. 18:11). The forgotten is always associated with the Mystery Religions of Babylon and all aspects of spiritual encounters of this type should be avoided. 

None of these "forgotten" things should be discovered by the Christian. God's attitude towards those who do is clear: "And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people (Leviticus 20:6). The forgotten is the demonic "wisdom" spoken of in Gen. 6 with the "sons of God" or "the angels of God": those fallen angels who rebelled with Satan, Lucifer, and came and cohabited with human women and infested the pre-flood world that God judged. 

Interestingly enough, Jesus said: "as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be...", the revival of these doctrines and the concomitant immorality they bring, is what is to precede the return of Christ. The result of the pre-flood unholy union between "the Sons of God", (fallen angels), and the daughters of man, these fallen "watchers" and their progeny spread violence and perversion throughout the whole earth. Those "spiritually unknown" things take us back to the esoteric mysteries of the Occult and for this reason Israel was told not to have anything at all to do with the "abominations" in the land. Keep in mind from Genesis 6:4, we know that when these fallen angels came from heaven they taught mankind every Occultic power found in the New Age / Occult. Along with that initiation came violence and perversion that dominated and controlled the pre-flood civilization bringing the judgments of God and the destruction of the whole earth. Observe the order of events in the days of Noah. First the sons of God, then giants, violence, and finally worldwide destruction. Now, look at the order of events Jesus Christ gave us of the events to transpire just prior to His return. Satan and his angels, violence, and then destruction. The abominations Israel was to avoid are what the fallen angels taught and are identical to the New Age / Occult practice of today. In light of this, the association Wimber makes puts him and the Vineyards in some rather interesting company. 

F.V. Scott, who researched Wimber's teachings and wrote an article in Passport magazine, notes that Wimber repeatedly criticizes what he calls the "Western worldview" which is rational and demands logical answers. Wimber says: "We must remember always that the Bible was written in the Middle East - not with a rational assumption that we bring to it as we try to understand it - but with an 'experiential' assumption." 40 According to Wimber, in order for us to fully appreciate what God is doing in the world, we must experience what he calls a "paradigm shift" from a Western way of thinking to an Eastern way of looking at things. 

John Wimber's teachings about "paradigm shifts" and "worldviews" are very similar to those in the New Age movement, which seeks to draw people into Eastern mysticism. New Age philosophy also attacks Christianity as being a product of Western "rationalism" and "scientism" in its attempts to shift people's thinking away from rational thought to the non-rational base associated with Eastern religions. It is also comparable in most ways to the blind leap of faith into a non-reasoned religious experience of existentialism. True Christianity never includes the demand for a non-reasoned blind leap of faith. Paul said," I know whom I have believed in ...". This concept originated with the Babylonian Mystery religions and were required for the initiate to enter into the deeper mysteries of this mother of all false religions and heresy. If you have not had the chance to read Hysop's "The Two Babylon's' ", I encourage you to purchase that book and investigate for your self the bizarre connection with the present day and the days of Nimrod. 

This paradigm shift is explained by Wimber in his seminar on Signs and Wonders and Church Growth 41 in what he calls a logic syllogism. Presuming that people in the Far East have an "eastern" or "experiential" mindset, he describes an exchange of logic with an imaginary Far Easterner with the following result: "You tell someone from the Far or Middle East that cotton only grows in warm, semi- arid climates. England is cold and wet. [Ask them] Does cotton grow in England? The answer you'll get [from them] is, 'I don't know, I haven't been to England."'42 In other words, a person with such a mindset will not accept facts at face value, but must "experience" them to know their truth. The leading here is clear. It would be dangerous for Christians to be seduced into thinking they must experience a paradigm shift to Eastern thought in order to experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit, rather than taking Scripture at face value. That is New Age theology; it is not orthodox Christian doctrine. That you must experience to know is existentialism. It is the old, "I think, therefore, I am" game of mental gymnastics. In reality the truth is; "I am, therefore, I think". This paradigm shift of Wimber's is to Eastern metaphysics, not biblical Christianity. 

When a person places his/her experience in "hearing from the Lord" above Scripture, all manner of misinformation enters in. Examples include statements by John Wimber that "The Lord spoke to me and said to me 'just as I had need of the colt and the donkey for my entry into Jerusalem, I need my church back for my re-entry' Go to the church... He gave me the impression that this was the message from now on...the Lord hath need of it, the Lord wants His church back." 43 What Wimber is alluding to here is that the Lord's return for His church is predicated upon the perfection of the church. This idea from, "The Manifestation of the Son's of God", is not only refuted by Scripture, but actually originates with Agnes Sanford, who first introduced Inner Healing and other unbiblical practices into the church. While describing one of his healing seminars in England to an Anglican Bishop, Wimber says he told him that "The Lord gave me a message the last night to share in York. Out of I Cor. 14:40; 'Let all things be done properly and in orderly manner' I told him [the Bishop] that this week the Lord had said let all things be done." 44 How was the Lord "giving this message" to him, especially since it directly contradicts His Word? Wimber is simply equating his own thoughts with God's voice here and rewriting Scripture in the process. 

Wimber's inner healing practice also borrows extensively from extra-biblical sources including John and Paula Sandford, among others, and draws on their theories about "healing the inner man." The Sandfords' work is based, in turn, on that of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Jung was an Occultist who actually had a spirit guide communicating with him. In fact, Carl Gustav Jung said: "I had great difficulty to control my thoughts. There was a demon in me...". Teaching based upon sources such as these can in no way be reconciled with Christianity, which is grounded solely in biblical truth. The idea that any "truth" that would affect a believer could come from ungodly men is refuted by Paul in I Corinthians 2:13-14, where he says; "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned." No one who has a "spirit guide" is being taught anything by the Holy Spirit. Jesus speaking of the source of truth in the believers life said: "When He the Spirit of truth, is come, ... whom the world cannot receive, ...for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. He will guide you into all truth." (John 14:17; John 16:13 emphasis added) What the Holy Spirit guides us into is all biblical truth, using the Word of God to fulfill His principle mission, i.e., to reveal to the world who Jesus Christ is and what He's done for you and me. The source is the Word and the fertile hearts and minds of the apostles. Biblical truth is truth which is derived from the Bible.[Return To Outline]

"If It Works, it Must Be From God" 

In a Christian Life publication entitled "Signs and Wonders Today", John Wimber describes some of the "theological changes" he has experienced. He relates that a "fierce pragmatism" or an ends-justifies-the-means approach directs not only his theology, but his entire ministry. 45 According to theologian RC. Sproul, "pragmatism may be defined simply as the approach to reality that defines truth as 'that which works." The pragmatist is concerned about results and the results determine the truth. The pragmatist, then, is not so much concerned about what the Bible says about a "practice" as he is about whether or not it works. The person who despises theory and calls himself practical is not wise." 46

Sproul calls such a person a "sensuous Christian." The sensuous Christian doesn't need to study the Word of God because he already knows the will of God by his feelings. He doesn't want to know God; he wants to experience Him. The sensuous Christian equates 'childlike faith' with ignorance . 47

A sensuous Christian believes in the equality of all ideas and will give equal weight to the Word of God and the opinions of rock stars." 48 As a result of this kind of thinking, Wimber believes he can get accurate information either from the Word of God, or a demon, as evidenced by the credence he gives to things spoken by demons he has dealt with. An example would be his statement that, "There are many demons that don't have a body. Having a body [for a demon] is like having a car. They want to have a car so they can get around." Or the idea that demons are limited to certain geographical locations and are unable to pass beyond those invisible boundaries. 49 This would seem to fall into the category that Paul spoke of "giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils," from 1 Timothy 4:1. This information Wimber "shares" with us doesn't come from Scripture, but, instead is the information given to him in exchanges with demons. If in fact he was in contact with demons, which, of course we will allow, it doesn't seem to have occurred to Wimber that the possibility exists that a demon might not be telling the truth. This naive acceptance on Wimber's part of information gleaned from conversations with demons is very alarming and dangerous. If equal credence is given to a demon and the Word of God, then we must ask where the basis for right and wrong, good or evil come from in Wimber's mind and heart. Again we see in addition to his pragmatism a nilism that is pervading his thinking and producing a relativism that allows for literally anything in a given context to be true or real. 

Because of this equal credence, Scott continues, "John Wimber has fallen victim to a subjective mindset leading to the assumption that if a healing technique' works, it must be of God, or that if a psychological theory seems to bring healing, it can be safely incorporated into the historic doctrines of the Christian Church." 50 Once again, this can result in the equation of one's own thoughts with God's voice. Experience becomes as valid as the Word of God as the measure of truth and your own thoughts become "anointed" to the point of infallibility. According to Wimber and the Vineyard Fellowships, the only authentication required for an experience or thought to be he product of the Holy Spirit, is for you to have had it. Again, don't miss this point. You become the final arbitrator of truth, an oracle of God of equal merit and authority with the Word of God. This is extremely dangerous to anyone who embraces the concept that their lives are so anointed that any and every thought they have is a product of divine inspiration. This teaching and practice has become the reality in the false teaching of Copeland and Hagan that," you are gods". You are "in the god class". 

You create divine reality as you think, speak and act. You become, in their minds, the Word incarnate. This is no different than the New Age/Occultists who are saying that you are god and you must realize that you are, and all are god and we are all part of the divine cosmic consciousness.[Return To Outline]

Power Evangelism - Whose Power? 

"Fierce pragmatism" has also led to the adoption of "Power Evangelism", which is a method of evangelism that places primary emphasis upon signs and wonders to provide a "witness" of God's power in the world today. The concept of power evangelism, which originated with John Wimber, Blaine Cook, and Lonnie Frisbee in the Vineyard in 1982, 51 is based on the idea that signs and wonders are the most effective means for evangelism. To demonstrate this, Wimber says "Once you've healed a person, it's very easy to lead them to Christ." 52 If this were true, why were there only 120 in the upper room after the crucifixion? Jesus and the twelve, and later the seventy healed thousands. By Wimber's reasoning those healed should have been saved. But, the record of Acts tells us that "the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved", (Acts 2:47), and their addition was the result of the preaching of the gospel, not that they had been healed. The number added in the New Testament through anyone's healing ministry are only a handful. Wimber makes his case for "Power Healing" from questionable statistics and from speculation. There is a great preoccupation within the Vineyards on the "power ministry" and being able to "call down the power of God" on the congregation or community. In an interview in Sydney Australia, Wimber stated that "he had not written the book [Power Evangelism] himself or read the manuscript in detail and critically before publication." 53 At the least this would appear to be an attempt to absolve himself from the true responsibility he has to the Word of God and at the worst it could be fraud and misrepresentation of fact. In contrast, Jesus said. "By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:35)

The true and lasting power of the Holy Spirit in evangelism is the personal love of Jesus Christ flowing from you into the life of the person you touch with the gospel message. 

Power evangelism, power healing, power encounters, and similar preoccupation's with power indicate a heavy dependence upon experience to validate the spiritual, and are classic signs of a cult. Contrary to this, while Jesus healed and worked miracles, His primary emphasis was on the proclamation of the good news with or without the miraculous. The miracles were fulfillment's of specific prophecies in the Old Testament to validate His Messiahship and, by extension, His message of salvation. 

F.V. Scott, in his article in Passport Magazine, says "To Wimber, it is essential that the Church grasp the need for signs and wonders in sharing the Gospel with the lost. This strong emphasis on the miraculous, stressing that God is peculiarly present in supernatural, as distinct from natural healing, borders on unbiblical dualism, which separates the natural from the supernatural." 54 Wimber says in his Healing Seminar Syllabus "It is important to know the basic dualistic framework of the Bible ... to have a right understanding of what it is saying." 55 Wimber has gone beyond bordering on "unbiblical dualism" and is endorsing the concept. 

According to F.V. Scott, "It is of utmost importance to understand that though the power of Christ is sometimes demonstrated in victorious public confrontation with Satan, the gospel is more than a disclosure of magic that matches and outdoes the magic of folk religions and cults. Its agenda includes more than instant relief from the pains of life. Yet, that is the emphasis of John Wimber's ministry. When the charismatic is pushed to the front of Christian experience, the ethical tends to take a back seat. The ultimate goal of the Christian life is the fruit, not the gifts, of the Spirit." 56 [Return To Outline]

Error 2: God or Magic? 

Deviation from the Word of God and the use of extra biblical sources of teaching, have led John Wimber and the Vineyard into many New Age/Occultic, shamanismatic beliefs and activities, such as inner healing, aura reading and manipulation, astral projection (i.e. out of body experiences), and contact with familiar spirits. As John Wimber has said: "I can go through the exercise of informing myself, but only God can make the magic ...." 57

As John Wimber sees it, Jesus trained His disciples in the methodologies of signs and wonders, just as a journeyman would train an apprentice to lay bricks. He maintains that those who understand the healing power of God can also train others to perform the same acts. "The apostles ... had to learn to heal"58 Wimber says in his instructional tapes on healing. There is not one shred of biblical evidence that anyone was ever taught to heal. This is an example of teaching from what the Word doesn't say. This also forms the philosophical basis for all of Wimber's expensive and frequent seminars. This means in essence, for a price, you can be taught to perform all acts of healing, deliverance, the miraculous, or the operation of any and all gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

Despite the fact that there is no reference in Scripture to any healing methodologies, but only to the authority of God, prayer and fasting, Wimber has attempted to define the nebulous with a Healing Syllabus describing techniques which teach people how to cast out demons and heal the sick. This takes the sovereign work of God and reduces it to an application of techniques. An implicit danger in this is the idea that we can somehow manipulate God through what we do - an Occult concept. 

In connection with his teaching on the gifts of the Spirit and healing, John Wimber has instructed people to observe physical phenomenon which supposedly indicate that healing is taking place. These manifestations are nowhere indicated in Scripture as signs of the presence of God or power of God, but are purely experiential observations by Wimber. Instructing people to look for physical changes rather than placing their faith in God dangerously misdirects attention from having faith in God to having faith in phenomenological manifestations. 

A summary of manifestations that Wimber instructs people to look for in those being healed includes: "hot flushes and stiffness in certain parts of the body, tingling sensations, trembling and shaking, falling down under the power of the Spirit, strong electrical current, ripples on the skin, [WHAT!?!], movement under the skin, [WHAT!?!], radiance on the face [aura reading], heavy breathing, moaning and groaning and being in a trance." 59 In addition, Wimber instructs that "the phenomenon on the person ministering healing include: sensations of warmth (flowing out of hands) [aura manipulation], tingling feeling, trembling of hands, and a sense of anointing." 60 It would be interesting to have a definition of just what a "sense of anointing" is. On one of his healing videos, Wimber noted the manifestation of these phenomenon and exclaimed "Hot dog, there's tingling and heat going on! That usually means there's healing.''6l Such manifestations are more readily observable in witchcraft, voodoo, the Occult, and Eastern mysticism. John Wimber has said, "These spiritual phenomena are manifestations of the Spirit's presence on the person. By observing them you can begin to see what the Spirit is doing in and through the person. We do not have an explanation for all the various manifestations!" 62 The only valid way to see or know what the Holy Spirit is doing is to look for fruit. There must be the remaining, sustained fruit of the Spirit which is agape love in a person's life. Jesus said this was the only distinctive indicator of the power of "new life" of being "born again" in a person's life. In John 13:34 the Lord says "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." Also, in John 15:12 Jesus says "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." 

Wimber states in his Healing Syllabus, "Sometimes there are special anointings and whatever you do works!" 63 In his video on healing, Tape I, Wimber says "At the same time I'm gathering information with my five senses I'm also sending up my antenna into the cosmic reality." 64 If that's not totally New Age, I don't know what is. If we don't have a scriptural explanation for a manifestation, it's best that we avoid it, since those manifestations that are from the Holy Spirit are revealed in the Word. These various manifestations within what Wimber calls the "cosmic reality" are revealed to him through the early experiences that he had while Lonnie Frisbee was associated with him. As Wimber saw these things happen he began to draw conclusions based on his pragmatic understanding as well as the input of C. Peter Wagner and others at Fuller's School of World Missions. 

Speaking on Luke 4:40-41, Wimber says "See the crowd dynamics? They brought people to him, they brought people to him, they brought people to him, they brought people to him,[sic] what's happening on Sunday night at our church. They're bringing people, they're bringing people, they're bringing people ... [sic] This wasn't a neat crowd. There were probably people flipping and flopping all over the ground manifesting demons ... People that with foam running down their faces who had just barfed all over themselves.[sic] They were screeching like animals. They were bringing people with chains on them that were tied. [sic] This is frenzy, people. This is not calm, this is not orderly. This is frenzy, this is frantic." 65 People falling, violenty shaking and levitating, shouting and screaming, making all manner of animal noises, and howling and screeching, laughing hysterically and uncontrollably creates an atmosphere of physical chaos and confusion, in which demonic activity is commonly mistaken for a "wave of the Spirit." Scripture tells us that "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." (I Corinthians 14:33) We are not told that these phenomena happen to the crowd in Luke 4:40-41. These are the insertions made by Wimber based on his observations of phenomena at his church and at Fuller and this intense desire to put a "biblical" wrap on those experiences. Again you are asked to believe Wimber's interpolation of what God is telling us in His Word by what He's not saying to us in His Word. 

Some suggestion from Wimber prior to healing sessions leads people into these behaviors, however, older phenomenon are spontaneous, and the result of actual Occult power brought on through unbiblical practices. Wimber is not unaware of the power of suggestion. In discussing the healing of headaches, backaches and muscular tension in his healing tapes, he states that although we have no accounts of these specific healings in Scripture, Jesus must have healed them "since these problems respond quite rapidly to suggestion and religious healing." 66 As an aside, this is one more example of teaching from what the Word of God doesn't say and revealing of the heavy psychological input in the thinking and practices of Wimber. It is also important to note that Wimber calls Jesus a "religious" healer and by extension is calling Christianity a religion. A religion is man made and an attempt by man to get to God through his own efforts. Jesus didn't start a religion where men could try and get to God, he came as "...the way, the truth, and the life." True biblical Christianity is not a religion, never has been and never will be. [Return to Outline]

Inner Healing 

A special form of healing known as Inner Healing has become widespread in many Christian circles; however, this practice has no scriptural basis and opens up participants to dangerous Occult influence. F.V. Scott notes that "This practice is used by a pastor or counselor to 'heal the memories' of those having emotional or spiritual problems. Advocates believe that by taking a person back into the past, using meditation or visualization, Jesus Christ can enter that past traumatic event and 'heal' it. Wimber, in his book Power Healing; refers to it as a process, a step-by-step practice that can be learned by any Christian if certain guidelines are followed." 67 This concept has been known for years in psychological circles as regression therapy and in Occult circles as reliving a past life, remote viewing or astral projection (a person projects themselves forward or backward in time is only one component). Wimber actually castigates the church and glorifies secular psychology in his defense of inner healing stating "the connection between sin and sickness is being brought to our attention again remarkably, not by the Church, but by psychologists and doctors who recognize that much, if not most, physical sickness has an emotional component." 68 If prayer and Bible study and the power of the Holy Spirit are not enough for saints today to deal with life and problems, then the saints of old, including the apostle Paul, must have been greatly lacking Despite his many hardships, listed in 2 Cor. 11 22-27, Paul was able to function and rejoice in the Lord without the help of psychoanalysis. Throughout church history Christians have managed the same, and leaders such as Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Spurgeon and Moody should have been at a great disadvantage without the "insights" of modern psychology. Clearly they were not, and we need not be. It is a dangerous heresy to insist that we must accept this new "revelation" by psychologists or live deficient lives. 

In a CIB Bulletin Dave Hunt deals with the blending of psychology and Christianity. He relates, "Christ did not say, if you continue in my word...you shall know part of the truth and you shall be made partially free. There is more truth yet to be revealed through godless humanists that will liberate future generations more completely than I can now free you through my Word and my Spirit alone.' Yet that is the teaching of 'Christian psychology.' In Can You Trust Psychology (p.97) Gary Collins writes: 'The Bible speaks to human needs ... But God in his goodness also has allowed us [Freud, Jung, et al] to discover psychological truths about human behavior and counseling that are never mentioned in Scripture but are consistent with the written Word of God and helpful to people facing the problems of modem living'." 69 This is another example of the subtle redefinition whereby biblical no longer means derived from God's Word, but derived elsewhere, then declared to be "consistent" with Scripture. 

Regarding his psychology of inner healing, Wimber says "As these kinds of painful memories arise, I encourage the person to understand that Jesus was with them through it all, that now they may extend forgiveness. In other words, I reinterpret their experience in the light of God's purpose." 70 It is most difficult to understand "that Jesus was with them through it all" if the person is "being healed" of something which happened before they became a Christian. This moves us into the New Age "gospel of Schuller which states that "The Christ spirit dwells in every human being whether the person knows it or not." 7l There is no biblical reference for this concept which is Jungian. Both Agnes Sanford and Moron Kelsey have drawn heavily from Jung, and John Wimber in turn draws from all three of these sources. Wimber's executive senior pastor at Vineyard Anaheim at the time was Sam Thompson, a psychologist with heavy input for John Wimber on a daily basis. 

Wimber relates that inner healing "is something that is new to the fellowship and we do not have a great deal of understanding of it yet." 72 Despite this, he advocates using it to determine the "purpose" of God in someone's life and to "reinterpret" their experiences. New or old, the practice is not found in Scripture, which instead tells us to recognize our new life in Christ. (2 Cor.5:17; Phil.3:13- 14; Col. 2:9-10, 3:1-3; Titus 3:5-7; Rom.12:2; Lk.9:62; Matt.11:28; Ps.103:11-12; 1 Jo.1:9). 

Although there are no scriptural examples of Jesus or anyone in the early Church going into a person's past to heal them of painful memories, Wimber and other Inner Healing advocates continue to believe the practice is valid. We are not talking about a simple counseling session here, but a concept which involves clearly Occultic and dangerous practices. According to Wimber's theology, "Healing is Forgiveness of Sin",73 and he declares this in his Healing Seminar Series Syllabus. By making such a connection between healing and forgiveness, Wimber attempts to justify his emphasis on the inner healing ministry. 

As an example of this, he relates the following as an example of inner healing "A few months ago I was walking into the back room...there was a young lady there and she wanted me to pray for her. So, I walked towards her ...I saw superimposed over her ...her body ...but it was wrapped around like with a binding all the way around her body.[sic] I said what's wrong and she said I don't know. I said I think you are bound by something. And on the cords it said unforgiveness. I said I think you're all bound with unforgiveness ... She said I don't think so ...is there anyone you feel unforgiveness for. She said no. I said that's funny, I've never missed before. That's weird. [sic] ... I asked the Lord what is that and I noticed in the picture that the thing that was binding her went right into her shoulders ...that they were her own arms. And I realized and I said out loud [sic] ... the person you're not forgiving is you. She just started sobbing'." 74 While there is no biblical basis for this activity, there is much Occultic evidence for it. Can you imagine Jesus telling the woman caught in adultery to simply forgive herself? Was this ever an injunction from either Jesus or the apostles? Again, Wimber delves into psychology and validates with the typical New Age bromide, "I thought it so it must be from God". 

The same visualization techniques were used by John Wimber at a Pastor's conference, when he told everyone "to put down your Bibles and notebooks, close your eyes and empty your mind of all thoughts. Imagine now that you are in a very beautiful, peaceful meadow in the mountains. Can you see the beautiful green grass, the yellow flowers? Take yourself to the most beautiful place you can and see what you want to there. Can you see Jesus walking through the forest to your meadow? It's just you and Jesus there and you feel a gentle warm breeze blow as Jesus comes towards you. Jesus beckons you to a well near the edge of the meadow. That's the well filled with blood from Immanuel's veins. See Jesus lowering the pail into the well of his blood and drawing it up. Now see Jesus dipping a ladle into the pail and pouring the blood over you. Over your head, your shoulders completely covering you from head to toe. Can you feel the peace as the blood flows from your head to your toes. Feel the forgiveness of your sins. I tell you, in Jesus name, your sins are forgiven! Now just imagine Jesus putting his arm around you and walking with you back into the forest. Feel his love for you. Feel the peace. Look into his eyes and see the love that he has for you." 75 This is simply an Occultic visualization using "Christian" imagery. 

In his article on Wimber for Passport magazine's Jan-Feb 1988 issue, Scott notes that Don Matzat, "a longtime leader in the charismatic renewal, wrote his book on Inner Healing as a result of reading Dave Hunt's The Seduction of Christianity. He was shocked at Hunt's allegations and set about to discover the truth. Was Hunt an immoral sensationalist or were the popular charismatics promoting Inner Healing guilty of a cover-up? Matzat discovered, to his surprise, that Hunt was correct in his analysis of the Occultic and psychological origins of Inner Healing." 76 Scott continues, stating that "after thoroughly researching his subject, Matzat points out four basic truths about Inner Healing: Inner Healing is not based upon Scripture, but upon the psychological theories of atheist Sigmund Freud and Occultist Carl Jung; Inner healing is contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture; Inner Healing is not based on scientific truth, but theories of the subconscious mind; visualization, an element in Inner Healing, has nothing whatever to do with Christianity, but is an Occultic technique for reaching spirit guides.'77

In his book, Beyond Seduction, Dave Hunt muses that Inner Healers, such as MacNutt and the Linn Brothers [whom Wimber endorses and whose books sell briskly at Vineyard Fellowships] might just as well have people visualize Ronald MacDonald or Mickey Mouse as guides in their healing. 78 The concept is not biblical but Jungian, so what difference does it make whether the guide is Jesus or the tooth fairy? Wimber also dedicates his Healing: A Biblical and Historical Perspective Seminar Series to inner healing teachers Kelsey and MacNutt, stating, "I would like to express my appreciation to Morton Kelsey and Francis MacNutt for their valuable insights and information. They have made a significant contribution in the area of healing. 79

Wimber is aware of Occultic entities in relation to inner healing activities and warns "Now listen to this people, because you've gotta hear this, not everyone who comes up to you and presses you to be healed ought to be prayed for. Learn to do what the Father's doing Some people's soul force will kill you. It will stop you from praying for the sick. Their soul force will wear you down ...move with the Spirit ...what he's doing not what you're doing ...not everyone who asks you ought to be prayed for."80 Where in Scripture is "soul force" spoken of, or its "wearing down" those who pray for the sick? This is not biblical teaching but an Occultic association. Agnes Sanford, responsible for bringing many New Age and Occultic ideas into the church, describes in her book The Healing Light a "soul force" very similar to Wimber's. She presents "God" as a "life force" in everyone and everything [pantheism] as a form of electricity or energy. 8l

Wimber also draws material from David A Seamonds book, Healing of Memories, [stocked by Vineyard bookstores and cited in the bibliography and footnotes of Wimber's Power Healing]. Seamonds writes "The real question is not whether a practice appears in the Bible in the specific form or language we use today. Rather, the question is whether it is contradictory to or consistent with principles stated in Scripture." 82 But when the "principles" themselves are defined by human conjecture rather than Scripture, this statement becomes meaningless. Biblical doesn't mean that you derive your material from any source you choose, and then make it semantically compatible with Scripture, but biblical means derived from Scripture itself. 

True biblical counseling has always existed in the form of prayer and the application of the Word of God in a person's life, along with their surrender to the Word of God and to the power of the Holy Spirit. The real problem with inner healing is that it undermines the work of Christ on the cross, and thus it is an alteration of the gospel. Faith in the unaltered gospel of Christ is what changes and heals people. This has been the message of Christianity for 2,000 years, through which we can say with Paul "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14 emphasis added). 

Colossians 2:10; "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:"(emphasis added) They all did this without the help of humanistic psychology and Scripture enjoins us to do so as well. Paul also did this without the assistance of any form of "inner healing".[Return To Outline]

Error 3: Ghostbusters, Inc.? 

Can Christians be possessed by demons? According to Scripture, no, according to John Wimber, yes. In addition to using information received from demons as a source of "truth" for his teachings, Wimber uses experience and conjecture to prove the presence of demons in Christians. He uses this same procedure in casting them out, stating in his tapes on healing that "Healing has to do with touch ... Demonized people were never touched ... Do not touch a person manifesting demons, speak to them ... Command the demons out of them and then touch them and heal them ... In the spirit you can see a face imposed over the persons face ... 83 [sic] 

Wimber states, "Even though we've been born again and Spirit filled many of us are carrying much darkness in our thinking and understanding." 84 Wimber goes on to discuss demonic effects on Christians, saying "Many Christians have bondage to sin. There will be physical, manifestations while praying for a person. A stiffening of the limbs. They'll begin breathing rather deeply, then they'll go into hyperventilation. Eyes will roll back into their heads. These are Christians who have lent themselves to sin and have gotten into bondage for it.[sic]" 85 Coupled with the false belief that Christians can be possessed, an attitude such as this leaves no Christian safe from the convoluted scrutiny of those who may be looking for reasons to believe that others are "possessed." How can spirits be properly discerned by those who have confused a demonic presence with the indwelling Holy Spirit? On one hand, Wimber is having people look for "signs" of healing by the Holy Spirit that on the other hand appear no different from those indicating demonic possession. Confusion and deception could not get worse than this. Because Wimber's sources of information are equal in his mind, he incorporates all manner of conjecture into his teaching as "truth." It is anyone's guess where the following concept, presented during a seminar on healing originated: "There are many demons that don't have a body. Having a body [for a demon] is like having a car. They want to have a car so they can get around. If they don't have a body, they're a second class demon. They're not first class. I'm not kidding you. That's how it works. So, to them, having a body is a big deal. 86

In talking about demons that Wimber calls "religious demons" that "like to go to church", he says "The name of Jesus doesn't mean anything to them [the demons], many of the demons are named Jesus. When you cast them out they'll tell you their name is Jesus. That's how the person knows Jesus, they accepted Jesus into their heart. I'm not kidding you. I've cast demons out that were named Jesus. I can see that we're getting a little deep. You're not used to these ideas are you?" 87

No Christian should ever get used to these ideas. Wimber further states that during a particular deliverance "three or four of the demons that came out were religious demons...they had all been born again. You've got to understand that there's more to it than just a pat answer." 88 There is no answer in Scripture for such a concept. One can hardly imagine a more blasphemous idea than born again demons. The idea that a person would receive a demon while receiving Jesus as their Savior, is equally blasphemous. God would never allow such a thing to happen. Acts 2:21 declares "And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." Luke 11:13 tells us that "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? John 14:13 assures us that 'Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." John 15:16 declares that "whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." These scriptures leave no room whatsoever for one to receive a demon in the name of Jesus. To say otherwise is to go beyond the pale of anything that could be considered Christian and into the Occult. 

Dr. Don Lewis, of Regent College states, "An area of theological difficulty is Wimber's demonology; certainly most evangelicals would disagree with his assertion that a Christian can be 'demonized'. His concern with demonic activity does not seem to take seriously the Scriptural injunction that when Christians are afflicted by the powers of darkness, a believer is to 'resist the Devil and he will flee from you.' (James 4:7) 89

Lewis also states "His [Wimber's] use of the Scripture is highly problematic. His starting place seems to be his own experience and Scripture is drawn in to proof-text his own position....People were taught a theology of healing based on the observation of phenomenological responses (shaking stiffening respiration, laughter, fluttering of eyelids, etc.) and were encouraged to use such subjective criteria as the basis on which to evaluate spiritual responses." 90 At one moment, Wimber tells us that these phenomena are manifestations of demons in Christians, and in another breath tells us they are the manifestations of the presence of the Holy Spirit. You can't have it both ways, and from Scripture you can't have it either way because none of these are presented in Scripture as either the presence of demons in the believer, or of the Holy Spirit upon a person. 

Scripture clears this mess up very efficiently: 

Ephesians 1:13 "In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise," The believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit and cannot be possessed by a demon. 

Ephesians 4:30 states "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." 

Also, II Corinthians 1:22 declares "Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." 

I Corinthians 6:20 states "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." Both body and spirit are the rightful property of God once a person is born again. 

I Corinthians 6:17 declares "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." This means that they are one. The devil can't inhabit the Holy Spirit or the believer since they are one. The idea of a demon co-mingling with the Holy Spirit and "sharing" a person, is not only unscriptural, blasphemous, but utterly disgusting to even contemplate. It also calls into question the sovereignty and authority of God and His Word. 

Colossians 1:13 says "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:" Darkness can't be a part of the believer. This of necessity would preclude the presence of a demon. 

There are many more, including I Corinthians 2:12 "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God", and Romans 8:14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." 

Satan had nothing in Jesus because He was the Only Begotten of the Father. Therefore, if we are sons by adoption, Satan has nothing in us. II Corinthians 6:14 is definitive: " Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" The rational answer is none. There is no place for the demons to have equal access to the believer that God does. Those definitions of Wimber's are based on his observation and consequent definition of these observations at various church meetings and seminars where unbridled chaos was induced and a cogent explanation was needed. Allow me to touch on the idea of fourteen-thousand to twenty-thousand people breaking out into hysterical laughter at a meeting. There were several times when John Wimber would declare that "a wave of the Spirit was coming over the room, and the joy of the Lord is breaking out over here [point to one side of the auditorium or the other], now let the joy come". Chaos would reign supreme for quite some time after this would happen. This is not a new phenomena - today it is just know as the "laughter" phenomenon. The problem here is that the explanation isn't cogent but fantastical. [Return to Outline]

Our Sure Foundation 

Who is the final authority for the teaching and practices of the church? If it is not the Bible, then the authority of God has been replaced with a human agency. It is clear that the Vineyard Fellowships have drifted deep into psychology and Occultism through the leadership and teaching of John Wimber. Christians should beware of this and any ministry which does not found itself unwaveringly upon the Word of God, or that utilizes "special instructions" and revelations. 

The doctrine of Christ forms the entire basis for the Christian life, which is not a mystical experience, but a day to day reality. What we believe, or hold to be true as doctrine, is that which will determine how we live. Love, joy, peace, and the power of God come not through experiences, but through faith in their reality based on the Word of God. To abide in Christ is to abide in His Word, and we must practice and teach from lives that are consistent with this. Sound doctrine is not restrictive of the work of the Holy Spirit, but rather identifies it, and separates out all that is inconsistent with the Spirit and His work, and finally, encourages the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and the church. 

Dave Hunt sums it up well. "Can't we 'just love people and 'accept them' for who they are? In fact it is because we love them that we point out their error and seek to correct them. Our Lord said: 'As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent' (Rev.3:19). Love is not a mushy acceptance of false teachers. John writes: 'This is love, that we walk after his commandments' (2 John 1:6), and that involves standing firm for the doctrine of Christ. The whole purpose of Christ's coming was not to 'accept us as we were' but to rescue us from what we were and to change us into what He wants us to be. If Christ is truly dwelling in us, then we will want to do the same for those to whom we speak the truth in love' (Eph. 4:15) "91 Once again the only conclusion is that John Wimber and the Vineyard Fellowships are saying in effect: "Hath God said?" 

Ezekiel 33:1-11 "Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 

It is my sincere hope that the Lord has spoken His word of warning to you, His church, and that you will flee the sword of heresy that is upon our land. God bless you. Sola Scriptura. 

Pastor John Goodwin, Solid Rock Christian Fellowship San Jose 

[Return To Outline]


1."Wimber Changes His Mind", Evangelicals Now, (Editor Robert M. Horn, 14 Silverleigh Road,Thornton Heath, Currey CR7 6DU, Vol.V, No.7July 1990) p. 15. 

2. John Wimber, Church Planting Seminar, Tapes I, II, III, IV, V, March 28, 1981. 

3. Ibid. 

4. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church Growth Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional PastoralConferences, Teach Us to Pray Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987). 

5. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981). 

6. Ibid. 

7. Ibid. 

8. "Wimber Changes His Mind", Evangelicals Now, (Editor Robert M. Horn, 14 Silverleigh Road, Thornton Heath, Currey CR7 6DU, vol., No.7July 1990) p. 15. 

9. John Wimber, tape, ND, Unpacking Your Bags

l0. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church Growth Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional Pastoral Conferences, Teach Us to Pray Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the 90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987). 

11. Ibid. 

12. John Wimber, Vineyard '83, Leadership Conference, "The Five Year Plan", Tool - 6 -, 

13. The Vineyard, Elliot Miller, Robert Bowman, Jr., Christian Research Institute, February 1985. 

14. Chuck Smith, Charisma Vs Charismania, (Eugene, OR, Harvest House Publishers, 1983), p. 127. 

15. John Wimber, Church Planting Seminar, Tapes I, II, III, IV, V. March 28, 1981. 

l6. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series, Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981). 

17. John Wimber, Church Planting Seminar, Tapes I, II, III, IV, V, March 28, 1981. 


19. Ibid. 

20. Ibid. 

21. Ibid. 

22. Ibid. 

23. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981). 

24. Ibid. 

25. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church Growth Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional Pastoral Conferences, Teach Us to Pray Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the 90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987). 

26. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series, Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981). 

27. Ibid. 

28. Ibid. 

29. Ibid. 

30. Robert Schuller, Possibilities magazine, Summer 1986. 

31. John Wimber, Church Planting Seminar, Tapes I, II, III, IV, V, March 28, 1981. 

32. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church Growth Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional Pastoral Conferences, Teach Us to Pray Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the 90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987). 

33. John Wimber, Church Planting Seminar, Tapes I, II, III, IV, V, March 28, 1981. 

34. Christian News, January 2, 1989, p.4, quoting an interview in the St. Louis Dispatch, December 25, 1988, with "Seer Vicka Ivankovic." 

35. Dave Hunt, CIB Bulletin, (Christian Information Bureau, Bend OR April 1989, Vol.5, No.4) p. 1. 

36. Ibid. 

37. "The Year of Equipping the Saints", New Wine, Jan. 1986, p. 7. 

38. John Wimber, Healing, An Introduction, Tape Five,( Vineyard Ministries International, Placentia, CA, 1985). 

39. John Wimber, Signs and Wonders and Church Growth, (Vineyard Ministries International, Placentia, CA, 1984 Section 3, Today's Tension with the Miraculous: Worldview p. 7). 

40. F.V. Scott, "John Wimber and the Vineyard Ministries," (Passport Magazine, January/February 1988, Calvary Chapel of West Covina), p. 19. 

41. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church Growth Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional Pastoral Conferences, Teach Us to Pray Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the 90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987). 

42. Ibid. 

43. John Wimber, Ministering in England, Tapes I, II, III, (Vineyard Ministries International, June 1981). 

44. Ibid. 

45. John Wimber, "Zip to 3,000 in 5 Years - Part I," Signs and Wonders Today, (Christian Life Missions, Wheaton, Illinois, 1983), p. 15. 

46. RC. Sproul, Knowing Scripture, (Downers Grove, IL, InterVarsity Press, 1977) p. 2S, 26. 

47. Ibid. p. 27. 

48. William Kirk Kilpatrick, Psychological Seduction - The Failure of Modern Psychology, (Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1983), p. 152 

49. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church Growth Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional Pastoral Conferences, Teach Us to Pray Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the 90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987). 

50. F. V. Scott, "John Wimber and the Vineyard Ministries", Passport Magazine, (Calvary Chapel West Covina, West Covina, CA January/February 1988), p. 21. 

51. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church Growth Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional Pastoral Conferences, Teach Us to Pray Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the 90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987). 

52. Ibid. 

53. "Wimber Changes His Mind", Evangelicals Now, (Editor: Robert M. Horn, 14 Silverleigh Road, Thornton Heath, Currey CR7 6DU, Vol.V, No.7July 1990) p. 15. 

54. F. V. Scott, "John Wimber and the Vineyard Ministries", Passport Magazine, (Calvary Chapel West Covina, West Covina, CA January/February 1988), p. 18, p. 19. 

55. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Syllabus, "Section 2, Healing in the New Testament," (Vineyard Ministries International Placentia, CA 1983) p.10-11. 

56. Ibid. p. 18 

57. John Wimber, Church Planting Seminar, Tapes I, II, III, IV, V, March 28, 1981. 

58. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981). 

59. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Syllabus:( "II. Observations", A. "Spiritual Phenomena"), p. 74-75. 

60. Ibid. p. 75. 

61. John Wimber, Healing, (Video Series, Tape I, Vineyard Ministries International, Placentia, CA 1985). 

62. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Syllabus:( "II. Observations", A. "Spiritual Phenomena"), p. 74 

63. Ibid. p. 76, B. "Perspective on Ministry", 6. 

64. John Wimber, Healing, (Video Series, Tape I, Vineyard Ministries International, Placentia, CA 1985). 

65. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981). 

66. Ibid. 

67.F.V. Scott, "John Wimber and the Vineyard Ministries," (Passport Magazine, January/February 1988, Calvary Chapel of West Covina), p. 21. 

68. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981). 

69. Dave Hunt, CIB Bulletin, (Christian Information Bureau, Bend OR April 1989, Vol.5, No.4) p. 2. 

70. John Wimber and Kevin Springer, Power Healing, (San Francisco, CA, Harper & Row, 1987), p. 

7l. Robert Schuller, Possibilities magazine, Summer 1986. 

72. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981). 

73John Wimber, Healing Seminar Syllabus, ("Forgiveness: Section 2, Healing in the New Testament p. 15. 

74. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981). 

75. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church Growth Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional Pastoral Conferences, Teach Us to Pray Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the 90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987). 

76. F.V. Scott, "John Wimber and the Vineyard Ministries," (Passport Magazine, January/February 1988, Calvary Chapel of West Covina), p. 21, p. 22. 

77. Ibid. 

78. Dave Hunt, Beyond Seduction, (Eugene, Or, Harvest House Pub., 1987) p. 139. 

79. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Syllabus, "A Biblical and Historical Perspective, (Vineyard Ministries International, Placentia, CA 1983) p. 1. 

80. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981). 

81. Agnes Sanford, The Healing Light, (1947) p. 30. 

82. David A. Seamonds, Healing of Memories, (Wheaton, IL, victor Books, 1985) p. 61. 

83. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981). 

84. Ibid. 

85. Ibid. 

86. Ibid. 

87. Ibid. 

88. Ibid. 

89. Dr. Don Lewis, Ph.D., "Assessing the Wimber Phenomenon", (Regent College, June 1985) p. 4. 

90. Ibid. p. 3. 

91. Dave Hunt, CIB Bulletin, (Christian Information Bureau, Bend OR April 1989, Vol.5, No.4) p. 2.

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