TRANSFORMATIONS Revival Or Compromise?
Pastor Jannie Viljoen
1. Introduction……………………………………… 1
2. Unity………………………………………………… 3
3. George Otis Junior……………………………… 7
4. Dominion Theology……………………………. 9
5. Spiritual Warfare………………………………… 12
6. The Transformations Video…………………. 17
7. The Global Day of Prayer……………………. 20
8. Heaven on Earth?………………………………. 24
9. Conclusion………………………………………… 28
10. How do evil spirits deceive Christians?… 37
“Transformations” have, over the last number of years, become a household name amongst churches and individual Christians. Every year thousands gather for united prayer and celebration rallies at stadiums across the country, and every year the numbers grow. Much of this is the result of the Transformation videos of the Sentinel Group, hosted by a man called George Otis Junior.
In these videos are presented a number of communities that were under the oppressive power of evil and sin and had struggling Christian communities and churches. In the videos, these communities are transformed from oppressive, sinful communities to one where evil is defeated, people turn to God in great numbers, churches grow phenomenally and God’s authority even becomes the norm in the social, economic and political fabric of the community. This transformation, according to the video, is the result of a number of strategies that are implemented. Churches were called to united prayer meetings where reconciliation between the leaders took place. As this took place, “spiritual mapping” was conducted to determine demonic strongholds and bondages within and over the community. As the information became available, the prayer-groups undertook strategic prayer-walks, engaging the evil forces in spiritual warfare. According to the video, these united efforts defeated and expelled the powers of darkness in these cities so that not only spiritual dominion was established, but also secular dominion by the Christians.
This all sounds wonderful! Who wouldn’t want to see society change for the better? Which pastor wouldn’t want to experience his church growing to the point of doubling or even tripling in membership? Which Christian wouldn’t want to see masses of people turning to God? But is this what is really happening? Is this movement really effective in reaching the lost for Christ? And what are the results of Transformation’s call to unity? Is its “spiritual mapping” and “spiritual warfare” Biblical? Is the Transformations Movement a new move of God or is it just a new guise for an old heresy?
“Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest it being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced … more true than truth itself” (Iranaeus, Against Heresy).
In the following chapters we will look at Transformations, its teachings and activities in the light of not only the Word of God, but also its history. We will also look at the men who have brought Transformations to the church. God’s Word requires from us that we investigate all spiritual teaching to see whether it is in line with His Word, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and EXAMINED THE SCRIPTURES EVERY DAY TO SEE IF WHAT PAUL SAID WAS TRUE” (Acts 17:11).
The late bishop Ryle once wrote: “Unity in the abstract is no doubt and excellent thing; but unity WITHOUT TRUTH is useless” (“Unity in the Dark,” Donald Gillies, Billing & Sons, Ltd. 1964. P.105).
A major emphasis of the Transformations movement is unity amongst the churches in the community. Reconciliation between different denominations and various churches are essential for community transformation to take place. If communities are to be effectively “evangelized,” unity amongst the churches and the church leaders of that community is a pre-requisite. Through the Transformation movement Churches are regularly called upon for inter-church prayer meetings and evangelistic actions in our cities and towns. Ministers and pastors who are leading these actions constantly talk about unity … churches must unite … the body of Christ is divided and must come to unity if it is to be effective in reaching the world for Christ. The call is, “We all believe in Jesus, let’s put aside our dogmatic differences, and reach out together with the Gospel.”
On the surface this may seem the Christian thing to do, in the light of the desperate need to evangelize the world around us. But when the very essentials of the Gospel and the Christian faith is compromised for the sake of unity, it needs to concern us and make us sit up and take note! Tal Brooke makes it plain that “ … to change the faith for the sake of unity … is to compromise truth … and once changed, … faith is destroyed” (“The Conspiracy to Silence the Son of God,” Harvest House Publishers, Oregon, 1998. P. 48). Biblical truth about the nature of God and the atonement of Christ are some of the essentials that are compromised when participating in the Transformations movement.
The unity being propagated by George Otis Junior and his Sentinel Group is a unity based, not on the doctrinal purity of God’s Word, but on the common goal for community transformation, irrespective of doctrine and belief. Before he founded the Sentinel Group in 1980, Otis worked with the Luzanne Committee for World Evangelization which was launched in the early 1970s by Billy Graham. Not only do they include Roman Catholics who pray to Mary as Mediatrix (taking the place of Christ as our only Mediator) as well as to dead saints, believing that the Roman Catholic priest has the power to literally change the wafer bread and the wine into the actual body and blood of Christ in the unbiblical mass, that the Bible is not a sufficient rule of faith but that spiritual truth is also contained in tradition, that the pope is infallible and is God’s representative on earth (the Holy Spirit is God’s representative on earth – John 14:16 – 18), etc. – but also see those of other faiths as members of the Body of Christ. In an interview with Billy Graham, who is a leader in the Lausanne Movement, by Robert Schuller on May 31, 1997, Billy Graham said:
“That’s what God is doing today, He’s calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the Name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think that they are saved, and that they are going to be with us in heaven.”
According to God’s Word, the only way to get to heaven is by the New Birth which is effected when you repent of your sins, believe in Jesus as the Son of God who died for your sins, and accept Him as your Lord and savior (Rom. 3:23; John 3:3; John 1:12,13).
The Sentinel Group of George Otis has no specific statement of faith (http://www.sentinelgroup.org/history.asp), but underwrites the Lausanne Covenant. Augustin Vencer, for nine years at the helm of the World Evangelic Fellowship, which is a roof organization of the Lausanne Movement, gave the following insight into the goals of these affiliated movements:
“I have seen a paradigm shift in the way we look at the Great Commission … We need to get out of the privatized understanding of faith … We should look beyond personal discipleship – to a national, societal understanding of discipling the nation. The desire for transformational ministry is not new; we are merely following the tradition of earlier prophetic voices … There is an increasing awareness of unity and co-operation within the Body of Christ … to work with non-Christians, with Muslims, with governments? We compromise neither Jesus nor the Gospel … We have become so specialized on the special grace of God: Salvation in Christ alone … But God Himself is concerned with common grace … that will bring their society closer to enjoy kingdom values such as social peace, public justice and national righteousness … If we affirm that the kingdom of God is coming … then the values of that which is coming should become the social ethics of the church today.”
(Information letter, German Evangelical Alliance, English edition, May 22, 2001. www.idea.de)
What Augustin Vencer is saying, is that evangelism must change from salvation as a personal and individual commitment to Christ, to a national transformation of society to godly, spiritual values so that the kingdom of God can be established on earth. This is also the doctrine of the Sentinel Group of George Otis Junior. This false doctrine, that Christians must transform the world morally, take control, and establish the Kingdom of God so that Christ can return, has its roots in the Moral Re-armament Movement, also called Contemporary Moral Government Theology, which was the brain-child of Gordon C. Olson. In the early years of his ministry, George Otis not only identified strongly with Moral Government Theology, but also lectured on it.
This is the very basis of Transformations, which is another name for Dominionism or Kingdom Theology, which is a revival of the old Contemporary Moral Government Theology of Gordon C. Olson. Olson believed that “… the classical doctrines of origonal sin, human depravity and moral inability, the Atonement, and justification were wrong … He finds the cause of Salvation not in Christ’s atoning death but in the believer’s self-reformation” (e-newsletter 6/10 by Sandy Simpson). This is the same theology that George Otis Junior propagates (See chapter 3: George Otis Junior).
What does the Word of God say concerning united church actions? The Bible warns that true Christians cannot unite together with those who hold to unbiblical teachings (Rev. 18:4). Jesus further says that the true church is not to mix with the false church, because, when the true church mixes with the false church, she identifies herself with its evil works: “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God … If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work” (2 John 9-11). Therefore, the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ cannot unite with all other churches in prayer and evangelism actions, because some of these churches deny the very foundational doctrines of the Christian faith (2 Corinthians 6:14 – 18). The true church is suppose to evangelize the false church – not unite with her and make her believe that she is saved!
“I would say at the outset (since I do believe these are the last days) that the great issue which confronts the flock of God … is not unity … The issue is TRUTH.”
(The New Prophets, Bill Randles, Plumbline Publishing, Pietermaritzburg, 1999. P. 103)
3. GEORGE OTIS JUNIOR:
George Otis Junior is the founder and president of the Sentinel Group who produced the transformation videos. As was mentioned in the previous chapter, Otis’ theology identifies strongly with Moral Government Theology. Moral Government Theology was developed during the 1930s and 1940s by the late Gordon C. Olson. His studies led him to believe that the classical Biblical doctrines of original sin, the Atonement, and justification were wrong. Olson believed that man is born morally neutral. He denied that man inherits Adam’s sin-nature. To him sin comes about through the wrong choices of our will. Salvation, therefore, was not in Christ’s atoning death, but is made possible through the believer’s self-reformation. Olson’s theology was a works-based theology – man can change himself! This is the hidden, basic teaching of the Transformations movement of George Otis Junior. In his book, “The God they never knew,” Otis reveals his erroneous theology when he states:
“If we accept the premise that Jesus literally purchased our salvation with His blood, it portrays God as vindictive and bloodthirsty and totally incompatible with Biblical forgiveness” (Page 109).
“A sinful nature is developed in our lives through self-indulgence and subsequently begins to affect everything we do… Thus we concur that a law or sinful nature is present but we must also see that it originated by choice. An example of this is a junkie bound by an addiction to heroin. He cannot help put (sic) crave drugs, but its origin was in his choices” (Page 76).
“The assertion that Jesus paid for our sins has caused immeasurable damage to the Body of Christ” (Page 93).
(The God they never knew, George Otis, Bible Voice Publishers, Van Nuys, 1978)
To Otis, the Biblical doctrine of Christ’s substitutionary death on the Cross for the remittance of our sins, is totally unacceptable. He does not believe that man is born with an inherited sinful nature, but teaches that it comes about through his own free choice and can therefore be changed by self-effort. He does not believe that Christ’s death on the Cross was a payment for sin and that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the believer. To Otis, sin means to be in demonic bondage and deception. Salvation, according to Otis, lies in the identification, confrontation and dispelling of demons and their strongholds, so that people will be set free to turn to God and change their lives. These ideas are not only unbiblical, but also heretical! Every Bible believing Christian must not only reject this man as an unbeliever, but also have nothing to do with his movement and ministry.
4. DOMINION THEOLOGY:
The Moral Government Theology of Olson have resurfaced in the Transformations Movement as Dominion Theology. Ern Baxter, at the September 1975 National Men’s Shepherds Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, said:
“God’s people are going to start to exercise rule, and they’re going to take dominion over the powers of Satan. They’re going to bring diabolical princes down. The dark powers that hover over the parliament buildings of the nations are going to be paralyzed by the corporate prayer of an authoritative community. As the rod of His strength goes out of Zion, He’ll change legislation. He’ll chase the devil off the face of God’s earth, and God’s people together, doing the will of God, will bring about God’s purposes and God’s reign.”
Dominion Theology, also called Kingdom Theology, is the underlying driving-force of Transformations, United Prayer Actions, Prayer Marches, and the Global Day of Prayer. Dominionism propagates a “Great Last Days Revival,” that will not only sweep the world for Jesus, but also bring whole nations into the Kingdom. Instead of Christ restoring all things (Acts 15:16), Dominionism teaches that it is the Church that will restore God’s Kingdom on earth. Earl Paulk states that the Church,
“Have been foreordained of God to become that people who will become so glorified that we can bring Christ back to the earth. This glorified church must make the earth God’s footstool before Jesus can come again.”
(The New Prophets, Bill Randles, Plumbline Publishers, Pietermaritzburg, 1999. P. 17)
This is what Transformations and its related organizations want to bring about through its Spiritual Warfare strategies. Once the strongholds and power of Satan are destroyed, and cities and towns are transformed into Godly communities, the political, social, economic and educational institutions will be in the hands of Christians. Professor Johan Malan, in an e-newsletter 6/01, called “Deception in the Church,” states that:
“The Transformation plan conforms to Kingdom Theology in that it aims to establish … religious and secular dominion in society. The Transformation plan … involves the entire society. Its whole action of deliverance from demonic bondage is society-based rather than individually based. It is committed to uniting all sections of society through a process of reconciliation. The church people, business people, civil servants, and political leaders must all become one people with common objectives and a common destiny. The leaders of society will all be Christians, and very soon all evil and anti-social forces will vanish.”
But is this what the Bible teaches? Does the Bible say that the end-time church will take the world for Christ and establish His Kingdom on earth? The Bible actually teaches the opposite! The church will never win the world for Christ and make it a better place this side of His coming. Speaking of the end-times Jesus warned, “At that time many will turn away from the faith … and many FALSE PROPHETS shall appear and DECEIVE many people. Because of THE INCREASE OF WICKEDNESS, the love of most will grow cold, …” (Matt. 24:10 – 12). The world will continue to reject God and actually become worse: “The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent … of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Rev. 9:20 – 21). “ … they cursed the God of heaven … they refused to repent and glorify Him” (Rev.16:9). The world will continue to persecute the believers. In warning of the end-times, Jesus said, “ … they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to … prisons … you will be brought before kings and governors, all on account of my name. You will be betrayed … they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of Me.” (Luke 21:12,16,17).
Instead of a great end-time revival, as many would have us believe, the Word of God warns of a great falling away from the truth, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, … lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:1,2,4,5. See also 2 Peter 3:3 – 17 and 2 Thess. 2:3.), and the church becoming luke-warm (Rev. 3:14 – 17) as we move into the end-times. The Bible teaches that the world will become so corrupt that God will bring a final and terrible judgment upon it: “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires … But the day of the Lord will come like a thief … and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people aught you to be? You aught to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God … That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens …” (2 Peter 3:3,10,11,12). “ … On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity … Men will faint from terror, apprehensive at what is coming on the world, …” (Luke 21:25,26). “Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in the caves and among the rocks. They called to the mountains and the rocks, `Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come and who can stand?’” (Rev. 6:15 – 17).
Transformations’ goal, of bringing the nations under God’s rule, forgets that man is in rebellion against God because of his inherent sinful nature (Rom. 5:12; 3:23). Transformation of society to godly, moral values cannot come about by “removing” demonic powers over cities and areas (See Chapter 5: Spiritual Warfare). The sin-nature of man needs to be dealt with! The Great Commission in Mark 16:15 – 16 is still God’s means of bringing the sinner to salvation – i.e. THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL! Man needs to hear that he is a lost sinner on his way to hell (Rev. 20:13 – 15). He needs to hear that Christ died for his sins (Isaiah 53:4 – 6; 1 Peter 3:18). He needs to repent and by faith accept Christ as his personal Savior (Luke 13:3; John 1:12 – 13). He needs to be born again (John 3:3).
Society at large will continue to reject Christ (Matt. 7:13) until God’s judgment will fall: “By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7).
5. SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
It may sound exiting for believers and churches to enter into spiritual warfare in the heavenlies against Satan and his host of evil spirits. But is it Biblical? And if it is not Biblical, how then can it be effective?
The spiritual warfare techniques being propagated by the Transformations Movement include such concepts as “spiritual mapping, binding territorial spirits, pulling down demonic strongholds, and prayer-marches.”
George Otis Junior teaches that evil spirits blind and deceive communities. He believes that these demonic strongholds are territorial and that they are major stumbling blocks that have to be removed before significant transformation can take place. Otis, and others in the Transformations movement teach, that unless these powers are confronted and broken, the spiritual, social, and political transformation in these societies will not be effected. For an area to be effectively transformed, these demonic strongholds need to first be identified. This is done through a practice called “spiritual mapping.”
Another person who holds to this type of spiritual warfare, and whose teachings are used by Transformations, is Peter Wagner. He teaches that Satan sends senior demons from his hierarchy of evil spirits to oppress, control and bind countries, regions, tribes and communities. These demonic strongholds are attacked and destroyed by a method called “strategic spiritual warfare.” After the demons and spiritual strongholds in an area has been identified through spiritual mapping, the demons and “strong man” is rebuked, bound and cast out through united prayer actions and prayer walks. “Gatekeepers” are appointed to guard the entrances of the area or city to keep the demons from returning. The city is then claimed for Jesus and the demons cannot re-enter to mislead people. As soon as these strongholds and powers of Satan are broken, the people in that city or area will be set free from spiritual blindness and will be transformed to Godly principles and will flock in large numbers to the churches:
“The quick expansion of Christianity will occur as soon as the strongholds and power of Satan are broken. There will be no more inhibiting factors, spiritual deception or stumbling blocks preventing people from joining churches in large numbers and serve the Lord. Christians will also be appointed into key posts, e.g. in municipalities or government departments with local offices. In this way Christianity will thrive under ideal conditions. The transformation or reconstruction of the whole community will realize in the political, social, educational and economic areas. Prosperity, stability and freedom of crime will prevail and all will be able to live in peace and harmony. The subversive powers of darkness will be broken and the children of God will reclaim the power and dominion that the Lord gave to Adam and was lost during the Fall.”
www.cephasministry.com-Otis,Wagner and the Transformations
This is the old Moral Government Theology of Olson, which was strongly condemned by the American Assemblies of God in the 1940s, and which has resurfaced under the banner of Transformations. It is clear that the deception has been very successful when one takes note that just about every denomination is involved with Transformations and the Global Day of Prayer, not only in South Africa, but right across the globe!
When it comes to spiritual warfare, it is disturbing that the inability of Otis and Wagner to distinguish between mysticism and Biblical supernatural workings of God, has led them and those who follow them into gross error.
“In some places, Otis’ spiritual warfare invention has moved all the way into the occult and witchcraft. They use occult methods, going to cemeteries to find out which demons are ruling there, mapping the rivers, caves in the mountains and anointing Bibles with oil and putting them in the ground under a church building. This is getting really weird and this is WITCHCRAFT! (Emphasis is the original).
Otis’ and Peter Wagner’s doctrine on spiritual warfare is based on an erroneous teaching concerning “territorial” spirits, which assumes that specific evil spirits dominate and rule over towns, cities, areas, nations and even continents. According to Wagner’s spiritual warfare, these places cannot be effectively evangelized until these territorial spirits are defeated and expelled. That there is not a shred of evidence in the New Testament to support this practice does not seem to concern those who are engaged in this type of activity. Surely the Apostle Paul would have found this type of warfare of great value and importance on his missionary journeys where spiritual darkness and ignorance was rife. But there is not one instance where Paul engaged in this type of spiritual warfare! The whole “territorial spirit warfare” theology is based on Daniel 10:13 where we find the Prince of Persia hindering an angelic helper that was sent By God to Daniel. Peter Fenwick makes the following comment:
“Since Daniel was not waging spiritual warfare in the modern sense of the word; since there is not another single example in the whole Bible of this sort of activity; and since we are given no theological explanation of it all, it is therefore astonishing that a definite theology has been built up from this brief incident and has introduced into the charismatic church what is now a very dominant practice.”
(Blessing the Church, Clifford Hill, Harper Collins, Glasgow, 1995. P. 43)
George Otis teaches that if the oppressive influence of territorial spirits are removed, then people will be set free to turn to God in great numbers. This teaching ignores the inherent sinful nature of man! But because Otis does not believe that man is inherently sinful, he sees people not as sinful, but rather as deceived, and by removing the “strong man” (ruling demons) in a territory, people will be set free to live according to God’s laws.
Is it Scriptural to bind demons over towns, cities or areas? It is important to interpret Matthew 16:19, I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven,” in its context and that our interpretation is in line with what Jesus was teaching. The “keys” that Jesus gave His disciples was not to bind evil spirits – it is the GOSPEL! That is the “key” that will open or shut heaven for people. When we proclaim the true Gospel to people and they believe and accept it, the gates of heaven are unlocked for them and they have the privilege to enter heaven when they die. But when we proclaim a false gospel and people accept it, we are in actual fact locking heaven for them and when they die they will find heaven closed.
The air above us is full of demonic spirits, and we cannot drive demonic spirits from one place to another. It will be futile to sit at the entrance of a town or city and drive demons out of the area. Evil spirits have a right to be in the air above us. God gave them the right to be there. From there they attack us in our “thought life.” If my thought life is constantly taken up with, for example, immoral thoughts, a spirit of immorality will start to control me. Where is the territory for the demon now? In that sin-area of my life. How do I drive the demon out of this area? By confessing and forsaking my sin (Eph. 4:27).
What is a demonic stronghold? A stronghold is actually a lie (2 Cor. 10:3 – 6). A demonic stronghold is believing a lie. For example, a man who believes in the ancestral spirits believes he has access to God through his ancestral spirits. This is a demonic stronghold – this lie that the man is believing which is holding him captive and brings him under the influence of demonic spirits. How does one break this stronghold? He is to be told the truth! He is to be told that Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). When he believes this truth and accepts Jesus as his Lord and Savior, this demonic stronghold (lie) is broken in his life. We break down demonic strongholds in people’s lives by giving them the truth of God’s Word.
What about prayer-marches? It serves no purpose to march around the town and bind the evil spirits in the vicinity above the town. Notwithstanding it being a futile exercise, it would be more effective to do what Jesus and the Apostles did – go into the town and share with the people the saving Gospel that brings deliverance – THAT IS SPIRITUAL WARFARE!
Demonic strongholds are not the demons in the air. Demonic strongholds are the sin in people's lives, the spiritual lies and theological errors in people's hearts and minds that keep them captive to Satan's lies. We break these strongholds down by giving them the truth of the Gospel – THAT is what sets them free!
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2Cor. 10:4 – 5).
If Transformation's spiritual warfare strategies are the way we, as Christians must reach our communities for Christ, then the Apostles in the New Testament completely missed it! What did the Apostle Paul do when he was in Athens and saw the people given over to idol worship? Did he call the Christians together to pray against the demons over that city, or get them to march around the city claiming it for God? No, he "… reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshippers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there" (Acts 17:17).
In Thessalonica Paul did the same: "Then Paul, as his custom was, … for three Sabbaths, reasoned with them from the Scriptures" (Acts 17:2). In Corinth Paul "reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks" (Acts 18:4). In Ephesus Paul "entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews" (Acts 18:19). Paul did not employ any of these so-called spiritual warfare strategies that are used by the Transformations movement today. He did not use them because he was ignorant of such, but because they cannot be found in the Scriptures!
6. THE TRANSFORMATIONS VIDEO:
The Transformation video which has been widely distributed and excitedly accepted by many churches and Christians, was produced by the Sentinel Group of George Otis Junior. In this video four communities are presented and portrayed as radically transformed through revivals brought about by the spiritual warfare techniques of the Transformations movement. The four cities presented in this video are (1) Cali in Columbia, (2) Almolonga in Guatemala, (3) Kiambu in Kenya, and (4) Hemet in California. But are the wonderful claims in this video true? Since the release of the video, various groups, who have investigated the claims, found many of them false and exaggerated.
1. Cali, Columbia:
The Transformations video claims that the drug cartels were defeated and that the cults have decreased. It shows that Cali is a “safe” city, where a significant percentage of the population is now safe and revival flourishes. Where people once lived in fear, they now safely walk the streets.
The reality, though, is that there are still drug cartels operating from Cali, one commanding his operation from prison. The rebels, who protect the drug trade, are still attacking churches in Cali, shutting down many. The rebel group has closed churches, imposed a 6pm curfew on services where it allows churches to meet, and banned public religious activity in a territory under its control. The ELN, another rebel group, invaded a catholic church in Cali and kidnapped 140 members two months ago.
www.cnn.com, search for Cali, Columbia. http://www.usoloj.gov/dea/traffickers/Columbia.htm
Satanic groups are attacking churches and Christians, especially in Cali. Some churches have suffered repeated attacks, said Consuelo Zuluaga, a social worker in Justopaz.
According to the newsletter of Ruth Ruibal, the widow of the assassinated pastor Julio Ruibal, who is mentioned in the video, the situation in Cali is “a gross darkness” a city where her church must hire armed guards and where the church must be protected by barbed wire (soon to be replaced by a 10 – 12 foot wall if permission is granted). The assassin of Julio is free, and openly claimed to have killed Julio. He owns the land next to the church and is threatening to kill other family members.
2. Almolonga, Guatemala:
The video claims, that since the transformation, 92% of the people are Christians. It further claims that since the transformation, vegetables have become larger and that there was a 1000% increase in production over the past 20 years. This is attributed to the spiritual benefits of the transformation. It further shows researchers coming from all over the world to study the produce.
The research findings, however, states that only about 65% of the people are Christians, many only nominally so, with former witchdoctors now calling themselves “prophets” but doing much the same as before.
The war in Guatemala, which lasted for 36 years and only ended in the early to mid-1990s, had brought agriculture to a standstill. Since the end of hostilities it is natural for the sudden increase in produce. Secondly, the crops in Almolonga are notable, not for their size, but for the health problems that were caused by the excessive use of pesticides. This would have the effect of increasing the quantity and size of the produce, but with side effects. The researchers coming from all over the world to Almolonga, is not there to study the “miracle” as the video claims, but to study the health problems which have resulted from the abuse of pesticides used to create bumper crops.
3. Kiambu, Kenya:
The video claims that a revival has broken out across the city from the “Prayer Cave” and that people are flocking from Nairobi to live in Kiambu. A missionary with African Inland Mission (AIM) who returned to Canada in March 2005 says that she has not heard of any people flocking to Kiambu because they want to live there as a result of a transformed society.
4. Hemet, California:
In this city, the video reveals that after the implementation of the Transformations, a 75% decrease in the drug trade resulted, that unity amongst the churches were established, that church attendance increased to 14% of the population, that most cults have left the city and that there was a significant decrease in crime.
The reality is that neither the churches contacted, nor the authors of an article on the drug trade in Southern California were aware of any such drop in the drug trade, an increase in church attendance and that they are not aware of any “revival” in Hemet.
Otis’ Transformations video does not reflect the reality in these cities and societies. Otis is deliberately deceiving his viewers. His hidden agenda seems to be directed at deceiving evangelical Christians into focusing on and keeping themselves busy through useless spiritual strategies instead of obeying the Great Commission by preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to sinners so that they can be saved. If we, as evangelicals, want to survive this false so-called “move of God,” we need to get back to “ … the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).
7. THE GLOBAL DAY OF PRAYER:
On 15 May 2005, Pentecost Sunday, stadiums all over the world were filled with believers who prayed scripted prayers in unison while watching others do the same via satellite link-up. There were many sincere, Bible believing Christians participating in this event. Those who participated did not realize that they were involved in an unbiblical move to pray for the establishment of an earthly kingdom where the Christians will rule and reign. They were participating and supporting the Dominion Theology heresy!
In the material promoting the Global Day of Prayer, and in the prayer guide, there are numerous quotations and prayer suggestions that subtly reveal the ideals and propagation of the Kingdom Now Theology (Dominionism):
· Description: Ten days of prayer toward … the transformation of the nations.
· Vision: … to reveal God’s glory on the earth … to bless the nations of the earth.
· Mission: Building a canopy of prayer over all the continents. Praying for … the transformation of all nations.
Some of the following prayers are listed in the Prayer Guide for the 10 days that led up to Pentecost Sunday. Take note of the subtle references to Kingdom Now (Doninionism) and manifested Sons of God Theology:
· “For God to bring outbreaks of Christ’s peace all over the world …”
· “For Christians to live with expectancy for the promises of transformation to be fulfilled in their lifetimes.”
· “For the righteousness and justices of God to transform the ways of commerce and politics.”
· “For the peace of Christ’s kingdom to change the ways cities and nations are governed.”
In the lengthy scripted prayer called, “A Prayer for the World,” some of the following prayers are found. Again note how subtly their Dominion theology is presented:
· “Let Your Kingdom be established in every nation of this world so that governments will rule with righteousness and justice.
· “May your blessing bring transformation amongst every people on the earth.”
· “Give us wisdom and insight in every sphere of life.”
· “King of Glory, we invite You to come to the nations of the world … to restore all things. We welcome You to finish Your work in our cities, our peoples and our nations.”
The following prayer-sentence from “A Prayer for the World” reveal one of the major teachings of the Kingdom Now (Dominion) Movement:
· “Empower the church to be transformed into the image of Christ.”
One of the major teachings of Kingdom theology is that the “last day” church will actually become the incarnate Christ and will, as such, rule over the nations.
“Some believe that the second coming of Jesus is to be `in the church,’ before He comes for the church. That the church, his Body, will actually become Christ on earth, glorious and triumphant. They will conquer the land and then rule the nations with a rod of iron.”
It is only Christ Himself, when He returns to this earth in power and glory, that He, and not the church, will subdue the nations and rule them with a rod of iron (Rev. 19 and 20). This false teaching, that the church will conquer the world and rule the nations, is to exalt man to the position of Christ and confer upon the believer prerogatives that belong to Christ alone.
Two of the “buzz-words” found in many of the prayer sentences is to pray for the “healing”and “blessing”of the nations. What does this really mean? It only makes sense when we look how these two words fit into the Kingdom Now or Dominion theology. Dominionism teaches that it is the church that must fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant. Genesis 12:1 – 3 states that through Abraham’s seed all the nations will be blessed. This does not pertain to the church as Dominionism teaches, but is the promise that through Abraham’s descendants the Messiah will come and will be the means of salvation for the world. But because Dominionism replaces Christ with the church, it sees the Abrahamic Covenant fulfilled in the church. They actually teach that Abraham failed at it, Jesus failed at it and the disciples failed at it! Alan Vincent, for instance, teaches that every city and family on earth is to receive this blessing through the church.
The Global Day of Prayer on 15 May 2005 was not a recent revelation from God for the church through the South African businessman Graham Power, as some would have us believe. It has been many years in the planning by those who hold to Kingdom and Dominion theology. Graham Power, who founded “Transformation Africa” and heads up the Global Day of Prayer, lists Peter Wagner as his advisor in the Transform World Market Place. (www.marketplaceleaders.org)
“The history leading up to this event (the Global Day of Prayer) … is intricately connected to the Fuller Theological Seminar Latter Day (Dominion) leaders … well over a decade now.”
(Discernment Newsletter, Vol. 16, No. 3, May/June 2005, Discernment Ministries, Benoni. P. 1,2)
Not only are there many disturbing references to Dominion and Kingdom teachings in the manual for the Global Day of Prayer, but the Word of God is also de-emphasized in favor of spiritual warfare prayers and actions. The “program Ideas” section suggests that the Word of God is not to be preached at this event:
“It is wise to simply forbid speeches, homilies, challenges so that the event is consecrated as a session of extraordinary prayer.”
The Word of God reminds us that “If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Tim. 6:3) and that we are to “flee from all this” (verse 11).
How can we then, as Christians, knowing the unscriptural theology and the deceptive agenda of Otis, Wagner and Transformations, participate in this Global Day of Prayer?
8. HEAVEN ON EARTH?
Transformations, Dominionism, Kingdom Now theology, all propagate the same idea that the church will become so powerful that it will eventually take over the world for Christ. In other words, it is the church that will establish the Kingdom of God on earth and it is the church that will rule the nations! In the manual for the Global Day of Prayer for 15 May 2005, one of the prayers intimates:
“Pray in vigorous hopethat every people and nation will soon experience the power transforming presence of Jesus at work through His people [that is the church]. Express expectant confidence that Jesus will soon accomplish all the Father’spurpose [that is to establish His Kingdom on earth] and break open the skies to fill the earth with His manifest glory[that is in His glorified church on earth]” (Explanations added).
Whatever happened to the Biblical teaching of Jesus in John 14 that says, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (verses 1 – 4)? Instead of waiting and watching for Christ’s return (Matt. 24:42) to take His church, His Bride, to heaven, these people say that we are going to bring heaven to earth!
This unbiblical teaching originated through an alleged “prophetic” utterance in a Pentecostal meeting in Canada around 1948. This “prophetic” teaching was given to reveal the so called “real” meaning of Romans 8:19, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.” This “prophetic” utterance laid the foundation for the Kingdom Now teaching that the church will become so glorified that it will eventually take dominion over the earth. If this scripture is read and expounded in the context of verses 14 – 25, it will be clearly seen that it speaks of the believer’s bodily resurrection, translation, redemption and glorification with Christ in heaven (verses 11,23).
All of the biblical teaching concerning the coming of Christ for His Bride are either ignored or explained away through “scripture twisting” by the proponents of Dominionism. The Bible truth that Jesus is coming to fetch His Bride to take Her to heaven is rejected by this movement. According to them, the overcoming Christians will “manifest” as “sons of God” by becoming sinless, perfect and immortal and establish God’s Kingdom on earth.
“(The church) have been forordained of Godto become that people who will become so glorified that we can bring Christ back to earth. This glorified church must make the earth God’s footstool before Jesus can come again.”
(The New Prophets, Bill Randles, Plumbline Publishing, Pietermaritzburg, 1999. P. 17)
“(Christ) is said to be unable to return personally until the stage is set by the establishment of His rule and reign through the sons of God subduing the nations, taking DOMINION, …
The Manifested Sons of God believe they will not only become Christ corporately, they will become Christ individually too.”
(Understanding Deception, Roy Liversey, Bury House Christian Books, 1987. P. 181,182)
Instead of a new and glorious utopia on earth, God’s Word warns that “ … the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying `Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, …” (1 Thess. 5:2 – 3). “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world – and never to be equaled again” (Matt. 24:21). “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to ESCAPE all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).
How wonderful and comforting, in a world that is becoming more evil, are the words of 1 Thessalonians 4:14 – 18,
“We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.”
In 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 the sequence of the rapture (i.e. the translation of the living and dead Christians into heaven) is clearly revealed as the Lord Jesus Christ descends from heaven (verse 16a). First the dead Christians are raised incorruptible (verse 16b. See also 1 Cor. 15:52). At the same time the physical bodies of living Christians are transformed into immortality (verse 17a. See also 1 Cor. 15:51 – 54). Then the raised Christians, together with the living Christians, will be taken into heaven by Jesus (verse 17).
How do the adherents of the Kingdom Now movement sidestep the issue of the rapture of the church into heaven? Scriptures like “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two woman will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left” (Matt. 24:40,41) are taken to mean that God will remove in judgement those who oppose His Kingdom on earth.
“ … after all have received what is offered and the earth is CLEANSED OF ALL WHO WOULD NOT RECEIVE, God’s Kingdom can be … set up.”
(Discernment Newsletter, Vol.16, No. 3, May/June 2005, Discernment Ministries, Benoni)
This false teaching that the church will take over the world, and that those who oppose it will be removed by God, is laying the foundation for the One World false Church under the reign of the Anti-Christ. (2 Thess. 2:1 – 12). This passage of Scripture deals with the end-times at the return of Christ and the rapture of the church (verse 1). It speaks of the rebellion that must occur (verse 3). This is the great falling away from Biblical truth (see Matt. 24:10 – 12). Could the teaching of Dominionism set the stage for the Anti-Christ to “exalt himself over everything” and “set himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (verse 14)? Remember, the Bible teaches that the Anti-Christ will come with “ … all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders … that DECEIVES those who are perishing” (verse 10).
The teachings of the Kingdom Now movement, of which Transformations is a part, is that they are taking over the world and presenting it to Christ. BUT WHICH CHRIST? The Bible reveals that Satan can present himself as “an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). Will he be the one who receives the worldly “kingdom” from them? It seems so! For the Bible declares that “ … the lawless one (i.e. the Anti-Christ) will be revealed, whom the Lord will overthrow (from his earthly kingdom) with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the splendor of His coming” (2 Thess. 2:8).
The Transformations and the Spiritual Warfare strategies of George Otis and Peter Wagner has been firmly established and is growing yearly with more and more churches and Christians participating. This “revival” has succeeded in capturing the minds of churches, minister’s fraternals, the Christian media and even some in the secular media.
Many see this as a sovereign move of God and many more are hinting that this could be the long awaited and prophesied Great Last Days Revival. Yet there are others who are warning, with the backing of Scripture, that this is part of the great delusion that 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 speaks of.
Transformations, which is another name for Dominionism, which came out of the Manifested Sons of God movement and which had its roots in the Latter Day Rain movement of 1948, see as its task to bring the church into perfection, to be the end-time church which will take our world for Christ. Instead of Jesus establishing His Kingdom at His return (Rev. 19,20), Transformations, Dominionism, Sons of God, and the Latter Rain all claim and teach that it is the church that must establish God’s Kingdom on earth.
“ … multitudes of prosperity lovers led by their success preachers share one great concern, TO BRING IN A BRIGHT NEW DAY OF ENDLESS PROSPERITY AND BLISS! … They prophesy great and prosperous times just ahead. They have become so earth bound, they can’t see giving it up even to meet Him in glory!
This is the (same) cry as the NEW AGE PEOPLE! It is the cry of the spreading gospel of the KINGDOM PREACHERS: A NEW DAY IS DAWNING! A day of EARTHLY PEACE AND PROSPERITY! They boast, `God is going to give us the wealth of the world; we will become kings – take dominion over all government, all science, all law and legislation.’
They are no longer `looking for Christ’s appearing in the clouds with great power and glory’ (Mark 13:26). They evidently do not believe the words of Jesus when He warned, `On this earth you will suffer and be persecuted’ (2 Tim. 3:12). They reject Christ’s warning that His disciples will be hated of all men for His Name’s sake (Luke 21:17). Christ is no longer expected to return `as a thief in the night’ (1 Thess. 5:2). They don’t believe Paul’s warning that `sudden destruction’ is coming upon the earth (1 Thess. 5:3).
(Watchman of the Night, David Wilkerson, World Challenge, Inc. Lindale, 1986)
The Word of God warns us that “ … evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). Jesus Himself warns us to “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matt. 7:15). The Bible says that those who misuse the Gospel for their own end “ … are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11:13 – 15).
I believe that many who are involved in Transformations are sincere, born-again Christians. Some of them are sincere but completely deceived. Some are following their leaders who themselves have been deceived. Others are concerned about certain aspects in this movement, but the need and desire to see God move in a powerful way, have allayed their fears.
I was one of those who was exposed to, and involved in the Transformations movement a few years back. It all seemed so good and exciting, till I became concerned about certain teachings and practices that were outside of my theological framework. I started to measure these teachings and practices against the Word of God and started to do personal research into the origin and theology of Transformations.
My conclusion, based on the Word of God, is that Transformations is unbiblical, that it was born out of the Latter Day Rain movement with its Kingdom Now or Dominion theology. The man who is instrumental in revitalizing this movement, George Otis Junior, does not believe that man is born with a sin-nature, but teaches that it comes about through wrong choices and can therefore be changed by self-effort once the oppressive forces of evil are removed in the heavenlies. He does not believe that Christ’s death on the cross was a payment for sin and that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the believer. Transformations spiritual warfare borders more on the mystical than sound Biblical practices.
Days of terrible spiritual darkness and deception is coming upon the church. Instead of a great revival, the Word of God warns us of a great falling away from the truth (2 Tim. 3:1 – 5; 2 Peter 3:3 – 17; 2 Thess. 2:3) and the church becoming luke-warm (Rev. 3:14 – 17).
The Word of God is clear concerning the end-times, that “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom … famines and pestilences … distress of nations … men’s hearts failing them from fear in expectation of those things which are coming on the earth … for it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth … WATCH THEREFORE … THAT YOU MAY BE COUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS THAT WILL COME TO PASS … “ (Luke 21).
The Christian is not encouraged to wait for heaven on earth, but is rather warned to live soberly and to “… take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly” (Luke 21:34).
Paul makes a clear distinction between those who live for this world and the things of this world “ … that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction; whose god is their belly (i.e. selfish ambitions), and whose glory is in their shame – who set their minds on earthly things” (Phil. 3:18,19), and those who truly belong to Christ, whose “ … citizenship is in heaven, from which they also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ …” (Phil. 3:20).
If you have been caught up in the Transformations movement, and through the reading of this booklet have seen its errors, the Word of God is clear: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins” (Rev. 18:4).
10. HOW DO EVIL SPIRITS DECEIVE CHRISTIANS?
The Bible teaches that there is an organized host of evil spirits who stand in opposition to the work of God in the life of a Christian and the church. Just as Satan, as their “commander in chief,” is called a deceiver (Rev. 12:9), hinderer (1 Thess. 2:18), murderer (John 8:44), liar (John 8:44), accuser (Rev. 7:10), and a false angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), so too these evil spirits are completely given over to wickedness (Matt. 7:43-45), evil and deception (Mark 9:20).
One of their strategies in the church is to use teachers and leaders, who themselves have been deceived, to further propagate their false doctrines amongst gullible and unsuspecting Christians.
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, … “ (2 Pet. 2:1)
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1)
This deception is even more difficult to detect when the teacher is a “good” man with a “godly” character. The Christian is “disarmed” by the character of the teacher or preacher, and he accepts the message or teaching without testing it to see whether it is in line with what the Word of God actually teaches. Every Christian must know what the Bible teaches and test all doctrine, and not just accept spiritual teaching on the basis of the character of the teacher or preacher.
“And no wonder! For Satan himself transform himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers transform themselves into MINISTERS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, …” (2 Cor. 11:14,15)
Because evil spirits cannot normally assault the Christian directly, their main strategy is to deceive. Their target is especially those Christians who, in their desire to have a closer relation with God, accept everything supernatural as emanating from God or from the Holy Spirit. And herein lies the danger of wanting to “experience” God in a tangible way through the senses. Evil spirits will be quick to give “feelings” to the senses in the body, and to produce a counterfeit “Divine presence.” This will mostly occur when the believer becomes “passive,” so as to “experience” God’s presence in or around him. God works directly in the spirit of man. The counterfeit presence of God, given by deceiving spirits, can be detected by the manifestations and “feelings” within and upon the physical senses.
“The counterfeit `presence’ of God is nearly always manifested as love, to which the believer opens himself without hesitation, and finds it fills and satiates his innermost being, but the deceived one does not know that he has opened himself to the activity of evil spirits in the deepest need of his inner life.”
(War on the Saints by Jessie Penn-Lewis, The Overcomer Literature Trust, England. P. 72)
One of the quickest ways that evil spirits start to operate in the human spirit is when a person willfully becomes passive in “the presence of God.” God works in our lives only in co-operation with us. God has not created us as “robots” but has given us a free will to exercise and make conscious decisions. Our minds must be active during all spiritual exercises.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of A SOUND MIND” (2 Tim. 1:7)
“Be ye therefore OF SOUND MIND, and be sober unto prayer” (1 Pet. 4:7 ASV)
This does not mean that the Christian cannot, or should not, have emotional experiences. Some of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life is love, joy and peace (Gal. 5:22). But these are all subjective experiences where the mind fully understands and accepts, in a conscious way, responsibility for these actions. Spiritual experiences and emotions in the Christian’s life must never be uncontrolled and “mindless.” We are called, by an act of the will, to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength AND MIND (Mark 12:30). God touches our “hearts” but never by-passes the mind.
Another safeguard against spiritual deception is to know and understand how the Holy Spirit operates and works. In John chapter 16 Jesus brings the following teaching concerning the Holy Spirit:
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority (literally `from Himself’), but whatever He hears He will speak … for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13,14).
From the above scripture we see that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. The Bible says, “Thy Word is truth” (John 17:17). Spiritual truth can only be determined by a conscious and rational understanding of God’s Word. Spiritual truth can never be determined by or through an emotional experience or manifestation.
Secondly, we also see from this scripture that the Holy Spirit does not speak from Himself. In other words, He does not bring His own message, but is the “Agent” who reveals God’s Word to us, “ … He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”
Thirdly, this scripture clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit does not glorify Himself. His purpose is to glorify and reveal the Lord Jesus Christ to the believer.
“Any spirit that focuses on the Holy Spirit and glorifies the Holy Spirit IS NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT. It is contrary to His whole nature and purpose.” (Protection from Deception by Derek Prince, Derek Prince Ministries-International, North Carolina, 1996. P. 17)
In the light of all the above we need to heed the Lord’s warning in 1 Peter 5:8 to “Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” As Christians we MUST be on the watch. We MUST realize that the devil and his demonic hosts, have as one of their main purposes, the deception of the believer. We “watch” by testing and comparing all spiritual teaching with the Word of God.
“If there is one word that dominates the Olivet discourse, its the word “deception” in its various forms. The age Jesus describes in the Olivet prophecy is a time of great confusion and deception. There will be widespread uncertainty about the meaning of the events of this age, and people will be easily misled. So Jesus warns in verse 4, `Watch out that no one deceives you.’
He amplifies this warning in verse 5, where He adds, `For many will come in my name, claiming, `I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.’ Again in verse 11 He says: `And many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.’ And once again in verse 24: `For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible.’ Again and again, Jesus warns about being deceived – and he tells us how to avoid being deceived: `Watch out!’ In other words, Keep your eyes open! Don’t be gullible – test those who claim to speak for God! Demonstrate godly skepticism to keep from being confused and deceived.”
(What on Earth is Happening by Ray Stedman, Discovery House Publishers, Michigan, 2003. P. 36)