Torben Søndergaard and The Last Reformation on the wrong side of the Reformation?

Although from months ago, the video Grace, Salvation and Faith (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTgDkeV6HFY&t=84s) is highly relevant to understanding Torben Søndergaard’s and The Last Reformation’s soteriology (doctrines of salvation).

In this video Torben focuses upon Ephesians 2:8-9 (as many have quoted it in response to Torben’s teachings about baptism) and explains that it has been a highly misunderstood verse. Torben tells us that faith in Christ cannot simply mean faith in Christ, but denotes obedience to Christ (5:01, 9:30, 9:59, 10:56). He explains that Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and other religious individuals believe in Jesus, but are not saved. He rightly brings up the point that neither Jehovah’s Witnesses nor Mormons believe in the right and Biblical Jesus (4:24). However on this note, based on some of his previous statements, it is possible that Torben believes in the false New Apostolic Reformation’s Kenotic Jesus, whom laid aside His divinity during the incarnation (living merely as a man fully reliant on the Holy Spirit), as Torben has taught that Jesus was baptised in the Holy Spirit (Christ was anointed with the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 61:1-3, Acts 10:38), not baptised in the Holy Spirit. After His baptism, Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:13-17) to indicate publicly that He is the Messiah or the Anointed one (John 1:29-34)) and that we can do the same things that Jesus did, as we have the same Holy Spirit. Philippians 2:3-11 demonstrates the Kenosis, which is not an emptying of Christ’s divinity during the incarnation, but a humbling and emptying of Himself of His divine prerogatives and submission to the Father’s will. Colossians 2:9 tells us that all the fullness of deity dwells in Christ bodily, ergo that Christ maintained His divine nature as God the Son and took a human nature upon Himself. Christ was and still is fully God and fully man.

However in Torben’s stress that faith in Christ means to obey Him, he is twisting Ephesians 2:8-9 to say the opposite of what is intended. Let’s go with this line of reasoning and for the sake of argument substitute faith with obedience in verse 8: 

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith obedience; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (NASB)

If it is by obedience that we have been saved, it can be argued that our salvation is of ourselves and is no longer a free gift, but a result of works. No, the point of these verses is that our salvation is wholly unmerited and that both grace and faith go hand in hand, it is our faith/trust in Christ that brings us to salvation, not our obedience to His commandments or any other works.

On this note however Torben in trying to correct the error of both Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons, makes a mistake similar to their own. For example: Jehovah’s Witnesses in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures have rendered believing in Christ as exercising faith in Christ, this denotes not a saving faith/trust in the vicarious atonement of Christ on our behalf, but active obedience to Christ’s commandments. 

Mormons combine faith and works as a means of getting to heaven (as their performance will determine which Kingdom they will end up in) and often misunderstand that when one advocates for salvation by faith apart from works (Romans 3:28), that one is arguing for a living and active saving faith which precedes and ultimately results in works (but that said works do not precede saving faith) not a passive professed faith which produces no fruit. It must be mentioned however that faith that does not ultimately result in works cannot save and is indeed a dead faith (James 2:14-17).

Mormons have a similar soteriological formula to that of TLR: Faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands and enduring to the end. The Last Reformation: Repentance, baptism by immersion for the forgiveness of sins and baptism in the Holy Spirit evidenced by the speaking of tongues. Torben also believes that one can lose their salvation and that their salvation is only assured when they eat fruit from the tree of life. The similarities are eerie. Yet I would say that Mormons are still a step ahead in their system in that they stress the necessity of faith, which sadly indeed is in the wrong Christ.

The Greek word πίστεως/pisteos is translated as faith in Ephesians 2:8 and derives from the root πίστις/pistis which means faith, belief, trust, confidence; fidelity, faithfulness, conviction, persuasion (http://biblehub.com/greek/4102.htm). πιστεύω/pisteuo rendered as believe means believe, have faith in, trust in, to be persuaded, to have confidence in, pass, entrust (http://biblehub.com/greek/4100.htm).

Let us also look at how the Bible defines faith:

Hebrews 11:1-3

11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. (NASB)

This gives us a better understanding of what faith refers to, namely that faith refers to persuasion, conviction and trust, not obedience. However true saving faith will result in obedience, but it would be erroneous to define faith itself as such. Faith in Christ thus can be said to refer to trust in the person and work of Christ (The Gospel: His death for our sins, His burial and resurrection on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)) alone for our salvation.

Redefinition of Biblical terminology is a concerning phenomenon as this is something that cults and sects do. In this case it can cause one to trust in the wrong thing for their salvation and consequently cause one to die in their sins and under the wrath of God. What we are trusting in can mean the difference between an eternity with God or an eternity in hell.

On the note of obedience, the issue arises in that those whom do not have the Holy Spirit cannot obey nor please God (Romans 8:5-10) as man is by nature dead in his trespasses and sins/spiritually dead and a child of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3) and he must be regenerated/made alive spiritually (God made us a alive while we were dead in transgressions (Ephesians 2:5-6)) and adopted as a child of God though faith in Christ (John 1:12-13, Galatians 3:26). Therefore to try to get man to obey God before regeneration is fruitless, as man must have a new heart and the Holy Spirit to truly be capable of keeping the Lord’s commandments (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

In addition to the conflation of faith with obedience and the frequent omission of the necessity of saving faith in salvation (therefore denying Sola Fide or that we are saved by faith alone), there seems to be a denial of possibly three other Solas: Sola Gratia (salvation by grace alone) on the basis of Torben’s denial of salvation by grace alone in his dividing of faith from grace (2:28 (Torben outright states that grace does not save us, but that it is the faith part that saves. Ephesians 2:5 tells us the opposite, that we are saved by grace (in this verse without the mention of faith). Looking at verse 8, we see that the truth is that faith and grace go hand in hand and that both play a part in salvation, we cannot have one without the other.), 2:51, 3:50), Solus Christus (salvation through Christ alone) is undermined by Torben and TLR’s positions regarding baptism and lastly Sola Scriptura (Scripture as our sole infallible rule of faith and practice) in favour of Sola Experientia (Experience alone). This last one has been very common among followers of this movement. Experience has a tendency to trump Scripture.

Even if the Bible contradicts or speaks nothing about something that is taught or believed by an adherent, if one’s experience contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture, often their experience or what seems to work will have greater authority. Pragmatism is common and one’s experience often defines one’s theology and practice instead of Scripture alone.

Sadly it would seem that Torben and TLR are on the wrong side of the Reformation (at least on the basis of the implicit denials of several of the Solas) and would likely have been on Rome’s side rather than that of the Reformers. In some ways they seem to have more common with Rome and the cults than with the Protestant Reformers. I cannot help but be concerned that many within this movement are unwittingly being primed to cross the Tiber river and become Roman Catholic, especially as many Christians do not understand why the Reformation occurred. While they have brought up valid criticisms of contemporary Christendom (eg. The need for repentance and the necessity of actively participating in the fulfilment of the Great Commission), an emphasis upon reforming the Church system and how we do the Christian life has been misplaced, as it would seem that the most important issue has been neglected, namely the reforming of soteriology and how one has peace with God.

Let us remember that we are justified by faith in the blood of Christ apart from works:

Romans 3:21-28

21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. (NASB)

Our salvation is either fully on the basis of works or of faith. Faith alone suffices and is credited as righteousness:

Romans 4:1-8

1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven,

And whose sins have been covered.

8 “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”

(NASB)

The work that we are to do is to believe in Jesus Christ:

John 6:27-29

27 Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” 28 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

(NASB)

While Torben is right that Christ saves us from our sins (Matthew 1:21), in addition He saves us from the wrath of God and reconciles us to Him:

Romans 5:

 6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

(NASB)

Jesus died a substitutionary death to atone for our sins (1 Peter 3:18, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 3:13, Isaiah 53), He was punished in our place and rose again bodily on the third day. Through faith in His finished work on the cross, we are imputed with a righteousness not our own and by virtue of our faith in Christ crucified for our sins, buried and raised again on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), we have peace with God (Romans 5:1-2). Our salvation does not depend upon nor is maintained by our performance (as this would indeed be salvation by our works), but is based fully on His performance on our behalf.

On this 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, let us return to the legacy of the Reformation:

Sola Scriptura (2 Timothy 3:16-17) – Scripture as our sole infallible rule of faith and practice.

Sola Gratia (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 11:6) – Salvation by grace alone

Sola Fide (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 3:21-28, Romans 4:4-5) – through faith alone

Solus Christus (John 14:6, Acts 4:10-12) – in Christ alone 

Soli Deo Gloria (Isaiah 42:8, Isaiah 48:11, Romans 11:36, Romans 16:25-27) – to the glory of God alone.

SDG,

Aleksander

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List of mangled Bible verses in the 2013 revision of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures

The following Bible verses demonstrate significant changes in meaning between the New World Translation and reputable Bible translations. It would be wise to avoid using the following verses when speaking to Jehovah’s Witnesses, unless one is using a reputable Bible translation or demonstrating the inaccuracy of the New World Translation with the Kingdom Interlinear Translation (Only New Testament). I hope to add more verses in the future. 

Genesis 1:2 Spirit of God changed to God’s active force.

Exodus 3:14 I AM WHAT I AM rendered as I Will Become What I Choose to Become. I AM rendered as I Will Become.

Isaiah 7:14 Virgin rendered young woman.

Zechariah 12:10 They will look on the one whom they have pierced instead of they will look on Me whom they have pierced

Matthew 25:46 Everlasting/eternal punishment changed to everlasting cutting-off (lopping off/pruning).

Mark 16:9-20 Completely removed.

John 1:1 The Word is a god instead of God.

John 3:16 Believe changed to exercise faith.

John 7:53-8:11 Completely removed.

John 8:58 Ego eimi/I AM has been changed to I have been.

John 10:33 For you although a man, make yourself God changed to for you although being a man, make yourself a god.

John 17:3 This means everlasting life, their coming to know you (their taking in knowledge of you), the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. Instead of this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.

Colossians 1:15-20 The word other is inserted multiple times in the text rendering all things as all other things.

Philippians 1:23 Desire to depart and be with Christ has been changed to desire the releasing and the being with Christ.

Philippians 2:6 Christ not regarding His equality with God something to be grasped/used to His advantage has been changed to Christ giving no consideration to a seizure, namely that he should be equal to God.

Hebrews 1:6 Let all of God’s angels worship Him changed to let all of God’s angels do obeisance to him.

Hebrews 1:8 Your throne, O God (about the Son) is changed to God is your throne.

List of interesting references from LDS Scriptures:

I hope to update this list to be more exhaustive in the future (particularly in regard to the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price), but I hope that for the time being this list will serve as a quick and useful reference for those engaging and witnessing to Latter-Day Saints/Mormons.

 

Book of Mormon:

1 Nephi 13:26-29, 32-35, 40 Plain and precious parts taken away from the gospel and the book of the Lamb.

1 Nephi 14:10 Those not part of Church of the Lamb of God belong to the devil’s Church

2 Nephi 2:25 “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”

2 Nephi 25:23 Saved by grace through faith, after all we can do.

2 Nephi 29:3-13 A Bible! A Bible!

3 Nephi 28:4 -12 Three Nephite apostles to never die.

Mosiah 27:25-26 All people must be born again, changed from a fallen state becoming His children.

Alma 7:9-10 Jesus to be born in Jerusalem.

Alma 11:28-29 Only one God.

Alma 11:34-37 People cannot be saved in their sins.

Alma 11:38-39 Jesus is the Eternal Father.

Alma 34:32-35 This life is the time to prepare to meet God.

Alma 41:8 The decrees of God are unalterable.

Moroni 8:18 God is unchangeable .

Moroni 10:2-6 Ask God if this record is not true.

Moroni 10:32-33 Christ’s grace is sufficient only for those who deny themselves of all ungodliness and love God with all their might mind and strength.

 

Doctrine and Covenants:

DC 6:26-31 Parts held back from Gospel.

DC 7 The Apostle John to never die.

DC 9:8 Burning in the bosom.

DC 10:63 Satan stirs up contention.

DC 11:28-30 Those that receive Christ become sons of God.

DC 20:27-28 Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one God.

DC 27:11 Adam is Michael.

DC 33:11-12 Acts 2:38 as the Gospel.

DC 39:1 Christ from eternity to eternity.

DC 39:6 The Gospel.

DC 42:18, 79 Murder/killing is unforgivable.

DC 45:1 Christ is creator of all.

DC 45:7 Christ is Alpha and Omega.

DC 45:8 Become sons of God.

DC 45:60-61 New Testament to be translated.

DC 45:63 Wars in own lands near.

DC 49:5 He that does not receive Christ is damned.

DC 62:1 Jesus is God.

DC 62:6 God does not lie.

DC 76:31-39 Sons of perdition are apostate Mormons.

DC 76:43-45 Cleansed of sin by keeping of commandments.

DC 76:55-59 Those of the First Resurrection will receive all things, they are gods , sons of God.

DC:70-112 Celestial, terrestrial and telestial kingdoms.

DC 78:15 Adam ondi ahman.

DC 78:16 God has no beginning.

DC 84:2-5, 31 *False prophecy about building a temple in Missouri in Joseph Smith’s generation.

DC 87:1-3, 6 *False prophecy of worldwide war that would destroy all nations which would begin in the United States.

DC 88:16-39 Celestial, terrestrial and telestial Kingdoms/glories.

DC 88:107 Saints made equal with God.

DC 89 Word of Wisdom (:2 not by commandment or restraint).

DC 91 Rejection of Apocrypha.

DC 93:11, 18 All things made by Christ.

DC 93:12-14 He received the fullness later.

DC 93:27-28 People to receive Heavenly Father’s fullness.

DC 93:23, 29 Humans pre-existed with God in the beginning.

DC 93:26 Jesus is the spirit of truth?.

DC 93:29-30 Intelligence is uncreated.

DC 93:33 Man is made from eternal elements.

DC 93:38-39 Children are born innocent but become sinful through traditions and Satan’s influence.

DC 107:1-20 Aaronic (Levitical) and Melchizedek priesthoods.

DC 107:16 Aaronic priests must be of the bloodline of Aaron.

DC 107:54 Adam named Michael the Archangel.

DC 115:34 Church of Christ becomes Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

DC 129:1-2 Angels are resurrected humans.

DC 129:4 How to determine the identity of a divine messenger.

DC 130:3 Father and Son do not dwell in the heart.

DC 130:8 God resides at a great Urim and Thummim.

DC 130:10 White stone to become a Urim and Thummim.

DC 130:22 Heavenly Father has a body of flesh and bones.

DC 131:2 Celestial marriage needed to get to highest Kingdom.

DC 131:7 All things are material, including spirit.

DC 132:15-18 Those who are not sealed for time and eternity will forever be single and become ministering angels.

DC 132:19-20 They shall be gods, above all (exaltation).

DC 132:27 Blasphemy of the Holy Ghost is murder after receiving the new and everlasting covenant.

DC 132:37 Abraham accounted righteous by polygamy and polyandry. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are gods.

DC 132:61-61 Polygamy permitted up to ten virgins.

DC 132:65 God commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife.

DC 135:1 Murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

DC 135:3 Joseph Smith save for Christ has done the most for the salvation of man.

DC 135:4 Joseph going like a lamb to the slaughter, to die innocent.

DC 137:7-8 All who die without the Gospel, yet would have received it go to the celestial Kingdom.

DC 138:4 By the atonement and obedience to the principles of the Gospel one is saved.

DC 138:30-34 The Gospel is preached to those that died in their sins that they may receive it.

DC 138:57-59 Second chance after death.

 

Pearl of Great Price:

Abraham 3:2 Kolob.

Abraham 4+5 The Gods create/organise the heavens and the earth.

Joseph Smith—History 1:17-19 All the churches are wrong, their creeds are an abomination and their professors are all corrupt.

 

It’s not about me: How the LORD rescued me from the Word Of Faith movement.

*This testimony was previously posted on THE WORD on the Word of Faith GroupBlog on March 21 2015 under my middle name:Eric: https://thewordonthewordoffaithinfoblog.com/2015/03/21/ex-word-of-faith-testimony-of-eric-its-not-about-me/  I have since updated it*

A short while after I was born again (early 2013), I started to attend a church that adhered to the Word of Faith movement’s (henceforth WOF) doctrines and teachings. I was unaware of what it was, as I am sure that many Christians do not know what WOF is. At its core the WOF movement is man-centred not Christ-centred.The doctrines and teachings tickle the ears of the listeners, it is not about “What can I do for GOD?” but rather “What can God do for ME?”, God is a means to an end.In a sense WOF is a mainstream version of Christian Science, it shares similar concepts. In addition it bears New-Age elements, which is no surprise considering that it originates from the meta-physical cults. WOF also carries elements of animatism.Here is a short overview of its key doctrines and characteristics (fortunately not all of these doctrines were taught at the church I attended):

  • Men are “little gods” as men are created in God’s image. “Proof-texts”: Psalm 82:6 and Genesis 1:27.
  • We can speak things into existence like God. Positive confession causes good things to happen, speaking negatively causes bad things to happen. (This is very similar to the teachings of Christian Science, in which our thoughts influence our surroundings and lives.) “Proof-texts”: Proverbs 11:2 and Romans 4:17
  • Faith is the substance with which we create things.(Faith in this sense can be likened to “mana”, which is an impersonal supernatural force, thus in its nature this teaching is closely linked with animatism)
  • The KJV Bible is the preferred Bible, for with it they can back up their bad theology: Hebrews 11:1-3 (They reason that faith is a substance as per the KJV translation, hence their preference of the KJV), Romans 4:17 (As in WOF Theology, men are “little gods”, they too possess abilities that God possesses)
  • Stress upon “anointing” and that some are more “anointed”. “Anointing” passes from person to person like mana. The most “anointed” pastor can bestow blessings by laying hands upon other pastors or members of the congregation.
  • Jesus died spiritually and took upon Himself the nature of Satan on the cross.
  • Jesus was born again in hell, thus becoming the first born again man.
  • God is not sovereign, He has no power on earth unless man permits it. He limited Himself when he gave man dominion over the earth. Adam himself was then tricked out of his dominion over the earth by Satan and thus Satan became the “god” of this world.
  • The death of Jesus at the cross was not merely for the salvation of sinful man, but man regained his dominion through the sacrifice of Christ.
  • God is a means to an end, our faith forces Him to do what we want. God is a divine butler.

As prosperity theology (the prosperity gospel) is often associated with WOF, here are several of prosperity theology’s peculiarities:

  • Teaches that it is God’s will that all believers be healthy, wealthy and successful.
  • Materialism and covetousness are encouraged.
  • The most wealthy, healthy and successful person is the most favoured by God and has the most faith, thus if one is poor, unhealthy or unsuccessful they must have no faith and their salvation is in question.
  • Lack of teachings on suffering and self-denial.
  • Teachings that Jesus and His disciples were wealthy.
  • Believers sow “seeds” via sums of money to make deposits into our “heavenly bank account” which comes back in multiplied blessings.
  • Focus upon Old Testament rather than the New Testament.
  • Stress upon necessity of tithing.
  • Minimisation of the sinfulness of man and thus man’s need for salvation.

(Fortunately not all of these doctrines were taught in our congregation. The most notable of these doctrines which were taught in our congregation were positive and negative confession and that God needs man’s permission to intervene on earth. While not explicitly taught in our congregation, our pastor believed the “little gods” doctrine.)

Consequently much of my theology was subtly tainted with false teachings. I am however thankful for the fact that the pastor at this church encouraged us to read the Bible daily which along with God’s grace brought about significant spiritual growth rather quickly. But to continue, I being young in the faith was unaware and vulnerable, not yet able to discern between good and evil, between true and false doctrine. While many of those in the WOF are closely tied to the prosperity gospel in that they stress the importance of health and wealth, this church congregation which I attended was softer, more subtle, this church’s focus was upon blessings and success. It placed blessings above contentment and fellowship with God.

This congregation belonged to RCCG-The Redeemed Christian Church of God, which is a church from Nigeria. I mention its name so that other Christians know to avoid it. I should have realised that something was off when the General Overseer of the church: Enoch Adeboye, during a special worship service declared that those that he was addressing in the congregation would not die poor among other things. This is not something a mere man can guarantee, only God can, if He wills. At the time it seemed strange but I paid it little attention.Before we became fully committed to RCCG, a brother warned us and said that RCCG was a prosperity gospel church. I heeded not his warnings for I though “what could the harm be?” We didn’t know what the prosperity gospel was. We then departed from that congregation at this point. It was then that we experienced what I imagine Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and all cults experience, we were isolated. In typical cult-like fashion we were segregated from other congregations and discouraged from going to other services and other churches. We were kept so busy that we didn’t have time to attend other congregations or meet with brothers and sisters from other churches. I was the secondary book keeper, I recorded attendance and offerings, I was also the drummer in the worship ensemble. My brother was a singer and he prepared slides for the service. We grew close to the other members, though we were a small congregation. I had no clue that anything was wrong, we loved it there. We admired the pastor greatly, he was a very charismatic preacher and he was very wise. I cannot recall when exactly it happened, but my biological brother who glory be to God is also my spiritual brother, mentioned that the characteristics of our church seemed to fit the bill for the description of the prosperity theology, however I turned a blind eye to it and was in denial and assumed that it was unimportant. Things seemed fine at first, but gradually we went further and further into unfamiliar teachings such as positive confession and Biblical “promises”. We would take a piece of scripture out of context that applied to what we wanted and pray with that scripture, because with our mentality God had to do whatever He said in His word. We butchered Scripture. As we know that God cannot lie, He would be lying if He didn’t fulfil what He had promised in His word, right? Well, though we know that God does not have to do anything, this was our logic.In addition we were taught that our words were so powerful that we should never speak negatively, lest our words cause something bad to happen and bring misfortune upon ourselves. We were encouraged to speak scripture at our problems and speak positively, so that something good would happen. All of these strange teachings came at once. Eisegesis or the twisting of Scripture was certainly the source of these weird teachings. One man had even twisted Romans 4:17 to imply that man can speak things into existence just like God.

A few months later, my brother brought the topic up again, this time with great concern. He shared some scripture with me:

Matthew 4:1-4

1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Ironically we had been fasting intensely at the time that this occurred, it was a church wide fast which would last for two months and was rather strict, we couldn’t eat anything until 6:00 pm. My brother explained to me, how what we had done was the opposite of what Jesus had done when He was tempted by Satan, we had commanded the stones to become bread and had the nerve to lift ourselves to Jesus’ position. We had attempted to call things that are not as though they were. We had miserably failed that test. In addition my brother mentioned, that the Lord had made clear to him that He was not a dog, at our beck and call and that what we were doing was wrong, it had to stop. We had not feared God, but simply demanded what we wanted from Him without reverence. We were selfish and greedy, we were focusing on what God could do for us, not for what we could do for God. We had fallen for Satan’s ploy. When the startling revelation was presented before my eyes, I realised how grave our situation was, how off course we had gone. I had completely devalued my salvation and I was devastated by that. After my eyes had been opened I came to truly appreciate the words of Jesus in Mark 8:36 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” A startling thought dawned upon me, my salvation could be at stake because of false teachings. It was a horrible feeling, I had completely dishonoured God and I had to repent for it, we wanted to make it right with Him immediately and so we did.

Through a couple of videos on Youtube we found out that our church was teaching WOF doctrine. Every night for a few weeks my brother and I would talk about the subject and we always came to the same conclusion, we couldn’t stay in this church, our salvation could depend upon it. We attempted to address the issue with our pastor. We thought that it had been a recent occurrence, however the church had always been WOF, yet we had not yet realised it. We spent a lot of time talking with our pastor in hopes that we would come to a conclusion that we could agree on something, that we could convince him that there was something wrong. He tried many times to plant seeds of doubt and would say something like “You have to consider the possibility that you could be wrong.” Nope, not this time. We ended up frustrated, spending so much time trying to convince him and addressing our concerns but they were falling on deaf ears and well, frankly speaking, he knew the Bible better than we did, so we couldn’t contend with him. In addition there was extensive use of logical fallacies to shut down our concerns: he used a lot of straw man arguments and ad hominem attacks, this just ended up leaving us angry and frustrated with him, as he would either attack us and our character or misrepresent our concerns and our arguments instead of addressing them. The issue was never addressed. He would also say that it was spiritual attack to prevent us from going to the upcoming worker’s conference in Poland. But it was not about going to the conference, but about the Word of Faith movement, which was indeed a cause for concern. I lost my trust in our pastor and everything that he said was to be viewed with close scrutiny, I had been deceived once, I did not want to be deceived again. I could no longer listen to him preach. My brother and I always came to the same conclusion but we could never approach it in the way we intended. We always ended up wimping out, as a result it was a long process and it dragged on for so long that it wore us out.

By this point, I had been assigned as the Youth Leader for my region, so I could not back out of going to the RCCG worker’s conference in Warsaw, Poland (April 23rd-26th 2014). I had attempted to pull out for fear of poor performance in school but I was not allowed to back out. While en route to our destination, the Lord spoke to my brother and told him that he could not go, for He had been warning my brother for a long time. Thus at our first stop my brother bought a bus ticket and went back home, but before leaving he put in his resignation. We experienced many snags along the way. My pastor and a dear friend were so intent on going to the conference to get a blessing from the General Overseer (GO). We did arrive at our destination but when we got there I was disappointed by the messages. They were just hot air and vanity about success, anointings and blessings. I was bored and it did nothing for me, it was simply not edifying. I was visibly distressed and had the opportunity to speak with another pastor about my concerns and he tried to help put me at ease but it didn’t help. The GO made statements and declarations that he could not possibly guarantee such as “You will never fail again”. The GO’s wife spoke such things as “Where there is no light there is no abundance” and “Use these offerings for Your glory and bless us in return” I do not recall exactly whom said it, but someone said something along the lines of “The more that you give the longer your new song will be.” (The conference was titled “A New Song”) In addition they took two offerings back to back (The second to thank God for what He was going to do). I even remember that one of the ushers collecting offerings was wearing a gold watch. It was clear that they were fleecing the sheep. The fruit at our congregation had been tainted but as I got to the root, I found out that the whole tree itself was rotten, this was full on prosperity theology.

People were singing and dancing with all their might, now I know not the intentions of the heart, but rather I saw it as a bunch of people trying to earn God’s favour so that He would bless them (This wasn’t surprising when many would praise God one moment and then take His name in vain the next). It seemed like people were trying to bribe God. I would argue that this was what people were doing, not because they loved God but because they wanted blessings, God was more of a means to an end. I remember that the GO even had the congregation jumping for blessings and the congregation complied, it was obscene. At the same time I would say that many within the movement truly do love the Lord but are sincerely misled.

Throughout I was doubting whether or not something was wrong. I didn’t know any longer. I kept praying to the Lord that He would let me know, that He would give me a sign, anything. I got my answer on the last day of the conference and it was explosive. An evangelist named Artur Pawlowski (he runs a ministry named Street Church in Calgary, AB, Canada, but he is originally from Poland) rebuked the pastors and the congregation saying such things as “You are treating Jesus as a vending machine”, “You get excited about blessings but not about saving souls”. It was at that moment during the rebuke that I realised that God had indeed answered my prayer. At that point I knew that I had to resign and leave RCCG. Looking back, this was like a rescue mission executed by the Lord to bring me out of RCCG. The congregation and pastors were furious with Artur. I must have been the only one who was relieved and happy, with a smile creeping upon my face. I feared that I was the only one who realised that something was wrong, it was at that moment that I realised that my suspicions were correct. The rebuke was the one thing that I took away from that conference that was edifying, that was a man that feared God more than man. So, I ended up resigning, but our pastor agreed to address whether or not our church was involved with the prosperity gospel. We were young and did not know the appropriate protocol for such a case as we were in.

We had collectively read some articles one of which was written by John Piper (I can’t remember which article it was) and the other was by David Schrock on 9marks.org (https://9marks.org/article/journalsofter-prosperity-gospel-more-common-you-think/). Our dear friend and the pastor didn’t want to read the John Piper article as he was a Calvinist (understandably as reformed theology has a much higher view of God,  a God who can and does do whatever He wills and doesn’t need anyone’s permission to do so. One who cannot be bossed around, blackmailed into giving us what we desire or have things demanded from Him). The dear friend had even gone so far as to say that there was more truth in the Book of Mormon than in John Piper’s article. This friend was also under the impression that one could follow a false teacher and would still be blessed by God. This was understandable as pastors were regarded as above scrutiny (and therefore discernment was discouraged):

REBELLION AGAINST CHURCH AUTHORITY FORBIDDEN

Rebellion against Church Ministers is against the Will of God. Those who rebelled against Moses did not escape unpunished – Num 12:1-10; Num. 16:1-4,32. The Bible teaches that we should obey our Spiritual leaders and submit to them – Heb 13:17; Joshua 1:16-18. 

http://rccg.org/who-we-are/our-beliefs/?v=7516fd43adaa

My brother and I even compiled a list of our concerns (they were not addressed). We held a church meeting, however the pastor avoided our key concerns which were related to WOF and instead he focused the discussion upon the topic of money. He steered clear of what was wrong and straw manned the discussion and consequently deceived those who were in attendance. Our concerns were not addressed and we had been lied to. In hindsight, the correct approach to the situation would have been to rebuke the pastor in front of everyone. We had no chance to speak nor express our concerns with the congregation. Every time that we spoke to our pastor about our concerns, even if it was about a false teaching he would back it up with scripture. We were always “confused”, “under the influence of Satan”, “too young in the faith”.

It was a mess, things were falling apart before our eyes, the rug had been torn from beneath our feet. We were no longer on solid ground but had completely lost our footing. We had none to turn to but the Lord, thanks be to Him for that. It came to the point where we left, we had been so involved with the church that we kind of came out with almost nothing and we had to build it up all over again. I imagine that this is but a fraction of what Jehovah’s Witnesses experience when they are “disfellowshipped”. The whole thing was an awful experience. At the time it was very painful. Yet our previous congregation awaited us. Coming out was such relief for our brothers and sisters there, who had realised that we were involved in something which we should have not been involved with. It turned out that the pastor was praying for us for months to come out and he was very glad to see us come out of it. It was a time in the wilderness. We had to tear everything down and build up again just like Josiah when he cleansed the temple. Every part of our theology was in question. So we decided to avoid what other people taught and to focus just on God’s word alone. We did not want to come into bondage again nor be misled. We realised how much we had sacrificed. I hadn’t really been helping people nor had I really been evangelising either. I had become selfish, I had become a hypocrite and self-righteous and I lacked love. I had become a Pharisee. While I feel as if I have lost friends, I was not shunned by friends or family, rather I withdrew myself from them. My experiences within the WOF movement left me disillusioned and upset. The Lord had drawn my brother and I out of the mire. I lost community, friends and I even stepped down from a regional Youth Leader position. Truly I gave it up for Christ, it is in times like this that we realise where our loyalties truly lie. Are we willing to give up what is convenient to us or are we willing to forsake it all, deny ourselves and carry our crosses to follow Jesus? Although there was much pain and loss in that season, it has helped my discernment and understanding of the Scriptures immensely. It is in times when men fail us and betray us that we realise that only one never fails and that is our Lord.

Coming out of Word of Faith I remember the fear and conviction that I experienced at the realisation that my brother and I had fallen right into Satan’s trap and demanded things from God, there was no reverence towards Him nor fear of Him. How could there be if one were to demand things from the Creator of the universe, I had treated Him as if He owed me something, yet He had already given me the most wonderful gift, in that God the Son had borne my sin and died on that Roman cross, was buried and rose again on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) so that I could be reconciled to the Triune God. Christ had redeemed me through His own blood and had saved me from the wrath to come and it hadn’t been good enough for me. Even after the way I had treated Him, He still rescued me from this blasphemous movement that I had gotten involved with. Through it all the Lord was with me and He has given me a much deeper appreciation for His grace. Let this be a warning, never devalue your salvation as this is the greatest gift that God has given us, one which He is not obliged to grant us. Yet in spite of the fact that we deserve hell, out of His grace, love and mercy He has given us what we do not deserve and has redeemed us through the shed blood of Christ for the remission of our sins.

At the end of the day, we need to check everything by Scripture. We need to know what we believe and why. Doctrine is extremely important and must never be neglected. Ignorance is not an excuse, as we have already been warned about false doctrine in Scripture. The excuse of ignorance will not fly when we give an account of our lives before Almighty God. I dare not be willingly ignorant in matters of core doctrine. We cannot afford to be misled. As a result of having been misled I was prompted to study the core doctrines of our faith very intensely and seriously, I spent a lot of time in the word and listening to sermons by Dr. Walter Martin, as a result I learned how to defend the essentials of the faith from Scripture in addition to knowing how to approach cultists with the Gospel and refute their false doctrines. As a result I could finally say that I know why I believe what I believe. And I learned the importance of context, as many of these false doctrines arise from isolated verses which have been either misunderstood or purposely twisted. Context usually clears up the confusion and refutes error.

It is one thing to claim to hold to historical Biblical orthodoxy and another to be able to defend it. Not only do we need to hold to Sola Scriptura (the Bible as our sole infallible rule of faith and practice), but also to Tota Scriptura (all of Scripture). This means that we must be ready and willing to subject everything and everyone (even our pastor) to Scripture rightly handled.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Aleksander

Resources exposing the doctrinal errors of The Last Reformation and Torben Søndergaard

This is far from an exhaustive list of all of the available resources which critique the teachings of Torben Søndergaard and The Last Reformation, however it was worth compiling a list and having these resources available in one place.

*Disclaimer: We don’t endorse all of the views expressed within these resources*

Is Torben Sondergaard and ‘The Last Reformation’ a Cult? – James Jennings: http://gccsatx.com/torben-sondergaard-last-reformation-cult/

The “Full Gospel” error of Torben Søndergaard and The Last Reformation – Hammer Of The LORD Ministries:

 

The Last Reformation and Torben Søndergaard’s False Teachings Exposed – James C. Johnson II (Jim Johnson): https://www.amazon.com/Reformation-Torben-Søndergaards-Teachings-Exposed-ebook/dp/B06XSKS6JM/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1490625861&sr=1-2

Torben Søndergaard and The Last Reformation – John Gideon Hartnett: https://revolutionforjesus.com/2016/06/11/torben-sondergaard-and-the-last-reformation/

Torben Søndergaard and Gospel Plus – Mennoknight: https://mennoknight.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/toren-sondergaard-and-gospel-plus/

Coming Out of the Box with the Last Reformation? – Study-Grow-Know: https://studygrowknowblog.com/2016/05/17/coming-out-of-the-box-with-the-last-reformation/

The Last Reformation Deception Exposed – Heal&Restore:

 

 

An analysis of Torben Sondergaard’s meeting in Moncton, NB – Dan Lirette: http://danlirette.ca/an-analysis-of-torben-sondergaards-meeting-in-moncton-nb/

Who Is Torben Sondergaard And What Is The Last Reformation? – Jack Wellman: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2017/06/16/9916/

Does The Last Reformation Get Back to the Book of Acts? – Elliot Nesch: https://www.holybibleprophecy.org/2017/06/16/last-reformation-get-back-book-acts/

Just Like in the Book of Acts? The Last Reformation Exposed – Heal and Restore

The Gospel proclaim against the false gospel of The Last Reformation – Tim Germain: