Christianizing Shamanism

By Brannon S. Howse

A quick search of You Tube reveals numerous leaders of the New Religious Right appearing on programs of some of America’s leading Word of Faith proponents. And Glenn Beck’s frequent guest, David Barton, has appeared on Kenneth Copeland’s television program as well.

Yet, as Robison’s report demonstrates, Barton is not the only member of the New Religious Right who has cooperated with members of the Word of Faith movement. The “spiritual unity” Robison describes is not anywhere close to what Jesus spoke of in John 17 when He prayed for His disciples. In fact, I believe people like Creflo Dollar and Kenneth Copeland are not followers of Jesus Christ at all but are the very kind of false teachers which Jesus warned would be prevalent in the last days. 


A more accurate biblical reference would be 1 Kings 18 where we see the Children of Israel mixing their worship of God with pagan spirituality. I believe this is what we are seeing today as Christian and pro-family leaders unite with false teachers who openly promote pagan spirituality. 


Much of what we see in the Word of Faith movement and New Apostolic Reformation is “Christianized” shamanism. Dave Hunt warned about this growing trend in his 1985 best-selling book, The Seduction of Christianity, when he wrote:


[quote] Shamanism promises power to heal and transform through contact with a parallel universe of the spirit, from which this mysterious energy is allegedly drawn. That contact is said to be made in our minds: The thoughts we think and the words we speak become the vehicles of spiritual power. Those who accept this concept become victims of the great delusion that displaces God with self. In seeking power for self, they have become susceptible to the power of Satan. Nevertheless, even as the irrefutable evidence mounts documenting its destructive and evil power, shamanism’s popularity and general acceptance is exploding in the secular world, and in “Christianized” forms is gaining increasing acceptance within the church. [end quote]


Hunt warns of the occult foundation upon which a vast majority of the Word of Faith movement is based:


[ quote] The mental images that one is able to picture or visualize are no longer looked upon as mere figments of the mind, but as reality created by the mind that can even impact the physical world. The intimate relationship between thinking, speaking, and seeing (and the power thereby produced) has formed the basis of occult theory for thousands of years. The metaphysical philosophy underlying Positive Thinking and Possibility Thinking as well as major aspects of the Positive Confession movement is founded upon the alleged power inherent within thoughts and words. [end quote]


Please understand that I am not saying the individuals and groups discussed in this chapter are deliberately practicing shamanism or sorcery. Most believe they are practicing something biblical, but clearly it is not. Dave Hunt also saw this coming:


[quote] …the terminology, while sounding biblical, promotes concepts that cannot be found in the Bible, but are found in occult literature and practice. Moreover, some of the Positive Confession leaders not only admit but teach that the methods, laws, and principles they use are also used successfully by occultists. Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate or even imply that the people of God are to use the same methods or powers as the pagans. [end quote] 


As we will examine later in this chapter, self-professing Christians and even pastors attribute to God the New Age “law of attraction” which is elsewhere promoted by people like Oprah Winfrey.

If you’re not acquainted with some of these teachers, you’ll be amazed at what passes from their lips as Christian teaching. Take, for example, this transcript of a Gloria Copeland teaching: 


Copeland—You know, you’re the – you’re supposed to control the weather. I mean, Ken’s the primary weatherman at our house, but when he’s not there I do it. And you can see what’s happening out there. It shows just like they have on – at the weather – like on the news. I mean, he’s got the computer that’s got the current weather on it and all that for flying. So sometimes I’ll hear something, I’ll hear the thunder start, and maybe he’ll still be asleep, and I’ll say, “Ken, you need to do something about this.” [Laughter] 

And knowing that – but you are the one that has authority over the weather. One day Ken and Pat Boone, when we were at Hawaii at their house, and we were – they were setting outside, and there was a weather spout out over the ocean.

And that’s like a tornado, except it hits the water. And so they were sitting there and they just watched it, rebuked it, and it never did anything. One day, I was in the airplane, in the back, and my little brother was in the back with me, and Ken was up front flying. And we were not in the weather, because we don’t fly bad weather, but we could see the weather over here. And I looked out the window and that tornado came down just like this, down toward the ground. And Ken said, “I rebuke you in the name of Jesus. You get back up there!” 

So this is how I learned how to talk to tornados. I saw this. And that tornado went [makes repeated whooping noise], even while I was watching. And my little brother was not a devout Christian at that time, and that was really good for him to see.

So you’re the weatherman. You get out there—or the weatherwoman, whichever it is, and you talk to that thing, and you tell it, “You’re not coming here. I command you to dissipate! And you get back up there in Jesus’ name!” Glory to God. That—I won’t charge you extra. [end quote]


My friend Justin Peters is one of the leading experts (if not the leading expert) in America on the unbiblical teachings of the Word of Faith movement. As a guest on my radio program, he responded this way to Gloria Copeland’s weatherman episode: 


[quote] If this is true that Gloria Copeland and others in the Word-Faith movement can control the weather, then might we ask where she was when hurricane Katrina came into town? Might we ask why she doesn’t, right now, talk up some rain to the people in drought stricken countries in eastern Africa? It’s just, it’s absurd on its face, but this [W-F theology], unfortunately, is the face of Christianity in much of the world today. [quote]


Gloria Copeland saying that we can control the weather, and what I teach in my seminar is, “Who else does this remind you of? Does it remind you of Someone Who, one day, was in a boat with His disciples and a storm came up, and He spoke to the storm and calmed it?” The Word-Faith proponents denigrate God’s deity. They demote God to make Him look more human than what He is, and then in return they deify man to make us look more like God than what we really are. They ascribe to man attributes and powers that reside solely with God, and so they blur that distinction between God the Creator, and us, His created. That is a very, very dangerous line to blur.


Another popular Word of Faith teacher is Benny Hinn, who, like many Word of Faith teachers, seems to believe that instead of man serving God, God is to serve man. Note this interchange between Hinn and Myles Munroe:

Benny Hinn—We get the mind of God about His will, we pray it. When we pray it, we give him legal right to perform it.

Myles Munroe—Yes. Let me define prayer for you in this show. Prayer is man giving God permission, or license, to interfere in earth’s affairs. In other words, prayer is earthly license for heavenly interference….God can do nothing on earth, nothing has God ever done on earth without a human giving him access….Always looking for a human to give him power of permission. In other words, God has the power, but you got the permission. God got the authority and the power, but you got the license. So even though God can do anything, he can only do what you permit him to do. [end quote]

God does not need our permission to do anything. Psalm 115:3 declares, “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.” In Psalm 135:6, we read, “Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth.” And Psalm 103:19 announces, “The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.” 


Jessie Duplantis is another popular Word of Faith teacher who describes a similarly impotent God: 


[quote] I’m gonna say something, gonna knock your lights out. God has the power to take life, but he can’t. He got the power to do it, but he won’t. He’s bound. He can’t. He says death and life is in the power of whose son? Yours. You ready for this? You want something that’ll knock your lights out? You choose when you live. You choose when you die. [end quote]


When I played this sound clip on my radio program, Justin Peters had this to say in response to Duplantis’s blasphemy:


[quote] Jessie says that “God has the power to take life, but he can’t, he’s bound, he won’t.” Well, I think that would come as a real surprise to King Herod. I think that would come as a real surprise to Uzzah, who reached up to steady the ark, and God struck him dead. I think that would come as a real surprise to everyone who was alive on the face of the earth, except for eight people, in that whole flood thing. But God is the one who gives life. God is the one who takes life. And it’s just the height of arrogance to say that God can or cannot do anything. God can do whatever He wants to do… it’s the height of arrogance to say God can’t do things, and we have the power to do things that only God can do. So it’s profoundly un-biblical. If  people knew the word of God, if they would just pick up their Bible and read it and study it, so much of this would go away. [end quote]


But wait, as they say, there’s more. John Hagee appeared with numerous members of the New Religious Right at Glenn Beck’s 8-28 rally in Washington, D.C. Hagee was also listed on the website of The Response, along with numerous pro-family and Christian leaders. In August 2011, Hagee spoke for Glenn Beck’s Restoring Courage Rally in Israel. Perhaps he was returning the favor since Hagee had featured Beck as the keynote speaker at Hagee’s July 2011 Christians United for Israel banquet in Washington, D.C.

After studying Pastor Hagee for years—including attending his church service several times—Justin Peters points out that Hagee clearly embraces Word of Faith theology. For example, Hagee declared: 

[quote] When you walk into a hospital room and your friend is there, a member of your family is there, you have the power to say, “In the name of Jesus, I rebuke that disease,” and the God of heaven will heal that disease, when you are right with God in heaven. [quote]


Kenneth Copeland holds similar views: 


[quote] People that get all upset at preachers who preach prosperity never have taken the time to pray and see if God wanted them to prosper financially, for some reason or another. God needs you saved. He needs you full of the Holy Ghost. He needs you well. And he needs you strong. And he needs you rich. [quote]


Justin Peters’s response to Copeland’s assertion zeroes in on the problem: 


[quote] God could vaporize all of us right now, and He would be just fine. He doesn’t need us at all. And does He need us rich? No, He doesn’t need us rich. If you— one thing I say in my seminar—if you have to add an adjective to the Gospel, whether it’s the prosperity or the social gospel, then you’ve automatically got a different gospel. There are no adjectives to the Gospel. It’s just the Gospel. And if the gospel that you’re preaching works in the United States of America but it doesn’t work in Zimbabwe, or if it doesn’t work in North Korea, or if it doesn’t work in Sudan, then there’s something wrong with your gospel, because the true Gospel works for all people in all places at all times, in every economic status. [quote]


Benny Hinn’s version of the false gospel perverts God’s use of signs and wonders: “If the gospel doesn’t have – if the gospel lacks – if the preaching of the gospel lacks signs and wonders, it’s an empty shell.”


Justin Peters explains why this statement is so completely unbiblical:


[quote] And you heard right from the horse’s own mouth. Benny Hinn says that unless miracles, signs, and wonders accompany the gospel, then the gospel in and of itself has no power. And that is heresy. We could cite a number of verses, but just one, Romans 1:16, Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation.” 

What’s the power of God unto salvation? The gospel is. You know, a lot of people who hear me, or they were just made aware of me, think, “Oh, Justin doesn’t believe that God heals people today.” And in fact, I got an email this morning from someone saying that I teach a dead gospel. Nothing could be further from the truth. I do believe God still physically heals people today when it is His will to do so. But, that having been said, is that the power of God? No, no, the gospel is. That’s the power of God unto salvation. 

If God were to heal me of my cerebral palsy—and He could do it without breaking a sweat—that miracle would pale in comparison to what He did for me when He saved me from Himself, when He saved me from His own wrath. The greatest miracle of all is that of salvation. 

I’ve come in contact with several over the last years of traveling. People who suffer far, far worse than I’ve ever even dreamed of suffering—I mean, terrible suffering—and yet they love the Lord. They remain faithful to Him. They praise Him. That’s the power of God on display. Not somebody getting up on stage and saying they’ve been healed of a ringing in their ears, or as I saw just a few weeks ago at Copeland’s meeting, being healed of athlete’s foot. That’s not the power of God. The power of God is the Gospel. That’s the power of God. [end quote] 


Benny Hinn’s false gospel becomes even more apparent when he declares that healing and salvation go hand in hand:     


[quote] It’s as easy to get healed as it is to get forgiven. It’s as easy to receive physical healing as it is to receive forgiveness for sin. It’s just as easy to get healed. Healing is as easy as salvation. Do not complicate what is simple. Say it with me: It’s as easy to get healed as it is to get forgiven. Healing should never be separate from salvation. [end quote] 


Justin Peters was born with cerebral palsy, and God has chosen not to heal him. Is Justin’s lack of healing a sign of his lack of salvation? Absolutely not! I believe God has used Justin’s affliction to give him a platform by which to expose the false gospel of the Word of Faith movement. Joni Erickson Tada is another example of someone whom the Lord has mightily used to proclaim the Gospel as she sits in her wheel chair, paralyzed from the neck down.

The Word of Faith movement is a sister to the New Apostolic Reformation with its “prophets” and “apostles.” The NAR and WOF false teachers not only preach another gospel, but they preach philosophies and practices derived from the occult. The Church must beware of the Christian and pro-family leaders who have given these groups credibility. 

Copyright 2012 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative. 


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