Tuesday, April 09, 2013
A Response from James Richards
I don’t know if we have ever met. It is hard to imagine that we have. Since you have so boldly and publically expressed your opinion about me I wondered if you would want to know the truth, which you have not bothered to discover, and if you had the courage to post my reply alongside your public attack.
I agree with your right to say anything you desire to say about my book. You have an opinion and by all means have the right to express that opinion except where it departs from fact.
First of all and most importantly, contrary to what you have written, I believe on and preach Jesus as Lord and Savior. I believe in the finished work of the cross. I believe in salvation through faith in the risen Lord. I do not claim, in my book nor in any of my teaching to have any secret knowledge or special anointing, both of which are Gnostic claims. This is something you extrapolated. I don’t think there are any secrets, Jesus was the revelation of God and we should look to Him, His Word and His finished work for our every belief, thought and opinion about every aspect of life and faith. I do in fact, strongly and clearly preach and warn against, Gnosticism, asceticism, mysticism and religious legalism.
I have been a fully committed believer for nearly forty years. I have preached the gospel to millions of people through crusades, books, videos, recorded messages and television. I have trained thousands of leaders around the world. I have had my share personal struggles as I have sought to walk with and grow in God, as we all have, but I have never had an unfulfilled life or ministry. I have never looked outside of the Gospel or outside of my relationship with God for anything. There has never been the need! Every day of following Jesus as Lord has been an adventure of faith and service. You do not know me, you know nothing of my beliefs yet, you seem very comfortable attacking, assuming and misrepresenting someone that you never bothered to call. write or email, and yet you seem to think that you have some scriptural right to do so. Yes, if you think something is not true, addresses it, but to jump to so many misrepresentations of the fact, seems to violate the truth for which you say you are stand.
You misquoted and/or misrepresented me on almost every point in your writing. I never said my concept of faith is not in the Bible. I may use a word, just as any preacher does on any sermon that is not in the Bible. But that is not departure from the Bible. We use words that make sense to people today. The number one tool that has always been fundamental in reaching any generation is using language they know. As you know, so much of what we do as ministers is help people understand these Biblical words and concepts, many of which are not even good translations from the original language. But, never have I represented any concept of departing from the Bible or having knowledge that is based on anything other than the Bible.
I did use medical and scientific research and discoveries to explain many of the things that are happening when we operate faith. But even Jesus did this, albeit on a more fundamental level that was more effective with the people He was reaching. The world is going to hell, partly because the church has been unwilling to speak a language that is relevant to this generation. We think that to depart from the King James English is an abomination or evidence of new age beliefs. The church is more comfortable with people going to hell than learning how to communicate. And if you know church history, this is a plague that has been repeated generation after generation by a hard hearted, unbelieving church.
You criticized the fact that I said we should chose the end we desire. Jesus said we should have the faith of God (Mark 11:22), one aspect of the faith of God is to see, perceive, experience and declare the end from the beginning. Isa 46:10, speaks of God, Declaring the end from the beginning. In Mark 11: 23 Jesus said we had to, speak to the mountain, believe that what we say comes to pass, and not doubt. That would infer the end that has been chosen. The Bible tells us that we have life and death, blessing and cursing set before us, we must make our own choice. Deut 30:19, I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.
You criticize me for using the word intention. The Bible talks about the thoughts and intent of the heart, i.e. intention. There are many scriptures and words that in the original point to the concept of intention. I’m sure you understand the role intention has in faith. The word decide, intention and other words are implicated in the idea of repentance. For me to repent I have to change my mind, create new intentions about God life, sin or whatever. Just because they are not King James English it does not make the demonic. Intention may be mentioned in many ungodly writings, just as prayer, faith, love and every other Biblical truth is misrepresented and twisted. However, you are the one that has departed from reality and truth to imply that to use the word “intention” is to align myself with the Gnostic gospels or any New Age teacher. Satanist, conjure demons in the name of Jesus, should we stop using His name in prayer because of their misuse? Many new agers use the same words that you use when you talk about God; does that mean that when you use those words I have the right to pass judgment about all of your beliefs as you have mine? I think not!
You say, and I quote, “The author parts from the whole teaching of Bible on sin, the Word of God, the role of God's power in man's life and righteousness. By so doing he lifts up humanism (man's ability or potential is exalted) and God's redemptive work pushed to the side.” This is another complete untruth. Because I do not address those issues in this book is no indication of what I do or do not believe about them. Do you address every single doctrine about God every time you speak or write? If so does that give me license to pass judgment about your position on the issues you fail to address, or simply make things up, as you have done concerning me? If you preach a sermon that doesn’t deal with sin should I say that you are permissive? If you quote some of Jesus’ statements about whom man is in relationship to God does that make you a humanist?
You say I am a humanist because I have exalted man’s potential. My Bible Says we are created in the likeness and image of God, all things are possible if I believe. Jesus said He gives us the glory God gave Him. So does that make Jesus a humanist? I believe very deeply that in Christ we are all new creations. But I also believe that unregenerate man is still created in the likeness and image of God and that in that condition, as the scripture says, are loved by God! What you accuse me of, is the exact issue that ultimately drove the religious community to kill Jesus!
I probable preach a much stronger message about the issues of man’s fall, the effects of sin and man’s need for righteousness; through the finished work of Jesus than you have ever heard. It is the corner stone of everything I preach concerning man, his capacity for knowing God and experiencing eternal life. I had a very specific purpose for not addressing every Biblical issue in this book. I have been effective at winning the lost, especially those who have grown in antagonism toward the church. I do it based on the principles that Jesus used and what the scripture foretold of Him and His ministry. He didn’t shout in the streets, quoting scriptures at every sinner and pointing out every flaw. Most of His scriptural debates came when the legalists attacked Him for preaching what you have labeled as a humanistic message. He paraphrased scriptural truth into parables and concepts, usually about nature, that the people could conceptualize, thereby turning them to God!
Jesus didn’t minister like the legalists who had driven the people away from God. Isa 42:2-3, He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. 3 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench. He just wasn’t religious enough for the Pharisees, but he was great at reaching the lost… as am I!
You claim to be charismatic, yet when I talked about flowing in what the Bible called words of knowledge, you ridiculed it. I may not have used a religious enough terminology to satisfy your mind, but if you were interested in the truth you would have acknowledged what I was talking about instead of twisting it. Hearing and perceiving, by the Spirit of God, what is happening internally with those to whom we minister is a cornerstone of Spirit led ministry. If it is of the devil then Jesus and every preacher who has flowed in the gifts of the Holy Spirit is of the devil. I have led thousands of people to Jesus because, as I shared the Word of God with them, the word of knowledge operated and I was able, by the Holy Spirit, to help them face their fears and life issues, including some of the issue that arose at that very moment.
You say these laws that operate in this world, the laws of physics, the natural laws are of the devil. If that is the case, you should never drive a car, fly in an airplane, or ride in a boat, in fact you should not eat, breathe or sleep, because life in this world is dependent on the laws that God Himself, the One and only Creator established. If a person experiencing healing apart from praying is of the devil then every time our body supports our natural healing process of our immune function, we are demon possessed. I realize that many people as Paul said, learn of these laws and worship the creation instead of the Creator. It is hard for me to imagine people being that stupid and it is hard for me to imagine how you extrapolated that from what I wrote. I see all that God has created, and I honor Him in everything. I recognize that every scientific discovery, every capacity of man, and every benefit of nature is a gift from God. Acknowledging that is worshipping our God, and in no way diminishes the Lordship of Jesus in my life or the lives of those who read my material. In fact, it has just the opposite effect.
I don’t know if you mean well, or if you are just a mean-hearted legalist that attacks everything he doesn’t understand. But, if you actually care to know, let’s get this down to the bottom line: I wrote a book about the laws of nature that have operated from the beginning. I explained how people could operate in these laws whether they were or were not saved and I gently pointed people to the proactive love of our Creator. My bible says God is good and causes the sun to shine on the just and the unjust. The religious dichotomy of secular and sacred has been what has caused those who value nature to be driven out of the church into other movements. It is the churches unscriptural dualistic theories that have driven science and a lot of intelligence out of the church.
You say you have a back ground in new age and witchcraft, and then you should heed the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 14 where people attacked him for eating meat sacrificed to the devil. The apostle Paul pointed out that their observance and sensitivity to those false gods and religious rules indicated they were weak in the faith. They believe more in the life they came from than the finished work of Jesus! I have known hundreds of former new agers that were more moved by what they feared than what the Bible actually taught about who we are and what we have in Jesus!
I say these laws honor God and help us understand God. You say they don’t. The apostle Paul said they would in fact help us understand God. Rom 1:20, for since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.
I said operate faith the same way God does, since we are created in His likeness and image. You say that is new age. Jesus said, Mark 11:22, so Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God. Bro Hagin and most Word of faith teacher, and the Greek language all agree that could be translated have the faith “of” God.
I say, choose the end you desire. You say that to choose the end you desire is new age and of the devil. Moses said you choose (Deut 30:19). Jesus said, What thing you desire when you pray…(Mark 11:24).
I used 21st century terminology, firmly based on scripture in order to make this more understandable and appealing to the lost, the struggling and those who have been turned away from Christianity. You claim that is a departure from the word of God. Yet, this is exactly what Jesus did through the use of parables.
I have not written you to persuade you. But, if you are a man of integrity, you will post my reply. You will also repent publically of the places you took liberty with your judgments and assumptions. Feel free to clearly state that you disagree with this book. But if you are a man of integrity you will retract your attacks on my beliefs. You will admit that you addressed issues that were totally outside of the scope of this one book and that you actually have no knowledge of what I believe.
This book has already sold more than 6000 copies. I have had about 5 complaints, counting yours. There were actually a couple of those who had enough integrity to write or call me and ask their questions. Most of those were satisfied with my response. On the other hand, this book has been widely accepted by many of the most reputable teachers and preachers in America. Testimony after testimony has come in from people who have not only made faith much simpler, but have actually fallen more deeply in love with God. Young people, college students and youth are able to sit through science and biology classes and realize that God created all things. Many parents have reported their children started reading the Bible again. New Agers who had been so opposed to Christianity are taking a fresh look at Jesus and some are coming to the Lord.
For centuries, the church has fought over every “jot and title;” we have fought over words and terminologies. Despite Paul’s many warning over the vanity of fighting over these issues, we still tend to think that if someone is out of the religious box, or if they say something different than we say it, that it is automatically of the devil. The church has arrogantly and hypocritically taken the position that unless “truth” came from the church it was not truth and was of the devil. They held on to the idea that the earth was flat and all who disagreed should come to a violent death.
I’m sorry if my book offends you. But I promise you this. While you are busy arguing over your doctrinal struggles (which I can respect if you have the integrity to follow scriptural rules for communication and honesty), I will be reaching people that you will never reach and they will come to Jesus, and fall in love with God!
Do you have the courage to post this reply? Do you have the courage to be a man, and open honest dialog with me before you continue in your unscriptural rant?
If not then there is no need for any further dialog. As I said, I’m not writing to change you. I’m just giving you and your followers an opportunity for the truth you left out, or twisted!