Does The Last Reformation Get Back to the Book of Acts?

last-reformation-movieThe Last Reformation is a global movement founded by Torben Sondergaard. On the Last Reformation website, it is stated, “We believe that the church is facing a new reformation.” Specifically,

A reformation that will go deeper than any reformation before: away from church traditions, suffocating structures and countless meetings in church buildings. We believe that it is a reformation, where we get back to what we read in the Acts: A simple disciple-life led by the Holy Spirit, where the kingdom of God comes near in homes, on the streets, in shops – yes, all places where people are.

In The Last Reformation, the 2016 movie, Torben Sondergaard claims, “We as the Church today stand in front of a new reformation. A reformation where we are coming back to what we read in the Book of Acts.” Many of his reasons for reform are noble and valid. He concludes, “It’s time to get back to what we read in the Book of Acts.” Signs and wonders, casting out demons, repentance, speaking in tongues, and baptism in Jesus’ name alone are focal points of the movement, yet the way in which each one of these elements are portrayed is actually at variance with the Book of Acts. As this critical refutation will demonstrate, The Last Reformation is unbiblical or incomplete in all of its emphasized beliefs and practices. Even more important than what they choose to promote within the movement is what The Last Reformation fails to mention or emphasize.

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Has God Already Forgiven Our Future Sins?

future-sinsHas God already forgiven our future sins? In other words, are Christians forgiven of their past, present and future sins? It is asked: When did Jesus take our sins upon Himself? At the cross, of course. How many sins had we committed at that time? None of them; they were all future sins at that time because you and I had not yet been born. All of our sins had not yet been committed when Jesus bore our sins on the cross. Therefore, it is argued that God has forgiven us of our past, present and future sins.

Their argument goes something like this: From the standpoint of the cross, all of the sins that we committed had not yet taken place. Thus, Jesus forgave us for all of our sins that we would ever commit because all sin was future from the time of the cross. It doesn’t matter if your sins were committed in the past, present or future from your perspective because they were all future at the time of the cross and covered by the blood of Jesus. Is this true?

What would happen if the President of the United States released every criminal from prison and promised to pardon all their past, present and future crimes? There would be total chaos and unbridled immorality. Unfortunately, this is the state of many churches today which look no different than the world because they have been poisoned with the false teaching of unconditional eternal security. What does the Bible say about this?

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Holy Ghost, A Christian Movie Review

Can the Holy Spirit direct a movie? Holy Ghost is a new documentary film by Darren Wilson, director of the popular films Finger of God, Furious Love, and Father of Lights.

Darren Wilson sets out to make a movie that is completely led by the Holy Spirit. No plan, no script, no safety net–just go wherever he feels the Spirit leading him to try and discover the adventure God has for him. Whether it’s the riches of Monte Carlo, a heavy metal concert, or the oldest city in the world, the result is a film that not only challenges and excites, but also reveals a God who is far more alive and active than you ever imagined. (Holy Ghost IMDb Plot Summary)

holy ghost movieWhat a claim! For this reason any reviewer of the film Holy Ghost (2014) ought to be very cautious about their criticism because Jesus said, whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:32). Speaking against the Holy Ghost is the unpardonable sin, so I want to be careful in judging this movie so as not to attribute any work of the Holy Spirit to Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24).

For example, exactly an hour and half into the movie an Indian man in Varanasi, India is supposedly healed after being prayed for by Evangelist Mark Marx. I’m not going to say this was a work of the devil. It looks like this man may have been legitimately healed. I believe in divine healing, but I believe that such miracles are primarily, but not exclusively, administered to non-believers as a sign (see Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:4). I see no reason why this Indian man would not be healed by Jesus as a sign to confirm the truth of the Gospel. But I cannot say that I would endorse any of these men or say that any of them are preaching the truth of the Gospel. Most of these “miracles” in the film seemed like cheap parlor tricks and cold reading techniques practiced by psychics. 

Let’s also keep in mind that signs and wonders are not necessarily a stamp of approval upon the messenger who preformed the sign. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-24) God may honor the name of His Son by performing a sign for an unbeliever through a worker of lawlessness in order to authenticate the truth of the Gospel and Lordship of Christ, but not necessarily that messenger through whom the sign was administered. 

Furthermore, Paul the Apostle said, “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10). And Jesus warned us, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). 

All of this is to say at the outset that we must not carelessly dismiss any and all signs in Jesus name as works of the devil (Matthew 12:24-32), even if they come from workers of lawlessness (Matthew 7:21-24). Neither should we gullibly believe that all “signs” in Jesus’ name are authentic works of the Holy Ghost (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10; Matthew 24:24). Scripture gives us some guidelines with which to provide a Christian review of the movie Holy Ghost.

In the Beginning

The film begins with a quotation of Genesis 1:1-2: “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” There is a major emphasis on the subjective in the film. The cast is often likening the Holy Ghost to feelings, feeling the Presence, tangibly feeling or experiencing the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit is defined by some of the speakers as “God on the earth,” “God’s presence here on earth,” a “feeling,” or “presence,” that doesn’t compare to drugs. But never do Jesus or the Apostles refer to a feeling when talking about the Holy Spirit.One of the first people to speak in the film and offer these subjective definitions is Brian “Head” Welch, the former (and current) lead guitarist of the band Korn. [Read more…]