1 Timothy 4:1 "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons."


New Wine Movement Defined

Advocates of New Wine claim they are involved in a renewal. The goal is to receive "more of God," which will manifest in a supernatural outpouring of prophetic insight, and will refresh those who are spiritually hungry. John Arnott (Toronto Airport Vineyard) describes the New Wine movement this way:

This renewal is primarily a call to the "weak ones" rather than to the "wise." It is a call to the thirsty to come and drink of the waters of life freely, to partake of that which is revealed to babes (Matt. 11:25). Our Father is calling His children who deeply desire more of God and who will come in childlike faith to enter into the kingdom (Matt. 18:4-6) and receive the Father's promised blessing (Acts 1:4). This is the season for "wise virgins" to buy oil from those who sell (Matt. 25). May you be filled with all the fullness of God and powerfully prepared for the harvest. (1)

New Wine advocates claim Scriptural and historical precedent for their "renewal," and claim that good fruit (works) manifested over a long period of time is proof that their movement is of God. It might surprise some readers to learn that elements of New Wine do indeed have links in history and Scripture, and it is to those links that we will now turn. (For a discussion of testing "fruit" see The Fruit of the Spirit, DTF May/June 1995.)

New Wineskin -- Old Wine

"Most people know about the trinity -- the Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- but they are not clear on who the Holy Spirit is and what He does." (2) The aim of New Wine is to introduce people to the Holy Spirit, and to everything He supposedly has to offer. The introduction is facilitated, New Winers claim, by someone who has previously received the "anointing." The introduction will not come as result of knowing God through Scripture or Sacrament, but rather, by physically passing on the "anointing," or by invoking the "Spirit." This is often accomplished at special renewal meetings (such as Catch the Fire Conferences), or via exhaustive hands-on courses sponsored by various churches.

Prophecy has come to play a major role in New Wine theology. Many of the bizarre manifestations (roaring, growling, pawing the floor, yelling, etc.) are said to be outward manifestation of a particular vision the wino (their term) is experiencing. These visions are said to be prophetic, and often are associated with Biblical themes. For instance, roaring and pawing the floor are often said to be associated with the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Personal prophecy, or word of knowledge, is also heavily promoted. In New Wine, prophecy is a spiritual gift that improves with practice (more on this later); it requires training to be used effectively.

Critiques of the New Wine movement often focus on the bizarre manifestations. While weird manifestations are a trademark of the New Wine movement, they are not, however, the only point where New Wine deviates from historic, orthodox Christianity. Many of the essential, foundational doctrines of New Wine theology are not compatible with historic Christianity. It is a theology based in esotericism. In short, what is being imparted by way of the New Wine movement is an esoteric knowledge and power -- only the initiated will appropriate and manifest it. The New Wine movement is new in name only. It's history can be traced back to the times of the Apostles. The Gospel of John, the Epistles, and the Church fathers have much to say about the "original" New Wine movement; a movement that was at odds with historic, orthodox Christianity from the very beginning. That movement is Gnosticism.

Gnosticism was rejected and labeled as heresy by the early Church fathers. Nevertheless, it was a belief-system that continued to exist and operate in various forms within the Church throughout Church history (often under the broader label of "Christian" mysticism). It continued to operate because adherents, for the most part, were able to mask their mystic beliefs by cloaking them in Christian terminology. Such is the case with the latest "Christian" mystic movement -- the New Wine movement.

Not surprisingly, what draws a majority of people to the New Wine movement is in fact what has drawn people to mysticism throughout Church history -- a feeling of despair, and a yearning for experience. A dominant theme heard in New Wine circles is that "I came to Toronto because I wanted something more." Compare the experience-driven New Wine spiritual quest with that of the Gnostics. Kurt Rudolph, in his classic work on Gnosticism, summarizes the early Gnostic quest/method as follows.

They (Gnostics) were not aiming at any ideal philosophical knowledge nor any knowledge of an intellectual or theoretical kind, but a knowledge which had at the same time a liberating and redeeming effect. The content of this knowledge or understanding is primarily religious, in so far as it circles around the background of man, the world and God, but also because it rests not upon one's own investigation but on heavenly mediation. It is a knowledge given by revelation, which has been made available only to the elect who are capable of receiving it, and therefore has an esoteric character. (3)

The above quote is just as applicable to New Winers as it is to the first mystics. John Arnott echoes Gnostic sentiment when he says, "It came as a tremendous revelation to me several years ago that the Christian faith is all about love and "romance" or intimacy. I used to think it was all about understanding truth and getting our doctrine straight." (4) In New Wine, one does not really "know" the Holy Spirit until one has experienced the New Wine anointing. At that point the power will begin to flow, and the New Wine initiate will supposedly embark upon a Spirit-filled voyage of supernatural insight, wisdom and experience.

New Winers insist that they are the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy about God pouring out His Spirit in the Last Days (Joel 2:28). Significant emphasis is placed on "prophetic" ministry. New Winers see themselves as the vanguard of a powerful, Latter Day outpouring of the Holy Spirit the likes of which the Church has never seen. To test these claims we will begin with an analysis of prophecy and the prophetic ministry as it is defined in New Wine theology. As always, we will do so using God's sure, objective voice. We will test the New Wine movement by Scripture.

Re-defining Prophecy

The New Wine movement has a preoccupation with "releasing the prophetic" in the lives of those who attend their conferences or embrace their theology. Much of their teaching originates from words given through people who, New Winers believe, have received "inner training by God." (5) These people are said to be able to facilitate the release of prophetic gifts in other would-be prophets and prophetesses.

The movement's understanding of prophecy differs dramatically from the Church's traditional understanding of prophecy. Since the New Wine movement claims a scriptural basis for their beliefs, we will use Scripture to test the claims. Let's start by defining the word prophecy as it is used in the Bible.

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary (1986) defines prophecy as, "Predictions about the future and the end-time; special messages from God, often uttered through human spokesmen, which indicate the divine will for mankind on earth and in heaven. The focus of all prophetic truth is Jesus Christ." A study of the word prophecy in Scripture will reveal two distinct meanings, both of which are in line with Nelson's definition.

First, prophecy can be predictive. Here, God foretells future events by providing His prophet with special revelation. Second, prophecy can be used in reference to forthtelling God's Word. Forthtelling is speaking forth, for a variety of reasons, the truths God has already revealed. Forth-telling God's Word may be for the edification and encouragement of His people (for example, Paul's Epistle to the Philippians). It may be a word of correction, or a call to repentance, such as the Old Testament prophets so often brought forth. Words of knowledge, which spoken after having received special revelation, also fall into this category. True prophecy will always be in harmony with God's written Word. It will never contradict what He has already spoken. True prophecy is a "sure" word from the Lord.

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21)

To New Winers, "Prophecy is for the express purpose of giving strength, encouragement and comfort to the people of God. Nowhere is it a permit for correction or rebuke. (6) They teach, "When we prophesy today, we are basically conveying in our own words what we believe to be the thought and feelings of God about a person or event. We have been given ample space to learn in the process." (7)

Note, first, the New Wine emphasis that prophecy is not for correction or rebuke. Such a teaching flatly contradicts both the Old and New Testament. 2 Timothy 3:16 says the following: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (NKJ). When God says all Scripture He means all Scripture. When He says Scripture is profitable for reproof and correction He means Scripture is profitable for reproof and correction and should be used accordingly. Prophetic forthtelling, for the purpose of correction and rebuke, is seen throughout the New Testament (Acts 2:1-41, 5:1-11, 7:1-53... ad infinitum) Clearly, New Winers have re-defined the role of prophecy by eliminating one of the main purposes of prophetic forthtelling. They do so in direct opposition to Scripture. As serious as this is, they do not stop there.

But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, `How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?'-- when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (Deut. 18:20-22 (NKJ)

To put it in simple terms, Scripture says if someone gives a prophecy in the name of the Lord, and the prophecy does not come to pass, then he or she is not a prophet of God -- period. The New Wine movement disagrees.
Here is what they have to say:

Just as a toddler has many accidents before he or she is potty trained, the prophetic person on training will also stumble. (8)

It is possible for the prophetic word to be "tainted" and, thus, only part of what the prophetic person is saying comes from God. (9)

When I first began to prophesy to others, I asked the Lord, "What if I'm wrong?" "As long as love is your motive," He told me, "and building them up is your goal, you can't miss."...Love is the principal issue in prophetic ministry. ( 10)

If they get one right, tell them so. They don't know....so that they'll do it again or else they will quit. (11)

We don't have the whole mind of God on a matter. Sometimes we get it wrong. (1 )

This does not mean that true prophets never prophesied inaccurately. Scripture makes it clear that on occasion true prophets knowingly (Ed note: "knowingly prophesied inaccurately" is doublespeak for lying. Do God's prophet's lie?) or unknowingly prophesied inaccurately, though they were not put to death or branded false prophets for such inaccuracies...what separated false prophets from true prophets was more than just consistency in prophetic accuracy. False prophets were, by contrast, presumptuous and proud in attitude, they bore bad fruit in their lives and ministries, they were consistently inaccurate in their prophecies. (1 )

Not every prophecy is going to be to be correct. No one is going to be 100 percent accurate all the time. In this regard New Testament prophets differ considerable from their Old Testament counterparts. The Old Testament prophets spoke what was to be recorded as the very word of God and therefore could not falter at all. If the words they spoke proved to be untrue to any degree, they were to be executed. But the New Testament era provides greater flexibility... (1 )

We've quoted at length from numerous New Wine leaders to demonstrate the clear nature of their teachings on prophecy. We can sum up this aspect of their theology this way:

1. New Testament prophecy is not the same as Old Testament prophecy.
2. God speaks through prophets today.
3. God speaks accurately.
4. New Testament prophets do not always hear the message accurately.
5. Therefore: A true prophet of God can and does prophesy inaccurately, but will improve with practice.

Let's deal with #1 first. New Testament prophecy is not the same as Old Testament prophecy. New Winers base this claim on, (a) since the New Testament does not call for the death penalty for prophets who prophesy inaccurately, God must not mind if prophets "miss" (so long as the "prophet's" heart is in the right place); and (b), the belief that prophecy is conditional. It is at this point where the New Wine movements jumps headlong into the kingdom of the cults.

Nowhere does the Bible make a distinction between Old and New Testament prophets or prophecy. Then why did the penalty change? Examine history. First, the Law required the death penalty, not only for false prophecy, but also for adultery, and for cursing one's father or mother. The fact that the Church does not carry out the Old Testament penalty does not indicate that God has changed His mind about the severity of these sins (God is immutable). The death penalty was required for the people of Israel when they operated within their theocratic system; the death penalty for these sins is not required of the New Testament Church. The "earthly" penalties for the above infractions may have changed, but God's feelings towards sin has not. New Winers can thank God they do not live under a theocracy.

The claim that all prophecy is conditional is also easily refuted. New Winers follow the Jehovah's Witnesses' lead by appealing to Jonah 3:4. Both groups claim Jonah prophesied inaccurately since the prophecy failed to come to pass. Jeremiah 18:7-8 is the key here; God said, "If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned." There you have it; God's statement as to which prophecies are conditional. Any statement that all prophecy is conditional has no scriptural support.

Occasionally, a New Winer will quote 1 Kings 22:15 as "proof" that even the Old Testament prophets blew it on occasion. Verse 15 does look like a failed prophecy -- until you read it in context -- then you will see that, in verse 15, Micaiah is not prophesying, but mocking! In essence Micaiah is saying, "Sure King, you want me to agree with the other 400 so-called 'prophets,' so go ahead and attack." Read the verse in context. The 100% accuracy rate of God's prophets still stands.

We agree that #2 and #3 above has scriptural support. At DTF we believe in the perpetuity of spiritual gifts, and believe that God does not err. The fourth point (that prophets do not always hear the message correctly), and the conclusion (that God's prophets improve with practice), is absolutely opposite of what Scripture says. 2 Peter 1:12 is clear: When God has a message for man, the Holy Spirit sees to it that His prophet receives the message accurately, and communicates the message accurately. Look at the text again: For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. That is how we are to tell the difference between a true prophet and a false prophet -- when the former claims to speak a word from God, the word will always be correct, and the word can always be objectively tested (by the standards set forth in Scripture). A word spoken in the name of the Lord that does not come to pass is a lie. The person who speaks a false prophecy is a liar, and is not a "sincere but improving New Testament prophet" as the New Wine movement claims:

Then the LORD said to me, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds. (Jer. 14:14)

The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading. (Lam. 2:14)

Conclusion: If New Testament prophecy is characteristically different than Old Testament prophecy, no such distinction is found in Scripture. The New Wine movement has no scriptural support for it's position. New Winers have built their case upon a foundation of circular reasoning. Their prophecies are not accurate, they say, "because prophecy has changed." How do you know prophecy has changed, you ask them? "Because our prophecies are not always accurate."

Catch the Fire

I COMMAND the spirit of prophecy to descend on this place!...
I COMMAND evangelism to go out across this place!
ARISE! Stand upon your feet and take authority!
Let the glory of God descend on you!
Let the fire come Lord; emerse us in the fire of your Spirit!...
We stand to your feet and say "no matter what" we will pay the price!
Double it on us; double, double, double. Let the power come!
We strike the ground, we strike the ground, we strike it, strike it, strike it!...
Let the prophetic voice of the prophets come!
Call it out! Increase it , increase it, increase it!...
Don't be frightened by this. Don't be frightened by this...
We call out the prophetic anointing for the prophets of the Lord...
Prophesy in the Spirit!... (15)

At the first sound of John Arnott's invocation the room erupted. Ten hours of music and teaching had primed the psyche for this moment. As one, a thousand plus people stood to their feet as shouts of "Ahhhh! Ahhh! Yes Lord! More! Ahhhhhh!" echoed throughout the conference hall. People fell to the ground in laughter; piles of limp bodies were everywhere. Others were rocking back and forth, moaning quietly. Some launched into fever-pitched "prophetic" monologues. One woman nearby was thrusting her pelvis and moaning. A few were just watching. This time of "ministry" went on well into the evening.

If you have not attended a Catch the Fire conference you might think the above narrative is an exaggeration. It isn't. It isn't something you will see in the meetings broadcast over "Christian" television, or when you hear the edited conference tapes either. But you will see it over and over again if you attend the Toronto Airport Vineyard's roadshow -- Catch the Fire. To New Winer's these manifestations are outward signs that supposedly result from a special, "intimate" contact with God. This is the "blessing" they came to receive.

If the New Wine movement in general, and the Catch the Fire roadshow in particular, is as blatantly un-Christian as we state, then why are so many people drawn into it? Why do some "mainline" and conservative churches allow, and even encourage, people to experience this "new move of God?"

By reading or listening to those who promote these teachings, it becomes clear that there is a great deal of manipulation involved. How are people manipulated -- emotionally and spiritually. The emotional manipulation comes from the particular style and content in both worship and teaching. Spiritually, they are manipulated via practices and manifestations, some of which appear to be occultic in nature.

Movements that are experiential and subjective in nature, much of the time at the expense of sound Biblical teaching, have always attracted those who are highly "charismatic". Those in churches who promote experience over the Word generally have no understanding of how unscriptural it is to draw attention to self, thereby glorifying and exalting the flesh, rather than giving all glory to the Lord. This certainly would explain why New Wine has been enthusiastically embraced by the more experientially-driven churches -- New Wine focuses on the individual, and what he or she can receive.

What may not seem so easy to understand, at least on the surface, is why some of the more conservative, or even anti-charismatic, churches have jumped on the New Wine bandwagon. Spiritual dryness is one reason. Favorable press by the "Christian" media is another. People who, for so long have been just "going through the motions" ("I came to Toronto because I wanted something more."), have so longed for a move of the Holy Spirit that they have jumped on this bandwagon, not wanting to be "left out."

Whether it is due to spiritual hunger or simple curiosity, those who eventually do make it to a Catch the Fire conference will find the show anything but boring. First comes "worship," which is lengthy, loud, and emotionally charged. Early on it becomes a concert-like atmosphere; the auditorium is hot, dark, and crowded. The anticipation is palpable; fueled by "worship" lyrics that stress what God is going to do for you today, and, how we should fall intimately in love with Jesus. The lyrics, combined with the charged atmosphere in the auditorium, breeds expectation. God is going to "move" -- God has to "move" -- you "know" it in your heart; you see it in the crowd. Some of those who have already tasted the New Wine from "Joel's Bar" begin "manifesting the Holy Spirit." God is honoring our praise!

Having primed your pump, so to speak, the first speaker begins by asking, "Do you want more of the Holy Spirit in your life?" What Christian would say no? He then explains that we need to be open to whatever happens. After all, God won't give you a stone, will He? What, you're still skeptical? You better watch out, or you might not receive all that God wants to give you. After all, "When there is a lack of faith or a downer in the room believe me it takes everything in you to come up with prophecy." (16) You don't want to be responsible for shutting down the Holy Spirit, do you? Don't you know that "criticism will shut down prophecy?" (17) Let go, and let God! You can test it later! By now practically everyone around you is giving in and letting go. You don't want to be left out do you? You don't want your friends to think you've missed the blessing do you? Of course not. What if the speaker is right; what if your doubt will hinder someone else's receiving? Besides, there's no harm if you just "try it"; you might even catch the fire. The worst that can happen is nothing, right? Not so fast.

A very disturbing aspect of this movement is what appears to be their embracing of, or at least the toleration of, certain practices and ideas that are rooted in occultism and witchcraft. For example, Stacey Campbell recounts how, "I actually left my body...could feel myself walking down the stairs...touching the fireplace..." (18) Stacey is describing astral projection. Astral projection is an occultic practice; there is no such thing as "Christian" astral projection. She went on to say that such experiences are "normal." At Catch the Fire we also witnessed the following: Two women, before the event began, launched into a dance hauntingly reminiscent of one used in a witchcraft ritual. For the remainder of the day they were seen acting out an occultic practice often referred to as warding (see warding in end notes). Apparently the conference-goers considered these women to be especially "anointed," since they were continually involved in "transferring" their "blessing" via the laying on of hands. The "prophetic" monologues that erupted spontaneously during prayer and "ministry" times were often preceded by a period of "restoration" -- several minutes of groaning and screaming that resembled primal scream therapy (a practice rooted in occultism) rather than blessing. Some of the blessings seemed overtly sexual in nature: One woman, for several minutes, rhythmically thrust her pelvis and moaned, seemingly oblivious to those around her. Perhaps she drew her "prophetic inspiration" from the popular New Wine "praise song (True Love, by David Ruis) that was performed earlier that day:

Jesus I need to know true love
Deeper than the love found on Earth
Take me into the King's chamber
Cause my love to mature
Let me know the kisses of your mouth...

Whether by design or accident occult themes and practices were evident at Portland Catch the Fire -- they were blatantly obvious. Though "ministry" teams were stationed in large numbers throughout the auditorium, we did not witness a single attempt to restrain or rebuke any manifestation. The failure to restrain these "prophetic" outbursts was not because they occurred out of view, off in some corner; they occurred often, and in full view.

God does not need to manipulate people. Satan must. It is clear from personal observation and primary source research that methods employed by those in this movement are not of the Lord; neither are many of their doctrines and practices. Whenever a structure is unsound, check out the foundation.

Foundations of Straw

A Sweeter Sacrifice

New Winers claim that doctrinal issues are not what their movement is about. The focus of New Wine, they claim, is on love, and not on doctrine. Despite these claims, doctrinal issues are at the foundation of New Wine theology. You wouldn't have a New Wine "anointing" without a New Wine proclamation (doctrine) as to the nature and work of the Holy Spirit. The message that the essence of Christianity is "intimacy" and "romance", and that these are more important than understanding such things as justification, sanctification, and the nature of God, is itself a doctrinal proclamation. The fact is, every theological system is necessarily built upon it's own unique doctrinal foundation. The New Wine movement is no exception. Let's analyze the foundation:

It came as a tremendous revelation to me several years ago that the Christian faith is all about love and "romance" or intimacy. I used to think it was all about understanding the truth and getting our doctrine straight....
This is a call to "romance," a call to having a deeper intimate relationship with Jesus. Being in love with Jesus is more important than having pure, perfect doctrine. (19)

In the Lord's final instructions to His disciples before His death, Jesus makes it clear that His purpose in coming was to share with His followers the same intimacy that He knew with the Father. (20)

To some, the above quotes (which exemplify a core doctrine of the New Wine movement) might sound "New Testament"; but are they? No one disputes that love is a key Bible theme, but is New Wine love ("romance" & "intimacy") for God the love God calls us to? Is it really the essence of Christianity? Is it something to be valued above "truth and getting our doctrine straight?"

First, the New Wine view of love is not what God calls us to. A love characterized by "romance" and "intimacy" is not what God desires. How do we know? God has told us. In Mark 12:29-31 Jesus says the following is the most important commandment:

"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

The Greek word for love in these verses is the word agapao. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to agapao God with all our being. (Note also that Jesus includes a doctrinal statement on the nature of God in this "greatest" commandment.) The Greek language is very specific -- agape (agapao) is not a romantic or intimate feeling. Agape is not a feeling-based love; agape is a love derived from the will. Agape is an attitude we are to embrace -- it is not an emotional response. New Wine love -- romantic and intimate emotionally-based love -- falls into the category of phileo love. Phileo is not used in Mark 12:29-30, and it is not used anywhere else in the Bible in a command to men to love God. God never commands us to phileo Him.

Why does God require agape rather than phileo? For one thing, we are to be conformed to the image of Christ. 1 John 4:8 reads: "Whoever does not love (agapao) does not know God, because God is love (agape)." God is, by nature, agape; which is why Jesus said the greatest commandment is to agapao God. We are to be conformed to the image of Christ, who is agape.

New Wine theology re-defines Christianity. It views the essence of Christianity as "romance" and "intimacy," rather than the gospel of Christ. (Paul defines the true gospel in 1 Corinthians 1-8.) No matter how sincere, New Winers (as did Cain) are attempting to approach God in a way that He has not commanded -- a way they deem to be sweeter. A dangerous move -- a foundation of straw.

Just Do It (you can't lose)

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:11-13)

If you ask for the Holy Spirit, you won't get a demon. If you fall down and shake and rattle and roll after you ask for the Holy Spirit, have you then received an unholy spirit? No. You received what you asked for according to Luke 11 -- the Holy Spirit. (21)

Go with intimacy and let Him come and touch you profoundly and fill you and fill you and fill you. You can analyze it and test it later. (22)

Don't be frightened by this. Don't be frightened by this.... (23)

A second critical doctrine of the New Wine movement has to do with discernment and the Holy Spirit. The message is that, as long as the seeker is sincere, he or she will "receive the Holy Spirit," and will not receive an "unholy spirit." If for some reason the recipient wants to analyze it he or she will have to do so later using the long-term good fruit test (see Testing the Fruit DTF vol. 1, issue 3). In the mean time, receive everything and don't be frightened by the manifestations. The screaming, jerking, laughing, "prophesying," bizarre manifestations, and visions, are just, New Winers say, God working through the human spirit to accomplish His will. Luke 11:11-13 is the proof-text to support this essential New Wine doctrine. But before we look at Luke, notice something. On page 137 of The Father's Blessing, Arnott has this to say:

As I already pointed out, discernment is very important. Church leaders are particularly responsible if they allow the flesh and demonic activity to go on.... Our experience has been that manifestations of the flesh and the demonic are actually rare, though they tend to get all the attention.... But here is the challenge: That which is demonic must be dealt with -- hopefully the person can be delivered from the demonic influence. That which is the flesh must be pastored through correctly and redirected. That which is of the Holy Spirit must be embraced. Sometimes the manifestations look almost the same. Two people can be on the floor doing exactly the same thing, but one is under the anointing and the other person is wishing he was under the anointing.

That should make you question "ask for it, receive it, don't test it now, and don't be afraid," wouldn't you say? By admitting the presence of demonic and fleshly manifestations at New Wine gatherings, Arnott flatly contradicts his popular claim (which is echoed by other New Winers) that you cannot be deceived if you are sincerely asking God for this "blessing". The bottom line, as Arnott candidly reveals, is that people who are seeking the New Wine "blessing" can be deceived. The New Wine interpretation of Luke 11:11-13, an essential foundation of New Wine theology, doesn't hold up by their own admission. The problem, of course, is with the New Wine interpretation of Luke 11.

"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though your are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!?" (Luke 11:11-13)

The subject in Luke 11, and it's parallel passages in Matthew 6, is prayer. The disciple's asked Jesus to teach them to pray correctly. Jesus answered by giving what we often call "The Lord's Prayer" (Matt. 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4). He then elaborated on the various aspects of the prayer. The prayer itself summarizes those things that all believers should express to God: The recognition that God is holy and sovereign, a request to see His kingdom established on earth, the desire to see His will accomplished in our own lives, forgiveness for our sins, provision for our needs, and protection from evil. In essence, we find the three-stage life of a Christian exhibited in this short prayer; it encompasses justification, sanctification, and glorification. This prayer cannot be earnestly prayed unless one is in communion with the Holy Spirit. Jesus finished by saying, in Luke 11:13, "How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who (now and continually) ask him!" The word "ask" is in the present tense; which refers to present and continuous action. Jesus is saying these are the good things you should pray for, and, these are the good things that will occur when you now and continually are conformed to my image through ongoing communion with the Holy Spirit.

The context and grammar of Luke 11:2-4 negates any use of it in support of the New Wine "blessing." By admitting that deceptions do indeed occur, New Wine leaders demonstrate that their bizarre interpretation of Luke does not hold up in actual practice. Another essential New Wine foundation crumbles.

Another disturbing New Wine teaching, a foundation of straw, is the proclamation that they have the power to impart and "release" the prophetic gifts. Stacey Campbell has stated, "it (the gift of prophecy) can rub off on you." (24) At Portland Catch the Fire there were "ministry times" for those who had been disciplined or rebuked by their churches for giving false prophecies, including exercises whereby the prophetic teaching could be restored and the gift released once again. According to 1 Cor. 12, it is the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit alone, who determines our gifts. He determines our gifts, and He determines how they will be used.

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 1 Cor. 12:1,4, 7-8, 10-11 (NKJ)

Where They Are Going

New Wine initiates are falling, not for something new, but for something ancient. Irenaeus' description (second century) regarding the imparting of counterfeit spirits and counterfeit spiritual gifts is as applicable to New Winers as it was to the Gnostics of his day. Irenaeus wrote:

By addressing them in such seductive words as these..."Behold Charis (grace) has descended upon thee; open thy mouth and prophesy." On the woman replying, "I have never at any time prophesied, nor do I know how to prophesy;" then engaging, for the second time, in certain invocations, so as to astound his deluded victim, he says to her, "Open thy mouth, speak whatsoever occurs to thee, and thou shalt prophecy." She then, vainly puffed up and elated by these words, and greatly excited in soul by the expectation that is herself who is to prophesy, her heart beating violently [from emotion], reaches the requisite pitch of audacity, and idly as well as impudently utters some nonsense as it happens to occur to her, such as might be expected from one heated by an empty spirit....Henceforth she reckons herself a prophetess. (25)

Human nature is essentially unchanging -- people have always sought after power of one sort or another. What drives the New Wine movement is the same thing that drove the first mystics; (1) the belief that "deeper" knowledge and power exists, and (2), the assumption that it is their "right" to procure it. To intentionally go beyond the boundaries established by God (established in Scripture), to relentlessly pursue that which in reality is anti-Scriptural, all but insures a deeper slide into spiritual counterfeits. New Wine is an experiential-based sect; new experiences will be needed to keep the "fire" burning. Expect to see increasingly bizarre manifestations and deviant teachings emerge from New Wine.

For some New Winers, the slide will be only from the silly to the sillier as they debate the intricacies of their anointing. New Winers have recently discussed such issues as which body part is most receptive to receiving the "anointing," whether or not animals can receive "it," and whether or not "holy" spitting is of God. Some in the movement have expressed concerns that God might require New Winers to begin prophesying in the nude. (26)

Since certain occultic themes and practices are evident in New Wine, expect to see a growing fascination with occultic themes (which will be re-packaged as "Christian").

Much of what passes for God's truths in this movement does not originate with the God of the Bible. Those involved in this deception must be warned and encouraged to turn back to the Truth, the inerrant Word of God. We must pray for their leaders. Pray that their eyes will be opened, and that they will repent and turn back to God.

In these many months of research, over and over we questioned how professing "Christians," people who supposedly study their Bible, could be sucked into such a blatantly unscriptural movement. It is ironic that apparently sincere people can fail to heed the true prophets' warnings, and instead give ear to the sweet words of the false prophets. Sincerity is never a replacement for discernment, which comes from knowing Scripture.

A New Wine leader has remarked, "There are no Lone Rangers in this business. We are all members one of another, equally accountable to one another for the things we say and do. There is an old saying, If you can't play by the rules, then you can't play." (27) In New Wine, you can't "play" unless you play by their rules. The Bible presents a different set of rules; unchanging rules penned by true prophets of God. The two are diametrically opposed. The New Wine movement is not of God. It is a counterfeit "blessing" that appeals to an era characterized by subjective, pragmatism thinking. We were warned.

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you." (NKJ)

1. John Arnott. (1995). The Father's Blessing, (Orlando: Creation House) 10.
2. Ibid., 34.
3. Kurt Rudolph. (1987). Gnosis: The Nature & History of Gnosticism. (San Francisco: Harper) 55.
4. John Arnott. (1995) The Father's Blessing, (Orlando: Creation House) 16-17.
5. Cindy Jacobs. (1995) The Voice of God, (Ventura, CA: Regal Books) 58.
6. James Ryle. (1993) Hippo in the Garden, (Orlando: Creation House) 255.
7. Ibid., 249.
8. Cindy Jacobs. (1995) The Voice of God, (Ventura, CA: Regal Books) 57.
9. Ibid., 61.
10. James Ryle. (1993) Hippo in the Garden, (Orlando: Creation House) 250-251.
11. Stacey Campbell (speaker). (December 1995). Catch the Fire conference, Portland, OR.
12. Ibid.
13. Cindy Jacobs. (1995) The Voice of God, (Ventura, CA: Regal Books) 95.
14. James Ryle. (1993) Hippo in the Garden, (Orlando: Creation House) 248-249.
15. - 18. John Arnott (Speaker). (December 1995). Catch the Fire conference, Portland, OR.
19. . Iranaeus. Against Heresies, Book I. Ante-Nicene Fathers (Vol. 1, pp. 334-335). Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson.
20 - 27. Topics recently covered on a New Wine discussion group

Warding: In occultism, warding is a term that refers to fending off an evil spirit. Various techniques are employed. In this case, the women would recoil into their seats while passing their hands over their head in a brushing motion. Some have suggested it is a way to distribute the Holy Spirit to oneself and others. Rather, is a blatantly occultic practice that has no Christian counterpart.

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