Friday, June 29, 2012

More irresponsible criticism of The Harbinger by Brannon Howse and Christine Pack

I would really love to get off The Harbinger and back to my new project on Catholicism but the stupidities continue to multiply.

Brannon Howse is coming up with new ways every day to find fault with The Harbinger that apparently didn't bother him before. I've got to suspect that the only reason he is carrying on this way is due to his friendship with Jimmy DeYoung who started the crazy attacks on The Harbinger. Yes, they are crazy.

So much for integrity, Brannon.

OF COURSE HE STILL HASN'T READ IT, on the false excuse that it's "fiction."

THIS IS IRRESPONSIBLE.

Today he's calling it "mysticism" and "gnosticism." WHY? It's like he just discovered the words on the COVER OF THE BOOK, about an "ancient mystery." It's the same thing he did yesterday with Jan Markell's calling it a "code" and likening Cahn to the prophets John and Jeremiah. That is, Brannon doesn't care whether they mean by those terms what he wants them to mean by them or not, it's enough for him that they can be used as flag words against The Harbinger. Wasn't the false accusation that the book replaces Israel with America enough? Gotta keep diggin up stuff to throw at it?

THIS IS IRRESPONSIBLE.

Actually, it turns out he got his new stones to throw from a new source, which he has published at his site, A Warning About the Harbinger by Christine Pack:
Posted: 06/27/12
A Commentary on The Harbinger: A Warning About The Harbinger
by Christine Pack

A book called The Harbinger is fast becoming a lightning rod issue among evangelical Christians, with many Christians saying it is exactly what America needs right now to "wake up" and repent, and come back to biblical truth, but other Christians documenting that Cahn quotes liberally from extra-biblical and mystical sources for his book.
Who? DOCUMENTING??? "LIBERALLY" yet??? WHAT extrabiblical and mystical sources???? If you are going to accuse him of that, you have to give the quotes you are referring to and the supposed extrabiblical or mystical source of them. *

THIS IS IRRESPONSIBLE.
The cover of Cahn's book (right) boldly claims that The Harbinger is an "Ancient Mystery that Holds the Secret of America's Future."
Yeah, right, this is how Brannon Howse just discovered what's been on the cover of the book all along. NOW somebody is making an issue of it.

I've mentioned myself that I wish the book weren't attended by so much hype. But that IS all it is, hype -- and the way you KNOW it is hype is by READING THE BOOK or listening to one of Cahn's talks on it. The facts are real, they really don't need all the hype and yes I wish Cahn wasn't so enamored of the hype words because I think they detract from the message. I suppose he sees it as a mystery being unveiled, and that's not wrong since certain connections between certain realities did have to be discovered -- as long as you don't make too much of the concept.

Now all of a sudden people have decided to make too much of it.

It wasn't enough to accuse Cahn of "replacement theology" and misapplying the Old Testament to our times (which is false theology right there), oh how gleeful they must have been to discover that Sid Roth who endorses the book also endorsed Todd Bentley's false revival, or that Cahn had decided to appear on Glenn Beck's show. Hey, that is all stuff to make one question the book, and I admit it gives me pause too. I still don't know how to put all these things together but I know the way Howse and company are putting them together is false.

I GO BACK TO THE FACTS AS PRESENTED IN THE BOOK AND THEY SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. But this writer doesn't care about the facts either. She's into flag words too, it doesn't matter what they MEAN if they sort of remind you of or SOUND LIKE "gnosticism" or whatnot.
Could this be true? Could it be that there are hidden truths that need to be decoded and unveiled to Christians today? And if so, for what purpose? Cahn seems to think so, and has written a book which proclaims just that. The Harbinger is a fiction book, and features a character known as The Prophet who is slowly giving seals to one of the main characters. These seals contain messages (nine in all) which are meant to be put together as clues in a mystery, so that a final, distinct message will emerge and be revealed. This message, once decoded, is intimated to hold the secret to bringing America back to its moral center and becoming once again a Godly nation.

I have many concerns about this book, and so I will address them one at a time.

Gnosticism

There is an exchange between two of the characters in The Harbinger who are discussing a secret message from a mysterious character ("The Prophet") in the book:

"It's the appointed time, but not for an ancient nation. It's time for the word to be given.....for the mystery to be revealed.....for the message to go forth. It's the appointed time⎯but not for an ancient nation." (The Harbinger, p 13)
Friends, anytime you see language like this, and like the language below (also from The Harbinger).....

¡ "ancient mystery hidden for thousands of years......but now revealed"
¡ a "mystery" that holds a "secret" to our future
¡ "clues" needed to "unlock" a mystery
¡ "messages" that need to be "unveiled"
......what you are dealing with is an ancient heresy called Gnosticism.

Gnosticism is a very old heresy that teaches that the truth has to be decoded, uncovered, unlocked, unveiled, discovered.
Oh for crying out loud. Flag words. Word magic.

This is all to be put down to Jonathan Cahn's no doubt unfortunate love of drama and words like "mystery." But in simple FACT the mystery in this book is out there for anyone to discover, it's not a mystery in the gnostic sense at all. The book puts you through the paces of a fictional plot to discover each of the harbingers, for the sake of DRAMA, but the clues are not to anything hidden, it's all in plain sight for anyone to discover. To discover them you have to be aware of Isaiah 9:10. This verse from the Book of Isaiah IS the "ancient mystery," folks, it's not a gnostic mystery, it's just a Bible verse, but because what it describes has literally shown up in America it's become a message for America as well as Israel. Originally the connections between the harbingers and Isaiah 9:10 did have to be brought to Cahn's attention, by what means other than God I can't imagine, and he has come up with a fictional device to bring these connections to the attention of the reader. But once we are introduced to Isaiah 9:10 -- hey, it's in every Bible, you can go read it for yourself, there's nothing hidden about it -- once you become familiar with the verse in Isaiah, then you see the actual harbingers themselves are actually there in the world, the actual realities that reflect the elements referred to in that verse.

If this is Gnosticism Ms. Pack is a Six Pack, or a Pack of Lies or a packrat or a suitcase. Well, hey, the WORDS are there, she MUST be that.
Secret Knowledge = Gnosticism
Turning this kind of language into gnosticism is STUPID! It's some kind of logical fallacy or cognitive disorder, not sure which.

I used to read Nancy Drew mysteries when I was about ten. They use similar language. The Secret of the Old Clock, the Mystery of the Blah Blah. In fact, let's emphasize this: the sense in which The Harbinger is a mystery is much more along the lines of a mystery to be solved than a spiritual mystery, the Prophet is more like a sleuth than a prophet -- except he already knows all the answers -- and so on. Gnosticism has nothing to do with it.
Gnosticism is a heresy because, according to God, we are given all that we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) in God's word. We don't need to decode secret mysteries, unravel sealed up messages, decipher clues, or pull back the veil on hidden things. All that we need, all that God wants us to know, is contained in the Bible.
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. If this had anything to do with The Harbinger I'd agree, but it has NOTHING to do with it. But the fact is that THE HARBINGERS ARE REAL, Cahn did not invent them. God did. You have to account for THAT.
Now, I will grant that in the New Testament, Paul does talk about the mystery of Gentiles and Jews being united together in a common church and common faith (something that could have scarcely been imagined in Old Testament times). There is also the mystery of Jesus Christ, who was dimly glimpsed through types and shadows in the Old Testament, but Who was gloriously revealed in his fullness as our Savior in the New Testament. But these are mysteries which are laid open for all to see and know and understand and respond to, and not clues on a Mysterious Journey to Somewhere (which is really the more western understanding of the word "mystery").
Well, golly gee, she knows there are other meanings to the word "mystery." Now if only she also had the good sense to know that The Harbinger does not use the word in the sense of gnosticism.

I'm courting an ulcer dealing with this sort of stupidity, and I'm not even happy myself with some decisions Jonathan Cahn has made for getting his message out, but the false accusations against it are still coming at it and still need to be answered.

I'll say it again: I'm still waiting for someone to explain those harbingers in any other way. UNTIL THEN EVERYTHING ELSE IN CRITICISM OF THE BOOK IS IRRELEVANT.

Somewhere in the rest of the article she says something like how we don't NEED the Harbinger to know the nation is under judgment, and I would agree but YOU STILL HAVE TO EXPLAIN THE APPEARANCE OF THOSE HARBINGERS THAT SO UNCANNILY REFLECT 9/11. THEY suggest that God wanted to impress the fact on us beyond what a few of us already know. Yes, God. Cahn didn't put the harbingers there. Howse, Pack, DeYoung, all the rest of them, are trying to make a case against the book without grappling with this central FACT that is the ONLY thing that needs to be thought about. THE ONLY THING.

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*And I see below that she says Cahn referred to finding something in a mystical Jewish work, the Zohar, that reflects something he had been discovering, and implies he's explaining EVERYTHING in the book by this reference. Is he Ms. Pack?
"An incredible thing, it blew me away, I found it in the mystical writings, Jewish writings, of the Zohar*...." Jonathan Cahn, discussing extra-biblical, mystical writings as his sources.
Why don't you make it clear exactly WHAT he found reflected in the Zohar? In fact why don't you give us the reference where he said that so we can track it down?
===============================


She just goes on and on with the same irrelevancies. I'm not up to answering them at the moment, may come back later.
"I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob's descendants, 'Seek me in vain.' I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right."(Isaiah 45:19) As a former Gnostic, I found great comfort as a born again Christian in understanding that all that God truly wants me to know He has plainly revealed in his Word. I spent more than a decade of my life as a New Ager/Gnostic going from teaching to teaching to teaching. I lost track of how many conferences I went to, books I purchased, teachers and gurus that I sought out, all in an effort to find truth. My quest for truth was sincere, but truth proved to be surprisingly elusive to attain. By the time God saved me, I was weary. I was worn out. I didn't have it in me to go after One More Thing. All I could think of at the end was that I wanted rest, just a little bit of rest, from all my fruitless searching. The Lord, in his infinite mercy, gave me rest by rescuing me out of the mire of man-made wisdom and giving me the elegant simplicity of his Word. There is such a lovely purity and clarity in knowing that I can rest securely in the knowledge that all that God wants me to know I can find in the Bible.

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
If you are unfamiliar with the heresy of Gnosticism, please listen to Phil Johnson in this in-depth discussion of what Gnosticism is, and see if you don't come away from that talk thinking of The Harbinger.

Fiction? or Fiction Masquerading Itself as Fact?

Much like William P. Young's troublesome book The Shack, The Harbinger also has a fictional character who is teaching things that are contrary to Scripture, but which the author wants to claim as truth. Of course, when pressed on the biblical problems with the teachings, both Young and Cahn have resorted to saying, But it's only a fictional character! The problem with this is that Young and Cahn both personally believe what they have written, and are seeking to teach a wide audience of readers what they believe to be true, while hiding behind the label "Fiction."

The Truth About America's Future

The truth about America's future (and the future of all nations, for that matter), is that God holds the future in His hands. Yes, we should pray, we are commanded and exhorted to pray, but ultimately, we know that our sovereign Lord will work all things together for the good of those who love him and for HIS own purposes (Romans 8:28). And sometimes, in God's sovereign wisdom, this means that He will allow countries to fall, and nations to topple. Even, that is, nations that He has used in a mighty way to proclaim his truth to the world. I certainly do not desire to see America fall, and I pray for the leaders of this country, but at the same time, we know from the Bible that God has often used times of distress and difficulty as a means of chastening and disciplining his people.

"The kingfs heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will." (Proverbs 21:1)
When I was a fairly new Christian, I came across a resource called James Ussher's Chronological Chart of History that helped steady my thinking in this regard. James Ussher was a 17th century Anglican bishop who painstakingly charted out the bloodline from Adam and Eve to Jesus. His chart features the Biblical timeline going across the top and the corresponding world history underneath it. It's so amazing to look at this chart, and see God's hand sovereignly guiding all of human history. Below the scarlet thread of Jesus's bloodline, you see nations and kings rise and fall, rise and fall, but above it all, God's bloodline marches steadily onward toward the fulfillment of his purposes.

As Americans, we tend to think that we are so mighty, the greatest nation on earth. Well, when you look at Ussher's timeline, you realize that ALL these kingdoms once had their day in the sun, but where are they now? Egypt was once the mightiest nation in the world, known for the architectural magnificence of their awe-inspiring pyramids, and for taming the Nile River. Babylon, known for their acclaimed Hanging Gardens, and brilliant military campaigns led by Nebuchadnezzar. Rome, their amazing Roman roads and contributions to education and government. Where are they now? Some of them are still around, but do they rule the world? Looking at this chart is truly humbling, and it brings the deeper realization that all that is here will be one day be burned up and destroyed, when God himself creates a new heavens and a new earth. No government that exists here on earth - not even America - will be reigning in that Kingdom to come. But this is not bad news, this is glorious, good news, that should gladden the heart of all who truly love God and bend the knee to his sovereign will and purposes.

As far as America goes, all people everywhere are commanded to repent and believe on Christ for the forgiveness of sins, but that is not the basic message of this book. This book teaches that there is a secret message encoded in the Bible that needs to be decoded to be understood, and if we will only buy this book and decode this message, then we can bring America back. But as I wrote above, this is the heresy of Gnosticism. Our country does not need a "special" Gnostic teaching to tell us what we already know about repentance, salvation and the forgiveness of sins. In fact, I tend to agree with John MacArthur (When God Abandons A Nation), that when we look around us, we don't need to wonder, will we be judged? because we are already under judgment. First came the sexual revolution of the 60s/70s/80s (Romans 1:24), then came the homosexual revolution (Romans 1:26-27), and next comes the debased mind (Romans 1:28). We are following the trajectory laid out in Romans 1, and where we are indicates not a country that is basically good and can come back to its moral center, but a country that has been given over to its depravity. So we can churn out book after book about "taking back America" and "reclaiming America" (including Jonathan Cahn's The Harbinger), but in my opinion, America is past the tipping point. True Bible-believing Christians are in the minority in this country, and a minority is never going to reclaim a culture. We need to proclaim the gospel and snatch the few that we can from the flames.

Jonathan Cahn's Extrabiblical, Mystical Sources

"An incredible thing, it blew me away, I found it in the mystical writings, Jewish writings, of the Zohar*...." Jonathan Cahn, discussing extra-biblical, mystical writings as his sources.
* Please note that Zohar is an extrabiblical, mystical source from which the occultic and mystical Kabbalah is derived.

The Zohar Speaks

Jonathan Cahn Myspace Video

Jonathan Cahn Goes on Glenn Beck's Show To Discuss How To "Save A Nation"

Harbinger author Jonathan Cahn joined Mormon Glenn Beck for two segments of Beck's June 26/June 27 programs, and said the following things about The Harbinger:

"The Harbinger is a two and a half thousand year mystery that lies behind everything."
"The message of The Harbinger is not to condemn, it's to wake up and it's to call back. This is I believe coming out now for a reason, it's to save a nation, and to turn back."
"We can't maintain our blessings without God.....America is blessed as much as America follows God. If America does not follow God, you cannot expect the smiles of heaven."
Once again, a Gnostic teaching about a "mystery" that has to be decoded, and a call for America to turn back to God. But, why is Jonathan Cahn, who is a Christian pastor, linking with a Mormon (Glenn Beck) in order to proclaim his message? Christians and Mormons do not worship the same God, and for Cahn to appear with Mormon Glenn Beck and for the two to discuss God and America turning back to God can only serve to send a very confusing message to the world about who "God" is.

Conclusion

Does The Harbinger hold clues to helping America find her way back God? In my view, Jonathan Cahn's book is "hooking" those Christians in America who are burdened over the rising tide of immorality in our country, and who desire for America to repent and come back to the Lord. This is not a wrong or wicked desire.....it's just that, it might not play out that way, in God's sovereign plan. And this desire can become problematic, especially when Christians begin linking with non-Christians (as Jonathan Cahn did with Mormon Glenn Beck) in an effort to force those desires to come to fruition.

"Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14)

2 comments:

nada said...

Amen...I agree with you completely.

Faith aka Connie said...

Thank you.