The Church-Subtly Deceived?
Alfred E. Bouter
Book Review: "The Church-Subtly Deceived?" By Alexander Seibel
1996, Chapter Two, London. Approx. 120 pages, paperback
When I saw this book, I was reminded of a few verses I have tried to memorise: "For I am jealous as to you with a jealousy which is of God; for I have espoused you unto one man, to present you a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craft, so your thoughts should be corrupted from simplicity as to the Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2-3). The author has edited an earlier book he wrote, "The Church Infiltrated," and added some comments about recent developments and topics like: Slain in the Spirit?-Signs made us wonder!-"Toronto Blessing." The result is this new book.
The author was born in 1943 in Austria, and has a special interest in science. He surrendered his life to our Lord Jesus Christ in 1968, and is now a full-time evangelist. He has studied the Charismatic movement, and shares some of his research in the present book. It is a "wake-up" call.
In the chapter, "Spirit Baptism," he describes the roots of today's Charismatics, and briefly discusses the Biblical teaching of the baptism of the Spirit and the difference between this and being filled by the Holy Spirit, which is a matter of daily surrender to the Lord.
Under "Gifts" Mr. Seibel explains that the Biblical use of tongues was not for private edification. Furthermore, that speaking in tongues, even at the beginning in Corinth, was not given to all believers; the prerequisite for its use at that time was the edification of other believers (1 Cor. 14). The apostle Paul limited the use of tongues, instead of pushing it. Moreover this gift was given by God as a sign to the unbelieving Jews.
In "Laying on of Hands" we are warned against the dangers of demonic influences in the lives of believers. With the emphasis on these, and other popular practices like "speaking in tongues," "signs and wonders" and "laying on of hands," the door is being opened for deceiving spirits.
Under the title "Passivity" the author, using examples involving well-known people, shows how pagan and demonic influences may control professing "Christians" and popular leaders. He links this point with "slain in the Spirit" and other "experiences."
In "Signs and Wonders" Mr. Seibel shows how the signs in John's Gospel are still relevant for our days in their spiritual and moral impact. However, the miracles described in Acts were limited to the apostles. Finally, he links present day "signs and wonders" with the deception of the last days, emphasizing the importance and authority of the Scriptures. Also, he proves that the "Third Wave" is linked with occultism and spiritism!
The Renewal Theology, based on a misinterpretation of Joel 2, makes people-like those involved in the "Toronto blessing"-believe that they are in a revival, whereas they are seeking after sensations and euphoria, and thus pleasing the flesh. A solemn warning concludes this chapter.
Towards the end of the book "The Ecumenical Alignment" examines the growing influence of the Roman Catholic Church in a movement which seeks to bring Evangelicals and Charismatics in line with the worship of Mary, the pope's leadership, "Power Religion" and "Church Growth."
At the end, our attention is drawn to the Lord Jesus, with a call to repentance, and to be sober and watchful. I believe that this book is quite relevant and should be read and promoted as much as possible, so that we do not allow ourselves to be side-tracked or led astray. How we need the Lord's help for these last days!