MORIEL MINISTRIES - By James Jacob Prasch - October 8, 2013
[Ed. Note: The following is a response to Christian Witness Ministries (CWM) October CWM-E-Mailer and another email that mentioned
Shadows of The Beast specifically.]
A recent attack has been launched by Philip Powell following his statement regarding Brian Gemmell, whose 10-day pre Parousia return of Jesus ideas borrowed from Paine & Ware we also decry as false.
Philip Powell's recent reaction to this Paine & Ware errors propounded by Brian Gemmell contained Docetic error that is even more serious than the errors promoted by Brian Gemmell. Docetism comes from the Greek term "docen" meaning "appears" or "seems". There are different kinds of Docetism including the incarnational Docetism refuted by Ignatius in the early church, which taught Jesus only appeared to have a physical body. The Gnostic Docetism of the Gnostic Gospel of Peter was promoted four centuries later by Sabien. The Jehovah's Witnesses have a resurrectional Docetism claiming Jesus only appeared to physically have arisen from the dead. Islamic Docetism teaches Jesus only appeared to die on the cross. We now have a statement we can provide anyone wishing to see it that Philip Powell and his accomplices denied that Jesus will return in His risen body despite Zechariah 12:10 and Revelation 1:7 stating His physical pierce marks will be visible. It was the erroneous contention of Philip Powell's group that Jesus will return only in His Divine state as He appears in The Book of Revelation. This is theologically Docetic. Jesus will return just as He left according to Acts 1 in His risen body; not a doubly incarnated one, but the one in which He left. When challenged about his original statement Philip Powell then denied he was docetic and was forced to publicly climb down and revise his statement because as stated his remarks were heretical and cultic. It is uncertain to us if he is docetic in his beliefs but his statement is docetic theologically.
In my own book Shadows of The Beast I have gone to the greatest lengths to stress the dangers of Gnosticism, the falsehood of rabbinic Judaism, and to cite the places the term Midrash is found in the scripture (four times as a compound term, 'm-drash; literally "from the drash") and the term 'drash' or "exegetically inquiring into" being used dozens of times in the original Hebrew text. I made it absolutely clear that the scriptural uses of Midrash as a hermeneutic is not to be confused with the midrashic writings of unsaved rabbis written centuries later any more than the later Gnostic gospels of Peter and Thomas should be confused with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. More than 60 major conservative Evangelical scholars from John Lightfoot to EE Ellis to TS Doherty to RN Longenecker have contended Midrash explains how the New Testament handles The Old Testament.
Philip Powell himself once did a cover article in his magazine promoting Midrash, but now brings the malicious and utterly false allegation that in authoring Shadows of The Beast, extra biblical and gnostic books were used to arrive at my doctrine. As anyone reading Shadows of The Beast can readily read for themselves, Philip Powell has deliberately and slanderously born false witness. No place in my book (or in any of my books) is midrashic or extra biblical books ever cited as a basis of doctrine or revelation and there are absolutely no quotes from the later midrashic writings of the rabbis which I firmly reject and which the book states I reject.
Philip Powell has not told the truth, and anyone can verify that for themselves. Philip Powell cannot produce a single quotation from any rabbinic Midrash in any of my books including Shadows of The Beast. He has fabricated a defamatory and vicious untruth.
The New Testament twice cites apocryphal books as a historical source, as I have and made reference to historical material in Josephus etc., but never once in my life as a basis for doctrine.
Such blatant and demonstrable dishonesty itself reflects an ethical bankruptcy. However, the hypocrisy of publishing a promotion of scriptural uses of midrashic exegesis yourself and then attacking another for it adds unprincipled hypocrisy to the dishonesty with an aim of deceiving Christians.
Philip Powell has been associated with our ministry for years and Shadows of The Beast is not a new book. It appears Philip Powell shifts his doctrine in accordance with his opportunistic agenda of the moment. One is left with the unfortunate impression that as a former Assemblies of God theocrat disowned by them, Philip Powell simply jumped onto the discernment bandwagon in order to have a platform to get back at the Assemblies of God establishment for booting him out of their club.
More hideous is his newfound cause of attacking those who do not hold to pre tribulational rapture immanency as heretical and as false teachers. Again, he has known my views and those of others like me for many years and has never once raised the issue before until the theocratic politics of his game required a new straw to grasp at.
In the Olivet Discourse when Jesus was asked for the sign of His coming He did not teach immanency but gave a long list if things that needed to happen first including the great apostasy (something Philip Powell always himself said he believed).
The doctrine of immanency is that Jesus can indeed come at any moment for any one if us and we should live accordingly. Immanency does not necessarily have anything to do however with the timing if the rapture. To call heretics and false teachers those who take 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 literally - believing the Man of Lawlessness (anti christ) must come first is a ludicrous assertion since the bulk of the patristic historical evidence shows the pre Nicene church widely believed it and believed that the apostles taught it.
To state that we should be looking for Christ instead of anti christ is like a pregnant mother to be stating I am only expecting a baby, not the maternal labor pangs and contractions that precede the baby's arrival.
I accept there are those who take another view, many of them solid brothers in faith and close personal friends, but we must remember that pre trib Scholars, authors, and theologians themselves admit a Pre Tribulation immanent rapture is not stated in scripture. Dr. John Walvord , former president of Dallas Seminary who is the intellectual patriarch of modern pre tribulationism and the doctrine if pre tribulational immanency admitted this in his book on the rapture and John Mac Arthur states " the Pre Tribulation rapture is never stated in scripture but is between the lines". Now however, Philip Powell, who is no sense a bible expositor, a Greek or Hebrew scholar, or a theologian - has come along and stated that those not accepting something that is not even stated in scripture is a heretic. This can only be described as the folly of a theologically ignorant man.
My public challenge to Philip Powell is to produce a single place where I have ever even quoted from the midrashic writings if the rabbis or based a doctrinal position on any extra biblical source. If he cannot he publicly stands as a documented bearer of false witness with the malicious intent to deceive.
I find this very painful and unpleasant. It was not a confrontation I ever desired. But false witness is false witness.
We can no longer endorse the ministry of Philip Powell on ethical grounds nor sanction his church. We urge our readers to avoid him.
Unedited :: Link to Original Posting