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Dr. Lambert explains the purpose and intents of this intriguing, no-holds-barred book, as well as recounts some of the events and personal experiences that precipitated and impelled its writing. He also delineates the reasons it took eighteen years to finally heed the call of God to publish the profound, provocative, but prophetic message of CHARISMATIC CAPTIVATION that is directed to a Church which still does not take kindly to reproof and correction. The author makes it clear this volume was written to bring healing and not hurt, and in no way is it a medium for "Charismatic-bashing." Though the approach is straightforward, the attitude and undertone of the work is neither castigating, caustic, nor condemnatory. Rather, it was written with mercy and compassion, not only toward victims of these hyper-authoritarian doctrines and devices, but also toward practitioners.
Using reliable published sources, the author chronicles in some detail the unfolding history of what came to be, "The Discipleship/Shepherding Movement," how it began and progressed, the part it played in as well as the undermining impact it ultimately had upon the Charismatic Movement. He recounts who the prominent players of the Discipleship/Shepherding Movement were and where they are today, the organizations they formed, and their dubious agendas. For various reasons, many believers have little or no awareness of the history of these movements and the role they played in shaping the spiritual and structural status quo of the present-day Church. This chapter is written to present a historical perspective of these movements as a backdrop for understanding how these hyper-authoritarian doctrines and practices became such an integral part of the fabric, foundation, and functions of the Neo-Pentecostal Church.
Chapter 3: Nicolaitanism
The striking similarity of the Discipleship/Shepherding doctrines and associated practices of ecclesiastical enslavement to the teaching and deeds of the "Nicolaitans" who emerged in the First Century, A.D., is the focus of Chapter Three. The Nicolaitans were a sect of interloping leaders who arose in the early church promulgating a heretical system of church-government aimed at “conquering the laity.” The Nicolaitan doctrines and the hierarchy those doctrines proposed were the beginnings of the Roman Catholic church and its papal system of ecclesiastical government. Both the Nicolaitans themselves as well as their heretical teachings and abusive hyper-authoritarian practices of religious domination were vehemently and thoroughly denounced by Jesus in the Book of Revelation. The Lord also condemned the Pergamum Church of Asia Minor for accepting the Nicolaitan heresy. Most believing theologians agree that the perverse precepts promulgated by the Nicolaitans precipitated the Early Church’s plunge into the spiritual apostasy of that protracted 1,200 hundred year period which became known as "The Dark Ages." Tellingly, the doctrines and deeds of the Nicolaitans were virtually identical to the Discipleship/Shepherding doctrines and practices espoused and implemented by so many groups and churches today.
Chapter 4: Erroneous Concept #1: Authority
The next five chapters are the crux of the book, which delineate the five erroneous concepts upon which the heretical Discipleship/Shepherding doctrines are predicated. Chapter Four examines the first of these erroneous concepts, which involves the crucial and controversial matter of ecclesiastical authority. Obviously and indisputably, governmental authority and established order is required to properly regulate church functions and administration. But, the critical question is: what constitutes legitimate authority, and where is the line separating it from illegitimate authority? That question is definitively answered with irrefutable Scriptural proof in the course of this chapter. Moreover, Dr. Lambert provides further elucidation and clarification regarding this complex and confounding matter of church-authority as he expounds upon "The Twelve Levels of Legitimate Authority" enumerated in Scripture, as well as the scope and limits of each of those levels. An enlightening discussion of erroneous and enslaving ecclesiastical authority structures and how to recognize them is an important element of this chapter as well. The various aspects of ecclesiastical authority discussed in this chapter in light of what Scripture teaches concerning them makes this chapter a pivotal segment of the book.
Chapter 5: Erroneous Concept #2: "Spiritual Covering"
This chapter is dedicated to the second key erroneous concept upon which the anomalistic Discipleship/Shepherding teachings and practices are predicated, which is the matter of so-called "spiritual covering," as it is theorized under the auspices of these teachings. Here, Dr. Lambert proves the Discipleship/Shepherding concept of "spiritual covering," on the basis of its complete incongruity with Scripture, to be a patently false, Antichrist, "doctrine of demons" contrived and propagated by "deceiving spirits." Sadly, however, this false precept has been indelibly seared "as with a branding iron" into the conscience of many Charismatic believers through the relentless indoctrination of deceived and deceiving church leaders. The Shepherding concept of "spiritual covering" postulates that the leader of the group, and by extension the church-group itself, is the members' "spiritual covering," which is the source of spiritual protection and blessing to the members. Thus, members are indoctrinated to believe if they ever leave the group, they will be "uncovered" and forfeit the benefits of their "spiritual covering." The specter of calamity and destruction, constantly reinforced by "war stories" involving "rebels" who left the group and suffered horrible consequences as a direct result of their "rebellion," is used as a very effective fear tactic to keep members entrapped in the group and to make them fearful of ever leaving the group. The author explains why, when a ministry or minister purports to provide "spiritual covering" to believers under the auspices of this false doctrine, the result is spiritual idolatry and spiritual adultery. He also addresses another highly disturbing and unfortunate aspect of this heretical teaching, which is the fact that it has been used by some unscrupulous leaders as license for sexually-related authoritarian-abuse of naive parishioners who have been duped into accepting the ludicrous idea that their leaders' authority is absolute, sacrosanct, and inviolable.
Chapter 6: Erroneous Concept #3: "Unity"
The seminal matter of "unity" is the topic of this chapter. The achievement and preservation of unity is a constant theme within hyper-authoritarian groups, whether they be certified cults or errant Pentecostal/Neo-Pentecostal groups. CHARISMATIC CAPTIVATION proffers convincing proofs that the Shepherding concept of "unity" is not the same as the "unity of the Spirit" Scripture urges us to preserve. Shepherding "unity" is essentially an idealistic and humanistic utopianism that in reality does not exist. It is also essentially a subtle form of ecumenicism predicated on false "peace and safety" used as a pretext by dominating Pharaohs to "control" their followers and to keep them bound as captives and slaves in their private kingdoms. In this context, Dr. Lambert makes an intriguing observation concerning a rarely recognized practice by groups espousing these doctrines. Frequently in these cult-like groups in which domination is being imposed, the necessity of sound doctrine and the importance of avoiding doctrinal deviation is demeaned and devaluated in favor of what leaders of these groups contend is the overriding call to "preserve the unity of the Spirit," the devastating result of which inevitably is the infusion of "strong delusion." What the author terms "coerced conformity" also is commonly imposed in the relationships and interactions (referred to as "covenant relationships") of the members of these groups, wherein unity is often perceived as being uniformity, and individualism is considered to be "rebellion" and simply not tolerated. Moreover, the concept of "covenant relationships" espoused under these doctrines is proven in this chapter to be error and excess, and primarily a precept used by Shepherding leaders to prevent members from leaving the church or group.
Chapter 7: Erroneous Concept #4: Role of the Laity
The fourth erroneous concept of the Discipleship/Shepherding heresy is the subject of Chapter Seven. This misconception involves the role and in particular the Biblical bounds of lay ministry, which, the author points out in this chapter, are routinely exceeded in churches employing the Shepherding systems. The unfortunate effect of the "exceed(ing) what is written" in regard to unbiblical deployment of the laity is that it leads to inept, ineffective, unanointed ministry and spiritual leadership being forced upon unwitting adherents, due to the displacement of true God-appointed, God-anointed ministry. The error behind the misleading Charismatic credo and ad infinitum anthem of the Charismatic Movement, "We are all ministers," greatly contributed to the anarchical "Charismatic Chaos" that developed during that movement and remains largely unredressed to this day. Though lay-believers have a definite, viable, vital, and indispensable ministry role, that role has definite and definitive bounds that are neither recognized nor heeded in groups espousing these doctrines, where a multi-level structure of laity-based leadership typically accompanying them is in place. Dr. Lambert asserts that God is now bringing forth correction regarding the unauthorized deployment of laymen. Laymen who intrude into ministry functions and offices to which they have not been appointed and for which they have not been anointed by God, stand in jeopardy of incurring upon themselves what he terms "Jeroboam Judgment." Out of the symbolism of the story of Uzza, who was struck dead when he touched the Ark of the Covenant, Dr. Lambert further interjects in this chapter that much "death" and other forms of temporal judgment has been incurred in the Body of Christ as a direct consequence of usurpation of Levitical offices by unanointed, unappointed, and unconsecrated laymen. Many "Uzzas" (i.e., laymen) have unfortunately met untimely "death" because they put their hand to ministry functions only the New Testament Levites are authorized to perform. All such "Charismaniacal Excess," Dr. Lambert contends, must be corrected in order to allow the Davidic leadership God will be raising up in the End-time restorational period to bring back the Ark of the manifested Glory of God to the Church.
Chapter 8: Erroneous Concept #5: Role of Fivefold Ministry
The final erroneous concept of the Discipleship/Shepherding teachings, which involves the role and function of Fivefold Ministry in contrast to lay ministry, is examined in Chapter Eight. The premise layed out by the author is that whereas the priesthood of all believers empowers lay-believers with spiritual gifts of power that give witness of the resurrection of Christ, the priesthood of Fivefold Ministers entails spiritual authority to provide surrogate leadership and government to the Church on behalf of the Head of the Church. He points out that the Bible indicates the government of the Church shall be upon the "shoulders" of Jesus, and reveals in this chapter who the "shoulders" of Jesus are. Also examined is the concept and misconceptions of "plurality of leadership" — its validity, and the reasons it rarely works. The issue is addressed against the backdrop that co-laboring and collaboration of all the Fivefold ministry offices is an absolute necessity in order to fully equip, edify, and mature the Body of Christ, individually and collectively. But leaders must cease their fixation with subjugation of fellow believers, and begin to focus their energies and efforts toward employing their God-given giftings and callings in genuine servitude to the Body of Christ. The author also advances in this context the dramatic postulation that the unsanctioned Discipleship/Shepherding Movement was a Satanically-contrived spiritual counter-offensive aimed at preempting the now nascent restoration of the prophetic and apostolic offices to their rightful and required place of function in the Church as the surrogate builders of the true Church Jesus is building. The restoration of these two offices must take place in order for the Church to know and accomplish the ultimate purposes of God, which will result in the return of Christ to claim the Church as His eternal Bride.
Chapter 9: The Signs of Authoritarian Abuse & Common Control Mechanisms
In this pivotal chapter, Dr. Lambert identifies and explains the Signs of Authoritarian Abuse and the Common Control Mechanisms employed in Christian groups and churches practicing these hyper-authoritarian doctrines, which unfortunately are precisely the same mechanisms employed by certified cults. Being able to recognize these techniques and mechanisms is essential for a believer to avoid becoming a victim of such unauthorized predomination and control by any group or leader. Nearly as important as the nature of the mechanisms themselves, however, are the reasons they are so effective in the case of genuine believers, as well as the reasons some believers are so susceptible to becoming victims of such predomination by spiritual leaders, which matters are also expounded upon in this segment of the book. The author asserts that some Charismatic and Neo-Pentecostal groups employ these mechanisms of control so overtly that they essentially have become a cult. He also points out that the bedrock of these authoritarian teachings is the fallacious concept of "absolute authority." That, coupled with the enslaving organizational structure these doctrines promote, is what makes these mechanisms so effectual and effective. In addition, Dr. Lambert explains that the primary force through which these mechanisms of manipulation and domination are perpetrated is fear, and that this in itself is the unmistakable signature of Satan. Generally speaking, these doctrines instill the fear of man with regard to human spiritual leaders, and "the fear of man," Scripture indicates, "brings a snare." Indeed, the premise of this book is that victims of these mechanisms of predomination have been ensnared by this sort of "Charismatic captivation."
Chapter Ten is the capstone chapter of CHARISMATIC CAPTIVATION. It distills the various components of this somewhat complex Discipleship/Shepherding fiasco into a clear singular bottom-line, which is that these teachings and practices amount to religious enslavement implemented through the means of sometimes subtle but nonetheless certain sorcery (witchcraft). Dr. Lambert chronicles in this chapter the origins of sorcery, dispels misconceptions concerning its true nature, and explains its connection with the carnal nature common to every human. The chapter culminates with the author's recounting of an interview with a former bona fide African "witch-doctor" on a Christian network television program in which he confirmed that many of the methods and mechanisms being perpetrated by leaders in many Charismatic and Neo-Pentcostal churches is essentially identical to methods and means of witchcraft he employed as a witch-doctor in his native nation. The now converted evangelist also explained that the chief motivation behind the purveying of witchcraft by witch-doctors and all sorcerers is predomination and control over awe-struck victims for self-aggrandizement and ascendancy, and how easy it is for him to see through the methodologies of predomination and control being employed by many Charismatic leaders and recognize the identical hidden motives of self-aggrandizement and ascendency. This chapter frames the salient point of CHARISMATIC CAPTIVATION'S message, which is the poignant truth that leaders in the Body of Christ exercising predomination and control over those they shepherd are engaging in patent sorcery and witchcraft. It is imperative that all forms of religious enslavement, which is intrinsically Antichrist, be eradicated from the Church in order to allow Jesus Christ to be the true functional Head and Lord of the Church.
Chapter 11: The Illegitimacy of Religious Enslavement
Demonstrating the utter illegitimacy of every form of ecclesiastical enslavement is the objective of this chapter. Here, Dr. Lambert delineates some of the more significant Biblical pronouncements and warnings against predomination and control by leaders over those they are supposed to be shepherding on behalf of the Chief Shepherd. He posits that Jesus Christ Himself is the King of kings and Lord of lords, thus, no human leader is authorized to "lord over" the innocent sheep of the Flock of God. Those who do, are Antichrist usurpers, who will be judged by the true Lord whose lordship they are usurping. Nevertheless, the sheep themselves also have a responsibility to ensure they do not subject themselves to a "yoke of slavery." The author echoes in this chapter some of the poignant Scriptural admonitions given unto believers to avoid becoming "slaves of men," and to avoid returning to the bondage of the "spirit of slavery" from which Christ has emancipated all believers. God's Word instructs us that the only thing believers are supposed to be "constrained" by is the love of God. Readers are furthermore reminded that believers are sons, not slaves, and that we are to be willing "slaves," or subservients, only of God and righteousness. Every believer is a "joint-heir with Christ," which means we all share a co-equality in terms of spiritual inheritance, not only with every other fellow-believer, but also with Jesus Himself. There is diversity among believers in terms of function, responsibilities, giftings, and anointings, yet all believers are co-equal in the Kingdom of God. Thus, no believer is authorized to "lord over" any other believer. Instead of receiving the burdensome and oppressive "yoke of slavery" or religious enslavement by men, Jesus invited us to take upon ourselves His "yoke," which He said was "easy" and "light."
Chapter 12: The 15 "Rs" of Recovery from Authoritarian Abuse
The culminating chapter of CHARISMATIC CAPTIVATION offers exhortation to the entrapped and enslaved. The keynote of the chapter is what Dr. Lambert terms "The 15 R's of Recovery from Authoritarian Abuse," which are steps he recommends victims of authoritarian abuse take in order to recover from the traumatic wounds and effects of the maltreatment and mistreatment to which they have been subjected. The objective of the overtures proffered in this chapter is to restore in these victims of authoritarian abuse and exploitation the child-like faith and trust in God they once enjoyed, as well as to return them to their "first love," Jesus Himself, and the place of spiritual "rest" wherein they are once again malleable in the loving, thoroughly trustworthy hands of the Master. The author draws upon his more than three decades of experience in ministering to many victims of "Charismatic captivation," extending on behalf of the Good Shepherd a hand of both love and liberation. Yet, he also offers the clear, concise, and specific counsel and direction reeling and confused victims need to get on the track of spiritual restoration and reconstruction of their lives.
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