Harvest House’s attempt to cause fellow believers to shun Living Stream Ministry and the local churches by inciting revulsion against our Scriptural critique of the non-biblical religious system of today’s Christianity is an exercise in hypocrisy. An examination of quotes from some of Harvest House’s own publications makes the hypocrisy of their feigned indignation evident.
Concerning Evangelical Christianity
Harvest House books contain numerous passages decrying the state of evangelical Christianity today. Their criticism ranges from accusations of occultism, to the sick condition of the evangelical church, to charges of compromising the truth of the gospel as the following examples show:
The occult invasion of evangelical churches is one of the most shocking facts of our day.1
Evangelicals have joined in partnership with Roman Catholicism’s counterfeit gospel to evangelize the world together. In so doing, they have also joined with all of Rome’s pagan and occultist partners.2
In their eagerness to pretend either that the Reformation never occurred or that the issues raised were of no consequence, leading evangelicals suppress the truth about Roman Catholicism.3
And how can a genuine rebirth of biblical Christianity take place when those [evangelicals] leading the revival are themselves engaged in unconscionable compromise with the enemies of Christ!4
It [our criticism] only questions the wisdom and effectiveness of dialogues when “most Christian leaders would argue that the state of the Evangelical Church in America is more anemic than the Church in almost any other part of the world. The state of the Church in North America gives occasion for repentance and mourning, not glorifying.” If so, the church in North America should perhaps spend more of its time building up its own deteriorating house rather than attempting to help another completely rebuild theirs.5
On January 11, 1997, Josh McDowell stated in a lecture, “I would estimate 98.9% of all evangelical fundamental kids are living legalism…”6
Why is it legitimate for Harvest House books to critique the state of evangelical Christianity, but not for those of the Living Stream Ministry?
Concerning Christianity and the Church Generally
Harvest House books also contain stinging critiques of Christianity and of the state of the church generally:
If there is to be a return to biblical Christianity, it will be necessary first of all to admit that something is wrong with “Christianity” as it is now generally taught and practiced.7
The condition of the church today reflects this very spiritual cancer. The church is flaccid, ignorant, and unprepared.8
Few can deny that the church today does have cultic and occultic influences within its ranks.9
Within the Church today-and I include many evangelical churches-there are many who have experienced direct or indirect involvement with the occult.10
Witness as examples the modern influence of . parapsychology and cultism in Christian theology…11
Much of the “Christianity” being taught today does not come from the Bible, but represents a Christianization of the latest secular ideas popular in the world.12
Constantine married Christianity to paganism and opened the door of the church to a massive occult invasion.13
There are serious errors in many Protestant churches. Some are apostate and involved in occult practices.14
I fear that much of Christendom today, including many Protestant denominations, has gone the way of Judaism. It has become a religion of misguided people who think peace with God can be achieved through religious practices and moral living.15
Lutheran leaders have now joined Rome in betrayal of the very truths for which Luther suffered so greatly.16
Again we would ask: On what basis does Harvest House justify attacking Living Stream Ministry and the local churches for critiquing the unbiblical practices prevalent in Christianity which replace the believers’ enjoyment of Christ, nullify their function as members of the Body of Christ, and divides the Body of Christ, when their own publications, with much less appeal to Scripture, speak of rampant occultism, betrayal of the gospel, and the poor condition of the church generally?
Concerning the Roman Catholic Church
Harvest House quotes passages from Living Stream Ministry that apply the Lord’s prophetic word in Revelation 2 concerning the church in Thyatira to the Roman Catholic Church. They do not tell their readers that this interpretation of Revelation 2 and 3 has a long history among Bible expositors. Neither does Harvest House tell the public that their own publications promote the following criticisms of Roman Catholicism:
The Roman Catholic Church is a counterfeit of the worst and most diabolical kind, a form of the antichrist, to be rejected and denounced.17
The Roman Catholic Church has been in apostasy and occultism (communication with the dead, fetishes and magic rituals, etc.) for 1500 years.18
That the Pope and the Catholic Church are in perfect accord with the demonic apparition [of Mary] and their antibiblical theology and false gospel says it all. And one would not expect it to be otherwise, considering Catholicism’s deep involvement in the occult.19
Pope John XII was not only a murderer and womanizer (like so many other popes), but even toasted Satan at St. Peter’s altar.20
Remember that Hitler and Mussolini remained Catholics to the end and were never excommunicated from the Church. So did thousands of the worst Nazi war criminals, whom the Vatican smuggled out of Europe into safe havens in South America.21
Their [the popes’] lives as recorded in the Catholic Encyclopedia read like an unbelievable soap opera of lust, madness, mayhem, and murder. Nevertheless, all of these master criminals, poisoners, adulterers, and mass murderers are considered to have been infallible when they spoke ex cathedra….22
Knowledgeable Catholics readily admit that many popes were incredibly evil.23
There are also reported cases [of sexual intercourse with demons] in Catholic monasteries. There are also cases of sex with alleged UFO occupants (e.g., the Villa Boas, Shane Kurz, and Cordelia Donovan incidents), which essentially parallel the incubi-succubae.24
Is it honest for a publisher and its authors to inflame passions against others for Bible exposition which has extensive historical precedent, when their own publications include such sensationalistic accusations.
Attacks on Billy Graham and Other Individuals
There are a number of significant differences between the criticism of Christianity in Living Stream Ministry publications and those of Harvest House. One is that while LSM limits its criticism to the unscriptural system of Christianity, comparing Scriptural teachings and patterns to modern teachings and practices, Harvest House books frequently direct their attacks against specific individuals.
For example, in Occult Invasion Harvest House author Dave Hunt says:
Sadly, Billy Graham himself, though he has faithfully preached the gospel and many people have been saved as a result, has also betrayed the gospel.25
This Harvest House book criticizes individuals and groups representing pretty much the full gamut of evangelicalism, including Bill Bright, Charles Colson, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, Bill Hybels, Bill McCartney, Josh McDowell, J.I. Packer, Pat Robertson, John Wimber, Campus Crusade for Christ, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Youth With a Mission, Promise Keepers, Fuller Theological Seminary, Wheaton College, Christianity Today, Charisma, Moody Magazine, Trinity Broadcasting Network, Christian Broadcasting Network, Willow Creek Community Church (of which John Ankerberg was an early member), and Christian Research Institute.26
Similarly in Protestants & Catholics Together: Do They Now Agree?, John Ankerberg and John Weldon criticize “Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ; Dr. Os Guinness with Trinity Forum; Dr. Mark Noll of Wheaton College; Dr. James I. Packer with Regent College; the Reverend Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network; Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship; Dr. Richard Land with the Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Dr. Larry Lewis with the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention; and Dr. John White with Geneva College and the National Association of Evangelicals”27 for signing the “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” statement, which they consider a serious compromise of the gospel of Christ with Catholicism, which is “not even a Christian religion.”28
Our point in presenting these Harvest House excerpts is not to pass judgment on whether they are right or wrong, but simply to point out the hypocrisy of Harvest House’s feigned outrage over our criticism of the unbiblical system of Christianity. Harvest House’s practice of ripping quotes out of context from Living Stream Ministry publications is unethical. Using Harvest House’s own terms by which they defend their practice of misapplying quotes from Living Stream Ministry publications, we think Harvest House would have to agree concerning the quotes cited above that:
- They are “accurately documented quotes, all of which we excerpted directly from [Harvest House] publications”?29
- “Every single quote provides information about its original source, so their accuracy can readily be verified by anyone who desires to check them.”30
- These “‘damaging’ and hard-hitting” quotes, while offensive “in the ears of Roman Catholics, Protestants and [Evangelicals],” “are accurately attributed to Harvest House.”31
We would also ask them:
- Do these “quotes stand completely on their own and speak for themselves with no commentary whatsoever”?32
- Does accurately transcribing the words from their books make “it impossible for them to be distorted or taken out of context”?33
- And finally, do these quotes present a balanced and fair representation of Harvest House’s ministry?
29The quoted portion is from “Harvest House and Authors Address Newest Allegations from The Local Church and Living Stream Ministry,” http://www.harvesthousepubl.com/statement2.cfm [now http://static.harvesthousepublishers.com/uploads/corporate/2004_04_05_HHP_Addresses_Newest_Allegations.pdf], and is applied to Harvest House’s treatment of Living Stream Ministry publications.