What is Spiritual Adultery?

I was involved in two different “moves of God” that took place–the Asbury Revival (from which the Jesus Movement came) and the Toronto Movement (from which came the Pensacola “Brownsville Revival,” and many other special meetings that people flocked to around the world.) I learned much from being involved in these two events. In the spring of 1970 the kids in the college chapel in Wilmore, Kentucky (Asbury Theological Seminary) had a special visitation from God. These kids spent hours and hours in prayer and they got filled with the Spirit on a Christian campus that was not Pentecostal! But it did not stay there. They went home on spring break with their fresh infilling and took the gospel to other young people they knew and it spread from there. Church buildings could not contain it. As a result, the Jesus movement took place in parks, on the streets and in coffee houses in the run down parts of towns. God was saving and filling these young people with the Spirit and they were taking the gospel back out into the highways and byways to the Hippy movement many of them came out of. Thousands were saved out of that “tune in, turn on and drop out” culture that was centered on drugs, sex and rock and roll. I was part of this move of the Spirit. It was an exciting time and was propelled by the Spirit of God… until men rose up, became the new “spiritual gurus,” and started building their own followings and denominations out of what God sovereignly started. That was “the day the music died.” As for Toronto, Brownsville, Rodney Howard Brown, Randy Clark, John Arnott, Todd Bentley, Bill Johnson, etc., I was in on the beginnings of that move too in the early 90’s because I did not want to miss “the next move of God.” The important difference between these two moves was that the people saved in the Jesus movement were not seeking after signs and wonders. They only wanted Jesus! But in the Toronto type meetings I went to, people came flocking to special buildings so that they could get a “special touch” from a guru who “had the power” and as a result many got manifestations in their bodies like “holy laughter,” “spiritual drunkenness,” crawling around on the floor while making animal noises, or shaking violently. Some women even made suggestive movements with their bodies as they danced. It was not God! Why? Paul warned us that this would happen before Christ returned.

“And then shall that Wicked One be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the breath of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deception of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-10 KJ2000)

Yes, before Christ returns, Satan will be turned lose with “all power and signs.” This is not a time to be seeking signs and power! Many people that I knew who got these “special touches” in these meetings ended up with all kinds of emotional problems and mental disorders. What made the difference was whether they wanted Christ only, or they were looking for manifestations and power in their bodies! Jesus called seeking after signs spiritual adultery (see Matthew 12:38-40). Why? Because we go to mere men to get our signs and wonders preformed! Those Pharisees did not believe that Jesus was the Christ as they looked for a sign from Him. Clamoring after men and women instead of Christ as the Son of God is adultery in the eyes of God. Paul and the early apostles were quite emphatic that people did not do that to them. In Acts we read:

While he [the healed lame man] clung to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s, astounded. And when Peter saw it he addressed the people, “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? …And his [Jesus Christ] name, by faith in his name, has made this man strong whom you see and know; and the faith which is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers…” (Acts 3:11-17 RSVA) He listened to Paul speaking; and Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and walked. And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycao’nian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, because he was the chief speaker, they called Hermes. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the people. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out among the multitude, crying, “Men, why are you doing this? We also are men, of like nature with you, and bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. (Acts 14:9-15 RSVA)

“The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” Boy is THAT a pregnant statement as to what is wrong with Christianity today! Paul warned the Corinthians about this very thing…

But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh… For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apol’los,” are you not merely men? What then is Apol’los? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apol’los watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth… So let no one boast of men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apol’los or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” (1 Corinthians 3:1-23 RSVA)

All things pertaining to God are ours in Christ, dear saints. Quit looking to men.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek HIM. (Hebrews 11:6 KJ2000 – emphasis added)

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29 comments on “What is Spiritual Adultery?

  1. You have an interesting history, Michael. I was a child during the Jesus movement, but I remember it well. Growing up within atheism, we were warned about the dangers of Jesus freaks, LOL. I also watched the rise of false prophets and assorted gurus that came in the aftermath of all that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I was going to say, I also grew up exposed to several secular cults, so the concept of idolatry, gurus, and putting men before God was one that was really drilled home to me and I have developed an eagle eye. That’s a good thing, but it is something that once kept me away from church or floating around assorted churches with one foot out the door. I am still that way I suppose, always on high alert, although I am not the least bit frightened of it anymore, I have some intense powers of discernment. I quite agree with everything you’ve said, we are to have a personal relationship with Christ and He will teach us all we need to know. Those things are not be found in buildings or in churchian leadership, they are within us already. There is always a hierarchy at play, and Christ is at the top. He is first. Our relationship with Him is paramount. The buildings, the people, the church become secondary to that. When that hierarchy is forgotten, things can go awry quickly and people can be harmed.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Gabrielle, you wrote, “we are to have a personal relationship with Christ and He will teach us all we need to know. Those things are not be found in buildings or in churchian leadership, they are within us already.” YES!!! This is exactly what John wrote about when the early church was already being inundated with many antichrists. “These things have I written unto you concerning them that deceive you. But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him” (1 John 2:26-27 KJ2000). Isn’t it funny how we have never heard this text preached in the institutional church? No, we are told the opposite! That we can’t trust in our ability to hear God and need to listen to our pastors and teachers in the church and do what they say.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Gabrielle, It seems that the enemy is right there sewing his tares among the wheat in God’s field as He sews His good grain. Somehow, in God’s wisdom, He let’s him do it. We know that He lets them grow up together and come time of the harvest HE will sort them all out. Just look at all the valuable lessons we learn as we get beat around in Christendom! Like my dear friend George Davis put it, “God rubbed my nose into everything He wanted me to NEVER do!” God bless you, dear sister.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you for this piece. I pray that I will have my eyes on Jesus, and not on man. Lord, give me discernment and courage.

    Love in Him,

    Pat Orr

    Liked by 2 people

  3. James says:

    Interesting history! I always wondered if there was any chance those revivals started out good.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, James, the one in 1970 started out as a real move of the Holy Spirit among the street people of America and thousands of kids got saved off of drugs and such and came to Christ. Many of them went on to minister the gospel the rest of their lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Michael, that is an impressive testimony you shared on here! It displays that you truly have the experience to judge the wrong spirits. I am also acquainted with the Toronto blessing and with the Pensacola movement. The names of most of the leaders are familiar to me as well. As you know, I would have severe mental problems (paranoia, nightmares, etc. pp.) after some men had laid their hands on my head. Alas, those strange manifestations you mentioned above (and some more 😛 ) I do know VERY well, too.

    Well, in contrast to you, I had no experiences but the RCC before. I was a real greenhorn as to “spirituality” on the whole, actually, I had no idea what that was at all. I was 29 and I trusted that those who take God’s name into their mouths cannot have bad intentions. In a certain sense, they had no bad intentions; they were only blind to what they did because they were intrigued by THE POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT (key sentence [yelling], “Lord, give me/him/her MORE of you!!!!!”). Thus they used the Holy Spirit’s name, but it was always only Satan undercover.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Susanne, they would tell us to blank-out our minds and not be “cerebral Christians and just receive (or soak).” Well, that is exactly what all eastern gurus tell their students as well. They would also lay hands on us and yell, “More power!” over and over until people would start manifesting. It was a holiday for demons for sure.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well, I studied later several eastern methods of meditation too and I was amazed at how many similarities I found regarding the consequences on the human mind and even on the body (keyword kundalini). We were wonderfully brain-washed, I would say today. 🙄

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Susanne, you being brain-washed in the name of Christ is so sad to hear. One thing I have learned through all this is that IT IS POSSIBLE TO DECEIVE THE VERY ELECT! Do they have to remain deceived? No, no more than Peter had to remain deceive while taking his many wrong turns. It is all part of how God teaches us and how we prove what spirit we are of… wheat or tares.
        God bless you, dear sister. 🐻

        Liked by 2 people

    • Carina says:

      Hi Susanne and Michael,

      Let me get almost off-topic for a second. I was on TED.com today and I heard a couple of talks about public shaming, one of them by (in)famous Monica Lewinsky. And what came to mind, sadly, was how we Christians tend to get on the self-righteous horse of being “watchmen-on-the- wall” heretic-hunters. Your article, Michael, is very gracious, and so is your comment, Susanne, but for the most part, when I read comments or articles on the topic of apologetics, the arguments against such and such practice become an outright attempt to destroy the ministry of a person who is a fellow sinner, just like you and me. I mean, it’s true that the Bible speaks about false apostles led by the father of lies, people who for the love of money shipwreck their faith and mislead others, blind people leading blind sheep, etc. The Bible does speak about condemnation for people who are callous deceivers but we conveniently forget that it also speaks about love, mercy, and prayer towards our enemies. We forget that Jesus cried for the same Pharisees he spoke against.

      While I cannot minimize the importance of the sin of lying and deceiving for the sake of profit, I’m also painfully aware of the fact that I as a sheep have been deceived zillions of times by the silliest of beliefs, and this also makes me aware of the fact that these people who are deceivers were deceived first. These people who brainwash us were brainwashed first, and at least some of them honestly believe in the lies they preach. And that’s really sad, because it’s so true that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And it’s so true that ANY of us can fall into wrong belief traps, but for the grace of God.

      And the heart can be so deceitful. How many times did we sincerely believe that we wanted Jesus with all our hearts, only to have God showing us much darker motives such as people-pleasing, “ministry”, etc.? The people who are after the “power” actually think they are after Jesus… The difference can be so subtle, and yet so crucial.

      I thank God for apologetics ministries that save sheep from the mouths of wolves, but I also pray that God will open our eyes to the reality that each one of us can be a wolf too. When we backbite and devour each other with envy, strife and endless disputes about the teeniest points of doctrine, we fall to another awful trap. It’s so hard to achieve balance, yes, it’s something that is not achieved through our intelligence or our effort to study the Bible and apply it. It’s indeed the result of grace working in us, showing us how many carnal attitudes we daily need to die to.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, you’re right, Carina. Those who deceive have been deceived before, as it was in my case since I “preached” (read parroted) the same things I heard by the (unintentional) deceivers to others who were most certainly negatively affected by that, too. As we see in Peter’s case who at first denied Jesus, even three times, but later repented, and then was allowed to preach on Pentecost that famous message in a bold manner he did not know before in his old Adam nature, so we may believe that everyone who has repented from false teachings can be “used” by God again. But only with a new heart, a new mind in a New Creation born from above!

        I think it’s impossible to achieve any kind of balance as to when to speak and when to remain silent regarding falsities unless we are guided by God 24/7 because it is no longer you or me who lives, but only Christ in us and through us (cf. Gal 2:20).

        As for wanting Jesus and God – or not – I do know that in my flesh dwells no good thing; I never desired God but only the little ME and I cannot love unconditionally at all. Finally, it is God who draws us through our inner darkness(es) and fills us up with His divine light so that we can see and love as He does. That is a miracle, isn’t it?

        Liked by 1 person

    • James says:

      “(key sentence [yelling], “Lord, give me/him/her MORE of you!!!!!”)”

      <– There is a well known preacher I know (not in real life, although I did meet him), and he often says "More" when praying. I haven't stopped wondering whether or not he's legitimate. I can't help be paranoid about it, because 1) He's a "nice guy" 2) He's not associated with "bad guy ministries/preachers" 3) He's doing a lot for the Kingdom of God (at least, he's encouraging others to pray for others, even independent of his own ministry). But I'm not comfortable with how he prays and I feel that he's "hyped up" (not necessarily in a bad way), and is perhaps blinded to the needs of humble Christians (which can probably? be excused) because he meets with a lot of people and can't see everyone.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well, in his case, James, I am inclined to say that the “permanent prayer pendant” MORE might be a bad habit of sorts. Maybe that preacher is not aware of what he is doing.

        I remember that it was Oswald Chambers who had said that if we feel a kind of restraint in our heart, this feeling comes from God. OC referred to our own planned doing which needs God’s OKAY, but I believe we also get spiritual senses from God so that we are able to always automatically perceive what has not been of His Spirit. I assume your feeling of uncomfortableness about the way that man prays might be such a hint from God – without words. HE often does that, but alas, our own reason so quickly comes in and tries to confuzzle us completely so that we easily forget what God “told” us in the first place.

        Liked by 1 person

      • James says:

        Thanks for clarifying, Suzanne 🙂 I believe you’re spot-on on your analysis. Oswald Chambers is great, I have his book! I found it really weird when I showed it to my non-Christian friend and she *hated* it!! I was so surprised…makes sense that an unbeliever would hate it, but was still surprising to see that reaction.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for your reply and your edifying words, James! 🙂

        However, I am sorry to hear that you like Oswald Chambers writings while your friend does not. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Renee says:

    I was a teen during the Jesus People Revival. Oh what a blessed time that was. I loved the simplicity, the unity, the child-like faith and the authority of the Word of God alone that was in evidence then. We were like trusting children of our Father in Heaven and many of us still are, heh. No agendas then, the Scriptures opened to us by the Spirit of Truth were our guide. Back then it was: “If the literal makes sense, then seek no other sense,” when it came to God’s Word.

    I wasn’t raised in a Christian home. The Lord drew me to Him through nature and The Moody Blues. Brother Billy Graham called us the “Jesus Generation.” Well….I believe that God isn’t done with that generation just yet. We still have an appointment with John 17 as a Body of Believers, God’s Forever Family. And Abba is doing that work in our hearts even now behind the scenes. He’s raising up a hungering bunch of faithful hearts (by Grace alone) who, like brother Paul, only wanna know Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Worthy is the Lamb!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Renee,
      Yes, those were some good times when people really acted like a family with one another 24/7 instead of one hour a week. There was such child like faith. acceptance and love. We all came from many diverse backgrounds, but the love of God was shed abroad in our hearts and there was only ONE kingdom that mattered and that was the kingdom of our Father God. When any one person tried to rise up over the rest of us somebody would ask, “Who died and made YOU God?” OR “Hey man, you are on a power trip.” We knew intuitively what Paul was talking about in 1 Corinthians chapter three. We only had ONE Lord and one baptism, we were immersed into Christ and His love.

      Sister, it is always so refreshing to find a believer like you, one who has come to Christ without a lot of religious indoctrination to draw their hearts and minds away and cloud their thinking and clutter their hearts with many lovers other than Christ alone! What is so hard to understand about Jesus’ teaching when He said, “But you are not to be called rabbi (teacher), for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone [in the church] on earth father, for you have one Father, Who is in heaven. And you must not be called masters (leaders), for you have one Master (Leader), the Christ. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:8-11 AMP)? We are all brethren, male and female, and there is NO hierarchy in the kingdom of God but the greatest among us will be the one that out-serves the rest of us and I mean get down and washing feet service. We have ONE Teacher, even Christ’s Spirit! We have One Leader, even Christ! It doesn’t get any plainer than this! Yet, religious men and women will fight against the very words of Christ regarding HIS church in favor of their own church’s teachings! They want exalted teachers and leaders and “church fathers (founders)” more than they want The Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit leading them.

      I agree, dear sister, God is not through with this generation and John 17 has a lot to do with what we are yet discovering and growing into by His revelation (read https://awildernessvoice.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/jesus-prayed-that-they-all-may-be-one/). One! One in the Father and the Son and as we are each one in them, we are also one with one another. Only then will the world know that the Father sent the Son for this alone is the witness of His kingdom on this earth. Yes, dear sister, worthy is the Lamb that was slain.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Renee says:

        Well said, Bro, thank you. I don’t have a Word Press account so i can’t do votes of thanks. Your reply was so delicious I had to say thank you! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Renee, Thank you for getting back to me. Your reply was tasty too! 🙂
      Thank you so much!

      Like

  6. What a firsthand perspective you have on history, Michael! You bring back so many memories of those days. All of us searching for the truth, and sure we could find it. Of course, Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Him. But, oh, the cults in our own lifetime — David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, John Wayne Gacy and the Chicago Rippers, Jim Jones and the People’s Temple, Marshall Applewhite and Heaven’s Gate, Charles Manson and the Manson Family, L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, Warren Jeffs and the FLDS! Cult leaders such as these always begin by offering a counterfeit love. I am not entirely sure that I agree the saved can be led astray. Jesus said, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28). I do think those who are broken are most susceptible to the false promises of men like this. Thank you for this teaching, Michael! You have a real gift.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Anna, Wow! So many cults and so many deceivers in this world! I am always grateful for your comments. You also have a gift to cut through the fog and get to the point. I was not meaning to say that those of the elect can be deceive and once deceive it is irreparable. No! God uses our times in deception to fine-tune us to be more careful to listen to the voice of the Spirit before we act and to be made more aware of the enemy’s devices. I have known hundreds of Christians who have fallen into cults and come out the other side stronger in their relationships with Christ. This is what Jesus was saying to Peter,

      “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32 ESV)

      Peter was deceive a number of times by Satan, but each time he came out the other side (often with a stinging rebuke from God) he was closer to hearing and obeying the Spirit more perfectly. Greater is HE that is in us than he that is in the world (the prince of this world).

      God bless you my dear sister! ❤
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Bernie Orr says:

    I was a part of the JESUS MOVEMENT IN COLORADO In the early 1970’s. What helped
    to get it started was a youth group from a Baptist Church in Oklahoma. They sang songs
    Like “Pass it on: “It only takes a SPARK TO GET A FIRE GOING. THEN, ALL THOSE
    AROUND CAN WARM UP IN IT’S GLOWING> THATS HOW IT IS WITH GOD’S LOVE
    ONCE YOU EXPERIENCED, YOU WANT TO PASS IT ON TO EVERY ONE…
    WHAT A WONDROUS TIME Is SPRING WHEN ALL THE TREES ARE BUDDING. THE
    BIRDS BEGIN TO SING. THAT’S HOW IT IS WITH GOD’S LOVE; YOU WANT TO SING.IT’S
    FRESH LIKE SPRING YOU WANT TO PASS IT ON. I WISH FOR YOU M Y FRIEND
    THE HAPPINESS I HAVE FOUND, YOU CAN DEPEND ON HIM NO MATTER WHERE
    YOU’VE BEEN. I’LL SHOUT IT ON THE HOUSE TOPS. I WANT THE WORLD TO KNOW.
    GOD’S LOVE! I WANT TO PASS IT ON! THE HOLY SPIRIT FELL AS THEY SANG A
    DOZEN OTHER LIKE SONGS. Out of the Holy Spirits move on me. I got copies of
    all similar songs on cassette tapes that kept me in tune with the Holy Spirits work in
    my life. I bought 100’s of teaching cassette tapes that covered basic Christian teaching
    tapes on many aspects of Bib!ble Truths. Recently, I got them out and played about
    50 of them. They reminded me about what truth is like when a fresh infilling of the
    Holy Spirit is present in my life. One series is TRUTH & ERROR. When I listened one about
    worship and praise; I had another mountain top experience in worship & praise.. IF YOU
    HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT I AM EXPERIENCING IN MY FRESH BLESSINGS
    THAT BEGAN WITH THE JESUS MOVEMENT., LET ME KNOW.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ken Dawson says:

    From my own experiences with our creator I do not believe it has been me holding onto the truth but the truth(God Himself) holding onto me–to hell with the cults!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Michael says:

    Kenneth, The further I go in this life, the more I agree with you. It is not by anything righteous I have done or even by the doctrines I have believed in, but rather by His gracious working in my life through His Son that saves me from myself. All that cults do is feed on human weaknesses and pride. They would have had no power over us if we had kept our hearts on Christ,

    “For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Genesis 3:5-6 KJ2000).

    They, like Satan, all seem to offer a “fast track” to spiritual maturity and status if we will just submit to their leadership.

    Liked by 1 person

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