(I’m a little late to the Lotz-a-palooza party! But here are some thoughts I’d like to share. For more insight, please check out JD Hall’s Polemics Report broadcast and the great article over at Berean Research.)
A woman who embraces the heresy of circle praying, itself borne out of Wiccan witchcraft, will be taking the helm of the National Day Of Prayer Task Force.
Pandering to the discernment-free and Scripture-disregarding, ecumenical efforts of the modern evangelical church, the false teacher Anne Graham Lotz will presumably be drawing circles around the entire nation as she mystically leads it to pray for “repentance, revival, and a recommitment to serious prayer.”
As reported throughout the religious news media, Lotz remarked on her blog that “I was not surprised to receive a call from Shirley Dobson asking me to succeed her … “ Lotz was not surprised, you see, because “God has called me to be a messenger.” (Uh-huh. Sure, God’s gonna pick someone who uses pagan prayer practices. Umm, no, prolly not.)
Anyone familiar with Lotz’s less-than-orthodox practices (She gives “prophetic” words, too, FYI) may herein recognize yet further departure from God’s Word by the larger “evangelical” church. As we know, the enemy may disguise himself as an “angel of light,” this time perhaps via Lotz’s self-monikered, anagrammatic AnGel Ministries.
“God has called me to be a messenger. I have used my initials, AGL, to name my non-profit ministry AnGeL Ministries because in Scripture angels are God’s messengers.”
While correctly identifying the divine use of angels as messengers, Lotz did not point out the important retention of her evangelically-hallowed middle name. Were it not for that, it seems likely that this particular faith-threatening femme fatale might have a substantially more muted voice. And that would be a good thing, since her handling of Scripture and her promotion of patently unbiblical teachings are spiritual poison.
No, God did not “call” Lotz to “be a messenger.” God does not “call” anyone to be a messenger in the same way that He calls a prophet, or a pastor, or someone to any other established, Biblical office. Instead, God “saves” us to be messengers. Messenger is not an ecclesiastic office noted in the New Testament. “We are ambassadors of Christ,” remember? So, in the sense of Him saving us, we are all called to be messengers.
Every believer is charged with the Great Commission. Saints – all saints – do the work of ministry. Lotz shoulders no unique, divinely appointed “messenger mantle.”
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” Ephesians 4:11-12
Lotz’s “messenger-ship” office, though, is imbued with an overly spiritualized, ethereal mysticism when she compares it to the ministry of angels. Did Lotz – whom her father called, according to Dobson in the Charisma news article, “the greatest preacher in the family” – just narcigete herself as an angel?
(That the elder Graham would call his daughter a “preacher” is a rather curious statement considering the gender-specific, apostolic teaching, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” 1 Timothy 2:12)
Lotz’s next comment highlights another huge problem. She makes things up. She makes things up not only by implying she’s some sort of angelic messenger appointed by God, she also makes up things about His Word and what it means.
“It’s interesting to note that at the beginning of all things, in Genesis 1, God used prayer—the preparation of the Spirit hovering over the waters of a formless, empty planet, and the proclamation of His Word—and God said—to transform our world physically.”
Actually, no, that’s not “interesting to note.” What’s interesting to note is that Lotz mystically, and wrongly, spiritualizes Genesis to accommodate her own preferences.
(Important Scripture interpretation safety tip from John MacArthur: “Do not spiritualize the passage. Interpret and understand the passage in its normal, literal, historical, grammatical sense, just like you would understand any other piece of literature you were reading today.”)
Instead of a logical and literal interpretation, Lotz suggests an esoteric meaning. She is stating that prayer was God’s mechanism for the creation of the world. HUH? Did God draw a circle around nothingness and ask for the world to be made? Is she claiming that God prayed to God for the creation of the world and that God answered God by doing it? (Here, friends, is an example of eisegetical violence being done to Scripture.)
The proper, orthodox interpretation of the creation story yields an introductory, fundamental, and staggering presentation of the sovereignty of God. (that’s a doctrine, by the way, though you may not hear about it in church these days) Scripture teaches that God, in the fullness of all His divine attributes, SPOKE, and the visible creation that we see was formed “ex nihilo” – out of nothing. Look it up.
No sound theologian, scholar, pastor, teacher or Scripturally-literate “messenger” will suggest that God was praying for the world to be created. He spoke; it happened.
In his (highly recommended) book, Everyone’s A Theologian, R.C. Sproul writes, “God can call worlds into existence. This is the power of creativity in its absolute sense, and only God has it. God said, ‘Let there be …,’ and there was. That is the divine imperative. Nothing can resist the command of God…”
The Psalmist wrote, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth … For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded and it stood forth.” (Psalm 33:6,9) God did not “pray” things into existence; He spoke them into existence.
The contention over Lotz’s creation confusion cannot be understated. Whether she is intentionally misinterpreting Scripture, or whether it merely reflects her poor theological understanding, the risk she represents to believers is woeful. To misrepresent the overarching doctrine of God’s sovereignty is spiritually dangerous.
There’s another motive, perhaps, for Lotz’s faulty hermeneutic that the world was created “by prayer.” Such a view perpetuates the heretical, mystical teaching of contemplative prayer. The erroneous assumption in this false teaching is that, in our prayers, God also speaks to us. If the premise that God’s communication is “prayer,” that tends to set the supposed stage that when we pray, He will also speak to us, because, as Lotz says, “God used prayer” to create the world.
By interpreting the Spirit’s “hovering” and the “and God said” phrase to mean that His speech is called “prayer,” Lotz is denying fundamental, historic, orthodox theology. Suggesting that His creative decree was instead merely a “prayer,” she sacrifices sovereignty for the sake of elevating intercession. Doing so, it seems to set the unwary believer up for an expectation that God always speaks in prayer. God’s sovereignty is never minimized in any command we are told to obey, including prayer.
Another important spiritual safety tip, this one from the great reformer, Martin Luther:
“God wants to give you His Spirit only through His external Word.”
While God’s work of salvation is never accomplished outside the Truth of His Word (the Gospel), Luther’s words support this fact: GOD DOES NOT SPEAK TO US WHEN WE PRAY. He speaks to us exclusively one place: His Word.
God was not uttering a prayer, or answering one, when He created the world. He issued a command, a decree, borne of His sovereign will, executed by His supreme authority, and according to His own divine pleasure. To twist the Genesis account to suggest a basis for two-way dialogue in prayer because “that’s how God talks” is mishandling “the Word of truth.” It’s unscriptural, unorthodox, and spiritually toxic to engage in such maneuvers.
Lotz wrote the following near the conclusion of her blog of acceptance of the “intercessory prayer mantle”.
“In a unique way, I will do my best to combine prayer and the proclamation of God’s Word in what I pray will be a powerful and effective movement of God’s Spirit. Who knows? Perhaps, by God’s grace and mercy, once again we will see worldwide transformation.”
The “unique way” she references isn’t explained, but if her previous circle-casting, witchcraft-sourced techniques are involved, that “way’ includes violent, unorthodox, and faulty Biblical interpretation. Rather than seeking “worldwide transformation”, we ought be praying for another ecclesiastic reformation, the need for which is evidenced Lotz’s own faulty hermeneutics.
You might recall stories of the last one. 1517. Martin Luther. What happened? The church – the “true” church, not the visible one – returned to sola Scriptura. Scripture alone. The teachings of the Roman church were found to be, like Lotz’s and so many other modern evangelical “messengers”, contradictory to Scripture. The “true church” emerged from the apostasy, and the Word of God exploded across the world … VIA THE CHURCH.
Lotz would do well to repent of the heretical techniques she employs and teaches, and return to a doctrinally-sound study of the Word, with obedience to it. As for the “abide in my Word” disciple who may be prone to follow the likes of Lotz, please, take the following words of Paul as a warning.
“And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” 2 Corinthians 11:12-15
Contributed by Bud Ahlheim