Tag Archives: LEF

Inheriting the promises of God

PromiseGod gave amazing promises to men. He told Abraham “I will make you a great nation, I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you, I will curse. Through you every family on earth will be blessed.” (Gen 12:2,3 GW). Joseph dreamt that the sun, moon and eleven stars bowed down to him (Gen 37:9). David was anointed king over Israel when King Saul was reigning (1 Samuel 16:13). But these men had to patiently wait in faith for the fulfilment of their promises: Abraham for 25 years, Joseph for 29 years and David for around 15 years.

Waiting is not meant only for Old Testament heroes. The Christians to whom the epistle of Hebrews was originally written had endured a lot of hardship and pain, were publicly insulted, mistreated and their property was violently seized from them (Hebrews 10:32-34). They were not asked to pray more or run to others for prayer nor were they asked to keep speaking and claiming the promises as popularised by the Word of Faith movement. Though these are not wrong, the Biblical advice given to them was to wait! They were told in Hebrews 10:35-36 (ISV) “Don’t lose your confidence, since it holds a great reward for you. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will you can receive what he has promised.”

Similarly if God has promised you something but you don’t seem to receive it, confirm that you have understood His Word correctly and that there is no sin or disobedience blocking the answer. Seek Godly counsel and prayer and you may find reasons why you haven’t got an answer from God. But in some occasions God may just be asking you to wait! Unfortunately God does not tell us how long the wait will be and He seems to like to give His promises well before the time of fulfilment! God could have delayed giving His promise to Abraham and spared him many years of longing for a son or delayed Joseph’s dream and allowed him to stay longer with his family or delayed David’s anointing so that he did not have to keep running endlessly from King Saul. But God in His infinite wisdom gave the promises early and made these men to wait without a specific timeline. He does this since such testing of faith produces endurance (Jas 1:3). So if you have been made to wait don’t get desperate or give up. Some desperately approach a great number of persons for help and prayer or get frustrated with God. (At least I am guilty of these). You cannot artificially speed up the process. Waiting is not easy and this does not seem to be commonly taught.

God seems to be making me wait. How much ever I pray and seek his face for a very important issue in my life, He doesn’t seem to open any door. A keen reader will note that I have even made references to this waiting in my blog over the years ago in these articles Problems and Christians, I will be with him in trouble and God is not a genie. I have been told that my problem is because I have not done God’s will (i.e., LEF’s view of God’s will). The Daniels of the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship say that I need to repent and doors will be opened. Some would feel that because I write against wrong teaching in the Church, trouble has come upon me. But I believe that God’s message to me is “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and patiently wait for Him to act” (Psalm 37:7 NLT) and to be “followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Heb 6:12). This post could probably be more appropriate to me than to my readers!

We start our life as a Christian by faith (John 3:16, Romans 10:9) and we continue to live by faith (Hebrews 10:38). But it is not often taught that along with faith, there is an element of waiting to inherit our promises. Although Abraham waited 25 years, Joseph 29 years and David around 15 years before their promises were fulfilled, in our age we do not always connect inheriting the promises of God with waiting. We seem to prefer to blame it on sin or lack of faith or other reasons and seek out our own solutions. But Hebrews 6:11,12 (ISV) teaches “we want each of you to continue to be diligent to the very end, in order to give full assurance to your hope. Then, instead of being lazy, you will imitate those who are inheriting the promises through faith and patience.

“Be strong and of a good courage” (Joshua 1:6). “We don’t belong with those who turn back and are destroyed. Instead, we belong with those who have faith and are saved.” (Heb 10:35 GW). By waiting, Abraham, Joseph and David saw the fulfilment of God’s amazing promises. Job received double for what he lost. So “endure until your testing is over. Then you will be mature and complete, and you won’t need anything.” (James 1:4 GW).

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Inspiration from the reformation

crossbibleThe quincentenary of the protestant reformation was celebrated recently. Although God inspired many to reform the church, Martin Luther stands out as the man though whom the reformation broke out with force. As taught by the Catholic Church of his time, Martin Luther tried to earn his salvation by penitence, good works, beating himself, sleeping without a blanket in the freezing cold, etc. His conscience was very disturbed by sin that he went to the confessional many times a day. He even took a pilgrimage to Rome and went on his knees whipping himself up the stairs of St. John’s church as it was believed to be the stairs Jesus climbed to stand before Pontius Pilate. But nothing helped him. Having learnt Greek, he read Romans in the original instead of the Latin Vulgate and his eyes were opened through Romans 1:17 “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” a quotation from Habakuk 2:4. He realised that it was impossible to attain the righteousness required by God how much ever hard he tried but that when by faith we believe on Jesus, God imputes the perfect righteousness of His Son freely to us. Horrified that this great truth was nowhere to be found and that instead penance and buying of indulgences were taught as a way to be free from sin, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of his church on 31 October 1517 as a way to stir up discussion. The theses were rejected, challenged by the pope and the Catholic Church but Martin Luther stood by it saying “I cannot recant, for I am subject to the Scriptures I have quoted; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. It is unsafe and dangerous to do anything against one’s conscience. Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. So help me God. Amen.” This paved way for the nascent reformation to explode and millions of people have accepted the righteousness freely offered by Jesus Christ instead of trying to earn it.

Similar to Luther, I tried to get my salvation un-Biblically. As I attended the services of the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship and read and heard countless testimonies, I was deceived into thinking that we are saved when God gives us a verse mentioning that we were saved. I did not understand about why Jesus came to the earth and how by his sinless life, sacrificial death and resurrection I can receive forgiveness of sins and the righteousness of God. I was waiting for God to “give” me a verse and a “feeling” that I was saved. Thankfully this did not work and I learnt that salvation is obtained by faith and that getting a verse involved no faith! This sowed seeds of suspicion over the doctrine of the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship although I continued to be involved with them for many more years. Later as I saw the duplicity of the Daniels and certain others, I decided to leave. I was troubled as I saw Christians unable to understand simple truths of the Bible and no public critical views on the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship (LEF). So in June 2013, I started this blog with this unusual Greek name. I hoped that many people, especially those in the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship (LEF) will be transformed. Sadly my initiative was nowhere as successful as the reformation unleashed 500 years ago but I do believe some eyes have been opened. The quincentenary has stirred me up to continue my writing and that eyes may be opened. Thank you for your encouragement by reading and posing comments, especially “GE”. Do pray that more people will understand the truth and that eyes will be opened.

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Cult membership

Cult membership is actually a cop out from life. The proselyte who enters a cult thinks he is boldly stepping forward to commit himself wholly for the Lord’s cause. In actual fact, he has unconsciously chosen a way to flee from having to make decisions, to have to stand to the consequences of free choices. He has in effect said to Moses, “Take me back to slavery. I can’t stand freedom out here in the deserts of life. At least I knew how to behave there because everyone told us what to do. I didn’t have to think, I only had to behave.”

– John & Paula Sandford, Transforming the Inner Man

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April 2, 2017 · 9:00 pm

Has the Word become rare in Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship?

stuartpuraminvitation

God rescued the people of Israel from slavery with mighty wonders and brought them into the Promised Land. But after Joshua and the elders died, “they abandoned the LORD God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt” (Judges 2:12) and Israel plunged into a dark period of 350 years. The book of Judges contains some of the worst accounts of the degradation in Israel and ends with the sad note that “each person did whatever seemed right in his own opinion”. “The LORD would speak unto Moses face to face, as anyone would speak unto their friend” (Exodus 33:11) but by the time of Samuel was born, the people were gone so far away from God that “the word of the LORD was rare in those days” (1 Samuel 3:1).

The Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship (LEF) started with revival in many churches in South India during the days of N. Daniel. After his death, it expanded under the leadership of his son Joshua Daniel. Instead of encouraging independent leaders and a formal structure for the expanding church, Joshua Daniel concentrated more and more power on himself and turned it into an exclusive cultish organisation. He maintained its exclusivity by many practices including publicly cursing defection, forcing people to marry inside LEF, stripping authority from those who did not toe the line, portraying himself as a special man of God (or prophet), etc. After Joshua Daniel’s death, his son John Daniel and his widow Lily Daniel have taken authority but seem to have no interest to leave the USA and come and minister in India. The few weeks that they minister in India, a lot of gossip and garbage gets preached. Just as “the word of the LORD was rare” in the dark ages of Israel, there seems to be nobody anointed to preach and lead the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship in India. So they have resorted to playing recorded videos of Joshua Daniel in public meetings, in the LEF centres and in their TV programs. They even seem to be deceiving people by making it appear as if Joshua Daniel is still alive. An invitation to their recent meetings in Stuartpuram, as posted in the LEF Whistleblower website and reproduced in the top of this article, shows as if Joshua Daniel is still alive and speaking! The people of Stuartpuram are “simple rustic people” (Christ is Victor, Feb 2017) and LEF seems to be openly deceiving them. Another big issue with the lack of leadership is that if there is a problem, there is no authority who can address it locally. If you refer it to those in the US, they will shrewdly pass the buck back to India. So it appears as if “each person did whatever seemed right in his own opinion” (Judges 21:25).

When Jesus ascended up above the heavens, “he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11,12). Has God stopped blessing LEF with these gifts that they have to recycle the old messages and refuse to appoint new leaders? Has LEF reached the sad state of Israel when “the word of the LORD was rare in those days” and “each person did whatever seemed right in his own opinion”?

As a disciple of Jesus, we need to ask God to “keep giving us every day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3). Just as the mercies of God are “new every morning” (Lamentation 3:23), our bread should be new every day. We should not be like the people of Israel who tried to retain the manna for the next day and “it produced maggots and smelled bad” (Exodus 16:20). Since “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God”, let us make sure that our food is fresh and balanced and is served by people that have received the gift from Jesus. Let us stop going to places where old food is served. If a specific person’s teaching edifies you, read or listen to it in private. Let it not be forced on the church.

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Gossip and garbage from the pulpit

garbagedumpThe late Joshua Daniel use to warn people not to gossip in the retreats of the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship and likened such people to garbage trucks dumping their garbage. But the reality is that people like me got more garbage from the pulpit than from those “garbage trucks”! Joshua Daniel regularly talked about LEF members from the stage. Since he didn’t reveal names he probably though it was fine, but it was often possible to guess. He called people satan, demon possessed, etc.  His messages were often negative and therefore made the listener negative. Often as I would return home, I would start viewing others including family members in a negative light. His messages were also designed to make people feel sinful and worthless and provoked the crowd to cry after the message.

His son John Daniel, trying to entertain and retain the crowds, seems to be going down the same path imitating his father and copying mannerisms of the disgraced John Branch. John Daniel seems to relish sharing gossip from the pulpit. I wonder if they know the Bible’s declaration on such people: “A worthless person concocts evil gossip” (Proverbs 16:27 ISV). Strangely both father and son speak negatively about Indians forgetting that they are Indians! It is also a pity that they are unable to get better translators. The Tamil and Telugu speaking people sometimes hear bizzare messages!

“The words of a gossip are like delicate morsels” (Proverbs 26:22 ISV) but as Christians it is our responsibility to feed ourselves with “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is fair, whatever is pure, whatever is acceptable, whatever is commendable, if there is anything of excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy” (Phillipians 4:8 ISV). So I encourage my esteemed readers to stop feeding on gossip and garbage and switch to solid food since “solid food is for mature people, whose minds are trained by practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14 ISV).

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Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship a year after Joshua Daniel

It’s a year since Mr. Joshua Daniel, president of the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship passed away. The leadership has passed on to his son John Daniel. Most leaders when they take over an organisation bring in new ideas, organisational structures and steer the organisation forwards. With John spending most of his time in the US, there is little indication that he plans to directly manage the oraganisation from India just as his father failed to do or atleast go around preaching the gospel which his father did. Instead LEF seems to be looking backwards with their never ending admiration of the Daniel family and seems to continue as a personality cult.

LEF TV programs are still featuring Mr. Joshua Daniel. If LEF is the greatest and the best as we were made to believe why isn’t there anybody else in LEF who can preach on TV? Transcripts of Mr. N. Daniel’s messages were read in many centres for decades. Now they are playing back recordings of Joshua Daniel. The head quarters where live preaching happened in the Wednesday prayer meetings has switched to recorded messages of the dead man.

Their magazine Christ is Victor (Indian version) hardly had any articles by living people except for Joshua Daniel’s articles. Other articles were generally by people already dead or about people who were already dead. (There is nothing wrong with such articles but the problem is the imbalance) Now even though Mrs. Lily Daniel has taken over as the editor, editorials are being penned by the deceased Joshua Daniel! Articles by Lily Daniel, John Daniel and Lydia Daniel appear sporadically. It is sad that the magazine is unwilling to open itself to non-Daniel living Christians but continues to prop up N. Daniel and Joshua Daniel. In the September issue, Mrs Lily Daniel writes about an incident where an immigration officer mentioned to her that he knew and appreciated Joshua Daniel and then she correlates that incident with Hebrews 11:4 “he being dead yet speaketh”. Abel had sacrificed a more excellent sacrifice than his brother Cain and though he was murdered, God Himself approved it and this speaks to all humanity. I am unable to see how recognition in an airport can be compared to the glorious recognition of Abel by God Himself. This reminds me of Liz Van Camp who wrote on Facebook saying that her father was interceding in heaven. This shows either a total lack of understanding of Christianity or a blatant way to deceive gullible people and perpetuate the personality cult of the Daniels. John Daniel quotes “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. “ (Prov 22:28) in the October issue while describing his father achievements.

It is interesting to note that “JD” in the editorial of the September issue of Christ is Victor has called LEF “as a place which gives a little dose of opium to people” and that “some people are beginning to use the fellowship as a place where they get a dose of religious opium.” This is apparently a reference to a quote by Karl Marx which is often condensed to “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” Marx’s contention was that religion gives people artificial, illusory happiness; like opium does to a drug addict. LEF with Daniels as leaders seems to be giving an artificial, illusory confidence to many people. And as usual the leaders are not culpable but it’s the people who are to be blamed. It is sad that people are unable to open their eyes even after such disparagement.

As always, I encourage my readers not to be deceived. Paul warns us in 1Timothy 4:7 (ISV) “Do not have anything to do with godless myths and fables of old women. Instead, train yourself to be godly.” Just as sportsmen train themselves for the competitions train yourselves in godliness. Seek Biblical preachers, teachers and churches.

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Christian Gurus – Part 3 – Joshua Daniel

The book “Christian Gurus: A Study of the Life and Work of Christian Charismatic Leaders in South India written by Dr. Werner Hoerschelmann was introduced in part 1. The empirical enquiry of the author into the phenomenon of the “Christian guru” was highlighted in part 2. In this 3rd part I have reproduced the section on the author’s enquiry of Joshua Daniel.

This is a very long post, probably the longest that I will ever post. The reproduction of this complete section un-edited on my site does not mean that I agree with every sentence but it is amazing how the author has made such excellent enquiries into the phenomenon of the “Christian guru” while many of us were blinded. I hope that blind eyes may be opened. Later I hope to give my formal comment on some important issues regarding the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship and Mr. Joshua Daniel highlighted by the author.

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The unbelievable story of all time

A Google search for unbelievable stories brings up a list of odd stories, but the story of Jesus Christ is the unbelievable story of all time. The creator of the universe leaves His heavenly abode to become part of His creation. He could have appeared on earth as an alien or a special being but He chose to be born as a (helpless) baby to an insignificant family in an insignificant town. At least when He grew up He could have boasted to the world about His heavenly credentials but he avoided talking about it and generally kept off the limelight. Without any fanfare he performed amazing miracles, made the blind to see, healed the lame and raised the dead. He made no effort to escape a horrible death. After three days, His tomb was astonishingly found empty but still He revealed Himself only to limited friends before returning to His heavenly abode.

This story seems so utterly far-fetched and bizarre but still millions have believed in this story and even given up their lives for this story. I am grateful that I knew this story from childhood. Sometimes I wonder if it was because of early exposure to this story that made me believe it. What would have happened if I grew up in a hostile environment? I can’t say; but even though the story about Jesus Christ seems unbelievable, I know that I am drawn toward it by Jesus Himself so that in spite of problems that arise due to my faith, my faith strangely gets deeper.

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Christian Gurus – Part 2 – An Empirical Enquiry

We continue with the book “Christian Gurus: A Study of the Life and Work of Christian Charismatic Leaders in South India written by Dr. Werner Hoerschelmann which I introduced in part 1. To study the phenomenon of “Christian Gurus” the author undertook an empirical study on such leaders. As the author often spent time in Tamil Nadu, it became the most convenient area to carry out the necessary field studies. The author felt that the greatest number of “self sufficient Christian groups” were found in Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Tanjore, Madurai, Coimbatore and the metropolitan area of Madras (Chennai). To keep it  manageable, the author concentrated on one urban area (Madras) and one rural area (Tirunelveli & Kanyakumari). He selected “Christian groups outside and independent of the Church, led by individuals who claimed exclusive authority in matters of doctrine and community life.” Discussions and observations took place via visits to group meetings, interviews with group leaders, interviews with members of the groups and interviews with outside informants (if available). 4 “Christian Gurus” from earlier years, 8 from the urban area and 8 from the rural area were selected. The list of 20 potential “Christian Gurus” researched is given below. Details will not being provided except for the section on Joshua Daniel which will appear in part 3 of this series. Although many of us have been influenced by Joshua Daniel of Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship, there are other Christians who have been influenced by leaders of other groups. This list is published with the hope that it may be of use to people from other Christian groups. Just because a leader or church appears in this list, please do not assume anything. Buy the book and check them out for yourself. I am interested in studying other Christian groups if possible and if there is a need. So do respond with your comments.

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Christian Gurus – Part 1 – Introducing the book

Although I went to the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship from childhood, I gradually began to realise there were spiritual problems in the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship and with Joshua Daniel himself. It was almost impossible to find critical information on LEF but later I came across references to a book which I then purchased and have been reading. I want to introduce to our readers the book “Christian Gurus”: A Study of the Life and Work of Christian Charismatic Leaders in South India by Dr. Werner Hoerschelmann. I have already quoted from it and some readers are earnestly waiting for more from this book! The author was a pastor for the German speaking congregations in South India and Sri Lanka and a part time lecturer at the United Theological College in Bangalore from 1969 to 1974. During his stay in South India, he came across 40 German speaking followers of a “Christian Guru” (Lawrie) which included a German who had deserted her husband and child and refused to return. Realising that this was not an isolated case, he researched the phenomenon and wrote this book. Indians seem to be so used to Gurus that Westerners seem to be more alert to such deviations. I believe that we can learn a lot from this book and so I wish to share thoughts and excerpts from this book. It was published in German in 1977 and an abridged English version was published in 1998 by Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute. If you find this useful please purchase the book from the publisher.

The author has coined the term “Christian Guru” in order to define the phenomenon of charismatic leaders of independent, indigenous Christian groups in South India. He explains the environment from which this phenomenon has evolved comparing and contrasting India’s social and religious context, analysing Church history in the sub-continent especially the Pentecostals and using examples of Indian (non-Christian) charismatic personalities. Then 20 Christian leaders including Joshua Daniel are described with reference to a predefined outline. After that the author tries to systematise this phenomenon, compares the “Christian guru” with Hindu charismatic personalities and evaluates this phenomenon. The actual and possible impact of this phenomenon on the Church and society is described. Finally a conclusion is given along with some open questions.

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