Not a Martyr of God
Bill Somers has a site that promotes false teachers and religious confusion. He also presents the notion that it is a waste for Christians to die other than as martyrs. He is right that a Christian needs to lay down his or her life, but not in the way he means. It is this essential element of true Christianity that he lacks.
Raymond, a correspondent, shared Bill Somers’ site, www.etpv.org, which gave us the opportunity tell him our experience with Somers and the truth about what it means to follow Jesus Christ. (We were about to post this writing about Bill Somers, when Sara noticed he passed away on April 26, 2010. The event of his passing adds weight to our testimony against Bill Somers, which he was not willing to receive. We have more than one vindication for what we have said. Here is what we had written:)
We wrote to Bill Somers in 2005 when he declined our public correspondence and left us with a slogan we questioned, one he maintained until his death. It is:
“‘It is a terrible waste for a Christian to die a natural death.’ – Medhi Dibaj, Iranian Martyr”
Had he said, “It is a terrible waste for one professing Christ not to die as a martyr,” he could possibly be justified, if he went on to explain what it means to be a martyr. All true Christians are martyrs because all are called to deny themselves, take up the cross, and die, living the new life in Christ in this world thereafter. But when the author says “a natural death,” I think he insists that the true believer, to be worthy before God, must die a premature physical death at the hands of sinners.
While it is true Abraham and others were not called to die physically, they did die to the world, being made alive to God. They are in the great cloud of witnesses (martyrs) surrounding us (the word “witness” in the NT is “martyr” in the Greek).
And what of the two classes of Christians listed in Hebrews 11, some tasting physical death by the world, while others called to defy death?:
Hebrews 11:32-40 MKJV
(32) And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah; also David, and Samuel and the prophets,
(33) who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
(34) quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the strangers.
(35) Women received their dead raised to life again, and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.
(36) And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings; yes, more, of bonds and imprisonments.
(37) They were stoned, they were sawed in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented.
(38) The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains and dens and caves of the earth.
(39) And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, did not receive the promise,
(40) for God had provided some better thing for us, that they should not be made perfect without us.
Is one group of any less value to God than the other? Are Abraham and his son David, who did not die violent physical deaths, any less than other of Abraham’s seed, like Isaiah or John the Baptist, prophets who did die physical deaths at the hands of sinners?
Bill Somers does not appear to understand the Scriptures he uses in defense of his slogan and doctrine. The Scriptures he uses do not speak of physical death, but of the death each convert to Christ experiences at the cross in becoming a saint (read Only the Death Sentence Will Avail).
The following Scriptures Somers cites to prove physical martyrdom is necessary to avoid spiritual waste all speak of an internal death (even though an external death could follow, which we readily grant all saints walking in faith are prepared to accept):
Revelation 12:10-11 MKJV
(10) And I heard a great voice saying in Heaven, Now has come the salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night.
(11) And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony. And they did not love their soul until death.
21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;
22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the Kingdom.
Revelation 6:9-11 MKJV
(9) And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held.
(10) And they cried with a loud voice, saying, Until when, Master, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?
(11) And white robes were given to each one of them. And it was said to them that they should rest yet for a little time, until both their fellow servants and their brothers (those about to be killed as they were) should have their number made complete.
Revelation 2:8-11 MKJV
(8) And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The First and the Last, Who became dead and lived, says these things:
(9) I know your works and tribulation and poverty (but you are rich), and I know the blasphemy of those saying themselves to be Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
(10) Do not at all fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the Devil will cast some of you into prison, so that you may be tried. And you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life.
(11) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.
We have experienced this, not through physical death, but by death of the cross and victory of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is martyrdom in the true sense. The fact that Somers interprets the above Scriptures in physical terms only tells us he has not received the Spirit of God, because not having experienced the reality of the cross of Christ and the death that is precious in God’s sight (Psalm 116). So Somers is not a martyr. Martyrdom is a basic spiritual development of any genuine believer in Christ, never mind a minister of the Gospel of Christ! As Paul the apostle declared:
“I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And that life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself on my behalf” (Galatians 2:20 MKJV).
Paul was a martyr many years before the sword took his head in Rome. Those who do not take up the cross to follow Jesus are not worthy of Him and cannot be His witnesses (martyrs).
When King Nebuchadnezzar demanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego worship the image he had formed, what happened?
Daniel 3:16-23 MKJV
(16) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to return a word to you on this matter.
(17) If it is so that our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, then He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
(18) But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods nor worship the golden image which you have set up.
(19) Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with wrath, and the form of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He spoke and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated.
(20) And he commanded mighty men in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to throw them into the burning fiery furnace.
(21) Then these men were tied up in their slippers, their tunics, and their mantles, and their other clothes, and were thrown into the middle of the burning fiery furnace.
(22) Then because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
(23) And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
While God did not spare those men who obeyed their earthly ruler, He did spare the lives of those who obeyed their Heavenly Ruler:
Daniel 3:24-26 MKJV
(24) Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was amazed. And he rose up in haste and spoke and said to his advisers, Did we not throw three men bound into the middle of the fire? They answered and said to the king, True, O king.
(25) He answered and said, Behold! I see four men loose, walking in the middle of the fire, and there is no harm among them. And the form of the fourth is like a son of the gods.
(26) Then Nebuchadnezzar came near the door of the burning fiery furnace. He answered and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come forth and come here. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth from the middle of the fire.
According to Medhi Dibaj and Bill Somers, God wasted three Jewish lives. Perhaps Somers might give more credit to those servants of the king who lost their lives to the intense heat of the furnace.
Somers is unresponsive to, and unrepentant of, the things we brought to him.
We red “My Testimony by Bill Somers” and find it is more a testimony of Constance Cumbey than of Jesus Christ.
Bill does not receive the essential doctrine of Christ, not having experienced the cross.
The teachers Bill recommends on his site are not ministers of God.
For these and several other fruits, we must conclude Bill Somers to be in great error, unrepentingly misleading others, and therefore, a false teacher, notwithstanding his knowledge and research of Scripture and related materials, some of which we find helpful, as with many false teachers. This is nothing strange (all the more effective to deceive the simple and faithless).
Bill’s testimony, as he calls it, is primarily one of a withdrawal from New Age philosophy. He writes:
“The greatest help of all came through a book titled ‘Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow’ by Constance Cumby. This book really opened my eyes to the real nature of the New Age as a vehicle for Satan. Someday I plan to thank Constance personally.”
We have not red Cumbey’s book, but if it exposes the New Age fallacy, well and good. Whether Constance Cumbey is a believer in Christ or not, we should not refuse her due credit for such work. Though Bill Somers forsakes New Age philosophy, a return to nominal Christendom is not nearly sufficient to be considered a fruit of faith in Jesus Christ. Many are the “Christians” who do not have the true faith in Christ, worshipping Him in vain with their lips.
And giving Constance Cumbey the lion’s share of the credit under the title, “My Testimony,” indicates to us the work in Somer’s life is not a salvation work of Jesus Christ, just as Billy Graham gave credit for his success to the Hearst newspaper chain. Jesus is not getting the glory, which is highly indicative of a spurious conversion, no matter how religious or apparently Christian.
Bill speaks of a trying time in 1985 when his wife Mary Lee needed a serious operation to remove a brain tumor. He says, “It was the aftereffects of this that led to our getting saved in May of ’85. That’s another story.” Isn’t that supposed to be the story?! But this is the total of the report of his conversion or salvation experience – the reader was promised (“My Testimony”) and would expect to receive the glad report of a real conversion to Christ.
But is Bill’s conversion real or is it a deathbed conversion, man’s work under duress because of his wife’s threatening condition?
Is his doctrinal error the kind true believers can have, or are he and his wife in the unbeliever’s darkness, notwithstanding theological knowledge and perhaps even a measure of mercy God has granted them? We know that God does send the sun and the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Still, whether true believers or not, they certainly profess to be believers, and should they not be confronted on their public error, which we have done, with no response? What does that tell you?
We see entries in Somers’ site not only condoning, but even promoting, false teachers. While he and the participants on his site have questions about some of those ministries, there are mixed signals. His position is that people can be judged with righteous judgment (which is true):
“Matthew 7:1 tells us to judge not. But whoa there Nellie, John 7:24 tells us to judge. John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. So to judge or not to judge, that is the question. Sorry Shakespeare.”
Giving two examples of where Paul confronted a false prophet, Elymas, and a woman possessed with a spirit of divination, Somers concludes:
“In each case these apostles followed specific instructions from the Holy Ghost. And that’s how you make righteous judgment.”
On the other hand, he posts Nita Johnson on his site, saying that we are better to leave these matters to God and not presume dealing with them ourselves. Of Todd Bentley, she writes, in foolishness and confusion:
“Also, we must trust that all which is said and done will line up with the Word, as the Spirit and the Word must agree. (1 Jn 5:7,8) Todd does teach some things that oppose good and safe doctrine, and therefore I feel a carefulness about some of his teachings is in order. However, he does and says far more things that are right than those which are out of place. I have seen that he has great faith for healings and miracles.”
When one slips poison into a drink, isn’t most of the drink OK? When someone slips poison into a plate of food, what portion of the contents on the plate comprises food? Has it not been said that deception is 90% truth and 1% lie?
There is no discernment of good and evil, yet they promote the whole package nonetheless. They promote error, not knowing the difference, or not willing to judge if they do know, or both. It is confusion. While Nita may defend herself by saying she does indeed advise caution and faith in God, she still encourages feeding from a false teacher.
How will those whom she presumes to teach and whom she presumes need her teaching know what to reject and to receive if she doesn’t know herself?
So are believers not taught to beware of false teachers?
“And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many will come in My Name, saying, I am Christ, and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5 MKJV).
Are we not told that the deception would be such that the very elect might be deceived?
“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders; so much so that, if it were possible, they would deceive even the elect” (Matthew 24:24 MKJV).
So is it not our responsibility to know whether one is anointed of God or not?
1 John 4:1-3 MKJV
(1) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits to see if they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
(2) By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God;
(3) and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the antichrist you heard is coming, and even now is already in the world.
(Todd Bentley does not confess that Jesus Christ comes in the flesh, by the way; the words do not mean that Jesus Christ came as a man 2000 years ago, otherwise nearly 1.3 billion Catholics and so many others are all Christians.)
So what are children of God to do concerning false teachers? Are they to receive from them that which is good and reject the rest? What does Jesus say they will do?
“And they will not follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:5 MKJV).
You have perhaps heard it said to “eat the flesh and toss away the bones.” But we are commanded to eat only clean meats. Are we not to make a difference between clean and unclean? Isn’t that the lesson of the Law of Moses? Shall I be justified in eating dog flesh if I am willing to toss away the bones?
Nita Johnson cannot tell the true from the false, and she leads many astray; Somers supports her. How can any of this be of God?
Will an anointed minister of God not be cleansed and prepared to represent the Lord in all truth? Will he not speak the truth by the Spirit of God? We emphatically reply, “Yes,” with the Lord:
Matthew 7:15-20 MKJV
(15) Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
(16) You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?
(17) Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit.
(18) A good tree CANNOT bring forth evil fruits, NOR CAN a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
(19) Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
(20) Therefore by their fruits you shall know them.
Do false teachers not invariably include truth and apparently good works with their error? Do they not come covered in sheep’s clothing? How else should they deceive, if possible, the very elect?
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 MKJV
(13) For such ones are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
(14) Did not even Satan marvelously transform himself into an angel of light?
(15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.
Now granted, there is such a thing as error on the part of true servants of God. For example, Peter was not conducting himself as he ought with the Gentiles. But herein is the difference: Was Peter’s error a deliberate act of disobedience and deception, or if not deliberate, with consistent doctrine plainly contrary to God? Did he habitually teach false doctrine? No; he demonstrated weakness of flesh, something of which every believer is fully capable.
Nevertheless, did Paul leave him to his error, saying, “Let God deal with it”? No, he publicly rebuked Peter, an apostle no less, because he was publicly manifesting error:
Galatians 2:11-16 MKJV
(11) But when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was to be blamed.
(12) For before some came from James, he ate with the nations. But when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those of the circumcision.
(13) And the rest of the Jews also dissembled with him, so as even Barnabas was led away with their dissembling.
(14) But when I saw that they did not walk uprightly with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before all, If you, being a Jew, live as a Gentile, and not as the Jews, why do you compel the nations to Judaize?
(15) We Jews by nature, and not sinners of the nations,
(16) knowing that a man is not justified by works of the Law, but through faith in Jesus Christ; even we believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith in Christ, and not by works of the Law. For all flesh will not be justified by works of law.
And what is the fruit of a true believer when corrected? Did Peter remain in his error? Was he intractable, implacable, or wise in his own eyes? No, he repented, as David did when Nathan confronted him on his sins of adultery and murder concerning Bathsheba and Urijah (2 Samuel 11 and 12).
“For a just one falls seven times, and rises up again; but the wicked shall fall into evil” (Proverbs 24:16 MKJV).
The wicked will not repent.
So what would be the problem with exposing false teachers, especially those who come deceiving in Christ’s Name, such as Benny Hinn, Todd Bentley, Billy Graham, Kenneth Copeland, and so many others?
There is considerable confusion on that and other matters at Somers’ site – confusion that comes when light and darkness are mixed, as in the days of Noah, when the sons of God married the daughters of men. With such a situation, God had to destroy them all. His nature cannot tolerate mixture or lukewarmness. As His nature, so the nature of His sons and daughters. They will find mixture intolerable.
Is there a “healing revival” happening in Florida, Nita Johnson? No, there is not. It is strong delusion. (If there was a “healing revival” in Florida, Somers could have gone to get healed. Did he go? If so, why was he not healed?)
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, so that all those who do not believe the truth, but delight in unrighteousness, might be condemned” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 MKJV).
This is according to the Word of the Lord from Paul to Timothy, and to all:
2 Timothy 3:1-5 MKJV
(1) Know this also, that in the last days grievous times will be at hand.
(2) For men will be self-lovers, money-lovers, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
(3) without natural affection, unyielding, false accusers, without self-control, savage, despisers of good,
(4) traitors, reckless, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
(5) having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it; even turn away from these.
Does it say to feed from them, to eat the flesh they serve but to spit out the bones? Or does it say, “Even turn away from these”?
“Let not my heart turn aside to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; and let me not eat of their delicacies” (Psalms 141:4 MKJV).
Thanks for your reminder of Bill Somers, Raymond. Unless the Lord directs us otherwise (may He direct us aright in these solemn matters – and He does), we will soon post him in our False Teachers Exposed section.
Following is the correspondence we had with him at the end of 2005. After he rejected our teaching, and after our writing him, he did not reply. To whose voice are you listening, Raymond? Consider.
The Lord grant you grace to discern between good and evil, between light and darkness, between truth and error, and between man’s righteousness and God’s.
From Bill Somers, subject line – unsubscribe:
God Bless Y’all
6195 St. Rt. 95
Mt. Gilead, OH 43338
End Time Prophetic Vision WebPage www.etpv.org
“It is a terrible waste for a Christian to die a natural death.” Medhi Dibaj, Iranian Martyr
Our reply to Bill:
We have unsubscribed you from The Issues of Life, as requested, though you have much to learn, as we will show you.
Your sign-off quote from the Iranian is not one of understanding or faith. Every person professing the Lord Jesus Christ is called to death by taking up the cross in this life. Paul said he was crucified with Christ, yet nevertheless he lived; only now he lived in his flesh by the life of the Son of the God. Paul called on those who heard his words to follow him as he followed Christ. That means death for all in like manner, so that all might live by the faith of the Son of God. Anything other than this is not truly Christian.
“But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Romans 8:9 MKJV).
As for physical death, that is up to God, and it is no waste at all if one dies naturally and peacefully, if that is His determination, or even if one dies at all (Enoch and Elijah). To call these lives “wasted” is to supercede God in His sovereign will and works. That is, of course, impossible, and it is nothing less than ignorant and self-righteous boasting.
Abraham died a natural death. His faith was nevertheless accounted righteousness to him, and he became the father of many nations, of all those who believe, of every true Christian. He had died many years before, not as a martyr, but as all those faithful to God.
From Abraham’s loins came Isaac, who also died a natural death. To him was promised a seed that would be the father of the nation of Israel. It came to pass, and Isaac is known as one of the patriarchs of faith. According to Bill Somers and Medhi Dibaj, God did Himself a great disservice by preventing Abraham from following through in sacrificing his son.
Jacob died a natural death, sick on his bed. His name was changed to Israel, and from him came the twelve tribes. Jacob had taken up his cross long before the time of his physical departure from this world. God will keep his promise to Jacob, another patriarch of the household of faith. Even in our very generation, Israel has been raised from the ashes.
Jacob’s son, Joseph, became a ruler in Egypt and saved his family, which became a nation. Joseph died a peaceful, natural death. He had died long before, taking up the cross.
Moses died a glorious death, buried by no man, and he was not slain by any man to become a physical martyr. Was his death a "terrible waste"?
The man who would be known as the father of the Messiah died a peaceful, natural death. God promised that of him would come the One Who would sit on the throne and reign forever. David was a man after God’s heart, it is recorded. Was his death a "terrible waste," because God glorified Himself by keeping David, His servant, safe all his life?
If Medhi Dibaj died in persecution of his “faith” believing the quoted words, he died a false martyr. If he “gave his body to be burned,” he did it to no profit, without understanding or love for God. His words plainly teach that he gloried in himself. The words sound holy and noble, but they are nothing more than a sample of the antiChrist, self-sacrificing, eastern philosophy presuming to be an expression of genuine Christian faith.
Better he should say, “It is a terrible waste to give one’s body to be burned without love,” and, “It is a terrible waste to do great and wonderful works, if God should have a man to sit still instead.” Then we would know he knew the Lord, loved the Lord, and had the learning and wisdom of the Lord.
Do not misunderstand. We bless the Lord for Isaiah, Stephen, John the Immerser, Paul, and so many others who laid down their lives for us. By God’s grace, we would taste that high privilege and prevail. Nevertheless, the will of God be done, and not the will of the carnal hero such as you exalt, without understanding.
Many are those who have died thinking they died for Christ, who were instead idolaters, totally stubborn, carnal professors of Christ. They give Him lip service, but do not listen to Him when confronted on their ways. They continue on in their idolatries and self-service, worshiping the Bible and other gods for whom they die in vain. These fool many such as yourself, Bill, who consider them to be godly Christians, because they judge after the appearance.
Time to get real. What now, Bill? Will you continue to extol the sacrifice of a self-righteous man (which can only happen if the extoller is self-righteous himself), or will you repent, humble yourself, deny yourself, and take up the cross for the true and fruitful laying down of the life for the Lord’s sake?
Contending for the faith, by the will of God in Christ, speaking Reality to unreality, Light to darkness pretending to be light,
Paul Cohen and Victor Hafichuk