Throw Out the Bathwater, Not the Baby
We often note the true things false teachers say, because people need to know that the truth is no respecter of persons. Rejecting a person as a teacher from God doesn’t give one license to reject everything that person says. As Jesus said of His opponents, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat [teaching Moses’ words]. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, observe and do. But do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do” (Matthew 23:2-3 MKJV).
Jeanie wrote to us:
I would like you to add “Servants of the Lord Ministries” and Joseph Hedgecock to the list. His teaching is spreading all over the world and is hurting people. The idea of exclusivity, submission to authority in all things, and the lack of accountability of pastors and the covering up of pastors actions who have embraced his doctrine is shameful. It works on fear and weird accountability notebooks and grading. Crazy.
Thanks for your site.
I checked Hedgecock’s site and found this:
“The ministry shares from experience the practical steps and principles that will help those who really have a heart after God. The Lord explained the purpose of the ministry to Pastor Hedgecock as follows:
‘I have children in every nation, and you have brothers and sisters, whose hearts are crying out to me. They have sought me for ministry, blessings, and gifts. I have given them those things and it has blessed them but there is a part of their spirit that it never fulfilled that is reserved for an intimate relationship with Me. Now their hearts are crying out to Me, just for Me. That is who I am sending you to, because I don’t want them to take the years it took you to get to Me, because there was no-one to show you how at the time.’”
These words don’t ring true, because they aren’t from God. Abraham had nobody to look to for many years, yet God was with him and made him the father of all in faith. The same goes for Isaac and Jacob.
Moses was in the wilderness for 40 years before God sent him to release Israel. But their torment had been in progress for more than 80 years, before Moses was even born.
Joseph was born at his appointed time, sold into slavery at age 17 and spent 13 years in bondage before God promoted him to rule Egypt and prepare for the coming drought to save many people, his family included. Jacob had to live in sorrow for his son for over two decades before the Lord made known to him that Joseph was not only alive, but doing very well and was prepared to save them in His perfect timing.
Jesus Christ waited approximately 4,000 years from Adam’s day before He came to the earth in the flesh, fulfilling the prophecy of Genesis 3:15. And 2,000 years later, His work must still be manifestly completed.
When Saul of Tarsus was converted at Damascus, the Lord declared He would send him to the Gentiles. Saul was then taken off to the side for at least 14 years before being sent in ministry.
God is not hindered by lack of manpower at any time; neither is He in any hurry, as Joseph Hedgecock seems to suggest. He could have prepared whomever He pleased at any time to minister to whoever needed ministry. Didn’t He save the entire city of Nineveh at once by Jonah’s preaching? He’s in full control; always has been and always will be.
And He always meets the needs of those who look to Him in truth:
“The young lions lack, and suffer hunger; but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing” (Psalms 34:10 MKJV).
But, Jeanie, I’d like for you to explain your specific complaints of Joseph Hedgecock, because while we don’t agree with him on some things, I see some good teaching here.
Joseph speaks of constant, active fellowship and communion with Jesus Christ. He speaks of more than churchgoing and a mere profession of faith – he insists on fellowship with God in all of life, 24/7. He says the same as what Jesus tells us:
John 15:4-7 MKJV
(4) “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
(5) I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
(6) If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered. And they gather and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
(7) If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.”
He’s right when he says, “Some have tried to get to know God by gaining a greater knowledge of the Bible, but having a knowledge of the scriptures does not provide eternal life.” Isn’t that what Jesus said?
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life. And they are the ones witnessing of Me, and you will not come to Me that you might have life” (John 5:39-40 MKJV).
Joseph rightly tells us there’s a price to be paid walking with the Lord: “To really get to know God, we must pay the cost to deal with the flesh and our lordship so that we can come into His presence and stay there.” Which is what Jesus said:
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, and whoever desires to lose his life for My sake shall find it’” (Matthew 16:24-25 MKJV).
Hedgecock says, “Many do not believe it is possible to hear God, but it is simple to do when you choose to trust him (which is simple faith) and you follow His instructions.” Jesus says hearing His voice is the norm for His sheep:
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27 MKJV).
“But your iniquities have come between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, from hearing” (Isaiah 59:2 MKJV).
“Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withheld good from you” (Jeremiah 5:25 MKJV).
While we can’t make Jesus Lord (He’s quite capable of making Himself Lord), it’s true that we must walk with Him in full and active acknowledgment, through faith, making clear in obedience that Jesus is Lord:
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him” (John 14:21 MKJV).
So tell us just how Joseph’s teaching is hurting people. I don’t see the exclusivity you speak of (though it may be there, so please be specific).
I don’t have a problem with submission to authority. Shouldn’t submission be “in all things”? What things do you think shouldn’t be included? Aren’t all things God’s? Shouldn’t we do all things to His glory? What do the Scriptures say?
“But I exhort you, brothers. You know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruit of Achaia, and they appointed themselves to ministry to the saints. See that you also submit to such ones, and to everyone working and laboring with me” (1 Corinthians 16:15-16 MKJV).
“Submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church; and He is the Savior of the Body. Therefore as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it” (Ephesians 5:21-25 MKJV).
Should wives keep certain areas of their lives to themselves, or are they to be one flesh with their husbands, in which case, all things are of concern to the husband and are determined together?
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3 MKJV).
Should parents not supervise their children in all affairs until they grow old and wise enough to take care of themselves, having learned from their parents to do so?
Are Joseph and company lording it over people, or are they spiritually parenting children of God?
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17 ESV).
Does the writer to the Hebrews specify what things the people should obey in and what things they weren’t obligated to obey in? Shouldn’t that be determined by the shepherds rather than the sheep?
What things do you think ought not to be included in their authority under God in the care of His sheep?
You write, “…the lack of accountability of pastors and the covering up of pastors’ actions who have embraced his doctrine is shameful. It works on fear and weird accountability notebooks and grading.”
Again, you need to be more specific. To whom do you believe the pastors should be accountable? What are the actions being covered up, and what doctrine is it they embrace that is shameful to embrace? How do these things “work on fear”? How are notebooks wrong, and what kind of grading are you talking here? These things can be right or wrong, depending on what they’re doing and why.
Perhaps you find his methods different from the conventional, nominal Christian church arrangement, but does that make him wrong? Indeed, there is much wrong with orthodox Christianity, and I perceive Hedgecock attempting to correct some things. Not saying he doesn’t err in places; he certainly does.
I’d like to hear your answers, and should we find things sufficiently wrong to sound a warning, Lord willing, we’ll do so.
Thank you for your detailed and wise response. My opinion has not changed due what I know but I really don’t feel like I can proceed with anymore information as it is too sensitive and has already hurt me and my family deeply. I will let it go. Let God be the judge and jury. All the best, Jeanie
End of correspondence.
Paul writes now, in review of this exchange:
After looking over Servants of the Lord Ministries more in depth, we confirm this is a work of man, not of God. Joseph Hedgecock is a false prophet who speaks his own words, not the words of Christ, notwithstanding the truths he teaches. Besides the false prophecy Victor exposed, there are further marks of manmade ministry on Joseph’s website.
“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:7-8 EMTV).
No true minister of Christ has ever, or would ever, sell books claiming to teach people how to have a relationship with God through hearing His voice. Yet Hedgecock does just this in Wake Up, Time Is Running Out, where he promises the prospective buyer: “If you have been unable to hear the Lord’s voice consistently, you will find that you are quickly able to hear Him as you apply the simple truths found in this book.”
Hedgecock makes it sound as if God is talking regardless of whether you’re able to hear Him. Would you call a deaf person on the phone? How stupid are you prepared to believe God is? Isn’t the issue man’s hardness of heart?
“To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ears are not circumcised, and they cannot listen. Behold, the Word of the LORD is to them a reproach; they have no delight in it” (Jeremiah 6:10 MKJV).
Therefore God sends His prophets to warn and rebuke those who falsely profess faith in Him and can’t hear Him on their own as encouraged to practice by such as Hedgecock.
“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2 KJV).
Ezekiel 3:4-7 ESV
(4) And He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them.
(5) For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel–
(6) not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you.
(7) But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to Me. Because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart.”
People don’t have the easy access to God that Hedgecock presumes and teaches. In another book for sale, Three Infallible Witnesses, he writes: “God longs for fellowship with you and he desires to have constant communication with you, in such a way that you can hear him just as he hears you.”
God does long for communion with His people, but on His terms and in His way, which He accomplishes by the faith He gives. And not all are called and chosen of Him – it’s been few by His design during these times of the firstfruits. Hedgecock paints God as a pathetic loser, talking into thin air like a personalized 24-hour radio show, hoping someone will somehow discover the right wavelength to tune in and hear Him. Enter Joseph Hedgecock with his book telling you how and saving the day for God… for a fee.
Not so, people; the God of Christ and of the Bible is totally sovereign and needs no help from man! He isn’t constantly talking in hopes of someone hearing Him, though He is constantly with those who believe by His gift of faith. Hedgecock hears from and preaches a false christ and strange gods, his “three witnesses” or “a trinity of three persons.” But there is only One Person and God, the Lord Jesus Christ. The trinity is an abomination to Him, one He despises with all His heart.
The lies don’t stop with the trinity – they’ve only begun. Hedgecock says in the promo for Wake Up, “Whether the Lord returns soon, or you go to Him in death, now is the time to get prepared.”
The Second Coming (Christ returning in a physical body) is another hellacious lie that puts judgment into a future that never arrives, or in the afterlife, with God not being able to correct and save you here and now. This teaching removes the only means of being established in His eternal life, the cross with its present death, the whole point of the Lord’s appearing, death, resurrection, and ascension.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).
As with all other false teachers, Hedgecock doesn’t preach the cross applied. He gives lip service to the cross, but there’s no reality of it in his life or in his ministry to others. So it would be no surprise if the man turned out to be unjust, as that’s the nature of the beast, especially when empowered in the delusional faith of serving God:
“They will excommunicate you; but a time is coming when everyone who kills you will think that he is offering God a service” (John 16:2 EMTV).
Not only is it wrong to sell books promising to lead you into the fullness of God’s salvation in Christ, but those who sell you their writings can’t lead you there because they aren’t there themselves.
Our message to Jeanie and all others is this: If you fall for Hedgecock’s or other false teachers’ ministries, don’t blame them. Something is wrong with you that caused you to fall for them, and far better you should have your shortfall addressed than remain in bitterness and perpetual defeat. Then you won’t throw out the Baby with the bathwater. But if you don’t love the Truth, you’ll reject the good with the bad, and be as badly off or worse than the false teachers from whom you’ve parted.