A Captive of Babylon and His Clone
Men of God don’t spawn clones, but men do. The tragedy of David Wilkerson is that he had received some truths from God, but he chose the favor of men over the praise of God. He remained in the corrupt systems of men that he sought to reform, without success because he wasn’t reformed himself. His legacy is Carter Conlon, a preacher who never even came close to God.
A reader wrote to us about his experiences and asking about David Wilkerson and Carter Conlon. Victor and Paul’s reply:
Victor Hafichuk here. It’s good that you share with us. You can be thankful God spared you from the demonism of “Dr.” Rodney Howard-Browne.
In my early Christian days, I envied what was happening with other people in active Charismatic circles, wondering why God had left my wife and me out. Didn’t He love us? Was there something wrong with us? Not many years later, we realized that what our friends had been experiencing was not of God after all. We had been spared because God was keeping us from deceptive spiritual harm. We came to learn that God had sent them strong delusion that they should believe a lie, because they didn’t love the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11).
“Also, i feel that David Wilkerson and Carter Conlon of Times Square church are true messengers of God. What they preach is unlike most other ‘christian’ churches today. It was through their teachings that God reached me. Is there anything you know contradictory to me thinking that? I know all the deception in the church today, but is it possible that God is truly speaking through them still? I dont want to waste my time listening to deception.”
Did you know that David Wilkerson died in an auto accident not many weeks ago? Search the Scriptures and show me where you find a true man of God dying by accidental death or nasty disease. It doesn’t happen. Martyrdom, yes; natural causes, yes; premature or ugly death, no. God reigns over all.
Only a month before that, Paul wrote David to speak to him about coming out of the religious systems. Coincidence? A few years ago, we had written Nicky Cruz, one of the gang members David was supposed to have reached in New York in the ‘60s. Nicky’s office promised he’d get back to us, but we never heard from them again. We tried to talk to Nicky about coming out from the works of men:
“Concerning the works of men, by the Words of Your lips, I am kept from the paths of the destroyer” (Psalms 17:4 MKJV).
We have appreciated things David preached, some of which, no doubt, has helped you and many others. For an example on the world stage, while Billy Graham was condemning the 9/11 attacks as a heinous crime, Wilkerson was calling on America to repent. He said its sins were the cause of the tragic incident. He was right. David has rightly condemned much that is wrong with America and evangelical and nominal Christendom.
The problem is that he didn’t come out of formal religion. How much credibility do preachers have when they call on others to obey God, when they themselves have not done so? The church systems are super deceptive and powerful. Nobody escapes them but by the grace of God. David didn’t make it out. Mystery had him where she wanted him, because he liked it there. He loved her and she loved him as a star performer.
Wilkerson needed to come out of the system completely, in order to hear, see, and speak clearly. For example, no man of God calls himself, or allows anyone to call him, “Reverend.” No one is to be revered but God. If you read Diabolical Doctrines and The True Marks of a Cult, you’ll see the error of many. By God’s grace, you’ll reject the error and cleave to what is true, just, honest, holy, and good.
It wasn’t God Who commanded you to go to Wal-Mart and read the Bible out loud. Because you believed, though mistakenly, that it was God requiring this of you, your conscience began to trouble you. As the Scripture says:
“But, the one doubting, if he eats, he has been condemned, because it is not of faith; and all that is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23 MKJV).
At this time, yours is not a cleansed and illumined conscience by the knowledge and Word of God. Being naïve, you fell victim to a more subtle form of error, Wilkerson’s and Conlon’s doctrine being closer to the truth than Rodney Browne’s, but mixed with enough error to sidetrack you, nonetheless.
I listened to Conlon and find that he is David Wilkerson’s clone in spirit and style. Though he may be passionate and apparently sincere, he was giving imaginary interpretations, not inspired, revelatory understanding of the passages on which he was preaching. He was preaching from the flesh, not by the Spirit of God.
Let me solemnly tell you this, Matt: God doesn’t create copies of other men. Men create copies of themselves and are willing to be copies of men they admire. It is not so in the Kingdom of God, where men only worship God in spirit and in truth. To emulate men is hero worship. In former days, hero worship was known as Baal worship. Baal and Ashtoreth, the goddess of love and fertility (success), are worshipped in most formal churches today, in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Conlon and Wilkerson speak truth, but so did the serpent to Eve, which God confirmed, and so did Satan to Jesus in the temptation, which Jesus showed to have been misapplied. And that is the art and tact of the enemy, speaking truth but misapplying it.
It may sound great and even godly to read the Bible out loud in public at Wal-Mart, but is it good? Only if God directs you. Was that God directing you? We don’t believe so for many reasons, all of which we won’t get into now.
What do you need to do now? You need to soak in, and be made clean by, the truth. You need to be established on the Rock. You prayed and asked God to bring you to the truth: “I prayed and asked God, who can i trust? Where can i go to church and be taught the truth?” Often, after one makes a request of God, one is tried.
The Lord said, “All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them” (John 10:8 MKJV).
Here you are. He has brought you here after some trial, and He will cause the things you have suffered to work for good. Start a fresh slate. God hasn’t forsaken you, Matt. He’s with you to bring you through; otherwise you wouldn’t be talking to us. Will you trust Him? Will you put your hand in His? He will be faithful. And hear this:
“If we do not believe Him, yet He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13 MKJV).
Hi Matthew, Paul here.
I’ve watched some of Carter Conlon’s sermon, Beware of the Angry Watchmen. I would like to point out the error laced in the truth he preaches, giving you a practical example of the difference between Conlon’s counsel and the counsel of the Lord Jesus Christ (and those who are His).
In the sermon, Conlon talks about false prophets rising up and casting stones at believers who are in the process of coming back to God. These false prophets, he says, take Scriptures out of context and condemn God’s people “under the guise of holiness – it’s nothing more than legalism.” According to Conlon, the struggling believers are told that God isn’t happy with them and that they have disgraced His Name. They are thereby discouraged to the point of feeling beyond hope.
This makes God very angry, Conlon goes on, because the self-appointed watchmen are coming between Him and His loved ones. I say, “Indeed it would make God angry, if that were the case. But is it? Is Carter’s the pure wisdom from above that is peaceable, or is it the carnal wisdom of men that wreaks havoc?”
One indication of carnal wisdom is that Conlon only speaks in the most general of terms. He doesn’t say which Scriptures are being misapplied, or to whom and in what way. The only reasonable conclusion listeners can make is that if someone tells them that they are wrong in the sight of God and that He isn’t happy with their ways, even while quoting the Scriptures to support his argument, they should dismiss the naysayer because God would never do that. He loves them too much to correct them.
We know from the Scriptures and from life that an unclear sound of the trumpet only brings conjecture and confusion, and that the carnal man will always take the way that justifies his flesh, especially when it is offered to him in the Name of God. Conlon leads people on this broad, easy way because he is out for himself. He is there to make as many friends of the world as possible in the Name of Christ, and as few enemies, all at the cost of the truth.
If there ever was an anti-Christ gospel, Matthew, this is it. Aside from the fact that there are legalists who bring men under condemnation with their manmade commandments, there are legitimate servants of God who are sent by Him to His people to “speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority” (Titus 2:15):
“Cry aloud, do not spare, lift up your voice like a ram’s horn, and show My people their rebellion, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and one who did not forget the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in drawing near to God” (Isaiah 58:1-2 MKJV).
Carter doesn’t allow for this. He gives all believers (or those who profess to believe – not all men have faith) carte blanche permission, and even more than permission – the commandment, to dismiss anyone who makes them feel condemned. This tells you that Carter doesn’t believe spiritual sojourners need to hear righteous judgment. “God forbid anyone should rebuke or reprove you, believer and precious child of God,” he says. So when Peter tried to spare Jesus the cross, Jesus shouldn’t have rebuked Peter (Matthew 16:22).
But we say the same to Conlon as the Lord answered Peter, “Get behind us, Satan, for you don’t savor the things of God, but those that are of men” (Matthew 16:23). Taking up the cross is our entrance into the Kingdom of God, and righteous judgment on sin is an absolute necessity before anyone can begin to take up the cross:
“For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23 MKJV).
Consider, Matthew, if this is what you would tell your son?:
“Son, wherever you go in life, don’t let anyone – your boss, your teachers, or even me and your mom – correct you or tell you that you’re wrong. And if, after years of neglecting good counsel, you finally end up pimping whores in a crack house, you’re still my son and I know inside you’ll really want to get back on track. So to hell with anyone who tells you how you screwed up. If I’m around when they say anything like that, they’ll have to deal with me!”
But that’s exactly what Carter Conlon is saying. By the grace of God, we shine the light on him and his words; otherwise many would eat up his lies, in turn to be eaten up by the ravages of sin through their independence:
“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15 KJV).
Getting back to Conlon’s charge of legalism, we know that the apostle Paul warned believers of those who preached circumcision and derailed their faith, as with the Galatians. We fulfill the Law by the grace of God and faith in Christ, His gift, and not our works. This we teach (Law and Grace and Grace – The Reality), but Conlon doesn’t distinguish between those teaching the Law that leads one to Christ and those teaching the Law for a righteousness outside of Christ. One is lawful and the other is not:
1 Timothy 1:8-11 MKJV
(8) But we know that the Law is good if a man uses it lawfully,
(9) knowing this, that the Law is not made for a righteous one, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
(10) for fornicators, for homosexuals, for slave-traders, for liars, for perjurers, and anything else that is contrary to sound doctrine,
(11) according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
When you read the documents Victor gave you – Diabolical Doctrines and The True Marks of a Cult – you will see, by the grace of God, that Conlon and Wilkerson have been in great error on many things, teaching a perverted gospel that doesn’t bring anyone to the ultimate safe haven of God. (Consider what happened to David Wilkerson, a physical representation of spiritual shipwreck.) Know that Conlon is Wilkerson’s workmanship and fruits, and will therefore come to like end.
When we come along, speaking light into darkness and declaring truth against the error and wrong ways of Conlon, Wilkerson, and all other false teachers, we are called the things Conlon lists and more. We are regularly told that we are wrong, bitter, and hateful, that we speak in unrighteous anger, that we condemn God’s people, being without love, and that we divide the Body in all arrogance, as false prophets.
There is no doubt Conlon would say the same about us and our ministry in Christ, even boasting that we are the fulfillment of his prophecy of angry watchmen.
But here is what God says about his prophesying:
Ezekiel 13:1-16 MKJV
(1) And the Word of the LORD came to me, saying,
(2) Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy. And say to those who prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear the Word of the LORD:
(3) So says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!
(4) O Israel, your prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.
(5) You have not gone up into the breaks, nor built the wall for the house of Israel, that it might stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.
(6) They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, the LORD says. And the LORD has not sent them; but they hoped to confirm their word.
(7) Did you not see a vain vision, and speak a lying divination? Yet you say, the LORD says; although I have not spoken?
(8) Therefore so says the Lord GOD: Because you have spoken vanity and seen a lie, therefore, behold, I am against you, says the Lord GOD.
(9) And My hand shall be against the prophets who see vanity and who divine a lie. They shall not be in the council of My people, nor shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
(10) Because, even because they made My people go astray, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and he builds a wall, and lo, others daubed it with lime.
(11) Say to those who daub with lime, yes, it shall fall; there will be a flooding rain; and you, O hailstones, shall fall, and a stormy wind will break.
(12) And, behold, when the wall has fallen, shall it not be said to you, Where is the daubing with which you have daubed?
(13) Therefore so says the Lord GOD: I will even break it with a stormy wind in My fury. And there shall be a flooding rain in My anger, and hailstones in fury to destroy it.
(14) And I will break down the wall that you have daubed with lime, and touch it to the ground; yea, I will bare its base. And it shall fall, and you shall be destroyed in her midst; and you shall know that I am the LORD.
(15) And I will fulfill My wrath on the wall and on those who daubed it with lime. And I will say to you, The wall is no more; and, Those who daubed are no more;
(16) the prophets of Israel who prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, says the LORD.
The King James Version calls the lime “untempered mortar.” You can’t build a safe or secure building with that, can you? False teachers use such materials because they aren’t building on the One and Only Foundation Stone, the Lord Jesus Christ. Untempered mortar is the false love and doctrine of men, forming fellowships that are destined to fall.
So people better believe there is anger. God is angry with Conlon and with what comes out of his mouth.
Conlon is a liar. He tells his audience there is no spot in them, implying that Christ doesn’t see them as sinners. That’s true if they have been cleansed of their sins and are walking in the Light, but what if they aren’t cleansed or walking in the Light?
“And this is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:5-6 MKJV).
Will God not judge? Conlon neutralizes Him and His Word:
Hebrews 4:12-13 MKJV
(12) For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
(13) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight, but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.
Has Christ come to condemn? No, He has come to save those who confess their sins and look to Him as Lord and Savior:
Hebrews 4:14-16 MKJV
(14) Since then we have a great High Priest Who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
(15) For we do not have a High Priest Who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted just as we are, yet without sin.
(16) Therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
It’s not the whole, but the sick, that will receive the ministrations of the Physician and be healed:
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9 MKJV).
If one will be restored whole in the future, it is because he receives correction and guidance today. We come to God as we are. Read Holy Waters. Works won’t make you whole, but faith in the Physician will.
Matthew, you have come to the River of Life, Jesus Christ. Immerse yourself in the truth of God we preach, and as you receive the truth, your shackles of vice and sin’s power will be broken, and you will know God’s will in all matters of your life.
Isaiah 30:18-23 JPS
(18) And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have compassion upon you; for the LORD is a God of justice, happy are all they that wait for Him.
(19) For, O people that dwell in Zion at Jerusalem, you shall weep no more; He will surely be gracious to you at the voice of your cry, when He shall hear, He will answer you.
(20) And though the Lord give you sparing bread and scant water, yet shall not your Teacher hide Himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher;
(21) And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying: “This is the way, walk ye in it,” when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.
(22) And you shall defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and your molten images covered with gold; you shalt put them far away as one unclean; you shalt say to it: “Get out of here.”
(23) And He will give the rain for your seed, wherewith you sow the ground, and bread of the increase of the ground, and it shall be fat and plenteous; in that day shall your cattle feed in large pastures.
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…. Therefore if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:32, 36 MKJV).
Victor and Paul