An Entertaining Preacher Missing the Mark
“The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but the one who seeks the glory of Him Who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood ” (John 7:18 ESV). Even if the one who speaks on his own authority says refreshing and delightful true things, that one also has falsehood because he seeks his own glory. That's the case with James Manning, an entertaining preacher who seeks an earthly kingdom, not having known the Heavenly one that comes through the cross and seeking the glory of God.
A believer wrote us:
Dont mean to take up your time, sirs, about something that isnt worth your time, knowing you have many important things to tend to. Ive been listening and watching David Manning all over youtube recently, I find him entertaining and I do appreciate that he speaks against corruption. He calls himself the Lord’s servant. I was curious as to what you thought of him. Heres a recent video he put out today, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BCmDYE0mFw. I would like to know what you think of the video. His websites mission statement makes me think that he interprets the Truth falsely, http://atlah.org/our-mission-statement/.
I learn of Jesus and the way I should live for Him through His ambassadors, you two, and I appreciate you two and everyone with TPOT.
As you may know, we’ve shared a video or two from Manning in appreciation of some things he says. His bluntness and expressive language in stating certain truths are quite refreshing, especially given how contrary his stance appears to that of other preachers of color. It’s a breath of fresh air.
On the other hand, Manning isn’t always speaking the truth and continues with many of the trappings of false religion (calling himself “Doctor” and “Reverend,” with attendant false doctrines like the trinity). Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, Jesus said. What was the Pharisees’ leaven? In particular, hypocrisy – saying true things while walking contrary to the Truth. That is a most deceptive and dangerous thing, and that’s why Jesus warned His disciples against it.
I see this with Manning. On his Mission Statement he talks about God anointing Harlem (“The world’s most famous ghetto”) and thereby transforming it, making it into “the seat of the world’s banking, business, and education centers.”
I hear boasting of the flesh and the things of this world. Not only that, but Manning is focusing his energies on building a black empire, contrary to his message that the Kingdom of God isn’t one of color.
Whereas I’ve had some appreciation of his stance in this regard, I now see why he is so vehemently against Obama. There can only be one black captain, and Manning considers himself it.
From the Mission Statement:
“The Indigenous [black] people are to be:
Presidents and owners of Banking Institutions.
Presidents and Chairmans of Multi-national Corporations.
Presidents and Publishers of media outlets.
Further, the mission preaches, each family should own their
own home. (Deuteronomy 28:1-11)
The Almighty God said that when this vision is complete the
entire world will have to witness the presence and power
of Jesus, because every one hath said; that nothing good
can come out of Harlem.
VERILY, ‘ATLAH: THAT’S WHAT GOD SAID.’
James David Manning has been called to serve as CAPTAIN.”
This isn’t the Kingdom of God Manning is preaching, but the kingdom of Manning. Though he says many good things, he isn’t leading people through the cross into the Heavenly Jerusalem.
We still appreciate many things Manning says, such as when he talks about people making themselves useful in whatever capacity they can, especially those naming the Name of Christ. How true and needful! (You’ll note that Jesus also gave credit to the Pharisees for the right things they did and said.)
Where Manning falls short in counsel is in not preaching the cross – each individual believer being submitted to God through faith and obedience to His specific will, rather than deciding for himself what he will do. Without the cross, there is no hope.
Manning says the Lord is looking for laborers in His vineyard, and quotes the Lord saying, “The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few.” But then he goes on to talk about the believer becoming an architect, as an example of a type of laborer, which, though a potentially beneficial occupation, has nothing to do with building God’s Kingdom. It may serve well in Manning’s work for the kingdom of Harlem, but that isn’t the same as the Kingdom of Heaven.
At first, it seemed possible Manning was using the example of an architect as a spiritual allegory, but then he got into other earthly occupations, and meant them as earthly, albeit for the glory of God. However, Jesus was talking about the need for spiritual laborers, and most important to note, He wasn’t saying believers should try to fulfill this need themselves, but to “…pray to the Lord of the harvest that He will send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38 MKJV).
Perhaps these are the things you were seeing at Manning’s site, William, when you said you think he “interprets the Truth falsely.” You can tell us more, and ask what you will. You aren’t wasting our time and we can let you know if any particular matter isn’t important.
So in summary: We welcome the truth from whatever place it comes, even from the pope, the preeminent example of the man of sin on earth. A believer won’t, however, follow the pope or any other presumed minister who isn’t crucified with Christ (by God’s grace). That’s what it all comes down to.
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1 KJV).
I watched the video and red Manning’s mission statement. I don’t believe he heard words from the Lord. And his Biblical examples of places ending in “lah” and names ending in “ah” are simply his imaginary and convenient play on words to persuade people of the “heavenliness” of what he heard and does. None of that witnesses with us. Furthermore, there are many people with names ending with those letters who were not good examples at all. Try Adonijah, Athaliah, Ahaziah, Delilah, and so many others. On the other hand, there were notable persons and places whose names didn’t end with “lah” or “ah,” like David, Ruth, John, Paul, Bethel, and Jerusalem. Such names mean nothing, but the real point is that a man of God would know that.
This “lah/ah” thing is but a small thing, nothing to judge James Manning by, in and of itself. Everybody has done silly or pretentious things one time or another. But add to this error the fact that he sticks with it and continuously publicizes it and you realize these aren’t incidental errors, but a walk of error.
I like James Manning and some things he says, as you know, and contrary to popular opinion, the Pharisees were liked, as well. I’m sure you and I would have “liked” them. It didn’t make them right; it only made them dangerous, and so Jesus warned His disciples to beware of their leaven, that hidden element that eventually rises up and shows itself for what it really is, good or bad.
Manning does some good works, even as did the Pharisees and Sadducees, but good works don’t suffice for the Lord. As Paul says, James has another agenda, even if it seems right and good, and it isn’t to serve the Lord with all his heart for the Lord’s sake.
I also note his testimony, in which he said his prayer to God was to be like David. What James Manning needed was to be a repentant and righteous James Manning. There’s meant to be only one David and only one James. While it may be true that we ought to follow the example of righteous men, and that could be what James meant (not very clear), it is also true that we aren’t to envy other men or covet their states or goods, no matter how good they are. We aren’t to seek after men and make heroes of them. Would David have prayed to be made another James Manning? I don’t think so, and that’s because David’s heart was after God, as the Scriptures declare.
Let’s go to James’ attire, title, and decorum in his church. Can you see the apostles doing as he does? Think about John the Immerser or Elijah or any of the prophets. Even the sinless and holy Lord didn’t present Himself in such a way. No, the glory is never in the flesh, and those who know and represent the Lord as He is will readily make that known, not just by word, but also by life and example.
The day we don religious vestments and call ourselves “Reverend” or “Doctor” is the day you run from us, William, as fast and as far away as necessary, for your life.
Should we ever take on those ways, it won’t be because it’s the natural progression of men of God, or because it’s acceptable to God, or because we have made some convenient, viable adjustments to persuade men into the Kingdom, or because God has directed us to do these things. It will be because we have strayed and grown cold toward Him. God forbid that this should ever happen to us. Lord, mercy! Your grace, I pray.
I can think that if everyone were like James Manning, it would be such a very different world we’d be living in. After all, he doesn’t apparently kill, lie, steal, push drugs, run around, or destroy. But, ultimately, would it be truly better? Could it be that Manning’s route is the fine way to disaster, thwarted only by the influence of those saints who, over the centuries and millennia, have taken up the cross and laid down their lives, in order for true righteousness to impact this dark world?
Isn’t it that only by the cross of Christ anything can be of everlasting value? We believe so.
Manning speaks of those who, instead of staying home, should be industrious, even architects. Consider Cain, who offered sacrifices to God and went out and built a city. Wasn’t Cain industrious? Wasn’t he an architect? And what were his descendants, if not skilled in many trades (Genesis 4:16-22)?
James Manning operates on the plane of the flesh, which has knowledge of good and evil, and can be quite impressive in the letter and expression, but it is still merely flesh, which lusts against the spirit (Galatians 5:17).
So you’re right about James Manning, William, because God has given it to you, for which you can be very thankful. Billions over the millennia have not seen or heard what’s been given to you, not because you’re any better than anyone else, but because He has simply decided to do it. And we’re thankful for that.
To see more about how Manning’s ways conflict with the ways of God, read The True Marks of a Cult.