A Crossless Gospel
One in agreement with Joshua Tongol tries to explain her spiritual philosophy that is in harmony with his, which is basically that we need to focus on “grace” and not on what God requires of us. But we discovered the true grace of God in Christ only when we focused on what He required of us, and how the lawless hate to hear that!
We received this note in response to False Teacher – Joshua Tongol: Making Friends with the World:
I started to write you this letter..about your site, then decided..there’s really no point..and..I wish you the best.
Joshua Tongol is correct. I’m not going to go into the nuts and bolts..again, there’s no point but..I found almost all he had to say on my own..and have been practicing it my entire life–and I’m not young.
I know this is difficult to understand..I don’t blame you; its difficult to explain but..he’s got it right.
Doesn’t matter; it all works out in the end but..he’s got it.
Thanks for your time..
Paul and Victor’s reply:
Charlotte, do give us the nuts and bolts. If we’re misleading people about something as important as the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, shouldn’t we know? We would want to amend our ways and words as soon as possible, and not wait for it to all “work out in the end.” Isn’t that what the Lord wants?
Paul and Victor
I must admit..I’m surprised to hear from you. I can tell you what I’ve learned..or..live with..or..whatever you would call this..and I’m glad to, but most important–no one misses anything. It really does all work out. I think its because..He’s God and..we’re not. Thats probably the biggest “miss”.
Only..its not a miss. We’re people. If we don’t cut things up into manageable pieces..we overload and lose ground. Its human.
So..in that light..I will tell you what I have–which..just barely scratches the surface. I’m not an expert; I don’t have any “ins”. I can tell you what I have..then..you can take it for what its worth to you..or tuck it away somewhere for maybe sometime in the future and..that’ll be it.
Several years ago..I went through some events in my life that left me questioning everything I thought I knew. I was raised Charismatic. I “woke up” to “notice” that a lot of people that our persuasion looked up to..were charlatans. Its not like I didn’t “know”; but more like..it just didn’t register, exactly. People like Benny Hinn..and Aimee Semple McPherson..etc. So..one morning I decided..I was making too many mistakes; I had to be..or else..my life wouldn’t be in the state it was–and..threw it all out.
All..of it. I went to God and said..okay. From scratch–here’s what I’m REALLY thinking..and always have. I just didn’t say because..it wasn’t..it was less than..Christian. What I thought Christian was anyhow. Everything went. Everything.
After I got it out of my system..I started to look at the Bible again, only this time (and this is just my way; how my brain works..based on experiences I’ve had in the past) did it MY way. I took concepts..not scriptures..from the Bible and kind of pasted them together; worked out a little “story” of sorts; a tool..to help people utilize the concepts. This was all on my own. No one coached me or taught me anything. I took off on my own.
From years of trying to help people..I learned that much of the trouble they had was actually based on some combination of guilt..fear..and shame, topped off eventually with a healthy dose of anger. Fear for..a number of reasons–feeling like they failed God; feeling like they must be doing something wrong..feeling like..if they dropped what they thought they knew..they would run out of control, or..if nothing else..just plain offend God. Many fears. Then..guilt on top of that..that layered nicely over their fears..which..just set them up for more failures..and cultivated a deep sense of shame–and..eventually–anger..which tended to come out in symptoms of illness..or behaviors they simply..try as they might..could not control. Like sitting on a balloon. Get one end down–another pops out somewhere else.
Basically, what i did was put together a visual picture..to provide something to relate to that would suspend the guilt, fear..any of those things they were carrying around–long enough to essentially..walk in grace just long enough..to kill the problem. I must’ve done this..at least a hundred times for people..for various things, and each time..they got well. Not now and then; not a percentage but..every single time.
This approach..had two aspects in particular that set it apart from healing as I knew it–as a Charismatic–that I had never seen before. One..it was extremely reliable; it never failed, and two..it didn’t take anyone special. You didn’t have to be gifted (as we would’ve called it back then) or “annointed” (another one of those ambiguous words..or..somehow special to do this–and consistently. A child..could do this–and did.
One lady that I shared this was..was a believer. She had, over the years, developed agoraphobia so bad..eventually..she couldn’t get out of bed. I walked her through it; got back with her a few days later to find that she didn’t have time to visit..she was out..shopping; going to her son’s ball games..and basically..enjoying her life. She proudly told me..she got her very first sunburn from sitting out on the veranda! It was gone..and so was she.
I didn’t talk with her for months, until one day..I got a note from her. Her 9 year old had been diagnosed with a brain tumor..about the size of a walnut. It was inoperable. She didn’t call me..or ask me to do for her son..what I did for her–none of that. She just..walked him through the same little story I told her.
They took him to the hospital for just one more set of ex-rays; his last medical consultation. The techs came back and said–something happened. The thing shrunk to the size of about a dime..formed a shell around itself..and DIED. It was..still there but..completely inert and interfering with–nothing so..::shrug:: never mind.
For awhile..I was kind of baffled. It disturbed me that..I could..for the most part..explain why this worked. Its not secret that emotional states can seriously affect your health in ways that you would never imagine. I found a little “trick” that to me looked..psychological..kind of like how placebos work..so..I went to God and said..okay..this is great. It changes lives but..is this..this can’t be what you mean by healing. He just said..why can’t it be. Why does it have to be mystical and random for you to believe I did it. The tumor died. Where did the shell come from?
As time went by..I came to understand that..even though I might be able to come up with some fancy technical terms to explain it away–what I couldn’t explain was..it really did come down to one thing–that attempts to be “good” as believers was preventing people from walking in a fully forgiven..no strings attached..life in Christ; that every time any of us focus on what we’re doing to “keep the faith” serves only to diminish what happened at the cross. Its like winning the lottery, then telling them that..because this kind of thing never happens to you–you’ll be happy with people knowing you won–they can keep the money.
What I was doing..forced those who participated to..for a moment..put down their own sense of “goodness”; to step out of that comfort zone..genuinely let go of what they thought was right..and allow God to make the change. Its SCARY for most; many more said it couldn’t be God. I even got called a witch a few times. That was..interesting.
People..have this..almost fatal need..to have something to do with what God is doing–at LEAST (and this is where Josh Tongol comes in)..pull God’s name in it enough so we know they know where it came from. I’ve yet to see anyone..escape this. Its HARD.
And..its foreign..to change the focus on what you think God wants you to be doing..morally or otherwise..to what he’s doing..and nothing else. We ALL have a terminal case of “here, let me help”.
This is..a glimpse (of the few glimpses I have)..of what I think..is coming. In the past..those who performed miracles were special people. They had ministries that had to be funded..that relied on their presence and basically..turned them all into celebrities. Believe it or not..Benny Hinn does have it, but he got it..the same way you learned how to ride a bicycle–and now he’s arrogant..because he doesn’t have to be anything special..to make it happen. It really is..I don’t want to say “skill”…but in a big way–it is.
The more you’re able to live in a state of nothing but grace..the more you’re going to see..and the less you’re going to have to think about it. It will just..happen–even if you’re not..really paying attention.
Thats where we’re going. A place where miracles are as common as dirt–all different kinds. Josh Tongol..takes an approach that clearly shows some of his background. Mine–shows mine. There’s a man I listen to..that has developed this..at least more than anyone I know of. He was raised old line Pentecostal–and it shows.
I think..Mr. Cohen..the little bit I’ve gotten to see so far..is just a very..very tiny bit..of what..one day..will be–all of us.
And thats why I say–Josh Tongol..is right.
Thank you for your time
Thank you for your reply and in-depth explanation. Regretfully, your explanation leaves us none the wiser about how we’re wrong about Tongol and what we should do about it. What you’ve written doesn’t effectively counter a single thing we’ve pointed out about Tongol and his false gospel.
I’ll start with a couple things you say where we’re in agreement. You write:
“I can tell you what I’ve learned..or..live with..or..whatever you would call this..and I’m glad to, but most important–no one misses anything. It really does all work out. I think its because..He’s God and..we’re not.”
God didn’t send His Son to atone for men’s sins in vain. We preach The Good News of God’s reconciling all men to Himself through Jesus Christ, “but each in his own order” (1 Corinthians 5:23 MKJV).
Then you talk about getting rid of all your religious teachings, putting it all away and starting over. God calls His people to come out of men’s religious works, in order to learn of Him:
“Therefore come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean thing. And I will receive you and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18 MKJV).
When we come out of religion, everything is new and up for review. We don’t, however, throw the baby out with the bathwater. Jesus Christ is Lord, Who died for us and rose from the dead the third day, ascending forty days later, afterwards sending His Spirit at Pentecost to raise up His Body to live and rule with Him, the Sovereign Head over all.
At this point you begin to deviate:
“After I got it out of my system..I started to look at the Bible again, only this time (and this is just my way; how my brain works..based on experiences I’ve had in the past) did it MY way.”
While your way appeared to work better for you than other men’s ways, it still is your way, not God’s Way.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV).
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of it is the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25 MKJV).
For example, you say:
“From years of trying to help people..I learned that much of the trouble they had was actually based on some combination of guilt..fear..and shame, topped off eventually with a healthy dose of anger.”
The things you list can be very troubling and destructive, but the only sure fix for all of man’s problems is repentance from sin and restoration by Christ’s Spirit through faith and obedience in the taking up of the cross. Those elements are missing from your practical philosophy and from Tongol’s false gospel.
Continuing in the description of your approach to ministering to others:
“Basically, what i did was put together a visual picture..to provide something to relate to that would suspend the guilt, fear..any of those things they were carrying around–long enough to essentially..walk in grace just long enough..to kill the problem. I must’ve done this..at least a hundred times for people..for various things, and each time..they got well. Not now and then; not a percentage but..every single time.”
Visualization can be very effective. And no doubt many people have been messed up by religion and false teachings of all kinds (extensively covered on our site, coming from, and along with, the Answer). But lasting freedom and true life are given only if the false beliefs that bring unwarranted shame and fear are replaced with faith in Christ. Visualization, as a work of the mind and flesh, will only free people from one set of beliefs to do their own thing with another set of beliefs, which is building on sand and not the One True Foundation. You’re deceived by intermediate results that appear promising:
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of it is the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25 MKJV).
“And everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them shall be compared to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the wind blew and beat on that house. And it fell, and great was its fall” (Matthew 7:26-27 MKJV).
The house was built… on sand. That can look very promising, and the builders will find shelter for a time. The rains may not come right away, but they will come.
Because the work of building is done in Christ’s Name (it appears that’s what you’re implying about your work), doesn’t mean He is behind you or the works.
“And then if anyone shall say to you, ‘Lo, here is Christ!’ Or, ‘Lo, there!’ Do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will give miraculous signs and wonders in order to seduce, if possible, even the elect” (Mark 13:21-22 MKJV).
Yes, even miraculous signs and wonders can follow you, as you describe.
“As time went by..I came to understand that..even though I might be able to come up with some fancy technical terms to explain it away–what I couldn’t explain was..it really did come down to one thing–that attempts to be ‘good’ as believers was preventing people from walking in a fully forgiven..no strings attached..life in Christ; that every time any of us focus on what we’re doing to ‘keep the faith’ serves only to diminish what happened at the cross.”
While we have no righteousness of our own, as believers receiving forgiveness by the grace of God in Christ, we’re called to “keep the faith” by sinning no more. This isn’t according to man’s thinking, but according to God’s:
“And standing up and seeing no one but the woman, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more’” (John 8:10-11 EMTV).
“And He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ And those reclining with Him began to say within themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ And He said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you, go in peace’” (Luke 7:48-50 MKJV).
But those who are “believers” without faith, who’ve tried to be “good” without repentance or faith, find themselves continually creating more problems because their hearts aren’t right with God and they have no means to progress without His faith. In trying to help such people, all you’re doing is removing the burden of their consciences without supplying them with the Answer – true faith in Jesus Christ. You’re performing psychological sleight of hand that appears to work, but only for a time, because it’s built on superficial sand and not the Rock of Reality.
You may think we’re being legalistic, bound by the letter. We’re called that by many who preach the false gospel of iniquity (lawlessness). But we’re not preaching the Law as Savior – we’re preaching lawfulness to the lawless, as prescribed by the apostle Paul:
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.
Here’s further description of your technique:
“What I was doing..forced those who participated to..for a moment..put down their own sense of ‘goodness’; to step out of that comfort zone..genuinely let go of what they thought was right..and allow God to make the change.”
Again, you’re describing a psychological parlor trick. True repentance and faith don’t come by manipulative techniques that require shutting down normal defenses for a moment, but by the Word of God (not the letter, but the Spirit) and a complete change of heart.
At this point you bring in Tongol:
“People..have this..almost fatal need..to have something to do with what God is doing–at LEAST (and this is where Josh Tongol comes in)..pull God’s name in it enough so we know they know where it came from. I’ve yet to see anyone..escape this. Its HARD. And..its foreign..to change the focus on what you think God wants you to be doing..morally or otherwise..to what he’s doing..and nothing else. We ALL have a terminal case of ‘here, let me help’.”
You’re talking about men’s works.
Matthew 7:21-23 MKJV
(21) Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord! Lord!” shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven.
(22) Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your Name, and through Your Name throw out demons, and through Your Name do many wonderful works?”
(23) And then I will say to them, “I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!”
Because many are religious and legalistic in the false works of men, doesn’t mean there isn’t such as thing as walking in the true righteousness of faith that confesses Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:6). You and Tongol rightly reject “circumcision” as the way to God, but wrongly conclude “uncircumcision” is the right way instead.
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any strength, but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6 MKJV).
Galatians 6:12-16 MKJV
(12) As many as desire to look well in the flesh, these compel you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
(13) For they themselves, having been circumcised, do not even keep the Law, but they desire you to be circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh.
(14) But may it never be for me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.
(15) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision has any strength, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
(16) And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them and upon the Israel of God.
If you think that you or those you help have taken up the cross, then you’re deluded, Charlotte, because what you describe is another gospel – Tongol’s gospel – which is alien to the Lord Jesus Christ. You have a perverted view of Christ’s ways and power, attributing to Him the works of false prophets:
“In the past..those who performed miracles were special people. They had ministries that had to be funded..that relied on their presence and basically..turned them all into celebrities. Believe it or not..Benny Hinn does have it, but he got it..the same way you learned how to ride a bicycle–and now he’s arrogant..because he doesn’t have to be anything special..to make it happen. It really is..I don’t want to say ‘skill’…but in a big way–it is. The more you’re able to live in a state of nothing but grace..the more you’re going to see..and the less you’re going to have to think about it. It will just..happen–even if you’re not..really paying attention.”
Benny Hinn may “have it” inasmuch as he practices the same technique you have discovered, but he has never had the Lord. Hinn has never experienced repentance or the faith of God. Never. Most of his supposed miracles, if not all, are fakes, just as it was with his mentor, Kathryn Kuhlman.
Apparently, Charlotte, you have never experienced an authentic conversion, either. You are familiar with false Christianity, but you’ve never known the True. The difference between the two was spoken of by the apostle John, who testified of Christ:
John 1:9-13 MKJV
(9) He was the true Light; He enlightens every man coming into the world.
(10) He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, and the world did not know Him.
(11) He came to His own, and His own received Him not.
(12) But as many as received Him, He gave to them authority to become the children of God, to those who believe on His Name,
(13) who were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but were born of God.
Those who are born of God have everything you’re talking about in a true walk of grace in faith, and so much more you don’t know about or understand. As Jesus said of those born of Him:
John 3:5-8 ESV
(5) Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
(6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
(7) Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
(8) The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
As long as you think you have it all down pat, however, there’s nothing anyone will be able to tell you. As Jesus also said:
“Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, “We see.” Therefore your sin remains’” (John 9:41 MKJV).
At the end you again say something true, mixed with deadly error:
“Thats where we’re going. A place where miracles are as common as dirt–all different kinds. Josh Tongol..takes an approach that clearly shows some of his background. Mine–shows mine. There’s a man I listen to..that has developed this..at least more than anyone I know of. He was raised old line Pentecostal–and it shows.”
No doubt the Kingdom of God will fill the whole earth, as He has promised. But it won’t come by the approach of men, whether yours or Tongol’s or the old-line Pentecostal’s to whom you listen (who is that?). The Kingdom of God will only come by the Lord Jesus Christ, Whom we preach and proclaim as Sovereign over all, without a whiff of taint from the works of men.
“Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal: ‘The Lord knew those who are His.’ And, ‘Let everyone who names the Name of Christ depart from iniquity!’” (2 Timothy 2:19 MKJV)
Charlotte only had this to say in response:
I Cor 5:23 doesn’t exist.
You’re right, Charlotte! I accidentally left out the 1 before the 5 – that should have been 1 Corinthians 15:23. I quote the Scripture here with some surrounding verses, which help accentuate the points being made in my letter:
1 Corinthians 15:21-26 ESV
(21) For as by a man came death, by a Man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
(22) For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
(23) But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ.
(24) Then comes the end, when He delivers the Kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
(25) For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
(26) The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Charlotte didn’t reply.
So are fulfilled the words of the Lord’s parable: “And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without having a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless” (Matthew 22:12 MKJV).
There is only one way into the City of God, the Garden of Eden, and that’s through the cross and flaming sword – death to self. Outside the City, all rule and power of man – even that which effects great things and appears so wonderful for a time – ends in ruin. But ruin isn’t the end; the Lord Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, is the end. He will mercifully put all enemies under His feet, so that God may be all in all. Praise the Lord!
Joshua Tongol is a hip young preacher with sincerity and enthusiasm for “superabounding grace,” which is, in reality, a false gospel that leaves out the crucial elements of faith and obedience through the cross. That’s where one finds the grace of God in Christ, not in our own hearts or ability to love, as Joshua teaches. He is putting his own name in lights, not glorifying the Light of all men.
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32 KJV).
Those who lift up themselves draw all men to themselves. So it goes with a baker’s dozen of Tongol’s personal endorsers, who are also false teachers, because they glorify man and the flesh that Christ came to crucify.
Joshua Tongol says he is no longer a Christian. He speaks of false Christianity, the kind he was raised with from birth. Now he peddles podcasts and writings as “A Fresh Voice for Modern-Day Spirituality,” sans the name of Christ. It’s all Tongol, just as it was before, only the delusional ruse of it being about the Lord Jesus Christ is over.