What do you think of Graham Cooke? Is he biblically sound?

Well, let me try to add context around these snippets based neighboring content in several of his talks. (Scriptures are NIV)

when you’re in Christ everything is attracted to you

Graham pre-scripts his talks and frequently phrases this as “All of heaven is attracted to Jesus in you.”

The principle here is touched on in many places in the epistles, another way to state it is that Jesus has earned every blessing, and that we sit with him in heavenly places, and as co-heirs share in his favor and grace, and sufferings.

A few good examples:

1 Col 27-29: To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

Rev 5:12 In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

Ephesians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

Romans 8:14-17 " For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Hebrews 13:5 " Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Ephesians 5:29-32: After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

1 Cor 6:15-17 - Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

So, I’ve found this idea echoes throughout the NT…we are told by Jesus, Paul, Peter, to expect help from God. Not only through theology, but through His power to shape situations and circumstances. That the Holy Spirit is active with believers to achieve His will. Without this power from Him we can’t do His will or be what He wants us to be. (attempted to link verses here, but as I’m a new user I’m apparently limited/restricted)

never work on a negative though - just change it and work on a new one

To expand on this, the context he typically says this in is related to “thought life” – how access to higher thinking can help change our mindsets (and I agree can be self-help-y in its presentation). But still, rooted in scripture:

1 Cor 2:16 ““Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”

Mark 10:27 - "Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Ephesians 4:29 - Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

1 Like

@DaveP I appreciate your sincere desire to be rooted in the Word brother :slight_smile:

In my opinion, there is a significant difference between the Bible verses you mentioned and what Graham is actually saying. For example, the Bible does not say to focus on positive rather than negative thoughts. No, the Bible says to have the mind of Christ - well, if you’re living in sin that will result in a negative thought of judgment and a need for repentance. The prophets often said negative things about Israel when they were disobeying God - and those were Words straight from God’s Spirit! Even God Himself says things that are negative - like when He pronounces judgment on evil cities or when Jesus condemned the Pharisees - “You brood of vipers!” Wow! That’s not a happy thought! But it is a true one.

Also, Graham’s emphasis is on you - for example:

everything you need is attracted to Christ in you

Whoa, let’s slow down for a minute. Jesus said that in this world you will suffer, but to not be afraid because He has conquered the world. The Gospel is not about getting what you need through Jesus - it is about finding that Jesus is everything you need.

Perhaps Graham is doing his best to interpret the Bible - I am not passing judgment. But what he says and what the Bible teaches are not the same thing.

4 Likes

Hi Connor,

@Connor_Nickels I never heard of Graham Cooke but like @SeanO I visited his website/social media and read a lot of his material and listened to his teaching titled: The Beloved.

My conclusion: I would not buy or listen to any of his books or teachings.

Why? First let’s call to mind Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

So, the Word itself always has power, but the motivation of the teacher varies. Paul explains this in Philippians 1

15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 [c]The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

I’m sure many people like @DaveP have benefited from listening to and reading Mr. Cooke’s material. He quotes Scripture, so the listener/reader can look it up in the Bible or pray on it and God’s Word will speak to them.

But many people also benefit from listening to and reading Tony Robbins.

So although God’s Word is always true - Mr. Cooke’s is not. I’ll give just one example of his ‘feel good’ gospel.

BTW, he names his ministry: Brilliant Perspectives and he sells his teachings from his Brilliant Book House

Catchy title.

I always look for The Statement of Faith on a Church or on a Christian’s website. I found none. (Maybe it’s there someplace?)

My example of his teaching concerns prophecy - here’s the Brilliant Perspective on his prophecy resources:

PROPHECY

Resources that will help you discover and move in your prophetic gift providing foresight into the mind and heart of God.

Nowhere in the Bible does God say everyone is given the gift of prophecy. That is clearly a Biblical distortion.

Nor does the Bible say we need resources to help us discover and move in our prophetic gift - which will provide foresight into the mind and the heart of God.

That’s just one example, there are many more. I’m not judging the man, but he is not even close to standing on solid Christian ground. His teaching on Romans 12:2 is complete nonsense.

I still feel very leary about this Mr. Cooke. I feel that there is some subtle manipulation of Truth.

Trust your spirit, Connor.

But your friend said:

"I believe the Lord can say, “Write this…” He said that to many people in the Bible. And if he’s the same yesterday, today and forever, I don’t see why he couldn’t do that in our day.

Prophetic gifts and ministry are real. We’re imperfect and we might miss something but we can supernaturally experience God and his utterances, visions, impressions, etc. I would hold them in a critical eye if they contradicted the Word or God’s character"

The spiritual gift of prophesy does exist - but we know for sure that God can not lie (Titus 1:2) and God does not give new revelations to people just because we are “imperfect and might miss something.” A Scripture taken out of context is only a pretext.

Very few have been given the gift of prophesy today, but to the those people, their words will always line-up with The Word perfectly. Mr. Cooke’s words do not.

It’s time for your friend to employ “a critical eye.” God bless.

2 Likes

Thanks @SeanO - I sense you’re interested in protecting people from wrong interpretations of scripture to keep them safe. I think this is excellent.

I love the fact that Ravi’s salvation testimony involved a supernatural event. God did it before Ravi had any significant Christian theology. Ravi’s now one of the best apologists I’ve ever heard.

One of the difficulties in being protestant is our emphasis on Sola Scriptura. It puts incredible requirement on our interpretations to do 100% of the work for us. There are many ways to interpret verses. Excellent Bible teachers are like gold. But they are so rare!

As mentioned in the earlier post, for more than 15 years I stumbled around increasingly confused and increasingly condemned, the more I learned about Bible and church history. I wrestled every single day with heavy darkness, but have finally come out on the other side.

Looking back, I had conflated the Bible with God. That is, if it wasn’t in the Bible, then it wasn’t God. The Bible was God, or became a god apart from God…and what was true of the pharisees had become true for me, even though I was (trying to be) a Christian.

I’m curious, do you happen to know of anyone who had a history of being an entrenched legalist, who has found a way out and stayed out for the long haul? Can you share what their journey was like, or what helped them along the way?

Thanks!

(Forums are awful for communicating…tone and heart are hard to communicate. Happy to do a skype or something with you sometime.)

1 Like

@DaveP I agree that knowing the Bible is not enough - we need to know the God who gave it! Jesus made this point very powerfully in John chapter 5 when He was speaking to the Pharisees.

John 5:39-40 - You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

We should study Scripture to have an accurate understanding of God, but we also must have an active life of prayer and worship and the indwelling of God’s Spirit. The Spirit and the Word, like two rivers, must flow together in our hearts and lives.

You might enjoy Eric Metaxas’ study of the life of Martin Luther, the second most famous legalist after Paul the Apostle himself.

Distinguishing Emotions vs the Spirit

Even great men like Jonathan Edwards, who emphasized the importance of an emotional experience of God, recognized that people often wrongly equate a feeling with God. When people equate their feelings with God, it can easily lead to unwise actions or heresy.

I . . . know by experience that impressions being made with great power, and upon the minds of true saints, yea, eminent saints; and presently after, yea, in the midst of, extraordinary exercises of grace and sweet communion with God, and attended with texts of Scripture strongly impressed on the mind, are no sure signs of their being revelations from heaven: for I have known such impressions [to] fail, and prove vain. Jonathan Edwards

Born Again

Regarding overcoming legalism, I think the new birth in Christ is super important and Keller makes some great points regarding that birth in this sermon.

3 Likes

I’m not familiar with Mr. Cooke, but I do know that God makes Himself known to us. When the Holy Spirit draws near, there is no other feeling like it. The best passages in my novels are written when the Holy Spirit starts downloading. It is a fine line to walk at times, but we shouldn’t discount “signs and wonders.” We should use discernment to ensure they are not counterfeit experiences, but we shouldn’t discount them out of hand. I am not Pentecostal or charismatic, but I have seen miracles, extraordinary moments that caused people to weep and repent and drove the lost to the Word, to the Cross. No, not the huckster theatrics for money but the unexpected move of the Holy Spirit that changed lives. My faith is strong. I don’t need signs and wonders, but some do in this world, and He still gives us these moments. He still speaks to us if we would only listen and divorce ourselves from the noise of the world and hear Him as I did when He used that megaphone of pain C.S. Lewis wrote about to shout at me…“Can you hear Me now?”

2 Likes

@Merle I agree we should not discount the miraculous. I think my concern is that people are too quick to ascribe their emotions / thoughts to God. When Nabeel Qureshi was dying, dozens of people prophesied he would be healed - and he was not. They were all wrong, yet they all claimed to be hearing God’s voice. This is very concerning to me personally. In the Bible it is very serious to say you are hearing directly from God. And I think that sometimes when we emphasize the more miraculous gifts, we cause people to walk into error.

For me, the Spirit is all about pointing us to Jesus, bringing God’s Word to remembrance, empowering us to walk in victory over sin and filling us with joy, peace and love as we sing songs in our hearts to God. I think an emphasis on the more miraculous gifts can easily take the focus off of the Spirit’s main work in our lives.

I think we have to be grounded in the Word and filled with the Spirit. If we ignore the work of the Spirit, we are not abiding in Christ. If we ignore the study of the Word, we can easily be led astray by emotionalism or false doctrine.

If we look at Peter’s very clear outline of how we grow in our faith, it emphasizes both living out our faith in God through obedience to God and love for others as well as growing in knowledge / understanding. I think that this passage offers a very Biblical picture of what growth in our faith should look like - growth in love, self-control and knowledge of God. It is rooted in our trust in God, our obedience to Him and a study of His Word that leads us to grow in understanding / wisdom.

2 Peter 1:5-11 - For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind,forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[a] make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdomof our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

1 Like

Thanks @SeanO for the book reference - I’ll check it out! Tim Keller is great. I just listened to this, which is excellent. For purposes of another teaching on the same subject by Cooke, I’ll share this (~8m):

It may just be me, but there are significant parallels here. Cooke makes some suggestions near the end on how church ministry might help support the development of the “new birth”, and the role that prophecy can play in addition to scriptural teaching.

Now, I’m no prophet :-). But I’ve had a couple of times in my life where people have told me things that ended up coming to pass within a couple of years. If the prophecy is authentic (which I think we’d both agree everyone needs to be very careful about), would you agree that it’s desireable…? (e.g. when Paul says “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.”)

2 Likes

@DaveP I believe that Biblical, relevant, Spirit filled teaching is very desirable and it is my belief that the word ‘prophecy’ in 1 Cor 14:1 is referring to such teaching rather than to prophetic utterances. My basis for that belief is that Paul contrasts it with tongues, which are not comprehensible to others, and suggests that it always builds up and strengthens the Church. What is the foundation of the Church? The Gospel. Paul, as a master builder, laid the foundation of the Churches he planted as the Gospel.

Also, later on in the chapter Paul says that prophesy convicts of sin and brings people under judgment - unbelievers in fact. What does that? The Gospel.

1 Cor 14:24-25 - But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, 25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare.

I think a Biblical example of the gift of prophecy mentioned in 1 Cor 14:1 would be Peter’s sermon in Acts 2. Peter preached the Gospel and the people were brought under conviction of sin and judgment - exactly what 1 Cor 14 says happens when people prophesy.

Acts 2:37 - When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

If people do believe in a modern equivalent of prophetic utterances (prophetic word), then I agree with the injunction given in Thessalonians:

“Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything careful­ly; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:19-21)

Regarding the work of God’s Spirit, I think this sermon by Tim Keller did a good job of explaining it. The Spirit makes our heart sensitive to the truth and when the truth of God’s Word and the Spirit work upon our heart together we are made new and our affections (heart) are (is) transformed.

1 Like

Hi Sean,

@SeanO Just as a point of clarification - are you saying Paul the Apostle was the the second most famous legalist - or Saul the Pharisee - or both? Thanks

1 Like

@TomH I was attempting to say that Saul of Tarsus was the most famous legalist in history, who kept the letter of the law before finding grace in Jesus Christ. Martin Luther would be the second most famous in protestant circles I would imagine.

@SeanO :smile: Thanks

1 Like

Hi all. Just came across this and had to chime in - this has been an excellent discussion.

I’ve benefitted a great deal from Graham Cooke’s teaching, and have heard him speak live on a couple of occasions. I can vouch for his character as a dynamic man of God whose teaching meets the biggest tests of all: he always points to Jesus as the only way to God, and he always points to scripture as the true and complete word of God. He does not ever add to or take away from the Word or the Gospel of Jesus’ finished work of the cross.

I think the verbiage Cooke uses (“have another thought”; “Brilliant perspectives”, etc) could certainly sound like things to be cautious of if not for one thing: Graham’s passion is to know and live out 1 Cor. 2:16, to have the mind of Christ, and this is evident in everything he teaches. He wants to know the real Jesus, and he wants others to know Him, too. Jesus was, and is, brilliant, after all. Jesus knew scripture, and used it to point back to the Father and Jesus’ own role in the Father’s plan, to teach and guide within the new (at that time) paradigm of the work He would do on the cross. He physically healed people, spoke into their lives in ways that only they and God could know in order to call them to salvation - He gave them a new way of thinking, ultimately a new Covenant with God. John 10:7-10…Salvation is only the reward - we have much exciting work to do, and an enemy to contend with, until we go to that reward, and who better to emulate to that end than the Savior himself? That’s where Cooke goes with his teaching.

I would encourage anyone who is wondering about Cooke to spend a little time listening to and/or reading his work with a spiritual peer or mentor you trust, then breaking it down together. If you feel his style or the vein of his material isn’t where God is guiding you at the moment, that’s fine - He speaks to each of us differently, through different avenues and teachers, and with a purpose that is specific to our lives and callings. But his love of Jesus and passion for leading people to Him are unquestionable, and I think you’ll find evidence of that in his Kingdom work. Please, check him out.

1 Like

I have been involved for many years with a worldwide ministry to women. It has been wonderful. However, in recent years Graham Cooke has become involved in it and they rely heavily on every word that proceeds from his mouth. I have seen mature Christian women almost idolizing him. It is very frightening to watch this happening.

I was taking a course he had written. There were so many places in the book that showed obvious flaws. I red lettered those places and made some derogatory remarks - just in my own book. I obviously could not give my book to anyone else, and I ended up throwing it out. “Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.” There is also a saying, “You cannot take a spoon of sugar with a spoon of poison and expect the sugar to save you.”

Therefore, I have sadly left this organization that does so much good around the world, but I can see it taking a strange turn. I do NOT recommend Graham Cooke at all. I feel that God was taking me out of this and I am grateful to him for showing me and giving me discernment. I wish I could back up my statements with his written statements, but as I said, I threw the book out. I have been at meetings where the speaker would say, Graham Cooke said this, and Graham Cooke said that. I wondered why we were hanging on to every word that proceeded from his mouth. Why don’t you tell me what Jesus said, or share your thoughts or teaching? I believe it is a part of the end time deception. One thing I remember him saying was that there are no tears in heaven. I thought about how Jesus must be crying over a lost world. It is like the Word/Faith movement. You just pretend and it will be. He actually said that the Book of Acts is named that way “because that is what they were doing - acting.” I am sorry, but I cannot follow this man’s teachings.

Consider Joel Osteen. He may say many good things, but that does not mean we should follow him. I put Graham Cooke in this same category. Don’t take a spoonful of sugar with the slightly deceptive poison. I loved this women’s ministry and have been a part of it for many years in many states. However, I am seeing a change in it. They are following this man in an unhealthy way.

2 Likes

@Barbi_Martin Thank you for sharing your experience :slight_smile: I am sorry to hear that an unhealthy emphasis was placed on one individual’s teaching and pray that Christ would lead you to a place where you could serve in the context of solid teaching.

While his teaching does strike me as a bit fuzzy and in that sense unhelpful, I did want to point out that he may have been referring to this verse from Revelation regarding no more tears in the New Creation:

Rev 21:4 - He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

He was not referring to Rev 21:4. I do understand that passage, but he was speaking of Kingdom Dominion and how we can have it right now because that is what heaven is like, right now.

The good thing God did use this for was to bring me to a deeper hunger for truth and desiring to go back to the gospel. Desiring to hear solid preaching. When I was saved in the 70’s I got into the Word/Faith movement. Now I want to hear about holiness and repentance. I do hope that I can know the truth of the Bible and not be led astray. I just want to dig deeper into God’s Word. Sometimes I tell God I want to know Him more. He always answers, “Read My Word.” So simple, and yet sometimes we want to make it harder.

God bless you and thank you for responding.


Virus-free. www.avg.com

2 Likes

@Barbi_Martin So encouraged you want to grow deeper in your knowledge of God’s Word :slight_smile: You might find the following thread helpful. Christ be with you.

I would same some good teachers to listen, none of whom I agree with on every point of doctrine, are:

1 Like

Hey Connor! I was looking up this man again because I had similar interest after I found a quote I liked by him that I wanted to share.

As far as what you said, I think your friend has a point. With that said, anything God would impress upon someone’s heart that truly comes from the Spirit would never, ever contradict the written Word of God. False prophets arise when it does.

As in the case of Joseph Smith, who did come out of Christianity, he received and claimed “special revelation”
which totally contradicted what Churches have taught since Jesus. He claimed God told him “all the denominations were wrong. But Methodists were closest.” Drugs are a scary thing…

I think Christians today need the “backbone” of a Baptist Biblically with the freedom to soar and fire of a Pentecostal. I think that is what it looks like to be healthy, if I were to try to describe it sort of speak.

Sean mentioned the Gospel Coalition’s article about marks of false teachers. The thing with that, first off, is that the Gospel Coalition is solid in many ways, but let me point out that they’ve run into their own issues come the Southern Baptist cover-up with some pastors. No denomination is free from its stuff. While some on the more “reformed/Calvinist” camps assign themselves as “watchmen on the wall” for God, quick to point out “heresy” and “false teachers,” it has become so rampant that it easily becomes toxic and then you begin pointing out “heretics” that aren’t heretics. If someone is truly a watchman on the wall, they ought to have God’s HEART before they have HIS EYES. Right?

As for “false teachers” everywhere, I think people are far too quick to call someone a “heretic” for bad reasons. I’d be very slow to do that for a number of reasons. First off, do you know their motives and heart? Second, you will answer for your words, as we are accountable for them. Choice wisely.
Third, it seems much of what Bible teachers such as John MacArthur and some others disagree with are those in the Pentecostal camp who believe in continuation. Let me tell you, miracles, signs and wonders are for today!

I know the video you are talking about with regards to Nabeel. Loved it!! 'Cus I was curious what he would think of Bethel as well. I think you can be open, but cautious, which is the position I’ve taken.
Use discernment. But I do think it’s good to embrace prophecy. Paul said it in Corinthians!

As for Mr. Graham, I’d have to do more research, honestly! What happened since your initial interest? I realize this thread is “older” now. Lol.

Check out this article:

I just realized it comes from gospel coalition. Look at that!!

I hear your heart here, man. I do think it’s “His ability” though we grow in to discern these things, not ours. As a branch cannot bear fruit apart from the Vine, we can do nothing apart from our Dear Lord.

1 Like

@AO77 Glad you’ve jumped in :slight_smile: It’s interesting you brought up Nabeel Qureshi in the context of this conversation. I followed his entire Vlog and remember when he became very interested in Bethel. At one point, William Lane Craig actually went and met with him and, from what Nabeel said, offered some gentle warnings against assuming healing was God’s will. Many people prophesied Nabeel would be healed and he was not. I think Nabeel actually serves as a warning against the damage that can be done when we give people false expectations in regard to the miraculous gifts.

That said, I agree with you that God can still do miracles! In my own family people have been healed, though certainly many have not as well.

Regarding discernment, I think that learning to tell truth from error requires the presence of the Spirit in our lives, wisdom gained from godly mentors, years spent seeking to walk in obedience to God’s commands and just plain old life experience.