@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.
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.
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.
@Barbi_Martin Thank you for sharing your experience 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.
@Barbi_Martin So encouraged you want to grow deeper in your knowledge of God’s Word 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:
- Tim Keller (https://gospelinlife.com/free-sermon-resource/ )
- John Piper (https://www.desiringgod.org)
- Chip Ingram (https://livingontheedge.org)
- Matt Chandler (https://thevillagechurch.net )
- Andy Stanley (http://northpoint.org/messages/)
- Steve Gregg (http://thenarrowpath.com)
- John Stott - he has gone to be with the Lord, but you can still listen to his sermons by choosing his name from the sermons page (https://www.allsouls.org/Media/AllMedia.aspx)
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.
@AO77 Glad you’ve jumped in 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.
I totally disagree! Graham Cook is a % man of God( by people’s life story and testimony of Transformed changed life by Jesus is how we can tell who knows God and who only knows “Religion”
he’s not a religious preacher that preaches distorted gospels and lies to people as the world system got many out there lately! ( Beware) the path is narrow not wide- seek Jesus and his Holy Spirit of truth will give your own discernment about who is true and who is false - Avoid asking other people’s opinions and seek Jesus and the truth on your own, disregarding others opinions because there’s tons of blind people out there unable to understand the Gospel of truth , the true meaning of Christianity even pastors are like blind wolves bounded in sin and blind by the “god” of this world (satan)
Be blessed and wise
By seeking God’s wisdom - Never men’s knowledge not our own neither by peoples opinions!
@esh79 I am so thankful for any fruit that has been produced through Cook’s life I do not know him personally and would never condemn him. But I do have concerns about the content of his teaching because I think some of it is not Biblical. That does not mean God is not using him or that he is not walking with God.
Christ be with you friend
A couple of things in favor of Graham Cooke.
I first heard of him 20 years ago, or so, and he was already speaking at conferences back then. He has continued to have the ears of many Christians since then over the years. Not just normal Christians either, but strong, fiery, life-long warrior type Christians that I’ve been blessed enough to know.
Reading the criticisms of him listed here, I’m actually shocked that that’s the best the critics could do. Ha. I would have forgiven him of way more.
When you are in public that long, preaching that much about topics that are very often pretty far off the beaten path, you are bound to misspeak way more than these entries have indicated.
Yet, the critiques of Graham are mostly bulk-criticisms that can be applied to all Pentecostal/Charismatic believers. Ha.
How could you expect to learn how the gift of prophecy works from someone who doesn’t even really believe in it?
But, most people who practice or understand prophecy are very comfortable with Graham.
His gift is well-respected and he’s been operating in it publicly for a very long time.
He’s not telling people to give him their money or leave their spouse or anything weird like that.
He mostly teaches that God is extremely loving and doesn’t abandon us every time we make a mistake. Ha.
Scandalous, I know!
But, he does go deeper than most.
And, that will always make people uncomfortable.
Jesus made people EXTREMELY uncomfortable, regularly. And, all good teachers should make you feel uncomfortable sometimes. You wear flesh, and flesh hates the Truth.
But, it is worth it, if you want to know God more. So, don’t just write something off because it doesn’t sound like something Andy Stanley would say. Ha.
Chew on it. Work it. Try to understand what the teacher is really trying to get at. Don’t be like those Pharisees and teachers of the law who wrote Jesus off the minute he ‘violated the Sabbath,’ or proposed cannibalism.
If Jesus is the Truth, then the Truth is Infinite. There is always more to learn on literally every single subject pertaining to God. So, don’t be shy! Go get some!
And, of course, there are bad teachers out there. You do need to be discerning. You do need to weigh things against the Scripture.
But, you also need to understand that the Bible was not meant to be your only source of Truth. In fact, the whole purpose of the Bible was to reconnect you to God Himself.
Once that happens, you are supposed to have the Holy Spirit inside you as a Counselor, amongst other roles. His sheep hear His voice.
Communication and interaction with God was never meant to be such a rare and unprecedented thing. In fact, it’s in pretty much every book of the Bible except Esther.
The whole reason we were made was so He could be with us.
Anyway, sorry more of you haven’t heard of Graham. He’s def one of the good guys, if you’re comfortable with prophecy.
Also, one person mentioned a women’s group kind of focusing everything on his teachings in a scary way, but you can’t really blame him for that.
That’s just smart strategy by the enemy.
First, make people believe that God doesn’t speak to His people.
Next, if it ever becomes obvious that He does, set those people up as idols to be revered above Jesus.
Graham would never let that happen locally. But, there’s no way to control what some random women’s prayer meeting who got a hold of one of your books does.
Anyway, I know this is an old thread. Just thought these thoughts might benefit someone.
Hello @Felizcelestial! Welcome to Connect!
I am curious if you could provide more context, or perhaps a fuller explanation of the below thoughts.
Are you saying that the Bible is not the whole Truth and that there is knowledge God has that is withheld from us? And that we only obtain that knowledge through some other means?
Sure, I can clarify.
The Bible is the whole TRUTH, in that you do not need any extra information to fulfill your life’s purpose, which is to re-connect with God and join His family forever.
However, after re-connecting with God, there are things that the Bible will not tell you, that you are supposed to be getting through your relationship with Him.
Not doctrinal things. But, daily guidance sort of things.
For instance, I have a friend who runs a non-profit that helps struggling families get Christmas gifts for their families, who otherwise would not be able to afford them.
They match up givers with people in need and provide the givers with a list of gift requests from the family. Then, they encourage them to go shopping and pray about what to get the family, because there are inevitably tons of different options when your list just says ‘boys backpack, age 12.’
Invariably, year after year, there are stories that get told about the parents opening the boxes and weeping because the gifts that are coming in are exactly the ones that the parent had already told the child they could not afford, or they unexpectedly came in just the right color or style that was so far beyond coincidence that they were just left in awe of how much God not only cared for them, but knew them, right down to the most insignificant detail.
This sort of knowledge doesn’t come from the Bible. It comes from the counsel of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes the giver will have a story of wanting to get a particular gift, but for some strange reason, they get a different one, and that one gift turns out to be the one that blows the mind of the receiver.
Obviously, there are a million other ways that God guides us in our daily lives.
But, walking with Him is the whole goal.
That’s the whole point of the Scriptures.
We can memorize the whole Bible, but if God is not in our lives, we just wasted our time.
Like Paul had to go away for 14 years, presumably to unlearn everything He had been taught, before He was ready to really start his ministry.
Additionally, one of the primary ways Jesus taught was by using parables drawn from the world He had created.
This is another extra-biblical source that is absolutely chocked full of knowledge about God. Of course, you have to compare those lessons to the Scripture. Some aspects of the physical world don’t teach us about God, after all. Some aspects teach us about the enemy! Lol.
So, once again, doctrine and all necessary knowledge comes from the Bible, but guidance, and understanding, and sometimes just fun and interesting bits of education can and should be coming from other sources as well.
Hope that clarifies my stance for you!
As I’ve read all the pros and cons about Graham Cooke, I’ve come away with one main thought: Mr. Cooke seems to be a very controversial man. That, in itself, would keep me at arm’s length—not because he is necessarily wrong (or right), but I tend to shy away from such controversy. But being controversial doesn’t make him wrong. If anyone was controversial in His day, it was Christ. It means we have to go to the Source for our answer.
James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask of God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."
So, through all the discussion, if one still finds himself/herself unsure about Mr. Cooke, I suggest asking God, Himself.
Jesus, mainly speaking of Himself, said in John 7:18, “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.”
A couple of years ago I was in a senior Bible study at a liturgical church that I had been attending for over 20 years. This church is very evangelical. When Billy Graham passed away, I was shocked to find out that there were some people in the class who did not care for or like Billy Graham!!! I was stunned. If ever there was one who shunned public approval in favor of preaching the truth of Christ, or who avoided controversy, it was Billy Graham. So, how could these people not like him? I think a lot of times biases come about because of crossing denominational and doctrinal lines.
I have heard well-known and respected Bible teachers on the radio condemning other denominations for their beliefs. I happen to have been raised in one of those denominations and was grounded in my faith because of that denomination. So, we have to be very careful about criticizing others when it comes to cross denominational beliefs. Again, that is why we must seek God directly when we are confused. He promises to answer.
Interestingly, in Acts 21, Paul was given definite prophecies regarding his not going to Jerusalem. Were they right or wrong? They were right. Yet, Paul was given clear instruction to go to Jerusalem, and then on to Rome, as seen in Acts 23:11. Although those that wanted to prevent Paul from going to Jerusalem were correct in their warnings, they only confirmed what Paul already knew from the Lord that he should go.
1 John 4 tells us to test the spirits, whether they are true or false. It also tells us that any spirit that acknowledges Jesus was incarnate is from God. If you know that Christ dwells in you, that same passage tells us that you are able to discern truth from falsehood.
Another point that was mentioned to Connor @Connor_Nickels by her friend is that Jesus never changes, so why couldn’t He speak to Mr. Cooke the same as He did with the apostles. We have to be careful, again, and not take these verses out of context. When you look more closely at them, they are referring to God’s character and divine, eternal nature, very seldom about the ways or methods He uses. Take a look at some of these verses in this link https://everydayservant.com/top-13-bible-verses-god-never-changes/
I don’t know Graham Cooke and never heard of him until now. Sean @SeanO has made some very convincing points. Dave @DaveP has made his strong points. So many others have included their views. Take them to the Lord, as James 1:5 instructs.
I’m more of this mindset. Of course most of us have encountered abuse and recklessness in regard to “hearing from God” or the prophetic, but the notion that it is impossible to hear from God personally unless it’s in the exact words of scripture, isn’t biblical right? Doesn’t Jesus tell us that The Holy Spirit will tell us of things to come? And Doesn’t Paul tell us to “not treat prophecies with contempt” but rather “test them”?
Scripture is God’s inerrant word to us, and prophecy is to be tested. The Holy Spirit illuminates scripture for us, and this often includes helping us to connect with The Word personally, so where is the line drawn between this and revelation?
Can’t The Holy Spirit possibly explain a portion of scripture to us via insight we would deem prophetic?
When I feel lead to share something I feel God has shown me for someone, I expect, and repeatedly encourage them, to test what I’ve said. It doesn’t “hurt my pride” and I am fully aware that I’m not authoritative.
Discernment is so utterly essential.
Also, anyone who feels prideful in regard to “hearing from God” in my opinion, likely doesn’t have prophecy as a gift. I am mostly, if not always, reluctant to share - and only do when I feel certain that God wants me to.
Also, my “prophecy” is always edification and encouragement in God’s love. I’ve personally never been given a word about someone’s future to tell them or been given a command for them to obey - and while I believe that these things are possible too, I think that they require an incredibly mature believer with great discernment, and shouldn’t be pursued for their own sake.
Prophecy must be approached with great care and handled exactly the way scripture tells us to. It isn’t something we should throw out simply because it’s so easily abused.
Very, very well-written!! Thank you!!
Hi Dave P, I’m just seeing this post and had to comment. I don’t have any input on GRaham Cooke but I too come from a very legalistic, pharisaical (?) background. When I finally changed churches, I struggled with fear and condemnation- have I been deceived and by whom, the old pastor or the new one? I obsessed over this for some time. I found my way through by continually going to Jesus’ teachings, rather than mans. My yearning to know Him personally brought great healing. Matt 22.37-40 was a fav verse as well as Paul’s teachings on grace vs works. It was a daily seeking and the renewing of my mind didn’t happen overnight. I remember It seemed about 2 years after the church change, I one day realized I was no longer walking in guilt and fear of condemnation- (not the same as conviction and fear of God). I quickly became Aware of the temptation to allow the pendulum to swing to a “grace only” mentality. This is why daily time in the Word and asking for the mind of Christ to apply the Word is so important- relationship, relationship, relationship! This is what I’ve longed for and found. I would also like to comment briefly on prophecy, healing, and miracles,—which I have seen- whenever we focus on the gifts over the giver of the gift, we completely miss Gods purpose and turn the gifts into something shallow and meaningless. Don’t regret your past struggles and wandering, use them for Gods glory! Be Blessed