Message of the Cross

By Mark Swarbrick

Jimmy Swaggart claims to have been given a new revelation from God. He says that the church today has fallen away from the true gospel and that he has been appointed by God to restore it. He claims that the Apostle Paul’s understanding of basic Christian doctrine regarding the cross was limited. He further claims that at the time that Paul was writing the book of Romans that none of the apostles understood the cross. By extension, this statement would imply that the New Testament would be insufficient, since it was written by apostles that did not have the same enlightenment that Swaggart claims to have.

Following are some quotes of Swaggart to evidence that he has indeed made these claims. (Note: Swaggart makes use of strange capitalization, using caps on “cross” or any term he believes to be divine or sacred. He is quoted with capitalization as he uses it.)

In his book, Brother Swaggart, Here is My Question About the Cross, Swaggart says, “Considering that this message is new to the church…” This statement leaves no question that Swaggart is claiming that he has a NEW revelation from God.

In his The Evangelist magazine, January 2004, From Me to You section, Swaggart writes the following:

“This Ministry is of God. Accordingly, we have a mandate from the Lord. That mandate is World Evangelism and, as well, the proclamation of the True Gospel, the ‘Message of the Cross.’ In other words, the Church must be brought back to the Cross. The Lord has mandated this ministry to help carry this out. In fact, that’s at least one of the reasons that the Lord gave me this great Revelation of the Cross in 1997.”

“The tragedy is almost all Christians think they know all about the Cross. The truth is this generation of Christians knows almost nothing about the Cross, especially about the Cross as it regards their Sanctification. These Christians can be set free only by the ‘Cross’ being preached to them.”

“If one doesn’t preach the Cross, which means that one doesn’t believe the Cross, then one is not preaching and believing the Gospel; the Gospel is the Cross!”  — The Evangelist November 2004, Article, But If Not.

Note that Swaggart equates his revelation of the “Message of the Cross” with the gospel. He says that his revelation IS the gospel. We see from the above quotes that Swaggart believes that the Church has fallen away from what he calls the “True Gospel,” and that he himself has been given this true gospel by divine revelation from God and that he has been sent as an apostle with the commission of evangelizing the Church to come around to his way of thinking.

Swaggart seems to feel that he owns a patent on the gospel, for he ardently attacks other ministries or Christian books, for example:

“First of all, any suggested way of victory other than the Cross of Christ, such as the Purpose Driven Life… all of this constitutes ‘heresies,’ in which the modern Church abounds.” — http://www.jsm.org/message-cross.html

What he is saying is that anyone that does not preach the Swaggart Message of the Cross is a heretic.

More Light Than Anyone

Now take note what Swaggart says about the Apostle Paul:

“He (Paul) failed to obey no matter how hard he tried…the Apostle Paul couldn’t live for God…Paul thought, now that he had accepted Christ, by that mere fact alone he could certainly obey the Lord in every respect; but he found he couldn’t…he failed…having just been Saved, and not understanding the Cross of Christ, he tried to live for God by keeping the Commandments through his own strength and power; in his defense, no one else at that time understood the Cross…sin in his life which he doesn’t want to do, and in fact hates, but finds himself unable to stop; unfortunately, due to the fact of not understanding the Cross…” — The Expositor’s Study Bible, Commentary on Romans Chapter 7

That quote is proof that Swaggart teaches that the Apostle Paul, lived a defeated sinful life and did not understand the gospel or the cross, at least when he wrote the book of Romans, which was written ten years after Paul began planting churches. Note also that he says, “no one else at that time understood the Cross.” Now remember that Swaggart says, “The Gospel is the Cross.” In other words, according to Swaggart, the Apostle Paul did not understand the gospel. Thus it follows logically that if Paul and the other apostles did not understand the gospel at this late date, then the New Testament is flawed, for its writers did not know what they were talking about as they wrote it. The conclusion can be drawn that Swaggart’s teaching undermines and attacks the integrity and sufficiency of Holy Scripture, the very foundation of Christianity.

Speaking of what he calls his “Great Revelation,” Swaggart says, “That which the Lord gave me, which I believe sheds more light on that which was originally given to Paul…” (The Evangelist, From Me to You, December 2004)

Here Swaggart confesses that he has “more light.” The question arises, more light than who? More than Paul? The next quote answers that question:

“But I honestly think, in His explaining this Revelation to me, that He gave me more light than the Church has previously known…” — http://www.francesandfriends.com/message-cross/

So there you have it. Yes, more light than Paul, but also more light than any of the apostles, more light than any theologian in church history, more light than what the Bible gives, more light than any other Christian has ever had, more light than the church has ever known.

The Cult of Swaggartism

So putting it all together, Jimmy Swaggart teaches that the Bible is deficient, the apostles were ignorant of the gospel, and the church today is in error, mired in heresy, but that he, Jimmy Swaggart, the end-time apostle, has been given a new revelation from God that will finally bring the Church into light and truth, liberating all Christians to finally live victoriously over sin. That is a prescription for a cult.

All cults have an extra-biblical source of authority. Mormons have their Book of Mormon and their prophets. Jehovah Witnesses have their publishing house, which they hold to be an inerrant prophet. Christian Science has Mary Baker Eddy and her Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as their Bible.

As per orthodox historical Christianity, God does not give new doctrinal revelations. There are no legitimate new revelations from God. The Bible is the final word. (See article, How to Recognize a False Prophet on this site for more on that point.)

Here is the definition of revelation. “Something not before known that was previously secret; to make known, to reveal a secret; a dramatic disclosure of something not previously known or realized.” Any revelation then is something new, something not in the Bible. So if a person claims to have a revelation from God, then by definition, he is claiming to have something not already revealed in scripture. Swaggart claims his revelation is new, as we have already seen. Consequently, Swaggart is claiming an extra-biblical revelation, which by its very nature then is heretical. Strike one.

Furthermore, Swaggart’s Bible has Swaggart’s words in the context of scripture with his words in red and the Swaggart’s quote from his commentary as though it were scripture. Many feel this has cultic overtones.

Secondly, Swaggart denigrates the Word of God, another thing that all cults do. Mormons say the Bible has been corrupted. Jehovah’s Witnesses wrote their own perverted translation, claiming all others are inaccurate. Swaggart, by impugning the apostles, has impugned the Holy Bible, just like other cults. Strike two.

Thirdly, Swaggart has attacked the church, calling it evil, of the devil, and in heresy, the same as all cults do. (See article on this site, The Swaggart Bible, for an in-depth analysis of Swaggart’s hate for the Church.) While verbally attacking the Church for whom Christ died, Swaggart holds his own organization up as salvation for the world. He says that his revelation is the gospel, that the Church has lost the gospel; thus his gospel, by his own admission, is “another gospel” from that which the Church teaches. This also is a mark of cultism, as all the cults do this as well. Strike three. Swaggartism is a cult.

Another Gospel

Swaggart says his new revelation of the “Message of the Cross” is the Gospel and that the writers of scripture did not understand the Gospel completely. He says the Church does not have the Gospel. He says that the Apostle Paul did not understand the gospel. Let’s see what Paul says. The Apostle Paul has strong words for anyone bringing another Gospel:

For if one comes and preaches…a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles. But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things. (2 Corinthians 11:4-6)

Paul says he is not inferior, that he has knowledge. Swaggart comes with a different gospel and says his knowledge is superior. Who will you believe? The Apostle Paul or Jimmy Swaggart?

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!  As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Galatians 1:6-9)

The fact is, Swaggart comes skilled in speech whereby he deceives many, but his wisdom is not from God. The Apostle Paul comes without skilled speech, but he comes with knowledge from God. Who shall we follow? A slick talker, or one commissioned and sent by the Lord Jesus Christ?

The Church is Lost

We have already mentioned this but it bears pointing out that Swaggart’s Message of the Cross included as a main tenet that the church is lost in error. To wit –

“The great sin of the modern church is its ignorance of the Cross.” The Expositor’s Study Bible, Commentary on Leviticus 5:17.

So to accept Swaggart’s new revelation, you have to swallow the idea that the Church is in apostasy. As we go forward bear this in mind: Integral to Swaggart’s message of the cross is the idea that the Church is in error. Not just the church now, but apparently even the New Testament Church was in error, since the apostles as they wrote scripture had knowledge that was inferior to Swaggart’s revelation.

The Cross Alone is to be the Object of our Faith

Swaggart says, “The Cross must ever be the object of our Faith…” http://www.jsm.org/message-cross.html. And again, “It is the Cross alone which can bring about this Work of the Spirit. The Believer is to ever make the Cross the object of his Faith…” The Evangelist February 2004, On the Dark Side of the Desert. This is the heart of Swaggart’s message, that the cross must be the central focus of all of our faith.

The problem with that teaching is that such a doctrine is found nowhere in the Bible. There is not one scripture in the entire Bible that says to make the cross alone the object of our faith. Swaggart does not even claim the Bible says that. He claims he got this as a new revelation direct from God. Not only is the Swaggart teaching not in the Bible, there is teaching in the Bible that directly contradicts what Swaggart says.

Swaggart says the cross is the foundation, the cross is the beginning and the end, nothing before, nothing after and that we are to put our faith in the cross alone. But what does the Bible say? The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the foundation, that Jesus Christ is the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End and that Jesus Christ is to be the primary object of our faith:

“And no one can ever lay any other real foundation than that one we already have—Jesus Christ.” (1 Co 3:11)

And again here – you have everything when you have Christ” (Col 2:10)

“He is the stone which…became the chief corner stone.” (Acts 4:11)

The Bible teaches repeatedly that Jesus Christ is the cornerstone and foundation of our faith, not his actions, not what He did on the cross, but Him!  He is the cornerstone. The Bible teaches repeatedly that we are to have faith in Christ:

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:26)

As a point of fact, the phrase “faith in Christ” appears seven times in the Bible, “Faith in Jesus,” four times, “faith in His Name,” one time, “name of Jesus” twelve times. And how many times does the Bible say, “faith in the cross?” None. Not one single time. Swaggart’s teaching is not Biblical.

Jesus Christ is Everything

All Christian faith naturally arises from the core, the foundation, that is, from our Lord Jesus Christ. Let me explain. Christians should have confidence or faith in the Bible. What is the most fundamental reason we can have faith in scripture? Because Jesus Christ showed faith in scripture. He relied upon it when disputing with the devil. He used it continually when arguing with the Pharisees. Because Jesus trusted the scripture, and because we trust Jesus, we feel confident to follow his example and do the same. So you see, when we have faith in Christ we are given faith in the Bible.

But what if you do not have faith in Jesus. It would be harder to trust in the Bible. But when you have faith in Jesus, then you get faith in the Bible. But the faith in the Bible without Jesus, is empty. Will the Bible save you? No. Hear the words of Jesus:

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. (John 5:39-40)

So you see that even though faith in the Bible is important and proper, it does not trump faith in Christ, for without Christ, faith in the Bible is empty and powerless. Always put faith in Christ first and foremost, then you will never get the cart before the horse. As it is written,

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception…rather than according to Christ. For in Him you have been made complete, and he is the Head…” (Colossians 2:8-10)

Faith is another example. Faith is very important. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him,” it says in Hebrews 11:6. Yet some faith teachers have made faith more important than submission to Christ, putting all their emphasis on what you can get through exercising faith. They elevate faith above Christ and end up with followers that love money and things more than Christ. Jesus must come first, even before faith, or one’s religious experience becomes unbalanced.

It is the same way with the cross. Will faith in the cross alone save you? No, not at all. I believed in the cross all my life from the time I was little. I had been taught that Jesus shed his blood on the cross to save us. I believed that. But that did not save me. Not until I surrendered my life to Christ did it apply to me. Then I had Christ and the cross, but I had to have Christ first in order to really have the cross.

Believe whatever you like about the cross, trust in it and believe that Jesus died there to save the world, but it will do you no good if you have not Christ. But if you put your faith in Christ and have a living relationship with Him and He is Lord of your life, then what Jesus did on the cross applies to you. His blood washes away your sins. You are imputed the righteousness of Christ. You have right standing with God as though you never sinned. It bears repeating: You have everything when you have Christ.” (Col 2:10 LB)

A Cultic Pattern

All cults find some way to detract from Jesus. Mormons say Jesus is one god of many gods. JW’s say Jesus is the archangel Michael. Anything to deemphasize Jesus. That is what cults do. Satan’s works are not limited to cults. There are liberal mainline denominational churches that deemphasize Jesus. Perhaps not in doctrine. Their doctrine maintains that Jesus is the Son of God and God the Son, the third person of the Trinity. They confess Him with their words, give him a rightful place in their statement of faith, but their hearts are far from Him.

Some of these liberal denominations do not encourage personal decisions for Christ. Some even ridicule the idea of being born again, of personally committing yourself to Jesus Christ and asking Him into your heart. They teach salvation comes through their church and by being baptized in their water. By their practice and emphasis, they detract from Jesus. This is the deception of Satan: To take away from a focus on Jesus as Lord.

Swaggartism has their own special way of detracting from Jesus. By emphasizing the cross and making it the center and focus of faith, they subtly take the focus off of Jesus. Whether this is intentional or incidental, the result is the same. They teach that growth in grace depends upon the mental gymnastics of thinking and meditating upon the cross continually. They are told this over and over. Repetition and group-think impresses the message over and over: “The Cross must be the object of your faith! Anything else is of the devil! The Cross will set you free! The Cross will take you to higher levels! The Cross will give you victory over all sin! The Cross! The Cross! The Cross is the answer! The prophet says it is true so it must be!” 

The end result is brainwashing and a close relationship with Jesus is not emphasized. Instead of faith in a real person, the Lord Jesus Christ, the focus is placed unnaturally upon a dead dry doctrine that will not give life. A fully converted Swaggarite will say, “The cross has made all the difference! The cross has set me free! When I came to the cross I was saved!” That is all wrong. It is Jesus who saves and sets men free.

By “the cross,” Swaggarites mean the act of what Jesus did on the cross. They mean Jesus’ actions of submitting to death on the cross and his shedding of his blood for our sins. They believe in putting their primary faith in that action and that is what Swaggart’s “Great Revelation from God” is all about. The problem with this is that it is faith in a non-entity. What Jesus did was His action, but it was not Him. An action is not a person. An action is not someone that can answer your prayers or change you or save you. An action is only a thing.

Jesus who did the action because of his love for us should be the focus of our faith. Jesus is a person who can relate to you, hear your prayers, change your life, and speak to your heart and save you. Our faith should be in Him, not in His action. Once your faith is primarily in Him, then you can trust his word; that his shed blood saves us. Only then, when Christ is first, does the cross have meaning and power.

Here is an illustration: Suppose a man says, “My dog Spot ran quickly and chased away the bear and saved my life.” Who is the subject of that sentence? My dog Spot is the subject. When that man needs help again who should he trust? Next time that a bear comes into his camp should he sit down and think over and over, “my faith is in ran quickly. I trust in ran quickly, ran quickly, ran quickly.”? Of course not. How silly

No, his trust, the object of his faith, is not in his dog’s action. His faith is in his dog Spot. Spot who did the running quickly saved him. It is wonderful the dog ran quickly. But even more wonderful is Spot who loved his master and saved him. The man can trust in Spot to protect him. Spot is the object of his faith. He will not brag to his friends, saying, “thinking ‘ran quickly’ keeps me safe in bear country.” No, he will say, “I trust my good dog Spot to keep me safe in bear country.” Where is the object of his faith? It is placed in Spot.

Now let’s take that to Jesus. Consider this sentence: Suppose a man says: My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed his blood and saved me from my sins. Who is the subject of the sentence? The Lord Jesus Christ. Who saved the man? The Lord Jesus Christ. Who should he trust in the future? The Lord Jesus Christ. Who should he praise and brag about? The Lord Jesus Christ. Who is the object of his faith? The Lord Jesus Christ!

It is wonderful that Jesus knew what to do to save us and he loved us enough to shed his blood for us. But it is the Lord Jesus Christ who takes preeminence over the act. It is He who did the act and it is He that is the proper object of our faith.

Think about when we take communion and what the Bible says about communion. If ever there was a place for the Bible to say to make the cross the object of your faith it would be there. But alas for Swaggart, it is not to be found there or anywhere. When we take communion we remember Christ’s sacrifice for us. What did Jesus say to think about during communion? What he did not say was, remember the cross. No, but he did say this: “As often as you do this, do this in remembrance of Me.”

Deniability

A clever trick used by Jimmy Swaggart Ministries is the art of double-speak. Language that is evasive, deceptive, misleading, or self-contradictory is known as “doublespeak.” The Swaggarts are infamous for saying one thing one day and later teaching the opposite. On their television show they have said that if you don’t speak in tongues you are not saved. The next week they reversed themselves and said they don’t teach that. Jimmy Swaggart teaches that he has a revelation greater than the Apostle Paul’s. His wife, on her television show, denies it and says that her husband has never taught that.

When a Swaggarite is confronted with the doctrinal errors of Jimmy Swaggart, there is a plethora of excuses and loopholes: “Swaggart did not say that,” or “I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says but he is still a great man of God,” or “That is taken out of context,” or, “You just don’t want to forgive him,” and then the ultimate dodge: “Touch not God’s anointed! God will kill you for coming against his prophet!”

The Cross According to Scripture

The Bible’s real teaching on the cross is a beautiful and magnificent thing that centers on Jesus and the love of the Father for us in sending his only unique son to die and shed his blood for us, and that precious sinless blood washes away our sins. The cross exemplifies Jesus’ self-denial and sacrifice of Himself because He loves us.

In Hebrews we are told that “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22) Under the Old Covenant the Jews were commanded to make animal sacrifice for sins, which was a foreshadow of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. It is Christ’s shed blood that seals the New Covenant between God and man and wins for us reconciliation with God the Father, allowing us to enter into a personal relationship with God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

God’s plan of salvation does not end at the cross as Swaggart contends. We are not only saved by his death but also by his life, as seen in the scriptures below:

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:10)

“Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” (Romans 8:34)

“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved…” (Romans 10:9)

Jesus is even now interceding for us. We enter into a saving relationship with Christ by believing in the resurrection. The Bible is clear that Jesus’ resurrection and life is fundamental to our own spiritual life. Indeed, Jesus did not say he WAS (past tense) the door, he says, “I AM the door.” In other words, he is NOW (present tense) the door.

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved…” (John 10:9)

So you see Christ’s salvation for us did not end at the cross when he said, “It is finished.” His suffering for us, to shed is blood for us, that was finished then, but his work of salvation for us is a continuing one. This biblical perspective of Christ’s ongoing work is a precept that is ignored and denied by Swaggart’s Message of the Cross.

One of the important things Christ did after the cross, perhaps THE most important thing, was to send the Holy Spirit to us. This indwelling of the Holy Spirit is what empowers us to live for God and walk in closeness to Him.

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)

Consider now how unbiblical are Jimmy Swaggart’s statements that “It is the Cross alone which can bring about this Work of the Spirit.” or “There is nothing before the cross and nothing after because there doesn’t need to be.” We can see that his emphasis on the cross, an emphasis he dwells on continually and repeatedly, is contrary to the teaching of Holy Scripture which indeed does tell us there is much after the cross that has sacred and eternal importance for the believer.

Sanctification: How it Really Works

Swaggart’s teaching of the cross is specifically this: All Christians will fall into continued sin and live defeated lives unless they follow his new revelation, which is to put their faith exclusively in the cross alone. If they do that, then they will be sanctified and God will give them power to overcome sin. Simply trust in the cross and dwell on that and magically overcoming power will be yours.

That this teaching is false is evidenced by the great number of people throughout history who have lived victorious lives for Christ without Swaggart’s teaching. Further evidence is the number of Swaggart followers who still manifest an abundance of sin. Jimmy’s son, Pastor Donnie Swaggart is a prime example. While ministering at the Swaggart Family Worship Center, he divorced his wife, married a 5-time divorcée in the church, then divorced her and remarried his first wife. Why did not Swaggart’s cross doctrine prevent this sinful behavior? That is not an isolated case, as those who have worked at Swaggart’s headquarters point out. Family problems, affairs and divorce abound at his church.

Sanctification is the religious word used to describe how Christians are set apart unto God and grow spiritually such that sin has less of a hold, and increasingly a believer becomes more Christ-like. Scripture teaches that there is a definitive sanctification at the time of conversion and also progressive sanctification after conversion. In other words, when Christ comes into our life, the old sinful nature is dealt a death-blow, but still lingers, while our new nature in Christ grows throughout our life.

However this process, which is a work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, requires our cooperation. Those things which will help us to “grow in grace” are outlined in scripture. Prayer, fasting, church attendance, Christian friendship, these are all “means of grace” in that they are actions we take that will help us to cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The Word of God is another thing God uses to sanctify us. Jesus said, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3) David said, “I have hid Thy word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.”

Another thing that God uses to sanctify us is suffering. Pain and trouble in our lives are used by God to purify us. To wit, “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.”

This is just a sampling of Biblical teaching on how we “work out our own salvation.” (Philippians 2:12). Jimmy Swaggart’s “Message of the Cross,” dismisses all of this and simply says that all that is necessary to live an overcoming sinless life is to think about the cross and trust the cross. This is unbiblical and over-simplistic.

Swaggart’s teaching causes a Christian to overlook sound teaching based upon Scripture which encourages us to use the means of grace presented by God’s Word and thereby grow close to God.

Consider this passage:

“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence…” (2 Peter 1:5)

Note the phrase, “applying all diligence.” This indicates one is to use one’s own willpower to behave with moral excellence. Willpower is an important factor in our sanctification. To deny this fact flies in the face of the innumerable passages of scripture which adjure us to use our willpower.

Swaggart’s teaching implies that the use of willpower is somehow trying to be good under our own power; that such an effort will fail and that we must rely totally on God’s power by thinking about the cross. That is wrong and dangerous teaching. Such teaching will lead to lackadaisical effort resulting in sinful behavior. The Bible never says don’t try.

The Bible does tell us to use our willpower! Yes, we first must surrender our life to Christ, be born again and expect the help of the Holy Spirit, but after that we must use all the willpower we have. In fact, the Holy Spirit will empower our own willpower to greater heights as we use it.

Hear Jesus’ words in Luke 8:21,

 “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” 

You can feel the urgency in Jesus words, telling us to use our willpower, our determination to decide and to follow through with obedience. This is the kind of teaching that sanctifies and this is the biblical teaching of our Lord.

But a Christian who follows Swaggart’s prescription may stop trying, become lazy in well-doing, and may delude himself into thinking he is sin free simply because he performs mental imagery about the cross, when in fact he has become weak and vulnerable to Satan’s ploys. Indeed, this is what has been observed and reported.

In Matthew 16:24 we read Jesus’ words,

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

The meaning is clear. All Bible scholars have interpreted this to mean literally what it says, that Christians must be prepared to deny themselves their own will at times and seek God’s will, just as Jesus prayed in the garden, “Not my will, but thine be done.” Just as Jesus denied his own will and went obediently to the cross, we will at times also have to deny our own will and obey God.

Swaggart twists all this. In his Expositor’s study Bible he has this commentary on that passage:

takeup

Swaggart’s teaching here is erroneous and dangerous. Jesus was not saying to deny our talent. He was saying to deny our will and the phrase, “taking up his cross” specifically means that denying our own will may involve suffering.

Swaggart says it is “not suffering as many suppose.” Swaggart is wrong and he has twisted the plain meaning of the words or our Savior. It is suffering that our Lord alludes to.

He further compounds his error by saying that you cannot follow Jesus at all unless you also succumb to his flawed message of the cross. Thats what Swaggart says. Hear are his words again, “Jesus cannot be followed unless it’s by way of the Cross.” In other words, It’s Swaggarts way or no way.

Jesus’ teaching of self-denial and taking up our cross is essential to sanctification and Swaggart has attempted to negate this powerful teaching. A whole-hearted Swaggart follower is susceptible to becoming a weak, emaciated and confused Christian.

Swaggart’s message, if believed, short-circuits the work of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s heart, for thinking they have already arrived by simply thinking about the cross, they ignore the exhortation of scriptures which urge us toward sanctification, such as:

“Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful…”  2Peter 1:5-8

Swaggart’s short-sighted “Message of the Cross” is the antitheses of what the Bible urges.

Motivation for his Other Gospel

Why has Jimmy Swaggart concocted this other gospel? The key to that answer is found in the writings of Swaggart himself. Swaggart’s website has a page where Jimmy explains his message of the cross. It is found here at the Jimmy Swaggart Ministries (JSM) website: http://www.jsm.org/message-cross.html

His essay on the cross does not begin with scripture but begins with his own sin and pain. The opening sentence begins, “Public humiliation, especially on a worldwide basis is trauma that many people never get over. When one has failed…”

He is talking about his own humiliation and failure. In 1988 Jimmy Swaggart was caught with a prostitute. He confessed to going to prostitutes for over twenty years and being addicted to pornography. One can only imagine the fear and consternation of everyone at JSM headquarters at that time. JSM was a business enterprise bringing in millions and this put the enterprise at risk of total failure.

In an effort to save his ministry, Jimmy went on television and “repented” in a tearful dramatic scene of contrition intended to foster the sympathy and forgiveness of the Christian community and thus save his television empire from collapse. The Assemblies of God mercifully granted that he could maintain his ministerial ordination with them if he would stop ministering for one year and receive counseling from A/G ministers. Swaggart arrogantly rejected this, claiming that he hears directly from God and that the Assemblies officials were “too dumb and too stupid” and that the whole denomination was a cult.

He of course lost his ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God. Three years later in 1991 Jimmy Swaggart was pulled over by police and caught again. He had a prostitute in his car who said that Swaggart was negotiating with her for sex acts. Swaggart told his congregation, “God told me that it is flat none of your business.” In 1995 Swaggart was caught again when he was pulled over by police in a red-light district. Pornographic magazines were under his seat.

Jimmy had already tried the repentance show, but after all this failure he had to come up with some way to cover his shame. Thus was born his “New Revelation from God.” Swaggart says he received his revelation in 1997 after six years of praying for it night and day with tears. Let’s analyze that. He prayed from 1991 to 1997, day and night. But he was caught for the second time with a prostitute in 1991 and he was caught a third time in 1995 chasing prostitutes. It begs the question: How do you pray night and day when you are chasing prostitutes? One cannot seriously seek God when living in willful deliberate sin. Swaggart’s story does not hold water.

Swaggart makes this revealing statement in his essay about his new revelation: “I came to find out in all of this, that most of the modern church has little idea how to live for God.” How interesting. After wallowing in sin for decades, Swaggart decides that most everyone else is floundering in sin as well. It appears that Jimmy Swaggart’s tortured conscience cannot take the strain of wanting to be a great Christian leader while at the same time living in willful continued sin. The answer he arrives at is that it is not his fault, since everyone else is in the same boat.

But that was all before his revelation. Now that God has visited him he now claims to be living a holy life and has lost his appetite for prostitutes. He has not been caught with a prostitute recently, however being 79 years old and his wife keeping him on a short leash likely has much to do with it. He now teaches that you can’t stop sinning without his special revelation – a lie conjured up by his own ego to excuse his own lack of genuine repentance and moral fortitude.

By his own admission, for 35 years while Swaggart preached, he was addicted to pornography and was visiting prostitutes. According to the Bible he was not even saved, for the Bible says that unrepentant people continuing in fornication have no part in the kingdom of God. As it is written, “For this ye know, that no whoremonger…hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”  (Eph 5:5)  Such a man was Evangelist Swaggart for nearly four decades. Swaggart’s own words: “I chased prostitutes in every city I held revivals.” Such a man as this comes along and says basically something to the effect as, “It’s not my fault, the church didn’t have the true message of the cross, the Apostle Paul didn’t have it, but now God spoke to me and now all that sin is none of my fault.” Does that sound like a revelation from God or deception from a human heart?

Conclusion

Jimmy Swaggart purports to be an end-time apostle with a new extra-biblical revelation from God. He claims more light than all the apostles and more understanding that any man or woman in all of Church history. He attacks the Church, saying it has lost the true Gospel but that he has been commissioned by God to restore the true Gospel to the Church, saying that his revelation called “The Message of The Cross” is the true Gospel.

His message detracts from our Lord Jesus Christ, urging faith in the cross instead of faith in Christ. His teaching emphasizes only the past act of Christ on the cross, and ignores and minimizes the importance of Christ’s resurrection, intercession and His sending the Holy Spirit to us. Swaggart’s teaching on sanctification is a short-sighted inaccuracy that is ignorant of the many scriptural prescriptions for holiness. His teaching leaves Christians immature and brainwashed.

Swaggart’s perverted message is not the result of Bible study, but by his own admission flows out of his failure to exercise self-control and his choice to indulge in sins of the flesh. His message is nothing more than a last ditch effort to promote his own brand of religion and maintain his self-image as a great man of God while simultaneously excusing his past immoralities.

Jimmy Swaggart’s “Message of the Cross” lacks Biblical foundation and is a doctrine literally birthed in sin. It attacks both the Church and the Bible. It consists of many unorthodox attributes that, if believed, may take a Christian further from Christ, further from true holiness and into the confusion of cultic belief. For these reasons the new revelation of Jimmy Swaggart should be rejected as a cultic unbiblical heresy.

 

39 Comments

  1. thank you , this is everything explained in a nutshell. very well done. I pray people will listen,understand and not be blinded by jimmy swaggart or his ministry. I am sending this to my mom…. hope she see s the truth

    Reply

    1. Another thing about JSM is they are all about money… Jimmy or Gabriel autographs a Bible that regularly sells for $60.00.. but with their Autograph it is $500.00….. Is this not Idolatry of the Swaggarts being offered..
      When ask why his sharathon is always on the second Thursday of every month… his reply was; because the majority of well fare checks are received by the public on the second Wednesday of the month…. and this lets everyone who gets paid have a chance to help our ministry…. His message of the cross that the apostles knew nothing about in their day… His whole Swaggart family is set up to rob the poor and fool the rich… There is a special place in hell for this whoremonger….

      Reply

  2. I didn’t see the second you link you referred me to Mark.
    I want you to know I listen to them extremely close and I have heard a few things too, but no one gets everything right. Not even you.
    I am not like t.heim I am not going to go along to get along with you. BTW this will draw others to your website. I am sure you realize this.
    My best to you.
    Doris

    Reply

    1. Hi Flo, Thanks for your comment. No, Jimmy Swaggart is not right about the Purpose Driven Life. It is an excellent book that I have read cover to cover. As is typical of Swaggart, he continues what he has done since the 70’s – to malign other Christians, especially any minister that has a larger audience than his own.

      Reply

  3. Sorry but are you serious! Rick Warren, you maybe need to do some research on who and what he stands for! Lighthouse blog.com for one! Maybe I am not sure on only preaching the cross and some things that are going on there but I know there is so much deception in the church as a whole now! I would highly encouraging you to read that site and find out exactly what is wrong with the Purpose Driven Life and the likes of Warren.
    As far as JS past I don’t care I don’t think it should matter if indeed he truly repented, it is what he is doing today and if his doctrine is sound or not.
    I am interested after you research more in what I suggested what you thought.

    Reply

    1. Hi Flo, I have read Warren’s book and there is no false doctrine in it. Concerning Swaggart, your statement “if indeed he truly repented” is the crux of the matter, for he has never expressed repentance for his daliances with prostitutes in 91 and 95. His response was, “God told me it is flat none of your business.” That doesn’t sound like repentance to me. His rejection of the A/G requirement for a year of counseling was arrogantly rejected and he broke his covenant with them as a licensed minister. This was also another sin of rebellion and pride. The continued adulteries of his son and others in the church is a current matter. His murder threat is another instance. There is much evidence to read on my site. Please take a look. Be sure to watch the Swaggart Seduction video here: http://www.christiananswerman.com/the-swaggart-seduction-video/ And then there is the list of false doctrines that the Swaggart’s teach. Swaggart’s still are living in opulent sinful luxury and there doctrine is not sound. See this article: http://www.christiananswerman.com/the-dangers-of-the-swaggart-bible/

      Pastor Mark

      Reply

      1. I am sorry Pastor Mark you are wrong about Rick Warren he is very dangerous and new age I suggest you go to lighthouseblog and read all the facts and evidence on him.

        Reply

        1. Hi Flo, we will have to agree to disagree on Rick Warren. I have looked into it thoroughly already. I have yet to see any deragatory allegation against him that has proved to be true. Lots of inuendo and gossip, but no solid facts that stand up to investigation.

          …Pastor Mark

          Reply

  4. PS since there is so much deception today the truth needs to be brought forth to people to warn them! For souls are at stake!

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  5. Dear Pastor Mark
    Your review about Swaggart’s revelation, The Message of the Cross, was excellent! I had the same thoughts but had not formally written about it. What surprised me is your support for Rick Warren, a person who is promoting Chrislam while fellowshipping with Pope Francis who believes a personal relationship with Jesus (instead of the Roman Catholic) church is dangerous.
    Ministers like Rick Warren have found a way to redefine Christianity in a way that will make people feel good about themselves by neglecting the hard doctrine. These “feel good” churches are teaching another gospel whereby its belief system favors simple narratives, places high value on good works, promotes self-esteem, and emphasizes the here and now.
    This new belief system provides “an all positive church experience” that eliminates conviction of sin and repentance and the cross. In other words, confession of sin is no longer part of the equation. The new belief system softens the Gospel by repackaging its message into a seeker friendly format minus all the heavy baggage associated with sinfulness and eternal consequences. Warren has redefined sin to be nothing more than innocent mistakes anyone can make. Repentance is now a matter of developing integrity seasoned with multiple-step programs, right motives, and a positive attitude.
    As a result, churches adopting narrative theology and literary theory will lead many to God but then deny salvation by sweeping essential doctrinal truths required for salvation under the rug. Those who buy into the gospel of compromise are allowing their enthusiasm for an “all positive church experience” to transcend their discernment for sound doctrine.
    Rick Warren is the poster boy for the gospel of compromise, exchanging the Gospel for a gospel that does not save. The act of glossing over fundamental salvation truths to make Christianity more acceptable is blasphemy on steroids. As foreseen long ago and to combat this possibility, Jesus inspired the apostle Paul to write, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God (Acts 20:27).
    In other words, ministers of the true Gospel are to preach the whole truth about God and his plan for redemption. To preach a partial gospel like Warren’s and Swaggart’s is to preach another gospel, one that condemns all who embrace it.
    My question: How is it possible for you to accurately assess Swaggart’s false doctrine and then miss Warren’s watered-down doctrine that strips the “work of the cross” from the gospel? I am amazed. Though Swaggart’s discussion of the cross is incomplete and inexact, at least he gets closer to the truth than Warren.
    Jim

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    1. Hi Jim, and thank you for your interesting and sincere commment. I take issue with Swaggart’s doctrine because I have examined his false teachings in his own writings and can document his errors. As I have looked into the accusations against Rick Warren I have found where people say he believes such and so, but have not found such to be the case in what Warren actually writes. In other words, hearsay is all I have found against Warren. Many of the accusations are false. He befriends Catholics and Muslims in order to be an effective witness or to work together for some community good. I have read The Purpose Driven Life and I find no false doctrine in it.

      Now having said that, I don’t pretend to know all that Warren has said or taught. If he has written something that is false teaching, then please reply here with the source and the quote and I will examine it. If he is teaching false doctrine I will be sure to point it out.

      …Pastor Mark

      Reply

  6. Thank you for the thoughtful response. However, I do have a link regarding Warren.
    Now the End Begins, a Christian web site exposing Chrislam, posted the following on their website about Warren. They said: “Rick Warren, founder and pastor of Saddleback Community Church in Orange County California, addressed the convention of the Islamic Society of North America. Warren stated that Muslims and Christians must work together to combat stereotypes, promote peace and freedom, and solve global problems. Christians and Moslems – faith mates, soul mates and now work mates! Chrislam!” (http://www.exposingchrislam.com/index.htm)

    How can Christians be soul mates and work mates with Islam?

    I also read Rick Warren’s Purpose Drive Life and agree you will not find much to discredit the doctrine. In fact, it was well written and contains much truth. However, the issue with Warren’s book is not about what he says…it is about what it does not say. As proof, you will never find Warren talking about Jesus as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. This doctrine (and all that it implies) is missing from Warren’s view of the Gospel.

    Without this teaching of the shed blood of Christ there is no Gospel.
    Jim

    Reply

    1. Hi Jim,

      This is from the Saddlback Church Statement of Faith…“The elements of bread and wine or juice are symbols of Christ’s broken body and shed blood. Communion is not a means of salvation. Rather, it is a testament of a believer’s faith in the atoning work of the cross…Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all men by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to heaven’s glory and will return again to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” I think that dismisses the allegation that he doesn’t believe we are saved by Christ’s atonement. Warren is a Southern Baptist minister, and thus proclaims that he adheres to that denominations doctrine. The official doctrine of the Southern Baptist denomination on the atonement is orthodox.

      Please take a look at this website where Rick Warren addresses some of the accusations made against him and where he clarifies his actual position on matters, as opposed to what some media outlets falsely report.

      http://saddleback.com/archive/blog/pastor-ricks-news-views/2012/03/02/news-views-03-02-12

      …Pastor Mark

      Reply

  7. Pastor Mark,
    I read Rick’s rebuttal to the accusations made against him. His clarifications are reassuring but not entirely convincing. While Saddleback’s Statement of Faith is sound, why is the most central part about the statement of faith missing from his widely acclaimed book, The Purpose Driven Life?

    Aside from that concern, there are other concerns as well. Rick Warren was, and perhaps still is, a religious advisor to Mark Burnett’s two films entitled The Bible (a television series) and The Son of God (the movie). In these productions there is no mention of Jesus as the Lamb of God and the purpose of his resurrection. In fact, S. Michael Houdmann from Got Question writes in his review,

    “I was most disappointed that the reason for Jesus’ death and the meaning of His resurrection are completely missing. The fact that Jesus’ death is the atoning sacrifice for sin is not mentioned at all (1 John 2:2). The connection between the Passover sacrifice (Exodus 12) and Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29) is not made. The fact that Jesus’ resurrection proves His victory over death and sin and guarantees a resurrected eternal life for all who believe in Him (1 Corinthians 15) is nowhere to be found. In the end, the Son of God movie is nothing more than a reasonably accurate history of the life of Christ. Yes, history is important, but in the Bible, the spiritual/theological meaning behind events is what is truly important.”

    http://www.blogos.org/gotquestions/son-of-God.php

    I wholly agree with Houdmann. Without these vital connections the Gospel is not the Gospel. Though Rick Warren is not directly responsible for what the producers include or exclude from the film productions, the absence of these core doctrines is revealing since he helped to advise content.

    For the moment, I am going to withhold judgment on Warren’s doctrine and do additional research on other publications of his regarding the same. There are a number of study guides published as follow-on courses to his book and both movies. I intend to review these and then confirm if Warren has indeed compromised the Gospel.

    Though we can love our fellow human beings, there can be no fellowship unless the two walk together in agreement. (Amos 3:3) Can light fellowship with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14) And yet, I see the Pope Francis (*who says a personal relationship with Jesus is dangerous), Warren, and others working together in the spirit of brotherhood and love to bring forward one faith for all.

    * http://ncronline.org/blogs/francis-chronicles/church-essential-faith-there-are-no-free-agents-pope-says

    For that to happen, Jesus needs to be stripped of his “Lamb of God” title. He needs to be demoted to a prophet from God, like Mohamed. While the religion of Islam accepts Jesus as a prophet, it will never accept him as the Lamb of God. Herein, then, is the alleged motive for Warren’s not mentioning this most fundament doctrine in his most recent works.

    With best regards and many blessings!
    Jim

    Reply

    1. Hi Jim – You will notice on my website that my critique of false teachers such as Jimmy Swaggart is based upon what they say or write, not upon what they do not say or are alleged by a third party to have said. Although judging the doctrine of ministers is commanded in scripture, it is nevertheless a serious matter to disparage another’s ministry. At times it is necessary to do it for the protection of the Body of Christ, but we must always make sure that we are speaking accurately and not repeating hearsay. These ministers are real people, with real feelings. They are not impervious to us. They are not beyond being hurt by our words.

      Thus I try to keep my assessments of ministries based upon actual statements or quotes. For this reason I must reiterate that any assessment of Rick Warren’s ministry should be based upon what he actually says or writes. I repeat, if you have any doctrinally incorrect statements by Rick Warren I will give them a fair hearing. I have no vested interest in defending Rick Warren, other than that he is innocent until proven guilty.

      I have yet to see any substantial accusations against Rick Warren. The only allegations I have been made aware of are all based on hearsay, innuendo and what others think he has not said. I have written many things myself and I bet someone could pick up one of my books and find some important doctrine that they think I did not discuss.

      Concerning the movies – I always find them disappointing myself. I found it particularly disappointing in the AD serious that they had Thomas declaring, “My Lord,” and not the full statement, “My Lord and my God,” which is what he actually said. The omission of this clear and declarative statement of Christ’s deity was a serious omission. So in that regard, I feel your pain.

      You are correct when you say that “Rick Warren is not directly responsible for what the producers include or exclude from the film productions.” For all we know, Rick Warren may have vehemently objected to certain things. We do not know, and since we don’t know, we must reserve judgment.

      I applaud you for reserving judgment on Warren’s doctrine pending further research. If you find anything substantial please let me know. The fact that someone, such as Swaggart, attacks Warren, tends to make me think Warren may be OK!

      Concerning Warren’s evangelical outreach style and the whole “seeker sensitive” movement, I would point out that Warren’s ministry has won countless numbers to Christ. Let us remember that the Apostle Paul was the first seeker sensitive minister. He said,

      “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” (1Co 9:19-23)

      Thus we find that Paul circumcised Timothy:

      “Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.” (Acts 16:3)

      Paul did not believe circumcision was necessary. In fact he taught otherwise, saying “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.” (1Co 7:9) Was Paul compromising his principals by circumcising Timothy? No, he was not. He was being sensitive to the attitudes and feelings of others that he desired to reach. He was avoiding giving offense to unbelieving Jews. He was doing exactly what he said he does, becoming “all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” No doubt some accused Paul of being seeker sensitive.

      Rick Warren has the same attitude that the Apostle Paul did, in that he also becomes all things to all people as he works in coordination with people of the world. Yes, the Bible cautions against being close friends with those of the world. However this does not mean we don’t reach out to the lost and work with people in the world. I do not believe that Warren has taken such as his close friends and associates. He merely associates with them in official capacity. Paul writes,

      “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.” (1 Co 5:9-10)

      Warren’s outreach includes people in politics, other religions, world leaders, even the Pope. We may believe that President Obama and the Pope are wicked heathens, but who are we to say that God has not called Warren to try to reach such people? They are not saved born-again Christians, but who knows what God can do? Perhaps he has come to the Kingdom for such a time as this? God desires that none should perish.

      My prayer is for all that go astray. I pray that Swaggart will repent of his false teachings and recant them. I pray he humbles himself and finds mercy. That would be a joyous day! I pray that Rick Warren preaches the straight truth and that if he is off in anything, that he may return to the correct course.

      Concerning the allegation that Warren has stripped Jesus of the “Lamb of God” title, I don’t find any basis for that. Warren writes such things as,

      “Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross… Christ who loved you and gave Himself to God as a sacrifice to take away your sins… we forget the cruel details of the agonizing sacrifice God made on our behalf.”

      Again his church’s statement of faith makes clear his orthodoxy, declaring that salvation is “received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood was shed on the cross …” It is true that we do not find the title Lamb of God in Warren’s book. This means nothing. The phrase is not found in Matthew, Mark or Luke, but only in the Gospel of John. Should we therefore declare Luke a heretic?

      Let us be prudent and follow Jesus’ admonition: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” (John 7:24)

      God Bless,

      Pastor Mark

      Reply

  8. Well said Pastor Mark. I will keep your wisdom forefront and especially the need to speak about others in loving kindness. But, as Paul said we are to “mark” those who cause division in the church. We are to warn others (as you did about Swaggart) and flee from their influence of error (Romans 16:17 )
    I’ll get back to you soon!
    Shalom
    Jim

    Reply

  9. Miki Hardy teaching the same message and gaining ground in Africa. Search the web for Church Team Ministries International. From such, I have withdrawn myself. Thank you for your article

    Reply

    1. Hi Lynette, thanks for sharing that information. I looked at their website and it looks like they do lean that way. I’m glad you liked the article. God Bless,

      …Pastor Mark

      Reply

    1. Hi Lynette, I don’t know anything about that church, except that they do mention “Message of the Cross” and if it is the same as Swaggart’s Message of the Cross then it is off-base. I have prayed for you as you asked. I pray that God grants unity to you and your husband that you both can worship together in a place that teaches a balanced Gospel message. God Bless,

      …Pastor Mark

      Reply

  10. Thank you for posting the Swaggart analysis on his “Message of the Cross” . I have shared it with my dad and he appreciated it. My dad is 94 and still an ordained Assembly of God minister. I can still remember when Swaggart was brought in by satellite to an Assembly of God Church I attended in the 1986-87 era…before the Internet boom.

    Lately the church my dad attends in another town (A of. G) the young pastor has fallen under the Swaggart ‘spell’ so to speak. It seems that whatever subject might be preached from the Bible, the ‘Swaggartites’ can always turn it back to this and bash people over the head with it. It’s like they can’t let it go, everything always evolved back to ‘oh….you don’t understand the TRUE Message of the Cross’, and I am going to keep preaching this till you submit!

    If someone tells you that God gave this message to me for you, well it first of all has to agree with God’s word. It seems to me Swaggart in part is rehashing the old ‘Finished Work’ doctrinal debate and has put his own grossly overly simplistic spin on it, and now is looking to bash anyone who won’t submit to him and his teaching.

    Reply

    1. Hi Randy, Thanks for your comment. I am so glad that you shared the article with your Dad and that he appreciated it. Wow – 94 years. God has blessed him with a long life. I was ordained with the Assemblies 30 years ago. Tell your Dad “Hi” for me from one old preacher to another! Yes, bashing people over the head is what a Swaggarite likes to do! It is like they get the spirit of arrogance by osmosis from Swaggart! You should see some of the venom they send my way on this site! LOL. Thanks for your feedback and from one preacher’s kid to another – God bless!

      …Pastor Mark

      Reply

      1. Thank you Pastor Mark.

        I remembered back in the day W.L. “Son” Swaggart (JS’s father) and an A. of God. preacher, allegedly made some comments while in hospital that Jimmy’s problem was much to do with Frances. That she was a ‘cold fish’ and Jimmy needed a ‘real wife’. I actually did an internet search and found one of the old tabloid articles online. If you search under some of the terms above on google you will find it for yourself! True or not this is NO WAY justify Swaggart’s actions, that’s not my point, but shows what a colossal error they are. It reminds me of this quote though, which is sometimes mistakenly attributed to Chesterton.

        “A man knocking on the door of a brothel is knocking for God”…..Bruce Marshall

        What is the most controversial book in the Bible? I would argue it’s not Genesis and it’s not Revelation. When it comes to true human sexual joy and fulfillment, the Bible is still ahead of everybody. True intimacy between a husband and wife has no comparison. Everything else is a false trap.

        “In a world awash with the debris of broken homes, crushed spirits, and
        fractured dreams, God’s people need the message of the Song of Solomon
        as never before. The Song is a righteous antidote to a licentious society
        that has prostituted the sacred nature of human love. Hope exudes from its
        pages. If ever a book was written with a message more salient for a later
        generation, Solomon’s ode is that book.”149

        Notes on Song of Solomon – Sonic Light
        soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/song.pdf
        by TL Constable – ‎2015 – ‎Related articles

        Reply

        1. Hi Randy, Thanks for the comment. It is also of note that when they married, he was 18 and she was 15. He was an adult and she was a still a child. People have been arrested and convicted as a pedophile in such instances. I find it rather odd that a “man of God” would not let this child reach adulthood before marrying her. What was the big rush?

          Reply

          1. HI Pastor Mark,

            I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas.

            I did not know that on the ages of marriage.

            “The moment sex ceases to be a servant it becomes a tyrant.”
            ― G.K. Chesterton

            2 Corinthians 11:3 seems to get quoted a lot. I was reminded of this yesterday at church. It’s a verse about the simplicity of the “Message of the Cross” (JSM version).

            King James Bible
            But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

            New American Standard Bible
            But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

            Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

            corrupted—so as to lose their virgin purity through seducers (2Co 11:4). The same Greek stands for “minds” as for “thoughts” (2Co 10:5, also see on [2320]2Co 10:5); intents of the will, or mind. The oldest manuscripts after “simplicity,” add, “and the purity” or “chastity.”

            in Christ—rather, “that is towards Christ.”

            MacLaren’s Expositions
            2 Corinthians

            SIMPLICITY TOWARDS CHRIST

            2 Corinthians 11:3The Revised Version, amongst other alterations, reads, ‘the simplicity that is _towards_ Christ.’

            The inaccurate rendering of the Authorised Version is responsible for a mistake in the meaning of these words, which has done much harm. They have been supposed to describe a quality or characteristic belonging to Christ or the Gospel; and, so construed, they have sometimes been made the watchword of narrowness and of intellectual indolence. ‘Give us the simple Gospel’ has been the cry of people who have thought themselves to be evangelical when they were only lazy, and the consequence has been that preachers have been expected to reiterate commonplaces, which have made both them and their hearers listless, and to sink the educational for the evangelistic aspect of the Christian teacher’s function.

            It is quite true that the Gospel is simple, but it is also true that it is deep, and they will best appreciate its simplicity who have most honestly endeavoured to fathom its depth. When we let our little sounding lines out, and find that they do not reach the bottom, we begin to wonder even more at the transparency of the clear abyss. It is not simplicity _in_ Christ, but _towards_ Christ of which the Apostle is speaking; not a quality in Him, but a quality in _us_ towards Him. I wish, then, to turn to the two thoughts that these words suggest. First and chiefly, the attitude towards Christ which befits our relation to Him; and, secondly and briefly, the solicitude for its maintenance.

  11. Dear Pastor Mark,

    I want to thank you for your research on JSM, I watched his telecast and read his expositors study bible but all the while I was seeing things in it that I thought were not right, and also things that were beginning to bother me about their program. I really loved their music but that was starting to be the only thing I liked after a while. I began to not even be able to read the Swaggart bible and just wanted to go back to reading my own reg. bible, which I did, and it was wonderful. I started researching Swaggart, I have family members who LOVE them and watch them daily and do not even listen to any other preachers at all anymore and have also become media members. I am so concerned since I have found out more about the strange things in their bible. I am very grateful for your very well written and eye opening article on them. I do have one concern, I want to print this and show my family members when I talk to them about JSM, however, my family members are very well aware of Rick Warren and the direction he has gone, we have all been aware of the false things that have entered into the Church, (New Age, Contemplative, New Spirituality, Ecumenisim, ect…) and so as soon as they see that you do not see a problem with Warren, they will, unfortunately probably dismiss everything about the Swaggarts, I am not sure if I can use your article to try and get through to them or not, if it will help or deter. I have a few links that I would implore you to prayerfully watch and read, it is so important to also see the path that Rick Warren is on. I believe you are a Pastor who loves truth and loves the Lord and His word, that is clear from your article. Will you please take the time to watch the video and read the articles attached, thank you again for the time and effort in exposing the errors with the Swaggarts “Message of the Cross” , I kept thinking to myself when I was watching his program that I thought I had already understood the cross since my salvation 27 years ago and I would try and understand what he was talking about and I would actually find myself trying to picture the cross in my mind so I could “keep the object of faith the cross” ……how ridiculous! I should have known better, well, I did, but I kept dismissing it, not anymore, no more Swaggarts for me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9y9ly6YvCw
    http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?s=Rick+Warren&search=Search

    Blessings,
    Shelley

    Reply

    1. Hi Shelley, I really appreciate your thoughtful and articulate comment. Concerning Rick Warren, yes, I will take a close and careful look at the video and article links you have posted here. If I find something definitive about Rick Warren I have no problem posting an article about any doctrinal errors he may have. I will keep an open mind about it. To date, I have not seen anything but false charges and innuendo. I have seen no blatant false doctrine. With someone like Swaggart, it is easy to show the false teaching because his doctrines are in print. With Warren, I have not found anything in print that is heretical. All I have seen so far is that some people don’t like who he has had meetings with or they don’t like the translations he uses, etc. That is not serious enough to warrant attention. I have read Warren’s book, The Purpose Drive Life. I highly recommend it. That book has changed a lot of lives. My son was one of them. See the movie Captive, or read the book Captive, which is better than the movie. A mother taken prisoner by an escaped convict is saved, because he asks her to read The Purpose Driven Life to him. As a result he releases her and turns himself into the police. Its only one of countless wonderful stories that came about as a result of Warren’s book. I think Swaggart’s animosity to that book and to Warren is motivated by jealousy. The book does not contain any false doctrine. I challenge anyone to show me a written quote of Warren’s to show false teaching. I have never seen it. I’m not saying it might not be out there, but I just can’t come out against him without some solid proof. I will take a look at the links you provided. Thanks again for your comments and God bless you.

      …Pastor Mark

      Reply

  12. Dear Pastor Mark,

    I want to thank you for your research on JSM, I watched his telecast and read his expositors study bible but all the while I was seeing things in it that I thought were not right, and also things that were beginning to bother me about their program. I really loved their music but that was starting to be the only thing I liked after a while. I began to not even be able to read the Swaggart bible and just wanted to go back to reading my own reg. bible, which I did, and it was wonderful. I started researching Swaggart. I am so concerned since I have found out more about the strange things in their bible. I am very grateful for your very well written and eye opening article on them. I do have one concern, I want to print this and show my family members when I talk to them about JSM, however, my family members are very well aware of Rick Warren and the direction he has gone, we have all been aware of the false things that have entered into the Church, (New Age, Contemplative, New Spirituality, Ecumenisim, ect…) and so as soon as they see that you do not see a problem with Warren, they will, unfortunately probably dismiss everything about the Swaggarts, I am not sure if I can use your article to try and get through to them or not, if it will help or deter. I have a few links that I would implore you to prayerfully watch and read, it is so important to also see the path that Rick Warren is on. I believe you are a Pastor who loves truth and loves the Lord and His word, that is clear from your article. Will you please take the time to watch the video and read the articles attached, thank you again for the time and effort in exposing the errors with the Swaggarts “Message of the Cross” , I kept thinking to myself when I was watching his program that I thought I had already understood the cross since my salvation 27 years ago and I would try and understand what he was talking about and I would actually find myself trying to picture the cross in my mind so I could “keep the object of faith the cross” ……how ridiculous! I should have known better, well, I did, but I kept dismissing it, not anymore, no more Swaggarts for me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9y9ly6YvCw
    http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?s=Rick+Warren&search=Search

    Blessings,
    Shelley

    Reply

    1. Hi Shelley, Thanks for your comment. I’m glad my website has been a help to you in regard to the Swaggarts. Concerning Rick Warren. I have taken a look at the sites you listed and have yet to see where Rick Warren has engaged in continued sin or propagated false doctrines. So much of it is innuendo. For example, the charge that Warren was promoting the idea that Christians and Catholics unite – when you read it all you see he doesn’t encourage anything of the kind. All he was saying is that Christians and Catholics can work together in fighting gay marriage and abortion. Nothing wrong with that. He made it clear that there are clear differences between Catholics and Christians. Now with the joke with Elton John, yea that sounds concerning, but it does not reach to the level of sin. Perhaps some bad judgment there, if it really happened as reported. And I think his comment about homosexuals being saved was out of context. He probably meant that once a homosexual gets saved, they will no longer be a homosexual. I would like to hear his side of it. Since he actively preaches that homosexuality is a sin, I give him the benefit of the doubt, so I don’t see a real problem there.

      I have read his book, The Purpose Driven Life, and it does not contain any false teachings. This is not to say I agree with everything Warren says or does. I am only saying that his writings don’t contain false doctrines and he is living a consistent Christian life. With someone like Swaggart, it is a totally different thing. There was and is rampant sin and false teaching that is written down. There is no comparison between Warrren and Swaggart.

      It is a serious matter to label someone a false teacher. There must be cold hard facts, preferably in writing. This is easily done in Swaggart’s case. If I can see such facts in Warren’s case, I will not hesitate to expose it, but I have not seen it yet. The fact that Swaggart so viciously attacks Warren actually is in Warren’s favor. When a false teacher attacks you, then you must be doing something right.

      Reply

  13. Hi there

    Thank you for your confirmation that the he is what you says. I look for faithfully spirit filled people on the christian broadcasting channels and so very often I get put of by their selling of stuff !! and I start to feel real uncomfortable and turn the tv off. I am relieved to read a that I am not alone in these thoughts. it is always scary when someone as articulate as JS makes me feel he is not for real so thank you for this page and thank you all for your responses. to be honest I am not attending a church at this time as the once I have been to just preach tithing to the max. I give where I can to people whom I feel are in need whether it be buying them lunch helping pay a bill I always seem to have enough to pay for what the need is. Praise be to God. I love Jesus and he is all that matters God bless you

    Reply

  14. This may be a dumb questions, but does this apply to all the Swaggarts in terms of what they teach? I stumbled upon this because i wanted to see their new bible that my Girlfriend was talking about and she also gave me the expositors study bible too. Which i currently put down because of what was presented here, but i didn’t really use the commentary to begin with.

    Reply

    1. Hi Brandon, thanks for your question – Yes, as far as I am aware, all the Swaggarts teach the same thing. They all consider Jimmy Swaggart to be an end-time apostle, appointed to save the church, with an exclusive message from God. That said, I am only aware of Jimmy, Jimmy’s wife, Jimmy’s son Donnie, and Donnie’s son Gabriel. They definitely all teach the same. If there are other Swaggarts, I cannot say for sure about them. The Swaggarts have some family members that don’t have contact with them anymore because of how they were treated. Jimmy’s father, also a minister, when he was alive, said of his son, “He’s lost his mind.”

      …Pastor Mark

      Reply

  15. Hello Pastor Mark,
    I was just reading through these posts tonight..
    I still watch JSM ( Love the music) but I just can not understand the Message of the cross he preaches. Today on The Study of the Word, he made a statement that ” sin doesn’t separate you from God, but it does have consequences ” ..??? It sounded like once saved, always saved:(
    What say you?

    Reply

    1. Hi Sheliea, Thanks for your comment. Yes, that does sound like he is preaching Once Saved Always Saved. Sin certainly does separate from God. At first it impedes our relationship with Christ and if willful continued sin is embraced by a Christian, over time that can lead to eternal separation from God, as it says in Hebrews 10:26-27: “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries…” Jimmy never properly dealt with his sin. He continued in it after his TV confession, then disobeyed the A/G and refused to accept counseling, then got caught with a prostitute again and told his church, “God told me its none of your business.” I think because he never dealt with his sin, it has caused his teaching on sin to become somewhat twisted. You can see the fruit of that in his son’s life, who divorced his wife to marry a 5-time divorcee in the church he was having an affair with, then divorced her and remarried his first wife, all the while continuing to be a minister. Definitely not the kind of people you want to listen to when they say they have a new revelation from God that the Church has never had before! Thats how you spell CULT!

      …Pastor Mark

      Reply

      1. Thanks for your quick reply. My husband and I pastor. I always have known that It’s what Jesus did for me on the cross and thank God he arose! I have served the Lord in the following positions…Children, Youth, Women’s Ministries on the local and State level, Choir Director, Pianist, Evangelism State Secretary and my husband was Camp Manager for our state youth camp. BUT nothing we have done will get us to Heaven…Only the BLOOD! I remember where I was when Swaggert came on TV and apologized(?)… I cried and cried…I pray for them but I can’t support them financially. Donnie disrespects people on F&F and all of the ministers are always saying no one is preaching the Cross like them. Sorry for the rambling…..

        Reply

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