I am certainty not a typical book reviewer, however, I had the privilege to request Defining Deception in exchange for a review. My primary interest in the book was rooted in the discussion on Third Wave theology and the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation). I am currently planning and researching for an episode on the subject, and I will utilize the fantastic information found in this book.
Costi Hinn and Anthony Wood provide us with an excellent work which seeks to lovingly, and biblically, examine the theology of the NAR/Third Wave movement while providing a history that traces the individuals and theology leading up to such a movement. Two things stuck out to me in this book; (1) the authors really stress their concern, their hearts, and their good intent for the volume and (2) the authors ensure information is properly handled and objectively presented. While you could hope for this to come from any volume on such a subject, I found that this was particularly prominent in this book and it was undeniable when reading through the content. In fact, the authors themselves stress that the information in the book is not for an “I told you so” or to badger anyone, but to help those who are conflicted or in this movement. Additionally, in the book it is noted that that authors attempted to speak with Bethel and asked to have a private audience with Bill Johnson, but were refused. The very fact that they reached out is significant when considering their motive and concerns of this movement.
The book begins by laying a foundation of historical “miracle manipulation” showing that what is occurring today is not new in any shape or form. Beginning with Acts, moving into the days of Erasmus in the 16thcentury, and today, the authors demonstrate that history is surely repeating itself. Additionally, the book shows the lineage of “historic faith heroes” and the problems with such heroes as they embraced theology well out of line with historical orthodoxy. Not only do the authors trace this lineage, but they examine such heroes and proponents of the movement objectively, which is seen in the inclusion of Benny Hinn, the uncle of Costi Hinn. Of particular interest was the discussion on the relationship between the various individuals, which did well to show that while the movement is not monolithic they are on the same page.
As one who has studied the subject a fair amount, especially on the subject of Bethel and Bill Johnson (see some of that here), I found that I learned a significant amount of new information that will surely prove to be useful. Chapter five was extremely, and particularly, alarming in that it shows the influence of Bethel, which has gone far deeper than I previously knew. The history presented of this movement was very important especially in understanding how prominent it has become and why this book needed to be written. One thing that stood out to me, given my recent work on the Passion translation here, was the deeper connections Simmons has with those involved.
“The best lies are those that contain a kernel of truth. The world’s greatest manipulators attracted their audiences by offering a false product nearly indistinguishable from the real thing.”Defining Deception
The book is fantastic in that it makes the true issue the issue, that is, the Gospel. A chapter in the book (chapter seven) focuses on genuine healings, which demonstrates the false message being paraded around by these individuals. While the book is fantastic, and includes fantastic appendices, I was hoping for a bit more on Todd White and other teachings of Johnson, but given the amount of information that the author’s covered, I’d still say this volume is worth buying, and rereading again.
One thing is for certain, if you have an individual in your sphere of influence who is caught up in the NAR or Bethel, this book is of great value. The approach of the book is undeniably done in love and reflects deep research, objective analysis, and lays foundations before going to Bethel. Additionally, the authors touch on the Dominion Theology, which shows why other ministries of Bethel or the NAR are alarming and need to be addressed. At the end of the day, these groups want to spread like wild fire and they are accomplishing this task.
I seriously suggest that you buy this book for yourself, family, friends, and your church leadership, you won’t regret it. This movement is a dangerous deception that must be combatted. You can find this book on amazon here.
“Church history shows us that Christian theology is not primarily a philosophical system invented by men in the quiet of an academic study. Doctrines were hammered out by men who were on the work crew of the church. Every plan in the platform of orthodoxy was laid because some heresy had arisen that threatened to change the nature of Christianity”Bruce Shelly, Church History in Plain language, quote found in “Defining Deception”
*Note the amazon link is an affiliate links meaning that I receive a small commission when these books are purchased through these links.