Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Lead Us Not Into Temptation, Confronting Immorality in Ministry

Don Basham, Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1986, 191 pages, $6.95.

Reviewed by Lyndon McDowell, a pastor in Olney, Maryland.

This book is part rehash and part follow-up of the author's previous book True and False Prophets. The introduction of both volumes is identical as are many of the examples and theological arguments presented.

Basham is to be congratulated for his willingness to expose the rampant immorality within charismatic ministry. He describes it as reaching "crises proportions" and his examples are horrifying. There was the alcoholic preacher who would be so drunk he couldn't stand, "yet when the time to preach arrived, he suddenly sobered up and ministered with powerful results." There was also the "much sought after charismatic leader" guilty of persistent adultery with several women. A woman confided that a charismatic evangelist, who helped many, had invited her to his motel at 2:00 a.m. because "God was showing him many wonderful revelations" about her.

Basham poses the question: "How can a minister whose personal life is a moral shambles, who is guilty of repeated dis honesty and immorality, continue to exercise an effective ministry attested to by conversions and signs and wonders?" He answers by using tortuous reasoning and a transparent misuse of Scripture. His argument is also marred by a basic inability to recognize that signs and wonders are not necessarily evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit. It would seem his answer makes the Holy Spirit an accessory to sin and deception. "Enthralled by the ministry--which is God's--they [Christians] fail to discern the rebellion and immorality that reveal the true identity of the false prophet."

Even in ancient Egypt priests were casting out devils and healing the sick. Babylonian and Assyrian medical texts tell of exorcism. Scripture points out that it is not God who deceives but the devil who "deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do." Basham is honest in his confusion and has undoubtedly been harassed by those who would like to continue a cover-up, but his book provides clear evidence that miracles and spiritual exuberance can come from sources other than God. Perhaps this book and the recent Bakker case highlight a need to reassess the whole charismatic movement.

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Reviewed by Lyndon McDowell, a pastor in Olney, Maryland.

March 1988

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