Apprising Ministries has been doing what we can to alert you to the New Downgrade, which unlike the original Downgrade Controversy, is not a controversy. Rather, the mainstream of the church visible is embracing it.

We’ve seen years now of following the erroneous idea that we can eat the fish and spit out the bones. Translation: It’s okay to read books with false teachings because I’m smart enough to reject those parts in favor of the good.

However, what actually happened is what God warned us about numerous times in Scripture:

When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.”

But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive?” Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees… Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?… A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Matthew 16:5-12; 1 Corinthians 5:6; Galatians 5:9)

The recent Elephant Room 2 was a good example of adding a little leaven when curator James MacDonald and co-host Mark Driscoll opened the door to contemporary evangelicalism for Word Faith peacher T.D. Jakes.

As you will see in coming days, this has moved people e.g. his spiritual daughter pastrix Paula White one step closer to mainstream acceptance; and ER2’s approval of Jakes also moves the WF heretics of TBN nearer as well.

So, stories like you’re about to see become relevant; where only a few months ago this kind of lunacy in the Lord’s Name would only be a blip in the whacked world of hyper-Pentecostalism and would have remained in obscurity.

Now, what I’m going to show you begins with a Washington Post story Child preacher in Prince George’s believes God speaks through him and this video report:

[mejsvideo src=”https://www.apprising.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/A-little-child-shall-lead-them-The-Washington-Post.mp4″ width=640 height=360]

Christian Post just picked up the story today as well in Md. Boy Ordained as Pastor, Claims God Called Him to Preach. In that former WP report we’re told:

Rev. Ezekiel Stoddard, 11, says God called him in a dream two years ago to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was ordained on May 6, 2012 at Fullness of Time Church in Capitol Heights, Md. His parents, Vasconcellas and Adrienne Smith, are pastors of the church. (source)

CP Reporter Stoyan Zaimov then adds further clarification:

An 11-year-old boy ordained as pastor last month in Maryland insists that it was God who called him to ministry in a dream, and he has the full support of the church he has been leading for the past month.

“A lot of grown-ups will look at me like I’m just a joke and I need to sit down,” says Ezekiel Stoddard, pastor of the Fullness of Time Church in Capital Heights. “But what they need to realize: It’s not just me just getting up for fame and everything. It’s for me to minister the Gospel. That’s what God inspired me to do.”

Those close to the 11-year-old young preacher told The Washington Post that they are fully supportive of his ministry, despite criticism from some who wonder if a child can truly understand and preach the Gospel. (source)

However, the issue here isn’t whether “a child” can understand the Gospel, so let’s not chase red herrings. The question to ask is: What does the Bible—the infallible and inerrant Word of God—say about the office of elder.

Well, it rules out both Ezekiel Stoddard and his mother pastrix Adrienne Smith:

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil… (1 Timothy 2:12-14; 1 Timothy 3:1-7)

It also needs to be understood here that Vasconcellas Smith has disqualified himself as well. Rather than lead his family, for whatever reason, he’s encouraged and joined them in open rebellion against the Word of God.

Well, it seems that Ezekiel Stoddard’s been being groomed for WF “success” for quite a while now. From his family’s God’s Blessings Music You Tube channel comes Exhorter Preacher/ Ezekiel Stoddard 6:

[mejsvideo src=”https://www.apprising.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Gods-Blessings-In-Action.mp4″ width=640 height=360]

Based upon this clip it would appear 6-year-old Ezekiel was already carrying the performing load. What we’re told next from the Washington Post report gives us real reason for concern here. It seems pastrix mom:

runs a tight ship. Sitting at the kitchen table one morning, the children wore a uniform of khaki pants and white shirts. After doing their schoolwork, they rehearse music routines several days a week and in front of a mirror Thursday nights. Ezekiel, on his own initiative, studies the Bible for 13 or 14 hours a week.

With Ezekiel as the frontman, the children perform in a musical group, God’s Blessings, No Chains Holding Me Down. The group has appeared on the “Bobby Jones Gospel” show on Black Entertainment Television, on local media outlets and at churches across the region. Smith said she came up with the inspiration for such a group when she was homeless, as she imagined a better future. (source)

Sadly, so much of this Word Faith preaching is entertainment, “the Show.” While T.D. Jakes has mastered it, look honestly at another 6-year-old below and tell me that it’s not the exact same show Jakes also performs:

[mejsvideo src=”https://www.apprising.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Baby-Jakes.mp4″ width=640 height=360]

The fact is, early in my Christian walk, before I knew better, I was into this kind of WF mythology myself. I even attended an African American church for a time. The Lord knows, I’ve seen hundreds of these kinds of messages.

Many live, and many more on television, but they’re all the same. The preacher starts at the pulpit; slowly they build until they begin moving around the stage being more and more animated until they reach their crescendo.

They pause; then slowly the build up begins once again up to a little higher crescendo. This sequence is continued over and over until the big climax where supposedly “the Holy Ghost” has fallen and then it’s miracle time.

Before you’re tempted to get angry with me for mocking this foolishness, I suggest you direct your anger where it belongs; with those who would pervert the Word of God and make a mockery of His Church and His Gospel.

Someone who:

teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-5)

And people who:

having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:5-7)

Further reading