Plausible Deniability

By Mark W. Swarbrick

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Crooked politicians who order illegal or unethical acts try to insulate themselves in case the scheme is discovered. They cut the threads so that the orders can’t be traced back to them. This deceptive practice has been termed plausible deniability. You see this in every spy thriller: “Should you be discovered the government will deny any knowledge…”

Cults do something similar. They will teach something heretical but then disingenuously deny what they actually teach. They do this because they want to proselytize from Christian churches.  They keep their real heresies secret until they have gained enough influence to brainwash their subjects.

For example, if you ask the Jehovah Witness standing on your doorstep if they believe in the deity of Christ, they will respond most affirmatively that they do. But they don’t really mean that Jesus is God, as Christians do. They mean that Jesus is a god, one of many lesser gods.

Mormons likewise will say that they believe in the Trinity and thereby attempt to fool Christians into thinking that Mormonism is a legitimate Christian church. But their concept of the Trinity is nothing akin to Christian doctrine. Christians believe there is one God, eternally existent in three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That is the doctrine of the Trinity.

Mormons, on the other hand, believe in many gods and that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all three different and distinct gods. They teach that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones, that he is married to Mrs. God, lives on planet heaven, and he wasn’t always God. He was once a man, and through following Mormon principles became a god, as all Mormons can also become gods and have many wives on their own planet someday. Obviously, the Mormon god is a far cry from the Triune God of Christianity.

But of course, they don’t want to tell you all that up front. Instead they say, “Oh yes, our church believes in the Trinity.” They know very well that they believe something utterly foreign to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, but they don’t want you to know that. They want to keep their real beliefs hidden, so they deny it. They deceitfully obfuscate.

Swaggartism also practices plausible deniability. They subtly teach many unbiblical doctrines while at the same time denying that they teach them. They do this for the same reason as the cults. They don’t want to alienate Christians, for Christendom is their harvest field. It is where they proselytize their adherents from.

The Swaggarts may speak of their mission of reaching the lost, but remember, they consider that everyone in all other churches are lost in the darkness of what they call “the modern church.” Saving the lost, to them, means getting people to quit their churches and join theirs. For that reason, they are careful to make sure their peculiar doctrines are mentioned subtly, so they can deny them if challenged.

Jimmy Swaggart wrote an article in his magazine about his revelation from God. It is in the December 2004 edition of The Evangelist, and the article is entitled From Me to You. In it he states, “That which the Lord gave me, which I believe sheds more light on that which was originally given to Paul…” The meaning of that statement is clear. Swaggart is saying that God gave a teaching to Paul, but that God has given Jimmy an expanded, more comprehensive revelation of that teaching.

Of course, the Church noted immediately the heretical nature of such a statement and numerous people began writing about it, exposing the dangerous cultic nature of such a declaration. And Swaggartism responded, not by recanting, as they never do, but by denying they every said it.

Frances Swaggart tried to implement damage control by writing another article in which she said that people “were “misrepresenting what was contained in his article…” She begins by reemphasizing that the “Revelation of the Cross” was “given to him by God…” Think about what that means. She doesn’t say he studied the Bible and it dawned on him what the meaning was. No, she says the revelation was given to him by God, which obviously means exactly what it says. Nevertheless, she will try to walk it back, as we shall see.

Then she quotes her husband, “In this Revelation, the Lord explained to me, even in graphic detail, that which He had originally given to the Apostle Paul…” Frances then says, “He DOES NOT SAY that the Lord gave him more light than Paul had known, or more light than God had given to Paul.”

True, that quote doesn’t have Jimmy claiming more light than Paul. But Frances is referencing the wrong quote from the wrong article. She is quoting from one of Jimmy’s articles in the December 2004 edition, but it is a different article. She quotes from The Vision of Daniel. But it is in the article From Me to You where Jimmy says “That which the Lord gave me, which I believe sheds more light on that which was originally given to Paul…” Now in that quote Jimmy is definitely claiming more light than the Apostle Paul.

But then Frances makes matters even worse for Jimmy when she quotes her husband again: “But I honestly think, in His explaining this Revelation to me, that He gave me more light than the Church has previously known as it regards this all-important subject.” This is of course, an even more damnable statement, for “the Church” includes Paul, all the other apostles, and all theologians down through Church history. Frances continues…

“The indictment is against the church, not Paul or the Bible.  He was putting the blame on the church world as a whole, including himself, for our inadequacy in understanding the fullness of the Message of the Cross.” 

Frances seems oblivious to the fact that doctrine which “the Church has previously known” includes the teaching of all the apostles. You cannot indict the Church of all time without incriminating the apostles and the adequacy of scripture.

Frances may be trying to limit her husband’s statement to the current church world, but Jimmy has not left that option open. He said, “More light than the church has previously known.” Not what the Church of today knows. No, he says what the Church has previously known. Frances then says:

“There was in no way any indication that God had not done His Part by leaving something out of His Word…”

But that is exactly what Jimmy claims. Jimmy does imply the Bible is inadequate. Think about it. If no one in all of Church history had it right, and even the Apostle Paul didn’t have it fully, then that is akin to saying that it was not in the Bible.

If it was in the Bible, someone in the last two-thousand years would have comprehended it. Do the Swaggarts really expect us to believe that what Jimmy says is “the single most important material for the believer to know and understand.”[1] was hidden in the Bible for two millennia? Are we supposed to believe that what Jimmy says is the gospel was so vague that no one could see it?  If it was that obscure, then that is the same thing as saying the Bible is insufficient.

Frances writes, “There was in no way any indication…that this Revelation was given to my husband exclusively.” Oh, but yes there was! Jimmy absolutely does claim that this revelation was given to him exclusively. When you claim “more light than the Church has previously known” you are claiming something that no one else has ever had. Hear again what Jimmy said on his television program:

“This is the single most important material for the believer to know and understand…there isn’t anyone out there…other than those who have tuned in to this ministry, who even know what you’re talking about.”

And to that Jimmy’s hired yes-man adds…

“Outside of the influence of SBN…I too have never heard…until this revelation was given to you.”[2]

Frances writes:

“Anyone who has listened to my husband for any length of time knows that he would never even indicate, much less state, that the Word of God is by any means imperfect or incomplete, and he would never insinuate that God’s Truth was not readily available to any and all individuals who study His Word.  This is not part of who he is.”

I beg to differ. That is exactly who Jimmy Swaggart is. Frances may wish it were not true. She may wish it so earnestly that she vehemently denies it, but nevertheless it is so. In many times and many places Jimmy claims to be the exclusive mouthpiece of God on earth and that he alone has been given this revelation and that no one in all of Church history, not even the Apostle Paul, has fully understood it.

Just like the Mormons who say the gospel was lost until Joseph Smith had a revelation enabling him to restore it, so Jimmy Swaggart makes the same claim. He does it subtly, cleverly, ambiguously, by implication, but claim it he does.

Many have exposed Jimmy for claiming that God has spoken to him with a special new revelation from God. Frances tries hard to walk it back. She says that “revelation” simply means “illumination.” She explains.

“Now, I’m sure all of you who read your Bible have had a verse or passage of Scripture just suddenly seem to jump off the page as you read it, and you felt like you were seeing it or better understanding it much more than ever before.  You may have read that verse a thousand times, yet it had never fully sunk in until it was illuminated or revealed to you by the Spirit of God in a special, personal way.  Some have called this experiencing a “rhema” word from God.  It is as if you hear the Voice of God in your spirit (although not in an audible voice) teaching His Word to you.”

To that I say, no, that does not happen with the basic facts of the gospel. You pretty much understand the fundamentals of the gospel when you get saved, or at least the first time you read the New Testament. Jimmy says his revelation is the gospel. We are not talking about some obscure point of eschatology. We are talking about the gospel itself, which is so simple even a child can understand it. The gospel is as plain as day in scripture.

Furthermore, Jimmy is not claiming that he read his Bible one day and suddenly saw the gospel for the first time. That is what Frances is trying to make Jimmy’s revelation sound like, but that is not what Jimmy says.

What Jimmy does say is this: God spoke words to him. God gave him a great revelation. No one else has it now. No one in all of church history had it. No one has ever had it like he has it. Jimmy has “more light on that which was originally given to Paul…” and “more light than the Church has previously known” He says it is a revelation that is “new to the church.” That is what Jimmy says and that is entirely different from the sort of thing Frances is desperately trying to turn it into.

So here we have a perfect example of Swaggart double-speak. Jimmy says or implies something, hoping his dedicated followers believe it, but yet he says it with just enough subtlety and ambiguity to leave room for plausible deniability. Then the Church objects and Frances tries to walk it back and say he didn’t say it. And this happens over and over with the Swaggarts on various topics.

In response to backlash from the Church, the Swaggarts attempt to deny that the Swaggart doctrine is something new, yet we have already shown where Jimmy does claim it is something new. Just to recap, in Swaggart’s book, “Brother Swaggart Here is my Question About the Cross,” Swaggart says, “Considering that this message is new to the church…”

The entire article by Frances Swaggart presented such faulty logic and contained even more damaging claims by Jimmy Swaggart that cult-watch groups began to reference her article as additional proof of the heresy of Swaggartism.

The response of JSM was to entirely remove the article from their website. The article in question was formerly at http://www.francesandfriends.com/message-cross/ but it has been removed. Fortunately, there are websites that have it archived. The Swaggarts have no power to remove it from there. Anyone can go to https://archive.org/web/ and enter http://www.francesandfriends.com/message-cross/ and pull up old copies of the article. They can’t hide it.

Like crooked politicians, the Swaggarts practice plausible deniability, just the same as all the other cults do. As an American Indian might say it, “They speak with two tongues.” This is just one more of the many cultic attributes that separate Swaggartism from orthodox Christianity.

Strange Doctrines of the Jimmy Swaggart Expositors Bible, The Expositors Study Bible, Jimmy Swaggart Study Bibles, The Expositor's Study BibleIf you found this article interesting, you would enjoy my book, Swaggartism: The Strange Doctrines of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, available now on Amazon for only $6.99. For information click HERE.

Available in Paperback and Kindle eBook – 266 pages of documented facts! 

 

 

 

 

 

Other books by Pastor Mark Swarbrick, click the image below…

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[1] https://christiananswerman.com/is-it-a-cult/

[2] See video at: https://christiananswerman.com/is-it-a-cult/

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