River of Life, or River of Deception? A Review of Dr. Rob Reimer's River Dwellers
Christian and Missionary Alliance professor, pastor, and author Dr. Rob Reimer has recently written a book entitled River Dwellers: Living in the Fullness of the Spirit. Now, Reimer's mission seems to be to immerse himself multiple times in deep encounters in the River, and to take as many as possible with him. And our mission must be to ask exactly what "River" is Reimer referencing? How is Reimer doing this? Just who is Reimer influencing? Who has impacted, and is impacting Reimer? And above all, is he pursuing a "River of Life," or a "River of Deception?"
Reimer's close friend Dr. Ron Walborn, Dean of the Alliance Theological Seminary, describes Rob's pursuit this way: "... Rob is a man who is hungry for God and will jump into the River every chance he gets ... he likes to cannonball into the River so he can get as many people wet as possible!" Other endorsers include: Rev. Tom Ward, Rev. Jeff Norris, and Rev. Tom Mangham. (p.2)
The book, self-published, has an introduction, five chapters, and a conclusion. Like Pathways to the King that I previously reviewed, River Dwellers has no endnotes, nor index which often makes it difficult to trace exactly where Reimer's references and quotes come from. However, the sermon podcasts and facebook of CMA South Shore Community Church, Brockton, MA as well as Reimer's twitter and facebook fill us in on the complete picture. (p.11)
Very First Verse:
Reimer's very first verse is Ezekiel 47:9: "Where the river flows everything will live." (p.12)
His introduction highlights Rob's passion for pursuing the baptism of the Spirit. As this has been a controversial topic, writes Reimer, we should put aside our previous mindset and as the early disciples were "Spirit people," we should be less concerned about our personal viewpoint, and recall that the early church "lived out of the book of Acts." Additionally, Reimer says, "The key to remaining in the fullness of the Spirit is dwelling in the River of Life." (pp.15-16)
Reimer's Continuous Encounters:
In chapter one Reimer reiterates his viewpoint that the baptism of the Spirit is more than a one time event, and that we can have more than one encounter. He states he seeks God often for fresh encounters, and fresh fillings. (p.26)
Reimer's Multiple Monastery Encounters:
Exactly, where has Reimer had "multiple encounters?" Well, it is at "the monastery" where Reimer regularly retreats. Which monastery is that? It is the Holy Trinity Monastery in Petersham, MA.
This monastery is run by the Maronite Monks of Adoration who are eucharistic, contemplative, and cloistered. The guest master is Rev. Robert Nortz (Father Robert to Rob) with whom Reimer has conferred. (p.26)
Reimer refers to "the monastery" nearly ten times in the book. Readers, this monastery's main purpose is to engage in eucharistic adoration where each monk, in addition to group adoration, must worship the eucharistic wafer two hours per day. Click here to view Holy Trinity's short video showing the monks at worship, and at work.
A look into Holy Trinity's online "Constitution" lists rule after rule the monks must obey in order to work their way to heaven. It is beyond sad that Reimer can recommend this monastery suggesting that this is a wonderful place to find the Savior and draw close to him--for here is idolatry at its saddest--the worship of a wafer over and over. For Scripture says in Hebrews 10:14: "For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified."
Reimer's Monastery References:
"I have had multiple encounters with God at the monastery where I go for spiritual retreats which have strengthened me, challenged me, and changed me." (p.26)
"I have spent larger blocks of time alone with God... I go to a monastery to pursue God ... I am on pursuit." (p.41)
"The monastery is very quiet and remote. ... Often as I drive onto the campus, I can feel the Spirit of God refreshing me. It is like taking a deep breath of fresh, clean air." (p.111)
"... I went to talk to one of the monks ... The monks and I don't agree about all theological points, but we do agree about the most important thing: our love for Jesus and for people. It saddens me that so many people cannot learn from anyone if they disagree with them. ...so I went to Father Robert, who was the guest master ..." (p.113)
"One day I spoke at the seminary (Alliance Theological Seminary), and I told this story about my encounter with Father Robert. ..." (p.114)
"I had just finished a ten-day stint at the seminary teaching Soul Care to doctoral students ... I had scheduled some time at the monastery on the heels of this season. ..." (p.139)
"I sensed the Lord calling me to go into the chapel and sit in silence. ..." (p.140)
"I want to be in the River of Life when I am alone with God for days at the monastery ..." (p.145)
" ... and I had read R. Thomas Ashbrook's book, Mansions of the Heart. The first time I read Ashbrook's book, I was at the monastery." (p.159)
What a travesty that Reimer sees the monastery as a refuge, and its monks as ones who can advise him, rather than a mission field he needs to influence.
Reimer's Nun Prophecy:
A "My Monastery" story Reimer told, illustrating the gift of prophecy, was given on May 19, 2013 in his "Manifestation Gifts" sermon. In it Reimer reported that he had attended a morning chapel service where he noticed a nun. Now encountering a nun was unusual, as Holy Trinity has only monks. But the Lord seemed, related Reimer, to signal that he was to tell this nun that God was pleased with her, and that she was on the right track vocationally. This Reimer did when he met her once again in the sitting room. How strange Reimer should share a prophecy with a nun he didn't know rather than the gospel! Something truly is amiss here!
Reimer's Spirit People:
Reimer writes during a series of meetings where he and his colleagues were teaching on the baptism of the Spirit that they asked only "spirit filled people" to be part of their prayer team. Reimer said, "The people who were hungry for God stood to receive prayer, and these River Dwellers laid hands on people, and prayed for them." This elite group were Reimer's Spirit people. (pp.32-33)
Reimer's Passionate Pursuit:
Reimer's favorite word is "pursuit." Over and over the words "pursue," and "pursuit" pop out. Pursue what? Rob stresses we're to pursue an initial infilling, and then continuous encounters of the Spirit. Once you've found "it," he contends, you will witness, have power, and do prophesy. Will you speak in tongues? Maybe, says Reimer, but it is not an evidence of being baptized in the Spirit. (pp.28-38)
Reimer's Recent Pursuitcast Interview:
Sam Won, a 2011 ATS grad who is part of the pastoral staff of "The Sycamore of the CMA," first interviewed his former professor Dr. Rob Reimer, upon the publication of Pathways to the King
on April 4, 2014 Pursuitcast. Then again, Sam recently interviewed Reimer after the publication of
River Dwellers. Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/pursuitnyc/pursuitcast-011
Sam's "Pursuit, New York City":
Pursuitcast Sam, so influenced by Reimer, is part of "Pursuit, NYC" whose vision "revival or bust" is for metropolitan NYC area. They pursue: "His Kingdom. His transformation in us and our city. To win cities, to disciple nations, to father a generation, to transform a world, and to usher in the return of the King."
What is "Pursuit, NYC" doing this summer? "Pursuit Summer Thursdays" gives us the scoop listing activities such as: June 18: Compelled by Love (Heidi Baker documentary); July 2: Soaking; July 9: Treasure Hunting*; July 23: Holy Ghost Documentary; and August 6: Fire in the Night.
* From Bethel Church Web Page: "About Treasure Hunts: "Treasure Hunts incorporate words of knowledge (clues) that you write on your Treasure Map to find Treasures (people) who need a supernatural encounter with God through an encouraging prophetic word or healing."
Sam's Redding, California Pursuit:
It is noteworthy to say Sam himself, in 2014, went on a pursuit! Where did Sam go? Sam's 7-6-14 Sycamore sermon details how he flew to California to interview Redding's CMA Risen King Pastor
Bill Randles, as well as the Risen King church plant pastor Nathan Edwardson of the CMA's "The Stirring Church" (Sister church to Bethel!!)* Besides these interviews Sam attended a Bethel Church conference during which time he had his picture taken with Bethel's "Bill Johnson." Sam noted too that around Redding there's an "Open Heaven" meaning there are no hindrances.
Is Sam for real? Yes, Sam seems like a sincere, affable Korean CMA pastor who has most certainly been influenced by Reimer, ATS, and his denomination into the NAR River.
* The Stirring: CMA Church closely tied to Bill Johnson's Bethel. "The Stirring" staff pastor Jim Bailey, by the way, spoke at "The Deeper Life Conference" at Nyack in February, 2015.
Reimer's Church Seeks "Open Heavens:"
South Shore Community Church CMA also uses the term "open heavens" on their church facebook on 1-15: "Let's all join together and pray for a breakthrough and for open heavens in our region!" and "Will you contend as Pastor Rob taught, for a spiritual shift? Take a few minutes today ... to pray that God would push back the darkness and open the heavens in our region. We need a spiritual shift in the heavenly realms." Prior to this on 9-9-12 Reimer taught about "open heavens" in a sermon "Open Doors, Open Hearts."
Reimer's Weighty Words:
The more power you get through numerous encounters, teaches Reimer, the more you'll notice that your words grow weightier! Reimer attests, "When we are walking in the fullness of the Spirit, the presence of God adds a weightiness to our words, that is clearly supernatural." (p.28)
Reimer's Search for More:
Like his book Pathways to the King Reimer is into a frenzied pursuit of endless experiences chasing more of God. He's fasted, slept less, and sat in solitude and silence. He's been to the monastery regularly. As Rob says, "I am on the pursuit." Because of this writes Rob, "I've noticed that when I pray for people, more people are experiencing God's love. More people are healed. There has been an increase in power." (p.41)
Reimer's Impartation Quest:
In order to get more of God Reimer encourages one to receive prayer, and the laying on of hands. Reimer states, "I love being prayed for and having people lay hands on me. When I go to confer-
ences or when I get around people of anointing and spiritual power, * I ask them to lay hands on me and pray for me. I want more of God, ..."
Reimer adds, "I have had people from evangelical and charismatic circles lay hands on me ... I've had world renown leaders pray for me, who were anointed by God and who impacted my life through their work ..." (p.43)
* My emphasis.
Reimer's 2013 Randy Clark Family Trip:
In a June 16, 2013 sermon, "Expanding Our Umbrella of Authority II," Reimer shares that he and his family were especially anxious to join a NAR Randy Clark Global Awakening Missions group going to Brazil. There he looked forward to obtaining an impartation from Randy himself! Did Reimer secure that impartation? He does not say. But, he does indicate he traveled to villages in Brazil doing healing. (p.34) He also relates, "That summer, as part of our pursuit of revival, Jen and I went on a missions trip to a place where God was pouring out His Spirit; we were both praying and hoping for a fresh touch from God. We saw many miracles, but the fresh touch we were personally hoping for did not come, ..." (p.154)
Reimer's Heidi Baker Impartation Story:
In the same South Shore 6-13 sermon Reimer relates the astounding story of Heidi Baker and her amazing impartation received from Randy Clark where she was "laid out" for seven days. Readers, recall Maddy, the Alliance Theological seminarian, whom Reimer mentored, also ended up at a Randy Clark assignment in Brazil where she wrote she had listened to a "Mama Heidi" program. And now this summer, for Pursuit NYC Summer Thursdays, Pursuitcast Sam is showing a Heidi Baker movie.
In answer to the question: "Is a transferable anointing scriptural?" read: "Is the Anointing Tangible and Transferable; Can We Impart It?" from "Let Us Reason"; or view Volume III of Caryl Matriciana's "Wide Is the Gate" Section 4:"God Chasers and Mystery Schools" with its informative material on impartations, mantles, and laying on of hands.
Reimer's Dialogical Relationship:
Reimer asserts in order for our relationship with the Lord to grow, it must become dialogical. Yes, we hear through scripture, says Reimer, but God speaks directly to us through the Spirit. Reimer then launches into "the six ways God speaks to us directly." (pp.53,56)
Reimer's Whisper Risks:
The first way, states Reimer, that we hear God speak is through whispers. For more information Reimer suggests we read: Bill Hybel's The Power of a Whisper. However, I would recommend instead one read: "Hush! Whispers at Willow Creek: A Review of Bill Hybel's Book: The Power of a Whisper" found at:
Reimer goes on to advise, "One way to become attuned to these whispers is to take risks with them.
Did you notice the word "attuned?" Is this term scriptural? New Age? (pp.56-57)
Reimer's Audible Voice Teaching:
As Reimer asserted in his Pathways to the King book, so once again, he reasserts here that he has heard God speak aloud to him. He writes, "Sometimes God speaks in an audible voice." He continues, "Whenever I speak to an audience about prophecy, I ask how many have heard the audible voice of God, and it is not uncommon to see one quarter of the hands go up. God speaks." (p.58)
Reimer's Audible Voice Quote:
Reimer uses Word of Faith Joyce Meyer's quote where she declares she's heard the audible voice of God several times. The quote, undocumented in the book (pp.59-60), is taken from the "Introduction" to Joyce Meyer's book: How to Hear From God. (p. VIII) In this same book Meyer teaches about the "rhema word" of God.
Reimer's "Does This Mean Anything to You? Can I Ask You a Question?"
Reimer goes on to say God speaks to us via pictures in dreams and visions. Reimer shares when he receives certain words or pictures he tests things out by asking leading questions such as: "Does this mean anything to you?" or "Can I ask you a question?" And I want to ask a question: "In which chapter in Scripture can one find this method practiced?" (pp.61-63)
Reimer's Compassion Prophecy:
Another way God speaks, suggests Reimer, is to our body or emotions. Reimer says that sometimes before he gives a prophetic word, he'll feel a rush of God's compassion. He tells a story of such a time when he approached a lady saying, "I have a word from the Lord for you. She said, 'Tell me.' I said, 'It isn't here yet, but I can tell is coming, because I can feel the Father's compassion for you.'" This went on for months. Finally, relates Remer, the message came. Thought: Did God's prophets operate on the installment plan? (p.65)
Reimer's Mind's Eye Word:
Yet another way God speaks, instructs Reimer, is by giving one a word in our mind's eye. As an example, Reimer retells Wimber's Power Evangelism story about Wimber's airplane "adultery" word. Reimer also mentions Wimber's anecdotes in his South Shore sermons. In one sermon, incidentally, he mentions that his good friend Ron Walborn had an increased gift of healing due
to a Wimber impartation. (pp.66-67)
Reimer's "Our Knower:"
Lastly, Reimer says God speaks to our spirit enlightening us with something we'd never know. So when Reimer prays for someone, he listens. He says, "Theology 101: 'God is smart, and He knows
stuff we don't know ... He likes to tell us what He knows.'" (p.68) However, Samuel 2:2,3 says, "There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: ... Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed."
Reimer's Many Kinds of Manifestations:
In the section "Manifestations of God's Presence", Reimer lists various manifestations which occur when the Spirit comes on someone producing bodily reactions. Reimer discusses "holy laughter," and "prostration" as mentioned in historian CMA's Paul King's book Genuine Gold*
* Look for later review of Dr. Paul L. King's books: Genuine Gold and Come Up Higher.
Reimer's Connection with Dr. Paul L. King:
CMAers should become familiar with Dr. King for he, along with the pastoral trio of Walborn, Reimer, and Sanders, desires to lead the Alliance back into the River via Holy Spirit Revival.
The pressing question becomes which River are these men taking the Alliance to? Unfortunately,
from all I have read, and researched the answer will be the "New Apostolic Reformation River!"
Therefore, I would encourage Alliance readers to inform themselves about who Dr. King is, who he is associated with, and what his books say. And even more importantly one should, regardless of denomination, arm yourselves with knowledge as to what the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) is
all about for most assuredly it is not a River one wants to be immersed in!
Dr. King recently twittered he'd been blessed to receive a copy of Reimer's River Dwellers on his birthday. In addition he posted a photo of the book. Reimer, in turn, had a link to Dr. King on his facebook page. Both men closely follow the same agenda. And I might also add both are linked to Randy Clark. Dr. King's books, and picture can be found on Clark's Global Awakening site; and Dr. King is now a mentor to Randy Clark doctoral scholars. For much more information please look for my upcoming King book reviews.
Reimer's Prophecy Testing Suggestions:
Reimer says to humbly test everything to see if it of God. Reimer writes, "First, test it with Scripture. ... test it with mature believers who are living in the fullness of the Spirit and have discernment. ... test words with someone who honors prophecy and walks in humility, and has displayed discernment." Reimer adds, "At South Shore Community Church if I receive a prompting of the Spirit, I test it with other staff members and members of the board." (pp.69-70)
Now, one of Reimer's staff is Associate Pastor Deb Bellvue. Bellvue, however is a spiritual director, and meditation teacher for an organization known as The Well. The Well*, run by Katherine Forbes-
Smith also a South Shore member, is anything but a well of living water! For it lists activities as Saturday Morning Meditation (mindfulness, relaxation, stress relief), massage therapy, yoga, and more. And Reimer tests things with Bellvue? Sad indeed! http://visitthewell.org/
*The Well Facebook Meditation Ads: 1-15: Two upturned hands; Touts relaxation, deeper spirituality...; Contact . Bellvue; 2-15: Meditation 101: Learn the what, why, and hows of meditation under the guidance of D. Bellvue; 5-15: Saturday Morning Meditation; Experience mindfulness, relaxation, stress relief; South Shore Facebook: 5-22-15: "Did you know Pastor D. Bellvue leads a prayerful meditation group at the well?" Note: Well Wording Vs. Church Wording!
Reimer's Reading of Tozer's Mystics:
Reimer shares that he has read many Tozer books, and that Tozer himself read "Christian Classics" by such ancient writers as Brother Lawrence, Teresa of Avila, and St. John of the Cross.
Reimer indicates, "These saints who have gone before me stir the longings within me for God himself." (p.110) However, Reimer fails to mention "these saints" were all Roman Catholics.
Reimer's Dark Night of the Soul:
In Rob's final chapter: "Twists in the River Bend" he details how he was floundering to stay "in the River." He writes, "But, for the first time in my life, for an extended period of time, God was nowhere to be found." (P.159)
Rob goes on, "Fortunately, I had read St. John of the Cross's work: Dark Night of the Soul and I had read R. Thomas Ashbrook's book: Mansions of the Heart. Rob continues, that he so resonated with Ashbrook's description of how to achieve a deeper union with God. (p.160)
While reading Ashrook's depiction of "the dark night of the soul" Reimer sobbed, and said to the Lord, "I have been in your presence so long I can't imagine living without you. ... I don't want to be with without your Presence. Please." (p.160) Later, following Ashbrook's prescription Rob too had his dark night.
Is the dark night of the soul scriptural? Gotquestions.org answers, "A believer has God's peace now; he doesn't have to experience a 'dark night' first. (Romans 5:1) ... Neither Jesus nor the apostles ever taught a 'dark night' of the soul." http://www.gotquestions.org/dark-night-soul.html
Has Rob been leading people into a "River of Life," or into a "River of Deception"? In the end, I would have to conclude that his drift into the New Apostolic Reformation river sweeps his readers, students, church, and pastoral associates into a swirling eddy of deception. Throw in his Catholic leanings, and what a polluted river it becomes. Unfortunate this is, for Rob seems to sincerely desire a deeper walk with the Lord; but with his frantic pursuit he, as his close friend Ron Walborn declared, has gotten, and is getting many others saturated in the process--very often not in a "River of Life," but a "River of Deception."
Learn to Discern Granny Verse: I John 4:1
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
For More Information:
Watch for: Upcoming blog contrasting Kevin Reeves' The Other Side of the River with Rob Reimer's River Dwellers.