Last year, I wrote an article about Pastor Steve Berger of Calvary Chapel and Amir Tsarfati. Here is the article, if you did not read it:
I was moved to write that article although it cost me much to do so. Speaking truth comes with a cost. But having a clear conscience before God makes it all worth it. Did my writing ministry suffer?
Yes, it did.
A very large ministry ceased to publish anything I wrote. I knew full well that this would happen, but am I to fear man or God?
I continue to write Truth. And I trust that the Lord will make sure that my writings are read by those who need to read them.
Steve Berger and his wife, after the terrible tragedy of losing their son, wrote a book called “Have Heart: Bridging the Gulf Between Heaven and Earth” in which they promote speaking to the dead (necromancy).
Amir lost many of his admins because of his association with Berger, and because he would not publicly renounce Necromancy. To this day, neither man has come forward, and condemned this practice and publicly repented.
This transpired last year and since then I had not seen Amir partnering with Steve Berger, and I felt that perhaps that in itself was a good sign that Amir did not wish to associate with Berger. But then tbis video emerged:
I saw many comments under the video from people who were waiting for Amir to renounce necromancy and repent of association with Berger who teaches this abhorrent practice.
Question: In a previous TBC newsletter, you wrote about a book titled Heaven Is For Real. You introduced the article as an “exercise in discernment.” I was recently sent a book that rather shocked me. Its title is Have Heart: Bridging the Gulf Between Heaven and Earth. It seems to do what you objected to in Heaven Is For Real—that is, supply information about heaven that is not taught in Scripture. Actually, it goes well beyond that problem by seeming to promote things prohibited in God’s Word. The most disturbing aspect of the book for me, however, was that two of the endorsers are men for whom I have great respect: Greg Laurie and Chuck Missler. What is your discernment regarding Have Heart?
Response: Have Heart was written by Steve and Sarah Berger, a couple who suffered the tragic loss of their 19-year-old son, Josiah. Their stated objective is to use what God showed them through their experience surrounding his auto accident in 2009 and beyond that event to comfort and help others who have had a similar loss of a loved one.
My wife and I (T. A.) recently experienced the loss of her mom, who lived with us for the last three years. Yet, as difficult as that was, I can’t imagine such a heartrending event as losing one of our five children. For those who have had such an experience, the first part of the Bergers’ book fulfills much of their goal: they do give wonderful comfort and some sound biblical counsel. For example, they write, “From the beginning of our pain, we asked the Lord for only His truth. We didn’t want to be comforted by a lie or counterfeit sympathies. We wanted God and His truth….The Holy Spirit also convicts believers of what is true and what is not. He is the ultimate Teacher and Comforter. In His comforting, He brings not only the truth, but He also proves God’s Word time and time again in our hearts….We need to be rooted and grounded in this truth so that no matter how hard the wind [of brokenheartedness] blows, we’ll stand….Our words need to match biblical truth” (pp. 32-33, 36, 60). This concern for God’s truth is repeated throughout the book.
Sadly, however, midway through Have Heart, the Bergers take leave of their statements regarding the objective Word of God and begin introducing their subjective experiences involving their deceased son, Josiah. Dreams become a vehicle of communication between Josiah and his family and friends: “And then one night, Josiah showed up in a dream” (p. 69). In that episode, Josiah cryptically communicated that he was “pickled,” i.e., his term for his life being preserved in heaven. “He [God] used a dream in my life to further unfold the greatness of Heaven, to reinforce the supernatural preservation of my son…” (p. 71). (emphasis mine)
Communication through dreams featuring a deceased loved one quickly led to direct communication: “Only two weeks after Josiah went to Heaven, I (Sarah) made it a habit to talk to Josiah…I would then be in instant conversation with Jesus and Siah [Josiah]” (p. 82). (Emphasis mine)
Sarah declared to her son that she needed “to be involved with your life even now…and I want to be involved in what you are doing” (p. 82). She then pleads with God to allow that to take place. Supposedly, God answered Sarah through the dream of an unbeliever, a Muslim friend of the family. Others supplied details of Josiah’s “job” in heaven through their own dreams. (emphasis mine)
The authors introduce many things that are allegedly taking place in heaven that are not specifically taught in the Bible. “Are our loved ones in Heaven able to occasionally see things that are happening on earth?…Do the saints intercede for people who are going through hard times? Yes—they know what is happening, as much as God allows, and they are praying for us!” (p. 76). Although the authors intend to comfort people with their insights, they don’t seem to be thinking the process through. Knowing what loved ones are doing on earth—perhaps in rebellion and sin—would certainly bring grief to those in heaven, a place of consummate joy. They seem to recognize that problem yet address it with another extra-biblical assessment: “It’s not all the time; they don’t get to see everything. But every once in a while the Lord grants them permission to look on this earth, and based on what they see, they intercede on our behalf.” Where is that found in Scripture? (emphasis mine)
The authors note the biblical prohibition of contacting the dead in Deuteronomy:18:10-12
but then issue a qualification presumably for believers: “We need to understand that God has the power to temporarily lift the veil between Heaven and earth at any time according to His good pleasure” (p. 95) They offer support for the legitimacy of their view experientially by adding that “Several people in our family and inner circle of friends have experienced similar meetings with Josiah…” including their pastor. The latter declares, “The next thing I knew, Josiah came into [the church] sanctuary…and he got down on one knee and bent to speak into my ear….I stood up and went over to my wife and told her, ‘Josiah was just here’” (pp. 99-100). The gist of Josiah’s communication was an encouragement regarding what his pastor had gone through during Josiah’s hospital stay. (emphasis mine)
The Bergers claim that such events surrounding their deceased son are proofs of biblical truths: “This visit proves that our loved ones in Heaven are spiritually active and that they care—they are aware of the times that we need special encouragement….God granted Josiah permission to make an appearance…it serves as proof that our son is not dead and gone, but merely moved to a different place to do other things for God. It shows he is happy there, and it demonstrates his continued presence in not only our lives but in the lives of his friends as well” (p. 100; italics added).
Although perhaps well meaning in their attempt to uphold the faith by “proofs,” the Bergers are nevertheless undermining biblical faith. Jesus gave the example of Abraham speaking to the rich man who wanted Lazarus to appear to his five brothers, saying that if they hear not Moses and the prophets, i.e., the Scriptures, they wouldn’t believe someone returning from the dead. Furthermore, Jesus chided Thomas for not believing that He had resurrected from the dead without physical proof, adding, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John:20:29).
Experiences never trump faith that is based upon the Word of God. Peter had an incredible experience on the Mount of Transfiguration when he saw Jesus glorified and in the presence of Moses and Elijah. Yet Peter declares that even better than that, we have “a more sure word of prophecy” and exhorts believers to “take heed” to the written Word (2 Pt 1:19).
In further attempting to legitimize their experiences (in view of Scriptural prohibitions), they appeal to the “spontaneity” of the “visitations” as the difference between that which is “condemned by God” and that which is “orchestrated by God” (p. 102). This is wishful thinking on their part, not Scripture’s truth.
In fact, much of what the Bergers hold for their hope in heaven is not stated in the Bible. They say that loved ones in heaven are “enjoying some pretty rockin’ new bodies,” whereas Scripture indicates that a deceased believer will receive his immortal body not right after death but when Christ returns for His church at the Rapture (1 Cor:15:52). They transfer things they love about their temporal life into the eternal realm, particularly their family relationships, and they see that relationship continuing with their deceased son: “We want all of us to continue to have relationship with Josiah right up until the day that we are face-to-face in Heaven with him” (p. 103).
Just because someone wants it doesn’t make it so. We know that our relationships with unbelieving family members will not continue in heaven. How joyful, then, would a family unit be there with perhaps multiple missing members? Will there be family relationships in heaven? No matter what our rationale, Scripture simply does not tell us. We do know that there is neither marrying nor those given in marriage in heaven (Mt 22:30). Furthermore, all that the Bergers describe seems to lose sight of, even diminish, the extraordinary relationship every believer will have with Jesus Christ.
One of the dangers of this book for a person who doesn’t study the Word of God for himself (which is epidemic today) is that he is disarmed by the multiple claims of biblical veracity, which give way to human speculations—which are then accepted as biblical truth. With no scriptural support, the Bergers write, “We know that [Josiah] can see us, hear us, and even be involved, not only in our lives but also in the lives of his friends. We are continually hearing of Siah coming to friends in dreams….The dreams are incredibly profound and always prove God’s Word, point to the glory of God, and compel us to get closer to Jesus” (p. 104). They add, “We mean no disrespect to the prophets, but the idea of Siah being able to observe the choices we make here on earth is way more motivatingas we seek to live for God moment-by-moment. The cloud of witnesses [of “Christian loved ones in Heaven”] is personal, and we believe it is part of their work in the spiritual realm to cheer on their loved ones still on earth…” (p. 107; italics added). (emphasis mine)
In their attempt to comfort those who have also lost loved ones to death, the Bergers fail to give the biblical warnings of spiritual deception, especially since their grieving state may make them terribly vulnerable to Satan’s ploys, such as transforming himself “into an angel of light” (2 Cor:11:14-15).
In our day, when biblical discernment is practically nonexistent among most who call themselves Christians, to emphasize the experiential, as the Bergers do throughout their book, is playing right into the hands of the Adversary. Tragically, they call such supernatural experiences with their deceased son “God Nods” and encourage their readers to seek their own: “Be on the lookout for God Nods in your own life”
(p. 104). They give examples of Josiah kissing his sister after his death (p. 115), and his dad crying out to God for a sign: “I was begging God for a sign, a sign…out of the ordinary…that my Josiah was all right…. I was asking God to give me something I could behold with my physical eyes”
(p. 118). Scripture, however, warns that “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign” (Mt 12:39).
In contradiction to the biblical counsel the authors give at the beginning of their book, in the end they not only capitulate to a view that disagrees with the Bible but they promote it enthusiastically: “Our loved ones may show up in dreams or visits or other ways (who can limit God’s imagination?), but the fact is that we’re connected….There is a thin veil, and we’re connected to them, forever, in Christ” (p. 110). They conclude, “You don’t father or mother a child for nineteen years and then hear God say, ‘Oh, now you can’t talk to him. You no longer have a relationship with him until you see him face to face in Heaven….’ We still talk to Josiah, and it’s going to be so great when we’re together again” (p. 125).
In our view, Have Heart is an example of how a tragic event in the lives of believers can lead many into an even more tragic misunderstanding of God’s Word. source
I want the reader to understand that I have shed tears over the Berger’s loss of their precious son. I can’t even imagine the pain. But the Word of God is clear and teaches us that communicating with a deceased person is forbidden. It is called “Necromancy” and God forbids His children to practice this.
The Dangers of NAR and How Steve Berger is steeped in this False Teaching
I believe that when pastors and Bible teachers begin to replace the Word of God with their own “opinions, thoughts and imaginations” which do not line up with God’s Holy Word, they begin to slide down a slippery slope into Apostasy.
I believe that happened with Steve Berger.
I want to share two short videos that will show the reader conclusively that Steve Berger is part of and teaches the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) to his congregation.
You will begin to understand that this movement is a “RETURN TO ROME” Apostasy which I believe will be instrumental in leading the world to the ‘One World Religion.’
Brethren, the Great Reformation happened for a very good reason. Martin Luther realized that the Catholic Church was preaching a different Gospel of Works. He knew that we were under the Covenant of Grace. He tacked up 95 theses on the door of the Catholic Church, explaining the grave errors being taught in Catholicism.
He eventually lost his life because of his actions. We are not to merge with the Vatican! What has light to do with darkness? RUN from this false teaching!
This is HERESY!
Please watch these videos and understand that Steve Berger’s church hosted this NAR event. Also, please watch carefully beginning right after the 6:00 mark in the first video, to see proof that Berger’s church in TN hosted this. Also, you will see that Berger’s book (“Have Heart”) is endorsed by the writer of “The Shack.”
For those who do not fully understand the tenets of NAR, here is a good article which explains the errant beliefs of this cult:
It’s Past Time to Out the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) As a Dangerous Cult <click here to read
It is never too late to repent and turn back to our God. I pray for Steve and Amir to humble themselves before their many followers and denounce both Necromancy and the New Apostolic Reformation Cult.