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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

ian mccormack open heaven spiritual deception part 2

This is my second post about the "third heaven" experience promoted by Assemblies of God pastor Ian McCormack. I am adding some further information as a general response to some of the comments I have received, and also as a result of having done some further research.

Ian McCormack's multiple trips to heaven follow his initial experience in Mauritius in 1982 when he claims to have died and gone first to hell, and then to heaven. He claims that the experience of "open heaven" is available and even normative for every Christian. He is currently promoting his film "The Perfect Wave" which was released last year. Ian's full testimony can be found on his website: http://www.aglimpseofeternity.org/

What I am going to challenge primarily is Ian McCormacks flawed "discussion" about the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:20-31) on his website: http://www.aglimpseofeternity.org/ians-testimony/faqs/answers/

LUKE 16:19-31:
There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Ian's first error is that he says that both Lazarus and the rich man talk to each other - this is actually NOT the case, the conversation is between the rich man and Abraham! This is important because Ian claims that if this is a literal account, then people in heaven and hell can see each other and those in heaven observe those tormented in hell. It is critically important not to read something into the text that it does not say, and yet this is precisely what Ian McCormack does. Nowhere in the biblical text does it say that Lazarus can actually see, hear, or have any interaction with the rich man, or that he is even aware of the conversation! The interaction is solely between the rich man and Abraham. Verse 22 - The rich man saw Abraham far off and Lazarus by his side - "Abraham's side" is a translation of "Abraham's bosom" (κόλπος) which is a synonym for paradise (Luke 23:43). The same Greek word is used in verse 22 - Lazarus was carried by the angels to Abraham's side/bosom (κόλπος). Deceased believers are now present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23); the scriptures do not tell us their level of cognizance beyond that. Ian's second error is that the rich man does not plead with Abraham to send "some one" back from the dead, he pleads specifically for Abraham to send Lazarus.

Ian McCormack: "In the story both men talk to each and the rich man pleads with Abraham to send some one back from the dead to warn his family lest they end up in Hell. Abraham tells the rich man that they have Moses & the prophets let them hear them and that even if some one was to come back from the dead they still wouldn't believe.

For if this story was a real/literal one as some believe and that Abrahams Bosom is heaven then it seems very strange to me that people in Hades / Hell can talk to people in Heaven and that they can see each other and watch the torment. If this was so then this would actually be hell as how could you as a Christian be able to see your lost friends and neighbors being tormented."

Ian McCormack argues that theologians use this parable to nullify his testimony because Abraham said there is a great chasm set between Abraham's Bosom and Hades and that no one can pass over from Hades/Hell into heaven. He then goes on to argue that because Jesus Christ crossed over this impassible chasm, then it is also possible for others to do so.

"Of course Jesus himself went from the cross to hell and from hell to heaven. So He crossed over this so called chasm himself. Going firstly to hell { Hades } then into Heaven.

The scriptures tell us that Jesus himself spent 3 days & 3 nights into Hades { Matt 12: 40 } and He now has the keys of Death & Hades { Rev 1 : 18 }"   http://www.aglimpseofeternity.org/ians-testimony/faqs/answers/

Most commentators agree that ἔσται … ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ τῆς γῆς, (in the heart of the earth) is Hades. The parable speaks about "those who would pass" meaning departed spirits. Jesus Christ was unique, he was not in the category of a departed spirit in the context of this parable. Christ was 100% human and 100% divine. 1 Peter 3:18-20 tells us that after his crucifixion, Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. The meaning of these verses in 1 Peter 3 is much disputed, but it appears that Jesus did go into Hades. However, we should also note that Jesus said to the thief ".....today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). The parable in Luke 16 tells us that none may cross from there to us. If Jesus Christ did cross the impassible chasm as some claim, he was the only One who was able to do so: "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades." (Revelation 1:17-18) The audacious claim to have passed the chasm between hell and heaven "because Jesus did", is not only unbibical but highly presumptuous.

In any event, Jesus Christ says that human testimony of returning from the dead is not only forbidden (none may cross), it will definitely not produce true faith. Why then would Ian McCormack be the exception to this rule in contradiction to God's Word? This is a further instance of Ian McCormack in some sense making an inappropriate comparison between himself and Jesus Christ. Notice that Abraham said that they should hear Moses and the Prophets. Similarly today, faith comes through hearing the word of Christ, it does not come by believing a mere man who claims to have risen from the dead and other fantastic claims:

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

Why does Ian McCormack have such poor biblical exegesis? If he were so very close to God, then his exegesis would be spot on surely!

The short video below shows Ian McCormack's take on experiencing heaven:

Ian McCormack attempts to validate "third heaven experiences" by citing the apostle Paul and John's encounter of heaven in the scriptures. As already discussed in my previous post, Paul was forbidden to speak of the things he saw and heard. Paul's experience was a very rare event, it happened only once in fourteen years. John's Apocalyptic vision on Patmos was fearful (Revelation 1:17). His terrifying vision is definitely not an example of an ecstatic spiritual experience. I reiterate that these two events were exceptional occurrences, they are definitely not described by the apostles as normative for Christians. http://bewareofthewolves.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/ian-mccormack-open-heaven-or-spiritual.html

In contrast to the Apostle Paul and John, Ian McCormack claims to have open access to the Shekinah i.e. the dwelling or setting of the divine presence of God in a very personal intimate way: " I am seeing the Lord, its all the senses, the mind the emotions the heart the senses the touch the sight; its like seeing, feeling, hearing, tasting, smelling - all of the senses are activated. It is like you are meeting a person."  Ian McCormack says that his initial encounter in 1982 was the "entry point" into the glory realm when he met Jesus Christ tangibly face to face. "I knew the tangible presence, the manifest presence of God physically on me."  After this initial encounter he claims that God told him:"You can have the kingdom of heaven here on earth."

But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? (2 Corinthians 5:7)   

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. (1 Corinthians 13:12) 

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Ian McCormack is not content with the fact that the Bible tells him that God loves him, it is all about the experience: "I found the living Word made flesh and beheld his glory, which is what the apostles talked about....  'We beheld the word made flesh and beheld his glory.'"  Ian McCormack has a habit of mis-quoting the scriptures and only using parts of verses; what he is referring to are the following verses: 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14) 

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (1 John 1:1-4)

In fact the exact opposite of Ian's experience was true of the apostles - they beheld the glory of the living Word, the Messiah, Jesus Christ in the flesh i.e. - they saw, heard and touched Jesus Christ while he was on the earth, not in the heavenly realm. The reason John was writing these things was because the apostles were eye witnesses - these things were written for the benefit of those who had not seen, not touched, not heard etc. so that they might believe. Do you think that if later believers received ecstatic experiences directly from God they would need the eyewitness testimony of the apostles? These claimed "third heaven" experiences actually displace the Word of God and negate faith. .....for we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) 

..... just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, (Luke 1:2)

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16).

In fact there is a blessing for believers who have not actually seen: Jesus said to him (Thomas), “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory..... (1 Peter 1:8)

Finally I would draw your attention to a video recorded back in 1993 where Ian McCormack speaks to an audience in Christian Family Church, Johannesburg, South Africa. If you watch from about 51 minutes in and you will hear hysterical laughter reminiscent of the fake Toronto/Pensacola outpourings.


In fact Ian McCormack endorses John and Carol Arnott, the false pastors of Catch The Fire Toronto (formerly Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship). The Arnotts along with Kenneth Copeland and James Robison are amongst the traitors of Jesus Christ who met Pope Francis last year. Bill Johnson is another false teacher/prophet who gets Ian McCormacks endorsement along with Heidi Baker, John Wimber and convicted fraudster David Yonggi Cho.

Ian McCormack comes across as a genuine guy and he appears to have a lot of knowledge about spiritual things. In many instances false teachers do not come to us with horns or two heads, they often come across as really "nice" people in my experience which can be disconcerting. Beware: Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). We are exhorted to test everything by scripture (1 John 4:1) and Ian McCormack's teaching fails that test. I do warn believers to avoid these dangerous teachings and to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).  

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

.....while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13) 

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, (1 Timothy 4:1)

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. (John 14:23-24)


  1. I remember seeing an early (1980's?) recording of his testimony where he does not mention waking up in the mortuary. Odd, as you would think that would be something you would remember? At one time I was going to do transcriptions and side by side analysis but never had the time to do it justice.

  2. Ian McCormack explains the differences in his testimony as follows: "Some folks have seen that when I share my testimony that I leave things out in one meeting & include other things in another. This is generally because of time and the Lord tends to highlight certain aspects of the experience. So the testimony is slightly different each time you hear it."

  3. I see his point Treena, but what I was intending to look for was whether the story expanded over time or just varied. However, I am of the view that often the most bizarre things turn out to be true simply because they are memorable. COmmonplace things often get forgotten.

  4. Very true Gordon. I am of the opinion that Ian McCormack did have a "spiritual" experience, but that it was actually an "angel of light" rather than the Lord (2 Corinthians 11/14). He admits that he was a drug taker; also the venom from the five jellyfish stings would be powerful, not to mention the anti venom... quite a concoction! God bless t