I was asked to have a look at this healing video called The Last Reformation, wherein a preacher from Denmark, Torben Søndergaard, showcases his relatively new, now worldwide, healing ministry.
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that all the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still in operation, including the gift of healing. I am no cessationist. I have personally experienced my own very dramatic baptism of the Holy Spirit, but more than one year after my salvation. I believe that according to the scriptures God gives the gifts of the Spirit according to His sovereign will to whom He will and when He chooses.
After some study of Søndergaard and his Last Reformation group, I have to say that this is yet another false cult. But please study for yourself and make up your own mind! You should watch the YouTube film of Liz the Reiki healer’s testimony put out by Søndergaard and read this analysis of his theology. It sounds like and smell very cultic.
Torben Søndergaard teaches that Salvation is evidenced by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which comes through/by baptism in water and his proof of the in filling of the Holy Spirit is the speaking in tongues. He says that only after you are filled up with the Holy Spirit (indicates with his hand, raising it up to his mouth) the tongues comes out of your mouth. This to him is proof. He teaches that only by water baptism can you be saved, that before the baptism you are dead flesh and after baptism your sins are washed away and you are born again. This is definitely a false gospel. What about the poor thief on the cross (Luke 23:32-43), who was dying next to Jesus, to whom Jesus said that because of the thief’s faith he would see Him that day in paradise. There was no water there!
It may be true that people are really getting healed but the message is a false gospel and will lead many astray, into yet again another false Christian cult. People can be so easily deceived but Jesus promises the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth, ultimately anyway. Nevertheless for a time even sincere believers can be led astray. But also there are those who think they are Christians but are actually they are not. They have been seriously deceived into thinking they were doing God’s work. Of them Jesus said that on His return He would say, “I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23).
I spent many years in a Christian cult. Much of what I learned was basic orthodox theology but then there was the added “gospel plus”. In the cult we were taught that we were the people, we were special and no one else had the whole truth, only us. That sounds like Torben Søndergaard. He says the Reformers failed and that he is bringing the Last Reformation. He says the Reformers didn’t change the church enough, they remained Roman Catholic. Maybe they didn’t go far enough, but the revolt that was unleashed by Luther, Calvin, Knox, Zwingli and others caused a revolution starting in Europe that echoed around the world, spreading the true gospel, translated into native languages, especially English, which resulted in the biggest growth of true believers in history. This was all God’s doing. God never fails!
Now listen to this audio bible study by James Jennings from Grace Community Church (Tim Conway’s church). It covers the important issues in direct relation to what Søndergaard is teaching. It is well worth your time to listen to.
You may recall the story of Jesus encounter with 10 men who were lepers (Luke 17:11-19). Jesus healed all ten of them but only one of the men was saved. Healing does not guarantee salvation. In Acts 2:38 we are taught that we are to be “baptised for the remission sins”, but the word “for” there means “because of”. Baptism is not the cause but the effect. Baptism is an outward show of what Christ has already done. Not the reverse. Read Noah’s ark and salvation.
If you look at the most important requirements for salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4); what is the gospel by which we are saved, you’ll see that the Apostle Paul lists that it is Christ, who died for our sins, was buried and rose again. He does not even mention water baptism. And Paul started his letter to the Corinthians with:
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” (1 Corinthians 1:17 emphasis added)
Søndergaard preaches you can’t be saved without water baptism. That is pure works; nothing more.
Being physically healed of a disease or delivered mentally from some physical affliction is nice but really it is eternally of no consequence; only salvation counts. If these healings are going to get someone looking to God; that is excellent. But they still need to repent and trust in the living God for their salvation. If they walk away, like one of the nine unsaved lepers, they are still going to burn in Hell.
16 replies on “Torben Søndergaard and The Last Reformation”
Reminds me of when Jesus instructs, “Don’t rejoice that the spirits are subject to you – rejoice that your names are written in heaven!”
Does the Devil cast out demons in Christ’s name nowadays? Furthermore if you believe Christ, the Holy Spirit and God are one, then if I baptise in Jesus’ name then I have also baptised in [the name of the] Father and Holy spirit. Stop arguing about small stuff and focus on preaching the kingdom and healing the sick comes natural when Christ is present. Instead you want to discredited a fellow disciple and discourage him. God is almighty so these small miracles you see are minor, what will you do when a man of God actually commands the mountain to move and it does?
Roger, From Matthew 7:22 it would seem that Jesus was speaking of people who were not His (Matthew 7:23), i.e. were unregenerate, who cast out demons in Jesus’ name. Most definitely it would be true that the power is in the name of Jesus, which the demons hate to even hear (Luke 8:28). These unsaved used the authority of Jesus name but they themselves did not know Him. Does Satan cast out demons in Christ’s name nowadays? I don’t believe Satan ever did that. It was always in the power of Jesus’ name (Matthew 12:24-29). Read my article again, I never mentioned any issue of using only the name of Jesus. One commenter mentioned it. I posted his comment and gave him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t know about that, but I suspect it is a non-issue. But why didn’t you bring up salvation via baptism in water? Or the need to speak in tongues to prove one has the infilling of the Holy Spirit? Those are the important doctrines here and Torben is quite wrong in his teaching on them. Read Salvation is simple. That article is more general than about Torben but it discusses the extras different group require to achieve salvation. If we preach and teach in Jesus’ name it also is important that we teach right doctrines, especially the most basic stuff of all. That is why the Apostle Paul spent so much time in the book of Romans teaching salvation by grace only, not of works (Romans 11:6). Requiring water baptism or speaking in tongues is adding to the gospel some sort of works.
Another thing about the Last Reformation is they believe in baptism in Jesus’ name only, and not in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is an old Oneness kind of belief. They are against meeting in church buildings and believe that only small groups in houses are authentic Christianity, believing that that is how they did it in the book of Acts. They are entirely centered on the book of Acts. Many who are attracted to this group are those with strong resentments towards church leadership, I believe even Torben has some strong resentments because he feels in some way the church structure and leadership has held him back.
If what you say is true, and I have no reason to doubt you, then it is a problem common to many cults. I personally experienced this sort of thing in a Christian cult — the Children of God. Of course much of the mainstream churches have fallen into apostasy, and many of the megachurches also, but God is not limited by anything. Having said that, I believe it is a signal when someone attacks everyone else and creates the impression that they only have found the “new way” or the “new truth”. Like Jesus warned about the Pharisees “a little leaven” is the problem (Matthew 16:6, Galatians 5:9). It is not the rest of the doctrines that are a concern — they may be sound — but the small departure from true Christian teaching that is the danger.
I have been studying this movement for awhile. I have personally been in the false shepherding movement in the past, and steer clear of anything that sniffs as such, now. I would ask that you listen with discernment to the entire 20 lessons of the Pioneer School on youtube. This would give you a bit better of a sense of what is all being taught, then if someone were to just see two or three videos. Another thing is that English is not his first language. So we need to grace him with that. They do baptism to Jesus Christ. That is because they read this is what they did in the book of Acts. This does not mean they are of ‘Oneness’ belief necessarily. Just because they do deliver a lot of people from demons does not mean they are ‘proud’. Its just like saying a person who lifts their hands in worship is proud. Not necessarily. Regarding meeting in houses – its preferred because it is more intimate, everyone has an opportunity to share as well. Also, because we spend so much money on buildings that have little to no life inside… etc. The building does not make the church. I tend to observe that they do not necessarily see themselves as ‘the elite.’ Why? Because of the fruit and humility Ive seen. What has Torbens teachings taught me? To believe the Bible and not my man made interpretations. Ive stepped out in faith – literally – prayed for the sick and they were healed – through that I have been able to share the gospel. Ive baptized people in water. Ive baptized people in the Holy Spirit. Ive casted out many many demons. I just shake my head and am like I have seen more fruit from my life in the last month than the last 30 years combined. Have I ever donated financially to Torben. No. Do I agree probably 100% with him on everything, probably not. Do I believe he’s in it for fame or money. No. But that is between him and the Lord. What do I see? Lasting fruit. People being set free. What do I see in most churches? Luke warm church attenders. So while we are all growing in the Lord… I pray that the church stops being luke warm, steps out and believes that God has commissioned us to go out and make disciples, and believes the Word of God. Please seek the Lord before publicly trying to discredit a person who might not be 100%, but may be like 90% when most of the church is like walking the other way… embracing the world, health and wealth, or is completely dead. Much Love. Always test the spirits.
// I have been studying this movement for awhile. I have personally been in the false shepherding movement in the past, and steer clear of anything that sniffs as such, now. //
By the false shepherding movement you must mean Derek Prince and the Fort Lauderdale Five – Derek Prince, Don Basham, Bob Mumford, Charles Simpson and Ern Baxter. It is amazing how many born-again believers get themselves into false cults and sects. But it is encouraging to know that the Holy Spirit will always lead a true believer out eventually. I think this problem has been around since the first century early church. It is nothing new.
//I would ask that you listen with discernment to the entire 20 lessons of the Pioneer School on youtube. This would give you a bit better of a sense of what is all being taught, then if someone were to just see two or three videos. Another thing is that English is not his first language. So we need to grace him with that.//
Actually what I have watched has been very clear on his teaching of salvation. I do not deny the healings, nor even that people are being saved. My post has been about his unbiblical teaching of salvation through water baptism and infilling of the Holy Spirit, which is evidenced by tongue speaking. That is completely unbiblical. It is sufficient for a person to call upon the name of the Lord (Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13). His use of English as a second language is not the issue here either.
// They do baptism to Jesus Christ. That is because they read this is what they did in the book of Acts. This does not mean they are of ‘Oneness’ belief necessarily.//
I agree. It is true that is what Peter did (Acts 2:38), which was not Oneness doctrine.
// Just because they do deliver a lot of people from demons does not mean they are ‘proud’. Its just like saying a person who lifts their hands in worship is proud. Not necessarily.//
// Regarding meeting in houses – its preferred because it is more intimate, everyone has an opportunity to share as well. Also, because we spend so much money on buildings that have little to no life inside… etc. The building does not make the church.//
I agree. I do not attend a traditional church/assembly in a church building, but we meet in my house. It is small and intimate and personal. Just like Paul with Aquila and Priscilla. 1 Corinthians 16:19 — the church/assembly that is in their house.
// I tend to observe that they do not necessarily see themselves as ‘the elite.’ Why? Because of the fruit and humility I’ve seen. //
I never claimed that, but fruit is not always a test. In the cult I was in — the Children of God — that is what we were always told. We are “the ones, we have the fruit, we are the elite Endtime army of God, and the churches are corrupt“. This sort of language does have a tendency to feed pride and even though someone is saved they can fall into sin and sin badly. Probably pride is the worst of them all because they can’t see it themselves.
// What has Torbens teachings taught me? To believe the Bible and not my man-made interpretations.//
Unfortunately they all say that. But at some point you are listening to a man interpreting the Bible. If you want to not apply any interpretation look at all the verses on salvation and you’ll see most say to just believe, to trust in the Lord. There are no extra conditions. The few that speak of baptism in water as small compare to the ones that don’t mention it. But everyone must interpret to some extent.
// I’ve stepped out in faith – literally – prayed for the sick and they were healed – through that I have been able to share the gospel. I’ve baptized people in water. I’ve baptized people in the Holy Spirit. I’ve casted out many many demons. I just shake my head and am like I have seen more fruit from my life in the last month than the last 30 years combined.//
Excellent! If Torben was the cause to get you to follow the scriptures, I applaud that. Someone can be healed or saved through the actions of someone who holds to a false teaching. God can use anything as He is sovereign. All the glory to Him. Just because Torben hasn’t gotten his theology right does not mean God is not going to save people who call upon Him. But we are exhorted to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
I was 20 years in the Children of God/the Family cult. I believed we were doing God’s work and I had much fruit. Many people were saved, drug addicts were delivered, people were healed, demons were cast out, though the latter were not so much an emphasis. But the cult had false teachings that were contrary to scripture, and the leader David Berg (called himself Moses David and believed he was God’s chosen last Prophet) eventually started to write that we didn’t need the Bible anymore but that his writings were Apostolic revelations. This came as he was deceived by false spirits. He became deluded and communicated with spirits thinking they were of God, but actually demons. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. I write all to explain how I started down the path I believed was of God, but like the frog in the water pot being slowly heated, it took sometime to realise I was being deceived.
// Have I ever donated financially to Torben. No. Do I agree probably 100% with him on everything, probably not. Do I believe he’s in it for fame or money. No. But that is between him and the Lord. What do I see? Lasting fruit. People being set free. What do I see in most churches? Lukewarm church attenders.//
I have no argument with you there. The mainstream churches are lukewarm at best. I have tried for decades to stir up such to follow Christ. But again I would issue a word of caution. The Children of God united on the principle that the church (all seen as one) was corrupt and lost. It is a cultic practice to say that sort of thing. “They failed but we have the true way”. But it is false because it excludes the sovereignty of God. God is the one working through believers everywhere. We are instructed to keep our eyes on Jesus. Yes, we need to beware of false teachers etc, but when a person denies the remarkable fruit of the Reformers, saying that they failed and that his work is the Last Reformation, I would be extremely cautious. God never fails! He achieves what He will with what He has to work with.
// So while we are all growing in the Lord… I pray that the church stops being lukewarm, steps out and believes that God has commissioned us to go out and make disciples, and believes the Word of God.//
The church is not monolithic. The church could be the old mainstream institutions, or the modern mega-churches, or the true believers God has scattered throughout the world. I agree we need to step out in faith and go preach the gospel to the world. But there are many who attend traditional churches who are true believers, especially in countries where they are persecuted. It is too simplistic to say “the church needs to stop being lukewarm.” There are those that are lukewarm, but also those that are on fire for God, but are not doing what Torben is doing.
// Please seek the Lord before publicly trying to discredit a person who might not be 100%, but may be like 90% when most of the church is like walking the other way… embracing the world, health and wealth, or is completely dead.//
Ok, here you defined the church as those that are dead. Why do you do that? We know there are many who say they are of God, professors but not possessors of Jesus Christ. Of them He said He would cast them into outer darkness — ie. the chaff separated from the wheat then burned up (Matthew 3:12).
It gives you pause to think! Why did Jesus say this? These people were doing miracles in His name. The power was in His name not in them because they were unsaved.
// Much Love. Always test the spirits.//
That is what I was doing in the above. I also write what I have written in love of God. I am nothing myself, but write from my own experiences and what I have learned after 40 years serving Christ. Let everyone be fully persuaded in his own mind (Romans 14:5b).
I appreciate your response. Please know some of my general statements aren’t meant across the board… like saying the dead church… I absolutely agree that there are enough signs and wonders cults to fill anyone’s tickling ears… but that is not what you or I desire. Perhaps Tobin is not trying to mean he thinks he has ultimate revelation to be the last reformation… but his heart strongly desires to see the church be the church as Jesus has called us to be. But in either case if the Holy Spirit were to prompt me to separate from TLR I would do so. I just feel he mostly has taught what the Holy Spirit had already taught me so at this point I don’t have big warning flags enough to part ways. God Bless and keep on the narrow road.
Sky, I can understand what you are saying. But just what if, as you write “the Holy Spirit were to prompt me to separate from TLR,” what if, what I and others have written is how God is giving a message to you. Now, I am not saying it is. I know I am not that important. But a long time ago, a brother in the Lord once said to me “But what if you are wrong?” There was a time when zeal tended to dominate in my mind and I could have incorrectly understood some scriptures. And I have had, even only last week, a guy tell me “But the Holy Spirit told me!” meaning he couldn’t be wrong. We have sin-cursed minds, we are weakened by sin, pride is our biggest problem, and for that reason God says there is safety in counsel, wise godly counsel. But everyone must be fully persuaded in her own mind. God Bless and keep on the narrow road too.
I Agree with everything you said Sky…
You have to watch all 20 lessons given by Torben to understand. Watching a Movie can’t give you a honest insight and may lead to misunderstandings.
See my detailed response to Sky.
Baptism DOES save. It is God’s work, no man’s. (1 Peter 3:21, Titus 3:5, Gospel of John 3:5).
By quoting 1 Corinthians 1:17 out of context (the passage is not about baptism, but about divisions, Paul himself mentions he baptized some of them in that passage!) you (and James Jennings) are pitting the Bible against our Lord’s very words to go Baptize and Teach (Gospel Matthew 28:19-20).
The thief on the cross, had the direct promise of our Lord (a unique occurrence). Again, you should not use an exception to rule out the commandments of our Lord (to baptize all nations … including infants, children and old). The Bible should not be pitted against the Bible.
Remember, the Small Catechism question … “How can water do such great things?
It is not the WATER indeed that does them, but the WORD of God which is in and with the WATER, and faith, which trusts such WORD of God in the WATER. For without the WORD of God the WATER is simple WATER and no baptism. But with the WORD of God it is a baptism, that is, a gracious WATER of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost, as St. Paul says – By the WASHING of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost …. ” (Titus 3:5; capitals mine 🙂
Holy Baptism is part of God’s ‘Means of Grace’ which according to His Word brings salvation, life and forgiveness of sins! … To believe otherwise is to deny his WORD!!!
(see the mental gymnastics above with the clear text of Acts 2:38-40; all English translations say “FOR the forgiveness of your sins … For the promise is for you and your CHILDREN”).
You say baptism DOES save. It does but only in the context of trusting in Jesus Christ. You cite 1 Peter 3:21 which states this very point that it is not the water but “the answer of a good conscience before God” that saves.
The Apostle Peter describes our being baptized into Christ’s death as an antitype of the saving of eight in the Ark. The original Greek word ἀντίτυπος (antitypos) has the meaning of a ‘representative’ or a ‘figure’. The dictionary definition of the English word ‘antitype’ is ‘something that is represented by a symbol’. It comes from ‘anti’ meaning ‘opposite’, as well as ‘in place of’, and ‘typos’ an impression like from a die or stamp. So an opposite to the die is a representation or symbol of the original. In short, the Bible makes it clear that the Ark, which saved eight souls through the deluge, is a figure, or ‘type’, of Christ and His salvation. Through entering the Ark, all who responded to Noah’s preaching could be saved from the waters of judgment. Even so, by entering into Christ, the ultimate Ark of salvation, we are saved from the judgment to come.
Read more on this NOAH’S ARK AND SALVATION
It is not the water that saves but the response of the conscience towards God. When the Lord says to go baptise all nations etc He is saying to go win souls and as a consequence to baptise them. Just in the same way that Philip baptised the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40) after he was saved. Just in the same way Peter after preaching to Cornelius, a Roman, and his company (Acts 10:44-48) were they saved, by hearing (accepting) the word preached to them, then they were filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke with tongues, all in that order, and only then were they baptised with water, a mere outward show of an inward change that had already occurred.
You quote Titus 3:5 in support of baptism saving you.
“Not by works of righteousness” means not by any works we might do. The washing of regeneration is not the washing of water but “the answer of a good conscience towards God”. The “renewing of the Holy Ghost” means the work of the Holy Spirit changing our minds over time to make us a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). There is nothing that can save you but God (Matthew 19:26). There are numerous verses that state that simple faith is all that is needed.
In Acts 2:38-40, Peter called them to repent, repent first then be baptised. Repent means to turn your heart to God. Read What is the meaning of Repent? Without that turning to God no man can be saved. It is not stopping sinning. So just as the man of the cross repented (turned his heart to God) he was saved. It is not a special case, but typical.
Where is your Small Catechism question, “How can water do such great things?”, from? That sounds very Roman Catholic to me. It also misinterprets Titus 3:15. You also misinterpret John 3:5. “Born of water” is not about water baptism at all; it is about being born from your flesh mother, from the birth canal. The expression “born of the Spirit” is the new birth that Jesus is speaking of. It is not Holy Ghost baptism. This is evidenced from “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). You are the one who misrepresents the words of God.
The New testament is full of appeals to repent and be saved. Probably the most famous passage of all:
Repent and believe! That is all that is necessary for salvation.
Dear Dr Hartnett, Thank you for your honest expose.
I followed Torben Sondergaard, and The Last Reformation for almost 2 years; he’s really growing in Florida. ‘Pastors’ host him, and are taken in; sad…
About 2 weeks ago, a brother sent me James Jennings sermon, and I ‘saw the light’…
I sent a sister in this group James Jennings sermon, and she was greatly distressed- much like the responses to your posting. So tonight, I sent her your link; It’s well-reasoned and clear, from a ‘voice of experience.’
Thank you Dr Hartnett, may our King bless you for speaking out. I am grateful to God for letting me see the Light, before more time passed.
L.R. Vero Beach, FL
Even if the concerns about Torben Sondergaard are not accurate, the following below would cause for concern.
I was in Hell – The Last Reformation
Torben claims he saw Adam in Hell. Adam in Hell???
“I saw a demon sitting in my chair” – The Last Reformation
You be the judge!
I wanted to send you an email about Torben Sondergaard and his organization “The Last Reformation” as I know you are already aware of it.
I’m sending this now because I’ve stumbled upon a few of his former followers and all, with one voice, say it’s a cult when you’re on the inside (for example in the comments here: http://www.spiritoferror.org/2017/07/one-to-watch-torben-sondergaard/6865). I also talked with two former followers as well, and they say the same.
So, I became concerned… A lot. Looking more into this, I found your website and wanted to forward you the following hoping the additional information can be of some help putting more spotlight on some of the things going on with this organization.
Especially since Torben Sondergaard claims everything is fine outwardly and now has released yet another film, this time with a world known artist, Lou Bega. Not to mention that his crowds has grown to thousands, e.g. in Brazil.
So, yesterday, I found this link online in a comment section:
https://web.archive.org/web/20161022091153/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torben_S%C3%B8ndergaard. And then I found this: http://speedydeletion.wikia.com/wiki/Torben_Sondergaard
What’s interesting about it is, that it’s a Wikipedia page about Torben Sondergaard that was deleted. And apparently, nothing is wrong with it! One page even has 61 references while the other has 47 – that’s pretty well documented.
It was simply deleted by his followers, it seems, after he literally asked his thousands of followers to edit the post and make it positive: https://www.facebook.com/torbenksondergaard/posts/294975194206883 when the page went public!!!!
It’s very interesting that he was so concerned about the details on the page that he made people edit and remove it. Why did he do that? What is he hiding?
(Also, the respected ICSA – International Cultic Studies Association – has listed Torben Sondergaard and his organization in their news section among other sects and cults: http://www.icsahome.com/elibrary/pressnews/newsarchive)
I hope you find the time to read and discern this, and hopefully the two Wiki-pages can bring more into the light in some way. I don’t know what to do other than sending it to people who are aware of this thing already.