The Growing In Grace Cult
Just when I thought I’d seen it all, I am astounded once again. I got an e-mail the other from a friend of mine with a link to the website of Dr. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda who the leader of Creciendo en Gracia or Growing In Grace ministry. I am, to say the least, absolutely appalled at this teaching; so I’m am riled to defend our Lord against this heretic. Let’s first review some of his claims, and then I’ll turn to a swift apologetic destroying his ministry.
The “Conversion Experience” of Miranda
Every cult leader has an experience where they are “told by Jesus” (Joseph Smith, Muhammad, etc.) that they are His chosen instrument to “save the church” from apostasy. Well, Miranda’s story is interesting, because he doesn’t just believe Christ talked to him but that he became Christ. Here is an excerpt of his testimony:
“De Jesus’s gospel flows from an experience he had in December 1976…Then one frosty December night, he says he awoke to find himself flanked by two brawny men with stern expressions who told him: ‘The King of Kings is coming to anoint you.’ Before he knew it, he was standing in a luminous marble corridor where trumpets blared and a spectral figure crept toward him. Then the apparition merged with him, and he began to hear a man’s voice in his head…‘He said, “Open your Bible,“‘ De Jesus recalls. ‘So I opened to Romans 6. And he said, “Read that ’ that means you’re dead to sin; sin can’t reign in your life.“‘ The experience left De Jesus transformed. “Ever since that day, I can’t learn from anybody ’ and I mean no one,” he says. He now believes that was the night of Christ’s second coming.”
Wild huh? Now, let’s look at more of this man’s heretical teaching.
The Claims of Miranda
- He believes he is Christ Himself; the last manifestation of God on earth.
- He claims that Romans 16:25 confirms that he is God.
- He believes, not only that he doesn’t sin, but that sin no longer exists.
- He claims that every religion: Catholics, Protestants, Jews, etc. all have the wrong religion (and he apparently has the right one).
- Only his followers are the “true race.”
- He believes he has come to establish the “Government of God” on earth.
- Oh wait, he also claims that the devil doesn’t exist; he is only a fabrication of other religions.
What Shall We Make of Miranda?
What is interesting is that in 1988 he announced that he was the reincarnated Paul, and changed in 1999 to “the Other” who paved the way for Christ’s coming, but why stop there? He then decided to go all the way in 2004 to claiming to be Christ and the sole “intepreter of the gospel” (Source).
Let’s evaluate the teachings he has given. It’s interesting that he doesn’t claim any extra written revelation outside of the Bible which will make this task all the more swift and easy. I shall evaluate his claims through the very Bible that he says, “If this is true, then I am the son of God.”
Is Sin Gone?
I’ll start the apologetic with a few of his points. By demonstrating that his claims are false Biblically, then his unique claim to deity will be undermined and disproved. First, the apostle John warns us in his first epistle that “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8), and he ends that very chapter with “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (1 John 10). Interesting. It is also interesting that this man, instead of being sinless, is actually committing the very first sin: “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:5).
Does Romans 16.25 Validate his Claims?
Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past,
Does this passage confirm the teaching of Miranda? Well, if he says he’s Jesus then of course he could; but it should be noted that I could say that I’m Jesus but that doesn’t make it true. It’s interesting in the next verse Paul says that the Gospel “has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith” (vs. 26). In other words, the Gospel has been made known, revealed, and verified by God Himself in Paul’s day. Jesus came once to verify Himself and His mission, and when He comes back it will be the consummation of history.
Does the Devil Exist?
Is the devil really a fabrication of religious zealots, or is the devil a real person portrayed in the very Scriptures Miranda claims to fulfill? First off, it’s interesting that Jesus Himself was tempted by the devil and rebuked him (Mat 4). Through the resurrection, an angel “laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years” (Rev 20:5), and after the final judgement Satan and his followers are to be “thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone” (Rev 20:10). Further, Paul claims that there really is a “prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2), and Peter tells us to “[b]e of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8). And I could go on with the Garden of Eden narrative, Job, and many other instances of this figure.
What About his “Government of God?”
He claims that he came to build the official government of God. He claims the following:
“We’re the government of God on Earth,” explains De Jesus. “We will spread all over and rule the world. We will control the church, the economy, society, education, politics, technology. There will be no war, no corruption. I mean, if a lie can change the world, why can’t the truth do it?”
It’s interesting that Jesus Himself rebuked His followers and others for their misconception that He was to set up a political kingdom (Acts 1:6–8). Jesus told us that “My kingdom is not of this world” (Joh 18:36). The next time we will see a theocratic nation is when Jesus truly comes back to consummate time.
What About his Apologetic?
Miranda actually on the front page of his website provides the following apologetic to the question: “Could Dr Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda be another False Christ?”
“Notice how this verse [Mat 24:24; Mar 13:32] states that the false Christs will come performing what? signs and wonders, The Apostle Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda has not appeared to perform signs and wonders, He has arisen to reveal specific information of the authentic gospel…We hope that the eyes of your understanding will be enlightened to discover that the Lord Jesus Christ has returned.”
John Gill comments that the signs and wonders “make an appearance of doing them, though they really did them not.” Jesus is saying that some claiming to be messiah (“Christs”) will perform signs and wonders, but not all have to by this verse. Further, Jesus is not addressing those claiming to be Jesus Himself just as a messiah.
Is he Jesus?
In this we have to only turn to the teaching of the New Testament when Jesus will return. Jesus tells us that His return will not happen until “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Mat 24:14). Considering that half of the world still has no access to the Gospel, I highly doubt that this has been fulfilled. Paul also describes a mass conversion of ethnic Jews before the return of Christ (Rom 11:25–26).
One of his followers, in an interview, claims that Jesus will return the same way He came the first time (i.e. through a mother). This is interesting, because Miranda doesn’t claim a virgin birth; and he claims his “becoming Christ” occurred later in life. In other words, his supposed birth is not the same as Christ’s. Christ described His own return by saying that “lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Mat 24:27), and Paul describes Christ’s return as “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thess 4:16) which corresponds to his teaching of a bodily resurrection at Christ’s return in 1 Cor 15. Further, Jesus’ own departure from earth was bodily (Acts 1:9); and that is the way that we will see Christ for all eternity starting at His return. Lastly, we know that Jesus’ return will be followed by a final judgment followed by the eternal state as described in Rev 20.
The teachings of this man are un-Biblical, heretical, dangerous, and false. Christians need to pray for his repentance as well as his followers. He is dangerous, and he is praying on the money of innocent people to build his empire and his supposed “government.” Let God on high grant him repentance or strike him dead.