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Evangelical Mark Virkler Says Christians Need to Abandon Rational Thinking

mark virkler

Mark Virkler, an Evangelical pastor and founder of Christian Leadership University — an unaccredited online institution, recently wrote an article for CHARISMA titled, Tell-Tales Signs You Have Bought Into ‘Satan’s Truth.’ Virkler, who sports a “Dr.” in front of his name, believes that the biggest problem facing Christians today is that they use wrong approaches for determining truth. I suspect the word “truth” means something different to Virkler from what it does me, but that aside, I totally agree with him about Christians using wrong tools and methodology for determining what is factual and true. Unfortunately, the recommendations I would make to Christians, Virkler rejects, believing they are the Satanic tools used to lead Christians astray.

Virkler begins his post by listing several approaches to truth that he has abandoned — supposedly for the “truth” he is going to reveal later.  Virkler, at some point in his life, abandoned:

  • If dad said it was true, it was true.
  • If my teacher said it was true, it was true.
  • If my college professor said it was true, it was true.
  • If science said it was true, it was true.
  • If one or several double-blind studies said it was true, it was true.
  • If my doctor said it was true, it was true.
  • If my interpretation of the Bible said it was true, it was true.
  • If reason and logic said it was true, it was true
  • If my senses told me it was true, it was true.

According to Virkler, rationalism and humanism are methods Satan recommends to Christians as they search for “truth.” Virkler writes:

Figure it out yourself! Satan offered Eve his approach for discovering truth: You don’t really need these walks with God every day (in other words, you don’t need revelation knowledge or direct encounter with God), for “you can know” (see Gen. 3:5). That temptation has developed into two false philosophies for knowing:

“You” = Humanism: “Life centers in man’s human capacity”
“Know” = Rationalism: “Life centers in man’s reasoning capacity”

Following is an excerpt from John G. Lake’s article, The Power of the Name:

“In the beginning, man’s spirit was the dominant force in the world. When he sinned, his mind became dominant. Sin dethroned the spirit and crowned the intellect. But grace is restoring the spirit to its place of dominion. When man comes to realize this, he will live in the realm of the supernatural without effort.”

Rationalism and humanism are two false gods I worshipped and followed during the early years of my Christian life.


It was a tremendous battle to defeat these two false gods, as they were deeply entrenched in my life through my culture, my education, my natural disposition to be a thinker as well as my “Christian training” which taught me to work hard to keep God’s laws.

What, you might ask, does Virkler recommend in the place of humanism and rationalism? I am so glad you asked! Are you ready, boys and girls? Drum roll, please! Virkler recommends walking with God under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. That’s right. Just let God lead the way and “truth” will be yours! Imagine a college student buying into Virkler’s logic. No need to study, no need to prepare. Just pray and follow the Holy Spirit’s leadership when you take your finals. God will show you the way!

Virkler sums up his God-approved approach to truth this way:

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, guides you into all truth (see John 14:17; 16:13).

So the Bible is clear: it is the Holy Spirit Who will guide us into all truth. It’s amazing how I had diminished the work of the indwelling, illuminating Holy Spirit and replaced His work with my mind, my theology, my brain and my understanding of Scriptures. I now set aside my false gods of humanism, rationalism and biblicism and honor what Jesus has said and modeled in Scripture. It is the Holy Spirit Who is continuing to reveal all truth to me. Everything the Holy Spirit reveals will be compatible with Scripture, even though it may not be detailed in Scripture.

Notice carefully what he says: the Holy Spirit … will guide us into all truth. Not some truth; not just Biblical truth; not just Christianity-related truth; no, he believes a mythical being who supposedly lives inside every Christian guides believers into A-L-L TRUTH — if they let her, anyway. Christians, then, don’t need reason or critical thinking skills. All they need is Jesus and his ghostly buddy, the horn player in the three-piece band, the Holy Spirit.

Virkler’s nonsensical (and dangerous) approach to truth (facts) is embraced by millions of American Evangelicals. Instead of using the brain the good Lord supposedly gave them to intellectually, rationally, critically, and skeptically study a matter, Christians just pray, maybe read God’s answer book, and trust that a non-existent poltergeist will lead them to all truth.

Virkler’s approach is more insidious and dangerous because he is running an online college (with his wife, daughter, and son) that purports to train adults for the ministry. Want to earn a doctorate in counseling?  Here’s the course list:

  • COU202 Counseled by God
  • COU203 Cornerstones of Communication
  • COU301 Prayers That Heal the Heart
  • COU305 Parenting for Success
  • REN103 Communion With God
  • REN105 Father Heart of God
  • REN204 Naturally Supernatural
  • REN206 Increasing the Anointing
  • REN207 Healing Anointing
  • REN310 Wisdom Through Dream Interpretation

Does anyone think by taking these classes (and I assume all the undergraduate Bible courses) that a recently minted Doctor is prepared and qualified to counsel anyone more than a pet hamster? Of course not. In fact, I seriously doubt this training qualifies a person to counsel said hamster. Now, with all that Holy Ghost power at his disposal, I suppose he could try to raise old George, the hamster, from the dead. Now THAT would be entertaining!

According to Virkler, his educational approach differs from that of the “world.” Instead of teaching students knowledge, Christian Leadership University trains students to sense God and live in the Spirit. Students are expected to NOT independently use their minds. Get your mouth off the floor. I am not exaggerating here:

We have a choice when we come to learning: We can eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, or we can eat from the tree of life. Both trees were present in the Garden of Eden. One was forbidden and one was allowed. We were forbidden to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and encouraged to eat from the tree of life.

What is the tree of knowledge? What is the tree of life? May I suggest that the tree of knowledge is the independent use of our minds, where we try to figure out for ourselves what is good and what is evil. Even if we use the Holy Scriptures in our pursuit of this knowledge, we can still run amuck. The Pharisees did. Paul did. But then he learned that he needed the revelation of the Holy Spirit to help him interpret Scriptures


As I was perusing Christian Leadership University’s website, I came across a local connection on their faculty page, “Dr.” Karen King. King pastors New Beginnings Ministry in nearby Fayette, Ohio. King actually has a degree from Defiance College — a nearby accredited institution. All her post-graduate work and degrees, however, came from — you guessed it — Christian Leadership University (CLU).  This is a common ploy by such institutions. Faculty members may have undergraduate degrees from accredited institutions, but their post-graduate degrees all come from CLU. Some CLU professors have done all of their post-high school work through Christian Leadership. Virkler has a bachelor’s degrees from Roberts Wesleyan College, but his two post-graduate degrees come from unaccredited Bible colleges.

Virkler will likely argue that human accreditation means nothing; that it falls under the humanistic, rationalistic approach Satan uses to deceive people. I would argue that CLU owes its students an education, one that teaches them critical thinking skills; one that values knowledge. Instead, students are taught to value supernatural revelation and God whispering in your ear. Is it any wonder that it is almost impossible to reach and reason with people who have been infected with this kind of thinking? Gnostic at its core, CLU teaches students that they possess an inside track with God; that the Holy Spirit will give them special knowledge and understanding, none of which the educated people of the world possess. Want to see what this baby looks like when its full grown? Take a look at Bethel Redding. No belief or practice is too extreme. When objectivity, rational thinking, skepticism, and critical thinking are deemed unimportant, why, anything is possible.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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    Well darn, you mean all those years learning math and science and history were a waste when I could have just prayed for the magical diffusion of knowledge from the holy spirit? I can just see it – you pray, and he sprays you with a little quantum physics knowledge from his heavenly garden hose of truth. Pray a little more and you learn the history of ancient civilization. Before you know it, you are speaking French and can recite pi down to 57 places. And save a ton of cash that you don’t have to spend at Satan State University. Thanks, holy spirit!

    What the hell?????

  2. Avatar
    Becky Wiren

    I mean, we know the Bible is a collection of myths by ancient man trying to make sense of the world, and also trying to force people to live in a certain way. But the Bible is at least a real book. This dude throws away all pretense of having to know anything in favor of following his feelings…excuse me, the Holy Spirit. Aren’t these the types who are found to be doing pretty bad stuff, like having sex with their parishioners, drug abuse, stealing or maybe just guilting parishioners to donate money they don’t have? And then they can point to their thoughts, er, the Holy Ghost, as an excuse? Sickening.

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    These are people who can excuse anything by claiming they ” felt led” by the holy spirit. I’ve had my share of interactions with this type. You can’t even get past the hollow stare and vacant smile. Even in my Christian days these people gave me the creeps.

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    Don’t get me started. I have seen more foolish and harmful decisions made under the banner of the leading of the holy spirit than I could even way. My own parents moved all over with their spirit led ministry, completely unconcerned about education or futures of their kids. They only cared about good grades because of our Christian testimony, but otherwise never planned for college. Oh and the kicker is they used to say that our science books and teachers at school were not to be believed because they contradicted the bible, just put the answer your teacher wants for the grade, but know that you know better than a college educated science teacher. right. We made it ok in our lives. Even now, they say they are disappointed that sis and I left home and their ministry to marry, have kids, careers, etc. The last time this was said, I knew that I made the right choice when I left home as a young person all those years ago. I shudder to think what their spirit led ministry would have made of me had I not followed my wise non-Christian grandparents advice. Thank you so much for this site and the time you put into it,Bruce.

    • Avatar
      Karen the rock whisperer

      A friend of mine who retired a few years ago used to teach a college class (non-major, upper division) called Prehistoric Life, used to fulfill science requirements for non-science students. He thoroughly enjoyed teaching the class, and had a lot of very interested students. But he dealt with his share of creationist students as well. He likes to recall a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses, both young women, who really struggled. My friend’s policy, which he stated clearly on the first day of class, was: I really hope you believe what I’m teaching, but I don’t require that. I do require that in your assignments, you reflect that teaching.

      The two women pestered him with every assignment and exam, asking if they could give the true answer from the Bible. My friend would reply that he expected the science he was actually teaching to be learned, and their work had to reflect that. To make matters worse, the assignments were all essay or short answer, so it wasn’t just a matter of picking the right box on a multiple-choice exam. My friend watched them struggle with sympathy, but he wasn’t about to lower his standards. They simply couldn’t deal with the situation, and dropped out mid-semester.

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    Hi ,was looking for info on “miracle healing” by Virkler because he seems to be running with that whole Bethel and Third Wave crowd (red flag). Have you seen any info on this?

    What i do know is that Virkler appears to be rebranding regurgitated New Age material.
    In fact all the Charismania crowd appear to be appropriating material that has been floating around New Thought and New Age channeled circles for years.(since at least 1920s). The latest manifestation (pun) of this was The Secret- which was largely based on material from Abraham Hicks which took Seth’s material and made it simpler. Virkler also endorses HeartMath and Chilton Pierce material.(if you knew all this i apologise for wasting space)

    Ran across an article saying that Randy Clark (Bethel Healer Virkler associates with) had been dismayed in earlier decades about the upsurge of NON-CHRISTIAN healing methods like Reiki being so popular and wanted to offer a Christian alternative.(read Reiki was stealing market share and wanted to recapture that share…) So the only reason to start a healing ministry was because someone else had started a non-christian healing modality and it was attracting christian followers.

    We all know about syncretism. Christianity is a good example of the principles applied back in ancient Rome.
    Well, we get to watch it in real time action before our eyes.
    This has not been a particularly effective tactic for the christians ,since the churches have been hemorrhaging membership in recent decades, especially with women leaving the church.
    Expect another Satanic Panic won’t be too far away.
    I am donning my asbestos undies now.

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Bruce Gerencser