What is a ‘gateway verse’ and why is it dangerous?



We often hear the phrase ‘gateway drug’ being tossed around in pop culture and lately being used in Christian discernment group discussions in a very peculiar way.

The Miriam Dictionary says this about the unusual phrase:

“A drug (such as alcohol or marijuana) whose use is thought to lead to the use of and dependence on a harder drug (such as cocaine or heroin)” [Source]

The Silver Pines Treatment Center provides a greater description:

“A “gateway drug” is a substance that can be, but isn’t always, habit-forming. Long-term use of gateway drugs may lead to substance abuse issues or drug problems later in life.

Gateway drugs are considered soft drugs. These kinds of drugs do not guarantee dependence and are not detrimental in moderation, but they may open the door to harder substances.” (Source)

Whether the concept of ‘gateway drug’ is true or not, the phrase is now being used in conversations in both positive and negative ways, to manipulate the consumer or user’s behaviour towards a certain outcome. As an introductory product or concept to form good/bad habits.


It may seem an unusual connection to make but when people have engaged with us on cultic systematic theology, there is often discussion about key verses heretics use to lead people down heretical ‘rabbit holes’. There’s nothing wrong with key verses in the bible but when cult leaders take these same key verses out of context to lead people astray, we have a problem.

The first time we heard the phrase ‘gateway verse’ was in mid 2018 while addressing the ‘sonship’ heresy of the New Apostolic Reformation cult in relation to the creation of the visual for this article here:


It doesn’t take long for problematic behavioural patterns to emerge in thought, word and deed. For Jehovah’s Witnesses, their ‘gateway verse’ is Revelation 14:1, where they claimed that the ‘true church’ (Jehovah’s Witnesses), were part of the 144,000 – see timecode at 1:44:


For other cults, they usually started with a different gospel, Jesus, Spirit or faith.


For instance the ‘gateway verse’ for the Health and Wealth (HAW) cult is 2 Corinthians 8:9:

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

Because they have a false gospel that claims Jesus was rich but died poor to make us rich, they have developed a false theology around this concept to justify why God wants us rich – and how to get rich. This ‘gateway verse’ alters the person’s perception in how they read scriptures such as “seek first the kingdom of Heaven” (Matt 6:33).


For the Word of Faith (WOF) cult, the ‘gateway verse’ for people to enter into their ‘kingdom of error’ is Romans 10:8-10 (which is why they originally called themselves Word of Faith):

“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

The key words we emphasised above in this ‘gateway verse’ form the foundation of the works-based systematic belief system within the Word of Faith movement. Once they use this ‘gateway verse’, they spring-board to all types of passages we are familiar with (“as a man thinketh…”, “faith the size of a mustard seed…”, “if you say to this mountain”, etc.).


For the Liberal / Emergent Church (LIB) cult (aka Progressive Liberal cult), the ‘gateway verse’ for people to enter into their ‘progressive/inclusive kingdom’ is Galatians 3:28:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

From this ‘gateway verse’ the LIB justify a belief system where it’s not about repentance but about accepting people’s differences, whether they be pagan, sexual, oppressed or unoppressed. The overemphasis of an inclusive culture above and beyond a lifestyle of repentance and holy living highlights the majority of the issues we find in the LIB cult. Truth is sacrificed on the altar of freedom and Jesus is sacrificed on the altar of ‘utopian ideals’.

Ironically, the person excluded from the progressive narrative and theology (which is absent in the above passage) are the rich, the famous, the oppressor. This is ironic considering they heavily network with the rich and powerful to make a name for themselves in political, influential and corporate circles – something we see today in the ‘Me Too’, ‘Social Justice Warrior’ and ‘Black Lives Matters’ movements. It’s even more ironic considering Jesus dined with, or delivered afflictions to, the Pharisees, eating and bringing salvation to wealthy households – Zacchaeus being an example of a rich man finding favour with God, repenting and blessing the poor in his changed life (Luke 19).

From the ‘gateway verse’ above they spring-board (or shall we say water-down) the scriptures to promote a justice of inclusivity. Rather than embrace a rich and meaningful Christian theology the LIB replace it with the useless pop-culture of modern-day existential philosophers like Heidegger, Popoff, Neitzsche, Kant, Kirkegaard or Derrida. This has to be done in their theology because according to their understanding of God, we cannot fully grasp Him with our limited human minds. So if we all bring our post-modern understanding of what it means when Paul says “you are all one in Christ Jesus”, then a philosopher (not a theologian) has more right to challenge the hearts and minds of their followers. The only other person they don’t accept and who they show the most hostility towards? The Christian who actually believes what Jesus says and does.


Our last example is the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) cult. It’s not too difficult to guess their gateway verse:

And it was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for works of ministry and to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ… Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ Himself, who is the head.” Ephesians 4:11-13, 15

It’s in this verse that the NAR claim that the offices of Apostles and Prophets STILL exist today. And because the false church does not acknowledge God’s original Apostles and Prophets, such churches are not part of the true church (this being the only doctrine taught in its early days).

But again notice what we highlighted above also feeds into the systematic argument and theology of the NAR. Because the NAR claim ‘Apostles and Prophets’ are supposedly operating today, this means God has finally been ‘unlocked’ to usher in an ‘end times revival’ – where the church matures into Christ’s ‘full measure and stature’. This is where the Joel’s Army, New Breed and Little Gods doctrine comes from. The NAR’s obsession with unity is based on their terms – where they believe it is their job to UNITE and bring UNITY IN THE FAITH across all denominations. This is what we saw at the Benny Hinnn Crusades, the Rodney Howard Browne laughing revivals, the Toronto Blessing, the Pensacola Outpouring, Lakeland Revival(s) and Lou Engle ‘The Call’ rallies.

And this was why the head of the New Apostolic Reformation, C. Peter Wagner, had such a burden to put Todd Bentley under ‘apostolic authority’ so there was ‘apostolic alignment’ – in order to usher in an end-times revival at Lakeland in 2018. This was deemed to be the global church reaching full maturity, manifesting Christ and His supernatural ministry here on earth.

The call to unity ‘in the faith’ of the entire visible church under these modern day apostles explains why they have no problem including Roman Catholicism, Mormons and other cults under their leadership.


When we see people leave these types of cults, there is often great grief and regret. They regret that they were duped by such deception, and when they finally see the Truth, they grieve about allowing themselves to having been under decades of bondage. Sadly they were ‘addicted’ to a wrong belief system where they experienced ‘drug-like’ moments, with sensationalised ideals and the beautiful false concept of a utopian community. They were never aware they were taking ‘gateway verses’.

Godly counsel is required to help people in these cults ‘detox’.

True Christian theology is incredible. When a true believer is introduced to systematic theology where your reason is respected and valued, then they can truly love God.  Comprehension is an amazing skill to possess – which is why learning phrases like “Scripture interprets scripture” and “context, context, context” help them avoid taking these ‘gateway drugs verses’. Avoid the false teachers trying to offer bible verses out of context. If a ‘gateway verse’ is being offered to you, don’t buy the cheap lines such as:

“This will change your life,” or “If you truly believe this, you will have an experience you will never forget”.

Instead, discuss the ‘dodgy dealer’ with a godly pastor and ask him what they are really offering. He should be able to help you identify what the peddler is selling so you can avoid them.

When pastors and churches do not warn their flocks about wolves seducing the young and gullible, doctrine is bound to go awry. Back in the late 1980s, millions of Christians took the ‘laughing revival gateway drug’ – with many still caught up in its bondage to this day. They still have their ‘holy ghost bartenders’, still ‘staggering’ out of stadiums or manifesting on the floors like lost souls possessed like demoniacs, enticed to take ‘jehovahwana’ and ‘get high on the most high’ by evil heretics – with this as their ‘gateway verse’:

“These people are not drunk, as you suppose…”  Acts 2:15

People who fall for these ‘gateway verses’ can end up as ‘spiritual crack addicts’, flaming their sad delusions in the name of a false Jesus. Pray for them and please… give them the true gospel. Disciple them faithfully. Open the scriptures and give them a systematic biblical theology that transforms them into disciples of Jesus rather than disciples of men.

Email all comments and questions to c3churchwatch@hotmail.com

Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” Galatians 4:16

Categories: Health and Wealth (HAW), Liberal/Emergent Movement (LIB), New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), Resources, The Call, Word of Faith (WOF)

Tags: , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: