The Remarkable Exploits of David Hogan
Astonishing Miracles or Incredible Hype?

by G. Richard Fisher

Suppose a minister got up on Sunday morning and told his congregation:

• He raises people from the dead;

• He is thrown supernaturally across rooms into walls;

• He multiplies food;

• He drives his vehicle underwater;

• Angels are assigned to him and have to go where he goes;

• He is miraculously transported from place to place without the aid of planes, trains or automobiles;

• He is invigorated when new demons are unleashed on him;

• A demon has tried to tear out the innards of his child;

• He has a little son who has a hanky that is so anointed he can make people fly just by shaking it at them;

• He has seen limbs grow on limbless people;

• He has seen the creation of new brains in a brainless baby;

• Jesus talks to his dog and horse;

• He has seen people fly around the room under the anointing of God.

However, this minister never raises the dead, levitates, multiplies food, restores missing body parts or makes people fly there where he preaches. He only reports that it happens elsewhere, without offering any documentation.

That minister would be looking for a job in short order and people would rightly conclude that he is either an unscrupulous show-off, delusional or even worse. Any sensible congregation would want to check his medical history and diet. They might even suggest someone for counseling. Proximity and familiarity are the equalizers when it comes to wild claims.

HOGAN THE HERO

Yet, David Hogan has made all of the above claims and many more. Hogan bills himself as a “missionary” to Mexico. He says that he goes out to 20 tribes of “injuns.” He claims to be an “ultra-commitalist” and a “martyr.” Hogan says he is a disciple of T.L. Osborn, whose inspiration was William Branham. He appears regularly in Assembly of God churches after having been spotlighted by the Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Fla., at its School of Ministry headed by Michael Brown. Hogan’s claims at the Brownsville School have been recorded and are available from Brown’s ministry. It’s seven hours of video, on a four-tape set, which currently sells for $48.00.1

On the video series, Brown introduces Hogan as one who has been “driving out demons, healing the sick, raising the dead.” However, no dead people were raised at Brownsville. All Hogan appears to have raised is controversy and disappointment in some.

One person went so far as to bring a dead baby in an ice chest to one of the Pensacola services. The Brownsville leadership could not resuscitate the baby and it was laid to rest with no criminal charges against the church or father, the local newspaper reported in a front-page story.2

BACKGROUND

Hogan, who calls himself a “warlord,” is the son of the late Rev. O.W. Hogan Sr. of West Monroe, La. Hogan’s mother, who lives with his brother in West Monroe, refused an interview with PFO. She admitted she had never seen these purported miracles but said she believed every word David said.

Hogan was born and reared in Bastrop, 20 miles from West Monroe. He is the director of Freedom Ministries, based on Freedom Ranch just outside of Tempoal, Mexico. (Tempoal is off Highway 105, about 160 km. southwest of the coastal city of Tampico, Mexico.)

By his own admission, Hogan has no training in any Bible school or seminary. He was formally recognized by the Assemblies of God in Baytown, Texas, at least on a district level, in December 1998.

The Renewal Journal of Brisbane, Australia, a pro-Pentecostal newsletter, featured a message that Hogan delivered in November 1996 at the Christian Outreach Center in Brisbane. Hogan reported: “We’ve had over 200 people raised from the dead in our work. ... I’ve personally been in on 19 dead raisings and I know.”3

Christian Research Institute panned Hogan in its Christian Research Journal, saying:

“...leaders at the Brownsville revival in Pensacola have begun citing resurrections from the dead. For $75 the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry will sell you a video series titled Faith to Raise the Dead. Brownsville leaders are claiming that evangelist David Hogan and his associate missionaries in Mexico have seen more than 200 raised from the dead. The expectations of people have reached such a fever pitch that some time ago a parent who lost a child put his baby on ice and drove 350 miles to the Brownsville Assembly of God to have the baby raised from the dead. To some, this father’s actions may appear foolish. Yet, if God is indeed raising hundreds from the dead in Mexico, it would be perfectly logical to think that He would also raise the dead in the church whose ongoing revival is being touted as perhaps the greatest in the history of humanity.”4

Last August, when Hogan appeared in Cortez, Colo., no one was raised from the dead. He did bring an 8-year-old Aztec child whom he claims he brought back from the dead. However, while in Cortez, Hogan visited no morgues, funeral parlors or cemeteries. Apparently, he prefers the sterile environment of a church where people can have safe frenzies, anxious expectations and can be worked into altered states of consciousness. Here, too, he is able to filter reality as they hear him present himself as a super-missionary who is not afraid of the devil.

One person attending the Cortez meetings said that Hogan claimed supernatural transport from place to place. The eyewitness told PFO, “David Hogan is gone and to my knowledge, all the ‘demon illnesses’ that were here when he came are here when he left. ... He also seemed to avoid the people in the wheelchairs and there were a lot of them.”5

THE GREATEST

Watching Hogan on nearly seven hours of video is an exercise in perseverance and overload. He claims to have been a “gang member” who was told by other Christians to “calm down a little bit” for being “too zelyous” [sic]. He has strange stage mannerisms and rambles around the platform, hyperactively alternating from bouncing on his toes, growling, talking — hands on top of his head, breaking into screaming, “Jesus — Jesus — Jesus — Jesus — Jesus,” then chuckling to himself and screeching “woweeeeeee.”

Hogan, in the first session at the Brownsville School, told students he had personally been where 21 prople have been raised from the dead. One might ask what service would have a collection of 21 dead bodies but logic is suspended here. Hogan suggested from Mark 3 that he was ordained just like the apostles (by Jesus) and apparently makes no qualitative difference between himself and the Twelve.

Also in that first session he made this claim:

“I may be the most simple man you’ve ever met but you ain’t never run into anybody in our generation that has touched as many dead men and let ‘em get up as I have. How does that feel?”

Hogan, on the Brownsville video, goes through verbal and physical antics describing his powers and comes across as confrontational, pushy, crude and arrogant. More disturbing is that there is none of the gentleness and humility prescribed by Paul in 2 Timothy 2:24-25 for godly teachers. There is none of the meekness and fear (respect) mentioned in 1 Peter 3:15 (see also Colossians 3:12). He rails on demons and rails on the people.

Hogan’s style has him coming across as a know-it-all. Confronting the “enemy” may be one thing but Paul says of his approach to God’s children: “We were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7). Hogan batters his audiences at times.

WHO YA GONNA CALL?

In the first session, Hogan tells of being born into the home of a Southern Baptist pastor. He constantly tells of how misunderstood he has been and continues to be. He credits this to his high level of spirituality, boldness and faith. He does not skip a beat as he tells of rotting corpses and bodies in other states of mortification routinely raised back to life. He is the “demon buster” who withstands warlocks and witch doctors. It is high drama — a gripping and fantastic tale — with Hogan as the star.

Hogan also says on the video that he had a vision that was like a “movie” in which he saw a bull in a field trying to open a nicely wrapped present. The ferocious bull was unable to get into that present despite his strength. Then a baby about a year old opened the package with no effort. Hogan then asserts: “I said to Jesus, ‘You make me that baby or I ain’t gonna preach.’”

He then says: “And so I decided that I was going to seek heaven until the day came that I could walk up to a dead person and touch him and watch he fly up from the dead.”

Believers can never tell Jesus what He is to do and set conditions for obedience. Isaiah cried, “Woe is me” and pleaded with the Lord to be sent (Isaiah 6). John fell at the feet of Jesus as one dead (Revelation 1:17). Job was asked, “shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God let him answer it” (Job 40:2). Hogan needs to consider Job 40 and 41 and repent of his incredible pride and arrogance. However, he can weave through a show of humility that turns into pomposity.

RARE OCCURRENCES

Even the disputed passage in Mark 16:15-18 quoted by many Charismatics does not mention ability to raise the dead. In the approximately 900 years from Elijah to the apostles, there are only nine specific and clear miracles of this type mentioned. Averaged out, this would be one every 100 years. It does not seem that raising the dead was normative or expected but was dramatic and infrequent. The biblical pattern for people rising from the dead is infrequent and the ability to do it is clear and only connected to people unquestionably empowered by God for this act.

The overwhelming majority of God’s people during Bible times were not used in this way. John the Baptist was called the greatest of the prophets and he “did no miracle” (Luke 7:28 and John 10:41). No one in the Reformation claimed this, nor was it a claim in any of the great revivals.

Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Job, Jeremiah and other heroes of faith did not raise anyone from the dead. The Old Testament records three raisings. Elijah performed one (1 Kings 17:17), then with his double portion anointing, Elisha, his successor, performed two (2 Kings 4:32; 13:21). These obviously were to stir resurrection hope and a longing for the eternal kingdom. It also was during a time of great unbelief, apostasy and crisis when Baal worship had taken over Israel and the miraculous was much needed.

In the New Testament, Jesus performed three raisings (Jairus’ daughter in Mark 5:35, the widow’s son in Luke 7:11, and Lazarus in John 11:11). We could add Jesus’ own resurrection as a fourth. The mysterious and sparsely described event that coincided with the death of Christ (Matthew 27:52-53) with an undetermined number coming out of the grave, like Lazarus, is an obvious attempt to show us that Jesus is the Messiah with the power of life and death and that the final victory awaits our resurrection and glorification (1 Corinthians 15). Acts 9:37-42 speaks of Peter and the raising of Dorcas. Acts 20:9-10 describes the last one, although some dispute if it is a raising.

The Epistles nowhere hint that we should pursue attempts at raising the dead or expect it but rather those dramatic divine interventions in Scripture picture resurrection and glorification as connected to the future Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Encyclopedia makes the point:

“Since all these raisings were only signs of Jesus’ resurrection power, they meant only a return to this mortal life; the final victory over death waits until the End.”6

Do we believe that God can raise the dead? Absolutely! The big question is “When?” The Scriptures are clear in Romans 8:23: “waiting for ... the redemption of our bodies.” Resurrection is connected to our glorification at Christ’s coming as is made abundantly clear in 1 Corinthians 15.

Hogan with his hype and claims of more than 200 raisings would have us believe that he is greater than all the prophets and apostles, and even Jesus Himself. There are fewer than a dozen pronounced raisings in the Bible. Hogan outdoes them all and his miracles are almost commonplace, if we believe his claims.

The Apostle Paul testified: “My manner of life from my youth, which was at first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify” (Acts 26:4-5). Connie Horn notes:

“The above statement is taken from Paul’s testimony before King Agrippa. In his case, Paul employed evidence that could be confirmed by witnesses, if they were called upon to testify.”7

As has been established, the raisings of the dead in biblical history are rare occurrences. People who have no historical perspective do not realize this nor do they realize that modern claims of raising the dead go back only a little more than 50 years. None of the modern claims has ever been documented. Faith healers such as Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn have had to disavow such boisterous assertions. No proof with death certificates, doctors’ verifications or film exists anywhere. PFO has dealt with the likes of Smith Wigglesworth and others in past Journals.

Some of the modern claims are downright silly, as John MacArthur shows:

“Jan Crouch, who with her husband, Paul, leads Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), told a live audience in Costa Rica that ‘God answered the prayers of two little 12-year-old girls to raise our pet Chicken from the dead!’ Mrs. Crouch has recounted that same tale on TBN broadcasts that air coast to coast and around the world.”8

The uniform history of the early Church was circulated by the fourth century apologist and defender of the deity of Christ, Athanasius. In a volume he distributed called Vita S. Antoni (The Life of St. Anthony), it is stated: “For the working of signs is not ours but the Saviour’s work.”9

HEAVEN CAN’T WAIT!

Hogan is part of a growing number of men who are in the line of Latter Rain heresies that began to develop in the 1940s. In short, they teach that we can have heavenly glorification now. It is called by various titles, including “Kingdom Now,” “Joel’s Army,” “Restorationism,” “End Time Prophets,” “End Time Restorationism” and “Manifest Sons of God.” It teaches that a group of end-time super-apostles and prophets will have more power than all the biblical prophets and apostles. They will control death, disease, wealth, the world and be “little Christs.” Do they believe their own hype or just get others to believe? Hogan has his own twists and turns but in philosophy and teaching, he is in the camp of the Kingdom Now advocates.

Some of the Kingdom Now teachers play it very coy and very smart by only saying we are on the verge of this great miracle period. “Any day now” is their anthem. We are just around the corner from emptying out the hospitals, raising the dead, creative miracles and holding miracle crusades where everyone is healed. Just keep your cash coming their way and miracles are bound to break out. Benny Hinn has been promising universal healing since 1979.

Kingdom Now is a delusion and a self-centered mania. It was described back in 1982 by Pastor Wayne Benson of First Assembly of God in Grand Rapids as “Charismatic humanism.”10 Unfortunately, Benson has jumped into the “Brownsville river” and ignored his own warnings. That river is full of aberrant whirlpools and heretical alligators.

Whether the proponents of Kingdom Now all believe it or just use it for personal advantage and gain is beside the point. What ought to concern believers is its unbiblical premise and the demeaning of the biblical prophets and apostles. The confusion of biblical categories and confusing of sanctification and glorification is to be deplored.

Apologist Robert Liichow of the Inner City Christian Discernment Ministry says:

“Hogan’s beliefs parallel those of the fringe revivalist Franklin Hall regarding raising the dead, levitation, etc. ... Hogan seems to be spouting the old ‘Manifest Sons of God’ offshoot doctrines of the New Order of the Latter Rain in the 1950s.”11

In speaking with an associate of Hogan’s ministry by phone in the fall of 1998, the subject of Hogan’s claim to levitate was brought up. PFO was informed that “David used to think and teach that Jesus levitated him but now believes that the devil is messing with him” (though the co-worker had not ever seen this and had only been told by Hogan that it happened). If indeed the devil is levitating Hogan, he has a lot in common with the witch doctors he claims to oppose.

ANYTHING YOU WANT

In the second session at the Brownsville school, Hogan leads off with Matthew 21:22: “All things whatsoever you ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive it.” Although Hogan intends it to mean that we can have whatever we pray for, he tells stories that make it clear that he does not always get what he wants.

No one would suggest that Matthew 21:22 gives a believer carte blanche on any request. All the rest of Scripture must be taken into account. The Geneva Bible in its note on Matthew 21:22 points out that:

“...the emphasis is on not doubting. Freedom from doubt arises from an awareness that something is truly God’s will. True faith receives what it asks for; trust in God is not presumptive arrogance but submission to His will.”12

Neither Hogan nor anyone else would suggest in the end that we can have absolutely anything for which we believe. Thus no one, not even Charismatic extremists, would see Matthew 21:22 as absolute. As Dr. Harry Ironside says:

“This is not to be understood as an assurance that God will grant every request we make, or give us whatever we ask. To pray believingly implies that we pray in accordance with the revealed will of God, and that we do not regard iniquity in our hearts. But where one is right with God Himself, and his prayer is in faith because in accord with the known will of God, the divine response is sure.”13

FLY THROUGH THE AIR WITH THE GREATEST OF EASE

In the same session, Hogan claims that his family fasts every other day of their lives and his wife, when in Mexico, fasts 21 days a month. Bragging about fasting seems to violate Matthew 6:16-19 and the whole tenor of that chapter in terms of public displays or public boasting about religious deeds.

Hogan goes on to tell of his 8-year-old “son” whom he got out of “the trash” in Guatemala. He claims that when his son shouts “fuego” (fire) and waves his little hanky at people, “you are flying through the air like you were shot with a gun — an 8-year-old boy — it’s amazing.” Hogan spins these tales with a straight face. The Apostle Peter warned us about those who “speak great swelling words of emptiness” (2 Peter 2:18). Hogan has to be either lying, hallucinating or admitting to demonic activity here. There are no other choices.

EVERYONE MUST DO IT

Hogan goes on to preach from Matthew 10:7-8, albeit totally out-of-context. The passage mentions healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing lepers, and casting out demons. Hogan fails to point out some other things mentioned in the passage around verses 7 and 8 that cast a different light on those activities.

Hogan tells his listeners that it was God’s will for all believers to raise the dead since it was commanded. But is it? Hogan claims that thousands of people have been healed in his ministry and that “every part of the human body healed or recreated.” While he talks of his re-creative powers, Michael Brown sits peering at him through thick glasses and no one sees the discrepancy, even though Hogan later that week talked about “eyes popping in heads.”

Hogan fails to tell his audience that Matthew 10:5 says, “go not into the way of the Gentiles” (or Samaritans). Using Hogan’s logic, we could only raise Jews from the dead. Then Jesus says, “take no wallet” and no money or extra coat and shoes. Does Hogan really obey Jesus? Are we to go totally without resources?

This obviously was a brief, limited, very circumscribed mission to Jewish villages in which the apostles were given supernatural powers to immediately pave the way for Jesus with messianic signs. Charles Erdman says:

“It is evident that these injunctions were intended only for the days when the apostles were preparing the way for the earthly labors of their Lord. Many of these directions were purely temporary. Jesus wished to impress upon them the fact that the time of his ministry would be brief.”14

The Kingdom of Heaven at hand (verse 7) was embodied in Jesus the King, yet Hogan has the audacity to share that he told a severely crippled woman that when she looked at him she was looking at the Kingdom of God.

HIGH NOON

Hogan goes on with more outlandish stories. He recounts a demonic encounter by his then 4-year-old son. He then heard his son screaming in pain and upon pulling up the boy’s shirt, saw a hand print on the son’s side as the demon worked at pulling out the boy’s intestines. Hogan says he prayed out in tongues and called out the name of Jesus as the demon tortured the young boy. Nothing seemed to work as the demon then tried to rip off the boy’s face. Hogan says he did not realize that “he had stirred up some of the bigger demons that surround the world.”

The physical attack stopped but resumed later causing the boy to go deaf. Hogan then says he shut himself away in his room for five days and fasted. He said he was determined to find out what was going on. Then “Jesus spoke” and told him there was a warlock living nearby.

Hogan says he charged out of the house only to confront the “demon” out on the street and like an old western movie, the “demon” was waiting for a showdown right there. The strains of the High Noon theme came to mind as I listened to Hogan tell of his cursing the warlock “by the blood and power of the cross.” Hogan triumphantly reported that the warlock fled and the boy’s ears were “instantly opened.”

Of course, there is not one verse in the Scriptures that would indicate that demons can leave burning hand prints, rip out intestines, rip off a face or limbs, and so on. Hogan’s assertions are more fiction than Bible.15 The spiritual warfare chapter in Ephesians 6 teaches nothing like Hogan is suggesting and identify the foe as “not flesh and blood” but as spirit entities (verse 12). These enemies can be withstood with the armor of God, we are told.

Addressing the fact that demons are pure spirit and have no physicality (no flesh, bones, hands, feet, that is, they are non-corporeal), Dr. Merrill Unger, in his classic text Biblical Demonology, affirms:

“The Gospels prove conclusively that demons are purely spiritual beings, ... The spiritual nature of both Satan and his demon hosts is graphically set forth by the Apostle Paul when he emphatically says the believer’s intense warfare ‘is not against flesh and blood,’ but against the non-material, the incorporeal, ... In like manner the Apostle John bears witness to the incorporeality of the demons ... Demons, hence, are scripturally presented as purely spiritual beings. ... The specific attribute of ‘spirit’ is then immateriality, incorporeality.”16

If and when demons possess the unsaved, their works may be seen operating through a person but their nature and essence cannot be seen. As pure spirits they have no body parts.

It should be noted that rabbinic superstition is responsible for the kind of mindset perpetuated by Hogan. Merrill Unger again enlightens us on this point:

“... the Rabbis divided demons into two classes: one composed of purely spiritual beings, the other of half-spirits (‘halbgeister’). The latter, as semi-sensuous beings, possessing a psycho-sarcous constitution, involving them in physical needs and functions, could, under certain conditions be seen, and were the source of endless superstition. Scriptural truth, however, at once disposes of the notion of ‘half-spirits,’ and with it the greater part of rabbinic and ethnic demonology, where the essential characteristic of spirit is violated. Presenting demons, then, as purely spiritual beings, Scripture uniformly views them as above the operation of natural law, and not subject to human visibility, or other sensory perception.”17

In the tragic Salem witch trials of the 17th century, so-called spectral evidence was presented by those with overactive imaginations and evil agendas.18 Bible-believing Christians believe in Satan and demons but not in the caricatures of Hogan and others.

ANGELS OF LIGHT

Charismatic teachers sometimes claim to see demons but their descriptions are usually cartoonish, grotesque and quite often contradictory to others who report seeing the same thing. Though angels, with God’s direction and permission, can take on the form and appearance of men temporarily, there is no biblical warrant for believing God has or will allow demons to do so. Hogan is attributing far too much to demons and “sees” them everywhere.

Even 2 Corinthians 11:14 does not help those who push the unbiblical notion of demons being seen or taking on physical appearances. Satan can disguise himself as an “angel of light” which would be attractive, not frightening at all. The context (Satan’s servants disguised as servants of righteousness) is clearly teaching that Satan and demons motivate and energize false teachers. They do not literally become the teachers but operate through them.

DEM BONES, DEM BONES

As Hogan goes on, he tells of a woman who shattered her wrist and arm and had bones sticking out every which way. He says his touch and prayer brought the bones back together, closed the skin up and effected a perfect healing. There is applause. However, if this were true, we could send Hogan and his entourage to the trauma centers and emergency rooms of hospitals and send the doctors home.

Hogan just plows on with one story after another. The miraculous becomes mundane. He says that in Wawaco, Mexico, a woman was given a new heart and her physical blindness was taken away. In another village of the Aztecs he says he encountered a smelly, rotting leper with no nose, ears, fingers or toes. Hogan says: “It was a human man with leprosy” and he told the man, “You have a devil.” He goes on to say that: “I lost my hand in the goo.”

Then Hogan reports: “We decided that it was alright to cleanse the leper even though it was a little out-of-context.” For some reason Hogan left the village with the job unfinished but returned a few weeks later to find “a nice looking fella — pretty.” Hogan receives a standing ovation. He resumes the story, telling them he grabbed the man’s 2-week-old nose and the two brand new ears, saying that God had created new fingers and toes and new skin. “Oops,” he comments, “I’m not making it very far with this stuff” and then breaks out in a whistle.

A woman then wanders forward to the front of the auditorium where Hogan was speaking and he, after hearing her request, limply and repeatedly hit her on the head with his handkerchief saying, “Fire of God, Fire of Heaven.” Then the claims continue. He tells how he watched a man grow new legs and feet from the knees down and there’s a story about a girl who had no bones from the hips down. The girl grew new bones in her legs, Hogan asserts.

ALL IN THE MIND?

In Hogan’s third session at Brownsville he tells his audience something that is very telling and very troubling: “Take your wildest imagination. ... ‘cause my Bible says that whatever things I can think about, Jesus is going to do greater.”

That truly is an amazing statement and an amazing lie. No one’s Bible says that anywhere.

We have heard of “name it and claim it” theology that is prevalent in Charismatic camps but Hogan goes further with “imagine it and claim it.” Our imaginations are fallen and tainted with sin. Almost every reference in Scripture to the imagination or the word “imagine” is negative (cf., Genesis 6:5; 8:21). Is this, after all, what it might really be all about, Hogan’s “wildest imagination”?

Then Hogan says, “And I have a pretty serious imagination.” And he goes on to say that he sits and thinks of Jesus taking over countries and everyone getting saved and everybody getting healed. Could it be in the end that most of the dramatic and miraculous parts of Hogan’s stories are just part of his “serious imagination”?

The stories go on and on. They include the raising of two dead sisters covered with lime and rotting for three days, which gets him wild applause. Though the raisings were reported to have been done by elders, the mother of the girls kneeled at Hogan’s feet and thanked him. Hogan told the people at the Christian Outreach Center in Brisbane: “They loved it when they got up, spitting that lime out of their mouths.”19

THE NEVER ENDING STORIES

Also in the third session, he tells a tale of multiplying food. Hogan says he prayed and the beans, rice and tortillas in the pots fed thousands. Then he adds: “All the food that we fed when we went back to the pots was still in the pot. ... Woooooo. ... Today, this day, it is fulfilled in your ears.”

Hogan then informs the audience that he will not reveal the name of the village for his next story. He says that 25 henchmen were sent to kill him and his workers. Somehow Hogan and the group must have turned invisible: “We walked right by ‘em. They never saw us. And I am not a quiet individual ... Yahoooo.” He then relapses into a surly mode and accuses the students there of “decadency” and “apathy” and verbally beats them up for a time.

Then he is ready again for another story: “Let’s see what you can handle — are you ready?” he teases. “Let’s see if you can handle the real me. Most demons in humans can’t,” he boasts.

The next shocker unfolds: “We went into the house of a principality and decapitated him [he laughs] and it’s pretty rough.” Hogan turns to Michael Brown and asks: “But that’s okay. Can we get gross with it? Tell it like it happened?” Brown nods approval.

Hogan then ominously informs his hearers: “But I can promise you this, I’m a great friend but I make a lot better enemy. Just remember that your whole life.” Hogan obviously meant demons as enemies but what is frightening and confusing is that throughout his presentation he refers to sins as “demons,” sickness as “demons” and some people as “demons.” Where does that leave one when they have a falling out with Hogan or disagree with him? The answer is obvious. This kind of blurring of categories is divisive and unhealthy.

So Hogan says he took on “demonic royalty” and was able to “hold a demon prince at bay.” He did it through “the blood protection of the Holy Ghost” and then asserted: “‘Cause my Bible says that the Holy Ghost shed his blood — in Acts it says that.” It does not say it in Acts and this is total confusion and a torturing of Scripture. Jesus Himself said, “a spirit does not have flesh and blood” (Luke 24:39). Here we see again Hogan’s utter confusion in giving a spirit corporeality.

The essence of the story is that two magic “warlocks” come on the scene and Hogan stood “nose to nose” with those demons. Declaring the blood of Christ and doing a jig on the stage for a while, Hogan tells of a woman at the scene with dripping sores and “horns” attached to her vertebrae and sticking out of her back. He demonstrated how he tugged on the horns to make sure they were attached. He looked at the “devils” and shouted: “You shouldn’ta, oughta had done that.” The whole team ran outside into a field to face a huge invisible “giant” demon who could see them but they couldn’t see it. After praying and chanting the blood of Jesus at it, “the thing” exploded into a ball of fire and flew over the mountain. A few days later, Hogan met the “horn” lady and she was perfectly whole.

In that third session, Hogan mentioned being offered millions of dollars but said he could not be bought. At the end of the session, Michael Brown indicated that the offer of money was from major networks wanting to film the miracles but Hogan would not take the offer of money. Why not just let them film and document it all for nothing? Why is it that reporters in and around his home town have never heard of him?

HOLY GHOST CARWASH

In the fourth session at Brownsville School, Hogan gets even more bizarre. He claims to have prayed a basketball-sized tumor from the body of a woman.

He tells his audience that he has “two submarine trucks” that go underwater even though “mechanically it is not possible.” His parallel is Moses at the Red Sea and Joshua at the Jordan. In both of these biblical instances, the water was stopped in some miraculous way but Hogan presses on, undeterred by details. He drives down into the deep riverbed as the water covers over the entire truck, he says. He tells that as he drove under water, it was so dark he turned the lights on and continued for a time, as the Brownsville students laugh with enjoyment. “Great wash job, Holy Ghost,” he proclaims to the applause of his gullible and accepting audience.

THE SHINING

Hogan goes on to ridicule the Brownsville lot for their “little river party.” He then promised to “escalate a little bit.” He spoke of himself as a train and told his audience to get on or be run over. Hogan was agitated and suggested there was resistance with some there.

Coming off the Moses story and the shining of Moses’ face, Hogan insisted that his face “a time and again has lit up really like a light bulb.” Again, this could be very easily captured on video.

He went on to claim that he fasted for nine months and went into seclusion and witnessed an appearance of Jesus. His description is frightening:

“I am ripped off of that bed and slammed into the wall. It was not a demon, it was the Holy Ghost. Revelation knowledge like I have never known in my life began to unfold in my mind. ... [I began] writing down pages and pages of revelation knowledge from heaven. ... This is the big one!”

Perhaps Hogan has been in a pagan and occult culture so long he has gone native. What he is explaining is a form of automatic writing and is clearly a form of divination. The practice of automatic writing is commonly done among spiritists and mediums. Josh McDowell and Don Stewart explain automatic writing in their Handbook of Today’s Religions:

“Automatic writing consists of producing written material by a medium who is not in control of his conscious self. The subject matter is said to be beyond any training, experience or knowledge of the medium.”20

Automatic writing is a weak but demonic counterfeit of the real inspiration of the Scriptures. This kind of activity, even if claimed as “revelation knowledge,” is forbidden by Revelation 22:18-19.

Hogan then tells them: “Now I’m fixing to tell you something that you’re gonna have a hard time with.” He says there is no part of the human anatomy that he has not seen healed: “new brains, new hearts, new livers, ... dead raising.” He tells them of a baby whose head was split open when its head was dashed on a rock. They left the brains on the rock and brought the brainless baby to the church. After four hours of prayer, the baby came back to life and “brains were still on the rock but he got some more now,” Hogan says.

Then Hogan related that in October 1995, the shekinah glory cloud knocked out hundreds of people for hours at a church service. It was followed by “open-eyed visions of King Jesus.” Some people flew like someone shot them, Hogan says.

According to the Renewal Journal, Hogan offered in November 1996 this version of the same October 27, 1995, meeting:

“I was trying to help, but I couldn’t help. People were just flying everywhere. And these were ministers. ... I didn’t know that they had been pinned down by the Holy Spirit all night long, all over the place, stuck to the ground. Some of them had fallen on ant beds, but not one ant bit them. ... When some people tried to get up, they would go flying. It was awesome. ... The three of us were inside something like a force field of energy. Anybody who tried to come into it was knocked out. It was scarey” [sic].21

Jesus then appears at the October meeting and starts to read from a list:

“I was looking around, and as he was reading from the list people went flying through the air, getting healed and delivered. It was phenomenal, what God was doing. And he’s done it in every service in our work that I’ve been in since then. It’s been over a year. It’s amazing. Wonderful.”22

Then he tells the crowd at Brownsville that he is asking Jesus to do that right there for them. He tells them he is “exploding with fire.” People began to scream, cry and wail. Hogan tells them, “You all are easy targets” and begins to scream: “Fire! Fire! Fire!” as the Brownsville students surged forward. Hogan ordered his men: “Get ‘em” as the “impartations” are eagerly anticipated. As the session concludes, there is no smoke, no clouds, not even a mist, just a lot of people in a frenzy and wailing. Mercifully, the tape fades to snow and finally ends.

WHO IS THE REAL DAVID HOGAN?

Folks in and around the quaint Louisiana town of West Monroe (Hogan’s hometown) who know him are unwilling to speak about him. Hogan returns to the city from time to time. His brother, O.W. Hogan Jr., pastors the Freedom Church, described by one as a “river church in the flavor of Rodney Howard-Browne.”

Some in West Monroe express that speaking about Hogan could be a potentially explosive issue in the community with families taking sides. Few want to risk such adversity by openly disagreeing with him.

Then others express a reluctance to speak negatively about a minister, even if there are negatives. So there are many reasons for the jitters when it comes to Hogan.

Yet, there are exceptions. Rev. Dale Walker of the Pinegrove Church enthusiastically supports Hogan and has even sent one couple from his church to Mexico to work there as missionaries at Freedom Ranch. That couple has been with Hogan’s missionary efforts for nine years. However, Walker cannot confirm if the couple has witnessed the surfeit of “miracles” or not. Walker told PFO, “I believe God called David in an apostolic work.”23

Walker has visited Freedom Ranch briefly, but admitted he had never seen the healing or creative miracles personally. Walker says he prays for the day he’ll do them, too. He expressed the sentiment that people will have to make up their mind on the unusual claims based on the man (Hogan) and not necessarily seeing it for themselves. He indicated that Hogan is a no-nonsense kind of a guy who runs the ranch very tightly, which disillusions some people who had gone there to work. He also mentioned a former “disgruntled volunteer” who in the past had been saying negative things about Hogan. Walker says in the end, the question is, “Do we have faith in Hogan or not?”

It seems with David Hogan that people who know him either love him or strongly dislike him — and some even fear him. Some see him as a good man who does harmful things to others on occasion, namely being over-controlling, while others see him as a bad man who does good to stay in control of others.

There is talk in West Monroe by some of the “short-termers” that there is absolute control on the compound in Mexico. There are also whisperings about “survivors” who are “healing.” There are undertones of families being hurt and destroyed by the excessive control. Some even reluctantly tell that a falling out with Hogan leaves them vulnerable to being called “demons” or “devils.” One family took five years to recover from serving at Hogan’s compound. Some phone calls by PFO for facts never were returned and it is obvious people are reluctant to speak.

Even those who are willing to divulge some of the frightening details do not want to be quoted by name because of fear.

THE AWFUL TRUTH

However, there are exceptions to those reluctant to speak out. One such person is career missionary Alvin LaVaughn Landry, who is currently with the Oasis World Mission in Perote, Mexico. Landry was a lifelong friend of Hogan’s and served in Hogan’s mission from 1983-1993. Few have been closer. He tells a chilling story.

Landry openly disclosed that “David’s problems go way back and he has been telling tall tales his whole life. I have caught him in so many lies that I have lost track.”24 When asked if he thought Hogan was a pathological liar, Landry said, “Yes” without hesitation.

Landry then offered:

“David picks up people to work for him that are insecure or with troubled backgrounds or in a crisis. His main thing is control. He controls like a gang leader. ... He uses all kinds of profanity and covers it by saying that you should say all that is in your heart. He has expressed very immoral and vulgar things about women using the rationale that if you say it out, you won’t do it. ... He treats women like mules. ... His authority can’t be challenged. ... Somebody needs to stand up. ... He has serious mental problems.”25

Landry shared the history regarding the expulsion of most missionaries from Mexico in 1987 (until 1991). Hogan was expelled because he refused to obey the government regarding areas which were off limits and went into Guatemala. Landry was able to keep Hogan’s work going for over three years. Hogan returned in 1991 and Landry laid out a plan for a center in Tempoal, which Hogan said he wanted to shelve. Two months later, Hogan told everyone he had a “vision from God” and unveiled the Landry plan as his own.

Landry’s comments became more ominous:

“No workers at Freedom Ranch have assets. He and his wife are the board and own everything. The board of reference is only on paper and knows little. David has huge assets in his over 200-acre ranch. ... When you tell one lie after another like David does, you get hardened. David has no conscience and does not know where the beginning and end is of all the lies. If one person, just one, were raised from the dead, it would be all over the Mexico newspapers. Most people in Mexico have never heard of David Hogan. They only know of him in America and down there no one would believe any of the reports. Sooner or later, believe me, you will see buildings burning in Tempoal just like Waco. David is paranoid and anti-government and he sees his compound as an end time place of survival. With his personal slaves and hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank he knows he will survive. He has huge investments.”26

When asked if Freedom Ranch had any parallels to Jonestown, and Hogan to Jim Jones, he replied: “Most definitely.”

Hogan has mixed reviews as far as people are concerned. But the way in which he distorts the Bible and then makes grandiose and unproven claims is enough to reject his ministry. The people of West Monroe may continue to take sides and debate about why Hogan does what he does or if he even does what he says he does. But the issue for Christians should be settled on biblical grounds and his unproven and undocumented imaginings rejected.

CONCLUSIONS

David Hogan has the perfect ploy. The miraculous events are always left in his wake; they always happen elsewhere and he has no eyewitnesses to verify it. Even the inspired writer, Luke, in talking of the certainty of his report, said it was because of the number of “eyewitnesses” that we could believe his account (Luke 1:1-4). Paul spoke of over 500 witnesses of Christ’s resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:6). Our faith is to be in God and His Word, not a man. Hogan offers absolutely no documentation of any claims.

Hogan has not seen or experienced in reality what he says he has. While he may believe them, we have no reason to believe him has because he does not have one shred of documented evidence or proof of his extreme claims. In his United States meetings, where all the drama is being trumpeted, he never raises the dead, multiplies food, grows limbs on others, or flies. He does not visit a morgue or empty wheelchairs. There are no creative miracles or miraculous transports to his cities of destination. There is no smoke, just smoke and mirrors. According to his secretary, they have only heard the stories of the submarine truck but have never seen it happen.

Hogan can make all the boastful claims he wants but the Church must stand up and say, “Prove it!” The Apostle Paul commands us to “examine everything carefully” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Hogan claims to be a minister of righteousness and admits to a serious imagination. He is so far outside the realm of the Bible in his teachings and interpretations that he demonstrates he is only disguised as an apostle of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:13). There were 12 apostles and Hogan is not one of them.

In this writer’s opinion, there are three basic things that fuel the phenomenon of David Hogan. He boasts of two of them.

1. That he has a “serious imagination.” What augments and triggers that may be extensive sleep loss,27 and lack of nourishment if Hogan fasts as much and sleeps as little as he says he does. His imagination is so extreme, he may be tapping into the occult because some of his professed proclivities and practices are clearly spiritistic. It is also possible that he has a form of autism which is defined as: “a state of mind characterized by daydreaming, hallucinations, and disregard of external reality.”28 Only his mother and doctor would know.

Hogan is also immersed in the Aztec culture, which is superstitious and whose people see all kinds of things in dreams and omens.29 One can only wonder how much Hogan is tainted by that. We agree that he has a serious and wild imagination. Hogan is so jaded he believes that one can say whatever comes to mind in spite of commands in God’s Word to the contrary (Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11-12). It seems that Hogan is a law to himself with a seared conscience.

2. That he makes a better enemy than a friend. Some people are afraid of him and just stay out of his way. This gives him momentum. No one wants to be labeled “a demon.” Intimidation, intentional or unintentional, paves his way. Calling your opposition a demon is clearly an attempt at control and intimidation. For Hogan, it works. Alvin Landry, Hogan’s lifetime friend, has been demonized and labeled a “devil.” PFO and this author are sure to be branded by Hogan with a big “D.”

3. Some people want Hogan to be real. They have been primed by teachers with Latter Rain heresies and promises that God will speak to them. Their confidence in the Word as adequate has been undermined. Some people want the stories and the sensationalism to be true more than anything. They want phenomenon no matter what. Some have gone to Freedom Ranch and have been disillusioned not because they are deficient, but because they recognized the above. They are the truly discerning Bereans who now struggle and grieve. I pray for their “healing” and my heart really goes out to them.

My last word to David Hogan is — bring me to Mexico and show me:

• people being raised from the dead,

• people growing limbs,

• people shot through the air from a hanky,

• take me for a ride in the submarine truck underwater,

• levitate before my eyes,

• fill a room with clouds,

• let me fly around a room,

• provide brains for the brainless,

• all the other things you boast of.

Or better yet, just come here and do them — and PFO will publicly retract its conclusions and withdraw this article. Yes, PFO does believe that God can and does heal in answer to the prayers of His people. Men’s claims or “serious imaginations” are another story.

Endnotes:

1. David Hogan, Faith to Raise the Dead. Pensacola, Fla.: Brownsville Revival School of Ministry, four videotape set, #S-7, 1998. The tape set originally sold for $69.95.
2. John W. Allman, “Revival prays to raise an infant from the dead,” Pensacola News Journal, Sept. 20, 1998, pg. 1A.
3. Renewal Journal, Issue #9: Mission (1997:1), “Renewal: Brisbane.” This entire article is available on the worldwide web at http://www.pastornet.net.au/renewal/journal9/9g-hogan.html.
4. Hank Hanegraaff, “The Counterfeit Revival Revisited,” Christian Research Journal, Vol. 21, No. 4, pg. 54.
5. Personal letter to author on file.
6. The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Encyclopedia. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing, 1975, Vol. 5, pg. 73.
7. Connie Hicks, Days of Praise, June-August 1999, entry for August 24.
8. John MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing, 1992, pg. 16.
9. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, n.d., Vol. 4, pg. 206.
10. Wayne Benson, “You Can be Conned by the Cults,” sermon from First Assembly of God, Grand Rapids, Mich., Aug. 15, 1982, tape #819, tape on file.
11. Personal e-mail to author from Rev. Robert S. Liichow, 8/20/99.
12. The Geneva Bible, note on Matthew 21:22, pg. 1541.
13. Harry Ironside, Expository Notes on the Gospel of Matthew. New York: Loizeaux Brothers, 1948, pg. 272.
14. Charles Erdman, The Gospel of Matthew. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1948, pg. 82.
15. See, for example, “The Devil in the Disco,” Jan Harold Brunvand, Too Good to Be True — The Colossal Book of Urban Legends. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999, pp. 247-248.
16. Merrill Unger, Biblical Demonology. Wheaton, Ill.: Scripture Press, 1952, pp. 62-63.
17. Ibid., pp. 64-65.
18. See further, Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed — The Social Origins of Witchcraft and David Brown, A Guide to the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
19. Renewal Journal, op. cit.
20. Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Handbook of Today’s Religions. San Bernardino, Calif.: Here’s Life Publishers, Inc., 1983, pg. 249.
21. Renewal Journal, op. cit.
22. Renewal Journal, op. cit.
23. Phone conversation with the Rev. Dale Walker and the author, Aug. 30, 1999.
24. Phone conversation with the Rev. Alvin LaVaughn Landry and the author, Sept. 9, 1999.
25. Ibid.
26. Ibid.
27. See Jay Adams, The Christian Counselor’s Manual. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1973, pp. 384-390.
28. Davis Guralnik, Editor, New World Dictionary. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984, “Autism,” pg. 94.
29. See: http://northcoast.com/~spdtom/a-omen.html.

 

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