Zola Levitt (1939-2006)

General Teachings/Activities

-  Zola Levitt died in April of 2006, after a long battle with cancer. Zola was the head of Zola Levitt Ministries of Dallas, Texas. Zola's ministry continues to produce a weekly 30-minute television program, "Zola Levitt Presents," which is aired on hundreds of TV stations by Paul and Jan Crouch's blasphemous Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), Pat Robertson's Family Channel (FAM/CBN), The New Inspirational Network (INSP), and on numerous large city independent broadcast stations. The ministry also publishes a monthly newsletter, the Levitt Letter. The stated focus of the ministry is evangelization of the Jew and prophecy, including tours to Israel. Zola earned a Ph.D. in music from Indiana University (he wrote more than 150 "spiritual" songs), but little formal theological training. (He also earned a music degree from a Catholic school -- Duquesne University.)

Zola's television program features teaching, interviews, Middle Eastern film footage particularly directed to the studies of Israel and prophecy, and various musicals/dramatic presentations set in Biblical times that have also been televised nationally. Zola's writings and music are offered for sale on the program, which includes more than 45 book titles and 15 musical albums. Zola would also undertake speaking engagements for churches, civic groups, university conferences and the like, giving updated Middle East reports and general Bible teaching. Zola acted as lecturer and tour host on more than fifty trips to Israel, Egypt, the areas of the seven churches, Mediterranean islands, European capitals, etc. He formerly taught a course on "Christ in the Old Testament" at Dallas Baptist University. (Source: Zola Levitt Ministries Internet web site.)

-  About the time Zola was becoming more charismatic in his theology, he divorced his wife, left his Messianic Jewish congregation, and joined W.A. Criswell's neo-evangelical, psychologized First Baptist Church of Dallas (Southern Baptist Convention). It was always difficult to tell whether Zola increased his charismatic tendencies, or whether Zola's increased charismatic associations were merely a part of his general fondness for ecumenism. At any rate, Zola took part in an ecumenical charismatic renewal conference, "Indianapolis 1990: North American Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization," held 8/15/90-8/19/90 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Zola was advertised to speak at the Messianic Jewish Conference, featuring "special Messianic worship and dance.") Almost all of the major apostate religious organizations (including a large Roman Catholic contingent) had representatives/participants at Indianapolis '90. Charisma & Christian Life magazine wrote in its pre-congress issue that:

"One common bond that unites the groups ... is baptism in the Spirit, accompanied by the charismatic gifts. Although there will be a multitude of differing theologies represented among participants, everyone will be open to the work of the Holy Spirit ... The gifts of the Spirit will be welcome in all the sessions of the congress ... The Holy Spirit will be invited to magnify Jesus Christ." (Emphasis added.)

Some of the hyper-charismatic teachers at the conference were Larry Lea, John Wimber, C. Peter Wagner, Bob Weiner, Charles Green, Mike Bickel, and Paul Cain.

Also speaking was Tom Forrest, Catholic "evangelist" in charge of "Evangelization 2000," an ecumenical world evangelization project administered directly out of the Vatican. Forrest reports directly to Cardinal Suenens, who reports to the pope. Forrest was very clear in the "Catholic only" sessions -- that outside the church of Rome, there is no salvation. Therefore, the goal of Evangelization 2000 is to bring home the "separated brethren" [that's us].

It is important to keep in mind that every participating organization, as well as every individual speaker at the Indianapolis '90 conference was required to subscribe to the North American Renewal Service Committee's "Statement of Policy" (i.e., the "unity statement"). This ecumenical unity statement was written by a Roman Catholic, Kevin Ranaghan (who was chairman of the 1977 Congress in Kansas City), which closed with the sentences: "In view of the call we all have from the Lord to enter into this relationship for common work, we want to express our mutual personal respect and our respect for one another's ministries. We will speak well of one another whenever possible." Yet it is utterly impossible to obey God's clear commands to identify, expose, rebuke, and separate from error, and at the same time obey this Statement of Policy. Nevertheless, all of the exhibitors and participants at Indianapolis '90, including Zola Levitt, agreed to the Statement. (Source: a special issue of O Timothy -- "Charismatic Confusion in Indianapolis.")

-  In the September 1989 Levitt Letter, Zola printed an article submitted by Elaine Hardt entitled "Unanswered Prayer." Miss Hardt's theology on prayer was decidedly hyper-charismatic: she continually referred to prayer as a "price" to be paid in order to exercise authority or to command the creation in the realms of healing, or just getting what we want in general. Not only is there absolutely no Biblical basis for this teaching, but in fact it smacks of the positive confessionism/"name-it-and-claim-it" teachings of Kenneth Copeland, Robert Tilton, F.K.C. Price, et al. The Bible nowhere teaches that prayer is a price to be paid to get the authority with which to get the things we desire, but instead teaches that prayer is that process whereby one submits his will to the will of God so that His will is done through us, His willing and humble servants. Miss Hardt's "let's put God in a box" theology is outright heresy. [Our two letters to Zola protesting the printing of this article went answered. However, Zola did subsequently remove us from his mailing list.]

-  In an early 1990 television production of "Zola Levitt Presents," Zola recounted his January 1990 visit to Moscow where he attended a Global Forum convention -- as clear a gathering of New Age "environmentalist wackos" as has ever been assembled (more than 1,000 participants from 83 countries attended). It was co-hosted by the first freely elected Soviet parliament, all Soviet religious bodies, the Soviet Academy of Sciences, and the International Foundation for the Survival and Development of Humanity. Yet Zola enthusiastically praised the environmental goals of the Forum and spoke glowingly of the various conference attendees -- atheist, New Age globalist Mikhail Gorbachev (who came with his KGB-appointed Soviet church officials in tow); globalist U.N. Secretary General Perez de Cuellar; atheist, evolutionist, New Ager Carl [the pagan] Sagan; and earth worshiper, radical environmentalist, New Ager, former Vice President of the U.S. (then senator), Al Gore.

In his plenary address, Gore, a Southern Baptist whose writings reflect his belief in the mother goddess, Gaia, declared that ecological problems could only be solved through a "new spirituality" common to all religions. (Gore's "new" ecumenical spirituality is, in reality, revived paganism.) The "Moscow Declaration" signed by participants called for "a global council of spiritual leaders" and the "creation of an inter-faith prayer ... a new communion with Nature ..." This growing pagan spirituality with its worship of creation instead of the Creator (Rom 1:21-23) is ideal for joining so-called science and all non-Christian religions.

Carl Sagan (now dead), worshiper of the cosmos, told the Moscow Global Forum that Earth should be regarded as "sacred" to encourage treating it with "care and respect" -- not because God made it, but because it (Gaia) made us! Sagan, who rejected the Biblical God, said we should "revere the Sun and stars." (This scientific neo-pantheism is called eco-theology. Another advocate, Professor Victor Ferkiss, says its basic premise is that "the Universe is God.")

Some of the other attendees were the Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as an odd assortment of apostate "Christians," Hindu gurus, and Moslem potentates. Zola seemed oblivious to the dangers of his new-found fellowship with those that worship Mother Earth, even praising Carl Sagan for acknowledging the need to view the world as sacred, and expressing the attitude that it is just so wonderful that the Global Forum is discussing and seemingly adopting "spiritual values." (It was Gorbachev who, at the Global Forum, first suggested the creation of an International Green Cross, which Gorbachev said is needed to protect the environment and save the earth. Mocking the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, in a statement that was as blasphemous as it was cunning, Gorbachev lamented "the crucifixion of Mother Earth" by those who would pollute her. Gorbachev said Green Cross's main purpose is "to bring nations together ... to stimulate the new environmental consciousness ... returning man to a sense of being a part of Nature.") Zola's intense concern with the ecological survival of the planet, clearly a sign of the Last Days, has apparently overwhelmed his concern for lost souls (details below).

Zola apparently received numerous negative responses to this television program. In the July 1990 Levitt Letter, Zola responded to his critics with unapproachable arrogance. In no uncertain terms, Zola expressed the view that being critical of Zola was, in effect, being critical of the ministry of Jesus Christ Himself. Zola's attitude was one of "don't correct me, I'm a New Age expert." He implied that his purpose in attending the Global Forum was to evangelize the pagans and New Agers there, likening himself as a modern-day Jonah being sent to modern-day Nineveh. In our opinion, what Zola actually accomplished was the yoking of himself with unbelievers for the advancement of an unbiblical social gospel.

There was also a paragraph in the newsletter that implied that children dying in the Third World is reason enough to abandon the Great Commission (which includes only three things: evangelize, baptize, and teach the whole council of God -- note that there is no mention of "save the planet" nor "feed and clothe" the poor). Zola seems to have adopted the philosophy of [the now deceased] Mother Teresa -- that a Christian's life mission should be to clean-up, feed, and clothe the poor in order to send them to hell smelling good, with a full stomach, and a decent set of clothes. Zola apparently believes that, somehow, an ecologically cleaner planet has eternal value.

-  Even though Zola Levitt authored or co-authored books on the New Age and the occult, he apparently came to the conclusion that the New Age Movement is no longer any big deal. In the May 1991 Levitt Letter, Zola wrote:

"I don't really understand our great concern about the so-called 'New Age Movement' in this world ... The entire movement claims only 28,000 adherents ... As I suspected, despite what people have imagined this movement to be, it really has little impact at all."

(Zola reiterated this view in his August 1991 Levitt Letter.) It is surprising that Zola did not recognize that many of these "28,000 adherents" are influential political and social leaders, having influence far greater than their numbers suggest. (Reported in the November 1991, CIB Bulletin.) Can anyone doubt for even a moment the tremendous influence that former Vice President Al Gore has had in advancing his New Age agenda?!

-  Since Zola Levitt claimed that a major focus of his ministry was the evangelization of the lost, one has to ask, "What is the gospel according to Levitt?" It must be the same as that espoused in Campus Crusade's (CCC) The Four Spiritual Laws tract, because that is the tract sent to anyone contacting Zola Levitt Ministries for witnessing materials. (Source: Zola Levitt Ministries Internet web site.)

The Four Spiritual Laws was a tract developed in 1956 by Bill Bright at CCC, and is still being used extensively today (translated in over 200 languages). Bright tells us how in writing The Four Spiritual Laws pamphlet, he rearranged the points of the gospel message so an not to offend sinners:

"... revise the presentation so that the first law would be, 'God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,' instead of 'You are a sinner and separated from God.' We moved the statement of the fact of man's sin and separation from God, making it Law Two. Thus, The Four Spiritual Laws started with the positive note of God's love ... through the presentation of the Four Spiritual Laws, that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives. Can you think of any more exciting, wonderful message than this to proclaim to the world?" (Come Help Change the World, pp. 46-47). (Emphasis added.)

It may be an "exciting, wonderful message," but for those that are perishing, not an accurate one. God's plan for lost, unrepentant sinners is anything but "wonderful" or "exciting" (see Rom. 1:18-32 and Rev. 20:11-15). Emphasizing God's love at the expense of making man cognizant of his sinful, lost condition, is a perversion of the gospel. It might bring in larger numbers of professing "converts," but what gospel have they really believed? A "Universalist, 'God loves everybody' gospel message," is not the gospel the Apostle Paul conveyed in his letter to the Romans (1:18-5:21).

-  A major part of Zola's ministry (at least as a revenue source) was his tour business. Zola took as few as one and as many as three tour groups to Israel every year. (As of year-end 2004, Zola had personally taken more than 60 tour groups to Israel.) We believe "Zola's Summer '89 Greek Isles Cruise-Israel Tour" was representative of the typical Zola tour. Zola's regular tour guide in Israel, touted as a "Jewish Christian," was a total disaster. His disrespect for, and unbelief in, God's Word was abominable! He made frequent statements such as, "the Bible was wrong when it said ..."; "Moses turned the wrong way when he turned toward Canaan [no oil reserves]"; "it makes no sense to believe that Abraham was 172 years old, so they must have counted in seasons in Biblical times rather than in 12-month years"; etc. Also on the 1989 tour, Zola employed a Jewish archaeological expert who was clearly an atheistic evolutionist (e.g., in his teaching at various Temple excavation sites, he used typical circular reasoning applied by unbelieving archaeologists for the dating of artifacts). Zola was basically "on vacation" with us, turning everything over to his unbelieving guides, content to let them do the on-site "spiritual" teaching as well as the historical. [The low view of Scripture demonstrated by Zola's paid tour guides (see further evidence below) is not surprising when one considers Zola's own low view of Scripture: Peter Lalonde, who himself teaches that the Bible contains errors, in late-1996 had Zola Levitt as a guest on his prophecy television program. Levitt accused the King James Bible of "anti-Semitism" because of Biblical passages which, in his opinion, defame the Jews.]

-  More recently (11/99), Zola revealed in his monthly ministry letter that a Dr. Gerald Schroeder "always speaks to our tour groups in Israel and receives the same sort of excited reactions as when he appeared on our television program. He is the MIT professor, now residing in Jerusalem, who proposed that the six days of creation and the 15 billion years found by cosmologists in studying the universe are the same time periods." (Emphasis added.) (Schroeder uses Psalm 105:8 to calculate the earth's age at 15 billion years.) Zola goes on to say in his letter that he agreed with Schroeder's day-age creation theory! -- "Personally, I tend to favor Dr. Schroeder's elegant explanation of the wonderful coordination between science and Scripture ..." (Emphasis added.) [Yet Zola Levitt Ministries' official doctrinal statement says that the Ministry "holds to a strictly literal and inerrant Bible interpretation." (Emphasis added.) What hypocrisy!]

From Zola's statement favoring Schroeder's "elegant explanation" for a 15 billion year-old earth, it logically follows that Zola also had to believe that physical death fully existed long before Adam, and thereby, that death entered the world before sin. But would not this belief cause the doctrines of sin and salvation to fall? If death and bloodshed preceded Adam's rebellion against God, then what are "the wages of sin," and how did the entrance of sin change things? And if death preceded sin, then death cannot be the penalty for sin, as the Bible proclaims, and Christ's death on the cross accomplished nothing. Such evolutionary and old-earth thinking is totally incompatible with the work of Christ -- and, thereby, a denial of the truth of Scripture.

Biblical Discernment Ministries - Revised 9/2006