This is something I’ve wanted to comment on since I came across it earlier this week. I really do not go looking for this stuff. I do not have some mission to find and root out heretical doctrine. I’m just an ordinary guy–trying to study my Bible and learn more about my Savior. I have been humbled and astounded by the number of people who have come and visited my blog today. The main reason is that the Christian Resource Network actually put a link to my vain, humble thoughts on their main page. For whatever reason, God just keeps putting heretical doctrines in my path and I am trying to understand exactly what to make of it.
I left a church about a year ago that was embracing “fresh revelation” and all the charismatic buzzwords. Some of what was being taught was completely foreign to me and as a result of some searching around on the Internet for more information. All I had were a couple of phrases the pastor had used, a couple of names (Lou Engel and Mike Bickle if I remember right), and the title of a book he was reading. From there, I discovered that there was an entire body of (not real sure what to call it actually – knowledge?) commonly referred to as the Apostolic-Prophetic movement, which had grown out of an earlier “Latter Rain” movement, and I discovered the history of the movement from men like William Branham to John Wimber to Peter Wagner and so on. I was astonished at the material actually began to unravel once I started pulling on what seemed like one little thread. Someone responded to a thread I started on an Amazon discussion, and I contacted them via email. About a week later I received a binder full of information along with several CDs containing supporting material exposing the origins and outright heresy of this “movement”.
A few months laster, we started attending another church that seemed very experience and entertainment oriented. Worship service was like a concert. They had cookies every Sunday out front. Everyone dressed in their best clothes and kids went and played basketball or video games during the service. I went to the membership class (my wife was home sick) and got a free copy of the Purpose Driven life. That was my introduction to the Purpose Driven virus and Rick Warren’s teaching. We didn’t attend that church too many times after that, either.
Just a couple of weeks ago, someone from the charismatic church we’d attended sent us a copy of the book “The Shack”. You’ve probably seen some of my posts on that. I knew a little about the emergent church prior to that, which from what I can tell is a movement that seems to want make God whatever into whatever it wants to make Him more acceptable to a rebellious group of people, who then justify their distortion of The Most Holy by driving the cliche “You can’t put God in a box” six feet into the ground.
As a result of one of my posts on “The Shack”, I was introduced to Mike Morrell who posted a comment here regarding my “book review”, and who apparently is some sort of virtual coordinator for all of these disparate emergent types who can’t really agree on what or who God is–but who at least share the common thread of at least believing in a God that doesn’t live in a box, so I guess there’s some central unifying theme. Some time after replying to the comment he left here on this site, I went to take a look at his site and came across the following thread in his “Top Posts” section on his main page discussing John Crowder and Ben Dunn’s “Holy Ghost House Parties”:
Charismatic Chaos or (Holy) Spirited Deconstruction
I posted a couple of comments on that site in response to what he wrote (as well as some of the other comments I’d read) and was apparently the only one who was willing to say that this is ERROR. A couple days later, I went back and actually watched the video in his post, and I thought I was going to vomit when I saw how these people were acting. I don’t know how anyone can say that stuff like this is from God or attempt to justify behavior that is so rooted in the flesh. And they are so deceived that they think they are operating “in the Spirit” when in fact they are acting just like the world does (I seriously doubt people are having “house parties” and acting like their stoned in Heaven). And “toking baby Jesus”? If you haven’t watched at least the first video in the post, I would urge you to do so, but be prepared to have your stomach turned if you really love the Lord.
Someone tried to defend this by saying that these guys are reaching “the lost” that men wearing suits and ties just can reach. I’ve heard the same thing about Todd Bentley. I’m sorry, people that aren’t being confronted with their sin and led to repentance, but who instead are being comforted with error and led to the abyss are NOT being reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I *have* known bikers and athletes, drug addicts and prostitutes, and many other “unreachable lost people” who *have* been reached with the gospel. Here’s the thing, it’s not men who do the reaching with the gospel, it’s the Spirit of the Living God! To say that someone cannot be reached, recognize the depravity of their sinfulness, and cry out for mercy in repentance to God because the right minister of Truth wasn’t sent IS HERESY! That’s just as wrong and fallacious as any of the other heretical doctrines that seem to be so popular these days.
Interestingly, the same day that I watched that horrible video I also came across a quote on another site that I don’t think I had ever visited before. This one was on the Reformed Voices blog site and contained what I would call a real “prophetic word”. It was a quote from A. W. Tozer, taken from his book “The Knowledge of the Holy“, published some 50 to 60 years ago. This is the quote, and I think it is just as true today (if not moreso) than when Tozer actually wrote it down:
“The church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men. This she has done not deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge; and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic. This low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking.
With our loss of the sense of majesty has come the further loss of religious awe and consciousness of the divine Presence. We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence. Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appreciate or experience the life in the Spirit. The words, ‘Be still, and know that I am God,’ mean next to nothing to the self-confident, bustling worshiper in this middle period of the twentieth century.
This loss of the concept of majesty has come just when the forces of religion are making dramatic gains and the churches are more prosperous than at any time within the past several hundred years. But the alarming thing is that our gains are mostly external and our losses wholly internal; and since it is the quality of our religion that is affected by internal conditions, it may be that our supposed gains are but losses spread over a wider field.”
-A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy
Is this perhaps the root of the problem–or should I say problems–that we are seeing today? Whether it is Word of Faith, Emergent Church, The Shack, or the Holy Ghost House Shenanigans, is the real problem that most people who say the believe in God and even call themselves Christian really have no idea who the God of the Bible is? Are there ideas about God too limiting… even when they say they’ve taken Him out of the box and attempted to “remove His limitations”–as if God has ever need anyone or anything to do that!!! He is the Most High. He is the ONLY One that is Holy. His name is righteousness, and His Son Jesus Christ is THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life. Do these people really think that God needs a bunch of rebellious flesh-chasers to try and remove any sort of man-imposed restrictions or limitations that have been binding Him all these years and apparently preventing Him from really being known?
Or are these truly the days of deception and delusion. Here is a passage from Deuteronomy that I think is worth reading and meditating on:
Deu 32:16 “They made Him jealous with strange gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
Deu 32:17 “They sacrificed to demons who were not God, To gods whom they have not known, New gods who came lately, Whom your fathers did not dread.
Deu 32:18 “You neglected the Rock who begot you, And forgot the God who gave you birth.
Deu 32:19 “The LORD saw this, and spurned them Because of the provocation of His sons and daughters.
Deu 32:20 “Then He said, ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; For they are a perverse generation, Sons in whom is no faithfulness.
Deu 32:21 ‘They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation,
Deu 32:22 For a fire is kindled in My anger, And burns to the lowest part of Sheol, And consumes the earth with its yield, And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.
Deu 32:23 ‘I will heap misfortunes on them; I will use My arrows on them.
Deu 32:24 ‘They will be wasted by famine, and consumed by plague And bitter destruction; And the teeth of beasts I will send upon them, With the venom of crawling things of the dust.
Deu 32:25 ‘Outside the sword will bereave, And inside terror– Both young man and virgin, The nursling with the man of gray hair.
Deu 32:26 ‘I would have said, “I will cut them to pieces, I will remove the memory of them from men,”
Deu 32:27 Had I not feared the provocation by the enemy, That their adversaries would misjudge, That they would say, “Our hand is triumphant, And the LORD has not done all this.”‘
Deu 32:28 “For they are a nation lacking in counsel, And there is no understanding in them.
Deu 32:29 “Would that they were wise, that they understood this, That they would discern their future!
Deu 32:30 “How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight, Unless their Rock had sold them, And the LORD had given them up?
Deu 32:31 “Indeed their rock is not like our Rock, Even our enemies themselves judge this.
Deu 32:32 “For their vine is from the vine of Sodom, And from the fields of Gomorrah; Their grapes are grapes of poison, Their clusters, bitter.
Deu 32:33 “Their wine is the venom of serpents, And the deadly poison of cobras.
Deu 32:34 ‘Is it not laid up in store with Me, Sealed up in My treasuries?
Deu 32:35 ‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.’
Deu 32:36 “For the LORD will vindicate His people, And will have compassion on His servants, When He sees that their strength is gone, And there is none remaining, bond or free.
Deu 32:37 “And He will say, ‘Where are their gods, The rock in which they sought refuge?
Deu 32:38 ‘Who ate the fat of their sacrifices, And drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you, Let them be your hiding place!
Deu 32:39 ‘See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.
Deu 32:40 ‘Indeed, I lift up My hand to heaven, And say, as I live forever,
Deu 32:41 If I sharpen My flashing sword, And My hand takes hold on justice, I will render vengeance on My adversaries, And I will repay those who hate Me.
Deu 32:42 ‘I will make My arrows drunk with blood, And My sword will devour flesh, With the blood of the slain and the captives, From the long-haired leaders of the enemy.’
Deu 32:43 “Rejoice, O nations, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And will render vengeance on His adversaries, And will atone for His land and His people.”
I don’t have very many answers. I have a whole lot of concerns… a whole lot of questions and I have had to remind myself often these last few weeks that God IS sovereign and in control. I do know from His word that He will give wicked people over to their wicked passions, when they turn away from what is good and pursue their wickedness to its bitter end.
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
Rom 1:19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Rom 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom 1:22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Rom 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
Rom 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
I don’t really know what more to say at this point. I pray that God will call out His people, call them to repentance and to obedience in Christ, that our Lord may be glorified. Amen.
Peace & Blessings,