Friday, April 26, 2013

The "God told me" crowd - satan's tares are doing very bad things to the church

Why did Paul so often tell his people to persevere? We often suppose that it was because of the persecution they were undergoing, and that is surely true. But there is another reason, also.

"It is so hard, to know - that's why the work of the church is difficult. The work of the church isn't difficult because of what Satan's doing in the world, it's difficult because of what Satan's doing in the church." ~John MacArthur, sermon, "The Faith that does NOT save".

Here is a biblical example of what satan is doing in the church- the Parable of the wheat and the tares

The Parable of the Weeds
"He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:24-30)

This is an amazing and potent parable. There are a lot of ways to go with looking deeply into this, but I'll restrain myself. The main thing is the obvious point: satan will steal into the kingdom of God by stealth and APPEAR to be wheat and not a weed. This will be a successful tactic until the harvest.

Therefore we can say that though some of the more obvious satanic tactics are destructive to the kingdom- such as Benny Hinn and Todd Bentley's false healings, and false teaching like Islam and Buddhism, the more destructive tactics use quiet, secrecy, and stealth. They closely match the true faith.

The more Christian-appearing the tactic, the more successful satan will be. Most of western Christianity is somnolent, like a satiated picnicer taking a nap in the summer sunshine. Just can't keep his eyes open.

John Singer Sargent: the Chess Game
Along those lines, I'd like to bring your attention to an excellent article by TA McMahon. It delves specifically into who and how the subtleties of satan are especially brought to the fore in the current Charismatic movement. The excesses of this movement are going to be addressed by the conference later this year called Strange Fire. The reasons we need to confront this strange fire movement of satan are spelled out here.

Meanwhile, this essay by Mr McMahon outlines just how devastating it is to our faith when we listen to people who CLAIM TO SPEAK FOR GOD.  He writes, "The root fallacy of the movement is the view of how one receives communication from God. ... in practice this false teaching elevates what (supposedly) God has spoken to them as equal to or above what is written in the Scriptures. It goes far beyond someone stating that he "believes" that the Lord has impressed something upon his heart."

To be clear, this is the crowd who says things like -

"God told me"
"God revealed to me"
"I have a word from Jesus"
"I had a vision and He said..."

John MacArthur says of this kind of activity:
"God told me . . . “ has be come the anthem of the Charismatic Movement. Strange private prophecies are proclaimed by all kinds of people who evidently believe God speaks to them. ... that the Bible is not our final source of God’s revelation but simply a “witness” to additional revelation that God is giving today. Williams is declaring that Christians can add to the Bible—and that they can accept others’ additions to Scripture as normal and conventional. He believes the Bible is a “model” for what the Holy Spirit is doing today to inspire believers."
Today's 'God told me' crowd includes Mark Driscoll, Beth Moore, Kim Walker Smith of the band Jesus Culture, Steven Furtick, Todd Burpo, Joyce Meyer and many others.

The impact of these direct revelation, Charismatic excesses can't be overstated. Please take a moment to read the article.

It begins this way:

They Claim to Speak for God (Part 1)
T. A. McMahon
"A very large part of Christendom in the United States is enamored with those who claim to speak for God. If you think that’s an overstatement, simply tune into some of the programing on Trinity Broadcasting Network or some of the other cable religious networks. What you will see are churches filled with thousands of Christians hanging on to every word of a man or a woman who is declaring what God has just revealed to him or her. The content ranges from the mundane to the bizarre. To some observers who are fairly well versed in the Scriptures, what they are hearing and seeing is laughable. But that's a tragic reaction by some who are forgetting that many of those being led astray by the so-called new prophets and apostles are their brothers and sisters in Christ."
...
"Not only is such a cavalier attitude wrong biblically, but it is extremely shortsighted and therefore blinds a person to the seductions and ultimate deceptions that are involved. In this series of articles we want to present a wider view of what's involved with those who "claim to speak for God," demonstrating that it's far more than a few delusional zealots but rather a host of men and women, ministries, and movements that have an agenda and methodologies, all of which are contrary to the Word of God."
The sad part is that today's "God told me" people are not just fringe Pentecostals but as you can see from  the above list, conservative evangelicals who should know better. Even sadder, the movement has swept up many multitudes of conservative youths too.

I'll end the same way I started, with the quote

"The work of the church isn't difficult because of what Satan's doing in the world ,it's difficult because of what Satan's doing in the church."

You can be a sleepy sunshine napper like this-

Thomas Mora Picnic, Wrentham, MA c. 1900
Or you can wake up, put on your armor, and look around, like this,

I am reminded of the song of Deborah. In Judges 5:12, Deborah incites Barak to carry off as his prey the captive Canaanites and their sheep and cattle-

“Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, break out in a song! Arise, Barak, lead away your captives, O son of Abinoam."

Gill's Exposition explains,

"Awake, awake, Deborah, awake, awake, utter a song, &c. Either perceiving some languor and remissness in her spirits, while she was delivering this song, and therefore arouses herself to attend to this service with more ardour and zeal; or rather finding herself more impressed with a sense of the great and good things the Lord had done for Israel, calls upon her soul to exert all its powers in celebrating the praises of the Lord, and therefore repeats the word awake so often as she does."

Be not languorous and accept the false teaching of the 'God told me' crowd! Be diligent to know your bible well enough to see the very 'fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel' on its glorious pages. Awake and arise!

7 comments:

  1. Some of them, such as John Wimber actually went as far to say that his followers should have their eyes on him instead of the Word. More followed him than the truth. The third wave,
    of destruction.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Then there are real prophecies and prophets these days. Pray for discernment. And seek spiritual gifts especially prophecy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. There are no prophecies these days. There are no prophets these days. No. I want to be clear, because obviously I was not before. There are NO prophets nor prophecies these days. Biblical support using scripture for this is here: "Are there prophets today?"
      http://www.gty.org/resources/bible-qna/BQ071012/are-there-prophets-today

      I agree we always need to pray for discernment, so that we can spot counterfeits and make righteous judgments.

      As for seeking gifts, can we or should we seek after certain spiritual gifts? As far as the seeking gifts goes that you mentioned, that's verse 31 in 1 Cor 12, and here is an explanation-

      "Verse 31. This is a verse misunderstood by many. Let me read you the traditional King James. "But covet earnestly the best gifts; and yet show I unto you a more excellent way." When you read that verse you want to say, "Hold it right now. You have to be kidding. You mean that Paul just spent all of those verses saying to be content with the gift you have, and now he turns right around and says to covet earnestly the better gifts?" Literally, 'the showy gifts.' This verse is used by people from the Pentecostal tradition to prove that we ought to seek the gift of tongues and other gifts because this verse says to covet earnestly the best gifts. They say that it is a command."

      "When I look at that verse, I say, "It cannot be." Paul would not spend all this time in verses 1-30 saying, "Be content with what you have. Don't seek another gift. It has all been accomplished by God's sovereign plan. Just take the gift you have and use it. Don't feel inferior. Don't feel superior," and then say, "Go covet the showy gifts." Oh no. What is Paul saying?"

      He is actually rebuking the Corinthians for seeking after the showy gifts that put them center stage of the church! The sermon continues explaining the verse:

      "But you are coveting the best gifts and yet I show you a more excellent way....Do you see the point? Paul is not saying to chase after spiritual gifts; he is saying, "You are chasing after spiritual gifts, and that is what is wrong with you. Stop doing it, and do the excellent thing. Accept the unity, diversity, sovereignty, and harmony that God has already planned, presented, and built into the body." And the way it all operates, the key to every bit of it is love."

      Go here to read it in context. http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/1861/one-body-many-gifts-part-2

      Delete
  3. I find it interesting that many, many Christians are quick to say when that Benny Hinn claims God told him something it is obviously a lie, because most Christians see him as a fraud. But when Beth Moore says God told her something, they are just as quick to accept what she says as the word of God!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point, Glenn! You're exactly right!

      Delete
  4. Beth Moore is especially insidious because her "Bible studies" are used in women's Bible studies in churches that are doctrinally, biblically sound. Moore has incredible influence on Christian homes through Christian women. Women idolize Moore.

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  5. I would just like to say, thank you for not being completely batcrap and bananas crazy.

    ReplyDelete

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