Wednesday, October 29, 2014

We've gone from ministering and serving to releasing. Yes, words matter

Release the hounds!

The phrase 'release the hounds' comes from fox hunting. Photo source

Release the Kraken!

Release the Kraken! is a catchphrase and image macro series based on a memorable quote uttered by Zeus in the 1981 fantasy adventure film The Clash of the Titans as well as the 2010 3D remake. Despite the dramatic delivery of the line in the reboot, the quote was perceived as unintentionally funny and quickly became a target of image macro jokes on the web.
You've heard the word "release" applied to many different cultural contexts, above are two examples. The word 'release' has also been used more frequently these days in Christian situations. "Release" is a frequently used word. It is a very bad word in Christianity. I don't like it.

Why? It isn't used to say that prisoner Barabbas was released. It isn't used to say that Paul was released from jail. It isn't used in the Old Testament way to indicate a release from debt in the Sabbatical Year (Deut 15:1).

The word 'release' is used as a substitute for ministering or serving. When we minister or serve, we are under someone or under an authority. When we release, it means we have the power over something or someone. Here are some examples.

Compassion International has edited their mission statement to say, "our mission of releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name."

What they are saying is that they have the power over poverty and the authority to release from it the people whom they choose, in this case, 'children'. They are not saying they are serving or ministering to children in poverty. They are saying they have the power over poverty.

False teacher Joseph Prince preaches how to "release the anointing into your situation."

Prince is slyly saying that we have an anointing but there is a trick to releasing it. Most false teachers strive to tell you some kind of secret or action or trick to releasing it. However, this mysterious anointing isn't mysterious and it isn't laying dormant until you learn the secret password to having power over it. The anointing is the Holy Spirit in us, and all Christians have the Spirit. (1 John 2:27, more here).

What Prince is saying is not that we submit to the Spirit, or minister in the Spirit, but that we can obtain a certain kind of power that we wield as we wish, for ourselves, into ourselves.

Word faith false prophetess Joyce Meyer tells us "What words you choose will reveal what you believe and release the power of that belief."

She is not saying submit to Jesus in faith and belief, she is saying we have the power to choose certain words that have power in and of themselves, and moreover, these words can release certain powers over myself at my behest, timing, and choosing.

And so on. There is a big difference between ministering and releasing.

Do we have power to release anointings, blessings, beliefs, finances, health, cures, or anything else? No.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1)

Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:10b-11)

To suppose that we have any power on our own is unbiblical.

Now, some might argue that these teachers are not false, that they are saying we are releasing power that God grants us. Not so again. We are His servants ... His slaves. Any power in us is from the Holy Spirit. We submit to that power. We serve that power. We minister in that power. God decides when and where His power in us is released, and to what degree. We do not decide when or how to use His power and certainly NOT for our own ends, like to get a bigger house, or a better parking space.

While the false teachers tell you that you have power over things, power enough to release "into your situations", the truth is actually the opposite. The weaker we are, the stronger we are. God shows His power through weakness. Paul wrote,

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).


Be aware of the word 'release' and how it is used. It isn't always used in unbiblical contexts. But more and more often, it is.



3 comments :

  1. "While the false teachers tell you that you have power over things, power enough to release "into your situations", the truth is actually the opposite. The weaker we are, the stronger we are. God shows His power through weakness. "

    Excellent, excellent point! What a juxtaposition.

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  2. Hmm, interesting Elizabeth! Had never thought of it before, but since I try to avoid false teachers anyway maybe that's why I wasn't up on the latest catch phrases! As always, thanks for the discernment & for warning us!! Now we can be aware of it.

    I am a GREAT advocate for Compassion though & their ministry! And thankful to the Lord for it. It's an awesome ministry. It's easy to think you are doing a Compassion child a favor by sponsoring them (and you are) but wait till you get a letter from your child! And learn that a child who has basically nothing in this world is praying FOR YOU!! Also, s/he will often ask you to pray for his "studies"..... let's see any American kid be concerned about THAT!! It's a great way to encourage and yes, to "minister" to a child in EXTREME poverty. It means the world to them to know someone across the globe is praying for them!! And actually CARES!! With a commitment to Compassion to sponsor a child, they are fed physical food and also get to attend the Compassion Development Center where they learn about Jesus and learn God's Word. {sometimes they go to the center more often than they get to attend school even}

    And this is, after all, whoever is kind to the poor is lending to the Lord (ref: Prov 19:17) and the Lord will honor & repay that! Though we don't do it for this "reason" (Word of Faith reasons that is: to "sow" and "reap".... in the here & now as the dangerous Word of Faith teachers teach.)

    Compassion: we very HIGHLY recommend it!! We researched it inside & out before we signed up, and we are thrilled that we did; it's been one of the best things we've ever done.
    The Lord knows my heart & that I am not trying to take away from my heavenly rewards by bragging; as I'm not bragging at all! But rather should this inspire someone else to do this, another child can be rescued, ministered to, and God-willing, eternally saved!! Amen!!

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  3. I read another blog this afternoon that made me think of this post again, because it was talking about serving in a humble way. Here's a quote from it:

    "I love the way the Water Song from Hinds Feet on High Places puts it: Oh, what a joy it is to race, to find the lowest place."

    I haven't read the book Hinds Feet on High Places in years but I think it's time for a refresher. Can you imagine what the body of Christ would be like if we were all racing to find the lowest place?!

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