The Manufactured Presence of God

The Manufactured Presence of God
An Introduction to Anagogic Methodology (Original Publication August, 2013)
Robert Wurtz II


Press play for audio reading
https://archive.org/embed/TheManufacturedPresenceOfGod

In 2012, Nature Publishing Group released a study arguing that music has the power to reduce what psychologists call cognitive dissonance. This ” dissonance ” is basically the uneasiness and discomfort we feel when we try to entertain two or more contradictions in our lives. This feeling can also come when we are confronted with new information that conflicts with our existing ideas, beliefs, values, etc. We may call it more Biblically, ” pain of conscience. ” God designed man so that he would think rationally, and in order to do that we have to have consistency in our thoughts and beliefs. 


When inconsistency (dissonance) in our thoughts is experienced, we usually try to reduce the dissonance by avoiding situations and information that are causing it. As the old saying goes, “ignorance is bliss.” However, God has designed man in such a way that  he or she cannot long ignore these contradictions without taking some kind of action to resolve them. For example, if a person believes that doing something is sin, and they do that something, they will experience pain of conscience. Their beliefs and their actions do not match, so they feel discomforted. This is a safety mechanism to ensure that we are real to ourselves and what we believe to be right. This is also true of beliefs we hold. They have to be in agreement. If they are in conflict, we have to resolve it. 


Nevertheless, the Nature study deals with the efficacy of musical emotions in dealing with cognitive dissonance. Music can actually sooth this mental disturbance so that the dissonance is minimized or not felt at all. From a Biblical standpoint, this would mean that music has the capacity to cause the conscience to lie down, at least temporarily. Only the blood of Christ can purge the conscience from dead works, but music seems to have a numbing effect. Consider the implications of such a thing. Millions of Christians express their faith to a large degree through listening to contemporary Christian music. When they attend meetings, they are primarily focused on the music service. 


C.S. Lewis wrote the classic work The Screwtape Letters in which he describes how the enemy distracts people from God and his dealings. Could the emphasis on music, as it has exploded in the last 100 years, actually be working against God as He tries desperately to strive with people in their thoughts and hearts? Have people learned to play their favorite Christian music in order to deal with conviction of sin, rather than repenting, confessing, and forsaking it? The melodies come over the conscience like Novocain over the throbbing nerve. They may even be telling themselves that they are feeling God’s presence; all the while, His Holy Spirit is being quenched with each note that passes into their ears. How could it be God’s Holy Spirit — when the Spirit and the word agree? Has the Spirit come to comfort people who are living contrary in His word? I trow not. 

The “Presence” that Cannot Effect Change 

Many people cannot distinguish the difference between the feeling they get when their favorite Christian song is played and the manifest presence of the Lord. You may be surprised to know that a great number of people associate the feeling they get when a ballard type song is played with God’s Holy Spirit. This notion was promoted, probably unintentionally, by ministers such as Kathrine Kuhlman and Benny Hinn, who held meetings with majestic sounding music — leading many to believe what they felt was God’s presence. In fact, it was possible to come into meetings such as these, believe one had experienced “God’s presence” and leave the building completely unchanged. Could it be that what the people were doing is going into a meeting and experiencing a reduction in the cognitive dissonance in his or her life (pain of conscience)? Could it be that they felt the soothing and calming effect of the music and believed it was God, but in reality, it was really the music working against God? They may have felt conviction of sin going into the meeting, but by the time they left that conviction was completely extinguished. Can you see the subtle deception of such a phenomena? 

When God Came Near


And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostle. (Acts 2:43)

The Bible is filled with “firsts” and they are all significant. Our passage is the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit and fire as promised in the holy Prophets and reaffirmed by John the Baptist. This outpouring sets the pattern for all outpourings and demonstrations of the Spirit that follow in the book of Acts. There is one important feature that will characterize them: each will usher in a consciousness of God that alters the attitude of the people subjected to it. Luke uses the language, “fear came upon every soul.” This awesome awareness of God is similar to what Isaiah experienced in Isaiah 6. It is a foretaste of Heaven where the operations of angels and men are in the manifest presence of God.

Woe Is Me

Isaiah gives a passionate cry of grief and despair in Isaiah 6 as he was made subject to God’s holy presence. It is hard to define the word “fear” in the book of Acts, but we may take Isaiah’s experience as indicative of what the people felt when God was near. The reader may be interested to know that the love of God is not mentioned once in the book of Acts: the emphasis is on the fear of God. In fact, the fear of God is discussed in the New Testament more frequently than God’s love. We should emulate this balance between love and fear. In the book of Acts God was establishing Himself much in the way He did with the Israelites. Ananias and Sapphira were the New Testament version of Nadab and Abihu. The pattern is simple: when God’s holy presence is truly near, judgment is swift. When God’s presence is not among the people in the way He desires it to be, by default, the fearfully reverent human response to His presence departs with Him.

Anagogic Art and Architecture (Counterfeit Awe and Wonder)

It is impossible to substitute earthly and man-made means for the true manifest presence of God, but this has not stopped men from attempting it. For example, in the 1200’s an architectural motif came into vogue within the Roman Church that we know as Gothic Cathedral. Back of these designs was an anogogic ideology that sought to elevate a person’s mind into the heavens by man-made means. The word anagogic comes from the Greek word ἀνάγω (anagō) which means “up” or to “lift up.” It is used in Luke 4:5 when the Devil took Jesus “up” on the Temple and in Hebrews 13:20 where Jesus is “raised” from the dead. It also means to “take up” as in to take a ship “up” on the high seas. This sense of elevation gave rise to the Latin word anagoge which took on the spiritual denotation, “soul raising, sublime.” Those who employed anogogic techniques appealed to the scriptures – suggesting that they made use of symbolism (such as a throne, beasts with multiple faces, wheels, etc.) for the purpose of “elevating our minds” into an immaterial environment. They utilized man-made means such as art, relics and buildings for the same purpose. 

Understand what is happening here. The idea came into vogue that one could use material means, just as one would use a sermon or a song to elevate the mind heaven-ward. Man had made seven great wonders over the centuries, all of which inspired “awe” and “amazement,” so too these buildings and paintings were attempts to cause astonishment. The Roman Catholic’s went as far as to put huge solid bronze doors on one of the ancient basilica’s. This door was of such stunning craftsmanship that they believed it could be used as a measure to lead a person’s mind to Christ. The idea was that the “mind can be elevated to truth through that which is material.” Stain glassed windows were installed of staggering beauty and proportion in many religious structures. All in an attempt to elevate the mind towards heaven and Christ. Proponents of these measures suggested that the “material” was the first step to the “immaterial” and “salvation.” A careful examination of the thought process reveals a desire to create a sense of marvel and then deflect that marvel towards Christ and the things of God. 


Gothic Architecture and Anagogical Windows  


Understand that Gothic in the sense we are referring to is not the black on metal “gothic” that has sparked clothing lines in recent popular culture, but Gothic Cathedrals of enormous size and grandeur between the 1200-1600’s. These towering strictures were fitted with multicolored windows of profound detail and craftsmanship. Some walls had more glass than stone. The Biblical artwork on these windows was meant to be interpreted, so instructions were given to the onlooker on how to view them in order to receive maximum spiritual benefit. These windows were marvelous and engemmed (made appear to be gems) the stones on the interior walls with explosive light at certain times of the day. The purpose found in this was to carry away the person from the external cares of this life and into the heavenlies (or someplace just short of it). They tried to recreate the aesthetics of heaven on earth. 


A Personal Experience    


This writer has stood in many cathedrals in England. They were awe inspiring and majestic in feel beyond description. Had I not already known God’s presence, I may have believed that what I felt was “God” or “His presence.” It was very moving to stand and behold the awesomeness of such places. Truly, these were churches I would enjoy visiting weekly; but we must understand that for all the aesthetics and anagogical designs they cannot rise to substitute for the conscious, manifest presence of God. Christians in the 1200’s tried desperately with art and architecture to bring about a sense of awe and wonder: to manufacture with man-made means a sense that one was drawn upwards toward God- but this is only a man-made measure that can never rightly fulfill a purpose that is reserved for God alone. There is no unction in these measures. 


Modern Day Anagogical Methods


The Gothic Cathedrals with their many splendorous colors may have flashed upon the walls, but they could not power the searchlight of heaven that they desperately needed. They could not manufacture a “book of Acts” awareness of God for those that experienced these things. Men spent their entire lives working on these buildings and some never lived to see them completed. For all of our boasting of modernity and progression we are forced to admit that there is no new thing under the sun: though we too have believed the lie. In modern times we have moved away from the stained glass windows and replaced them with accent lights, both of which are amoral in of themselves. We have traded in the sublime structures of the middle ages, for the string effect on the synthesizer. Again, they are amoral in of themselves. But between these two we have effectively raised our hands with the architects of bygone generations and said “Guilty!” We are “guilty; guilty; guilty!” God is not here. Cut down the lights, turn down the volume and weep in the stillness of nothing. Remove the stain-glassed windows, pull down the towering walls, and weep in the stillness of nothing

They were moved with strings and stained glass, but they were never moved to reverence; and because of that there can be no repentance. Moreover, if the music is counteracting the pain of conscience (cognitive dissonance) that people feel when God is dealing with them — then we are actually experiencing something that is worse than nothing. It is not neutral, it is counter productive to God’s workings. This is why it is essential for all of our songs and hymns to contain lyrics that turn our thoughts to God and the Bible. 

Finding Our Way Back


And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostle. (Acts 2:43)


Leonard Ravenhill once said, “With all thy getting – get unction.” Unction is an old word that means anointing. It is the manifest presence of God that accompanies the preaching of the word of God. It is that element of inspiration in which God is backing the words being spoken. Ministers will sometimes speak directly into a microphone to  give the impression of power, but it is a forgery. The Holy Spirit does not need amplification to drive home His Word. 

Moreover, the presence of God does not come with a good rift or a dynamic bass line. God is not beckoned by the switch on the keyboard labeled “heaven.” It is a hard saying, but we must come to reality. Why keep fooling ourselves? God comes when His people make themselves ready- by determining to live in absolute obedience to Him. He comes and He intends to stay – not in the meeting house, but in the person. When a person is void of the indwelling presence of God they need man’s machinery to fill their consciousness with something they can call God’s presence. 


May the Lord forgive us for treating Him as if He were animated to action when we struck up the band and turned on the lights. Many people today are labeled as “religious” or “legalistic”- not knowing that so-called religion is really worship in the absence of God. Religion is when we manufacture a “presence” with our man-made means and call it a move of God. When God truly comes, and I mean truly comes: great reverence and fear will come upon the people-like unto Isaiah in Isaiah 6 and John the Revelator in Revelation 1. This is the consistent pattern in the book of Acts. 


If God comes when we play our songs, why are so many oppressed of devils? David played and the demon left Saul. It could not stand worship in the presence of a man that drew nigh unto God with his lips and whose heart was near unto Him. We speak of the mighty presence of God and yet the people are still gagged and bound. Peter needed no stained glass. Paul needed no synthesizer. The Apostles were walking in the power of God because they walked in the fear of God. They knew Him in the beauty of holiness. What was it that made these men different than the rest of us? It was because they were moving in the real thing. They did not need tools to assist them in creating an “atmosphere”… they were yielded fully to God and walked in His presence and power. Their mere presence brought the people face to face with God.   




Knowing The Power

Knowing The Power
Robert Wurtz II

But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:19-20)

One of the great advantages Paul had in ministry, is that he could discern the difference between the true power of God (dunamis) and everything else. His bodily presence was weak and his speech contemptible. He had to rely on the Holy Spirit as a matter of course.  He knew no other way.

Contextually, I have the impression that there were some at Corinth who were pretending to be moving under the power of God in their preaching- but it was a sham. Their speech wasn’t contemptible like Paul’s; it may have been quite smooth and eloquent. They were using it to their advantage. A good speaker can move a crowd- but that does not mean it is the Holy Spirit back of the words. Indeed, the people might have been fooled, but Paul was keenly aware of the forces that tried to move him. He paid attention to them. Is this God or is it something else? He refused to come under the power of anything other than the Holy Spirit. God gave him discernment to know the difference between the earthly, sensual and demonic. In his own words, “I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.” 

Moved By Speech

The world loves to manipulate people. Think about how many times in a given day you are afforded an opportunity to be carried along by something or someone other than the Holy Spirit. Movies come to mind. There was a time when films were silent and in black and white. They would have little power to move anyone in modern times. Why? Because today movies are designed to dazzle the eyes and flood the ears – to the point that one can be almost caught up in the story line. All of the elements can be brought together to move a person in powerful ways. I recall in the 80s a famous movie about jet fighter pilots called Top Gun. So moving was that film, that stories are told of Air Force recruiters setting up shop outside the theater to sign up young men and women that were moved by that film. I’m not sure how many went through with it or how many that did lived to regret it. Nevertheless, the sights, the sounds, the words- moved many people. What was moving them? Were they even aware that they were being moved? 

A New Age of Danger

Can you imagine a silent film trying to pull off the effect of a Hollywood movie such as Top Gun? How about the theaters of bygone centuries? It would be impossible. The technology did not exist to move people like that. Prior to the discovery of electricity, there was no way to build machines that could project images or amplify sound. If you wanted to move someone you had to do it with your own theatrics and sound voice. Electricity placed into the hands of men a mighty tool for moving the masses.  

Sound is a powerful force when amplified. Think of how many times you have pulled up to a traffic light and a young person is blasting their minds and those around them with a highly amplified sound system. why don’t they opt for their grandparents AM radio out of their 56 Chevy Bel Air? Because it can’t move them like their sub woofer. 

Discerning the Power

Imagine for a moment you are at a large outdoor concert. The singers are carrying on, the instruments are playing- when all of the sudden the power goes out. Boom! Just like that- the place falls silent except for the groans of the crowd. Emergency lights come on and the stage is silent. At that moment the show stops. There is no possible way for the band to continue because they lack that basic element that was making everything possible; electricity. Without electricity, a microphone, soundboard, amplifier and speaker setup the voices of the band are as dead and flat as can be. They may have good voices; but the amplification gives their voice a power that it would otherwise never have. Once the plug was pulled, they lost their ability to move the crowd. In an instant we know exactly what was really moving the people. 

Willing to Face Reality

Paul was the type of man who wanted to move in reality. If something is pretending to be the power of God, he wanted to know it and expose it. I wonder how Paul would respond to many of our gatherings and meetings. There is no sense fooling ourselves any longer. What would Paul likely do? Would he say something like, “Young man, why don’t you step back there in that room and throw that red switch. I want to see what is really moving this congregation.” Do we have to have electricity to have a good meeting? If so, why? If the power went off in our revival meeting – would people say the Holy Spirit left the building? Would they cease animating? This is a tough question to swallow, but one we cannot afford to go another day without answering. 

Amplification or Intercession? 

There was a time when prayer was the means by which men and women sought the Lord for grace to minister the Gospel. In modern times we can prop ourselves up with so many things that project a false sense of dunamis (power) that fewer and fewer rely on prayer to accomplish the task. The people are moved- but what is moving them? If the electricity went off would the meeting go on unhindered? Are we moving in the method of Top Gun? People are moved to make a decision to sign up with God- but after the emotion of the production wears off they regret the decision and renege on their commitment. I’m afraid that electricity is such an easy substitute for the Holy Spirit, that it will be relied on in the main stream from now on. Multitudes will rise to its defense as just another “amoral” tool. All the while multitudes will go on believing that what the electricity makes them feel is the Holy Spirit. They are dependent on it and cannot find God without the false power it projects.

Knowing the Dunamis

I like electricity. Without it, this computer would go dead. That is not what this is about. When electricity is being used to move people through amplification and production, it is Top Gun. The feeling produced by amplification and instruments is not the power of the Holy Spirit- it is another power. We must not deceive ourselves. When the Holy Spirit comes he will bring what electricity can never bring; reproof of sin, righteousness, judgment to come and the fruit of the Spirit. Electricity can produce feelings of joy, love, and even peace. When the Holy Spirit is present there is power to effect lasting change. Many things pretend to anointing; beautiful songs, moving sermons, pithy sayings, on ad infinitum. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:19-20) 

  

Testing the Sweetness

Testing the Sweetness
Robert Wurtz II


Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).

In our previous entry entitled, “I’ve Been to the Mountain” we discussed the importance of going on with God through a process of “walking”. We employed the Ark of the Covenant motif as our illustration. The Ark was to be carried on the shoulders of four priests and not on a cart. We said that a “cart” represents the machinery of our times that men employ to simulate a move of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Bear in mind that the Holy Spirit is not a tingle or a mystical feeling, but a person with a character. A false presence of God cannot provide the people with love, joy, peace or unity among the brethren. When the sensation lifts there will be strife and confusion. This is how we know it is false. It is an impotent spirit. The true Holy Spirit cannot come lest He bring His fruit with Him. In this entry I wish to take this phenomena to its next faze and examine the dangers of such practices.

The spirit of the meeting

There is a spirit that when manifest dispels the sweetness of the Holy Spirit and leaves in its wake confusion and division. This spirit will seek to strong-arm God’s people by utilizing the dreadfulness employed by the Old Testament Prophets, upon New Covenant Christians. What did James say? “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17 ESV). These are eight things we can use to test the spirits of the prophets under the New Covenant. This dreadful Old Testament attitude that has no place under the New Covenant, sought to infiltrate the Disciples as they ministered in Samaria. What happened? When the people did not respond to Jesus, they desired to “call fire down from Heaven.” This can be both literal and figurative; for James had already said in the preceding verses; “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell” (James 3:6 ESV). The “fire of hell” sometimes imitates “fire from heaven.” It is an impostor. There is a spirit that imitates the Old Testament Prophets, lacking the gentleness, mercy and good fruits associated with the dispensation of the Grace of God (Ephesians 3:2). It is the spirit that drove the Disciples when Jesus told them, “You know not what manor (sort) of spirit you are of.” They were moving in a destructive spirit. If this spirit ever gets a foothold in the churches of God we are doomed. 

The character of  the Holy Spirit
 
When Paul left Ephesus he commended the church to God and to the Word of His grace. Paul had absolutely no confidence in those that were converted under his ministry. In fact, he warned the leaders day and night with tears that after he left, chaos and destruction would move in. He wrote; For I know this, that savage wolves will come in after my departure, not sparing the flock. Also from among you yourselves will arise men speaking things having been distorted, in order to draw away the disciples after them (Acts 20:29-30 ESV). Notice he said “savage wolves” that would not spare the flock. This is the antithesis of the role of a pastor/shepherd. Ambitious men will come in and exert their will at the expense of the blood-bought flock of God. The flock would diminish as the shepherd pursued their own aims. Paul continues, “They will speak ‘distorted things'”. The solution? Paul commended them to God and to the Word of His grace. 

 The Holy Spirit is a gentle Spirit that moves in the sweetness of love, joy, peace, gentleness, temperance, meekness, etc. of a shepherd watching over the flock. He convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment to come and sometimes goads; but when a person stops resisting Him He pours in love and joy (Romans 5:5). But there is another spirit that seeks to control the people rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work. Returning briefly to our last several entries, we are not at liberty to “put our hands on the Ark of God.” What does that mean? People have to learn to be led of the Spirit so they can follow God on their own- independent spiritually of others that would be their spiritual counsel. 

I recall hearing the story of a woman that had turned her life to Christ, but she was a smoker. The elders of her assembly, wanting her to learn to hear from God herself, trusted God. One day she came to them and said, “The Lord told me it is OK to smoke.” They did not correct her. They did not give her a “directive prophesy”. They simply trusted God to lead her. A number of months later she came back and said, “I’ve been talking to the Lord and He said it is time to stop smoking.” The attitude of those elders is exemplary. We need to allow God to establish His authority in a person’s life. If she had been subject to controlling people she would have never learned to be led of the Spirit. It’s a bitter pill, but we need to swallow it in this crisis hour. The sheep need to learn to be taught of the Shepherd. We can touch that Ark in a person and wound them for life if we are not careful.    

 Modern day destroyers

Like the church at Ephesus, the churches of God have suffered a great many fads over the last 100 years. This is largely due to some specific errors that the enemy has employed to disable the churches warning systems. One of those is a general attitude that we should not judge (discern) manifestations or ministers. Add to that Psalm 105:15 (touch not the Lord’s anointed and do my prophets no harm) and you have a recipe for total devastation. Although Jesus commended the Ephesians in Revelation 2:2 for testing the false apostles Paul warned them about in Acts 20; finding them to be liars, there came a generation in he 1990’s that made exposing false prophets and teachings a damnable sin – worthy of the judgment of God. These fads, false teachers and falsehoods left carnage of immense proportions. Why? People like to chase some new thing. The stories are a dime a dozen. Some of these falsehoods and fads get picked up and recycled from time to time when folk don’t know the history or they are looking for something novel. From the so-called “Holy Ghost Bartender” to the would-be healing ministry of a man that boasted of kicking a woman in the face with his biker boot at the Lord’s direction, we have seen it all in the last 25 years. One common denominator: there was an evil spirit that dispelled the sweetness of the Holy Spirit from the room and all that was left was to manufacture a sense of presence of God that fooled the masses. And fool many they did. One thing I noticed, it always divided the churches.


Bubbling up the bubbly

I recall once waking up in the middle of the night having fallen asleep on the couch. The TV had been playing on a popular Christian network. On the screen were people lying on their backs as if dead, all over the floor of a church auditorium. The speaker was walking around mumbling things that I cannot recall. A fear seized me; not a holy or Godly fear, but a fear similar to if I had woke up and an evil horror movie had been playing. I knew that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind. This man was a very popular speaker at the time in Charismatic circles and I may have had one of his books. I can’t recall as it has been almost 18 years ago. But at that moment, I knew something was amiss. There was an evil there that should not have been. And when someone shows you who they are, you should believe them. Many people just pretended it was not happening and warned not to touch the Lord’s anointed. I have written along this line in the past, but Derek Prince once said that Charismatics are particularly vulnerable to demonic spirits because they think that everything that happens supernatural is of God. It is not. The problem is that it is impossible for some people to acknowledge that something is not of God once they have been involved in it. But evil spirits have been known to fool even the very elect of God’s people.  

I’m gonna fire somebody!

On a different occasion I was attending a large meeting of another popular healing evangelist. I had followed this person’s ministry very closely and attended many crusades even traveling out-of-state. In the middle of the meeting, just after the worship service, something happened that changed my perspective forever. Over the platform there was a little light that kept going off and the people in the sound booth would press a button and it would come back on. I had a unique view of it from where I was sitting. It was obviously a technical problem. Suddenly the popular evangelist stepped to the front and said in a mean spirited voice, “I’m gonna fire someone if they don’t get that fixed! Because Je-sus deserves our best…” I was taken aback and in total disbelief. Here was a man that was leading the people in worship and yet “just-like-that” he turned on a dime into this “person” that was anything but Christlike; and all over a little light bulb. He showed me who he was and I believed him. Needless to say, that that was the beginning of the end for that as far as I was concerned. What happens? People live double lives. They are “the nice guy” on the stage and are ruthless in private. I wondered after that what his employees must suffer? Talk to people that have worked with him in ministry behind the scenes and see what kind of reputation he/she has. Talk to unbelievers and see what the report is (1 Timothy 3:7 ESV). If we would do that, we would stop a lot of trouble at the gates before it ever became a problem.

The outcome of their life

There is a passage in Hebrews that is insightful; “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7). Notice the phrase, consider the outcome of their life. Watch and see what happens. I have known on many occasions for Christians to be in disagreement and even split-up friendships because the one saw the error and the other did not; but when the “minister” in question was caught in scandal we were able to apply this Hebrews 13:7. What does it say? “Consider the outcome of their life.” This is tremendous wisdom. I have personally sat under ministers in meetings that were very questionable. The elders would even question their actions. Some have backslidden and are no longer a minister at all. How did they get under the radar? Sometimes it is due to friendships or relationships. People are often blindest to those that are closest to them. It’s not until they get angry at them that they take off their blinders and spill the beans. Some of the time people are duped because they were performing miracles, prophesying and a host of other things; but there was a serious problem all along in these situations. There was something in the inner man of certain leaders that was shouting, NO! No! No! This is all wrong. Their warnings went unheeded. What does the scripture teach? In the multitude of counselors there is safety. When the deck is stacked to run a person through the ropes disaster is looming.

Acknowledging the signs

How could a host of people fall for a Todd Bentley? He dressed himself like the Hell’s Angels biker gang and nobody thought anything of it. Unlike the days of old when men would get saved and try to cover the evidences of their past sinful life with long sleeve shirts, this person flaunted it. That is how deeply they desired to distance themselves from a sinful identity. They were ashamed of their old life. What did the followers say about Bentley? “Don’t judge!” Why? Because in Charismatic circles miracles trump everything else. I tremble to say it, but I am persuaded to believe that a person could dress like the Devil himself: red suit, horns and all and some people would say, “Don’t judge!” If you give a word that is “on” you are considered legit. My advice? If you would not trust the person to watch your children you probably should not trust them to speak into your life. Would it surprise you to know that William Branham was said to have never once given a false prophesy? We know how that ended. Some people were so duped that they believed God would raise him from the dead after he died. Derek Prince in his book, “Protection from Deception” described the situation well. But that is the danger. Warning sign after warning sign and they are overlooked one by one. Before it is over with a person has to totally rearrange their belief system to accommodate the person. The attitude becomes, “If they make mean spirited comments? No problem. Kick a woman in the face with your biker boot? No problem”. And to think that well intentioned Christians divide over whether these type people are legit. It is a simple thing to say, but if you have to abandon your common sense when you come to the meeting, that is usually a good sign something is amiss. Better to obey God and discern rightly in these things than it is to become a statistic.

What about the sweetness?

One of the first signs towards Jesus Christ was that the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended upon Him. The Holy Spirit was at His ear. And when the Holy Spirit is truly at work there will be a holy sweetness to His ministry; the fruit of love, joy and peace will permeate all that He does. Christ-likeness will be manifest. But are these the criteria in our times? When was the last time you heard of a meeting being promoted on the basis of the love, joy and peace that is manifest in the meeting? When was the last time you heard a testimony, “Oh, how they love one another!” as in the book of Acts? I said in the beginning; “There is a spirit that when manifest dispels the sweetness of the Holy Spirit and leaves in its wake confusion and division.” It is the spirit that sought to infiltrate the Disciples and Jesus rebuked. Something is wrong when the “spirit” we are of does not promote the unity of the Brethren. If discord and confusion are the fruit, we know God is not the author. Selah. 



 
  

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: