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Archive for the ‘Emerging Church’ Category

from Got Questions:

The existence of so many religions and the claim that all religions lead to God without question confuses many who are earnestly seeking the truth about God, with the end result sometimes being that some despair of ever reaching the absolute truth on the subject. Or they end up embracing the universalist claim that all religions lead to God. Of course, skeptics also point to the existence of so many religions as proof that either you cannot know God or that God simply does not exist.

Romans 1:19-21 contains the biblical explanation for why there are so many religions. The truth of God is seen and known by every human being because God has made it so. Instead of accepting the truth about God and submitting to it, most human beings reject it and seek their own way to understand God. But this leads not to enlightenment regarding God, but to futility of thinking. Here is where we find the basis of the “many religions.”

Many people do not want to believe in a God who demands righteousness and morality, so they invent a God who makes no such requirements. Many people do not want to believe in a God who declares it impossible for people to earn their own way to heaven. So they invent a God who accepts people into heaven if they have completed certain steps, followed certain rules, and/or obeyed certain laws, at least to the best of their ability. Many people do not want a relationship with a God who is sovereign and omnipotent. So they imagine God as being more of a mystical force than a personal and sovereign ruler.

The existence of so many religions is not an argument against God’s existence or an argument that truth about God is not clear. Rather, the existence of so many religions is demonstration of humanity’s rejection of the one true God. Mankind has replaced Him with gods that are more to their liking. This is a dangerous enterprise. The desire to recreate God in our own image comes from the sin nature within us—a nature that will eventually “reap destruction” (Galatians 6:7-8).

Do all religions lead to God? No. All people—religious or otherwise—will stand before God some day (Hebrews 9:27), but religious affiliation is not what determines your eternal destiny. Only faith in Jesus Christ will save. “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12). It’s as simple as that. Only Christianity—faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—leads to God’s forgiveness and eternal life. No one comes to the Father except through the Son (John 14:6). It does make a difference what you believe. The decision to embrace the truth about Jesus Christ is important. Eternity is an awfully long time to be wrong.

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from: 828 ministries

I am speaking the truth in Christ–I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit– that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. – Romans: 1-2 (ESV)

I make no pretense to be expositing the key verses today. These are verses where Paul is expressing his dismay about how far lost his own people, the Jews, were at the time of his preaching. I cite them today only because I understand how Paul must have felt, albeit on a smaller scale. This great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart is borne witness by the Holy Spirit within me. I am not lying beloved. I try as always to speak the truth in Christ. I was saved almost 13 years to the day in an Assemblies of God church. A not so reformed and non-practicing Catholic who believed in a God without realizing I was my own God. It was a good church. A Gospel preaching church. A God-fearing church. Pentecostal and charismatic without many of the abuses that often come with it. We had a great pastor. A born evangelist with a true shepherd’s heart. A rare mix these days behind the pulpit. I went there that day with an equally unsaved friend and we both left that day in Christ. Within a month I was baptized and within a year I was in classes for ministerial credentials. Five years later I was a minister for the Assemblies and remained such until this month when I resigned those credentials. This technicality is irrelevant as my call was always from God and not man. The unceasing anguish is in leaving the only church family I have ever known. In 1962 Ronald Reagan remarked as he joined the GOP that he did not leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left him. That is how I feel today. I am not leaving the AG as much as the AG has already left me. Both globally and locally. My great sorrow is that the affiliation in which I learned discernment seemingly has lost theirs. The affiliation that once bravely stood up to Jimmy Swaggart now barely stands against anything.

Beloved we must understand the backdrop, which is the times in which we live. When we see the Biblical prophecies play out every night on the news and see the moral decay spiraling out of control each day, those who have eyes to see can see that we are living in the end times. The Bible warns us very clearly about these times. There will be a great apostasy, or falling away from the faith. This is very much underway in the church today. Paul warned Timothy about this:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. – 2Timothy 4: 3-5 (ESV)

One just needs to look at what is taught today as doctrine to see the great apostasy. People follow prosperity myths, word faith myths, hyper-grace myths, false signs and lying wonders myths just to name a few. They gather around themselves teachers who specialize in teaching these myths. They wander off by choice. They choose to fall away. Their ears itch with their own passions and want teachers who will scratch them. With this understanding we must decide what side we are on. Remember, Jesus said there are only two choices:

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. – Matthew 12: 30 (ESV)

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. – Matthew 7: 13-14 (ESV)

Narrow is the gate and few are those who find it. Think about that as you watch the next false teacher speaking to tens of thousands or claiming that entire swaths of people “gave their hearts to Christ.” There are only two choices beloved. We are either found gathering people to the Gospel or scattering them away from it. Thus doctrine becomes our critical measuring stick. Our plumb line. Who we choose to associate with becomes critical as well. Who we loan our credibility to. I once viewed Francis Chan for example to be a solid bible preacher. Once he decided to promote the wildly heretical false prophet Mike Bickle however, his preaching was no longer relevant. Remember what Paul charged the Galatians with?

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. – Galatians 5: 7-9 (ESV)

A little false teaching eventually infects your theology. It spreads. It is parasitic. There can be no compromise allowed. This is not about perfection but rather purity of the Gospel. I have watched for years concerned about the direction the AG was heading in but was willing to wait and see. Anyone after all can make a mistake. Then the heresies started piling up. For me it all starts with the embracing of Rick Warren theology. The Purpose Driven Church has done more damage to the cause of Jesus Christ than anything in generations. It has eradicated the shepherd mentality amongst pastors and instead turns them into CEOs. Don’t believe me? Ask Andy Stanley, a staunch Warren adherent:

(When asked about Pastors being called shepherd) – That word needs to go away.” He added, “It was culturally relevant in the time of Jesus, but it’s not culturally relevant anymore.” – Andy Stanley (Leadership Journal, “Get-it-Done Leadership,” May 2006).

This began the slippery slope of growing churches but not the kingdom. The Assemblies embraced the Purpose Driven Life as well and coordinated their churches to all read it together. Something we even did at my church at the time. This is the same book that only addresses salvation one time and presents a nine word “sinner’s prayer” that is followed by an absurdly presumptuous – “Welcome to the family of God!”

Fast forward a few years and the AG tried to coordinate their churches again for a group reading. This time it was a book written by one of their own pastors, Mark Batterson. The Circle Maker is nothing but rank heresy. Based upon a fable found in the Mishnah, Batterson tries to change how Christians pray from being reverent to being petulant. The act of drawing circles is also taken directly from witchcraft. That does not mean the Mr. Batterson intended this. Intent however is irrelevant. The Circle Maker remains to this day a black eye upon the Assemblies. Then there are the associations the AG has chosen to make. Who they have aligned themselves with. Many are not aware of “Empowered 21,” which is self described as:

“The Empowered21 Global Council is an esteemed group of International Christian leaders, co-chaired by George Wood and Billy Wilson. These leaders give inspirational oversight to13 Regional Cabinets across the world and seeks to provide resources to address the crucial issues faced by the Spirit-empowered church.”

So the General Superintendent of the General Council of the Assemblies of God in America is the co-chair of this international coalition. Problem? Not until you see who are part of its leadership:

Bill Johnson, Reinhard Bonnke, Lisa Bevere, Kenneth Copeland, Jentezen Franklin, Brian Houston, Cindy “The General” Jacobs, Robert Morris, Phil Pringle to name a few. This is a who’s-who of false teachers and wannabe prophets. I guess Osteen, Warren and Prince were just too busy. Seriously. Why in the world would you co chair this smorgasbord of heresy? Why would you even want to be on the same website? Bill Johnson believes in grave sucking the residual anointing from dead false teachers. He runs his own school for the supernatural where he teaches people the gifts of the spirit – pure blasphemy! Robert Morris abuses his sheep and tells them to pay him his tithes before paying their rent or bills or medicine or else God will curse all of their money! General Cindy Jacobs? Are you serious? Kenneth Copeland and Brian Houston? The Assemblies should know better. Reinhard Bonnke? International charlatan who brags about raising the dead? The AG threw a banquet in his honor recently. These are not fringe elements in apostasy. These are the leaders beloved.

Then there was the extremely poor decision to get into bed with ex-Catholic mystic Roma Downey and her heretical “AD Miniseries.” When I say in bed I mean under the covers. The AG actively marketed the “church kit” that Downey was selling which turned over your local church to this miniseries for 12 weeks. Each week they would provide you with a video sermon given by a Christian celebrity to match that week’s episode. The third lesson was done by none other than George Wood. Other notable teachers in the series were the aforementioned Mark Batterson and the Hillsong false teacher, Christine Caine. The teaching aside, the actual miniseries was a disaster biblically. It was clear that one of the goals Downey had was to overstate the role of women and make any leading male character out to either be a wimp or psychotic. Beloved we are not talking about artistic license. This series simply did not correctly represent the Bible. I can understand someone who is unsaved not understanding the point but I am talking about the actual story. Mary for example did not have to convince the disciples to wait the three days for when Jesus said He would rise again. Without getting too bogged down in the detail this was another example of very poor decision making by the Assemblies regarding who they want to be found in league with.

It was no wonder then that this past year at their annual General Council one of their speakers was Christine Caine. Never mind that she is from Hillsong, the largest international heretical organization on the planet. Never mind that she is an ardent supporter of someone like Joyce Meyer. Never mind that after “shadowing” Meyer for a week she tweeted a picture of herself laying hands upon the Bible of Joyce Meyer and praying for “an impartation of her “teaching anointing and revelation.” The same Meyer who teaches Jesus went to hell and had to be born again there. The same Meyer who teaches that she never sins. The same Meyer who teaches that we are all little gods. It is no wonder then that the quote that hit the Internet from Caine that night which was taken as some deep nugget of wisdom was:

“The size of your ministry is determined by the size of your heart.” – Christine Caine

Not determined by God. Not determined by the Holy Spirit. Not determined by correct doctrine or preaching the correct Gospel. No beloved. Determined by the size of our wickedly deceptive hearts. Therein sums up the progression of falling away I have witnessed within the Assemblies for the past several years. They bought into the Warren theologies of growth and marketing. They bought into the seeker friendly notions of church growth. They continued to make whatever associations were popular and gained them more exposure with seemingly little concern about doctrine. As a minister for the Assemblies, I am expected to support them and in complete fairness I can no longer do so.

That is the global scene if you will. It is the scene everyone sees on television and being reported. What is often lost however is the local scene. We all belong locally before we belong globally. There are still some very good AG churches out there beloved. Churches who are trying to do the right thing and preach the whole Gospel. Eventually they will have to come out from among them if the Assemblies does not stop its free-fall. Locally however, the politics are even worse. The disregard for correct doctrine is widely accepted as long as you can put bodies in the seats each week. Never mind if people leave. That is a Warren principle taught in the Purpose Driven Church called “Blessed Subtraction.” This principle teaches pastors that it is OK to let sheep wander away from your flock as long as you replace them. Talk about not understanding the 99 and the one! But this point is vitally important because Purpose Driven teachings insist that we are no long in the business of reaching the unsaved but rather the unchurched. That may sound subtle but it is purely a satanic plot. Instead of focusing on their salvation pastors now focus on whether they belong to a church. Instead of focusing on their relationship to Jesus they focus on their relationship to ministry. That is why Blessed Subtraction is so widely accepted theologically even though it violates the entire Bible! As long as you replace the body then the church has not “lost” anything. But what about the sheep that wandered off?

I have watched such local abuses and continue to see them to this day. I know hundreds of people devastated by Christian leaders and a church that swore they loved them as Christ does but then casually left the pen door open and kicked them out into the cold. I heard a pastor once preach that if a congregant had a problem with someone else they need to leave. From the pulpit this was said. During a sermon. I have watched congregations be eviscerated of anyone who was biblically literate. Anyone who dared to ask any questions. Anyone who even mildly objected. I have watched Elder Boards be launching pads for ministerial preaching careers from people who have no business dividing the Word of Truth. What does the Assemblies do about it?

Absolutely nothing.

In fairness, the overall Assemblies has little power over the churches in their fellowship. The power remains at the local level and that is not necessarily a bad thing if you are ensuring the biblical authority of your ministers. Instead however the local assemblies becomes this game of politics and productivity. If a pastor is seen as a producer, meaning he can refill the seats of those who leaves and grow his church, then doctrine or abuses can be nodded and winked at. Meanwhile the landscape is littered with bloody sheep, many of whom will never set foot in a church again. It is for these local reasons and the people who cry out from their abuses that I also feel compelled to walk away. I have close friends and acquaintances who were set into spiritual tailspins, seemingly never to recover. Every month seems to brings to light a new victim locally and a new doctrinal abuse globally. And beloved, please understand that this is not a broad brush I intend to paint with. As I have said there are plenty of good AG churches and ministers who preach the uncompromised Word of God and are led by real shepherds. This is also not personal in nature, even though I could recount my own personal tales of abuse. It is not about me. It is about the sheep of the Lord and the primacy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In good conscience I cannot continue to write that believers need to come out from among the falseness in the church today and continue to proudly claim affiliation to an organization that has lost its way. I will pray for the AG because I love the AG. I ask that you do the same. I pray that this once proud organization returns to its roots of uncompromised Gospel preachers. Time is running out.

Reverend Anthony Wade – January 16, 2016

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“The Bible clearly warns us that we are to be cautious about following the ideas of men when the men who are promoting their own ideas are ignoring what God has said in His Word. There is even a danger to paying attention to what men are saying, if what they say does not line up with what God has already communicated in His Word.”

From Understand the Times:

Man’s way or God’s way? That is a very important question. When it comes to growing God’s church, is there a right answer? Some believe there are ways to promote church growth by applying certain principles that are based on human insight and growth methods. What does God say?

Every Christian wants to see the church grow. Jesus made it clear before He ascended to the Father that His followers are to be His witnesses. Believers are called to share the good news of the gospel until He returns. We want to see our churches filled to overflowing. But what happens when the Christian Church, in its zeal to reach the unconverted, begins to embrace ideas and methods that are far from biblical to attract the lost?

We must always remember that a zealous Christian leader who has the ability to communicate can also be a subtle deceiver if he or she mixes truth with error. Further, there are those who are so convinced they are standing on the truth that when they are confronted with biblical truth, they simply cannot see their error. No matter who one is or what position is held, everyone needs to be open to correction from God’s Word.

In the book of Proverbs, we are told why this happens. Solomon wrote: All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. [1] Then to make the point even more evident a few verses later, we are admonished: There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. [2]

The Bible clearly warns us that we are to be cautious about following the ideas of men when the men who are promoting their own ideas are ignoring what God has said in His Word. There is even a danger to paying attention to what men are saying, if what they say does not line up with what God has already communicated in His Word.

At the present time, there is a trend underway that seems very exciting to many Christians. They perceive that this present generation is attracted to experience and not impressed by biblical exegesis. If a church can provide “Christian experiences” which attract attention, Christianity can be expanded, they reason. Sensory, experiential, liturgical, and sacramental encounters, they say, can be effective attractions.

However, based on church history, these methods have actually been around for centuries. And while they may attract those who are looking for a spiritual experience, experience without a biblical basis can be very deceptive and not Christianity at all.

The Scriptures shed light on what happens when human means and methods are promoted without God’s endorsement. Jesus said:

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand.[3]

To sum it up, methods based on man’s views can be right in the eyes of men but in opposition to Jesus Christ and His Word. That is why we must be like the Bereans who “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”[4]

Remember, the last days will be a time when deception will grow stronger and stronger. Deception means that truth can be compromised. Thank God, we have His Word to keep us on the right track: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”[

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The man created “churches” are well on their way to merging with the unsaved culture around them.  and let us not forget this is not the real Church!

from The Telegraph:

The Church of Sweden is encouraging its clergy to use the gender-neutral term “God” instead of referring to the deity as “he” or “the Lord”.

The decision was made on Thursday, wrapping up an eight-day meeting of the church’s 251-member decision-making body. The decision will take effect on May 20 during Pentecost.

It is the latest move by the national Evangelical Lutheran church to modernise its 31-year-old handbook setting out how services should be conducted.

The decision to update the book of worship gives priests new options on how to refer to God during their services.

Priests can now open their services by referring to the traditional “Father, son and Holy Ghost” or the gender-neutral phrase “in the name of God and the Holy Trinity”. Other gender-neutral options are available for other parts of the Church of Sweden liturgy.

Gender-neutral terms | Checklist:

Forefathers – ancestors, forebears

Gentleman’s agreement – unwritten agreement, agreement based on trust

Girls (for adults) – women

Housewife – shopper, consumer, homemaker (depends on context)

Manpower – human resources, labour force, staff, personnel, workers, workforce

Man or mankind – humanity, humankind, human race, people

Man-made – artificial, manufactured, synthetic

Man in the street, common man – average/ordinary/typical citizen/person

Right-hand man – chief assistant

Sportsmanship – fairmess, good humour, sense of fair play

Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Guide to Inclusive Language

“We talk about Jesus Christ, but in a few places we have changed it to say ‘God’ instead of ‘he’,” Church of Sweden spokesperson Sofija Pedersen Videke told The Telegraph. “We have some prayer options that are more gender-neutral than others.”

“A wide majority of people decided on the book,” she said, adding that she had heard of no priests who objected to the new linguistic framework.

The Church of Sweden is headed by Archbishop Antje Jackelen, who was elected Sweden’s first female archbishop in 2013.

Archbishop Jackelen defended the decision, telling Sweden’s TT news agency: “Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human.”

The decision was met with some criticism.  Christer Pahlmblad, an associate theology professor at Lund University in Sweden, told Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad that the decision was “undermining the doctrine of the Trinity and the community with the other Christian churches.”

“It really isn’t smart if the Church of Sweden becomes known as a church that does not respect the common theology heritage,” he said. The Church of Sweden has 6.1 million baptised members in a country with a population of 10 million.

The Church of England told The Telegraph that it also chooses to avoid divisive language in its services, but not with regards to God.  “When liturgy is revised we also seek to use inclusive language where appropriate when referring to people,” a spokesperson said.

“The Church of England has always used masculine language when speaking about God, for example in the words of the Lord’s Prayer – ‘our Father, who art in Heaven’ – and in referring to God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and continues to do so.”

The decision by the Church of Sweden mirrors an international trend for inclusivity in major churches. Earlier this month, the Church of England published guidelines for helping children “explore the possibilities of who they might be”, including their gender identity.

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from MSN:

Paul Burress, a charismatic, in-your-face pastor who gained fame for operating a fight club in his house of worship, has been accused of forcibly touching two women.

Burress was for years a pastor at Victory Church, a large nondenominational Christian church. The Victory website does not list Burress as being among its leadership team, and the telephone went unanswered there Monday morning.

Burress, 43, is a mixed-martial arts fighter as well as a minister, and received a great deal of publicity when he was featured in Fight Church, a 2014 documentary.

On Friday morning, however, he was arrested by Monroe County sheriff’s deputies on two counts of forcible touching, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. John Helfer. Helfer verified the person arrested was the minister noted for his “Fight Church” activities.

The charges arose from separate incidents in February, Helfer said. The complainants are adult females.

The offense in question, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, is defined in the state penal law as forcibly touching “the sexual or other intimate parts of another person.”

Burress, who could not be reached for comment Monday, was processed in the sheriff’s Henrietta substation and given an appearance ticket.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in Henrietta Town Court on Sept. 19, according to the Monroe County District Attorney’s office.

The Henrietta pastor has been dogged by accusations of sexual misconduct for several years. Several blogs and news websites featured such claims three years ago, when Burress came to public attention because of his fighting-in-church approach.

But none of those accusations were proved and there is no record of any previous arrest.

Tina Wright, a former member of Victory Church who asserts she has a long personal history with Burress, said she had spoken to one of the women who filed charges.

Wright, who now lives in South Carolina, said she encouraged that woman and others who may have been harmed by the minister to come forward.

“I know beyond the shadow of a doubt there are more victims. There’s a lot of us here,” Wright said. “We need to end the silence so we can stop the cycle of abuse, especially in the church.”

Asked her reaction to reports of his arrest, Wright said, “I’m still in shock, to be honest. I’m relieved that the voices of the victims are finally being heard and they’ll have the opportunity to tell their stories.”

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from Pastor Bill Randles Blog:

I was heartened the other day when I read that the President of the United States took time out of his busy schedule to allow an “Evangelical Minister” to lay hands on Him and pray. He needs prayer, and the support of the evangelical church, as much as possible.

But then my joy turned to angst when I read further, that the “evangelical minister” who prayed for Trump, was in fact a spiritually dangerous counterfeit, a purveyor of false doctrine and gnostic, experience based spirituality named Rodney Howard Browne.

I shouldn’t have been surprised because one of the President’s closest Spiritual advisor, is  a televangelist and Word of Faith heresy  proponent Paula White who is of the same heretical ilk as Rodney Howard Browne.

In short Rodney Howard Browne is the Father of the so called “Laughing Revival” of mysticism and Spiritual Drunkenness which led directly to the disastrously destructive “Toronto Blessing” which spread through Pentecostal, Charismatic and Even evangelical churches in the late 1990’s spreading heresy, false doctrine, mystical experience, deception and delusion throughout the world.

Howard Browne is famous for calling himself the “Holy Ghost Bartender” and inducing people into states of Spiritual Drunkenness, and has destroyed much of what was left of the sense of the true Fear of God in many, many Pentecostal, Charismatic churches. I consider him a minister of Judgment and part of the Strong, God sent Delusion.

In the interest of discernment and for the sake of real prayer by real Christians, I am excerpting a chapter of my 1995 book, WEIGHED AND FOUND WANTING;PUTTING THE TORNOTO BLESSING IN CONTEXT, to let you know just who this man is.

 

Who Is Rodney Howard Browne?

He was born into a Pentecostal home, an atmosphere that was bathed in prayer. By his own testimony, he was saved at the age of five and baptized in the Holy Spirit at age eight. Both at home and in the Pentecostal church he attended, he testifies of

“continually [seeing] supernatural manifestations.”2
His own “baptism of fire” occurred in 1979, while he was still a teenager. Hereis how he tells it.

I knew that there was more, much more…In July of 1979, I cried out to God in sheer desperation. I wanted Him to manifest Himself to me and in me. I was hungry…As I prayed that day, I told the Lord, “Either you come down here and touch me, or I am going to come up there and touch you.” I was desperate. I must have called out to God for about 20 minutes that day. Suddenly, the fire of God fell on me. It started on my head and went right down to my feet. His power burned in my body and stayed like that for three whole days…I was really praying, “Lord, I am too young to die.” In the fourth day, I am not praying, “O Lord send your glory,” I am praying, “Please lift it off me so that I can bear it.” I was plugged into heaven’s electric light supply…my desire has been to go and plug other people in. My whole body was on fire…Out of my belly began to flow a river of living water. I began to laugh uncontrollably and then I began to weep and then speak with tongues. I was so intoxicated on the wine of the Holy Ghost that I was beside myself…Because of that encounter with the Lord, my life was radically changed from that day on.3

Rodney Howard Browne proceeds in the book to relate changes in his ministry after that anointing with fire, while preaching in a Methodist church. I’ll let him tell it in his own humorous way.

We were preaching in a Methodist church. I was back in the vestibule—which is a holy name for a plain old office—preparing for service. One of the young ladies came into the office and asked me to pray for her because she was in terrible pain…I got my hand halfway to her head, almost like a gunslinger would draw a gun out of a holster, and point it at his opponent. Suddenly, unexpectedly, it felt like my finger tips came off. I felt a full volume of anointing flow out of my hand. The only way I can explain it is to liken it to a fireman holding a fire hose with a full volume of water flowing out of it. The anointing went right into her. It looked like someone had hit her in the head with an invisible baseball bat and she fell to the floor…4

On and on it goes.

Notice the sensuality of the testimony, though. The fire of God courses through his body, it shoots out of his fingers, like a gun, she gets hit by an invisible bat! The concept behind the word sensual is not always referring to “sexual.” Sensual refers to the things pertaining to the five physical senses. Rodney Howard Browne has a very sensual ministry. The promise is held out that you are going to be touched by God, you’re going to feel God, you’ll even get drunk on the new wine! You’ll laugh, stagger, get stuck to the floor, and generally have an all out good time! It’s “fun” going to these meetings!

Back to Who is Rodney Howard Browne?

In 1987, Rodney Howard Browne left his native South Africa to come to the

United States, on a “word from God.” By that time, he had already pioneered a church, pastored for a time and been on the pastoral staff of Ray McCauley’s Rhema Bible Church in Johannesburg. Upon arriving in America, he commenced an itinerant ministry.

It was at a series of meetings in Albany, New York in 1989 that the unusual manifestations had begun to take place. It began to occur at a time when both he and his wife were hungry for God to move. As he was preaching at a morning meeting, he said a cloud filled the room, visible to others, but not to him. He could feel it, though. People began falling out of their seats as he preached.

While I was preaching, the power of God began to fall. Many people began to fall out of their seats. It looked like someone was shooting them and in some places whole rows at a time would go down. They were laughing and crying and falling all over the place and looked like drunken people.5

Rodney Howard Browne became an internationally prominent revivalist after a Spring, 1993 meeting at an Assembly of God church in Lakeland, Florida, the Carpenter’s Home Church. He was scheduled for one week, but the meeting lasted four! People who heard about it flew in from as far away as Africa, Great Britain and Argentina. What made the difference in this revival meeting? According to Charisma Magazine,

The difference was the laughter. No matter what Howard Browne did or said, hundreds who attended the daily sessions always ended up on the sanctuary floor in helpless laughter. When the services were broadcast on radio, more curious seekers showed up to join the fun.6

In Conclusion

I suppose I could go on and on, “building a case,” about my reservations of the ministry of Rodney Howard Browne, but why? After all of the above, if you don’t have serious problems, you are also a victim of the continuous conditioning that has taken place. Keep in mind that it was a transference of his “anointing” into Randy Clark who brought “it” to Toronto, that “birthed” the Toronto Blessing. I hope that I have brought some clarity to the issue. This is not about personality, it’s about truth. Can you see Jesus or the apostles even remotely promoting anything like this? I think not.

 

Is Rodney Howard Browne correct when he dismisses his critics by saying things like,

Now some would say, “I don’t believe it,” that’s fine, those people that don’t want to believe it, they probably wouldn’t believe anything. They probably wouldn’t believe the Bible…16

On the contrary, I don’t buy this, and I believe in the Bible! I also believe in the present activity of the Holy Spirit. I consider myself to be spirit filled and have seen many “signs, wonders, and gifts of the Holy Ghost” over the years in my ministry as well as in many other fellow ministers. We have witnessed the casting out of devils, healing of the sick, and powerful life transformations, all to confirm the preaching of the gospel! So don’t dismiss me as an unbelieving, religious dead head!

I want to close this chapter by encouraging you to hold fast to that which is good. We know that certain men have crept in unawares, but that doesn’t mean that we have to throw out the validity of supernatural workings of God. The Pentecostal experience is needed now more than ever, God’s people do need a fresh baptism in the Holy Ghost, to witness afresh to this sin-sick generation.

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from CCC Discover:

Talk of sin and grace is out of style. Now, before we attack the culture, secularism, or those other Christians who are not part of our tribe, it’s important to ask two questions: Do I believe in sin and grace as a reality? Do I recognize sinfulness in my own life, and do I see God’s ongoing, supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in my life as a work of God’s grace?

Sin and grace are core doctrines of Christianity. Sin, rebellion against God, a state of defiance—this is not just something I do, but something I am. To be a human being, Christian or non-Christian, is to be a sinner.

This is important because only sinners are saved by grace, and Christians remain sinners. Holiness, sanctification, the work of the Spirit is only begun—Christians won’t see perfection in this life.

We are declared saints and we are becoming saints, but we don’t completely model sainthood yet. We still sin. We still have twisted desires. We still feel the tensions of this present evil age working within our heart. Anyone who is married can confirm this. A spouse is a good mirror to reveal our worst side.

So how does our denial of sin and grace show itself in our life?

1. We reveal a grace-denying heart when we treat God casually.

To treat God casually is to lose a sense that God is holy. It’s an attempt to tame God, to ignore the sides we don’t like. It’s like treating a lion as a house cat. Michael Horton explains it this way:

[T]he transcendent God of majesty and holiness succumbed to a casual familiarity. Although only one in ten Americans say that they have ever doubted God’s existence, most say that they view God exclusively as a friend rather than as a king and “only a small minority” report having ever experienced fear of God. (Michael Horton, Christless Christianity, 53)

When you read the Bible, you don’t find a God to be taken lightly. God is king over all creation. God is holy. God is working in the world to save it. God is not my homeboy, nor is God a genie granting wishes or a grandfatherly figure who turns his face from evil.

2. We reveal a grace-denying heart when we treat the gospel therapeutically.

To treat the gospel therapeutically shows itself in many ways. Tony Robbins’ I Am Not Your Guru is a good example (although please do not watch this if vulgar language offends you). The people who come to events like Tony Robbins’ pay a lot of money to find themselves, improve themselves, become successful, or find healing from some tragedy.

These are all legitimate pursuits, and maybe people like Tony Robbins, despite his language, can help people. But this is not Christianity. Christianity is not a wholesome alternative to self-improvement. God never promised prosperity or comfort in this life. The apostles were not successful by the world’s standards.

It’s true that God cares about our well-being. He provides for our needs. He wants to heal our broken lives. He wants to help us in our weaknesses. He wants to move us to good works for the sake of others. But the difference between therapy and the gospel lies in one important distinction: God cares about so much more than our emotional well-being. The gospel is not a self-help program to make us feel better. Michael Horton explains it this way:

[A]s religion is privatized into a kind of therapeutic usefulness, sin and redemption are translated in subjective rather than objective categories. Christ, then, is the answer to bad feelings, not any actual state of enmity or guilt before God. Everything that used to be considered a sovereign work of God, through his appointed means of preaching and sacrament, is now attributed to the self (or the evangelist) working through the most efficient steps and techniques. We recognize this pragmatic orientation in the “how-to” literature that lines the shelves of Christian bookstores and pastors’ studies. (Michael Horton, Christless Christianity, 53)

Salvation is more than therapy, and often the gospel leaves us weak, broken, and suffering so that God can demonstrate his grace in our lives for the sake of those around us. This seems counter-intuitive, but that is the point. God gets the glory when God keeps us dependent upon his grace and mercy.

3. We reveal a grace-denying heart when we make excuses for our own graceless Christianity.

It’s important in these discussions to realize that I am just as guilty for a therapy approach to Christianity. It’s easy to find a sinless and graceless Christianity in everyone else, but that is not the point. Self-help religion is our natural wiring. It’s easy to see this in others, but much harder to see this in my own heart. The answer to the temptation to turn the gospel of grace into a self-help religion of good morals or successful living demands practice.

  • We need to hear the law. We need to hear that we ourselves are still sinners. We need to be honest with ourselves. We need to engage in regular self-reflection and self-criticism. We need to expose our own sinful hearts, and allow the light of God’s Word to reveal our sinful desires.
  • We need to confess our sins and our continual need for grace to God. We need to pray: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:14).
  • We need to continually hear the message of grace: that God accepts us as his children through faith in Jesus and that God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us, to keep us focused on Jesus, to draw us to love those around us.
  • We need to look at other people tempted by the same self-help religion and love them. We need to be a gracious presence in their life. We need to remind them of the gospel. We need to pray with them and for them. And we need to hope that they will do the same for us.

When hearing about self-help religion, it’s easy to become proud thinking that we are immune and that we are the solution, that we need to go around pointing out sins and exposing people’s graceless approach to Christianity. But we need to watch out that our approach is not itself graceless self-help.

If we think that we are the “successful” Christians who have all our theology figured out and are truly committed to the way, we need to ask ourselves some important questions: “Is this the heart that the Holy Spirit produces?” “Do I treat others expecting that the Holy Spirit will help them?” “Is my approach toward people kind?”

Self-help religion is a problem, but so is being a graceless jerk. May God help us in both areas to continually seek the grace of acceptance with God and the grace of the Holy Spirit’s power to love people as much as doctrine. As Christians, our hope is not in how much we believe grace or how much our lives reveal the effects of grace. Our hope is in the grace of God, and the gospel is the good news that God is gracious and merciful to us.

 

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