Sunday, June 15, 2008

Discernment in the church

A number of times in the last couple of weeks I have been quite surprised by a number of people who I had considered mature Christians, being impressed by a number of teachings that to my mind and, I believe, by any normal interpretation of scripture are heresy. I uses these words carefully as I understand the power of them, but these teachings seem to be exactly that.

Secondly these 'churches' have become cults and I use that word because what is happening and what is being taught is beyond the realm of Christian orthodoxy as it is recorded in the Bible and as it has been passed to us through the early church. I understand that to criticise in this pluralistic culture is not really popular. My aim in not so much criticism, but to point out the immense dangers that the church faces. This is a little like your child running around the garden playing around the edge of a large hole - you obvioulsy warn of the inherent danger of doing that. That is my aim - to help us remain true to the teaching of Jesus.

Let me share with you two of the teachings that have gained massive popularity these days:

Joel Osteen and the prosperity cult: Joel is a prosperity teacher. Basically properity teaching is a heresy where we are taught that not to be healthy, wealthy and wise is to be outside of God's blessing. People are desperate for wealth and with the immense commercial pressure on them, they are finding that desire fulfilled in this teaching. Mark Driscoll is a preacher who I think preaches solid doctrine, he makes some comments that you might find helpful in understanding this issue.

The Florida outpouring: There is a supposed move of the Holy Spirit happening in Florida at the moment. The leader of this movement is Todd Bently, who whilst immensly passionate is dealing with something that is not God. I found this video - it really needs no further explanation except to say that for those who believe that this is of God are being led into the world of the demonic.

There seems to be a general lack of discernment in the church these days. Perhaps it is or desire for the next big thing, or the belief that new is better than old. But whatever it's cause, it is reason for concern to all of us who follow Jesus, because these teachings are not about following Jesus, they are about self and self-fulfilment. Jesus says whoever loses his life will save it...sounds quite a bit different to a lot of what is being peddled as Christianity these days....


Skeptic said...

Thanks for your post. I have felt convicted to share the truth in this matter, having been involved with many of the "revival" antics over the past 15 years. Countless people who I know who attended also are today empty and not healed. To make matters worse, the so-called "enlightened" ones spew guilt on those who do not believe this show, blaming it on our lack of faith.

After posting to numerous blogs which spew this nonsense (in a kind, scriptual manner), my comments are immediately removed and I am blocked from commenting. How is that for allowing scrutiny of something they say is of God? Yet any dissent is immediately removed to keep their believers in the dark. Can you say cult?

God save us.

Brent said...

Yeah cult is about the right word...

Two things that sadden me firstly that Jesus gets associated with these people.

Secondly all of those who are left in the wake of these 'revivals' broken and faithless.

Muso for Christ said...

I see what you mean! Ephesians 5:11 - 15 (The Message);"Don't waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It's a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ."

I see that Bentley is linked with Rodney Howard - Browne and the Brownsville Assemblies of God.

Brent said...

Muso...that would explain a LOT. sigh I sometimes which God would send a few choice lightning bolts (although I might be at the receiving end of some of them!!)

Ludwig said...

well said.