The Christian Walk - a personal testimony

Discussions on ecclesiology such as the nature, constitution and functions of the church.
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Re: The Christian Walk

Postby DannyM » Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:04 am

Jlay, you are right, I am nothing short of humbled and overwhelmed by both yours and Rick's Christian/brotherly concern and love. Believe that the love is returned to you both in spades. Now, however, you have both begun to get tougher, so I have to ask for a lot more from both of you if I am to be convinced. Remember, I share some of your concerns. But I'm realising that many of my concerns were just preconceptions. So, with that in mind please give me something stronger.
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Re: The Christian Walk - a personal testimony

Postby RickD » Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:08 am

DannyM wrote:
RickD wrote:Here's a good article IMO, that explains slain in the spirit, and if it's biblical. It's a little long, but makes some great points. Especially about discernment, and the occult.
http://www.biblical-pentecostals.org/slain.htm


Rick, I've never mentioned anyone being "slain in the spirit". I have no idea why this article is linked here. Are you just adding your own label to what you have seen from a flyer?



Danny, you asked for criticisms. I went to the website you said was the church you attended. They had a video promoting what has been happening there. The video was of a man(pastor maybe?) blowing on people, then the people would fall to the ground etc. This is part of what is commonly known as "slain in the spirit". The article I linked above criticizes and refutes specifically what the man in the video on the church's website is PROMOTING.

This gets to the heart of what I've been saying all along. Do you really want discernment in this, or do you just want people to tell you what you want to hear? You won't heed jlay's or my warnings. If you really want to know the truth, God will give you discernment. But, you have to be willing to see some things that you might not want to see.

Bart has been more that supportive of what you've been going through. I bet if you ask him to critique the specific criticisms that jlay and I have presented, he will. I could ask him to critique them, but if you ask him, it shows that you may be open to see what we're trying to say here. I have been through this kind of "ministry", and with God's help, have overcome its false gospel. That is why when I see it, it sticks out like a sore thumb to me. I understand that this is new to you, that is why I'm asking you to pray for discernment. You can heed our warnings, or you can find out the difficult way by going through it yourself. Either way, it's a decision that only you can make. I pray that God will guide you through this. whatever happens.
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Re: The Christian Walk

Postby DannyM » Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:53 am

Rick, I've prayed for discernment. I've also invited all-comers to critique anything they see fit. Short of sending out personal invitations by post I've been as clear as can be that I welcome all criticisms. Trouble is, I see no biblical references in your criticisms, just man's offerings on something termed 'slain in the spirit'. Call me Mr. Picky, but I'd like to see more than armchair opinion or subjective bias. Who's the arbiter of the issues your link raises, Rick?
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Re: The Christian Walk

Postby RickD » Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:40 pm

DannyM wrote:Rick, I've prayed for discernment. I've also invited all-comers to critique anything they see fit. Short of sending out personal invitations by post I've been as clear as can be that I welcome all criticisms. Trouble is, I see no biblical references in your criticisms, just man's offerings on something termed 'slain in the spirit'. Call me Mr. Picky, but I'd like to see more than armchair opinion or subjective bias. Who's the arbiter of the issues your link raises, Rick?


Danny, Bart was hesitant about criticizing what you posted. Now hopefully, with your invitation, he will be honest with what you're experiencing, and now he has your permission to critique jlay and my criticisms. Danny we see no biblical experiences or anything biblical that backs up what this pastor and his church does. The overwhelming absence in the bible of anything that resembles what the pastor does in the video(blowing on people)Should cause alarm for any discerning Christian. I'm not sure what you mean by who's the arbiter of the link. I would assume the author is, because it's his article. Danny, you have to understand that the type of churches that we are talking about here,make such subtle twists of scripture , so Christians not knowledgable in the word, are easily manipulated. Jay's first post in this topic has biblical references that he uses to criticize the church. So, saying no biblical criticisms were made isn't true. All I can say is keep praying for discernment, and be open to what God's response will be. I've seen great pain, and families truly torn apart as a result of churches similar to the one you're attending. That is why I'm continuing with this in spite of the fact that you don't agree with me. To this day, some of my Mom's old friends are still recovering from this. So, hopefully someone here can step in and help you out better then I have. Danny, I feel I know what you're going through, and your search for a deeper relationship with God. I just don't think a relationship based on a false gospel is the way to go.
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Re: The Christian Walk - a personal testimony

Postby Canuckster1127 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:09 pm

Bart,

Trust you to come along and balance the whole discussion right out! I appreciate your insight very much.

I used to go around saying charismatics are not to be trusted, etc. I used to think all tongues were people showing off and/or babbling needlessly. I'm glad you spotted that I am aware of biblical error with regards to my own church. It was also apparent at the revival: no interpetation of tongues. I've been taking stock for the past few weeks maybe months. Here are some questions I've asked myself:


Glad it helped. I'll give you my opinion from the perspective of someone who has been in the charismatic movement. I'm not anti-charismatic now although I tend to be skeptical of several elements of it.


Does a disregard for Paul's call for interpretors mean the whole church is satan-led?


Of course not. No church is perfectly in compliance with scriptural norms. Most charismatic churches differentiate between tongues as a gift which when combined with interpretation is the equal of prophecy, and other forms of tongues such as prayer language or ecstatic utterances during times of praise. I don't think that there is a particularly strong case scripturally to be made for it. Usually the attempt is made by tying it to the passage Rom 8:26. I don't agree with that interpretation to be honest. But for many that is a legitimate interpretation.

Is it possible that the holy spirit can still be present if there are no interpretations? Or would the holy spirit turn around and go the other way in disgust?


Gifts of the Holy Spirit are not the Holy Spirit itself. The Holy Spirit is present at any gathering of believers because the Holy Spirit indwells every believer. Gifts are a manifestation of that presence but if gifts are not manifested it doesn't necessarily mean the Holy Spirit is boycotting the meeting. Gifts of the Spirit are given for the benefit of the body through an individual or more than one individual. Don't mistakes gifts for the Holy Spirit Himself. Seeking after gifts for their own sake is like trading fire for smoke. One is evidence but the other is the genuine article.

More specifically, if there's a lack of balance here, it doesn't mean everything taught or practiced in the church is wrong.

My local estate agent is a charismatic chap. Does this automatically mean that he hasn't got a good property to tell me about?

My fruit & veg market-stool man is a charismatic old-boy from London. Does this mean he hasn't got some good fruit to tell me about?


What your describing is an example of "All or Nothing thinking". As your questions obviously illustrate, because there is error in one area of the church doesn't mean that everything is wrong. Keep in mind however, that it's possible that there are deeper issues present and there are such things as unhealthy leaders and unhealthy churches. I'll say more after your next question, that I hope will help.

Here's the kick: Am I to disregard my personal encounter with God because my church sometimes errs from the word? Am I to simply forget the peace that God brought to me in my own front room and at a meeting because the revival pastor's website claims he moves powerfully in the spirit? Or because he has charisma?

Is it unbiblical to claim a man moves powerfully in the spirit? Is it idolotary? I don't believe it is on the face of it.


God moves in our lives often times regardless of whether the context that we're in and seeking to meet Him is perfect or not. An example I can give, and it's my experience so take it as that, I was as I mentioned in the Charismatic movement for several years. I attended Oral Roberts University. Early on in my time in Tulsa I visited some of the bigger charismatic fellowships in town and also participated in the Chapels at ORU in addition to receiving a lot of training from the school. My dad's family was pentecostal in Canada. I grew up exposed to a lot of things. I came to believe over time, that much of the charismatic movement is based upon seeking after experiences and moving from mountain top to mountain top looking for the next spiritual high. I have to admit however that there times in meetings or prayer setting in the dorms when I felt genuinely spiritually moved and closer to God. Sometimes charismata were involved, other times not.

This is off the track a bit, but I've had other very meaningful and I believe genuine deep, overwhelming senses of God's presence in my life in other contexts, including as a pastor when I prepared and preached (not always but often). This will seem ironic, but despite my generally moving away from an institutional model of church participation toward organic fellowship, probably the most meaningful public worship experience I've ever had was in an Episcopal Church during a good Friday service. It was a deeply liturgical service with many elements that I now look upon as based in traditions outside the Bible. Nevertheless, God chose to move through that in a way that still moves me when I recall it. The context of the elements of the service, while certainly important, I see now as not the source of the experience. I see that as a choice made by God in terms of revealing Himself to me. That happens still regardless of the contexts. That doesn't surprise me as much anymore. It makes sense to me. If God is real, the Holy Spirit real and someone who makes His own decisions then I should expect that God will initiate things in my life if I am open to Him. It's pretty presumptuous of me to continue to try to replicate the context of the previous times He's moved in my life. That is saying in effect that the presence of God is made real because of (fill in the blank from the practices we might try to replicate) and that God is manufactured in my life by my efforts alone. That's idolatry.

Now in terms of leadership in Charismatic churches (and not only there) if there's only one real warning I'll offer, it is this: Beware of churches and pastors who teach that you must be subject to their authority or "covering" or else God will not bless you. Personality cults happen in all forms of churches and denominations. Charismatic churches, in my opinion, are a little more susceptable to this than many others. Read I Corinthians in whole. It's no coincidence that along with all the other issues that were taking place in Corinth one of the first things in I Cor 3 that Paul addresses is the elevating of one particular teacher over the others. Corinth was doing it with Paul, Peter and Apollos et al. It still happens today.

There's a lot of room for different understandings as to how churches can be organized and practice in areas of worship. I have strong opinions as I've stated in many regards that I'm not afraid to occassionally trumpet. I don't imagine that because I'm moving away from insitutional church that it's "wrong" or that other believers don't have the freedom to worship in whatever context they believe is right or even what they're used to but never question. It's not right for me, but I'd be extraordinaraily arrogant to imagine all must be as I am.

Leadership in any church context is portrayed by Jesus to first and foremost be service to others. If a pastor lauds himself and portrays himself as a "healer", or "prophet" etc. I think there needs to a lot of care and discernment as to how much influence you allow such a person in your life. Jesus is the head of the church. He gives the body leaders. When someone professes to be a gifted leader, and assumes a title based on the gifts they claim God exercises through them they are claiming personal ownership of something that God gives to the body as a whole, not to individual to hoard for their own power and glory. Listen carefully and ask the Holy Spirit to show you if there's a spirit of pride or presumed power there. It doesn't mean that God can't use such a person in your life but don't allow anyone, in any church to take the place reserved for Christ alone. The more such a leader demands you trust them (blindly) or for you to submit to them, the more careful you should be.

So, since you asked those are my answers. They are general answers. They are not aimed at your recent experience or you church and pastor. You're in a better position to know what is at work there than any of us. If you're where you believe God wants you to be and you're feeling a genuine sense of closeness to God in the context of your participation and you believe you're growing then that is great. All those things I went through in the past have contributed to my growth and where I am now. I have some individual regrets to be sure, but I can't regret that many of those seasons in my life have brought me to where I am.

So, I hope some of that helps. Don't be discouraged. I think some general warnings are a good thing. Don't let them stand in the way of seeking to know God deeper and if where you are is helping you, then don't discount that.

blessings.

bart
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Re: The Christian Walk

Postby DannyM » Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:36 am

Thank you, Rick and Bart for your feedback. I'll reply to you both seperately in a day or two. I feel I'm being 'told' by the Lord to step back a bit from my non-critical position, and that it is okay to speak freely about my own concerns. I'm praying earnestly before I reply 'proper.' Bart, your point about idolatry, among others, was persuasive.
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Re: The Christian Walk - a personal testimony

Postby RickD » Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:46 am

Danny, I'm praying for the Lord's guidance for you in this.
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Audie wrote:
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Re: The Christian Walk - a personal testimony

Postby J.Davis » Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:35 pm

Hi DannyM!

DannyM wrote:How exhilarating is it when the Spirit gets hold of you!

I've been to a few revival meetings recently, have overwhelmingly felt the Spirit rushing through me, have witnessed healings, have seen others renewed and regenerated as well as being renewed and regenerated myself.


It always makes me proud to be a Christian and gives me joy when I hear that God touched someone! I am happy for you! I know your confidence and ability to allow the Holy Spirit to do great work through you will grow as your communion with God grows in Spirit! And after reading your responses, regarding the matters in this thread, I feel that you are capable of making decisions that can lead you to the life God desires for you. A life that you are more and more proud of everyday, a life that gives you joy, no matter the circumstances, even when your body refuses to respond to that joy, it manifest itself in the body of those you minister to and it spreads throughout many facets of your life, so you will always feel it’s effects and take joy in knowing that God has blessed you!

Stay close to God DannyM and enjoy your communion with the Holy Spirit!
Last edited by J.Davis on Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Christian Walk - a personal testimony

Postby J.Davis » Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:37 pm

Just a few points I want to add about the matters in this thread…(not directed at you DannyM).

Having a true experience with God and the things of God is nothing short of awesome, the essence of perfection! And I feel very confident that I am not being unbiblical when I say: Anyone looking for more of God’s essence and closer communion with Him and/or those looking for the things of God (gifts etc) can have it, but those things do not come without responsibility, accountability and the qualifications that are necessary to obtain that which is requested of God. I also feel that God will give that which is requested of Him in varying degrees according to one’s qualifications and the responsibility and accountability they are willing to accept.

For example, God is not going to give the kind of power and gifts the disciples had to a married person who has a career/job, kids and a responsibility to take care of His or Her family if he or she is not willing to break their commitment to provide (emotionally, financially, various forms of physical support etc) for their family and bond with God (in a way that is reserved for those who make such a commitment to God) and love Him above all things, even to death. Very few people make this commitment (never get married or are out of a relationship and do not plan to get in a romantic relationship) and give themselves completely to God. And anyone who did receive power, gifts and experiences they are not qualified to handle, would be miserable and held accountable for the things they should have done but did not do because of their inability to perform as one who is qualified to handle such power, gifts and experiences.

And this same principle described above applies to receiving various degrees of God’s essence and closer communion with Him and/or the things of God (gifts etc). God will give each Christian things they are qualified to handle. Also, God can give short term, periodic or one time use of a gift or rare experience with Him in order to serve His purpose. I think Christians can get carried away sometimes, trying to perform at a level of Christianity they are not qualified to handle and this causes pain and unnecessary complications.

Christians can find joy in the things God has given them and should not be burden by imaginary responsibilities and obligations due to things they have placed on themselves. There are those who will share very rare gifts with God’s family, praise God for them. And praise Him for the gifts we all share with each other. No one should feel diminished by the gifts God has given to others, God’s gifts edify and nourish the body of Christ and those outside of the body as well, and all God’s children are apart of Christ’s body, so that which is good for the body is good for us all.

A lot of good points have been made from both sides of this discussion so far. I only gave a few things that I feel are important but it goes together with some of the other points that have been made. I do not intend to get in a debate, just wanted to add a few points.
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Re: The Christian Walk - a personal testimony

Postby jlay » Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:17 am

Bart,
Outstanding post. And very kind of you to give us this insight into your personal experiences. I was edified in reading it.
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Re: The Christian Walk - a personal testimony

Postby DannyM » Tue May 03, 2011 2:05 am

J.Davis wrote:Hi DannyM!

DannyM wrote:How exhilarating is it when the Spirit gets hold of you!

I've been to a few revival meetings recently, have overwhelmingly felt the Spirit rushing through me, have witnessed healings, have seen others renewed and regenerated as well as being renewed and regenerated myself.


It always makes me proud to be a Christian and gives me joy when I hear that God touched someone! I am happy for you! I know your confidence and ability to allow the Holy Spirit to do great work through you will grow as your communion with God grows in Spirit! And after reading your responses, regarding the matters in this thread, I feel that you are capable of making decisions that can lead you to the life God desires for you. A life that you are more and more proud of everyday, a life that gives you joy, no matter the circumstances, even when your body refuses to respond to that joy, it manifest itself in the body of those you minister to and it spreads throughout many facets of your life, so you will always feel it’s effects and take joy in knowing that God has blessed you!

Stay close to God DannyM and enjoy your communion with the Holy Spirit!


God bless you, J! Lovely words, and thank you.
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Re: The Christian Walk - a personal testimony

Postby DannyM » Fri May 13, 2011 2:29 am

Hello, brothers.

I'm sorry for the delay, and will reply to those unanswered posts very soon. But, some developments. I have tried the way of unquestioning compliance. I tried to bring this attitude to this thread. I basically tried to challenge my own scepticism of those who seemingly do not understand how to divide the word.

So I again approached the issue of 'tongues' with my son's mother and her family. It served only to alienate me. I have tried to explain how it is biblically wrong to have all kinds of tongues go uninterpreted in the church. But, as I say it has just alienated me.

My pastor recently gave me a book by a couple named Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, called He Did it all For You. This book worries me quite a bit. It seems to hold a 'ask God for anything you want and he will give it to you...It's your inheritance' attitude (my emphasis). The book seems to use scripture in a flamboyant manor to support its message. I think you guys would call this a 'prosperity' gospel. I'll go into further detail, and explain why I think their use of scripture to support their message is flimsy at best, once I've finished the book.

The tough question now is do I approach this with the pastor or just move on? This church has some wonderful people whose hearts are spirit-led. Of this I have no doubt. But I'm afraid I cannot continue to be a part of a church that so flagrantly ignores Paul. I ask myself, Did Paul suffer pain and persecution for nothing? Are we to just disregard Paul after all he did for us? I tried to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. I came on here to see if my compliance could hold up under your scrutiny.

God has been witholding the answer. He has been wanting me to get into the word more myself. To discover the answers for myself. I don't claim to have all the answers or even nearly all the answers. But I'm pretty damn sure that Paul would not allow this in one of his churches.

My personal trials because of my stance are secondary to what is biblically correct. So I ask for no sympathy, just honest feedback.

God bless
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Re: The Christian Walk - a personal testimony

Postby RickD » Fri May 13, 2011 6:27 am

Danny, I've been a little down this week because of a trial I've been going through at work. Your post has picked me up quite a bit. I'm so happy to see that God has been showing you what you have been praying about. Keep drawing closer to Him by prayer and the reading of the bible. It is truly amazing when God works through His Spirit inside us. God bless you Danny.

So I again approached the issue of 'tongues' with my son's mother and her family. It served only to alienate me. I have tried to explain how it is biblically wrong to have all kinds of tongues go uninterpreted in the church. But, as I say it has just alienated me

Danny, I can tell you from experience that when people are caught up in a false teaching, they will not listen to you unless they are open to see that what they believe is wrong. The only advice I can give you from my own experience is to keep praying for your son's mom and her family. And most importantly, love them. Even if they disagree with you about what you said, they will see God through the way you love them. It is very difficult in and of ourselves to love someone in that situation, so you'll need to keep in prayer, asking for God to help you.

My pastor recently gave me a book by a couple named Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, called He Did it all For You. This book worries me quite a bit. It seems to hold a 'ask God for anything you want and he will give it to you...It's your inheritance' attitude (my emphasis). The book seems to use scripture in a flamboyant manor to support its message. I think you guys would call this a 'prosperity' gospel. I'll go into further detail, and explain why I think their use of scripture to support their message is flimsy at best, once I've finished the book.

I'm so glad God has given you the discernment to see this, Danny. Their "gospel" is a very dangerous unbiblical teaching that tears families apart, and opens the door for people to allow just about any kind of teaching to invade their lives.

The tough question now is do I approach this with the pastor or just move on?


Danny, if you feel strongly that you should confront the pastor about this, then pray earnestly for what God wants you to say. From my experience, pastors that teach this heresy, manipulate the bible and their followers so well, that they probably have a defense ready for anything you may say to them. If you ask God to show you what to say to him, and God shows you what to say, I promise it will speak to the pastor. Whether or not it immediately shows. God may show you something as little as a single thing to say, or maybe more. Remember, if you tell the pastor only what God shows you to say, you will be planting a seed in him so to speak. God can speak to the pastor through you, if God wants to do it that way.

This church has some wonderful people whose hearts are spirit-led.

If God leads you to speak to anyone there, remember that their eyes may not be open to see what you see. My Mom occasionally runs into some people she knew from 25 years ago that were in the "ministry" with her. Many of them are still caught up in the heretical word-faith teachings, and won't see anything wrong with what they believe, even though their lives and family have literally fallen apart around them because they lived their lives following these teachers and their false gospel.

God has been witholding the answer. He has been wanting me to get into the word more myself. To discover the answers for myself.


Danny, can't you see that this is the answer to your prayers? You have been longing for a better and closer relationship with God. He has shown you how to draw closer to Him through privately praying and reading His word. Not from any public emotional experience. It is truly amazing how God works "quietly" through the Holy Spirit indwelling individual believers.

Danny, I will be praying for you and your son and his Mom and her family. I pray that God will give you the strength to love them(no matter how difficult it seems). Remember, God is the one Who does the transforming. If they see a real change in you, that will speak more to them than anything else. Again, I thank you for posting this, Danny. What God has shown you has truly lifted my spirit at a time when I needed lifting. thanks Danny.
1 Corinthians 1:9
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Re: The Christian Walk - a personal testimony

Postby Canuckster1127 » Fri May 13, 2011 6:53 am

Kenneth Copeland graduated from Oral Roberts University a few years before I did. I've heard him speak many times and kept up with his ministry over the years.

His ministry is under investigation by the US Senate for possible abuse of tax exempt status. He also, as you noted, is deep into the prosperity gospel.

I wouldn't recommend his ministry to a friend.
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Re: The Christian Walk - a personal testimony

Postby PaulSacramento » Fri May 13, 2011 8:25 am

Danny, can't you see that this is the answer to your prayers? You have been longing for a better and closer relationship with God. He has shown you how to draw closer to Him through privately praying and reading His word. Not from any public emotional experience. It is truly amazing how God works "quietly" through the Holy Spirit indwelling individual believers.

Danny, I will be praying for you and your son and his Mom and her family. I pray that God will give you the strength to love them(no matter how difficult it seems). Remember, God is the one Who does the transforming. If they see a real change in you, that will speak more to them than anything else. Again, I thank you for posting this, Danny. What God has shown you has truly lifted my spirit at a time when I needed lifting. thanks Danny.


Beautifully put Rick, well said.


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