Monday, December 1, 2008

So, have you experienced? What? You ask. I suppose it depends on which side of the charismatic line that was drawn you stand on. Do you believe that “experience” trumps scripture? Do you know that scripture is the litmus test for everything? Do you believe that speaking in tongues refers to speaking in an actual language or incomprehensible gibberish? Have you ever been “slain in the spirit”? Do you follow leaders such as Kenneth Copeland, Rodney Howard Brown or Benny Hinn? Do you test every spirit as required by 1 John 4:1?

I have always been fascinated by the “faith healers” that are on television. Even as a young child, when cable TV first came to Paducah KY and I got my first glimpse of Ernest Angley. He was quite peculiar to my brother and me. He was very different than the pastor at the church we attended. Our pastor never smacked anyone on the forehead or stuck his fingers in anyone’s ears and said they were healed of deafness. Angley was actually one of our favorite characters to imitate when we were playing. My brother would smack me across the forehead (probably just to inflict pain) and I’d fall back and act like I was healed of whatever ailment I professed. We didn’t know any better we were kids. What we did know is that something wasn’t quite right with what was being portrayed on “The Ernest Angley Hour”.

Fast forward several years to Peter Popoff and his miracle water and gloves or whatever he was peddling at the time. He had people throwing walkers into the air and old ladies jumping up from wheel chairs and doing a Luau. Yet again, I was awestruck at what this man was claiming; a few years older and still unconverted I knew this man was a fraud. Something was very similar to me between these 2 men. Maybe it was the theatrics, maybe it was the constant asking for money for healings and blessings.

Now that the Lord has chosen the convert my soul, He has also been glorious enough to open my eyes to a lot of things that do not stand up against scripture, one being these false prophets that claim “signs and wonders” take precedence over scripture. In other terms, it doesn’t matter that the bible says to test everything against scripture. The newest breeds of these false prophets claim to have regular meeting with Jesus, face to face. Claims of day trips to heaven are common as well as “miracle gold dust”, miracle gems, miraculous dental work and oil appearing from nowhere. All I can say is….. WOW! What is really troublesome are the countless thousands of people with itching ears that are sending their welfare checks to these men in hopes of healings or financial gains. I pray that these people will realize that these men (and women as well) are charlatans and are out for nothing but monetary gain and doing the devils work of deception and sending these people to an eternal hell.

One major question. Where is the Gospel? Why do these people say “Lord, Lord” and deny His Word? Why do they claim to do the Lords work in healing and casting out demons, but deny the power and never say anything about a repenting, saving faith in Christ? To me these false prophets are very obvious, but to countless thousands they are what they have been waiting for; someone to tell them what they want to hear, that they can be healed, that their marriage can be fixed or that their bad back can be mended and they’ll be doing cartwheels this very night. Why can people not see this? Why are these people looking for this type of message? I just speculate when I say selfishness, but it all points to that. People seem to have a “me” complex and want what is good for them only. But this “good for them” is usually heal my headache, heal my flat tire, make my bank account larger, fix my cars engine, let me win at bingo tonight, give me the winning lottery numbers. Nothing about healing ones sinful ways, giving them a heart of repentance, showing them how sinful they are and how in need of a savior they truly are.

I received and email today of one of these healing ministries setting up camp here in Paducah on Fridays starting this weekend. I am a skeptic at best, but I am at least not going to pass judgment without first testing the spirit in which this is being held in. I am skeptical because of the false prophets I mentioned earlier and really want to believe that people are not being deceived, but I will go into these meetings with a discerning eye and ear and will be testing what is taking place against scripture, not experience. It is being billed as “healing meetings” so it already has a mark against it. Why? Because they have already said God will be there and will be doing their bidding of healing. They have made a demand of the Lord and a promise that He will be there to do what they have planned. I just see a lot wrong with that. I never go anywhere knowing that the Spirit will show up, although that is what I pray for, that God will manifest Himself and His presence felt, but I never go into any place or any situation expecting Him to do anything. To do so is very arrogant and does make demands of God and I am just not going to do that and see it as wrong by those that do.

So what is my point in this rambling? It is to test everything against scripture. 1 John 4:1. We are even supposed to test ourselves 2 Cor. 13:5. That would be a good starting place for anyone that is reading this. Test where your faith lies, in God or in an experience, in a profession, in a pastors words. Has the Lord saved you from your sinfulness as well as hell? Do you still live a life that is sinful to God? Can you steal from your employer and it not phase you in the least? Paperclips may be cheap, but then it’s not the price of something that dictates the sin, it’s the motives. Do you lie on your taxes? Have you created a God in your own mind that you think turns his eyes from your blasphemy or your promiscuity? Do you hold a hatred for someone? If God has saved you, you will be changed. You will not continue on a path of sin to a fiery pit. God will finish His work in you and will not allow one of His to live a sinful, blasphemous existence. It is not possible. That is a starting point, once you have a saving faith in God and not anything else and then you can start to examine other things in light of scripture and Gods revelation in the Bible, not by experience that doesn’t align with His Word.

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