August 29, 2008

God's presence in an Anglican Church

Last night I returned to an Anglican Church where the Holy Spirit is moving powerfully (and has been for a couple of months) during a mid-week service they are hosting. Visitors are coming from a number of different Churches.

We had gone and taken a team to minister about a month ago, but last night I simply went to receive. Receive I did!

A number of people were touched as God began to release a number of words of knowledge. At one point, I got a word for acid reflux and a friend of mine responded. We prayed for him and the Lord gave another word about pain in his back - we prayed for that too. At that point, I got an unusual word of knowledge about an Achilles heal. Every time I've gotten that word, it has been about some kind of a weakness and/or sin issue in the life of someone. However, I gave the word and a woman who had come forward for prayer said it was for her. She had had prayer a number of times and was reluctant, but felt prompted to come again for prayer. It was as she came up that I gave the word. The Holy Spirit came upon her powerfully. She couldn't really stay on her feet. I'm not even sure ultimately what happened with her feet, but what she was experiencing of God was incredible.

Others were touched and healed as well during the service. I also got to see first hand a sign that the Lord was manifesting in this Church as a physical sign of His glory and presence.

At the end of the evening, I was finally able to receive prayer myself to be filled afresh - and filled is what I got. The presence of the Lord was so strong and He really came upon me in a tangible way.

It seems everyone really got blessed.

August 26, 2008

my mind's made up, don't confuse me with the facts

Heresy Hunters have been extremely active in recent weeks. Watch out - because their guns could well be pointed at your pastor, your church, and definitely at people and ministries you love and respect.

The reason I am even posting on this topic is because this summer has seen more activity from the Heresy Hunters in the Body of Christ than at any time since maybe the mid 1990's. When there is blood in the water, sharks will come. The Lakeland Outpouring had attracted their attention. Their guns began to fire - not only at Fresh Fire Ministries (w/ Todd Bentley) but at all the others who endorsed what God was doing (which is an incredibly long list of well-known, well-respected Charismatic ministers/ministries). They love controversy, they thrive on failure and they will do all they can to find a quote taken out of context to make anybody look bad who they disagree with. They will do so in the name of "truth". They believe they have something the rest of us need - namely "discernment" (Ironically, discernment is a charismatic gift of the Holy Spirit which they know next to nothing about).

A couple of years ago, I was in dialogue with the webmaster of a Christian website who himself was somewhat of a "heresy hunter". We exchanged a series of emails, concerning some critical (slanderous) things that I found on his website about some Christian ministers who are personal friends of mine.

Here is a short summary of that dialogue.

WEBMASTER: yes, but that man is a "false teacher"
DJ: actually, he is a theologian and a former seminary professor. What makes him false teacher?
WEBMASTER: but we know that he teaches error and heresy
DJ: Here is a copy of the doctrinal statement of his ministry (I attached it to the email). What he believes and teaches is actually the Historic Christian faith. What heresy is he teaching?
WEBMASTER: he is also a "false prophet" according to Deuteronomy
DJ: the way you are interpreting that passage was never understood, nor applied during Old Testament times (i.e. 1 mistake and you get killed). You are also mixing apples and oranges because New Testament prophetic ministry is very different from Old Testament prophetic ministry. (I sent extensive commentary to illustrate and support my point). I even shared that according to that interpretation the Prophet Jonah should have been killed (i.e. because Ninevah wasn't destroyed).
WEBMASTER: yes, but we know he is a "false teacher"...

In the end, it didn't matter what I said to him, sent him, etc. to try to enlighten his position, his mind was made up. He had heard someone else call this man a "false teacher" and was simply passing on what he had heard. It was more of a study in psychology than anything else. It wasn't like we could "reason" together.

This guy however was far nicer than many of today's heresy hunters. The kind of attacks that are being launched at other Christians is staggering even to the unbelievers. How ironic that non-Christians are being stumbled by the lack of love and charity that they see in the way that Christians treat one another.

Here's what I think we need to do - since it's God's kindness that actually leads us to repentance, we should be kind to people who are struggling. If we really believe that someone is a "heretic", before we begin to post slanderous remarks, maybe we should get their phone number and call them. I've discovered that it is much harder to slander people that I've gotten to know - regardless of how much I disagree with them.

I'll give an example - I am NOT a Calvinist. I believe that the way Augustinians/Calvinists understand predestination, free-will and God's sovereignty is in error - both from the Scripture and from the way those Scriptures were understood/interpreted by the Early Church (i.e. the Church from AD100-AD300). However, I have many friends who are more Reformed (Calvinistic) in their theology. Should I be calling them heretics and/or false teachers? No way. We will continue to love each other, pray for one another and get on with the task of building God's Kingdom. I know that God is using all sorts of people who you and I may disagree with.