Volume 17 Issue 11
Are we trying to destroy ourselves? Historian Bernard Lewis, as quoted in Robert Spencer’s book Religion of Peace? Cites a spirit of self-destruction in Europe. He states, Europeans are losing their own loyalties and their own self-confidence. They have no respect for their own culture (They are) in a spirit of self-abasement. Lewis view, I believe, is applicable to North America and even to much of the Pentecostal community. When we step away from our born-again Pentecostal roots, we are displaying a spirit of self-abasement. We reject our birth identity and our prophetic destiny.
To many, Jesus has become inadequate. Substituting holy hunches for the Bible is a popular pastime, but dare we ask where this leads? The new imperatives are philosophy, psychiatry, and human wisdom, but to date no one has proven the efficacy of these tools in bringing men into a redemptive relationship with Jesus Christ. If we lean on these ineffective means as a path to salvation, can we ever undo the negative consequences?
Furthermore, we are facing a spirit of radical selfness. And, as odd as it seems, I believe that it is born of a self-loathing of our predicament: namely, that we are nothing without Christ. Or, as scripture states, without the Spirit, we are none of his. Our fleshly achievements do not count as credits unto salvation; our talents alone cannot bring revival. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. We therefore feel limited, held back, dependent. We want success on our terms and in accordance with our definition. Therefore we turn to a self-directed omniscient ministry in which the servants have become the masters, children become kings (Eccles. 10:16), the princes are being led to Babylon (Ezek. 17:12), the ego becomes the source of inspiration, and political correctness is the agenda. Note the Lords instructions to Ezekiel on this subject:
Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD;
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
— Ezekiel 13:2-3
Some preachers today are buying in to what they see as new apostolic mandates. These ministers often operate on the supposition that God wants to speak a new revelation for our day, through them of course. They prefer to speak out of their own spirits, and they feel that their own inner light and ambition is the agenda of God. In this pursuit, the message of repentance and salvation through obedience to the apostle’s doctrine becomes secondary or is judged to be completely non-essential or totally unrelated to their own so-called progressive visions. Taken a step further, Jesus Gospel once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3) actually gets in the way of their church growth methodology, ecclesiastical business, and grandiose spiritual celebrity.
In the short run, one might argue that a departure from the apostle’s doctrine appears to put churches on the fast track, puts more bodies in the building and more money in the offering. However, one must keep in mind that man-made religions appeal to the carnal nature. My way is a powerful temptation. But the question remains: can it save us? What part of success, popularity, cool theatrical church or political correctness guarantees salvation? I quote the Apostle Paul, in his discussion about what causes the doctrine to be blasphemed:
Perverse disputing’s of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
— 1 Timothy 6:5-12
Thankfully, there is an answer to the challenge of reaching the lost. As Ezekiel was told, Say unto them hear ye the word of the Lord. That is our mandate and our duty.