PROPHETIC WORD FROM JONATHAN WELTON
In October 2013, Pastor John MacArthur launched his new book, Strange Fire, with a kick-off conference by the same name.
I remember being at a close friend’s house when I was 15 years old and he showed me a copy of Charismatic Chaos by MacArthur. My friend then proceeded to tell me that it was because of MacArthur’s teachings that his family wasn’t Pentecostal like me, but he would still be my friend, “so long as I didn’t become like Benny Hinn!”
An interesting memory to be sure! Well, years later, I bought and read a copy of Charismatic Chaos, which was MacArthur’s attack on the Charismatic church almost 30 years ago. I found it to be anecdotal, circumstantial and poorly argued, but apparently it was enough evidence for some people.
In response to John MacArthur’s recent attack on the Charismatic church, Dr. Michael Brown has written a large treatise entitled, Authentic Fire. I was very glad that Dr. Brown stepped up to address these unwarranted attacks from MacArthur. Yet at the same time, I am greatly saddened by what I have been seeing released in the American church in the last 12 months.
THE POLITICAL SPIRIT
I believe that since the November 2012 elections, there has been a massively divisive strategy released into the government realm. This same divisive strategy was able to shut down the actual government itself for a time. The church has been lagging behind this government division, but as of November 2013, we have begun to see the same impact of division within the church, and we are dangerously heading toward a shutdown of our own.
What we are now seeing in the church is that the impact of our dividing over theological issues is revealing the cracks in our worldwide spiritual family.
Rather than reasonable and academic debate, we have allowed points of difference to create major division. Rather than honoring each other’s strengths, we have attacked each other’s weaknesses.
At this very moment, we have major leaders in the church which are teaching and preaching a “Grace Revolution” whereas there are books being released against the Grace Movement and calling it Hyper-Grace. There are even leaders going on National Christian platforms giving “warnings from God” about Grace being a major spiritual avalanche devastating the church!
Also there has been an outbreak of rabid arguments about eschatology. Yes, eschatology is important and I understand having discussions and debates about it. But when national leaders begin to use their platforms to call views that they don’t like, “False Teachings.” It doesn’t open the door to communication and understanding.
In light of the argumentation, the name calling, the cavalier dismissal of brothers and sisters as teaching “False Views.” It is time that we recognize that this behavior is (1) grieving the Holy Spirit and (2) destroying our witness to the unbelievers.
Yes, we must discuss and even passionately debate at times as “iron sharpening iron.” Yet, we must also maintain our respect and value for those we disagree with. Whether they are right or wrong, Jesus deemed them worthy of dying for and how can we treat them as anything less?
It can be very hard when people are not living up to their dignity and identity. I have my share of hater’s on the Internet blogs, even one that reads my blog each week and sends me the most insulting and inane comments. Yet for individuals like those, although they choose not to walk in dignity, honor, respect and love; I can still make that choice despite their choice. And maybe one day the love that I chose to walk in will bring us to a place of reconciliation.
Simply put, the strategy the Lord is recalling us to is that we bless those that curse us and not in an indignant way; but that we honestly and genuinely can bless them from the depths of our hearts because we see them as someone worth dying for.
The church has survived 2000 years through some very dark times and very bad teachings. It is not going to be improved by sudden vicious attacks against the things we disagree with. We must return to treating others with love and honor, and finding a way to open communication rather than closing it.