Yep...it's long I know, but it must be said! ☺
I get it, I get it. Many people in our Spirit-filled/Charismatic circles take things way too far. I really hate it when they do that too! Why do I hate it? Well, because inevitably when that happens, you get a slew of people who look at their over accentuation, at their unbalanced twist, and run the other direction. Then while running they end up falling in the ditch on the other side of the road! I know, there is much that has gotten into error in this time, especially in these Charismatic circles, and anyone who knows me, knows how much I detest flaky "Charismania"...but let's not go too far the other way and begin to operate in a religious spirit as the Pharisees and Saul/Paul did. 🏃😏
Darin and I flow in many streams in our ministry, with many different flavors and demonstrations. Some in more conservative groups ask us "How can you be around that group...they seem so weird?" Or "Some of what they do seems strange!"...Strange to whom I wonder? The typical westernized churchy mindset? What we have deemed "church" or Christianity to look like in our American way? If you think "The Kingdom" looks like American Church and American Christianity, you are sadly mistaken. The way you have been raised may not have anything to do with what scripture says about The Church and The Kingdom. ⛪👑
So when people run and fall off in the other ditch, it's up to us balanced, "in-the-middle" people to explain, that there is some merit to the things they do, but it may have simply been taken too far, or it has gotten off into error in some way. Does that mean there is not a root or primary thing in the teaching that is actually grounded in truth, and is a good thing to know and understand? No, it doesn't! However, many get so caught up in the way it has been done wrong, that they can't see that it was only man's error or a perversion of the original truth, and not the teaching or practice itself that made it wrong.
Just about every truth that has been reintroduced to the body of Christ since the Reformation 500 years ago, has been over accentuated, overembelished, and made the supreme thing at some point. Almost every revelation or teaching that was reintroduced has gotten into some form of error, extreme, or off-balance at some point. Does that make those truths wrong or not needed? No, it simply means it needs to be brought into balance, and keep the real thing (Jesus), the center focus.
Let us also remember that much of what was written about in the O.T (angelic visitations, signs & wonders done by God and His servants, spiritual warfare, portals, open visions, demonic manifestations, etc, etc), are things that many haven't experienced in modern Christianity very often, but that doesn't mean that they don't exist. Just because we've never seen something happen, doesn't mean it isn't for us to experience, but might simply be that we have not believed in it, therefore the Lord could not manifest or reveal it to us...remember, Jesus Himself could not do many great works in His hometown, because of their unbelief. Why do we often assume that our Westernized, watered-down, Greek mindset of Christianity is the way it should really be? Because that's all we've ever known? Let me tell you, Cessationism is alive and well today...even in many Spirit-filled circles! They may not believe "tongues" has ceased, but they believe many other things found in scripture has!
Below I have listed some examples of teachings in the body that were over accentuated for a time, even got into some error, and simply needed or needs to be balanced out with scripture and sound understanding of what the Spirit is wanting to accomplish and bring to light. I have had to discuss almost all of these at some point, and explain their merit to those who have run off to the other ditch...as well as discussing them with those who have gotten off balance and into some form of error.
Here is the list:
⏩Holiness, repentance, tongues, gifts of the spirit, healing, the "word of faith", faith, prophecy, charismatic manifestations, deliverance, angels, demons, spiritual warfare, anointing with oil, laying on of hands, the anointing, apostolic ministry, prophecy, 5-fold ministry, current day prophets, current day apostles, signs and wonders, women in ministry, Hebraic roots, signs of the times, end-time prophecy, glory, the power of the Holy Spirit, God as Abba, grace, the love of God, keeping church traditions, not keeping traditions, etc, etc...I could go on, but I won't.⏪
Do you realize that most of the teachings, understandings, and practices of the things listed above were all somewhat "new" to people in the 1800's, and even some the early 1900's? So chances are, much of what you believe now would not have been taught 150 years ago, and it would most likely have been called "error" if you did...just sayin'! 😉 These were actually things the people had never heard of, had never even considered, but had actually been lost through the ages of Christianity since the first apostles. How? Wasn't the written word still there to be read and understood? Yes, it was, but many times they were blinded to the full truth of it's meanings, and most people had been taught the bible excluding those things. Many times, Christians had to experience one of these things first, before they could go back and study to find that they were actually in scripture all along, but perhaps those scriptures had simply not been understood in that way. (Example: the Spirit was poured out on believers at a prayer meeting in NC in 1896, and they all spoke in tongues, but they had no reference for that behavior, so they went back to scripture and found what the word says about speaking in tongues, stammering lips & an unknown tongue.They then embraced what the Lord had done.)
My point is this...just because you don't understand something, or think it has gotten into error in practice, or it is completely overembelished, doesn't mean you should run the other way and condemn it all-together. Of course, if it's doctrines of devils or false teaching, then by all means, yes run! But let us all be careful not to be the ones who run so fast that we fall off into the other ditch, and aren't able to see the truths that the Lord is revealing in this hour. Remember, every movement of restoration that has happened in the body of Christ, has been fought the hardest by the previous movement.
(Ex. Those who taught the Holiness movement were the ones who fought against the Pentecostal movement when it came).
I for one, don't want to find myself fighting against what God is doing in this time, and if you think you're above doing that, then you are deceived. Saul/Paul was a zealot who believed he was doing right in killing Christians before his transformation.
Let's actually be willing to hear what others are saying and teaching, and perhaps consider that it may be something good that the Spirit is actually reintroducing. Let's study it out for ourselves, with an open mind, and truly ask the Spirit to show us if there is any validity to it, instead of assuming it's not right because we weren't taught or "raised" that way. We shouldn't listen to just anyone, but if there are many respected men and women of God who are teaching or speaking on something, we should at least listen and discuss these things. That is a mark of true maturity. I myself have found several things that I used to think were flaky or weird, but have since come to understand have validity and truth to them, at least in part. I was willing to search it out and say "I was wrong." I am still careful not to get into excesses or error, but I embrace the truth of what the Spirit is revealing in this time. If there is nothing good or if it is simply people being drawn into deception and error, then by all means, throw it out and walk away. We must use the gift of discernment and know the difference in truth and error...But let's not become so stubborn and prideful that we simply "assume" that something is wrong just because it is a "new" or different teaching than we have heard. If some are going too far, we can simply bring it back into balance and take the good out of it, and begin to incorporate that. We must be balanced on both sides, and as my Mama always said, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!" 😉
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