As the days grow spiritually darker the institutionalized church seems to be caught in the vortex like a bit of dust beneath a hoover. I have lived in five countries and have visited many a church and can tell you there is some strange teaching going on. People are caught up in doing, instead of being. Busy-ness. And professing Christians are putting too many fingers in the wrong cookie jar.
We are craving false teaching and those who are tickling our ears. We want signs and wonders and have evolved into having an emotion-based faith. Occultism and the New Age are rampant within the church. Another gross error we make is to strip God of His attributes and give them to man.
Some would believe we can speak things into existence. Or that we don’t need to come to our Father in prayer. That prophecy and healing are the “better” gifts.
Conservative church-goers, in response, move quickly to where they think it is safer, to the far end of the spectrum. The idea is that anything related to the spiritual gifts is evil, of no use or that God has stripped the church of them. The result is total imbalance.
We are so immature.
This dilemma is nothing new to the church; Paul addresses it in Hebrews 7, saying that “by now I ought to be able to teach you about the deep things of God.” Things like the order of Melchizedek. But he could not; the church was still drinking baby milk. Jesus himself said to rabbis that were questioning Him, “If you do not understand the earthly things I am teaching you, how will you understand the spiritual things?” John 3:12.
The question I keep throwing at my Christian friends is, how much of God do you want? If you love God, do you not desire to seek him continually, to grow and to know the truth of a matter? A healthy Believer neither has an emotion-based faith; nor a faith that believes all things connected to the dark side are evil.
Yes. The dark side is evil. But here is what I mean: prophecy and tongues and healing are not evil. They are spiritual gifts or manifestations of the gifts. When used properly, they help one or many to nurture and draw close to God. When misused or taught improperly, they are so dangerous and destructive.
A mature teacher will understand this and instruct his disciples to not always seek a spiritual high or experience, nor to build their faith on emotions. And they certainly will not teach their disciples that the gifts are dead or were done away with. They will be balanced.
There are things going on within the church that nearly all of the New Testament writers warned of: false teaching. False teachers. Those that creep in dressed as sheep. Keep in mind Satan’s army is here to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10).
Watch this space for Part 2
By Jori Sams