People of Truth Not Theories

Especially in times of crisis, conspiracy theories abound. These are not new – they have always been around – but in uncertain times, the more certain these theories sound, somehow providing answers to why things are the way they are.

The most recent is that of QAnon, started by an anonymous post by ‘Q’ and has since taken on a life of its own. Of greater concern is how QAnon has attracted a very large Christian following, both in the USA and around the world. The narrative of good vs evil fits right into our kingdom psyche. So as people of righteousness, we must do our part to fight back and to warn others. Sounds right. But is it?

In the past weeks, more has been written about this movement. But hold on! Can we trust what is published in the mainstream media? More pastors have stepped up to warn their congregations about the dangers of QAnon. Oh wait. Maybe these pastors are part of the conspiracy, wolves in sheep’s clothing?! After all, anyone who speaks against QAnon speaks against Trump and hence cannot be trusted. In fact, anyone who votes against Trump contributes to the end of the Church. Really?

Chances are you have received one of such warnings or heard a few of such teachings from well meaning Christians. How are you processing these? Did you spam, er … share, these with your friends and pastors too?

I must confess that it is very enticing and tempting to feed on the QAnon offerings. It is like receiving some higher level information which normal people are not privy too. It makes one feel smarter, in the inner circle, and more spiritual. But is this how it is supposed to be? Is this what discernment looks like? Or is it quite the opposite?

Led by the Lord to read through Psalms and to post a verse each day with my own thoughts and reflections (#apsalmaday), today’s gleanings from Psalm 2 provide perspective as to how we should respond.

Reading this verse, I can’t help but think of the many conspiracy theories circulating these days. A new world order. A global government. A ruling elite. Population control. DNA-altering vaccine. Big Brother system. Whatever or however, these all go against the Lord and His Anointed.

Here’s the good news. God is not surprised or perturbed at all. In fact, He will have the last laugh (2:4). His Son, His Anointed, His Messiah – Jesus – will come to judge and to rule His kingdom in righteousness. How cool.

Don’t miss the hint in the final verses – be wise, be instructed.

No need to fear hidden agendas. Look instead to God’s plan that has been clearly made known to us.

No need to spread conspiracy theories or add to the rumours. Proclaim instead the gospel of the kingdom. Invite and remind all to “Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.” 2:11

And remember: “Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” 2:12 (not in conspiracy theories or whoever the next president is).

9 September 2020 #apsalmaday

This may or may not be satisfactory to you. But as for me, it brought me comfort and helped me focus.

To be sure, where conspiracy theories are concerned, there are way more questions than there are answers. Depending on which way you go, it will lead to confusion, distraction and fear on one end, or a radical almost maniacal vigilante Christian resistance movement on the other. I believe that either extreme is not what the Lord expects of matured believers.

Whilst we may not be entirely clear of how things will pan out, or what is actually true or false, I hope we can at least agree on the following:

Yes, the world is in a mess in need of salvation. No, we don’t need more conspiracy theories to confirm that. Yes, the Church needs to wake up and fulfil her assignment. No, the Church is not ending anytime soon, nor can her existence be determined by the outcome of an election. Yes, we must be aware of deception in the final days. No, we should not add to the deception by spreading more lies and rumours we cannot verify. Yes, the days ahead may get more challenging for followers of the Christ. No, we are not surprised because these have been foretold and we have been forewarned.

There are still many more assignments to be fulfilled. The Church must not be distracted. There are enough fakes around. Let’s not add to that by being flakes.

We are people of Truth. Know the Truth. Live out of that Truth. Proclaim the Truth. Not theories.

Pondering Issues: When All We Have Are Questions

Every once in a while, I get to ponder an issue. Or wrestle, in Christian-speak. Being a teacher and preacher, many of these are theological or doctrinal in nature, and understandably so. After all, I do not wish to teach wrongly nor lead others down the wrong path, albeit unintentionally.

A present conundrum is that of false teachers and false prophets. Of late, there has been quite a focus on certain leaders and ministries. Sadly, given such a critical issue, there is no consensus within the Body of Christ and this can be clearly seen whenever any of these is highlighted. To this end, all we have is a general warning to be careful of deception in the Church, but believers are none the wiser as to what constitutes deception, who might the deception be coming from, or the consequences of one who is deceived.

bill-johnson

Take, for example, the ministry of Bethel, fronted by Pastor Bill Johnson, associated with the New Apostolic Reformation movement, presumably an evolved version of the Latter Rain Movement. Without doubt, there have been positive experiences and expressions associated with this ministry. At the same time, more than a few have highlighted Bethel’s questionable theology and doctrine; not to mention the practice of grave sucking (which many are happy to disregard, preferring to focus only on the good stuff).

In a post about Bethel, “On Babies and Bethelwater”, Andrew Wilson (a pastor, writer, and columnist for Christianity Today) sought to provide a balanced perspective of what he had observed and experienced. After sharing points of concern and compliments – ten each – his conclusion was that Bethel should not be considered cultic or heretical, and that more churches could learn from Bethel and be more like them in their expressions of love, faith and passion.

This appears and sounds good, and we should just move on and not worry so much, right? And yet, …

In Wilson’s assessment of Bethel’s theology, he described it as “problematic, troubling, concerning or even dangerous“. In fact, he says that “there are worrying correspondences here with several of the biggest heresies the Church faced in the first few centuries” (emphasis mine). Yet, these do not seem to matter too much when viewed against the radically transformed lives of Bethel’s followers. Perhaps, it is thus not that dangerous after all? If there is no cause for alarm, then why be troubled or concerned in the first place?

Even worse, could one possibly misconstrue and therefore surmise: That it is okay to have bad and wrong theology if the people are generally loving and nice? That it is okay to have unsound doctrine as long as the sick are healed and the ministry is evidenced by signs and wonders, gold dust and glory clouds? That it is okay as long as the music takes one into God’s presence? – if the ‘presence’ is even an objective indicator in the first place.

That the baby is not thrown out with the bathwater, Wilson advises, “Eat the fish, yes: but spit out the bones, and make sure there aren’t so many bones that you choke.” In other words, just take the ‘okay’ parts but not the ‘iffy’ ones. But what if a believer is not able to discern which is which? Is it all a matter of preference then? Would it be a tad too late when one chokes on the bones? What does that even mean, spiritually? What if it is not bones, but poison? Is that okay still? Once again, how dangerous is dangerous?

Sigh…

Please do not miss the point here. I have nothing against Pastor Andrew Wilson at all. I believe he wrote and crafted the post carefully, seeking to preserve peace and unity in the Body of Christ. I am not exactly a Bill Johnson fan but I must confess that his gentle posture of honour is rather alluring (great one-liners too!). I also know of many who have been positively impacted through this ministry. No, this is not a Bethel-bashing post, so please refrain from reading it as such. This is just little ol’ me trying to grapple with something I consider very important and critical – and yet, there does not seem to be clear answers at all.

I suppose my pondering and wrestling will continue as I prayerfully consider the goings-on in the Body of Christ against a postmodern backdrop of experiential spirituality. I will remain open to how the Lord would move by His Spirit, but must also not forget to stay grounded in His Word. In a generation where blessings are emphasised, perhaps overly, it would do us well to remember to also heed the warnings, equally God-breathed, given for good reason and especially to ones such as us living in the last days.

Related Posts: Pray for Those who are Teachers of the Word, How Dangerous is the Error of Hyper Grace, The Dangers of Biblical Illiteracy: Inspiration or InterpretationBiblical Interpretation: Dividing or Separating

Revelation or Deception?

I just watched a YouTube clip on “ekstasia worship” and I am even more convinced that things are not well with the Church.  My guard is even more heightened and it is causing me to question practices and forms we consider “Christian”.  Many of these are touted and positioned as revelation for this new generation in this final season.  Is that really so?  Or is this so-called revelation merely deception?

We all know that deception is one of the key tactics of the enemy.  But do we realise that he is the Master Deceiver?  In other words, he’s really good at what he does.  The best there is!  Simply put, he knows what makes people tick and he will exploit these to the core.  He is so good that he can make Christians think they are worshipping Jesus when they are in fact participating in occultic practices.  Just because it carries a Christian label doesn’t make it right.

Think about it?  Do you expect the enemy to entice you with a term like “diabolic dance”?  Of course not!  He’s smarter and sneakier than that.  But what about a new form of worship? Oh yes, we Christians like worship where we get to sing, dance and express ourselves.  Add a dash of ‘prophetic’ to it with promises of a heavenly experience and that sounds even better.  Ground it with a bible verse or two, have it endorsed by a prominent prophetic voice and it’s ready to hit the Christian markets!  After all, God is revealing new things, is He not?  He wants you to experience Him, does He not?  And not only Him, but also the tingles of heaven.  With some bonus gold dust too.

Is this revelation for the new age to come?  Or is it simply plain ol’ new age in a different packaging under a new name making its way into our churches?  Is our desperate disillusionment in Christianity and church-ianity causing us to seek after more exciting experiences in the spiritual and the supernatural?  Are we opening ourselves to more of God, or merely opening ourselves up to more of the enemy’s ploy?  Do these satisfy and please God, or do these only satisfy and please ourselves?

I am concerned, very concerned, deeply concerned.

The Raising of Sons

When Rev Francis Khoo released the Prophetic Word for 2010, one picture stayed in my mind …

“The first horse was splendid and radiant white in colour.  The rider was also dressed in white and on his head I saw a crown and in his hand was a bow.  But what struck me was that he had no arrows.  Yet as he rode, he seemed to be drawing and shooting invisible arrows. … I felt the Lord say that the rider on the white horse is symbolic of the Church of Jesus Christ as the Chosen Generation today with a call to be an overcomer by being ‘more than conquerors’.  Believers in Jesus have been called to be ambassadors for Jesus in this world.  They have been given the ability and empowered to establish God’s authority and righteousness on this earth.  However, the Church today has not understood its calling, nor risen up to what God has for them as the firstborn of God.  Deception, distraction, debt, dishonesty and delusion have robbed it of the arrows that it has been given.”

Over the past week, in my time with the Lord, I was led to Zech 9:13 …

“For I have bent Judah, My bow, fitted the bow with Ephraim, and raised up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and made you like the sword of a mighty man.”

Suddenly, the light went on in my spirit.  It all made sense!  Taken literally, the first part of Zech 9:13 will read, “For I have bent [praise], My bow, fitted the bow with [double fruitfulness], …”  This is absolutely consistent with the picture in the Prophetic Word.  The Church has been taught to praise and to worship – and there’s a lot of that – but we are not as fruitful as we are to be.  We have the bow, but not the arrows!  What’s the problem?

From Psalm 127:3-5, we see and understand that arrows refer to sons.  As such, if the Church has no arrows, it just means that there are no sons!  One may respond by asking, “But aren’t we all children of God?”  Yes, we are.  But that is where the real problem lies … too many are contented to remain as children, babes in Christ; and too few are being raised up as matured sons of God, hence “the Church today has not understood its calling, nor risen up to what God has for them as the firstborn of God.”

But God wants to raise up sons, O Zion!  These are matured sons after the image of Jesus Christ!  It is only with such maturity that these will withstand and endure the challenges (the 2nd, 3rd & 4th horses) in these final days.  The sons of Zion will oppose and expose the sons of Greece, those who are wise in the ways of the world but foolish in the things of God.

Indeed, “2010 will be year that we need to get our focus, our priorities and our perspectives right.”  Will we continue to be swept away by the distractions and cares of this world?  Do we watch world events unfolding with wisdom and discernment?  Are we still looking for financial gain and material accumulation, trusting in an economy that thrives on debt, dishonesty and deception?

May we respond to the Holy Spirit as He prompts us ever so gently, “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Rom 8:14)  God is still looking for those who would be willing to be raised up as His sons who will be doubly fruitful for His purposes and His glory!